Hi, I'm Kelly!


Entries in DIY (25)


diy: "vintage" sign

A few weeks back, I posted a shot of a vintage-inspired sign I made for my aunt and I got so many emails about it, I thought a post was in order!  This was so much quicker and easier than I expected, which truly is ideal for someone with a toddler who wants to do everything Momma is doing, so if you're considering making one, I highly recommend (mostly because you can get it done in less than two nap times!)

Here is what you'll need:

-Plywood (I bought a piece of white pine from Lowe's that was 1.5 inches thick and 10 inches wide and had them cut it to five feet).

-Black latex paint

-Tracing paper and a sharp pencil

-White latex paint

-100 grit sand paper

First things first, I beat the crap out of the wood with anything I could quickly find - a hammer, a chisel (for the edges and corners), a flathead screwdriver and a wire with extra large bolts that I keep handy for distressing wood. 

Next, I slapped on some black paint.  I mixed a little water in with it so it wouldn't be too thick and also so it would be easier to sand down and look "distressed" at the end.  I applied two coats, letting each coat dry in between.

I used Word for my letters; nothing fancy, just Times New Roman in 100 size font.  I held tracing paper up to my computer screen, lightly tracing the letters and then, using a sharp pencil, laid the paper on top of my sign and traced again, leaving a pencil mark on the wood.  I used the stiffest, skinniest paint brush I could find (which happened to be one of the cheapos in a paint set of Lydia's!) for the outline of the letters and then filled it in with a thicker brush. I did three light coats of white paint, again letting each coat dry in between and then finally sanding the whole thing - letters and all - rubbing off the paint on the edges and scraping some off the letters, until I was satisfied. 

Here is a closeup of how it looked once I was done:

Easy peasy! Happy Hump Day!


obsessed: versailles planters

I've been pining for a pair of oversize Versailles planters to flank my front door ever since we built our house six years ago.  Their classic shape is so elegant and not only do they look amazing with a few coats of high gloss paint but they work in so many design styles, too.  Sadly, a pair of these babies (or at least the ones I've seen and fallen in love with) can run close to the same as a monthly mortgage payment so I've settled for zinc lookalike urns made of fiberglass, instead.  But oh, how these planters call to my ever loving heart:


Cote de Texas

House Beautiful

Howard Design Studio

Gil Schafer

Bruce Budd via Architectural Digest

Howard Design Studio

Andrew Skurman Architeccts


Traditional Home

I got a wild hair a few weeks ago to look online and see if I could find any decent plans to build my own and, much to my surprise, there were a bunch of pretty good ones!  Here are a few that caught my eye:

Love this tutorial for a more traditional (short but wide) planter:

Another great DIY for a Restoration Hardware-inspired pair (I LOVE the ball finials!):

Love the pair Centional Girl built for her back porch!  Her step-by-step instructions are so easy to follow:

I'm hoping to tackle a pair of these for my porch this weekend, so stay tuned to see which ones we go with!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


make your silver sparkle

I'm so excited about this post, I can hardly stand it!  I'm telling you, the older I get, it's the little things that make me the happiest!  If you guys follow me on Instagram, you know that I went on a bit of a cleaning spree this past weekend, starting with my collection of tarnished, crusty, silver footed Revere bowls.  I always buy them whenever I see them in thrift and antique stores; they're all over my house, holding everything from plants and matches to fruit and candy and they look amazing stacked in my glassfront kitchen cabinets. 

As much as I love them, I've never been able to get them gleaming - Wright's silver polish just wasn't cutting it and I even tried a mixture of hot water, table salt and baking soda that a blogger had sworn by (it didn't do a thing for me).  Then one day on Instagram, Melinda from House 214 posted a picture of her kitchen with large Revere bowls exactly like mine.  On a whim, I asked how she got them sparkling and she suggested trying Barkeeper's Helper Soft Cleanser.  The answer was literally underneath my sink!  I used a soft cloth (a paper towel scratched the silver) and went to town.  The tarnish literally melted away within minutes. 

 Here is a pretty good before and after.  Isn't it amazing?

Once I got started, there was no stopping me.  Salt and pepper shakers, water pitchers, anything and everything silver was up for transformation and it all just looks so, SO good:

Pretty impressive for less than $3 and a little elbow grease, wouldn't you say?

Happy Hump Day, friends!


diy: nautical-inspired rope vase

DIY projects that are the simplest and require the least amount of time to complete are always the most satisfying and this nautically-inspired rope vase is no exception! Given all my recent posts on natural materials and texture, it's no surprise I absolutely love how this turned out!  I used a thicker rope (3/4" manila rope from Home Depot) to give it some heft and used it to cover a $3 cylindrical vase from Hobby Lobby.  It's simple, yet elegant and adds just the right nautical touch when paired with some summer flowers from the grocery store.  Perfection!

I used 11 feet of rope to cover a vase that was 4.5 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter.  A bunch of glue sticks and my trusty glue gun and I was ready to go:

Starting at the bottom, I glued about four inches of rope at a time and then pressed it onto the vase, holding it for about ten seconds before letting go.  As I started to stack the rope, I added glue to the inside of the rope and the bottom so that it would stick to the piece beneath it.   This ensured that there weren't any gaps:

It ended up that the bottom piece and the top piece were both in the back of the vase, so, even though the top piece stuck out a bit, the flowers hid it.  Here is what it looked like before and after I was done:

You know it's a great DIY when you still get excited about it days after you've finished it; I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out!

Happy weekend, friends!


diy: weathered wood paint treatment

After posting a few sneak peeks of some Queen Anne-style dining chairs I was working on a few weeks ago, I got a TON of emails asking about how I created the finish.  Seriously, you guys are the best with all your sweet comments and emails and even though I was originally waiting to reupholster the seats to do a complete before and after, I thought I'd give step-by-step instructions here on how to get the look, instead of holding out on you for another couple of weeks!

These chairs have seen every paint color in the rainbow, so when I decided I wanted a soft, weathered gray stained finish, I settled in for some major prep work.  I ended up burning through what seemed like hundreds of sheets of sand paper and even stripped as much of it as I could with a nontoxic stripper only to discover that the front legs were made of different wood than the rest of the chair.  This meant that it did not take the stain very well - it had a weird pinkish/green undertone and it was UGLY.  After all that prep work, I decided to try my hand at creating a similar look with paint without making it look like I was trying to create a wood look with paint, if you know what I mean.  While this isn't necessarily too difficult, it's an extremely time consuming project, but the result is so, SO worth it!

1.  Prime.  I swear by this all-purpose primer from Sherwin Williams.  It works just as beautifully on metal and plastic as it does on wood and is great for smaller projects that don't necessarily require a lot of sanding.  You can just prime right over it.  I put a light, even coat on first and waited for it to dry completely.

2.  Paint.  I applied two even coats of a warm, woody color (Pratt and Lambert's Creme Liqueur).  Wait for each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

3.  Whitewash.  Whitewashing tones down the wood colored paint dramatically and adds softness.  There really is no magic formula for this, but I've found that 2 parts glaze mixed with 1 part white latex paint and a little bit of water to thin it out works best for me.  Brush the mixture onto your piece and then wipe it back with a clean, white cloth.  The more water or glaze you add to the mix gives you more working time, so if you're a beginner, you won't be frazzled or find that the mixture starts to dry before you can wipe it back again.  I posted step-by-step instructions a while back on whitewashing; check it out here. Any glaze will work, but I've always had success with this one.

4.  Dry brush.  Once the whitewashing is dry, I used a dry, angled paint brush to dry brush white paint on top.  Lighting dip the brush into white paint and then blot it on a paper towel or drop cloth until there is almost no paint on the brush.  Then, softly brush the paint onto your piece of furniture.  If you're doing a large surface area like a table top, use long, soft strokes to avoid a stripey effect.  Remember to flick the brush back and forth over corners, legs, or any raised surface to really highlight and enhance detail areas.  I showed how to do this in this article, as well. If you mess up, don't fret....you can always paint over it then whitewash and dry brush again. (if you want to see more pictures of how I did this step, check out my post here.)

5.  Stain.  Once you're happy with how your whitewashing and dry brushing turned out, it's time to stain!  I used a foam brush to brush on walnut stain, working in small sections across the entire chair and then wiping it back off with a clean cloth.  (I buy packs of tee shirt rags from Lowe's on the regular). You have to work a little quicker on this step as the stain will dry darker if you don't wipe it back within a minute or two (max) of brushing it on. Stain adds depth and softness, really making the piece look finished. 

Don't forget that imperfection is really perfection with this particular finish-it all adds to the charm and character!  I really love how these turned out: