Kitschdesigns

Making And Crafts–Alphabet Artwork

October 4, 2012 22:38 by ehouston

For a long time now I have admired those alphabet prints that are EVERYWHERE.  You know the ones with the “I”, “O” and “U” in a different color, and the “O” replaced with a heart to reveal a not so hidden message.  As the decorating progressed in my son’s new room and the nursery I decided I wanted one for each space.  This was one of those projects I knew I could handle on my own and that a cheap Target frame with a matt would turn into a pricey looking piece of artwork. 

So, I started with a basic design:

ABC-Loveu

This was originally intended for my son’s room, so I used a dark gray for the letters and a simple deep red for the personal message.  Later I realized that I should have used his favorite color, Orange, instead.  Later STILL I realized I wanted to use this one in the nursery.  However, once I got further along with the nursery decorating I thought it might be neat to use a font with a floral or garden theme to tie in with all the floral prints in our little girl’s room.  Plus, I wanted to try switching the main alphabet color to that of the rainbow, while using black for the hidden “I Heart U” message.  And, then I found this font…

 ABC-Garden

It’s called 101 In My Yard and I LOVE it!!!  I think this piece turned out really cute and will definitely grow with our sweet little girl.

After finding such a whimsical font for the nursery art it seemed fitting to do something equally fun for my son’s room.  That is when I switched up the original artwork to what you see below.ABC-OrangeAndGray

I just used Word and the Sybil Green font, replacing the “O” by Inserting a Heart Shape and coloring all of it to match his new space.  At first I was concerned about messing up his ability to learn his ABC’s by using this crazy font, but later I realized he knows his alphabet pretty well already and should be just fine. 

When he is in therapy later we can talk about this in more depth, I guess.

The frames are both from Target and included white matts cut to an 8” X 10” sized opening, so just remember to adjust your margins if you decide to make one.  Two pieces of custom artwork for the price of a little time, two pieces of cardstock and a bit of printer ink, and $33.98 in frames ($16.99/each).  Not bad, I would say!

Kitsch Krafts


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DIY–Big Boy Room–The Reveal

October 3, 2012 05:51 by ehouston

Back in April I wrote about my latest undertaking, the “Big Boy” bedroom that we were creating to help my son give up the nursery to his new little sister. We were also giving up our spare bedroom, which had come in handy for extra guests and served as my crafting and sewing space. More on where I work later, right now I want to share where we are with the space now that the Little Guy has blissfully taken to his new room. First let’s recap where we started with some lovely photos….or, we can just use the usual CSI style crummy ones that I manage to take.

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(This was the space to the left as you walked through the door.)

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(And, this was the right side of the room, taken from along the side of the bed.)

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(A close-up of a couple design challenges in the space.)

The first thing we had to overcome in this room was the heavy floral border and matching “tray” ceiling effect the previous owners had placed up above with more wallpaper and lavender paint. I actually had a pretty easy time of removing the borders and the lavender went down with one coat of primer. Yeah! The next challenge was that all the trim and both doors had been painted with oil-based cream paint making the finish rock hard and super shiny. Just to be sure primer and paint would stick, I wiped the surfaces down with a deglosser and then used a coat of oil-based primer to help seal off the shellac-like paint job. That seems to have done the trick because after applying two coats of the glossy latex, bright white top coat, the finish has remained nice and smooth. I had a fear that after all my hard work the layers would start to peel or run- so far, so good!

Going into this project I knew only a couple of things: I wanted the base of the room to be gray so I would not have to change it again in a couple of years and I hoped to come up with a fun wall design that could stand the test of time as well. Also the Little Guy loves the color orange and insisted on using it whenever asked about his decorating ideas. Mom-inclusion Fail! I really should have known better than to ask him because this meant finding the fine line between nice room with cute accents and bright construction barrels along the side of a gravel strewn highway.

Once all the trim was painted out I used leftover wall color from our dining room to knock out what had been lavender overload. As I wrote above I wanted the walls to be gray, but came across a nearly full gallon of bluish-gray paint in the garage and figured I would just use it instead. The whole time I was painting the color on the walls I kept thinking, “where is this paint from?”. It wasn’t until I completely finished that I realized it was the color I mixed on my own and had matched to Valspar in Eggshell at Lowe’s for above the chair rail. It was also at this point that the paint was drying enough for me to see that it was definitely more blue than I had intended for this room. No worries, free paint is free paint and obviously we like the color. Due to the dark shade I did end up having to buy another gallon in order to add a second coat and get nice coverage all around. I then purchased a can of bright white Valspar paint in Eggshell finish and mixed it with the darker shade already used on the plain walls to create a lighter gray for the horizontal stripes. My original plan called for adding horizontal stripes to the main wall where we thought the bed should go.

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Later, I decided to add the same horizontal stripes to the opposite wall too. I figured that way if we changed up the furniture arrangement it would not look as weird if the bed landed on another wall. In the end we have two plain and two striped walls and we are all pretty happy with the look.

The second item to tackle on the bedroom “To-do” list was to figure out how to house his clothes, toys and books, seating for family reading and possibly a nightstand. A headboard and/or full bed were not necessary because we planned to push it against the wall and possibly into the corner. Plus, the twin we were using already had a basic frame and I was able to create a simple bed skirt from a new, but thrifted curtain panel to help hide the wheels and under bed storage. After a few short weeks of Sal. Army stalking I came across this shelving unit that appeared to be just the right width and height for the space between the windows.

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Many weeks later, just as I was about to give up on finding a deal, I made one last trip to the Sal. Army and scored this dresser and nightstand set to complete the storage item checklist.

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Both are pretty sturdy and I expect that they will serve their purpose well against the destructive forces of an almost 3 year-old little boy.

With the storage issues under control we were then able to focus our energy on the decorating and bringing the seating into the space. After many an online search had failed to reveal a decently priced upholstered and overstuffed rocker, we decided a better bet for our growing family would be an extra large bean bag chair to plop next to the bookcase. I did manage to find a 4-footer online from Comfort Research at a cost of $118.00, making this the most expensive item in the whole room. Honestly, we probably would have paid double for this kind of comfort, though. It’s super fun to drop into when cuddling up at the end of the day for story time.

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Although for a while I had a problem with my big belly preventing me from easily getting back out of the thing without help when the story had ended. ;o)

The last neutral decorative aspect of the room was the curtains. Again, I wanted to stick with gray to make things easy in the future, however I did not want them to be totally boring. At the same time I found the brand new curtain panel used for the bed skirt at the Goodwill, I also found a second pair of curtains in a light gray heavy cotton. Since I prefer stationary panels with blinds these were perfect for cutting in half, and trimming out to make a set for each of the single windows.

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I chose a border fabric that reminded me of a blown out tweed pattern, with a retro sort of vibe. Plus, in a way it matched up with the tweed-like fabric of the other curtain panel used for the bed skirt. Matchy without being too matchy-matchy, know what I mean?

Since we wanted this room to grow with my son all traces of the color he loves, orange, are found in easy to change accents. I painted a thrifted frame orange to hold a cute alligator print by Funnel Cloud Studio that we picked out at the Richmond Craft Mafia’s Spring Bada-Bing craft show a couple of months ago.

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Since then we discovered several other inexpensive accents in orange by Room Essentials from Target; storage bins, picture frames and a clock.

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To add some fun shapes, color and extra lighting we hung a bunch of paper lanterns from Hobby Lobby and Party City and plan to cover the existing overhead light with a clear plastic IKEA knockoff from Target.  More on that soon (I hope!).

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I even got crafty and made him an alphabet print with the “I”, “O” and “U” in orange to spell out “I heart u”.

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Of course we kept his vintage globes and topography map (over the head of the bed) and added a light up globe for his nightstand.  These all worked nicely since they have lots of muted oranges to add to the overall design scheme.

At this time, the room is as complete as I can make it without starting another big project.  I do have some half finished artwork for the wall above his bed and some pillows for the bean bag chair sitting in sewing limbo.  The only items we planned to put in here, but could not find space for are his tiny table and chairs. They are still in a state of disarray and sitting in the dormer window of the playroom. We thought they might work well in the walk-in closet, but I think he prefers to use his desk while I am working away at mine. So, for now this set will stay put and get a face lift as soon as possible.

Whew! This has been a long one and I don’t even feel like I covered all aspects of what went on in this space. In fear of killing everyone with boredom I will move on and do a quick “Before and After” post later of several elements. Please tell me what rooms you guys have been working on over the last couple of months. I’m always looking for inspiration.

Kitsch Krafts

PS- Here is a cost breakdown:

Dresser – Thrifted from Sal. Army                                $59.99

Nightstand- Thrifted from Sal. Army                             $14.99

Beanbag Chair- From Comfort Research                        $118.00

Bookshelf- Thrifted from Sal. Army                               $59.99

Bed- Already owned                                                    Free

Paint (Walls and Furniture)–

               Some already owned/Some Purchased           $60.00

Bedding- Sheets Walmart & Target                               $30.00/two twin sets

Bedding- Down comforter-Target                                  $29.99

Curtains- Thrifted/Joann’s Cotton for Trim                     $29.97 with coupons

Bedskirt- Thrifted/Already owned fabric                         $5.99

Frames- 4” X 6” – RE Target                                         $5.99 for 4

Clock- RE Target                                                          $6.99

Shelf Storage Bins – RE Target                                      $15.98 – ($7.99/each)

Orange Paper Lanterns- Hobby Lobby                             $7.99/for 3

White Paper Lanterns- Party City                                    $9.99/for 5

Initial Frames – Hobby Lobby                                         $23.99/for 3 with coupon

White Frame w/Matt- Target                                          $16.99

Light Kit for Paper Lantern – Target                                $19.99

TOTAL:                                                                          $516.83


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Tray Problem Solved

January 9, 2012 01:47 by ehouston

I wanted to share another perfect gift I received this past Christmas.  It was from my mom and basically she solved our side table tray problems with one simple gift.

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I’m sure you remember this triumphant rearrange.  Unfortunately for all the table space we gained we were left with tops that could not take much of a licking.  The natural woven grass will stain or disintegrate if spilled on or if a sweating glass full of ice is left overnight.  Again, I won’t name names, but someone living here likes to leave his half empty drinks about.  I had a great idea for creating a custom tray, but had to shelve it when the holiday season became to busy for any extra projects.  So, that’s when my mom made it her Christmas quest to get us the perfect accessory. 

She scored these at Target for around $20 bucks (I think).  They are a simple rectangular wooden tray with a deep dark stain and slightly curved sides.  The curve is just enough detail to give it some design appeal, but without going over the top.

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So far we have been loving them.  I think I may be inspired to create some cool coasters for these so stay tuned.

Kitsch Krafts


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Making And Crafts–Diaper Box Hamper

November 17, 2010 08:05 by ehouston

As you may imagine we have lots of diaper and baby wipe boxes around here.  (Yeah, I like the idea of being all environmental and stuff, but for our lifestyle disposable is the way to go.  Sorry Treehuggers!)  Anyways, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, boxes.  Lot’s of boxes.  I have a thing about containers and have a hard time getting rid of perfectly good ones.  Unfortunately, a lot of diaper boxes are a bit on the smaller side or just way to big for practical application.  The other con is that they also usually have a large amount of printing on all sides, making them a stand out among otherwise clean and organized storage.  We have accumulated a large number of the Target, Up & Up, Size 3, 96 count diaper boxes and they have been very useful for storing odds and ends, but mainly they have helped us build a mean fort or two from time to time.

Next to playtime and storage solutions there are not many other things I could think of to do with these guys, aside from relinquishing them to the recycling bin.  Then after using one of the baby wipe boxes as a hamper for what seemed like an eternity while I tried to decide on a more permanent option,  I realized that one of the larger diaper boxes could be used instead and prettied up quite a bit.  It also helped that I seem to always come across bits and pieces of contact paper that are just the amount I need for the project at hand.  So, in the end I was able to take this situation…

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…and turn it into this more aesthetically pleasing scenario.

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I started out with the box on the left.  Please note that I ended up using the new 144 count size box, which was much better than the wipe box and the smaller diaper box for holding all the things the Little Guy gets dirty.

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After cutting the top flaps down to about 2 inches I then used some of my trusty ol’ Martha Stewart Wood Grain Contact Paper in Gray and covered the outside of the box on all sides.  The patterned paper was perfect for covering up and disguising the crawling baby and bright yellow of the original packaging.  I also cut around the handle slits so we could still use them for carrying the hamper to the laundry room.  Next I used plain white Contact Paper to wrap the edges of the cut down top flaps to give them a more finished look.  I started on what would have been the top side, then wrapped it around what was the inside of the top flap and down the inside top edge of the box. 

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The shot above shows one side of the top flap has been covered in white Contact Paper and then I flipped it down and glued it in place to create a sort of wrapped top edge.  Again, just to add some interest and take away from the fact that it’s ultimately just an old cardboard box.  As you can see I used trusty clothes pins to hold the flaps in place while the glue dried.

After wrapping each of the cut down top flaps and gluing them into place I was left with a gap at each corner.  Luckily I had the forethought to wrap a small square of the “wood grain” Contact Paper up and over each corner of the box before gluing down the top flaps.  Those little squares of Contact Paper covered the exposed cardboard and bright yellow in that area, as seen in the pic below.  In an attempt to give the corners a little more oomph I also added rectangles of cardboard that I cut from the scraps of the box flaps.

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(This was one of my first attempts and you can see in the shot above that I did not wrap that little square of Contact Paper over the corner before gluing down the top flaps.  The cut cardboard and original packaging color show through, so in my next attempt I took a little more time in this area.)

I wrapped the corner pieces in white Contact Paper, folded them around the corner of the box and attached them with regular old paper fasteners.  You know, the kind that you push through a hole and then fold back the “legs” to sort of manually staple papers together.

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You can see the corner pieces a little better in the shot above.  They are a bit wonky, but they work.  As you can also see from this angle, I added wooden feet that I painted with the leftover dark brown paint from the floor trim in the nursery.  In order to keep them sturdy and well attached, I cut a piece of cardboard from the side of another diaper box and placed it in the bottom of the hamper.  I then slid the screw through a large flat metal washer before pushing it through the bottom of the hamper.  I added another washer on the under side right before screwing the whole shebang directly into the painted wooden ball feet.  So far they have held on very well.  The last thing I did was line the inside with more white Contact Paper.  After a few days of looking down into the box and seeing where the wrapped Contact Paper stopped along the top edge of the hamper and the ends of the paper fasteners sticking through, I realized I needed to clean things up a bit.  Once the Contact Paper was in place the whole hamper really came together.

It definitely is a much better view into the Little Guy’s room now. 

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The best part was that all the pieces were laying around our house already, so this was a ZERO cost craft!  WHOOHOO!

Have you all ever repurposed something disposable and made it more of a permanent part of your home?

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Making And Crafts–Winter Wear

November 5, 2010 06:20 by ehouston

I had decided a couple of weeks ago that I would make some simple mittens for the Little Guy now that cooler weather is fast approaching.  After several failed attempts at finding inexpensive mitten and hat sets that actually fit a 14 month old I realized that I could put my stockpile of fleece to good use and make my own.  Then, the other day I was browsing the $1.00 bins at Target and noticed they had some cute little knit caps and matching mittens.  I was sold.  Budget friendly and no work involved.  Cha-Ching!  However, I did one minor alteration to the mittens after misplacing many a toddler shoe while out and about.

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I figured some ribbon through his coat sleeves will help us both keep up with these itty bitty mittens.  There’s nothing more invigorating than a mad dash through a store searching out tiny footwear that is often found in odd spots, like wedged onto a shelf between boxes of cereal.  Of course this was a task completed by the wearer because his cart pusher spent too much time reading the labels rather than keeping his ride moving. 

He tried them out and so far so good.  Plus, I didn’t even think about the fact that they perfectly match his little pale blue peacoat that still fits him from last year.  He looks fabulous and ready for winter.  Now, if his mom could just get it this together too.  ;o)

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DIY – The Dining Room : Finally Some Progress To Share!

August 18, 2010 04:19 by ehouston

For those of you wondering how long it takes to complete typical DIY work around your home, please read no further.  Move on now, nothing to see here.   …I have given up on estimating the timeline of a project and have decided just to go with the flow.  Once you add a kid in the mix, it’s all downhill from there.  Sorry to say, but my one to two week fix for the dining room in our 1992 Colonial has taken well over 2 months and has yet to be completed.  Since things are taking sooooo long, I thought I would share what I have done so far.  Because, it really is just some of the final finishes that are lacking.

Let’s start with the before shots:

DR-SideWindow-Before

This shot shows us making do with our old furniture, decor and the shears and shades that the previous owners left in place.

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It’s hard to tell, but the wallpaper in this room was not only very dark green, but it also had a pattern like crushed leather.  It looked a lot like an old style ink blotter for a desktop.  At least that’s what we think the look was that they were going for.  Unfortunately, we were not “going for” the gentlemen’s library feel for our dining space.

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This shot of the fireplace shows the trim work that appears to be an after thought.  It’s as though they just forgot about adding a mantle or something?  The previous owners gifted us the gold mirror.  mmmmm….

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Here is the front wall of windows, a shot that we have posted before, showing our curtain fabric choices.  There is also another mirror that a relative gifted us many years ago.  This one is gold too, but with an antiqued wash.  Still not exactly our cup of tea.

As you may or may not remember, the first two big decisions we had to make for this space were paint colors and curtain fabric.  It took four samples from the home improvement store and four more mixed in baby food jars to get the right shade for the walls.  I ended up using the French Grey color chip that I found at Home depot, but mixed at Lowe’s with Valspar Eggshell finish paint, on the bottom portion of the walls.  I had a quart of the same color mixed with a high gloss paint for the chair rail and the trim around the floor just for a little contrast. 

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Unfortunately the Antique Silver color was two muddy once I put it up on the walls and just did not have enough of a hint of blue for my taste.  So, I mixed it with the French Grey until I had just the right shade and had it color matched at Lowe’s.  I also wanted the upper walls to be darker than what the Antique Silver offered up against the deep blue grey of the bottom portion of the walls.  After getting the wall color completed I finished out the crown molding, window and door trim with glossy white Valspar paint.

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We have not had many sunny days lately (or at least not when the sun comes around to this side of the house), so I have not been able to score a really good shot of the paint color to share.  Oh well…

As you can see from the wide room shot above, we decided to go with the Bird and Vine tablecloths from Dwell Studio for Target for our curtains.  After carefully cutting them in half, I sewed up the edge and then put a 1.5 inch hem in the top for some stability and then hemmed the bottoms to length for each window.  At $21.99 a pop, I would say these were a pretty cost conscious solution for the curtain panels. 

I also added more substantial wooden curtain rods with simple finials painted out in the same glossy white as the crown molding.  This piece of the project took a bit longer than expected because I ended up building my own rod system from the trim pieces you can purchase individually at Lowe’s and Home Depot.  Instead of buying the already finished curtain systems I opted for this more cost effective way to get exactly the size I wanted for a “high and wide” mounting.  Even though it was a pain to paint all these pieces I did save about a third of what I would have spent on the prefinished items.  I also found that many of the rods in the home improvement stores are either really bulky and large or kind of small and wimpy.  The Allen & Roth line at Lowe’s is quite nice, but their white pieces are actually sort of more ecru and looked dirty next to the glossy white of the other trim in the room.

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And, although I prefer bamboo shades to wooden blinds I decided to go with the latter.  They are still not my favorite, but I figured they will stay with the house if we move and this home calls for a plantation blind or shutter look more than the that of bamboo shades.  Again, not my favorite, but I think the windows came out just fine anyway.

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We decided to paint out the trim around the fireplace the same color as the crown molding.  It actually makes the grey streaks running through the marble look much better.  The surround also looks slightly less out of place or as an after thought.  My ideal fix for this wall would be to pull all the trim down from around the marble and use small glass tiles with a bit of shimmer from floor to ceiling just on this one angled wall.  I think that would be such a nice focal point for the room.  That is a far off in the future project, though, and we are quite happy with the paint job for now.  As soon as possible I will be spraying the gold trim piece, along with the rest of the gas insert surround, a mat black to further spruce up the fireplace area.

Another little project I have been wanting to tackle for years now was to paint the antiqued gold mirror white.  The color was never quite right and it is a bit ornate for our tastes, so we figured a nice coat of glossy white paint (same as the trim in the room) would help tone it down and play a little more nicely with the rest of the space.

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NOW, for the elephant, or two, in the room.

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This chandelier actually evoked hysterical laughter from The Mister and I when we were first looking at this home.  Granted, the previous owners had filled the space with big, bulky, dark wood period pieces, but this light always seemed over the top to us.  I have always looked at it as to large for the room, but I discovered I may be off in my thinking after a recent visit to a local decorator’s outlet.  I was told that the chandelier should meet the measurements of the room size, not the table below it.  Oops.  I was thinking the opposite, and now I realize that I think it’s just my general dislike for the shiny, brass that keeps me from accepting this guy as the right fit for the room.  I have considered spraying it out, but I believe it is a nice and probably costly piece of brass.  So, I think I may replace it with something more our taste, but leave it in the attic in case future owners want to restore this room to it’s former gentlemen’s library glory.  BTW (sorry Kelli)- It’s hard to tell from this picture, but this thing is nearly 30 inches across.  It’s HUGE!!!

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The other issue is the table.  It is only a dinette size and was our extra game table at our last place.  I have dreams of relocating it to our spare bedroom upstairs that plays double duty as my craft space.  I think it will be the perfect size table for all my sewing and crafting needs.  In the meantime I have this crazy idea that I am going to craft my own table from plywood and paint it out white.  That way I can get the exact size I want and I don’t have to worry about matching the wood tones to anything else I put in here (something I gave up on long ago after acquiring the Danish made rosewood hutch).  I did finally settle on some simple chairs that are pretty comfy, plus I figured I could slipcover them for different looks if I want to in the future.  They are the bentwood modern stacking chairs from Target in the espresso finish.  Not only did these come in sets of two, but I was able to purchase them at a price cut for $59.99 a set.  WHOOHOO for the budget!

Hopefully, we will be able to stop playing “which of these things is not like the others” soon and take this room DIY completely off the list.  Stay tuned for the latest project I created for myself involving a piece of furniture to take up that empty space below the newly painted mirror.  I’m super excited about this one and I think it will really make the whole space!

Bon Appétit!

Kitsch Krafts


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Waiting For Paint To Dry

June 9, 2010 03:37 by ehouston

It’s the hardest part of any DIY paint project.  Well, that and doing everything while the baby sleeps!  Luckily the paint can dry in between naps and I don’t go to crazy in the meantime.  Hanging with the Little Guy always takes my mind off all the work I have to do around this place.  The priming is complete and I am waiting for the swatches of wall color to dry.  While I am trying to make a decision about which colors to use I plan to get a couple of coats up on the ceiling.  Lord knows when the last time that thing saw a fresh paint job.  It’s funny how white things seem until you paint them with a fresh coat of white paint.  As soon as the chair rail got a hit or two from the brush after I splattered primer I could really see the distinct difference in colors.  Can’t wait to get the ceiling and all that trim cleaned up!

In addition to the wall color I need to make a decision about curtains.  Since this room is large I thought about going bold with a fun patterned fabric for the stationary panels I plan to put up high and wide along all three windows in the room.  The real privacy will come in the form of bamboo roman shades.  So, I was perusing Target the other day and came across the new table linens from Dwell Studio.  As always, I was drawn right in by their use of color and fun pattern.  I was also lured by the size of the largest tablecloth, 60” X 104”, which is exactly the size I need for these windows.  Unfortunately, finding the longer sized curtains in the ready made world of window treatments has proven very difficult.  If, and that is a big IF, I find a ready made panel that I like it either doesn’t come in the larger size or that size is super expensive, or it’s out of stock.  That was my luck up until recently in searching for curtain panels.  Until I walked into Target that fateful day.  I left with just enough tablecloths to make curtains for the dining room and adjoining living room.  Now I just need to choose which to use in each room.  Here are some shots of the dining room pre-DIY disaster with the curtains held in place via clothespins over the sheer panels the previous owners left.

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Linen #1 – Large Medallions

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Linen #2 – Branches with Birds

Usually I do not like a lot of bold pattern, so I may end up just using one set in the dining room (since it’s a larger space) and going with plain fabric for the living room.  Both linens use the exact same color combo of chocolate brown and deep blue gray with an occasional bit of mustard thrown in for contrast, all on a white background.  My plan is to put up white wooden curtain rods with rounded finials that sit above the window and just below the crown molding.  I also want the rods to hold the curtains outside of the windows on either side, just overlapping at the trim and up to the edge of the bamboo shades I plan to hang for privacy.

I am curious to know what you guys think.  So far everyone that I have asked has picked the same style with the comment, “This one looks like you”.  What is funny is that I was leaning toward the opposite design.

So, let’s see what you all think, “looks like me”.

Kitsch Krafts


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