Con-TRAY-ry to Popular Belief

Contrary to popular belief, we still have a blog.To prove that, here’s a little something we whipped up as part of our living room redesign.

After over 6 years, we got ourselves a new couch. Along with that new couch, we moved our coffee table, and replaced it with an ottoman. Still following? Well, I hate to admit it, but we like to eat meals in the living room fairly often, and an ottoman just isn’t a sturdy table to eat off of. So, we decided to get ourselves a serving tray for drinks and plates. We didn’t see anything we totally loved, so we made one. We started with a basic wooden tray that we picked up at a craft store and painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’ve made things with milk paint before, and working with chalk paint is similar.

Tray with Plywood

While preparing this tray I quickly realized that it needed something extra to support the weight of drinks and plates so I reinforced it with two pieces of plywood on the top and bottom.

Scored Plywood

The tray is about 12″ x 12″, so I bought a piece of 24″ x 12″ plywood and scored and split it.

First coat of chalk paint

Chalk Paint is really easy to work with and doesn’t require priming. You could probably get away with 1 coat, but I did two. I painted the sides and handles but left the bottom and top unpainted because that’s where the plywood will be going.

Annie Sloan English YellowWe decided to go with Annie Sloan’s English Yellow, which we figured would provide a nice contrast to the marine color of the ottoman, and the gray palette of the couch.

Tray Partial Paint

I used wood glue to attach the plywood insert and let it sit overnight with some weight on it.

Tray with Weights

While the glue was drying, I painted the insert for the other side.

Clear Wax

 

That right there is clear wax. To seal the chalk paint a regular poly won’t really work, it needs two coats of clear wax.

Tray with Clear WaxThe wax can be applied with a cloth, but also needs to set and then be buffed. I did one coat, buffed it out, let it sit overnight, and then did it all again. This should provide a watertight seal.

DIY Chalk Paint Above

There’s the final product. I think it looks pretty good with our other decor and it fit pretty well on the ottoman.

Final DIY Painted Tray

I’ve seen a lot of info online about how chalk paint is difficult to work with, but I found it really easy to handle. We bought a relatively small amount of it and it went a long way. I’d like to try it on some other projects in the future, it seems like a good alternative to traditional paint and finishes.

Christmas in the New Place

So with no new projects on the horizon (we’ve got some ideas, but haven’t started executing anything yet…we know, boring, lazy, not entertaining, etc.) and the holidays taking up all of our time, we figured we might share a quick post about what Christmas is like here in our new place!

As you know, I’m a big huge gigantic fan of Christmas. This is due, in part, to the fact that I was born on Christmas day. I know, ‘it’s amazing’, right? Joking aside, Christmas is super important to me. You can read all about my crazy obsession with Christmas tree ornaments here.

Now that we have so much more space, my Christmas decorating has been taken to a whole new level (of crazy)!

We have a bay window in the living room and a bow window in the kitchen now. These are two fantastic new places to add decorations that we couldn’t have otherwise accommodated in the past. I made a little pine, berry and candle/lantern display for the kitchen window:

DIY Christmas display, pine and berries DIY Christmas display in the kitchenI added my mom’s classic manger display to the bay window in the living room right next to the tree:

Christmas manger display

We also now have a mantle on our fake (it’s electric…boogie, woogie, woogie) fireplace, so of course I had to spruce this up with some lights, and some familiar old decorations that just didn’t really have a proper spot in the old place. I’ve got to admit, even though it’s a fake fireplace I am SO excited about this because we can actually hang our stockings by the chimney – with care, of course. 😉

As you saw in one of our previous new house/old house comparison posts (click here) we still have our coffee bar. However, there just so happens to be a very handy electrical outlet right above the mug rack, so I took full advantage of this by adding a little light display here too!

Coffee bar Christmas light display

Of course we still have our tree, but now with the added space and bay window, we thought this would be a great opportunity to make the tree even more of a focal point. In our old house, we really had no choice but to kind of stuff the tree in the corner next to our couch. Now, we have the tree right in the window for all to see. So this makes for a nice display looking in from the outside and also a way better setup for enjoying the tree on the inside of the house. Don’t mind my fun Instagram filters. 🙂

Christmas tree (old house)Christmas tree (new house)

And of course, our outside display is still just as fun. We are thinking we will probably add to this as years go by, but this is a good start for our first year in the new place (pardon the low lighting in these quick cell phone snaps). We also have these fun bushes now that we spiraled some lights around!:

Outdoor Christmas light displayOutdoor Christmas light display

How do you use your space to decorate for the holidays? Head over to our Facebook page to let us know!

P.S. – When we’re not blogging, we are posting photos to Instagram and pinning great/inspiring DIY projects and ideas for house and home. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest as well to stay connected.

I See London…

We wanted to make a quick post about something we’ve been working on for quite some time now…our bathroom theme! Introducing, the world’s cutest and most awesomely-themed bathroom (own horn = tooted). The theme for our bathroom is “I See London, I See France…” Pretty clever, huh?

Bathroom Decor Wide

I’m a total Pinterest freak – absorbing as much media as I possibly can at a clip, even if I’m never going to bake that fancy pie or DIY that pallet coffee table, I like seeing it, reading about it and being inspired. So, although Pinterest and the internet cannot take full credit for this idea, I must say I am always inspired by what I see out there. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone else doing this same theme for a bathroom. However, inspiration for the little details comes from all over:

Bathroom Canvas Prints

  1. White ceramic faux animal head: You’ve probably seen these before, mostly in the form of a deer an antelope, or some other long-horned creature. Ours comes in the form of the majestic, elegant creature that is…the English Bulldog. Our inspiration for the piece had to do with a few things: 1. It was 5 bucks at Christmas Tree Shops. 2. We like the faux animal head idea, especially the all-white look. And 3. This little guy:Crumpler the English BulldogThis 65-pound beast beauty is none other than Crumpler. Some of our devoted readers and followers know him well. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, just take it all in – this little bugger is a true English gent with a colorful personality and a face only a mother could love. Cheerio!
  2. White floating shelves: We used this in a different space in our last house. Now that we have a normal-sized bathroom, we thought they would make a lot of sense in this space. Now we just need to really deck them out with some more London and France-themed things.
  3. Canvas prints: These museum-quality canvas prints come from one of the many online spots where you can fashion your personal prints onto just about anything. I made both graphics in Photoshop and we used EasyCanvasPrints.com to get these fun and vibrant pieces of art slapped onto a canvas. Nice touch with the “Oui Oui”, right? Gotta love bathroom humor…

We also have an older piece of wall art featuring a sketched, black and white Big Ben. This fit perfectly with the theme, so of course it belongs in the bathroom.

Big Ben Avery Tillmon

We still have one blank wall to fill, which just means more London and France-themed fun to be had.

Our love of London comes from the time Andrew and I spent abroad, studying in Kingston-Upon-Thames back in college. You can read all about that here.

Bathroom Before and After

Tally-ho, monsieur!