Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Style

When it comes to getting dressed up for holiday parties, I typically do the little black dress thing.  This year for my hubs Christmas work party I've been thinking of spicing things up a bit.

What do we think?  Does this deep coral dress work?  I thought a red dress would be a little too cliche even if I am a red lover at heart.  This deep shade of coral seems like a nice twist to get me out of the "little black dress" box I ever so neatly tuck myself into every year.  It's festive but not too over the top jolly.  Or is this a no-go?

My hub actually bought me this Ann Taylor dress for my birthday back in October (along with a few other goodies - I'm so spoiled!).  Honestly, he has better shopping skills than I do!  It has a cool zipper on the back that adds a little fun to this otherwise simple shift dress.  I really love that it can be dressed up or down, so it's something I can wear year round.

The necklace is from Charles Emerson Designs, and I'm slightly obsessed with it!  The clutch is not mine yet, but it's on my Christmas list.  ;)  I'll probably just use my black snakeskin for the party this Saturday night.  

So what do you think, should I wear this coral number or should I stay in the LBD safe zone?  I'm packing my bags for Cincinnati tonight, so if you could weigh in before then that would be so wonderful!   If you want to know what I choose follow me on instagram - Carmel_ourfifthhouse.  I know you'll be on the edge of your seats waiting to find out.  ;)

I'm wearing the necklace either way - make no mistake about that!!

What do you all have planned for the weekend?  Anyone else off to a festive partay?!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Organize It: The Spice Cabinet

Last week while I was in the kitchen preparing a few side dishes and baked goodies for Thanksgiving, I decided I needed to organize my spice cabinet.  To say it was a hot mess is an understatement.

I couldn't really see what had in there.  Trying to find the rubbed sage threw me into a fit, and I decided to put an end to the madness once and for all.

I pulled everything out and took an inventory of what I had.  That was the truly scary part.  Some things were expired or even nastier - clumped together in the bottle - yuck.  I also found a few multiples that I didn't even know I had and a few empty bottles.  Almost half of what I had in there went in the trash.

Then I wiped down the inside of the cabinet really good (hence the stool - I'm not tall enough to wipe down the top shelf without standing on the stool).   And now,

I can actually see everything I have in there!  Honestly, I love those spice cabinets I've seen in Martha Stewart magazine where everything is in pretty matching labeled bottles,  but my real life just doesn't work that way.  I know I'd never keep up with re-bottling things, and I go through basil and oregano way too fast to even try it.  I think it's important to be real with yourself when you tackle an organization project.  Organizing anything only pays off if you're able to keep it that way.

Want to know what kind of magic I worked on my spice bottles?

I used command strips to create a second row.  This way I can see everything at a glance without having to buy a spice bottle riser.  This also gives me space in the middle of this shelf for flat packets - taco seasoning and soup mixes.  And I really didn't need a full command strip to hang them either.  I cut most of them down since the bottles I used command strips on were plastic and don't weigh much.  Due to the velcro nature of the strips, I can easily remove the bottles to use and stick them right back up there.  Then when it's time to discard them the base command strip (the one that's on the wall) will stay in place, and I'll just cut another little piece for the new bottle.  So far this is working out perfectly for me.  And since I always have command strips on hand for various projects around the house I don't think this will be too difficult to keep up with either.

But the best part is - my kids think I have magic powers.  They were like, "Ummmmm, Mom how are those spice bottles floating in the air?"  I said, "Duh, I told you have super powers!"  

This little organization project cost me nothing (I already had the command strips), was not planned in advance, and took practically zero time.  And yet, it makes me ridiculously happy!  I love a quick fix - don't you?

So what do you think, would command strips on spices work for you?  I'm sure some of you have tons more spices than I do.  Being that I'm not exactly the greatest cook and I like to keep things simple, this is all I really need and use.

The winner of The Enchanted Fig Tree Giveaway is
 AnonymousNovember 25, 2012 7:08 PM
I really love the glass buoy....super cute...thankful for my wonderful husband
I'll be sending an email to the winner!  Congrats!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Simple Vintage Chalkboard Christmas Tree

vintage clip-on earrings as magnetic christmas tree ornaments

The chalkboard wall in my entry foyer got Christmasified.

framed chalkboard tree with vintage clip-on earring ornaments

Because I used magnetic primer under the chalkboard paint, I was able to turn a bunch of vintage clip-on earrings into magnets to use as ornaments on our chalk tree.

My Christmas decorating plan this year is based on simplicity.  In years past I've spent so much time decorating to celebrate this holiday that I've left myself little time to actually celebrate.  With two kids, ages 6 and 8, the excitement level is on high and I want to savor these precious moments.  So this year, I've vowed to sprinkle little bits of Christmas cheer around the house and then sit back and enjoy the magic of the holiday (with a hot cup of eggnog coffee most definitely in hand!).  And honestly, these little sprinkles of holiday cheer have brought me and my family more joy than the huge displays I've done in previous years.

vintage chalkboard christmas tree

May the pure joy of the season fill your hearts and homes for the King was born to give us a life worth living!

*Linking up at Savvy Southern Style

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY - Grasscloth Wallpaper (My first wallpapering experience)

From the very beginning I knew I wanted grasscloth wallpaper in the hubs office.  When I say "from the beginning" I mean from the day we moved in to this house (like almost 3 years ago).  However, being that I had never wallpapered before, I didn't want to dive in to this project without doing some research first.  Right away I decided that working with a pre-pasted wallpaper (one that doesn't require applying wallpaper paste) sounded like something I might actually be able to do.  This is one of the main reasons why I chose to use this grasscloth-like wallpaper by Allen + Roth that is sold at Lowe's.

It's not actually grasscloth -  it's vinyl!  Let's keep it a secret - mmmkay?  ;)  Seriously, it looks just like the real thing.  Apart from the fact that is was super easy to put up all by myself, it's a lot less expensive at about $20/ roll in comparison to the real unpasted thing.

lowes grasscloth wallpaper

So here's how I did it.  In typical Carmel style I didn't follow the directions which called for submerging in water to activate the pre-pasted glue.  That just sounded like a crazy hot mess to me, so I opted to use a spray bottle of water.

I measured, then cut, then moved the cut piece over to the drop cloth and sprayed it very liberally with water.  I waited about 5 minutes to let the water activate the glue and then I attached the piece to the wall.

I started in the least conspicuous corner of the room and worked my way around from there.  Once the wallpaper was on the wall I lightly sprayed it again and used a wallpaper smoothing tool to work out any bubbles.

I used that big blue sponge you can see on the floor 2 photos up to wipe away any excess water.  The great thing about wallpaper is that while it's wet you have time to wiggle it into place, so if you don't get it to lay right the first time you can adjust it accordingly.  I never used a level I just eyeballed it and it turned out just fine.  There were a few sheets that didn't meet flush up against the crown moulding, so I went back and filled in those places with a little trim paint.

The main thing I messed up on a few times was measuring (story of my life).

No worries though as those pieces were then taken down and used around the window and over the doorway.  Because of these silly mistakes I ended up using 3 1/2 rolls rather than just 3 which is again no big deal considering how inexpensive this paper was.

One thing I want to point out about grasscloth in general is that you will have seams,  There's no way around that.  It's not like a typical wallpaper with a repeating pattern that you can match up.  I think that is part of its character.

grasscloth wallpaper

I actually grew up with grasscloth.  Yes, my mom and dad had grasscloth in our family room when I was a kid (they also had the coolest velour chevron sofa!).  It was all kinds of 70's hotness, and it may be why I totally dig grasscloth today.

This project was way easier than I dreamed it would be and I'm quite pleased with the end result.

grasscloth wallpaper

As you can tell from the photos the color changes a bit depending on the time of day.  It's another one of the things I really love about this paper.  In my hubs home office the wallpaper plays a supporting role to the built-in bookshelves which is another reason why I didn't feel the need to go with real (much more expensive) grasscloth.

built in floor to ceiling bookcases

grass cloth wall covering

I painted the register on the wall to match the paper - Waverly Lambs Wool (the color of the guest bedroom walls).  That was just a happy accident as I had no idea that color would match so well.

So that's the story of how I wallpapered for the first time ever and lived to tell the tale.  On a diy scale of 1 to 10  - 10 being the hardest, most frustrating project - I would give this a 5.  It was time consuming (it took me 2 days working by myself with kids coming to ask me for snacks every 5 minutes)  and a little messy, but it was worthwhile.  In fact, I may actually wallpaper again......but only if it's pre-pasted.

Oh, and one other great thing about this wannabe grasscloth paper - it's wipeable.  So if something spills or splats on the walls it's can be wiped up easily unlike most natural grasscloths.

Have you ever wallpapered before?

*Linking up at Thrifty Decor Chick 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dining Room Details

The Monday after a holiday weekend is always rough isn't it?  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I thoroughly enjoyed not one but two big meals and just might need to wear an elastic waist band for the next week!  As if the food wasn't enough to keep me from being able to move, my hub bought the boxed set extended version of The Lord of the Rings.  Oh my goodness - there was so much extra awesomeness in the extended versions!  But good grief, I think I spent about 10 hours in front of the television!  There might be a permanent indention on my sofa.

Between the eating and the movie watching I did manage to get a few things done around here.  I started decking the halls, but I'm most happy about the to-do's I finally crossed off the list in the dining room.

I added some bling to the chairs.

antique bras pulls on chairs

Ever since Courtney added ring pulls to the back of her chairs, I have wanted to do the very same thing.  I went with a slightly different style of pull than the ones she used.  I found these antique brass pulls at House of Antique Hardware.

house of antique hardware pulls on chairs

The aged brass and antique style of this pull is perfect against the dark rustic wood.  To adhere them, I used super glue.

super glue hardware to chairs

Super simple and very quick!

I also added a few things to the gallery wall.

The horse hook I found on etsy, and I added 5 keys (Michael's)  - you know why there's 5.

dining room gallery wall

I moved the horseshoe art to the gallery wall and finally framed the Made By Girl Love print I've had forever.

And last but not least, I finally painted and nailed up the vintage headers/pediments I bought on etsy back in the summer.  Took me long enough right?!  Here's a picture from the listing since I forgot to take a before picture.

OmG - Beautiful, Vintage Header/Pediment/Architectural Salvage with Egg & Dart Molding-  2 Available

And here they are now.

vintage pediment over the doorway

I used the trim paint so they would blend in, but I let some of the wood show through to keep the vintage look.

I love details.

dining room

And now it's time to Christmas-ify this room!  Did you get any to-do's knocked off your list over the long weekend?  Is your house all decorated for Christmas already?   I'm 80% there  - I think.

*Sharing with Thrifty Decor Chick 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Enchanted Fig Tree Giveaway

*UPDATE - This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been e-mailed.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all know how truly thankful I am for you!   I appreciate so much that you take time out of your day to stop by and say hello.

Today I'm thrilled to offer one of you lucky ducks a sweet little giveaway from

The Enchanted Fig Tree is an online boutique which specializes in vintage and antiques such as Home Decor, Entertaining, Mid Century Modern chairs, and one of a kind collectibles.  Today they are graciously offering up this little brass cutie!

Brass Apple. Mid Century Decor. Little Fruit. Storage Container. Office Space.

Brass Apple. Mid Century Decor. Little Fruit. Storage Container. Office Space.

This brass apple would be the perfect vintage piece to complete any vignette!  And the best part is the secret storage; great for mints, paper clips etc.

To enter to win this brass apple:
- visit The Enchanted Fig Tree and leave me a comment letting me know your favorite item
- leave me a comment letting me know what you're thankful for this Thanksgiving

There are so many great vintage finds over at The Enchanted Fig Tree

Sale Madmen Chic Champagne Bucket. Faux Black Crocodile Chrome Bucket Silver Trim. Impeccable Inside. Smoky Glam Damask Roly Poly Glasses
Sale Solid Brass Large Elephant. Trunk Up Good Luck in Your Home Elephant. Elefante de Oro. Beautiful Glamorous Safari. Nursery Decor
Vintage Equestrian Wall Horse Hook. Coat Hooks. Pair of Brass Horses for Mudroom. House of Fig Style
Hallows Eve SALE. The other Herman Miller. Designer tufted Plycraft Mid Century Mr. Swivel Chair by Mulhauser Tufted Lounge. Stamped
Treasury Item. Catchall. Natural Leaf Wooden Sculptural Plate

Seriously, there are so many cool finds over there it's hard to choose a favorite!  The good news is there is also a sale going on right now!

I'll announce the winner of the brass apple giveaway next Thursday.  I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Star Wars Loving Boy's Bedroom

It's done!

star wars bedroom

When we moved in (almost 3 years ago) my son asked for a Star Wars bedroom (and I practically did a cartwheel).  As much as I love me some Star Wars I didn't want to go overboard with a "theme".  I wanted the room to reflect his love (and mine) for Star Wars without getting too charactery (yes, that's a word).  It took me a while to put it all together, but I think he's pretty happy with the end result.

star wars bedroom

I think there are more diy projects in this room than any other room in the house which is probably why it took almost 3 years to get it to where it is today.  By far the biggest Star Wars bang for the buck is the ceiling.

star wars bedroom

It was an inexpensive way to bring home that Star Wars feeling he was after, and when (if) he graduates from Jedi training I can pretty easily remove the decals and roll on some primer.

Those stars glow in the dark, and I kind of wish they were on my bedroom ceiling.

The biggest labor of love was "building" a storage bed and turning a pegboard into a headboard.

union jack headboard

I need to take a minute here to address the elephant in the room or rather the flag in distress.  You see I learned after this project was done that I had apparently painted the flag upside down?  Ummm....oops.   I used a catalog as my guide for the image, so I guess it pictured it wrong as well.  I never would have thought to check that the catalog pictured it correctly.  You live and learn I guess.  The best part is when I told my son about my mistake and that an upside down flag is a signal of distress his words were priceless!  "I think that makes it cooler - I mean you force me to go to bed at 8, so it kinda makes sense."  You gotta love an honest 8 yr. old boy!

So, here it is - upside down  - in distress   - and apparently cooler like this to my 8 yr. old.   Not one of our American friends has caught this mistake and even my English friends didn't notice........right away.  ;)

pegboard headboard

union jack bed

Taking advantage of the awkward ceiling and shape of the room I created a study area.

star wars bedroom

As usual the little details are some of my favorites.  I also really love the artwork - some handmade - some found on Etsy.

X -Wing Fighter Art

It's a Starry Star Wars Night

Printed Instagram Pics in plastic polaroid frames with dry erase marker 

I'm so thankful it's finally done...............for now.  ;)

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is........truer words have never been spoken.

star wars boys bedroom

Here's a list of all the diy projects in this room.

I also changed the hardware on the furniture (Pottery Barn Kids) with fun knobs from the Hob Lob, and turned some paper mache letters into faux metal - but never blogged about those little projects. 

Thanks for coming on the journey with me!  May the force be with you - c'mon, you knew that was coming.  

*Linkung up at Home Stories A to Z, Thrifty Decor Chick 

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