My Home Office - The Built-in Desk~

Ever since we moved into the house 2 1/2 years ago, I have wanted to turn this strange closet in our library into a useful built-in desk. Well, as you may remember, our house is on the market, and since not everyone wants a built-in desk, we had to modify our original plan just a bit.

As I showed you in the slideshow yesterday, after removing the doors to the closet, we finished the interior and the Hubby built a shelf. We had planned on building the desk portion as well, but opted instead to use a fabulous $10 yard sale table that we found a couple of years back which just happens to fit perfectly in the closet. (Yes, that was just good fortune!)

I skirted the bottom to hide all my computer paraphenalia, because as you can see in the pictures, my computer is ancient-of-days and is about to wheeze it's last wheeze. But it still does the job, so I can't complain (or replace it just yet.)

To make the space my own, I added my pretty pinboards, a few of our vintage cameras (turns out HUGE computer monitors make good display shelves), some cute white baskets with little chalkboard tags, and bits of this and that to make me smile. If we were planning on staying in the house, I would add a permanent light fixture of some sort, but for now, the light clip does the trick - even if the cord is a little unsightly.
Some of you may know that I work from home as a part-time editorial assistant , so between that and blogging, I spend a lot of hours sitting in front of the computer. Now it makes me smile everytime I sit down. And the moral of this story is...persistence definitely pays off!

Just love my vintage printing block "H" and my cute damask stamp (found in the Dollar Spot at Tar-jay!)
I love the texture of the folded book, the twine and the starfish on linen. mmmmmmm.

I love this vignette...a photo of me and the l'il sis, a rubberband ball that the kiddos helped me make out of rubberbands my mother sent home with us this summer, and the hubby's birthday pixie.
A few of our vintage cameras.

And the winner of the Single Stone Studios $40 gift certificate is Mary Ellen (Megardengal) from Mary's Meanderings. Congratulations! Drop me an email and we'll get you set up!
Have a great day~


Frugal Friday - the built-in desk~

I've had a project on our to-do list since we moved into the house 2 1/2 years ago. And today it finally got finished. I took some pictures, but the lighting was not very good...so I'm going to take better ones tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a little slideshow of the process...starring... The Hubby (yes, he did all the hard work except the paint job...thanks sweetie!!) I'm posting a couple of little teaser photos of the finished product as well...hopefully they'll make you want to come back.

Edited to add: I've had a couple of comments about the slide show...it does end at slide 10...for anyone who wants to know. (leaves you hangin' huh?) ;-)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Built in Desk
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Why, you may ask, is this project featured on Frugal Friday? The only things we purchased to finish this were 2 sheets of drywall. Grand total...less than $20.

Teaser photos ...

Come back tomorrow to see the finished project and find out the winner of the Single Stone Studios giveaway!

Have a great Friday night!


Gobble Gobble~

Just some of the things I am thankful for today...

My loving husband
My beautiful children
A roof over our heads
Warm beds at night
Food in our bellies
Friends who sincerely care
A steady income
The therapeutic effects of writing this blog
My wonderful readers who keep me motivated
The ability to chase my dreams

Wishing you all many reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving Day!


Linky Party Round-up~

You all did it again!!! Such great Frugal OCD* inspiration! I thoroughly enjoyed going through each and every link and seeing all the great ideas.
*Obsessively Consumed with Decorating

If you didn't get a chance to click through and check out the great posts, here are some highlights!

Tiffany at la*T*da shared this fabulous idea for a kid's Thanksgiving table....chalkboard placemats! Brilliant!

Image from La*T*Da

Jennifer at Studio JRU shared this amazing makeover of a FREE cabinet. Perfection!

Photo from Studio JRU

Carolyn at My Backyard Eden created these great PB knock-off pillows and shares the freezer paper stencil process that she used to make them. Love them!

Photo from My Backyard Eden
I have a weakness for buttons, so I loved this tutorial from Ashley at Shanty2Chic! What a fabulous ornament!

Photo from Shanty2Chic

Love this post by PK at Room Remix about turning some chairs into a mudroom bench. I have some old chairs that I've been wanting to use for a project just like this, and PK's fabulous bench inspired me to give it a go!

Photo from Room Remix

If you haven't had a chance to look through the rest of the posts, do yourself a favor and check out last Friday's post! Great inpiration!!

Have a wonderful Monday~


A Thankful Tree and A Project Teaser~

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays. And I feel like it is often overlooked. I want my children to know the meaning behind the turkey and mashed potatoes. I want them to celebrate with a grateful heart. So today I wanted to share with you all a fun tradition that puts the focus on gratitude....the Thankful Tree.

Our family takes an evening at the beginning of the month of November to talk about what it means to be thankful. Then we write some of the things we are grateful for on leaves cut from cardstock and hang them from a "tree" made of branches collected in our backyard. (These pics are from last year, however, since our house is in the staged-to-sell mode.)

Just thought I'd share with you a couple of the things my little ones are thankful for...

Oh, yes, Mr. Two and Mr. Three are very grateful for Spongebob (and, to be honest, during the "witching" hour around dinner time, I am very grateful for Spongebob as well!)

Mr. One is grateful for hot cocoa on snowy days. And yes, I must admit, that is one thing I am very grateful for as well. Well, as long as I'm being honest, I'm grateful for hot chocolate pretty much any day. ;-)

And because I promised a project teaser...here's a photo of the "lovely" closet in our library. Any guesses what this is going to become? Hint: my pretty new pinboards will find a home here. I'll show you all next week.

Don't forget, tomorrow is the Frugal Friday Linky Party here at the Shabby Nest. For all of you night owls, MckLinky will go up tonight at 12:01 am EST. Can't wait to see what you all have up your sleeves this time!

Have a great Thursday~


The Amazing Transforming Sofa~

This is how my living room normally looks. Note the sofa. Tan slipcover. Very non-confrontational. But also, just a little....um...dull. Don't get me wrong. The tan is a nice supporting color. It goes well with almost any other color I throw at it. It. hides. dirt.

But the other day, my little boys (aka The Toddler Demolition Team) decided to draw on the couch. With marker. Washable marker, luckily. But we happened to have a showing scheduled for the next day. Not enough time to wash the slipcovers and let them dry.

White slipcovers to the rescue. We used these white slipcovers in our former house when the sofa was in a lower traffic area. I love them. I repeat. I love them. It was like breathing fresh air into the house when I slipped them on. Of course, I don't think the color scheme in this house lends itself well to the white, but I enjoyed piling all of my pale pillows on both the sofa and the big cushy chair.

I'm thinking in our next house, I'll try to use the white again.

Sofa and chair: Ektorp from Ikea
Throw Pillows: Most available in my Etsy store

Don't forget The Frugal Friday Linky Party here at The Shabby Nest this Friday! Get your frugal decorating ideas ready to share and come here to link up!
Have a great Wednesday~


Pretty Pinboards~

Many moons ago I saw these pretty bulletin boards in a PB catalog. I. fell. in. love. I have had them on my project list ever since. This weekend, I finally got around to making me some.

First, I stopped at my favorite thrift/junque/antique shop and found a couple of old frames. (I got both for only $5!) Then, after I started painting the first one, I remembered to take a before photo.

I gave each frame a coat of Nantucket White by Ralph Lauren. Just one coat, because I wasn't interested in creating pristine looking frames. I wanted them to look a little shabby. To add to the shabby-ness, I took a sanding block and knocked a little paint off the tops of the relief.

Then to make the pin-boards, I just wrapped some pretty linen around some cardboard and hot glued it on the back. I would really recommend getting some foam core for a project like this, but I was aiming to use what I had. Popped them in their respective frames and VOILA!

You'll have to check back later this week to see how I use these little lovelies!!

Have a great Monday~


Frugal Friday and a Winner~

Hello my dear readers! I'm really excited about today's Frugal Friday because I'm going to start addressing some of those pesky problems you all shared with me with the other day. I'm actually thinking I might tackle some of these problems for you during the week as well, since many of you had deadlines in mind, and I'd like to offer solutions more quickly.

But for today's post I wanted to discuss refurbishing sofas.

One of my readers, Jen, had this to say about her sofa...

I have a few problems with my sofa that I hope you can help with. It is beige microfiber and even though they said that it would clean up easily, it really doesn't. I have 2 boys, one is 2 yrs old, the other is 4 so as you can imagine things get quite messy. My problem is that we can't afford a new sofa and the sofa is longer than a regular sofa (104" to be exact) so a slip cover doesn't work. The second problem with my sofa is that it has pillows at the back (3 of them) and they are not attached, but they are now shaped weird, it doesn't help that my kids like to climb on them constantly. I would like to somehow 'fix' my sofa for now until we can afford a new one so I can don't have anxiety everytime someone comes to my house.

Microfiber sofas are billed as the perfect fabric for busy households, but the truth is, they can be difficult to clean.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Use a drop or two of mild detergent that doesn't contain any bleach (dish soap or laundry detergent work well) with water. Scrub gently. You may have to repeat this process a couple of times.

  • If the stain is more stubborn you can try a drycleaning product although you should test this in an inconspicous spot on the sofa fabric first.

  • For smelly stains (like pet urine): blot the stain with a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water. Then sprinkle baking soda over the stain and after it is dry, vacuum it up.

  • If all else fails, hire a professional cleaning company to come and steam clean the sofa. DO NOT try to steam clean it yourself (this will likely cause more damage to the fabric.)

Image from Pottery Barn

For damaged couch cushions or pillows, the answer is fairly simple. Restuff them.

This may seam daunting, but is actually quite easy.
  • If the cushions have a zipper, simply remove the cushion, and inspect the foam. If the foam is in fairly good condition, you can reuse it - if not you will probably want to invest in some new foam which you can purchase at your local fabric store.
  • You will want to re-wrap the foam in Dacron (batting). This is easy to do as well. Buy some spray adhesive and dacron at your local fabric/craft store.
  • Remove the old Dacron from the cushion/pillow. Then spray one side with adhesive and spread the Dacron smoothly over the surface. Repeat on the other side. Wrap the ends like you would wrap a gift. Then replace the cushion into it's cover. You may wish to use some plastic to make this process easier.
  • If the cushion or pillow is sewn, I would suggest enlisting some one who is a fairly good with a sewing machine - if you are not - to help you unpick a seam. You can then follow the same steps as above to restuff the pillow (or you may wish to add fresh polyfil if that is how the pillow was originally stuffed). Then sew it shut again. I've had to do this with one of my chairs, and it was actually quite easy and has held up very well with use in my boys' bedroom.

I hope these ideas help you Jen! And any of my other readers who may be in a similar boat! Sofas are an expensive investment, so making them last is a priority!

Resources: Home Decorating Reviews Clean Your Mircrofiber How to Restuff Sofa Cushions

It's that time again....Next Friday is the Frugal Friday Linky Party here at the Shabby Nest. Get your Frugal OCD* projects and ideas ready and link up HERE next Friday!! *Obsessively Consumed with Decorating
And finally, the winner of the North Pole Secretary drawing is MMW from Never Without ! Congratulations MMW! Drop me an email so we can get you set up with your letters!!

Have a great weekend~


This I Love: Tutorial Edition~

I've mentioned my love of Serena and Lily on this blog before....a few times, actually. One of the things I love the most about their catalog (aside from the drool worthy bedding etc.) is the photo styling. They have some amazing decorating ideas going on in that catalog.

The other day I was on their site looking for a photo that I wanted to share with you all (which I couldn't find, by the way...maybe I'll have to scan it for you) when I ran across a section they call "Inspiration". With a name like that, you know I couldn't resist clicking on it....and I wasn't disappointed.

And what did I find? The good people at Serena and Lily offer some tutorials for some of their great decorating ideas. Yes they do.

(These images are quite small....you're definitely going to want to go their site and check out the real tutorials - 6 of them in all...plus they have downloadable PDFs of each project!)

I've always love this idea of hanging the paper hats over a child's bed!

I love painted floors....and this one is adorable!

If you've read my blog for very long at all, you know how I love a chalkboard. This idea is fabulous!

All Images from Serena and Lily
And finally, this great blueprint idea. I think this would translate really well to an adult space also.

Hop over and get inspired...

And don't forget you have until 11:59 EST tonight to enter to win Christmas letters for your kiddos.

There is also still time to enter for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate on my interview at Houzz.com.

Have a great Thursday~


Creativity and Frugal Decor~

So I've been waxing philosophical lately. Well, philosophical in a Frugal OCD* kind of way.
*Obsessively consumed with decorating

I decided to make my dream list of the things I would do to my home if money, time and skill were not obstacles. And you know what? It wasn't very fun. If money, time and skill aren't obstacles, where's the challenge?

After reading the comments that many of you left on my Houzz interview (there's still time to enter for a chance to win a $50 Restoration Hardware gift certificate if you pop over to Houzz and read the interview) I was most impressed with the number of readers that are inspired by my frugal decorating suggestions. As one reader commented "Anyone can have a beautiful home if they have lots of funds but it takes work and creativity to make a beautiful home with a tight budget!"

Constraints force one to think creatively, and the creativity is my favorite aspect of interior design. I love to be forced to think outside the box. I love to make myself find frugal solutions to my design dilemmas. Nothing thrills me more than getting the exact look I was hoping for at a fraction of the cost! And in today's volatile economy, I think many of you feel the same way. The media buzzword is "cocooning". As a society, we are "cocooning", we are spending more time in our homes. So why not make them the homes we want them to be? We can do it frugally!

So, my dear readers, I was wondering...what are some of your decorating challenges that you hope might have frugal solutions? Leave me a comment , and I'll try to address some of them in upcoming Frugal Friday posts!
Have a great Monday~


Shabby Nest Interview on Houzz.com

Hello! This week's Frugal Friday post is preempted by some exciting news! I'm thrilled to announce that The Shabby Nest is being featured today at Houzz.com!

Hop over and check out my interview for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Restoration Hardware courtesy of the very generous people at Houzz. (See how I tied that in...posted about Restoration Hardware yesterday...giveaway of a RH gift certificate today...yeah, I'm tricky like that.)

Have a wonderful weekend~


Why I love to Blog~

With a title like that, this post could be book-length. But today I just want to share one of the reasons I love blogging so much. And that is....inspiring my readers to beautify their homes!

Last week I got an email from one of my readers...Tiffany at Happy Day. She thanked me for my blog and for inspiring her to personalize her home. She shared me with me a post that she was working on, because it was inspired by my mini-mudroom.

This is my mini-mudroom. If you haven't had a chance to read about it, here's the link.

Tiffany had this "architectural feature" in her home that she just couldn't decide what to do with.

Until one day, when she hit upon the idea of using the idea she saw here to create her own mini-mudroom.

How fabulous is this???

I was so excited when I saw what she had done, I emailed her right back to ask if I could share it with my readers. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that someone has been inspired to create something wonderful by one of my posts. Thanks for sharing this with me Tiffany!

If you'd like to see Tiffany's entire post, here's the link!
Have a great Wednesday~


What to do with that repurposed dresser drawer~

Okay, I promised to tell you all what I did with that dresser drawer that I refinished for last week's Frugal Friday. Well, I have a confession to make. The reason I didn't share it with you last Friday, was because I was second guessing my original intention.

When I first decided to save this drawer from the trash heap, I thought that it would make a nice underbed box to store the Princess' huge collection of stuffed animals.

But after I saw how cute the drawer turned out, I began to question hiding it underneath a bed.

As these things sometimes work out, however, the drawer ended up being just a bit too tall to actually fit underneath the Princess' bed. ( You can't really tell that well in the photo, but the drawer doesn't clear the bedframe by a mere 1/2").

So what did I decide to do with this little pretty? Well, I had many wonderful suggestions from my creative readers. One of my favorites (and one that had occurred to me as well) was to fill the drawer with fluffy towels and put in the bathroom. I absolutely would have done this...if my bathroom had anywhere to display it. No such luck.

Instead, I loaded it up with some of my favorite cozy quilts and placed it under the green buffet in my living room. Perfect for the upcoming cold winter weather. I must admit, after looking at the photo, I'm not completely sold on it. I decided that since height is no longer a factor for the little drawer...it could really use some casters or maybe some bun feet to give it a little lift. The scale is just a little off...it looks...well...it looks like a drawer sitting on the ground. I love it, but it definitely needs a little something. What do you think?

Have a great Tuesday~