December 30, 2013

Favorite projects of 2013 & what is to come in 2014!

I have to say that I am so excited for this next year coming up! We just arrived back from traveling to North Carolina for the holidays and I came back, revived and ready to work! Tonight I wanted to recap on a few of my favorite projects from this past year and later in the week, I will share what my plans are for 2014 and the projects I plan to take on.

Earlier in the year before we even seriously started looking at homes to purchase for ourselves, we were renting out of military housing. I yearned to make it feel less like a house and more like "our home…" I think I achieved that in our time there and looking back at the pictures, I really worked with what I had well… or at least I would say so. It felt much like a home when we left it. We added these lovely rug originally purchased from Target which instantly gave the whole kitchen a new feeling. You can read more about our rental and this kitchen here.


While we lived in our rental, I wanted it to look like ours and more importantly, to look very well maintained and cute of course. We did some small and very inexpensive projects to update the curb appeal in our rental. You can read about those changes here.


We also had our fair share of furniture makeovers, a few repurpose sales and I moved into my space that I share with Lucky Day at the antique mall here locally. So far so good with that… although I have to encourage all of you to come visit more often! SO MANY treasures to be found! Below is a triple mirrored antique dresser. These beauty was drop dead gorgeous. A furniture sale, a month in the garage and no more of its matching paint later, it had a few scratch marks and dings… so I repainted it and sold it to a very dear friend of mine…get this…BRIGHT YELLOW! I love it, it had such personality. This dresser and the entryway table were my favorite furniture projects. You can read about the dresser here. You can read about the entryway table here.





We bought a house! This was definitely the highlight of our year and we are so happy to be homeowners… although we did have a scare a few weeks back with a freak accident leak! You can read all about it here as well as seeing a few sneak peeks into the blank slate...and I'll be sharing my plans for it later this week...


The last project I wanted to share with you that is definitely up there with buying our first home was flipping the outside of this house around! As they say… it went from drab to fab! ALOT of sweat equity and of course doing everything on a budget really satisfied us in the end. Here are a few peeks below of the before and afters of our exterior. You can find our source list and read the whole post including seeing all the pictures and details by clicking here.





I just wanted to say thank you to y'all for all of your continued support. I feel like 2014 will be good to us…or at least I hope. I know for sure we will have more projects, more DIYS and more HOME TOURS finally! Thanks for listening as always and please have a safe and happy new year!

December 17, 2013

Balsam Hill Wreath- How to use a wreath three different ways

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Balsam Hill to review a wreath of my choosing from their company and make a video tutorial on a few ways to decorate/use the wreath. I wanted to quickly show y'all what I did. And currently, I'm a little embarrassed to show the video so for now, just a few pretty photos for you to enjoy tonight! Hopefully I'll be back this week with a post on a few signs!


I choose the 18" battery operated Frasier Fir wreath with white lights. It's super petite and cute and I figured I could use it multiple places each year, just in case I wanted to change my mind.


Up close view. They use a true needle technology so these babies look about as real as they come! But even better… not real. And no mess. Hallelujah!


This was my favorite vignette. I hung the wreath with a 3M command hook on my entryway mirror and layered the look after that with an old, rustic beat up bowl filled with pinecones, signature boxwood, some architectural salvage and a pre-made bow from Kirklands that I bought a few months back…. The mirror I actually found at Ross. One of my best finds there, ever!


I also added the wreath in the bowl and adorned the top with pinecones. This looks especially pretty at night with the lights on. I was challenged to think outside the box while using their wreath and although I'm sure that I could have thought of more ways… I narrowed it down to these traditional ways to keep it simple. I mentioned in the video I did for them that you can shop your own home to also decorate this wreath or any wreath. Ornaments from your tree, small scale photo frame, cotton balls, garland, etc. 

Get creative and remember it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Embrace the "not so perfect." I'm trying to.


-Ally

December 3, 2013

Fisher Price Video- Sponsored Post



This is a sponsored VIDEO/post from Fisher Price and Unruly Media. 
I was compensated for this post and video but all opinions are my own.


'Twas the night before Christmas...and all she wants are Fisher-Price toys. Stay up late with the baby who can't sleep because she's so excited for Santa to come- in an updated Deck the Halls version that lets you see exactly what baby is dreaming of playing with. Isn't the video darling? I have to kind of admit, I'm a little in love with the blonde baby girl in the video. I imagine our child to look the same, wouldn't you? It is just simply one of those "aw" videos that you can't help but watch and smile.


I remember growing up as a child playing with Fisher-Price toys and to this day and since 1930, to be exact, Fisher-Price has been with many children as they grow older, develop and go out into our world. It was 1930 when Herman Fisher, Irving Price and Helen Schelle combined their talents to create a different kind of toy company. With the Great Depression looming, it may not have been the best time to launch a new business but obviously enough, something caught everyone's attention and they are still around today and better than ever.

Did you know that Fisher-Price is one of the world’s top leading manufacturers of babygear and preschool toys,? Fisher-Price believes deeply in the power of innovation and fun to bring out the full potential of the world’s children. They continue to grow around the world, conducting business in 145 countries and producing toys in more than 37 languages. Isn't that amazing? I am thrilled to be apart of this post and honored to write about this company as I have been pleased with their products for many, many years and more, once I have children, I am sure.

Please enjoy the video above and always consider giving Fisher-Price a chance for your child's needs and wants this Christmas. I'm sure that you will not be dissapointed.

XO,
Ally

November 27, 2013

My french chair & One Kings Lane

This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. One Kings Lane contacted me to share their new Resource Guide and I happily obligated without compensation.


Y'all. So, if you have been following around here, you know that I found THE chair that I love so...so...so much. The french inspired chair. Remember her and her gorgeous curves? 









When I purchased this chair, it is obviously that it is a french style with matching ottoman. The things I loved most about this chair was number one, the curves. You don't see them like this anymore. Although my chair is a reproduction, the basic bones of the chair mimic an antique. Did I mention that it's super comfortable? I got it my girl recliner. It's so nice to lay back on the fluffy pillow and stretch my legs out. But less about me relaxing and more about this chair and One Kings Lane.

They wrote me about their new "resource guide" which is Ah-MAZ-ing. You can virtual look up the history of any chair, sofa, ottoman, any other piece of furniture. You can search different styles and learn all about them including when it was originated, where it comes from and the entire history of the era of the piece. Plus, there are also articles on the site on the latest in furniture that is trending, most comfortable chairs and DIY ideas for your furniture! Amazing? See I told you!

Learn about to DIY- Stain proof all of your chairs from One Kings Lane by clicking here.

You can learn the history of the day bed and the chaise lounge by clicking here.

So many wonderful tips to offer and fun photos and facts to scroll through! Thank you One Kings Lane for an awesome Resource page! I am so excited to start using it in my everyday furniture hunts! 

I also wanted to invite all of you to explore One Kings Lane! If you leave your email in the comments below, I can invite you! Then I will receive a $15 if and when you purchase something and guess what, you will too! So leave your email below! But instead of using the @ sign, use {at} so you don't get spam!

You can click here for my personal link!

XO,
Ally



November 26, 2013

How to shop, get a good price and have everything come together

I find that everyone I talk to and meet, I get asked a lot of the same questions. Some of the two most asked questions are probably the following:

"Where do you find all of your treasures?"
"How do you get a good price? How do you haggle or ask for a better price?"

So, I'm going to attempt to break down some of my best advice when it comes to these things. These are strictly my opinions and yours may differ from how I approach certain things such as asking someone for a better price on an item or how I shop. 

This mirror was in our last home, our military housing rental. It was definitely the style I was going for at one time and although I still loved it, I found that it sat in the guest bedroom more than it did hanging on my walls so therefore during the great clean out before we moved, I got rid of it. I actually found this mirror on Craigslist from a lovely woman who lived in Orlando. On a day that I was planning to go to Orlando, I arranged to meet her and got an awesome deal on a very large mirror. 

Here comes the negotiating part of this. This was a very large mirror and from what we both can see, very pretty. I believe in the ad she was asking $75.00. I asked if they could take $50.00 because I didn't want to low ball them but I wanted to pay about $60.00 so I figured she'd meet me in the middle. Friends, there has been VERY few occasions where I have made an offer LESS than half of what someone was asking because I feel like it's almost rude or a slap in the face depending on what the item is that you are negotiating. So here's my #1 for finding a good deal.

1. Be a good, fair, respectful buyer. Just because you want a good deal does not mean that you should low ball someone on something that more than likely they had in their home or loved at one time. Think about someone going to your home and you were selling something your family left to you but no longer had room for it. You posted it for a fair price and expected to come off your price a little bit but someone offered you next to nothing for it. It would probably upset you. This also can pertain to painted furniture, crafts and handmade items. Being a furniture painter myself, I, of course, have gotten people asking me if I will do any better on price or if I will take less. In some cases, I do try to work with people but I will be the first to admit, I have to count to 10 when someone low balls me on a solid wood antique that I know is worth 2-3 times what I am asking but I put fair prices on my furniture and items to keep them always moving. Just please consider someone else's feelings before you try negotiation and ultimately remember what you want to pay and what you think is a fair price.


2. Be a frequent shopper. When I first begin the search for that perfect piece of furniture or item, I go to my usually places; Target, TjMaxx, Ross and Marshalls. I also frequent many thrift stores, Craigslist and online yardsale pages on Facebook. As I am sure some of you are aware, sometimes there are certain thrift stores that don't seem to have much change over time. Check anyways. You never know what you're going to find that is new or just came in for them. It pays to be a frequent customer and you just may develop a great relationship with the employees/owners. Craigslist I usually browse about once a week or more often if I am searching for something in particular. Online yardsales on Facebook are a little more difficult for me because I don't sit on my computer all day to see what everyone is going to post next. Sometimes I get lucky and find something and sometimes I even have friends tag me in things that they think that I would love. Totally appreciative of that by the way! ;-)


3. Go to the clearance first. Every store that I go in, usually chain stores have clearance. That is the first place that I head to. Think outside the box on items and remember that you can repurpose more than just old furniture these days. Sometimes the best things are on clearance for the silliest reasons and something that is easily fixed. I've also learned that it never hurts to ask a manager if an item has a cosmetic flaw such as a well seen scratch etc. if they can give a discount for the item. I've gotten 10% of some many things for tiny scratches and dings so it never hurts to ask! Just remember again, to be respectful and do not just do this for any old item. There clearly has to be a flaw. The photo above of our old chandelier, was on final clearance in Lowes. If I remember correctly, it was only marked for $22.00! AND on top of that, we got an extra 10% because of my hubby serving. Amazing.


This old door I pulled out of the garage behind a grocery store. Amazing. The top I sold as one piece, almost looked like a window. And the bottom panels I cut up and sold each with hooks for the entryway and for baby girls nursery. 


I found this apothecary chest at a local thrift store. I overlooked it the first time walking around. If you know me personally, you know that in every store I usually walk around TWICE because I'm afraid I overlook things the first time. It pays to take a second look. ;-)


This *GORGEOUS* shaker buffet I got off Craigslist before we moved and I was SO sad to see it go. I miss it sometimes ;-) But I sold it to the sweetest woman who was just as excited as I was when I first saw it. I loved it and still do! They do not make furniture like this anymore.

4. Support small businesses. This is easy for me because I myself can relate, obviously ;-) Every year, I frequent the small thrift stores, our local antique mall (WildWood Antique Mall-Melbourne, FL) and shop for gifts for my family and myself and home there FIRST before I go to the large chain stores! You will find more ONE OF A KIND items there than you will at Target. Not that I don't love me some Target... but remember that buying from a small business means that the money from your purchases goes directly back into the business to produce more goodies ;-)

5. Yardsales, estate sales and auctions: Go. Stop. Even if it looks like it may not have much. There could be something hidden that you would otherwise miss out on. Just remember what I said about negotiating and being a respectful buyer. I purchased this table back in North Carolina while I was visiting my folks. I can't even admit how much I got it for because I felt like I stole it! 




So there you have it, just some little tips tonight. I'm off to go redecorate something probably!


-Ally

November 11, 2013

Exterior Reveal: DIY Curb Appeal on a budget

Hello all! I am finally back! Yay! We have been busy, busy bees working at our new home. I am mission gblogging and sharing photos so much but between school, blogging, our antique mall booth, my family and friends and personal life, studying for school, photography and everything going on... I am literally pooped! So, I decided we were at a good stopping point to just show you how our exterior is looking today. 

So I won't keep you waiting but I wanted to first show you what our first home looked like BEFORE.  It was a very pale yellow-cream-ish color with a muted teal door and trim. I'm assuming they were going for a be achy look and it was "cute" when we saw it but all I kept really seeing was more potential. I'm not really a fan of painting trim a color unless its black or white but no colors. I also felt like some proper landscaping and a new exterior paint color and shutters could do wonders. The bones were there... and don't get me wrong... I wish it had more architectural interest but this is just the norm around here beachside in Florida. It's a typical mid-century home just a few blocks from the beach. How could YOU pass that up? 


There's a huge tree in the front with little orange berries on it so if anyone knows what type of tree that is, tell me please! We knew we'd want to trim the bottom branches and take out those bushes from underneath the tree so the tree could "breathe." I know it took a sigh of relief when we did start to rip them out. Can you imagine that? Seriously, I just laughed out loud.


I adore our neighbor's mature tree. Amazing. Mature trees equals drooling. Ours will get there. I hope you enjoy that we bought our home from the smiley face realty company. I didn't want to give out personal information with us or the company on here so a smiley face and "under contract" is it.


Overall, we are pleased with how everything has turned out. This is our "first" real home that is "ours" and not a rental and I think that is what we are most enjoying. Being able to do whatever we want to "our" home and seeing our money go towards "our" home as well. It certainly will not be our forever home but for a starter home, it is going to be pretty darn gorgeous when we're ready to say goodbye.

Throughout the pictures, I will be adding little things here and there about how we did it and where we got our things from. At the bottom of this point, I will also be doing a full source list for those of you who always ask! You're welcome ;-)





We'll first start with my cute little mailbox that Ryan surprised me with. I've been eyeing this thing for months! We bought it from Lowes and had to purchase the mailbox stand with flower box separately than the mailbox. I choose black for a higher contrast. I also ordered decals off of Etsy from Country Craft and Vinyl. She was very reasonable priced so I was excited to order them! Just a little personal touch for the mailbox that is very inexpensive and will make yours stand out from your neighbors for less than $10.00 I always have a garden flag in my yard and for less than $20.00 on Ebay and sometimes even cheaper than that and a stand you can find anywhere... it's a cute addition to the mailbox area. You also can change each flag out each season, etc.  


We also had a small mailbox that was attached to our house when we bought it. Originally, I figured I'd hand paint a sign with our house numbers on it for by the front door in this area. But instead and for a lot cheaper, I used a $1 can of spray paint also from Lowes and gave this mini-mailbox a facelift in high gloss black and again, gave the addition of the decal address numbers for that custom, personal touch.


And now for the big reveal... I'll just give you pictures because I doubt anyone is reading what I write today. Or ever for that matter. For kicks, make me feel better if you are and leave a comment :)

We first started pulling out all of the overgrown bushes, flowers and shrubs. It instantly made the whole yard look neater. Next, we looked at paint colors. For some time now, I knew I wanted a nice "greige" (Grey/Beige) color for the interior and exterior of our home. I knew exactly what to paint it by remembering what we had painted my mom's North Carolina home a few months back. The color is "Oatlands Subtle Taupe" in matte by Valspar. I ADORE this color. Sometimes it looks grey and sometimes it looks beige but mostly, it's the perfect in between! We bought a bucket of it from Lowes when they were having their rebate for paint event going on so we ended up getting a rebate of $20 from them as well on top of our military discount which made the paint very affordable.

I have to tell you something funny. I painted everything with my paint sprayer. I got through both sides of the house and the front and still had half a bucket left. So what's a girl to do? Well you would think, hey, finish painting the back! No. We have textured walls in our home so I went to town on the interior as well. Who can say that they painted the interior to include a sunroom, living room, dining room, hallway, kitchen and guest bathroom as well as the exterior of our home for just over $100. This girl.


We also purchased raised paneled shutters from Lowes which ran us about $100 for the front. I painted all the trim back white so it would pop against the new paint color. I went back and forth for awhile about painting the "feature" wall that the windows are on. Everything is stucco on the home but they decided this needed an accent wall and laid brick on this portion of the front. Palm to the forehead but hey, we'll work with it. It ain't broke so I ain't fixing it, right? We decided to leave it white and if we hated it, we would just take the shutters back off and paint it the same color as the house as well. We ended up not minding it obviously and she stayed the same color. This large tree in the front we believe to be a East Palatka Holly. We are currently working on trimming it up but I love it already.


You may have also noticed the brick planters that we have in front our porch and also at the end of the house. At first, we thought for sure, 100%, no doubt about it we were going to tear those bad boys out. But after crunching some numbers and with my mom and I brainstorming, we decided we would work with them. And I actually really do not mind them now that we have new landscaping and a freshly painted exterior. Plus, do you even KNOW how much work that would have been? I was nervous.


We spent a couple hundred dollars on plants, flowers and shrubs alone. I will source all of them at the bottom of this post. That is what added up the fastest but I know in a few years when everything is maturing, it will be wonderful and so worth it! We tilled up the grass and widened the depth of the beds from the house. The first project we tackled when we moved in was hanging our American flag. It is so important to have a flag flying at every house we are at. Freedom is not free and it's a great reminder to look at everyday.


I should have written down all the names to thee plants, trees, flowers and shrubs but I suck and just wanted them in the ground so I threw away all the tags but I sourced them all at the end of this post just for y'all! All I know is I adore this tree. I ALWAYS look at them when we go to Lowes or Home Depot. They are so bright and the pink isn't actually a flower, it's a leaf! This tree was a little pricey at $79.99 but I knew I wanted something with a TON of contrast and color. And I also wanted something different, not just another palm tree like everyone else.

The lantern in the background is one of my mom and I's favorite finds. It is actually cast iron and the stained glass is actually handmade by someone here locally! We found it at a yardsale while my mom was in town helping me landscape our yard... and get this, it was only $5.00! We asked how much and the girl says... "$5.00 firm." I almost stole it right there and couldn't believe it! The glass is worth more than that but yes we will take it! It's a great impact piece and actually a larger lantern that works perfectly on that side of the house with that faux wall I'm assuming to hide hoses, etc.









We also discovered this rock underneath a TON of bushes near the front porch. Why on Earth they would cover it up, I do not know. And we have also been randomly finding more of all different sizes every time we plant something new or tear something out. I think it is pretty cool and noticed a few others in the neighborhood have them incorporated into their landscaping as well. It has to be original to the house so I find that pretty cool that we discovered it and got use out of it.


I painted the front door high gloss black for a nice contrast as well. We purchased the outdoor lantern light from Lowes as well for around $60. Not too bad at all and it also has a sensor light on it for movement as well.  I already had the wicker chairs from our back patio. At first, I, of course, wanted rocking chairs but since we kept the planter, there would be no rocking... so we improvised and saved money at the same time! I gave each chair a once over of $1.00 black spray paint from Lowes and transformed them! They look brand new now! I'm on the hunt for some bright green cushions for the chairs but haven't had any luck finding any yet... so if you see any, let me know! :-) See below, they really need more contrast but for now, I am enjoying being able to sit on the front porch!




Here's a side view of the front porch from the front flower beds. We have the old Florida style windows and are thinking about replacing them here in the near future. For now, those of you may know this already but in the summer, I actually take the screens out. It gives the house a cleaner feel and the windows also! You would be amazed at the difference that something FREE can do!


Here's an up close view of the light. I LOVE it and knew I wanted it right when I saw it.


I already had these urns from our last home. I spray painted them gloss black awhile back and knew when we moved in, I wanted them on either side of the garage for height. They were just over $20 each at Lowes and are concrete. That is a STEAL in case you were wondering. And I know you can't see them but we also bought new house numbers and put them above the garage. The original house numbers were below our porch light. I had to PRY them off and the stucco came with them so we had some patch work to do as well but for less than $5.00 a tub, that was a quick fix.


These lanterns below are from Ikea. I need a smaller one instead of 2 large ones but I have yet to make a trip to Orlando since we moved. If you're in the local area and want to get one, holler at your girl!
 I also added LED candles to each lantern & the cast iron one at the end of the house. They are all beautiful lit up at night, I just wish y'all could see it in person!



We added my bird bath into this little odd and straight bed. I felt like the sidewalk had harsh lines and wish it was curved but adding new curb appeal and soft details really helps it. We re-used the rocks that were originally in the picture above around the bushes around the tree in our front yard and kept this area clean with new flowers & shrubs and my cute little bird bath.


Ok, so let's recap...

Here's the BEFORE


And here's the AFTER


It doesn't even look like the same home to us and it certainly does not feel like it. We are currently working on getting our grass back green like the above BEFORE photo. We are working hard to water all of our new flowers and love the life that it brings to the front of our home. I also plan to paint the gates of our fence white and spray paint the hardware with a coat of gloss black to update it. All fences around here are tied into each other so I can't paint everything! We also want to work on giving the beds more of a defined edge from the grass and we have put down grass seed to help fill in, in certain areas and especially around the new beds where we had to tear out grass. 

So let us know what you think of our exterior makeover. I'll be back soon for a source list and price list for everyone. But simple as I can put it... and it's never been so true, paint works wonders. Now if only Lowes would start sending me free product or gift cards to shop there as often as I do for my projects, I would be set! Let us know if you enjoyed this post by commenting below! Feel free to pin any of the images by hovering over each image and clicking to pin on Pinterest. Talk to y'all soon!

SOURCE LIST:
Exterior Paint Color: Subtle Oatlands Taupe in matte by Valspar
Front door & shutter color: True Black by Valspar in high gloss
Exterior lantern: Lowes Home Improvement
Front Door: Original to home
Bird Bath: Tractor Supply (Although I couldn't find it on their website)
Wicker Chairs: Craigslist find
Mailbox Post: Lowes Home Improvement

PLANTS:
Large Tree in front yard: East Palatka Holly
Pink tree: Bougainvillea
Green spiked plant (variegated): Flax lily
Red leaf plant: Red dracaena
Yellow green plant (urns): Croton
Green shrubs: Ixora




XO,
Ally





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