Archives for category: Projects

I’ve wanted to make and/or buy a pretty little serving tray for a while now (see beautiful examples over at Sand and Sisal or Prudent Baby,) so when I found this rooster-ized tray on clearance at Garden Ridge, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to glam it up.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a good barnyard reference here and there, but this tray didn’t exude the shabby-chic charm I sought. At only $3, I knew I could turn it into something I’d want to display in my home.

I started the project by spray painting the tray’s interior white. It took approximately three coats to cover up the rooster, but it was well worth the effort.

Once the paint dried, I marked my chevron stripes with painter’s tape. Chevron can be a bit tricky; I wish I spent a little more time trying to perfect this. An exacto knife would prove handy during this step.

I painted the entire tray yellow (it took approximately two coats to get the job done) and removed the tape.

It isn’t perfect, but I absolutely love my new tray!  It really brightens up the living room.

Here’s the official before and after shot.

I may lightly sand my tray in the future for a more shabby-chic look, but for now, I’m keeping it as-is.

Have you ever created your own serving tray? How’d you customize it? 


I don’t love fall quite as much as spring and summer, but I’ll take it. Ohio autumns are full of gorgeous changing leaves, pumpkin-flavored coffees (I heart you, PSL) and my personal favorite: Ohio State football! I won’t attend my first 2012 season game until November, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Remember the $2 grape vine wreath I purchased while thrifting a few weeks ago? During a fit of weekend inspiration, I jazzed it up with a few fall flowers.

Here’s how you can make your own! Begin by cutting felt squares into uneven circles. I purchased my felt at Hobby Lobby (4 pieces for $1.)

Cut each felt circle in a spiral pattern (starting at the outside and moving toward the middle.)

Grab the section where you began cutting, and start wrapping the felt around itself. Hot glue the ends, and use a scrap piece to secure the back.

Repeat this process until you create several flowers. Hot glue each felt flower to the wreath.

Ta da! What a simple way to dress up wreaths, lamps and other decor. You could always create felt leaves as well, but I wanted to keep my wreath simple.

What’s your favorite part about this season?

I’m making a conscious effort to reexamine my spending habits. I’m saving up for a few large purchases, so cutting costs serves as a vital step toward reaching my goals. Unfortunately, cutting spending = less pretty shoes, less home decor items and less DIY projects (because let’s face it… DIY isn’t always cheap!)

I’ve been itching for a little retail therapy, especially in the home goods department. A thrifty approach helped fulfill my needs without breaking the budget.

I picked up these great finds at an awesome Columbus thrift store, and I only spent $11!

  • The grape vine wreath cost $2. Once I add a few DIY rosettes, it’ll be the perfect fall accessory. (Stay tuned for the finished product!)
  • I love the frame’s ornate, shabby-chic look. All it needs is a coat of paint and new artwork (no offense, emo 90s girl.)

  • Milk glass makes my heart flutter. At only $2 each, I couldn’t pass these up.
  • Placing small items in clear apothecary jars = every organizational freak’s dream. I think I’ll use this jar to store cotton balls or other bathroom necessities.

Did you complete any clearance shopping/thrifting trips lately? If so, what did you find? 

Months passed since my last Ikea trip, and I’m afraid I may be sinking into withdrawl. I enter that store with a $20 wish list and leave with $80+ worth of Swedish goods every time. The beautifully displayed merchandise and unbelievably affordable prices suck me in time and time again. You’re sneaky, Ikea.

As much as I love this retailer, I’m sure you and I can both agree that many of its products are pretty standard. I recently stumbled across Ikea Hackers: a site that allows fans to share how they transformed Ikea items from drab to fab. It’s chock full of inspiring DIY ideas, and many projects include step-by-step instructions, too.

Here’s a few of my favorite hacks:

Nailhead Side Table

Two Lack tables and nailhead trim join in harmony and create one absolutely gorgeous side table. You can view the IKEA Hackers instructions here.

Coffee Table Ottoman

I found this project on the Simply Kelly blog. Kelly purchased a Klubbo coffee table and converted it into a cozy upholstered ottoman. Isn’t it gorgeous? I’d be scared to prop my feet up on that pretty fabric.

Billy Bookcase Upgrade

Ikea’s Billy bookcase received a stylish upgrade thanks to Diane at the In My Own Style blog. She transformed the standard Ikea product into a showcase item with a little cardboard and fabric. I absolutely love this idea, especially since it would be easy to change the fabric panels when you want a new look.

Have you ever “hacked” an Ikea item? If so, how’d it turn out?

My roommate and I were pumped when we realized our new place offered a concrete patio and small gardening space. It’s definitely one of the luxuries of living in a townhome instead of a more traditional apartment complex.

Throughout the past month or two, I’ve been trying to transform the dull, dingy patio into a fun, usable space. I must admit that I don’t love gardening (sorry mom and dad; I clearly didn’t acquire your love for horticulture,) so this transformation is taking way longer than expected.

Here’s what the patio area looked like in late spring. The daffodils were done blooming, and weeds were growing like… well, weeds.

My first step was to clean up the concrete, pull the weeds, tie the daffodils (so I could cut them down) and add a little color. I purchased a begonia hanging basket and a rockin’ World Market outdoor rug. I discovered World Market when I moved to Columbus two years ago, and my life will never be the same. The prices are awesome, and the offering is so unique. Not many stores can say they sell fabulous accent pillows and hoards of German chocolate. And can you believe my rug was only $20?

Several weeks later, I cut the daffodils, planted a few veggies/herbs and added patio furniture.

It still needs a bit more TLC, but the patio is finally looking party-ready!  I need to get motivated and plant a few more flowers/ferns before I mark this project complete.  The patio faces east and is also shaded by a tree throughout the day, so it’s difficult to choose shade-loving plants that would thrive in the space.

Do you possess a green thumb? What are your favorite shade-loving flowers to plant? 

I’ve been MIA in the crafting/decor arena lately. Now that I’ve been in my new rental for approximately six months, everything is finally starting to feel “put together.” The walls are covered with art (with the exception of one or two that need some TLC.) We have enough furniture to fill the space. It’s all coming together very nicely.

Instead of focusing on small projects, I’m trying to put extra cash into my “wish list” fund so that I can finally buy a few large items I really love. I’ve been blessed with lots of awesome furniture hand-me-downs, but I’m itching to buy a few new pieces I can call my own.

I’m not planning on buying anything for another year or so, but here’s what’s on my wish list:

1. A new bed/headboard

I’m currently getting by with a hand-me-down mattress and a simple steel frame from Sam’s Club. I don’t even have a headboard (but you can check out my pseudo headboard here.)

I’ve been drooling over Crate & Barrel’s Colette Bed for years. The nailhead trim is absolutely gorgeous, and it even comes with a matching bench! I’d love to purchase a new bed frame, headboard and mattress when I have enough cash to spare. I think upgrading from a full to a queen will be worth the investment, too.

2. A new couch

My hand-me-down loveseat is cozy, but it barely accommodates two people. I’d love to purchase a full-size couch: maybe something similar to Macy’s Chloe Sofa.

My trusty hand-me-down love seat. It’s small but mighty.

I love this Chloe Sofa from Macy’s. It has a vintage feel without looking too stuffy.

What’s on your wish list? 

I haven’t owned a headboard in years, and I’m waiting until I can afford a queen bedroom set before purchasing one. In the meantime, a reclaimed storm window serves as my pseudo headboard.

Not everyone can say they own a reclaimed window, so I’m pretty darn proud of mine. Its bright white paint and shabby chic charm brighten my bedroom, and the wires hanging across it provide endless decorating opportunities. I experimented with clipping Instagram photos (I use PostalPix to print them, in case you’re wondering) and paper shapes to the “headboard,” but this approach wasn’t cutting it.

Pinterest led me to some eye-catching homemade garlands, which were made with fabric, paper and twine. I found several gorgeous fabric buntings on Etsy, but they were out of my price range. I decided to put matters in my own hands and create a DIY bunting.

I kicked off the project by heading to My duvet cover looks like a hydrangea garden threw up on it (in the best way possible!,) so I wanted to stay away from floral prints. I found some beauties and ordered the swatches. (Swatches were only $1.75, so ordering several prints = easy on the wallet.)

Once my fabric arrived, I got to work. I cut most swatches into squares (approximately 3″x3″) and made the rest into long, thin strips.

I tied the strips directly to the wire and used double-sided tape to adhere the bunting “flags” to it.

And voila! I absolutely love the finished product. It’s playful, fun and perfectly shabby chic.

If you’d like to create our own bunting, you could hot glue the fabric to twine. A Beautiful Mess Blog offers some great ideas for making your own garlands, too.

My roommate and I spent the last month or so dreaming up a high-impact, low-cost wall art solution for our dining area. It’s the first room you notice when walking in our front door, and we all know first impressions are valuable. I totally believe the seven-second theory applies to a gazillion situations: not just first dates or job interviews.

We thought about purchasing a nice mirror for our wall, but let’s face it: Large mirrors can be pretty pricey. We weren’t willing to drop $200+, so we had to get creative.

When I moved into my very first college apartment in 2008, I purchased three Ikea MALMA mirrors and hung them above my couch. Sadly, we got bored with each other and parted ways by 2009. But when I spotted these $2.99 beauties during a recent Ikea trip, inspiration hit.

I prepped each MALMA by covering the mirror with painter’s tape.

My roomie and I painted the mirrors with acrylic paint. We chose blue and grey to match our grey/blue/tan/green dining room. The possibilities were endless; we considered staining them, too.

Once dry, the mirrors were ready for some mirror-on-wall action. Here’s the before:

And here’s the after! They’re hung approximately 6″ apart.*

Aren’t they lovely? They make the small room appear taller & larger, which is awesome.

Not bad for approximately $30 and two hours worth of work.

Do you have any Ikea MALMA projects to share? 

*Props to my dad & brother for hanging these. If the hanging part was up to me, the end product would have been embarrassing. 

If you follow my Pinterest boards, you’ve probably realized I love when designers put plates on walls. It seems like a tacky idea, but when done tastefully (no pun intended,) plates can add personality and color to any room.


I like this idea best when it’s implemented in dining rooms and kitchens, which showcases the plates in their natural environments. But when an unnecessary Target run led me to discover plates that just happened to match my living room decor, I couldn’t resist. (Oh, and did I mention the plates were only $2.50 each?)

Before: A sad, lonely living room wall.

After: A bright, happy wall.

Aren’t they fabulous? The plates I purchased were plastic, so 3M hanging strips did the trick. I live in a rental, which means I try to avoid putting holes in my walls when possible.

What are your thoughts? Would you hang plates or other unconventional objects on your walls?

Since my roomie and I moved into our new place shortly after Thanksgiving, we used adorable snowflake drink coasters to protect our furniture. Now that the holidays are over and winter angst is setting in, the snowflake coasters have to go.

Pinterest offers tons of DIY coaster ideas, from modged-podged tiles to hot-glued wine corks. I decided to take my own spin on the modge podge method by spray painting tiles.

Here’s how I did it:

  • I purchased white tiles at my local home improvement store, which cost approximately $0.16 each.
  • I used painter’s tape and my trusty damask stencil (purchased several months ago to create this rockin’ wall art) to prep my tiles. I’m slightly obsessed with stripes right now, so I decorated several tiles with a simple striped pattern. (I also tried to create a chevron-inspired tile, but it didn’t turn out so hot.)
  • I painted my tiles with two coats of spray paint. I let the tiles dry for half an hour between each coat, and I removed the painter’s tape immediately after the second coat to avoid weird peeling marks.
  • Once the second coat dried, I cut felt squares (one sheet costs $0.25) and hot glued them to the tile bottoms.

Voila! Creating the coasters was incredibly easy and cheap, especially because I already had most supplies on hand. I’m pleased with the final product, but I’m anxious to see how long it takes for the paint to chip.* I’ll keep you posted!

*Update: I eventually sealed each coaster with clear spray paint to avoid chips and stains.