A tiny office

The back-to-school project I mentioned a few weeks ago is finally done! The Princess started first grade this year and I thought it would be nice for her to start off the new school year with a little work space all her own. I transformed some things I already had to make the cutest six year-old’s office ever.

When my company moved into a new building, I inherited all kinds of things, including a cork board and a side table that have been sitting in my garage waiting for makeovers. I picked out some pretty fabric and ribbon for the bulletin board and my Hero went to Home Depot and got all my supplies to refinish the table, which was the perfect size for a mini writing desk.

A little disclaimer: Apparently I'm not too good about taking all my before and during pics. I'll try and get better.

Everyone’s done a bulletin board makeover by now I’m sure, but I had to do mine a little differently. We're in the process of redoing the girls' room (and by "in the process" I mean we haven't picked out colors, bedding or paint yet...still waiting to get their bunk beds first:

Anyway, I wanted to cover the cork board in a way that could be easily re-coordinated with the d├ęcor later if we need to. I got a piece of oak tag and used spray adhesive to attach the fabric, wrapping it about an inch around the back. (By the way, does anyone know what I'm talking about when I say oak tag? That's what we used to call it when I was in school, but the girl at Michael's looked at me like I had a growth when I asked her where it was. So poster board, oak tag, whatever.) When that was dry, I sprayed some more adhesive to attach it to the cork board, which I had painted white.  I stapled the edges to secure it and trimmed it out with pretty fuchsia ribbon. (Thanks to my lovely picture taking skills, you'll have to scroll to the end to see it in it's glory.)

I found sparkly rhinestone flowers at Wal-Mart to make thumb tacks.

They were self adhesive. I thought I could just use E6000 to glue some tacks over the paper backing and be fine, but the poor things didn't last one push. So I traced some white felt, glued it to the adhesive and glued my tacks on top of that. Perfect!

Now, on to the table. Here's my pile of refinishing stuff:

I was a little intimidated because I've never refinished anything and I was looking at an awful lot of chemicals and sanding ahead of me. I also don't have a good history with woodworking. (Honestly, I was thinking I'd just prime and paint it, but my Hero had a right(er) way in mind, so.) It really wasn't bad. I just followed the directions on the can. The only mishap was the supposed stripper pad that fell apart like cotton candy after being moistened with the After Wash. Too bad—that thing worked like a charm... for about 15 seconds. Okay so first we globbed on the stripper and let it do it's thing for about 20 minutes or so, then we scrubbed off the urethane gunk with a stripper pad stiff bristle brush and sanded. We had to do something about the side panel so there would be space to sit comfortably underneath, so we drew an arc and my Hero cut it out with his jigsaw. Then we primed, sanded again and painted.

The legs looked great, but for some reason the top (that was supposed to be the easy part) was all rough and patchy. So I sanded it again. And painted it again. And that didn’t fix it. What the H? The Hero gave up on spray paint and thought we should try to even out the texture with a brush and latex paint. Annnnd that didn’t work. Soo, I sanded it. AGAIN. Spray painted it, again. And decided that was good enough. Three coats of clear gloss later, we it was finally ready to come inside.

I also found a mail sorter in my To Goodwill box, not that she has a lot of bills to keep track of, but I figured she could use it for note pads, library books, cards or whatever. Again, sorry for the lack of before pics but just imagine this black.

And here’s her little “office” all put together:

Isn't it too cute?? She even has her own calendar—Tinkerbell, of course!

I love these pretty pencils. I found them on clearance in Michael’s dollar section. So what does that make them, practically free?  I decorated this can for her lemonade stand last summer (that should be a post of it's own) and it worked perfectly as a pencil holder.

Now I just need to track down a chair for her. I found a cute white one online at Wal-Mart, but it’s about $40. It just bugs me to spend that much, when everything else was free!


Mantel Envy

The frenzied decorating season is right around the corner and I'm starting to have mild anxiety about not having a mantel to dress up. See, when we got our new TV last year, it wouldn't fit in our old entertainment center, which used to serve as my faux mantle. We needed someplace to put the TV, so we bought just the TV stand part of an expandable wall system and planned to purchase the side towers and bridge for the top later on. I'll spare the boring technicalities and just say that we have yet to purchase the side towers and bridge for the top.

Meanwhile, enter Ballard Designs and this beauty:
It was love at first sight. I want it so badly I can't honestly judge whether it even goes with the rest of my furniture. It's perfect for me. Plenty of storage, not bulky, built in room to decorate...and it might even go with my stuff? Perfect. But um, it's $1800. On sale. Plus shipping, plus...err...delivery fee? I would hope that when I pay for shipping, yes, the delivery guy will... DELIVER it. But regardless, there's no way I can spend that much on one piece of furniture.
So until I solve my mantel-less-ness, I'll have to live vicariously through other people's pretty Autumn mantel displays. {sigh}

This is from an old issue of Southern Living's Cooking School magazine. I LOVE grape vine. And twinkle lights.

Mmmm leaves...
{Photo: stormybayou}
{Photo: saucydragonfly}

I've always had a thing for gourds. I could never have enough of these.
{Photo: melsky}

Not too early for a little taste of Halloween, is it?
Classy and festive. Love all that mercury glass.
{Photo: providencehandmade}
How sweet are these signs, and that banner is adorable.
{Photo: jeanetta darley}
Classic black, simple and bold.  And I'm thinking it may be my turn to steal borrow the B-O-O idea. :)
{Photo: melissann}

This is so pretty for thanksgiving. I love the wheat bundles.
{Photo: thefeltmouse}
Last year we bought a wheat bundle at Publix and the poor cashier girls were stumped. They didn't know what it was or where it came from. While they were trying to determine how much to charge for it, they said "It's not real, is it?" I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that.  Real as in, am I going home to make bread out of it??

Now, tell me this baby isn't ready to get all dressed up with pretty pumpkins and leaves.  If only it would come home to me.


Flecks of Fall

I have a post mostly written about a project that's mostly done, but not quite. It's not for lack of effort, that's for sure. It's just that I hit this literal rough patch, so it's taking longer than I anticipated to finish. It was going to be a back to school project, but it's the second week of school now, so hopefully (hope hope) this week.

I guess with all the back-to-school-ness, it's inevitable to start feeling the first tickles of Fall, right? Say right. But with school starting in August, and with Florida's monoseason in full 96 degree swing, it somehow feels a little off thinking of Halloween.

I remember Fall air. It's been a long time, but I do. The cool snap of it, that sweet smell of turning leaves... and then come pumpkins and Indian corn (do they still call it Indian corn?), Fall fairs...candy apples...cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice...sorry, what was I saying? Right, Autumn in August.

Well, happily, I figured out I'm not the only one starting to catch the Autumn bug when I stumbled upon these recipes for pumpkin butter. Look at this pic and tell me this isn't Fall in a jar!

I've never had anything besides apple butter either (hi D!) but I cannot wait to try this.

Here's another thing that winked Fall to me.

This little guy was sitting all proud-like on a clearance shelf at Marshall's. Love! "Take me home with you!" Okay, how much? $2.00. Two! Um, yes.

I have no idea what I'm going to put in its four holes, but I'm seeing tiny white pumpkins. Or a strand of bittersweet tucked in. Oh, bittersweet... how I wish bittersweet would find a fence to grow on here.

I have seen bittersweet here; it was $16. I can't do that. Not in good conscience.

Anyway, I think I'd like to put a stencil on the side of my crate, uhh basket thing, but I don't know what it should say yet. I sometimes suffer from decorating commitment phobia so I don't know if I want to destine it permanently to Halloween. Although it would be mighty cute holding eerie old bottles of witches brew or eye of newt...so, maybe Halloween-y. But I'd be happy if I could repurpose it for other occasions. Any ideas?

Okay, I'm off to dig through my Autumn inspiration file to indulge my inner cozy. And I think I'll use my Labor Day to pack up all my seashells.