2012 Plans

In blog land, it appears that instead of New Year's Resolutions, people are writing about their favorite projects for the year.  I gave it a lot of thought about jumping on the bandwagon....and decided not to.  I didn't complete near as many projects as I would have liked (moving took away a lot of my summer crafting time!) and then I started a new job, which meant more commute time (love the job though, so it's worth it).

Instead, I thought I would summarize a wish list of things that I'd like to get done for 2012.  I won't call them resolutions.  Decorating and crafting, to get it right, sometimes takes time and patience.  I don't want to rush through my list just to say I did it all, and end up with something that I'm not really happy with (why yes, I HAVE done that before - lesson learned!).  Also, I have WAY more ideas than I have time.  Something to do with having a family and kids, I don't know...

So here, in no particular order, are some projects I would love to complete in 2012:
  • a whimsical feel to the backyard. This could be very easy to create, or very challenging.  I have an inspiration to go off of.  The backyard party at night from the movie Because of Winn Dixie.  This is the best photo I could find but I loved the feel of that backyard!  I'd like to make lanterns for candles from mason jars that have been tinted.  This blogger re-created the effect with modern mason jars and I think they would make great lanterns around my backyard.   
  • A patio set for my sun room.  Have you priced patio sets lately?  OMG!  Why are they so ridiculously expensive?!  And that's for the "normal" sized that seat four.  Since I have a large family, and would realistically like a table to seat 8-10 (you know, we actually like to be able to seat our guests and eat at the table ourselves!) the cost is even higher.  I have really seen some lovely sets by Martha Stewart as well as Pottery Barn, but I  am NOT spending $800+ on a table and chairs.  I'm not sure what I'm doing yet, but it's on my list!
  • Media Cabinet
  • Personalize my family room - we picked out a color scheme that we like, and I have a few miscellaneous things up...but once the Christmas decorations come down, the room will be very...blah.  I never got past picking the color scheme and I really need to personalize it. Part of the problem is we're using the mantle to hold the electronic components.  There's a lot of wall space, but not a lot of storage.  One of my projects for this room the cabinet to your right.  It's another wood working project from Ana White and I think two of them side by side would fill a big cavernous blank spot in my living room, while giving me a place to hide electronics and have decorative space.  I've been reading about a new paint (well new to me anyway) Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that I think I would love to use for the paint.  And while I have the cost estimated, that's as far as I've gotten.  I need to get family photo's up and things that make the living room cozy and welcoming!  
  • Finish the master bedroom - this is a project that's driving me crazy.  I still haven't found the right art work finally found some artwork last week that will work in my room! I'd still like to get some black and white photo's of our family (which I don't have and we're due to update) to put in the room as there is a lot of blank wall space. I just need to finalize this room and be done with it!  
  • Finishing my boys bedroom - we got the third bed done and the comforters on....and we stopped.  This feels like the story of my life, all these unfinished projects.  I have the curtains, but need brackets for the curtain rod (they mysteriously disappeared in the move, as these same currents were on their window at the last house!).  However, my middle son is crazy about Moose.  And he's requested that I applique moose onto his curtains.  I can do this, and his brother doesn't have a problem with it (he wants a western theme on his half of the room - so picture moose with cowboy hats...) but it's another "to do" project.  And applique is not my favorite thing to do.  Also, the two nightstands need to be built for their rooms as well.  Artwork is another issue.
  • Revamp the powder room.  This is the only room in the house that has all the original fixtures and cabinetry.  And it's not good.  Think clam shell sink with a faux marble finish.  And it's a small narrow space.  You have to close the door once you're in the bathroom to get to the toilet.  While I can't fix that, I'm thinking a new vanity and sink plus fresh paint would be a fairly simple fix.
Of course, I could list plenty more.  I have some things I plan to work on each month to be ready for Christmas 2012 (because I realized trying to revamp 15 years worth of Christmas decor in the matter of a few weeks was impossible on both a time and budget scale!) and sewing projects for my other blog, 2 Sew or Not 2 Sew.  Plus I'll be out of town for almost two weeks over the summer at my little brother's wedding!  Definitely a busy year ahead. :-)

Weekend Plans

OK, so I know the Christmas weekend is over, but we have another long holiday weekend coming up for New Years, and I have plans to make a serious dent in finishing up those projects that make a house look put together!

You may remember when we first moved into this house back in August, I posted of picture of our bedroom after we hung the curtains.  I noted various little things in the room that needed to be finished.  Like a bed skirt.  And the right colored body pillow cover.  Lamps.  And nightstands.  

Nightstands are not a little thing I've come to discover.  Finding the right nightstands has become a quest.  I've looked at so many different options, it's enough to make my head spin!  I found a pair that would work at Ikea.  They were not my favorite as they had no storage, which I need for things like remote controls for the TV's and the magazines I like to peruse before bed.  Still, they would have held my lamp and my bottle of water that I like to have, and the small size would mean my husband I'd be less likely to have a lot of clutter on top of my table.  But what I really wanted for my nightstands is this. 

Isn't it pretty?!  I love the mirrored finish I've been seeing on furniture.  It has a certain retro look to it that really appeals to me.  But of course, this doesn't actually match my bedroom furniture.  It's a little small.  And the price...$229.99 if you don't by it on sale (currently on sale for $179.95), which is rather a lot for one nightstand.  Not to mention, I'm not a fan of the knobs.  I realize that's a simple update.  But really, if I'm going to spend that much on a nightstand, shouldn't the knobs be what I really want anyway?!  Sometimes it's really the little things that can make a girl happy!

OK, so clearly, I'm not going to buy these tables.  I can't justify $360 even on sale for two tables.  However, I was looking at some of the many blogs I enjoy reading, and someone posted the web site for this table, which I really, really like!  I like that it's wider.  This is a better fit for the space in my room. I like the option of the two baskets on the bottom.  I like that drawer isn't so narrow (something I didn't realize I liked until I saw this!).  I think the depth on this drawer is more user friendly!

Black Nickle Knob

Of course, there are some things I don't like.  My bedroom isn't rustic.  So that particular finish isn't going to work for me.  Same with the baskets.  And there is no mirrored finish on it.  So I discussed this with my hubby builder, Mike.  There were several things I'm going to do to customize and make them coordinate with my bedroom.  First, I'm going to do a black stain for the finish similar to my existing chest of drawers.  Also, I'm going to put a cabinet molding around the edge of the drawer so that Mike can fit the drawer front with a mirror. That will give some definition to the cabinet face, that I like in the Pier 1 nightstand, and add a touch of that vintage look that I love, but still blend well with my existing furniture.  I found some crystal looking knobs (they're acrylic) or these black nickle knobs (to the left) that I think will add to that vintage feel.  I think I'm going to have a mirrored table top as well.  I haven't found the right baskets to go under the table yet, but I think I'll wait until it's built so that I can try several options and get the one that will work best.  I hate to get my heart set on something now, and then find out that it won't work once it's built.  

Now the bonus to this project?  These will also work in my boys room!  They'll need the more rustic look to coordinate with the beds Mike already made them.  I already have the stain, so that's a bonus.  I have to decide if I want brushed nickel pulls or the brushed bronze.  I'm leaning towards the brushed bronze.  I had contemplated some trimmings for them as well, and then thought better of it.  My boys do not like decorative trimmings, lol....

I stopped in at Home Depot on Monday to check out the cost.  The total for two, not including the mirrors (Mike is a glazier - they break mirrors all the time and there are always scraps for projects like this!) is about $130...for TWO.  You can see how this would appeal to my frugal nature.  Custom pieces, exactly how I want, for less than the cost of one at Pier 1.  That even includes the cost of the Kreg jig, that I don't own.  So the two for my boys would have a final cost of $90.  That would be a grand total of $220 for 4 nightstands.  How can you beat that?!

The plans for this nightstand can be found at Ana White Homemaker  Enjoy her site, she had tons of neat projects for the DIY'er!

Christmas Wreath

I am ambitiously planning the last of my Christmas DIY projects for today.  This first one was super easy!!  I really wanted a wreath for my front door (since we haven't put up a single set of lights outside!) so it's cheery when you come up the walk.  I looked at an array of pre-done wreaths at both Michael's and Hobby Lobby.  There really were some pretty ones at Hobby Lobby, but they had pretty prices too.  I didn't find anything at Michael's that spoke to me.  And really, it's a lot more fun to make my own!

I found the red and white poinsettia at Michael's, and I love them.  I knew I had to have red for my front door.  If I can't have a red door, than I'm going to add red decorations!  But these pretty floral stems were originally $6 a piece.  I really have a hard time justifying a $60 wreath when I haven't finished my Christmas shopping.  Yeah, I know, it's really bad when it's a week until Christmas....anyway, they were finally on sale when I stopped by to pick up the supplies for my daughter's science project last week, so I grabbed 3 of them.  The plain velvet looking poinsettia's were 69 cents a bushel.  The ribbon was a one day 70% off sale.  So all said and done, this particular wreath was about $17 to make, including the grapevine wreath.  It could have been a little less, if I'd brought my 40% off coupon with me, but I knew I didn't want to go back, so I just bought it.

I really think it looks lovely on the front door!!

Christmas Kitchen Updates

Modern Nutcrackers
I really like how the nutcrackers turned out!!  I need to make some improvements on the topiary jars, but it's coming along nicely....
Fabric Christmas Tree

Fabric Tree 

the bay window...
I'm picking up the bistro set for the kitchen this week, which will make the bay window look less...lonely.  The fabric Christmas tree has two more that go with it, a red one and a white felt one.  The big topiary jar needs to have the gold balls switched out for silver and more filler in the smaller jar on the right.  Other than that, it's all coming together!  I still want to make the ribbon poinsettia from the last post.  But all in all, it's almost done!

The Tree

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Christmas Crafting

The only decorating I've been doing these past few weeks is for Christmas!!

Christmas is my FAVORITE time of the year.  I like to decorate any room I can get my hands on.  Each year, I try to add 2-3 new things to my overall look.  This updates it a little, keeps the cost low, and let's me remove things that may have become dated or no longer match the decor.

This year it's a little more challenging.  As you may recall, I changed my color scheme in the family room.  Originally, I was going to buy all new ornaments to match the new color scheme, as well as add some new pieces.  I also need to buy a new artificial tree, as mine finally died last year.  Except all new ornaments gets quite spendy.  Add the new tree, and it would have been several hundred dollars to get the look that I was really going for.  Which I don't have.  So, I took down my artwork and things that gave the room it's new color palette, and put up all my stuff from the formal living room.  The snowmen theme we used in the den last year has been moved to the powder room (we don't have a den in this house).  The nutcrackers have been dispersed between the dining room and family room, and it's really the kitchen I'm concentrating on updating.  

Yes, I said the kitchen.

Apothecary Jar Inspiration 
This room I can make the most changes to for the least amount of money.  I don't think I've posted pictures yet, but the color palette in there is black and white.  White counters and cabinets, black appliances, and white wooden blinds.  I got lucky, because this matched my existing decor really well.  I put up my black wrought iron roosters, hung up my red valances from our CA house, and even had room for my black wrought iron bakers rack my best friend gave me several years.  We have a glass and wrought iron bistro set picked out at Garden Ridge for the bay window area.  These are all things I can't really change, so I had to think about how to make it more Christmas-y.  I started with red poinsettia garland that I've had for awhile.  It was easy to drape it over the windows (I love command adhesive hooks to keep it where I want it!!).  I then trolled surfed the internet for ideas for my apothecary jars.  That was a fairy easy design concept to find. I bought some inexpensive filler at Michael's on sale to fill the smaller jars, and I have the Christmas bulbs to use on the larger jar.  I even have ribbon that I bought some time in the past to layer with if I choose.  You can see the inspiration picture above.  

Satin Ribbon Wreath
I also knew I wanted a wreath of some type.  Not a garland wreath though.  I knew that wouldn't match the modern look I was going for in this particular room.  I found this wonderful satin ribbon wreath on Bliss Bloom Blog and new it was exactly what I was looking for.  She gives excellent directions on making this, and it's on my to-do list for sometime in the next two weeks. I see myself using a lot of 40% off coupons for Hobby Lobby over the next few weeks, so that I can stretch my budget.  Did I mention that I allotted myself a total of $100 for new holiday decor for the whole house?!  So I definitely need to stretch every single dollar...

I have two more projects for the kitchen, and I think I'll call it good for this year!  The first is some small Christmas trees to put on my bakers rack.  I have MANY ideas on this one, so I'm not sure yet what's going to make the final cut.  Definitely two trees will be made from some red toille fabric and some black toille fabric.  I think I need a white tree to balance that out, and I found some great ideas.  I want everything to have that clean and modern look to go with the black and white, so I'm trying to avoid anything that has a country look to it.  Keeping in my that clean look I'm going for, I found these on modern nutcrackers on a web site this week, that I love.  Very different from my ample collection, and I really like how it would carry the look from room to room, even though the color scheme is so different.  Again, I take no credit for copying on these.  I found the link and the directions for these on Bliss Bloom Blog as well.  I'm going to mix it up a little by painting them black, and accenting them with silver.  I have three unfinished nutcrackers I picked up at Michael's (all their unfinished crafts were 50% off this week!) this week, and one in my collection that was damaged in the move, that I'm going to use for this. 

I'm very excited about these projects!!  I plan to have the nutcrackers and the tree's completed this weekend, so stay tuned for some photo updates!