DIY: All Chalked Up

During my semester very brief stint as an art student, I learned that when it comes to painting (like studio art), I have no talent whatsoever. I actually suck at various forms of art, certainly but not limited to painting and drawing. I can paint a mean wall though! And do kindergarten crafts that would make any classroom look like a dream!

About a month ago I bought a can of chalkboard paint. I am still not sure what I was intending on painting, but checked out with the blind hope that I’d find something if not anything and everything. Seriously, I love chalkboard paint so much. I really have to restrain myself when it comes to DIYing. Like a kid in a GD candy store! It’s everything it’s chalked up to be. Isn’t that a saying? Punny!

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So about a few days less than a month ago, I found something to cover in chalkboard paint. That happened real fast. I bought these shelves from Ikea 2 years ago and never hung them up. When I say shelves I really just mean unfinished and unpainted wooden boards that you attach to the wall with brackets. I got 2 that were the same size and 1 big one. Once I got home, I figured out that I would never actually hang that big boy up, so they sat in the corner of my bedroom for 2 years!

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Needless to say, he was painted. All I was really waiting for was chalk! I bought some on my way home from work with the intention of sprucing that plank up, just in time for my first wine night of the year!

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Before starting, I went to Pinterest to find help about chalking. I found a  post on Indie Parade that was super helpful, though it didn’t really work for me. They did give me some lettering inspiration! I ended up drawing freehand, as you’ll be able to tell from my “caligraphy”. It has been many moons since the days when I made super cute “Shake your Fanny & Vote for Annie” StuCo posters… Here is what you will need for your chalking endeavor:

paper towels

a small bowl of water

q-tips

chalk

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I read somewhere, sometime ago that wetting your chalk makes it easier to write with. Oh man, am I sure glad I read that somewhere, sometime ago! It really does!

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Write your little heart out! If you mess up, those q-tips and paper towels dipped in water are your magic erasers! No one will ever be able to tell that you accidentally wrote whine instead of wine! (I swear I haven’t had any yet! And we do more bitching than whining haha!)

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If not straight from the bottle, we like to drink out of mason jars…..plus, I only took 4 wine glasses when dividing the dishes before the official Pearl House split.

I hope all of y’all have a lovely Thursday evening! May it be filled with quality friends. I wish I could say the same for my wine choices!

XOXO

Friday Favorites 7.26

I know I always say this, but I am so happy it is finally Friday! This will be my last weekend to live in the Pearl House. I almost have 3 years of memories packed into boxes. Bitter. Sweet.

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Ah, but my future is so bright I gotta wear shades! Excitement is really starting to take precedence over worry. I feel like that is a good way to live you life, right? Stop and smell the roses. Try not to sweat the little things….though even that is pretty hard to do during the Texas summer. August is the hottest month of the year! Speaking of roses, here are some of my favorite things:

1. Flower Camera Strap from Etsy. I bought a DSLR camera from my little sister the last time I went home figuring I would use it to take pictures for my blog. I have only used it for one post! As I am a sucker for anything floral, grandma chic, and/or relating to ‘shabby chic’, I had to to have this strap. It poses my camera as an accessory as well as a tool! If I had a sewing machine I totally could have made this. I’ll just add that to the list of things for my future craft room.

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I can’t wait to carry it around and snap some cool pics in ATX & NOLA!

2. Vista Print. Speaking of ATX, I head down south in one week’s time! Still not sure if I will make it in time for the happy hour and clothing swap, but I am gonna try my best! I don’t really want to toot my own horn (I guess that is the point of having a personal blog?) but my business cards came in the mail yesterday and THEY ARE SO CUTE! Good idea wearing those glasses, Annie! I will definitely be using Vistaprint in the future!

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3. While we are still remotely on the topic of floral print, I can’t wait to try that Pinteresty DIY project where you apply vintage wall paper to wood and then go over it with sand paper to make it look shabby and distressed. I have some bookshelves that will be guinea pigs once I am settled into the new place. On the back burner for now.

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4. Tilapia Burgers! Once again, browsing Pinterest lead me to a recipe that was no less than amazing. I love black bean and salmon burgers. Why did I never think to make tilapia ones? I always have the frozen version of that fish on hand!  month or so ago, Kate and I made them (with some adjustments to the recipe). Not only were they photogenic, but they were damn tasty.

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I think I should make my version again this weekend. Recipe coming soon? Some of my lady friends + Kate will be in Denton this weekend. Our last Pearl House meal. Again, bittersweet.

So these are a few of my favorite things. I apologize for the lack of frequency in my posts this week. Moving & packing are real bitches! Once I am settled into my new place, my routine will catch up. (Hopefully!)

I hope you all have a lovely weekend & happy Friday!

DIY: Give a Little Color

As you all may know by now, one of my old roommates and a few friends have settled into their new homes. In my most recent Friday Favorites post I talked about DIY housewarming gifts. Inspired by House of Earnest’s dipped kitchen utensils, I decided to try out her cute color blocking technique. Image

This is such an easy DIY project, and perfect for the weekend! If you start early, it will only take you a day. You just need to factor in drying time. For my paint, I used Valspar samples. It would take me so long to go through an entire can! Lowes had a few colors available, emerald green (the color of the year!) and a butter yellow. It must have been serendipity that these were two shades in mind. I can’t wait to give these away as gifts!

What You’ll Need:

wooden kitchen utensils (mine were purchased from Amazon)

blue painters tape

sponge paint brushes

paint samples, Valspar works great!

food-safe & non-toxic clear shellac spray ( I used Zinsser)

The Process

  1. Rinse your wooden kitchen utensils before starting this project. Even if they are new, you want to start with an extra clean slate! Image
  2. Using painters tape, mark off where you would like your color to end. I places my tape roughly 1 1/2 – 2 in. above the paddle part of each utensil. Make sure your tape is even when wrapping around. Straight, even lines!ImageDo the same for each utensil in the set. Mine had 6 pieces.Image
  3. Using you samples, or whichever kind of paint of your choosing, paint upwards in long, even strokes to the tip of the handle. Be sure to not forget about the tops and sides. Set out to dry for about 6-8 hours. If you are working with a lighter color, you may want to do one more coat just to be safe. ImageImageImage
  4. Once fully dry, remove the tape and spray the entire utensil with shellac. This will seal the color and also give it a smooth, enamel-like texture! Look how shiny and clean! Image*Note I am not a magician, this is a different shade of paint 😉 ImageImage
  5. Let these babies dry for about 2 more hours to avoid any smudges. And you are finished!

I used sting and gold yarn to tie the utensils together like a bouquet! Rosemary was just a little extra inspiration to cook up something real savory! (I am still “borrowing” rosemary from my neighbors.)

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Along with these, I am going to include some home colored tea towels that are to-dye-for! Expect a dip dye tutorial later!

Yay for useful & fun DIYing! Give a little color!

XOXOXO

Friday Favorites 7.12

Tomorrow morning, my roommate and best friend will be moving out of the Pearl House. Though she will only be an hour down the road, I will miss her dearly. As I get older, friends have come and gone, but the best ones always remain close no matter the literal mileage between our locations. Kate and several of my other close friends are all beginning new chapters in their lives, why not give them something to commemorate the turning of a new, blank page? One could trace the history of housewarming gifts to way back when. From pineapples to bread and wine to baskets and brooms, housewarming gifts symbolize a variety of ideas from health and luck to freedom and security. I want to give my friends something that symbolizes our friendship and our history, but I also want it to serve a purpose.

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I am a huge fan of the DIY movement. I like to exert a little more effort creating something, choosing a gift, and overall cater a selection or purchase to a specific personality. In this week’s Friday Favorites post, I will tell you some of my favorite DIY housewarming gifts. I think special touches are more appreciated.

Plants

I like plants because they serve a decorative and symbolic purpose, representing health and prosperity. Succulents and terrariums seem to be very popular right now. They are also great starters for novice plant owners, though I have known a few ladies to kill a cactus or two or three. Here are some of my plant favorites:

Egg cup or really any kind of cup planters with either succulents or maybe a small herb plant. Using a craft pen, you can customize the ceramic! Also, how cute would vintage teacups or tin cans be as planters?

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Succulent initial gardens are also another cute customized plant gift. You could even get super fancy and spell out an entire word or name!

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If you feel like being even craftier, decorate the pot you are planting in!

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If you are not much a gardener or crafter, I think fresh or dried flowers in a mason jar are nice, too. Or, you could always let them DIY with this kit!

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Kitchen Tools

The kitchen is my favorite room in the house. Combined, my friends have a very wide range of kitchen skills. Also many times when people move, they do not have everything they need. Aren’t roommates great? I think kitchen stuff, from the homemade to handmade, make great gifts! Here are some of my favorites:

Wooden kitchen tools are an inexpensive and very useful gift! If you know your friends’ favorite shades or future kitchen color scheme, try customizing these utensils with paint! Just make sure it is food safe! Try color blocking or a cool print like geometric shapes!

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Kitchen textiles are another inexpensive route. If you are one of those people who can work wonders with a sewing machine or a pair of knitting needles, how about making an apron or some potholders? I’ll just stick with purchasing tea towels or flour sacks and adding color and prints. Tie-dye, dip-dye, and ombre are all popular techniques. Using paint stamps, fabric paint, or embroidery techniques also are other fun methods. The towel is your canvas, and with cute designs like these, your friends wont want to get them dirty!

Here is a tutorial for hand drawn designs! Remeber, the towel is your canvas!

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Besides utensils, infused salts and sugars make perfect gifts for friends who like to cook. Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess experimented with infusing sugars. I want to try my hand at infusing salts with dried herbs straight from the garden. Rosemary and lemon salt? Jalapeno and lime? Those all sounds good to me!

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Decor

The fasted and most fun way to personalize a space is by decorating. Giving your friends a piece to hang in the new home not only helps them out  but also gives them something to remember you by whenever they look at it. My friend Rayne gave us a little baby horseshoe for good luck. I think I can honestly say that it is my favorite little piece in our house. It symbolizes luck and friendship though we are several states apart.

Photos are the easiest way to capture and share images. Now there are several apps that allow you to think outside the frame! Instagrams can easily be printed and turned into coasters, magnets, even a clock!

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Can we just take a moment to talk about chalkboard paint? I love it! If I could live in a world of black and white, I’d like chalkboard paint everywhere! Homemade boards or even a framed version with a cool font, I think these are everything they are chalked up to be!

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There you have it- some of my favorite ideas for DIY housewarming gifts. I didn’t even get to talk about my love of pegboard! Soon I will be posting my own tutorials for DIY gifts. Until then you can take a look at my DIY board on Pinterest.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

XOXOXO

Friday Favorites 6.28

Can you believe July starts next week?! Though we are coming up on one of the hottest months in Texas, I am so ready for it to be here! I remember loving July as a kid because the neighborhood pool, beaches, and rivers were less crowded. I remember the cheaper Sonic slushes, no happy hour needed. And I remember our air conditioner always breaking that month. So that last one wasn’t so great, but a little or a lot of sweat never killed anyone, right?

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Now that I’m older, I thank my lucky stars for a plethora of pools to crash in Denton, for adult slushes, and an air conditioner that has yet to break after 3 years of living in the Pearl House.

Speaking of the Pearl House and July, we have a tradition of throwing a huge 4th of July day party. Lots of friends, awesome homemade food, vodka watermelons, fireworks, the whole shebang. Because the 4th falls on a Thursday and we all have to work on a Friday, and the fact that my roomies are packing their lives up, we won’t be throwing one this year. It makes me sad. July will be bittersweet. At least I have memories on top of memories of Pearl House 4ths of July, birthdays, wine & craft nights, pets, tacky sweaters, and so much more. ImageImageImageImage

Just because our house is not the designated party spot this year does not mean I’m not going to have myself a good time. Here are my some of my top ideas for this years 4th of July.

  1. Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake. I found this recipe on the Free People Blog. Isn’t it so pretty? I purchased 12 Mexican vanilla beans on Amazon for the purpose of infusing sugar, but I think I found something else to try out! I’ve never made an angel food cake from scratch! Here’s to hoping I’m not too hungover to try this! Image
  2. Patriotic Cocktails. From good ol’ Lonestar & PBR to Alcoholic Arnold Palmers and a vodka melon (always a good idea), America’s birthday wouldn’t be a party without something ice cold to sip on. I like to stray away from all the Pinteresty patriotic drinks. Blue gatorade mixed with lemonade, mixed with red koolaid? Ugh that sounds disgusting. I like using fresh fruit and homemade simple syrups for my cocktails. Think red and blue berries. I want to try this sans the basil. Pomegranate, the lesser know patriotic fruit? Image
  3. Flower Crowns. Yeah this is one trend that has yet to die in my heart. As made popular by Lana del Rey, I try to sport one for any occasion. I have a go-to sunflower crown but would like to make an obnoxious one with red roses for next week. DIY project!Image

Do you have any special plans/traditions for the 4th of July? I wanna hear them!

Happy Friday! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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Friday Favorites 6.21

ImageWell, it’s finally Friday again! What an exciting week this has been for me and my blog! Yesterday we reached the 1,000+ view landmark! I know this might not seem like a lot to you, but to me it means the world. I hope you enjoy what you’ve read so far. Though in Texas it’s felt like it for a few months now, today is the first official day of summer! Have a look at some of my favorite summery things.

      1. Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka. Texas is home of the ruby red grapefruit variation and God bless it for that! It is no news that I am absolutely obsessed with this fruit! When I discovered that the Austin based distillery Deep Eddy produced a RUBY RED VODKA I had to have it. Honestly, I don’t even need a mixer when drinking this, but to stay on the safe side: 4 parts Deep Eddy Ruby Red, 1 part Topo Chico mineral water, 1 part fresh lime juice, mint leaves, and a lime & grapefruit wedge. I sipped on these all last weekend and definitely plan to do it again! Celebrate summer! Celebrate Texas!Image
      2. Anthropologie’s Summer Sale. So on Wednesday, Anthro announced their summer sale. Last year I purchased their Rivulets quilt in a nice shade of marigold. Absolutely love it. Look how good it makes my room look! Unfortunately my bank account will not allow me to make such splurges right now. These are my top 3 affordable sale picks:ImageAnthro Aprons in bright summer colors, and not to mention citrus! $19.95
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        Monogrammed Note Cards. Give me an A! $9.95
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        Sombrero Sheet Set $119.95
      3. Ball Mason Jars in Heritage Blue. I ordered these babies on a whim last Sunday. Definitely one of my better impulse buys! The color is absolutely beautiful! Reminds me of the deep, clear Texas springs. I can’t wait to find uses for each and every one of them. I may have to use them as pint glasses that way I can keep them all for myself!Image
      4. Vintage Babes. Did y’all know that Martha Stewart used to model? Way, way before she spent some time in the big house! I consider her the Hilary Clinton of the house and home department (it’s probably because they have the same haircut). Anyway, she is one of my idols and just check out those cheekbones! Her street cred also adds to her babeness.Image

These are some of my favorite things this week. I hope you all enjoy your weekend! Mix a cocktail, put on some sunglasses, and go outside!

xoxo

A

Over the Weekend: DIY DIY DIY

Sometimes the best way to spruce up a space is by adding some color. In this weekend’s case, a bookshelf was painted.

As a post-grad still living on a college student paycheck, I don’t have the funds to go out and purchase brand new, matching furniture. The majority of my pieces have been acquired through family or friends, thrift stores, estate sales, and even the side of the road. Needless to say, almost everything is mismatched, but when put together, their color palettes and textures all give off that vintage vibe.

Next month, we will be moving into a 100+ year old 4-plex. Our Victorian mansion’s unit comes equipped with the original hardwood floors (swoon), a bay window (double swoon), and quite possibly one of the largest porches I have ever hung out on. I am already super stoked about decorating and have been combing Pinterest /sketching away designs in my notebook for the last couple weeks. As I said earlier, the majority of my pieces are vintage and go well together though technically mismatched. Most except for one.

I bought this sweet bookshelf/record holder from my cool roomie, Katrien, before she moved to Boston last summer. I absolutely love this piece! The only problem is that it’s black laminate Ikea wood doesn’t really go with anything else that I have. I decided to paint it! My mom spray painted my dresser as a kid, so if Shannon could do it, so could I!

I chose an avocado green and it turned out perfect! Gypsy approved!Image

This little DIY project took an entire day when you factor in dry time. Kate and I sat on the porch and watched the paint dry, which contrary to popular belief, was not that boring!

We took the easy and inexpensive route with this project: no sanding and ample aerosol can usage. It is important to keep yourself hydrated when working outside. We managed with a few game starting shots and cocktails.

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2 cans of primer. 3 hours of dry time. 3 cans of Valspar spray paint. 6 more hours of dry time.

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And voila! I had planned on leaving the shelf outside overnight to dry, but rain was suddenly in the forecast (crazy Texas Weather). After letting the paint set for 48 hours, I figured it was safe to put everything back in its place.

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I think I did a pretty good job. What do you think? I absolutely can’t wait to see it in the new place!