Friday, June 24, 2011

DIY Calendar Page Art

I recently acquired an expired (ooh, that rhymes!) calendar from a friend (Thanks Hannah A.!).  It was one of those fancy Cavallini & Co. calendars with an enormous, beautiful botanical print for every month of the year!  This one was Flora and Fauna 2010, which features compositions of antique bird, botanical, and butterfly prints, as well as 18th- and 19th-century ephemera (which is what all the French script and postmarks are about, I guess!).  Suffice to say, it was right down my alley decor-wise. 


So, after procuring the calendar, I got right down to business, selecting prints for my walls as well as some for my Mama, too.  We framed May’s pink flower and butterflies for her guest room and April’s cutie bird and branch for her master bathroom.  Then I took October’s fern frond and trimmed it to fit a thrift store frame.  Unfortunately for me, I was so excited to find a frame that was close to the right size, I neglected to notice that what I thought was a mat was only a white border on the cheap print within.  Sad.  So, this one is framed, but less fancily.  (Huh, fancily really is a word according to spell check?!)  I hung it in my sewing corner in the den.  The blue tones in the print coordinate perfectly with the wall color.  :)


I think this one might get a 1” mat down the road.  Just for that symmetry that I love so much.  :) Lastly, I took January and November, both pastel butterfly prints, and framed them in a couple of 11x14 frames matted to 8x10.  The prints are originally about 9x13, but they just don’t make frames matted to that size.  Of course.  So, I had to select my favorite part of these prints to show within the 8x10 cutout.  Here is what I decided on after much deliberation:


These frames are from Walmart’s Better Homes & Gardens collection.  They have a small bevel trim on the edge of the mat that matches the frame, which I love.  Yeah, BHG!  These are my new guest room art, which I hung over the bed to replace the DIY botanical prints I made last year, way back when the guest room was just a work in progress.  Here it is now, with the new prints on the wall:


I love how the butterfly on the left has a shot of turquoise in him which ties in perfectly with the turquoise cushion and pillow in the room.  Hooray happy accidents! 


So, five works of art later and I haven’t even used half of my calendar pages.  I still have February, March, June, July, August, September and December left.  If you see one remaining that you’d like to frame, let me know and I’ll send it to you!

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Now, I just have to decide where to put the old botanical prints that I’ve replaced.  Perhaps the laundry room could use some new art, since I’m always stealing things from in there.  Like those flowers on the bedside table.  hehe :)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

“The Last Frontier”

Since we moved here three years ago, we’ve been working hard on the landscaping. We’ve got so many different kinds of flower beds, in the front, back, side, and everywhere in between, it is plenty of work keeping up with the weeding, mulching, and planting.  But, there is one space that had been utterly neglected (other than the deck area, which we recently remedied).  It’s this little strip of no-man’s land on the edge of our driveway:


Other than cutting down an evil gum tree, and blowing leaves into the space each fall, we’ve pretty much ignored this area.  Mama and I joked about how it was “the last frontier” of our yard, as yet wild, and unlandscaped.  But during our great Spring spruce-up in preparation for our Annual Memorial Day party, Mama decided it wouldn’t do to leave the last frontier un-spruced.  So, she dug up a truckload of hostas and liriope (from her own yard!) and brought them down.  While Papa and I did this, she set to work transforming the once-neglected space into this:

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And now I have this lovely view from my bedroom window:


It’s amazing the difference a few plants and some pine needles can make. 

Now we’ll have to find a new “last frontier” to focus our future energies on.  I’m thinking it will be this: 


This is what grows behind the woods at the back line of our property.  We have hopes to someday clear it out and plant a garden in the space, which I lovingly refer to as “the bottom” since its at the bottom of the hill next to the creek.  Don’t worry bottom, we’ll get to you, all in good time…even the wildest frontier will eventually be tamed.  :)


Monday, June 20, 2011

An “Antique” Guthrie Guest Room

Lately, I’ve been helping my mom get the extra room at her house set up as a proper guest room for overnight guests, like me!  Since all the children moved out, the room has been a catch all for random stuff.  We got a wrought iron bed, Mama put it up and we started calling it the guest room.  The furniture had been cobbled together with a secondhand dresser with a few odds and ends from other rooms in the house.  When my grandparents recently decided to get rid of the old dresser they’d been storing for decades, Mama thought it would be fun to do an “antique” room with all the antique pieces she’d collected.  Unfortunately, they didn’t all fit, but we squeezed in as many as we could.  Even though all the pieces in here aren’t true antiques, they definitely work together to create a traditional space with an antique feel.  Throw in a couple dozen rose printed accessories, and I’m a happy camper guest.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure:


The queen size wrought iron bed was a gift (Thanks Nelson and Debbie!) and it goes well with the iron lamp on the bedside table.


The piece de resistance—the antique dresser and mirror.  Mama dragged it out of my grandparents’ attic and refinished it.  I love the antique mirror with all its little imperfections.


We styled the top of the dresser with a watering can and ewer from TJMaxx, basin from Goodwill that just happened to match, and a blue and white teapot.  The perfume bottles Mama has collected over time.  This was a safe place (away from three-year-olds) for their display.


The new addition to this room is the gallery wall, which is a collage of photos from the “Sisters Bridal Shoot” that Hannah and I did around Mama’s yard.  She wanted this room to be centered around her daughters, since we are the primary overnight guests in the house. :)  And it’s no lie, we love to look at pictures of ourselves. ;)


Mama refinished and upholstered a small bench for under the window, which is dressed in ivory sheers and a rose valance.  We plan to add a cornice box over the window with pleated jabots on each side to dress up the simple valance.



The curio cabinet is filled with the porcelain dolls that were collected for us when we were children.  The ballerinas on the bottom are mine.  Since I am going to be a ballerina when I grow up. :)


This piece of art is a calendar page that we framed in a thrift store frame.  I love it!  And it has a look of antiquity, which works perfectly!



Ah, what a lovely place to spend a night. 

Thanks for joining me for the guest room tour.  I’ll be back soon with some pretty summer flowers and a few other outdoor updates!


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Welcome Mat Makeover

I bought this festive jute welcome mat back in March for my Spring spruce-up in the front yard.  It was so cheerful and I loved all the yellow accents.


With all the muddy shoes from yard work and puppy dog walking that’s been going on around here the last three months, we’ve been wearing it out!  After all that wear and tear, it was starting to look like this:


Not so welcoming, huh?  So, when I saw that Kristy over at Libbie Grove Design had painted her welcome mat with plain ole craft paint, a lightbulb went off in my head.  I couldn’t bring myself to spend $12 on a new rug only three months after I had just bought one.  So, I decided to use craft paint I already had to spruce up this tired old one. 

I used a little artist’s brush for the small spots and a medium-sized stencil brush for the large areas and within an hour I had revived the rug almost back to its former glory.  See for yourself:



I put it out to welcome guests to our Memorial Day party and it must have been alright, since no one stopped at the front door to say, “Wow, what is wrong with that rug… it looks weird!”  Mission accomplished.  Now if only there were an easy fix to all the muddy dog prints on the front porch.  Guess I have some pressure washing in my future.  :)


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Lovely Lattice

So, you may wonder what’s with all the around-the-yard projects that I’ve been packing into the last two months… We’ve built a fence, enlarged a planting bed, bought some flowers, built a rock path and a cute flower bed, painted the swing and made new cushions, and put up a hammock.  Whew!  We’ve been busy sprucing up the yard and it’s all because of this…


…which went down on Monday afternoon.  It was our Second Annual Memorial Day Kickoff to Summer Cookout!  We began this tradition last year with our first Memorial Day cookout.   And it rained.  So we had to have the party inside and we didn’t get to enjoy the backyard like I’d planned.  So this year, I was determined to fancify the outdoors anyway, and if it rained, we could admire it through the windows!  Lucky for me, the weather was perfect!  Not a drop of precipitation for two days prior, the yard had time to de-sog itself, and the sun was shining. 

In preparation for our big soiree, my parents and I pretty much spruced every surface on the property.  We added more hostas along the driveway, installed new sconces on the deck (posts coming soon!), and brought in tons of flower baskets from my Mama’s house, as well as all the party seating.  We decided to have tables and chairs set up on the lawn for maximum garden enjoyment.  And in our planning, we discovered the lackluster view of our deck that would greet guests from the yard.  I told you before how we were hesitant to landscape around our deck because of future plans to tear it down and rebuild it.  Well, that lack of landscaping was quite apparent.  Here’s the view of the deck from last summer:


At least we had some lush green grass. :) 

But that view of the black hole under the deck just wasn’t cutting it for my big party on the lawn!  So, we decided to finish off the little retaining wall at the edge of the yard, as well as enhance the view of the deck by adding lattice underneath.  Yeah!  Our deck shall have an underpinning, instead of a look of neglect!

We picked up four sheets of premium lattice at the hardware store as well as three two by fours for framing strips.  First we cut the two by fours into 1 1/2” strips and cut them to length for each section of underpinning.  We screwed them on with a 5/8” recess so the lattice would fit over top and be flush with the posts.  This framing gave us something to nail our lattice into.



I’m sure I just lost half of my readers who are now scrolling to the end for the after shots. 

But for those of you still reading…

Next, we cut each piece of lattice to fit inside the sections.  This was the tricky part, as my deck is 20 years old and has fallen out of square.  See:


So basically, we had to cut the length of each panel to a close measurement, and then fit in one side and draw off the next cut in order to make the lattice fit perfectly in the not-square holes.  Lucky for me, I had my handy Papa to help me (or rather, I helped him, as he did most of the work!).


He also kept reminding me to take pictures of the entire process for my blog. :) hehe

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And the best part was, eventually he got tired of the nail gun and let me use it! :) Whooo!  And he even took a picture of me with the nail gun for your viewing pleasure.  Love that thing, I gotta get me one of those!

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And finally we reached the last section and the lattice was done.  Last but not least, we let Mama work her landscaping magic and finish off the little retaining wall with two and a half more 6x6’s.  She filled in the area behind the wall with dirt and mulch.  And to give it a finished look, we added a few shrubs and plants.  Two hydrangeas, two azaleas (from the great hammock landscaping project) and some irises completed the scene.  And voila!  A view to be proud of:


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The lattice project was a success, just in time for our party on Monday.  And it meant that our guests didn’t have to sit in the yard and stare up under the deck at all the mud, leaves, and all the other debris that Riley has yet to unearth from her favorite treasure spot.  Sorry, Riley, this excavation site is closed. 

Here’s your before and after shot:

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A great deck makes for a great party.  And a happy hostess. :)

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