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spring wreaths

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.

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

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:

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!

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

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:

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

Now, what do you think? Frog or bird?

  • FROG
  • BIRD

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?



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.

old master in new york

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:

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.

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.

master bedroom little closer

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 bed room

mb side view

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 Roomgives some beautiful, easy and even some free ways to upgrade your space.

Orange rocker white cube

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


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.

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.

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 white cube

Orange rocker bar stool closer

Bar stool distressing close up1

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!!

Valentine tablescape

Valentine tablescape

I love Valentine’s Day. I used to tell people that it was my very favorite holiday. It seemed a little inappropriate for a priest’s wife to have Valentine’s Day as her *favorite* holiday, so I stopped announcing it.

Since I’ve had kids, Valentine’s Day has been more about the food than the decor. You know, making sure they have heart shaped blueberry muffins for breakfast and heart shaped cupcakes for dessert that night. Maybe if I’m feeling extra spunky I’ll use the heart cookie cutter to make festive sandwiches for lunch. Or maybe dd11 will do it…

Now that I’m a home blogger, the holiday is about the decor, too.  I had some fun last year in the school room…

Valentines 2013

And I even got back in to sewing a little bit with an elaborate burlap and felt heart pillow inspired by a post I saw on Tatertots and Jello.

Here is what I’ve done in the new house:

I must have searched through 20 boxes in the garage looking for that Valentine burlap pillow cover I made last year. I found it in the painted trunk which is right where I wanted to display it. {sigh} One pillow alone on the trunk looked kinda sad so I took some fabric I picked up at Michaels at Christmastime and wrapped it around a pillow form as suggested in this tutorial. I’m working on a white crocheted pillow cover to add to the scene, but I used dd5’s giant Valentine teddy bear named “Beary” to round things out for now.

Valentine pillows

I gathered things from around the house to set up this vignette on the antique desk in the entryway. (My very sweet hubby brought the flowers home for no special reason.)

valentine foyer close up

valentine foyer vignette

valentine roses on antique desk

The heart form hanging on the mirror belongs to my oldest daughter. She graciously allowed me to use it to complete the little Valentine moment. The candlesticks and birds I’ve had hanging around for a while and the pink doilie I crocheted close to 20 years ago! {gulp! TWENTY years ago?!?! Really!?!?!}

Remember the burlap wreath I made for fall with the apples? I removed all the apples and replaced them with hearts from Dollar Tree. I spent $4 on flower bunches that had styrofoam hearts included.

I’m thinking this burlap wreath is going to be quite useful in the months ahead. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Shamrocks, Easter eggs, American flags…

valentine wreath supplies

I pulled the styrofoam hearts out of the plastic flower bouquets and attached them to the wreath. Dh thinks it looks too sparse. I agree with him but don’t want to trek all the way to Michaels or spend any more money on Valentine decor, so we’re going minimalist on the Valentine burlap wreath this year. Maybe next year I’ll beef it up with some red bead garland or a big red bow. Here’s how it looks for now:

valentine burlap wreath

I rarely ever do themed tablescapes because it takes me forever to place everything just right. When I was digging around in the garage for the pillow cover, I ran across a box of table linens. When I saw white and red tablecloths, I knew I’d have to play around with it this year. Before I ironed a thing, I started tossing things on the table just to see how I liked the look.

Then I set up an ironing station and ironed from the bottom of the table up so I could put things directly on the table as I ironed them:

In the meantime, I had big kids washing all of my Corelle plates and my silverware. We got a little behind on dishes but they actually didn’t complain at all about helping out their ole ma. I thought about using the Noritake china we got as wedding gifts, or the Wedgwood Edme china I found at a yard sale, but the colors on the Corelle everyday wear were perfect for a Valentine set up.

Valentine tablescape 2

I was determined to spend absolutely nothing on this tablescape. I totally shopped the house to complete it. If I had had the time to shop and extra funds, I would have added some red pillar candles to the crystal candle holders or scattered some fake rose petals around the table. But I’m pretty happy with it. And the time I spent on it wasn’t in vain. We’re having out of town guests for lunch on Sunday and I plan to leave it set up for them. (minus the crystal wine glasses; I don’t want to stress all weekend!)

Valentine tablescape

(And yes, I did cheat and move the rustic coffee pot of roses from the entryway to the table!)

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day or any of the other minor holidays? I tell you, having a blog is very motivating. I used to be lucky to get my pumpkins out before October 30th!