Second Tuesday Art Walk #4

Small Handmade Gift Ideas

Hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for co-workers, hair stylists, and lunch buddies:  I always need small gift ideas around the holidays.

But I love the small gifts.  They are an opportunity to give something fun – something unique and handmade.

So in this Art Walk, we’ll be looking at a few DIY and artisan-made gifts.

Easy-To-Make DIY Gifts

For most people, this time of year is busy – too busy for elaborate DIY projects.  So I’m showing you a couple of my own simple projects and a couple of projects that I would love to try.

Fir Scented Sachet Ornaments

Last summer on our trip to Maine, I bought a bag of Balsam fir needles.  It smelled so wonderful – like a high-mountain hike.

Recently I made sachet ornaments using the fir needles as the filler.

Fir sachet ornaments: DIY gift idea

These ornaments are nice to hang on artificial trees to give them that “real tree” scent.

Fir sachet ornaments: DIY gift idea

And they can be bundled into gift packs.

Fir sachet ornaments: DIY gift idea

After Christmas, they can be tossed into closets, drawers, or chests to keep those smelling nice.

You can find the tutorial for making these at the end of this post.

Cute, Tiny Refrigerator Magnets

I’m in love with these adorable little magnets that Stephanie made.

Photo courtesy of Ingenious Inkling

Who wouldn’t want one (or several) of these?

This craft looks so fun and easy.  For the tutorial, click here.

Batik Dinner Napkins

Last year at a fabric store on Black Friday, I found cotton batik fabric quarters (aka “fat quarters”) for 75 cents each.

They measured 18 X 21 inches and the fabric was double sided – perfect for dinner napkins.

I bought an assortment and made a set of 8 eclectic dinner napkins.

And all I had to do was double-fold hem the edges (for how to sew a double-fold hem, see this post).

DIY Batik Dinner Napkins
Batik dinner napkins: A fun DIY gift.

What could be easier?  And the fabric was made in India, machine washable.

Rope Trivet

Jess made this elegant trivet from a clothesline rope.  The texture looks so luxurious.  Now I want to learn to crochet.

Photo courtesy of Make & Do Crew

For the tutorial, click here.

 

Artisan-Made Gifts

These handmade creations are on my list of small gift ideas for this year – although I worry that if I buy them I will want to keep them.

Disclosure:  Affiliate Links are used below.

Geometric Ornament

Elegant and contemporary, this handmade ornament by Waen would make an impressive hostess gift.

All Natural Spa Gift Set

I can think of a few people on my gift list who deserve a little pampering.  And I can feel good about giving this all natural beauty set by LittleFlowerSoapCo  because these products don’t contain palm oil.

But what I really love is that this set can be customized with several luxurious choices for the soap and the lip balm.

*If allergies or sensitivities are a concern, ask for and check the list of ingredients before purchasing.

Personalized Passport Cover

Yes, we have one in our family:  That person afflicted with wanderlust.  A personalized, embossed leather passport cover by ShopAlwaysRooney would be just the ticket for our world traveler.

Gourmet Sea Salts

This set of gourmet sea salts by purposedesign is nice for any foodie, but the presentation is handsome enough for the hard-to-shop-for men on my list – at least those who like to cook or grill.*

*If allergies or dietary restrictions are a concern, ask for and check the list of ingredients before purchasing.

Indoor Herb Garden Kit

Plants and seedlings – or even the promise of them coming soon – can brighten drab winter days.  This little seed kit by Mountainlilyfarm comes in a cute wooden berry basket, and the seeds are grown in the Ozark Mountains.

For the Crazy Cat Person

Until a few years ago, that crazy cat person would have been me.  Priscilla is now our only cat.  But for many years we had three cats – plus the occasional foster.

I wish I’d had this sign by BelvedereCollections then, since it would have answered the question that my friends and family were too polite to ask.

By the Way

Oh by the way, if you enjoy cheerful, fragrant paperwhites blooming indoors during the holidays, now is the time to start them from bulbs.

Check out my posts Growing Paperwhites for a Beautiful Holiday Centerpiece for the how-to and Start Paperwhites Now For the Holidays  for more paperwhite inspiration – and ideas for giving them as gifts.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.


Sachet Ornament Tutorial

It was so easy to make these sachets.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric cut into 4.5 inch squares (this is a great way to use up leftover fabric scraps)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Narrow fabric ribbon cut in 8-inch lengths
  • A bag of Balsam fir needles
  • A sewing machine
  • A tablespoon

How to Make:

  1. Good sides facing out, I sewed two fabric squares together on three sides, leaving 3/8″ seams.  I looped the ribbon and incorporated it into my stitching in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. So now I had a little fabric bag with a ribbon loop in one corner.  I scooped about three tablespoons of fir needles into the bag.
  3. Then I sewed up the top of the bag, again leaving a 3/8″ seam.
  4. Then I finished each edge with pinking shears.
Step 1 - sew two fabric squares together on three sides
Step 1
Step two: Fill the fabric pouch with fir needles
Step 2
Step three: sew the fourth seam
Step 3
Step 4: trim the edges using pinking shears
Step 4
Finished sachet
Voilà!



Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

Linking up with:

A Blue and White Thanksgiving

For the past several years, my husband Chris and I hosted Thanksgiving in our tiny dining room.  We learned that the key is to be prepared.  We planned ahead, and we divided tasks.  Chris was a natural in the kitchen, and I clumsily muddled through as his sous chef.

But my favorite part of preparing was planning the table decor. So today I’m sharing my blue and white table from last year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Denim Inspiration

Denim for a Thanksgiving tablecloth?  Why not.  Last year, I became obsessed with this denim fabric.  The pattern reminded me of a block print fabric from India.

Denim fabric, muslin fabric, and accent ribbon.

I got some white muslin to make napkins and some white and blue ribbon to continue the theme.

We all know that denim jeans can go anywhere.  It’s all how you put the look together.  And the same is true for a denim tablecloth.  I wanted a look for my table that was the equivalent of wearing jeans with heels and a tailored white blouse – elegant and classic.

Blue and white Thanksgiving table decor

A classic outfit deserves minimal but well-chosen accessories:

Gold painted leaves.

A DIY gold painted leaf

Blue and white serving pieces.

Blue and white serving pieces

Crystal and understated floral arrangements.

Blue and white Thanksgiving table decor

Blue and white Thanksgiving table decor

Thanksgiving table decor can be very elaborate –  but that never works for my tiny table.  It just means moving more things off the table to make way for the feast.

Small Table Solutions For Holiday Dinners

Last year, I published this post that shared some tricks and tips for hosting holiday dinners on a small table.  That post also shared a few of my previous Thanksgiving table looks.

Earth-toned Thanksgiving table decor

This year we will be dining in style in this gorgeous dining room.  Wherever your Thanksgiving takes you, I hope you have a wonderful one!

Post on this website are for entertainment only.


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

Linking up with:

Our Laundry Room Reveal: Before and After Photos

It’s finally time!  Today I’m taking you on a tour of our completed laundry room remodel.

If you’re a regular visitor (hi, Mom), you know that this remodel has stretched on for months, and I’ve been writing posts as the project progressed.  If you’d like to get caught up on past posts about the remodel (which was done in conjunction with our mudroom refresh), here is the list:

And at the end of this post I’ve listed sources for, and information about, some of the products that we used in this remodel.

Let’s Begin!

The laundry room measures only 7′ X 7′, so our goal was to make the best use of the space without overloading the room.  The house was built in 1927, so I wanted the laundry room to be a mix of old world charm and modern efficiency.

Although my husband Chris and I came up with a detailed plan for the room, Chris did most of the actual work.  My brother Dan gave us the initial push we needed by brainstorming with us about how to bring the plan to reality.  Dan also helped to reroute and replace the plumbing – and later in this post you will see the beautiful built-in that he made for the room.

Okay, let’s walk in through the mudroom.

The North Wall

Now we’re inside, and this is what the north wall used to look like.

Laundry Room Remodel: Before
North wall before

I liked having a utility sink.  But there was very little surface space for folding clothes, and ironing in here was too much of a hassle because the only electrical outlet was up on the wall behind the appliances.  As for storage, there was a little recessed wall cabinet, but it was very difficult to access.  Things stored in there were quickly forgotten.

Here is how it looks now.

Laundry Room Remodel: After
North wall after

I think the space actually looks bigger now.

The appliances are 36″ tall, so the new sink base cabinet, which matches our kitchen cabinets, had to be customized to be taller than an ordinary base cabinet.

The quartz countertop had to be 38″ high – but that’s only about two inches higher than your typical kitchen countertop.

And it’s 33″ deep, which is almost 10″ deeper than a kitchen countertop.  So there is lots of space for folding clothes and doing other projects.

Of course, with the deeper countertop, the upper shelves are not easy for me to reach without a ladder or stool.  Our initial plan called for cabinets instead of shelves, but cabinets would have been just as difficult to access.  And any shelf or cabinet that we hung near the window could only be 8 inches deep or it would obstruct the window.

So the shelves hold things that we don’t need often – like shoe care supplies.

A basket of rags sits on a lower shelf within reach.

And the shelves are a fun way to display a few vintage items.

 

I enjoy the look of wood and wicker against the white paneled walls.

And no matter what time it is anywhere else, it’s always 2:00 in our laundry room.

Mid Century Sunburst Clock

Chris remembers this mid century clock from very early in his childhood.  Recently he brought it upstairs from the basement to repair it, and I stashed it in the laundry room to get it out of the way.  And here it stayed – the perfect round object to go in the middle of all the straight lines on the north wall.

Chris has a plan to get it running again, but either way I love the way it looks in this room.

Mid Century Sunburst Clock

I thought about finding some way to conceal the valve box, but I turn the valves on and off every time I do laundry.  So it’s fine.

We chose a stainless deep sink to use with a Delta faucet.

Stainless deep sink with Delta Leland faucet

The East Wall

In the northeast corner, we hung hooks for a couple of vintage coat hangers – one that we found inside the kitchen wall during our kitchen remodel (and that we later realized the original home owners must have brought with them from England).  The other belonged to my German grandfather.

Vintage Coathangers

This is what the east wall used to look like.

East wall before

The little area behind the door, only 14 inches deep, was a mess.

East wall before

And this is how it looks now.

East wall after

I came up with the idea of an L-shaped shelf above a tool rack.  Chris used a couple of leftover shelves and made it happen.

L-shaped shelf to hold cleaning supplies and tools.

The portable space heater from the before photo isn’t needed anymore because Chris added ducting and a heat vent to the room.

Southeast corner after

And it all tucks neatly behind the door.

Originally I wanted a built-in ironing board, but then I realized that I was too in love with the new wall paneling.  I didn’t want a built-in ironing board to detract from the look.  So a tabletop ironing board hangs behind the door, and I just take it to the counter to use it.  This little downgrade saved us a few hundred dollars, and it’s probably just as easy to use as a built-in.

The South Wall

I didn’t get a before photo of the south wall, but this is how it looks now.  Not the best photo, but I had to climb up on the countertop to get it.

South wall after

The Southwest Corner and the West Wall

The southwest corner was a cluttery embarrassment.  Only close family members were allowed to see this.

Southwest corner before

(By the way, Chris is proud of me for getting both toilet plungers into the before photo.  Yeah, I really got my point across with this shot!)

There was a lot stored here.  I found new homes for the things that didn’t really belong in the laundry room.  And there would be some storage in the new sink base cabinet.

Still I knew we’d need more storage, and I wanted it to be easy to reach.  A rectangular- or square- shaped cabinet, placed in this corner, would eat up too much floor space – and ruin the flow.  We realized a corner cabinet would be perfect here.

Dan has built many cabinets for himself, so he offered to build us a corner cabinet – one that would match the sink base cabinet.

Southwest wall after with custom corner cabinet

The little top drawer is very convenient, and there is a surprising amount of storage here.  It works nicely in this corner, with the countertop fitting just below the window frame.

Above the corner cabinet is the expandable wall-mounted drying rack that we found on our recent trip back East.

Southwest corner after

I used a portable wooden drying rack for years.  It would collapse at unexpected times, and it was a pain to store.  I find myself using this wall-mounted rack all the time.

Wall-mounted drying rack

So this was the west wall before.

West wall before

And this is the west wall now.

West wall after

I went with inexpensive matchstick roller blinds for now, and I’m enjoying them.  But I may get something else for the windows in the future since these aren’t very easy to roll up and down.

The washer door clears the corner cabinet – barely.

West wall after

Air Space

Even air space counts in a room this small.  Between the two windows, we installed a stainless retractable clothesline.

Retractable clothesline

It stretches across the room, giving me seven feet of space to hang laundry.

It’s high enough not to strangle us when we walk in, yet low enough for me to use easily.  I love it since I have so many items that I would prefer to air dry.

The Light Fixture

With the windows, this room gets tons of natural light.  We did hang a vintage light that we had in storage.

Vintage light fixture

I guess I lied when I said this project was done.  This room still needs a small towel bar.  But we are very happy with the way it turned out.  It’s functional, it works hard for such a small room, yet it’s has a cheerful, airy vibe.  I love spending time in here – even if I am just folding clothes.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  In case you’re interested, I’ve listed a few things below that are either the same as or similar to products we used in this remodel.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Sources

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

Wall-Mounted Drying Rack

This Robbins Lumber expandable wall rack is very similar to ours, although it is unfinished wood, so it would need sanding and either finish or paint.

Stainless Deep Sink

This Enbol SD2318 23 Inch 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Sink is very similar to ours in size and quality.

Faucet

I actually won the Delta Leland faucet as a door prize when I attended the Blogpodium conference in Canada a few years ago.  Here is the information on this faucet.

It is also sold via Amazon.

Window Coverings

These Radiance Fruitwood Imperial Matchstick Bamboo Shades  are very similar to the ones we installed in the laundry room.  But as I mentioned above, ours are a little difficult to roll up and down. Their quality matches their modest price.  Still I love the way they look. They do let a lot of light in, which is what I wanted for the laundry room.  But of course that doesn’t work for every situation.

Retractable Clothesline

This KES Stainless Steel Retractable Clothesline is what we have in our laundry room.  And for the price, I am very pleased with the quality.

Shelves

Our shelves came from Home Decorators, but I believe that style has been discontinued.  This Home Decorators 23″ Classic Floating Wall Shelf is not exactly the same, but the dimensions are very similar.

Tabletop Ironing Board

This collapsible tabletop ironing board works just fine for me – especially considering the small amount of ironing that I actually do.


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

 

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries

Linking up with:

Second Tuesday Art Walk #3

My niece is learning to talk.  Her vocabulary is constantly expanding, but at the moment she is an expert at getting her point across with just a word or two.

For example, when I saw her the other day she cautioned me, in her sweet little voice, “Careful.  Heavy.”  I knew immediately that she was talking about fall decor.

She was trying to remind me that many things we use in fall decor can look heavy to the eye.  Pumpkins, sunflowers, hay bales, mums, hydrangeas:  They can all look bulky.  So I needed to be careful or I could cross that fine line between festive and foolish. 

Then she gave me a look that said “And get a move on, Auntie, it’s already October!”

Our little chat helped me choose this month’s theme:

Elegant Fall Decor

This year, I’m in the mood for something fun yet elegant.  This is what I found for inspiration.

Corn Stalk Wreath

Here corn stalks have been deconstructed and made into a whimsical wreath that would look good on any door.

Photo by Hymns & Verses

French Country Dining Room

Oui merci.  White pumpkins, candles, and hydrangeas give a relaxed, rustic vibe to this French-inspired dining room.  The simple linen tablecloth keeps the look balanced.

Photo by So Much Better With Age

Pumpkin Vignette

If the pumpkins below had been placed on a heavier table, the look might be clunky.  But by using a skinny metal table that blends with the wall behind it, we have a vignette that is airy yet still sets a fall mood.

Photo by Laurey Glenn Photography

 

Fall Porches

I found two gorgeous porches that offer endless inspiration.  I’m sharing one photo of each, but I encourage you to click through the links to see so much more.

  • Balanced Entry

White mums?  What a great idea.  Symmetry and a muted color palette keep this entrance tasteful.

Photo by Little White House Blog.

 

  • Rustic Lighting and Natural Materials

With the days getting shorter, its a fun idea to add a little extra lighting to a covered porch.  Swap the white pumpkins for other seasonal ornaments and this look will work for months.

Photo by Vin’yet Etc

Grassy Centerpiece

This gorgeous centerpiece uses grasses, fall wildflowers, and long-lasting greens.

I love how the grasses capture the natural light and add a soft texture to the arrangement.

Photo by Anna Shackleford

Little Details

It’s fun to combine tried-and-true pieces of fall decor with new items – or to put a new spin on the tried and true.

  • Faux Olive Branches

Kathy at A Delightsome Life has two tutorials for making these beautiful faux olive branches.  They are an airy complement to heavier fall decor.

Photo by A Delightsome Life

 

  • Gleaming Mini-Pumpkins

Seems I always have to go off in a different direction.  White pumpkins have been so popular, but last year I painted mini-pumpkins for a warm, metallic look that would last through Thanksgiving.  These were fun to scatter around my living room and use in table decor.

My Crocosmia Crush

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

And I found inspiration from my most reliable source:  Mom.  Her crocosmia plants had multiplied over the past summer so she had to remove some.

Crocosmia seed heads are a nice accent in floral arrangements.  She offered me a handful of the plants she’d pulled out of the ground so I could use the seed heads.  The bulbs were still attached.

The bulbs and roots looked so interesting that I decided to use the whole plant as decor.

 

It was simple:  I filled a shallow clay pot with floral foam and then covered the foam with forest moss.  I inserted a small bamboo garden stake in the middle and then secured the crocosmia stalks to it with garden twine.

I love the look of the bulbs and winding roots.

I used some seed heads elsewhere.

Featured Etsy Artist

Fabric pumpkins are everywhere this year.  Some are better than others.

To me, these needle-felted pumpkins by ForestFindsbyCassidy look like tiny works of art.


Posts on this website are for entertainment only.

You might also enjoy:

 


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 


Linking up with:

A Luxury Rug Pad for a Bargain Rug: Why It’s a Good Idea

You wouldn’t expect a piece of fitness equipment to come with an unhealthy odor but, a while back, I bought a new yoga mat that had such a strong chemical smell that I had to return it.

So when RugPadUSA.com asked me to review one of their eco-friendly rug pads, I thought it would be an interesting experiment.

Of course, to keep my review as accurate and impartial as possible, it was essential to shop for a new area rug to go with the new rug pad.  A sacrifice, I know, but one that I was willing to make for the sake of journalism.

The rug and pad would be going in the room where we do our morning yoga stretches. Because of the yoga, Will at RugPadUSA.com suggested I try the Superior Lock 1/4″ rug pad.  It has a natural rubber backing to keep the rug in place and a recycled felt core for comfort.

So let’s talk a little about my new rug and rug pad.

The Rug

I only buy inexpensive rugs because my cat, Priscilla, won’t let me have anything nice.  If you have a pet, I’m sure you can relate.

So I fell in love with a rug that I found at Ross.  At $49 for a 5 X 7 rug, it was a bargain.

Years ago, when I was on a budget and buying wall-to-wall carpeting for a basement, someone told me that it was okay for me to buy inexpensive carpeting as long as I upgraded the pad – because an upgraded pad would help the carpet wear better.

So I am going on the assumption that the same would apply to an area rug and a rug pad.

 

The Rug Pad

The Superior Lock 1/4″ rug pad arrived quickly and with minimal packaging.  And no chemical odor.  In fact, no smell at all that I could detect.

Rug pads are really nothing to look at, but I think this one, with its felt core, has the look of quality.

Superior Lock 1/4″ Rug Pad

So far, my experience with the rug pad has been positive.

Pros

  • No chemical smell.  And actually I learned that many rug pads sold in the big-box stores are made with PVC or plastic and could contain toxins.  The materials and chemicals in these rug pads could also harm floors and rugs.  Which leads me to:
  • My rug pad is made of natural rubber and recycled felt.  So it should not harm the floor, the rug, Priscilla, or her humans.
  • The pad is the exact dimension I need for the rug.  RugPadUSA.com custom cuts the pads at no additional cost.
  • When I do yoga stretches on the rug, the pad keeps it securely in place on the hardwood floors.
  • I feel that the thickness of the pad makes my bargain rug look and feel luxurious.
  • The rug pad has a 20-year warranty.
  • And it was made in the U.S.A.

Cons

  • The inevitable has happened.  The rug and pad have attracted the riff raff.

Actually, I can’t think of any disadvantage to this rug pad.  In my opinion, and for my needs, it’s a keeper.

 

A warm thank you to RugPadUSA.com for sponsoring this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

 


Posts on this website are for entertainment only.

You might also enjoy:

 


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel


Linking up with:

Second Tuesday Art Walk #2

It’s time again for Second Tuesday Art Walk.  The Art Walk is a relatively new feature to my blog, and it won’t always have a theme. But this month I realized that I developed a theme without even trying.

And it is . . .

Attainable Beauty

I love browsing home decor magazines to find inspiration and to dream.  Everything looks so perfect – and so effortless.

But in the real world, most of us have to face a few challenges when we want to improve our homes.  Budgets, time constraints, a lack of help, having to compromise with family members, or simply the fear of trying something new:  These are all speed bumps that can slow down a great idea – or stop it in its tracks.

So here today are some gorgeous but realistic projects – and some inspiration – for those of us out here in the real world.

Let’s get started!

Weekend Bathroom Update

Do you have a room in your house that you’ve been meaning to remodel but the time has never been right?  Meg got tired of waiting for a full remodel of her small bathroom so she decided to do a weekend update.

What a difference a weekend can make.

Photo courtesy of hello farmhouse

Be sure to check out the before photo.

Transforming an Old Kitchen Cabinet

Rachel spent $15 on a salvage shop cabinet and turned it into a darling little desk for her daughter.

Photo courtesy of Shades of Blue Interiors

The top opens for more storage space.

 

Board and Batten Mudroom Walls

Why make a project any harder than it has to be?  Lindsey found an easy way to get the classic board-and-batten look she wanted for her mudroom walls – and she did it all herself.

Photo courtesy of repurpose and upcycle

Lindsey’s project reminds me of this beautiful dining room remodel.

Stunning Breakfast Nook Update

Kathryn transformed her average-looking breakfast nook into something that belongs in Better Homes & Gardens.  It’s so fresh and elegant.  And that high-end wallpaper?  It’s actually stencilling!

Photo courtesy of The Dedicated House

 

BurkeDecor.com

Something New For Fall

Sometimes it’s fun to toss convention aside and try something new.

Kerryanne’s charming new fall designs feature a soft pastel color palette.  It’s a fresh take on fall decor – and so gorgeous!

Image courtesy of Shabby Art Boutique

These colors make for a graceful transition from summer to fall.

Kerryanne is also offering a lovely free printable from her fall collection!

Save Your Allium Seed Heads

Last Christmas, my friend Loralee gave me this sweet little bit of holiday cheer.

To make this, she used some things she had on hand:  A small clay pot, foil wrap, and a dried allium seed head.

What a fun hostess gift!  And it got me thinking about the endless possibilities for holiday decor using allium seed heads.

So this summer I looked for them.  I only found one allium seed head in my own garden.  But what a beauty it is – like a firework frozen in time.

And recently a very nice neighbor gave me all of her allium seed heads.  She had a fun variety.

How would you use these in holiday decor?  I’m just starting to come up with ideas, but I’ll be sharing my creations with you, successful or not, later in the fall.

 

Tips for Hanging Wall Art

My husband Chris is almost a foot taller than me, so we don’t always see eye to eye on where art should be placed on a wall.

Hanging art on a wall correctly is an art in itself.  So here to help us today is invaluable’s “How to Hang a Picture” step-by-step guide.

Photo courtesy of invaluable

About the Featured Photo

So about that clock in the featured photo:  Don’t you just love it when you find the right thing by accident?

Recently Chris reorganized his basement workshop.  He was getting rid of some things and brought a mid century clock upstairs to see if it was still working.

I didn’t even know he had this clock.  He has very early memories of it from his childhood.  I cleaned it up a bit and propped it in our laundry room, on the counter, just to get it out of the way.

Then I realized it looked great there.

You’ll see it for yourself, along with (finally!) our laundry room remodel before and after photos, in a post soon.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.


You might also enjoy:

Wondering how you can view my previous posts?  The funnest way is to browse my photo gallery and click on any photo that interests you.

Linking up with:

Second Tuesday Art Walk #1

Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links.

Welcome to “Second Tuesday Art Walk,” my new feature that comes out on the second Tuesday of every month.  After all, who can’t use a little beauty on a Tuesday?

And it will always be the second Tuesday because – well, actually I don’t remember the reason now.  But here we are.

In no rational order, we’ll be looking at interior design inspiration, fun little discoveries, and things I’m obsessed with.  You can click through the links to learn more about anything you see here.

So grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, and let’s begin.

Gorgeous, Breezy Enclosed Porch

August always has me planning ways to extend summer fun.  That would be a lot easier if I had Ashley’s gorgeous outdoor room.

I especially love those crisp, airy curtains.  Perfect!

Photo courtesy of The Houston House
Charming Repurposed Clothing Projects

Who needs the fabric store if you have old clothes on hand?

SuzerSpace’s sweet DIY purse has me sifting through my husband’s closet to see which shirt he “doesn’t need” anymore.

Photo courtesy of SuzerSpace

Mary over at In The Boondocks also has a talent for repurposing old clothes.  Actually, she’s amazing at repurposing anything.

Here is what she did with an old denim dress and a beach find.

Photo courtesy of In the Boondocks

And I love what she made from an old milk crate and an old blouse.

Beautiful Built-in Sleeping Nook

Sloped ceilings can add so much character to a room.  But they can also be challenging to work with.

Tricia really made the most of her little A-shaped dormer space with this DIY built-in bed.  I love everything about this.  Be sure to check out her before photos!

Photo courtesy of Simplicity in the South

Dream Trailer

Mandi calls her trailer, The Nugget, “the cutest vintage trailer on the internet.”  And I can’t argue with that.

Check out The Nugget’s Reveal and you’ll fall in love too.  The interior photos start about halfway through the post, and there are a lot of charming details to see here.  My favorite little detail is the kitchen faucet.

 

Photo courtesy of VR Vintage Revivals
Trending Color

Looks like brown is making a strong comeback.  In fact, Country Living is saying that brown is the new black.

Shutterfly has come out with their 75 Enchanting Brown Living Room Ideas.  And one of them features my living room!

Image courtesy of Shutterfly

Shutterfly’s post has some great examples of how brown can bring warmth and balance to a room.  And there’s lots of inspiration for integrating brown into existing decor.

Unexpected Discovery

Recently we took a road trip along the beautiful Oregon Coast.

While antiquing in the small towns there, we found these old cobbler shoe forms for children’s shoes – complete with worm holes.  

The smallest one measures only five inches.  Adorable.

Our laundry room remodel is almost compete, and these little guys will be cute in there grouped with the shoe care supplies.

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

I’m intrigued by vintage children’s shoe forms now.  The varying sizes make them so fun for decorating.

 

Beauty on Sale

Yes, beauty in the form of luxury furniture and accessories!

One King’s Lane has reached out to let me know about their Labor Day sale from 8/31/17 – 9/5/17, when they are offering a site-wide discount of 20%!  And on Monday only, 9/4, they are offering free shipping in addition to the sale.  Just use the code “OKLSHIPSEPT”. Prices on all eligible items will be as marked, and some exclusions apply.

Enjoy the Summer!

Now I’m off to take a late-summer blogging break, but let’s meet back here on the second Tuesday in September.  Thanks so much for visiting today, and enjoy your summer!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.


You might also enjoy:

Wondering how you can view my previous posts?  The funnest way is to browse my photo gallery and click on any photo that interests you.

Linking up with:

Lobsters, Lanterns, and Paul Revere

My husband Chris and I are pretty sensible people.  We tend to plan and think things through – usually.  But if you’ve ever read my About page, you know that our decision to buy our 1927 cottage was impulsive and driven by passion rather than reason.

And so was our recent trip back east.

It all happened because of Chris’s latest obsession:  Collecting and restoring vintage Coleman lanterns.

Turns out there’s a club for that – the International Coleman Collectors Club (or “ICCC”).  And just a few weeks ago, Chris found out that they were about to have their annual convention.  In Massachusetts.  A five hour flight for us.

Chris asked me if I’d go with him.

I booked our flights before he could change his mind.

But of course, I told him, we couldn’t go all that way just for the convention.  That would be silly.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to check a couple more things off my bucket list.

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

I feel so fortunate to live on the West Coast where we enjoy beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

The last rays of sun at Grayland Beach State Park in Washington State.

But I’m always curious about that “other” big ocean way across the country where the sun rises.  Maine in particular seemed so intriguing and romantic to me:  Rugged coastlines, old lighthouses, grizzled fishermen, colorful buoys – and Acadia National Park.

So as soon as our plane landed in Boston, we headed up the coast to the village of Bar Harbor, Maine.

Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine

I didn’t really have time to research Bar Harbor before our trip.  I’d always pictured it as rustic and weathered:  Crusty fishermen wearing heavy wool sweaters and pulling lobster traps off their boats.

But it was more gentrified than that:  Lots of great shops and restaurants, and many intriguing lodging options.

Eventually I did find my colorful buoys.

Bar Harbor, Maine

The best part is that Bar Harbor is at the entrance to Acadia National Park.

As national parks go, Acadia is small.  But there’s a lot to see.  On our first day in the park, we enjoyed the rugged coastline.

We caught a glimpse of the remote Egg Island Lighthouse before a heavy blanket of fog moved in.

Egg Island Lighthouse, Maine

And watched water rush through Thunder Hole.

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, Maine

We took a murky hike to the summit of Gorham Mountain – all 525 feet.  We learned that these mountains were once much taller, but over the ages erosion has worn them down to their granite bases.

I liked that we got to experience the Maine fog, even if it meant missing the views.

The next day the sun came out, and we made up for lost time.

We hiked at Cadillac Mountain.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

We explored the carriage roads and magnificent stone bridges at Logan Pond.  John D. Rockefeller, Jr had these roads and bridges built when he owned the land.

Carriage Road, Acadia National Park, Maine

Carriage Road Bridge, Acadia National Park, Maine

And we visited the Bass Harbor lighthouse.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Maine

This part of Maine smells so good.  Everywhere we went, we were either smelling the fresh ocean air or the fragrant balsam fir.

The L.L.Bean headquarters are a few hours south of Bar Harbor in Freeport, Maine.  There are several  L.L.Bean stores located there and, when we walked into the first one, there it was again:  That smell of balsam fir.  So I bought it to take home.

I’m looking forward to making sachets with the large bag of balsam fir needles.

We also found a drying rack for our laundry room at an antique store.  It’s still working its way across the country to its new home on the West Coast.

But it’s time to move on to the world of vintage lanterns.

All Things Coleman

We headed to rural, inland Massachusetts – to the tiny town of Winchendon.  Here, collectors of all things Coleman, but especially vintage lanterns, were having their annual convention at the senior center.

Now coming from the Pacific Northwest, where our architecture is relatively new, I imagined the senior center to be a dated one-story  building with dingy linoleum floors.

Here is what I found.

Old Murdock Senior Center

The Old Murdock Senior Center was built in the 1880s and was originally a public high school.

Old Murdock Senior Center

In the auditorium, Coleman collectors from around the world shared their treasures, their stories, and their knowledge.

Vintage Coleman

Vintage Coleman Lanterns

From the unusual to the rustic, it was all here.

Vintage Coleman Lanterns

One of the first Coleman lanterns: An Arc lantern, circa 1915.

We were newcomers to the club, and everyone was so welcoming. On the second evening, we joined them in a “light up” outside the senior center.  It was their way of honoring members who had passed – and it was beautiful.

Vintage Coleman Lanterns

Vintage Coleman Lanterns

But it was almost time to fly home, and we were only about an hour and a half from Boston.

Boston

We’d visited Boston before, and I just have to say that I love Boston. I love the architecture, the people, and most of all the history.  This is where it all began for the United States.

On our previous visit, we only saw the first part of Boston’s Freedom Trail.  So this time we started at Bunker Hill Monument and worked our way back to Paul Revere Square.

We toured the USS Constitution.  “Old Ironsides,” as they call her, is actually made of live oak.

UCC Constitution

Launched in 1797, she was the second battleship ever to be built for the U.S. Navy.  And she fought pirates.

USS Constitution

No trip to Boston is complete without a visit to a colonial-era graveyard.  We visited Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.  Some of the deceased buried here were born in the 1500s!

Colonial Graveyard, Boston

I loved the timing of our Boston visit:  Right before the 4th of July. There is no better reminder of what Independence Day is really about than touring the Old North Church, where the “one if by land, two if by sea” signal was sent from.

Old North Churck

And admiring a bronze statue of Paul Revere.

Paul Revere and St. Stephens Church

So, to my American readers, Happy Independence Day!

And liberty forever.

 

A cannon port on the USS Constitution

Posts on this website are for entertainment only.


Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

Resources:

  • Chris loves collecting vintage Coleman lanterns because he enjoys searching for them, and often the ones he finds are very affordable.  They don’ take up much space to store or display.  Etsy always seems to have a fun selection of all things Coleman.   Remember though that there is a lot to learn about safely lighting these lanterns.  Please use caution and do your research.
  • The drying rack I found at the antique store is probably not an antique.  But I love it because it’s expandable, and it has a shelf and pegs for more storage.  It look almost exactly like this one on Amazon.com.
  • The fragrance of balsam fir comes in many forms.  Now I wish I’d bought the adorable cabin incense burner.  I still might.

You might also enjoy:


Linking up with:

Our Mudroom Before and After

Affiliate links are used in this post.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that we’ve been slowly refurbishing the smallest and most neglected room in our house – the mudroom.

Mudroom before

Little Room – Big Embarrassment

The mudroom had become an eyesore over the years. Which was unfortunate since it is the best way – the only way really –  to get out to the back patio where we sometimes have dinner parties.

So when we had people over, I was always tempted to stage some kind of distraction as they walked through the mudroom so they wouldn’t notice how dingy it was.  (“Oh, look out there! Is that an eagle?”)

Burkedecor.com is all new

The biggest challenge with the mudroom is that there are three doors and a large window in this 5′ X 7′ room.  So that really limits wall space.  In this room, we simply can’t do the cool storage lockers or vertical cabinets that look so great in other mudrooms.

Mudroom windows

But in 1927, when the house was built, no one was thinking about wall space in the mudroom because it wasn’t a mudroom then – it was a covered back porch.

The Makeover

Our mudroom makeover has taken months.  Since it’s next door to our laundry room, and they share the same concrete floor, we’ve been remodeling both rooms simultaneously.

Here is what’s been happening in the mudroom:

Floors

This all started back in January when we hired Kenji to refinish the scruffy concrete floors in both rooms.

He took the floors from this

old concrete floor

to this.

remodeled concrete floor

Repaint

The mudroom was in rough condition.  This corner was the worst part.

Southwest wall before new floor and new paint.

I painted the walls with Benjamin Moore Pale Oak.  For the trim, I used a white paint we’d had custom mixed to match our kitchen cabinets.  Since the mudroom  can be seen from the kitchen, this helps unify the spaces.

Southwest wall after paint

The ceiling, still beadboard from when the mudroom was the back porch, didn’t need repainting.  We kept the vintage parrot light here that matches the one we have in our kitchen.

Beadboard ceiling

Shelves

Now don’t laugh, but here is what was hanging on the wall near the back door before.

 

The large mirror/shelf was from Pottery Barn, and it was really something in its day.  But with wall space being such a premium in this room, a large mirror is the last thing we should have had taking up that space.

Plus the shelf above the mirror was so high that it wasn’t practical to store anything useful, so it became a catch-all for silly things.

We wanted to put shelving there instead, but we couldn’t find any ready-made shelves of the right dimension.

So Chris made these beautiful shelves.

Custom mudroom shelving

He bought a piece of fir, cut it to size, and used a router to soften the edges.  Then of course he sanded, stained, and finished the wood.

mudroom shelving

It was a fun little project, but I think the part he enjoyed the most was finding the antique shelf brackets on eBay.

antique brackets

We were very lucky, he says, that someone was selling four of them.

The wire baskets hold hats and gloves.  The shelves sit above a small shoe cabinet.  It all barely fits in the shallow space between the wall and the door.

 

Chris can display some of his vintage camping lanterns here.

1955 Coleman Lantern

The little shoe cabinet helped us solve a problem:

The Shoe Solution

Chris likes to keep most of his shoes in the mudroom near the door – which really makes sense.  But here is how our shoe situation was before.  Not good!

And, since I didn’t want to make things worse, I kept my shoes in the laundry room.

Notice too all the shopping bags stuffed into one cubby, and the basket for hats and gloves above that.  It was a little tower of clutter. And it left us nowhere to sit while putting on shoes.

So as our earliest mudroom project, we converted a little shelf unit that had been sitting by the back door into more shoe storage by adjusting its shelves.  Here is the post for that fun little project.

mudroom shoe storage

This freed up some space in and around the shoe bench.  I repainted the shoe bench and made a cushion.  Now we have somewhere to sit while putting on shoes.

Mudroom shoe bench

I got rid of the coat rack hanging above the bench since it looked terrible and we never used those jackets.  We use the shopping bags more, so I made a space for them instead.

So the area that looked like this

Mudroom before

now looks like this

Mudroom after

Something Missing

I do miss having a mirror in the room for that quick last look  before heading out, so I’ll find a space to hang a small mirror.  And then we’ll be done.

Clean and Simple

This little room is more functional now.  And it will stay this organized forever!

Just kidding.  Even I am not that delusional.

 

mudroom remodel

Behind the Door

Let’s open the laundry room door and take a quick look at the progress in there.

Since my last laundry room remodel update, we ordered a quartz countertop for the north wall where the appliances and sink will go.

And now we wait until mid-July for the installation.  In the meantime, we’ve been shopping for accessories including this stainless retractable clothesline, which I can’t wait to install.

But there is something new and exciting.  My brother, Dan, is building us a beautiful custom corner cabinet.

Custom corner cabinet

We wanted to get the most out of this tricky corner without taking up too much floor space.  This corner cabinet is our best option.  And there is no one better to build it than Dan, who has created some gorgeous built-ins for his own house.

It fits nicely under the window.  The drawer still needs to be installed, and it will have the same quartz countertop as the appliance wall.  But it’s already looking perfect for the space.

Materials for the cabinet cost almost nothing.  Dan used old plywood he’d salvaged from his kitchen remodel.  And I had two extra cabinet doors (for our new cabinets) left over from our own kitchen remodel. Luckily they were the right size for the corner cabinet.

So now the corner cabinet matches the sink base.  And both laundry room cabinets match our kitchen cabinets.

And my brother rocks.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Related Posts:

Linking up with:

Chalk it up to Mystery

In this post, I’m hoping to solve a mystery – and I’m sharing a fun little DIY decor project.

And the two are related.

Mysteries and Secrets

Our 1927 cottage has many mysteries and secrets.

For example, if you’ve been reading along for a while, you know that we’re in the middle of a laundry room remodel.  Well recently, while working on the heating system, my husband Chris found a secret chamber under the laundry room.  We’d always assumed the laundry room was set on a concrete slab.  Turns out it has its own little basement.

And this isn’t even the first secret chamber we’ve found.

But today I want to talk about the laundry room’s mystery cupboard.

The Mystery Cupboard

This is how our laundry room looked before we started the remodel.

Note the innocent-looking recessed cupboard above the washing machine.

Although lately, during the remodel, it’s been looking more like this.

Anyway, here is the inside of the cupboard. Pretty rustic.

Can’t see the top?  That’s because there isn’t one.  This cupboard goes all the way up to the unfinished attic.

So is it a laundry chute?  Probably not.  After all, who would want to climb far into the unfinished attic to deposit laundry only to have some of it land on that little shelf at the halfway point.

It also stretches to the left behind the wall for several feet, so it’s larger than it looks.

Its inconvenient location above the washing machine meant that I needed a stepladder to access it.  And since it’s recessed into the wall, I practically had to climb into the cabinet to get anything back out.  So I avoided using it.

My theory is that this is just oddly shaped extra space that the builder wanted to keep accessible in case anyone needed it.

But what do you think?  Do you know what it might be?  Help me solve this mystery!

Going Bye-Bye

Whatever this cupboard is or was, our plans for the laundry room do not include it.  No, it will be covered over in the remodel.  And if we should ever need to access the weird empty space behind the wall, we can still do so from the attic.

But I was sad.  That cupboard door was kind of cute.  It was also a piece of the house’s history – however weird that history might be.  I wanted to repurpose it.  But what should its new role be?

1920s cupboard door soon to become a chalkboard

A DIY Chalkboard

My friend Sandi is a very creative person, and she had a great idea: Turn it into a chalkboard.  At the time, Sandi didn’t even know that I’d been looking for a chalkboard for our kitchen. Perfect!

Cleaning the Hardware

It was a simple project.  We removed all the hardware pieces from the cupboard door and soaked them in acetone to remove the paint.

1920s cupboard door hardware

After that, the hardware pieces were clean but they still had a patina.  I was happy that they didn’t look brand new.

A Chalk Ledge

Chris cut and attached a piece of brick molding to the bottom of the door to serve as a chalk ledge.

Painting the Door

I sanded and cleaned the cupboard door.  I painted the frame, the edges, and the new chalk ledge with the same white trim paint we used for the kitchen.

After the paint dried, I used masking tape to ensure a nice clean profile for the chalkboard paint, which would go in the center panel.

DIY Chalkboard preparing to paint

I’d never worked with chalkboard paint before.  I used FolkArt Multisurface Chalkboard Paint by Plaid¹.  I followed the instructions on the bottle and on the Plaid website.  This included conditioning the chalkboard with chalk – something I will need to re-do from time to time.

To evenly apply the paint – which has a slightly gel-like consistency – I used a paint edger².  Then I back-brushed the paint with a paint brush.  (I have found that paint edgers come in handy for all kinds of paint applications beyond just edging.)

Reattaching the Hardware

Chris reattached the hardware, and the chalkboard was ready.

DIY Chalkboard

Now the hardware is just for character.

DIY Chalkboard

Chalkboard Central

This chalkboard was long overdue.  Since we shop for groceries at several stores and a farmers market, keeping lists of what we needed from each place was cluttery and difficult – especially since these lists often went missing.  Keeping lists on our phones didn’t work either.

But now, as soon as we realize we need something, it’s a few steps to “chalkboard central” to write it down.

DIY Chalkboard

I’ve been trying both chalk and chalk markers to see which I like better, but I’m not completely happy with either.  So I’m thinking of ordering some white chalk pencils I found on Etsy.³

DIY Chalkboard

I have found that wiping the chalkboard with a damp paper towel works better than using a chalk eraser.  We’ll see how all this holds up over time.

I’m happy now.  Not only is the little cupboard door still with us, but it’s serving an even better purpose than it did originally.

Before and After

You know how I love my before and after recaps.

Before (photographed upside-down).

After.

All posts on this blog are for entertainment only and are not tutorials or endorsements.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission on any purchases you make by following these links. This does not impact the price of your purchase.

Resources:


Related posts:


You might also enjoy:


Linking up with: