Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I love the start of a new year.  It seems like a new beginning, full of possibilities.  It is a time to reflect on the year that was and to set goals for the year that is to be.  I'll share my goals with you soon, but today I wanted to wish you all the best in 2012.  I hope that you achieve all that wish for and most of all that you and your family have a happy and healthy new year!

Here are a few quotes that are inspiring to me:

I saw this on my favorite food/recipe blog, Our Best Bites, and absolutely love this simple, yet powerful, sentiment:
“This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.” -Howard W. Hunter

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How did I get here?

I promise this will be the last post reflecting back on 2011!  But, as I sit here in my living room looking around, this space is totally different than it was one year ago.  Last year at this time, my home was maybe a "Tuscan" style.  Paintings of the Tuscan countryside, lots of dark iron, olive branch metal wall decor, reddish-maroon and gold accents, fake get the idea.

These are not my home, but similar in style.  In fact, both of these rooms are much prettier than mine was.

I don't have any pictures of my home decorated like this because I didn't really care about my home or how it looked.  I just bought whatever decor was readily available.  I thought we would only live in this house and this area for a few years.  This was not our "forever" house, so why should I waste time, money, and effort on decorating it?

In February 2011, we had our five-year anniversary of living in this home.  Around the same time, I stumbled upon some design and decorating blogs and was hooked.  I started to realize that my home is a VERY important spot.  It is the place where my family is together and should be a place that is comfortable and relects us.  In other words, it should be a place where we enjoy spending time and not be treated as a mere stop-on-the-road to something bigger and better.

I knew I wanted my home to be brighter and lighter.  So I made my first of many trips to the good old home improvement stores and picked up a can of turquoise spray paint.  I painted some dark brownish-black candlesticks that I had for years.  The transformation provided instant gratification.  What else could I spray paint?

Everything that was not "me," I either sold, donated, or repurposed.  I tried to get rid of a lot of clutter.  The tops of my kitchen cabinets were the resting place for all kinds of dusty old decor.  That all was removed.  I had a huge, dark Tuscan countryside painting over my piano in a fussy carved wood frame.  I brought that to a consignment store and replaced it with a gallery wall of images that represent our family.  I also picked up a huge lamp at Goodwill that I spray painted white to bring more light to this dark area.

Next, I started browsing fabric websites and fell in love with this fun print from Robert Allen.  It replaced an old, gold-tasseled, maroon and bronze valance.  I had never really sewed anything in my life, but I made this valance.  While it's not perfect, it's so much better than what was there.

While a new couch was not in the budget, I was able to buy more fun fabrics to add pops of color to our dingy old olive-colored sectional.
I actually purchased the pillow in front.

I was getting braver with my cans of spray paint and decided to move on from painting picture frames, candlesticks and lamps to larger pieces of furniture.  I also tried my hand at reupholstering these antique chairs that we had owned for years.

Around this time (May 2011), I decided to start my own blog.  I had received so much inspiration from other blogs, I wanted to be a part of the blog community.  If a non-creative, average mom like me could take on redecorating her house one DIY project at a time, anyone could do it!  Other bloggers were so supportive and I got more confident in the projects I tackled.  I hope that I motivated or inspired at least one reader along the way too.

Our biggest investment was ripping out disgusting old carpeting and having it replaced with wood.  I'm so happy we did this.  Three out of five family members have allergies and getting rid of the carpet has made such a difference.  Wood floors were also something my husband and I really wanted and we had the money saved for the project, so we went for it.  I would not advise anyone to go into debt decorating!
That dog loves to be in pictures!

As the year went by, I started to hunt for more "treasures" at thrift stores and garage sales and got addicted to making over furniture, which I then would put in my house or sell on Craigslist.  I got more confident and tackled some other sewing, painting, tiling, and wall papering projects.  I don't think I would have done any of this had I not stumbled into the blog world.  Blogs gave me inspiration as well as confidence to try new things.  There is no right or wrong way to decorate.  I learned to make a space special by using items I actually liked or that had meaning.

I think my blogging journey over the past 8 months has been very rewarding.  I've created a nice space for my family and I know that I can always change things if I want to.  I've realized that I can create a space I like on a budget and through DIY projects.  My home does not need to be a mirror image of the latest Pottery Barn catalog for me to be happy.  In addition, I think my daughters have also enjoyed painting, sanding, and whatever else they can get their hands on!

Blogging is a great exercise in reflection.  It forces me to sit down at my computer, and think and write about my life rather than just rushing through it trying to get everything done.

Thanks for sticking around for all of my self-reflection and ramblings!  I'm looking forward to what 2012 brings for all of us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Open House Party

It's time for another House Party.  For this week's party, I would like to do something a little different.  Feel free to link up a post that best represents you and your blog.  It can be a favorite post or project from the past year, it can be something new, or it can be an introduction.  Whatever you like!  I'm hoping that we are able to meet some new bloggers and find some fresh inspiration for the upcoming year.

If you are interested in my most popular posts of 2011, click here.  For a round-up of some of my favorite projects from 2011, click here.

Before we get started, I wanted to share a few features from last week's party.  First up is Katie from Craptastic with her knock-off Anthropologie apron.  She gave these aprons as Christmas gifts.  I would have loved to have had one of these under my tree.

Lisa at A Room With a View created these pretty Christmas canvases out of wrapping paper and artist's canvases.  She provides a helpful tutorial as well.  Pin these for inspiration for next Christmas or you could do something similar with non-holiday themed wrapping paper for use year round.  If you create something similar, I would love to see it and I'm sure Lisa would to.

Saved by Suzy
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Saved by Suzy"><img src="" alt="Saved by Suzy" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

•Link up a post that best represents you and your blog. Favorite posts and projects from the past year are great as well as new posts.

•Please provide a link back to my blog. A text link is fine, or feel free to grab my "Saved by Suzy" party button from the sidebar. The more people that know about the party and participate the better for all of us.

•Be sure to share the love and leave comments for others.   I'm hoping we can all meet some new blog friends!

•That's it.

Favorite Posts of 2011

Yesterday I posted my most popular posts of the year.  Today I'm sharing my five favorite projects.

In no particular order...

#1 Black painted French doors
A simple coat of paint had a big impact. And led to a revamp of the dinng room.

#2 Painting the Piano (and the gallery wall)
I thought about painting this old piano for a long time.  I finally tackled it and I'm glad I did.

#3 Chevron Chairs
This was my first post ever!

#4 Bathroom Makeover
Paint, tile, trim, wallpaper.  Oh my!
#5 Striped Hallway
A lot of the projects I did this year for my kids, including new desks, chairs, a new dresser and curtains.  I asked what their favorite new project was and they said they liked their striped hallway with their artwork the best.  So here it is:
Thanks for coming along on this journey down memory lane with me!  Don't forget about the link party tomorrow.

Linked here:
Southern Hospitality

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kids' Bathroom Reveal

I revealed this bathroom earlier in the year over at Bird and Branch Redesign.  It's one of my favorite projects of the year, so I wanted to post it here too.  Just skip over this post if you've already seen it. :)

I'm almost finished with my kids' bathroom makeover.  This was such a fun project to do because I did 90% of it all by myself.  My husband cut one board and moved the toilet, but I painted, tiled, wallpapered and added trim.  It was my first time tackling a project of this size, but I'm happy with the results.

Here's what I started out with:

 I started by tiling a frame around the mirror.  Here's a tutorial on how I did it.  Once the mirror was completed, I wasn't satisfied with the rest of the bathroom.

I painted the walls Dolphin by Martha Stewart.  It is a soft gray color.

Next, I added paintable beadboard wallpaper to the bottom halves of the wall.  I finished this by adding some trim and painting both the trim and wallpaper and trim Behr's Decorator White.

Next, I painted the vanity Cement by Martha Stewart.  I also added some knobs from Hobby Lobby.
 I think I will have to add some knobs to the drawers too.

I finished the room off by adding some accessories I found around the house, including the "Hello Gorgeous" print I won from Nutmegaroo Studios.



Here's the cost breakdown for all of you numbers people:

Paint $50
Beadboard Wallpaper $20
Trim $10
Knobs $4
Shower curtain, art, accessories - already owned = FREE

Total $84

Remember to join my link party on Thursday!  Hope to see you then.

Top Posts of 2011 and Link Party Announcement

As you know, I hold a link party every Thursday.  People usually link up projects they have been working on.  However, I doubt many of us have been creating anything new this week.  If you have, kudos to you!  So for this week's party, I would like it to be a holiday open house where we are able to meet some new bloggers.  Link up your favorite post from the year; write a new post introducing yourself; share your most popular post; etc.  Feel free to link something that best represents you and your blog.    It doesn't have to be a project! But, if you have a new project, feel free to link that too.  I'm looking forward to this party on Thursday.

I like this time of year.  The Christmas madness has passed and now I'm able to relax and reflect on the past year.  I'm also enjoying spending time at home with my family and not having to be anywhere or do anything that we don't want to do.  Such a nice change from the normally frantic pace of life.

I wanted to share my three most popular posts from the past year with you.

#3:  Coffee Table Makeover
This was my personal favorite as well.  This table is still in my family room and it just gets better with age and the more beaten-up it gets.  Love it.

#2 Buffet Makeover
This $10 buffet makeover was one of my first projects.  I like the gold greek key detail, which was my husband's idea.

This post was the most popular by a landslide.  Unfortunately, I don't think the content is what attracted viewers.  The post was titled "How to Strip," and I think this might have caught the eye of some "unseemly sorts."  Readers might have been looking for a different sort of not involving wood and various chemicals!

I hope many of you are enjoying some relaxation and quiet time this week!  Remember to stop by on Thursday to join the link party and to get to know some new bloggers!

Linked here:
Home Stories of A to Z

Monday, December 26, 2011

Society 6 Art feels a little strange to write a post NOT about the holidays!  I found a new-to-me source for art called Society 6.  Artists apply to become a member of Society 6 and to sell their art through Society 6's website.  Thousands of artists around the world sell through Society 6.  This means that Society 6 has a huge range of art in all kinds of styles.  The artwork on the website can also be made into i-Phone covers, t-shirts, etc. 

There are literally thousands of prints, so it can be a bit time consuming to browse the site.  But once I found prints that I liked, the website showed me similar pieces and works by the same artist.

Here are a few that I liked:

I really like this ikat print as a phone cover.

Have you heard of Society 6 or ordered from them?

This was not a sponsored post.  I think Society 6 is a cool website and wanted to share it with you.  I'm also curious to know if I am the last person to know about Studio 6?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  I have enjoyed getting to know so many of you in the last few months!  I am so grateful for all of your support and sweet comments.  Wishing you a holiday filled with peace, joy, and love!

Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest