Entries Tagged as 'Home projects'

Best Laid Plans



As some of you may have heard the Northeast got quite the snowstorm Saturday. Yes that is right SNOW in OCTOBER in New Jersey. If you live somewhere that experiences a foot or more of snow October you may be snickering at us right now. But seriously this is not normal especially not 1 foot or more of SNOW, in my opinion snow with leaves still on the trees just looks weird.

Needless to say it put a bit of a cramp in our plans to finally finish staining the deck. We were making some progress until the freak storm of 2011 took over. Unfortunately, I only managed to take a few pics of the progress before the storm arrived mostly because I wasn’t expecting the storm.

It’s looking really good, now let’s just cross our finger and pray that the snow melts and there is one more nice day to finish it up!

The good news is that since we had a forced day inside and a nice long nap time courtesy of my son, I finally have been able to take some time and focus in on some of the changes we want to make to our Master Bedroom. It’s a total departure from what I had original Yellow and Gray plan but I think I’m in love.

Guess What We’ve Been Up To



I’ll give you a hint. It’ starts with a little project I like to refer to as the Never Ending Project of 2011 and continues with this…

…and a little of this…

…and a whole lot of cramped fingers.

We’ll let you know how it turns out, if we ever finish that is 🙂

Homey Halloween Spooktacular



So after all that Halloween Inspiration last week I got my butt in gear and started with some fun Halloween decorating of my very own. I’m not really into bloody and ghoulish Halloween but I’m all for some fun and spooky decorating.

First I grabbed some 4 sheets each of Pumpkin and Black scrapbook paper for around 80 cents a piece.  I thought it would be cool to change out some of my frames with some cool and cheap Halloween art.  I cut out a 1 each of a cat, owl, crow and bat silhouettes out of the black scrapbook paper and only ended up using 1 piece of black paper for all 4 silhouettes.

I slipped the pumpkin paper into the frames and taped the spooky silhouettes onto the pumpkin paper. And… I love them. I might just have to keep some orange accents around once Halloween is over.

On the wall I added additional cut out Bat silhouettes I had in my Halloween box that we had cutout for a party a few years ago. The table is  styled with some wheat bought from HomeGoods and black birds that my husband bought for me a few years ago.

On the jewelry box are a few little ceramic pumpkins and the yellow vase is another Home Goods find.

The large pumpkin is one of those foam craft pumpkins. I used green craft paint to paint some leaves on the top.

Outlined in dots of black puff paint.and some dotted black swirls with some more puff paint complete the foam pumpkin project.

So far I’m loving my touch of Halloween decor there’s still a few more things I’d like to put out but I think it’s shaping up to be a Spooktacular Halloween Home this year.

Over the Fence and to the Lake



Since this is the never-ending project of the Summer of 2011 I think it’s fitting that I’m still talking about this after Summer has come to a close and Fall is knocking us on the head with cooler temperatures and changing leaves.

After the happy day when we finally completed our little deck building project we knew it wouldn’t be long before we needed to build a fence to completely close off the yard and keep a certain roaming toddler from exploring beyond the boundaries of the sandbox and going for an impromptu dip in the lake beyond.

We wanted the same railing design we used for the deck so it looked nice and put together rather than some messy mish mosh of randomly built fences. We’ve already got a lot going on in the fence department with two different bordering fences and in the end decided that consistency would be key this time around.

To keep it interesting and not to long and boring we added some dimension to the side fences by making them a tad shorter than the deck rail. We will still be able to keep roaming toddlers in but it’s not too tall to block your line of sight. We think the height variations will add some character to what otherwise would be one long line of railing.

To make the fence panels the guys assembled the shorter version of the deck railing on the floor before carrying it over to some posts that had been set into the ground. After that it was simply leveled and nailed into place.

I always find it amazing how the last step goes so quickly all of the preparation and hard work that went into this entire project and then a little leveling and nailing and viola there’s a fence.

Next came assembling the gate panels to block off the stone stairway we talked about here. Bryan made a a frame making sure it was square. He used a wider board for the top piece so they could add an arch to the top of the gate similar to the one already on the deck gate.

Once the two halves of the gate were pre-assembled they dry fit them into the opening to make sure everything was snug and cozy but not too snug, since a sticky gate just isn’t fun for anyone.

To make the arched top the gate panels were set on the ground. Using a string they made a wide arch across both pieces. It was a bit of trial and error at first with Bryan moving further and further out to get just the right amount of curve.

Once they had the desired curve it was simple a matter of drawing the line and cutting it with a jigsaw. Then they sanded a few of the rough spots down.

This final piece of the great deck project really brought the whole yard together. It simultaneously gave us usable outdoor space in our modest sized yard while making the above ground pool completely accessible from the yard and gave it more of an in-ground feel.

An added bonus is the yard somehow feels wider and bigger because the fence and deck defines the space into two distinct outdoor rooms. We now have the grass area up top to play in and the area by the lake for boating access while keeping little one safe and confined.

The gate arches are my favorite custom touch in the yard so far. They add so much interest to all of the other straight lines on the deck and fence.

It’s come a long way since we inherited the yard from the previous owners. We still have so many plans to finish off the yard and fix up the area by the lake that now has all that white stone.

So what’s next you ask? Well, we still need to stain and protect the entire fence. Do you ever have a project you dread before you start it? I’m kind of feeling that about the prospect of staining this monster.

Ballard Designs Inspired; Snowbirds & Blossoms Tutorial



I thought it about time I shared a little art project I’ve been working on as a request from my sister. It’s a a certain painting she’s been drooling over from Ballard Designs for years now, every time she see it she mentions how I should paint it for her but inevitably one thing has led to the next and well I’ve been putting it off for years. Then I saw it Pinned it on Pinterest which meant the it was on like Donkey Kong. Finally it’s finished and ready to go.

It was a super simply Art project inspired by the Snowbirds and Blossom painting for sale on Ballard Designs website seen in the image below. It’s such and pretty painting and the background looks just like falling snow.

image via Ballard Designs

The  total price for the entire project was approximately  $35.00 using a 40% off coupon for the canvas at Michael’s. You can download a printable materials list here to paint your own Ballard Designs inspired Snowbirds and Blossoms painting.

Now let’s get to the fun part.

Paint the entire background of your canvas in 2 coats of silver paint and let dry. I used Liquitex Basics Acrylic paint in Silver which I had on hand but you could easily use regular silver craft paint.

Once dry click here to print the tree outline.  It’s sized to accommodate a 24 x 24 inch canvas and will print out on 9 sheets of regular paper. You can then piece together the sketch to transfer onto your canvas using your carbon transfer paper.

Starting with the gray and white and cream background. Use the eraser end of a new pencil and dip the eraser into a bit of Pewter Grey paintand randomly dot the entire background of the canvas using a straight up and down motion.

You may want to practice a couple time on the plate to get a feel for how much paint should be on the eraser to get the size dot you want. I just dipped and dotted a approximately 3  to 4 times before reloading the eraser.  It’s basically a process of dip, dot, dot dot, repeat. This will give an added dimension as each of the dots will be slightly different in size and opacity as the one before. Keep dipping and dotting until you have a random gray dots all over the background area of your canvas, don’t worry about completely covering the entire background with dots as this is only the first layer.

Next do the same thing all over again with Unbleached Titanium White filling in randomly the areas that don’t have coverage, then you’ll do the same with Butter Cream and finally a layer of Titanium White.  Once that is complete stand back and look to see how well the silver background has  been covered. You’ll want most of your silver background to be covered and you can go back and dot till your hearts content.

Once your happy with how it looks it is on to the leafy part of your tree…and you guessed it, more dots. The only difference between this part and the background is the center of the tree.  To give the tree depth use Christmas Green color only in the center portions as shown in the image above.

After the Christmas green color you add the Fresh Cut Grass, then the Kiwi and the Leaf Green in the same manner as the background was applied.  Dipping and dotting until your silver background is mostly covered. Then you’re ready for the tree truck which is dotted in the Dark Chocolate and the Coffee Latte.


Now this was a bit time consuming but super easy art project. I did it over the course of a number of nights watching some TV. I think it turned out just lovely and after all of that dotting I my sister has a beautiful Ballard Designs inspired hand painted painting for much less than the $449 retail price tag.

Shhh, don’t tell her but I almost want to keep it for myself.


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