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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10.15.2014 / Concrete for the Little

Yesterday, once I finished sealing a bit of Ardex (and my hands in the process) I made a dresser delivery for a special little lady.

Little Miss Lyla, my new niece, is a whopping 4 days old and has cheeks for days.

Lila and Lisa

And she’s the reason that I played with Ardex.

Ardex topped dresser

This is a very unofficial before and after since I clearly ran out of daylight by the time I delivered the dresser and didn’t have my good camera on me.  I’ll give you a quality before and after with more detail and steps very soon but I was dieing to share.

If you remember the dresser that I started with:

lyla dresser before

Very solid with nice detail… except the top.  The top was a product of its age, and although the rest was wood with dovetailed drawers, the top was laminate with plastic edging.  Even if I got it to hold paint, I doubt the paint would hold up in a kid’s room.  Which is what lead me to consider Ardex Feather Finish, like I posted about previously.  If concrete can’t hold up to kids, then I don’t know what would.

Lyla dresser

It was applied directly onto the existing top kind of like icing a cake, so the concrete is only a fraction of an inch thick.  I sealed it with concrete sealer so it will stand strong and be stain resistant.  The jury is still out about the final result.  I probably went a little heavy with my first coat which made it more difficult to get an even edge.  But I don’t hate it! (isn’t that always the goal with projects?  Not to hate it)


I do love the finish that I was able to get on the body of the dresser.  I used my handy dandy Critter Sprayer and the finish looks like it could have been done by a factory.  If the top had been real wood, I would have refinished it and left that wood as a contrast, but alas, so with the Ardex, I just accomplished the contrast in another way.

Lyla dresser

The room color looks a little wonky in this light, but it’s a delightful shade of light yellow that you may have gotten a glimpse of on instagram.

calla lily bm paint

Now that the ball is rolling and Little Miss is leaving the drama at the hospital, hopefully the room will come together quickly!

So, tell me- do you agree with my Mom that I’m nuts to put a concrete topped dresser in a little girls nursery?

Lyla dresser



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