Showing posts with label diy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diy. Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ladyplace: The Kitchen Before & After

So this weekend was crazy productive. I had absolutely nothing planned which felt gloooorious. After being out of town for ten days and with the upcoming holidays and weddings, I knew free weekends would be limited and I wanted to tackle my mountain-high to do list.

A few things I accomplished:

– cleaned entire apartment

– reorganized my front hall closet

– grocery shopped (finally)

– shipped a bunch of packages that had been needing to go out (i avoid the post office like the plague)

– organized dressing room area

– finally got around to hanging art, mirrors, shelves, clock, etc.

– took bridesmaid dresses to the tailor

– took dogs to the groomer

– posted items I’m selling on Craigslist

– and… finally, the big one. I painted the kitchen. FINALLY.

The plan has always been to paint it super light grey, which I got permission to do from my landlord. But because the walls, floor, backsplash, and even my rug are kind of… off-white (not in a good way), any white was just making them look dirty and grimy. I delved into my stockpile of paint and realized I had almost a full can leftover from when I painted my last bedroom black.

Found a little black cabinet inspiration here. And just went got to it!



I can’t stop looking at it. Much like the bathroom in my old place, this is quickly going from my least favorite to most favorite area of the apartment!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

wisteria wishlist, selling my mirror, and an exciting apartment update!

If you recall my inspiration for my new ladyplace, I am picturing… a few new investment pieces of furniture, gilded mirrors, and sprinkles of pink and whimsy. The perfect feminine abode. Imagine my delight when I perused Wisteria and found a bevy of great options! Not all exactly in budget, but I think that mirror is going to have to be mine…

Which means I’m selling my current mirror.

If you live in Chicago and are interested – let me know! It’s large and has to be leaned since it’s super old and the back is kinda sorta… well, let’s just call it not stable. $60 – cash and carry. Email me! Must pick up this week. — SOLD

And I have some GREAT news… I emailed the new landlord and showed them my previous home tours (notably the bathroom before and after), and they are on board with me painting the kitchen cabinets white! Thank goodness because this isn’t blowin’ my skirt up…

Off to google “cabinet painting tips.” Gulp.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Look for Less: ordinal chest of drawers

I fell in love with the before and after project I saw on Ikea’s blog in which a designer took the Rast chest of drawers that retails for $29.99 and made it over, adding paint, new hardware, and stenciled numbers. It reminded me of the ordinal chest of drawers Anthropologie sells for $998, more than 30 times the cost of the Ikea DIY. A chest of drawers is one of the most versatile items for a home, working as a nightstand, entryway table, dresser, TV stand, or office storage, and unfortunately costs upwards of $100 at most retailers. Considering you can get such a unique looking piece at such a low cost, why spend more?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bippity Boppity Boo: A Cinderella Story Part 2

Oops, I did it again! A flick of my wand and my living room is transformed once again for the changing seasons. (Catch up on the first magical transformation from last spring here.) Pillows, blankets, and pumpkins aside, the biggest change is the coffee table makeover I did over the weekend.

BEFORE: Nate and I bought this table on Craigslist three years ago for a mere $45. I loved it then. I hate it now. The overall size and shape – especially with the lower shelf (not shown here) – is perfect for our needs, but the finish was too red and it just didn’t go with all of the white and espresso wood throughout the rest of our apartment. So, I called up my gal Bailey to borrow her electric sander (which I am now convinced I need to invest in), ran to Home Depot for some white paint, and got to work.

STEP 1: Using an electric sander and very course paper, I went over the entire table 2, 3, 4 times to eliminate the varnish, the stain, then whatever leftover marks remained. This was definitely the most difficult part mainly because it took so long. I was sanding for at least an hour, and the table isn’t that big.

STEP 2: Clean off the excess dust, then sand the table once again with a very fine sanding paper to smooth out the wood. Once again, clean off all the dust, and look at that beautiful wood!

STEP 3: Using a water-based white paint, I painted a small strip of wood. Immediately after applying a coat to a small section, I took a dry rag and rubbed the paint into the wood, exposing the wood grain and lightening the overall color. Here you can see a section that had just been painted, and the section next to it that I had already rubbed in.

STEP 4: Eventually, I went over the entire table with two coats. With each coat, I used the dry cloth to rub the paint into the wood grain. Seeing the wood gives it more of a rustic feel, which is the look I wanted.

Very Halloween, no? I’ll have to switch out the blacks and oranges for emerald greens and sparkles come Christmas time, but I love this for fall! As for the white coffee table, I am in loooove. It’s so much more me than the icky red stain it had before. Thoughts?

Also, be sure to visit La Dolce Vita today where I am taking part in the 10 Things I Cannot Live Without series! Can you guess what any of them are before looking?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


After attending the most spectacular dinner party in New York, I left the Big Apple inspired and committed to taking some of what I learned from the talented Kelley Moore and implementing it in my own life. So for my 25th birthday (which is officially today!), I decided to host a small dinner party for my very best girlfriends. This meant invitations, fancy tabletop, appetizers, and cooking a meal for five (I’ve only cooked a meal for two a handful of times, so this was intimidating). The theme was black and sparkly, as indicated on the invites, so I wanted everything to do exactly that – sparkle!

TOP: gold chargers and pink cloth napkins are from World Market; white square dishes are from West Elm; the wooden letters/place cards are from JoAnn Fabrics but I painted them gold; one and a half yards of sparkly black tulle covered my white linen tablecloth to add a bit of dazzle pizazz to the tabletop.
BOTTOM LEFT: I used designer Nathan Turner’s suggestion and wrapped sparkly black scrapbook paper around a clear vase. I added a bunch of hot pink roses and voila!
BOTTOM RIGHT: I designed the invitations in Photoshop, printed them off, mounted them on black card stock, and sent them off to the ladies – instructing them of the black and sparkly dress code.

Needless to say, the party was a huge success! I knew the gals were impressed when they started taking photos of the table, and the fact that they all showed up in black and sparkles made it that much better. We dined, we drank, the played a fun “how well do you really know each other” trivia game that I had set up, and then we ventured out to dance the night away.

Saturday night I had dinner with my family, tonight Nate’s taking me on a date to my favorite French restaurant, and this Saturday I get to celebrate in San Francisco with my Rue girls and other favorite bloggers!

25, it is so nice to meet you! I welcome you with open arms!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Help Needed

Happy Hump Day, dear readers! Quick question for all of you because I just cannot make up my mind. I want to paint the bar tray in my dining room but need your help! Let me know what you think. The options are:

(to accent the candlesticks)

(to match the dining chairs)

(to compliment the birdcage)

(like everything else in the room)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Andrea’s Wedding: DIY Invitations

After seeing Joanna Goddard’s wedding program, complete with illustration of her and her husband, my sister knew she wanted something similar for her own invitations – all five of them. (small wedding, remember?) So we perused more of Rifle Paper Co.’s portfolio and pulled a few other inspiration images.





First thing I did was get to work in Adobe Illustrator – drawing up a rendering of Andrea and Paul. I also drew an illustration of a map of Lake Michigan with Chicago (Andrea’s home town) and Grand Rapids (Paul’s home town) marked, and an X noting the spot half-way between the two cities, where they’ll be married. Went to town in Photoshop, headed to Michael’s Craft Store to pick up some pretty paper, and voila!

It has a very natural, beachy feel to it complete with raffia and letterpress stamped envelope. You may remember I used an “A” initial on Andrea’s shower invitations. Now I used a “D” for their last name.

Did all the cutting and pasting while watching Bones, which I am very. very. obsessed with. I blame you, Netflix Watch Instantly. Thank GOODNESS there were only 5 invites that needed to be made.

I think it perfectly captures the feel of the wedding. And of Andrea and Paul.

(click on images to zoom)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DIY Nailhead Bulletin Board

I mentioned last Friday that I had a guest blog post over on La Dolce Vita yesterday, but I’m assuming many of you were getting your tan on or grilling hot dogs with your loved ones and didn’t get to your computer. To that I say, “Bravo.” Now that things are back to normal and you have some time to kill, I encourage you to check it out. It’s the transformation of my home office from January to now, and it features one of my favorite DIY projects: the makeover of my ho-hum, oversized bulletin board. I didn’t include the step-by-step process of how I transformed the cork board, so I thought I’d share it with you here.

I should preface this by saying I used the tutorial on Bryn Alexandra’s blog but tweaked it a bit as I went.

1 oversized cork board
1.5 yards of duct cloth
6 packs of upholstery nailhead pins
1 can of spray adhesive for fabric
approx. 10-20 mini nails

Per Bryn Alexandra‘s recommendation, I ironed and ironed and ironed the duct cloth that I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics for $7.99/yard.

The only other materials I had to buy, in addition to the duct cloth and the bulletin board which I already owned, were upholstery nailhead pins and spray adhesive. Both can be found at your local craft store for dirt cheap. The nailhead pins I bought were $1.49 for a pack of 20 or so. I think I needed about 6 packs. I think.

I sprayed the adhesive all over the board, excluding the frame, and laid the fabric on it and flattened it as best I could. There are a few wrinkles, but nothing I’m losing sleep over. Two items of note: 1. use gloves because the adhesive soaked through the fabric as I flattened it and got all over my hands. Not fun. And 2. SPRAY OUTDOORS. The stuff stinks and is super hazardous to your health. Safety first, folks.

Next I began inserting the nailhead pins along the edge of the cork. This was super easy and I didn’t need a hammer or anything. I guestimated the spacing as I went along. I think the space between nailheads was a little more than the width of my forefinger.

Attaching the edges of the fabric to the back was the biggest pain in the patoot. I glued it to the back, but ultimately, it wasn’t sticking so I used really tiny nails and just pinned it around in places. A staple gun also would have worked.

I’m loving it and almost didn’t want to cover it up! Alas, that wouldn’t have been a very inspiring inspiration board.

So I grabbed some of my favorite inspiration pieces and hung them back up. Notice a grey trend?

As I mentioned on Paloma’s blog, it’s a bit crowded in the corner with the shelves, book case and desk, but it’s a tiny space and it really doesn’t bother me. It’s pretty and that makes me happy!


**NOTE: Many of the comments on this post are not showing up! They come to my email but are not posting. Any thoughts?!? : (

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Andrea’s Wedding: DIY Shower Invitations

To stick with the affordable-yet-personal theme that is my sister Andrea’s wedding, I wanted to make the invitations for her bridal shower myself. I am hosting it with my sister-in-law, and after all, what kind of crafty DIY blogger would I be if I ordered some pre-arranged design off the internet? A pretty lame one, I’d say. All it took was a one-stop trip to The Paper Source – a DIY paper junkie’s Mecca. We gathered up some scalloped paper, flat notecards, envelopes, a pretty cherry blossom stamp, a green ink pad, and some of the coolest tape device I’ve ever seen. Oh, and I forgot to mention I purchased two antique letterpress stamps on my romp through Andersonville a few weeks ago; an ‘A’ and a ‘P’ for Andrea and Paul. I figured they would come in handy… thank you, Annie, for the idea!

*Note: I have digitally erased out parts of addresses on envelopes and in the invitation itself. So please note there are not random blank spaces – that is me protecting myself and loved ones from you would-be stalkers. I’m talking to you, creepy old men, who read this. I’ve seen enough To Catch a Predator to watch my own back, thank you.

So I got home, opened up my one true love, Adobe Photoshop, and got to work. I absolutely l-o-v-e these two fonts: the sans-serif is Avantage Small and the script is Little Days.

I printed them directly onto the 3.5×4.875 flat notecards, grabbed the coolest taping device ever, and slapped them onto the green scalloped notecards. Repeat 25 times.

Add a little cherry blossom stamp and ta-da!
And yes I have orange fingernails. Which you would already know if you followed me on Twitter. All the cool kids are doing it. Why aren’t you?

Grabbed my awesome letterpress initial, ‘A’ for Andrea (and Alaina – yes I’m keeping this for future projects) and went to town on the envelopes.

You can call me Worker Bee.

Yay! Pretty, whimsical, simple. I loves.

All hand-addressed while watching the Glee finale. (Major disappoint. Must discuss at a later date.) Thank goodness there were only 25.