Lots of little updates

Today I’m sharing a few little things I’ve updated around the house. Things were feeling ultra neutral-y and not as unique as I wanted it to be, so these small changes really helped. Prepare yourself for lots of pictures….

First up, some decorative pillow I originally bought for the living room but ended up in the guest room:

nate berkus decorative pillows

They’re Nate Berkus for Target and they are pretty awesome… I bet they could easily be recreated with a drop cloth and some DIY leather tassels, but I didn’t have any inserts or fabric so I just bought them (the cost would have evened out).

guest room wide

The whole room is very bright and airy, which I really like since my built in closet office is opposite the bed with all my craft supplies.

Next is a little art update in the kitchen:

kitchen art with Silhouette DIY

A looooong time ago I updated this whole piece after I found it decrepit in the basement (see it here). More recently I switched out the art and pictures, added the day of the dead statue Matt picked up on a vacation, and used my Silhouette to add Mr Skull Chef to the mirror.

He originally didn’t look like that AT ALL, but I accidentally put the vinyl on crooked and had to recreate it by hand. It also used to have a quote with it (Many have eaten here, few have died). Oh well. If you’d like the original file send me an email, I’m happy to share (sandpaperandglue @ gmail . com)

kitchen wide

 

The  kitchen chairs are on my hit list because I desperately want 4 of these chairs instead, but they’re in perfectly good condition and I can’t sell them for enough to cover the costs so for now they’ll have to do. Otherwise, I’m pretty in love with our kitchen- honey oak and all.

Third on the list of ch-ch-ch-changes in our front entrance:

white and gray front entrance

I got rid of the chalkboard wall that used to be there (see here for the how to) and added the vignette that’s in it’s place with stuff I already had around the house. Then I decided to disguise the thermostat with some mirrors and an empty frame and pop the shark jaw bone onto the mirror. We actually don’t use the front door to our house at all, which is why there’s a litter box tucked in the corner there…. it’s a very out of the way spot.

how to hide cover disguise a thermostat

The mirrors and frame were from a gallery wall I took down, and I painted the thermostat with some gray craft paint I had on hand (no primer, just 2 coats of paint).

And attached to the front entrance is our living room, with it’s AWESOME AND AMAZING brand new 7×10 rug that I got from just $90 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (this is my first rug! I am so excited!):

neutral gray living room

I have been crazy hesitant to invest in a rug because of our 3 cats, but we added  cardboard scratchers under each of the chairs and the cat tree along the back wall and they’ve been totally fine with it. You can see here we also have some double sided tape on the side of the couch. These are all things maybe I could have removed for the sake of staging a picture- but you know what, this is real life with 4 animals. And I think it still looks darn good :).

gray and white living room with zebra print

That empty slice of wall on the left used to have the gallery wall, but I’m on the hunt for something large and simple to replace it with. The black tufted bench is actually in rough shape (cat scratches, of course) so I have plans to reupholster it, I’m thinking with some white faux fur to break up all the black.

 

And that’s everything! What do you think? What’s your favorite update? Mine is 100% the living room rug- it looks SO much more grounded now.

Have you been doing any little updates in your houses? Tell me all about them. :)

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Want to read more? Here’s some other projects seen in this post:

DIY wood slice art || silver spraypainted and glazed end table || DIY faux tile backsplash

sharpie stencil wall || DIY sunburst mirror || painted faux door moulding

How to Get Rid of a Chalkboard Wall

I know many of you are still dying to get on the chalkboard wall train, but I am so excited to have hopped off it. The previous owner of the house put up ours and it was crooked, off center, and just made so. much. dust. For someone with severe allergies, it was just a bad idea.

I hate this wall so much that the most recent photograph I could find of it was from October 2012.  Maybe I should have photographed it before I took it down, but sometimes you just need to take a hammer to a wall RIGHT NOW and can't wait to get your camera first.

I hate this wall so much that the most recent photograph I could find of it was from October 2012. Maybe I should have photographed it before I took it down, but sometimes you just need to take a hammer to a wall RIGHT NOW and can’t wait to get your camera first.

Getting rid of this thing was a beast. First, I used a hammer to rip out the (crooked, unpainted) trim that was installed around it. Next, I patched a zillion nail holes and wall dents (how did they dent the wall? HOW?!) Then I washed it like crazy and let it dry. Once it dried, I went at it with a palm sander. Then a sanding block. Then I washed it again. Then I repeated the wash/palm sander/sanding block routine about 4 more times. Eventually I gave up on getting rid of all the dust so I just sealed it in with a few thick coats of Zinsser primer.

how to get rid of a chalkboard wall

I was actually really impressed with the whole painting process- the chalkboard is black and our front entrance and landing are white so I thought I’d need a zillion coats. Instead, I did 2 coats of primer and two coats of paint (White Truffle by Behr) with just a few touch ups to make things blend easier since I just painted the chalkboard area and not the whole wall all over again.

sorry for such a strange, shadowy picture- it was nighttime and overcast when I got this done.

Sorry for such a strange, shadowy picture- it was nighttime and overcast when I got this done. 

The art I hung there was purchased for the living room (it’s an original silkscreen piece by Pippin Frisbie-Calder that I picked up in New Orleans), but the scale was perfect here so I’m on the hunt for something else for the living room. The frame was $10 at the Habitat Restore and needs a fresh coat of black paint to clear up some of the dings, but otherwise it was an amazing find.

Can you paint a thermostat? Because I kind of want to.

Can you paint a thermostat? Because I kind of want to.

You can see a version of the print here, though mine is in different colors. It’s super weird and creepy and I’m very much in love with it. I can just picture my mom coming in and saying “Oh… that’s… different.” I’m also really trying to bring more color into the house, which is pretty much gray and white. But I want  color to just sort of exist here, not pops of color all over the place (yellow blanket! aqua bird! pink pillow! …vomit) so I’m working on learning what that means. In the words of Nate Berkus, “pops of color have popped.” Tips on layering in color are much appreciated!

small entry way

 

I love how sleek this area looks now and it coordinates really well with the dining room, as well as providing extra storage and a display spot for some sentimental pieces and interesting things.

inexpensive entry way

The art was not cheap, but since everything else was I was able to get it. Save where you can so you can splurge when you’re in love! Also, maybe dust the spots between furniture before you take a picture… whoops.

 

How to liven up a thrift store lamp

Today’s post is short and sweet: I bought a lamp for $3 at my local Habitat Store, it came with a shade but it was so hideous I “donated it back.” I’m super generous like that:

IMG_2513

The brass was not working for me so I wiped it down, taped off the top and the wire, sprayed it with 2 coats of primer, then 2 coats of Rustoleum white in a satin finish. I also hit it with a coat of ModPodge clear acrylic spray to seal it just in case:

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 6.56.48 AM

Follow me on Instagram for all sorts of project sneak peeks.

I got a shade at Target.com for $18 (5% off, plus free shipping with your card!). It is fabulous, however the metal-lamp-shade-attacher-part was not working with it. To remove it I very professionally bent it back and forth until it broke off then just placed the drum shade right on.

And now, a picture parade:

IMG_2545

For the regulars- no, that’s not Dutch. It’s his girlfriend, she came to stay for the weekend. :)

The best part of the lamp is the curves on it, which of course are impossible to capture on my camera.

The best part of the lamp is the curves on it, which of course are impossible to capture on my camera.

IMG_2543The shade is a little off white and the gray has just a hint of purple in it, but I may be just noticing that because I’m nitpicking. I picked the shade because it goes well with the stencilled wall right across from it, and so far I’m loving how this room is coming together. There’s definitely a few changes kicking around in the back of my head though, like adding a matching floor lamp to the other side of the couch… so stay tuned. :)

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Linking up with: Inspire Me Please (via Liz Marie), and A Blossoming Life

Glazed DIY Sunburst Mirror

On Monday I shared with you my DIY Sharpie Stencil Wall, and to go with it the art on the wall got a little update too.

A while back I made a DIY Sunburst Mirror out of wood shims, gorilla glue, and an old mirror. After it was spray painted white it looked like this:

hello, gorgeous.

hello, gorgeous.

Once that wall got the stencil treatment though, it was a little too white on white. I decided to shake things up a bit. WITH COLOR. I know, I know- it’s crazy. I painted something a color other then white. I was feeling wild.

After a few light coats of Rustoleum Aqua it was looking pretty stunning so I hung it up on the wall (with the tape still on the mirror) to marvel in the sweet, sweet shade of aqua.

before glazed

If this were a staged shot, with maybe just the chair up against the wall, the aqua would be lovely. But within the room it was like HI! I’M HERE! AND I’M THE ONLY COLOR IN THIS WHOLE JOINT! So I got out my glaze and roughed it up a bit.

sprayed

Once you’ve got your mixture ready get your foam brush and brush it on a few sections at a time, then lightly wipe it off with a damp cloth. If you’ve never glaze before I recommend wiping off most of the glaze then going back and doing a second coat (and third, if you need it). Slow and steady wins the race so you can tweak the look the way you want it.

After the glaze dried I hung it up and fell more in love then I ever thought possible.

oh yeah. much better. RAWR.

much better. RAWR.

And so now here’s some gratuitous shots of the whole room:

wide left

It’s basically impossible for me to take a picture without a cat and/or dog in it.wider

Love, love, love the view of this wall. And for reference, here’s what the other side of the room looks like:

Maybe I got a little over excited about aqua and sprayed a bird too... I couldn't help myself.

Maybe I got a little over excited about aqua and sprayed a bird too… I couldn’t help myself.

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Linked to: Inspire Me Please Linky Party

How To Draw On Your Walls With Marker… And Make It Fabulous!

You guys, I’m SUPER excited about today’s tutorial. It has been a loooong time coming. I’ve been working at my living room for quite some time, trying to figure out what was missing, and then when I did figure it out it was magical.

how to draw on your walls with sharpie  marker

First, let me remind you what my living room looked like the very first time I saw it:

yikes.

yikes.

When I first moved in I painted the room immediately, and because that crimson accent wall was so THERE I had somehow convinced myself that wall was supposed to be accented. I painted it yellow. Then I realized that is the wrong wall to accentThat wall all the way on the right side of the picture, that you can’t even see because there’s so much stuff against it? THAT is supposed to be the accent wall. So the yellow went away and I’ve been staring at the soon-to-be accent wall for almost a year trying to figure out what to do…

A few months ago Mandi @ Vintage Revivals posted a DIY Wallpaper technique she basically invented out of thin air using nothing but her mind grapes and a gold sharpie. However, her tutorial had a whole lot of measurements. I’m not the measuring type. I hates math (sorry, mom). So I combined it with this awesomeness from Sarah @ While They Snooze.

I took the Sharpie paint pen idea from Mandi and the hand drawn stencil idea from Sarah and mashed them together like a pb & j.

DIY morroccan template pattern made from cardboard

The Sharpie paint pen I bought was just over $5, and it was the only material I paid for. I bought three of them and ended up using 2, and technically I think I could have just used one if I was easier on the tip (heh heh heh). I used the cardboard from the box the pens came in to make my stencil.

Here’s the how to:

  • I printed the stencil on computer paper from Sarah’s site (it took up four pieces of computer paper).  I folded it long ways and cut it to be symmetrical, and I folded it horizontally and cut it to be symmetrical. This is very important, do not assume it will be. Fold it both ways! Snip, snip, snip!
  • Then I traced it onto the cardboard and cut it out with a box cutter (heavy duty scissors would do too)
  • Finally, I got my paint pen, estimated what might be the middle of the wall, and started tracing. I traced it approximately 9 million times and every single time I traced it I first checked to make sure it was level. Always check to make sure it’s level! Don’t get lazy! (Tip: download a level app on your phone, tape your phone to the cutout, and check that way)

That’s it- super easy. No need to buy a $50 stencil, no need to buy a pint of paint. Just put on a good playlist and trace, trace, trace. I spread it out over 3-4 days but if I just focused for 3-4 hours it could have been done all at once.

So here’s what the room looks like now:

DIY sharpie wall

heck YES. This angle is from where the tv was in the “before” picture.

Here’s another glorious look:

sharpie marker wall with DIY stencil

Um… sorry.. there’s a cat in the way. Let’s try that again:
gray and white stencil wall inexpensive

Yes, much better.

So what do you think, are you going to run out and get some Sharpies? Or are you an old fashion stencillin’ kinda lady?

PS- To learn how to make that wood shim mirror, check here! And to find out how to glaze it, check here!

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Day 13 of organizing: Making a Gallery Wall

I love love love my gallery wall, I saw them in blogs all over the place before I bought a house and knew immediately that I wanted one.

Gallery walls come in a ton of different shapes and sizes, and it’s good to look at a bunch before you go ahead and organize your own because, well, you don’t know what you don’t know: Young House Love has an entire gallery hallway, Hi Sugarplum! had her whole living room wall at one point and has since toned it down, Dans Le Townhouse just posted recently about the one in her basement.

For mine, I knew I wanted all black and white frames and all black and white pictures- no exceptions. Normally in my house I go by a personal rule that art belongs on walls and pictures belong on shelves, but I threw that out for this.

swoon.

The shape of it actually happened by accident, originally I wanted the whole wall blocked with frames from ceiling to floor but as I was piecing it together a frame fell off the wall and this swoop shape sort of took form and I loved it, so I went with it.

I wanted there to be meaning/DIY/symbolism in the wall, just not a random assortment of things, and I think that’s how all gallery walls tend to go. Here’s a little break down of what it means to me:

  1. Architectural Art by my friend Dawne, spelling out Home, that symbolizes this as our first home
  2. For now, just a piece of scrap book paper
  3. A picture from my college campus, where Matt & I met, taken by one of our best friends (in a frame I repainted)
  4. For now, just a piece of scrap book paper
  5. The first letter of one of our last names
  6. The first letter of one of our last names
  7. Us!
  8. A mirror I got at a consignment shop and freshened up
  9. A lovely graphic design (Lighten Up) (in a frame I repainted)
  10. An inside joke between Matt & I (Haters Gonna Hate, Potatoes Gonna Potate)
  11. Matt and Dutch on the first morning we had the little butt-meister (in a frame I repainted)
  12. The first letter of one of our last names

13. Hard to see, but it’s a vintage postcard from the town where Matt & I fell in love (awwww) (in a frame I repainted)

14. Matt and I again! (in a frame I repainted)

15. Some lovely graphic design (Umbrellas floating through the air in Pairs)

16. Another consignment store mirror that got some freshening up

17. The first letter of one of our last names

So there you go- squares, circles, swirls, and a swoop shape. There’s still a few things to switch out, but I don’t think I’m going to add any more frames.

Do you have a gallery wall in your house? I’d love to see!!

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Day 12 of organizing: DIY Sunburst Mirror

I saw this post on Ten June blog way back when and immediately knew I wanted to make one of my very own (with a twist, of course):

When we first moved into the home we had to fix the drywall in the basement, so I bought a huge bundle of long wood shims and had a ton left over. Also, in our old apartment I had a bunch of little circle mirrors from Target hanging in our bedroom but then once we moved they got put in a closet until further notice. Put those babies together and you’ve got a F-R-E-E DIY project! My favorite!

I made a square base of three (approximately) 6-inch long wood shims to start with, then I slowly layered on more shims throughout the day. I put about 2-3 at a time, then weighed it down with a heavy book for an hour to dry, then repeated that step over and over until it was finished. It’s about 3 piles deep, so only about 2 inches thick when all is said and done. I let it dry completely overnight for 2 days before the next step:

I lightly sanded the whole piece just to get stray splinters off, but I was going for a sort of weathered/reclaimed look so I didn’t make it perfectly smooth. Unfortunately it rained for a week so I resorted to priming with regular paint instead of my BFF Kilz spray primer, and while I was at it I primed a few other things I had on my to-do list.

Terrible weather called for hand painted priming. Boo! Hiss!

The next day it cleared up enough for me to spray on 3 thin coats of pure white Rustoleum spray paint in a satin finish.

Once the spray paint was dry I used a hot glue gun to attach the mirror to the front and Gorilla Glue to attach the hook to the back. The hook was just the original backing to the mirror that I scraped off to reuse.

Whew!

Here she blows:

Ooooh! Ahhhh!

And a little farther away:

On the wall itself it’s a bit small, but paired with the zebra chairs and gallery wall it adds the right amount of oomph for the space:

A few months later I decided it needed a little more va-voom so I spraypainted it aqua and then glazed it with black (read about that process here), then I drew some wallpaper onto the wall with a Sharpie paint pen (read about that process here):

oh yeah. much better. RAWR.

oh yeah. much better. RAWR.

 

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