This year we finally dug deep in our pockets and invested in a pre-lit, 9-foot, artificial Christmas tree…

…the only reason why I made this promise to Deric:
“I’m going to decorate the tree without buying any new ornaments”. Gulp.

Luckily, I had a bazillion or so shimmery orange ornaments that I scored for 6/$1.00 a few years ago. Those along with some blue, silver and glass ornaments made the tree look just ok.

It needed garland.

So, here’s my updated take on garland. Super easy, but gave the tree an extra umph! (All supplies were left-over from previous projects).
p.s. the color combos/possibilities are endless! use any color paper, with a contrasting paint color to achieve a personalized look for your tree.

Start with 8 x 11 cardstock, gold acrylic paint, any old paintbrush.
Gold triangle garland - supplies

Paint 5 rows of triangles (pennants). (If you want your triangles to be larger, paint less rows.)
Gold triangle garland - entire paper

Paint your lines fairly thick, and then cut in the middle of the lines. That way, each triangle (pennant) will have a gold border.
Gold triangle garland - cutting triangles

Gold triangle garland - pile of triangles

Use a gold/beige colored thread to sew the pennants together. I used a medium stitch. Pull the thread out about 6 inches before you start to sew, this will be used to attach the garland to the tree.
Gold triangle garland - gold thread

Very important: leave about a 1-inch space between each pennant – the space will allow the pennants to hang over the branches without looking too stiff.
Gold triangle garland - spacing

Also very important: Sew only about 3-4 feet of garland at one time. If you make a longer strand, the pennants will get tangled. It is also easier to drape a shorter segment on the tree.
Gold triangle garland - spaced

And there she is! kind of a mish-mosh of styles, but it’ll do!
Gold triangle garland - tree

Gold triangle garland - up close

Gold triangle garland - entire tree


I found this large frame and canvas at a garage sale several months ago for $10.

I thought it was a steal because the frame alone is worth more than that.

The art that came with it, eh, yuch. Not to mention it was just a paper print that had been glued onto the canvas. And it looks like someone already started painting over it.

So, the frame has just been sitting on my mantle, all by its lonesome for several months.

Recently I placed Luke’s first non-watercolor “painting” up on the mantle. And the more I looked at it, the more I liked it! It was fun, colorful and it was my baby’s :)


I could have Luke paint over the canvas that came with frame! And it would be an original piece of art, and it would mean more to me than any other painting ever could, AND he would have so much fun doing it. (he LOVES to paint!)

After putting it off for a few weeks, I finally decided it was time.
I prepped the canvas by rolling 3 coats of white acrylic paint over the print.

Then it was time for Luke to go!

Here are some important tips:
1. Begin by recruiting a well-rested, well-fed, paint-loving, non-paint-eating, happy and excited 2-year-old (if any of those qualities are missing, ABORT!)

2. Cover a corner of your kitchen with cardboard and plastic.

3. Strip your toddler down to his skivvies or put them in an old shirt (acrylic paint does not come off once it dries).

4. Choose the colors for your toddler since they prob haven’t had a chance to take a class on color theory yet.

5. Have at least 4-5 clean brushes on hand. El-cheapo kids’ brushes from Wal-mart is what I used.

6. Squirt the paint onto a plastic plate or cheap plastic artist’s palette, also from Wal-mart.

7. Recruit a spouse/helper (willing or unwilling) to be nearby – just in case your toddler decides to jet from the designated painting area and decide to go hug a white wall (we were fortunate not to have this happen).

8. Put on your painting clothes and your most patient self.

9. Have a large roll of paper towels/old towels and baby wipes on hand. You will need them!

Although Luke did all of the painting, it was not without a little direction from mama :)
1. Let him choose his first few colors and just go for it!

2. After he uses 4-5 colors, switch his brush out for a clean one. This will keep the colors from becoming muddied. (and the switching of the brushes didn’t appear to stifle his creativity any ;)

3. Suggest to toddler that he should paint on the white areas. This will get your canvas covered much faster and keep the colors from mixing too much and turning into the color of dirt.

4. Keep an eye on the paint palette and top off the paint with fresh paint as needed. If they use the same brush for multiple colors, there will be a lot of cross-contamination.

5. Once the masterpiece is completed (mama makes this call), remove from the area and let dry.

6. Supply your toddler with poster board and let him use up all of the paint from the palette.

7. Paint a purple “Mickey Mouse bear” for your toddler per his request.

8. Throw in a little bit of learning by painting his name on the poster board.

9. Show toddler that if you paint his hand, he can make hand prints. Let toddler dictate which color he would like for you to paint on his hand.

10. Then suggest he paint his feet, sit back and watch the real fun unfold!

11. Once baby is completely covered in paint, take some pictures and then it is time for a bath.

12. Take a minute and enjoy the feeling of being a cool mom or the mom-I-had-always-hoped-to-be. Smile :)

Aaaaaaand, for the piece-de-resistance!

Amazing abstract art or just a pre-school painting?? You Decide :)

After all, art is very subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And what is more beautiful than a cost-effective, memory-inducing, sentimental, colorful work of art?

She REALLY needs it. For being born in ’86, she’s already a sad, dingy creature.

No, I’m not being a mean girl.

She’s my master bath.

The time has come!

We started demolition today!

And as much as I wish we could DIY, this is WAY over our abilities and time constraints. Unfortunately, for a bathroom the size of ours, even an upgrade can get pricey very quickly, especially here in the big city where labor costs tend to be higher.
But because of some water damage and mold, we knew it would eventually need to be done.

We finally decided it was now or never – before we welcome baby 2.0. Because I hear children have a way of making your money disappear. Just a rumor going around town.

Here she is in all her mauvey 80’s glory! I’m sure at one time she was a dazzling diva, but those days are long gone.

Separate his/hers entrances:

His side – what do you think about that wallpaper?!

Wait, there’s another layer of fabulous-ness underneath!

Her side – I get the mauve acrylic tub and the carpet… that gets wet…

The shared shower that can be accessed through both sides: note all the shades of mauve.. but the skylight and the tall ceiling are probably my favorite features in the entire house!

So, you’re probably thinking, it’s not that bad!

Let me take you in a little closer….

Chipped tile, water damaged baseboard and sheetrock

Water-logged baseboards (who knows what lies beneath!)

Nasty sinks with black stuff(mold?) growing around the drain

Acrylic tub that is falling apart

Old, peeling, rusty showerheads

And the worst offenders of the whole lot – mauve toilets that leak :(
(p.s. if you call me at home in the future, I might be answering it from my new toilet phone… I mean, we’ve already got the wiring for it next to the toilet ;-)

Can’t wait to post a ton of before/afters!

Oh, and some of these pictures were taken just before our closing over 1 year ago…and I was walking around taking pictures while carrying this chunky monkey… I miss his baby-ness :(

Has it really been over a month since I wrote something?! I guess when you have one 100 degree day after another, it just starts to feel like the same wake-up, put-on-a-ton-of-deoderant, drink-massive-amounts-of-water, avoid-going-outdoors, sigh-at-your-dying-lawn, be-thankful-you-don’t-have-to-work-outdoors, routine… and before you realize it, it’s August!

But I have been doing stuff in the meantime.

Like this stuff..

I bought these chairs on craigslist last year. They weren’t exactly a “steal” I paid $60 for each.
Yeah, looking back, they were an impulse buy. But they were in great condition and I liked the style of them.

I was originally planning on using them as the captain chairs in the dining room. I set them in the living room for additional seating one day, and decided I liked them better than the other craigslist chairs. Not to mention these were closest to being “refinished”.

The fabric on the seats was not working for me. I didn’t know what to replace it with because I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take the room in.

Well, the fabric has decided that for me. I knew I wanted a graphic print with some texture. After taking home samples and not liking them in the room, I made a leap and just bought a yard of this fabric without taking a sample home.

And so about a month ago, I marched to Home Depot(twice!) to get a staple gun and the wrong staples (that’s why I got to go again!)
I ironed out the fabric wrong side up in order not to make any marks on the velvety design.
Then I laid it out on my dining table.

I removed the staples that were holding the dustcover (a piece of thin netting) because I wanted to reuse the dustcover.

I could have also removed the fabric, but I was too impatient and decided to cover over it.

I started by making sure the design was centered both ways on the chair. Then I trimmed the fabric just so I hand enough to staple around the back.

First I stapled in the center of each side, and then worked on the corners. After that, I just stapled away until I felt the fabric was secure.

Then at last, I stapled on the dustcover, and voila! Recovered chairs.

I’m not sure if my method was proper chair-covering protocol, but I’m happy with how they turned out.

I was hoping they would inspire me to go ahead and finish the living room… HA!

Decisions are made at a snail’s pace around here ya’ll!

The original plan was to purchase new, more modern hardware for the cabinets.

The existing cabinet handles are a dull brass, but they seem to be good quality and the sticker said they were made in India (not sure if that’s a good/bad thing). The dull brass is better than shiny brass, but it is still a little too 1986-Southern Living for me.

I didn’t mind the shape, so I decided to try my hand at spray painting them. After all, if they turned out gross, my only loss would be a can of spray paint and some of my precious time.

I started by sanding the handles with 200 grit sandpaper. Then I used a damp cloth to wipe off the dust.

In order to be able to spray around the handles, I fashioned a “painting stand” out of a cardboard box and toothpicks.

I used Rustoleum 2x spray in “Metallic Aluminum”.

After the paint had dried, I turned them over and did some touch up work on the bottom.

And they turned out pretty good! The color is a matte silver, it almost looks like a brushed nickel from far away.

What do you think? Have you had any luck or failure in spray painting hardware or metal?

…not that I’ve felt dead for the past month, I just haven’t felt like myself.

Nauseous, tired, no desire to blog or craft or cook do anything remotely creative.

I was basically doing the minimum needed to get by.

But I’m in my 2nd trimester, baby is a the size of a lemon, and I’m feeling good!!

So good that I have returned back to my old tricks… taking on too many projects at one time!

Here’s what I have going on right now:

8 sanded cabinet doors – awaiting to be patched, primed & painted
2 metal cube end tables – in the garage, covered in peeling paint after I applied a chemical stripper to them.
2 cane-back chairs – cane removed, in same condition as the end tables
1 coffee table – primed and 1/2 taped off in a herring bone pattern, awaiting painting or better idea

And while I could be focusing all my energies on finishing one of these projects, I have instead decided to go fabric shopping!

And I even came home with some samples –
after finally getting through to the sales lady that I was NOT interested in looking at any more silk tapestry, $75-per-yard fabric.

Yes, that is what she showed me after I explained to her that I wanted some child-resistant, casual, graphic print fabric.
Eventually we made it to the outdoor/indoor fabric section- you know, the kind of fabric that could be taken outside and hosed down, that’s what we need in this house :)

I want to cover the cushion on these chairs (craigslist find):

And I’d also like to make some throw pillows for the couches. But I don’t want to go too matchy-matchy or formal…

So, here are the fabric samples that I came home with:

In the store, they looked like great options.
But now that I have them in the room, I don’t know….
too formal, too blue, too ??
just not what I was going for.

The look I’m going for is: Traditional Living meets Artist Loft meets Minimalistic with a touch of Southern Living and a dash of French country.
Is that too much to ask for?!

Ok, so what’ya think? Love to hear if you love them, hate them, or have a better idea!

(and it’s good to be back in “normalville” :)

I know, it’s Tuesday and here I am with no thriftiness to show you!

Not that I don’t have a stockpile to show you, it’s just that I’ve had some setbacks (laziness, procrastination, sleepiness).

So, this week, the thriftiness will have to wait until Thursday… if just to preserve the alliteration :)

And if you’ll bear with me until tomorrow, I will finally reveal my front door facelift!

Want a hint??

Let’s just say it is no longer dungeon denim, but more of a lagoon :)

I know, lame-o hint.

Can I make it up to you with a picture of springtime yumminess?! compliments of pinterest :)

Strawberry Mousse Cake

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