Archives For August 2011

Sorry for all the drama! If you’re looking for the fabric flowers post it’ll be up for reals on Monday. It wasn’t quite ready to see the world yet! Hope you enjoy today’s post instead!

You may remember that between my Life is Art project and my thrifted big brass key, the wall above the toilet in my downstairs bath was starting to look a little more interesting.

But there was still a big ol’ blank area waiting to be filled, and things were looking a little unbalanced. I decided to take matters into my own hands and poach some wall art from elsewhere in the house.

At the very top of this picture you can see the lower half of a Degas print in a mustard yellow frame. I ordered it from Etsy a while ago because I was buying something else from the same shop and I wanted to combine shipping. I didn’t really have a place for it in mind and, when it arrived, the area above the dining room bookshelf seemed like a good idea. I did like it there and, at the same time, I think the height probably kept it from getting noticed as much as it deserved. I decided to take it down and move it to the bathroom, where the mustard + blue tones will complement my Life is Art thingamajig nicely.

I also hung up this cute frame I got for $5 at Ikea during our trip to Houston last weekend.

Not sure what I’ll put in it yet, but I really like it here.

I love how the vintage print and scrolly frame play off the super-modern sink basin.

I also like how, even though this arrangement is filled-in enough to stand on its own, there’s room to add more small things down the line if I stumble upon some little whatnot so delightful that it absolutely must hang on my bathroom wall. Now I just gotta figure out what to put in that empty frame. Something from Etsy? Something DIY’d? A photo?

I had a post planned for this morning, but it’s looking like things might not work out to get it up today. I’m traveling with my parents and sister to visit my grandparents in Texas. After two weekends in a row of traveling out of town I was feeling a bit stressed getting ready for this morning’s early flight and figured I could save myself some time by finishing up this morning’s post at the gate. Well, lucky me, the airport’s wifi works at a snail’s pace and I could barely get my photos uploaded before it was time to board. I thought my flight might have wifi but, alas, no luck. So, since I can’t entertain you this morning with a tale of fabric flowers crafted over a glass of wine, I’ll share with you instead my strategies for keeping my cool when things just aren’t going my way.

1. Focus on what you can change, accept what you can’t. Once I realized I was on a plane with no wifi I knew I wouldn’t have another chance to finish up my post until this evening. The thought of just not posting at all this morning made me really uncomfortable–how can I hope that people will come visit my blog every day if I don’t post consistently? I do have my iPhone, though, and even though I can’t edit and publish the post that I had planned for today, I can type up a quick replacement post using the WordPress app. And that’s what I’m doing right now while my plane is stopped in Houston.

2. Don’t take it out on others. It’ll only make it worse. It’s my fault for not getting my post 100% ready ahead of time, not the airport’s for having such slow wifi. Snapping at a flight attendant (or worse, a family member) won’t make me feel any better and would probably come back to haunt me.

3. Take care of yourself. Take deep breaths, think good thoughts, and try to relax. If I let myself stay aggravated over this then it’ll be easier for any little thing to push me over the edge later on. And the last thing I need is to let a fun family trip be ruined by a bad mood.

Part of living a great life is managing your emotional well-being. All the home accessories and craft projects in the world can’t make up for good coping skulls. I’ll be back tomorrow (hopefully) with my regularly scheduled post, but if it doesn’t work out that’s okay too.

I’m a social worker, and I work out in the community. I drive my own car around to peoples’ homes and schools to provide counseling. There are some challenges to working on the road, and I’ve started spending a lot of time at the library–a quiet, clean, air-conditioned place to use the bathroom and do some paperwork between appointments.

Last week one of my favorite libraries was having a book sale! All books on the table were a quarter each. I freaked out and started peeking under those ugly dustjackets, looking for hardcovers that struck my fancy. The librarian perched nearby must have thought I was either A) very strange or B) very awesome. I brought home four books for only a dollar!

Look how pretty the covers are once liberated from the tyranny of dust protection!

I love using hardcover books to add pops of color around the house.

Old books are such an easy and inexpensive way to make a space look more like it’s been collected over time. I love them lined up on a shelf or stacked on a tabletop. Turn the pages out for a more subdued look. I look for my favorite colors and consider interesting titles or content a bonus. The best spots to find them are estate sales and thrift stores, but this library sale was the cheapest I’ve ever seen hardcover books. I couldn’t believe my good luck on a not-otherwise-particularly-awesome Wednesday afternoon. I’m also a little bit obsessed with Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. I used to read them at my Nanny and PawPaw’s house when I was visiting and the covers are often really pretty. Whenever I see them they’re usually in a big group. I think you get them automatically if you’re a Reader’s Digest subscriber. I start peeking under the dustjackets like a crazy person looking for my favorite colors.

Somehow between getting back from the beach last weekend and heading off again this weekend (this time to Houston to visit my friend Sarah and shop at Ikea), I managed to transform my $60 thrifted coffee table from this:

To this:

It was late afternoon and the sky was overcast by the time we got home yesterday. I struggled to get nice pictures in my already-sort-of-dim dining room. I wish I could truly capture the effect of this mustard yellow in the space because it is so delightful. This vintage book inspired the color. I brought it to Lowe’s and had it color matched to a quart of Olympic interior flat paint. The worker was all worried about it coming out too dark, but it’s my experience that color matched paints usually do come out a bit darker so I reassured her that I felt comfortable mixing in a little white at home to get the exact shade I was looking for.

You can see here the difference between the paint straight out of the can and after I added a little white. After I knew the color was right I mixed up a big batch. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s smart to mix more paint than you need.

The yellow didn’t offer very good coverage over the dark wood and the detailed wood wasn’t easy to paint. Check out how awesome this side was looking after one coat.

I love a little mustard on my hot dog. I actually don’t love paint on my pets, but since they all insist on being all up in my business it happens from time to time. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of chasing down a cat with paint on her paws and I don’t recommend it.

We moved it outside for me to paint so that I could visit with Nick while he did some yardwork. When we picked it up I was surprised by how heavy my end was and it tipped to the side a bit. Then I noticed something I hadn’t before.

A drawer! Most of my furniture-painting experience is in dressers. I usually don’t paint the insides of the drawers because there’s just so darn many of them and I’m too lazy. But just like how my Nanny’s armoire got indulged with a fancy Anthro knob because it only needed one, this little drawer got the VIP treatment with a custom-mixed coat of paint. I knew it would only take a few minutes to paint just the one drawer and I love the result.

To get the inky blue shade I used here (which, again, is not captured in nearly all its glory), I took some light blue paint left over from another project and added purple, black, and gray a little bit at a time until I had what I was looking for.

I just love the pop of mustard yellow I’ve got now. It plays off the blue dresser and adds to the eclectic feel I so adore. Also, I was surprised to discover that the brass details are actually more noticeable now that the wood is painted!

Thanks to Cassie for suggesting the mustard yellow! And a shout out to Ms. Joanne–I heard from Sarah you’re also a fan of the mustard + blue combo! Great minds think alike. Anyone else loving yellow and blue together lately?

P.S. I’ve got a lot going on over the next few weeks and am considering publishing some guest posts. Do you have an awesome project or idea that you’re interested in posting about here? Email me at charlotte@livingwellonthecheap.com