10.29.2014 / Make it Work: Thrifted Art

In the series, Make it Work , I show you how to take a seemingly random thrifted find and hypothetically ‘make it work’ in an awesome space.  WWTGD (What would Tim Gunn do?)

On to today’s Make it Work!

I’ve been scouring Craigslist a lot lately.  I mean a lot even for me (and that’s an awful lot for most people).  Aside from a few things that will probably work for eventually staging Millie, I haven’t been coming across any total gems.  Sometimes not being WOWed by a piece gives you the opportunity to add the WOW yourself, however.

I present to you: dated 70’s hot air balloons currently on sale on our local craigslist for $20

CL hot air balloon art

I’m betting about 87% of you are questioning my vision right now.  Am I in the midst of a stroke?  Losing my eye sight?  Nope, I truly think these stuck-in-time pictures have potential.  With some modifications.  Something about the hot air balloons draws me to them.  Something about the current color scheme and the frame scares me away.

First, I’d start off by correcting the hideousness that’s scaring me.  Paint the mat white and use a gold rub-and-buff on the frame.  Now the only color issues reside in the paintings/prints themselves.  My solution for this?  Dip it!


image credit: insidecloset.com

In reality, the process would be less of a ‘dip’ and more of a ‘tape off half the painting then use a brush or spray paint’ but the effect is still the same.  Our previously questionably hot air balloons would suddenly look ethereal and modern.  Here is my not-so-perfect photoshop rendition to give you an idea of what the balloons would look like.  Picture the frames shinier and the paint wouldn’t look so flat.


You could also take it one step further and stencil or paint on a favorite quote or phrase.  I like the idea of a tone-on-tone.

photoshop-overlay-hot-air-balloon-art via year of serendipity

Now what’s one to do with this bizarre revived art set?

Personally, I think it would make the perfect statement over the sofa.  Large enough to fill the space, the new paint gives it a night weight, and it demands attention without screaming for it.

Make it Work: dipped art room vignette via year of serendipity

side table: target/frames: target/sofa: mitchell gold + bob williams/pillow: caitlin willson textiles/lamp: ikea

I know the dipped look isn’t one to please everyone’s tastes, but it’s a great way to make a statement on a budget.

Are you on board or do you think it still looks like junk?  I’d love for you to weigh in!


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10.27.2014 / A Stitch of Truth

Did you happen to catch a glimpse of my humble abode on Apartment Therapy’s House Call on Saturday?  If you were busy making the most of your weekend, go check it out now!

With colder weather peeking in lately, my knitting needles have come out once again.  For some reason I only knit on airplanes or in cold weather.  Well, after making hats for all my boys last Christmas (Hubby, Handy Dad, my nephew Eli, and his daddy Eric), I needed to spread the knitting love and make a hat to keep my cheeky new niece warm this winter.  I fell in love with this pattern on Ravelry.com and jumped in needles first, hoping that my hat ended up half as cute as the one on the pattern’s adorable little model here.


The knitting gods have other plans, I guess.


I SWEAR I followed this pattern to the T.  Clearly I’m not quitting my day job.  I was debating whether to share with you my knitting debacles, but I clearly decided to.  Often times DIY blogs are all styled, amazing projects and rooms and rarely do you see the dozens of false starts it took to achieve the perfect end results that you avidly pin.  Keepin’ it real here as always.

My first, half completed attempt was scrapped mid-way because I thought the proportions looked off.  After assuring myself that the pattern had good reviews and that I should see it to the end, I gave it another go.  Aside from using a smaller needle to make the hat smaller than my first attempt(and apparently too small) this just ended up looking ridiculous.  Sometimes I will, admittedly, follow a pattern blindly, even if it doesn’t looking right yet, because sometimes the textile reveals itself as you get in further.  This was not the case.  The only thing that revealed itself as I went further was a conehead and my dear Lyla did not deserve that.

I have started more than a half dozen hats in the past few weeks(this pattern and one other), the majority of which have found themselves in the trash, and my baby niece is still hatless.


The most common issue I’ve had has been knitter error.  Since I’m a weeee bit OCD here, if I can’t easily rewind to undo my stitch errors, I scrap it and start over.  Several times.  I stopped counting.  I’m also blaming the patterns for my inability to follow them properly.  Don’t they know they need to SIMPLIFY so I can follow??

After my epic conehead failure, however, I think I know how to modify the pattern to actually be able to knit the desired result-  Less repeats and decreasing more gradually.


No more blindly following the pattern…. I WILL make this one work!  (or give myself blisters trying)

Did you have any DIY misfires or successes this weekend?

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10.24.2014 / Millie: Week 9

I hope you enjoy these weekly updates as I learn to navigate through the business of flipping houses.  This flip, Millie is the most challenging and most exciting yet! You can find more about this house and about my 3 previous flip houses here.

Despite the wet wet weather we’ve had here in MA the past few days, the house painters were able to get a bit of work done early in the week.  It’s looking so much better than the previous gray box already!!


This is take 2 on the house color.  Take 1 was a shade lighter and not good.  Not good at all.  I sucked it up, had them buy a new color of paint and I’m still not 100% on it.  I think I’m officially crazy.  Take 1 was Ben Moore Wythe Blue HC-143 and looked super beachy.  Take 2 here is HC-142, Stratton Blue.  In the interest of full disclosure here, if I could go back again I’d pick a grayer, darker color.  But it is what it is at this point and it doesn’t offend me.  I’m hoping that a little touch of a darker accent color will really make this color pop.


At the beginning of the week, I also rushed to beat mother nature and get the rest of my new grass seed spread before the wet week.  Last week’s previous patio pit

Is now on it’s way to being a nice front-ish lawn.


The bricks in the front and going across the lawn are only temporary borders until grass grows and I can mulch.  The brick line going across in the middle of the lawn is where the new fence will be going up.  Hopefully today- fingers crossed!

And with the wet weather, I went inside and got more smashing done.  I’m getting very sick of the demo in this house.  It’s been 2 months already!  I’m beyond ready to start the interior rebuilding!! *rant over*

My demo this week focused on where the plumber would need access to replumb the existing bathroom and plumb for the new bathroom.

millie-w9-bathroom millie-w9-wall

Demoing part of the ceiling in the basement was a particularly terrible task.  Not only is it above you so all the debris is falling ON you…. there’s no power or functional windows down there so I had to demo this guy with just a headlamp and a prayer.  It’ll be worth it once the new master bath gets installed above.


I have decided, however, next time….. I’m throwing money at demo.  As fun as it is to swing a sledge hammer, the novelty wears off in about a week.  Can someone remind me of this on the next house?

I did squeeze one fun thing in this week, though: bringing life back into the claw foot tub.  So far it has received a coat of rusty metal primer (just to be safe) and one coat of Rustoleum Gloss White.  Today, it’ll get sanded smooth and coat 2. I have a feeling it’ll take several coats for the desired finish, but she’s gonna be a beaut.


The feet are just waiting to be reattached after getting completely stripped and repainted themselves (and no longer look like Jar-Jar).


I’m hoping I can get all my contractors in line this coming week and get marching on the inside!  Plumbing, electrical, and asbestos removal all need to happen before I can have my REAL fun of putting the house back together.  I’m already anticipating seeing each room near completion.  That’s what’s keeping me motivated right now.  Keep your eye on the prize, Karen!

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