A budget-friendly DIY & lifestyle blog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIY // Transform Ugly Thrifted Ceramic Owls

Hey there, Vamps!

Have you all noticed the trend of white ceramic owls?  I know what you're thinking, "Oh, God, NOT ANOTHER ceramic owl!  Seriously, everyone and their mom has one, but not me.  I have two!

West Elm Ceramic Owls

 Here's how I took two thrift store ceramic owls from trash to treasure.  (Break out that spray paint and start spraying.  It took me 3 coats.)

So, what about you?  Do you still fancy the white ceramic owl or are you sick and tired of the trend?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Paperback Smiles

We had a surprise waiting for us in the mail and I just had to share.  I'm always excited to receive my favorite online marketplace, Amazon's, smile and this day was no different.  Today, I had two wonderful books waiting for me.

The first book had me drooling when I first spotted it online.  And I know, I'm a little late in the game but better late than never, right?  I just can't bring myself to pay full price for a book, so I wait until there are used copies or it has a drastic price cut.  Luckily the latter was the case and I finally picked up a copy of Grace Bonney's book, Design Sponge at Home.  It. Is. Amazing.  I can't wait to shut myself in tonight and just devour the entire 390 pages.  If you have any interest in home design then RUN and get a copy of your own.  You'll thank me for it.

The next was a book geared towards fostering learning in children.  Mariah Bruehl's Playful Learning - Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder is an amazing educational resource for children 4 to 8.  Why not exactly "home" related, it does give great tips on how to organize your home or room to be a playful learning environment.  Mariah also provides wonderful activities that inspire and teach your children.  Even though, he's younger than the target audience, I can't wait to incorporate these into Luke's daily routine.

I'm always looking for inspiration, so which books have been instrumental resources in your life?

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Knockoff: DIY Land of Nod Kid's Activity Art Table

Are you all familiar with Land of Nod?  They have the most radical stuff and I want all of it.  Not awesome?  The damn prices.

Land of Nod Kid's Play Table

Have you seen this activity table? Pretty sweet, huh?  Well, that sweet little piece of playtime fun will run you $450.  But in their defense, the two rolling storage bins and leg extensions are included.  Still, there's no way I could drop 450 clams on a play table. I mean, let's be real, I'm a stay at home mom with a budget to keep. So, what is a girl to do?  Copy it, of course, and I had the perfect table just waiting to be converted.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Open Shelving: Perfect Timing, Apartment Therapy.

Have you guys been considering folowing the "open-shelving" trend?  Well, we sure are.  We're not taking any cabinets out, by any means, just building our own shelves (thanks to YoungHouseLove & Ana-White.com) and installing them on a blank wall above our buffet (similar to the photo below.) And it's like someone over at Apartment Therapy had been mind-reading me with their helpful post, "How to Know if You're Ready for Open Shelving."

I passed the quiz, although the question about clutter has me doing some thinking...but you never know until you try, so we're pushing ahead full steam.  As for the rest of you joining the craze, I suggest you read this and decide if it's really something you can do especially if your plan involves removing existing cabinetry!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

DIY // A Budget-Friendly Fireplace Update

We recently bought a fixer-upper and with most fixer-uppers there are both things you love and things you hate about it.  The fireplace is one thing I feel that way about.  I love it's potential, but am having a hard time living with the way it is right at this moment.  It is all brick, has copper trim and copper vent plates, a cast iron insert and then a tile hearth.  The top half is painted the same color as the walls (a cream color) and the bottom half is high-gloss white.  Absolutely nothing matches.

 Here is the photo that was included in the listing.  Not really my idea of a focal point.

Our plan is something similar to this:

We love the built in bookcase, the wood mantel and the two windows flanking the fireplace.  The addition of the windows would add so much natural light to our space, especially since this is a southern facing wall.  I just can't wait until it looks like this!  But there's just many other more pressing issues that we have to deal with first, so our dream fireplace has to wait.

Yesterday, while I was redoing another chalkboard (this time with white paint around the trim) I had a brilliant idea to paint the fireplace and I am so glad I did!  I used my Behr Polar Bear White in a satin lustre to paint the metal trim and vent cover and then did the rest of the brick.  I went in knowing that it is just a temporary fix, so wasn't too concerned with priming the metal beforehand.  There's still work to be done with the tiled/metal-trimmed hearth, but with the addition of a quick coat of a greige (with more emphasis on the beige) coat of paint on the walls, this quick little update has made all the difference.

So, what about you guys?  What areas of your home were eyesores before, but with a simple change has them looking a whole lot better?


Monday, January 9, 2012

Thrifting Therapy

Typically, I don't venture out of the house (or my pjs) on Mondays.  It's all those years working.  I despise that awful end to the weekend.  But this Monday I felt energized.  Wild hair and all, I was out and about getting my thrift on and good thing, because I found some amazing wares.  Note:  All of these items were purchased at Goodwill.


Sunny yellow blanket

Pottery Barn Velvet Duvet 3-piece set ~ A steal at $12.99

Flat sheet to be used in a future sewing project


Jam & Cheese jars.  Love these.  (The hubs thought they were Ham & Cheese jars.  Ha!)

Can't wait to transform this glass bottle into a lamp.

Perfect kitchen storage

Does anyone know anything about this lamp? I was thinking Arts & Crafts period...

And drum roll, please....

A KitchenAid Hobart K45 Model Mixer w/ 3 attachments

The mixer is the same style and color that Julia Child used in her kitchen on her television show (or so I've been told.  My fact checking self hasn't been convinced yet.)  And the final kicker...I got it for $9.99! (Well, finally found a photo of her with the older model mixer.)

I absolutely love hitting the thrifting jackpot and there's nothing like a little thrifting therapy to void off the case of the Mondays.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

DIY // A Simple Chalkboard Update

Here's a quick re-do project that took all of 5 mins (not including drying time.)

I snagged this small chalkboard at goodwill a few weeks back and gave it a quick update with some green paint around the frame.

It was still looking a little beat up, so I taped off the sides and gave it three coats of spray-on chalkboard paint to freshen up the surface.  Doesn't it look so much better?

What quick, little changes have you done that made all the difference?

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