Garden Stools

Years ago my mom found a painted ceramic garden stool similar to this one (but with a little more decorative painting) to use as a side table for one of the chairs in our family room.

She doesn't consider herself much of a decorator, but she must have been ahead of her time because lately I have seem them popping up everywhere.  Here at Ballard Designs, here at Pottery Barn, here as featured in House Beautiful and now in my guest bedroom.

You will notice that the price tag on these lovelies ranges from "out of this world" expensive to "super" expensive to "reasonable, but still more than I, strike that, Carolina husband is willing to pay for an accent table" expensive.  

So how did this end up as added to our guest room? 

A trip to T.J. Maxx and some white spray paint.   Sitting in the clearance section it was marked down to $18 (yes $18 compared to $150, $550, or $3,500).  Now it was probably only on clearance because of its pretty horrible silver paint job, but I knew it was nothing that a can of spray paint and a few minutes in the back yard on a warm day wouldn't fix. 

A few light coats of paint later we have a new side table for the bedroom.  It's a little low for the bed, but I think I can work with it.  If not white will go anywhere, so no worries. 


Grandma's Attic

I rummaged around some of the items left in my grandparents old house and came home with some great finds. I guess the post title really should be "Grandma's House" but oh well.

We were blessed that the same summer we got married, my grandparents downsized from their house of many (many) years to a smaller apartment. Anything they didn't take with them was up grabs. This, combined with my grandmother's love of good quality furniture, helped us fully furnish our first apartment and later add a several more lingering peices when we bought our house.

They still own the house, my grandmother continues gardening and planting in the yard on most days. Most of the left over furniture has found homes with one of my sisters or my parents, but as I found this weekend (under a calendar from 1989:) There are still a few things left to be put to good use.

I have been looking for small side tables for our guest bedroom and our master bedroom.

This one is just the right size and height for the master. I am going to stain it dark to match the dresser (also from my grandmother) and our bed.

I don't have an immediate home for this one, for now it can hide in a corner of the "man-room." Yes, this dainty table is going to be put to use in something we call the "man-room." Carolina Husband will be so excited.

Finally, stashed in the basement I found this linen drum shade. 

I am sure it's plenty of years old, but how lovely the styles come back around. The color is perfect for our living area and I have been wanting to replace one of the matching boxy lamp shades in the room. The floor lamp won out. I think changing the shade out punched up the style of the floor lamp a bit and helped with the matchy matchy feeling that the lamps were giving off (they were both from the same set from one of the big box stores a few years ago). I also love the balance of shape the room has now all from changing on shade.

Not so bad.

Much better and $0!

Simple fixes and one more way to reuse/recycle.


Reduce, Reuse...

Recycle--rain water that is. I have been wanting to add a rain barrel to our yard for several summers now. To my city dwelling friends who ask "What exactly is a rain barrel?" My simple answer it that its basically just a way to collect rain water from your own roof and gutter, store it and then use it when you need it for a variety of purposes around the yard-keeping your flowers or veggies soaked, filling bird baths or garden ponds or even washing cars (or your Carolina dog:)

My dad made a rain barrel last summer and it seemed pretty simple (once you find the barrel). I am certainly not the "greenest" girl on the block, but my theory is that it's the little things, or in this case a big thing using a very large repurposed pickle barrel.

My Carolina husband jumped on board and after a few hours wandering the aisles at Lowe's for all of he supplies he was ready to go. So here is how he did it.

1. Most of the needed supplies are easily found at your local hardware store. We picked up:

-(2) 1/2 inch outdoor faucet or spout (ours was supposed to be for a gas boiler)

-(2) 1/2 inch rubber washers

-(2) 1/2 inch gold sockets


-roll of screen (to fix a window or screen door)

-6 foot garden hose

-Then there is the barrel. We reused a pickle barrel that my dad picked up for us in eastern Carolina, but I really think any sturdy plastic trash can or large bucket or drum would do. Just make sure it has a tight lid.

2. Once you get everything home its time to find the drill and get started. You will have better luck with an electical drill as opposed to cordless. Locate where you want your spouts to be and then begin drilling. Be sure the drill bit that you use will make a large enough hole to thread the spout through the barrel, but small enough that it's a tight fit. We added two spouts-one close to the bottom of the barrel for the traditional drain/watering can fill and one spout about half way up the side of the barrel to attach a soaker hose.

You may want some help keeping the barrel steady while you drill or you can sit on it.

3. With the holes drilled, start threading the spout through the front of the barrel. After you get the spout through the hole, secure the spout from inside if the barrel (you are going to have to crawl in) with the rubber washer and gold socket. We added a little caulk on the barrel side of the rubber washer for extra seal.

Screw the spout and the socket together as tight as you can (you may need pliers), but make sure the spout ends up still facing down to the ground.

4. Use the screen to create a mesh sieve for the lid of your barrel. This will let water into the barrel, while keeping leaves and sticks out. Our pickle barrel already had a nice pre-cut opening so all we had to do was screw the outside of the lid back over the screen. Depending on the barrel you find, you may need to cut an opening then secure the mesh.

5. Now you are almost done. You have a barrel, it just needs to be put in place. You will need to find a spot under a gutter spout. The whole point of the barrel is to harness the water collection power of your roof and gutters. Using a jig saw or utility knife cut your gutter downspout to the the height of the top of your barrel. Re-attach the bottom gutter elbow to the downspout to direct the rain water from the downspout right into the rain barrel.

You can set it in place right on the ground or on brick or blocks for extra steadiness or height. Some folks add an overflow hole at the top of the barrel to direct the overflow if the water fills more than the barrel can hold. We also added a 6 foot garden hose onto the bottom spout to make it a bit eaiser to fill up a watering can.

There you have it.  Now all you need it a 55 gallon rain storm to fill it up.


Metropolitan Home Design 100

I got my first issue of Metropolitan Home this week and stashed it for an afternoon just like this one in Carolina-lazy and rainy.  It seemed like it was going to be a bit modern (and expensive) for my taste (or decorating budget), but who turns down a free magazine subscription.

We will see how the next issue fairs, but it looks like I subscribed just in time. June features their annual Design 100 issue, labeled "our favorite, people, places & things."  It's a great list of things to put on the wish list, check out on the web or use to just get ideas.  Here are a few of my favorite:

From D100

Since its non-alcoholic it looks like a perfect celebratory mocktail for all of the baby showers that I seem to be hosting these days.  Probably a great mixer too, making it fun for all.

#28 Clean Slate-Idea Paint
It's DIY dry erase board paint. I have been hoping for something like this in lieu of chalkboard paint, but at $199 per can (covers 50 sq ft) its a bit steep.  Maybe something to lookout for down the line.  I can already see the labels and lists.

#36 First Blush-Gran Centenario Rosangel tequila
Hibiscus-infused Tequila.  I'm happy to try anything once or twice:)

#46 Pretty, Good & Cheap-Silicone-Mesh Cooking bags
What a great idea to save water and time.  Cook two or more veggies in the same pot of water at the same time.  The bags look like they will keep every thing separate, not to mention eliminate the need for a strainer.

Great lines with upholstered seat.  My pick would be a bit "flashier" fabric, but I like it.  It looks like the idea is that the benches are both incidental seating for the living area that you can add to a dining table for enough seating at a big family meal. 

Just five of a great list of Design 100.  Great Job Metropolitan Home.

And so it begins...

I don't really know how all of this is going to work, but it seems fun.  So in no particular order (except for the date published:) here are my thoughts on decorating, renovating, food, wine and anything else I find interesting.  Pretty much my version of most of the magazines that I read.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.