DIY Botanical Print Wall Decor

This spring I’m seeing a lot of botanical designs, mostly as vintage inspired wall art. I love this trend as it adds pops of color to any room. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything vintage.etsy gnosispicturearchive

elle decor

hgtv photo by rachel whyte

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I decided to use this as inspiration for my own decor. Digging through the boxes of books I acquired with the house I discovered the Golden Nature Guide to Familiar American Wildflowers, published in 1950. The illustrations were perfect to create my own botanical wall décor.

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My kitchen nook has a very large plain white wall, and for months I had been debating what to put there. The colors in the botanical prints would pop against the white walls, but it is also a nice transition from the kitchen nook to the garden.

First, I did a little research to make sure I wasn’t ripping apart a rare or valuable book. Next, using a craft knife I cut away the binding to loosen and pull out the pages. I decided to group the prints together by color, and picked out my favorite blue, pink, and yellow/orange prints. I put them in black float frames purchased at Michael’s.

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I went back and forth if I should keep the descriptions of the flowers at the bottom of the page, or cut them off and just display the flower print. I decided to keep the descriptions for now. I kind of like that you can tell that the prints came from a guide book.

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The great thing about this is that I have hundreds of flowers prints leftover and with these frames I can switch out the prints anytime I feel like a change.

Door & Brass Hardware Restoration

The security door, front door and hardware looked like the rest of the house…rough. Structurally (aside from the crack in the front door) they were in good condition. Nothing a little patch and paint couldn’t fix.

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I wanted to keep and restore the original solid brass hardware. If I had to replace them, the new hardware would most likely be brass plated and wouldn’t come close to the same quality.

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I attempted to clean the hardware by polishing it with Brasso, but it didn’t make a bit of difference. The hardware would have to be professionally polished and lacquered. The hardware was removed and dropped off at Brassworks to be restored.

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In the meantime, the crack in the front door was patched and the entire door was given a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams Exterior black paint in semi-gloss. The security door also got a fresh coat of Rust-Oleum gloss black paint.

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Brassworks was quick and did an amazing job! It looks brand new! Plus, it cost less than $250. If I had to buy new hardware, a door handle alone would have cost me that much! By salvaging the front and security door, and not buying new, I saved $2,000.

DIY Decorative Spheres

My love affair with ModPodge continues. Several months ago I used a box of stamps left behind for wall decor. If you missed the post, check it out here. I still had a lot of stamps left and was brainstorming creative ways I could use them.

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I decided to use the stamps to create decorative spheres. I purchased styrofoam balls at Michaels, and already had ModPodge left over from my other project.

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I applied the ModPodge directly on the styrofoam using a foam brush. Next, I placed the stamps in the desired pattern, smoothing out any wrinkles. I continued this until the styrofoam was covered.

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In addition to stamps, I decided to use maps I had found in some of the vintage National Geographic magazines. Create a travel theme! Don’t worry I still have plenty of vintage maps for other projects. I cut the maps into strips and glued them onto the styrofoam.

Once the glue dried, I covered each styrofoam ball with a second coat of ModPodge to seal it and give it a nice glossy shine.

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I scored this gorgeous vintage walnut bowl at Goodwill for $2! After a good cleaning with Dawn and Murphy’s Oil it looked brand new, and perfect for my decorative spheres.

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I’m glad the glue didn’t remove the ink on the postage stamps. I think its pretty cool that you can see what year they were mailed. Believe it or not, I still have stamps leftover. They are way too cool to just throw out so I have to come up with something. Any suggestions are welcome!

 

Unplugged

It’s finally happening! I’m getting cable and internet installed this weekend. Yes, you read that correctly. I haven’t had cable or internet for the past year. All my friends had the same reaction…OMG, how do you live?!

No longer will I have to fight for a table at the local coffeehouse. I can blog whenever I want, instead of furiously typing between loads of laundry at my parent’s house. LOL, I don’t have a washer/dryer either. Also on the list, but one thing at a time folks.

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You might be wondering, why did it take so long? Attempting to have cable and internet installed in a house that has never had it is an interesting process. It took a good two and a half months to clear up the confusion with the cable company.

Cable Company: Your address doesn’t exist in our system or map. Are you in a new development?

Me: No, it’s just a really old house that has never had service. Ever.

Cable Company: Really? Wow, well it will take several days to register your address in our system. Call back to schedule service.

I called back several days later to schedule and had the same exact conversation. I did get a little further the third time around as I was able to schedule an installment date. This was promptly cancelled one week later because my address doesn’t exist in the system. *sigh*

I eventually gave up calling and physically went to the cable company store to clear things up. I thought maybe, just maybe I would get better service in person. No such luck. It took another month of my following up with the store manager to FINALLY get my address registered and schedule an installment date.

I had the cable professionally pre-wired throughout the house, so all the cable company has to do is bring the wires from the pole into the house. Fingers crossed I’ll be on the couch binge watching Real Housewives episodes by this time tomorrow.

DIY: How to Paint Furniture

Since I started blogging and posting projects on Instagram, I’ve gotten tons of questions about restoring and painting furniture. I found the majority who ask about it think it’s a daunting task. I decided to do a tutorial on how to paint furniture. Anyone can do it!

I found this wooden filing cabinet at my local Restore for the low cost of $15. It was perfect for my office! Overall, it was in good condition but showed signs of wear and tear. Nothing a little sanding and paint can’t fix.

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Painting Supplies:

Fine Grit Sandpaper
Paint Brush
Foam Roller
Tray Liner
Primer
Paint
Paint Stirrer (home improvement stores give these out for free)
Drop cloth

Home Depot sells paint kits, which are relatively cheap and great for those who are just starting to paint.

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Step One: Remove all hardware and clean furniture

Using the appropriate tool, remove all hardware from the piece. This is also helpful since I’m going to spray it gold to match the rest of hardware in the office.

Next, take a tack cloth and wipe down the piece. If the furniture has been sitting in a damp garage or dirty basement it probably has dust and dirt on it. You don’t want to paint this grime into your furniture.

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Step Two: Sanding

Lightly sand the piece using fine grit sandpaper. A light sanding should suffice. This will ensure the paint has a surface to adhere to. Wipe down again.

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Step Three: Prime

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Priming your piece helps seal the grain of the wood so the finished coat goes on evenly. This also ensures that the wood color does not bleed through the finished coat.

Pour the paint into the tray liner, and using a roller, prime the piece. A roller is quicker, plus you won’t see brush strokes.

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For cutting in corners or edges, use a paint brush to paint instead of a roller.

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Make sure the paint does not pile up in the corners and edges of the piece. Using your brush, feather out the paint. It can be easy to miss. If you notice it after the paint has dried no need to panic. Just sand it down using the sandpaper. I always check my edges and corners prior to painting the final coat. Nothing ruins the professional look of a piece like globs of paint in the corners.

Step Four: Repeat Step Three Using the Finished Coat

Once the furniture has been sanded and primed repeat step three, but using the finished paint color instead of primer. Repeat as necessary if the wood color continues to bleed through.

Step Five: Re-install Hardware

Before I re-installed the hardware I sprayed it gold to match the rest in the office.

Step Six: Enjoy Beautiful New Piece, With Money Saved Buy More DIY Projects

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One Year!

I can’t believe it, but it has been one year since I started my blog and renovations on the house! Looking back on some of my first posts I can’t help but laugh and wonder, WTF was I thinking?! If you’re new to the blog and want to read about renovations from the very beginning, check out my first post here. Truth be told, I would totally do it again. To celebrate I’m doing a (long overdue) room reveal post!

The spare bedroom on the second floor wasn’t in bad shape. The walls had some cracks and it was filled with clutter, but nothing a little patching, paint and clean up couldn’t fix. I decided to paint it the same color as the rest of the house, Pearly White.

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The real challenge was furnishing and decorating it with what was left behind in the house. I didn’t want to splurge on new furniture, and decided I would just have to make do with what I had.

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I moved a dresser, vanity, end table and bed I found from the master bedroom into the spare. The brown tones looked old and dated, and the vanity had some damage. I decided to paint the furniture black to make the room cohesive and update the look. Check out the before/after blog post for the dresser and vanity.

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Cleaning the room out and giving it a fresh coat of paint alone made a world of difference. It was fun, although challenging, to use only items I had left over to decorate.

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The former owner loved her linens, and had several boxes. The Matelasse bed cover was absolutely beautiful and I decided to use it in the spare bedroom (after a good wash and bleach of course).

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I noticed using vinyl records and albums as wall decor has made a comeback recently. In the basement, I found vinyl records dating as early as 1903 that I thought would look great hanging above the dresser.

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I found an old mirror in the third floor closet, which got a coat of black paint as well. It’s the perfect size for above the vanity.

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Now that the spare bedroom is complete, its time to move on to the final room on the second floor, the office!

Outdoor Patio Upgrade Under $20

The weather has finally started to get warm in Baltimore! I’ve been spending time walking around the neighborhood admiring neighbor’s landscaping and flowers, hoping to get ideas for my garden. I also checked out the Maryland Home and Garden show, and visited the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. Cool place, stop by and check it out!

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I can’t believe it, but it’s coming up on a year since I purchased this house! Last year I was dealing with termites, cleaning out the place and focusing on renovations so I could move in. This year my focus is on my front yard and garden.

Last weekend I pulled out my wicker patio set from the basement and put it out on the porch. I had purchased the set at a yard sale and painted it white. This was six years ago. It looked sad, dingy and needed an upgrade.

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I decided to paint it black. It would look great against the brick! If you ever decide to paint wicker furniture use spray paint. Yes, you may have to purchase several cans to complete the job, but painting it with a brush takes forever! I made this mistake when I painted the wicker white and it took several weeks and multiple coats. Spray painting it black…one afternoon. Learn from my mistake.

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The green cushions were replaced with a black set I had gotten from Pier One. I also planted some flowers that my wonderful co-worker gave me from her garden. Thanks Amy! My patio looks so much better, and all for the low cost of $18.75!