30 June 2014

A Sponsor Thanks!

 I want to end the month with a great big "Thanks Guys!!" to the sponsors who help keep this blog and it's projects going! 

DecoraUSA is a fantastic source for everything from lighting, furniture, rugs, pillows, decor, etc...oh and they carry most of that stuff for both indoors and out. They have gorgeous products. 

Be sure to check them out- www.decorausa.com 

27 June 2014

Cleaning Quick Tip: How I Clean My Microwave

 My post yesterday about cleaning brass with lemon juice reminded me that I've never shared what else I love to do with citrus juice: clean my microwave. 

I prefer to use a fresh lemon or orange if I haven't got lemons. I slice it in half, and either wrap it in a wet paper towel or put it in a bowl of water (both give pretty similar results.) Then I microwave it for 3-4 minutes and then let it sit for another 1-2. The microwave gets really steamy and then I'm able to wipe it out with a cloth and it easily lifts away any food that may have been stuck inside. And the microwave is left smelling super good because of the citrus. 

If I don't have any fresh citrus I just pour a small amount of lemon juice into a bowl and microwave it. It does the same thing, filling the microwave with steam that makes it easy to wipe clean, and leaving behind a super fresh lemony scent. 

btw...I'm over at Decorausa's Idea Corner with a post about vintage looking lighting and why it's so appealing. Check it out and have a great weekend!

26 June 2014

How I Cleaned Heavily Tarnished Brass Knobs

 I'm back with a sideboard update: it's finally finished!! It took forever and a freaking day to get that thing painted, mostly because of the state that it was in before I got started. I had to do way more cleaning, prepping, and painting than I ever have on a piece of furniture. 

One thing I had to do was clean up the drawer and door knobs. I really wanted to keep the originals- I'm 99.99% positive that they are solid brass. 
But they were a mess- in all the years we had this in our house growing up, I actually had no idea these were even gold colored. 

Here they are on the sideboard before I took them off: 

And here is a close up of one of them just before I started trying to clean it:

I started out by trying to clean them with silver polish (don't have brass polish and wanted to use what I had on hand) and tweeted a picture yesterday of this same one after I'd sat polishing it for like a half hour. There were several bright patches of brass showing though but I still couldn't make a dent in most of the tarnish. 

I then wised up and went to Google, where I read several tips about using lemons and salt. 
I don't have any lemons and didn't want to make a trip to the store so instead I used lemon juice. 
I poured some in a bowl and heated it up in the microwave till it was hot, and then sprinkled a bunch of salt inside. Then I'd let two or three knobs soak in the juice while I took them out one by one and scrubbed them with a toothbrush and more salt. It was sooo much easier than the metal polish had been, and even before scrubbing them I could see them brightening up in the lemon juice. 

After getting most of the tarnish off I rinsed them in warm water, dried them really well and then did a quick buff with the silver polish to really brighten them up. 

Be careful though if you try this cleaning method to make sure that your brass is solid- if it's plated then the lemon juice and salt could ruin the finish. To test your brass to find out if it's solid, see if a magnet sticks to it. If it does, it's most likely plated. If it doesn't stick, it's more likely that it's solid. You can further test it at that point by using something sharp to scratch a spot on a hidden area of the object- if the scratched area still looks golden, then it's even more likely that the brass is solid. 

Here's how the sideboard's knobs look now, with just enough shine to look glamorous and just enough patina to show the history behind the furniture they're on. 

I'm so happy I was able to reuse them.

I'll have photos of the finished sideboard up soon!

23 June 2014

Kitchen Island Idea

I really like the island in this kitchen featured on House Beautiful today:  

It makes me think of the island we got at Ikea for our last house's kitchen. 

A slab of marble for the top instead of the butcher block would have made that a really nice Ikea hack! 

18 June 2014

Fabric Shopping

 I'm craving some more pattern & color in here, which has me shopping around for fabric lately. And when I say "around" I mean 99% at Spoonflower. I'm obsessed with that site. They've got more fabric than you can possibly see in one lifetime and it's all super cheap. You can see some projects I've done using their fabric here (a bench), here (a bench again), here (a fabric pin board), and here (a pillow). 

Here's what's catching my eye these days. 

Obviously I'm feeling tribal. 
Decisions decisions. 

16 June 2014

Framed Seashell Collection

My 9 year old and I worked on a project today for Cub Scouts and the happy bi-product of our accomplishing it (besides the fact that he's one step closer to finishing the requirements for his Wolf badge, and the mother-son time) was that it is now looking fantastic in the living room. 

My son had to have a collection of at least 10 things like rocks, leaves, stamps, etc and then display them in an orderly way. He chose seashells because we already have lots of them that we've collected from beach trips. He picked out his favorites and we laid them out in a frame and hot glued them into five rows of four. 

The frame had already been on the wall with something else in it so I just took out the photo that had been in here and took the glass out of the frame since the shells won't fit behind it. 

It's nice to get some bonus art work out of bonding time with one of my kids! :) 

13 June 2014

Table Top Styling Ideas

 It's what I'm talking about at DecoraUSA's Idea Corner today. 

Check out my must-haves for three different table top zones in a home. 
And have a great weekend! 

12 June 2014

Sideboard Quick Pic

 Progress on the sideboard is slow-going...even though I've done a lot so far. 
It's just taking a whole lot of paint and time to cover this thing's sins. 

Obviously this picture is from behind, so the very back isn't getting any more paint. But the sides, legs and top aren't as well covered as they look in this photo. They still need at least two more coats, plus sanding and multiple coats of sealer. This piece of furniture is taking a lot longer than anything else I've ever done, mostly because it started out as such a mess

I'm anxious to have this done but only being able to work on it during my kids' nap times means it probably won't be done till sometime next week. 

09 June 2014

Obsessing: Acrylic Curtain Rods!

 I know it's a total cliche to say, but seriously, WHERE have these been all my life?? 
I am suddenly seeing them all over the place and now I'm feeling like I'll never be satisfied with another curtain rod again. 
The acrylic rods in this room by Shea McGee Design have me swooning. {Actually the whole room does, so you must check out the rest of the photos!} 

Too bad acrylic rods like these are quite a bit pricier than the cheapo rods I usually buy. But when something looks this classy I think it's worth the extra money if you've got it.

Sadly I don't though, which is why I am giddy about the tutorial I just found for DIYing these!

These gorgeous rods were made by Grace of A Storied Style. She actually has two posts about making your own acrylic drapery rods- one has the tutorial for the rods that she made for her living room back in 2012 {HERE}, and then the other post has the tutorial for the acrylic drapery rods with DIY drapery hanging hardware that she made for some outdoor curtains last year {HERE}.

It kills me that I can't do this now. The house we're renting already has it's own curtain rods all over the place, and even though I've been fine with switching out a few light fixtures, swapping out curtain rods and then having to store all the old ones so we can put them back up when we move all seems like a little too much work to me. So I'm waiting on this one. But I've got these posts pinned and I've already made a blood pact with myself to make these one day. 

05 June 2014

What I've Got My Eye On...

I know this store sometimes gets the reputation of being only for hipsters and college students, but I happen to love it. Yeah there's a lot of Wanderlust but once you look past that there's some legitimately good stuff. Here's what caught my eye last time I cruised: 

{Cheap way to frame some agates!}

04 June 2014

Sideboard & Phone Updates

First let's talk about my phone- it works again {yay!!} and other than a few tiny bright spots at the edges of the screen is totally back to normal.  I'm so freaking relieved. If you missed the post where I talked about the idiotic way I screwed up my phone, I'll recap it for you: I somehow unthinkingly set it into the kitchen sink, stacked a bunch of dishes on top of it, and then washed those dishes while my phone sat at the bottom of the sink getting soaked. It spent the next two days in a bag of rice while I had nightmares about having to down grade to a flip phone. When I took it out of the rice it turned on for several seconds but there was obvious signs of water under the screen and it shut itself off pretty quickly. Not a great sign. My husband read somewhere that Damp Rid can get the moisture out of the phone much faster than rice so we switched it over into a ziplock of that and left it for another two days. I'm not going to recommend it because it says right on the bag of Damp Rid not to let it come into contact with metal, but the phone is working great so I'm glad we tried it. And from now on I'll be checking my sink for phones before I start washing the dishes. 

I made some headway on the sideboard, although it's not super obvious from the pictures:

Here it is before I had touched it:

And here's how it's looking now after I emptied out all the old papers/trash, went over the entire thing inside and out with a shop vac, power sanded every surface inside and out, shop vac'd the whole thing again, and then wiped it all down with vinegar to help rid it of the super musty smell it had. 

I said in my first post about it that it was in disgusting shape but I didn't realize just how disgusting till I started getting down and dirty with this thing. It was after removing the drawers and discovering dozens of fossilized cockroach eggs, along with some dried roach wings, that I began to entertain the idea of dropping this at the curb with a "free" sign. Un-airconditioned storage units in Florida are not kind to furniture, and this thing had been sitting in one for like 6 years. The smell alone was enough to make me start second-guessing having this in my house. And don't even get me started on the cob webs. Akk. 

Luckily between the shop vac and the power sander I was able to eliminate all signs of it's apparent stint as a cockroach condo, and the combination of the vinegar and the fresh air out on the porch have helped reduce the smell significantly. 

I know the before and afters in this post are pretty underwhelming, but trust, this sideboard has come quite a long way already! I can now touch it without feeling like I need to be wearing a haz-mat suit.

Before I begin painting I'm going to coat this whole thing inside and out with Kilz primer which will hopefully eliminate the rest of the musty smell. If it doesn't go away completely there is no way I'll want to keep this, so I'm really really hoping the Kilz will work. Cross your fingers for me!