plant jail…

plant jail 1The little flower shop where I’ve been doing floral design lately has been around for about 50 years.  And apparently it’s been that long since they made an attempt to clean out the attic.

Of course all sorts of bizarre things were uncovered but what caught my eye were the little “bird cages” made of metal and glass.  Extremely dirty glass.

So as they were being carting off to the dumpster, I begged for their release into my custody.

I loved them at first sight.

plant jail 2

When I was on the way home with my new treasures, I texted The Boyfriend that I was bringing home a surprise.  Upon seeing my surprise, I was informed that unexpected cheeseburgers were surprises, not dirty cages.  Clearly we have different definitions of the term “surprise”.

So I removed the glass and hosed them down.  Then I hosed them down again.  With forty years of accumulated dirt, you can’t be too careful.

Then I bought a couple of english ivy plants (my fave) to trail out of the sides.  I took a pic and sent to my mom and The Boyfriend.

plant jail 3

Her response: “Oh my gosh, I love them!”

His response: “Looks like plant jail.”

 

a girl needs her privacy…

On my days off, from slinging flowers and designing jewelry (such a multi-faceted life I lead…), I find myself relaxing around the house.

And by relaxing, I mean not-relaxing and stressing myself out over self inflicted home improvement projects.

Our house is really open.  Lots of windows, open floor plan and tons of natural light.  Sounds great until you groggily stumble your way to the kitchen in the morning for coffee in your underpants.  And there are middle aged golfers 15 yards away waving at you.

I needed some privacy.

ferns1

{breakfast nook [I don’t know how to spell ‘nook’] before}

But unfortunately I live on a corner lot on the 18th green so privacy isn’t really on the radar.  Plus, I’m not trying to keep out the apocalypse, I just want my coffee in peace.

So after going back and forth with ideas, we decided on ferns.  I’m going to pump them so full of Miracle Grow, it will be like a fern wall protecting my coffee drinking, underpants wearing self from the golfing public.

ferns2

To begin my ‘Project: Privacy’ I bought ferns, flowers (unrelated to my project but I just can’t leave without buying more flowers), chain, s-hooks and heavy duty overhead hooks.  I didn’t like the plastic hook crap on each fern so I replaced with chain, combined on an s-hook.  Then, I had to screw overhead hooks into the drywall (honestly, I’m proud of the fact I knew how to do this yet also incredibly weirded out) and hung my ferns.

Three hours after I begin, The Boyfriend called.  “You’re still doing that?!”  Although I may know how to do it, apparently I don’t know how to do it in a timely fashion.  Whatever.  He’s sitting at a desk in front of a computer while I’m making our entire house pants optional.

fern3

This picture is ridiculous.  It looks like I live in the amazon, not New Orleans.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can people watch with the best of them.  I’d just rather see you in your underwear than vice-versa.

DIY…”expensive” lamps

IKEA is a great starting point.  There’s nothing wrong with IKEA.

That said, everything I’ve bought there at some point, has turned to absolute crap.  Although, if I really think about it I’m almost positive it might be more of a ‘user problem’ than a ‘manufacturer problem.’

Like the time we mapped out a floor plan of our office to determine the exact size and quantity of bookcases we needed.  Somehow, someone’s measurements were off by an additional six bookcases.  IKEA was over an hour away and I’m lazy, so we left them in the box and I sold them on Craigslist.  And the bookcases we did build, half turned out like Pisa.

Unfortunately, that was my half and I’ve yet to hear the end of it.

I’m also not allowed to measure anymore.

lamp

{my lamp reno arsenal: junky lamps, new shades and spray paint}

I’m thirty (Jesus, that was harder typing than I thought) and being thirty I’d prefer not to have college-dorm looking lamps anymore.

So, of course, looking for replacements, I fell in love with a gorgeous chinoiserie pair for a little under $1,500.  And while you might not be privy to my current finances, I’ll fill you in- I currently don’t have $1,500 to waste on a pair of chinoiserie lamps (honestly if I ever have $1,500 to waste on a pair on lamps to go in my bedroom we should all be amazed).

But as Pinterest informed me, since Pinterest is quickly replacing all other media outlets in my life, I can upgrade my terrible lamps with spray paint (!).

Well then, consider this project done; I wield a mean can of spray paint.  Especially while drinking cocktails.

lamp 2

I bought some white silk lamp shades but wanted to contrast the interior with a semi-gloss gold.  Since these are going in the bedroom on the nightstands, I wanted a dim, warmer light.

I taped the edges (I bought blue tape in bulk when painting the house.  I love it.  I wear it like a bracelet on my arm) and sprayed the interior.

lamps 3

We renovated the house we are currently living in (and hopefully moving out of soon) in brushed nickel.  Personally brushed nickel isn’t my favorite.  It’s a little generic for my tastes and I like character.

The Boyfriend would rephrase that as I like “old looking things.”  So for the base of each lamp, I spray painted each an antique brushed pewter/gold color.

He’s right.  I like old looking things.

lamp 4

So with my new pink screwdriver, I tightened and reworked everything back together.  No more wobbles, and all in all, less college-esque looking.  At least this is a step in the right direction., and took me less than thirty minutes.

I placed them on top of my upgraded IKEA side tables.

Maybe IKEA isn’t so bad after all.  You just needs a little spray paint.

And someone other than me to put it together.

one bar cart, two bar cart, three…

I saw on the internet the other day (I’m being vague on purpose, I was pinning) the idea of taking an IKEA laptop table and making it into a bar cart.  Honestly, who would’ve thought.  Definitely not anyone who has ever met me before.

IKEA, you just sold yourself another junky laptop table.

I LOVE bar carts.  I already have two, but they’re currently in storage (and I’m over them) so I’m using that as an excuse to make another one.  So not only do I love bar carts, turns out I love DIY too.

red table bar cart

{pic of previous bar cart area…}

Unfortunately when I get an idea is my head, it quickly becomes all I think about until exorcised.  This time it has proven to be a little harder because there’s not a single IKEA in the state of Louisiana.  Although I really didn’t imagine that to be a problem, I’d just do what I had originally planned to do and order from the website.  Apparently they’re shipping straight from Sweden because the shipping cost on my $38 table was $150.

Pass.  I don’t really need a third bar cart that bad.

Except apparently I do; I could not stop thinking about how I desperately wanted this dumb table.  Like I said, there is no moving on (for anyone) until I make this table.

How bad did I want it?  Not bad enough to drive five hours to Houston for it, but evidently enough to pay someone else to drive to Houston for it.  The most amazing company exists for people who live too far away from Ikea (or are too lazy).  I found Love Blue Bag online and they make weekly trips and charge a small percentage to pick up your Swedish junk for you.

They will even put it together for you.  I have my fingers crossed my table will come in a table sized box.  I didn’t pay extra for construction.  Although I probably should, my IKEA creations always end up slightly lopsided.  Or in the case of our old dresser (sold on craigslist to a artist who specializes in erotic art – that was a weird meeting), a hammer went straight through the side.

So wish me luck.  I get it next week.

Brittany's Bar Cart

On a side note, my close friend in LA had her bar cart featured on Popsugar as the “casual cool” alternative for a bar cart.  Love this idea.

Don’t drink that cat wine though.  Terrible.

office business…

I put off remodeling the office for as long as I possibly could; I think it was one of the last things I finally did in the house.  At least I think it was, renovating the entire house ended up blending into one giant stressful blur.

Executive Office/Suite.

{old office pic and also note this is not my furniture}

 {although I kind of like those chairs}

I ended up keeping the caged glass brass light fixture attached to the fan, I love it.  God only knows what I’ll do with it but I’m the new proud owner.  It’s currently sitting in my garage, awaiting further instructions.  Every once in a while The Boyfriend picks it up muttering “what in the hell is this…”

And just like in the rest of the house, the pink carpet had to go, even the bathroom had pink carpet.  The walls needed to be skim coated over the wall paper then textured and painted, the trim needed to be painted a white semi-gloss and, lastly, someone needed to stain the wood paneling on the walls.

The light oak look is not one of my favorites.  I’m sure in twenty years no one will like darker woods anymore but I’ll worry about that then.  And if I still haven’t sold this house in 20 years just kill me.

office stain

 I asked our general contractor how much it would cost to have someone stain it and was informed it would be around $2,500 – $3,000 (a sum I’m almost 100% positive he pulled out of his ass) and decided I would just do it myself.  Our contractor was terrible, it was just the blind leading the blind over here.

So I vehemently told The Boyfriend (who seemed rather skeptical) that “I can do anything I put my mind to“.  And since, let me tell you how many times that statement has been thrown back in my face.

This was actually one of the hardest things I did in the house.  Although, looking back on it, I’m pretty sure I said that after each thing I accomplished.

Stained the bannister, “hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Painted trim and doors in 5,000 sq foot house, “hardest thing I’ve ever done.”  Actually, maybe not the hardest but definitely the most boring.  I thought I was going to climb the walls (painters joke, you probably didn’t get it) with how boring it was.

And I did learn painting a ceiling is significantly harder than I had originally thought.  I got so much paint in my eyes I thought I was going blind.

So after the hardwoods were laid, I got to work.  I had to sand the paneling twice to get the gloss from the original paneling off.  Then I stained the paneled walls twice and put on a satin poly coat.

I paid a handyman to skim coat over the wallpaper because I was told the process takes a lot of patience.  And as I learned bout myself when painting the trim, me and patience are like cheap vodka and Betty Ford.  It’s a difficult relationship.

Then I textured and painted with pale cappuccino.office final

 It ended up being a battle of wills as to whether we would paint the trim white (my idea) or stain to match the paneling (like in the original).  No one seemed to be able to visualize the white.  But the benefit of being the only person there painting from dawn til evening is that no one seems to realize when you just go ahead and do what you want.  White trim gave the office a more modern look and made it seem larger.  Sometimes you just have to stay the course and do what you feel is right.

Not to get all Taylor Swift but haters gonna hate (or maybe that’s Ice T circa mid-nineties).

But in the end, I created a gorgeous modern office perfect for people who like doing math and reading smelly books.

Me, I’m more a chrome and glass type of office gal.

wine trays for all…

It’s interesting when you want something so bad, for so long, then when you finally find it the greatest emotion you can conjure up is ‘meh.’

And after scouring the internets for years trying to find affordable vintage french wine crates, that don’t involve ridiculous over seas shipping charges, I stumbled upon some for only $9 in an antique store around the corner. No shipping charges, just throw them in your car.

I mean, I have plenty of Trader Joe wine cases, but I feel aesthetically, it’s just not the same.

wine tray 7I snagged two (a Bordeaux of course) and briefly contemplated buying all of them then reselling them on the internet at an astronomical mark up.  Is there a market for wine crates or am I the only person excited to buy a wooden box?

I had originally been to the antique store looking for a writing desk but found these crates instead.  They had about 20 or so and I told myself I’d come back in a couple days to pick up.  All I could think about for two days were all the boxes being sold out from under me so I hurried back before my anxiety skyrocketed even more.  All 20 were still in stock.  Apparently the market isn’t as strong as I had anticipated.

So I began searching Pinterest (please help, I’m turning Stepford) and found lots of interesting ideas.  Emphasis on interesting.  Someone had even refinished an entire wall with wine crate pieces.

Why would I want to staple gun pieces of wine crate to my wall?  I just spent three months painting every inch of this house.  I will die before anyone staple guns anything to it, I will guard these freshly painted walls with my life.

wine tray 6

Since clearly that was out, I found what I thought to be one of the easiest (WRONG) ideas.  I would make it into a tray.  As in- disassemble, rearrange then reassemble.  Oh, and stain and poly it.  God, staining is a nightmare.

wine tray 4

So I ripped apart one of the boxes and made measurements for pieces to be cut.  It just so happens The Boyfriend received a circular saw for Christmas. We’ve both been to scared to take it out of the box, as if taking it out of the box consigns one of us to losing a hand.  But  I was determined to make this tray (I get ideas stuck in my head and no one gets any peace until I do something about it) and somehow persuaded The Boyfriend to risk his hands and cut the trim.

wine tray 3

He cut the trim, I stained everything, including my hands (plural because I still have both of them), and I let it dry for a couple hours.  Last part was to reassemble.  Well, I was just going to nail the sides back on but with the first swing of my pink hammer, I smashed the trim into about 6-7 pieces.  It like spontaneously combusted in my hand.  So then I spent an hour gluing everything back together.

wine tray 2

Then I realized, screw these nails (construction joke, you might not get it), I’ll just glue the whole thing back together.

Et voila.

wine tray

So if you ever come over to my house, just remember don’t touch it.

happy weekend (early edition)…

I woke up this morning with the quick realization it was Friday and someone had served me too much Trader Joe wine at dinner last night.  camellia in vase

My first stop on this glorious Friday (!) is to Starbucks for a ‘double shot cafe mocha white russian valium latte to-go‘.  Skinny.  Obviously.  Then to pick up my french wine crates that will sit in my garage since I have no idea what to do with them.

So happy early weekend from myself, Phoebe & Phineas.  I named the dog and cat on my new DIY side tables.

It’s been slow making new friends in a new city…

vanity tables & french wine crates…

I haven’t owned a vanity table since I was seven.  Then, it was hot pink and had flowers.

Apparently my tastes haven’t changed much, I think I wore this headband last week.

me- beauty

I assumed I would be able to find a vanity table online; you can find anything online.  I bought a two pound bag of chia seeds on prime last week.  It’s all there, everything except a non-tacky vanity.

Along with my blind devotion to all things Amazon, I like to try and buy from small businesses.  So I looked on Etsy thinking I could find a vanity table that I could fix up.  Make into my dream vanity.

But there is one problem with this idea, finding something amazing is like finding a diamond in the rough. The Etsy cup overfloweth with homemade crap.  People had taken gorgeous french provincial dressing tables, painted them a baby blue or ‘distressed’ white, slapped some chevron contact paper in the drawers and called it “shabby chic.”  And then charge $450 for it.  I’m not paying $450 for ruined furniture that I’ll have to spend three days scrubbing with sand paper.

For example:

hideous

This shiny little gem I found for $400 plus $100 shipping.  People are crazy.  And God only knows how I would get the shellac off this desk.  And the groovy seizure inducing contact paper would have to go as well.  My first vanity was pink, at thirty (one, aaaaggghhhhh!!!) I’m looking for something with a little more subtly.

After my miserable failure that was Etsy, I opted for local shopping.  I love shopping.  I’ve been perusing the antique stores hoping to find a less pink, less shiny option.  I’ve yet to find what I’m looking for.

french wine crates

BUT, I did find these amazing french wine crates for $9 each.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with them but clearly I needed two of them.  It’s funny how when looking for one thing, you buy two of another instead.

So in the meantime I’ll continue to scour antique shops looking for non pink furniture then drink wine and scour Pinterest and figure out what to do with my wine crates.  I definitely get more creative when wine is involved.

Win-win!

c is for courtyard. c is also for cocktails…

When we moved in, the gated courtyard was not my favorite.  It had white stones instead of grass and where there weren’t stones there were overgrown azalea bushes.

The stones seemed a little out of place to me.  If this was Arizona or Nevada, I could understand but Louisiana is like a sunnier and way less hipster version of Seattle for the amount it rains here.  I wanted green.

Of course I asked our contractor (mistake number one of hundreds) if he could remove them.  He quoted me something astronomical, which I started to notice he did often when it was apparently something he didn’t want to, or couldn’t, undertake.  So the stones stayed.

It’s not like I was going to remove them.

DSC_0192

 {courtyard before}

Here’s The Puppy wandering around trying to find a spot to go the bathroom.  He’s scared to walk on the stones and he would be lost eternally to the azaleas.  He had no options.

courtyard grass

So I ripped up all the bushes, planted sod and decorated with giant pots of flowers.  Yes, I planted sod. I’m amazing even myself these days.

bistro set

For the rocky-part of the courtyard, since clearly they were there to stay, I thought about how I could at least make it slightly more attractive.  I found this amazing little bistro set on amazon (prime!) but was concerned when the box arrived flat.  Not sure what I was expecting but I thinking  maybe a more table and chair sized box.  Apparently someone had to put them together.

lightingAfter I put the set together (as The Boyfriend and The Puppy watch from the window) I started looking for other easy touches to improve our little courtyard.

When I was at a lighting showroom picking out exterior light fixtures, I found this little matching pendant light perfect for above my table.

pansies

My last stop was the gardening store.  Final touch, pots of pansies everywhere.  Then I was done.

table top

Now I see all the amazing things you can do outside.  Read outside.  Have morning coffee outside.  Drink cocktails outside.  Write this blog outside.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  I don’t know if I mentioned this but you can drink cocktails outside.  It’s amazing.

DIY…side tables got a make over

Moving is hard.

And entrusting someone (named “Boo” no less) to drive all your worldly belongings from Texas to Louisiana is also hard.  I managed the drive to New Orleans in eight hours.  He gave the vague answer “I’ll be there sometime in the next three days….”.

On Day 3, Boo finally arrived.  And by the look of it, someone had broken into the moving truck, thrown dirt on all over our things and then took a baseball bat to them.  To say the least, I wasn’t terribly thrilled about this, to which Boo said “are you sure it all didn’t look like that before?”  Unfortunately, there’s no furniture police to call so I had to deal with it.  Which I did, with a bottle of wine.

And everyday while remodeling, I would look at my sad scratched up furniture, mentally give Boo the finger and contemplate how much it was going to cost to replace it all.

But one day I had the realization, here I am spackling walls, staining and painting various parts of this house,  that I could probably use my newfound “skills” and revitalize my furniture.  I’ve learned it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do.

So I started thinking about how I could improve some of the pieces I had.  Most of our things are in storage, minus our everyday stuff like side tables, a dresser, etc., so I started there.  I figured the side tables are smallest, therefore easiest and if my efforts went south, cheapest to replace.

side table 1

When we moved in, the previous owners had a “wood working studio” (who knows) and left behind this worktable. The Boyfriend, who loves to keep everything apparently except this worktable, wanted to throw it out. He’s crazy, I’m dragging this table with me from house to house for the rest of my life. I love it.

I used to love things like beauty products and four inch Manolos but it seems that was my past life.

side table 3

{my ‘revamp my side table’ tools}

I actually didn’t need my pink glitter tool box for this (it currently only houses a pink hammer and screwdriver – I’m working on it…) but it’s too cute not to add.  So I guess a little of my past life is still holding on for dear life.

The side tables came from Ikea, like five years ago.  I’ve always hated them but, until now, never did anything about it.  I’ve just lived my life, hating these tables all along the way.  Oh, and we have a matching dresser.  Hate that too.  I’m coming for you next dresser.

I originally was going to stain them (I care for staining about as much as I care for my Ikea dresser) but after a trip to Home Depot, I was informed painting them would be easier.  I’ve become a regular HD groupie, the guy in the paint department might as well be Brad Pitt for all the attention I throw at him.

side table 5

So I bought some dark hued glossy paint and was confused when I opened the can and it was neon purple. I briefly contemplated taking it back but the more prominent side of me (the lazy side) decided ‘if it turns out brown then great, if it stays violet then I’ll deal with it later’.

‘I’ll deal with it later’ is actually code for ‘I’ll just buy new ones online’.

But in the end, no need.  My TCU tables turned a nice shade of deep brown with a glossy finish.  And clearly the bland knobs needed to go (into the trash) so The Boyfriend bought me these adorable kitty puppy pulls from Anthro.

side table 4

After I finished the tables (sand, paint, paint, dry, celebrate with a cocktail) I was pleasantly happy with how they turned out.  They weren’t the next coming of side tables or anything but they looked significantly better than the original.  Then I had the amazing idea, which I stole from Pinterest,  to finish them with some granite.

I contacted a granite yard (literally granite in a yard) and picked out a white granite with gold and cream running through, and had them cut some for my side tables from Ikea.  I only like high-end or low-end, there’s no middle of the road for me.

side table dog granite

There was a little concern as to whether the light weight (i.e. particle board) tables would be able to handle the weight of the granite.

So far so good.

side table cat granite

Now my high-end Ikea side tables look like they came from furniture Neimans.  Now onto the dresser.