DIY – Letter of Love

On my 19th birthday my dad gave me a birthday card.  I know that doesn’t sound newsworthy or anything but inside this card was a handwritten letter.  My first one from my dad.  My mom has always been wonderful about writing thoughtful messages but for some reason my dad decided to buy a card all by himself and write me a personal note.

I framed this letter – and throughout the years I would read it to make my day better or to cheer me up.  This letter went with me to college, on my move to California and back and is now still hanging in my first home.  I can recite the letter in its entirety.

SO, when we got pregnant with our first son I asked myself, “What would be a great personal gift that we could give to our son?”  I was sitting up one night and glanced over at the letter my dad had written me and decided that a letter from each of us would be the perfect solution.

I bought two simple black frames that were square in size (huge fan of square frames), sat down with the mister – in separate rooms (so he couldn’t copy :) ) and pretty much got emotional.  I was pregnant and you can literally cry about anything when you are pregnant!  But see this is the perfect time to write such a meaningful letter.

DIY - Letter of Love - Handwritten letters to our boys

DIY – Letter of Love – Handwritten letters to our boys

This “letter of love” captures my wishes, advice, and promises to my son.  The mister wrote a letter separately – since mothers and fathers have different perspectives and wishes for their children.  Although I love how there were similarities in both of the letters.

My hope is that Liam will take these letters with him throughout his life – and if he goes through his teenage years and having a letter from mom and dad framed in your room isn’t “cool” that is fine.  I guess I will just have to hang them in his closet for a couple years.

The letters go perfectly on his wall of other artwork in his “big boy room”.

DIY - Letter

Letters among other art work for collage

Letters among other art work for collage

Now with 4 weeks to go until our newest member of the family arrives it is time to get working on his letter.  Time to go get a box of tissues.

Stay tuned for Liam’s “big boy room” later this week – featuring more DIY art and DIY light fixture.

 

Minor Exterior Updates

Along with the front door and yard work – I still wanted to make some other minor updates for the exterior of our home (that is until we completely repaint the entire thing or move).

These easy exterior updates include:
  1. Adding new house numbers (old ones were brass)
  2. Painting existing light fixtures (existing light fixtures were stark white)
  3. Growing some grass (old grass was d.e.a.d.)
  4. Paint front door 
  5. Add new garage hardware

The only items needed for these easy updates were:

  1. Can of spray paint to update house numbers
  2. Same can of spray paint to update existing light fixtures
  3. Grass seed and new sod
  4. Fun new paint color for front door
  5. Garage hardware – $20 at Home Depot

Also doesn’t hurt to have a willing and able, amazing husband to do all of these projects so I can just come up with the ideas.

Still on the list is to add the newest “jewelry” to the house and put a few rocking chair to the porch.  So consider this a “to be continued” project (like all the other projects).

For more inspiration for the exterior of your home, check out Erica’s post.
Home Exterior Before

Home Exterior Before

Home Exterior After - after some minor updates

Home Exterior After – after some minor updates

 

 

 

 

 

Just Stencil It

Stencils and I go WAY back – circa late 80s when I had cat and heart stencils on my furniture.

I was cool.  I know.  And my mom was cool enough to let me have a full on cat inspired room.  Stencil cat border, with the stencil even on my furniture.  Pretty hip.  I wish I had a picture just how cool my pink cat stenciled dresser was but I have since then refinished that same piece of furniture and use it in the nursery (more on the nursery later).

Now stencils are all the rage again.  After partaking in our insane DIY in our powder room I wish I would have discovered the rebirth of stencils a bit sooner.  But after our powder room project (hours and hours) I knew I wanted to add some flair to our master bathroom but didn’t want to commit to wallpaper.

I had a large bare wall in our master bathroom and it bothered me.  I loved the look of some wallpapers but I didn’t want to commit to wallpaper or spend the money on multiple rolls of wallpaper.

SOLUTION – I ordered a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils and went to work.

Master Bathroom - www.middleredefined.com Master Bathroom – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

www.middleredefined.com http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Stencil - Close-up www.middleredefined.com Stencil – Close-up http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

For under $40 I got a total transformation.

Not to mention MUCH easier than taping or putting up wallpaper.  And when I get tired of it I just paint over and start another fun DIY.

Here is another picture of the same stencil I used in our bathroom in a master bedroom – I love the tone on tone look.

Rabat-moroccan-stencil

And best yet – these stencils are so easy to use you can use them on rugs, curtains, furniture, etc.  Basically anything you can paint, you stencil.

Chevron-stenciled-rug

Marrakech-stenciled-chairs

herringbone-stencil-bookcase

Chevron-stencil-herringbone-stencils

Has anyone else rekindled their love for stencils lately??

Yard Work – Take One

Needless to say, I have always been the anti-work-in-the-yard type.  My oldest brother actually jokes when I am outside doing any sort of work that I am lost because it has never been my thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to getting my hands dirty but I have no idea when it comes to planting or growing anything outside.

I killed a cactus in college.

That is hard to do.  But apparently not for me.

SO, the past couple years I have left all the yard work up to the mister and he has been giving me subtle hints about landscaping and getting into landscaping.  Never worked.  We would drive my neighborhoods of beautifully landscaped yards and I wouldn’t pay attention in the least bit.  (Sorry babe.)

For some reason I decided to pay more attention to it and I actually went with him to look at plants and flowers.  It is sort of addicting.

Granted this is only a couple days out now so everything is blooming and alive but I am rather excited about the results.

Flower Collage 2

Shrub Collage

Flower Collage

Two Flower

Pretty isn’t it?!  I can’t say I have a green thumb by any means but I do love what I am seeing when I pull into our driveway and look outside.

Best yet, you can cut fresh flowers and bring them inside to enjoy!

Roses

I would love to hear your favorites…What flowers, shrubs or landscaping do you love?

Floral knockout

For those of you who think I am miss monochromatic I am here at prove to you wrong.

Well, in some instances.  Behold the before:

Monochromatic - Roman Shade - Simple and beautiful

Monochromatic – Roman Shade – Simple and beautiful

(This is actually a roman shade in our master bathroom – which I love for its simplicity and great woven fabric.)

More on the master bathroom later.

BUT for the master room closet I wanted to have some pizzaz and funk.  So I took the same roman shade shown above, grabbed my fabric glue and slapped some colorful fabric on it.

Master Room Roman Shade - After - Floral-Funk-Fabric

Master Room Roman Shade – After – Floral-Funk-Fabric

FLORAL + FUNK = FABULOUS.

Color punch - lime green, fuchsia and turquoise blue

Color punch – lime green, fuchsia and turquoise blue

I know, maybe not what you were expecting but for our master room closet I love the punch of color.  It tends to wake me up in the morning.  I also and a big believer that a closet is a jewelry box so why not line your “jewelry box” with some color?!

Gathered at the top

Gathered at the top

Again, take a simple roman shade + grab some fabric glue + slap on some fun new fabric = whole new window treatment!

Key learning with this project (which was actually by accident) I decided to run my fabric glue in horizontal stripes fairly close and uniform on the roman shade and you can see those lines when the sun is shining through.

Fabric glue shown through but I love the horizontal lines that show through

Fabric glue shown through but I love the horizontal lines that show through

A rookie “mistake” if you will but I love the horizontal pattern the glue creates.  It goes perfectly with the zebra rug I have on the floor.

More on the master room closet to come but the roman shade make-over makes a big impact!

Need Your Vote: Campaign-Style Dining Buffet Refinish

Last weekend I sold my antique hutch that we used in our dining room. I loved it, and it was one of the first pieces we bought as a couple right after getting married. However, I was ready to transition from the tall oak hutch to more of a buffet piece that felt a bit more sleek.

Antique Hutch

Antique Hutch

When searching for inspiration, I kept coming back to an image I saw on Little Green Notebook (told you I LOVE her). There was this fabulous side table with gold/brass brackets and hardware. I adored the straight lines and almost industrial look of the piece. Then I saw another re-do she had done at her old house of a kitchen island and was hooked.

Side Table - Little Green Notebook

Side Table – Little Green Notebook

 

Campaign Style Kitchen Island - Little Green Notebook

Campaign Style Kitchen Island – Little Green Notebook

So I Googled “campaign style furniture” and found that the original pieces were actually built for military purposes and were made to break down easily so they would travel well. The brackets were added to the edges to help keep the furniture from getting beaten up during long hauls.

Clearly that is not the purpose today, nor do manufacturers really make true campaign-style furniture anymore – at least not that I’ve seen. However, DIY-ers have revived this style and transformed everyday furniture into campaign-looking pieces. All you need is some furniture with straight lines, paint, and hardware.

Kelly Green Campaign Dresser - Lonny Magazine

Kelly Green Campaign Dresser – Lonny Magazine

My mission last weekend at the West Bottoms Flea Market was to find a dresser that I could also transform. My hubby loves the task of helping me find exactly what I’m looking for, and we ended up with exactly the kind of piece we wanted. Straight lines, blank slate, and six drawers – and just $75!

Campaign-Style Buffet Before Photo - www.middleredefined.com Campaign-Style Buffet Before Photo – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Here’s where I need your help!! I am torn on what color to paint it. My options are:

1. Paint the buffet charcoal, like my original inspiration. However, I would probably paint my walls white if I go that route.

2. Paint the buffet a bright color, like mint or yellow but keep the walls the dark grey-blue they are now. If I do that, I will probably paint my chairs cream.

Either way, I’m removing the framed coffee sacks hanging on the wall and will do a large piece of art directly above the buffet. What that will look like will depend on the color of the buffet. I want it to be a statement piece because my dining room is the first thing you see when you walk in my house. Please comment, text, or send me a message on Facebook to give me your opinion. Thanks for your thoughts!

 

Turning a Lampshade Into a Drum Shade

So, it’s Monday. And I usually start the week off with a recipe. However, today I’m going to jump right into where I left off Friday – turning an oversized lampshade into a hanging drum shade. As I mentioned in my last post, I love, love, love the huge linen drum shades from South of Market. So I decided to figure out how to make my own. My solution was to use a large lamp shade, and I found the perfect one at Good Juju for $12! Isn’t she glorious?

Vintage Lampshade

Vintage Lampshade

When I got it home, I had to fixure out what kind of fabric to cover it with. I wanted the look of linen or burlap, but not something too thick that it wouldn’t let light through. Another blogger I check out from time to time, Our Vintage Home Love, creates tons of DIY projects and often uses canvas painters drop cloth as her fabric. You read that right, painters drop cloth! It was exactly the right shade (no pun intended) and thickness I was looking for, so I decided to try it.

Covering the Lampshade

Covering the Lampshade

First, I laid it out and cut the height that I needed. Then, I used fabric glue to start attaching the bottom. What I realized when I moved to the top was that the top was slightly smaller in diameter than the bottom. That meant everything was not going to lay perfectly flat. Not to worry, no reason we can just make it have a French provincial-feel and gather the top, right? So that’s what I did, and I ended up loving the look! As I attached the bottom, I would just make my way to the top and gather up a bit of the fabric – and then glue the extra to the other side to hold it in place.

Completed Lampshade

Completed Lampshade

When I got to the seam, I simply cut a straight line and glued it right up the side. The next part wasn’t quite as easy. I had a hard time finding hanging light kits that were all in one package last Summer when I was doing this project. However, now they are all over the place, like this one. So I bought all the parts I needed – wiring, chain, and light bulb holder (that’s the official term), and Jill’s fabulous husband came over to help us install it. I really wish I had a picture of him and my husband up on our kitchen table installing it, but I unfortunately didn’t get one. For a payment of a home cooked meal and some wine, he was kind enough to help us out.

Less is More - Middle Redefined

Less is More – Middle Redefined

It turned out exactly like I wanted. It feels just the right amount of laid back simplicity. Hope it inspires you to make your own drum shade too!

 

Master Bedroom Inspiration

I’m super excited that the time has finally come to redo our master bedroom! I mean, we have been living with carpet in our bathroom (why do builders do that???) for almost two years!! We had several other things on our list to get done before tackling the master, but we’re ready! So I’ve scoured Pinterest for ideas and want to share the direction I’m going to get your feedback.

First, I’m planning to redo my DIY upholstered headboard. I currently have black and white stripes, but I’m thinking of going with a grey suede. I’m totally going to add nail heads to it like the one below. The room was designed by Kerrisdale Design. I’m loving the bright creamy walls, white side tables, and white bedding with pops of color. That’s what I’m going for.

Kerrisdaledesign.com

Kerrisdaledesign.com

 

This room, featured by Belle Maison, looks so luxurious with the charcoal grey, satin-y headboard, and gold accessories. I adore the simple circle artwork on both sides of the bed, and I’ve pinned this photo because I’m going to do my own version. Who can’t make circles on some paper and frame it? So simple, but I think it’s so fun!

 

Belle Maison

Belle Maison

What I’m trying to figure out is what accent color(s) to do. I’ve thought about corral, pale blue, rose, emerald green…as you can see I really haven’t nailed that down. This adorable room was featured on House of Turquoise, which is one of my favorite blogs to visit. What accent color do you think I should do?

House of Turquoise

House of Turquoise

I’ll have ”before” and “progress” pictures to show you in the next couple of weeks! Happy Friday everyone!

On Display: Make Your Own Photo Board

When I was in college, my incredibly creative friend Jamie had this massive photo board that displayed all kinds of fun pictures of all our friends and her family. One day, I asked her to show me how to create my own, and it has traveled with me to every house since then. Recently, I decided to give it a face lift so it would fit a little better with my current style.

My old one was red waverly – not my husband’s favorite material.

Old Photo Board Material

Old Photo Board Material

 

For my new one, I decided to use some of my leftover recycled coffee sacks I had used for another art project. I purchased several of these off ebay for about $10. Most of the time, when you search for coffee sacks, the sellers don’t guarantee what they actually look like when you get them. However, I’ve loved all the ones I’ve received.

Recycled Coffee Sack

Recycled Coffee Sack

 

If you’re starting from scratch, just buy an artist’s canvas. They make perfect photo boards, and you can usually buy them in multi-packs at Hobby Lobby for $5-$10. Lay your material over the top and wrap the fabric around the back, tucking the extra under the edging. Staple it all around the back.

Recovering Photo Board

Recovering Photo Board

 

Then use whatever kind of ribbon you want. I chose a satin cream colored ribbon because I didn’t want the color to compete with what I put on display. Depending on how large your board is, cut strips of the ribbon so that you have an equal amount of ribbon going each direction. In my case, I chose to do five strips going up and five going down.

I’m not incredibly precise with most of my projects, so you could totally measure and make sure everything is exactly even between each ribbon. In my case, I started in the middle, using the top and bottom points for the first ribbon, then worked my way out by eyeballing it from there. Each time I cut the ribbon, I just left an extra inch so I could wrap it around to the back. I did all one way and then all the other way…no need to mess with weaving anything in and out of each other.

Adding Ribbon to Photo Board

Adding Ribbon to Photo Board

 

Staple the ribbon on the back.

Back of Photo Board

Back of Photo Board

 

Find decorative tacks to stick into the canvas at the cross-sections of the ribbon. Once you push them in, however, you have to put something on the back to make them stay put. Jamie came up with the brilliant plan to cut Q-tips and use the sticks as the back. I just ended up reusing those same Q-tips – if it ain’t broke… My mom made some of these recently to donate to a nursing home, and she sewed buttons on instead of using tacks. They looked adorable.

Photo Board Finishing Touch

Photo Board Finishing Touch

 

Q-tip Solution

Q-tip Solution

 

We use our photo board in the kitchen to display photos of our family and friends. It’s also a perfect place to hold invites instead of on the fridge. Hope this inspires you to create your own display boards!

DIY Photo Board - Middle Redefined

DIY Photo Board – Middle Redefined

DIY Photo Board Up Close

DIY Photo Board Up Close

 

Simple Note – DIY Art Project

I am all about simple DIY projects and I cherish meaningful art pieces.  Last year Valentine’s Day I wanted to create something unique and meaningful for the mister and to a better job at acknowledging one of  his main “love languages”.  Words of affirmation is a huge “love language” of his – so, I went to work on a very simple DIY that did the trick.

DIY Meaningful Art Project - www.middleredefined.com

DIY Meaningful Art Project – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

A simple “I ____ you because…” fill in the blank.  This can be  filled in with “I appreciate you because…” or “I love you because…” or get a little saucy with “I want you because…”  Hopefully not too many “I loathe you because…”  or “I am angry at you because…”

This project is SO incredible simple.  Buy a frame – I love square frames for this project.  Pick up a sheet of scrapbook paper that fits the frame size.  I used 12×12 and in total this cost me 12 dollars.  I have a set of typewriter inspired stamps that I use on many projects and I chose to emboss these letters individually (I have a secret obsession when it comes to embossing – more on this in later posts).  But, if you haven’t tried embossing to make your own thank you notes or stationary you are missing out.  So simple!

Once you emboss or stamp “I ___ you because…” you frame the paper and then you write on the outside glass with dry erase markers.  SO EASY!

I added the “XO” to the end where we usually sign our names and this hangs in our laundry room next to our mail / key drop off.  This is a place where the mister and I walk into every single day and these little notes really make me smile.

DIY Art - Meaningful Art Project

DIY Art – Meaningful Art Project

My favorite to date – which I secretly took a picture of…

[caption id="attachment_380" align="alignnone" width="640"]Favorite "I...you because..." DIY Meaningful Art Favorite “I…you because…” DIY Meaningful Art

While I have a hopeless romantic as a husband this little board is easy for me to leave messages to him so I much better at telling him my appreciation / love by a simple note on a more regular basis.

I have actually gifted this to friends of mine who were getting married as a shower / wedding gift.  If anyone would like to “order” one comment and let me know I would be happy to put my embossing skills to work and send it your way!

Cheers to spreading the love with this simple DIY project and showing your appreciation to your loved ones!

 

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