Simple and inexpensive Thanksgiving-ish centerpieces.

I have a post about creating guest space coming up soon! But it’s a bit long and has many photos. I’m also full of things to share about the kids. So stay tuned in the near future for that as well.  I just have something short to share quickly!

Wednesday, I went to a follow up with my doctor. Sometime I’ll have to share with you how much Ken and I have improved our health by going to him! But the real point of telling you that is because after the appointment, I got to shop at Whole Foods (since it’s right around the corner from the doctor’s and NOT right around the corner from us). By myself! So fun. It was great to wander around a little and find some specialty groceries that I can’t get a Sam’s Club, Costco, or Publix.

The best part about it (besides finding our hormone-free Thanksgiving turkey!!)?? The floral department!! Our local Publix doesn’t have one. I looked around the floral section, admiring the colors of fall but thinking ahead to Christmas. They had some darling arrangements made up and placed in mason jars, which I think would have looked just right in our home. But they were $15 each. 😦

I like long-lasting arrangements that can take me from one holiday to another without much effort . . . or cash. I wanted something I could get more mileage from and more than one vase-full. With that in mind, I picked out these 3 “bunches”, for $3.99, $5.99 and $6.99:

arrangement 2

Then I rummaged around the china hutch to find containers worthy of such floral simplicity. Here’s what I chose:

arrangement 1

Then I found glass “inserts” to hold the water that fit inside the containers without showing:

arrangement 4

Let the fun begin! I just started tucking the greens into the “vases”, and added the sprigs of curly twigs:

arrangement 5

And popped in the spring-looking but only white flowers available in the floral department at Whole Foods (and I just loved the idea of fresh and bright white flowers in my kitchen):

arrangement 3

Hmmm, something missing. Oh yeah, those $15 mason jar arrangements had some pinecones. I happen to have a few in my stash:

arrangement 6

Lovely! Now, just one more thing . . . I tied a ribbon onto one (for the dining room table):

arrangement 8

and tied some jute twine on the two for the kitchen (sorry, bad glare from the lanai windows):

arrangement 9

I am so happy with how simple and cheery these turned out. I have one for the kitchen table, the kitchen island, and the dining table. They would be stunning clustered together with some candles for a statement making centerpiece, but for now I’m enjoying them in their varying spots. 3 centerpieces for $17! Not bad! And I know greenery lasts longer than flowers, so when the daisies wear out, I’ll pull them and stick something into the greens and branches and pinecones that says “Christmas”. I have berries in mind. And a few sprigs of pine. For now, I’ll enjoy the daisies. Bring on the turkey!

–Beth 🙂

P.S. I used some floral wire to secure the pinecones to the lower part of the curly branches that I had snipped for the arrangements. Then I could stick them right down into the vase where I wanted them. Just in case you were wondering. 😉

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Makeover for plain curtains.

You would not believe how such a simple change could make such a big difference. Well, you probably would, but that seemed like a good opener. The backstory: we are working on getting the last little things done in the guest room. There is a French door leading to the foyer, I suppose so the room could be used as an office or sitting room. We aren’t replacing doors in the house just yet, so we are stuck with glass door, despite using the room as a spare bedroom.

Ken hung a curtain rod above the door inside the room, so the curtains could be drawn for privacy as needed. But can be opened to let in light and open the room up a little more. Since we’re pinching pennies wherever possible, we put to use some previously owned tab-topped curtain panels, generously handed down to us from Ken’s mom. Here’s the outcome:

guest room curtains

Oh no. Oh, no, no, no – this will not do. These curtains used here make me think of ill-fitting clothes (imagine: high-waters) and outdated accessories (think: poufy hair scrunchies. Oh, to think we actually sewed and proudly wore them as teens – in every color possible!) It’s not that the curtains themselves were a problem. It’s that I had to hang them high enough for the door to clear. And that they need to slide open and closed easily (which I don’t find tabs to do). I kindly thanked Ken, and knew I had to fix it somehow. My head hit the pillow that night, and then it came to me: ruffles!!

See, Ken’s mom hadn’t just given us just one pair – she gave us about 5 pairs! Of the same type! So, a day or two later, I hauled out the sewing machine and gave those nerdy-looking curtains over the door a much-needed makeover. Using another panel, I added some ruffles, dug out some clip rings for easier sliding and then ironed them all. Ta-da!!

guest room curtain after ruffles

Oh yes. Much better. Much, much better! (Just for fun, scroll back up to the “before” shot to appreciate how much cuter they really are! I have stepped into the room at least once a day since fixing them . . . just to say “hello” to my pretty new friends.)

Now I can warmly welcome guests into our home and show them to their “quarters” without feeling the need to explain that we’re trying to save money and use what we have and that’s why we hung the curtains over the door that we haven’t budgeted to replace yet because the room was supposed to be an office but we’re using it as a guest room and with that in mind won’t you please enjoy your stay!

Nope. I can just skip right to the “enjoy your stay” part!

–Beth

P.S. Stay tuned — hope to post more shots of the guest room soon. You future “guests” may be interested in those! Please pardon the poor quality photos. I’m lazy and just snap shots with my phone. Another “someday” . . . I’ll take photos with a nicer camera.

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Dining chairs revamped.

When we bought our dining room table off Craigslist, I had no thought of the chairs. It was always all about the table. I didn’t even care what the chairs that came with it looked like! They were merely an aside. But regardless, the set included 2 arm chairs and 4 side chairs. The arm chairs were leather, incredibly scratched up and stained. After they sat out on the front porch for too long for us to be called respectable neighbors, I figured out what I wanted to do with them. I decided to keep, paint and use the two end/arm chairs.

Their original “charm” was that on the right:

dining chairs 2

I bet you’re thinking, “It’s not that bad!” You’d be correct in thinking that way judging from the photo. But if you saw the chairs in person . . . oh boy, you’d be singing a different tune! Unfortunately (or fortunately??), I didn’t take any close-ups of the leather before I took those bad boys on. A chair used and abused for almost 10 years. No longer. We were going to give them the TLC they needed!

I chose a light french gray color for painting, yes painting, the leather. I used Maison Blanche chalk paint and after reading several different reviews and tutorials, was {pretty} sure I could make it work. I painted the arms and legs as well, with a black spray paint primer. I over-painted that with a light “wash” of the gray color used on the upholstery. I finished them off with a water-based varnish to seal the wood, and a furniture wax and buffing to seal the leather. Here are some side-by-side close-ups:

dining chairs 4

dining chairs 5

They turned out very charming and vintage-looking. A neighbor boy was over the day I was working on them and he commented how the “new” look of the chairs looked “old”. I told him, “Thanks — that’s the look I’m going for!” He said, “Oh, I like new things.” Spoken like a 12 year old. 🙂

Time will tell how the painted leather holds up. But so far, it’s a great finish. They’re comfortable to sit in and can be wiped right off. The finish turned out sort of “buttered leather” like. With a bit of a sheen. Quite pleasant, actually.

Here are some shots of how they look up next to the table:

table and chairs 3

table and chairs 4

The table is really big, really statement-making in a room. So the chairs at the ends of it needed to be somewhat the same, so as to not get lost, you know? We’re very happy with how it all turned out. It’s ready for what life in a household of 7 will throw at it. Meals? Games? School? Holidays? Yep, we’re covered.

–Beth 🙂

P.S. As mentioned regarding the table, if you’re interested in hearing more about the process I used for painting the upholstery and legs, let me know. I would be happy to type up a tutorial of the method I used.

Ken’s office.

A top notch remodeling company is storming Winter Park, Florida. It’s so exciting! Ken and his business partner, Richard, are busy getting all the details in order for their their new residential remodeling company. One of those details was finding office space to rent, and they’ve secured a place! It’s really so quaint — here are some pictures.

View walking into office, which will be the “conference room”:

 

 

 

view walking in

 

View walking into adjoining room, which will be Ken’s private office:

view in ken's office

 

window view

(See that arched window?? Here’s the view from it, which will be a view from Ken’s desk):

direct view from desk

 

Back to the conference room . . . here are the views from those windows:

table view, view out main window

 

Can you see him eating his lunch at that table?? I’m so excited for him. He’s looking forward to getting settled in!

I get to help decorate this place . . . fun, huh??

We’ve already been busy getting it just right for the new company (and by “we”, I mean mostly Ken – although I have been helping to paint the last couple days).

I love Benjamin Moore paint colors. Ken loves Sherwin William’s actual paint base. Back in Maryland, we painted our whole remodeled house with Ben Moore colors *in* a Sherwin William’s base. It was a happy union. Down here, I bought a 5 gallon bucket of a color I *thought* I loved (I did on my MD walls) – turns out, it’s not loving being on the walls of a Florida home. I’m not loving it either. Ben, I’ll always love you and I’m sure we’ll be reunited someday, but for now I’ve been let down and I need some space. It’s time for me to explore other options.

So, we chose Sherwin William’s colors for the office. Since olive is one of the company logo colors, Ken wanted to do an accent wall in olive. I went along with it – it IS his office, after all. Considering my love of all things gray, I had to choose an olive with undertones of gray. Well, at least “gray” is in part of the name. Here’s the color of the accent wall, followed by the color of the other walls:

SW 6165 Connected Gray:

 

 

 

 

 

 

connected gray

 

SW 6162 Ancient Marble:

ancient marble

 

I like to choose colors from the same color strip (which is what we did here), so the undertones are the same. I have no idea if this is the way it’s supposed to be done, it’s just the way I like colors blending in my house, so it’s the way I decided to blend colors in the office. I hope the two rooms’ final look comes together the way I have it pictured in my head!

Oh, something fun to stay posted for – we found some cool “alligator leather” chairs for the conference room. I’ll share photos when the room all comes together! 🙂

–Beth

P.S. If you have a few extra minutes, take a look at the city of Winter Park: http://cityofwinterpark.org/. It’s really a beautiful city (town??). Well, whatever it’s called, it’s lovely.

P.P.S. I really don’t know why there are such large gaps between my text and photos, and since I’m new to blogging, I don’t know how to fix it. Sorry, it doesn’t look pretty, but at least it’s not cutting anything out!