Archives For with a little help from my friends

As excited as I was to move Jack out of the crib, I was a tiny bit heartbroken when I realized I’d soon be taking down the mobile I so lovingly created. I hated to just cast it aside.

I’ve got a plan to reuse the yarn balls, but first I tackled a smaller project: creating a piece of embroidery to fill the green painted hoop. I started working on it several weeks ago using a spare embroidery hoop, then just moved it over to the green one after we’d set up Jack’s new bed and taken down the mobile. My first attempt involved tracing an image of tree rings that I found online. When it was finished I wasn’t sure about the outcome so I texted a picture to my friend Lauren and asked what it looked like to her.

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So with that I started over, this time keeping it simpler. I used a backstitch for the rings and lettering and two rows of split stitches for the bark. And to avoid any unintentional resemblance to anatomy I stitched his name in the center instead of ever-narrowing rings. It’s supposed to look like his name was scrawled on a tree stump.

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The green and brown are perfect accents in his room.

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I love the addition of something round to the collection of items on his wall. I’d like to add something else to the right side but I’m not quite sure what yet.

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It’s kind of symbolic–the rings of a tree are a visual marker of growth and this is a space for a growing child to play and rest.

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It’s hung on the wall with a nail and secured in place with some museum putty. Since he’s not confined to the crib anymore I went ahead and added a bit of putty to everything else on the wall, too, just to make sure that he doesn’t accidentally pull something down and hurt himself when he’s in there alone.

I’ve been working on this embroidery project on and off since May so I’m thrilled to finally have it completed. Next project: stringing those yarn balls into a garland to hang from the ceiling!

I have been wanting to visit and take photos of my friend Laurie’s house forever. She lives in a small town about 45 minutes away and was still in the midst of remodeling for much of the last year so I couldn’t really just pop on over with my camera, but since her husband got a job offer that will require them to move she wrapped up the remodeling projects and invited some friends over for a play date. I showed up a little early to snap some photos before toddler chaos ensued.

Laurie’s house was built in the 1930′s and is located in the heart of a small town (so small that if I named it specifically you could definitely find her house, so I’ll keep it vague for privacy’s sake). It had been vacant for over a year when they bought it and needed a LOT of work. Laurie has a master’s in Historic Preservation so she kept original features wherever she could and respected the home’s integrity where new work was needed.

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A center hall is one of those things that’s rarely seen in newer homes but I just love. I know it’s impractical, a waste of space, but so classic! You can see from the front door straight to the back, with living areas to the left and bedrooms to the right. I love the tile inlay in the middle of the floor!

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Just inside the door Laurie has this collection of family photos. This is totally what I was going for with my frame wall. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so zealous with the straight edges.

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Laurie puts a lot of effort into hunting for interesting pieces. That is actually an antique radio there in the right corner!

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This house has amazing architectural features. Lots of original built-ins, beadboard, mouldings, etc. And I love that the living and dining areas are connected without the less cozy “open plan” effect.

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Laurie collects vintage tablecloths and has a huge stash stored in the buffet. I later spilled a bit of enchilada casserole on this lovely one–I hope she was able to get it out! How beautiful is that dining set? She’s collected all of her furniture over time from various antique and thrift shops, estate sales, etc. Only a couple of pieces, like her sofa, were purchased new.

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The ceiling and light fixture in here are original to the house. So beautiful! And can you believe those twelve foot ceilings? Definitely on my wish list for my future dream house.

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How retro-chic is this kitchen? Laurie did all the tile work in the house herself, including this classic black and white ceramic floor.

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The upper cabinets and the sink are original to the house, but the countertop is Ikea butcher block and the lower cabinets are from the Home Depot. I totally covet that vintage kitchen radio.

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Laurie is also an amazing cook. She’s a woman of many talents!

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I think that this little area they use as a breakfast nook was a porch at some point, but has been closed in. I love the simple contrast of cast iron pans hung on a white wall.

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Her daughter’s room is painted a deep mustard yellow and full of vintage touches. We have the same crib in white. I love the classic lines,

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Laurie is really proud of the work they did in the bathrooms, and with good reason.

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This was originally just a tub with no shower and a drywall surround. They added a shower and gleaming white subway tiles installed by Laurie herself, along with the floor. Color me impressed.

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The master bedroom gets this great lazy morning light. The floors were really bad in here, so they painted them, and moved some things around to create a deeper closet. How perfect is that quilt? I feel like this space is so classically and authentically Southern. Can’t you see one of Kate Chopin’s characters sleeping here (or, less classic, Sookie Stackhouse or Skeeter Phelan)?

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I wish I could have gotten all of her beautiful antique furniture in one shot.

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The house was originally four bedrooms with one bath, but they broke up one of the bedrooms to make room for a second bath and a laundry nook. This bathroom is all new, but doesn’t it look like it could’ve been there all along?

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I am not a big fan of the vessel sink in my downstairs bath because I don’t think it matches the style of my house, but this setup would be right at home. So pretty and classic.

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More amazing tile work from Laurie and her husband. I love the look of white tile with dark grout. This is such a soothing space!

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Laurie has an Etsy shop where she sells vintage clothing–she actually was a blog sponsor for a while–and she uses the third bedroom as her office. Floor to ceiling vintage dresses!

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I am so inspired by the work that Laurie and Trent have done, especially with a toddler underfoot. Nothing looks DIY’d in this house. If it were in my neighborhood it would probably sell for half a million dollars, but since it’s so far out of town it’s a steal. If you’re looking to move to small town Louisiana maybe you can buy Laurie’s house! Thanks again, Laurie, for letting me come snap some photos!

I’ve been working on this table on and off for nearly two months and am proud to say that with some help from a professional metalsmith I can finally call it done. It counts as DIY if someone I know did it, right? I considered sparing you the details of all my failed attempts to do it myself, but decided there was no sense in sugarcoating it. Let’s start with the two steps I actually got right. First, I bought an 18″ wood round at Lowe’s for under $10. I sanded it down a bit and then gave it one thin coat of white paint. I wanted the grain to show through for a whitewashed effect.

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I also picked up a 10 foot copper pipe, eight endcaps, and a pipe cutter. I cut the pipe into four 28″ lengths. It was my first time using a pipe cutter but it was super easy. It didn’t come with any instructions so I YouTube’d it. You just mark where you want to cut, tighten the rotary blade against the pipe, and twist, tightening periodically as you go. I honestly don’t remember how much I spent on these supplies but I feel like it was under $30.

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I made a series of complicated marks that I didn’t really understand to try to figure out where to attach my four legs. My dream was to have a tripod table, but I couldn’t figure out how to cut and attach the pipes at an angle so my plan was to go four-legged.

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But it didn’t matter because my plan to attach the pipe caps with screws and then slip the legs into them didn’t work anyway. I couldn’t get the caps to attach securely. So then I used a template (found here) to drill angled holes for my pipes using a spade bit. I couldn’t find a bit that was the exact outside diameter of the 3/4″ pipe and my table wasn’t thick enough to drill deep holes anyway, so my plan was to just create the angle with the drill bit and then attach the caps with epoxy, slipping the pipes into them after the epoxy had cured.

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It didn’t work. My table was crooked.

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So then I went back to the four-leg approach, trying this time to attach the caps with epoxy instead of screws.

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I didn’t even snap a photo of the outcome. It was that bad. At this point I finally took my friend Cassie’s husband Nic up on the offer he’d made weeks ago to help. He’s a professional metalsmith who actually enjoys this kind of thing. On Saturday we went to the shop that he shares with a couple of friends (also professionals). It was like a giant, metal-filled man cave. This was baby Olive’s first trip to the shop! She seemed to like it.

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Check out this welding cart. The other two guys at the shop do a lot of artsy stuff, while Nic is more into functional pieces.

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This is Nic’s corner of the whole place. He maintains that he does not have a hoarding problem.

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He said he could make the tripod idea work and I was thrilled. He inserted a metal rod into each of the three pipes and screwed it into place.

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Then he used a compass to mark the diameter of the tabletop and used some kind of math to figure out how to space the legs equally around the perimeter. He leaned the legs together into a tripod shape, placed a square metal plate on top, checked that it was level, and then broke out the torch to weld it all together. He made me put on a mask just to take this photo.

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He attached the metal plate to the underside of the table, popped a copper cap onto the bottom of each leg and bam, he was done! It actually took a couple of hours but I got to hang out with Cassie and Olive the whole time so it was fun.

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Back home, I gently sanded the printed letters and numbers from the pipes and gave them a light polish with some ketchup (a trick I gleaned from that post linked above with the drilling template). I wanted to keep some of the patina the metal had gotten from sitting on my porch for two months.

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It’s a happy accident that it ended up almost the exact same height as the other nightstand. I don’t feel like my bed is that tall but it’s nearly impossible to find nightstands that aren’t super short.

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It’s really hard to get a good photograph of our room, so I took this panoramic shot with my iPhone to give you an idea of the layout. I didn’t think I would like having the bed at an angle like this but it’s actually working out really well.

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I can’t get over what a great job Nic did on the table. It’s super sturdy and exactly what I’d imagined. If you’re local and need some metal work done let me know and I can put you in touch with him. He’s always taking on side jobs for fun. His specialty is these awesome firepits with fleur-de-lis cutouts that he makes around the holidays for $400 each. I can’t wait to break out the s’mores in their backyard as soon as it gets a little colder!

Update: here’s a picture of one of Nic’s firepits. He says: “The bottom has a trap door, for easy clean out, and I make the legs differently now. It comes with a fire poker, clean out tool, and a galvanized pail to clean out the ashes.”

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You may remember that a few weeks ago I bought a painting from my friend Bethany’s son.I mentioned then that I hoped to share some photos soon of Bethany’s home, and today’s the day! I took Jack over there for a play date yesterday and snapped away. Bethany lives on the other side of town from me (conveniently located near my favorite Target!) and I got almost all the way there before realizing I’d forgotten my camera. I turned around and rushed back, arriving 15 minutes late with camera in hand only to realize I was sans memory card. It was not my lucky day, but I chalked it up to first world problems and took pictures with my iPhone instead. Behold, three charming and beautiful children: Jack, 5; Indigo, 2; and of my course my Jack, 14 months.

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It’s really hard to create a home that is both kid-friendly and pleasing to the grown-up eye, but Bethany has hit the mark in my opinion. Their living room is fun and comfortable for all ages.

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The grasscloth wallpaper came with the house, amazingly. That sort of thing is not common in Louisiana.

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Bethany’s husband built this sofa table from 2x8s, using wood glue and screws to attach the joints and then whitewashing it.

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A lot of the art here was done by Bethany. I think it’s so wonderful that her kids are growing up surrounded by interesting things.

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The blue and green bunting across the huge wall of windows is so cool. And how luxurious is it that Bethany can sit on the sofa and watch her kids play out back? Jack isn’t old enough to play outside alone yet but I was still really jealous.

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Bethany pulled this old entertainment center from a curbside and she and her husband turned it into a play kitchen for the kids.

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See? More kid stuff and grown up stuff happily coexisting. I love it.

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When Bethany and Jeremy bought the house the entire foyer and front living/dining area were painted the pale yellow that you see on the door. Trim, walls, everything. I think it’s much better taken in this smaller dose.

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This formal living room is used as a work/school zone with the dining area just beyond. They built the work table from pallets that the dining table was shipped on, then topped it with a piece of glass for a smooth work surface.

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This was an old-school corkboard that Bethany covered in funky fabric and now uses as an art inspiration board, with a little bit of homeschooling brought to you by the letter C.

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This chest of drawers and the blue one in the living room are an identical pair purchased secondhand on separate occasions. The one in the living room serves as a media console, this one as a buffet of sorts. She refinished them both, obvs.

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The art installment on the wall is made from paper plates (by Bethany, of course).

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Some sweet potatoes sprouted in their pantry and Bethany decided to turn it into a teachable moment by placing them in a sunny area to continue growing. I love that they look sort of sculptural and rustic.

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Every time I visit Bethany’s home I leave inspired to make my own home a little more fun. And if you want to see more of her kids’ awesome artwork you can check out her new Etsy shop. I hope you all were as inspired as I was, and that you each have a lovely weekend. Thanks for reading!