The ONLY place you should be buying baskets, and a Dining room chair makeover

As I’ve shared before, I love finding thrifted treasures. And I may be biased, but I am sure that my local Goodwill store is the best Goodwill store there’s ever been.

I know there is a bit of an “ick” factor to using someone else’s old stuff, but besides the fact that most things can be washed or cleaned after you purchase, I love the unique look you can give your home with things you’ve repurposed. I often feel proud of how little I’ve paid for an item that I’ve been able to turn into something I really enjoy using in my decor.

Like this old tool box. (It was $8 in case you’re curious)

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That basket with the pillows is also from Goodwill.

Or this basket I use for my cook books:

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Friendly PSA: DO NOT buy baskets from anywhere that isn’t a Goodwill. It is a basket-a-palooza at that place. You can find any shape, size, and style of basket to fill any need you have. Laundry hampers, trashcans, decorative…the one pictured here was meant to hold a 9×13 dish. I have a basket of some kind at every door for shoes. All from Goodwill, all for less than $10, and likely less than $5.

My kids know better than to say they can’t find their shoes. If they’re not in a basket, you better keep it to yourself. I have set you up for success little people. Shoe. Baskets.

Also, lamps. Will you find the lamp of your dreams at Goodwill? Probably not. But I love the warm, cozy look of lamp light and for much cheaper than new, you can find many styles, colors and sizes of lamps any day at a Goodwill.

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My latest, and perhaps greatest find is a dining room table and four chairs. We have been on the look out for a new, rectangular table for our dining room. We have even discussed making one ourselves, which is still the plan, but for $150 and a little diy-ing these chairs went from someone else’s old stuff, to my new dining room set.

Here’s a look at their old seat cushions, with help from my awkwardly posed assistant.

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Here’s another, in case my adorable model threw you off a bit.

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Under the chair, there were 4 screws holding the cushion on. Unscrew each one, and set aside for when you’re ready to put it back together! Don’t forget where you put them. Just sayin’….I gave each cushion a wipe down with a damp, slightly soapy rag and sprayed with febreze before covering.
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Cut your fabric so you have 2-3 inches of border around the outside. I chose this tan ticking because, 1) I already had it and 2) ticking is classic and timeless, but mostly because I already had it. 🙂

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I started at the top with a staple right in the middle. This gave me some leverage to pull the rest of the fabric around. Don’t stress too much about the perfection of this first staple. You can go back and give it another tug and another staple if it needs it.
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Fold the corners, “gift wrap style” and staple. I kept a hammer close by to really ensure those staples were in good, and tight on the corners. Keep the fabric pulled as tightly as you can with all the staples following that first one. You don’t want it bunchy.
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My photographer, who is also my husband, is taunting me in this picture saying things like, “work it. work it. Nice stapling…” and things to that effect. He’s hilarious.
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This is a crucial step! Spray the living daylights out of your newly covered cushions with this  blessed stuff.  It seems too good to be true, but I can wipe off drips, drops and spots with a wet cloth and I’ve been really pleased with how clean the cushions have stayed. Buy some here.

 

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We’ve had these chairs for almost 2 months, and this is Landon’s seat. See what I mean about the Scotchguard?? Why haven’t I been Scotchguarding all the things??

There you have it! This project took less than 2 hours, and including the applying and drying of the Scotchguard spray, it took 2 days to finish. I am happy to give this table a new home here, at the Yellow House and make some happy meal time memories around it.

Do y’all shop at Goodwill, or other comparable thrift type stores? What are your favorite things to get there? Is the “ick” factor a dilemma for you? Love to chat with y’all about it.

I’m always so glad to have you here, thank you SO much for reading! -Steph

Garden themed baby shower: floral letter diy

Well, it’s here. Back to school. C went back to school today (FIRST grade!)  so I’m here, and back to blogging. We had such a fun, fun summer so it’s hard to let go of it. But life goes on and we’re looking forward to a great year!

A short personal update, I’ll be teaching this year at L’s Mother’s Day Out. It’s a small, and precious little church school and I feel honored for them to have me there. I’m also pretty nervous, so think about me next week!

Last month, several friends and I threw a baby shower for our friend, Jennifer and her baby, Elizabeth (coming any day now!).  I did a few projects, to be used as decoration at the shower, as well as for her to use in the nursery. We went along with the her nursery’s theme, and threw a garden themed shower.

Using her fabric choices as a guide, I made a tassel banner and a large, floral  “E”. I really wanted to share the tutorial for these two things because they were so easy and so versatile! You could use the idea and make it work for you, and your decor.

Here are the fabrics she chose:

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Let’s start with the big “E”. Here are the supplies I used:

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First, I painted that hollow, cardboard “E” that I got from Hobby Lobby. I found it in the crafts section and it was under $5. I used my favorite paint:

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I plucked the heads of the flowers from the stems :

The faux flowers were the priciest of all the materials. I shopped around and got the stems on sale, and also found these cute mini succulent stems to fill in some gaps for just a few dollars.

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Next, I played around with the arrangement of the flowers until it “worked”.


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I placed the biggest flowers first, then groupings of 2-3 depending on size. I filled in the gaps

with the smaller buds and succulent stems. You’ll just have to arrange and rearrange until it’s right. Or just copy mine, if you like it!

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To attach the flowers, I punched a hole in the “E” and then hot glued the bottom of the flower.

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The finished product:

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Here it is in the nursery:

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Isn’t her nursery just perfect? You should see the rest of it!

I’ll share the DIY for the tassel banner next week. It’s another really versatile craft you could do to suit your color scheme, and theme.

I hope everyone is enjoying this back to school season, and making the most of the end of the warm, summer days. (Psst! Go swimming!)

As always, thank you for reading. I love comments and questions, so just let me know what you think!

XO, Steph

Time for a clock update

Get it? TIME? Just checking, it IS Monday. 😉

This was a quick, little project that was also free since I had all the materials handy. Here’s the clock I’ve had since we lived in Houston…..(mental math happening)…6 plus years ago.

After we moved it, to Austin, it’s hands were broken, and I took it to a clock repair shop. The owner kindly informed me that the clock was “cheap” and not worth fixing since I could just go buy a new one. I thanked him for his advice, and asked him to please fix it anyway because I didn’t want a new one, I liked it.

Well, a couple of moves later, the clock was broken again, and I wasn’t loving the look that much anymore. I’ve been hanging onto it though. And like with so many things, paint can work wonders. (Check out something else I transformed with paint here)

I gave it a thin, dry brushing of Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint *, which I’ve used for several things and I really like, and recommend.

 

I hung the clock on the wall above our TV:

 

 

This area is still a work in progress. We plan to mount the TV, eventually, so I wanted to leave some space below for that. That board, was a recent project, and has all our shared addresses on it.  The roman numerals are our anniversary date.

As you can see, the clock is decorative only. But I’m happy with it, and as always, energized when I can change things up for little, or no money. Before you get rid of something, see if there’s a way you can paint it, or reuse it! Let me know if you do, I’de love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading -Steph

*If you use my link to purchase this paint from Amazon, I will get a small percentage of your sale. This is at no extra cost to you.

Awkward space turned little girl’s dream office

Hey hey everybody! It’s FRIDAY! I am so excited to share a really fun makeover we gave this very awkward space in Carolynn’s bathroom. We spent about 2 hours, and only used things we already had around the house! C and I had lots of fun with this, and spent nothing, except time. Which was special and sweet and a memory to treasure.

Isn’t that a funny space? It’s right across from Carolynn’s sink in her strangely large bathroom.

While planning this makeover, one of Carolynn’s expectations for her office was that it had a Welcome mat. She made that “mat” herself from a roll of brown paper. She really took her time adding each detail.

 

We used this wrapping paper as wallpaper.

 

A roll of this brown paper cost less than $5 at Wal-Mart. I used it to roll out on our floors on muddy days, and as a table runner that we could write on. It’s pretty durable and I have a ton of it left.
Here’s a mega roll, available on Amazon.
On the wall, Carolynn can draw and color on it.

 

We had this chalkboard in the playroom, but it didn’t really have a place and just was moved around for the kids to play with. Now, it has a home, but can still be taken off the wall if they want to play with it somewhere else. It serves as another medium for Carolynn to write, draw or color.

Making a “door” was tricky since the doorway is awkward, and let’s face it, the whole space is awkward. I used two daisy hooks and hung this Spring tablecloth ( Get it at Target ) with drapery clips.

Just for fun, if I were out picking my ideal materials for this space, I would probably chosen a lighter, cheerier wall covering paper to brighten up the dark space. Like maybe this gold and pink paper from containerstore.com

Also, this super cool, self-adhesive wall paper from Amazon. I am loving all the floral prints, and the aqua and pink in this one is so sweet.

Although C had to have a Welcome Mat, my ideal little nook would have a runner, or small rug inside. Like this gingham cutie from Target. Because GINGHAM.

I am really happy with how it turned out, but it’s fun to shop. Sometimes I go shopping online, with no intention of purchasing just to get ideas and be inspired. Pinterest is great for that too. (are you following me on Pinterest?) You can see someone else’s great idea, and realize you have just what you need, or a version of it to create the same look. Being economical is so creative. And so economical. So, duh.

Carolynn is so proud of this little space, and so am I. We had so much fun creating this together. Thank you so much for reading about it’s transformation from, “what are you going to do with that?” into Carolynn’s cozy, little office.

Thanks so much for stopping by! XO, Steph

How-To Make a Quick, Easy, Springy Lemon Tree!

Happy Monday! It is gloomy, wet and dreary here at our sweet, yellow house this morning.
But no worries, because I’m cleaning, crock pot cooking, laundering, and blogging. So it’s shaping up to be a productive day, filled with the oh-so-gratifying to-do list checking.
I did an easy and super fun project Friday while the kids were at school and I have been looking forward to sharing it! It cost me less than $10 and took me about 15 minutes. Like, maybe 15 minutes. That only adds to my love for it, because it’s just so pretty, and springy…and yellow. I give you….the Lemon Tree-piary.

I’m calling it a Tree-piary because it’s really a hybrid between a topiary tree, and a tree tree. I also just think it’s fun to smoosh words together. I do this often in my “speaking life” and continue to be amused by it. I can laugh at my own jokes, I have no problem with that. 😂

Here’s my inspiration, from Instagram:
If you’re on Instagram, Erin shares lots of beautiful photos of her amazing home and her amazing style. She also has a blog: http://www.cottonstem.com/blog/
Also, Alicia, @vintageporch. She also shares lots of inspirational photos of all her vintage treasures, and has impeccable taste.
She also has a blog: http://www.myvintageporch.com/
Blog goals, people. I dream big.
Also, this:
In my mind, that awesome lemon tree, and the topiary tree had a beautiful baby, and here is her “birth” story:
That pot was on promotion for 60% off at Michael’s. Total: $2.39. I used coupons for the lemon stem, and the bag of small lemons. They are regularly priced at $7. I actually didn’t end up using those mini lemons for this gig, but bought them just in case I needed some filler. Nothing worse than being mid-inspirational project and not having something you need.

That being said, here’s your complete list of materials:

  • pot of your choice
  • lemon stem, I got mine from Michael’s
  • moss
  • jute
  • floral foam, or styrofoam
  • sturdy paper strips, or bendable cardboard
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
I already had roll of  jute, and some floral foam but if you don’t have these things,  they can be found at most craft stores and  on Amazon. They aren’t very expensive, and can be used in other projects. (Let me give a little PSA about the floral foam: it’s obnoxious. It leaves little foamy pieces everywhere that are difficult to wipe up.  And somehow, as an extra irritating charascteristic, it feels simultaneously gritty and slimy. Touching it gives me the willies. blech. 😝)I cut the foam to fit into my pot. I centered the stem into the foam, and then very tightly wrapped the jute around the stem.

I used some recycled newspaper ads to make a prop inside my pot. This way, I use less of my moss to fill in the top.

I filled in the pot with the moss. A little bit goes a long way. The moss was also something I already had, from previous projects. It can also be found at a craft store. They usually sell it in bags.

Next, I used my hot glue gun to secure the lemons to each other, and ensure that topiary look.

I just love how it turned out and wish I had made two! I tried it out all over the house: my sofa table, my mantel, next to my sink:
I had fun moving it around, and loved the way it looked everywhere I put it. But, since my mantel is where I mostly struggle to “get settled”, that’s where it ended up.
What do y’all think? I would love to know what y’all think! Let me know if you make your own Lemon Tree-piary, and send me a picture! Get it ready this week, in time for your Easter tablescape!
This Easter tablescape created by Carolynn. Didn’t she do a good job?! She also had an idea for the mini lemons, and begged me not to return them. More on that another day.
Thank you so much for reading! I love your comments, questions and shares, so bring ’em on. Have a great week!
XO, Steph
(Originally Published April 10, 2017)

All Hard Work Brings a Profit _Proverbs 14:23

So, up until last week, we have been “making it” to our house. The road, er, Smith Street, was rutted, muddy and in total and complete disrepair. And after a rain? Forget it. The road problem/s have been the most stressful tasks weighing on us since we moved in.
Well, why didn’t you just fix the road before you moved in? Well, I’m glad you asked. Because it was FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. American ones. Puh-leese. Get outta here.
We’re Smiths. We. Got. This.
So, we had two dump trucks of “road base” delivered, spread it with the tractor and voila! Phew. That wasn’t so bad. $500, a long morning’s work and that’s it. What a relief.
Oh Smiths. You are fools.
The next day it rained, not a lot, but when we tried to drive out the next morning, it’s like our new, and “improved” road was sucking our tires in like sinking sand. All that “We’re Smiths” talk  is now total disappointment, and “we don’t know what we’re doing”. Both of us were feeling really down about it. After sulking about it for a day, Brian said, “You know, I think we’re looking at this the wrong way. We want to learn new things. We wanted to do this stuff, and establish ourselves.” Brian just really has a knack for that. He really can get a cool head, see reason and save the day.
So, we sought wise counsel (a helpful, local, country fella) and laid down some large, some jagged rocks as phase one.

 

 

Phase one was back-breaking, time-consuming, blister-forming work. We dumped the rocks with the tractor bucket, but then had to arrange them all the way down the road BY. HAND. Bend over. Pick up two big ones, replace with one. Stand back and look….Nope. Three smaller. Nope…..you get the picture. This went on for three days.
Phase Two:  two truckloads of road base. Dump loads on the road with tractor. Spread with tractor attachment. Stephanie uses metal rake to smooth.

Throughout each back-breaking phase, we had our doubts. But, it looks really great. And more importantly, it is smooth, and functional. We even made ourselves a little parking pad.
Like most things in life, in my opinion, hard work was/is so rewarding. We can drive on this road, with pride, and it has to be said, with a lot more money in our wallets. I think this obstacle/project is a pretty accurate picture of how things around here will go.
I am thankful, overwhelmingly thankful for these opportunities and for a partner who can guide us. So we see that these areopportunities, rather than a reason to feel defeated. An opportunity to build our home together, improve our land, and leave it better than we found it. Because we’re Smiths.

Thanks for reading! XO, Steph

(Originally Published March 9, 2017)

Hello? The Telephone Table got a Makeover!

Hi friends! Lots and lots has been happening around here, at the Smith Homestead (can I call it a homestead?!) . But, while I compile a list, and all the photos of all our big time projects -like the road (done with our own 4 hands…and some help from the tractor), the raised garden beds, land clearing, and more interior decor (I feel like I’ve finally settled on where things go!).
But, while I work on the post(s) about all that, here’s a project we did pre-move in to whet your whistle while you wait…..on pins and needles I’m sure. 🙂
We were given this cool telephone table by a family member right as we were moving out of our old house. We used it at the ranch house as Brian’s bedside table and it looked like this:
   
It was obviously hand painted! Someone very talented, crackle painted, and hand painted flowers on it. BUT, for my farmhouse purposes, I wanted to give it a more neutral look. So, Carolynn and I got to painting. Let me tell you, she was pretty peeved when I put that first swipe of paint over the pretty flowers. “oh no, mom! Not over the pretty flowers!”
I used a chalk paint, brush (it’s a Purdy) and a poly type spray from Home Depot.
We gave it a first coat, a second coat, sanded the edges a bit. Let it dry. Sprayed on the clear coat. Voila!
Carolynn went along with the plan like the sweet little helper she is, and by the time it was all finished, she was convinced: ” I like it. That actually looks pretty good.”
I think so too! We now have it next to the couch with some old books. But, the inside is perfect for storing the kid’s DVDs, the top drawer for remotes (because why do we have 3?) and the side pockets hold some of our reference books and magazines. Pretty, and practical. My favorite.
For a pretty quick project, I think it turned out really great. The things in our home that make me most happy, and I treasure most, are the things we get from family, and/or the things we’ve made or created. This cute little table falls into both those categories, so it’s a treasure to me, for sure.
Thanks for reading, friends! XO, Steph
(Originally Published March 1. 2017)