Friday, September 13, 2013

Portable Back Drop Stand

A few weeks back I received a portable photo back drop from The LA Shop
It was such a good deal at $69 for an 8" by 10" backdrop stand.  I recently had a baby and like all new parents I have been taking a million photos of our little one. We have also been taking her to get photos done at JcPennys but some times she is not in a good mood or we can't get there, so having an option of doing photos at our house was so appealing.  Plus I would save a ton of money doing all the photos myself.
When I opened the box I knew I would be in love.  The back drop came in this great black canvas bag, perfect for storing it.  Each piece had its own place in the bag, and the bag zipped up into a great size to fit in the coat closet. 
I will admit it took a while to put it together because it didn't come with instructions, so I waited for my hubby to come home and put it together.  Once we did I was so glad we had it.  I immediately went out to the store and bought a black sheet to use as my first back drop.  I went with a black because its basic.  I purchased a sheet because it was cheaper than buying fabric from a fabric store.  Since she is only 3 months old I also got a bean bag chair from Target for her to sit in.  Without a bean bag you will need something else for a little baby to sit in like a suitcase, flower pot basket, or something like that. 
The model I got was 8" by 10", which is perfect for taking pictures of our lo.  There are bigger sizes available if you are looking for something bigger.  Its also big enough to take photos of family with the baby when they come over.  I can't wait to start buying more material to use as a back drop.  I think the next back ground will be pink tulle.  I also just picked up a great old suit case that I am waiting to take her photo in for her 4 month photos in 2 weeks.  I can't wait!!! 
I love how this backdrop stand helps me take great photos and allows me to be creative in a whole new way.  The LA Shop not only sells this amazing portable backdrop stand but they have other great items such as a mini popcorn machine, LED lights, digital safes, and much much more.  You really need to check out their site!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Model Home Inspiration...Pottery Barn Knock Off

To me there is nothing better then spending a Saturday afternoon at a model home. 

I could spend hours touring model homes getting ideas and dreaming about future homes.  I have been know to snap a few photos from time to time so I can use them later as inspiration.   I actually have a file saved on my computer of pictures that I have taken of models that I love.

While looking to buy our townhouse in Va I came across a model home that I fell in love with.  One of our local builders, Van Metre uses Pottery Barn Design Services on some of their models.  Pottery Barn will send local designers into their models to decorate them, they are completely done with everything you could think of from Pottery Barn.  If you ever get a chance to tour one you are lucky!!!  These model homes are absolutely stunning!!

My favorite happens to be the Astoria Model in Stone Ridge, VA, this is my dream home if Pottery Barn could come and do my home top to bottom.  Below are a few of the photos from the model that I got from the Builder's Web Site. 

I have the same Sienna Bedding, after seeing it here I had to buy it.  I love it.

There is a great collage of clocks behind the couch.

The did a great job of mixing different textures in the master. 

One of my favorite ideas from this model is the kitchen table in a dark stain and the blue painted chairs.  I love the mix of casual and formal.   The painted chairs and the stained table the complement each other and you get a good mix of painted furniture without going overboard.

You can see the table and chairs in the back ground.

I have been dreaming of the table and chairs for months, my husband is so tired of hearing me talk about them that we decided to go buy the set.  We went to the store and they have discontinued their Queen Ann Chairs, oh no!!  Not only were the chairs discontinued but so was the table.  While looking at a similar table that was $800 I got an idea why don't we buy a knock off table and buy some chairs that I could paint in a similar color? 

Let the craigslist searching begin!!  I am proud to report that I have found my table for $120 (it came with 5 chairs that I will be selling because they don't work) and I found knock off chairs for $20 (for all 4, steal of a deal).  Now I just need to restain the table and paint the chairs to achieve my knock off look.  Stay tuned for my update with the finished project, after a year of drooling I can't wait to get this project done.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Craigslist Find...New Bar Stools

About a year ago I had purchased these bar stools from Kirklands.  

I loved them but unfortunately they didn't fit in our new home because our counter tops were lower, we needed 24 inch bar stools not 28 inch.  I began my search of craigslist looking for new bar stools.  After months I finally found these beauties online.  

Don't mind the baby stuff in the background my dinning room is now the baby staging area and my work space.

Aren't the lines great!!  They are just perfect except for one thing, the color.  They are a lovely shade of honey straight out of the 90's, but that's ok I just bought some great Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Versailles.  I have been dying to find the right project for my new paint.  I think these two beauties are perfect.  Stay tuned for my follow up post once they are complete.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 Weeks To An Organized Home...Kitchen Junk Drawer

Happy Thursday everyone!!  With the baby on a good sleeping schedule, I decided that I can finally tackle all those things I have been wanting to do for months.  These 3 hours in the afternoon are magic!  I don't know about you but we have a few areas in our home that could use some attention.  Do you have closets or drawers that you just throw things into?  We do!  I call it we will get to it later areas.  Well I finally decided to tackle these areas while on maternity leave and blog about my progress.  Hopefully I will inspire you to tackle your most challenging areas.

For my first week I decided to tackle the dreaded kitchen junk drawer.  We all have a junk drawer but why does the kitchen catch all drawer have to be a disorganized mess? From this day forward I don't want my junk drawer to be disorganized.  

Let the organizing begin.  This is our before picture.  What a mess I could hardly open the drawer. 

 Still Digging.  Boy there is a lot of stuff in the drawer.

 Once I pulled everything out I had to determine what belongs here and what doesn't.  When we bought our house the builder had put all the warranty paperwork in this drawer for us which was handy but why am I still keeping it in the kitchen?  I decided that I needed to put the warranty paperwork in my office with all our other warranties.  

Next I had to clean out any trash or expired coupons.  I put all the medicine with all my other meds (stay tuned for my organizing medicine post).   I was surprised to find so many tools in the drawer that don't need to be in the kitchen.  Crazy.  Those immediately went to the garage where they belong.

Finally made it to the bottom. 

After a little cleaning it was time to put everything back.  On a side note I love this kitchen cleaner and the radish smell is awesome in the kitchen. 

After looking thru everything in the drawer I decided that this drawer should only have the hot pads, trivets, dish towels, dish cloths and a few odds and ends.  I got a little basket to hold a lighter, pens and the garbag disposal tool ( I didn't feel we needed anything else).  While cleaning I decided we needed a few new kitchen towels. I threw out some really old ones and stained ones.  I went to Target and bought some great towels by their new brand called Threshold (the first 2 towels on the right are them), while at Home Goods I saw the other towels and bought those as well.  A girl can never have to many towels.  After about 10 minutes I was done, why didn't I do this sooner.  

Boy it looks good.  When I met my husband he used to roll everything (he learned that in basic training) I used to think it was silly but he is right it saves so much room.  I never would have gotten as much stuff in the drawer without rolling the towels.  So what do you think?  Much better than what I started with.  I can find stuff now it amazing!!  Now your turn I want to hear about your kitchen junk drawer. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Our Nursery Part 3..every princess needs a chandelier right?

So the nursery is coming along slower than I thought.  Being pregnant really slowed me down and limited what I could do.  Now that I have had baby Madison I have finally been able to finish up her nursery.  I never thought in a million years that her nursery wouldn't be finished before I had her, life has definitely been filled with curve balls lately. 

I fell in love with with this chandelier off Pinterest! Isn't it great!!  Perfect for a little girls room.

 After searching the Internet looking to buy it I found it but was a little sticker shocked!  So I decided to make my own.  I found the chandelier at Ikea called the Kristaller.

Unfortunately the light was a little long so with a little bit of help from my hubby he was able to shorten it.  We had to take the metal rod and cone off the top of the light and purchase a new topper from Home Depot.

Next was recreating the sweet dreams medallion.  I went to Home Depot and bought the medallion in the clearance section.  I bought little wooden letters and circles at JoAnn Fabrics in their unfinished wood section with my 40% off coupon.  It was hard to find the same medallion and letters after searching I decided to add my own twist to my version.  Plus the medallion I found on clearance was at a good price!

I had some paint from the nursery furniture and took it to Lowes for color matching and bought lotus flower pink from Sherwin Williams.  Now came the fun part putting it all together.

The medallion was plastic which meant I couldn't paint it to match the furniture, so I had to prime it first.  I bought plastic priming spray paint and after 2 coats I was good to go.  A little side note don't paint late at night, I learned my lesson.  I can't tell you how many bugs I had to scrape off the medallion while the paint was drying but a girls got do what a girls got to do.  I then painted the middle part with the cream color and the outer rim with the lotus flower.  

While I was at JoAnns I bought a package of some cheap brushes in all different sizes which really came in handy with this project.  Plus they were so cheap I didn't feel bad throwing them out after this project.

I then painted the letters and circles with the lotus flower paint to tie everything together.  The hardest part of the project was gluing the letters down and spacing, no matter how many times I laid it out it I couldn't get it just right.  After about the 3rd time I finally decided that I couldn't make it perfectly even but just good enough, plus its on the ceiling so people aren't going to be staring right at it because it isn't at eye level.  I have found over the years that some times you just have to go with it and if its not perfect its ok.  Sometimes we can't be perfect like a computer or someone who does this day in and day out as their job and its ok.

All in all I am happy with the light in her room and it only cost about $60 with light and medallion.  Way better than the one I saw online for almost $200.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our Nursery Part 2...Let There Be Pink!!!

Our nursery is slowly coming together.  We finally put some paint on the walls this weekend, so what do you think?  

No more builder white.

We went with Sherwin Williams White Dogwood a very, very light pink.  I think it will go really good with the bedding.  I still haven't decided what to do behind the crib. 

I am still in love with doing these stripes behind the crib.


Or painting the wall Sherwin Williams Lotus Flower with a white tree behind the crib and the baby's initials.

Paint Color SW 6310 Lotus Flower from Sherwin-Williams

Tree Wall Decal  nursery wall decal - Corner Tree - 33

Isn't this tree great?  I found it on Etsy by Wall Decal Depot. They have a ton of colors to pick from.  I am leaning towards this tree in white.

Stay tuned for part 3 as we finish up the nursery for our new little arrival.

Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double Stroller - Black/Shadow (Google Affiliate Ad)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Did someone say free landscaping!!!

We bought our town home almost a year ago.  I love that we have a corner lot since we have more room to do landscaping.  When we bought the house the builder just put in minimal landscaping.  We also had tons of grass on the side yard which without a sprinkler system (in Virginia it's rare to have a sprinkler systems) it would be hard to water all the grass and mow all the time.  Last August my husband and I decided to rip out a lot of the grass and build a flower bed to cut down on the watering and mowing.

We were only able to afford a few hydrangeas, a few green shrubs and 2 crepe myrtle bushes.  We installed everything in one weekend.  I never really liked how we finished it but shortly after we installed everything I found out I was pregnant and life just took over.  I knew that we would revisit the yard this summer and add more plants.

Finally after having baby Madison I was ready to get out there and finish the yard. Our neighbor works for another home builder and is always getting free landscaping from the model homes that they are closing out.  Knowing this I have been waiting for our builder to sell the last town home and single family home so I could ask for some of the landscaping.  Typically a builder will rip out all of the landscaping near parking lots and their models and throw it in the dumpster.  Crazy!!  I know.  It is such a waste. 

The day finally arrived and I saw the foreman out there with the workers I asked if I could have some of the plants and they said whatever we could dig out I could have.  I could see in my husband's face that he was not looking forward to digging everything up and transplanting but when I told him how much money we were going to save his face changed.

My husband, father in law and I dug up 6 rose bushes, 3 green shrubs, and about 15 little green bushes to add to our landscaping.  It only took us about 3 hours to do everything and boy did it make a huge difference in our side yard.  We had a few things left over so I added a few of the items to our new planter boxes in the back yard. (stay tuned for another post on our flower beds)

 Not bad for free.  All the plants would be around $400 if we had bought it at a Lowes or Home Depot.  All we had to do was ask, dig everything up and transplant everything.  The one lesson I learned was when I asked I specifically said the rose bushes, I should have said everything.  There was this great crepe myrtle tree that I would have loved but another neighbor had asked about it and the builder gave it to her.  Please learn from my mistake and asked for everything that you want.  So next time you see a builder closing out a neighborhood go ahead and ask about the landscaping, you never know they may let you take everything. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Show Off Sunday Party

I am so excited for this week's House of Thrifty Decor's Show Off Sunday Party!! I can't wait to see what great projects everyone has been working on.

Below are a few of my favorite links from last week's Show Off Sunday Party.

Isn't this a great dresser turned changing table!
Check it out at:

Don't you just love the color of this chin cabinet?!?!
Check it out at:

Thanks for coming to my party! Feel free to post anything you would like from: home decor, crafts, recipes, thrift store finds, great before and afters, etc.


Now the not so fun part, rules.
Here are the simple rules: (I hate rules!)
* Add my blog or button to your link. Or don’t. Sidebar. Separate tab. I don’t care. Just put a link to my site somewhere on your blog so others can come party with us!
* Link directly to your post, not your blog. If you want to link to your BLOG, click here and link away!

Let the fun begin!!!!

Please share with us what projects you have been working on this week.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tip of the Week

If you know my husband and I you know we are in love with our Cocker Spaniels, Maggie and Stewie.


Whats not to love? Aren't they cute?

While we love our dogs we don't want our house smelling like, well a dog.  I am allergic to strong perfumes so air fresheners were out of the question to help keep our house from smelling like the dogs. In looking for something that would clean the air but yet not put a fake smell into the air I came across this great product.

Nature's Air Sponge!  This stuff is awesome at cleaning your air. Each tub cleans about 300 sq ft.  It works to absorb any strange smells and gets them out of the air. I have one hidden on top of our kitchen cabinets, with our cabinet molding you wouldn't know it was up there.  I also hidden one it the room where we keep the dogs at night, you would never know they were in there but for their crates.  I also keep one in our closets to help with my husband's smelly shoes but you wouldn't know that now if you walked in there. 

Once the product dries up completely I throw the curled up remnants into my vacuum to help keep smells at bay when I vacuum.   Its a great way to get extra life out of our air sponge.  We get ours at either Whole Foods or Amazon.  They are around $5-7 depending on where you find them or if they are on sale, but well worth the money.  Mine usually lasts about a month or more it depends.  If you want your house smelling great you have to pick one of these little tubs up!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Show Off Sunday Party!!

I am so excited for this week's  House of Thrifty Decor's Show Off Sunday Party!!  I can't wait to see what great projects everyone has been working on.

Next Sunday I’ll post my favorite projects from this week's party!

Thanks for coming to my party!  Feel free to post anything you would like from: home decor, crafts, recipes, thrift store finds, great before and afters, etc.


Now the not so fun part, rules.
Here are the simple rules: (I hate rules!)
* Add my blog or button to your link. Or don’t. Sidebar. Separate tab. I don’t care. Just put a link to my site somewhere on your blog so others can come party with us!
* Link directly to your post, not your blog. If you want to link to your BLOG, click here and link away!

Let the fun begin!!!!

Please share with us what projects you have been working on this week.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Stores for Thrifty Decor

I get asked all the time for my top 10 favorite stores to shop for thrifty decor.  So I thought I would put together a list of my favorite stores:

I don't know anyone who doesn't love this place, it is the best place to find inexpensive yet unique times.  The key to finding the best stuff before anyone else is to talk to the store employees and find out which day or days the new truck comes and is unloaded.  I found out my favorite store gets it's truck on Tuesdays and Fridays..  So Tuesday afternoon and evening is prime picking time, as well as Saturday morning.  So go ahead and befriend the employees!  My other piece of advice is if you see it buy it, or it might not be there the next time. 

When I first discovered this place I thought that it was a garden center, boy was I wrong.  They have tons of patio furniture cushions and garden decor but much, much more. There are rows and rows of pictures, mirrors, lamps, lamp shades, bedding, area rugs, and other home decor items at great prices. You do need to have a list of what you are looking for (of you will be over whelmed) and you might need to dig for that perfect item but it is well worth it for the price. 

With a name like this you would think they only had Christmas items all year around, but they don't.  They have awesome home decor and seasonal holiday items for every holiday.  I have bought awesome Halloween, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July decor for out side of my house.  I always get compliments on the items I buy there.  I also bought 2 awesome night stands for my guest room for only $25 each, I just had to screw on the legs and presto I had new night stands.  Great place to find the unexpected. 

Another great store for home decor and holiday decor.  They have great prices on close outs from other stores.  I get most of my holiday decor from here, great selection of out door decor.  My husband and I bought our Broyhill bed room set at a local furniture store when they were closing out the heirloom cherry collection.  Unfortunately they didn't have another night stand we happened to go buy Big Lots that week and there it was for less than the other store.  We loved that collection so much we bought the coffee table and end tables to match at Big Lots all for a whopping $150. What a steal for 3 pieces of real wood furniture!!

While this store is mainly online you can find some of their pieces at your local Home Depot Stores, Home Depot owns them.  Crazy I know!  I have loved this store since I can remember, we used to have a Home Depot Expo store in my home town when they closed they moved everything online plus more.   Great place to find inspiration and home decor.  I will let you in on a little secret if you see something you like you can wait for it to go on sale and get it for a steal!!! Or sign up for their coupons and shipping specials, I don't buy anything that I don't have a shipping special on.  We have bought furniture from their site for my husbands man room that we adore, but each piece was 75 lbs so thankful for my coupon or the shipping would have been an arm and a leg. 

Not only is this a great place for clothes but home decor. They have a great selection of accent furniture, pictures, mirrors, and unique vases.  I have been shopping here since I moved into my first apartment.  In fact my husband loves to remind me of the time we went to the Ross Store in San Francisco while on vacation.  We needed to kill an hour before our dinner reservation when I noticed a great picture frame shaped like a window pane that holds 20 photos, 1 in each pane. My poor husband had to carry it 3 blocks on his head back to the hotel, to this day I never hear the end of it.  If you ever go to San Francisco please stop by there 4 story Ross Store.   I have never seen a better Ross in my life. 

What can I say about this place other than amazing.  Each store is unique as everything is donated by the community and the profits go to Habitat so they can build homes for much deserving families.  I have shopped at stores in Ca and now here in VA.  Both stores have great things but its first come first serve.  So if you see it, you like it, then buy it!!  They have great building materials that you can transform into anything, just like my laundry room sign. I have also bought amazing furniture there that I restored.  Great place especially if you are starting out and are looking for great furniture. 

I love this store for curtains and pictures for your walls. They have a great selection of pictures for every room in your house.  They curtain selection is equally great if you are looking for 84 inch or 95 inch curtains.  Plus they generally have coupons for 20% off online, via email or with my iphone app.  I have also bought a fabulous pair of towels for my powder room, they have some unusual patterns that are a little out of the box to help jazz up a boring powder room.

I love this place for its curtains.  If you are looking for curtains for any room at a great price this should be your first stop, especially for unique lengths like 108 inch.  We bought are living room curtains here last year for $25 a curtain, that was a great price for 108 inch thermal black out curtains.  I couldn't beat that price anywhere else, plus I had a coupon for more money off. 

Who doesn't love this place?  They have great prices on everything for your home from bedding to picture frames.  My favorite home decor isle is the seasonal decor, this isle is usually located on an end cap of a major isle.  Great accent pieces in fabulous colors.  Keep your eye out for this isle as it changes often and you can score some great deals when they start marking things down.  I bought 2 purple bottle vases for my guest bedroom for under $5.  Someone returned them and they were sitting at an end cap at the back of the store on the bottom shelf when I spotted them. I had seen them weeks earlier for $15 each.  That reminds me walk the back of the home decor isles and look at the end caps for great clearance deals.  Don't be afraid to dig and look on the bottom shelves for great deals. 

These are just a few of my favorite stores.  I have others that I like to score a great deal at as well.  What stores do you love to find a good deal at?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Potter Barn Book Inspiration

Where to find inspiration?

This past July we finally bought our for now dream home.  Our move was such a blur.  I bought the house over the Memorial Day weekend all alone as my husband was still in Afghanistan.  We had just a few weeks to buy a home, move before he came home and we both started our new jobs mid July 60miles from where we currently lived.  Talk about a whirlwind.  Over all I am happy with the home and its blank canvas it provides me.  

I was so focused on getting us moved in that I didn't even think about painting or decorating.  My focus was get us in so we could start our jobs and we will sort everything else out at some point.  

After weeks of packing, moving, and the stress of welcoming home my husband after a year I wasn't in the creative place to decorate.  In a way I had a block similar to writers block.  Has that ever happened to you?

After being sick of living in an unfinished house I need something to help me out of my block.  We had moved 4 times in 4 years and this was the first time I didn't have the house decorated in a matter of days.  I can usually go around and figure out how to make our furniture and decor fit into our new space but this time it was different.  I think partly because I knew we would be in this house for the next 5-7 years and wanted to make sure everything was right.  I didn't want to paint or decorate and not be happy with it.

One day while visiting Pottery Barn Outlet I picked up this book and began flipping thru it and came across a few pictures that I loved.  I really wanted the book but my husband talked me out of it.  Not knowing that while I was looking at it he had ordered it from Amazon to surprise me for my bday.  What a good hubby!!  When the book finally arrived I was so happy I spent a few days marking pages I loved with post it notes.   I finally felt that this block was lifting and the creative juices were flowing.

 If you haven't seen this book I recommend picking it up, they no longer sell it at the stores but you can find it on the internet used for a great price.  The book is full of great inspiration from pictures to how to articles.  A really good read.

One of my favorite sections in the book is the Color chapter.  They really help you pull together groupings of colors that work really well together.  Pottery Barn has really taken a lot of the guess work out of it.  Of course I still had to buy 12 other sample colors just to make sure I was making the right choices but that is another post.

By far my favorite page is 307.  

I love this article about building a color plan, which can be a great foundation to beginning the process of decorating your home.  It shows you how to incorporate different colors in a similar color family and pull it all together so it doesn't look choppy.  We bought a few of the colors from Benjamin Moore who sells Pottery Barn paint.  We loved Collingwood OC-28 and Cape Hatteras Sand AC-34 both have been used in our home. 

Are these not great color plans? Have you put together a color plan for your house?  Where do you get your inspiration from?