Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Watch- out, This Lady's Tricky...

I will always love and respect Martha, but the truth is... I have trust issues with her.
You see, about 12 years ago she took me to school [Martha Stewart style] and I swore I'd never be fooled by her again.

It all began when I found a recipe in her magazine for a nice, cold, refreshing, summery ginger ice cream dessert [I have tried to block the experience from my memory, so I can't recall exactly what it was called]. Anyway, I saw it and thought, "Wow, that looks amazing. I'm going to make that." In all of my sweet innocence, I jotted out to the grocery for the ingredients [ahhh, life before kids!].
I came home and began making my yummy dessert...
Step one: Grate one 6 inch piece of fresh ginger root [No problem- done].
Step two: Place 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water and freshly grated ginger in saucepan and bring to a boil [Got it. easy, I must be some kind-a Martha Stewart wiz].
Step three: Reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour [Ummm, okay, but I want my dessert before midnight...].
Step four: Strain ginger from syrup and let cool [Wait, so I'm throwing away that stuff that took so long to grate and I have to wait longer? Okay Martha, but this better be good.].
Step five: Add Sparkling Seltzer Water to your ginger syrup. [WHAT THE ?!? *Shaking fists in the air*]

Yup. The woman tricked me. I made homemade Ginger Ale. Worst part- that wasn't even the entire recipe... there was much more to it, so I could have just bought Ginger Ale and used it in the dessert. I don't even remember how the stupid dessert tasted, but I'll never forget how annoyed I was!

Moral of the story: Read all directions before you begin any project [whether it's DIY or food] and use your brain rather than blindly trusting anyone [for any reason].
Maybe making homemade Ginger Ale seems awesome to you [boom: now you've got the recepe... go ahead and pin this post & you're all set to make a $4 glass of soda!], but I was tricked into it and not thrilled.
Like I said, I'll always love her; but the trust has been broken ;)
Have you ever had something like this happen, or am I the only one?!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moday (P)inspiration: Gold Accents

Lately I've noticed that I'm pinning more and more rooms that have gold accents, so I thought I'd share a few rooms with you today!
 I just love how fresh and contemporary gold can look against a clean, crisp, white room.

Source: via Nikki on Pinterest

This room is so gorgeous. The gold accents add a level of sophistication, while the rustic wooden table keeps everything warm.  
And this bedroom... wow. So elegant and soft. The golden accents make the entire room glow!

Another breath-taking room! The chandelier is stunning, but I think it's the gold table and room divider that set this room apart from so many others. Love it!
I almost couldn't pin this one. Not because I didn't love it, but because I have never enjoyed the combination of gold and black together [ever]. I think of it as bachelor pad decor [circa 1987].  But... I try to pin with an open mind... and I really found this entire vinette beautiful!
And last but not least, this gorgeous home office. Gold accents that are soft & pretty!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What I'm lovin': Bamboo Fencing!

As I continue to search for beautiful garden inspiration, I have seen some gorgeous uses for bamboo fencing. I love the texture that it adds to any space, but especially gardens. Here are a few of my favorite examples [each photo is linked to its source, so click away!]:
This space is gorgeous, so serene and pretty. The bamboo provides privacy, shade and interest to this space. It takes the space from feeling like a typical deck to a little private retreat!

I just love this use for bamboo fencing as well. Talk about thinking outside the box! What a perfect way to provide shade for your space while adding texture. So natural and yet still modern. Nice!

Guess what's behind this fence?! An ugly cement block wall. What a great solution to cover something unwanted... it looks completely natural and so, so pretty.
Are you feeling inspired to use bamboo fencing for your summer projects?! If so, check out more bamboo fencing and bamboo poles at Forever Bamboo, they have all kinds of great, beautiful products that you'll love. I'm getting compensated a little for this post, but let me say... I'm really diggn' bamboo fencing right now and I am trying to figure-out where I can use it in my outdoor space! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY Organizational Ideas

Today I'm sharing what I did to get my armoire organized. I realize that the reality of organization is that everyone's space and needs are different. However, I'm writing this How-To so that [hopefully] you can take these ideas and alter them to meet your specific needs.
First of all, I want to emphasize what I did NOT do: I didn't run off to the organization isle of a department store and spend hundreds of dollars. I used my existing bookcase [free], a hollow core door [$28], a homasote board [$8], a bedsheet [free], an old framed poster that I already had [free]. , and nine baskets [$64]. Look around your house, see what you have and get creative to see how you can use it!
The first thing I did was transform my boring laminate bookcase as described in Transforming a Laminate Bookcase. This step wasn't technically necessary for organizing the space; however, I've discovered that if I don't make my organization pretty, then there's really no hope of keeping it organized. That's just me, though [and I'm guessing it might be true for many of my fabulous & super stylish readers as well!].

Next, I added my Large and In Charge [literally] Dry Erase Calendar. Easy-Peesy DIY Awesomeness.

Then I made my bulletin boards for the doors. Read Making a Chalk and Bulletin Board to learn how make a beautiful, inexpensive and super functional bulletin board. When it was time to hang them on the doors I had a couple issues: I didn't want to put a bunch of holes in my armoire, and I didn't want the boards flopping around when the doors opened/closed. Sooo, I was super excited to find the perfect product: Command [you know, the brand that's known for its removable hooks] Velcro [like] product. It's wonderful. I found them right next to the hooks, and they are super strong... I just put one strip on the top and one on the bottom and those suckers aren't going anywhere!

Then I decided that I wanted a longer shelf area on top of the bookcase, so I used the rest of my handy-dandy hollow core door. I measured what size I needed and cut the door to fit [and painted it... of course].
In order to cover a hole in the back of my armoire [it used to hold our tv back in the day when they were ugly, giant mammoths!] and provide additional support for my [new] top shelf, I cut a piece of scrap MDF to fit in that little area. Once everything was painted it looked great!! [Well, not bad for a totally non-wood working girlie, anyway]
Then I had a tall, narrow space and I wasn't sure what to do with it... until I found these awesome wire baskets [which I'm totally diggn' right now]. They were just the right size to hang in the space.

Once again, I didn't want a bunch of holes, so I used the Command Brand plastic Hooks [I bought the less expensive white plastic ones and used Rub n' Buff to make them silver & purrdy] to hang them. Genious [if I do say so myself].

Finally, I filled and added all of the baskets [which I purchased from a discount store... I looked for  sturdy baskets that looked decent. [Unless money grows on your trees] Please don't spend alot of $$ on fancy baskets... after all, a basket's a basket for goodness sake!].
I also added a little mirror at the last minute so that when I'm grabbing my purse I can check to make sure I look fabulous before running out the door [and by fabulous I mean "at least I don't have broccoli in my teeth"].
And that's it! I hope you can use some of these ideas to transform a space into an affordable organizational bliss too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Life Altering Organizational Design!

[Question:] What do you get when you combine an old bookcase, hallow core door, bed sheet, old framed poster, some homasote board and baskets?
[Answer:] Pure Organziational Life-Altering Bliss!!
Let's take a moment for a quick little journey back in time and remember what this armoire [which I affectionately refer to as My Brain] looked like a few weeks ago: I know. Yikes.
Can I just tell you that getting my daily life "stuff" organized in a beautiful way has dramatically improved my quality of life [not to mention my sanity]?! 

Here's WHY it works for me:
Each door has a bulletin board to keep all of the kid's school calendars/permission slips/sports info/invitations, etc. You know, all that stuff [also known as crap-o-la] that's important but never has a good home [until now!].

The Giant DIY Dry Erase Calendar that I  showed you how to make has been WON.DER.FUL. All activities are right there for me so see, and I'm a visual person, so having it "large and in charge" is working for me. Plus, my new obsession is preparing 7 meals at once and then freezing them... then I can just dethaw one and put it in the crock pot in the morning and dinner's done! That's where my weekly dinner menu has been perfect. I wake-up, see what is on the menu for that day, and if it's a crock pot meal then I see it early enough to get it cooking [as opposed to going, "D-oh, I meant to do a crock pot meal today and it's already 4:00..."]

Next, I bought baskets, baskets and more baskets. I took all of my junk out of the armoire and grouped it according to function. Then I went and purchased the correct size basket needed for my groups.
  • The bottom basket holds techi stuff [camcorders, cameras, etc].
  • The smaller bottom basket holds mail stuff [envelopes, cards, address books, stamps, etc.].
  • The open basket in the middle holds my smaller recipe books. I don't use them all that much [thanks to the Internet...], but when I need them, I want them handy [and when I don't need them, I want them hidden!].
  • The basket with a lid... Well, let's just say that's "mommy's" basket. I love lids, and here's why: Is it perfectly organized inside as if it were owned by Martha Stewart herself, or is it filled and stuffed with random junk. I'll never tell [it's junk].
  •  The two smaller baskets on top are for The Dry Erase Calendar markers and my Super Hero Hubby's keys, wallet, etc. All that good stuff that jumps out of his pockets when he comes in the door.

Finally, the little wire baskets are my kids'. Each has an assigned basket, and when I find something of theirs lying around the house [which happens every day, all the time, always always always] I put it into their baskets and they can put it in the appropriate place at their convenience [yea right, they put them up when I start threatening :)] And last, but not least... my purse has it's own little home. No fancy basket, just a spot to toss it and/or grab it on the run!

And that's it! Every item is 100% functional and 100% life altering. Want to know exactly how I put this project together? Read DIY Organizational Ideas!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Monday [P]inspiration: Summer Dreaming!

Valentine's Day is now over, which means only one thing: [in my mind anyway] Winter needs to be over as well. I'm ready for sunshine and warmth and lush, green growth all around me! I know...
spring isn't even close yet... so in the meantime I'll escape to Pinterest and dream of beautiful spaces. Join me :)
This little outdoor room is so elegant and comfy... makes my heart go pitter-patter!

And this outdoor room is just fabulous! What I really love about it is that it's made from typical [looks like possibly even some salvaged] materials that have been put together beautifully.  Can't you just see yourself relaxing in that space?!

I love the simplicity of this porch. That fresh, green door is so cheery and fun, and the mix of furniture ensures that everything feels relaxed and informal. Plus I love that industrial-chic light!

And this outdoor space... oh my! It's another great example of how you can use simple, everyday [and inexpensive!] items to create something truly special. Just lovely!
And this porch. Wow. I want a stack of [House Beautiful] magazines and an ice-cold can of Coke, and I'll be happy for hours here! I love, love [love] those lights. And that mirror is just perfect for the space. And that white couch [it would be ruined after one day at my house!] with those colorful pillows... so, so pretty!
Are you ready for warmer weather too? If you are like me, then you are already plotting and planning your first outdoor project :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Make a Dry Erase Calendar [it's easy, folks]

Take a look at this, because it's going to change my life [that's a lot of pressure for a dry-erase board, isn't it?!]. In an effort to get myself & my family organized, I made this dry-erase calendar. Want to know the best part? It was free because I used stuff I already had around the house. Here's how you can make one [and change your life] too!

Here's how it all began: Klimt's The Kiss, a framed poster from my college days. I'll always love his work, but it was time to say "Bu-bye" to the poster since it's been in storage for about 10 years [plus it grosses out my kids, heehee]. I just painted the frame white [cuz' I pretty much paint everything white these days.]
Then I went to my "stash" and found some sheets that I love [I purchased them about 5 years ago... Even though they didn't match any rooms... And they didn't fit any beds in my house... And I knew I wouldn't actually use them for their designed purpose. No, I'm not a hoarder. I just know awesome sheets when I see them, haha!]. After ironing them once or twice [maybe three times...] they looked great!
I removed the cardboard backing and applied the fabric to it. I left a one inch boarder on all sides and then used a glue gun to secure the edges. I didn't bother to make perfect, fancy edges because the frame will cover all those details anyway.
Now for the calendar. Using the dry erase marker [in case I change my mind and no longer need a calendar... Not going to happen, though], I measured out my calendar and drew it using a straight edge.

Now for the tricky part [or at least as "tricky" as I get]. I flipped the drawn-out calendar side toward my fabric. See?! Now I have a calendar, but it won't erase [well... unless I flip it over and erase it, anyway].

And that's it! Now I simply fill in the dates and I have an awesome calendar. Want to know a bonus? I left extra room at the bottom to write each day's dinner menu. The kids love being able to check and see what's to look forward to each evening [or not look forward to], and I love having everything so handy! Not bad for FREE!

Monday (P)inspiration: The Bold & The Beautiful [Rugs]

I know... it's Tuesday. I'm still having computer / Internet issues, but I'm trying not to complain [so let's move on now or the complaining shall commence!]. Anyway, I noticed that I've been drawn to bold, graphic rugs lately on Pinterest, so I'm sharing a few with you today! I'm doing my best to link the all to their sources, but I'm working from my tablet and it's... well, let's just say... temperamental at best. Sooo, if something isn't right just find it on my Pin board and I'll get them all right when I can get to a good old fashioned laptop :-)



Friday, February 10, 2012

You know I love Interior Design...

Which is why I'm super excited to tell you all about Houzz! I discovered this website via Pinterest, and I. Love. It. You can get lost for hours looking through all of the gorgeous interior design decor photos on this great site.
Here's what I really [really] like about it:
1. Once you register [which is free, of course!] you can start your own Idea Book to keep your favorite photos together.
2. It has a really great search engine that allows you to search for specific criteria. Sometimes when I'm searching Pinterest I get [a bit] frustrated because I have to rely on random descriptions [does that ever happen to you?]. Houzz makes it so simple to find exactly what you are after.
3. The sources are all accurate! If you like the design and want to learn more, just go straight to the designer's website... no hunting around.
4. There are awesome articles written by interior designers. So many inspirational tips and ideas!
5. Your design questions answered! There's even a handy spot to ask a question and view previously asked questions. So handy, right?!
6. Do you do Interior Design too? Register your business and you can upload photos to gain exposure!
Seriously, I love this site. And yes, I'm getting compensated a bit for writing my opinion... but I promise that I only accept products or businesses that I would want to use or know about myself!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to Give a Laminate Bookcase a [fabulous] Makeover

I'm guessing that we all have a faux wood laminate bookcase somewhere in our home. I'm guessing that we all want to paint it and make it look better [and I'm positive that we're all scared to...]. Well, this is how I successfully said "good-bye" to that [less than fabulous] faux wood grain and gave my bookcase a serious upgrade.
I decided to replace the existing shelves for a few reasons. First of all, the old shelves had begun to bow under the weight of all my books [and clutter!].  Secondly, I wanted a stronger shelf to avoid bowing in the future. And lastly, I wanted it to be purr-dy, so I thought a thicker shelf would give my bookcase more of a custom look [and by custom, I mean "not purchased from Wal-Mart!"]. 
1. In order to create those thicker, stronger shelves I took a hollow-core door [like the one used in my DIY Floating Shelves tutorial] and traced the existing shelves onto it [make sure that the front of each shelf is placed on the finished edge of your door so that you have a nice, finished edge!]. Then I taped over my pencil lines and re-drew them on the tape. That prevents the wood from splitting. Finally, I used a circular saw to cut out each shelf following my traced lines.
2. Begin the painting process by using a deglosser like Porter Paint's Prepare-It. It takes the place of sanding, so it's great for prepping laminate surfaces.
3. Use a really good primer [one specifically designed for glossy surfaces is the best] I used Kilz. Remember... the better your primer, the better your final results.
4. Now. With that said... I have mentioned before in my Painting [over] Faux Wood post that there are two types of faux wood. One is a veneer placed over particle board [that can be painted], the other is essentially plastic that looks like wood [that pretty much can't]. Well, the back of my bookshelf was basically the plastic stuff... so I went ahead and attempted to paint it anyway [rules are made to be broken, right?! [wrong]]. Therefore, when it was all dry and beautiful I taped-off my [super awesome] design to paint a [totally amazing] decoration... and the tape totally ripped-off the paint [super not awesome].  

5. I chose to go ahead and repaint it [as shown below]. Then I purchased a set of wall decals. These were perfect because they essentially covered the entire surface [which means that it is protected now] and I could arrange them as I wanted [I did have to peel and rearrange one or two... which was terrifying. But the paint stayed so it's not completely worthless!]. It was much less expensive than wallpaper, and it was WAY easier too, so I highly recommend using them!

6. Next, in go those fancy new shelves, and it's a whole new bookcase!
7. Do your happy dance, stand back and just TRY to fill it up with books that will cover-up your beauty, because that's actually the worst part of this entire project!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Cinderella Story [if she were a bookcase]

... and the laminate bookcase lived happily ever after!
Well, it's been awhile since I've pulled out my magic wand [okay, it's actually just an old paint brush] for a good-ol' furniture transformation here on Salvage Savvy, so I'm excited to show you this one today!
I started with the same laminate bookshelf that everyone in the United States has [seriously, I think it's been written into our pledge of Allegiance now, "With Liberty and laminate bookshelves for all..."]. With a vision of what it could become, some paint and a couple upgrades it has become the Belle of the Ball. In fact, it's way to pretty to cover-up with books [d'oh, I may have over-shot my mark because I seriously didn't want to put anything back in it!].

Now, please don't get me wrong. Like every true Fairy Tale, this story wasn't without its fair share of heart-aches and drama. It tried to break my heart.
But nonetheless, I persisted and earned my happy ending! 
 Want to know how I did it? Read How to Give a Laminate Bookcase a [fabulous] Makeover !!

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