Guest Bathroom Makeover {Reveal}

Just after Thanksgiving, I started on a major home improvement project – remodeling the downstairs guest bathroom!  If you didn’t see the start of the project, you can catch up {here}.  While the handyman completed construction before Christmas, I hadn’t yet shared the final result with you because I wasn’t quite done decorating.  But I am now and can’t wait to show you how it turned out!

You might recall, the bathroom started out as a builder-grade creation straight out of the ’80s, complete with cultured marble countertops and shower walls, brass everything, fluorescent lighting, and a mismatched patched flooring.



My inspiration piece was an old dresser that I found at the antique fair that I wanted to use as a vanity.  The overall look that I wanted to achieve was a mixture of warm and cool tones paired with contemporary finishes and antique accents.

Here’s what it looks like now!



It is *so* much brighter and as a result, feels so much bigger!  We removed the old vanity and countertop, along with the wall mirror, fluorescent lighting soffit, and toilet.  The new vanity isn’t quite as long as the old but actually offers more storage since it’s a bit taller and the drawers are deep.



The old floor was replaced with 12×12 marble and we added matching subway tile in the shower.  I also asked my handyman to add a decorative panel that drops down from the crown moulding to hide the shower curtain tension rod.



Inside the shower there is a shampoo and soap recess and while it took forever to figure out how to align it properly with the wall, I love the end result.



The shower curtain itself hides behind this decorative, ruffled panel.  The panel is actually an 84″ curtain panel that my mom lengthened for me over the holidays.



Next to it is a small table that holds extra soaps and Q-tips, but all of that decor can easily be moved and stored in the vanity if guests would prefer to keep extra towels or a change of clothes on the table.



I have even more spare toiletries in a vintage sewing drawer on the back of the toilet.  The drawer holds a wash cloth, extra hand soap, travel sized shampoo and conditioner, room spray, nail files, and even a small sewing kit.



Above the toilet is a small vintage hand mirror and compact that I have framed and placed a vintage comb from the late 1800’s above.



The wall art on the back wall is a large gold and silver vintage hand mirror and I love the juxtaposition of it against the bright, contemporary wallpaper.



The vanity itself is still my favorite part.



I love that the paint looks like a warm, weathered patina with its mix of warm and cool tones and I love all of the carved details.



The old faucet was replaced with this vintage-inspired one.



Separate soap and lotion dispenser sit on a small tray on one side…



…while a boxwood sphere in a mercury compote dish sits on the other along with a small container that can be used to hold guest items such as tooth brushes, toothpaste, jewelry, watches, etc.



Above the vanity, two sconces offer additional lighting.  The sconces are on a separate switch from the overhead lights and the overhead lights are on a dimmer, so all of the lighting can be customized to each person’s comfort level.  The mirror is actually the front of what used to be a medicine cabinet.  I love that its shape repeats the pattern in the wallpaper.



So we went from builder-grade…



…to beautiful!



It is so nice to have a bathroom where the sink doesn’t drip, the toilet doesn’t leak, and the shower actually works!  This is now our favorite room in the house and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
Signature Favorite Things 2014 {and a Gift for You!}


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My Quick & Easy Front Door Makeover {Before & After}

Okay, maybe not so quick in my case but I’m easily distracted in the middle of projects and often take long breaks in between steps.  But for most, this project would be a quick and easy update with a big impact.  And since the front of a house is the first impression people have of your home, it’s important that it reflect your personality and taste.  After all, the front door is a big part of a home’s curb appeal!

You might remember from my previous front door post what my door used to look like.  The door was painted the same color as the trim and it was just ho-hum.  It didn’t reflect my taste at all.



I knew I wanted to give it a fresh coat of paint but didn’t really want to go with color and so instead when with black.  While dramatic, it’s still neutral, which  for me, means it’s within my comfort zone.  The door had originally been painted with a roller, leaving it with an orange-peel texture and I really should have taken the door off the hinges and started from scratch, but…  Instead, I used a brush and painted it in place and while the original texture still shows through, I’m still happy with how it turned out.

With the addition of a new coat of paint and a few decorative accents, my front door makeover is now done! {And yes, I know that the paint color on my house looks different here, but I took the Before and After photos at different times on different days and the lighting wasn’t the same.  I promise I didn’t also paint the house!}



While there’s no need for a door knocker since I have a doorbell, I just couldn’t resist.  I originally purchased a generic one from Lowes in oil rubbed bronze to match the existing hardware.


But if the point of adding a door knocker was to give the door some personality, a generic design that blended in just wasn’t going to cut it! 


Instead, I decided to buy this vintage lion head door knocker that I had spotted on Etsy and had immediately fallen in love with.  This solid brass beauty is my all-time favorite and I’m so glad I made the switch.  My design philosophy has always been to buy things you love and everything else will fall into place and I was determined to make the lion head work!



I also decided to add our house number to the door since I live in tract housing and when all of the houses look the same, it’s easy to end up knocking at the wrong front door!  I originally purchased a white decal from a vendor on Etsy.  Sadly, it was incredibly difficult to install and once it was on, I didn’t like the color.  After a DIY decal-painting #fail, I decided to order a new decal {in gold this time} but from a different vendor and thankfully, I couldn’t be happier with the final product!  This one from Candi at Welcoming Walls was *so* much easier to put on.



I added a small pot with blue hydrangeas next to my lion and with that, called it a day. TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Blue-Hydrangea


It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do.  I can’t believe I waited so many years to tackle this project!



Next up?  That out-of-date doorbell and intercom….  Why does one project always lead to another?!?!

Signature Favorite Things 2014 {and a Gift for You!}

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How to Make a Stuffed Toy {from Your Child’s Drawing}

Every summer when my kids come home from staying at their grandparents’ house, they always show up with an armload of new stuffed animals {we call them stuffties}.  These aren’t your average mass-produced stuffties, though, these are custom-designed and custom-made based on their artwork!  My mom is the master of making stuffed animals from the kids’ drawings and while staying at their house over the long holiday weekend, my daughter asked for a new stufftie and so I thought I’d document the process so that you can make your own stuffed toys!



Please meet Caroline, the carnival caterpillar.  According to my daughter, this well-loved stufftie was lonely and needed a friend.




Step 1: Draw

Meet Casey, Caroline’s soon-to-be new friend.


Have your child draw a picture or use an existing picture.  We only have standard 8.5″x12″ paper and unsupervised, my daughter drew a small caterpillar on white paper.  The drawing is great but it was too small to use as-is for a pattern because by the time we made seam allowances and stuffed it, it would have been a miniature stuffed animal.  And so we moved onto Step 2.


Step 2: Enlarge


If the drawing is large to begin with, you can skip this step.  If not, you’ll need to use a photocopier to enlarge the drawing.  We sectioned the caterpillar into two pieces and enlarged each one separately.  We enlarged my daughter’s original drawing by 200% and then enlarged the new image by 200% again to get the final size shown above.  The final stuffed animal will be a two-sided caterpillar.


Step 3: Choose Your Fabric


Let the child pick the fabric so that the stuffed animal is truly a representation of their imagination.  You might want to narrow their selection to only durable fabrics, though, so that the stuffed animal can have a long life.  :)  Also, felt or ultrasuede are good options for small pieces, such as the antenna and feet on this caterpillar.

If your child has colored the picture and wants the stuffed toy to match, you’ll need to select the fabric colors accordingly.  For the caterpillar, since my daughter didn’t color it, she chose the fabrics at random.  She chose rainbow stripe for one side of the body, blue polka dot for the other, and pink polka dot for the head.  We’ll be using black ultrasuede for the feet and antennae.


Step 4: Cut Out Pattern

Pin pattern to fabric with fabric wrong sides of the fabric together and cut carefully along the outside edge of the drawing.



Step 5: Baste Appendages



Once all of the pieces have been cut out, it’s time to attach any appendages that are separate from the main body.  For example, these could be the arms or legs of a person, in the case of our caterpillar, it’s the legs and antennae.  When basting them, you want to turn the appendages so that they are encased in the body.

Option A: If you are going to stuff the appendages, sew them, stuff them and then baste them to the main body.

Option B: In the case of our caterpillar, we are not stuffing the legs and so can simply baste them to the body without sewing and stuffing them first.

Here’s what the feet look like after they were basted into place.



Step 6: Pin for Sewing

Once the appendages have been basted on, pin all parts together with the good sides facing in.




Step 7: Sew

Sew the pieces together using a 14″ seam and leave about a 3″ opening in the body for stuffing.  Be sure to back stich each side of the opening so that you don’t rip the seam apart each time your hand goes in and out as you’re stuffing it.




Step 8: Clip Inner Corners

If your stuffed toy has curves, be sure to clip all of the interior corners so that they will lay properly once you turn it rightside out.



Step 9: Press Flat

Turn your creation rightside out and press it flat.



Step 10: Stuff & Close

This is usually the kids’ favorite part!  Stuff your creation to the desired fullness and then sew the opening closed.  We used polyester stuffing to achieve a plush toy look but you could also stuff it with polystyrene beads.  Use small pieces and work from the far end back toward the opening.  Use a knitting needle or pencil of you need to poke stuffing into small areas.



Step 11: Transfer the Face

Once stuffed, the area for the face was smaller than how it appeared in the original drawing, so in order to keep the proportions accurate, we reduced the size of the face on the photocopier so that it properly fit on the head.

Cut out the face and use straight pins to pins the lines of the drawing.

After all of the lines have been pinned, lift the paper a section at a time and using a chalk pencil, connect the dots to form the shape!  Once the face is transferred, you can paint it, use pens, stitch it or fuse fabric to it.





And here’s a look at Casey!  Straight out of the imagination of my 1st grader and into reality.





There’s nothing better for a kid than to snuggle up with a stufftie created by their own imagination and made with love.  Thank you, Mom!!

Signature Favorite Things 2014 {and a Gift for You!}

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