Decor Ideas for Spring 2015!

Decor Ideas for Spring 2015!

Winter is finally coming to a close, which means that spring has almost sprung. It’s time for greenery and new growth, for spring cleaning and organization, for putting away the heavy coats and boots in exchange for light jackets and color. Spring is also an opportunity to refresh your home with seasonal decor, incorporating the energy and preparing for a season of new beginnings. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can give your home that fresh spring look. Check out these design ideas that bring spring to the indoors.

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Adventures in Decorating...

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"The painters are like magicians!" I concur, Big Brother!  They are indeed!  And these magicians transformed our house with a wave of their magic brushes.  The morning we closed on our new home, Bo and Ramon were already waiting on the front porch, ready to tackle this big job of painting... everything.

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It is always said that "the easiest way to makeover a room is with paint".  True. In theory.  Not so much when there is more pine in a home than there are walls.

Before

Baby Girl and I had a blast putting together our and color pallet.  I'm not so sure the painters were quite as thrilled when they saw my design board.

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The Brothers and I smoothed things over with weekly treats; Jimmy Johns, homemade cookies, and my Dad often stopped by with surprises for the contractors too!  They were, after all, magicians.   First, they began by sanding every inch of trim, door, cabinet, mule post, hand rail, you get the idea.  We pulled up the old 1986 carpet to help speed the process.  Then came primer, and then the paint.

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The Brothers and Baby Girl and I came to the house every day to marvel at the progress.  And little by little the pieces of cocoon fell away, and the transformation was revealed.

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And then... I became obsessed with painting anything I could get my hands on.  Brick, air vents, old vases, brass, even bar stools from Target weren't safe.  I was often seen aimlessly wandering the house with a can of Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze in my hand, hunting for my next victim.

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The kids had fun new activities, like... sanding and priming.

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A little leftover paint and some fun distressing transformed these $15 Target bar stools...

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Then I locked myself in the pantry to paint it.  Literally.  They were installing carpet and kept walking by with roll after roll of materials.  So, I spent my afternoon in a tiny little closet full of sticky August air and paint fumes.  Totally healthy, I'm sure.

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It was a whirlwind summer!  We would actually grow bored if we weren't expecting the carpenter, plumber, electrician, carpet guys, granite guys, painters, or anyone from Lowes.  It was quite the adventure.  Common things heard echoing through these halls... "How are we going to fit the oven in? We are going to have to cut that granite!"

"Why are you closing the garage door on the minivan?"

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"How many men does it take to move a concrete block onto a trailer?"

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"Ummmm, why doesn't the dryer even turn on?  It's brand new right?"

"You expect me to poop in this bathroom?  There isn't even a door!  What kind of house did you and Daddy buy?"

Never dull.  Always fun!  And, always an adventure in progress...

Before and After... The Fireplace

When you picture a brick fireplace, one likes to envision a roaring fire, a cozy hearth, stockings awaiting St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve. "That fireplace looks like poop."

Ok.  So not that.

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Well, that was just a 3 year old's opinion.  Having not had the pleasure to experience the home styling circus that was the 80's, you can't really blame him for his comment.  The fireplace itself is not bad at all.  With a little vision, and a few supplies... it can time travel to the present day!

Mission:  Whitewash the brick

Supplies:  White paint, water, bucket, paintbrush, rags, baby wipes(best for fixing an oops), painter's tape(if you're messy), sponge, paint stick, cold beer(optional).

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Time to Completion:  2 hours

Step 1 - Dilute paint with water.  I used Benjamin Moore's White Dove which was our enamel color.  I used a 2/3 paint, 1/3 water mixture.  This can be adjusted depending on what kind of coverage you would like.  All brick is different and will absorb much of the paint.  Please test a portion of the brick before you go crazy painting!  You can always add more coats of the paint solution, but you can't go back.

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Step 2 - Brush the white wash solution on the clean brick.  Since the solution will absorb quickly, I worked with about a 4-6 brick section at a time.  Brush over the mortar in each section first, then lightly paint over each brick.

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Step 3 - "Wash" the brick.  Use a damp paint rag or old T-shirt to wash over the bricks until you reach the white wash look you desire.

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Step 4 - Repeat Steps 2 & 3 until you are done.  You may choose to do additional coats.

  • Use more water or less solution to achieve a more "rustic" look.  Or apply heavier solution sporadically in sections to achieve a more weathered appearance.
  • You can color-wash too!  It doesn't have to be a white wash.  Grey looks amazing, light green tones, you name it!  Just be cognizant of your brick tone when choosing a color-wash.

So, now the AFTER...

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And, the happily ever after...

Before

Before

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Decorating For St. Patrick's Day

Top 'O the Mornin!  St. Patrick's Day is highly celebrated and under-decorated.  Growing up in an Irish family, I have always loved March 17 for its tradition, fun, beer, and c'mon, everyone looks great in green! Here are some of my favorite simple decorating ideas for St. Paddy's Day...

Pin up St. Patrick's Day cards, pins, and  kids' artwork!

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A few assorted beer glasses with green water and a floating candle make an easy and inexpensive display..

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St. Patrick's Day in a ball jar!  Fill a jar with gold coins and cute green hats(available at Michaels)

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SPD3

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SPD4

Festive signs from the $1 section at Target on the front door...

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No St. Paddy's Day is complete without some real beer...in a cupcake!  This recipe is delicious and leaves some leftover Guinness that just can't be wasted.  I found this on www.partypeopleblog.com last year and have promised my son that my fingers will not get caught in the mixer again this time.  That was before I drank the Guinness BTW.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Icing

-For the Cupcakes-

1 bottle Guinness

1 cup(2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

Baking Temperature:  350 degrees

Baking Time:  17 minutes

Makes 24 Yummy Cupcakes

1.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

2.  Bring Guinness and butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly

4.  Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in a large bowl.

5.  Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined.

6.  Add flour mixture and beat on slow speed.

7.  Fold batter until completely combined.

8.  Fill cupcake liners, 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack before icing.

-For the Frosting-

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

1 tablespoon milk

1.  Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy.

2.  Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well (about 2 minutes) after each cup until a good consistency is reached.

3.  Add Bailey's and milk until just combined.

Ice, decorate with sprinkles or a shamrock, and enjoy!!!!

Erin Go Braugh!!!

Outdoor Summer Essentials!

Now that Summer is finally here, we try to spend as little time indoors as possible. That means we are coming and going, in and out our back door, constantly. To save ourselves from a pool playdate with no swim trunks or an evening cookout that leaves us looking like we are suffering from leprosy after a mosquito attack, I have a few no-fail solutions.  Well, sometimes I fail.  But, for the most part we leave home and return in one piece.  I try to keep my summer essentials easily accessible in a shoe organizer inconspicuously hanging on the wall behind the mud room door. SummerOrganizerSummerOrganizer2 Here are the top 10 items to keep close to your back door this summer...

1. Sunscreen

Duh.  2. Bug Spray

BugSpray

This is my favorite.  It is organically derived with a pleasant eucalyptus scent.  It doesn't feel oily or sticky on your skin either.  Available at Whole Foods. 3. Swim Necessities

Keep swim suits rolled up in the shoe organizer and ready-to-go along with swim diapers and sets of clean clothes.

4.  Citronella candles and lighters or matches.

5.  Fireworks

Must include "Whipper Snappers".  I have done extensive research and thus far can report no injuries.  Conclusion - toddlers love whipper snappers. Please be sure an adult is in charge of any fireworks that require a spark.

6.  Glow Sticks

Somehow these never get old.  If they do, cut off the tips and put them in a closed container of water to make glowing lanterns.  Old water bottes work great!

7.  Spray bottles filled with water

Pick up as many as you can from the "dollar section" at Target because they will break. I don't know why spraying concrete, plants, each other is so fun, but it is.

8.  Buckets and paint brushes

Again, I am not sure of the science of why this offers hours of entertainment, but painting the concrete is fun.  Cleaning the driveway is fun.  Painting trees is fun.  Wiping away bird poop is fun.

9.  Money.  Cash money.

You do no want to be caught without a dime when the ice cream truck rolls through your hood.  So stash some dollar dollar bills yo.  I keep some in the shoe organizer, thus I can grab and run to the treat truck! 10. A bag already loaded with snacks

Keep a bag at the back door already loaded with snacks and juice boxes.  Then when you are heading out in a hurry, just grab whatever items you need from your Summer essentials buffet.

Hope you can enjoy a safe, relaxing, and stress-free Summer!  Have fun!

Remote Controls Driving You Crazy?

If your family room is anything like my family room, television remotes outnumber family members.  And they can be as hard to find as a Dad when there is a #2 diaper change in order!  We found a simple way to keep track of our remotes, and have them look as good as a pile of black plastic can! Inexpensive Cute Tray + Remote Control Placement Mandate = Problem Solved!

Remote Tray

Decorating For St. Patrick's Day

Top 'O the Mornin!  St. Patrick's Day is highly celebrated and under-decorated.  Growing up in an Irish family, I have always loved March 17 for its tradition, fun, and c'mon, everyone looks great in green! Here are some of my favorite simple decorating ideas for St. Paddy's Day...

Pin up St. Patrick's Day cards, pins, and  kids' artwork!

20130314-130119.jpg

A few assorted beer glasses with green water and a floating candle make an easy and inexpensive display..

20130314-130301.jpgSPD2

St. Patrick's Day in a ball jar!  Fill a jar with gold coins and cute green hats(available at Michaels)

SPD3SPD4

Festive signs from the $1 section at Target on the front door...

SPD5

No St. Paddy's Day is complete without some real beer...in a cupcake!  This recipe is delicious and leaves some leftover Guinness that just can't be wasted.  I found this on www.partypeopleblog.com last year and have promised my son that my fingers will not get caught in the mixer again this time.  That was before I drank the Guinness BTW.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Icing

-For the Cupcakes-

1 bottle Guinness

1 cup(2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

Baking Temperature:  350 degrees

Baking Time:  17 minutes

Makes 24 Yummy Cupcakes

1.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

2.  Bring Guinness and butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly

4.  Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in a large bowl.

5.  Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined.

6.  Add flour mixture and beat on slow speed.

7.  Fold batter until completely combined.

8.  Fill cupcake liners, 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack before icing.

-For the Frosting-

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

1 tablespoon milk

1.  Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy.

2.  Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well (about 2 minutes) after each cup until a good consistency is reached.

3.  Add Bailey's and milk until just combined.

Ice, decorate with sprinkles or a shamrock, and enjoy!!!!

Erin Go Braugh!!!