My Workspace // Progress

Last week, half of our bedroom looked like this:

messyroomThe desk was a hand-me-down from my husband’s parents, and is a super nice, sturdy piece of furniture that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of – even though it isn’t quite my style. But style or no, this desk has not been a usable workspace for a long, long time. It has pretty much been a dumping ground for anything and everything (although it doesn’t look quite this messy on a daily basis, this picture was taken after I unloaded & removed a big bookcase that just wasn’t working for me (it’s headed to our next garage sale) – so the desk is covered in some books & random items that had lived on that bookcase.

I wanted to re-work my desk area, to make it not only usable, but an attractive & inspirational workspace for me to sit and do school work, blogging, etc. I also wanted to create an inviting reading nook in the corner where I have my newly DIY-ed re-upholstered chair, since that space gets great sunlight.

So I’ve been busily working for days – filling garbage bags, re-thinking my desk & filing system, re-organizing books and binders full of music and school materials, crafting some solutions (like my drawer-organizers-turned-shelves), and hanging pretty artwork.

By Sunday, the room looked like this:

progressandnotesNearly completed, but still too cluttered. I also wanted a replacement for that very officey-looking filing cart. But I am IN LOVE with my newly decorated walls.

workspaceThe fun new ‘shelves’ are great for stashing craft & office supplies, and the white organizer is a collection of pieces from Martha Stewart’s Wall Manager office organization line. The interchangeable pieces are customizable for your office needs. I’ve got a magnetic white board (featuring my two-cute-for words nephew & my brother’s save the date!) and a file folder for pertinent items (like paperwork for all of my name-changing steps on credit cards, passport, etc.), a ‘clip & lock’ caddy and clips for coupons & reminders.

MSWallOrganizerAbove this organization-zone are some of my favorite pieces of art – both of which I’ve had since I was in college, traveling with me to all of my different homes. The cheerful flower arrangement is a Picasso print that makes me smile all day long, and the smaller print is one of my favorites – a Brian Andreas StoryPeople piece that reminds me to take pleasure in letting go every now and then.

BrianAndreasMy desk is sporting lots of fun desk-type stuff. (I am seriously in. love. with office supplies. As in, I dream about a Christmas stocking full of binder clips and post-it notes.)

WorkspaceProgress2I’ll show you what’s going on on the desktop in more detail later this week. But how amazing are those two watercolor prints hanging above my desk? I snagged those from Joss & Main a few weeks back – mostly because they made me think of springtime & happiness. They are by the super talented Laura Trevey of Bright, Bold and Beautiful, an amazing blog full of fantastic ideas for home decorating. You can add some of her beautiful work to your own home by checking out her Etsy shop! (I am particularly in love with this Essie nail polish painting & this seafoam green watercolor crab).

DeskWallI love the cheery colors of these beauties. They are just what I needed to make this space fresh & inviting. Adding to the inspiration are the photos and things pinned up to my bulletin board (the edge of which I covered in washi tape).

BulletinBoard2I love looking up from my desk to pictures of family, friends, and naturally, my hubba hubs. A little Audrey Hepburn doesn’t hurt when you’re in need of inspiration, either – and that is a square canvas print found at Michael’s for $1. Score. The Washi Tape Initial C was an easy project, and the map is a drawing of the historical grist mill turned B&B where the hubs & I tied the knot.

So progress has surely been made – and there’s even more to come! See you soon!

Ombre LOVE Canvas Art

Pinterest is full of lovely projects featuring canvas & wood letters. There are some beautiful images here at My Favorite Mix Tape, via Pinterest. Inspired, I enjoyed creating my own set of canvas pieces:

Here are the instructions for your DIY canvas pieces!

On my latest trip to Michael’s, I took advantage of a sale on Artist’s Loft canvases- purchasing a set of four 6 inch square canvas blocks at 40% off. (Yay!)

I grabbed the letters to spell LOVE (these were the cheaper, cardboard versions rather than wood), and scampered home to have some crafty fun. (I do scamper, on occasion).

Step one of my project was to attach the letters to the canvas. I used gorilla glue because it is super strong- like a gorilla.

Though I love the clean look of white-on-white, I was looking for some color to add to my side of the bedroom. While we have plans for the two back rooms that include fresh paint & new color schemes, those changes are further down the road, and I wanted some new decor now. I’ve never been the patient type.

Our current bedding and our curtains feature blues, turquoise and browns. So I grabbed a bottle of Martha Stewart Aquamarine craft paint in the pearl finish.

I love everything ombre, and so I chose to use my Folk Art Wicker White craft paint to gradually lighten my Aquamarine hue for each block. Though I didn’t take a picture to show this step, I ‘primed’ each letter in white before applying the overall paint.

So each block would have its own unique shade, it was important that I thoroughly coated the letter and canvas a full two to three times before adding more white to lighten the paint. (Sorry for the low-light picture below- I was working at nighttime in my poorly lit kitchen!)

I used a couple different styles of brushes, experimenting to see which would cover most effectively. The foam brush was good for a first coat, while the smaller brushes helped get in the corners and crevices. I was kind of all over the place, as you can see, mixing my paint on a random piece of cardboard (and right on my brown-paper-bag work surface).

I was really pleased with the way the different, lighter shades came out on each block.


I hung my love blocks above my dresser, and love the look.

This view shows how the colors work with our curtains/bedding.

I hope you enjoy! What DIY projects have you been up to lately?


(Linking up at Homestead Simple)

Medallions On My Wall

This project has been many months in the making. Have you ever found a great idea for a decorating/craft idea, excitedly jumped right into making it, only to have the entire project end up taking three times longer than anticipated? (Maybe I’ll ask my Dad, who started the process of finishing our unfinished basement about ten years ago. How’s that working out for you, Dad?)

This little job was meant to be a quick & easy solution to my problem of what-to-hang-over-the-living-room-couch, which has been a topic of great discussion over the past six months or so in our place. (And when I say discussion, I mean conversations between me and the dog, because FH stopped caring after my sixth or seventh idea in February).

But Emma is a really good listener. And occasionally she will tilt her head or give me a little wink, which I am certain means she totally gets what I’m saying, and is in complete agreement. “Yes mommy, I really do think you should go buy that gorgeous Planked Manhattan Sign from Pottery Barn. I’ll give up treats for one month, that should about cover the cost, right?”

Head tilt = listening intently.

But this post is not about wall art above my couch, because Emma and I simply have not come to an agreement yet. And because my latest idea did not quite pan out. Here’s the exciting story.

I saw, loved, and pinned this image from Better Homes & Gardens sometime this past winter.

Ceiling medallions were all the rage, apparently, as unique wall decor. I later read & was inspired by this post on I’m Busy Procrastinating, complete with a lot of great images and ideas for the use of Ceiling Medallions.

I was in love, so I immediately ran out to our Lowe’s in search of ceiling medallions. BH & G had described this decor option as an “inexpensive” alternative to pricier pieces of art, so I was sure this was going to be a home run.

Imagine my surprise when the most inexpensive of the medallions on the shelf was around $20. That was for a 16″ decorative plaster circle, while the larger & prettier ones ran to $50 or more!

I spent ten or more minutes standing in the ceiling medallion aisle, feeling confused & betrayed by my BH&G friends. I decided to grab three of the smaller medallions (for a total of $60) to see if I could make something work.

I spray painted my three 16″ medallions in two different shades of yellow (Krylon Bright Yellow & Sun Yellow).

After they dried, I glued 5″ craft mirrors to the backs.

I originally used my hot glue gun, but I did not feel confident that they would hold (and they pulled off with little trouble), so I broke out my Gorilla glue to be safe.

Then, my three yellow medallion mirrors sat in a corner in my living room for four months, while I tried to figure out what to do with them.

They were too small for above the couch, that was for certain. If I had a couple hundred dollars lying around, maybe I’d get some of the larger ones, and really make a statement. But if I really had a couple hundred dollars around, I’d buy the Manhattan Plank Sign from Pottery Barn and call. it. a. day.

So… now it is June, and I am in cleaning mode (look for some exciting posts about closet organization later this week) and I decided it was time to get my (now dusty) medallion art on a wall somewhere.

I chose a small portion of wall, right inside our front door, that was originally occupied by a beautiful piece of art painted by a close friend of ours. I relocated the painting to the bedroom, where it looks amazing, and hung my medallion mirrors.

(I used a hammer & nail to put small holes in the top on the back of each one, just large enough to hang over the nails in the wall.)

I am pleased with the end result, and glad that I did not over extend my finances to buy some giant medallions- because honestly, they look cool (and the mirrors are perfectly placed for a smile inspection on the way out the door), but this is probably not art that will last a lifetime in our home. For now, however, they are three more pieces of cheery yellow sunshine in our happy living room!

What projects have you started, that completely changed as you went along? Do you have anything unfinished that is collecting dust in a corner somewhere? Get on it- and tell me all about it!

A Lesson in Hanging Things

Remember how proud I was of my little Monogram Wall Art created after a particularly lovely Saturday at the craft store? It found a home on the door to our coat closet, and was a nice touch to our living room. FH loved it, and my future in-laws (FILs?) admired it as well.

I’m not sure if this was some don’t-make-crafts-with-your-future-monogram-until-you’re-really-married-and-have-changed-your-name karma, or just poor hanging technique on my part, but either way my little frame spontaneously fell from it’s nail in the middle of dinner last night.

Sad face.

I hope it is not future-last-name-related karma, or my L.L.Bean tote bag initialed with my future initials may meet a similar fate…

(p.s. this tote holds EVERYTHING.)

The frame broke- however the burlap-covered glass piece & letter remained intact and well-glued.

No matter- I’ve been jonesing to return to Michael’s anyway, so I guess I’ll just have to swing by this week & pick up another frame, then simply pop the glass out and stick it in a new frame (after I paint it white- the original frame was a black oval).

Then, I will hang it ‘properly’, as FH says I put the nail in wrong. How many ways are there to hammer a nail into a door? Apparently a wrong and a right way, at the very least.

As long as I hammer the new nail in with my trusty pink hammer, I’m sure it will hold this time.

(My pink hammer & screwdriver have been with me since my college days. Once I installed a window air conditioner all by myself, in a third floor/oddly shaped bedroom window on a 90 degree plus day in late July. Impressive, I know.)