Flea Market Swap 3 - The Big Day!

Last week I talked about 'Flea Market Swap 3' organized by Charlotte from Ciburbanity. You've probably spotted Charlotte on the back page of the March issue of BHG, in her beautiful lavender living room. A lot of planning goes on behind the scenes of these projects, so a big thanks to Charlotte for organizing all of this!

Here's a look back at the flea market treasures I received from Karen (Year Of Serendipity), before I made any changes:

It took me a while to come up with a plan. Then one night over a glass of wine and the latest episode of Vanderpump Rules, inspiration struck! *When I feel like I'm winning at life because I don't watch anything Kardashian, I remember that I faithfully follow Vanderpump Rules and Dance Moms and step down off my pedestal*


I used leftover paint from the foyer chair rail project, which is an ivory semi-gloss. I knew I wanted a "wood & white" combination for the bottom of the tray, and I wanted to keep the design simple. The bottom is made of two very thin pieces of plywood from Michael's, which Jason cut to size. If you look closely you can see a seam in the middle, but please don't look closely.  :) I covered the tray bottom in a light natural stain, then taped and painted the arrow before gluing the wood to the frame with a hot glue gun. Total cost: $2.30 for the wood, all other supplies were already on hand.

This wooden beauty really had me stumped. It's small, like the size of my hand small. I could live quite happily with a tiny succulent in every room of my house, and this guy works as a tiny succulent container.  I tried to add a round base made of balsa wood, thin enough that I could cut it with scissors, but that was a fail. The wood splintered and the glue was visible. I found this tiny wood slice in my craft stash, and it fit! I like the "wood on wood" effect. It has a natural and organic feel. The wooden ring was lightly glued to the round, then I added dirt and rocks from a separate plant. Total cost: $0

The possibilities were endless for this jewelry box. I could have gone crazy with color, adornments, stenciled patterns, etc. With so many options, I went in the opposite direction and chose to keep it as simple as possible. I also wanted to keep the aesthetic of these three items similar enough that they look good together in a single picture. So after sanding off the high-gloss stain & majestic horse scene, and removing the cheap gold hardware, I filled in the holes and applied two coats of the same paint that I used on the frame/tray. I left the inside untouched because it's cedar and who paints over cedar? That smell is heavenly. I attached a turquoise arrow-shaped bead with hot glue, but left the hardware off. I like that the lid comes off completely. I thought about filling the inside with dirt, stones, and a succulent, but I don't want to the be lady who fills everything with dirt, stones, and succulents. Stones & candles it is. Total cost: $6.30 for the string of turquoise beads, but I only used one.

Now it's time to join Brandi (Don't Disturb This Groove). I can't wait to see what she did with the treasures I sent her:

Well this was fun! Please visit the other ladies to see their transformations...we'll be here all week!

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Flea Market Swap 3

Do you know about this?

Monday is the big day! The third edition of Flea Market Swap! I'm so excited to be a part of the whole thing. I remember stumbling upon the first edition and thinking, "How fun! I could totally do that! I need to be a part of that!" And what do you know, this time I am. I'm one of 30+ bloggers taking on the task of remaking, reimagining, or repurposing something received from one blogger, and sending something fun to another. 

I sent this to Brandi from Do Not Disturb This Groove:

It killed me to send that brass scoop away, but I packed it lovingly into a box and off she went. 

And from Karen at Year Of Serendipity, I received this:

I wonder if Karen knows about my love of "wood & white." Or that my daughter would fall in love with the horses on the jewelry box. Ella spotted that box from across the room and was horrified to think the horses wouldn't survive the transformation. And they didn't. The horses are gone, and it's all for the best. 

This week I really buckled down and came up with a plan. I've been painting, sanding, and gluing. 

Tomorrow I'm bringing out the stain. And there will be plants and stones. Check back Monday for the big transformation.

Until then, enjoy this video. 

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Calm In The Kitchen

Oh, where do I begin with this kitchen? 

Let's begin by acknowledging that the kitchen is perfectly fine, pretty great, in fact. I am aware that I'm nitpicking. I should be completely content with this kitchen. 

On the scale of important things in life, the kitchen is admittedly pretty low. Healthy kids, roof over our heads, food in our bellies, those are the important things. Yet there are changes I need to make in order to keep my heart from pounding out of my chest every time I enter that room. 

My goal is to create a calm, bright, happy kitchen. I will combine elements of what I love with what I can reasonably accomplish without spending too much money and making ridiculous, unnecessary changes. 

The cabinets will be painted. I would love to change the granite, but that falls into the 'ridiculous and unnecessary' category. These counters are here to stay,  so I will choose cabinet paint to compliment and tone down the busy granite. I would love to remove the upper cabinets, but I don't see hubby agreeing to that. And the little resale value voice in the back of my mind reminds me that future buyers would not appreciate a kitchen with no upper cabinets. Just because I like that look doesn't mean everyone likes the look. 

Welcome to Brown Town. 

I know everyone loves dark wood cabinets. I know. But the dark wood floors and the dark wood cabinets make this room feel much darker than it needs to be, and kind of depressing. The picture above, taken the day we started moving in, shows how the kitchen sucks the light out of the whole place. 

This granite ledge does not belong here. Builders usually put the ledge there in the absence of a backsplash, so I don't understand why they installed a ledge and backsplash. I'm guessing the backsplash was an after thought?

I am not a fan of tumbled travertine, just personal preference.

I am not a fan of tiny, busy, glass tile. Again, preference.

I call this the Trifecta of Chaos, where the three elements come together. 

I am not a chandelier gal, but I know these beauties will make someone else very happy. 

Between the Trifecta of Chaos, the chandeliers, and the busy granite, this kitchen makes me nervous and testy. It feels like everything is shouting at me. I have three loud (lovable) kids and a husband that likes to listen to LOUD SPORTS. I don't want my kitchen to shout at me. I want to hear violins and drink bellinis over brunch with Ina Garten. 

I made a step toward calming the kitchen by removing the brown paisley valances, and replacing them with ivory linen. What a difference that made. 

The Plan
  • Remove and replace backsplash. We will have it professionally removed, but will probably install the new tile ourselves.
  • Paint cabinets white, or ivory, to match the existing trim and built-ins in the attached living room.
  • Paint island gray, to coordinate with the new gray wall color, yet to be determined
  • Replace chandeliers
  • MAYBE switch the hardware...let's see how ambitious I feel after painting the cabinets.
  • Replace rug, the maroon number has been the default "under the trestle table" rug for too long. 

This won't be a quick project. There are a lot of cabinets, and I want to do it the right way with the best results. I haven't decided if I will brush/roll or spray, so I plan to talk to some pros and do a fair amount of research. The air temperature must be above freezing long enough for the paint to cure properly, so I'll be waiting impatiently for spring. In the meantime, we are looking at paint colors for the rest of the house to replace the tan/beige. 

I'm collecting images of my favorite kitchens here. I can't wait to get started and also really dread the process, but the result will be so worth the effort. 
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New York New York

At the end of January I traveled to New York to visit my cousin, and catch a concert. Other than work-related travel, I haven't had a solo vacation in years. I am an introvert, and I thrive on solo time. 

Jenny has lived in NY (Manhattan and Queens) for a long time. She gave me the non-tourist tour, which was exactly what I wanted. I'd rather look at the buildings and shop in small, local stores, than attempt the Statue Of Liberty. I enjoy the quaint back streets. 

I decided against dragging along my good camera, and I'm glad I did, because we were walking all day, every day, and hauling that heavy thing would have made me grouchy. So these pictures are all iPhone quality, which does the job of capturing the moment, but the quality is obviously not the best. 

We spent an icy, gray afternoon in Brooklyn. 

I have no idea who these guys are, but they were hilarious. They took our pic on the Brooklyn Bridge when they saw us struggling with a selfie, so naturally I took one with them. For the remainder of the walk across the bridge, they shouted, "Hey, Ohio!" at me. Yes, it got awkward. It's not a short walk. 

I fell in love with the details of Jenny's apartment in Queens. So many years in suburbia have given me an appreciation for solid wood doors and old, cracked tile. 

We spent an afternoon in Manhattan and saw all of those familiar sights. 

Even though she leans more toward the NKOTB end of the music spectrum, she was a good sport and did the Jack White thing with me, even upgrading our tickets through "a guy she knows." I don't ask questions. 

I respected the no camera policy, but there are plenty of images of the show at MSG here

It's also worth noting that I ate the most delicious everything in NY. I don't know how I didn't gain a single pound, but I can only guess that all of the walking offset the obscene caloric intake. The salmon at Tir Na Nog was amazing. The chia pudding at brunch was the best I've tasted. I even tweaked my own recipe in hopes of recreating that flavor. The guacamole at a little restaurant in Queens may have ruined any other guac for me going forward. How do you make guacamole fluffy? I'll have to try the now infamous recipe.
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Chair Rail In The Foyer

This is one of those projects that makes me insanely happy, because it is cheap, quick & easy, and makes a huge impact. 

"Quick & Easy" is a relative label because my husband did the measuring, cutting, and nailing. I did the caulking, sanding, and painting. But really, this is an afternoon project, assuming you don't run out of materials on that first afternoon. Did I mention my husband was responsible for measuring? Not sure what happened there. I kid...

This is what the blank, boring wall looked like before:

And after:

We used the same materials and measurements that already exist in the office and dining room, so it looks consistent with the rest of the house. 

The cost of this project was $60.00 including paint. Very affordable.

So happy about the chair rail, but now the vent is killing me. 

No, I can't remove it and board it up with drywall, because HVAC-blah blah, so he says. But when we  decide on a new wall color, the vent will be painted to match the walls. Hopefully it will blend in, rather than announcing itself in bright white

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