{create} diy paper mache tray

Happy friday friends! Well, this week sort kicked my behind -- sooooo busy! So today I thought I'd share with you a quick DIY using paper mache! Did you ever do crafts with paper mache when you were a kid? I remember making this paper mache bead necklace when I was younger. It was all bright colored and crazy. I sort of wish I still had it :).

Last week when I set up my Thanksgiving table, I created a paper mache tray to use as a centerpiece. It's one of those great items that I can see traveling around our house. It was gorgeous as the centerpiece, above, and it looks great on our mantle, top photo.

I think it would also make a great corral for keys, phones, etc.

Paper mache is pretty much impossible to mess up, but above is a photo step-by-step. I started with a piece of wood, lots of newspaper and modge podge. I wrapped the wood with foil, because I was worried about the modge podge sticking to the wood and it worked great. The foil separated from the newspaper perfectly. Then I cut up strips of newspaper and started gluing them layer by layer to the foil-wrapped wood. I glued the first layer, let it dry for about 15 minutes and then kept adding layers until I was happy. I think I ended up with about 10. I let it dry overnight and then popped it off the wood. I trimmed the sides with scissors and painted the inside gold and the outside blue. Done! :)

I love quick, easy and inexpensive diy projects, don't you? :)

Have you ever created something with paper mache?

Have a great weekend friends!

**Update! I'm linking this post up to Beneath My Heart's November link party! 


{renovate} maximizing pantry space

Friends, let's talk about food storage today. Also known as .... the kitchen pantry. We finally have one! Let me preface this whole post with a renovation warning: we didn't quite think this through before we started. We KNEW we were going to lose some storage and we talked in the abstract about making better use of our hall closet, but it wasn't until we wanted to move all the food out of the living room (ahem) that we realized we had no where to put it. Cue confused frowny faces.

First, let's take a look at what we started with. On the left was our previous pantry. It was technically a built-in-turned-pantry, but it worked well. I cleaned it up and painted it a couple years ago. On the right is that same space now. That new wall? It's the back of our built-in oven. I think we'll still put small (tiny!) shelves back in for books, but for the most part this space is unusable -- well except for storing coconut water, popcorn and crackers. You know, the essentials :).

Next let's take a look at the most poorly used space in our entire house. You know how when you read articles/blog posts about small spaces the main piece of advice is to MAXIMIZE your space? Well friends, we live in a small space and the above photos are a prime example of NOT maximizing our space. A generously-sized hall closet - directly across from our old pantry - that was mostly used as paper bag and vacuum storage. (Oh and this space is the most awkward space in the house to photograph -- sorry for the weird angles throughout the post!)

And mop and aprons. :) Clearly, there is a reason that this space hasn't been featured here before! But we knew it was the perfect space for a new pantry. Since Chris was really busy with kitchen stuff I couldn't really help with - like, wiring - so I thought I'd "help" by clearing out the closet, painting it and getting it ready to add shelves.

Except THIS mess was what I came across when I cleared it all out. Old, crumbly lath and plaster.
Want to see a close up of that hot mess?

Boom. Chris had some choice words about my "helping," when I broke it to him that I actually needed his help :). Because we had three choices: 1. patch (ugh). 2. demo and sheetrock (ugh). 3. cover up that big ugly mess (hmmm).

Choice 3 won! So, we covered thethaff with beadboard, painted and hung new shelves. I went with the same white/cream as all our house trim (Miller Paint: Whip). It looks a tiny bit yellow in these photos, but that's because I had construction lights blaring at it. Because the closet doesn't actually have a light, so I wanted the space to be as light and bright as possible. The closet floor was painted the same color as the kitchen floor. The shelves are a closet kit from Lowe's. It was so easy -- we brought in our measurements and they cut the shelving to length on site.

And friends, it's like a whole new world! Those people who say you should maximize your space in a small house weren't kidding -- it makes such a difference!

All our food fits, with room to spare (!).

All our small appliances! Our vacuum and mop were moved downstairs with our other cleaning supplies. Our paper bags still have a home in the new space :).

While I was painting the whole thing (by the way, I still have paint in my hair -- a week later!), I decided to add a chalkboard to the inside of the door. I had some chalkboard paint on hand already and it'll be a great spot to make a note when we run out of something.

The whole process was so quick. It took us about 6 hours to remove everything, hang beadboard and hang the shelves. So you know, quick in the grande scheme of the whole kitchen remodel! And, it allowed me to take back my living room! YAH! It's the little things.

Friends, have any of you retrofitted a badly organized closet? Any fun pantry makeovers? Are any of you not maximizing your small spaces?? :)


{celebrate!} post no. 500 and a giveaway

The timing of this post could not have been more perfect. My 500th post happens to fall just after Thanksgiving -- giving me a most serendipitous chance to thank YOU, my readers and friends. 

I started this blog on June 12, 2008. I was 3 months from getting married and moving into the adorable bungalow we live in today, except at that time is was not-so-adorable. I'd discovered blogs like Design Sponge and Decor8 while hunting online for wedding ideas and was immediately hooked. On a whim I decided I wanted to create my own blog. I thought it would be the perfect way to keep us accountable for all the house projects we needed to do -- and as you all know by now, that list was long!

After a couple years of posting every once in a while and not really putting myself out there at all, in October 2010 I decided to create a posting schedule and really jump in with two feet. From there I haven't looked back. I put myself out there and people started visiting here and I've been so thankful for the wonderful online community I've found myself in since then. Thankful for YOU. For those of you who visit each day and leave comments -- you make my day, you challenge me and you inspire me. For those of you who visit each day, even if you don't comment -- I know you're here and thank you for visiting :). For all my friends online whose blogs I visit each day -- thank you for continually inspiring me to create a gorgeous and welcoming home. Each one of you brighten my days and endlessly inspire me.

I thought it'd be fun today, on my 500th post, to take a look back at some of the more memorable projects here at A Home in the Making and if you keep scrolling, I also have a fun thank you gift at the end. 

Most monumental project: Painting the fireplace

 You thought I'd say kitchen, right?? :) I actually chose the fireplace because it was a huge undertaking to convince Chris that painting the brick would be okay. It felt like a really big hurdle for us as a newly married couple. He wanted to trust me, but this was his house and I came in and wanted to make some really big changes. He was really against painting the fireplace, but once it was done he LOVED it, and started trusting me when I was making what seemed like wild and crazy suggestions.

Most proud of: Kitchen

You knew it would be here somewhere! Even if it isn't done, it's by far our biggest undertaking and I already love it so much. I'm so proud of not only how well it's turning out, but how well Chris and I've worked together as a team to get it done.

Biggest surprise for my husband: Stripey hallway

Remember how, just two paragraphs above, I said I had to talk my husband into a project? Well, somewhere along the way I just started taking on my crazier ideas when he was out of town. The striped hallway was one of these -- he came home from a long weekend away to quite a change :).

Best learning experience: DIY refinishing of the hardwoods

Tedious and messy? Yes. But a great learning experience and the result is amazing.

Favorite DIY project: Capiz shell pendant

I still am so happy I made this. The impact it makes in our little dining nook is amazing. It completely elevates the space to something special, rather than just an extension of the kitchen. Which is what it really is!

As a thank you to all of you for sticking by me during the good, the bad and the sometimes very ugly of projects, I wanted to do a give away! If you've been reading for awhile you know that I only do give aways once a year -- in December as a thank you/happy holidays. So this year, I have a fun give away as a thank you/happy 500th/happy holidays! So, in both the spirit of the season, and to THANK YOU awesome readers and friends (!), I have a little gift to give away: a $50 gift card to West Elm*.

So, the rules:
What: A $50 Giftcard to West Elm
How to enter: Please leave a comment on this post and your email info, and let me know:  
What is your favorite holiday song?? 
When: I will announce a winner next Wednesday, the 5th. 

Happy Monday friends! 

*West Elm has NO idea who I am and is not sponsoring this post. I'm just doing this because I like you all!


{inspired} Italian painted ceilings

So you know how painted ceilings are sort of a thing these days? I thought you guys would like to take a peak at how painted ceiling were done in homes 300 years ago. The last week I was in Italy, I stayed with a friend who lives in a beautiful 300-year-old building. The ceilings? Were Ah-maze-ing. Let's take a look.

Above is the entry way. From the front door, you walk into the pink/coral entry way area. The right is the ceiling detail. Gorgeous right? Oh, and on a side note, do you see the french doors that lead into the living room? There were a lot of amazing architectural details in this place too.

And here is the living room. Also? My friend is from Turkey and brought that amazing blue lamp back from an Istanbul market. I need one - it was beautiful :). The down side to the ceiling, although they're amazing, is that my friend was having a really hard time decorating around them because they are so bold. For example, she loves the blue light, but felt like it clashed with the ceiling. So while I was drooling over them, I do agree that they're a bit of a commitment!

Here is the design over the bedrooms. Please disregard the mess that was my bed :). I LOVED the yellow above this room. And, the high ceilings? Swoon!

I thought this was interesting. Because the ceilings are so old, they're protected by a historical code, so builders/remodelers can't hurt them. So instead of walls reaching to the ceiling, they separated a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom with these glass partitions. They are high enough that you can't look through them, and they preserve the ceiling and the view. Interesting!

So while they are incredibly bold, I would LOVE to design a room around them. I can just imagine making the ceiling the focal point and bringing other shapes and patterns to compliment them. Maybe I'll work up a mood board one of these days :).

Friends, on a completely different note, I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! How do you celebrate? Dinner with family? Friends? We'll be joining my mom's side of the family for a huge dinner -- I'm super excited! Enjoy!!


{inspired} fall color palettes

Happy Monday all!

Today I think it's time for a look at some fall color palettes! For those of you who don't know, each season I take a look at an outfit I'm loving and translate that outfit's color palette into a comfortable and stylish room. Fall color palettes are by far my favorite -- I love both fall outfits choices and the rich amazing color schemes. Let's take a look.

Fall Color Palette #1

Fall Color Palette #2

So, tell me, which look is your favorite of the two? I am such a big fan of orange and navy, buuuuut, in this case I think I have to pick #1. I really love the color blocked sweater dress! :)


{create} custom painted plates

As you all saw Wednesday, I created custom painted dessert plates for my Thanksgiving Table. Today, I'm back with quick and easy directions for creating your own painted plates! Painted plates are a super easy way to dress up a table and add a splash of color if you have all white dishes - like me! :)

The goal of these plates was to create a layered, textural and colorful look. I wanted them to be something I could use year round and that would feel special for desserts or appetizers.

With that in mind, I started with four white dessert plates (from the Dollar Store!) and a gold paint pen. I freehanded a different design onto each and let them all dry.

I found these great stencils at Michael's -- they're Martha Stewart adhesive silkscreen stencils and they were FANTASTIC for working with the curves of the plate. (I was going to link to them, but Michael's website is seriously impossible to navigate (AKA, I'm lazy!), but they're easy to find in the store). The silkscreen means there isn't an actual cut out where the stencil is, but a million tiny little dots that the paint goes through. You can't tell their dots on the finished project and it made stenciling practically fool proof.

The colors, which went along with my Thanksgiving inspiration and nicely tie into colors I use all year-round, were Martha's Green Olive and Wild Blueberry. Make sure you're using paint that cures onto glass and can be washed later! The key to painting, as with all stencils, is to not overload the paintbrush. Or, in this case the foam blotter :). I tried both a brush and foam and the foam worked so much better -- I think because of the silkscreen. You can see in the photo on the left that I dabbed off a lot of paint before I ever touched the stencil.

Here's the first round of stenciling. I applied a stencil or two per plate, let them dry for a hour, and then came back and to do another layer on each plate. The project will stretch out over a day, but applying each layer is so quick that it doesn't feel time consuming.

And these are the four finished plates. Each plate has about three or four layers. I just kept going until they felt done to me, which in this case was layered and textural, but not too busy.

And see? They display dessert nicely ... as if macarons ever look bad ;).

Friends, have you ever painted glass before? Or any sort of dishes? It's a great easy weekend project if you're looking to spice up your Thanksgiving table!

Have a great weekend all!

**Update! I'm linking this post up to Beneath My Heart's November link party!


{create} a colorful thanksgiving table

First of all, thank you all for your sweet comments about my kitchen! We're getting there and it's been so much fun to share the process with all of you.

That said, I'm sick of working on my kitchen! I've been in such a creative funk the last few months -- there's been tons of change in our lives and with all the kitchen work, well? A little funky :). But that all changed this weekend. I had a tiny spark of creativity - that I hope is here to stay - in the form of a Thanksgiving table! Clearly, we're not hosting Thanksgiving again this year, but I still wanted to play around with how I would set a table if we were. The bonus? Chris and I've eaten at the table a couple times since, which is a really nice change from the couch. (I know, I know. All excuses point to the kitchen remodel ;).

My inspiration was the blue, citron, gold and wood color scheme that I posted about last week. From there I set about layering textures and colors to create a table that is simple, but special, warm and inviting.

 I love the citron stripes with the gold and white.

And, that herringbone is one of my most favorite fabrics ever.

Because the color scheme isn't exactly "traditional," I created a simple centerpiece filled with seasonally appropriate pears and acorns :).

I also whipped up that sweet little tray that contains the centerpiece. See, I told you I was feeling creative! I'll post a tutorial soon.

And speaking of crafty, I also made the colorful salad plates. I LOVE that our dishes are a beautiful, simple cream color, but sometimes I just want a little extra oomph on the table. I wanted to create salad plates that were colorful, botanical and a little funky. Tutorial on this coming up soon too! :)

This whole exercise makes me want to host Thanksgiving again. But, I have a feeling once the kitchen is done we'll be hosting a lot of dinners :).


{renovate} copper counters, kitchen lights and more

Happy Monday friends! I thought today you'd like to see an update on our kitchen! Things are moving right along and I have a few fun updates to share, including ... copper countertops! :) Let's start there.

Copper countertop

I think copper counters were the biggest disagreement between Chris and I when we were planning the kitchen. He fought HARD for them. I thought they were taking too big of a risk. But Chris rarely fights that hard for anything when it comes to design decisions, so I agreed knowing we could switch it out later if we I hated it.

Guess what friends ... Chris was right. (Shhh. Don't tell him ;). The copper counter is gorgeous! I love it, he loves it .... we're all very full of love over here ;). But seriously, as we talked about recently, being brave and taking a risk really paid off here. The copper is shiny ... but not obnoxiously. It's more like a lovely gleam that makes the rest of the kitchen glow. And it adds a rich depth that the room was definitely missing.

As for keeping it clean? We decided before we ordered it that we weren't going to tiptoe around the copper. Yes, it is going to tarnish if we use it. In our minds, this adds character. I did buy a copper cleaner though, and tried it out before I took these photos. It sort of reinvigorates the copper, but still leaves a tiny bit of tarnish, which I think I like. I can see myself using the copper cleaner once a week-every two weeks just to keep the tarnish a little under control and keep it from getting too dull :).

Kitchen lights

Maybe you noticed? We installed our lights! And wow, what a difference that has made. For two reasons.

The first reason is obvious .... they add so much character to the space! All the lights are from Schoolhouse Electric (I have ALWAYS wanted lights from there. They are completely worth the wait and cost :). The pendant fixtures are the Harding, with a 4" fitter in polished nickel. The shades don't have a name, but are here. I absolutely love their curviness. It's a nice shape against the very square angles of a kitchen.

The second reason these made such a huge difference is because of the light bulbs. We purchase Edison Marconi bulb to go in each of the fixtures because we like how they look. But the light they let off is amazing and was such an added bonus. So warm and comforting ... it really is the most perfect light. I want to switch out all the lights in our house now :).

Over the sink, we installed the satellite sconce, in polished nickel, with an edison light and metal cage "shade". I'm already itching to paint the cage -- stay tuned :).

And, I'm more excited about this than I rationally should be -- Chris installed dimmers! The can lights now dim, as well as the light in the nook (you know, for whenever we reinstall it;). YAH! 

Island backer

The other thing you probably noticed is that we painted the back of the island. I wanted to mix it up a little -- remember my goal is to not have this kitchen look too "IKEA" -- so we installed beadboard as the island backer instead of the out-of-the-box IKEA cabinet backer. 

Painted the same dark grey as the floor, it compliments the copper so well and just creates this moody, warm look that I'm loving.

What's next?

Friends, the space is starting to FINALLY come together and I'm getting so excited to have it finished. It's at that point where I can see all are hard work and planning paying off and I can see all the design decisions working together to create a space that I know we're truly going to love. Clearly, we still don't have a stove -- the electrician is coming this week to hook up the stove and dishwasher. After that we'll install trim and the tile backsplash. And then we're done! See close? I have no idea how these last few things will go with the holidays coming up, but I know that after the stove is installed, we're going to move back into the kitchen and work on the trim and backsplash when we can. Keep your fingers crossed for us friends, that we'll get it done sooner, rather than later!