Thursday, April 24, 2014

Simple Fall Entertaining

I love Autumn.  I am ready to put on a cozy sweater, unfold the blanket on the couch and curl up. Even better is when you can convince some friends to hang out with you.  Having a great movie night with some easy edibles is the perfect way to spend some time as the weather turns colder.
One of my favorites it to have some great grilled cheese, lovely soup and some perfect red wine. There are some great recipes for Grilled Cheese on Country Living so you can go classic or add a little bit of spice to the sandwich.
Of course, brunch is always a great option for a Sunday as well. Individual quiches and fruit salad. Yum!  I love it to be casual, so I am all about dining in front of the TV for movie night. It just means you can unearth you favorite tray to bring out the goodies.  

Although you are trying to keep it relaxed, why not bring out your favorite glassware so you do feel special. It always gives any occasion a little bit of sparkle.


Entertaining Ideas for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a dinner holiday. It is all about sitting down and gathering around the table. If you are more of a casual diner the rest of the year, Thanksgiving is a great chance to really go all out.

Setting a luxurious table for guests can be easier than you think. There are some basics to remember - start with the dinner plate, top it with a salad plate and folded napkin. TO add a little drama, you can put the napkin between the dinner and salad plate. For a basic silverware setup, the fork goes on the left, then the knife and spoon go to the right of the plate.

For glassware, the wine and water glasses go on the right above the plate. If you are going to set a bread plate, it will go above the dinner plate to the left. You can wait to bring out dessert silverware or place the dessert fork and spoon directly above the plate.

Another thing to consider with your table is skip the placemats and add a runner to the table. You can combine a table cloth made from a luxe fabric with a natural fiber runner to create some contrast and some visual interest.

Oh, and you might want to put some food on the table. I turn to the great information the Food Network has for Thanksgiving and the yummy cocktail recipes from Food & Wine.

Light Up the Holiday Table

Thanksgiving is the time of the year you really want your table to shine and shimmer. Bringing great lighting to a table can make a setting warm and inviting. Turn off those harsh overhead lights and fire up candles on your table.

There are so many options to consider, but there are three easy ones that will get you started

1 - Clear Glass Hurricanes are perfect for any table, and can easily be updated for the season and table setting. Just coordinate your pillar candle with your décor. In addition, you can also add natural elements such as sand or stones at the bottom for additional drama. If you want to add something instead of clear glass, consider a wire lantern.

2 - Candle Sticks are a traditional approach to table lighting. You can get them in any material and finish to coordinate with your décor. Add distressed candle sticks for that rustic look or add a multi-arm piece to add a different touch.

3 - Votives are a great way to add light accents all over the table. You can add a snap of color with a mercury glass votive or add some floral life with a ceramic rose votive. Votive are so easy and affordable, you can even give them as gifts for a host or guest.

No matter that the approach, mix it up. A variety of lighting will make your table more interesting to look at and the atmosphere cozy and special!

Linda @ Urban Cottage

New Color Themes for Your Holiday Home

The weather is getting cold, and Thanksgiving is almost here. We are pulling out the old holiday items, and starting to think about how to decorate the house. The great thing about your Holiday home is that you can add a few new pieces to make it something special and change it up a bit this year.

Emerald City SparkleThis year, Emerald Green was named the Color of the Year. What better time to jump into the trend than during Christmas. We put together a theme of traditional colors with a Wizardly twist.  

Use Emerald Green, Ruby Red and Snow. Yes, there was snow in the Wizard of Oz. Remember how Galinda woke up Dorothy from sleeping in the field of poppies?

It is easy to get these colors into your home because they are so readily available. Just add a twist like snow white pine cones or a dash or sparking ruby red on ornaments or in small accents on the table.

Magical Forest

If you like the rustic or industrial look in your home, this is the Holiday Home for you.  These are colors that integrate nicely with woods. Even better, the texture of sparkle and feathers helps to soften the strong metals of industrial. 
This looks takes the traditional color of gold used throughout the holiday and blends orange and brown earth tones. You can get inventive with birds and feathers in this look. There are a lot of elements available for you.
Adorn your table with a golden runner with brown accents or ribbons. It will make every meal a sparkling feast and get you through the beginning of winter.  This looks is great because you can have it transform your home during the holiday and keep elements of throughout the winter.

Vintage Elegance

We loved this theme so much, we decided to keep it for this season. The lovely pink and blue hues provide a great alternative to traditional holiday decor. You can create a shimmery winter wondering with pale pinks and icy blues to create a warm and feminine twist on holiday decorating.

Using mercury glass and distressed silver is a great way to add some age and personality to the items in your home. Placing vintage inspired tins, distressed candle sticks or other new items with that time worn feel add some dimension to your holiday home. Finding vintage holiday cards and ornaments create that time-loved feel. However, there are many new products created with a vintage look, that you can easily integrate new finds with treasures from years past.

Dressing Your Home for the Holiday

There is no better time to gather around with family and friends than during the winter holidays. Brighten your home with glittering ornaments and relax with some sparkling drinks and yummy hors d'oeuvres.  This past weekend, I was watching an HGTV special about decorating the White House.  The photo above is from a mantle piece in the East Room.  HGTV, has a great gallery of photos to show the incredible job volunteers did for our Nation's Home.

One of the things that struck me is how the decorations are a combination of vintage and hand made.  The roses on this mantel are hand made from paper to decorate the White House.  In other places. they uses clusters of balls that they hot glue to create together to hang on hallway swags.  Why not take a queue and create some handmade ornaments - even a paper or felt snowflake on a gift adds that special warm touch.

It is also an incredible time to bring nature into your home with pine swag, boxwood or a live wreath at your door. If you don't get a live tree, bring the scent of Christmas into your home with live greens or fresh evergreen candles.  Nothing smells more like winter, or makes your home feel cosier.


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Radiant Orchid Named Color of the Year!

This year, Pantone took a bit of shift in the color department. After two years of very bright, bold colors of Emerald Green and Tangerine Tango, it named Radiant Orchid the color of 2014. 

Radiant Orchid is described by Pantone as a color that "blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health."

This color is more subdued, but bring a peaceful and happy note to any home.  Use it for an accent wall or a dash of color in accessories. No matter what way, enjoy it.

What's On Trend for 2014?

There are a couple of key trends that people have been talking about.  Taking a cue from the fashion world and reacting to be opposite of the existing trends.

Interchangeable Accents: Instead of settling on one fixed look, people will opt for chameleon decor.  Starting with a neutral palette, having a versatile neutral base means you can use big-impact accents to easily change up a room or mix up a trend.

Lighter woods: Maybe as a reaction to all the dark tones and other rustic woods we’ve been seeing in furniture for so long. Furniture with lighter, honey-color woods will start reappearing and taking center stage.  Woods such as walnut, oak, and cherry will add that fresh touch.

A Bit of Glitz: After the strong industrial and rustic look, people are going to start thinking about glamour.  Sparkle is going to make its way back into living rooms and bedrooms.  You will also find it in unexpected places like the kitchen. 

Floral Blossoming: Although floral and chintz fabric are staples of home design, the return to vintage means old-school designs are making a comeback. Vintage prints and modern takes on floral classics will emerge in the Spring.

The Decorating Blues: Although the color of the year is Radiant Orchid, you will be spotting blue hues.  From navy toteal, the design community is still infatuated with this every so classic and functional colors.

Décor gets a British Invasion

Ever since Prince William and Kate got married, we have been seeing more British Influence in design. I am sure that the success of Downton Abbey is a contributing factor to the British pieces of décor as well.
Modern British design is a great combination of contemporary piece with warm, rustic sprinkled in there.  It has a nod to the tradition of wood and time-worn pieces mixed with sleek lines and styles.

As with any trend, you might not want to go whole hog, or maybe I should say Full Monty, but Flaunt your love for our friends across the pond with this charming Union Jack stool.Whether you put it in the den, study, or bedroom, this stool adds a global allure to any space.

The Union Jack is so recognizable and can be found on so many items. Design Sponge even wrote an article about it call Union Jack is the New Black. Heck, even Home Depot wrote about the Union Jack as a design trend. With such classic colors as dark blue, deep red and white, it can be integrated into almost any decor depending on the material of the object.

Not sure you want the Union Jack in your home or you don't want to let your love for all things British stop you there.  Check out the new 
Constable Button necklaces from Smitten. It will add a 'proper' touch to any outfit.

Linda @ Urban Cottage 

Ikat-ching Textiles are on Trend

There has been so much buzz about Ikat designs in the home décor and textile community.  These exotic fabrics have a motif with ancient roots, but new colors give it a fresher look that  can energize furnishings and accessories.  
Above and beyond the visual interest of Ikat, there is a long and interesting history dating back to the 10th century.  Elle Decor did a really great piece about the history of Ikat that you can check out.

Reclaimed Wood Keeps Trending

Reclaimed wood can be used in a number of areas of the home including flooring counter tops and décor pieces. Urban Cottage carries a line of products from a local company called Reclaimed Things. Reclaimed wood isn't as convenient to buy as wood from the home supply store, but nothing can matches reclaimed wood's uniqueness and character. A lot of reclaimed lumber comes from old, rundown barns that are no longer in use. However, reclaimed wood can be anything made from a wood products. It might be something in your home like an old banister.

According to Chad Beatty, vice president of Elmwood Reclaimed Timber, there are some good arguments for using Reclaimed Wood products for projects.
1) It's environmentally friendly. Reclaimed wood isn't grown on farms. Yes, it represents a tree that's been cut down, but at least it's getting another life in your home.
2) It has an age and character that cannot be mimicked. Aging also brings out the color in the wood.
3) Most old-growth wood is no longer available because many species cannot be harvested due to regulations.
4) Reclaimed wood has its own history. The counter top in your kitchen might have had a previous life as a barn in Sunbury, PA.

There are so many ways to use Reclaimed products and sources, and I listed a few of them for you to check out.
In home décor, there is always a lot of discussion about color and pattern. However, over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about Reclaimed Wood. With many new products coming on the market, I thought it might be nice to take a quick look at the topic.
  • Workshop Talk from our Friends at Reclaimed Things (


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Aviary Design Takes Flight

Bird motifs have been popular in design for years. There is a category of home design called Aviary devoted to all things with a Bird on it. If you have been in the store, or even looked at the logo, you know I like birds. Some of my favorite products in the store have our feathered friends on them.

Why? Bird Motifs add a beautiful, nature-inspired element to a home's interior. They lend themselves to a variety of design styles, and are easy to incorporate into an existing decorating scheme. Birds are found on everything from clocks, to light and lovely fabrics and linens, artistic print trays and fun decorative bird accessories.

Last holiday season, we used Peacocks in our holiday decorating scheme - Urban Holiday. The array of colors in the aviary world means that you can find something in nature that can inspire your color scheme in the home or coordinate with the palette you have already chosen. You could say, it will let you imagination take flight.

Linda @ Urban Cottage

Creating Warmth with Rustic Décor & Accents

In an era where 'craftsmanship' is taking on more importance, we are seeing time-loved and custom built pieces become more important in our home décor mix. The trend is about giving a nod to our ancestors who lived in basic rustic wood structures with hand made furnishings, rough cut woods and 'livable' surroundings. There is something about the simplicity of rustic décor that lends warmth and goodness to any room.

As a store in the Rustbelt, we often have cold and dark winters. Creating a home that is a warm, comfortable retreat can help us make it through a long stretch of Northern Winter weather. It also allows us to have a place to get away from the grind of daily life and imagine we are having a 'weekend' getaway at a luxe cabin.

Here are some easy ways to experiment with rustic décor:
- Add a hanging votive with natural wood in your home - above a dining room or in the bathroom
- Warm up your kitchen with a new counter from Reclaimed Wood
- Integrate natural elements like branches or twigs in centerpieces
- Natural materials such are easy to add with burlap or canvas pillows
- Using animal on hooks or other décor gives that rustic lodge feel as well


Linda @ Urban Cottage

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Reclaimed Wood and how it is a growing trending. One of the drivers of that trend is the resurgence of Rustic décor as a home design trend. Although Shabby Chic has been a strong style for the past decade, it seems like home owners and apartment dwellers have finally figured out that timeless, classic rustic pieces can create a cozier home. It is a style that can be easily combined with other styles because it straddles industrial, shabby chic and vintage styles.

Wired In For Storage Solutions

In today's home, we are always trying to figure out how to effectively store our things. There are a lot of solutions for this dilem
ma, but baskets are still one of my favorites. There are a lot of different places in the home you can use baskets.

Baskets are also versatile and can coordinate with any style. They also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to fit any space where you might need them. At Urban Cottage, we use baskets throughout the store to display and keep everything from hooks to pillows.

We recently got the incredible folding wire baskets pictured at the left. The come in so many sizes, will match a multitude of styles, and will fold away when you are not using them. I don't know why you wouldn't be using them, but it could happen.

Linda @ Urban Cottage

A Little Makeover for Thumbtacks

Why not jazz up those boring thumbtacks?

Get out that hot glue gun. Round up any buttons you have around ('cause you know you do).

Just hot glue buttons on top of the thumbtacks.I recommend pairing up the curved or indented parts of the buttons with the curve of your thumbtacks if they don't have a flat surface.

Now they are cute as a button!

Going a Little Wild with Decor

Whether you want a rustic, cozy feel, or you are aiming for the English hunting lodge look, antlers are a wonderful accessory for either style. Very few accessories can achieve a look that is both rustic and elegant. In recent years, antlers have gone from being used in elegant manors in England, to being found in contemporary restaurants to add a bit of history and flair.

You can use antlers as decoration, or add a practical purpose as a set of hooks in an entry way or way to hang your necklaces. Paired with natural fibers, like the wallpaper seen in the photo, they add a contrast to refined style that really works.

Linda @ Urban Cottage

Turn Those Poses Into Memories

You do it.  You know you do.  You take tons of photos on your digital camera or cell phone camera, but then never do anything with them. You might text one to a friend or post it on social media.  However, most of those pictures never see the light of day.  Why not turn those photo into memories by printing and framing them?

It is so easy these days to print photos.  You can just buy photo paper and do it at home.  Don't have a printer, all the pharmacies have machines that will do it.  To lazy to go to the store, just download a phone app that will print and mail the photos for you.  Just search for Photo Prints in your App store for Free apps.

There is nothing like having great memories of special moments or every day fun around in your home and work place. Pick a great frame that is fun and reflects the moment, your home décor or your personality.  They also make great gifts!


Design Blogs That Inspire

There are so many trends, and they change so quickly. That means I read of a lot of magazines, blogs and websites to keep on top of changes in trends and discover unique ideas. I not only get my information from traditional sources like Pantone, HGTV or House Beautiful, but a whole series of other blogs that inspire me. This week, I thought I would share a list of the tops one that I read for enjoyment and to find inspiration.
  • Style At Home - this website is chock full of great decorating and organizing tips. I also like that they translate high end ideas into affordable comparisons.
  • The Inspired Room - as the blog says, she provides "simple, and doable ideas for loving your home"
  • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes - I have to thank a customer for turning me onto this blog. Her unabashed love of vintage furniture, sprinkled with humor, makes this blog a bit addictive
  • Lonny Magazine - I used to buy this when it was on the newsstands. The items in it are high-end, but so much design knowledge and inspiration
  • Meegan Makes - there are a lot of DIY blogs, but Meegan does some nice roundups of products and other blogs. It has lead me to plenty of other resources
Of course, another great place for inspiration is Pinterest. Our Urban Cottage Pinterest Boards are filled with home décor, inspiration and other great products to compliment our home.
Linda @ Urban Cottage

Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space

Summer is finally here. You want to enjoy every second of it by making the most of your outdoor space. Whether is a great patio, a small balcony or a patch of grass, you can make the al fresco spot feel like home.

Add a personal touch with a few items like whimsical chair cushions, candles or some overhead metal lanterns for those long evenings.

You might want to drink some nice wine on a summer night, so get some special ones for the summer. Even better, treat your glass of water or lemonade to a pretty glass.

Spruce up the table with some new linens and fun pillows - now your summer is not just going to be hot. It is going to be Haute!


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Get Unique Design in a Snap

Do you remember the days when you took photos, sent the film into so strange location in Seattle and then 3 weeks later you had photos. Oh those days are gone, but the nostalgia and wonderful design of those cameras is a great way to add to your décor.

Since vintage cameras come in all shapes and sizes, you can get ones to coordinate with your colors. You can even go with classic black cameras . . . because black goes with everything. Whether you place it on an end table, frame the cameras on a wall as individual pieces of art or group them on a bookshelf, you can find a design that 'clicks' with your style.

Are you a photo-lover? Use them as table décor for your wedding.  They are great for table numbers or just to add a little bit of flair. If you want to be 'social' with it, post your #hashtag for guest to use for any digital pics they might post.  Instant wedding album - and no waiting 3 weeks!


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Sailing into Nautical Design

In the heat of summer, we start to think about cooling off.  Maybe you think about jumping in the lake or going to the beach. There is something casual and relaxed about the beach house. 

You can bring that feeling home with some nods to summer style in your home.  Most people think of the time honored 
rustic tradition when they think of the beach. There is nothing more inviting that something that looks well-loved and time-honored.

However, you can always get something that is nautical and more modern to add that sea-drifted feeling to your home. A sleek aluminum sail boat might be just the right touch.

your lanterns inside as a design element. Although you can place them on a table, hang them for a totally different feel. It will instantly add a dash of nautical. With so many styles of lanterns, you can seamlessly make it part of your décor.


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Some Favorite DIY Posts

There are so many things that you can do at home, but without a lot of power tools and time, you have to be pretty selective of what you are going to tackle.  These few posts were great for DIY projects and something you could take on over the weekend.

A Vintage Touch to Photo Collections

Last week a customer came into the store to buy some frames for her wedding. I had seen people put photos of the couple over time - when they were kids, high school graduation and other pivotal moments in time.  However, she was going to frame all of the photos from her family members including parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  I had never seen that before and I LOVED the idea.What a great way to honor your family on your wedding day.

Later that day, I stumbled across a blog post on 
Camilla Styles blog showing this clever way to use mason jars for photos.  Front and center was a wedding photo! What a fun way to do this for a more vintage or rustic wedding. Smart, fun and easy.

The great thing about this idea is that you can use it in so many ways.  A birthday, a reunion or a family picnic. Of course, you don't have to wait for a special occasion, you could incorporate this look into your every day décor on bookshelves or in the kitchen.


Linda @ Urban Cottage 

Quick Lamp Shade Design to Try New Styles

When you have a lamp that needs updating, a simple change is a great new shade. However, the shade can end up being one of the most expensive parts of a lamp.
I decided to do a quick fix to get an affordable white shade and try out some styles without a huge commitment or hit to the pocket book. 

 I got a plain white shade from Ikea (yes, I still shop there even thought I own a decor store).  They were about $8.  In order to jazz it up, I got some of that patterned duct tape from 3m.  There are lots of brands who make it. As a matter of fact, the company Duck does an annual prom dress competition with the stuff  . . .  it's where I got the idea.

First, you are going to apply 6 diagonal strips. Start each strip over the top of the shade to the right of the metal form that holds the shade together. 
Run the tape at approximately a 40 degree angle to the bottom.  After you measure, leave a bit before you cut so you can tuck it under the shade.  
My shade had 3 spokes in the circle at the top, so that is why I picked 3 stripes as a starting point.  It is easier to use something on the shade that is already measured for you.
Next, measure halfway between each tape strip and apply another strip like you did the first.  This should give you a total of 6 strips around the shade.

You could just leave the shade with the stripes, but I wanted to add a bit more interest to it. To do that, I decided to add criss-cross stripes.  To do this. start at one of your current tape strips.  Cover the entire width with you tape, but the angle should be pointed in the opposite direction.

Run the strip to the bottom of the next strip over.  This will give you the exact angle you need.  Repeat this step 5 more times until you have a total of 6 stripes in that direction. That will give you a grand total of 12 on the whole shade.  

Now you have a styling patterned shade.  You may or may not want to live with this shade long term, but what you can start to do is look for something that you can buy.  Once you know you like the design, it is worth the long-term investment to buy something that will last over time.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dazzle Dad with Something Special!

The weather is getting warm, and there are a million things to do. Sometimes that means, we don't give a lot of thought to our Father's Day gifts. With all that he does for us, wouldn't it be great to dad something special.

It is pretty easy to get the standard gift, but there are some easy ideas for dad. Does he have a man cave? It is always fun to get him something for there. Does he like to cook? How about something for the kitchen. Personally, I love these country cabin canisters because they can cover both bases. Use them in the kitchen... or hide desk items and remotes in the Man Cave. The rustic design with big game on it strikes the perfect 'manly' chord for either place.

Another great area for getting him something special is the desk. Dad might not be a 'nick knack' guy, but something fun and useful for the desk will be a hit. This dog pencil/pen cup holder is one of my favs. Not into dogs, try out durable Field Notes products. Tough notebooks to survive the garage, car or office.

It is great to think out of the box. Even better, just give him something from the heart. It is the best gift of all.


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Swanking Up Some Old Folding Chairs

We have all had this problem - extra seating at a party or gathering.

Yes, you can drag some chairs in from the dining room or put our some pretty horrible wooden folding chairs. However, what do you do when you want to have some extra seating in your house and you want it to look a bit more swank?

I got the idea for this project when I noticed these great folding chairs. Yes, there were a very ugly goldish color. They were also covered with a nasty looking vinyl fabric. I am assuming they had been used for decades in a local fire hall or church, but overall the design of the chair was pretty decent. The curved back and wire ladder back gave the chair a pretty decent shape.

Best of all, these things were sturdy. Made in the USA and meant to withstand the ongoing abuse of drunk people at weddings and graduations. These were prefect.

First, I had to decide on a color. I didn't want anything too pretty or just plain. I branched away from my regular Rustoleum because I didn't plan on leaving them outside. I tried out Valspar from Lowes in a color called Silver Fox. It is a nice grey-toned blue. Since I had originally thought of using silver, it was a great compromise.

I gave it a coat or two to make sure I had hit all of the railing and sides of the chair. Since this will fold up, you really see underneath the seat and the legs, so I was extra careful with these areas.

I took the chair apart and spray painted the chair and the base of the seat with the Silver Fox paint. These chairs were a little tricky because you really have to pry open the seat to get at the fabric. Next, I picked a pretty heavy duty upholstery fabric for this job.

The stripes are classic and the browns and greens are very easy to coordinate with may styles and designs. I have used this fabric before and it really integrates well.

Unlike most chairs, the bottom of this was metal, so I was not able to staple the fabric directly onto the seat. I had to be a bit more imaginative. First, I tried some adhesive spray. That didn't work. Next, I just used good old-fashioned packing tape to hold it into place while I put the metal seat cover back on it.

There were prongs on the seat that folded down to hold it into place, so I lined those up, and pushed the metal cover back on. It took a few taps with a hammer to get it back on and securely on the bottom. The real security comes from mounting brackets that attach to the chair.

Voila! I had a finished chair. It looks so much better. It is something I can put in the closet, but they are so cute, I can just tuck them in a corner to even use them for every day. For now, I think I am going to use them to put outside when I have events at the store. We always need a little bit of extra seating toward the end of the night when people are gathered outside.

Frame, Frame, Frame

Ok. If you go back and read the title of that song to the harmony of the opening of Chain of Fools . . . it will be a lot more interesting. However, that isn't really the point of this blog post. Cute and personal frames are, and yes I did a set of three of them. It was a really fun project, and super easy.
Here is what you will need to do this project:
  • Unfinished Wood Frames (got them at the local craft store)
  • Sand paper or sanding block
  • 2 colors of spray paint (use can use regular paint, but spray paint has a crisp finish)
  • Wooden cutout words (got these at the craft store, too)
  • Wood Glue
  • 3 photos you love

First, I took out the backs of the frame. These ones had plastic for the photo instead of glass. It all came out so I could spray paint. If the stand or the back of the frame doesn't come off, make sure to cover and tape it
Although there were 'finished' frames, I always like to give them a light sanding. For these, the edges often need a little extra TLC to come out looking smooth.
Next, I took the frames and put them on the painting table. This table is outdoors and covered with any paint known to man. If you are using a table you can't get any paint on, make sure to put down news paper or a drop cloth to keep your table or painting surface clean.
For this project, I chose to make the frames dark blue. I always use the Rustoleum Ultra Coat Spray paint because it has great coverage. A project like this needs one good coat and a touch up coat. In warm weather, it is super fast. First, I painted the back side of the frames. That way the finish could get a little touched when it was flipped over, and it wouldn't impact the look of the project. I also spray the sides of the frames at this point.
After doing touch ups, and the back is dry, flip the frames over and do the front side. I always make sure I do at least two coats even when it just looks like it need a touch-up in one spot or two. If you don't coat the 'touch up' coat on the whole frame, it can come out looking uneven.

Next, I got a set of wooden cut-out words. I took these and sprayed them with a different color. For this project, I used seaside. I thought the teal looking color coordinated nicely with the navy blue. However, the color was light enough to jump off of the frame.
A little bit about color selection. For this project, I had some photos in mind. The inspiration for the seaside came from a one of the photos. Since you are able to customize this project, use the photos you selected as the inspiration for great color combinations.
After I sprayed each of the three wooden words that I had, I attached them to each of the frames. I made sure that I knew the center point for the frame and the center point for the word. Just use a ruler, measure and divide by 2. You can make a mark, but I just leave the ruler by the frame when I am putting it on.
Wood glue is a great product, but it can often run off the smaller wooden words. To prevent it from running off, I used a foam brush (you can use any brush) and applied it like that so it would have a clean finish.
Next, I waited for the the wood to dry and cut the photos for my project and put them in the frames.

Organizing . . . easy as 1, 2, 3

If you have the kind of entry way that gets cluttered, there are a few simple things you can. An entry table is great. Make sure to put a container to drop your keys. Another easy idea is a hook board. It is a great place to stash umbrellas and coats - especially this time of year when the days change from hot to cool over night. I created this fun hook board to do the job.
It was pretty easy and only took a bit of time to do it. First, I had a small list of material including:
  • a wooden board
  • spray paint
  • 3 door knobs
  • 6 screws
  • stencils
  • stencil paint
  • drill (optional)
  • frame mounting brackets
  • frame wire
  • industrial glue
You can use any board, but I got this one precut for $3.
Next I used Heirloom White Spray paint. I distressed it a little bit, but not too much.
After I painted it, I measured to the center for the middle knob. I didn't make the outside knobs the perfect middle distance, but selected something I thought looked good and measure the same distance from the center and bottom.
After marketing the location of the knobs, I used the horizontal center line to draw a line 1.5" from the top for my number. With number stencils, I used a foam brush and created the number stencils for the piece. In theory, you can put anything here - names, images - I just liked the idea of numbers.
For this project, I had a couple of set of door knobs sitting around. I took them apart and kept the knob and the mounting bracket.
Next, I took the mounting bracket and used it as a template to pre-drill some holes for the screws. You can go without creating pilot holes, but the project goes much faster and will be prevent the wood from possibly splitting.
After I screwed in all of the mounting brackets, I secured in the knobs with industrial glue to hold them into place. I made sure to put the screw holes toward the bottom so it would look nicer. This is the hard part because I let the glue set over night (it needs a couple hours to really set).
Next, I got framing brackets and screwed them into the back of the piece. Afterward, I just threaded the bracket eyes with frame wire and voila. A great new organizational addition to the foyer.

These are Times to Remember

It goes by so quickly - doesn't it? Birthdays, graduation or vacations seem to be here and gone in a moment. There is no better way to remember those special occasions than with a lovely framed photo.

Yes, we live in a digital age. However, it is still a wonderful feeling to come home after a long day and have the images of life's blessings, favorite places, incredible moments or even postcards surrounding us. It is why we work so hard isn't it?

Frames are always a nice added touch to a room when you need some accessories. One of the great things about picture frames is that they come in so many sizes and you can really personalize them. Whether on a table or a wall, you have so many options. There is also a great guide for creating picture wall galleries that we use.

Not only are frames a great little gift for yourself, but framed photos are a tried and true present for so many different people.


Linda @ Urban Cottage

Make a Party in the Garden!

The trees are finally green, and the grass is growing - probably too fast! It means that it is the time of year to get outside and enjoy. First, you need to pretty up the Outdoor space and get some lovely accessories to sit down and visit with friends.

A simple way to spruce up the patio or front porch is with a few new planters. It is incredible how quickly adding a set of pretty annuals in distressed planters, wire plant stand or small flowers in colorful pots adds a splash of character.

Once you have the flowers and furniture set, you are ready to have a few friends over and enjoy the weather. Add a touch of elegance by putting your drinks out on a lovely drink tray. You can use a distressed folding tray to set out cocktail or iced tea. Even better is when you have a couple of drawers to stash napkins so they don't blow away.

After all that, just sit back and relax. Enjoy the wonderful weather, and company of good friends.

Linda @ Urban Cottage

Perking Up Dark Storage Furniture

Storage can be a challenge. There is never enough of it and there are so many things to corral - especially in a bathroom. Aside from that, finding bright and interesting storage can be nearly impossible.

This week, I decided to tackle this problem with a great storage basket. My mom picked up this dark brown 3-tier storage basket piece at a flea market. She is pretty sneaking about what she pays for things, but I think she got it for about $10 - 20.

If you would buy a new one at Target or Pier 1, they run about $90 - 120. It is pretty pricey for a small piece where the majority of the construction is sea grass baskets.

I wanted to do something, fun and bright that would feel like a spa in an ordinary white and black bathroom. With the brown handles on the baskets, it was definitely a challenge. I thought about painting the baskets, but wasn't sure how that would turn out.

I thought any paint might wear off over time. The thought if dying them passed through my mind, but I felt the sea grass was going to be resistant Since I didn't have a sample, this was a one shot deal, so 'testing' was a little out of the question.

Instead, I turned the basket around and simply put these adorable light green bird handles on the basket. The screw in the handle was made for a door, so you can put it shorter once you install it. Just get a pair of tin snips and remember to sand down the edge so it isn't sharp at all.

Next, I took out the baskets and gave the wood frame a light sanding. After the sanding, I wiped off the piece with a damp rag and let it dry. Since it was a sunny day, I was careful to make sure it wasn't too hot for the spray paint to adhere to the wood surface. Lots of sunlight makes for quick drying, but also very little time to correct any drips or mistakes.

I choose "Seaside" from my collection of spray paint colors. You might remember I did a makeover on a car planter I did, and used the same color. I have really enjoyed how fun the color is and thought it fulfilled the 'spa' requirement for the project.

A quick coat and some touch ups, and I was in business. When it was dried, I put the baskets with the bird handles back in the frame. I couldn't be happier. This kind of sorry looking set of drawers looks happy and fun. It is really going to pop against the white tiles in the bathroom . . . and I will have extra places to stash my towels and accessories.