Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Earth Day.

I realize Earth Day happened last week, but today it was 30 degrees outside so I refuse to consider this post late. Our patio-the reason we want to make it a nice space? Sure I love having a well designed space to look at from the kitchen, but it's so much more than that. It's a place for us to enjoy with our girls, and for Connor and me to retreat to after the girls are down for the night. A place for us to sip our wine/moscow mules and just talk about whatever we want without interruption. But it's also a place for us to to entertain. We love hosting out of town guests, and we get a lot of visitors. We love it. We have lived all over the country and made some really wonderful friends along the way- so much so that they are willing to travel to us wherever we live. I don't for one second take this for granted! Because of that, we give a lot of thought to making our home conducive to hosting out of town guests. So along those lines, here is my current inspiration for our balcony. I'm really loving the idea of a privacy screen to make our balcony more cozy.

And here is my moodboard for the space. I already have some Homecrest chairs that I found on craigslist, we are turning our old bench that Connor made (originally for the dining room in Indianapolis) into more outdoor seating, using a rug I found on craigslist, and adding some plants and pillows. 

1. Bench
2. Plants
3. String lights
4. Homecrest Chairs
5. Rug
6. Eye pillow
7. Leaf Pillow
8. Black planters

Thursday, April 14, 2016

DIY Faux Marble Dining Table/ Ikea Hack

It seems as though I've become somewhat of an expert on faux marble the past couple months! I have been brainstorming dining table options ever since we found our MA home and realized that our original dining table was too large for the room and the tulip table too small for our family (let alone guests). Long term? We are planning on buying a house in a year or so and the wood dining table that we made in Indianapolis will become an outdoor table and the tulip table will be used as a breakfast table.
Back to the faux marble table. I wanted to find an affordable option since we needed four dining chairs, and we always prefer to put our money towards travel over things. When I stumbled across this tutorial (by Erin of Earnest Home Co. ) for faux marble countertops I knew instantly I wanted to make a dining table. Aside from the fact that our table looks like real marble and it was actually a relatively cheap DIY, I also love the fact that I can have "the look" of marble without worrying about my kids (or me, let's be honest) ruining it. The end results blew our minds, it looks even more beautiful in person! 

Here's what you'll need:
-An underframe
-Wood tabletop
-White primer
-Black paint (to make a couple different shades of grey)
-Brushes of a few sizes
-Softening brush
-Feather (although I ended up preferring a brush)
-Sea Sponge
-Fine white glitter
-Disposable plastic drop cloth
-Parks Super Glaze (bought at Home Depot)
-3 containers (with measurements on the side) for mixing the super glaze

We bought this under frame from Ikea because it seemed the most sturdy. I'm sure you could also make one from pipes (theres tons of tutorials online for that). In hindsight, Connor wishes we had put the table together before painting it so we could have made the whole thing more secure without having to worry about ruining the tabletop, but then we would have also had to worry about the epoxy getting on the frame.
After buying the frame, we went to home depot and bought a sheet of wood for $50(a slight upgrade from plywood). I sanded it and rounded out the edges before painting it with the white primer. Then I followed this video that Erin shared on her site. Now I'm going to be honest with you- this was a totally nerve wrecking process! I was terrified of ruining the table. Thankfully Connor was there to keep me calm and remind me that we could always paint it white again. So, we followed the technique in the video- me with the brush and the sponge, and Connor with the softening brush. It really helps doing it with someone else, even if to have a second pair of eyes. The softening brush is KEY…..we used a big fluffy staining brush and that worked just fine, but  you definitely want something big and fluffy. 
The process goes like this:
1. Twist the brush (with grey paint) using the technique on the video
2. Go over it with the watered down white paint "glaze"
3. Then go over it with a softening brush so that there are no sponge marks or brush strokes
Now I consider myself a very average DIYer- I have a lot of great ideas, but when it comes to actually doing a project I get impatient and make a lot of mistakes along the way. Lucky for you! Here are some of the tips I learned the hard way:
1. DO NOT put too much grey paint on the brush, less is more here. The sponge will get messy, the surface cloudy, and you might even mess up your softening brush.
2. DO NOT use a grey that is too dark. Err on the side of too light. You can always add in darker bits.
3. DO NOT use a squeegee like the Super Glaze instructions suggests, we found a scraper to be a thousand times better.

We ended up painting the table top and putting on a coat of super glaze before I realized that I preferred a lighter looking marble. In my opinion it looks more real. So we made that first attempt the bottom of the table. Here is what it looks like:
We also used the squeegee with the super glaze on this side and it made the glaze too thin and it did not have the thick finnish I wanted. On the second round, we started with a lighter grey for the marbling and I was much happier with the results.

I know I didn't include a ton of pictures of the process, but that's mainly because I think the video by Danika of Gorgeous Shiny Things is the key to success here. After we finished marbling, I noticed from a couple angles there were different shades of white that looked very fake (for lack of a better word). In the wrong lighting it looked like bad highlights or something. I took a picture so you can see here:

Anyways, I decided to take my chances and pour the glaze hoping it would even out…..and IT DID! So don't be alarmed if you experience this. I also added the fine white glitter that Erin did to look like mineral deposits and it worked like a charm. Here we are pouring on the glaze and moving it around with the scraper:
With the super glaze its crucial that you follow directions to a T- with the mixing and the measurements. You really don't want to scrape the super glaze but rather "move" it (as we learned on the first round). Again, the squeegee didn't work for us here, it created ridges and made the coat too thin. We watched the edges for drips…this is key because as the epoxy settles it moves and drips. So don't leave it until you are sure it's done moving. We used a hair dryer to get out any air bubbles. We let it dry for three days, and after that we still found that some of the sides of the table were a little sticky. We used rubbing alcohol on those small areas. You can also use clear nail polish on any small imperfections from the super glaze. 
The end result is incredible. The glaze is what sells the table as marble. I really didn't want a table that looked like a really nice fake version, and I'm very pleased to say that it looks like the real deal. More on the dining room later!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Product Highlight: Outdoor Pillows

Last weekend, I found some awesome retro patio chairs on craigslist (old news if you follow me on IG). We don't have a yard, so our only outdoor space is the two balconies off of our second and third story unit. I love the idea of making it into a beautiful space for us to enjoy as a family as well as the plethora of out of town guests planning to visit us this summer. After purchasing the chairs, I decided to do a quick internet search for outdoor textiles to make our balcony more cozy.  I was appalled to see how expensive outdoor cushions/pillows are, not to mention the limited options. So when I stumbled across Spociety 6 and noticed that they had an outdoor cushion option for all of their pillows at reasonable prices, I felt I had to share. Below are some of my favorites: