February 27, 2013

How to: Age brass

Hey guys!

Happy hump day! Only 2 full days left until Saturday which equal the big REPURPOSE SALE! I'm so nervous and excited to meet all of you! In case you missed it, here's the flyer for the event... hope y'all can make it :) If not, I better see you next time... dom...dom...dom.

Ok! Tonight I wanted to share with y'all some before & after photos of an antique dresser I found last week. I gave y'all a sneak peek of a entryway table a couple weeks ago as well... but now that one will be available at the sale! See below for photos!

Below is the entryway table that will be available at the sale. It is painted in a nice grey on the bottom with a rustic wood top complete with hammered black hardware. A solid piece of furniture so who ever scoops this up will be a lucky one :)

Photo via Instagram (@Homebyally)

Now, back to the real reason for this post! This beauty below I scored last week and for a decent price because she had a lot of scratches on her, including the deep one of the front there along with some other stuff that has now been fixed by yours truly ;-)

With this beauty that was made in the beautiful North Carolina ;-) came what I thought were brass hardware. But there is a difference between genuine brass and brass plated hardware. 
To test if the hardware is brass or not, you can simply take a magnet and see if it will pick up the hardware. If it does NOT pick it up, it is real brass. If it does, it's just brass plated.

In my case, my hardware was brass plated. For brass or brass plated hardware, there is a few method for renewing and cleaning the brass.

1/2 cup of salt to 1/2 cup of lemon juice... or whatever desired mix you have. Mix these two in the bowl together until you make sort of a "paste." Dip hardware in for only a few minutes and use a brillo pad to clean all the excess grime off. In my case, I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted to take off SOME parts of the grime but not all to give it a truly AGED look.

Notice how you can see where some grime has been left and some has been wiped to show the shiny brass coming through. It looks like it has been through decades of wear and tear which I love.

Now, remember the before... 

And just breathe like I did after I finished her...

I am in love and have been playing with a few vignettes for the top! I love my DIY chalkboard above with my straw wreath. But I think I need some pretty greenery for the bottom like these topiaries I stole from the living room.... or perhaps some vintage books or old lanterns! We shall see what I find!

Let me know what you think of my method of aging my hardware. If you loved this post and want to "pin it" to your Pinterest board, you can do so below. I would totally appreciate it if you did.

Take care guys and I'll see you Saturday morning hopefully! If you haven't started following along on Facebook, you can do so by clicking HERE!


February 17, 2013

How to: Recover a seat using a table napkin

Hey y'all! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends... I definitely know that I did! I spent some quality time with my husband and it was so nice to just relax together! He went back to work today so I took care of a few things that I've been wanting to do. One of those things included my little stool for the kitchen. I had it covered in a plain beige canvas cloth for sometime now but let me tell you, not practical because bare feet and doggie paws are on this stool so let's just say it didn't stay clean for long ;-) I've been searching for a fabric that I loved forever... similar to one I had on it before the beige canvas. Here is the before the canvas fabric. Very fun and colorful.

I was just wiping my counters off when I glimpsed over at my bar with my new World Market napkins on my plates. I wondered if the napkin would fit the stool at 20 inches by 20 inches and sure enough it did! So... I used a table cloth napkin instead of going to have fabric cut and recovered my stool! Here's some steps for recovering a stool. You would use the same steps for a chair or something with a single seat, etc. Hope it's easy for you and enjoyable!

Materials: Stapler, fabric (napkin), screw driver

First thing that I did was take the screws out of the bottom of the stool that were holding the top on.

I then laid the napkin pretty side down and put my seat centered on it. I didn't bother taking the older fabric off. I figured it would just add some more cushions for those cute little paws that like to sit on this stool ;-) As you can see below, it was a perfect fit. You always want 1-2 inches of fabric left on each side so you can staple easier. 

The way that I upholster my chairs and stools most people know how to do or at least I always think they do. I like the use the "butterfly" method which I will show you next. Below, I took one corner and pulled towards the middle of the stool cover. The represents the "body" of the butterfly fold. I stapled the very end of the napkin to the wood seat and also in the corner for a secure hold.

 Next as you will see below, I took the left side and folder over the body or center of the corner and stapled there.... By the way, if you plan on doing a lot of these projects with upholstery, invest in an electric stapler. Well worth the money people. 

Here you see me folding over the right side and a peek of my electric stapler. Perfect, neat and one corner down! 3 more to go!

Here below you see two sides done. It is not critical that any excess fabric is stapled down, just make sure you have most of it secure and where you won't see it hanging down or have a lot of excess once you put your seat back on the body of the stool or chair or whatever you are recovering.

I seriously am in love with this fabric! What do you think of it?

And here is the final product! Pretty and colorful goodness! The stool I found in Minot, North Dakota a year or so ago. It is from the 1900's and is in amazing condition! Probably something I will never sell because Winston loves it too much ;-) Usually when he wants a treat or an ice-cream, he'll run to sit on this stool and stand up on two legs...that little dork!

 So, have y'all ever used anything you had to reupholster something like an old t-shirt or a napkin like I did? I've used burlap before too! What do you think of this thrifty project? Do you have something that you want to upholster soon? Let me know and please show me your projects over on Facebook. You can find Home by Ally on Facebook by clicking HERE!

If you enjoyed and loved this project, please help spread the word about my blog by pinning this project to your personal boards on Pinterest. You can do so by clicking "pin it" below.




Liz Marie Blog

February 11, 2013

5 Tips for better curb appeal

Hey guys!
I'm so..so...happy to be posting about this tonight because I've been wanting to beautify our front yard for awhile! A lot of you know that we rent but like I have said a million and one times... just because you rent or won't be in a location for a long time doesn't mean that it can't be pretty! I've been urging my husband for awhile to let's add some curb appeal to our rental. We live in a development where all the houses practically look identical other than a few minor different shades of beige on the exteriors and an extra window here or there... boring! But they are still pretty for rentals anyways! 

I found myself looking on Pinterest and finding inspiring photos like below that just made me want to get to work and create a space that we could be proud of. Plus, I want yard of the month already.

I just adore the cottage below with all of the beautifully bloomed hydrangeas and of course the old chair sitting on the front porch. It probably is the tin roof and the cute puppy as well ;-)

SO! We finally got to work this past weekend...and are still not finished completely but we are at a great stopping point and I thought that I would show you some of our progress! To top it off, we did ALL of this for under $75! Score! So first let me try to find some before's for you to get a better idea of what we were working with....

These photos were taken on Instagram or on my cell phone... below is for fall with the red mulch and an old rocker that I got off Craigslist. I wish we had a huge porch for multiple rockers but we don't:) 

And here's Christmas. If you remember, we didn't decorate very much because we went out of town for Christmas this year... but it was still pretty simple but pretty.

And lastly, here is a MAJOR before. The first picture I took of the house when we were moving in and just got our keys... wow... it needed some love.

Above and below you will see a colorful new door mat that I found on clearance at good ole' Target for just $9.00. I usually like to make my own but who can pass up this colorful beauty and for under $10, you just can't beat it. Found on either side of our colorful door mat are two grey barrels that belonged to my mama. I asked politely stole for them and loved the look rather than just normal old planters. Rememeber also, you can go to the Dollar Tree or Dollar General and get some for only a few dollars. You could also up cycle the boring ones you get when you buy flowers by spray painting them a pretty iron or gold color depending on your decor :) For contrast, I added hot pink flowers over flowing in the barrels. I compared costs against buying a hanging basket vs. a lot of flowers I would have to plant together in the barrels. I went with the hanging baskets and just cut off the hanging part. Best part about that was that there were around $7 each. YES.

Here is a wider few of our front area. Don't mind my boring colored monogram. It is now a nice lime green which is a perfect color for contrast and you can see it from the road now ;-) We went and bought brown mulch to line front areas. I've only seen one other house in our development with brown mulch, the rest have red so I'm glad to be different and I just think it's a beautiful contrast against the home. The two trees in front are gorgeous palm trees as well. And the large bushes directly below... they had more than a few wasps nests...and since we all know how much I love my puppies... we took them out just in case. We tried and tried to just keep them trimmed but they were just ugly and overgrown from the start... so now they are gone too! More pictures to follow this post of our progress!

I added new flowers to the front and did a curved detail on the mulch instead of keeping it straight just to add some much needed interest to the front. I need to edge to better define the curve....yikes. 

Here's a better view of the flowers. I hope I don't kill them. And like I said, yes, I need to edge :P

And here's another view. 

I picked up the hydrangeas out of the clearance section at Lowe's and I'm hoping that I can keep them alive. They are my favorite flowers....

This little bistro set I got off the local yard sale page here for just $50 brand new... what a steal for a cute little set. And the cute lime green pillows are outdoor pillow from Target for just $12 each!

So all together,

Bistro Table: $50.00
Barrel Flowers: $7 each X2 equals $14.00
Target Outdoor Pillows: $12 each X2 equals $24.00
Brown Mulch: $3/bag X15 bags equals $45.00
Hydrangeas Clearance X2 equals $12.00
but wait... that equals $133.00. I had a chandelier to take back to Lowe's for $99 and used that as a credit for all of my flowers, mulch, etc. which put me down to a total of only....

$74.00 total.

By simply adding something causal like chairs or a bistro set like this one, some pretty flowers, updated mulch... spraying off your garage door, sweeping your sidewalks, etc... you can total transform your curb appeal! Remember to always keep it clean and tidy. You don't have to have a garden of flowers but a nicely kept home will always look better than a messy one. 

And I'm loving it! What do you think? I need something for the outer wall above the table to the right there. I might just build something to put up there but it's definitely empty space. I wish they would have just put a pretty window there... but this is base housing and they don't care what I think :)



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February 8, 2013

How to: Add character to your home - 10 easy & budget friendly tips

Hey y'all! 
I hope everyone has had a fantastic Friday! I know I did :-) Any day alive is a good day in my book. A lot of you know I've been working diligently on furniture for the sale, handmade items and in the mean time on my own house. And as many of you know, I am a proud military wife. And we are currently on one income. So, most things just need to be budget friendly. And I'm cheap. Yeah, that too. So the past few weeks, I've changed a lot of things since you last seen my home tour near Christmas I believe? If you didn't catch that post, you can find it by clicking here. 

So, I decided after emails that keep coming in {And I promise I'm not ignoring you, I've had an overload lately and slowly, I am replying to everyone!} asking how I do this or how much this cost? Or can I help design their room, etc. So I decided why not start sharing these updates with y'all? And try to start providing many more tips to help out as much as I can! If you were wondering about the room designs, that's in the works currently. I'm fine tuning most of it but basically, you'll be able to purchase a "room design" via the Internet where you'll send me photos of your space and I'll send you back in different packages to choose from... mood boards & style boards... source lists.... furniture placemat, color choices, etc. I can't wait and I hope you're excited about it too!

Do you ever wonder while flipping through Pinterest or a magazine... "How can I get my space to look like that" or "how in the heck did they do that?" Well... I'm here to share some of my secrets with you...We have had our fair share of challenges, military base housing being at the top of that list with cheap appliances, cheap finishes and just a cheap house all around. 

Ok! So let's get this party started :) Below is an antique mahogany rocker with gorgeous curves that I originally bought and painted for the sale but guess what happens what always happens... I'm keeping it. And my husband actually likes it. I definitely have to keep it if he actually speaks up and says he likes something, right? I painted it a soft and neutral grey and distressed it. But I think it's going to get painted a different color this week for my house....so stay tuned for that before and after! The drum table I purchased off of our local yard sale page on Facebook. My mom LOVED it and claimed it before I even got it home... too bad it's for my house ;-) I simply added vintage books with some faux greenery on top of it, a pretty skinny lamp & 3 decorative look-a-like greenery moss balls from Hobby Lobby. They have a great clearance selection right now by the way!

Tip #1: Shop your own home.
I don't and never have believed in breaking the bank to furnish your house or make it look pretty. Whenever my husband and I got married, I literally was smacked in the face with the reality that "guess what, someone else lives here now." This meaning it needed to be *functional* AND pretty. What? What is that you say? Who speaks of such things? So... after we got here to Florida, I ***really*** began using *what I had.* As in, sneaking decor from other rooms, trading decor with friends, yard sale finds, etc. I don't count yard sale finds because they are usually so cheap haha! Nothing in this picture I paid retail price for....and everything in this picture cost me around $50. Yes, you heard that right. 

I've had my eye out for a small table like this for months for the other side of our living room. I didn't want to go out and buy brand new furniture just to accommodate a new house so we used an antique rocker & antique drum table and now I love the space all together! Just need to paint that dang rocker.

TIP #2: Be green.
Adding any fresh greens or faux to your home will instantly spruce it up and give it a bit more life. I got the faux greenery above in the tin can from Ikea for a mere $5.99 I believe. I also have picked flowers out of my own garden before and used them as centerpieces. I've even pulled down branches that were just twigs and used them in vases as a centerpiece. These faux moss balls below I've loved forever at Hobby Lobby but they were $10 EACH and since we all know that with decor, group in odd numbers as in 1 or 3... I could spare $30 for moss balls. So I saw they were 50% off finally today and grabbed them quickly... do y'all do that? See something you love and snatch it up because someone apparently is right behind you and is going to steal it from you? Yeah, me too.

I've had a few people ask and I picked up some vintage books for my repurpose sale here in Florida. It will be on March 2nd, 2013. If you haven't started following Home by Ally on Facebook, you can do so by clicking here to stay up to date with all the latest information, Instagram & inspiration photos and details about events coming up featuring Home by Ally!

Tip #3: Use unlikely items to add character.
For instance, this tray is very pretty. I purchased it at World Market when had a coupon. Yes, it's pretty but it's actual a drop zone for me and mostly my husband. We keep the remote there so we don't loose it. It has all of my latest Country Living, Southern Living & Better Homes & Gardens magazines there when I want to catch up on my reading. There are also drink coasters there for when we just want to relax in the living room. And I have faux flowers here in an old blue mason...because let's face it, if I had real ones here... I'd be replacing them a lot and I'm sure the dogs would knock them over. You can get very realistic faux flowers at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, even Walmart. The vintage books are usually $3-$5 a piece at Antique Stores so look out for them at Thrift stores for cheaper. Use them to hold picture frames, vases, flowers or little trinkets for around the house. I buy neutral vintage books to match my decor but that is your decision :)

Tip #4: DIY {Do It Yourself} something that you love. 
If there is one thing that I am always telling someone when they ask for advice about their homes, I always say "decorate with what you love." This will instantly add charm to your home because it will be personal to you and that's the most important thing! In my space, I love to live by the words "You can make plans but the Lord's purpose will prevail." I'm a control freak naturally and incredibly over the top OCD...so it's nice to sit back, see that and think that someone else higher is ultimately in control. This is a DIY that I hand painted for our home. It's about 2ft x2ft and I added stained small craft boards to the outsides to give it a finished, framed out look. It is by far one of the best signs I've made.

Tip #5: Don't forget about the outside.
A large part of loving your home is loving what's inside of it but also what is on the outside... just like human beings ;-) You may not love the exterior of your home but I bet you will like it a lot more if you keep up with it, keep it clean and regularly maintenance, etc. About once every couple of months, I take the water hose to the garage door and spray down any extra dirt, etc. I sweep the driveway and sidewalk up to the front door about once a week or so and I try to keep things tidy. We just recently fixed up our front yard... and I cannot wait to show y'all! Soon! But if you've been meaning to paint those old shutters or give your old front door a fresh coat of paint, do it! You'll feel so much better after! Purchasing some fresh mulch or a few new crates of flowers can instantly liven up the outside of your homes! Again, I can't wait to show y'all our before and after! Just because you rent doesn't mean it can't look pretty and you can't enjoy where you live.

Below you see that instead of a usual wreath on my front door, I ordered a custom monogram. A for Ally, S for our last name and R for my husbands first name. I knew I wanted a great contrasting color for the front door since it's brown so lime green it went! I know, me, color, me, lime green? No way! Yes, way! And of course, I finished it with a cute burlap bow! Instead of hanging it with a wreath hanger, I took burlap ribbon and looped it around the letters and over to the door. On the opposite side, there is a wreath for the INSIDE of our front door where the burlap is tied off into another bow.

Tip #6: Window treatments. 
The first thing my husband said when we moved in was that I didn't need to buy curtains because the home came with blinds. I laughed in his face :) 

Adding curtains provides the room with drama and instantly gives you more of a cozy, living in feeling. I would prefer to have a patterned curtain but I haven't found any I loved yet so I bought neutral ones until then! If you love mine, you can find them at Target. They are sold out online in this color but if you are still interested, you can see them by clicking here. They are very light and are the perfection combination of letting the light in but still allowing for privacy. Most curtain panels come in 84", 95" and up. For windows this large or any windows in general (besides the ones over the kitchen sink, etc.) a longer curtain starting at 84" will look best. I love to buy 95" panels so they are more dramatic. The curtains should be hung ABOVE the actually window box. This will give your room more height than in reality and make it feel larger. 

Tip #6: Lighting.
Lighting can change an entire room. For example, above our gorgeous new farmhouse table we used to have an ugly, white kit ceiling fan that came with the house. In the dining area. Really? Yes. Really. To make it *really* feel like a dining room like it should be, I purchased a chandelier for the space. Not a sophisticated, sparkling, too fancy for this neighborhood, out of my price range chandelier but a simple one that is understated but still very pretty. I found this gem on clearance at Lowe's for a mere $22.00. I choose the finish because it matched the other hardware in our home. It has a basic linen shade which works for me so I can not be limited with colors, etc for decorating. Simply adding a pretty lamp in your space could instantly create drama and ambiance in the evenings that you may or may not have been looking for. Search on Craigslist, your local yard sales, thrifts stores, etc for gorgeous lighting. Also, don't forget about the discount stores like HomeGoods, TjMaxx, Ross and Marshalls to name a few.... I always find something every time I go! 

Tip #7: Don't buy it if you don't LOVE it.
Very simple. I struggle with this. Just because it's pretty and it's on clearance doesn't mean it's right for your space. I do encourage everyone to shop closeout and clearance... but I have a bad happen of buying something because I might use it "later." Don't do it. Period. You'll find you'll save a lot of money and your husbands will thank me later! Just saying :)

Tip #8: Mix old with new.
Below is a vintage dutch bench I scored at a local thrift store because there was no seat. I got it for an amazing price because it didn't have a seat but luckily for me while chuckling in my head... I knew that was an easy fix! A vintage metal milk crate sits on top of the bench with my World Market placemats I use when we have guests, etc. The hand woven wiener dog at the bottom was a must have for me. The bench, I'll be the first to admit, was not in the greatest of shape but I knew with a little TLC, it could be a gem. And that it has been. Perfect for my space. And offers additional setting for the dining room too.

Tip #9: Keep the backdrop neutral. 
I'm all for color. If it's done right. Personally, I am a neutral color person. I love white but not everywhere. I prefer sage greens, muted blues, subtle greys, warm beiges and rustic wood tones. There is absolutely *nothing* wrong with liking color or liking things lighter and brighter like I do. Everyone has their owns styles and it's important that we remember that. In my professional opinion, I strongly encourage clients to use a neutral backdrop as in paint colors, large furniture, etc. so they are less likely to get sick of it as fast. If you are going to do a bold red couch, chances are you might not like it in 5 years. While a nice and natural beige couch, you'll have for more than 5 years and can simply add some cute red pillows for a pop of color... and even better than that... $20 pillows vs $800 for a new couch that is not red? You do the math. 

Look at my sweet boys below. They are best friends and are usually up to no good but I still love them anyways! I would love to add a tip in here that you need an animal. Because life is just not the same with a dog or a cat right by your side. And remember, adopt... don't shop!

Give your couch some life by adding some pretty decorative pillows and a nice, warm and cozy throw blanket. I used a large mirror above our couch because we do not receive a lot of natural light in this home thus a mirror reflects off of what light we do receive and makes the space seem that much larger and brighter! That's just a tip that apparently does not need to be "bold." Haha! Laugh with me. Please.

Tip #10: Rome was not built in a day.
As my mama would say, "Rome was not built in a day." You won't be able to furnish and decorate your house all in one day. And if you do, you might change something a week later like me ;) Don't beat yourself up because it's not perfect. Remember that you do LIVE there and it doesn't always have to be perfect. Remember that good moms have dirty floors and fingerprints on windows. Remember that real people have flaws. Remember that everyone loves compliments and remember that even the smallest of a change can make the world of a difference!

I hope y'all enjoyed this post! But this little gal must be going to bed now! It is way past my bedtime and I have tons of furniture to work on in the morning! Hope y'all can make the repurpose sale, remember... March 2nd, 2013! Location to be announced on Home by Ally's Facebook page that you can find by clicking here!

If you loved this post and want to "pin" a photo to your Pinterest account, you can do so below! I would really appreciate it if y'all pinned my images :)



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