Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Living Room "Befores" Part 1: Couch and Rug

I'm working with my friend and interior designer, Valerie, from Vj Interiors, on the living room. It's really interesting (read: interesting and tough) adding someone into my creative mix when decorating my own home, because I'm so used to doing everything myself. I'm really excited for the polish and cohesion she's helping me bring to the room, since I am definitely all over the place, but seeing things through her eyes is a really different experience for me! She's brought a lot of great ideas to the room: ones that are completely amazing to me that I had never thought of, but I've found that I am a bit of a "function over form" type of girl and she is the opposite! I know we'll meet in the middle in a happy, happy place, and I'll end up with a "magazine worthy" room that is beautiful and functional.

I'll spend the next few posts giving you some of the plan and a lot of "before" pictures. I wanted to wait in posting this stuff, because it's kind of premature. I know I won't have any good "afters" right away...but I'm hoping that putting these "befores" out for all of you will get me motivated to actually complete some of these projects sooner than later!

These are my current curtains that are kind of serving as our color palate and inspiration: (There will be more layers of window treatments eventually.)

Here's my couch before:  It's plain, blue. The simple plan: add colorful throw pillows.

Finding pictures of pillows I love is easy.  Finding pictures of pillows that I can actually see living with on my very own couch is a little harder. Here's what I'm thinking, though:
Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Here's a great inspiration picture, since the couch is nearly the same color as mine! :) I might have to get on this Chaing Mai Dragon bandwagon...I love that print!

Here's my rug. It's fine, it was on sale, but it's not quite the look I want for the living room. (Seemingly) Simple plan: Get a new rug.

This is our inspiration rug, and here's one I found at HomeGoods, but it was a little too small.  The style is more traditional than I would have thought would work in the room, but I'm excited to go in this direction. This is where Valerie is really helping me see new possibilities!

I'm excited to see what we really end up finding, purchasing, and installing!

She's also talking me into painting, which I am more open to after seeing the potential new rug...but one step at a time, one step at a time!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Hens and Chicks

I'm talking succulents here. Hens and chicks are just adorable to me - I love their subtle floral look, I love the babies/chicks (of course. I'm sorry - I'm a girl and I love small things: "babies."), and I love surprising range of color in which they grow.

While they grow like weeds for my mom and auntie, I haven't had luck so far. Maybe I need to try some fake ones indoors. But really, I won't stop trying to grow them, because I love them so much!

Great colors:

from here and here

Love them in containers:

from here and here

Love them in super cutie containers!

from here, here, and here
(I put some chicks in cute square glass containers once...but didn't give them enough light so they died. :( But they were super cute while they lasted!)

How about chicks in homemade jar terrariums? Or a glass ball? Love!

from here, here, and here

And to go all out, a wall of succulents!

from here

And a gorgeous pillow of flowers, succulents, and chicks! That I can't kill... :)
from here

Find these images and more succulent chick fun over on my Pinterest gardening page!!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Aerogarden Project

There are a lot of reasons I love to DIY (DIM? Do it myself?). One is a kind of laziness: I'd rather make it myself than go to the store and get it. One is a kind of cheapness: I'd rather spend money doing something now if it will save me money later. One, of course, is a kind of pride in doing whatever it is.

Anyway, for the various above reasons, I decided to grow my own herbs. Brian decided he wanted fresh cilantro in more things. Since I've had not so great luck with cute little pots of herbs in the window, I decided to try an Aerogarden! So far things are going well, and I think I'll keep you posted on the project here at Frankfully!

Here's the Aerogarden when I first planted it, just after the first of the year. There's basil, cilantro, and Italian parsley. The little domes help the seeds germinate.

Here it is just over 2 weeks later! Nice big cilantro and fat little basil leaves, but the parsley never germinated. No worries, though, because Aerogarden guarantees their seeds to germinate, so they're sending me a new one.

I'm pretty excited to see how these little guys grow, and more importantly, to cook with the crops!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Chalkboard Paint

I thought I'd round out the week with some chalkboard inspiration photos. Hopefully you're not sick of the chalkboard topic already. But let's face it. I am in love with chalkboard paint. So far, I only have my island covered in it, but my secret dream is to incorporate chalkboard paint into everything

How about for grocery lists in your pantry?

Images via Country Living.

Or as a fun writing space for the kids:

Or make your own chalkboard labeled jars or tins.  Or buy one like this one I found at HomeGoods.

Images: jars, tins.

How much do I want to paint an awesome dresser like this?

Image from here.

But your chalkboard paint doesn't all need to be black and dark!!

A light colored pantry or kids' drawing space? Yes, please!! And I'm sort of in love with the school-room green color for kids to draw on!

And who doesn't need this awesome green desk in their house?? I would make the whole thing chalkboard paint!!!

Image and inspiration from here.

These are all fun, crafty projects featuring colored chalkboard paint.  I especially love the "mail" label- I want to make these and stick them all over my house!

If you are anyone other than a friend I've sent here, you don't know about my unhealthy obsession with all things blue. I'd forgotten about this picture, but now that I've found it again, I need to make these blue chalkboards. Really, maybe a whole blue chalkboard wall.

Thanks, again, Martha, for the awesome blue board idea and image.

Blue chalkboard walls you say? Okay! I will definitely need a way to sneak this look into my life somewhere.

Amazing blue wall image from here.

These images and more can also be found on  Follow Me on Pinterest!!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chalkboard Island in progress

Here's a little bit about how I actually accomplished my chalkboard island.

We started out with 2 base cabinets that we screwed together and put little furniture feet on. Secured again on top with the countertop, and viola! Here is the island we lived with for about a year. :)

Finally, in April (2011), I got around to putting 1/4" plywood onto the sides and back. I used 18ga 5/8" brad nails (in a pneumatic nail gun) to secure everything. Truthfully, it wasn't all perfect, so I used drywall mud to smooth out the edges and joints. That is my trick for everything. Drywall mud and caulk. Once it's painted, no one ever knows. Until I tell them. :)

I primed it with deep tint primer (Zinsser brand).  I don't think I had a reason for that. I think I was just using  primer we had around!

And then painted it with Rustoleum's Chalkboard Paint in Peapod green. I followed the instructions regarding the dry time, and "priming" it with chalk dust.

Then we lived with the island like this for 8 or so months.

My husband thinks I'm crazy for putting a new finish on something with a perfectly good (and factory applied!) finish, but those brown doors just weren't cutting it for me. I wanted the island to truly look like an "island" - a piece of furniture/cabinetry on its own, different than the rest of the base cabinetry.

So I decided to paint the brown doors and drawers white, similar to the upper cabinets, to make sure I wasn't bringing too many different colors/styles into the kitchen.

I took off the handles, removed the door (so I could paint the front and back) and gave it all a light sanding with 100 grit paper. I wasn't too worried about sanding, because I also used a liquid deglosser (by Zinsser) and a bonding primer (Zinsser's oil-based FastPrime) that would stick to the factory finish whether I sanded or not. But since it's a kitchen and the cabinets are used all the time, I took the time to sand a bit and use the deglosser. I wouldn't want to do all this work only to have to re-do it later!

I gave everything a thin coat of the oil-based primer, and I ended up doing 3 thin coats of the white paint. (I emptied some of the stuff in the drawers, but not everything, and used blue painters tape to protect the inside edge. I painted everything that showed that was brown, so it wouldn't look like I painted it. I want it to look like it was built this way!)

I put the hardware back on - and finally, a totally finished island!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chalkboard Island

There are a lot of projects going on in my house, and very few of them are actually completed, but this is one that is. With a sigh of relief and extreme happiness, I present my chalkboard island.

It's two of our base cabinets secured together, then finished off with 1/4" plywood on the back and two sides, which I primed, then painted with Rustoleum's Chalkboard Paint in Peapod Green (and coated with yellow chalk dust) :)

I added hooks across the back (where there was some thicker wood (well, particleboard) for securing the cabinets to the wall - ensuring that the hooks are nice and sturdy) which provide a perfect place to hang purses or grocery bags when coming into the kitchen!

I knew I wanted an island that was an accent color and looked different than the rest of the cabinets. I was inspired by pictures like this:

And greens like this:

...though I knew that I'd have to translate those looks into something functional in my smallish kitchen.  I also knew I wanted chalkboard paint somewhere (well, really, I want it everywhere.) So that's how I got to this island! The shade of green isn't exactly what I had in mind when I started this island project, but I am totally happy with how it turned out and how it looks in the kitchen (which is too messy to photograph and share with you now - and is still in progress itself!)!  

Plus, I love that it's great entertainment for kids (and adults) -- who doesn't love scribbling on chalkboards?? :)

Sorry, I don't have sources for the inspiration images! I saved them pre-blogging and pre-Pinterest. If you know where they're from, please let me know!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 13, 2012

The problem...

(I'll tell you the problem with blogging about my house...I don't want to tidy my house up enough to take pictures.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Christmas Lights

Twinkle lights, Christmas lights...whatever you call them, I love the sparkly joy they bring to dark winter nights.  Today brought the first real snowfall for us in the Midwest, so I thought I'd share some Christmas light pictures from my yard. I've left the Christmas lights up just for this purpose!




Next week, I'll hopefully be back on track with some home decor/DIY stuff! :)

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Some pictures from Chicago

Well, blogland, I'm feeling a little under the weather. So for now, enjoy some pictures I took in Downtown Chicago this weekend!
The Smurfit-Stone Building behind some trees in Millennium Park

Cloud Gate (a.k.a. the Bean) in Millennium Park
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Waffles

I'm not really sure how much I love waffles, but I do know that I've been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation, and every time Leslie eats a waffle, I am desperately sad that I'm not eating one.

Thanks, NBC, for this amazing show. About waffles.

Image from this blog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oil-Based Pros and Cons

When it actually came time to build our new shelves and paint our old ones, I decided to used oil-based paint to do it.  Obviously, there are pros and cons to any product, and oil-based paint has a lot of cons. You probably already are naming them to yourself, since virtually no one uses it now except crazy old me. But I do often use it on furniture, and I'll go ahead and tell you why.

First, the Cons: ( you know these)
  • It's stinky and has all the VOCs. (Okay, I really don't know if that's true, but it sure is stinky.)
  • It has a long dry time, as in, 24+ hours, and is therefore prone to drips, and you don't get that instant gratification that we all love.
  • It is a pain to clean up. Bring on the paint thinner/mineral spirits when you're using oil-based paint or force yourself to use disposable everything.
  • It's hard to find because no one (but me) uses it any more.
Now, the Pros: (this is the good stuff)
  • It has a long dry time. I know I just said that was a con, but that also means it's pretty self-leveling, leaving you gorgeous smooth finishes, and also means you have working time for mistakes, fixing those drips, etc.  My bookshelves were full of bubbles from the foam rollers (though I did my best to smooth them out) but by the time it was dry, there were no bubbles left. Amazing. A paint that fixes my mistakes. (Not really)
  • It dries rock hard. Okay, so I haven't done scientific tests on this, but I do know that when I paint furniture, especially horizontal surfaces with it, papers, magazines, etc, do not stick to it, and that is what I'm looking for when I'm painting tables, bookshelves, and desks. (**Though I do have a couple of water-based options for this)
I realize the pros list seems pretty short, and I'm no expert, but I have painted a lot of furniture, and my goal is always to find something that won’t stick to magazines and papers. 

The 2 solutions I’ve ever found for this (so far) are oil-based paint or polyurethane, more specifically, Minwax’s water-based Polycrylic, but I’ll do another post on that later.  (Though, I did just read in Young House Love, that they used a new alkyd paint by Benjamin Moore that's water clean-up and sounds great! I'll have to test it one day and report!) One reason I chose not to use Polycrylic this time is that it is another step. Sure, oil-based paint has a long-ass dry time, but I just have to step back and let it dry, not get out another set of tools to put on the clear coat.

Now, oil-based paint is hard to find. I use floor paint (like Valspar’s Oil-Gloss floor paint) or Rustoleum. Rustoleum has limited colors, and even more limited colors that come in a satin finish. The Valspar floor paint can be tinted to pretty much any color, but only comes in gloss. And I mean gloss. About 6 years ago, I got some tintable (well, they tinted it for me) satin-finish oil-based paint at a local paint store, but I haven’t tried since then.

(I really do want to test this new Benjamin Moore paint and report! My concern isn't just durability, but magazine-stickiness. You know what I mean.)

My tips for using oil-based paint: Stock up on mineral spirits. Be willing to ditch your brush. Open a window and put a fan blowing out in it (to suck out the stinky air!). Put on lots of cheerful music to help your sanity. Enjoy thinking about how great your project will be when it's done.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...