DIY PROJECTS

How to Frame a Bathroom Mirror
I've been such a blog slacker, friends! My hiatus wasn't planned, but sometimes that's just how life goes. Y'all know what I mean. At any rate, I have made some great strides on the hall bathroom in our house that I'm so excited to share and, in fact, only have the flooring and shelves left to do before it's finished! {Well, we still have to have the tub reglazed, but other than that it'll be done.} Over the past couple of weeks, I finished the vanity, painted the walls, hung the light fixture {which is just gorgeous} and framed the bathroom mirror. I have to be completely honest here. I've never, like ever in the history of living in our house, all 12 years of it, liked this bathroom. It's dark. It's outdated. It has tile ev.ery.where. It's just always been blah. I did a little bit to it over time like getting rid of the hideous carpet and wallpaper that was in there {why I didn't take a picture of that I'll never know}, but it's never been pretty or even just okay. Now? I absolutely LOVE it! It's always so much fun when a project turns out better than you expect and you just keep going back in that room to take a look at it one more time. Seriously, every time I turn the light on and it's immediately bright in there my heart is happy all over again. I spilled some of the details here about my inspiration for the bathroom and shared the before photos, so hop on over if you haven't seen all of that. I knew I loved this light fixture when I first saw it -- partially because of the $39.99 price tag and partially because it was glass which would allow so much light through. I always have moments where I second-guess my vision for a space, though, and I thought it might be too small, too shiny, etc. Y'all. It's perfection. This bathroom has a lot of 1960s charm to it thanks to the tile and the vanity. I didn't want to completely get rid of that character, but I did want to update the overall look and feel of it. That can get kind of tricky, but it somehow all came together in the little details, like the vintage-esque knobs and the pendant light, so the bathroom feels like we put that tile in on purpose to add some character instead of the other way around! We also had a giant mirror in that bathroom {it's a small bathroom, so the big mirror makes sense} with the old-school flower covered screws that held the mirror up along with tons of glue. Those had to go, and really the mirror looked unfinished because of the edges anyway. We considered buying new screws with heads that were more modern, but ultimately, I wanted a chunky white frame to go around the mirror. So this DIY was born! I have to tell you, after the six-hour debacle that was hanging the light fixture thanks to some ill-fitting screws and bracket, framing the mirror was a breeze! Except for the giant oops I made... Before I show you that {which is actually part of our Instagram story, so be sure you follow us on there to get more behind the scenes footage of our DIYs}, let me give you some context. Finding screws that would go through the quarter-inch holes that had been drilled in the mirrors proved to be pretty much impossible mostly because the drywall behind the mirror was so stripped out. The hole in the wall was actually bigger than the one in the mirror, and there were no studs {of course} behind the mirror where the screw holes were to use longer screws on. So I got the bright idea to use wall anchors, the expandable ones like this. It was a great idea and actually worked really well... after I screwed up. Here's what happened. Yeah... so that was fun. Anyway, I got the piece put back on and all the anchors through the mirror and into the drywall with screws. Next, I had to cut my frame pieces. I opted to cut the four sides and attach them to the mirror separately rather than build the entire frame and hope my mirror was straight and level. {Nothing in this house has been so far, so I didn't want to test my luck.} I bought this primed 1 x 6 board from Lowes. Because we wanted the 36" x 36" mirror to look rectangular when framed, I cut the top and bottom at 36" long and cut the sides at 41" using my miter saw. All four angles were cut at 45 degrees. Before I started attaching the pieces, I laid it out to double check the corners met just right and were square. To attach the frame to the mirror, I bought LocTite adhesive for mirrors. It's amazing. These primed boards are not lightweight, and once I put them on, they didn't slide around at all thanks to that adhesive! I had to add a small board above the mirror to give the top piece of the frame something to adhere to since the sides were cut longer than the tops. I also had to drill pockets in the back of my side pieces so the screw heads would fit inside them rather than making the frame stand off the mirror. Of course, I didn't take a photo of that... But all I did was drill halfway into the back of each piece with a 1/2" drill bit. The screw heads fit right inside these holes to conceal them. After that, all I did was put LocTite on the back of each piece starting with the top and, using a level, glued them on, lining them up with the mirror and ensuring the corners met. I used blue painters tape to hold them in place on the off chance any of them were to slip, but I honestly don't know if that was necessary. The LocTite held almost immediately. Better to be safe, though, right? I let the frame set overnight once it was framed and then took latex paintable caulk and filled the corner seams of the frame. Once that had dried, I gave the entire frame two good coats of Behr Bit of Sugar enamel paint. Then I just stared because between the mirror frame and the light fixture, not to mention the updated vanity and super white, sparkly tile thanks to Rustoleum, I was in awe of the transformation. It has completely exceeded my expectations so far, and it has all been done DIY and on a budget! Framing the entire mirror only cost $20 {I did already have the paint, so that might cost more depending} and it added such a huge, modern element to the bathroom. At this point, the entire bathroom reno has cost approximately $100. I still have to build the shelves and buy the flooring and grout for the floor, so all in, we're looking at less than $200 {probably closer to $150} to upgrade our entire bathroom! It looks like a total overhaul, but is actually just paint and refacing for the most part! What's your favorite part of this project so far? Hope you're having a great week, friends!
Dollhouse Table Redo
I have always loved dollhouses and miniatures. I was so excited to give my daughter this Imaginarium dollhouse this past Christmas. I searched high and low for the perfect one. I may like to do the whole DIY thing, but I was not about building one of those hobby dollhouses...not to mention paying to do so. All of those hobby houses were way more expensive than this adorable one. I wanted wooden and girly, not plastic and gaudy. I really didn't want to have to purchase furniture or a doll family separately. This dollhouse was the perfect find, especially for our 3 year old. It comes with furniture to furnish each room, has three stories (one of my other requirements) and closes up when not in use. The best part is the price! At $79.99 (it's now $69.99) it's a steal compared to so many others like it, and even those of lesser quality. At Christmas we were able to purchase it on sale for only $59.99. Because there is a little brother in the equation, I wanted her to have a place to set her house, up off the floor. I wanted it to still be at easy playing level for her and possibly have a drawer to store furniture pieces. A friend of mine knew I liked to do projects and offered me this antique end table for free! I immediately thought of it for the dollhouse table. I am missing my original "before" picture, but it was painted black, with chipping paint and was the height of your basic end table. I took it to my friendly neighborhood builder (Jessica!) and had her saw the legs off a few inches to make it a better playing height for a 3 year old. Then I sanded down all the chipping paint until it looked like this: After that, it stayed that way for several months. Haha! No joke. That's the way it was come Christmas morning and I simple draped a blanket over it for the sake of pictures. Now, 3-4 months later, I have finally grabbed a can of white spray paint (it only took one!) and gave it a good couple of coats. Instantly beautiful! I love how a can of white spray paint can transform almost any piece of furniture. I also used some oil rubbed bronze spray paint on the drawer pull. I considered buying a new drawer pull, but in the interest of time and convenience, I used the paint to update the one we had. The inside of the little drawer was that dated green felt and it just looked dirty since it was so old. I did my best to line it with some new fabric using some spray adhesive. It took a little doing to try to line it up just so, but it gets the job done! The drawer is a little too shallow to house all the furniture pieces, but it's a perfect "secret" drawer for all of her other tiny treasures (anyone else have a million shopkins, palace pets, twosies, etc etc?? Everything is tiny!). The finished product is exactly what I had envisioned for Christmas morning! But hey, better late than never, right? Hope you all enjoy this simple project and maybe get inspired to do one of your own. I'll include the link to purchase the dollhouse here. This isn't a paid ad, but my own opinion. It's the best little dollhouse for a young girl (or boy, really. My son loves it too!). It gets lots of play around here   Follow
Bathroom Renovation | DIY Shaker Doors
Our bathroom renovation project is coming along pretty well! It's always a longer process when you DIY, especially with kids, because those hours are hard to pull together consistently. Overall, though, it's going just about as planned and we are nearing the final stages! All of the tile has been regrouted and reglazed which was a chore in and of itself, let me tell you! We have the perfect gray paint on the walls, and I have finally finished updating the vanity doors. If you haven't seen my inspiration board for this bathroom overhaul along with the before photos, you can check those out here. It was dark and so uninviting. From my inspiration board, you can see where I was headed with light gray tones and lots of white. Well, y'all, it is a whole different room now! Amazing what paint can do. One thing I despised was the outdated vanity. Unfortunately, ripping it out and replacing it wasn't in the budget for us, so like most things, we're doing a DIY on a dime. I've oohed and aahed at shaker cabinets since they came around again, but was never brave enough to try to make them myself. Our kitchen is full of flat front cabinets that, now that I've updated the bathroom doors, I think I might have to try my hand at upgrading to shaker style. I needed to start small, though, since I wasn't really sure what I was doing. There are plenty of tutorials out there on building your own, which would be stellar except that our doors are overlay design with an inset making them next to impossible to replicate without the proper tools (most of which I do not have). So I opted to reface mine, so to speak. Here's what the doors looked like before. Super outdated and very 1970s. Here's what they look like now in all their gray, shaker glory!!! I could not be happier with the way they turned out or with how simple they were to upgrade! This project is really incredibly simple, and even the wood pieces I purchased left me with only a few cuts (ones that you could easily have done in store). Updating the entire vanity, including a quart of enamel paint, cost less than $30 ($35.99 if you include the knobs that I found at Marshall's). That's definitely a win in my book for such an aesthetic upgrade!

What You'll Need For This Project

  • 1/4" x 3" x 4' boards [these craft boards are sold at Lowes, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, etc.]
  • Wood glue
  • Brads and a brad nailer (or hammer)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  The first step for me was to remove the existing moulding on the doors. As it turns out, the moulding was plastic and popped right off with a chisel and hammer. I had to fill a few holes with wood filler and sand that down, but for all four doors this took less than 10 minutes. If you don't have moulding on your existing doors, lucky you! I also filled in the design that was on the drawers of this vanity. I felt like it dated the whole piece and didn't want it to bring my new shaker doors down, so I added wood filler there as well and sanded it down flat. Next, I measured out the long sides of my four doors and cut stiles out of my 4' pieces of wood accordingly. (Stiles are the long sides of the shaker cabinet front.) This left me with just enough wood for the rails (the top and bottom pieces). One 4' piece did one entire door. Rather than miter the corners, I opted for the rails to fit inside the stiles. Once I had all my pieces measured, I lined the backs with wood glue and attached them to the front of my cabinet doors using brad nails to secure them in place while the glue dried. The fronts of my doors were slightly rounded, so I lined up the wood pieces with the furthest part of the edge of the door and went back in and filled the seams with wood filler once the glue had dried. After everything had dried, I added wood filler to the seams between my rails and stiles as well as to the inside panel where the wood pieces met the original door. This gave the whole door a seamless, this-was-totally-built-this-way-originally look. The wood filler took a little time to dry because I put it on so thick, but once it dried, I gave the whole door front and sides a good sanding to make sure it would all look solid once the paint went on. The doors all got wiped down with a damp cloth to get rid of any debris and then were given two coats of Olympic semi-gloss enamel paint matched to Valspar Rocky Bluffs gray. All that was left after the paint dried was to put the drawers back in and add hardware! I snagged these knobs at Marshall's for $5.99 knowing I wanted a gray and white look in the bathroom. They could not be more perfect! I am still in the process of adding legs to the bottom of the vanity to give it a finished look. Originally, I was going to just add two, one to either side, but the vanity is so long I think it actually will need four legs so that part isn't quite finished yet. In the meantime, you can see where I'm going with those in the photos below and get a glimpse of the finished vanity and those beautiful shaker doors! I'm still a little bit in awe of how much changing those doors updated the whole room, not to mention the paint colors, but I'm absolutely loving it! The next steps will be framing the bathroom mirror, laying down the floor tiles, adding shelving over the toilet and on either side of the mirror and hanging the light fixture. I'll have tutorials on the bathroom mirror framing for you next week and then hopefully a final reveal the following if all goes according to plan! Do you think you'll try this out on your outdated cabinets? If you've already flipped something older into something that looks new, we would love to know about your successes in the comments below! xoxo
DIY Princess Poppy Troll Headband
The first time I saw the Trolls movie with my 3 year old daughter, I was just as captivated as she was! It's an adorable movie with upbeat music and positive messages: being happy is always within your own control, be positive, show love to others. Not only that but the characters are so cute! I saw Poppy's adorable flower headband and immediately began thinking about how I could recreate it for my daughter. It looks like it is literally made from felt (just like this one!), even in the animation. So here is my version of Princess Poppy's flower headband! It's super simple and super cute.

Supplies:

1 Sheet of Green Felt 1 Sheet of Blue Felt Needle and green thread Hot glue gun Scissors Green elastic (Here's the kind I used) Pattern

 

Step 1: Cut out Felt

So I've included a pattern here for the flowers, leaves, and headband. My husband has a much steadier drawing hand than I do and a great eye for copying nearly any image onto paper. So I have to give a huge shout out of appreciation to him for lending me his creativity for this project. Once you've traced your shapes and cut them out, it's time to glue them together!

Step 2: Glue

Place your flowers on top of the leaves and hold in place with hot glue. The flowers are a bit "wonky" so you'll need to turn them around a bit on the leaves to find the angle that allows each leaf to poke out between the petals. Once your flowers are assembled, you can place them along the felt band.

Step 3: Sew on Elastic

Felt doesn't really have much "give" to it. So we'll need to add on some elastic to the back of the headband so that it stretches over your child's head (or yours! No judgement here, haha!). The felt may be about 11-12" long. I cut a piece of elastic about 7" long. This allowed a little extra on each side to sew onto the felt. Ok, don't get scared now! It's just a tiny bit of sewing, you can do this! Thread your needle (the little sewing kits you can buy at the grocery come with a handy little threader) and make a simple straight stitch across the end of the felt, layering the elastic underneath (so that the raw edge will be against your child's head). I also did a little "X" stitch on top for more reinforcement but I don't think it's necessary. Just make your stitches really small and close together for the strongest hold. That's it! Then you can stage a cute little photo shoot like we did with our daughters. My daughter's response to her Poppy headband? "Mommy, I'll wear it forever! Did Santa bring it? Thank you so much, mommy!" She wore it most of the day...not forever, but I'll take it. Be sure to show us your Princess Poppy Trolls if you decide to make this cute headband. All the photo cred goes to Jessica! I'm just so in love with the message of this song from the Trolls movie. This is definitely the attitude the Salt and Life girls take and we are doing our best to teach our daughters (and son) to have the same outlook on life. Be encouraged and don't let anything the world throws at you get you down!

I'm not giving up today,

There's nothing getting in my way!

And if you knock-knock me over

I - will - get back up again.

If something goes a little wrong,

Well you can go ahead and bring it on!

And if you knock-knock me over,

I - will - get back up again.

Trolls 2016, "Get Back Up Again"

   
DIY Bathroom Renovation | Inspiration Board
Our bathroom has been long overdue for a makeover. We've lived in our house for twelve years, y'all, and while we got rid of the ugly wallpaper and carpet in our hall bathroom, it still had yellowing porcelain tile and an outdated vanity. In the interest of full disclosure, that bathroom has been a "designers block" area, if you will. I literally had no inspiration to make it pretty, mostly because it gets zero natural light. I love natural light. You probably know that by now since my goal in life it seems is to make most of our home white or at least very bright! I've finally decided it's time to update that bathroom, though, and make it someplace we love just like the rest of the house instead of something dark that's hard to keep clean. Of course, that will be a process, so today I thought I'd show you my inspiration board which you can find more of on Pinterest as well as some of the materials I'm planning to use. I don't know if you do inspiration or mood boards when you're decorating or renovating, but I find them to be incredibly helpful for two reasons. 1) It allows me to physically see the big picture. 2) It keeps me motivated during those moments of "why am I doing this again?" I find that if I love my inspiration board, I know I'm going to love the finished result, so it's easier to push through when I'm tired of doing it myself. {Yep. That happens.} This bathroom is located right off of our hallway, so I knew I needed open lighting in there to brighten it up, wanted the tile to be really white and needed light paint colors. I also knew the first step was going to be regrouting our tile and reglazing it. Not so fun, but oh, so necessary. Here are some before pictures of the bathroom. {Prepare yourselves... they're not pretty.} That vanity, though... ugh. I've been dying to have shaker cabinets in this house, and thanks to flat front cabinets in the kitchen, I got the idea from Pinterest to add face frames. Our kitchen has a lot more doors and drawers than the bathroom does, though, so I thought this would be the perfect area to try out shaker doors. That molding on the current doors will have to go, and I'll be sure to do a full tutorial on making over the doors including removing the molding. So now that you've seen where I'm coming from, here's where I'm headed with this bathroom makeover.

Inspiration Board

After way too many samples I decided to go with Rocky Bluffs by Valspar for the vanity and Seashell Gray by Valspar for the walls. They're essentially two shades of the same gray with a slightly purple base. Because our bathroom gets no natural light, the yellow cast from any interior light needed to be offset by a cooler paint color. We currently have one of those glass covered flush mount lights in the bathroom, so open lighting will help brighten everything. I found the glass pendant at Home Goods of all places! $40 for a light fixture. Yes, please! Now I just have to find the right bulb. The door knobs are one of my favorite things about this new bathroom. They're a Marshall's find for $5.99, and they are the perfect mix of classic and modern complete with nickel and white coloring! The flooring is a groutable adhesive tile from Lowes which you can find here. While I love how bright this tile is, it's kind of boring, so I may end up cutting the pieces down and doing a herringbone pattern with them. We'll see if I get that brave!

Inspiration Photos

[pin_widget url="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/306104105908554985/"]

I love the paint color in this photo from Laine & Layne. It's bright but still contrasts with the white beadboard trim. Our bathroom is small, so I'd love to put some hooks on the wall to add some storage and hanging space like they've done here.

[pin_widget url="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/306104105908315026/"]

The overall feel of this bathroom is what I'm going for in ours. Bright room, white tile, gray walls, white trim. The flooring I've chosen is less dramatic, but I've picked out some fun knobs to bring in a little glitz and character.

[pin_widget url="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/306104105907151489/"]

I definitely want to frame out our mirror, although I'll be using white instead of stained wood. Ours will need to be a bit more chunky to cover up the screws, but this is the same basic idea. That pendant light also caught my eye and is where I drew inspiration for our final choice, pictured above.

[pin_widget url="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/Aei1aX38x08nzi3yivwpO5HUO8arRpjX5o_3t6mUp4SIlOXqmnqZX8w/"]

I'm not sold on the idea of iron in our bathroom because I hesitate to use any dark accents. While we did discuss switching out all the hardware to oil-rubbed bronze, we opted for nickel because that's what we currently have, and it just wasn't worth the money to switch everything out. I do want white shelves to go over the toilet and maybe on either side of the mirror to provide extra storage, but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for yet. I'm leaning toward building shelves with corbels to use as brackets because I want a sleek white look mixed with some character, and I think that might do the trick. You can see all of my bathroom inspiration on our HOME | BATH board on Pinterest. I'm excited to get started on this project, and will be walking you through the following DIYs as we go, so be sure to follow along! [pin_board url="http://www.pinterest.com/saltandlifeblog/home-bath/" size="custom" image_width="100" board_width="900" board_height="450"]

Upcoming Reno Posts:

  Happy Monday, friends!
The Art of Hand Lettering
Hi, friends! We are pretty much in love with hand lettering. Aren't you? Gorgeous hand lettered signs are flooding our Instagram feed, and we've even tried our hand at it a few times. The lettering always seems so well thought out and perfectly executed -- sometimes even like something we can't achieve. Except we can! And so can you! Did you know that hand lettering is actually an art? It just takes a little knowledge of technique and some practice, and voila! You'll be creating gorgeous chalkboards, signs and notes in no time! We've invited a friend to the blog today to share the ins and outs of hand lettering along with some helpful tips on technique and a template. We are so excited to welcome Alexandria from FTD Fresh to SLB!!!
  There are many people who might confuse hand lettering with calligraphy. However, it’s important to note their differences. Calligraphy is a traditional form of handwriting that involves forming letters in a deliberate fashion. When practicing calligraphy, it is also important to maintain a rhythm to create consistent strokes and shapes. Calligraphy also involves the use of a nib pen. Hand lettering, on the other hand, is a form of handwriting that involves drawing decorating letters. Compared to calligraphy, you can have much more freedom with the interpretation of letters, shapes and sizes. You can also use just about any kind of pen, including felt pens, brush pens, markers, and even ballpoint pens. You may have noticed that hand lettering has become increasingly popular and can be seen all over social media. From wedding invitations to creative signs for your home decor, hand lettering is perfect for adding a personal touch to any project. Learning the art of hand lettering is all about getting the basics down. That’s why we’re featuring this helpful hand lettering tutorial by FTD to help you get started! Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be on your way to creating your own beautiful words and phrases and in your own personal style!

A List of Hand Lettering Materials

Here is a list of tools we recommend specifically for beginners to help you start your hand lettering journey.
  • Marker paper – Marker paper is specifically designed to be non-bleeding, making it perfect for hand lettering beginners. The surface is particularly smooth, allowing for smoother strokes due to the low friction.
  • Ruler – In the beginning, you’ll need a ruler to keep the shapes of your letters consistent by establishing your first guiding lines for practice, which we’ll dive deeper into later on the guide.
  • Pencil – A pencil is helpful for drawing the above mentioned guiding lines so that they can easily be erased after you’ve written down your first few words.
  • Brush pen – Use a brush pen that has a medium-length brush. A pen that has too short of a brush will make it difficult to create pretty flowy strokes, and a pen that has too long of a brush will give you less control.
  • Stationery card – After you’ve completed this tutorial, you’ll need the perfect stage on which to show off your newfound skills! You can download the featured card for free here.

Basic Hand Lettering Terms

Here are a few terms that you should know before you get started:
  • Cap line – This line establishes the height for capital letters.
  • X-line – This line establishes the height for lowercase letters.
  • Baseline – This is the line that your word or phrase will sit on.
  • Flourish – Flourishes are what make hand lettering so much fun! These are the strokes that are added to letters to make them more decorative and dynamic including loops and swirls. The point of hand lettering is to get creative with these and develop your own personal style!
 

Getting Started

Beginners, you’ll want to refer to this hand lettering video tutorial that demonstrates step by step how to write your first few letters and phrases. To help you follow along, here are the steps listed below that are featured in the video. Step 1. Practice cursive
  1. Establish a cap line to mark the height for uppercase letters.
  2. Establish an x-line to mark the height for lowercase letters.
  3. Establish a baseline upon which your letters will sit.
  Step 2. Applying pressure
  1. Apply pressure on downward strokes (thick lines).
  2. Release pressure on upward strokes (thin lines).
  Step 3. Play with heights and baselines
  1. Make the word more dynamic by drawing outside of the guiding lines you established earlier.
  Step 4. Play with loops and flourishes
  1. Have fun by varying your loop sizes and flourishes.
  2. For repeat letters, change up the shapes and sizes for the loops.
  3. The more you have fun with it, the easier it will be to develop your own personal style!
 

Alphabet Practice Chart

To help you continue your hand lettering practice, here’s a handy alphabet chart that you can reference. You can download the free 8.5” x 11” guide here. Now that you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get started! Armed with these handy tools, you’ll soon be on your way to creating beautifully written letters and phrases just like the pros! Remember, the key to mastering the art of hand lettering is to have fun with it, so feel free to come up with your own personal style.
About The Author: Alexandria enjoys writing on a variety of topics including floral design and wedding inspirations for FTD Fresh. When she's not writing, she can be found at the beach or hiking.
DIY Coffee Sack Upholstered Bench
Have you guys seen all the grain sack goodies that are coming out in the home decor department? Grain sack upholstered chairs, pillow covers, tea towels ... the list goes on. It's farmhouse decor at its finest and definitely should have been included in our farmhouse decorating post last year! At the time, we were hopping around various coffee shops and breweries in and around Lexington, though, so we had coffee sacks and burlap on the brain instead. After we visited Nate's Coffee Roastery, he gave us some coffee sacks along with a bunch of other awesome freebies which we weren't sure what we were going to do with at the time. Fast-forward to Christmas, and Amanda made some really cute stockings out of hers! I still had mine sitting around, though, begging to be used! Well, y'all, I finally got around to it! I've been wanting to upholster this bench that I made that sits in our entryway, but had just never found the time to sit down and do it {even though it's a really quick process} because I had so many other projects lined up. That is, until now! This entire entryway will be one big DIY, so be sure to head over here to check out how to frame your own canvas art. Before I dive into this super simple upholstery tutorial {which doesn't require any sewing, by the way}, let me give you a little history on this bench. It was one of my first builds and isn't really a stellar one. You can see the screws aren't even embedded into the wood because at the time I didn't know what a pocket hole was. All I knew was I wanted a bench and I wanted it to be white. So I used what I had on hand -- the top is MDF, the frame is 2x4 pine and the legs are 4x4 posts. Zero consistency in those materials. I even used a screw that was just barely too long to attach the top and ended up having to shave off the top of the screw that poked out of the bench seat. I didn't even do a great job of painting it! I filled no cracks... nothing. Not my best work. This bench holds special significance to me, though, because it represents all the mistakes I made early on and how far I've come since I started woodworking a few years ago. So you can see why I wanted to keep it around. The top and apron needed some desperate help, though, so out came the coffee sack and supplies, and this cute upholstered entry bench was born!

Supplies

  For this project, you'll need:
  • 1" foam {or 2" depending on your seat cushion preference}
  • Batting or white material {I used one yard for a 30" bench}
  • One coffee sack
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors

Instructions

The first step for my particular bench was removing the legs. If you've purchased a bench that you're recovering, check to see if the legs unscrew. Some do, and some don't. If they don't, not to worry! You can still fold the liner and burlap around the legs and staple them in the back. I recovered my dining room chairs this way with no problem. For any spots that the staple gun couldn't get right, I used a hot glue gun to hold the fabric in place while I stapled the other sections. They've held up really well. Next, I cut two pieces of 1" foam to lay over the top of the bench to give it some cushion. The lines don't have to be perfect when you're cutting. Just be sure to completely cover the corners and edges. Wider is better than not wide enough. Because grain sacks and coffee sacks are generally made of a looser stitch, I'd suggest using a liner or batting underneath them to hide the color of the foam. My foam was a really ugly yellow, so I definitely didn't want that showing through. I did not measure ahead of time. I just laid out the liner fabric and cut it to fit the bench. My bench is 30" long, so I got a yard and a half of fabric to work with. Once the fabric was cut, I made a faux hem by folding in the edges and stapled all four sides to the underside of my bench. Then I repeated the exact same step as above but using the burlap. In order to fit around the extra thick apron of my bench, I had to cut the coffee sack sides so it opened lengthwise which gave me plenty of extra fabric. To give the upholstery a clean lines look, I folded in the corners and pulled the short sides straight so the overlap didn't show in front -- kind of like wrapping a gift. The best method I have for this type of upholstery {thanks to trial and error after recovering four dining room chairs} is to start with one of the long sides. Pull the burlap taught, tighter than you think you need to, and staple in place. Do the second long side next, then move on to the short sides. If you removed the legs from your bench, make sure to leave holes in the fabric where the legs will need to reattach. You can do this with the end of scissors or a screwdriver. Once I had all sides secured, I flipped my bench top right side up and made adjustments as necessary. Then I just screwed the legs back on, and it was ready to go! I love that I have this little piece of pretty imperfection in my entry as a reminder of my progress over the last few years as a DIY-er. Do you have a special piece that you can't get rid of because of what it means? Have a happy Tuesday, friends! xoxo    
DIY Distressed Herb Pots
We had so much fun making these pots as part of a crafty afternoon with friends! You can too! These DIY distressed herb pots are the perfect "make in an afternoon" craft to get ready for spring. With minimal supplies & minimal effort even a newbie crafter with little to no creativity can do this. Ha! Does this sound like you? Let's get started!

Supplies Needed:

3 Clay Pots Chalk Paint (white & gray) Foam Brushes Sandpaper Tiny Letter Stamps Stamping Pad Potting Soil 3 different herb plants (found in the produce section of your local grocery store) - we used mint, basil and cilantro.  

Step 1 - Paint Your Pots Gray

Your colors are honestly up to you. But we chose gray for our bottom coat. You could just as easily use black or another color entirely. Just keep in mind that this color is the one that will show through after distressing. This coat of paint doesn't have to look pretty since you're only going to paint over it.

Step 2 - Add Vaseline

This is the part that makes distressing a breeze! You've probably seen us distress this same way in several of our previous projects. Using your fingertip, just dab a little Vaseline on random spots over the outside of the pot, choosing a few areas along the edges. This doesn't need to be an exact science, and definitely not too symmetrical. The more random the better!

Step 3 - Add the white paint

Ok this coat of paint is the one that counts. You may need two coats to achieve the color and look you want. Paint right over the Vaseline spots. We painted down inside the pot as well, at least a little bit, so that the color would look uniform from any angle (see photos).

Step 4 - Distress!

Once your paint is completely dry, it's time to grab your sandpaper. Just rub the sandpaper all over your pot, paying a little extra attention to the spots where the Vaseline is. The paint should come off of those places fairly easily. Although you may have to use a little elbow grease.

Step 5 - Stamp!

We chose some plant appropriate words for our pots such as: grow, bloom, blossom, live, herbs. You can choose any words you want! Just place your stamp on the stamping ink pad and then place it directly onto your pot. It's pretty straightforward! Tip: We would suggest using some type of waterproof sealant on the inside of your pot, or simply lining it with plastic. The clay pots are pretty porous and the water soaks through. This created some water damage to our original paint jobs. While we love the look of the chalk paint, another type of paint may have different results. Let us know if you try something different and have better results!

Step 6 - Add plants

Fill your pot with soil, add in your selected herb plant, add more soil around it. I mean, listen. Six steps may look like  a lot, but how simple are these steps?? So easy! Now you have a beautiful touch of green and white to brighten up your home and add a touch of spring. There's something about green, living things that really beautify a space. We hope you'll gather your girlfriends, grab a cup of coffee and de-stress while you paint and distress the day away. Maybe if we keep adding green to our homes, spring will come faster? At least maybe it will feel that way.      
Decorating with Fresh Flowers
It has been unseasonably warm for February here in Kentucky {and I am so not complaining!}. I love spring! It represents new growth and fresh starts and means the start of gardening season. Y'all, there are few things quite as awesome as being able to pick fresh fruits and veggies from the garden. If you're not a gardening fan, trips to the Farmer's Market are just as rewarding. You're shopping local, you know how and where your food was grown and you get to visit an outdoor market which is just nostalgic for some reason! One of my favorite parts of the farmer's market is all the flowers. I have a thing for fresh flowers, especially in the in-between seasons like we're in right now. Not to mention that fresh flowers feel like a luxury, even though they don't have to cost a ton! There are so many ways to use fresh flowers in your home decor -- everything from the various containers you can put them in to arranging styles -- so today, we're talking all things fresh flowers.

Where to buy them.

I have two favorite places, outside of the Farmer's Market, to buy flowers and one place to get them for free. First up, Trader Joe's. Y'all, they have bunches of flowers starting at $3.99 and organic herbs for even less. I bought hyacinth, daisies, carnations and mint there for less than $15.00!!! Before I go further, let me point out that I overbought flowers simply for this post. Like, my whole house smells like flowers now because I had so many, but I wanted you guys to see various ways to pot them so I needed a ton extra. One bundle will last you two weeks. That's $4.00 extra every two weeks. I can totally afford $8.00 a month for an indulgence like fresh flowers. How about you? My second favorite place is Kroger. Their floral department is awesome, and they almost always have bunches on clearance. Not to mention they have what they call "growers bunch[es]" that cost $5.00 or $6.00, and they do not scrimp! The purple flowers pictured are from Kroger, and I got enough to use in five containers. FIVE. Finally, you can get flowers for free! I love growing tulips in the spring and daisies and sunflowers in the summer. They're easy to grow and easy to maintain, and the more you prune the daisies, the more they'll flower! Just start them from seed or as transplants in pots, and you'll have beautiful flowers you can cut and use inside through the warmer months for free! Okay, you might have to pay $1.00 for a seed packet. Totally doable.

How to treat them.

Most store-bought flowers come with a food packet that helps your flowers stay fresh longer, but there are other ways you can encourage your cut flowers to live well past a week. Here are my favorites:
  1. Cut stems at an angle.
  2. Remove the leaves from the stem [any that will end up submerged in water].
  3. Add apple cider vinegar and sugar to the water.
  4. Replenish the water every few days.
  5. Store flowers in the refrigerator overnight then set them out again the next day.
  6. Prune the bottoms of the stems every few days.
  Some flowers do better than others. I find that daisies and carnations and similarly petalled flowers do really well for a few weeks. Roses and tulips are generally done about a week to 10 days after being purchased. Herbs are another beautiful display with the added benefit of providing seasoning for your food. For example, I have mint all over my house because it's extremely forgiving. In the summertime, I make up sweet tea and add a couple leaves of mint to it. It's delicious! Rosemary, thyme and basil are also easy to care for and great for seasoning meat and side dishes. The caveat with these is they need sunlight, so if you store them indoors, be sure they get plenty of access to natural light.

How to display them.

This is the fun part -- how to display your flowers! There are two parts to this: container and arrangement.

Containers

Literally just about anything can be a container for flowers. Gone are the days of vases only. Heck, I actually use a Rae Dunn dog food canister as a vase! And I love it! I'll point out a few that I used for this post, but it's not all inclusive so feel free to be creative! Olive buckets are an awesome way to display cotton stems or herbs or any other type of greenery. I picked this one up at Hobby Lobby, but you can find these in antique stores as well. Can't find an olive bucket? A coal bucket will work, too! Or really anything galvanized! Clear or tinted jars are amazing containers for flowers. Of course, they sell these at home stores and flea markets, but the best place I've found for clear jars is the grocery store. I know. It sounds crazy, but this clear jug was actually a gallon of apple juice {fully unconcentrated, too!} that I bought for my daughter. I took the label off and voila! I found cotton stems at Hobby Lobby, and you can also make your own! Check out this tutorial. Mason jars are a never-fail option for flowers or greenery year-round. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors and are pretty cheap, so there's something for everyone. not to mention you can dress it up a little by tying twine around the lip with a cute bow. Other options for all you farmhouse lovers out there are milk bottles and pitchers. I found both of the ones pictured above at Big Lots, believe it or not, and there are plenty to be found in antique malls and flea markets not to mention home stores like Home Goods. These generally have narrower necks which don't allow for a ton of flowers, but I honestly love the simplicity of having just a few. It lets the bottle/pitcher act as a statement piece! We've got a fun DIY coming up next week where we'll be distressing clay pots to use as herb planters, one of which I used for the mint from Trader Joe's seen above. I can't wait for y'all to try this one out! {Head here to subscribe so you don't miss it!} Of course, you can always build your own flower containers, like this distressed pallet planter {details on how to do it yourself here}. I have mint planted in two mason jars in mine and added flowers to a taller center mason jar to make a rustic centerpiece for my dining room table. And if you don't want to build your own, these are available in our Etsy shop. Last, but certainly not least, this wooden beer box made a really cute sectioned planter for our den. It came from the Target Dollar Spot -- not even joking, y'all. I originally was thinking I'd put crayons in it and use it a la Joanna Gaines for my daughter's art table, but she's kind of in a phase where everything ends up on the floor right now so I opted to use it as floral decor until she grows into it. The small jars are from Bed Bath & Beyond, and are actually mini milk bottles!

Arrangements

I do not claim to be awesome at flower arranging. In the interest of full disclosure, I struggled for the longest time, until I figured out two key things:
  1. Arrangements do not have to be complicated.
  2. There is a 3-step process to arranging flowers that works every time.
 

Arrangements do not have to be complicated.

I love the simplicity of white flowers in a mason jar tied with twine. They just are what they are. No frills, just pretty. So if the idea of making up an arrangement with four or five different flowers intimidates you, don't worry! You can absolutely keep it simple. My go-to flowers are white daisies, carnations or tulips, and I don't add in any greenery or other accents. They go in mason jars and pitchers, and I call it a day. Sometimes, I feel a little more fun and want some color, so I'll mix two colors but keep the arrangement simple. Take these pots, for example. I found white and green carnations, cut them all to similar lengths and set them in simple white pots on this hanging table on our patio {tutorial on the table here}. That's it! The hyacinths in our den are even simpler. I simply cut the flowers and leaves to the height I wanted and put them in milk bottles. Easy as pie and just as beautiful as a full arrangement.

3 Steps to Flower Arranging.

Here's my secret to flower arranging for the times when you're feeling fancy and want a full bouquet for that vase. Arrange by height. That's it. Super simple.
  1. Start with your tallest stems. In the video below, I used white daisies as my starting point and moved them to the back of the lip of my canister.
  2. Add some middle height. The purple accent flowers and hyacinth were added to the middle tier of my canister, cut low enough that the daisies were still visible.
  3. Finish with a short layer and accents. I added the white carnations as my lowest layer to fill in any blank spots where stems were showing. The green leaves from the hyacinth were tall enough to be used as accents in this arrangement because I felt like the overall look needed some greenery.
  https://youtu.be/JeqGj0lkP3Q Flowers really are that simple, easy to take care of and inexpensive! Do fresh flowers feel like an indulgence to you? I have flowers for days now, but the house sure does smell amazing! Happy hump day, friends. xoxo