Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Decking My Halls - Part 1

I am busy decorating for Christmas (still not done).  It is taking a lot of time since I am only able to do a little each day.  Rather than waiting until it's done to blog about it all - I'll post little by little just as it is going up!

So come on in!

Ballard designs has this beautiful picture of a home at christmas time with garlands lining the arches and I was inspired!

I have been on the lookout for a nice fake garland that is simple but real looking.  When I saw that Costco sells 25' of live garland for just $14.99 I flipped.  It smells and looks wonderful!!!  There is nothing that gets me more excited than beautiful cheap decor!

 Each arch took about 20 feet of garland and I cut off the remaining 5 ft to use on my stair banister.  So for $30 I got two large arches and my stair banister covered in beautiful live garland - what a deal!

This is how I hung the garland - those are command hooks lining the arch (six hooks for each arch).

Here is the entryway bench looking festive with a couple Christmas pillows added to the mix.

Here is the banister.  Ignore the droppings on the carpet - I should have vacummed BEFORE the picture!

You may be able to tell that the garland on the left is fuller than the garland on the right.  I only bought one garland from costco last week to try it out then went to the store again yesterday to buy the second one.  So obviously there has been some significant shrinkage and drying out in just one week.   :(    I am now misting the garland with water every couple days in hopes that it will last until Christmas.  I'll let you know my verdict at the end of the season - I may be searching for fake once again!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Barstool Saga Continues

My barstools were such a dissapointment that some friends encouraged me to try to return them to Overstock.  The quality is obviously not good since these chairs have only had 30 days of use and already look like this.

I called Overstock and they were happy to help me out and I am able to return them!!!! I am so impressed with their company now - their customer service really was great.  I will definitely work with them again on other purchases.

As far as new barstools, I decided to try these ones from Target.  Mainly because they have a 90 day return policy (unlike overstock's which is just 30 days).  And they are easy to return since I can just return them to a store if needed.  So these ones are on the way.
The backs are not as tall which I am sad about but I couldn't find any other white leather chairs with a high back.  This time I will be leaving these chairs unpainted for at least a 90 day period to test the quality of the chairs.  If they pass the 90 day test I will then be investing my time and painting these ones (same paint and pattern as last time).  I think this time I will not be using the acrylic finisher and test how the paint holds up on it's own.  Hopefully the results on these ones will go a lot better!  By Valentines I'll let you all know - Ha Ha!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Even More Painted Leather Barstools!



This particular stencil comes from olive leaf stencils.  I love the look of this stencil - but I'm not going to lie, it took about 3 times as long to do these barstools as it did to do mine (click here to see).  This pattern is a little busier than mine and each of the lines are thicker so both of those things meant that this was a much bigger project.  They probably took about 15 hrs. to complete.  The paint is once again from and the color we used is called "avocado green."

These chairs did not come apart so I had to stencil them "as is" which was also a little bit more tricky.  Once again I lightly sanded the chairs first so the paint would grip a little better.  I tried using a foam roller brush this time but went back to my good old "spouncer" because I found I had better control and the paint seemed to get a little better coverage with the spouncer.  The areas of the stencil that bled cleaned up fine with a wet wipe.

And here they are at "home" in my brother Eric's kitchen.

I'm biased but I think they turned out Beautifully and that they look great in their kitchen!

Once again a worry free solution to dining in style!
To see all my painted leather chair posts click here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!


I touched up my red painted chairs with some white paint so there aren't pink smudges everywhere.  The white paint is not an exact match to the white leather however I still think it is an improvement!  The stencil job looks a lot cleaner and better now.


I don't recommend the quality of these overstock chairs.  I gave them a great review on the website and can no longer change that review so I am giving you the real review here!  Only one month of use and the cushion on the chair looks pretty sad!  You can paint lots of different kinds of leather chairs so just find ones that are better quality than these bad boys! 


The "Acrylic Finisher" product from that I put on the chairs is rubbing off in areas on the seat and looks pretty ugly.  I am not too pleased with this finish product.  I like the idea of putting something on the chairs to protect the paint but can it really be protecting it if it comes off easier than the paint?  It also seems to make the little lint hairs from my boys jeans stick to the seats so I am constantly wiping them off and my wash cloth is covered in blue lint - yuck!  I don't know exactly what to recommend to anyone doing this project but maybe you could try a leather conditioner instead?  Or maybe only 1 or 2 very light coats instead of the 4 that I put on these chairs.  The paint itself is holding up great - I have even used a magic eraser on the chairs to clean them and the paint was not bothered by that at all!  I almost wonder if you could get away with no finish product?

Thankfully they still look great from the back, the paint is holding up well, and the ugly parts of the chair are hidden under the countertop!

Just wanted to pass on these tips for anyone else attempting this project!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Built-in Shelf Lighting

I love our new built-in shelf in the kitchen nook, but I felt like it created a bit of a dark cave.  I figured out how to easily add lighting (without calling an electrician).  Here's how:

I went to Home depot and found a these plug in puck lights.  A pack of 3 was $20.  It also came with an extension cord which was nice since I needed one for this project.  

Using a power drill with the pictured attachment I drilled a large hole in the wall at the top of the shelf.  Don't worry you can't see the hole since it is so high up.

Then I fed the extension cord into the hole and down the inside of the wall.

I placed the puck lights in front of the window like so, again you can't see any of this from below.

Next I drilled a hole in the wall near the electrical outlet and fished the plug out, then plugged it in!  I plan to get a timer as well so I don't ever have to reach back there to plug it in or take it out.  That way the lights will come on all by themselves.  The hole is conveniently covered by my secretary desk (which now can never move out of this nook!).  I figure in the event that we ever sell this house the secretary desk will just stay with the house.

And That's IT!  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Painted Leather Chairs!

I don't know if anyone else is interested in seeing more, but my sister was!  These are her chairs that she has owned for a while (she got them on clearance a few years ago for just $20!).  She was excited to give them an update especially when she realized the stencil and paint possibilities for leather!

Same basic process as before - you can read my detailed painting and stenciling instructions in this post.  The stencil is from Cutting Edge Stencils.  It's called the "Zinnia Grande Flower Stencil,"  we used the x-small and small size stencils for these chairs.  The paint is once again from and is called angelus paint (made specifically for leather).  These chairs are not real leather but the paint works well on whatever the imitation may be!  The colors we used were mustard (since I already had that on hand) and  a custom "rust red" color (made by mixing cognac color with scarlet red).  The paint colors didn't give me any problems - mistakes wiped up pretty easily (YEAH!).

 After doing a few stenciled flowers my sister commented that she was pretty surprised by how easy the process really is - she said that after seeing my blog post when I did my barstools she thought it looked pretty complicated - but it's not!  Really!  For the smaller flower I used a sponge "spouncer" stenciling brush and for the large flower stencil I tried out a sponge roller - both ways worked great.   Again the trick to stenciling is in using very little paint!

We even stenciled the backs!

 And here they are in her Living Room!  The colors and pattern tie in great!

If you want more detailed instructions for stenciling leather chairs remember to check out this post.

*If your not sick of painted chairs - there will be another set of barstools done soon for my brother's house.  A whole new stencil and color so I'm excited!  *UPDATE* (click here to see how my brother's chairs turned out and all my painted leather barstool posts)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Living Room Lighting

I'm slowly replacing the "builder grade" lights throughout my house with nice chandeliers and I am loving the one that I just hung in my Living Room.  It adds such a great amount of sparkle and glam without being over the top.  I also like that it adds a little separation and distinction to the 
piano side of the Living Room.  I purchased a celling hook so that I could swag the chandelier a little closer to the piano.  They sell these hooks at home depot near the other chandelier parts.

I purchased the chandelier (on the left) from ($175) and is a pretty good knock off of the $400 pottery barn chandelier on the right.  You have to attach all the glass parts yourself - but that's worth the price difference in my book!

Here it is both turned on and off so you can see it both ways. 

Although it's a slow process - my house is transforming!