Let there be Light

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You can look through any Pottery Barn catalog and you'll definitely spot a vintage surveyor's tripod lamp. Justin and I spotted these types of lamps several places, but decided the $400+ price tag just wasn't worth it. As usual, we looked for DIY examples and found a couple of blogs that inspired us to move forward with our own version. First step, buy a surveyor's tripod (resources: craigslist, Ebay, or local shops/yard sales). This actually took quite a while because we had a certain look and price frame in mind. Finally, we came across the tripod above.

 At first, the tripod was a little dingy, but it only took some Old English and elbow grease to clean it up. The next step was to buy the hardware to make it into a lamp. We decided to go with a lamp kit since it already comes with all of the pieces that you need (and is a better deal than buying it all individually!). Of course, the hardware was shiny and new which did not blend in well with the worn look of the tripod. We used oil rub bronze spray paint to give the hardware an antique look. After putting the lamp kit together and adding a lamp shade, the only thing left to do was to plug it in and enjoy!  

The Key to this DIY

Monday, May 21, 2012

One day while shopping in Old Town Alexandria, we found an awesome piece of art which basically consisted of a pretty frame and vintage skeleton keys. Since the piece had a pretty hefty price tag, we decided to pass and instead use that as the source of inspiration for our own DIY version. We bought a set of keys on eBay (there are lots of options!).  We decided to use only three to line the empty wall of our entryway. Finding frames for the keys was the hardest part, but we settled on three frames we bought at Michael's that already came with a decorative matte (and they were deep enough to hold a key). From there it was pretty straight forward, insert key and hang on wall. Simple, budget-friendly, and we think its a nice addition to the entryway!

A Simple Wedding Gift

Friday, May 18, 2012

Since we're right at the beginning of wedding season, I thought it would be nice to share a simple, yet pretty wedding gift.  Being only married three years, my husband and I agree that money/gift cards do make a great gift. However, it is fun to get useful and practical gifts (especially with fun prints!).  I was inspired by an image I found on pinterest from Troy Grover Photography where they used an oven mitt as a part of the gift. All you do is find a fun oven mitt set (Homegoods and TJ Maxx have a lot a great options with good pricing) and then add tissue paper and card inside the pocket. Simple, pretty and practical!

The Petite Red Chair

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I have always been a fan of having fun accent chairs. My hope is to one day have a wingback chair that has a vibrant print paired with fun piping. But until then, I was eager to find a fun chair to add to our house without spending a fortune. About a year ago we came across a cane side chair on Craigslist.  The chair was our first adventure in reupholstery, so our first step was to get some extra help. Naturally, we took the chair to my grandma (Memaw).

Memaw is quite handy and she knows how to tackle pretty much any home, sewing, craft, cooking, and cleaning task. Justin and I were inspired by the fact that my grandparents have a story behind almost every piece of furniture in their home. On one visit, we went through piece by piece and heard the tales about how my grandpa brought home the one piece of furniture she didn't like from his parent's house or the one about how their kitchen table originally started with just the base. Those stories are definitely more interesting then the usual, "we went to the furniture store and bought it."

Back to the chair... We pulled staples forever to get the fabric removed and then my grandma sewed the piping and reupholstered the chair with new fabric. Let's just be honest, my grandma did most of the work on this chair! (Sometime I'll share our second chair DIY that Justin and I did by ourselves.)

In the end, we gained an accent chair which fits perfectly in our bedroom, plus, we now have a wonderful story to add to the collection.  So far, Justin and I are definitely following in my grandparent's footsteps when it comes to having a home filled with stories.

photo credit: me (unfortunately we forgot to take a before photo!)

New Color. New Look.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Finding budget-friendly accent pieces and artwork seems to always be a challenge.  When we first decorated our bedroom we were looking for a piece of artwork to accompany our black frames with wedding photos. One day we came across a decorative metal piece of art, but it wasn't the right color. The piece was originally white which wouldn't really pop against the cream walls. Fortunately there was an easy fix: spray paint. We found a red that would go well with our red, orange and white bedding. A few coats later we had a new piece of artwork and a new color of spray paint to add to our growing collection.

Next time you find something that's the wrong color, just remember it may not be out of the question. All you need is the right shade of spray paint!

Going Vintage on Envelopes

Friday, May 11, 2012

[press + post via parrott design studio]

[via Brightly Designed]

[via unruly-things]
Ever wish there were different or more fun stamps available to use on an invitation or card? Well, just recently I discovered using vintage stamps for invitations. For some reason, I never would have thought of using a variety of vintage stamps to add character to an envelope, but the result is quite charming! I haven't actually used them myself, but seeing them everywhere on Pinterest makes me want to pull out my stamp collection from when I was a kid and put them to use!  Looking for some vintage stamps? Try ebay, etsy, and sometimes you can even find them in local gift shops.

**Of course, make sure if you purchase them that they are unused stamps

A Trip to West Elm

Monday, May 7, 2012

Although our house has more of a shabby chic (or shabby cheap) theme, I also have a love for the style of West Elm. In my dreams, I hope to one day have a cottage/beach house for the shabby chic decor and then work in an office in a fun loft (with exposed brick) where I can have more modern decor.

Anyway, this past weekend we stopped into the local West Elm and as always, I pretty much love everything I see. From the beautiful patterns and textures for bedding, to the tons of cute bowls and place settings. Besides their wonderful furniture and accessories, they also always have creative displays and themes. I couldn't help but notice a large chalkboard where they used magnet clips to display their cloth napkins. Simple yet fun!

In case you're wondering, we didn't end up buying anything, but I did take some pictures to share. Enjoy!

photo credit: me

If at first you don't succeed... try again

Friday, May 4, 2012

When Justin and I first moved to this condo, we wanted a mirror to go over the mantle. It started as a black mirror (purchased at Homegoods). Once we added a new flatscreen tv to the room, there was too much black on the wall (the tv, the mirror and the fireplace). Justin suggested spray painting it silver. The silver ended up being my least favorite. We kept it for a while, but one day, Justin came home with a weathered pallet that was perfect for building the mirror a new frame. We now love the mirror and can't imagine it any other way! Of course, it only took three attempts to get it right... for now.

Over a Cup of Coffee

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Coffee dates are probably one of my most favorite things to do. I love one-on-one time with friends, plus you can't go wrong when you have great conversation and coffee! 

My husband and I have always enjoyed going out to various cofee shops to get away. Just this weekend we had a coffee date (with tiramisu) at La Madeleine in Old Town Alexandria. Almost everywhere I have lived, I have had friends that I met on a regular basis for coffee. In San Diego, I had two friends that I met with frequently. We would share our lives, encourage one another, and usually end up leaving because the shop was closing.  I have just recently started meeting up with a friend for coffee here in DC. It might seem silly, but it really is a blessing. A lot can happen over a cup of coffee.

Since we're talking about coffee, I thought I would share this image of a display of coffee mugs at Anthropologie. I thought it was quite clever. It says:

Dear Mugs,
I can't pick just one. You're all my favorite.
Love, Coffee

Photo Credit: Me
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