Entries Tagged as 'Decorating'

What happens when you type “vintage pineapple” into eBay on a Saturday night

August 3, 2014

Vintage pineapple bookends

You find a set of vintage brass pineapple bookends listed for $9.99 with no bids.

Vintage pineapple bookends

And, if you were wondering, The Baby-Sitters’ Club Super Special #12: Here Come the Bridesmaids is what happens if my best friend Beth types “Baby-Sitters Club” into eBay on a Saturday night a month before my wedding.

How to furnish your home on Craigslist

July 30, 2014

Last week, Eric and I celebrated two years of living in our house. Some days it feels like the house has come a long way, and I’m really happy with our progress. Other days, I feel like our wish list is still so long, and we’re never going to be able to do everything we want to do. The reason we’ve been able to come as far as we have, though, is the fact that we furnished a lot of our house with Craigslist finds. When we started planning to move, we knew the house was a lot bigger than our apartment and we didn’t have anything to put in all the rooms. And further, we knew we couldn’t afford to buy that much new furniture. So! To Craigslist we went! 

How to furnish your home on Craigslist

Well, actually, to Craigslist I went. Eric didn’t have much faith that we’d find anything there, but he came around when he saw how much cool and affordable stuff I was able to find. Now he’s a total convert. 

Here are some of the things we’ve purchased via Craigslist:

  • 7-ft West Elm dining room table 
  • Six white chairs from Z Gallerie (the legs of which we never quite got around to refinishing as planned…)
  • Pottery Barn bar/wine cabinet
  • Two desks (one amazing green vintage one and one from IKEA)
  • Queen-size bed frame, mattress, and box spring for the guest room

Not bad, eh? 

If you find yourself in need of new/extra/affordable furniture and want to give Craigslist a try, here are my best tips. 

1. Know what you’re looking for. While Eric seems to enjoy just browsing furniture listings on Craigslist, I prefer searching for specific items. (If I’m going to just browse Craigslist for a few hours, I’m going to look at a far more interesting section than the furniture, you know?)

2. Search often and don’t delay on messaging sellers. People who are selling typically want to sell, like, now, and things tend to go up and get sold very quickly. When we were in the market for our dining room furniture, we checked for new listings every few hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I was always surprised by how often new items were listed, and how quickly we received responses.  

3. Search for specific brands. I think this is one of the reasons I’ve been able to find such good stuff…while you certainly may stumble across a dining room table from Pottery Barn if you simply search for “dining room table,” you might have to go through eight pages of tables that don’t interest you to find it. Whenever I was on the hunt for a piece of furniture, I searched for Pottery Barn, West Elm, Z Gallerie, World Market, and Restoration Hardware to help surface the sort of things I was wishing I could buy new. 

4. Search for specific items. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for something from IKEA, because there might be hundreds of listings for “IKEA bed.” Instead, search for “IKEA Hemnes queen bed ” if that’s the one you want. It’s not foolproof, but I’ve found that most IKEA listings include the actual item name. And you just might get lucky and find item by name from other brands. 

5. Search for alternative spellings. You may know you want a wrought-iron bench…but the seller might list it as “rot iron” or “wraught iron.” Also try searching related words (e.g.,”vintage” and “antique”) to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Craigslist search

6. Filter your search results by owner to eliminate obnoxious dealer listings. You might find dealer listings relevant, but I find them to be really annoying to sort through (SO MANY CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!! HUNDREDS OF BOLD CLAIMS!!!) and not at all helpful when I’m searching for furniture. (On the other hand, they are fine when looking in the antiques section.) 

7. If you’re searching for a specific brand, limit your searches to “title.” I’ve found that a lot of people will list a bunch of brands in the listing and say their piece of furniture is “Pottery Barn West Elm Restoration Hardware style”…which might be fine, but I’ve never found these types of listings to be very legitimate. Some people still use this technique in the title, but it’s far less common (and easier to spot).

8. Don’t just limit yourself to big pieces. Smaller items like lamps, dishes, mirrors, and kitchen appliances can be found in the household section for really cheap. 

9. Use the gallery view when looking at listings. I discovered this option way late in the game, but it’s so helpful. Had I discovered this sooner, I’m pretty sure I’d have even more great CL finds to my name. 

Lover.ly: DIY Gold Bar Cart

February 3, 2014

Turn a $38 red tool cart into a chic gold bar cart #DIY

My love affair with gold spray paint continues…I made this gold bar cart using a $38 red tool cart from Habor Freight. I was really happy with how it turned out, and even more excited when Brit.co decided to run a post about it! See more pictures and read about how I did it on Lover.ly.

The So-Easy DIY Winter Decor Idea You Have to Try [Lover.ly]

December 16, 2013

DIY holiday decor

I’m getting crafty over on Lover.ly today! This is seriously the easiest DIY project I think I’ve ever done.

To the window, to the wall

September 30, 2013

As of this weekend, Eric and I have our very own half-done gallery wall! You may not know this, but a half-done gallery wall is commonly accepted as the #1 thing you need to be a young middle-class couple playing house.

gallery wall

Since we moved into our house a year ago, I have never really liked our living room all that much. It was the one room in our house wherein we didn’t have a clear idea of what we should do (except when I’d go to the Restoration Hardware website…then I would have a clear vision), and, since we bought the furniture three years ago for a completely different room, we didn’t have much flexibility in what we could do with.

Last fall, we painted it, hung up a double curtain rod and some curtains, and bought a rug, which helped…but then we just sort of gave up. The lighting in there is pretty deplorable, and fixing that means hiring an electrician and…nope! Not dealing with that right now! We did buy a floor lamp from IKEA a few months ago…despite its cool design, it basically turned out to have the same annoying spotlight effect as a tiny but blinding desk lamp. Since going in there made me feel like I was undergoing a police interrogation, I just avoided the living room as much as possible.

Lately, though, it’s been bothering me (I’m told some people actually enjoy spending time in their TV rooms?), so last week Eric and I started discussing inexpensive ways we might deal with the overwhelming blahness of it.

We started by following a hunch I had and taking down the red curtains. This turned out to be a good idea; apparently, deep red curtains don’t exactly add a lot of light to a space that feels really small and is poorly lit. Who knew!? Then we considered the immortal words of Lil’ Jon and went from the windows to the wall (to the wall!): we discussed what to do with the huge empty space above the couch. Usually when our living room conversations reach this point, we’ll start talking about how we wanted to buy a piece of cool artwork from a local Texas artist whose work we came across a while back. Then we’ll look at his art and decide it’s not a good time…and, fully distracted, we’ll forget about the living room for a while. Since we’ve been following this pattern for three years now and have no reason to believe it’s going to be in our budget any time soon, I figured we might as well hang something else up in the meantime. Like blank pieces of paper!

gallery wall

Hanging a variety of photos and knick-knacks on your wall in a way that doesn’t make your house look like an Applebee’s is a challenge, so I turned to the Internet for a tutorial. I ended up finding a look I really liked from Pottery Barn; the photo was on a page that contained links to bunch of gallery wall tutorials…yet none were for the gallery walls shown in the photos. So…thanks, Pottery Barn!

After studying the photo and the frames sold on the Pottery Barn website, I managed to figure out some of the main frame sizes and start guessing at the rest. Eventually, we came up with a basic map on the wall, and then we headed out to look for some picture frames. After a few hours at Garden Ridge, Home Goods, and Target, we had six frames to start with (in rather different sizes than we’d originally planned). But I’m more excited about the other new additions we found at Home Goods! First, the softest blanket, that, when combined with a cable knit blanket we bought last winter, basically makes the couch a place I want to spend all my time.

blankets

Second, this lion head, which will be hung on the wall this evening. His name is Frank and he is so fucking majestic.

lion head_0004

After we returned home with our wares, we made some adjustments to the layout on the wall and hung up the first round of frames. Even though there are no pictures in the frames, the layout isn’t set in stone, and there are still some holes to be filled in, I’m amazed by how much better the room looks. Putting the lighter curtains front and center helped a ton, but having something on the wall — even badly hacked paper and painter’s tape — went a long way toward making it feel less dungeony.

living room

Still on the to-do list: some new throw pillows, a behind-the-sofa table, and, of course, better lighting. Oh, and putting actual photos up. And, in the great tradition of other young couples who have gone before us, it’s probably going to be a while before we get around to that. I’m aiming to have the whole wall done by the end of this year.

From there, I suppose we’ll going to deal with the sweat dripping down…actually, gross, never mind. Getting home decorating tips from rap songs can only take you so far.

Arts & crafts: Little pricks

July 3, 2013

gold painted planters

You guys! I successfully completed arts and crafts this past weekend!

cacti garden

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts

cactus garden

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts

cactus garden

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts - 18

Inspired by two different tutorials (here and here), I decided to put together some cactus gardens for my office, which needed some prettifying. My mom had a cactus garden on our kitchen table for the longest time when I was growing up, and a few weeks ago, when Eric got so sunburned (and then had, like, an insane and totally sudden allergic reaction to the Solarcaine he had been putting on the burn for a few days without issue), I found myself really missing her aloe plant. So! I decided to give this a try.

The whole process was really simple and easy! I followed the instructions from the first tutorial when it came to the actual plants, using gold sand instead of the decorative rocks on top. The process of making the white and gold planters was pretty simple too.  If you want to give this a try over the holiday weekend, here’s how I did it.

Supplies

  • A variety of succulents and cacti (mostly from Lowe’s, but I found all the colorful ones at Wal-mart)
  • Soil (I used one that is made for succulents and cacti from Lowe’s)
  • A little shovel
  • Terra cotta flower pots (Lowe’s)
  • Clear acrylic spray paint and white latex spray paint (Lowe’s)
  • Shallow glass planter (Michael’s)
  • Aquarium rocks (Wal-mart pet department)
  • Gold sand (Wal-mart crafts department)
  • Gold leafing paint (Wal-mart craft department)

This Is How We Do It

  1. Sand the flower pots gently and then rinse them with the hose. Let dry for a couple hours.
  2. Spray the insides of the pots with a clear acrylic gloss to prevent moisture from leaking through.
  3. Spray on a few coats of white latex spray paint, letting it dry an hour between each.
  4. Paint on the design of your choice with gold leafing paint.
  5. Once the leafing dries, spray with a coat of clear acrylic gloss to seal everything.

I’m not sure if the planters are weatherproof (I didn’t need them to be) but I really liked how they looked on our front porch when I was done assembling them, so I may do a little research and then make larger weatherproof versions of them at some point, as our front porch is pretty boring right now. One of our plans for the holiday weekend is to research patios and gardens and start thinking seriously about what we might like to do with our backyard and front walkway area. Eric’s dad is quite an accomplished gardener and Eric grew up helping him with it, so I’m letting him take the lead in this area. I’m sure it will be a while before it all comes together but I’m really excited to have a nice outdoor space to enjoy in…well, every month but the summer months, basically!

Seeing the light

October 22, 2012

Sunday, Eric and I took on our biggest house challenge thus far: installing a new light fixture in our dining room. It’s one of those projects that, according to the Internet, “anyone can do!” I am skeptical of these projects, because it seems like anyone who writes up how to do it on the web does not qualify as a beginner who is mildly afraid of DIY projects, which is exactly what the two of us are.

I’m not sure why we decided yesterday would be the day to take on the light fixture. It’s been something we’ve wanted to change about the house since we moved in, but we had yet find a new light fixture that we liked. We looked several times at Ikea, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, as well as on Overstock and Craigslist. Nothing in our price range seemed quite right. And the light fixture we had wasn’t driving us crazy, so there wasn’t a big rush.

Then on Sunday morning, we hung up my Halloween signs and put out some other new decor in the dining room, and suddenly, the light fixture kind of stood out. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t ideal, so while we were at Lowe’s later that morning, I decided to wander through the lighting aisle. Suddenly, there were like four chandeliers that looked like they would work and were in our price range. Eric came over to take a look and after some discussion, we bought one. And at some point in the day, I just decided I was going to lead this project.

Eric and I don’t really talk about who is going to lead each project we do around the house; it’s usually just whoever gets to the box first. But we have different styles when it comes to home improvement projects, and I believe mine is superior, therefore I wanted to be in charge when it came to something that could shatter into a million pieces and/or cause an electrical fire. So I opened that box the first chance I got.

My method is really simple. It involves taking everything out of the packaging and organizing it (for example, putting all the like screws together, or making sure we have all the structural pieces). Then I read the directions all the way through. Then I build. Yesterday, I supplemented this method by looking at some blog posts about how to install a new light fixture, just for some extra tips and to get more familiar with the wires and pieces involved. I mean, what was waiting for us inside the ceiling? The instructions weren’t super informative, so it was nice to have a bit more explanation and color photos.

I’ll be honest: I was really nervous about this project. Yeah, everyone said it was a really easy DIY but…the first step was turning off all the power to the house. As a DIY newbie, shit like that stresses me out. On the other hand, I felt like if we pulled this off, it would be our greatest victory as a couple. And, frankly, I was feeling confident. After all, we had gone to IKEA on Saturday and not broken up. It was like the third trip to IKEA in a row that didn’t involve tears, which, to me, means we are growing as a couple and were ready for this challenge. Still, though, this project had the potential to become that “I will never try to do that myself again” story of wasted time and wasted money.

After turning off the power, we climbed onto the dining room table to take down the existing light fixture. We honestly had no idea how it was hanging up there, but we figured it out. It helped to get a good look at how it was installed before we started installing the new one, since this one had presumably been installed by a professional. Then we started assembling the new one. There were a couple confusing moments (one of the wires had been twisted into an awkward spot when we took it out of the box, preventing us from assembling the fixture, but once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing). We attached all the hanging “crystals” and the fake candles (“Zsas, no one is going to think these are real candles with light bulbs coming out of them if the fake wax is dripping from the bottom,” Eric said to me when I placed one on upside down). We figured out how long to make the chain (the bottom of the fixture was supposed to hang 36-42 inches above our 30-inch high table) and then used pliers and all of our might to pry the links apart so we could actually get it to the right length.

Then it was time for the Serious Work: attaching the wires in the fixture to the wires coming out of the ceiling. There are three wires: the ground wire, the white wire, and the black wire. The ones coming out of the ceiling were clearly labeled. The black wire and the white wire coming out of the fixture were not. We did some more research; I was still a little convinced this was going to cause not just a fire, but an actual explosion, but I let Eric made the call. (Much later in the process, we found the hint we needed at the very end of the instructions, where it would help exactly…no one.)

After twisting the wires together, putting the screw nuts on them, and taping them up with electrical tape, it was time to see if the damn thing worked. Except we hadn’t known exactly what kind of light bulbs to buy when we were running errands, so we had to pause to make a Target run. With the power still off, we left and picked up four 60-watt candelabra bulbs. We came home, screwed them in, and then it was the moment of truth. Eric turned the power to the house back on. Then I held my breath as I turned on the light in the dining room.

AND IT GLOWED SO BRILLIANTLY!

Well, three out of four of the lights did. The fourth was cloudy; apparently when we turned the power back on, it just said “Fuck it, I’m out!” We  moved one of the other remaining bulbs to that spot and it worked, so we knew it wasn’t a problem with the fixture itself.

Unfortunately, we were not out of the woods at this point. We turned the power off and got back to the harder part of the project: getting the whole fixture screwed into the ceiling. Despite the fact that I read the directions carefully, it wasn’t really clear how you have to thread the wires through the fixture up top so you can attach it to the ceiling. Because that hardware came partially assembled, we just left it that way, and that was what was throwing us off. We’d get to the point where I was holding the fixture — and the pieces kept shifting slightly, causing dramatic sounds that made us think the whole thing was falling…a couple of times, things did fall off, though luckily nothing broke — while Eric shoved the wires into the ceiling, trying to figure out how much slack he needed to leave, and then we’d switch places and I’d start screwing the cover plate on…only to discover, nope. Not going to work. So we had to remove the tape from the wires, unscrew the nuts, unwind the wires, thread the wire through, and go through the whole shoving-the-wires-into-the-ceiling-oh-shit-did-something-just-fall-and-break step again. And then again a third time. I actually wasn’t that frustrated by the multiple tries it took — I was just so thrilled the thing was going to work when all was said and done — but Eric was losing his patience, and the lack of light and AC in the house was making things worse for him.

Finally, though, we did it!

The fixture was hanging from the ceiling. It appeared to be completely solid, but the chandelier is always the thing that is falling and breaking comically in movies, so I tiptoed around the dining room for a little while. Even with just three functioning bulbs, it gave off way more light than the original fixture had. And it had a dramatic effect on the look of the dining room. It was the perfect height and just totally pulled the room together. (And it looked great with all the creepy Halloween decor.) I didn’t think much of the fixture before, but after seeing the new one, I’m like, Why did we wait so long to do that?!

We did a bunch of small projects this weekend and last, and each is getting us closer to our goal for each room. But the dining room looks the most done and it’s filled with Halloween decor, so it’s my favorite right now. Last night I just kept standing there staring at the room, wondering, Did I seriously do that? Did I choose that paint color and those curtains? Did I twist some wires together in the ceiling and make electricity come out of them? I AM A SORCERESS AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME!!!

Octobering

October 5, 2012

Pretty much the second we closed on the house, I said to Eric, “OK, let’s talk about the serious stuff…how many Christmas trees are we going to have?” But while I love Christmas, you guys know Halloween is my jam, so I was pretty excited to haul out the decor I already had and buy some new decorations this year.

Eric and I went shopping recently and stocked up. This happens to be the first Halloween I’ll actually spend in Texas. In 2010 and 2011, we went to Michigan and Chicago, respectively, but this year, we’re sticking around. While I’m sad I won’t get to experience October in the Midwest, I’m really pumped that we are hosting our first party in our new house.

I wanted to do a kind of Victorian gothic Halloween look in the dining room (think creepy apothecary, bats, spiders, crows, cobwebs, lanters, candles, and a black, cream, gray, and silver color palette) and a modern woodsy look in the living room (think branches, white pumpkins, and a cream, black, brown, bronze, and gold color palette). We went to Home Goods, Pier 1, Party USA, JCP, Hobby Lobby, and Target and came home with tons of stuff. (We also popped into Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn and ended up leaving with only inspiration because that shit is amazing but pricey.) Eric and I enjoy shopping together anyway, and shopping for Halloween stuff? It was seriously one of the best days in recent memory.

These wall hangings from Home Goods perfectly embody the look I was hoping to achieve in the dining room; I was so excited when I found them. Seriously, Home Goods is like the Room of Requirement in the Harry Potter books…every time we go there, we find exactly what we were looking for and there is only one left.

I want to create a table look that includes a variety of bottles, candles, and other creepy things. The bottles are from Hobby Lobby and the labels are from Target. I also ordered some cute “drink me” labels off of Etsy that we’ll stick on mini bottles before filling them with shots. In the background on the bar, you can make out the glass bell jar on a black wooden base I found at Hobby Lobby; I stuck a white owl that I already had in it until I find something better. This silver pumpkin and lantern is also on the bar.

I feel like this is a good start, but I’m waiting to go all out until the week of our Halloween party. I mean, I love Halloween and all but I don’t really want to eat at a table covered in fake cobwebs for an entire month.

Speaking of things to interfere with a healthy dinner for an entire month, we also went a little crazy in the candy department at Target, buying all of our favorite Halloween candy “for the trick-or-treaters.”

(I’m totally kidding; this is just for Eric and me. I have no idea if we’ll get trick-or-treaters in our new neighborhood — though I really, really hope we do! — but if we do, I’m guessing that we’ll just buy more candy at that point.)

We actually went to Target last, and I wished we had gone there first because I felt like I found everything I was looking for. First of all, their “Professor Hemlock” line this year was exactly what I was looking for for the dining room. We bought a bunch of party supplies, as well a black and white pumpkins for the porch. (Up until that point, the only fake pumpkins we had seen were at Hobby Lobby; I refused to buy them because they were really expensive and they were called  “Funkins.”  FUNKINS!!!! Not OK.) We’re going to get real orange pumpkins in a couple weeks, but fake pumpkins are good for mixing in with other decor, either inside or outside, and  the ones at Target actually look pretty realistic. (Meaning they look like you painted real pumpkins, not like they were just picked from a black pumpkin patch, which unfortunately does not exist.)

Target also had a ton of great indoor/outdoor lanterns in their candle department. I got one large one and a pack with three smaller ones; they actually feature LED lights and they are on a timer. Once you turn them on, they’ll stay on for five hours and then shut off before coming on again at the same time the next night. I love knowing that around 8 PM every night, our porch looks quite festive.

We still have more decor to put out over the next couple weeks, and I’m still on the hunt for a few more items. I’m really excited to keep decorating and give the living room and the kitchen some love.

We also need to start working on our costumes! My mom isn’t making them this year (it’s such a pain to have her do it from so far away) so the pressure is on us to do something that lives up to my family’s standards. After being a deer in headlights and a bull in a china shop, Eric and I weren’t sure what to do this year; we eventually decided that Eric is going to be Bob Ross and I am going to be a happy little tree!

[Watch: Bob Ross Remixed]

Seriously, I’m so happy it’s October!

Do you have any Halloween decor/plans/costume ideas to share? Or am I seriously the only one who cares about this holiday?

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