Sunday, December 19, 2010

christmas finishing touches...

When we went to visit my fiance's family for Thanksgiving, my soon-to-be mother-in-law took me out for a fun afternoon of shopping at a some local antique and gift shops. If you're ever in Fort Dodge, Iowa make sure to stop by Fort Dodge Community Apple Orchard. They have the most darling store full of gorgeous home accessories. Plus their fudge is to die for!

I fell in love with this little guy as soon as we walked into the store. And surrounded by the beautiful silver, red and green berry swag, it's the perfect touch of Christmas on our coffee table. 

My fiance's mom pointed this out to me. This very cute skate is just the right shade to match our decor and adds a fun, winter twist to our kitchen. 

Since we live in an apartment building, I wanted to add a little personality to our front door. 

I took a $1.99 wreath from Michael's and wrapped it in a silver leaf garland with green, red and silver berries that match the swag in on the coffee table. 

Combined with our mantel, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house. :)

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

joy to the world...

my mantel's done. Let Earth receive... oh, you get the idea. I am proud to say, the bane of my existence is finished and I love it!

Ever since I saw the Crate and Barrel catalog this year, I knew I wanted to incorporate silver reindeer. Instead of spending $25 on each reindeer, I found some at Marshall's for $6.99 each. 

To make them a little sturdier (because the mantel is right by the front door and has been known to get jostled when we slam the front door), I crazy glued them to wood planks and spray painted them all matte silver. One a side note, even though I have said I hate spray paint, the metallic matte silver from Krylon is the best. A couple of passes and you're good to go! 

I also spray painted the candleholder, it was a faux leather from World Market but just sturdy enough for the candle. I then took some of the silver berries I used in my wreath and attached them to the candles with silver wire. Again using my silver spray paint to touch up the stems that were green. 

Speaking of the wreath, it is my favorite part! I started with a $2.99 wreath from Michael's and some miscellaneous decorations I picked up for 50% off. I also grabbed wooden letters that spelled JOY. I was going to use them in something else, but then got an even better idea for the wreath. 

I sprayed painted them silver, added some Modge Podge, then dusted them with silver glitter. Then I attached them to the bottom of the wreath with silver wire. Then I put just a few of the decorations I purchased in the top corner of the wrath for a touch of color and sparkle. I chose to stick with the red and silver theme to play off the green I have in my entire living room. 

I just love the final look! 

I have a few more touches to do around the house and then the decorating will be complete. 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Inspired by young love...

for this project, I was certainly inspired by young love... in two ways. I was inspired by a similar project over at the awesome blog Young House Love - it's a must visit. And the recipient of this gift is a great friend who has found herself a great guy, so I wanted to give her a personalized birthday gift this year.

Customized wine goblets.

This project was so easy and it's a really great way to give someone a gift made just for them. First, I found stemless wine glasses (a must for klutzes like me) made of thick glass.

Then I used a glass paint pen by Vitrea to write fun love quotes on the glasses. I chose one of my favorite quotes from Moulin Rouge and another one that I found online, "Love is friendship on fire."  Isn't that so true?

Once I wrote each quote on the glass, I finished up with a heart to give the set a cohesive look.

Following the instructions that came with the pen (this is important as instructions may vary with different varieties), I let it dry for 24 hours. Then I baked it at 325 degrees for 40 minutes and Voila! a custom set of wine goblets.

A great tip I got from Sherry at Young House Love is to put the glasses in as the oven preheats and leave them in as it cools down. This way you can avoid any cracks that might occur from sudden changes in temperature.

The beauty of these pens is that they work on all types of surfaces. So your options are limitless: bowls, vases, plates, you name it!

ain't love grand...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mantel sneak peek...

I am putting the finishing touches on a longer blog post about my holiday decorations, but since you have all been waiting with bated breath to see my mantel (insert sarcasm) - here is a peek.

I am adding a little more height in the middle this weekend after a trip to Marshall's then it should be all complete. Stay tuned for more holiday fun...

Monday, November 15, 2010

i've got spirit, how 'bout you?

I have some serious holiday spirit going on. So much so I can't wait until thanksgiving is over so I can officially decorate for Christmas. don't get me wrong, I love Turkey Day and the fact that we are spending it with my fiance's fabulous family, but I just can't wait to start decorating for Christmas. 

I am especially obsessed with our mantel. My mantel dilemma's have been well chronicled on My Life By Design, so they idea of giving it a fresh new look is really appealing. I've found lots of inspiration online that has gotten my creative juices flowing...

From Crate and Barrel: My favorite of the bunch. I already found similar reindeer for a fraction of the price at Marshall's!

I just love the cozy feeling this one evokes. 

Love the symmetry of this one

How cute are all of the stockings?

I like the contrast of the red against the stark white. 

While I think these candles are just beautiful, I would never leave the house
all season because I would be too afraid I left one on! 
I just can't wait to get started. And to top it all off, a Michael's just opened in the city. I am in heaven!! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

wherever you are, you are loved...

I'm back from my trip to Cali. The work conference went well, but the best part was visiting with my sister.  We only get to see each other a few times a year and the visit is never long enough. I can't imagine what it's like living thousands of miles away from family like she does, and not be able to just jump in the car and see relatives in a matter of hours.

So on my last trip out there, I made her a gift to remind her that no matter how far away she is, she has a family that loves her. 

I gathered old photos of every member of our extended family, pictures of us as kids, and our parent's and both sets of grandparents' wedding photos. I then decoupaged them onto a canvas along with some graphic red shapes to add a punch of color since her home is decorated in black, white and red. I also included beautiful quote that says, "You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you as you are to them."

It was a fairly easy project to do. If I ever do it again, I will make sure I print the pictures on a thicker stock because once these got wet with the modge pdoge, they rolled and bubbled up and it made it much harder to apply. 

But all in all I think it turned out well and I hope it reminds my sister that even though she is far away, she is never far from our hearts. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

heading to the left coast...

I'm off to LA for almost a week mostly for work and also to see my little sis. I just love the lifestyle out there -- so laid back and casual -- so I'll be sure to post some pics of any design inspiration I come across.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's my lucky day....

since I have been in bride mode for a while now, I spend the majority of my days cruising blogs and pouring over the gorgeous real weddings the sites feature. One of my favorites is Elizabeth Anne Designs. Ami & Cyd feature the most beautiful weddings, ideas and inspirations.

So I was SUPER excited when in my email I got a message from Ami saying I was the winner of a gorgeous wedding garter from The Garter Girl. I never win anything!

And to top it off, I also found out I paid off my college loans last month and didn't even know it. Thanks Nelnet for the heads up (insert sarcasm) but I will accept your reimbursement checks!

Guess today is my lucky day! Thanks again Ami and Cyd - and make sure to check out Elizabeth Anne Designs for yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

good to the last drop...

at one of my recent excursions to the vintage market I came across the coolest silver coffee canister. It was really unique. I loved the intricate engravings. The slight patina. The fact it looks like it could have a really cool story, even if it doesn't. It makes the perfect vase.

I still need to clean it, I am assuming silver polish would work? Anyone have any home remedies that work?

Thanks to some holes in the seams, I had to place a glass inside to hold the water. 

I just love the way it adds a vintage touch to my beautiful flowers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bad blogger

My humblest apologies for being such a bad blogger lately. I swore I wouldn't get wrapped up in wedding stuff but I did. Big time. But now that some of the big stuff is out of the way, I promise to get back to my regular blogging schedule. I have two projects/purchases to unveil this weekend, when the lighting is right for good pictures.

I have to admit though, with such a small apartment, after a while I feel like I've accomplished all of the projects that I can in my space. So how do I satisfy my design cravings? Any suggestions?

What do you do when you've got "designers block?"

I'll leave you with a little inspiration. When it comes to my wedding planning, it's more about the decor than the dress for me. I found the most fantastic post recently on the lovely Green Wedding Shoes site. It's the inspiration for my wedding day design, just with different colors. Enjoy a sneak peek!
The vintage vases mixed with the bright colorful flowers are amazing. 
How cute is their vintage hutch/candy station? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Loving Lonny

Ever since my beloved Domino Magazine folded (R.I.P), I have been looking for a great decorating magazine that was accessible for the everyday person. Well I think I may have found it, if only in a modified form.

Lonny Magazine is an online magazine and website with great decorating tips and tools. (Although now you can order a print copy too but it's $$$$) You can actually virtually flip through the pages of the magazine online or just browse around the site.

There will never be another Domino, but Lonny is a great substitute.

Goodbye old friend. :(

Monday, September 13, 2010

stand up...

part two of my weekend furniture revamp included the TV stand for our bedroom. The TV still isn't hooked up but at least the stand looks good now. It started out as your standard cherry finish from Target...

and now it's a nice glossy black.

I didn't paint the inside that is covered by the doors since it's usually full of sheets and pillow cases and rarely seen. And I didn't change the hardware since it was a simple brushed nickel that went with everything else. 

I really like the outcome, but now seeing the photos, I realize there are a few touch-ups I need to do on the doors. Overall, a great addition to the room and really pulls the whole thing together. 

It looks so good, I think it calls for an attempt to hook up the TV finally! 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

follow me...

if you like what you see on "My Life By Design" don't forget to FOLLOW ME using the tools in the side bar on the right of my page that look like this:

 I know people are reading, so why not start following. You can get updates in your email!

Monday, September 6, 2010

oh what a night...

Labor Day turned out to be quite a weekend for projects. In the coming week, you'll see a few things I have redone in the bedroom, bath and some new kitchen decor. I know I said I found my true love last post, but I really, truly found my true love two years ago and this weekend we embarked on our greatest project to date... we got engaged!!

I am lucky enough to have the sweetest, most caring boy in the world want to marry me. His proposal was thoughtful, sweet and amazing. I am on cloud nine.

Needless to say, the weekend got off to a great start. So on Sunday, I was inspired to take on some projects in our house I had been putting off. The bedroom is a mish-mosh of different colored wood furniture, so I wanted to give it a cohesive look. 

I took on the nightstand first. 

This $20 craigslist find has amazing detailing. I removed the hardware, sanded and got to priming. My new best friend Marcus at Home Depot tinted the primer to a grey for me to make it easier to paint black. Marcus saved me a ton of recoating time.

After a few coats of semi-gloss black and coat of spray lacquer to protect and give it shine, my nightstand has a new look. 

Excuse the lack of a bedskirt, the bedroom is a work in progress. 

The handles were a tarnished brass. I haven't gotten new hardware yet, so I took out the aluminum colored Krylon paint and gave them a few coats. Not the final look I want, but a good compromise for the moment. 

The nightstand and its companion piece (which you'll see later this week) really make the room feel more streamlined and less cluttered. 

A fresh new bedroom sanctuary - a great way to start off our engagement! 

Hope you all had a great weekend too. :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

when it's meant to be, it's meant to be...

let me take you back to last Friday's post and my wish list of items for Saturday's vintage market.

"5. This FABULOUS purse I saw there last time. I believe in fate and if the vendor still has it, it is mine. Oh yes, it will be mine."

well, fate was on my side last Saturday because this is now in my possession:

isn't she a beauty? the unique shape. the color. the texture. 
the soft leather...

look at that loop detail. love. 

I can't get enough of it. It was meant to be mine. 

so I didn't find anything on my list but the purse. don't judge. you can't help where love finds you. :)

PS: I also found a really cute, vintage step ladder/step stool combo but it's in the midst of some heavy cleaning. it will be unveiled soon. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

and the list goes on...

this weekend is the most exciting weekend of the month - the Randolph Street Market is back! It's going to be a gorgeous day, so my cousin and I are getting there early because I have a lot of needs (and wants) for my house:

1. A nice smaller wooden cabinet with two drawers for our main bathroom. Currently we are using a "lovely" plastic two drawer container from Target to hold towels, TP and other random toiletries. The aesthetic isn't cutting it.

2. A bunch of frames. Unfortunately, my mantel had a bit of a meltdown last weekend. As soon as it was up, it was quickly down again -- but not by my doing. I shut the door to go our and grab coffee to celebrate my design victory and CRASH!! I just knew. The door rattled the picture which crashed into everything on the mantel, including two jars of the scented oil reed diffusers. And of course, one landed right on my BFs nice camel colored dress shoes. He was a trooper about it. I on the other hand had a meltdown - I was just do darn mad that it was ruined.

So anyway, I took it as a sign that the mantle wasn't meant to be, and have a new idea for framing some lovely family photos we have. Stay tuned...

3. Vases. I want to put a cool vintage vase in our bedroom on the dresser and fill it with branches. The room needs more design but nothing too girl, I'm hoping this does the trick.

4. Vintage drawer pulls. I am painting a nightstand and TV stand in the next week or two and need new knobs or pulls for the drawers and doors. Fingers crossed I can find something cool.

5. This FABULOUS purse I saw there last time. I believe in fate and if the vendor still has it, it is mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

If you're in the Chicago area, hit up the Randolph Street Market -- it's fantastic -- and let me know what you find.