Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chalkboard Guestlist

When DH and I got married, we had decided on a very intimate wedding consisting of our immediate family only.  It was a wonderful idea and made the day so special to be surrounded by our loved ones.  

Since it wasn't your "typical" wedding, we had to find unique ways to do traditional aspects of the wedding, like our guest list.  It seemed silly to have an entire guest book devoted to 12 signatures, plus I wanted something I could see everyday as a reminder of that special day.  I saw something similar to this chalkboard "word find" as a random google image and was totally SOLD!  The project occurred in many steps, but here is the finished result in our dining room:

(I cropped our last names out for privacy)

We started with a piece of 1/8" MDF that we painted with about three coats of chalkboard paint.  After that dried, it was time to paint the letters for the word find on the board.  I took advantage of a slow day at work to whip out a pencil and paper and write up about a bazillion different configurations for the lettering, making sure it fit each family member's first name, our wedding date, my maiden name and my married name.  After re-checking for the umpteenth time for any accidentally hidden swear/dirty words or mistakes, I had a final draft.  I then divided the board up equally for each line, making tiny marks with a pencil on each side, then taping regular thread all the way across, then vertically to make equally spaced squares to paint my letters within.  This part was a little time consuming, but I wanted it perfectly symmetrical.  I just used a simple paint pen and a steady hand (first time for everything...) to hand write the letters in.  I liked the look of a handwritten board, it made it more personal. 

We had a "Wedding Eve Dinner" (since we didn't need a rehearsal) with our family so we lugged this big floppy board into the restaurant where everyone was able to find and circle their names on the board.  It was fun and everyone was excited for their turn!

After we got the board home (carefully!!!) we sprayed a sealer over the whole thing to keep the chalk from smearing.  Of course we figured out the hard way that a matte finish was the most appropriate finish.  After two WAY too shiny coats of one sealer, we bought the matte finish, sprayed it again and it worked like a charm.

Since the board was so floppy and thin, we decided to build a nice beefy frame for it to attach to for hanging.  After a few sketches, we decided on a design and we DH began building. Here's the frame:

We put a layer of wood glue down on all of the wood, then laid the chalkboard facing upward, flush against the edge of the frame and on top of the support pieces (which we set just 1/8" back from the frame edge so that the board would lay flush).  DH used small nails along the very edges to secure the board to the frame. We flipped it over and stacked a bunch of books on the back to help the board adhere to the support pieces.  Once it was dry, DH attached the mitered trim pieces to the front (also offering further security to the board) then I painted the trim on the front and sides black. 

To hang, DH secured a long wood strip to the studs in the wall and we just hooked the top of the board over the wood strip and screwed it into the wood strip from above.  It's VERY secure!  Here's a close-up and another shot of the finished product.  We love it and get lots of compliments on it!  It's a great reminder of our wedding and those who shared that special day with us.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Living Room Progress--Almost there!

As I've mentioned, I have a love of all things Pottery Barn, so when we moved into our new house almost two years ago, I decided that I really wanted our home to have that cozy, comfy, oh-so-personal feeling that PB exudes.  Our living room is still a work in progress, but it has come a long way! Here's the process along with inspiration and ideas for the future.

I was SO inspired by these Pottery Barn Studio shelves:

So we were thrilled to find two similar shelves from JCPenney on close-out sale!  Here's my final (for now) result:

They could use a little bit more "bulking up" with some larger pieces, but I have made it a point to put a lot of the items that are special to me on these shelves so that I can always see them.

I love our leather Lazy-Boy sectional because it also has a recliner on each end. I wanted it to be comfy so there are some nice, fluffy PB pillows and throw blankets all over.  My plan is to put a tree behind the sofa in the corner and I desperately need a table lamp on my side (beside the window). I'm also on the lookout for a different form of magazine storage beneath my nesting tables.  This basket is a little too small. The nesting tables were a craigslist find for $20 for the set. DH did a WONDERFUL job sanding them down and painting them this clean, antique white.

We probably won't be putting a coffee table in the living room anytime soon with Baby Adrianne coming.  If she's anything like me (from childhood to present day) she'd be smacking into it daily if we had one.

Our TV corner is almost there.  I managed to really spruce it up during my "Extreme Nesting" phase and I'm only lacking that big white shelf inspired by this one in PB (which will certainly be a DIY project!) to complete the look.

So that's it for now.  Hopefully we'll finish this room up in no time so we can move on to even more projects in the other rooms! I think the dining room is on the chopping block next...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Extreme Nesting

I do believe this baby is on her way...

I woke up this morning at 5 o'clock sharp, ready to tackle the world. Or at least finish my fall decor.  

Yesterday, I forced invited DH to join me on a trip to the Dollar Tree.  I have been reading throughout BlogLand that they have some nice vases and hurricanes so I figured, for a buck, why not?  I picked up eight in various sizes, along with some Spanish moss, red berry vase filler (never too early for Christmas supplies) and some apple cinnamon potpourri (not that it's that scented, but it was really a gorgeous red color that I couldn't resist!)

When I got home I spread all my goodies out on the dining room table and let the inspiration flow.  I wanted to make something to go on the two candles sconces I scored for 50% off at Hobby Lobby.

So using some inspiration from my beloved Pottery Barn, I decided to "build" a candle scene that could be changed out for every holiday/season.  I started with my tallest vases, some leaves from some garland (Hobby Lobby) and some old candles I've had in the cabinet.

Once I had enough moss in the vase, I dropped the candles inside.  At some point (after this picture was taken), I realized that these candles were going to be way too short, so I did some swapping around the house for the taller ones.

The tricky part was tying the leaves to the vase with my ribbon.  I didn't want to glue them because I wanted the leaves to be reusable every year.  There are no pictures of this part because I needed my hands, my feet and teeth to hold the leaves on while adding more and holding the ribbon taut then tying it.  But regardless, here's the end result:

Now if I can convince DH to go buy some drywall screws, we'll have these puppies up in no time! 

The other project I wanted to tackle was our "H" wreath.  I had purchased a grapevine wreath to hang in our TV corner but couldn't bare to let it remain "nekked"!  I love monograms, but DH, not so much.  I managed to convince him that a white, painted "H" floating in the middle would be just perfect.  I think he is exhausted with my "ideas on overdrive since becoming pregnant" so these days most of them are just met with his daily phrase of "Whatever you want to do, whatever makes you happy."  I love that man…

So, armed with a wooden "H" from Hobby Lobby (love that store) and some white acrylic paint, I went to town.  

Then I left it to dry overnight.

Scene Two: Five o'clock this morning

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I lept rolled my pregnant butt out of the bed and started where I left off.

My "H" was dry, albeit with a few pieces of the sales paper stuck securely to the back. Oops.  Anyway, I figured I would just tether it to the wreath using some clear thread from all four corners.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Umm hmm… 

So, nine months VERY pregnant, I dragged a kitchen chair over to the wall and started tethering.  Now, common sense would say, take the wreath off the wall and hang the "H" from a normal position.  But, as my poor bewildered husband shuffled sleepily into the living room to see his weeble of a pregnant wife standing on a chair, hanging letters from invisible string, losing blood circulation to her fingers, it was safe to say, common sense was not in the cards at the moment.  

Public Service Announcement:
Now before you think DH is horrible for "letting" me stand on chairs PREGNANT, I must remind you that I am terribly stubborn and once I get an idea, it's over.  He has tried, but has learned that the easiest thing for him to do is just hang around, keep a safe eye on me, and let me be.  Did I mention how much I love this man?

So after all that, here is the final result of our "H" wreath.  And of course I couldn't resist tucking some fall leaves throughout the wreath.  And while I'm at it, why not stick some everywhere else in the living room?  And while I'm at that, why not put together two more quick fall votives using some more moss, one fall leaf and an LED tea light candle?  Did I mention I dusted?  Oh yeah, I'm nesting.

Sorry for the grainy pics.  It WAS before sunrise after all.

We are working on a project for the BIG blank wall.
We're thinking something like this amazingly awesome shelf
from Pottery Barn.