Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Um, This Is Not Working

Our small house has lots of brown. And beige. And tan. 

Nothing wrong with these colors. Just not the direction Hero and I want to go with this place.

We are loving the gray with white trim. And while we have been able to make some headway on the inside, the exterior is going to have to wait till next spring.

But, we just could not handle the beige front door that swings into the hallway and really, really clashes with our sweet, clean gray.

So, it had to go.

As usual, I remembered to capture the "before" photo after I started.

See that lovely trim? Yep, it needs some freshening up, too.

After the trim around the window was dry, I could really make some progress on the door.

I painted all these parts with a brush first. Nice look, huh? 

Do you ever feel in the middle of a project that things are just not going the direction you envisioned? At this point, I was doubting a successful outcome.

Note to self - Avoid this combination in future plans. I don't love it.

But because I bought the paint and I can be a little stubborn, I pressed on.

There we go - Much better!

I used a mini roller for every flat surface I could and it came out nice and smooth.

This works so much better with our plan and it looks terrific with the interior color.

Here it is from the outside. It will eventually work just swimmingly with the tan brick.

Just as soon as we get rid of that brown storm door.

And the beige trim.

Love it - What a difference!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How We Did Our Gallery Wall

In the big house, we had a gallery wall. We actually had two - one in the front room and one in the great room.

I really love these for one big reason -
It is a great way to show off lots of smaller pieces of art. Or in our case, family photos and documents. 

Instead of having little frames all over, using them on one wall creates a great composition and looks like art when all together. 

And it is usually lots less expensive - but don't quote me on that.

Here is how we got ours up.

First, we had to edit some pictures out. In the big house, we had lots of wall space, especially with the cathedral ceilings. It was actually a challenge to hang art so that it didn't look too little. Hence the large collection of stuff on the walls. And hence the editing.

Once we kept only the ones we loved, we arranged them all on the floor in the amount of space we wanted to use on the wall. After playing around with the arrangement for a while, we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted.

Then we made a template for each item that was going on the wall. We choose a window frame, a large replica painting of Christ, some family documents, some family photos and a few "m"s for a little variety. Then we got out the trusty sticky tack and slapped them up on the wall.

After we got the templates up we took a step back and made sure things looked balanced. I prefer balance, but not symmetrical. But that is totally an option though, for sure. We just have a hodge podge of stuff, that symmetry would not really work.

We did have to do a little shimmy to the left, but that is the great thing about the paper templates and sticky tack - there is no commitment at that point. Feel free to move them all over town!

Hanging the pictures is a piece of cake - really. Just measure where the hanger is on the back of what you are hanging, measure it on the template and mark. Then without even taking the paper down, pop the nail or hook RIGHT THROUGH THE PAPER into the wall. Tear off the paper, hang your artwork and done!

We are getting there! 

And all are up.

But we did have a little issue. It was kind of heavy - as in "there are a lot of dark frames in our very light living room. And although we like that contrast, it is a bit too much."

So, I got out the paint.

Shocker, I know.

A few of the frames got a wash of white or cream (for that variety again). I left some detail dark so the cool pattern can be seen. 

I know some people panic at this kind of look. The worst that can happen is you put more paint on to cover the whole thing.

Give it a try some time!

See, up on the wall with old documents, it totally works!

And it lightens up the wall a little.

Here is the final product!

I don't think there is a wrong way to do a gallery wall. Some people prefer a more symmetrical look, or want all the same frames or even the same kind of artwork (all black and white photos for example). Those are all great options. I prefer a more "collected over time" look and not a ton of matching, but that's me.

Check out the two photos below - Can you spot the differences on the gallery wall?

The upper photo was taken just after we finished hanging everything up. The lower photo was taken after tweaking a few frames and doing a little switcheroo of one or two.

All of our favorites (especially after the edit - these are the keepers) and not any extra expense.

We love it. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

summer to fall

It's a new season!

We have been in the small house since spring. And because of the warm weather since we have been here, it almost felt like we were visiting a vacation cottage all summer long. 

It has been great.

But as with all of our new homes in the past, the newness wears off and it starts to feel like home.

Sometimes it feels like we have been here for just a few weeks, and other times it feels like a few years.

It has been about 5 1/2 months.

And it has been warm the whole time. 

So as our little house starts feeling like or little home, the seasons change, and here it is autumn. I love this season!

One of the things I like about a new season is really the change. I am always ready for the next season, to make some new memories and remember all the good things from the past. I love traditions and classics, and I also love to see what is on the horizon. I love the cycle of the change of seasons - Regular and reliable, and yet new and full of promise.


... an opportunity to change things up at home.

Love the sea shells that are such a symbol of summer, vacation, relaxing and calm.

A pile in a lantern was enough for this little living room.

American flags are another summer thing I like to decorate with. The spirit of patriotism starts with Memorial Day (the unofficial beginning of summer), carries on through the Fourth of July and on to Labor Day. 

I just love them! 

Of course there is no wrong time to display the flag, but summer seems to be extra appropriate (that just might be me, though).

But as the days cool off, the kiddos are back in school (and me, too!), it is definitely time for pumpkins.

And other fun stuff.

I found this crow on clearance at Target a million years ago. He looks awesome up high, kind of creepily checking things out.

Hey notice that cool candle there? See that little tiny peek of blue where the candle sits into the holder? That would be sticky tack. I love that stuff! I use it for securing candles, picture frames on the wall that tend to lean to one side, hang birthday banners and stuff on the front door. Whenever there is a decorating dilemma that just needs a little something, sticky tack is the first thing I try. 

Another lantern filled with yummy smelling little pumpkin things. 

And these bottles had another life at one time. See the wire wrapped around the top? They both have that. And they both used to have cute little metal pumpkins hanging on them. They were super cute. But, after a million years with the same bottles, I decided it was time for a makeover. Found some great looking labels online, got the ModPodge out, nixed the cute little metal pumpkins and gave them a face lift.

See what I mean about classic and new? Classic bottles and new labels. It totally works for me.

I have had this terrific garland for a million years, too. It reminds me of mummy wrapping.

See where the flag used to be in that bucket to the left? Pop that out, add some dried leaves (faux) and call it done. 

And how cute are these little acorns? 

I know.

They are a new little treasure found on clearance last year. I love when I find something at the end of a season, pack it away for the next year, and then pull it out. Since I don't have any memories of decorating with them, it's like they are new again!

I love that our small house is feeling so much like home. Bringing out traditional treasures adds to that feeling by reminding us of where we've been, and helping us look to the future, no matter where we are.

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Look how cute this little box is!

I found it at a garage sale that a former teacher was having. This little prize was only a quarter.

It has a little chipped corner, but that kind of thing does not bother me.

(You just know this was going to end up in the desperate pile or the trash. I love rescuing little treasures like this and help them to feel loved.)

On all four sides it says "bellwork" in sharpie marker (very neatly). I asked my kiddos if they remember doing bell work, and they had no idea what I was talking about. I remember it as the work that you do when the first school bell rings in the morning. You would spend about 10  minutes quietly working on it while everyone got settled. 

Hero and I were just talking about how when we were in elementary school, we would put our "gym" shoes under our desk or tie them together and hang them on the back of our chairs. We used to wear "school" shoes and so had to keep appropriate shoes for gym class. 

Our kiddos never had to do that, either.

Good times.

Anyway, this one also has Mrs. Coates' name carved into it. That makes it even more special. I wonder if she was a mean teacher. I hope not.

But the box did need a little face lift. It it is going to have a new job and home, so it should get an updated look.

New paint does all kinds of wonders for all kinds of things. I got this awesome aged barn color. Love those description colors!

That paper plate has been recycled for at least three projects. And that brush? Every time I pull it out, I think, "I should pitch this. It is getting pretty nasty looking." But then I wash it out and toss it back in the box. 

Now it's like an old friend. And works like a charm.

That red is pretty snazzy, but I had a vision. I am really liking keeping things on the neutral side for this small house.

My dad and step mom found this awesome stamp set in an abandoned house years ago. I have used it for lots of other fun projects, including my new stair hook thing.

The new "Bellwork" box!

We needed a spot to organize the office supplies for the new office, and this box has assumed those duties to corral them.

And when I take anything out of it, I imagine a teacher (Mrs. Coates perhaps?) making sure everyone is working quietly.

And she is very nice.