Sep 28, 2011

Am I blue......

beautiful blue room
Well no, not really.  I'm more of a pale, ghostly white.  ;)

Happy Hump day all!  Hope this first week of fall is treating you well.  It's definitely in the air here and there are already some leaves falling from our trees!

Can I just say how much I love the color blue?  In all of its forms.  Maybe it's because my sign is Cancer, a water sign.   Maybe it's because a beautiful blue ocean makes me smile.  But either way I seem to want to be surrounded by blue everything all the time!

Hubby doesn't seem to share in this love of blue like I do.  Our bedroom walls are blue, but that's it.  He's not crazy about blue in the rest of our home, which is mostly neutrals.  If I had my way, our entire home would be various shade of blue, from navy to turquoise.

But---I've decided to make 'my' room (considered our spare bedroom but really a home for my clothes and makeup) more me, aka more blue.   I'd show you pics of the room, but I'm embarrassed to say it's a MESS.  Seriously organization needed before Hoarders shows up.  Okay, not that bad but pretty bad.

The room itself is not that big and has a bed, a vintage vanity, a dresser and a large armoire in it.  I'm trying to come up with a way to streamline the furniture arrangement to make it better organized and accessible to everything.  If you have any sites or ideas for me to check out, pass them on!  The problem is that the closet takes up one wall and I don't want to cover windows with furniture.   Tell me your thoughts if you have found a way to use your space more effectively.

The other projects I would like to do are:

Dresser painted in Provence
 Paint the dresser a blue shade.  The dresser I have is old and stained dark.  After the success I've had with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and our bedroom furniture, I am super excited to try it in a blue shade. I think it would brighten up the room and would make me happy to see it every morning instead of the dark shade.   Here are some Annie Sloan colors I'm considering (taken from her site):
Duck Egg Blue
Greek Blue
Louis Blue


I think any of these would look good on the dresser (I need to get a pic for your thoughts), but I'm leaning toward Provence or Duck Egg Blue.  I think the Greek Blue would be too dark unless lightened up a bit, and I haven't seen the Louis Blue used a whole lot.   So if I paint the dresser Provence, should I do the armoire in the same color or a contrasting one?   I am planning to slightly distress both.

Repaint the metal bed frame.  Has anyone ever done that?  What paint did you use?  I am thinking I can use the ASCP but not sure.  I need to email them and ask but people pretty much use it to paint everything from walls to decks!

Shabby Chic from Target
Get some curtains.  Right now all I have are blinds and the window looks a bit naked.  The pic above is Shabby Chic from Target.  I hunted these up a few weeks ago but found out they were online only.  Not quite sure but I think the search will continue.

Hooks from JoyFrameworks
Get a some organization going.  I'm a big cluttery mess and I need pretty ways to organize my stuff.  These hooks from JoyFrameworks on Etsy are perfect but they have been sold.  I am checking her site for news to pop up.  I could hang my belts on here nicely!

wall decal from decoration wall on Etsy
I'd like to get something fun on the walls.  They're neutral and I'm keeping them that way but isn't this decal fun?  It's from Decoration Wall on Etsy and I fell in love with it.  I think DH will have to help me stick it on the wall though!   I also have some MAC postcards framed and will put that up above my vanity.

First step would be for me to actually clean up the space so I can work in there.  I'd like to get the paint ordered soon to jumpstart myself.  Once I get that dresser painted, I'm sure I'll be more enthusiastic about all of the other work as well. 

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your ideas!!!

Sep 24, 2011

Do you thrift?

Happy Weekend all!

Welcome to my new followers and those who visited from the link parties!  I have learned so much from the link parties.  So many new ideas I never would have thought of!

DH is downstairs steam cleaning our carpets as we speak.  The man was born to clean and organize! Later on I am going shopping with my mom and we will thrift a bit. 

Do you thrift shop?

In these days, thrifting is as popular now as it ever was due to our poor economy.  It's the best way to get items you need while saving money.  Some people look down on it or don't get it. DH doesn't get it.  He laughs at me and asks me "Did you buy any new dead people's clothes while you were out?".  He has no idea the great stuff you can find thrifting.  He also doesn't have the patience to root through stuff for a few hours to find a treasure like I do.

My love of thrifting started in high school.  My best friend and I would hit the Red White and Blue thrift store on Route 51 to look for vintage clothing.  Back then, thrifting was nowhere near as popular as it is now.  We would walk out of there with gorgeous cashmere coats from the 60's, Lucite purses from the 40s and other amazing finds.  All for dirt cheap.   As much as I enjoyed fashion and followed it (started subscribing to Vogue when I was 15) I hated looking like everyone else.  So thrift store shopping was the best place for me to find clothing that no one else had.  Plus, not a lot of money required!

And let's face it--I love old things. I like to think of these items with a history.  My mom has bedroom furniture from the 1920's in her bedroom.  She has a collection of blue Depression glass that belonged to her grandmother.  I must get it from somewhere!  

After I got married, I still thrifted, even though DH made fun of me.  It was getting hard to find the good stuff since people were catching on and vintage clothing became more 'in'.  But my best friend had always been a fellow thrifter and married a thrifter so I always have supporters! 

Now I thrift for home items as much as clothing and books.  Right now I am going to check out some local thrift stores for mirrors to put above our bedroom dresser.  I'm not worried about the color, just want the right shape and size.  I can paint or redo the mirror to make it work for me.   I actually stopped at a thrift store on the way home from work last night to check for mirrors.  While there wasn't much at that one, I did come home with a great sweater and 3 really cute vintage tops for $12!  Can't beat that!

And the other good part---most thrift stores support a local charity.  If I am going to thrift, I would rather give my money to a charity than a for profit place.  No offense, but I know Goodwill is helping to find people jobs right now. 

So how can you get started on your own thrifting adventure?

First, find out out what's in your area.  Chances are there's a Goodwill, Salvation Army, or St. Vincent de Paul store around you.  Another option is to check out The Thift Shopper site. This has a national directory of thrift shops all over, so you are bound to find one near you.

Some other tips for a thrifter newbie:
  • Take cash.  Most stores now take plastic, but some (like Red White & Blue) only take cash. 
  • Find out what day your store has special discount days.  Last time I was at the Salvation Army store, green tags were an extra 50% off.  I came home with a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans that fit me absolutely perfectly and they were $1.50! 
  • Find out what day new merchandise is put out.  Some stores do it on a Friday, others early in the week. 
  • Hit the store when there are the least amount of people there.  Don't go on weekends when everyone else may be out.  Go in the morning or during the day if you can. 
  • Try the clothes on!!!  Every place I've been to has a dressing room.  No point in buying something if it doesn't fit you. 
  • If you are looking for furniture, take measurements of your room before you leave and take a measuring tape with you.  Then you know if the item you fall in love with will fit in your house. 
  • Take a friend---it's so much more fun to thrift with someone else who loves it. 
I would love to know what your best find is while thrifting.  My favorite is a lime green cashmere cocoon coat from the 1950's.  I found it at a thrift store in St. Paul.   What's been your best find?

Have a great weekend and happy thrifting!

Sep 19, 2011

My first furniture painting experience with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

So I finally got around to trying out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP).  After reading all about it from Miss Mustard Seed's post and Centsational Girl's Q&A, they had me ready to take the plunge.

I decided I was going to paint our bedroom furniture, which I was never a fan of.  DH picked it out before we moved to MN and had to do it in a hurry and I wasn't around to give my opinion.  I've always wanted to do something to it, but the thought of stripping the furniture and then sanding and painting was never something that sounded fun to me.  Enter ASCP.

Here's the dresser I started with before:
Dresser before

And here are the drawers (Please excuse the messy room):

drawers before
After removing the handles, I simply cleaned off the furniture with a slightly damp rag and let dry.  Then I got down to the mixing.  I wanted a slightly transparent look.  I filled a big plastic cup with a bit of water (didn't measure but I would guess about half a cup of water) and then added some Old White and mixed. It was slightly thinned out.  Then I grabbed my brush (I ordered 3 synthetic brushes with my paint) and got started.  I found the paint to be very easy to work with and not at all too thick.  I did notice brush strokes, so I tried to start and the top and get a clean swoop across the wood.  I was done with the first coat in about an hour, but since this was my first time using it I thought that wasn't too bad.

First coat:
First Coat
first coat on drawers
Not too bad.  I waited about an hour or so for it to dry.  It says you don't have to wait that long, but hey I had some DVR to catch up on and I was being lazy!  I started the second coat and realized how well the first coat really covered!  I didn't need much of a second coat at all.   I let it dry overnight since I wanted to check it out in the daylight for anything I may have missed.  And well yeah--I didn't feel like doing any more that day.

Sunday I inspected my work and got to work with DH's sanding block to distress it in a few places like corners and drawer edges. There have been some questions about distressing before or after waxing. I prefer to do it before so you can get the distressed areas to show up a bit more when you use your wax.  Everyone was right--this stuff sands off into a find powder and looks great!  Then it was time to wax.  I will be honest--this is the part I probably didn't do correctly.  Annie Sloans's wax was a bit steep for my pocketbook so I just used some SC Johnson Paste Wax that was warmed up.  I first applied with a brush and found that made marks.  I then switched to a soft cloth and just rubbed it on in a very light coat.  Let it dry a bit and then buffed it out.  Next time I will probably go for a better wax but for my fist time I think I did the best I could.

Once everything was ready, I put the old handles back on to see how they would look.  I had thought I would buy new ones, but I thought these looked pretty good!  Here are the results---what do you think?
All done!
closeup of drawers
ASCP really lives up to the hype for me.  Hopefully I can get some time this weekend to do the other tall dresser and the nightstand.  DH didn't get the distressed look at all.  Once I was finished he said "How come there is paint missing in some places?"  He couldn't believe that I would WANT it to look like that!!! LOL  Now I have shop around some thrift stores to find an old mirror to hang over it as I hate the mirror it came with.  Super 80's looking and not in a good way.

If anyone else has tried this paint, tell me what you think!  I'd love to know any more tricks or tips to do a better job and if there is a wax I can get locally to use!

Linking at:


Transformation Thursday
Furniture Feature Fridays The Shabby Nest

Sep 17, 2011

Where I have been and latest favorites.....

Wow--cannot believe I have not posted in over a month!  For that I apologize! 

Where have I been?  Well check out Taz above--he explains my whirlwind of activity lately.   Work has been crazy and that is NOT a complaint.  It was been wonderful to be so busy after being so bored while laid off.  I am thrilled to be busy and jumping!   I was hired at a very crucial time at my position as this is the time of year for annual reviews.  In addition to that is my company's quarterly board meeting.  Those 2 projects within themselves took up 90% of my time for the past month.  But in a way, it was good for me to start because it forced met to get caught up very quickly.   Another facet of my craziness at work was that we were going to learn a new program to upload board meeting materials digitally.  Very interesting concept and once I got the hang of it (thank you William at work!) it was wonderful.  But if anyone out there has ever worked on presentation like these you know how it goes.  You work on something only to have higher ups change it and then change it back again.  I fully expected that to happen so I was prepared.  

ANYWAY---I barely had time to eat lunch, let alone blog, even though I had getting that itch to write for a while.  And I mean write my stuff, not work on writing slides for presentations.  LOL   So as of last week the projects were officially done, approved, printed and shipped out.   It feels weird not to have those projects looming over my head any more.  But no worries--there will be another board meeting next quarter to look forward to.   However--this time we all know the new program and I won't be such a newbie!

Let me again reiterate how fortunate I feel to have accepted this position.  I feel like fate stepped in when I had the other offer rescinded.  Even though I felt awful at the time, I realize in the end that things do happen for a reason.   I work with very nice, positive people who work hard at what they do and want to do their best. 

So in the midst of all my work I did find time to find a few more favorites to share with you:

Threading:  LOVE it!  My brother had randomly been at the mall a few months ago and when we saw him at dinner the next week, his eyebrows looked amazing.  No more uni-brow.  We asked him and he said the ladies at the threading place practically dragged him in and took care of him.  My poor brows were starting to look scary since I hadn't had time to have them waxed.  So I figured I would try threading.  My first attempt was a fail since the place I went to had closed.  *sad panda*  So this past week I got to leave early on Friday since I had stayed late so many other days during the week.  I called another location of the chain and they were open and said just come in.   She sat me down and got to work.  Pain-wise, it wasn't that bad but it did hurt more than waxing.  My lady was really fast and I was done in no more than 7-10 minutes. I couldn't believe how precise the results were!   So impressed and it was only $12.  Will definitely be going back!  And very little redness, especially for someone as pale as I am!

My new Lucky bag

My new bag.  I had been using this adorable bag from Kohls for months.  It's gray and I've gotten numerous compliments on it.  But it was time to switch our for something new and something better for fall.  I had been searching online for a cute new purse.  I admit I'm very very picky with purses.  I'm not a bag snob, I just know what I like and what I don't like.   I had looked online for something that I wanted for months but everything was either too much (I fell in love with a Marc Jacobs bag at Nordies that was $1500) or just wasn't really what I wanted.  Enter this lucky bag above.  I saw it Macy's a few months ago but balked at the price tag, which was $189.  Yes I know that doesn't sound like much to some of you, but I don't buy anything at full price.  So I started checking it out online.  I found it here but didn't want to pay that price either.  So I kept looking, hoping I would find something to replace this bag.  I just loved the color and the style!  Fate again stepped in to help me.  While I was waiting for the threading lady to be done with her client, I stopped into Macy's next door to look around.  Saw my bag and asked the lady to scan the price.  She said "It's $64 before your coupon."  I whipped out my card so fast!!  After the Macy's coupon, I paid $50 for it.  SCORE!!!   It's roomy too for all of my stuff.  And the color is gorgeous!  

mmm salsa
Newman's Own Black Bean & Corn salsa  I am in love with this stuff.  It's just spicy enough and has black beans in it.  Plus it's low calorie, all natural and every bit of the money goes to charity.  What more could you ask for?  It's so damn good.  I love to eat it with sweet potato chips too!   And the late, great Paul Newman (just about the handsomest man alive to me) started it.   20 calories for 2 tablespoons!

another Score!
My Lucky Brand Randy sandals.  Another score.  I was at Macy's with my mom and the day before I had gotten some sandals on major clearance.  I had a giftcard from Macy's and still had a little bit left to use.  I went back to the mall to get a price adjustment on something and just stopped to see what was left.  Lo and behold, there were these sandals.  In black--the color I wanted but were sold out online.  I tried them on and then tried to talk myself out of these gorgeous shoes. I already had black sandals (several pairs).  Then I tried them on and it became even harder.  They are sooo comfortable and I'm a huge sucker for a wedge heel.  Once the salesman told me the price, that was it.  They were $108 and with sales and discounts they were $18.  I only paid $5 for them since I had some money left on my giftcard.  I've worn them to work several times and no pain at all.  Woot!

Hairtrition shampoo from Sally's
Hairtrition shampoo from Sally's  I have been using a different shampoo from Sally's but felt like it was drying my hair out.  I try to use sulfate-free shampoos as anything with sulfates in it tends to strip the hair of color and I definitely don't want that!  Some of them can dry out the hair though.  I picked this one up on a whim when I was grabbing a few other things at Sally's.  I could easily spend hours in that place checking all the stuff out--I love it.  I randomly grabbed this one off the shelf since I saw that it had some nice natural oils in it and no sulfates.  Took it home and used it the next day.  Wonderful smell (tropical and coconutty) and lovely lather.  Plus my hair didn't feel dried out at all!

I promise to now blog a bit more regularly since work isn't so crazy! 

I also finally got around to using my Annie Sloan paint!  The dresser is my test furniture.  I put 2 coats on today and will wax later tonite or tomorrow.   Full report with pics will be posted here!  I will tell you--so far so good!  :)

See you soon and HERE WE GO STEELERS!  They can't do any worse than last week right!  Hope you enjoy your Sunday and your team wins (except for Seattle who plays the Steelers!)