31 March 2011

Before & After Thursday

Today I'm featuring this Before & After done by Jess at Frugal with a Flourish. It's a mirror  that she turned into a cork board- love it! 
To read how she did it, plus get more great ideas for repurposing cheap mirrors check out her post 


Thanks for getting me inspired Jess!!



If you have a Before & After that you want me to share, email me at brookebundy02@gmail.com.


30 March 2011

A giveaway at Casa Greer

Elsa at Casa Greer is giving away a book that I've had my eye on lately- it was written by Laura from I'm an Organizing Junkie. The book is called Clutter Rehab, and although I haven't read it, I am addicted to Laura's blog, so I can only imagine what a treasure trove of organizing tips her book is. I'm actually writing this blog post just so I can be entered a second time into Elsa's drawing!
Go visit her site and enter to win! {My fingers are crossed that I'll beat you though!}

29 March 2011

Book page chain- inspired by West Elm

This weekend I was in West Elm just walking around, looking to get inspired. {Could anyone else LIVE in that store?? I could; I could just move my family right in and live there.} Anyway I passed by an over-turned basket that had what looked like a paper chain pouring out of it.
I don't think that it was actually made out of paper, but I didn't study it long enough to figure out what it was. I just snapped this quick picture with my phone.

I thought this would be cute to make with book pages so last night while my hubby and I were watching a movie I sat on the floor with an old book, scissors and a stapler and made a chain.
I felt a little bit like a five year old while I was making this thing, but it was actually kind of fun!








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giveaways

28 March 2011

Organizing toys

Toys aren't pretty. And most of us have way more of them than we would like. But no matter how many toys you have living at your house, you don't have to live with a play room that looks like this:

All it takes is some organizing {and yes, usually a good amount of daily nagging} and you can have a playroom that doesn't look like the site for the beginnings of world war III. 

I am a huge fan of cubbies. Instead of having all the toys thrown together into one big box, I like to keep things separated by type. With cubbies you can have small toys in bins and baskets inside some sections, and use others to store bigger things like books or games. I bought cubbies and colorful canvas bins from Target to store everything in. I chose tan and bright green bins so that they would look fun while still blending in a little with the rest of the house (our playroom is right next to our front door).

I spread out all the toys onto the floor (it actually looked a whole lot like the above picture- I think that's what those people were doing too!) and sorted everything by type.

The irritating part about sorting toys is that there are always those annoying ones that refuse to be categorized.
Seriously, what am I suppose to do with this???
If you said "throw it in the trash" you are absolutely right, but I can't because my son still plays with it. So for all of the random junk  toys that I didn't know what else to do with, I made a "misc toys" pile. Then I made sure that I had the right amount of bins for the piles that I had, and then every thing got put away. 
BUT what good is separating everything if you have no way of keeping it that way? Sometimes those bins get completely emptied and then how do you know what toys go where?? 
The bins have to be labeled.

The first way that I labeled my bins was probably the best way for kids, but it was one that didn't last long for me because I didn't love the way that it looked. I took a picture of a toy from each category, typed up the name of the category, (like "Cars") taped the name to the picture and attached the picture to the front of the bin. It worked really well; my son knew exactly where to find a type of toy he was looking for so he didn't have to empty every bin to find what he wanted, and he knew where to put things when it was time to clean up.

But the pictures looked too busy for me, so after a couple weeks they all got ripped off and I made cute little tags instead with just the toy names on them.
To make the tags I cut out the tag shape from a brown paper bag {I wanted brown and that's what I had on hand already}. I typed up my toy categories and then cut the words out into small strips. The white paper against the brown tags stood out too much so I made some coffee, dipped the strips of white paper into it to dye it, and then laid them out on wax paper to dry. We're not coffee drinkers at our house, so I had to make a special trip out to the store just to buy it. It was worth it though, because the aged-looking paper makes my tags so much cuter.
Once the word strips were dry I laid them on top of the brown tags inside of a laminating sheet, and ran them through the laminator so I wouldn't have to worry about them getting ripped. Then I punched a hole in the top of the tags and tied them onto the handles of the toys bins.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I added a quick stitched-looking detail to the top of the tag with a sharpie pen. Just gives it some extra cuteness.

If I was making these again I would have taped the white paper to the brown before laminating it- I had everything carefully lined up in the sheet but as soon as the laminator started pulling it through, some of my tags got kind of screwy. But it doesn't bother me enough to change it. 

Even though having the pictures made things so easy, I like the look of this a lot better. And my son still doesn't have a problem finding where things go- he just has to use his brain a little more now. But he's learning to read so I figured this is good for him. One of the bins got the label "misc toys" so I had to explain what "miscellaneous" means....so they are even helping him expand his vocabulary.

There are tons of ways to organize toys, but so far this one is my favorite.







Weekend Bloggy Reading

25 March 2011

You like?

A couple weeks ago when I first began my living room's face-lift and I was painting everything in sight, the pot on this plant was one of the things I painted. It had been a reddish-brown and I was tired of the color.

It got a new coat of paint...

...and a new home on the side table in the living room.

Even though it's just a plain potted plant, I've been feeling like it wasn't quite "done", like it had some more potential.

Then yesterday, when I was looking through everything that my son had brought home from school, I found this:
I thought it was cute and quirky-looking and I wanted to do something with it. So in a flash of inspiration I grabbed the plant and my Mod Podge and glued it on.



I like.

24 March 2011

Before & After Thursday: a new series

Yep, I'm starting something. A revolution. A national holiday.
Or, just a fun new series on my blog.
I'm declaring Thursdays as Before & After Thursday. It's the day I share your before and after's with the world. {{Or at least with my little band of followers}}

I'm starting us off with a cabinet transformation done by Miss Mustard Seed:
Before:

After:
She ignored the advice that good wood shouldn't be painted and followed her instincts, and ended up with two gorgeous pieces of furniture. Read about their transformation at 

(By the way, Miss Mustard Seed did not ask me to post her before and after. I was searching for someone to be my first feature and ran across this before & after on her blog that she happened to post today. I just got lucky!) 


Who isn't inspired by great Before and After photos??? Lets share the inspiration!

Email me with your best before and after photos and a link to the blog post where you showed how you did it. It can be an item or a room....or a whole house!  Just make sure it's something that YOU have transformed. Please don't send me someone else's work.

Start sending cause I wanna see 'em!

23 March 2011

Kids clothesline-style artwork display

I made this after my son started Kindergarten and began bringing home mountains of drawings, writings and paintings that he wanted hung up. I wanted a place in his bedroom to display everything, but I didn't want to spend the money on a bulletin board. So, I did this instead, and it cost me a little over a dollar.

What I used:
  • hemp cord
  • wooden embellishments
  • painted clothes pins
  • screws & a screw gun
  • hot glue


It was actually a fun project that my son and I did together. I got a bunch of clothes pins and we painted them all with different colors and designs. I didn't tell him what we were going to use them for so while he was painting them he kept excitedly speculating how we'd be using them. 

I put four screws on opposite walls in the bedroom, two on each wall. I used a tape measure to make sure I was about equal distance from the ceiling on each side. When I first put the screws in, I left them about a half inch out of the wall so I would have room to tie the hemp cord to them. Once I had each side tied around the end of the screws, I finished tightening them with the screw gun to pull the lines tight and hold them firmly in place. 

I wanted to hide the ugly knots and screws, so I used a hot glue gun to glue pre-painted, wooden embellishments that I'd bought at Michaels directly to the end of the screws. (Those were the only things I had to buy for this project- everything else I already had. Don't you love projects like that?!)
 I used the clothes pins to hang up my son's artwork, brought him into the room with my hand over his eyes, then uncovered his face and yelled "Ta-Da!!!" He loved it. 

I love it too because now I don't have to fight to spare his feelings by trying to steer him away from taping a "masterpiece" to a door or a wall. He loves having everything hung from here. Plus it's easy for me to sneak in on a regular basis and throw some things away when artwork starts to accumulate. 





22 March 2011

I'm on the hunt...

...for replacements for these:


They are nice tables, but they just look out of place after our living room's little make-over.  The two styles are not meshing well.

So, I am searching.....

I really like this side table from Ethan Allen...but at $569 it's just a tad out of my price range....minus about $500 though and this would be perfect!



I'm also really liking these "tango bunching coffee tables", also from Ethan Allen.

Jessie from Mix and Chic took this picture the other day of a side table and I absolutely love it. It's from a store called Chiasso, which unfortunately we don't have around here. 
Target has some round tables sort of like this only in a more traditional style; plus they're painted black. But maybe I could get one and spray paint it silver to get a little bit of this look. 



This end table from West Elm is so cool! I'm wondering if I could do something like this with a stool and some spray paint....or tin foil?? hmmmm......
West Elm


I had thought about making a tray table with my mirrored tray that I got from Target...but with three small children I think that a heavy glass tray on thin, wobbly legs is a disaster waiting to happen. 
This table from cb2 looks nice and light though. 
cb2

The hunt continues....
I am noticing in my search a slightly disturbing trend in the tables that I'm gravitating towards....a lot of them have glass tops. Glass is absolutely gorgeous, and takes up no visible space so it would make it look a lot airier in our living room. But I've had a rule for myself that we would have no glass tables in our house while we had small kids. The finger prints would drive me up a wall. I feel like I would be living with a bottle of windex in my hand. But ohhhhhhhh glass tables are sooo pretty!!! I feel like I'm being yanked in two different directions. 
We'll see which side wins...

21 March 2011

Silhouettes

Decorating with silhouettes is very popular; they are all over design blogs. It's one of those trends that is nice to follow because it's such a classic, so you don't have to worry that it's going to be completely OUT in a year or so.

Here is one I made:
I only wanted a small one to fit in a 5 x 7 inch frame, so mine was really quick to make. After searching in vain through all the pictures of my oldest son, I realized that perfect profile shots don't just happen. So I stood him in front of an empty wall and snapped a picture of him from the side. Then I printed it out onto regular printer paper and cut it out. (I angled the neckline when I cut it.) I used a glue stick to very lightly glue the cut-out to black construction paper and then cut it out again. I chose scrapbook paper that I already had and used the glue stick to glue it down. I like the way the black writing looks with the black silhouette. (The writing says "I love you" if you can't tell.) It has that classic, vintagey look that silhouettes have anyway. 

Here are some my friend made:
My friend Leah from The Dog's a boy, too! made these adorable silhouettes of three of her boys. (Now that she's got a fourth she's going to have to do this again!)


To make these she first took a picture of each of her boys in front of a window so that she could get a detailed profile. She took her pictures the same distance from each kid so that the sizing for each picture would be the same. 
Next she imported each picture onto a word program so that she could enlarge them (again keeping sizing the same for each one.) She cut out the pictures with an exacto knife and was careful to keep them as detailed as possible.

She traced the picture onto black card stock (since she was making multiples she made sure to keep them facing in the same direction) and cut it out again using the exacto knife. 

Then she mounted her pictures onto simple paper so that the silhouettes would really stand out. 
I love how detailed hers are. Being able to see the hair on these boys is so cute! My son's head was shaved when I made mine, so his silhouette looks bald.

Want more silhouette ideas?









20 March 2011

Easy to make decorative books

I came across this tutorial by Jennifer at Rustic Renditions and I'm so excited to try it because I love decorating with books and this looks super easy. The best part?? She only spent $2.00 on this project! I'm all for pretty AND cheap!

18 March 2011

My Living Room: the big reveal!!

You know the immeasurable joy and delight that you feel when a plan comes together perfectly? When the details that you were envisioning in your head are actually able to be translated into reality??? Well I'm feeling that delight today. My living room is done. And it. looks. AWESOME. No, miracles were not performed. Mountains were not moved. Just a simple face-lift achieved through some paint and new fabric.
But I think that's what's so exciting about it. I didn't have to do anything drastic; just some touch-ups on things that I already owned, and I was able to give my living room a whole new look.
{{I keep saying "I", as if I did it all alone- I actually had a ton of help from my husband! Thanks baby!!!}}

If you've been following along, then you know that we started painting the tv cabinet and the shelves next to it over a week ago.

Here is our way-too-brown living room
Before:




After:










Aaahhhh I'm seriously so in love!!! After we got everything put back in the room I sat on the couch for 10 minutes just looking around and chanting about what a genius I am. Rob sat next to me rolling his eyes but admitted that I am, in fact, a genius.

Most of what's in here I already had- I just rearranged my accessories and spray painted a few things to give them a different look. One thing that is new though is the mirrored tray on the coffee table.


I'd been saving a Target gift card since Christmas because I was waiting for the perfect thing to spend it on. I saw this tray for $40.00 a couple weeks ago and I knew I'd found what I'd been waiting for. 

I am so excited about how the tv cabinet came out. Some paint and new knobs made it look like a different piece of furniture.


When we painted the cabinet and shelves, we decided to use oil-based paint. Here's a big tip that we learned the hard way: thin out the paint with mineral spirits. When we first got started we added a very small amount of Penetrol. All over the paint can it says not to thin it so we were afraid to do too much to it. But oil-based paint is a pain to work with straight out of the can. It's thick and doesn't spread well at all. We were using a sprayer which ended up being great because it cut our paint time in half, but at first it was frustrating because the paint was too thick and kept clogging the sprayer. When we'd try to smooth out uneven spots with a paint brush, the paint wouldn't spread and would just end up looking like a rippled, wavy mess from our brush strokes. Our cabinet looked so bad after the first coat that we had to strip all the paint and primer off and start over. We were thinking about just throwing away all the paint that we'd bought and getting an acrylic paint instead. But then we read online about thinning out oil-based paint with mineral spirits so we decided to give it a try. It worked great; the sprayer didn't clog and we were able to spread it with our brushes. 


The paint color that we used is called "Woodrow Wilson Presidential White" by Valspar. (It's part of their "Historic Preservation" line.) I love it. It is the perfect creamy white that I was picturing in my head. And it goes great with my new zebra-printed pillow covers.

I also love the way the zebra print looks with the splashes of silver that I added around. They both just add a little bit of fabulousness, don't they?



I have to admit though that this room isn't totally done yet.... I've been planning on getting a new coffee and end table because I'm tired of the look of these two. Plus I think this room needs some relief from all the rectangles so I want to get a round coffee table. I've been looking around, but haven't been in much of a hurry until I got everything back in the room today and realized that now with the room's new face-lift, these tables just look SO out of place in here.


Yikes. It does NOT look good. I'll be listing these babies on Craigslist pronto. 

But in the meantime, I am pretty thrilled with how my living room turned out!! I'm going to go sit on my couch now and enjoy it. I think I could even keep the tv off tonight and just spend the next few hours looking around. {sigh} Love it!!!







Weekend Bloggy Reading
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Centsational Girl's Paint Project Link Party