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Sunday, January 17, 2016



Our rowhome does not have a proper entryway, so you come in the door and have no where to drop your stuff.  In our old place, we bought a storage ottoman similar to the one below but from Home Goods (the cats promptly peed in the tufts) and coat rack from Target which managed to corral most things without taking up too much space.  It was a temporary solution.

There was not enough floor room for the ottoman to be by the door in the new place.  We added a beautiful shoe tray from Target, which cost about $25 and will be a lifesaver this winter for our wood floors.  We also added the console table.


Between the tray, console table, and coat rack, floor space was pretty limited by the front door. I also desperately wanted a mirror there, for vanity purposes.  One last primp before I'm out the door - actually more like check for toothpaste on the face and sleep in the eyes before I'm out the door.  The boyfriend was agreeable to some of the things I found on Pinterest (of course) which had hooks on a piece of wood attached to the wall.  I then went on Craigslist and BOOM!

Mirror: $40

Coat Shelving Unit: $15 (already covered in primer because I forgot to take a before picture).  It was a cherrywood color.

I did have a drive a significant distance (30 minutes to 1 hour) to get these items, but they were exactly what I wanted at a decent price.

First, the mirror.  I looked a few tutorials for how to paint mirrors, and these posts by The Frugal Homemaker and Life Should Cost Less seemed the most useful.

Country French Mirror Make-Over using Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint:       Painted and distressed yard sale mirror with @rustoleum spray paint:

I elected to go with spray paint.  Now you may remember, the living room color scheme was gray, white, and blue.  We decided this with the console table, when I had to paint over its original teal/turquoise paint with the gray paint.  But the living room still needed...something.  It was kind of boring in a neutral neutral overused sort of way.  I asked the boyfriend to...reconsider teal for the mirror.

We went with a medium teal spray paint - the boyfriend wanted a darker color but I thought it looked too hunter green instead of teal.  I picked this up at Home Depot, Lagoon (had to go to another store to get the second can) but it was amazing!  It didn't drip on my fingers at all.  It didn't smell up the entire house.  Amazing!

As the tutorials said, you can slide paper between the mirror and the frame.  So I tore up a useless catalog and used it to cover the mirror.

I coated the mirror in two coats of spray paint.  Used 3/4ths of a can.  Did I mention this spray paint is amazing?

I let it dry for 24 hours and removed the paper.  There was a slight mirror edge that got painted and some "overspray" which I was able to scrape off very gently with a screwdriver and then wipe off with Clorox wipes and Windex.

I wanted some of the gold to come through for a slightly distressed look (while I love Fixer Upper, a lot of their pieces are too distressed for me), so I tried to go over the mirror.  First I used sandpaper, which took off all the paint.  1 more coat of spray paint later, the boyfriend suggested trying steel wool, to take off just enough of the paint to show the goal through.

Brilliant.  Here it is on just the inside part of the mirror.  Too subtle.

Here it is on the entire frame.  Oh yeah!

Done.  Ready for hanging.

I ended up applying 3 to 4 coats of white paint to the coat shelving unit.  I used a white with a satin finish, that the previous homeowners had used on the trim in the room and then left behind.  We ordered these hooks off Amazon. For two people, we have a lot of coats.

Then...we hung everything up on the wall.  We picked up a level with ruler, put screws on the back of the mirror and tied wire to them.  The coat rack already had screw holes.

Ready for the finished product?

Finally, a pretty place to stash everything when we come in the house.  It really...doesn't look like this though.  We have a LOT of stuff.

The boyfriend is still adjusting to the teal mirror.  I told him I would buy pillows in a darker teal to make up for it.  He may have shuddered.  But he loves the entryway concept.  We keep looking at it from the couch and sighing deeply in satisfaction.

Until next time...

IKEA Hack - Ottoman from Lack Table

Hi everyone,

I have been very busy on several projects and will be updating you in between being on service.  It's snowing today!

As you know, we bought a great couch, the Radley Fabric Sofa from Macy's which was on sale:

I really wanted the ottoman as well.  Unfortunately, it was not on enough of a sale for us.

Lucky for me, someone else had a similar issue.  Pinterest, or more specifically, Infarrantly Creative and Turned to Design to the rescue!

Ikea Lack side table upholstered ottomans

Turned To Design

ikea hack ottoman

I did have an old IKEA Lack Table that wasn't being used.  It is a little bit worse for wear.

So...I made my own.  First, I dragged O to Joann Fabrics.  I walked into one on my own a few days before, freaked out over all the options and promptly left.  This time we were able to make a fabric selection for the ottoman.  I forgot to bring a pillow to compare the colors, but we made an educated guess.  I also bought batting, as I didn't want the ottoman to be too tall (because I was trying to avoid cutting down the legs).

So then I painted the legs grey.  Same paint as the console table.  No primer, no sanding, no nothing.  It took multiple coats and there are some areas that are peeling off that I will need to repaint and seal soon.  I probably should have followed this tutorial by The Refurbished Home on how to paint IKEA furniture.  Too much work but might be worth it.

Anyway, then I removed the legs to staple on the batting.  I started with two layers, but the boyfriend wanted it to be softer, so I added another two layers.  I used the staple gun and made sure not to staple over the leg holes.  The corners were a little tricky.  I ended up folding them over themselves for the most part.

I then did the same thing with the fabric we chose, again being careful not to staple over the leg holes.  It was pretty easy.  Pull tight!  Then I added the legs. I had to make sure to tuck in the fabric once I got the legs on pretty tight so it wouldn't stick out.  Then I had to loosed one leg because it was shorter than the others.


And next to the couch...A near perfect match with an interesting design.

After one day, the boyfriend texted me to say the cats were "really enjoying" the new ottoman.  Slight adjustment...

And all is well!  Actually, the boyfriend is cutting the legs down to make it slightly lower and then I will repaint them and seal them this time.  But really, all is well!

Stay tuned.  A teaser: we did some Craiglist shopping makeovers to create an entryway in our rowhouse.  Until next time!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Holidays 2015

Hi everyone,

Happy Holidays!

We spent the weekend before Christmas with the boyfriend's family in New Jersey.  I made one Pinterest inspired gift, some cute chalk painted mason jars and a vase with burlap and twine adornments, similar to the ones on these blogs/sites. I also gave someone this chalk paint kit off Amazon - water based for easy clean up, non-toxic for the kiddos, and great colors.  The boyfriend actually rebuilt a guitar for his niece and nephews to use.  It was amazing!

     Chalk Painted Mason Jars:  Detailed Tutorial on How To Paint & Distress Mason Jars:     Hand painted medium 800 ml Ball mason jar painted with antique white chalk paint then distressed. Perfect to use as centerpiece, to hold flowers,:

Of course, I forgot to take my own before and after photos but Green Table Gifts and It all Started with Paint have great tutorials or, if you're not feeling crafty, buy your own on Etsy.

We spent the weekend after Christmas with my dad for his birthday in Hilton Head, SC.  Great weather (thanks, global warming) and beautiful oceanfront views.

That's my dad in the second photo, by the water.

We did decorate the house, of course.  Last year, we bought a used fake Christmas tree which was white and a bit dingy.  This year, we spray painted it a nice bright white and it looks great.  Along with the boyfriend's kitschy fake fireplace (next year I hope we have a real fireplace) and the Peanuts tree, a gift from friends a few years ago (it plays the Peanuts song), the house looked...decent for its first Christmas.  I've got big dreams for next year.

I did manage to fit in one project right before the new year.  We have this unattractive themostat in our upstairs bathroom that was begging for a Pinterest fix.  Cue blissbloomblog...


And see my version below.  I wanted to use a picture I already had for the bathroom, so I glued a random piece of wood to the back and then added hinges to the wood and wall. 

A few tips:
1 - Do not try to screw on the hinges with the picture frame attached (broken glass frame incident #1).
2 - Be very careful trying to take pictures out of frames when prepping for this project (broken glass frame incident #2). 

Luckily, Amazon came to the rescue with this frame, that looks even better than the original frame I was going to use.

Before: (artistically blocked by a flower in the listing photo)

Photography credit: Jaime Gervasi & Associates of Long & Foster Real Estate

And here...not artistic at all


So there is it.  I am putting all of the tutorials I use on Pinterest, in case you wanted to find them all in one place.  Happy 2016!