It Makes Me Shutter – DIY Shutter Wall Art

A while back I was given a pair of shutters from one of my husbands work buddies. Of course I wanted to hang them in the house somewhere (the place where shutters truly belong :) ).

I’m completely in awe of this shutter wall over at Olive and Love.
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My first reaction upon seeing this for the first time…
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(Had to throw in a Dr. Who reference. No explanation needed.)

Yes. And I seriously considered doing the exact same thing. SOMEWHERE, in my house. But I had no idea where. They would make great wainscoting, am I right?!

Since I am impatient, and hadn’t found anymore shutters for free or cheap to fill a whole wall, I decided to just paint mine and hang them to create a big piece of art to fill an awkward space I have.

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Here is that awkward wall.

I just feel uncomfortable looking at it.

This is what I had up there before…
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Unmatted, unmatching frames. It really was too busy, and on the opposite wall, there were none of these colors. It was a good “for now” decor until I figured out what to do. It got old fast.

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Excuse my mess. But as you can see, the wall is a tricky thing since the couch can’t be centered. The collage I had up there before threw the balance off. One clean piece of art was what it needed.

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So I pulled these out of the attic, wiped them down, and again, got out my awesome Martha Stewart gold metallic paint(I swear I’m not paid to blog about it), and I painted the shutters.

Simple Simon.

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My goal was just a thin coat. Sort of rustic meets shabby chic.

Then, I gave the second one a thin coat, and let them dry.

I took down those two white shelves, drilled some screws into studs, and hung those babies up!

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I’m thinking of hanging a cute wreath in the middle, like this. I could also slip little snap shots in the shutters like this, but that may make it look too busy. I don’t want it to distract from my gallery wall focal point on the opposite wall.

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No sooner do I finish a project, do I see something else that needs to be updated. Like that blue lamp. Love the lamp, hate the color. I’m wondering if I could paint it with some glass paint, but I don’t want it to lose it’s value. It’s an antique my grandma has had forever.

We will see!

 

DIY Chic Decor Accents with Wooden Craft Store Finds

I know I’m late, but I’m totally on the Emerald Green, color of the year, boat over here. It’s such a rich, bold color. I’ve been trying to figure out how to use it as an accent color in my living room.

I’ve also been loving on gold accents for the past year.

Put the two together, and you have a match made in heaven.

My home, has a lot of neutrals in it, with gold accents. I don’t know what it is, I’m drawn to the gold. Probably why my favorite color is sparkle & shiny, as my husband likes to tell me.

It just classes up the joint a bit more when used properly.

Enough about the gold, let’s get to the impromptu projects I did the other day.

I was out running some errands and couldn’t keep myself from stopping at Hobby Lobby and grabbing some of their plain wood crafts. I had been planning to stop for a few weeks already, and just never got around to it. I knew I wanted a plain box to decorate. Decorative boxes seem to be popular lately, and I just love them all to bits.

Like these ones you can get over at                 …or this awesome(cheap!) one from Target
Burke Decor (LOVE) …                                            (maybe painted a different color?!)
Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 2.15.22 PM               14415257_130213203000 They are so graphic and beautiful. The solid colored ones with gold accents are what I was really interested in since I have quite a few patterns going on already.

I went for a more humble box. Hobby Lobby had a couple to pick from, so I grabbed one of the smaller ones to be my tester piece.

This is what I grabbed:
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The bottom one is the one I got, it’s about 6×5″. I was looking for something more flat and book shaped, but this was only $1.99, so that was a no brainer.

Then I painted. I used a shimmery metallic emerald craft paint. It took about 3 coats before I was satisfied with the saturation. This unfinished wood is a sponge for paint.
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I was so in the zone that I glued on my decorative touches without taking a progress picture. Hobby Lobby didn’t have the square gold jewels I was looking for… they actually didn’t have anything gold. So I kept it simple and monochromatic, and added a little sparkle with the flat emerald beads.

Once the jewels were glued on, I mod podged the whole thing with glossy mod podge to deepen the green and add a shine and protective coat.
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Then I let her dry, and moved on to my next project.

An octogonal tray.
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Love the shape.

I whipped out my Martha Stewart gold metallic paint from previous posts, painted the sides (inside and out) gold, and then I painted the bottom the same metallic green as the box.

Can you tell I like shimmery things?

It’s true.

I love the added dimension and depth it gives. And I like cheap, rich looking things. Shimmery can translate to rich before it becomes gaudy. There can be a fine line though.

Don’t step over it. I’m watching you.

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I gave the gold and green two thick coats each, and then mod podged the green bottom to seal it.

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I glued some mother of pearl beads, and big rhinestones to the handle sides, and called it good(not gaudy). And I love it!

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These were way too fun to do. I’m going to go back and dig through more of the wood crafts, and see what I come up with.

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As for the box, it’s living happily on my coffee table right now. Pulling together the gold lettering in the books and the brass antique votive with it’s cuteness. Oh yes, and my pillow cover on the right has gold sequins on it. $10 on clearance at West Elm.

I told you I love gold. It’s the perfect warm rich tone.

I also love West Elm. It’s like… they get me.

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These were way too fun and easy to do.

Now I need to find myself some emerald pillows! Don’t tell my husband. He already thinks I’m enough of a pillow freak.

8 Ways To Improve Your Curb Appeal In A Day

curbappeal I’m no expert, but curb appeal can say so much about your home. Even if you can’t put a lot of money into your outdoor spaces, there are a few things you can do, for cheap or free, that will make a big difference. And as always, a little elbow grease goes a long way.

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1. A Little Paint Never Hurt Anyone.
Dig in your stash (if you have one) and find something to paint! IMG_4726[2]web Even if it’s not your desired color at the moment, a nice, fresh coat of paint can really make things sparkle. Obviously not literally sparkle, my husband would have none of that. :) frontdoorfinal If you don’t have much to pick from for paint and are looking to update smaller outdoor projects like your front door, hit up Lowes and pick up a small sample paint in the color you want. It’ll run you $2.50, and will get you a good solid coat on any regular sized door, or a couple of coats on smaller projects. Paint a doormat at your front door, paint your steps, paint your window boxes, mail box, window trim, outdoor furniture, the possibilities are endless. It doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, because you can always just paint over it!

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2. Add Some Potted Plants.
This is a very cheap way of adding life to your outdoor space. If you don’t have any flower pots, for under $5 you can buy a simple clay pot, and a cheap annual flower. Paint your flower pot for a pop of color with some paint you have at home, or craft paint for .69 cents each at Michaels. Succulents are also very cheap($2-3) and super easy to care for. You only need to water when the soil is dry. Or you can plant from seed. The wildflower seeds we planted came free through the mail. The dollar store would be a good place to look for clay pots for very cheap. plants[2]

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3. Think Lighting.
On top of the outdoor lighting you may already have, garden solar lights, and lanterns are a cheap way to add charming ambiance to your exterior at night. lanterns[2] Our DIY lanterns were so simple. We bought light fixture covers for $2 each at Lowes, and $3 tiki oil lights. Wrapped craft wire around them, and hung them up! You can do this with mason jars as well. There are also very cheap moroccan lanterns for under $10 on Amazon, which we bought for the back patio for a different feel. If you’re looking for solar garden lights, a lot of grocery stores carry $2-3 ones, which is usually cheaper than buying a box of 8. outdoorlightsweb Shopping in the Target clearance can yield great finds like these $2 candle holders. You can get a similar look by punching holes in a regular tin can. Blue Diamond almond cans would be perfect for this as they are not variegated on the outside and would give you a clean look. Plus you can paint them any color you want!

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4. Wash Windows & Power-Wash The Exterior.
There’s nothing worse than the continuous battle of the never ending dirt that accumulates on your windows, and exterior of your house. But, the battle must be fought. Or should be. I’m no queen of clean when it comes to the outdoors, but when your windows get so dirty the sun no longer shines through, you know it’s time to clean them. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… And assuming the dirt doesn’t just gather on your windows, you can be sure the rest of your house is covered. *sigh* A little power wash once or twice a year will help your house look it’s best, and extend the life of your siding. Windows should be washed more often. Whether or not that happens, is another thing. I wont judge you if you don’t judge me. :) IMG_4776[2]web

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5. Trim The Hedges & Mow Your Lawn!

And don’t forget to pull those stubborn weeds. It’s the worst job in the world, but it’s the most rewarding. While you might not actually be adding anything, taking away things can really add a lot to your curb appeal.
mowyourlawn You can have cute potted plants, outdoor decor and such, but if your landscaping is out of control, it makes everything else look like a mess. Even if your landscaping isn’t how you want it to look.. if you have weeds, or an annoying ivy plant that multiplies by the minute, or even straight up trash that blows in, cleaning that up will make a huge difference.

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And speaking of taking things away…

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6. Clean Unwanted Debris Out Of The Yard.

Nothing makes a yard look subpar like dead trees, plants or shrubs. Even if you don’t have anything to put in it’s place, it’s a step in the right direction, and cleans up that clutter. april2011mtlaurel
This spot in our yard has never been able to keep any tree of ours alive. We’ve lost 3 trees to this hole. It is the black hole of the botanical world. So we haven’t replaced it yet, and are considering other options. No shrub is better than a dead shrub. If you’re looking to replace right away, Craigslist is a awesome place to look. A lot of times you can make a deal.. if you do the work of digging up the tree or shrub, you get it for free. There’s that elbow grease I warned you about.

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7. Create A Border With Things You Find In Nature
When we first moved in, we talked to our new neighbors who had also just moved in, and they told us of some large limestone rocks that were dug up in the new part of the subdivision. They had gotten us permission from the construction manager to take some, so that’s what we did! It’s subtle, but nice.
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To keep the weeds and grass from growing through the cracks, we just spray with Roundup. You can create a border around other things besides a front flower bed. You could border your driveway, or trees as well. Any way you do it, free is your friend. And as long as you aren’t stealing or trespassing, nature is full of free things.

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8. Go Green. Install A Rain Barrel.
See how we did it with our tutorial for a DIY rain barrel here. IMG_4760[2]web While this wont directly improve to your curb appeal, indirectly it will help improve your curb appeal by supplying great rain water to all your greenery and keep them flourishing throughout the summertime. A rain barrel will save you a lot of money in the long run, but requires an upfront cost. Your cost will be dependent on how you go about acquiring your barrel. Maybe you have a 55 gallon barrel lying around that you can use, maybe you don’t. We didn’t have a barrel, so we checked out Craigslist and found someone who makes and sells rain barrels for $40. That’s very reasonable considering what you will be saving.  IMG_4762[2]web For us, it was necessary to beat our summertime water restrictions here in Texas. We can keep our grass and plants from dying without making our water bill sky-rocket on the days we can water, and still complying with the restrictions. We can water everyday if needed. Replacing your landscaping can be an expensive undertaking, so this is a very good long term savings plan, and also environmentally responsible!

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These are just some things I’ve been successful with in making my curb appeal just a little better. Even if you don’t have a lot to work with, you can have decent looking curb appeal that wont break the bank by simply polishing up what you already have, and adding some cheap accessories. You just have to know where to look, how to prioritize what you need, and do the work yourself. Hey, we all could use a little calorie burning activity once in a while. :) Plus, you will be that much more proud. Now, get out there, stop thinking about what you’d like to do, and just do it!

Not brought to you by Nike.

Getting Down And Dirty

I can’t believe I’m baring my dirt to you.

We all have dirt, so I’m trusting you with mine.

Let’s just say, carpet is a nasty thing to have in your main living area.

It’s taken me having my own home to really realize that carpet might be a thing of the past for clean freaks, like myself. Carpets in bedrooms I’m still on the fence about. It can be cozy, and helps with noise, but matted down carpet from high traffic areas is never an attractive sight, and that’s inevitable with carpet. At least the cozy, short shag kind.

We purchased our house brand new just over 4 years ago, and from the day we moved in, we knew we had really cheap carpeting. Most homes in our community had the option to upgrade to all tile in the living areas, but since ours was a short sale, we didn’t have that option.

While I was home in Minnesota earlier this year, Pete surprised me by cleaning the carpets as a birthday gift to me. Best birthday gift ever! And I totally love him for it.

BUT…

The machine he used must not of had enough suction power because it left lines in the carpet. I’m guessing it’s where the dirty water between the scrubbing brushes didn’t get sucked up.

He was so proud, I didn’t have the heart to say anything until we just recently decided to clean them again. Sweet boy.

By the way, we do not recommend renting The Rug Doctor. Your carpet will end up looking like this..
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Do you see the lines? I thought it was just the way the carpet was laying, but after vacuuming multiple times, against the lines, I realized it wasn’t.

Here’s a shot of the lines from the other end of the room.
carpetbefore Pete worked so hard to surprise me, but The Rug Doctor failed miserably. At least it was somewhat cleaner than before!

It wasn’t that he did it wrong.. He went as far as to boil all the water he used in the machine, so it was crazy hot to maximize it’s cleaning capabilities. And he went over the carpet in all the rooms twice, nice and slow.

Our carpet is shot, regardless of how clean it is, and we just need new flooring. But, we work with what we got, and I like a clean house, so that’s how we ended up here…
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Rented from Ace Hardware, this ancient professional carpet cleaning machine did an AMAZING job. Boiling hot, soapy water goes in on the right, and dirty, hot, soapy water sucks back up on the left.

Before we really get down and dirty, lets view all of the before pictures.
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How about that area rug? You know.. the one that didn’t come up when I rolled up the real rug. Oh wait… that be clean carpet underneath! Let’s take a closer look shall we.
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Ah yes. There she is. How gross is that!

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Talk about embarrassing. My VDL is showing (visible dirt line).It’s like that one episode of Roseanne where they move the couch for Jackie’s wedding and find out what the actual color of their carpet is! Barf.

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Matted and gross. I cannot say gross enough. And that’s after I vacuumed.

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Okay, let’s get on to the slightly cleaner part.

Since Pete did it the last time, it was my turn.
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This machine didn’t have any scrubbers, but it still did an amazing job. You spray the hot soapy water over an area, giving it enough time to sit for 20-30 seconds and then go over and suck it all back up. I went over it too many times to count. And that was completely necessary, especially in the dirtiest areas.

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This was after my first pass starting in the corner and working out in front of the entertainment center. It wasn’t a super high traffic area which makes it worse. GROSS!

Let’s do it again. :)

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After too many passes to count, just in the couch area around where the rug left it’s mark, and in front of the lazy boy, we made it here. It was a solid hour to an hour and a half before we made it this far. I took a break, and Pete demonstrated for us. The blue hose sprays on the hot soapy water when you pull the trigger, the other one sucks up the gunk. Pete worked just as hard keeping water boiling all the time, and constantly refilling and dumping the water in the machine so I could keep going.

LOOK at this line.
IMG_4180[2]web Clean vs. Dirty, which side do you want to be on? You must think we are horribly dirty people! I vacuum regularly, and we never wear our shoes in the house, but we have two dogs. Of course they can’t be blamed for all of this, but I don’t wipe their feet every time they come inside. Dust and dirt happens I guess!

Here they are watching from a safe distance.
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Doing more cleaning in the higher traffic area, we ended up with this hairy mess.
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And I had vacuumed just minutes before we started.

Want to see how dirty this one was?

I know you do.
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It was so gross, yet so rewarding. That much less dirt was on our floors. If this isn’t personal, I don’t know what is.

Let’s view another Dirty vs. Clean…
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This is the area between the bar on the left, and our dining room table on the right. A major high traffic area. Ew!

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Here he is, pouring the soapy, boiling water in like a boss.

Now, prepare yourself for the next image. It is the worst side by side Dirty vs. Clean picture I got.
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This is our highest traffic area in the house, and this 20 year old machine completely made my carpet new. Granted, I made 5 passes over the whole entire area, but clearly it was necessary.

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So, I finished the living room, and then we took a break. 4 hours in and the living room was done, and my back was breaking. After my break, I did our master bedroom, and then I was done. I couldn’t push myself anymore, my limbs had become noodles. So Pete took over because it was 11pm, and we still had the office, the guest room, and the landing area between the two rooms left to do. We shared the rental with our neighbor, who came by at 1am to pick it up to bring back in the morning on his way to work. This was an alllllll day thing. I could of had it for two days just to save the back breaking time frame, but it was worth it to get it done in one day.

How about some after shots now?!

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Do you see an area rug line? NOPE! (chuck testa) Sorry, I had to. :) We even pushed the couches back about 6 inches to clean a bit more in that part.

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So fresh and so clean clean!

Oh, and I almost forgot. We cleaned Chloe’s chair. Pete cleaned it the last time he did the carpets only 4 months before, but had forgotten to do the back of the chair.
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Who knew that was dirt and not the color of the fabric.

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The machine had a handy smaller attachment which made cleaning the couches in the garage, this chair, and the lazy boy really easy.

Well, all in all I’d say this was a successful attempt at cleaning the carpet.
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The doggies love it.
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Before…
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After! About 4 shades lighter and 100 times cleaner. Right up my alley. I’ll be doing this again in a few months to keep it up.

I’m going to rub my face on my nice clean carpet now. Thanks for letting me air my dirt. And thank you for not judging.