bedside table diy & mixing metals

cart after 2

My husband thinks I’m crazy. I’ve picked up furniture sitting on the side of the road waiting to be taken away as trash. He just shakes his head when I come home with something new. My most recent find was this… this… well, I wasn’t really sure what it was originally used for. I thought it could have been a computer or media cart. But after my mom saw it – she knew right away – it was a record player stand. And sure enough, when I googled it – she was right! A mid-century metal rolling record cart like these:

sample record carts

Vintage. Mid-century modern. Vinyl records. This made me love it even more! So, now what do I do with it? It took me a few weeks to figure it out but it has found it’s place as my bedside table. A little gold spray paint, white satin latex paint, and a $19.99 tray from Marshall’s is all I needed to transform this roadside find into my new favorite piece!

Here’s the before:

cart before

 And here’s the after:

cart after 4

I chose gold metallic because it is super hot right now – and I’m loving it!! There are mostly silver accents in our bedroom – and throughout our house – but mixing metals seems to work with my eclectic style. Mixing metal finishes in home decor, or in fashion, can be a little tricky. I used to never think I could mix metals. For me it was either gold or silver. Never both. And then I discovered bronze and copper… ugh, metallic overload. I’m loving the file folders too – and they are very useful for me and all my paperwork.

cart after 1

cart after 3

Here are my “rules” for mixing metals – this seems to apply to fashion too:

1) don’t go overboard – stick with small touches of metallics.

2) choose one metallic to be the dominant design element and use another metal as an accent.

3) And remember, you don’t have to mix metallics! If you stick with one metal color, vary the texture of the finishes. That way you’ll avoid a monotonous result. For example, if you want to stick with gold, try mixing matte and shiny finishes; if it’s silver, pair hammered silver with pewter. Mixing old and new finishes will keep your room interesting.

You can read a great post on mixing metals here from Jones Design Company. I especially love it when she says, “Thankfully, the best rule for design today is if you like it and it is pleasing to your aesthetic, it works.” I’m going with that!

I hope you enjoyed my bedside table redesign and always be on the lookout for those roadside treasures – you never know what you might find – and what you could create!


summertime blues| back to school freebie


Summer is winding down {sigh} and school is just around the corner. I always have torn feelings this time of year. I chuckle a little remembering the Staples commercial with the Christmas jingle, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” And although my patience in August is usually very, very slim, and I am anxious to quit my job as family entertainment director, I am always a little sad that the carefree summertime with our kids is ending. I’ve been wanting to read the book: Just 18 Summers by Rene Gutteridge. It’s about making the most of the eighteen summers we have with our children before they are grown. It’s a lesson in guilt and grace and when to hold on to our kids and when to let go. It’s on my list… and you can click here to order yours online.

But we still have a few more summers left with our kids before they’re grown. And I know when the kids are grown our summers will be awesome too – especially if they’re anything like our summers with my parents. So I will enjoy – and welcome – the routine, the homework, all the activities and the organization needed for getting our kids back to school. I hope you will too. And to help with your routine and organization, I’ve included lunchbox notes and school/teacher notes as a freebie that you can download and print as needed. Kids love getting little surprises from home in their lunch boxes!

Layout 1

Click on this link to download the lunch box and school notes: back to school notes

And I hope you enjoy the second most wonderful time of the year!


paper rosettes – again!

ok. Don’t judge me – a repost is completely acceptable, right? I originally posted this DIY project on how to make paper rosettes on May 5 but I thought it was worth a repost because I’ve been seeing so many blogs, emails and tutorials about this really fun and easy project. Again, don’t judge…

final four

Click here to see my original post and DIY tutorial. And don’t be afraid to try this project! I’d consider it EASY on the difficulty level scale and it’s a very forgiving project {ie. you don’t see the mistakes if you make them}.

But now here’s some additional uses for these unique and beautiful creations that I’ve seen on the web:


Party backdrop. What an eye-catching party decoration!! From Design Dazzle.


Bridal bouquet. What the what? Love it and NEVER thought of this. From East Coast Creative Blog {love them!}


Plant or floral embellishment {perfect teacher’s gift!}. From No Biggie.


Cupcake topper {why do so many of my posts include sweets…hmmmm?} from 6 Bittersweets.


Award or acknowledgement ribbons. Perfect for a kids birthday! From How About Orange.


Fun message banner. Any occasion. Birthday, 4th of July, welcome home…. endless ideas. From Pine is Here.


And, you can always use them as a simple hanging decoration – this one’s from my dining room. I really do love these and think they would make a great holiday or seasonal decoration too. Enjoy… again!


arrow trend

A trend that has caught my eye lately has been the use of arrows – everywhere! I’m thinking the movies Hunger Games and Brave might have contributed to this trend. But I’ve been seeing them in home decor, invitations, party decorating and even jewelry. I love arrows for both their primitive and whimsical qualities. The simple, graphic shape makes them an easy subject for DIY projects {think stencil or simple line drawings}. Here are a few examples of ones I’ve seen and loved and then be on the lookout for a DIY arrow project from me soon. Honestly, I just can’t decide what to do….


Love this! But if these were on a table in my house my boys would throw them at each other. constantly. Check out the article about arrows in home decor here.


This downloadable print is one of many I found on Etsy {for $5!}. I love the colors. And the message. Find it here.


What a fabulous place setting and the arrow adds just the right touch. I think it was for an arrow-themed wedding. Who would have thought!? Look at the complete details here.


Beautiful DIY headboard. Find the link here.


Handmade pillow also from Etsy. Love the canvas material. Find it here.


This could be my DIY project…. hmmmm. Love the ombre + arrow trend mix. Find it here.


And a beautiful bracelet from Stella & Dot. Find it here.


So simple and so pretty. Looks good enough to eat! Find it here.


Another DIY project – check it out here.


And a zinc chalkboard sign. So cool. Find it here.

>>>>>>> What do you think of the arrow trend? Click on the bubble below to leave your comments- I’d love to hear from you! Enjoy! <<<<<<<


taking time for yourself

solitude print

Taking time for yourself. I am so not good at this. And I feel summertime makes it harder to do so. The kids’ schedules, the lack of routine, extra traveling, the feeling of wanting to enjoy every moment of the nice weather. All of these things contribute to the guilt I feel about taking time for myself. But it is a necessary activity we all need to do – and not feel guilty for it. I’ve been feeling burnt out lately and not very creative and I think finding the time for ourselves - on a regular basis - is important to avoid this, and it can actually be a key ingredient for success. So how do we do it? Everyone is so busy and me-time is not always on our to-do list. And what do we do to really “take time” for ourselves? If we have to “plan” it doesn’t that just add more stress and defeat the purpose? Here are 3 articles I found online that do a good job of helping us figure out how, when, where and why we should take time for ourselves. I especially like the part about saying no. I’m not good at that either. But I’m learning. Hope you enjoy the articles – and enjoy some more time for yourself!

1) 5 Reasons to Make Time for Yourself Right Now

2) 8 Ways to Put Yourself on Your Priority List

3) Why You Must Have Time Alone


new summer art prints

I don’t know if any of you feel this way but I have been in a creative slump this summer. I’m not sure if it’s the change of routine but even coming up with ideas for dinners has been a struggle for me. A lot of people say that they’re not creative because they can’t draw or make something. But creativity comes in many forms – cooking, writing, fashion, home decorating, party planning and even things like daily activities – you have to be super creative to entertain kids everyday, plan family activities and run a household!

all summer prints

But I think I’m coming out of the slump and have finally created these new summer art prints for sale in my shop! Click on the link at the bottom of this post to purchase them or to view other items in my shop.

beach hanging

flip flop hanging

dream big hanging

Changing up the artwork in my house is the easiest – and cheapest – way to freshen up the walls and change the look for the seasons. I usually just buy a few frames and change up the artwork in the frames. Or lately I haven’t even been framing some of the artwork and instead I’ve been using washi tape and attaching the prints to a chalkboard or wall. Washi tape is awesome! Or sometimes I just mount a print onto a heavy piece of cardboard and lean it on a shelf. Most of the prints in my shop are 8×10″ so they can be switched out of a standard frame easily. If you’re looking for a different size, or even a custom order, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help!

watercolor button



patio reveal

patio details

We’ve been on vacation which was great but now it’s back to reality and more posts!! There’s so much to do after coming home from vacation – unpack, laundry, grocery shopping, laundry, water the plants, clean up the yard, laundry… so it was nice to come home to our newly finished patio area where we can relax {to me a good vacation means you’re tired when you get home!}. This patio area was originally our swing set area so the space was already there – we just needed to give it a new purpose. Check out the original post here. It turned out to be a fun project that we threw together pretty fast since it was the beginning of summer and we wanted to use it as much as possible. It’s very functional, pretty and, even though it’s outside, I think it’s very cozy.

patio before

Here’s the before.

patio after

And here’s where it is now.

Just a few notes on what I did:

final large 8

1) firepit do-it-yourself {or ourselves since it was a family effort}. Really fun and easy project – check out the tutorial post here.

table before&after

2) refinish an old table from my very generous friend. Again, very easy project. I just tightened all the screws, sanded the table and put a coat of oil based white wash on it. I might try and add a beverage container but for now, this is working great!


3) refinish an old bench. My husband found this at an old thrift store and I just sanded it and painted black. It was a pastel purple (and the wood was very rough). Sorry, forgot to take the before pics…

table detal

4) make a no-sew table runner. I discovered this material at our local fabric store, which is used to make dish towels so it has seams on both of the long edges. I just used iron-on tack tape on each of the short edges. And voila – no-sew table runner. And since the material is used for dish towels, it should hold up well outdoors.

adir before&after

5) sanded and spray painted two Adirondack chairs to be a cheery bright red/orange.

side table

6) home-made side table – I made it by using 2 pots stacked opposite on top of each other, and found the perfect flat rock for the top.

finished 2

7) Tin can lanterns. Check out the DIY post here.

And my new purchases include:


// Marshmallow roasting sticks from One Kings Lane {only sold now in a complete firepit set for $49} // navy chairs from Target {$25 for 2 – no longer online} // white garden stool to use as a table top or chair {$29.99 on clearance at Marshalls!!} // navy print pillows from Target {$30 set of 2} // Additional citronella candle sticks from Homegoods {$5} // old twin bed frames from a local antique store, used as a border treatment and backdrop for plants {$50 for both} // multi-colored planter from Homegoods {for a steal – $39.99} //

Including the DIY project materials like cement, paint, sandpaper and hardware – the total cost for this patio was about $250. One of the things I learned doing this project is that what you intend on doing at the start of a project isn’t always what you want – or are able to do – as the project progresses. Originally I wanted to construct a trellis with a box for potted plants but then I saw these bed frames and the large colorful pot and I knew I had to do something different. I also had several other planters that were not being used and I hate wasting good items. They all worked together with their similar color scheme. I was also going to add a beverage holder to the picnic table but then realized that we didn’t really need one and since I loved the way the table was refinished, I just wanted to keep it simple. Lighting was another element I was planning on adding but once we get the fire pit going and the nice lighting that comes from the back of our house, we really didn’t need any more lighting. I like the feel of the citronella candles too – and those we need! Plus, that would have meant hiring an electrician to re-route the electrical outlets – which means more time and more money. As we use this space more and more, I’m sure I’ll see some things we need to change or add but for now, it’s a great space that we’ll enjoy over and over!


layering area rugs

dining room 3

One of the hottest new trends I’ve noticed lately in home decorating is layering area rugs. This creates a unique look by combining various materials, colors, patterns, and textures. I’ve been wanting to try it but I was a little hesitant. Then the perfect opportunity came when my sister bought 2 rug choices for her home office make-over {promise the reveal is coming soon!} and was left with one to return - so I just had to take it off her hands! I decided to try it in my dining room even though I had a perfectly good rug in there already. The pattern and colors in the new rug were perfect and it added just the right amount of interest to this room. 

I like the layered area rug look for a few reasons. First, this treatment can add interest to an otherwise boring part of a room. Layering rugs can also solve the problem of finding a reasonably priced large rug – instead you can buy a cheap, plain 8×10 and layer it with a small, patterned, quality-made rug. Or have you ever wanted to use a rug in a room that was an abnormal shape but couldn’t find a rug to fit the space?

Here are a few more examples of layering area rugs that I found online. Click on the link to go to their sources. Sometimes it’s these small changes that we wouldn’t have thought of that can really make a difference in our homes.
crafty in the concrete jungle crafty in the concrete jungle



home dit


Sarah Barksdale Design


both images from Sarah Barksdale Design

If you want to read more on tips for layering area rugs check out this article at

dining room 1

Let me know your thoughts on layering area rugs. And try it – you might like it!


a few random things

A few things on my mind….


I just found out that I have been accepted as a new Darby Smart designer! If you’re not familiar with Darby Smart, check them out here. Darby Smart has a community of designers who create new projects and they turn their projects into DIY kits that anyone can buy. With a Darby Smart kit, you can make and share your own style. They’re perfect for parties, hostess gifts, home decor projects or just about any special occasion. Some of the Darby Smart DIY kits include projects like terrariums, jewelry, pocketbooks, and decorated glassware. They’re sent to you in a super cute box with all the chic materials and very simple instructions on how to create these projects. I’m so excited – but I’m not sure what project to submit… paper rosettes, tin can lanterns, decorative glass jars, maybe a mini-cupcake tower…. oh I don’t know!


Do you guys have a friend who is just so thoughtful – who sends you text messages, emails and calls you just when you need it? Someone who buys you that something special just because she thought you would like it or needed it. I do, and she is one of the nicest women I know. So, in addition to just always being super thoughtful, she is also one of the funnest {is that a word?} and silliest people I know. You always have a good time with her. So, after I wrote my post about our patio re-design and mentioned that I was still looking for a table, she texted me that day and said she had a table for me and that it needed some work but it would be perfect for our patio. And then within a few hours she and her 15 year old son brought it over. Amazing. That was one of the sweetiest things someone has done for me. I know it sounds pretty simple but it was so thoughtful and something I’ll never forget. Did I mention that she is super creative too and could have created something really awesome with this table for herself? I hope you have someone in your life who is just an honest, giving, true friend. And I hope you give back that friendship to him/her. I will always try to be that friend to her and others – I can’t say I will always succeed but those are my true intentions.


Happy 4th of July – I found these cute “firecrackers” made from Life Savers candy at An Altered State Blog. Just remove the existing cover and re-wrap them with papers that can be printed or bought at any AC Moore or Michaels craft store. Wrap the ribbon around them prior to wrapping the paper.


Also check out these fun July 4th recipes from Iowa Girl Eats – her stuff is always so yummy! The mini s’mores pies look amazing!


And to get you through this crazy weekend – Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. My go-to drink. And get the Dunkin Donuts Perks card. You get free beverages all the time. This perk truly is a perk.

Happy 4th of July – enjoy and be safe!


pink flamingo spinner invitation


We just had my daughter’s 9th birthday party it was so much fun! I have some photos to share but I didn’t get too many since I had to organize games and play lifeguard to eighteen 9 year olds! It was cute – and so were they! She wanted boys and girls and wanted a party with games and swimming. Her real birthday is in May so we had to wait and have the party when the true summertime was here. The kids played games like water ballon toss {huge hit!}, egg & spoon race, ring toss and horseshoes, and lots and lots of swimming! I tried pushing the sack races but they were just not into it. Hmmph. And of course, I hired my neice to make the cupcakes. So cute and yummy!


{watercolor drawings}

invite pieces

The color scheme included all the rainbow colors with a big pink flamingo as a fun icon/decoration. I designed the invitations as a spinner card with a cut out revealing all the fun activities that would be at the party. I drew small illustrations to show the activities and painted them in a quick watercolor technique. After printing both the top circle layer and the bottom illustration layer, I cut them out and poked a brass grommet through the center so they could spin. They were pretty simple to construct, the only tricky part was getting the illustrations to line up correctly to see them in the cutout. Add in a big pink flamingo and that was it! I made simple labels {also with a flamingo} and used brown kraft envelopes. 

montage of averys party

The party was a success and even better - it’s checked off my list! Did I say that out loud? Happy Monday!


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