Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seashell Wall Art

Yesterday I got out my seashell stash to arrange the mantle.  While I had it all out I decided I still had so many pretty shells that I needed to find a way to display them.  After thinking about it for a few minutes, I remembered that I had some old frames hidden away in the closet that were just waiting for a new lease on life.

Here are the lovely 1980's beauties before...









First, I removed the print and the glass and then I used my sanding sponge to scuff up the frame.





Then I started painting with some craft paint I had on hand.  I needed 3 coats to cover both frames.  As I was putting it on it was not covering very smoothly so I decided that the frames were going to have to have more of a rustic look.




Once the paint was dry I added some dark walnut stain using a paper towel.  Then I rubbed it off with a wet paper towel.  It actually turned a sort of gray which I decided was very beachy.





After the stain dried - about 15 minutes - I added a coat of polycrylic.  I did this because the paint and the stain were flat and the colors of the shells were flat so I felt the project needed a little more shine or depth.



In between paint coats I had arranged my shells and glued them on to some off-white cardstock I already had.  I used a ruler to find the center of the paper for my first shell, but I eyeballed it when placing the rest which I glued down with regular craft glue.


Here's the finished product...




Here they are on the shelf in the upstairs hallway.



I think they turned out great and best of all they were free.  I did this whole project just repurposing items I already had around the house.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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southern hospitality




Friday, April 29, 2011

New Spring Mantle

I was going to post yesterday but we had the worst windstorms here.  Nothing like the devastation in the rest of the country but we did lose our cable/internet for most of the day and I had to go get the kids from school as the school lost power.  There was so much damage to trees and power lines that the kids also don't have school today.

Anyways, I finally did something with the mantle.  After seeing the latest Pottery Barn I decided to jump on the bandwagon and use the seashells and such that I already had on hand.


I moved the printer's drawer from the hallway to the mantle.  I thought it was a nice focal point so then I  added the conch shells and the starfish.


I ended up putting the candles up on books to give it some more height and movement.  I'm not sure I like having the books backwards but it definitely looked less distracting that way in the pictures.  

The picture below is without the books.  Still nice but I wasn't loving the arrangement.


I do, however, love the little stone bird.


Here's another view of the finished arrangement.  I may add some fresh flowers at some point.  Maybe just a couple of bud vases filled with simple white flowers.


I am putting in this last picture as a lesson learned thing.  The picture is a close up of one of the bookcases on the sides of the fireplace.


For the first 5 years we lived in this house I left these empty.  I thought that they were too dark and that if I put things in there they wouldn't be seen.  So they sat empty as I tried to think up ways to light up the book cases.  I tried puck lights and lining the back with paper and a few other things before I finally just tried loading them up.  And guess what?  Once they had things in there it was fine.  In fact, they looked great.  I couldn't believe that I went all those years with empty bookshelves.

Now, of course, the key that locks the doors to keep them closed has gone missing (by missing I mean that one of my darling children decided that they must play with it and then lost it).  So I hope everyone likes the current arrangement because until we find the key the bookcases are going look that way for a while.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~




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Transformation Thursday

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kitchen Reveal

I guess I am finally ready to let you all see the kitchen.  We have been working on it since late October.  For some reason I thought we could paint all the cupboards and wallpaper all the walls before Thanksgiving.  Yeah, well,  then I thought for sure we would finish by Christmas.  So, well, we finally finished the wallpaper and paint by mid-February and have just been doing little things since then.  I think for now it is done except for possibly adding a few accessories.

I only have one before shot.  We started redoing the kitchen before I was blogging and I can't find any other pictures of us in the kitchen at all.  I must have avoided any picture taking in here because it was not my favorite room.  Imagine 1980's oak cabinets against a badly beat up peach-colored walls and gold hardware all over.


This is my oldest son, who is now 8, playing in the cupboards before we moved into the house.  The empty spot next to the cupboard is where the refrigerator is located and the microwave is on top of this cupboard.  Notice the oak color of the cabinet.

Going into this update we knew we were not going to replace either the white stone countertops or the blue marble floor tile.  This redo was done just to get us by until we can afford a total gut job.  I hate the blue tile floor and I really want to rearrange the whole layout.  In any event, I had to find paint colors that would work with both the blue floor and the white countertop.  It was not easy.  It was really hard.  It was the reason that this was the last room in the house to get updated.

I brought home a lot of samples but anything that looked okay with the floor made the white counter look dingy and anything that went with the counter totally clashed with the floor.  I started thinking about wallpaper and I must of looked at thousands of samples before we choose this one.    It allowed enough contrast that I could have white cabinets on top that didn't clash with the white counters, and it tied in the black bottom cabinets and appliances.  Up close the paper has an antiqued crackled type of look that I think goes well with our old house.



Here's the cupboard from the before picture.  We choose black paint because it went with the appliances.  I don't really like the black appliances so having the cabinets match them helps to keep them from being a focal point.



Do you see the little owl on the fridge?  I made it for my grandmother when I was a girl and when she passed it was given back to me for my fridge.






To the right of the fridge is the spot where all the regular life stuff collects.  We have hooks for jackets and purses and the basket holds all the phone chargers and miscellaneous stuff.  The phone is from Pottery Barn and is only for show.









I never had a double oven before this house and now I don't know what I'll do if we move and the new house doesn't have one.  I probably only use it once or twice a month but it is so handy to have.


Here's a shot of the stovetop and the pendant lights I installed myself.





This picture shows the dishwasher that I also painted.  You can read how to do that here.


This is the window above the sink.  We decided to paint the cabinets along this wall white.  I didn't want the kitchen to seem super dark and using the white here made all the difference.  It helps highlight this wall and brings your eye up.  We also replaced all the old gold hardware with new ones in satin nickel - much, much better.

I made the curtain for the window when I made the curtain for the appliance garage.  If anyone has any good ideas for those shelves next to the window please share.  I used to have little teapots up there but it looked so busy.  I thought about putting little herb pots there but I haven't found any I like yet.


Here's the wall opposite the sink.  To the left you can see our downstairs bathroom and further back is our office/playroom.  The kids and I made the EAT from MDF letters from Hobby Lobby.  I want to hang a chalkboard on the wall to the left of this doorway.  I am just waiting for the perfect old frame to cross my path.

Overall, I am very happy with the changes we've made.  I still wish for my dream kitchen but I am also happy to wait another few years.  Does anyone else have any "good enough for now" rooms?

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Linking up at...

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

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Somewhat Simple

Monday, April 25, 2011

MIA? Nope MOM...

Last week was Spring Break around here.  It rained all week so of course we ended up doing a few more kid activities and a few less mom projects.

We did a little of this...




And we saw this...




We went here...


We did a little painting...


And we visited their grandparents for Easter...





It was a good week.  I'm glad they are back to school tomorrow.  

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

P.S. Bonus Points if you know what book those illustrations are from:)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to Paint Your Dishwasher

For years I lived with a dishwasher that stuck out like a sore thumb.  It was white and the rest of our appliances were black.  I couldn't and still can't replace the dishwasher because it is this weird under the sink model.  It is so out of the ordinary that when it was leaking last month and I had the appliance guy come to fix it he said he had never seen anything like it in 20 years.  Yep.  That's how we roll in this old house.

Anyways, on top of that in October we decided to paint the old oak cabinets black which made the dishwasher stand out even more.  It was awful.  I decided to investigate my options and see what could be done.  I looked at Home Depot and all the paint specifically labeled for appliances was the spray paint variety.  Since I couldn't remove the front of my dishwasher I wasn't interested in spray painting in my kitchen.  I just knew I would accidentally paint something else.

I considered wallpapering the front of the dishwasher to match the wallpaper we just hung on the wall but that seemed like it would just draw a different kind of attention to the dishwasher which is not what I wanted.

Then I talked to the guys at Sherwin Williams.  They suggested I use their adhesion primer and then use the black paint (also SW) I used for the cabinets on the dishwasher.  I was skeptical.  I thought for sure it would chip and I would end up touching it up every other day.  Well, after a few months I have to say I am super happy.  The paint has not chipped at all - it has, in fact, held up better than the paint on the wood cabinets.  I can actually scrub on it with a sponge and none of the paint has come off or chipped.



Here's what I did.

1.  I cleaned the outside of the dishwasher with hot water and dish soap making sure to get it squeaky clean.

2.  I scuffed up the front with a 220 sandpaper.  I used 220 grit because that is what I had laying around.  I just went over the surface once to make it look a little dull.  After the scuffing I noticed what I can only call plastic dust on the front of the dishwasher.  I cleaned this off with a damp paper towel.









3.  I applied the SW adhesion primer.  I only bought a quart and I have most of it left.













4.  After letting the primer dry completely - about an hour - I applied the cabinet paint.  I used the SW Pro Classic in the semi-gloss finish.  I used a normal 2 inch paint brush and a small artist type paintbrush for the tricky spots.  I did 3 coats to make sure no white was coming through and to make sure it was all smooth and really well covered.










The only part of the dishwasher that I couldn't paint was the top part where the controls are located.  Since I was using black paint it would completely cover the details and no one would know what cycle they were picking - not that it matters since I know it by heart and I am the only one who turns it on - anyways I had to leave that section white.



I tried to think up all different ways to cover that section and finally I decided to try to use a section of the leftover wallpaper on it.  I traced a glass to get the curved shape for around the dials.  Then I applied the wallpaper like usual and followed up with a coat of polycrylic when the paper was dry.  I think it helps to cover up more of the white.  My husband thinks it looks funny - what does he know.  I also thought I could gorilla glue an extra door handle to the middle of that part of the dishwasher and have a towel kind of disguise the area but for now the wallpaper is good with me.



All in all this was a super easy and quick project that has held up very well.  For once I am glad that my handiwork just kind of fades into the background.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~


Transformation Thursday

I'm also linking up at Strut Your Stuff at Somewhat Simple.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Paint for the Basement Stairway

Now this isn't the most beautiful before and after you'll ever see but it is a big change for us.  As I've said before our house was built in 1866 so keep in mind that the basement is almost 150 years old.  It is built on a stone foundation and you can just barely stand up in the basement.  The basement floors were originally dirt that were covered with cement and there are some other old house oddities down there.  Most of all it is creepy and dark.  It is the reason why I have a 2nd floor laundry - which is really just the best thing ever.

Anyways, the stairway to our basement has always been very dark.  There is no lighting and the walls are made of old dark brown bead board.


I took this picture from the doorway in the kitchen at the top of the stairs.  You can see the door to the yard on the right next to the stone foundation and then straight ahead is another door at the bottom of the stairs.  On the left is the old dark wood.  This wood makes the back of our pantry cupboards off of the kitchen.


There are shelves built into the stairway and our back staircase is above your head.  You can see how dark all that wood makes this little space.

I thought if I painted it a brighter color it might seem less foreboding.  I had a ton of yellow paint leftover after the kitchen update so one day last week I just went crazy.  


It was actually kind of fun to paint this area because I didn't have to be careful at all.  I used an old brush and I just went to town.  When I got dirt in the brush, I didn't care I just kept going.  I didn't worry about drips or edges or anything.  I just put paint wherever I thought it would help.


It's never going to be a nice finished basement like in new houses but this spruce up makes it a little more pleasing and much less creepy - always a good thing in my book.



~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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