Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category

Tufted Headboard

October 22, 2014

Making my own upholstered headboard is something that has been on my fairly expansive ‘Projects I’d like to do someday’ list for quite a while. Our bedroom set that we’ve had since we got married is straight out of a 1987 Ethan Allen catalog and while I don’t terribly mind the dressers and nightstands, the bed…well, it’s pretty boring and the headboard is so short that you can’t even see it when the bed is made and the pillows are propped up. I’ve always wanted something taller and upholstered so we could lean against it and not get jabbed in the back by the wood railing.

After skimming through just about every headboard tutorial I could find on Pinterest, I knew exactly what I wanted…rectangular, tufted, sturdy, wood legs and trim. I mainly used these two tutorials for reference on the tufting part, Little Green Notebook and Addicted 2 Decorating. Now, there are a bazillion tutorials out there but none of them had the exact wood detail that I kept picturing in my mind so I just went for it and customized what I wanted.

Here’s the whole process with pictures:

The backing is 5/8″ particle board, cut to 63×30 inches {which Lowe’s supposedly won’t cut for you but I talked someone into doing it anyway}. I measured out where each button would go and marked it with sharpie. There are three rows with 7 buttons and two rows with 6 staggered in between; each button on a row is 9 inches from the next and the end ones are 4.5 inches from the edge. I left some extra space at the bottom but that will be covered by the mattress anyway.


Then I drilled all 33 holes…they look like little gopher mounds, haha.


Now here’s where I start to do things differently…I added eight of these little “L” brackets around the top edge and two sides and bolted them to the particle board. These brackets will hold my 2×4 framing and legs after all the upholstering is done.


Two brackets near a top corner where two of the 2×4 pieces will come together.


Here’s the layout of the 2×4’s. The top board is the width of the headboard and the two side boards measure 50 inches.


After a light sanding the boards got a quick stain in a dark walnut.


About the foam…I wanted the upholstered part of the headboard to be 30 inches tall and the foam sold at Joann’s was only 24 inches wide {not to mention insanely expensive}; not wanting to deal with piecing together bits of foam I ordered a twin sized, 3 inch thick mattress pad on Amazon and it worked perfectly.

I marked on the foam through my drilled holes and then used a paring knife to cut out a little hole for each button. This is supposed to help with making deeper tufts by allowing the button to sit deeper in the foam.


At this point I moved into the living room so I could watch countless episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix while I worked :) Next was to add the batting over the foam and staple it to the back. I didn’t worry about getting a ton of staples in the batting because I knew I’d be going right back over it all when I stapled the fabric anyway.


I propped the whole thing up on two five gallon buckets so I could reach underneath then draped my fabric over the top. I ended up using a suit fabric and I love the look, it’s solid while still having a nice texture to it.


The button making kit I ordered on Amazon. It’s a pretty simple process; tedious but simple.


Time to start the tufting! Starting on the top row and in the center I used a 6 inch long upholstery needle to thread up through the hole, through a button and back down through the hole. I would push down on the button with one hand while holding the thread tight with the other. Then I would lie on the floor and staple the thread to the particle board from underneath all while holding it taut. To anyone watching this probably would have been a hilarious sight, me lying underneath this headboard like a mechanic trying to get enough leverage to make the staples go in deep enough.

First row done. As I started on the other rows I would press down on the foam and fabric where a button would go and play with the amount of loose fabric until I got the wrinkles that I wanted.


All the buttons done but the edges are still loose.


Again starting in the middle I made a small crease that aligned with each button and carried it over the edge of the headboard then stapled it to the back. I went around the whole thing the laid it on the floor face down, trimmed the extra fabric and added a bunch of reinforcing staples.


Next was attaching the wood trim. I screwed in the top board first then the side boards.




And here’s the finished product!



Here’s a closeup of the wood trim detail. It turned out exactly as I had imagined :)


The next step will be attaching it to a bed frame and getting our guest room set up!



Holiday Projects

January 6, 2014

I’ve been keeping pretty busy over the past few months with various reclaimed wood projects. Usually I see an idea online or one comes to me then I get to work immediately and finish it within a couple days; nothing like immediate gratification :)

To add to my fall/autumn decor I built these two wooden pumpkins. First, I cut out the outline from a scrap piece of particle board then I screwed the boards into the back and trimmed the excess with my handy jigsaw.


After a good sanding I attached part of a stick to each of the pumpkin tops to act as stems. They sat outside by our front door for a few months and held up great!


My largest project to date was our Christmas tree. We originally wanted to buy a live tree like we did last year but due to the hassle of getting it into and out of our third story apartment, the $50-$60 price tag and the fact that it would only be up for a couple of weeks before we left for Texas, we opted for something a little more simple.


I had a pile of leftover fencepost scraps from my brother that I hadn’t found a use for yet so I lined them all up from largest to smallest, creating a tree shape. Using the jigsaw I cut the ends of each board at an angle to form the limbs of the tree then I attached a long, vertical board down the middle to tie it all together. After drilling some holes I poked each individual bulb from a 100 light multi-color strand through a hole from the back. Right now the lights are just held in by friction but I’ll be making it more permanent with some glue or silicon caulk soon.


And here she is in all of her reclaimed, multi-color glory! I think this was my favorite Christmas tree ever, probably because it was 100% free and I didn’t have to unpack, hang and repack my ornaments, haha.


A few Christmas-y signs were also in order; I made a couple of each of these to sell and raise money for Team World Vision {the charity that Mark and I ran our half marathon for}. They all ended up going home with some of our small group friends…I’m probably going to have to make one of the NOEL ones for myself because I love it so much!



The dream/hope/goal for 2014 is to open an Etsy shop and sell these reclaimed goodies online. We’re working on the initial logistics now…hopefully more news on that soon!

Elia’s Nursery

August 25, 2013

My dear friend, Tricia, asked for my help with decorating her daughter’s nursery and I was so honored/excited to help! She didn’t want the nursery to be pink and overly “girly” but more simple, neutral and modern.

I started out by making her this reclaimed wood wall art with the verse Psalm 139:13; it stands out beautifully against their soft cream paint color.


My next, larger project was inspired by this image that Tricia found on of a large tree wall decal:

The actual decal could have been purchased online but it was pretty expensive and I knew that I could create something similar using wallpaper…my plan was to order one roll for the trunk and branches and also order a bunch of samples online for the many green patterns of the leaves. I tried ordering the roll for the trunk through Lowe’s but it kept getting back-ordered {3 months, what??} so I ended up finding a similar pattern online that worked perfectly. The samples I ordered from three different wallpaper sites, they were on average between $1-5 per 8.5×11″ sample and one site had the option to order over-sized 20×20″ samples too. I made a cardboard template and used it to trace the leaf shape onto the samples; it took me a few hours of tracing/cutting/TV-watching to get them all cut out {there ended up being about 100 total}.

As a dry run before committing to actually cutting my wallpaper I made a template for the tree trunk out of white paper. Here it is on the floor with a few leaves placed around…


Once I was sure the shape of the limbs would work well with the room I traced the template onto the roll of wallpaper and cut everything out. Then it was time to hang some wallpaper! I have to admit that I was a little afraid because I’d never messed with wallpaper before but it was actually pretty simple since I made sure to buy pre-pasted wallpaper. Most websites recommend completely submersing your pre-pasted wallpaper in a tray of water to activate the paste and then booking the paper before hanging BUT thanks to a small test piece I discovered that I could get away with simply using a spray bottle to wet the back of the wallpaper and after 30 seconds the paste was activated and gooey enough to hang.

With a drop cloth on the ground I laid out each piece of the limbs, one by one, sprayed the back with water, allowed it to sit for a minute, then lined it up on the wall with the trunk and smoothed it out a bit with my fingers. Then with a rubber wallpaper roller I smoothed it out even more, making sure to push out any bubbles and seal the edges. Here’s the trunk and limbs up on the wall…


After a few days of drying time I came back to apply the leaves. Now with the full roll that I ordered I could ensure that it was pre-pasted but with all the samples I had no idea if they would be or not…turns out the samples were not pre-pasted so I had to actually apply paste to them. I bought the smallest bottle of paste that I could find and it came with a tiny roller attached to it making application super easy {Lowe’s actually has a wallpaper section with all the tools you’d need, HD didn’t have anything in store}.

With all of my leaves laid out on the floor making it easy to grab whichever pattern I wanted, I got into a rhythm of applying paste to 4-5 leaves and then finding a place for them on the tree. I tried my best to keep the layout looking random, making sure to keep like patterns and colors separated.


And here’s the finished product! I love the many shades and patterns of yellows and greens, they all work together so well! I think the best part is that this is something that can grow with little Elia for many years to come, it’s not just limited to the baby years.


Trash to Treasure

February 26, 2013

Every day when I leave our complex I drive past the dumpster and a few weeks ago I noticed an old pallet waiting to be thrown out. I thought to myself, I could make something with that. But for weeks and weeks there it sat, leaning against the dumpster, because I never made the time to haul it home. I kept expecting it to be taken away with the trash but week after week it remained until I finally had a free weekend to get creative! So Mark loaded it into the back of the Jeep, drove it over to our building and carried it up two flights of stairs to our balcony {thanks, love}.


I put on some gloves, grabbed a hammer and a crow bar and got to work; and boy was it hard work getting those planks off. Half of the boards were split or broken to begin with so I had to be careful not to ruin the others while prying the nails out.


I ended up with four unbroken boards which I then arranged together…


…and using a few smaller pieces and some wood screws on the back I secured them all together. The great thing about this project is that I didn’t have to worry about the boards being square or perfect in any way since the idea is for it to look as rustic as possible.


Next was the hard part, deciding what to put on it and how. My inspiration came from some pallet art ideas like this one that I had seen on Pinterest and for sale on Etsy. I experimented on scrap wood with different types of paint, stencils and oil stains to see what looked the best on the brown and grey weathered wood. In the end I went with plain white craft paint simply because I already had some in my stash which meant I didn’t have to go out and buy anything :)

As for what to write on the boards, I wanted to display one of my favorite bible verses, Proverbs 3:5. This was my confirmation verse in middle school and it continues to be one of my favorites. I created a paper stencil from my computer, cutting the letters out with an X-acto, taped the stencils onto the boards and then lightly applied the craft paint with a cheap brush, dabbing most of the paint off of the brush first so as not to flood the stencil.


And here’s the finished product! The wall above our desk has been empty since we moved in so it was the perfect place for my pallet art. I am so in love with how it turned out and the best part is that this project was 100% FREE!


Canvas Art

January 20, 2013

Many months ago I pinned this idea onto my “Crafty” board on Pinterest…


The concept was so simple that I knew I could create something similar on my own. So last weekend, armed with a Michael’s gift card that I received for Christmas {thanks, Jenna!}, I set out to gather the needed materials. At the time a certain brand of canvas just happened to be 70% off so I grabbed one large and one small plus some craft paint and acrylic Helvetica letters. Then I swung by Half Price Books and found an old book of piano sheet music for $2. The innocent girl behind the counter suggested a music shop in a nearby town that had tons more piano music to browse; I just nodded, acting interested because I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my intentions were to rip the pages from the book as soon as I got it home, hehe.


The process went something like this…rip sheet music into strips, coat a section of canvas with ModPodge, place paper strips on canvas, then coat again with ModPodge to seal. This went on for a while as I worked my way from the bottom of the canvas up. Then once it was completely dry I lightly traced a line with my straight edge to serve as a reference for my lettering.


I worked on the smaller canvas first, sort of as a trial run, to make sure that everything was going to work out correctly before I tackled the larger canvas.


After all of the letters were in place I squirted a few shades of yellow paint onto a paper plate and started painting. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to my technique, my goal was simply to paint it yellow and vary the shade for a little added texture. I removed the letters as soon as I finished applying the paint and I was immediately unimpressed…I should have gone with a darker paint so the letters would stand out more plus the letters appear to be misaligned thanks to the lines on the sheet music being placed diagonally.


Not wanting the larger canvas to turn out the same as the smaller one, I applied the lettering and decided to call it finished…for now. I might paint it someday and remove the letters but for now I like the way it looks. We’ve got it hanging above our bed and it’s one of the first things we see each morning :)


Until now I’ve pretty much ignored decorating our bedroom so it feels good to finally have something on the walls in there. I’m sure I’ll be adding more to it over the coming months!


Bathroom Facelift

August 22, 2012

Moving into a new place and making it our own is always something that I’ve enjoyed but since we’re renting our condo instead of owning it we’re forced to make the best with what we have. Luckily our landlord has given us free reign to paint whatever we want so after giving the entire living area and kitchen a new coat right after we moved in we finally got around to tackling the bathroom.

The walls were a nasty beige color with plenty of grunge while the ceiling had been half painted making the whole space look unfinished. I knew that simply painting the walls white would lighten everything up and make it feel cleaner but I wanted to do a little more to make the room seem larger…horizontal stripes to the rescue!

Taping off and painting the stripes was really fun, especially the tape removal step; pulling off all of the tape afterwards and seeing those crisp, straight lines magically appear made the whole project worth it. Here are a couple before and after photos…

If we owned this place we would have taken down the glass shower door the day we moved in and put up a tall shower curtain to hide that dark line of tiles at the top…they’re so ugly. Aside from the shower door I love the bathroom now, it’s so bright in there even without a window. My intention was for the stripes to be very subtle. The colors were so subtle in fact that when I had the paint mixed I almost had the guy darken the blue color because I couldn’t see the difference when the cans were sitting next to each another. I’m glad I didn’t though because once the paint was on the wall and dry the contrast was perfect.

As a part of this bathroom facelift I also made a little shelf to hang above the toilet. I bought a few pieces of weathered hardwood from a guy I connected with via Craigslist, grabbed a couple shelf brackets from the HD and threw it together after cutting the board to size. Right now it’s holding a few mementos from Hawaii {shell necklaces, lava rocks and sea shells} plus a free print of a shell I found online and a faux starfish.

While on my weathered wood scavenger hunt I found a piece of large baseboard that I thought could be fun to turn into a mason jar masterpiece. These DIY vase/candle/trinket holders are all over Pinterest and all you need are wide mouth pint jars, some hose clamps and a few screws.

The whole piece is 24 inches wide and is hung above our sink in the kitchen. Inside the jars are some tea light candles sitting on top of the sand that we brought back from our honeymoon.

I wish I could just make a living off of building things like this and selling them to others, I had so much fun doing it. Maybe someday :)

Our New Home

May 7, 2012

When we first visited what would be our new home in California we were greeted by lovely tangerine walls and a purple kitchen, it was anything but pretty. Luckily we were able to look past the paint and after confirming with our landlord that we would be allowed to change the colors we signed our lease and moved our things in. Here’s what the place looked like just a few days after the move; this view is from the living area looking towards the kitchen opening and dining space that we are using as an office.

This shot is from the doorway looking towards the living room {kitchen is on the right}.

After much deliberation we decided to invest in some high quality furniture that would be with us for years and years to come instead of going the inexpensive route. The only problem with this choice was that we had to wait 4-6 weeks for our furniture to be built and shipped. So we set our TV on the coffee table and blew up an air mattress to sit on and that’s how it we lived for 5 weeks.

When the furniture arrived last Friday I was so relieved to finally have a place to sit, now if we ever have friends over our living area won’t look like a scene out of a college dorm room. I was also very relieved to see exactly what the sofa looked like with the fabric I had picked out; all that I had in the store was a 1’x1′ swatch and a white version of our sofa so it took a little imagination to picture it. The fabric is more grey and less brown than it looks in the photo below.

Here’s the same view as before, looking towards the living area from the entryway.

The desk area is serving as Mark’s little home office complete with his territory map on the wall.

It finally feels like a real home! This is the first time that we’ve ever bought new furniture together and the funniest part about it all is that we find ourselves purposefully sitting on the extremities of the sofa so we don’t cause it to sag in the middle over time. We have already watched a couple movies sitting 2 feet away from one another, each of us on opposite ends of the sofa, haha.

Go And Do

April 13, 2012

About four months ago while visiting our favorite South Congress junk shop in Austin we bought three vintage flashcards which read “go and do” with the idea that we wanted this phrase to be our motto once we moved to California.

After unpacking all of the picture frames I grabbed the largest one that I had, put the flashcards inside and started building a photo wall layout around it. Once I had my collage of frames just right I transferred them onto a large piece of paper and traced each one, marking exactly where the nail would need to be to hang it. Then I taped the paper to the wall and simply hammered nails in through the paper on my marks.

After removing the paper all I had to do was hang the frames and make a few little adjustments. I found this method for hanging frames on another blog and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, it makes the process so easy!

With our flashcards setting the stage, the surrounding frames all include pictures or mementos from our various trips. Right now most of them are from Boston and Maine but over time they will begin to fill with accounts of our California adventures as well. I kind of like the idea of always having at least one empty frame on the wall, as if it’s waiting to be filled with something new…

‘Round Here

September 19, 2011

Just a little tour around our home for your viewing pleasure :)

Entry table {courtesy of Grandpa Rand} showing off some of my most treasured pieces.

Dresser top where I keep my mom’s childhood jewelry box.

One of my latest craft projects…

Key drop spot by the door…

New necklace holder from an old wooden frame…

Thrifted vessels to someday turn into succulent terrariums, inspired by Jacob & Tracy.

We’re slowly finding new bedding; the pillow is a start…




Photos, Photos on the Wall

March 4, 2011

After months of collecting picture frames, I have finally accumulated enough to create a decent sized photo wall! I’ve been brainstorming ways to fill the empty space above our sofa since day one in the apartment and a photo collection has always been at the top of my list.

This project, start to finish, has taken over three months; definitely not a weekend undertaking. I probably made about 7 or 8 trips to Salvation Army and Goodwill over time, searching for frames that a) were made out of wood, b) had a strong structure, c) included a mat and glass, and d) weren’t too boring and had a little detail. For the longest time they just sat in a pile in the corner of our living room, waiting to be painted. A big part of my hesitation was due to the fact that I wanted the wall to be repainted before I hung the frames and we’d been putting that off since we moved in.

A few weeks ago I finally got it together and decided to get started. The first thing I did was cover all of the mats in fabric so they would match. I got the idea from this post on the Bower Power Blog and I copied her steps pretty much exactly except I used a rough burlap instead of fabric. This step in the process just confirmed my distain for spray adhesive; it gets everywhere, doesn’t hold very well and never seems to dry completely. Maybe someday it will be able to redeem itself but today is not that day.

The next weekend we headed to Home Depot for a few supplies: a can of Krylon spray paint for the frames, some sand paper, a gallon of wall paint, one roller, a quart of faux glaze, a sample-size container of brown paint and some glazier points. We borrowed a step ladder from a neighbor and knocked out the wall painting in a couple of hours with Mark doing the rolling and me doing the cutting in. We used Martha Stewart’s Fennel Seed in an eggshell finish; goodbye baby blue!

My first step in painting the frames was to thouroughly sand them down and wipe them clean; most of them had a clear glossy finish so the sanding was 100% necessary in order for the new paint to stick. Then I laid some cardboard out on our patio and started spraying. When we bought the spray paint, Mark talked me out of buying two cans even though I was 99% sure we would need it…and we did…trip #2 to Home Depot.

Once the paint had dried overnight, I got to work sanding again, only this time I focused on the edges and corners to give them a worn look. This gives the tinted glaze something to stick to when it’s applied in the next step.

The whole painting, sanding then glazing idea again came from the Bower Blog; they used glaze on their newly built headboard and footboard to pronounce the seams and give it an aged look. I wanted to give the frames a similar antiqued finish that would stand out nicely on the wall and make the frames’ details more visible.

Using the 4:1 ratio suggested on the can, I mixed the glaze and brown paint {I forget the color but it’s MS}. I literally used 1/4 cup of glaze and 1 tablespoon of paint…definitely didn’t need an entire quart of glaze but that was the smallest size available.

I applied the glaze mixture to the lightly sanded frames using a small art brush, making sure to get in every nook and cranny. Then I immediately wiped off the excess with an old sock, leaving behind a little bit of glaze which stuck to the sanded parts and in the crevices. Sorry, no pictures of this step as my hands were covered in glaze at this point {it’s a tad messy}.

The frames were left to dry overnight and the next morning it was time to assemble. Our desk was cleared and turned into my workstation where I cleaned the glass, inserted the mats and photos, then secured it all together with a few glazier points.

{Side note: am I the only one that didn’t know that they were called glazier points? Because I definitely did not…but now I do}

Early on in the project, before having prints made, I laid the frames out on the floor, trying different configurations to see what looked the best. The layout ended up being centered around the largest frame with a smaller, vertical frame centered beneath it and two matching horizontal frames on either side.  Thanks to this, hanging was pretty simple; we hung the large frame first then added the others around it.

The wall color looks a little more aqua in this photo than it truly is, pesky lighting.

I just love how the frames and the new paint complement each other and how the sepia-toned photos play off of the brown burlap. All of the photos are from our trip to Boston and Maine last summer; it took me forever to narrow it down to just six.

The antique J keys we found last weekend at our favorite south Congress thrift shop, Uncommon Objects. That place is like Ikea to me, I’m always in there for at least an hour and, though I rarely buy anything, I always leave feeling inspired.

The wall color shown behind the the frame detail below is about as close to the real thing as I could get.  It’s an awesome green/grey color that complements the yellow in our living room rug quite nicely.

My favorite part of this project is how the glazing technique played out; don’t those frames look like something straight out of your grandma’s attic?