Entries from March 30th, 2011

Pottery barn kids inspired; Easter yard stake tutorial



Flipping through the pottery barn kids catalog I saw these adorable little Happy Easter and Egg Hunt signs. There’s nothing like Easter decorating to say HELLO spring! I love the muted spring colors and the vintage hand painted quality. So we decided to make our own version of the inspiring Easter decoration below and sharing the step-by-step how-to for all you DIY’ers  out there that love copy catting Pottery Barn style on a craft store budget.

image via Pottery Barn

Shopping List

4 foot piece 1 x12 Pine Board

Spray Sealer

Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint

Happy Easter Bunny sign

  • Fresh Cut Grass
  • Titanium White
  • Sunny Yellow
  • Hydrangea
  • Light Lavender
  • Baby Pink
  • Coffee Latte

Egg Hunt sign

  • Hydrangea
  • Fresh Cut Grass
  • Sunny Yellow
  • Titanium White
  • Light Lavender

We started by cutting down our piece of pine into 3 equal pieces 16 inches tall. This will leave you one extra piece left over to save for another project or to make a third sign.

Now paint the entire board Fresh Cut Grass for the Happy Easter sign and Hydrangea for the background. Once dry you’ll want to take some sand paper and rough up the fronts of the boards to expose some raw wood through the paint, giving your background that vintage feel, concentrate on the corners and outside edges where it would have naturally worn over time. Once you’re comfortable with the way it looks, wipe the whole piece down to remove any excess dust that resulted from sanding.

Then it’s time to transfer your drawing onto the boards. I used the sketch (attached at the bottom in pdf) and some carbon paper, laying the pattern onto the board then tracing over the pattern to transfer the design.

Then all that’s left is to fill in the sketch with your paint colors following the paintings as a guide, and finish with a spray coat of sealer. Here’s our finished version:


We hung ours on the wall so we added picture hardware to the back. But to use them as yard stakes you can affix stakes to the back of the board with a couple of screws.

So while Pottery Barn’s version cost $49 each for their signs we bought all our supplies for approximately $25 and still had enough wood leftover for 1 extra sign and tons of paint left over for other projects. So if you have a little time this weekend you can totally tackle this project and ring in Spring with a touch of fun!

Click link below for PDF of sketch

Easter Yard Signs sketch

Psst: If you like this project stroll on over to our tutorials page to see our other projects


We finally bought one!



After 3 1/2 years of marriage, an apartment, a house, a baby and a boat we’re finally ready to admit we’re grown-ups and buy a sofa. But not just any sofa, the mack-daddy of all sofas…a sectional. Yup we’re saying goodbye to the ultimate in college days leftover our Futon. el Futono, sir Fute. You’ve been an incredible friend old guy, not just a couch, not just a bed. Sir Fute was  incredibly useful serving as our guest bedroom quarters when our friends used to crash in the living room but it was still the ultimate hold out on our part. We just couldn’t commit to any one sofa without feeling like we might be missing out on all the others.

We’ve been casually looking for one since we first were married window shopping whenever the chance arrived but could never actually commit to one. I have been subtly (or maybe not)  drooling over this sectional for a long time. So finally we pulled the plug on the Buchanon small curved sectional from Pottery Barn.

We like the classic lines of the sectional. It’s not too modern and no skirt makes it a little less traditional than it would be otherwise. I also like that it has a curved back and is a bit smaller in scale than your average sectional. We didn’t want anything that would overpower our room. We were also keeping in mind our future plans for an addition and the relocation of the living room and think that this will go perfectly as well. All in all we think we made a great choice. We cant wait to see it!

The floorplan vision



We new right from the very beginning that we’d love this house for the location and the fact that it was move-in ready fitting our needs right then, but to truly make it our long-term home we’d need to expand somewhere along the way. So that’s where floorplanner.com has come in. It’s the great little online floor planning tool that’s super easy to use and really helps you see what moving a wall, adding a foot or adding a whole second story can do for your house. But, the best part about it is it’s  F.R.E.E. to use a basic account, no more graph paper and ruler for me!

I’ve been spending the past few days measuring, planning, and virtually building walls to get down on paper what our long-term vision is for this house. While a few things might change as we go along we think we’re headed in the right direction. So without further ado…

Our current floorplan…

and drum roll please…the vision of our new and improved floor plan

Some of the big changes are:

  • An addition onto back of the house where the original deck was
  • Adding some space out the side to give us a true entry way. (Right now the way you walk up to the house you’re confused as to which way to enter).
  • A dining area AND an eat-in kitchen
  • The living room moved to the back of the house
  • We’ve added another bathroom and an office
  • More counter space in the kitchen
  • And maybe most importantly (at least in my book) additional closets

So that’s the pie in the sky vision to turn our lake house into our forever house.  Now we just need to make this vision a reality. What do you think of our forever home plans?

You win some, you return some



When it comes to returning items I’m no stranger to the customer service desk but that still never doesn’t stop me from cringing when I bring something home that I really hope will fit, looked perfectly great in the store, but somehow ended up being not quite right in the space.

Yup, burned again by not measuring before I go out shopping and  impulse buy based upon memory of the size rug I should get, completely veering off the planned course into uncharted bathroom rug territory!

What I originally planned to buy was this rug from JCPenney.com in white (pictured #7 above in my bathroom inspiration board). What I liked about it was the texture of the ribbing and the white color will lighten up the black floor tile in our bathroom along with the non-slip nylon backing that I’ve come to appreciate in a bathroom rug after stepping out of the shower one day onto a bathroom rug that didn’t have any backing and nearly breaking my ankle.

No seriously it was that bad.

In any case I’ve come to realize the fatal flaw in my plan was underestimating my level of impatience. Waiting  for the UPS man to arrive with the  rug I hadn’t yet gotten around to ordering yet seemed like a long time to wait when I could just run out to the store and buy one.  I mean how hard could it be to find a white rug? Way harder than I imagined.

Oh well, maybe I learned my lesson…I guess it’s back to the original plan. Time for some internet shopping 🙂

Ballard Designs; Berry Blossom Inspired Tutorial



Did you ever see a piece of art and thought wow I want that, it’ll look perfect only to look at the price tag and groan. That’s exactly what I did when I saw these two.

I put my thinking cap on and devised a plan to create similar pieces for less. The originals are  Berry Blossom Giclees from Ballard Designs. I love the colors in these prints but with a$369 price tag for two,  I knew they weren’t an option for my budget bathroom makeover.

Below is a shot of the art I created taking inspiration from the prints above. This art project was easy to paint and will add much needed style and color to our budget bathroom reno, I love the way they turned out.

Tools and Materials

2.  8×10 open back frames

2. 8 x 10 Canvas boards

Carbon Paper

Paint Brushes

Paints (outlined below)


Step 1. Paint the entire canvas with 2 background coats of a neutral background color. Wait for the background to dry according to the directions on the tube.

Step 2. Using the sketch outline trace over outline with a piece of  graphite transfer paper onto the canvas board. Sketch outline is attached at the bottom of the post.

Step 3. Now we’re all ready to paint. I started with the dots that make up a subtle design of the swirls and leaves. I used the acrylic paint for the background because it dries quickly and allows you to start painting the main part of the picture sooner than if you were to use the water based oils that I used for the rest of the piece. The dots that make up the swirl design were painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue to match my newly redecorated room. They are highlighted in blue below:

Step 4 Next up are the dots that make up the subtle leaf design. I painted them in silver acrylic paint. Those dots are highlighted in pink below.

Once all of that dries you can start the main portion of the picture. I’ve created a paint-by-number guide below and 2 paint type options.

Paint Options

I used Winsor & Newton water mixable oil paints for this project which I happened to have  on hand, but you can use any paints you like. I particularly like the idea of using those sample jars of paints  like Martha Stewart’s that Home Depot carries  you can get them in any color, they’re reasonable priced and unlike artist paints there is no mixing required.

Option #1—Artist paints ( I used Winson & Newton water mixable oil paints)

Background—Liquitex Basics, Acrylic Unbleached titanium white

Background Swirl Dots—Newburyportblue by Benjamin Moore (same color I plan to paint my room)

Background Leaf Pattern—Liquitex Metallic Silver

Winsor & Newton Oil Soluable Water paints (according to paint-by-number guide above)

  1. Mix Permanent Sap Green & Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
  2. Mix Alizarin Crimson & Magenta
  3. Mixture number 2 plus Titanium White
  4. Dioxazine Purple & Magenta
  5. Permanent Sap Green & White
  6. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna & Titanium White
  7. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna
  8. Raw Sienna & Titanium White
  9. Cadmium Yellow (pale hue)
Option #2  Martha Stewart’s paint samples (no mixing option)

Background—Glass of Milk

Background Swirl Dots—Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue (same color I plan to paint my room)

Background Leaf Pattern—Mirror by Martha Stewart Living

  1. Caper Berry
  2. Beet
  3. Larkspur
  4. Plum Wine
  5. Rhododendron Leaf
  6. Shortbread
  7. Burlap
  8. Toasted Marshmallow
  9. Burl

Tip: While the paint is still wet dry brush the area with some white paint  to add highlights.

Click link below for PDF of sketch
Sketch outline

Happy painting everyone! Please let me know if you tried this and how it turns out.

Psst: If you like this project stroll on over to our tutorials page to see our other projects

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