Easy Spring Wreath Tutorial

Happy Friday, everyone!! We’re gearing up for another busy weekend with a Lenten Fish Fry at the church tonight and palm cross folding for Palm Sunday tomorrow morning. I thought I’d jump in here before the craziness begins and show you how I made the Spring wreaths on my front doors from this Spring Front Porch post last week. It was super easy and not too expensive. You can make one, too!

I already had one grapevine wreath from years ago in my possession. I visited Michaels with a 20% off my whole purchase coupon to find a similar wreath and some Spring looking flowers. I knew I was looking for white flowers. I learned nearly 17 years ago when I got married that you can get away with fewer flowers if you go with all white. Plus, I saw a lovely all white flower wreath on a friend’s front door back when I lived in Montgomery, Alabama, that I wanted to try and copy.

Here’s what I purchased:

1 Grapevine wreath at $4.99
4 bunches of Baby’s Breath at $1.99 each
8 bunches of White Lily at 2.99 each

Total: $36.87
Minus 20% ($7.37) off = $29.50

Cost per wreath: $14.75. The total would be slightly higher to copy since I already had one wreath. Although if you caught the flower stems on a 40% off sale and used a 40% off coupon on the wreath you could do even better!

To assemble the wreaths:

1. Lay out all of your supplies

spring wreath supplies

The grapevine wreaths have changed a little over the years. My old one was a little bit smaller but overall tighter and better quality. You can see the difference in this photo (the old one is on the left):

plain wreaths

I’m pretty sure the old one came from Michaels, too, about 20 years ago!

2. Snip all of the Baby’s Breath into single stems with wire cutters so you can spread them around the wreaths:

snipping baby's breath

3. Lay everything out on the wreaths the way you want it to look:

wreath supplies laid out on wreath - Copy

4. Stick the stems through the branches of the wreaths and tuck them in behind:

stems folded in

And that’s it! Super easy and quick with a beautiful result.

Double Spring wreaths

Spring wreath up close

Have a terrific weekend! I’m off to work on more of my to-do list so I have something to report to you on Monday. Nothing like a little accountability to get you moving!!

Project updates and this week’s stuff to do

I felt like last week was fairly productive overall. Here is the list I posted at the beginning of the week:

Finish the bench and decorate the front porch area (including a little yard work!)
Work more on the lanai furniture
Spring decorating!
Continue working on the kitchen
Make a Spring wreath (or two!) for the front doors
Finish painting the little crate with spray paint

Whoo hoo! Do you see all those things crossed out? I felt like I got a lot done, but I didn’t realize I almost finished my list. And tehcnically, I did do a little Spring decorating when I finished painting the little crate.

I completely finished the front porch. If you missed that post, you can find it here. I’m planning a separate post on the Spring wreaths and Spring decorating. Then there’s the lanai furniture. Man, it’s tough going. I’m not sure if it’ll even be finished before Summer arrives! I did start stripping off the old finish:

stripping lanai table

After stripping, I scrubbed it down with mineral spirits and then hosed it off. I need to strip in a few more spots and the underneath. I’m not sure what to do about between the slats because it’s hard to get to them. I’ve heard you can get small stripping brushes. I may need to look into that before I go any further. Or maybe it’s not even worth the effort because it will blend in when I stain it.

washing lanai table

lanai table stripped once and washed

Here’s the plan for this week:

  • Clean the rust off the iron parts of the lanai table and spray paint them
  • rusty iron grates

  • Spring decorating!
  • Paint one of the kitchen bar stools white with red dipped legs and a red stencil on the seat

kitchen bar stool before

  • Re-arrange the music room to have a more open feel
  • More yard work
  • Do something about the crazy ugly sink area on the lanai

awful outside sink

I think that’s probably enough! We’re getting ready for Easter with a Lenten fish fry at the church on Friday night and palm cross folding for Palm Sunday on Saturday morning. What are your plans for the week? Have you done any Spring decorating yet, or are you dragging your feet like me?

Spring front porch

I love decorating the front porch. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s such a small space that I’m not overwhelmed at the thought of pulling it together! Plus it feels so happy and inviting to me when I come home and see a pretty space.

The porch has been largely neglected since we moved to the Florida house. I did put out a Christmas wreath and a Valentine’s wreath, but that was it.

front porch before

The worst part was this dinky little rug in front of the big double front doors:

dinky rug

I didn’t do anything about the rug for a couple of different reasons. 1. I didn’t want to spend big bucks on a rug that was more to scale and 2. I really just didn’t know where to start or even what kind of color scheme I wanted.

The catalyst to the transformation was the white bench that I painted last week:

2 coats on the outside

And then Target had a sale on outdoor rugs. I managed to get this 4 x 5 navy blue and white chevron rug for around $12 (The rug was on a 20% off sale for $22 and I had a $10 gift card.) Hubby was a little surprised as I have stubbornly avoided chevron anything for a very long time. Maybe I have been brainwashed, because I well remember how I did not get the whole chevron craze. And to be honest, I went in Target looking for a yellow rug. But this navy blue chevron just called my name!

chevron rug

And when I paired it with the white bench, I knew I was onto something!

bench after

The next step was to add some flowers. I went to Lowes and decided on an already arranged bowl of annuals because, well, flowers are not really my thing. While I was there, I saw the cutest turquoise pillow with a navy blue bird on it. I knew it would be perfect with the rug and the almost turquoise color of the front doors. But it wasn’t on sale. And it was $13.98. So, of course, I didn’t buy it.

For the whole next week I thought about how cute that pillow would look on the bench. Finally, I justified buying it by giving my husband a haircut instead of sending him to the barber. The next chance I got I stopped in Lowes with the three little kids in tow. We searched all over the garden section but couldn’t find the turquoise pillow with the blue bird. We found green ones and we found red ones and even navy blue ones. The closest thing they had to the bird pillow was a turquoise one with a blue frog. I stood there staring at it thinking about how it still tied the colors together and how my husband loves and sort of collects frogs. I debated for as long as I was able given that a 9 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 year old were with me and wondering why on earth I kept standing there staring at a frog pillow!! Finally, I decided to buy it.

But sometimes I can have OCD tendencies. (Those of you who know me better not be laughing!) And I still thought the bird would be perfect even though the frog would do. Guess what my super sweet husband did. Yes, he did. He traipsed around to two additional Lowes until he found a turquoise pillow with a navy blue bird.

I’ll show you both in a minute. I found a yellow pillow on sale at Jo Ann that co-ordinated beautifully and threw together a couple of spring wreaths. (Tutorial for the wreaths to follow next week.)

spring wreaths

After much rambling, here is the spring porch:

Spring front porch 3

Spring front porch 2

A close up of the vignette with the white painted bench:

styled bench with bird

Now, what do you think? Frog or bird?


Styled bench with frog

frog pillow


styled bench with bird

bird pillow

Which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments!

It’s so much fun to get the house decked out for spring! Have you done any spring decorating at your house?

Porch before:

front porch before

Porch after:

Spring front porch 4

Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll be back on Monday with an update to this week’s plans and a new plan for the new week.

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Old bench made new

I finished painting the bench! It was very tedious work and, in the end, I cheated a little. Just as a reminder, here is how the bench began:

bench before

I wiped down the whole thing and then repaired one broken piece by gluing and clamping:

bench with piece missing

bench piece glued and clamped

Then I sanded forever! I used a sanding block for the top and sides and a folded piece of sandpaper (medium grit) for in between the slats. I even had a little helper for part of it!

Little helper

When I thought all the sanding was finished, I scrubbed it with soap and water and hosed it down. After it dried overnight, I realized I needed to do some more sanding – especially between the slats!

more sanding

It was slow going. And, of course, every time I went outside to work on it, little people went outside to play. One of the little people is quite adept at swinging herself and one of them… isn’t. Poor little guy. I had to stop multiple times to run over and give him a push.

swinging children

I know he’s going to figure out soon enough how to pump those little legs and won’t need a push from mom any more. I can’t deny him when he asks!

Finally, I started painting. I used some Behr paint in Moon Rise that I had on hand. (this is the same white paint I used on the desks here and here. I love this color!)

bench progress

The coverage wasn’t bad but it was nearly impossible to get between the slats on the top. I tried painting just half way down. Here’s how it looked with one coat of paint:

one coat down

And in between the slats:

hard to paint!

Two coats looked lovely from the outside:

2 coats on the outside

The underside…

not so much…

inside of bench

I must have complained a little cause hubby suggested I just go buy some spray paint. So I did. And spray poly, too. I didn’t want to paint poly on that bench with a brush!!

trusty spray paint

Ready to see it all finished?

bench after

I’m thrilled with the results! It was worth all the work. I’ve had a vision for this bench since we moved to this house. You can see a few sneak peaks in the after picture. Come back in a few days and I’ll show you the whole space. I’ve got a couple more things to pull together, and I can’t wait to show you. I get so excited when things fall into place! I’m sure the guy at Lowes today thought I was looney when I gushed about how perfect the colors on a certain throw pillow are for my space!

OK. Last thing. I’ve gotta do the before and after pics!!


bench before

And after…

bench after

Don’t forget to come back soon to see how I’m using the bench in the space! Have you found any great deals lately that you can makeover with a little paint? I’d love to hear about it!

Progress and this week’s plan

My intention when I posted my plans last week was to at least post some progress pictures by the end of the week. I did make some progress, but the week got away from me and I never got anything else posted. I thought I’d just combine last week’s progress with this week’s goals into one post.

Here’s last week’s plan:

  • Repair and paint old bench
  • Work on lanai furniture
  • Pull out Spring decor
  • Begin organizing the kitchen

The only thing I can really mark out is the kitchen organization. I did get started on it. In fact, I think I’ll mark it out right now to make myself feel like I did something!

  • Begin organizing the kitchen

There! That feels better!

I did work quite a bit on the old bench, even though I didn’t finish it. It was a mess when I started:

bench before

I’ll do a more detailed post on the bench when it’s finished. For now, I’ll show you a little progress I made:

bench progress

Hubby and the kids thought it looked cool just like this. I didn’t intend a two toned look when I started, though, and wasn’t careful to make clean lines with the white paint. Maybe on the next bench I can go two toned.

Next up were the cabinets which did see significant progress. The best part is that it didn’t take me long at all. There isn’t a ton in my kitchen that needs to be de-cluttered since I just moved 4 months ago. But there is plenty that needs to be organized. Here are the before and after shots (the first shot has a half emptied cabinet because I forgot to take a picture before I started):

cabinet 2 before

cabinet 2 after

kitchenaid cabinet before

cabinet 3 after

cabinet 1 before

cabinet 1 after

I didn’t pull out any spring decor. But spring decorating was on my mind. I started to paint this small crate I picked up ages ago from Michaels:

little crate

I used a sample of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Linen but the sample didn’t cover the whole crate. I’m still not sure whether I like milk paint or not. I definitely like that it doesn’t smell bad like latex paint. I’m still having a tough time getting the consistency right, though.

Not much at all got done on the lanai furniture. Dd5 wanted to sand something while I was working on the bench so I let her work on the little table:

Izzy sanding

Now for this week’s plans:

  • Finish the bench and decorate the front porch area (including a little yard work!)
  • Work more on the lanai furniture
  • Finish painting the little crate with spray paint
  • Spring decorating!
  • Continue working on the kitchen
  • Make a Spring wreath (or two!) for the front doors

I’ll report back hopefully by Friday!

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Plans for the week

You know that old saying, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”? I feel like that’s where I am with my project list. I stopped putting up plans for the week because I was consistently not getting them all done. Now? I’m getting nothing done. So I’m thinking it’s better to put up some sort of a plan and if I only accomplish some of it, it’s better than nothing at all!

With that said, here is the plan for this week:

I found this old bench at a yard sale in New York for $5.

yard sale bench

Since we moved to Florida, I’ve used it for extra seating in the kitchen nook. However, it’s just a bit too low for the kitchen table and some of the wood is not holding up well for daily use. Over the weekend, I cleaned and sanded and repaired. I’m hoping to paint it this week and use it in a different (not as busy) location. Painting this week, however, depends on the weather. So far it looks like rain, rain and more rain.

I’ve also been working on my lanai furniture.

old bench and table

I managed to unscrew the iron parts from the table and sand the wood. I hope to make some progress this week including cleaning the rust off the iron and spray painting it (again, weather permitting!). Sanding isn’t going to be enough to get the table ready, however. It needs to be completely stripped before I can refinish the wood.

On the decorating end of things, I’d like to pull out my Spring decor and play around with it. Easter is only a couple of weeks away!

For organization, I have finally had it with my lack of kitchen organization. We moved into the house just a week before Thanksgiving last year and the kitchen was literally thrown together. The drawers and cabinets are not organized and it’s simply wasting too much time. I can’t tackle everything in one week but I’m hoping to at least start organizing things for functionality.

Who knows what will actually happen. I may get off on some tangent and paint something not even on the list. Or it may rain all week and I’ll paint nothing. But at least I have some goals! What about you? Do you have to have a plan to get things accomplished or can you just wing it?

Slowly discovering my style

I remember a conversation I had with my mother in law years ago. We were sitting in the living room of a house my husband and I had owned for about five years. It was our first house purchase and while I was thrilled to own a home, I was completely intimidated by the thought of decorating it. My mother in law is a natural at decorating and I remember telling her that I’d never have a decorated home because I just had no idea what I even liked.

I never did decorate that home. I stayed paralyzed by the prospect until we moved and I became a renter again. And I discovered decor blogs. I think the blog that helped me the most was The Nester who promises that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I began to experiment a little. One of my first purchases was the pair of loud turquoise lamps that I use on my bedside tables. At first we used black shades with them but we quickly got tired of the color scheme. I liked the turquoise but the black didn’t fit.

old master in new york

I was really drawn to blogs featuring houses with soft colors like The Nester and Miss Mustard Seed but I also really loved the bright colors used by Young House Love. I seemed to be in style confusion. Pinterest helped some. I started a board called What’s My Decorating Style and just pinned whatever I liked. I finally started to see some patterns. I really was more drawn to whites and soft colors than I was to the brighter hues that I usually purchased. I also realized that I like vintage items but I like to pair them with more modern lines and colors, like I did in the master bedroom.

The last time you saw the master bedroom it looked like this:

Master with reveal bulbs after

I knew I wanted to change the color of the curtain rod and the sickly pink frame surrounding the Van Gogh print was driving my crazy. I loved the gold framed Van Gogh I saw in the House Beautiful magazine in January:

house beautiful pic

I debated and debated about colors. I considered spray painting the curtain rod gold and painting the frame gold. I mentioned this to hubby thinking it would work as I have a large wedding photo in a gold Baroque style frame that has always hung in the master bedroom (you can see it in the top picture of the old master). His answer surprised me. He said he never thought that frame was “me.” Huh. That gave me pause. I looked back at my Pinterest board at the many pictures with grays and whites and soft pastels and decided maybe silver would be better than gold.

I decided to go for it and bought a can of Valspar spray paint in brushed nickle. I didn’t want it to be too shiny. I wanted a softer silver tone. I gave the rod one coat of primer and two coats of spray paint. I love how it turned out:

curtain rod close up

little more curtain rod

I had no intention of risking taking that large slab of glass out of my picture frame, so I taped off the glass and painted the frame by hand with some silver acrylic paint I had on hand.

Van Gogh taped off

metallic paint

It took three coats to cover (luckily there was enough paint in that little tub for 3 coasts plus some left over!) but it didn’t take long before the frame looked so. much. better.

mb side view

When I got everything hung up, things started to come together and make sense. I realized my daffodil painting would look perfect hanging over my nightstand. And I was ready to let go of the loud turquoise lamp on that side. I grabbed my large white lamp with the gray shade from upstairs and stuck it on the nightstand. Perfect!! My mind started twirling with the possibilities. I ran to the closet and grabbed my furry gray throw pillow and a duvet cover someone gave me with soft turquoise and gray and brown tones to throw across the foot of the bed. Then I stepped back and breathed a big sigh of relief. Those turquoise lamps had been driving me crazy and I didn’t even realize it! The space feels so much more like me now. I made all the kids and the husband come look. I thought they’d be as awed as I was. I pretty much got a lot of “that’s nice Mom” comments.

Master bedroom 311

master bedroom little closer

side of the bed

While I was working on this little nook, I received an e-mail from One Kings Lane asking me if I’d like to check out their new Home Decor Resource Guide. If you are struggling to define your style, check it out. It is a terrific resource which includes a Home Decor Shopping Handbook and detailed descriptions with photos of furniture styles all through history. I could literally lose hours browsing around.

One article I found in the resource verifies that you do not have to be a professional to have a nicely decorated home. 9 Easy Ways to Add a Sense of Luxury to Any Room gives some beautiful, easy and even some free ways to upgrade your space.

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Frugal shoe organization

Frugal Shoe Storage Solution

It seems to take forever to get organized in a new home. Plus, once all of the initial expenses are taken care of, (you know, the part where you have to buy a new vacuum cleaner and mop and mop bucket and broom because you had to clean the old house before you walked out for the last time and then the cleaning tools wouldn’t fit in the mini van and you had to leave them on the curb. Tell me I’m not the only one that has had this happen!) you can’t justify spending money on say, a shoe rack for the closet.

I really don’t have a crazy amount of shoes. I’m a girl, though. I have more than two pair. And a very sweet friend gave me several nice pairs of shoes in the last few weeks and I really didn’t want them to wind up in “the pile.”

messy closet floor

I know. It’s embarrassing. I don’t really even want to look at the picture. Plus it doesn’t set the day off on the right note when you have to dig through a pile like that to find two matching shoes!! So let’s get on to the solution, shall we?

The first order of business was to go through all the shoes and get rid of the ones I didn’t wear or no longer needed. I managed to eliminate a whopping two pair of shoes. In my defense, I did just move four months ago and was ruthless about getting rid of excess back when I was packing up everything.

Shoe line up

Since I had decided against buying a traditional shoerack, I had to get creative. I had a couple of extra shelves for a bookcase that didn’t fit in the moving van (the movers put the shelves in early and didn’t realize until the end that the actual bookcase wouldn’t fit) and had the bright idea that I could use those for at least some of the shoes. I briefly contemplated using books on either ends of the shelves but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I love all my books! So I sent hubs and ds15 to Lowes for some cheap bricks.

stack of bricks

The bricks were 39 cents each so I spent a whopping $4.68 plus tax for my storage solution. I wish I could have gone higher and I suppose I can add that option in the future, but eventually I want a “real” shoe rack. For now, this is much better than a pile on the floor!

frugal shoe rack

I stuck a few pair on the upper shelf because I didn’t want them to get used for dress up.

shoes up top

One day I’ll find the perfect dresser to house my folded clothes, but for now the shelves plus the new shoe solution work. Have you come up with any creative organizing lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Home Tour: Little Boys’ Room

I have to go very slowly with my decorating using a limited budget. But it’s a good thing because I can really think through what I want to do for a space before I invest in it. The little boys’ room has been pretty basic since we moved in — beds and a dresser.

Here is the original space:

Little boys' room

Little boys' room 2

We added the basic furniture and some black out curtains and then pretty much left it for a couple of months. Here is how it looked right before the Christmas party:

Little boys' room Christmas

You see all those legos on the little dresser? Yeah. Ds3 can’t resist them any more now than he could when we had to hang the shelves on the wall in New York. Ds9 asked me to hang those same shelves in the new room, but I put it off. I hated to hang them because they never really provided enough storage space. One day I was wandering around Target (a very dangerous thing to do!) and saw this cubicle shelf on sale:

Cubicle shelf box

I came home and put it together right away. I was rather proud of myself. Usually I let things sit around for months before I do them. I put it together and ACTUALLY HUNG IT ON THE WALL! It helped tremendously with the Lego creation problem:

Lego shelf

He left the bigger Lego house on his dresser but later regretted it. It now lives in the top of his closet.

Lego shelf 2

While I was playing around in there, I decided to hang his picture gallery that he’d been asking me to do for at least a couple of months:

Picture wall

And I took down the light blocking curtains. I’m not sure what I’ll put there instead, but the green curtains were too heavy and made the room too dark. I think the space looks much lighter and happier without them.

Little boys' room

Little boys' room 2

One day our plan is to get two sets of bunks and put all the boys in one room. I’m not sure if that will happen in this rent house or on down the road. For now, this room is working out quite well for the little boys. Have you been tweaking any rooms lately?

Distressed bar stool and a crocheted throw pillow

Enter one short bar stool that was gifted to us by a friend dh and the boys helped move…

small bar stool before

It was fine as is. But I really needed to paint something. Plus, the little 2 drawer cube I had sitting beside my orange chair in my bedroom wasn’t working.

Orange rocker white cube

It was a little low for a side table and I thought it would work better for storage in the closet anyway.

Since I decided to use the bar stool as a side table in my bedroom, turquoise was the obvious choice for paint color. The only problem is that I’m getting a little weary with the turquoise and I’m leaning more towards softer colors. I’ve been trying to pin down my style for a long time, and I really think I lean towards a farmhouse or cottage style. I may do a separate post on that when I learn a little more about the different styles.

Now, I’m not ready to completely chuck the turquoise — just tone it down a bit. So I took a little sample pot of turquoise paint I had on hand (the same one I used to paint the sailboat art’s sail here) and added some white paint. I was surprised how much the white paint diluted the turquoise. I had to add quite a bit more turquoise back in and finally wound up with a color close to a robin’s egg blue.

Bar stool painted

I left it just like this for about a week because I wasn’t sure I wanted to distress it. No one in the house wanted me to distress it, but that wasn’t a good measure because I’m the only one that likes that look anyway. Finally, I decided it was too boring. I had read about using steel wool instead of sandpaper to distress and decided to give that a try.

Steel wool

The steel wool left a hint of charcoal color on the paint which fit in with the distressed look quite nicely, but it was taking WAY too long to get down to the wood.

Distressing with steel wool

I switched to 100 grit sandpaper and finished in no time.

Distressed stool top

I put one coat of antique glaze on the whole thing and called it done. I opted not to use poly because I didn’t want the finish to be too shiny. I’m still considering how to protect it but for now it’s enjoying it’s new home.

Orange rocker bar stool

Orange rocker bar stool closer

Bar stool distressing close up

You may have noticed that the throw pillow changed from the first picture of the orange rocker to the second one. About four days before Valentine’s Day I decided to make another pillow to go with my Valentine pillow collage. I felt like a little white pillow would go perfectly and when I saw this pattern on Pinterest, I jumped on it. I crocheted like crazy to finish it in time, but alas, I was a day late. I wasn’t about to let all that hard work go to waste so I decided to use the pillow in the bedroom — at least until next Valentine’s Day.

Crocodile pillow

The front is covered with crocodile stitches and the back is just double crochet.

Crocodile pillow back

It was a pretty easy and quick project although the crocodile stitches got a little annoying after a while.

Bedroom sitting area before:

Orange rocker white cube

Bedroom sitting area after:

Orange rocker bar stool

Now if I can just scrape up enough gumption to re-upholster that rocker!!

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