Category Archives: Decorate
Many weeks ago I picked up this dated plastic clock at a thrift shop. It was $0.99 and I thought it had nice lines and the face swiveled so I brought it home.
For some reason, this little clock reminded me of the appliances in the The Brave Little Toaster. I was lucky enough to have a little sister who loved watching this movie over and over so I know it quite well. For those not familiar with the animated film, it’s a story about forgotten appliances left in a family’s summer home that take an incredible journey to be reconnected with their young master. Oh, and the appliances sing. The premise is a little bizarre, but somehow the movie works. Trust me kids love it.
To me, the movie had a very strong message about using the things we have (or are used) instead of constantly upgrading to the newest version. And in the case of this thrift store clock, I was reminded how many cool items are out there for the taking. So long-story-short, I was really excited to do a little makeover on this clock and bring him into our concrete family.
For the makeover, I contemplated painting him all white, but in the end I decided to give him a pop of yellow instead. The back of clock was missing so I decided I’d make a back for it. The clock was pretty loud without one. So first, I did my best to tape up both the front and back up to protect the clock.
Then I sprayed about five, thin coats of yellow paint until the whole clock was covered.
I stashed the clock in our unfinished bathroom for about a week to dry completely. Then I removed all the tape to see what I wanted to do next.
Once I saw how bright the yellow was against the black clock face, I decided to soften the look with a thick, white line. I picked up a white chisel paint pen at the craft store and then slowly traced around the clock face with it.
This technique isn’t perfect, but after a couple of applications I got a nice opaque line. There was an inconsistent gap between the plastic clock face and the frame so I used some white puff paint I had to fill it in like caulking. I softly smoothed it over with my finger.
Then, I left all the paint to dry overnight before I did something to screw it up.
Next, I worked on attaching a piece of blue ribbon to the back of the clock. This would become the pull to remove the cork backing once it was installed. I glued the ribbon to the clock back with a little super glue and cut it down to size so only a short tab shows when the back was inserted.
I liked the idea of using cork with the yellow/white/black color scheme for a more modern look. I cut out a piece of cork for the clock to sit on with my trusty X-acto knife.
Then measured and cut a circle of cork to fit in the back of the clock. Cutting cork is a big pain because it crumbles. I found using a sharp knife after lightly steaming the cork worked the best for me.
With all the glue dry, I began putting the clock back together by screwing the clock back into the frame.
Then adding a battery and inserting the cork backing into place.
And there you have it, a simple upgrade to a black alarm clock. The photo shows a summary of what I did on the front of the clock…
and here what I did to the back.
Overall, I am really happy with the makeover. The clock now has a cheery persona. The cork accents make it current and modern while the yellow/white/black color scheme keeps it classic. I’ve put it in my office for the time being. It looks great with all the black and white accents in there.
I should also mention that this project took weeks to complete. A lot of it was drying time, but I also spent a lot of time playing with the white paint to get it right.
With this clock finally completed, I am excited to find my next “brave little toaster” project to work on. You never know when inspiration may strike.
Project Materials List & Budget
- Clock ($0.99)
- Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Sun Yellow Spray Paint (I had it)
- White Chisel Tip Paint Pen ($3.82)
- White Puff Paint (I had it)
- Cork Tiles ($1.99)
- X-acto Knife (I had it)
- Blue 1/2″ Ribbon ($2.00)
- Super Glue (I had it)
Total Spent- $11.79
I’m a little behind at posting. Nate and I both have been battling horrible head colds which means we’ve spent a lot of time on the couch watching House of Cards.
Last Monday, we both felt it was necessary to get the sickness out of our house so we deep cleaned. Perhaps a little much for two cold suffers to undertake, but we did it anyway.
First order of business was removing all the furniture in the great room. It was our first official sunny weekend so we took full advantage of putting all the furniture on the porch.
Nate subtly piled up all the clutter that I’ve been avoiding (holiday decor, goodwill items, glass jars) so I had to finally put it all away. Smart man as it forced me to take care of all of it before I could do anything else.
Then we swept up an embarrassing amount of dust bunnies and even an old Halloween candy wrapper off the floor.
With a much-needed mopping, the great room was ready to put back together.
But first, Nate tackled the windows and got rid of the grime and Pixel footprints so we could really enjoy the sunlight pouring in.
My plan was to clean and then do a little rug switcheroo. The sisal rug in the dining area moved to the back of the great room. Then Nate’s old office rug was moving into the dining area and our two faux Persians were both moving in front of the couch.
I deep cleaned our rugs with the help of my trusty SpotBot. I’ve had this little machine for over a year now and I still love it. This was my largest cleaning project to date with it. I cleaned all four rugs on 1/2 a bottle so the machine is pretty economical.
Of course the smaller machine meant adding cleaner and changing out the dirty water about five times per rug. So if that seems like a pain, you may prefer using a larger machine for a job like this.
Each rug took about a half hour to clean. The SpotBot vacuum does a good job removing most of the liquid so the rugs were dry to touch within 15 minutes.
We decided to double our two 5×7 rugs in front of the couch to define the space better. Plus more rug means less of the old linoleum which is an added bonus.
I like this bigger sized rug so much, that I am added this 8×10 Tuscan Terali Moroccan Trellis Rug to my wish list. I think a big shock of navy would look great in the room with the purple walls.
When the rugs were in, we set up rest of the furniture. I am so happy with the sisal rug in the back.
Here’s a close up of the sisal under the white table. I am now thinking I want to get some new dining chairs. The old country chairs are classic and all, but takes away from the modern vibe of my refinished table.
I love the look and durability of the Emeco Navy Chair, but don’t think I am shelling out $470 a chair anytime soon. So we will keep looking for a replacement on our budget.
Nate and I were both so happy to have the room clean I vowed to do a weekly floor cleaning to keep the look up. I have no idea how often you should deep clean rugs, but I think moving forward I am going to try to do it a couple of times a year. It’s inexpensive since we have the SpotBot and seeing the amount of gunk that was cleaned out of the rug, I think it is well worth the time and effort.
I’d love to hear from others about their rug cleaning habits. Do you deep clean your rugs or do feel vacuuming is enough?
Disclaimer: I bought the SpotBot with my own hard-earned money and have not been compensated for my opinion of it. This post includes an affiliate link to Amazon if you are interested in purchasing one for your very own.
I’ve had a post scheduled about my office for the last six months. I haven’t hit publish because I never thought it was quite ready.
But today I decided to revisit the post and turn it into a post about my 2013 goals instead. Why? Well the office space is a perfect example of my #1 goal to finish projects. I’ll go over my whole list later in this post, but now let’s get back to this office reveal….
I’ve been working on my office on and off over the last three years. Last summer, I fixed it up before we had house guests. Sometimes a little push is the best thing for a procrastinator and it certainly was in this case.
Here’s how the office was oriented.
I had two Expedit bookcases flanking the window and a dining table under the window for an added workspace. The treadmill was placed against the right wall and my desk against the left.
When we moved the dining table out, I reoriented all the furniture so an air mattress would fit when we had guests over. (The dining table was much wider than the bookcase.)
The Expedit bookcases were moved. One went against the left wall and the other was turned horizontal under the front facing window.The treadmill was pushed up to the right corner.
Next, I reorganized all my boxes and baskets so that my most frequently used supplies lived under the window. This included photography equipment, chargers, my sewing machine and craft supplies.
The other Expedit holds some of my clothes, purses and less used supplies.
I wanted this room to be quite colorful so re-positioned my Red Stripe poster above my desk. Then added pieces around it to make it an asymmetric gallery wall.
I used a couple of pieces of art I had on hand and a wall clock my dad gave me. To finish off the wall, I framed a favorite postcard from my travels to Spain.
Then wrote out a quote I found in a fortune cookie and decorated it with red washi tape.
I can’t decide if this is crazy or not. I have an inspiration board on the wall facing my treadmill next to Obama. All my 2013 goals are listed on manila tags. I usually watch my iPad when I am running so I am not concentrating 100% on the board, but it’s a nice reminder of goals and happy things.
And speaking off goals, here the complete list for 2013.
For the home
- Finish the office (check!)
- Finish the back patio
- Finish the prison bath remodel
- Get the roof and infrastructure replaced
- Recover the front room furniture
- Accomplish small changes here and there (I already started this)
For the blog
- Stick to a schedule
- Finish my 2013 redesign
- Make more connections with the blogging community
- Get married (That’s right! Nate and I will be official this year. Stay tuned for more details.)
- Stick to a budget
- Organize photos from 2005-2012
- Floss daily
Wow, that wasn’t too hard at all. Woo!! I am so glad I finally documented my new room. I absolutely love the space. It’s so clean and pretty. I spent a good part of last weekend holed up in here working on my 2013 budget. It wasn’t my favorite subject, but at least I was in an organized environment.
I love Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ song Thrift Store. Obviously others agree because it just hit #1 on the Billboard Chart this week. Pretty cool for a duo that hasn’t signed to a major label. Not only is the song catchy, but what I truly love about it is sums up my young adulthood. Thinking of thrift shopping really takes me down memory lane. I pretty much dressed exclusively from my local thrift stores in high school and college. Want some proof? Well here’s my top four looks (that I could find documented.)
On the left, I am dressed in a silk pantsuit (I wish I could find a photo of the top) for a holiday party with my sister Ali. Then on the right, you have a photo of me my Jr. Year of High School dressed to impress for Homecoming in a dress/pantsuit combo piece.
That’s not all. Here’s me on the left at another high school dance in a Bjork inspired ensemble. That dress with the fur is still one of my favorite scores ever. It didn’t fit me very well, but it was so killer I didn’t care. On the right you find me in my favorite t-shirt of all time. Yep, it’s for an auto muffler brand, but damn-it I wore that shirt until it fell apart.
Even years later when I stopped wearing only “vintage” I still loved to shop at thrift stores. In fact, Nate and I went thrift store shopping on our first date. I think he scored some shirts, but I don’t think I got anything.
But we started dating ten years ago and I am sad to say that I rarely go anymore. Why? I don’t think it was a conscious decision to buy more new items, but somehow things changed and I greatly regret that now. I think I started frequenting the IKEAs and Targets and sort of forgot about the thrift store. Well, I am really to mix things up again and go back to my roots.
Inspired by the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song, Young House Love posted a thrift store challenge last week that I happily accepted. With my $20 bill in hand, I hit up my favorite thrift store on Saturday.
My goal? To find a frame for a new art project and some colorful accessories for the kitchen.
Here’s what I purchased
I found three white ceramic pots. Each one was a different price based on how dirty they were, but I was pretty sure a little washing would get them all nice and clean so I picked them up for less than $2.00 after discounts.
On the electrical appliance/device aisle I found a black, plastic battery-operated clock. I’ve been wanting to get a simple clock for our bedroom and at only $0.99 this one fit the bill. With some sprucing up and perhaps a new color, the guy is going to be pretty cool.
My favorite find of the trip is this vintage-inspired cocoa tin. It’s a perfect color combo for the kitchen and even-though $1.99 seemed a little expensive it was a splurge I was willing to make for the right piece.
Oh and during my search, I did find a keyboard like the song says. Not sure if it was broken or not.
I finished searching the store without finding any large-scale frames. I couldn’t figure out how I missed them, but when I was checking out at the register I spied them tucked into a corner next to the Men’s clothing. So I dropped off my first purchases in the car and went back to check our the frames. This frame was the ultimate score at$3.95. It’s solid wood with glass and no artwork. Sometimes you have to pay a little more for the artwork you plan on throwing away, but not this time. I plan on cleaning it up next weekend. I can’t decide if I will paint it or not.
My final purchase was a Russel+Hazel yellow notebook. I’ve seen the same make at Target for $6.99 so I was happy to pick it up. I like how it has the transparent pocket on the front and inside. It will be perfect for coupon/shopping list.
After paying for the frame, I spent a total of $14.31 for everything. I was really happy with all my purchases. With the weather warming, soon it will be time for garage sales and antique fairs as well. I’m excited to rekindle my thrifting this year. Who knows, I may find some more vintage pieces I just can’t live without. I’d love another dress/pantsuit combo in my closet.
A little secret – I love watching YouTube videos when I run on my treadmill. Since I am training for a half marathon, I’ve been watching a ton. My favorites are health and beauty related. Recently, a lot of my favorite channels have posted a “Best of the Year” video featuring favorite products and tips. I thought I’d do my own spin on it with a home/DIY twist. It gives a nice snapshot of what I loved in 2012.
I’ve paired it down to ten categories that encompass new purchases, ideas and tips I have acquired one way or another for the home in 2012.
Our Concrete Home’s 2012 Favorites
I found this white owl vase in the amazing and magical Target Dollar Bin section. I swear I find so much good stuff there. I love this vase. Plus, the white owl on the white countertop camouflage our toothbrushes and toothpaste very nicely.
2) Organizing supplies
2012 was the year of the glass container at our house. I really learned to love reusing food jars. In the kitchen, the I can stack three jars in a row nicely. The wide mouth openings make it easy to measure out ingredients and with labels on our top staple goods, I know when items are running low. It’s funny how much money I would have saved in the first place if I just did this from the beginning instead of buying special plastic containers.
3) Art piece
You may remember this poster from our May favorites. I bought this limited edition Black Keys poster as a 10 year anniversary gift for Nate after we went to the concert with friends. I love this for so many reasons. The artwork is rad, the concert was amazing and the of course the 10 year anniversary was very sweet.
Our new bedspread has been a godsend. The polyester blend doesn’t wrinkle plus it seems to repel cat hair. I had a major issue with our old cotton one constantly looking worn and dirty. This Cynthia Rowley Duvet Cover (which I bought on clearance at Home Goods) is almost a dupe for the West Elm Pin-tuck Duvet Cover. I had been waiting for a sale to buy the West Elm duvet, but I am glad I took a chance on the Rowley poly-blend instead.
Over the summer, I picked up a bunch of walnut shells that washed up on the shore when we stayed at Sea Ranch for my Dad’s 60th birthday. I love anything beachy, but these shells just scream Northern California to me. Maybe someday I can figure out a better way to display them, but for now I keep them in a little jar in the front room with my other treasures.
When I installed our new garden drip system, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the extra $30 on a timer. I figured it would be easy enough to manually turn on the system a couple of times a week. I soon realized that my plants and I would be a lot happier to have the system be automatic. I bought the Orbit Digital Timer because it was highly rated. It’s super easy to program and the dial allows me to easily turn it off during a cold front. I love it and glad I decided to buy it.
6) Color & pattern
Our original beachy color scheme for the house got a few more kicks of color and pattern this year. Yellow and purples in the bedroom, navy and fuchsias throughout the house and of course more turquoise everywhere. I can’t wait to add some more.
7 ) Tool
Surprisingly, my favorite tool wasn’t found at a home improvement store at all. My iPhone 5 out-shined all the competition. Besides the convenience of internet on me at all times (very handy for price checking), my new 8-megapixel and HD video recording camera has really made documenting projects and daily life so easy. It’s nice to have a decent camera on me all the time that fits in my back pocket. I’ve noticed a huge upgrade in quality and quantity of my photos since getting it.
8) Cleaning Supply
I started using many more natural and basic cleaners in 2012 as well. This goes hand in hand with #2 as a way to really reduce the chemicals in the home. Vinegar and baking soda were the big standouts. I use them pretty much everywhere, but I have found especially in the shower these two are better than other cleaner I have used hands down.
9) Idea I loved and recreated
The blog Young House Love did this post on turning a Warhol LE Campbell’s Soup can into a pencil holder. I thought it was such a simple, but modern fix that I was inspired to make my own. I made two pencil holders for my office at work and get compliments on them all the time.
With my new job, I am in a totally different part of town from my last one. Now I am a lot closer to suburbia including Home Goods and TJ Maxx which I frequent on my lunch break. I can’t believe the variety of stuff I pick up at these stores. Everything from home decor, garden supplies, clothing and even food. I appreciate that variety a lot especially when I have a small window of time to shop.
What about you? Did you have any stand out purchases or ideas for 2012? I’d love to hear about them.
Our bedroom has had a mini makeover that I wanted to share. First I replaced our IKEA grey duvet with a Cynthia Rowley Duvet cover. I’ve been on the hunt for a new duvet cover the last few months. Our old duvet has been great except it wrinkled badly and was such a light color that it shows any lint (or cat hair) that landed on it. Basically it was a high maintenance bed cover and I was ready to switch it out. I found a lovely purple ruched cover at Home Goods for $40. It’s probably the most feminine bed spread I’ve ever had, but with the muted purple it still is modern.
When I threw it on the bed I was uncertain whether or not it worked with the rest of the room. But with the right throw pillow(s), I thought could tie in the red of my Keep Calm and Carry On print plus the turquoise of my painting and make the purple work.
So I went on the hunt again for the right pillow. Nothing stood out, so my next thought was to make my pillow. I searched Joann’s high and low for my perfect fabric, but couldn’t find one that had my three colors that I wanted to tie together.
Days later, when I was cleaning out my closet, I realized a dress I was giving to Goodwill would work perfectly for a pillow. It has the right combination of dark teal, red and purple to tie in all my bedroom decor. It goes to show how much my home decor matches my wardrobe!
This was actually a win-win situation, because I was heartbroken to throw out this dress in the first place. Unfortunately it just fit awkwardly on me. (Damn Forever 21 and their cute, but unwearable fashion!)
I decided to go with an envelope pillow closure design so I could reuse my beloved Missoni for Target pillow. Since the dress pattern is pretty dark and intense, I wanted to add two linen stripes (from another dress) to break it up. Plus, the stripes will add a little more masculinity to the floral pillow.
So on Saturday while watching the Olympics (I’m obsessed.), I ripped out the dress seams (even the hem) to give me as much mileage as possible for my pillow.
It was a good thing I did, as my pieces barely fit for the back of the pillow.
I sewed all my seams, then ironed them down. (See my gold, silver and bronze medal nails? Told you I was Olympic obsessed.) When the two pieces were ready, I sewed the front and two back pieces together.
The final touch was a little piece of Velcro sewed into the center of the back opening to keep it closed.
Here’s the finished product again. I love it. I also love that I finished the project without major hiccups. Maybe I am actually becoming sew literate after all.
Here again is a wide shot of the room. Looking at these photos , I want to add a dark headboard of some sort to distinguish the bed from the wall. I’d also love to add a side table along the back wall as well, but am holding off. Eventually, we will be expanding this room and adding a (walk-in) closet so I don’t want to be adding furniture for the current space. Instead I’ll just keep myself busy make pillows and spray paint things.
I haven’t done one of these in a while, so here’s how our entry way/front room is looking these days.
With so many spring holidays, I decided to mix them up this year focusing on pretty bright pinks, purples and greens. (Ignore the pedestal sink in the background from our bathroom project.)
I have very slowly transitioned from my 2011 holiday look this year. I kept up a lot of my pretty glass items and just made some small change to other decor I had up.
And yes, we still have our Christmas lights up. I just love coming home to their jeweled glow. The most surprising thing is I am getting a lot of peer pressure from my neighbors to keep them up (who would have thought?) BUT I will take them down this month. It’s time.
So to complete the transition, I’ve added a few bright items to the room and I am quite pleased with the result.
A spring bouquet
Of course the easiest thing to do is add flowers. I picked up a bundle of Stock and Bells of Ireland from my grocery store then arranged them in a clear tall vase with green marbles in the base. Both flowers are nice and hardy, plus the Stock smells great. As long as I keep the water clean by changing it every couple of days, I expect these to last for weeks.
Cost: $8.00 for two bundles
Pink fairy lights in my glass jar
I wanted to find a way to keep my Christmas fairy lights up. I love to shop the clearance aisle at my favorite stores after a holiday. You can get such great stuff for 50-75% off! I picked up these pink LED lights at Target after Valentine’s Day and thought they would be perfect in my glass jar. I guess you can’t take the rave out of the 90′s girl.
Cost: $4.00 (75% off)
Pretty mercury glass votive holders
Here’s another great clearance buy. I got these green and purple mercury glass votive holders for $1.00 each at Cost Plus World Market after Christmas.
They are certainly timeless in my book and seemed silly to just put them out for the Winter holiday.
Cost: $4.00 for four (75% off)
A print of Heart
When I changed jobs last November, I bought some art work for my new work place from the etsy seller Aeropagita Prints. I bought three prints during a three prints for the price of two sale special. I got this one called The Change as my third item. I love the unexpected heart in the middle and how the fuchsia pops against my turquoise wall. It’s just awesome.
A new candle
I admit it – I love candles. When Bath and Body Works have their two for twenty-dollar sale, I stock up. My newest purchase is the Lilac Blossom scent from Slatkin & Co. It’s described as “lilac blossom, lingering muguet, delicate heliotrope and violet.” It’s heavenly and very fragrant. We had a lilac tree growing up and I just can’t get enough of the scent so I am enjoying burning this in the evenings.
Cost: $10.00 (50% off)
In total I spent about $26.00 on my little updates. I am really digging the bright tones and floral hues. I just can’t get enough.
Note: All costs are rounded up.
Photo of Lilac Blossom Candle from Bath and Body Works.