Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dreaming of a Screened in Porch

Ok, so most of you probably already know that we live in Florida, and in Florida that means rain....and bugs.  We have a really nice back deck, but it tends to not get used as much as it could because it's not covered.  I dream of the day we can put a roof over it and screen it in to keep out those pesky mosquitoes.  I dream of a cozy but practical space where we could eat dinner on nice evenings without the added insect guests, where I could sip my morning coffee without sitting on a dew covered chair, and where we could sit on a porch swing and enjoy a good Florida thunderstorm.

So, I said all of that to lead up to this.  I was contacted about participating in a Florida Room style board challenge and I agreed.  The challenge was to create my dream room, but still keep some of the beachy feel of a typical Florida room.  I get a couple of these types of request every month and I usually turn them down, but this one sounded like fun.  Partly because A) again, I live in Florida, and B) as I stated, I would LOVE to have a Florida room (a.k.a. the screened in porch), and C) it seemed like a fun challenge to take what is typically a coastal/beach themed room and put my own rustic farmhouse spin on it but without completely doing away with the Florida room style.

I didn't want to create an outdoor living room like you see a lot of times because, honestly, that's just not practical in Florida.  I guess if you had an actual room that was temperature controlled it could work, but with a screened in porch type of a room the furniture would get mildewed faster than chocolate melting in the hot Florida sun.  So I chose to keep it outdoor friendly and practical, yet cozy and comfy. 

Here's what I came up with.

Florida Room - Farmhouse Style

Every great porch has to have a porch swing, am I right?!?  And this basic white one is a great crossover piece for the two styles.  Plants are a great way to add a beachy casual feel to a room, but why not tuck them down into a galvanized wash bin stand to make them more rustic styled?  The chippy aqua table with white lanterns add a great coastal touch, but the red plaid rug underneath lends the cozy farmhouse feel.  Nothing says "beach" like wicker and chairs like this would be the perfect cozy addition to a casual porch made for relaxing.  A cute little grain sack striped pillow keeps it from feeling TOO beachy.  A chippy antique door leaned up in the corner is a great farmhouse style piece, and the soft green sign hanging on it is a great coastal color.  The rustic wooden crates make a great little storage area for books, games, shoes when you come in from the yard, and are also a great place to set down your Mason jar drink or morning cup of coffee.  (And by the way, those red Chucks?  Chucks are my very favorite type of shoe!  I have at least 6 pairs in various colors, lol!)  Another little plant tucked inside brings a touch of the outdoor beach feel to it.  And of course, last but not least, lighting.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE string lights and I would SO hang them all around the room for the perfect evening mood lighting.

So there's my take on how to combine a coastal/beach style with rustic farmhouse style and turn it into a cozy place where your family and friends would love to relax.

If you would like the link to any of these items I've included in my style board you can find them {here}, or here are some great Flordia properties for continued inspiration if this sparked your interest.


Monday, April 4, 2016

A Farmhouse Chandelier Makeover

Ok, so I'm sure you can tell from the title what today's post is going to be about.....a makeover story.....about a chandelier.....a dreamy farmhouse my chandelier.

So since you already know what it's about, I won't keep you in suspense.

Let's just cut to the chase and show it to you.

Ain't it purdy?!?

Do you want to know how much it cost me?  $100?  Too high.  $75?  Nope.  $50?  Keep going.  $25?  Still too high.  $15??  Lower.  $10?!?  Even lower.  $5?!?!?!  Almost there.  $4???  Yep!!  You got it, a budget breaking, whoppin' total of FOUR dollars!!  Can you believe that?!?

It didn't always look like that though.  It started off looking like this.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's back up a couple of years and I'll share a story, a two year story about the search for a chandelier.

When we moved into this house the family room was connected to the kitchen, carpet and all.  Yuck!  But I had always dreamed of a big kitchen and dining room being all connected.  I envisioned a big farmhouse table with a farmhouse style lighting fixture above it, etc etc.  So we turned what was the family room into our dining room so that it would be connected to the kitchen.  I didn't have the big farmhouse table (and still don't) and for the time being we just put in a really basic ceiling fan from Walmart. But I always had the dream of a better lighting fixture in the back of my mind.  

So for two years I've casually searched at yard sales and thrift stores for the perfect find.  
I've researched online to see what styles "spoke to me."  I scoured Pinterest for farmhouse chandeliers and lighting fixtures.  What I discovered was this; the style of farmhouse lighting that seems to be popular right now is basically anything and everything repurposed.  While I do like the occasional one that has been upcycled, most of them seem hokey to me.  Like somebody was just trying to get more pins on Pinterest or more visits to their blog because they added an LED touch light to a car engine, hung it from some strands of jute twine, and called it a chandelier.  I know that's a bit extreme, but that's how some of them seem to me.  The other thing I didn't care much for on the repurposed fixtures is that the light output often times seems very minimal and impractical.  We have a large dining room and I would need something with more than one bulb to keep it well lit.  So I determined that I was not really looking to repurpose anything.  The style I kept coming back to time and time again was the more primitive/colonial style of chandeliers.

Something along the lines of these:



But the problem was that those types are always so much more than I'm willing to pay or can even afford to pay.  

There have been a few times that I found something that I thought could work.  One time at Lowes I came across a chandelier that was somewhat similar to this style and it was on clearance.  I stood there and stared at it and debated, but ended up leaving the store without it.  After I got home I kept thinking about it and wishing I had bought it, so the next morning I called Lowes to see if they still had it, but alas, it had just sold....15 minutes before I called.  Wasn't meant to be I guess.

Another time I saw one in a local used furniture store for $40, but I passed it up.  I didn't love it and it didn't have any special story to it, so I let it go.  Yet another time I saw one in a Habitat Restore for $50 that I knew I could repaint and fix up and make it work.  But $50 seemed like a lot of money to me since I was trying to save money for our laundry room makeover as well as saving for the built in shelving unit my brother was going to do for me.  So I passed it up too.

THEN.......the same week my brother came up to start building for me, my parents were also here visiting for the weekend.  Saturday morning my mom and I were just sitting in the living room drinking coffee and chatting when I remembered that a little retirement village just down the road from us was having their community yard sale.  Hubby agreed to keep the kids so Mom and I hopped in the van and drove the mile down the road and did a quick 15 minute pass through their community building where it was being held.  Sitting outside in between a beat up old recliner and some pressed wood cabinets that were falling apart I spied two chandeliers.  And let me tell you...they were UGLY!  I almost didn't even walk over to look closer, but I figured it can't hurt to look so I went over anyways and that's when I found it.

It was so ugly, right??

But....I could see the potential,  because when I moved the sticky nasty chain and the ceiling mount piece that someone had carelessly swiped white paint across, I found this.


A perfectly authentically worn wooden center section.

And once the globes were gone I could see it had great, basic colonial-style lines to it. 

 I knew it would take a lot of work because this thing was NASTY dirty, covered in sticky nicotine and dust and rusty.  

Did you just throw up a little in your mouth? 

I was thinking in my head that if it were around $5 I would be willing to chance it possibly not even working and also to put in the work necessary to clean it up and transform it.  When I asked about it the man looked at me like I was crazy for wanting it, but told me, "How 'bout $4?"  Big grin...."I'll take it!"  :D

 So I toted it home and had Hubby check the wiring to see if it even worked before I got too excited about it.  It did indeed work so during that week that my brother was building shelves for me, I got busy working on this.

I put on some rubber gloves and took some Krud Kutter (amazing stuff by the way!), a scrubby, and an old toothbrush to it.  Just look at all that nastiness that came off of it!!!  Bleck!!

While I was cleaning it I was thinking that I would need to buy a can of flat black paint to paint the arms and candle holder parts so that it would match the flat black of the middle wooden piece.  Then I remembered that I still had half a can of chalkboard paint left from other projects and that, essentially, it would have a flat black finish.  So I taped off the wooden middle section because I wanted to leave it just as it was and I painted the rest of it with the chalkboard paint.  It worked perfectly.

You can't really tell it in the pictures, but the candle cover pieces were really nasty, too.  They were orange-ish in some spots, I guess from age and the nicotine.  I wasn't sure if I wanted them to have a drippy candle look like some of the primitive/colonial style ones have or if I wanted them to be plain black, so I started by painting them black.

It was MUCH improved, but it was just TOO much black for my taste.  I looked online to see if I could buy the drippy wax looking candle covers and I could have, but I didn't really care for them because they looked SO fake.  I studied them a bit and realized I could recreate (and improve) the look on my own using hot glue and not have to spend any money.
So that's what I did.  I used a glue gun and made the wax drips, then used some white primer paint I had and covered up the black.  Once that was dry I gave them a top coat of ivory paint, which I also already had. 

It needed just a little bit more character so the last step was to add a few touches of Spanish Copper Rub-N-Buff here and there on the edges to give it a bit of an aged look so that it wasn't just plain black.  (Though, honestly, when the lights are on you can't even see the aging details.  It just looks black.)  I already had the Rub-N-Buff so that made the cost of this makeover.....totally FREE! 

If you look closely you can see the aging details around the rim of the candle holder as well as some touches on the ridged part underneath.

And here's how it looks in the dining room.

I absolutely LOVE it!!  
And I love that it has a story all its own.  And I love that I spent so very little on it.  And I love how much character it adds to this room.  Are you getting the idea?  
I love it so much! 

I had to do quite a bit of searching to find a "before" picture that showed how the room looked with the ceiling fan because whenever I took pictures of this room I did my best not to let the fan show because I didn't care for it.  But I did find this cell phone picture from 2 years ago where you can see part of the fan.

It's amazing how much brighter the room is now!  I didn't think going from 4 lights on the fan to 5 lights on the chandelier would make that much of a difference, but I didn't take into account the fact that the light would now be bouncing off the white ceiling instead of just shining down.
It makes a huge difference!

Let's take one more look at the before and after of the transformation, shall we?

The key to having a home you love is to have the patience to wait for the things you love. 
 If you're surrounded by things that have a story or just simply things that "spoke to you" then you'll always enjoy being in the midst of them.  It doesn't matter where you find them, it could be a thrift store or a yard sale, the side of the road, on clearance, or even full price at a huge department store.  Where it comes from doesn't matter, the fact that you love it and you connect with it does.  So be patient when you're looking to fill that empty spot in the corner.  The perfect piece will come along and if you settle for just anything in the meantime you will have wasted your money and ended up with a home you love a little less.


                                                                   Sharing over at:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Big Project in Progress!!

 I am SOOOO very excited you guys!! 
I just had to share a sneak peak at what's happening at the farmhouse this week!  I hinted at it on the Facebook page and said it was a HUGE project.  Well, it's not HUGE like an addition onto the house huge, or a whole kitchen renovation huge,'s huge to me for two reasons.  A) it's bigger than most of the projects I blog about, and B) I've been dreaming of this for almost 2 years so it's HUGE to me!!  :D

If you've been with me awhile you may remember a post from around 2 years ago when I painted our living room area and Hubby tore down some walls in our house.  If you're newish around here then let me fill you in real quick.

This little walled in area was originally supposed to be the dining room and this is how it looked when we first bought this house.  BUT....this area is right off the living room and around the corner from the kitchen.  Say what???  Such a weird set up!

The above picture is standing in the living room looking towards the "dining room."  

We knew right away there was no way that made any sense and we relocated the dining room to what was originally the family room next to the kitchen.  I know right?!?  WHO designed this place??  Anyways, one week while the kiddos were gone to their grandparents I got busy painting the whole living room and weird room area.  Hubs decided to go ahead and demo the strange 3/4 wall that same week and get the space opened up.

Here's what it looked like after being painted.  You can see I didn't have time to finish the rest of the trim work that week, it happened much a year later, lol!

In that previous post I shared my vision for this wall/window area. 
I was dreaming of a wall of built-ins to give this area some functionality.  It could hold homeschooling books and the cabinets could hide craft supplies and photo albums.  The window seat would be a cozy place for my bookworm daughter to read.  Plenty of shelves would also give me more room to display my treasures.  :)

Well guess what???  
It's happening this week!!  I am SOOO very beyond excited!!!

I've been saving my money for months now and I convinced my amazing brother to come and stay with us for the week and build it for me.  I promised to ply him with grilled steak and ribs and plenty of good country cooking while he was here.  It must have worked because he agreed.  :D

He should be able to have the majority of the building part of it completed this week.  He doesn't have the needed tools here with him to do the cabinet doors, so he'll go back home and make those and bring them back later.  Once he's done building it'll be up to me to get it all primed and painted.  

I'll be posting more updates over on the Facebook page if you'd like to keep up with it over there. 



Friday, February 26, 2016

Laundry Room Progress

Hello again everyone!  
I hope this blog post finds you doing well and surviving the winter weather with minimal amounts of the blues and fits of depression.  Hang in there!  Spring will be here soon! 

Today I have a short little post to share with you about a little bit of progress that has been made in our laundry room.  I've shared before how this room serves as our main entrance to the house because of the way the driveway is set up, so I've been working on getting it looking a little less cluttered and depressing and brighter and more streamlined and welcoming. 

For almost two years it looked like the picture below, dirty peachy/orange walls and dark trim.  With pretty much the only  natural light being from the window in the door this room could be quite dark and depressing.  But we were busy with working on other rooms in the house and this one has been low on the list.  But finally....we're getting to it.

Two months ago, when I was still hugely pregnant, Hubby took a weekend and got the room entirely painted for me.  My original plan was to paint it a light cheery yellow color, but at the last minute as he was walking out the door to go buy paint I changed my mind and told him, "Just get an off-the-shelf white and do the whole room white."  

So that's what he did and the room is so bright and clean feeling now! 

So that was a couple of months ago that he painted it, and then it just sat without any other changes until just last week.  I was in the middle of folding laundry and I went to the laundry room closet to put something away and suddenly the urge to organize and purge it hit me.  I've learned to just go with it even though it's a bit ADD, because if I don't it'll probably never get done.  So I spent the next hour clearing it out and making a pile to get rid of and a pile of decor that had been stored in there waiting for the room to be painted.  One of those pieces of decor was this little washboard cupboard.

I've had it for years and years.  I didn't make it, someone gave it to me and it was already made this way.  I've always loved it, but it's always had a purely decorative purpose.  This time I decided to make it functional and I hung it just inside the door.  I added "S" hooks to the bottom rung to hang our most used sets of keys, then I added small cup hooks to the inside to hang all the extra keys.  The little shelf on top holds my husband's stash of Tic-Tacs that he likes to grab on his way out the door to church.  : )  I added some fresh greenery clippings from the yard to a little galvanized bucket up there on top and I'm loving the touch of color and freshness it adds.

I also added our dog's name above her food dishes.  I was so surprised to find the wooden cutout of her name at a thrift store a year or so ago for only 99¢, and I just couldn't pass it up.  I've been saving it all this time for just this spot.  It was an ugly dark wood color originally so I used some craft paint and changed it to a navy blue.  I love the quirky touch it adds.  : )  My husband said, "Well it's a good thing you put her name up there.  Maybe now she'll be able to find her food."  He's so sarcastic, lol! 

You can see I also changed out the rug.  I found the blue denim one at Walmart and I love how heavy duty it has been.  The whole room is so much brighter and cleaner now.  I also love how the electrical panel box just disappears into the wall with the white paint.

I've made a couple of other changes already, and there are plenty more to come.  I've got lots of fun things in the works for this little room that I'll share another time.

In other news, little Anna Mae is a month old already and just as sweet and happy as she can be.  
We are loving life with 3 kids and all the craziness it brings.

I'll be back with more to share as time and life allow.  
In the meantime, I pray you are doing well and hope you have a blessed day!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Frugal Farm Themed Nursery Decor

Hello everyone!

Just in case you happened to miss it somehow in my last post, our sweet baby girl was finally born last week.  She is so sweet and cuddly and we have all been enjoying her so very much!

Today I want to show you around her "nursery" and share how I gave her a cute little corner on a small budget.  I have less than $20 invested in her farm themed decor.  Side note - I find it humorous that with my first child I spent so much time picking out the perfect furniture, the perfect bedding, the perfect this and that.  I agonized over the smallest details and spent so much time (and money) on her room.  By the time this 3rd child has come along, she gets the hand me down, teething-scarred, 8 year old furniture, and a yard sale find bedding set, lol! 

 I put nursery in quotes because she doesn't actually have her own room to be a real nursery, her little spot in the world is in a corner of the master bedroom.  Keep in mind, this is the last room that has yet to be painted so the walls still have the original weird peachy pink color on them and still have the dark trim.

So let me "show you around" a bit first and then we'll get into a little more detail of things.


Some perspective - the dark area you see to the right is the doorway leading into the master bathroom, and this picture was taken at the end of the bed looking across to the crib.

So her little area is tucked in along this wall across from our bed.

The crib and changing table are hand-me-down from our first child so we didn't have to spend any money there, and the little white dresser came from my mom.  It was originally intended for something else, but it tucked in that spot just perfectly and gave us some extra storage space for her.

I love the combination of plaid, ticking stripes, and ric-rac trim!  One sheet is plaid, the other is ticking striped.

Now onto some details.  The bedding is Pottery Barn brand, but I certainly didn't pay PB prices for it.  I paid all of $5 for the whole set at a yard sale!  It was practically brand new and came with the bumper pad, bed skirt, and two sheets.  It has such a sweet style to it and of course I love red and white, and the farm theme is so cute.  I bought the set before I was even pregnant, not knowing if we would have a boy or a girl, but figuring it was neutral enough to be fine for either.  

I bought the two bolster pillows much later at a different yard sale for $1 each.  I couldn't really remember exactly what the bedding set looked like, but I knew it had red and white so I got them.  I was so pleased when I finally did get the set out again and realized the bedding also has red ric-rac trim on it like the pillows do!  They could have been sold together originally they look so cute together.
 After I got the bedding put on the bed the area above the crib looked so plain and I really wanted something cute, but also something that didn't cost much of anything.  The first thing I tried was printing out homemade art with the letters of her name and used Washi tape to attach them to the wall and surrounded them with an empty red frame I already had.  And I liked it just fine.  At first.  But then it seemed to need something more.  It seemed awfully lonely up there all by itself.  So then I got the idea of printing off coloring pages and letting each of the kids color a page for her wall.  I spray painted some thrifted frames with red spray paint I had left over from another project and added them to the wall.  But once I had them up there I didn't like the printed letters anymore.  I loved the coloring pages, but the other part just didn't seem to be the right fit anymore.  

I searched Hobby Lobby looking for inspiration, and even went through all of their posters and art work trying to find just the right thing, or at least an idea of something I could make at home.  But I came up with nothing and every day those letters drove me more and more crazy.

And then one Thursday morning I saw an ad for an estate sale that started that morning.  By then I was 41 weeks pregnant, but that didn't stop me.  I bundled up the kids and hustled them into the van and we went to check it out.  The home had a couple of sheds outside that were full of stuff for sale and in a dark dirty corner of one them, behind a box.....I spied it.  

The perfect piece. 

A large cross stitch style, pastoral scene done with yarn.  So sweet, so simplistic, so vintage, and so imperfectly perfect!  I asked the man in charge how much for it and a $2 price tag was just what my wallet ordered. 

 It was a bit dirty and scuffed up so I brought it home and gave the cloth part a light scrubbing with a bit of soap to clean it up and I gave the frame a light coat of fresh white craft paint to brighten it up.

It was the perfect size to fit inside the empty red frame that had already been hanging there so I glued the red frame to the white frame to give it some more impact and make it stand out more so that the white frame wouldn't get lost against the pale wall.

 Ahhhhh....MUCH better!!  Now I LOVE it!

I love the combination of an "art" piece and also having my kiddos artwork up there too.  

                                Colored by the 5 year old.                                                               The 8 year old's work.

 It makes it that much more special, and they're pretty proud to have their work displayed like this.  :)

 I also love how the style of the apple trees on the vintage piece so closely resembles the apple trees on the bedding set.  

 On the other wall is her changing table. 

 I tucked in a little spindle lamp that I've had for years and added a low wattage bulb to use for those middle of the night feedings and diaper changes.  The dresser has little cubbies with baskets that hold diapers and other sorts of baby paraphernalia.  Above the table is a mirror with hooks that I got a yard sale for $1.  It originally had a different style of hook, but 2 of the 3 were broken and I absolutely could not find matching ones anywhere.  So I ended up just getting a completely different style to replace them.  They were 50% off at Hobby Lobby so I think paid about $4 or so for the 3 hooks.

They're pretty handy to hold her quickly growing headband collection, as well as a handy spot to hold the little diaper disposal bags for easy access during changes.

 On top of the little white dresser sits a picture my grandma gave us years ago.  It's one of her favorite scenes and I thought it would be special to include it.

You may have noticed this piece sitting at the end of her crib.  My dad made it for my niece as a dress up center to store her dresses and shoes, but she had outgrown it so it got passed on to us.  It fits just perfectly at the end of her crib and makes a great little "closet" since she doesn't have one of her own.

And that, my friends, concludes our story on how I put together a simple farm themed "nursery" for under $20.  

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