Easy DIY Yardstick Star

kona stain yardstick star

easy diy yardstick star

Hi there! It’s Melissa from The Happier Homemaker again and I’m excited to share a super easy little DIY decor project with you today!  A few weeks back I was at Lowe’s on a Saturday morning (isn’t that where we all are on the weekends?) While shopping around I saw a bucket of yardsticks in the paint section and had a stroke of inspiration to create this adorable little yardstick star for my mantel! This was one of my favorite types of projects (simple and inexpensive) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Materials

  • 3 wood yardsticks
  • Saw (I used a circular saw but almost any type will work)
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain

Instructions:

materials yardstick star

Use a saw to cut each of your yardsticks in half at the 18″ line. Set one segment aside so you have 5 total pieces to work with. [Read more...]

How to Install Shelves (using Corbels) on a Tile Wall

How to Install Shelves on a Tile Wall (using Corbels) | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Install Shelves on a Tile Wall (using Corbels) | Pretty Handy Girl

After painstakingly tiling my backsplash, I was more than a bit hesitant to drill holes into the tiles to hang the corbels and open shelving. But, I convinced myself to stop being a wussy procrastinating and just do it.

I’m so pleased with how they turned out and I didn’t chip or crack a single tile. In hindsight I really didn’t need to stress this project. It was less nerve-wracking than I had anticipated.

Here’s the full tutorial so you can install your own open shelving on a tile wall!

Materials:

  • Diamond drill bit (the same diameter as the screws you are using)
  • Wood screws to attach anchor board (must be long enough to go through board, tile, drywall and at least an inch into a stud)
  • Drill
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Level (long and a small one if you have one)
  • Pencil
  • 2 regular drill bits (1 the same diameter as the screw + 1 large enough to create a countersink for the screw head)
  • Shelf brackets (I used corbels and a 1″x6″ pine board as an anchor)
  • Kreg jig
  • Pocket hole screws (long enough to attach corbel to anchor board without going through the board)
  • Joint compound or wood putty

Instructions:

Start by determining the height you want your shelves to hang. [Read more...]

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

This is another one of those tutorials that I’ve been dying to share with you! Like sitting on my hands and anxiously waiting to type it out. But after taking 2 weeks off from blogging, I’m back and ready to give you this fabulous tutorial for achieving the aged chippy paint look on your next project.

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

Before I give you the chippy gritty, I want to give you the background story on those gorgeous corbels.

If you’ve been following along, I finally completed my 13 month kitchen renovation. The last task was installing two open shelves on the full tile wall. Finding the perfect corbels to use as shelf brackets was not an easy task. I scoured eBay, Craig’s List and salvage shops. I was really getting discouraged. That was when I met Garlan from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques at Haven. We talked for a few minutes and he showed me some of the corbels he had in his store. There were some wonderful old ones, but I felt a bit like Goldilocks. One was too tall. The other not big enough, but the biggest problem was that I needed four of them. Garlan showed me some new corbels that he had. He told me he has a guy that can duplicate any corbel design and can customize them to meet any size requirements. It was as if the heavens parted and angels sang! I was elated and couldn’t wait to find an image of a design I liked. But, again, the Goldilocks in me couldn’t find the “perfect” corbels. So, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and started to design my own unique corbels.

PHG Corbel Design for Sa1969.com

 

I designed a scroll pattern based off of one corbel I saw, but also added some relief portions inside the corbel. I sent the image to Garlan and a week later he sent me a picture of one of the corbels. It was love at first sight! I quickly approved the initial one and waited anxiously for the corbels to arrive. When I opened the box, they were beautiful and exactly as I had pictured them in my head.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques corbels

I set forth to give them an appropriate aged chippy paint look to fool people into thinking they were actually antique salvage. Here’s how I did it. [Read more...]

How to Make Pine Cone Garland

How to Make Pine Cone Garland

How to Make Pine Cone Garland

Happy December! The holidays are such a wonderful time of year and an opportunity to get creative with entertaining, cooking and decorating. Mostly, I love to make things simple and today’s lesson on how to make a pine cone garland will be just that. An easy, quick, not to mention very inexpensive craft you can do to decorate your home this season. And it can be done in about 30 minutes {minus an adventurous walk in the woods to get pine cones}, here is how.

Supplies:

Pine Cone Garland

  • Pine cones – These can be found simply going outside and looking around the pine trees. Depending on where you live, you’ll find all kinds of sizes. If you collect pine cones from outdoors, be sure to ‘de-bug’ them by baking them for 30 minutes on a low temperature. You can also get pine cones at craft stores, thrift stores, flea markets and such. Or maybe in a friend’s attic? Put those old holiday decorations to a new use.
  • Just twine or ribbon – This is to hang the cones. You can use anything you might like, or what matches your style.
  • Screw Eyes – Find these in the hardware section at the home improvement store. A small box will only cost a few dollars.
  • Optional supplies include a drill with a small bit and glue

 Instructions [Read more...]

Autumn Mantel Décor & Fall Vignettes with Chippmunk

Autumn Mantle Décor and Vignettes | Pretty Handy Girl

Autumn Mantel Décor and Vignettes | Pretty Handy Girl

Fall is here! Hip Hip Hooray! I’m not exactly a summer gal (although I was born in June.) I prefer the cooler temperatures, the colorful landscape and jean weather! When the first cool day rolled into North Carolina, I was ready and waiting! But, my living room was still stuck on 4th of July (you know I’m a procrastinating decorator, right?!) I trudged up to the attic to pull down some fall décor. But, frankly, I wasn’t excited about putting the same stuff out again. I wanted a new look, something with bright colors and BLING!

That’s where my pals at Chippmunk.com come in. They gave me an advance to try out their site for scoping deals and coupon codes for your favorite online retailers. It took me less than 30 seconds to search for one of my favorite home decorating sites (ahem…Pottery Barn I’m talking about you!)

Chippmunk Savings Site

Up popped up a discount for $10 off when you sign up to receive emails from them. But, while browsing Chippmunk, I found loads of other stores that had special discounts like Williams-Sonoma, QVC, Fab, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and many more. It was amazing how many discounts and coupon codes were right there in one spot!

Because I’m a frugal gal, I decided to scour the SALE section of Pottery Barn first to pull some accessories that I could use for my decorating. Then I rounded out my selection with some Autumn décor and classic pieces that could be used no matter the season.

Pottery Barn order

My total was $151.49. I saved $43.51 (2 sale items, plus a $10 credit for a future order.) PLUS, FREE SHIPPING on my order!

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How would you like to win some cash to spend via Chippmunk?* Ummm, who wouldn’t?
Check out Chippmunk’s Expert Shopper contest:

How to Win:

1. Share a photo showcasing your great deal and you could be one of 5 winners of a $100 gift card to the Chippmunk store of your choice! Upload via Chippmunk or share on Instagram or Twitter with hashtags #ChippmunkExpertShopper and #FallDecor (please include both for us to find you).

2. Pin your favorite steals to Pinterest with the hashtag #FallDecor#ChippmunkExpertShopper and you could be one of 2 winners of a $50 gift card to the Chippmunk store of your choice!

If sharing via Instagram or Twitter, please include: Why your steal is so great, how much you saved and the best advice you would give to others shopping at the store you purchased it at.

*The uploaded steal prizes will be awarded as following:

  • One of those winners will be chosen by myself
  • One will be chosen at random
  • Three will be determined by “love it” clicks (your friends can vote once a day), indicating that they’re our community’s most loved steals.
  • And, the Pinterest prizes will be editorially chosen.

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And now, here’s your invitation to view my Fall mantel and living room vignettes. Come on in and cozy up near the hearth.

Autumn Mantel Décor and Vignettes | Pretty Handy Girl

I knew up front that I wanted to use an aqua and vermillion color scheme. I really love the bold contrast of colors.

Autumn Mantel Décor and Vignettes | Pretty Handy Girl

While patiently awaiting my Pottern Barn shipment, I spent an hour building a giant canvas with scrap 2″ x 2″ pieces of lumber and cheap fabric. [Read more...]

A Lazy Girl’s Patriotic Summer Mantel

patriotic_mantle_horizontal

patriotic_mantle_horizontal

My name is Pretty Handy Girl and I am addicted to my Christmas mantel. Yes, I have used it since December 2012. I needed to enroll myself in a program that would help me get unhooked from holiday mantel décor. Truth be told, I needed a little help from my friends to change my habitual ways.

Thanks to my good friends on Facebook and Instagram, they intervened and guided me in the right direction. With some suggestions they helped me turn around and get my life back in the correct season.

Using my kitchen upheaval as an excuse is really only acceptable for one or two months. I used that lame explanation as a crutch for seven months! But, the issue became glaringly apparent when our good friend and house sitter remarked that she thought that was our Christmas mantel still up in June. {busted} Before she settled into our home (while we left for an extended vacation), I knew I had to change it up.

Everyone had some great ideas, but the easiest and quickest were to add buntings and some blue. Within 45 minutes (because I always have to play around with things for at least half an hour.) I had a fresh seasonally-appropriate Patriotic mantel.

vertical_left_corner

Inexpensive buntings from Michael’s were the undeniable champion in this makeover.

saltina_biscuit_tin

A few American flags in a cobalt blue bottle brought some more patriotism onto the scene. Red, white and blue books were an easy way to add the right colors.

angled_stars

The stars remained unchanged, except I ripped off the crispy dead sprigs of rosemary.

quaker_spices_cigar_box

Antique tins and a cigar box bring out the Americana feel.

angled_mantle_view

Yup, give me 45 minutes and I can change a Christmas mantel…

…into a Fourth of July mantel!

Vertical_patriotic_mantle

Thank you to my social media friends for your help and for not turning me in to the decorating police. xxxooo

PHGFancySign

Patriotic Denim Bunting Tutorial

denim bunting

denim bunting

Summer is unofficially here and I’m back to share a patriotic sewing project that uses denim! Yes, another way to repurpose those old holey (or should we say too tight?) blue jeans.

Nothing says 4th of July better than red, white and blue and this denim bunting is just that.  Blue denim combined with red and white gingham ruffle trim makes the perfect pairing and a great project to repurpose those worn out jeans.

denim bunting2

I think you might just be able to use this idea at your next backyard party regardless of the holiday, it’s chic, a little bit country, a little bit western and everyone loves denim.

I started with a pair of holey jeans that had seen the dryer one too many times and quickly made them into the cutest bunting decoration anyone with a little sewing skills could tackle. [Read more...]

Log Tea Light Pillar Candles

log_candle_pillar_supplies

How much wood could a handy girl chuck if a handy girl could find wood? Ha, luckily I found a fallen tree in the woods behind our house. I brought a handsaw with me and cut it into into a manageable size that I could drag back to the house.

I’m really excited about this gift idea! These log pillar candles are the perfect accessory for anyone’s table or mantle this holiday season (and beyond the holidays.)

[Read more...]

Fall Mantle and Autumn Décor

Copper_canister_Rustic_cabinet

You got a peek at my living room fall décor when I showed you how to make the book page oak leaf garland. As promised, I’ll let you see the rest of the room and how I decorated for Fall.

Before I invite you in, I have a confession to make. [Read more...]

Make an Autumn Book Page Leaf Garland

pull_out_book_sections

Two years ago, I saw this beautiful wreath in a magazine. I snapped a picture with my phone and figured I’d try to DIY my own version. Then I forgot about it until I stumbled upon the picture recently. After a little research, I found that the wreath was a Martha Stewart contest winner by Emily Morris.

I loved the leaf shape and the simplicity of the project. So, I decided to alter it slightly to work as a garland for our mantle. [Read more...]

Romancing the Mantle

entry_way_decorated

It’s true, I JUST took down the rest of the Christmas decorations. Yes — I know it is February — but honestly I’ve been a bit busy lately. I carved out a little time to spray paint a lantern and hot glue a new wreath. And that was all it took to put me in the mood to decorate for the season.

I wanted some cozy warmth and a little brightness on our mantle, so I hung a soft faux fur throw up. To avoid nailing into the brick, I used a wooden dowel rod that spans the width of the throw. I added two screw eyes in either end of the rod and fishing line that feeds through the eye hooks and wraps around nails that are secured into the crown moulding on either side of the fireplace.

I really like the softness of the throw.

A berry wrapped white bird on top of a paper wrapped book helps bring in a little more romantic red.

Michael’s has this crackle vase on clearance now, but be careful about filling it with water because it will leak. Inserting a small yogurt container inside made it possible for me to use it for fresh flowers.

I am really excited about the book page wreath I made, but I think I’m more excited about that old light fixture that I revamped. One of my facebook fans thought it was from Pier 1. That was the ultimate compliment for something I paid $5 for at the Habitat ReStore!

The paint color I used on the lantern is Rustoleum’s Lagoon, and it has sent me on a big aqua kick!

More books and a plant to balance the right side of the mantle.

I’ll have a tutorial for this book page wreath on Wednesday, so get busy finding an old book and a ceiling medallion!

I used the chandelier turned candelabra to bring some Valentine’s whimsy to our kitchen table.

The hearts on a stick were purchased from the Dollar Tree, I just slipped green straws over the stems to beef them up a little.

I did pull the stems off the rest of the hearts and piled them in this other lantern with some faux grass.

A few recycled jars pulled together make a crisp and clean flower arrangement. We have some flowers blooming in our yard already (only about one month early), but I picked up these agapantus and alstroemeria (peruvian lilies) from the grocery store.

 I think of my sister everytime I see agapanthus, because they grow right outside her front door! Lucky duck.

My friend, Leen the Graphics Queen will recognize this bottle from our antiquing trip to Southport, NC. I’d never been to Southport before, but I will definitely have to go again. It is a really neat little town by the sea.

I couldn’t neglect the mudroom.  This is where my tree branch heart wreath hangs out.

Because this is our family’s main entrance, I chose some sweet smelling daphne and daffodils to create a fragrant and colorful welcome home.

I couldn’t truly welcome spring yet (since technically it is still a month and a half away.) So, I scribbled “Hello Spring?” on the chalkboard.

I hope you have a fabulous February and a sweet Valentine’s Day.

 P.s. How many of you watched the SuperBowl (or at least the commercials and/or halftime show) last night? What were your favorite commercials? I have to say I really liked the VW, Doritos and E-Trade commercial. And my son and I were up off the couch and dancing with Madonna! I thought she rocked the halftime show.

Unique Valentine’s Day Wreaths

Valentines_heart_promo_image

Trying to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit? Need to inject a little romance into your home? Yup, me too! I’m embarrassed to say that I still have my Christmas mantle up. But there is hope on the horizon! Home Stories of A to Z is having a Valentine’s Day mantle link party on Thursday, January 26th! Thanks Beth for giving me the push to get busy re-decorating.

While researching for ideas, I came across some really amazing wreaths made from some unique materials. Cupcake liners, coat hangers, and thrift store wool coats to name a few. Check out these super creative wreaths at Parentables today!

See you next week with a VIA (Very Important Announcement!)

Fall Mantle Decor and Vignettes

left_side_of_fall_mantle

Fall is here, fall is here! Finally the cooler temps are near!

I’m not sure about your area of the world, but this summer seemed a little too hot for my liking. My husband told me about the term “Global Weirding“. It seems fitting for all this nonsense Mother Nature is throwing at us lately.

Luckily fall seems to have come just on time. Fall is my favorite time of year. Maybe it is the painter in me that loves all the colors. Or maybe it is the nature lover in me that longs to be outdoors in the fresh crisp air. Whatever it is, I love FALL!

I spent some time this past week putting out some autumn inspired décor. Although I’m definitely self conscious about my decorating skills, I tried to abide by my words from last year about not striving for perfection. So, now I’m taking a big breath and pressing the publish button to share my home looking warm and cozy (in my opinion.)

Antique books are my go-t0 decorating objects. I love books and I love those old linen covers. Even a torn and tattered book looks nice lassoed together with some friends.

Sometimes, even an open book can look warm and inviting.

I was so happy to bring my Ballard knock off painted pear out of storage. He really looks handsome with the autumn colors.

I love all the colors in this photo! I can’t imagine having a monotone autumn mantle.

Of course, Mr. Gourd looks handsome too. (Shhh. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I do love the pear more.)

Yes, I’m still switching things in and out like a high school football coach. I actually like the gourd, so he’s back in but the chicken wire basket is out. However, I wanted to show you the vintage map lampshade I made. The tutorial will be served up before you know it! Hopefully I’ll have a new lamp by then. This one is just a substitute for one on injured reserve.

You may have noticed this little terrarium on the side table. I was inspired by some insanely expensive versions here. Never fear, I will have a tutorial so you can make your own soon!

A full view of the mantle decorated. It is hard to believe that in a few months the stockings will need to be hung.

I had fun with this little vignette. A crow in an antique corn grinder? Now that is pretty silly. And another terrarium that makes me smile.

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

The acorn jar was an afterthought. It was just a quick little hot glue craft. Speaking of which, if you haven’t read my post about hot glue gun safety, it is a must! Your fingers will thank me.

It is fun having another surface to decorate. The top of our armoire (also known as the family command center) has some pretty purples and greens.

My Pottery Barn knockoff lantern makes a re-appearance.

Beautyberry and Orange Peel Cestrum from our yard.

The dining room has a simple centerpiece made with corn kernels and a candle.

But, I might be switching it out once I get this beauty back from my friends at the Habitat ReStore. Can you guess what it used to be? I’ll give you a hint: Hollywood glam never looked so good.

Spring Vignettes and Mantle Décor

Bird-close-up-mantle

Ahhh, the birds are chirping and the flowers are in full bloom. The azaleas in our yard look like fireworks exploding with color.

I long to open the windows and let in the sounds and the sweet smells.

But, alas, the pollen bomb is still in full dumping mode.

I’m not going to let that get me down. I decided to bring the outdoors in and finished switching out my Valentine’s Day decorating (yup, I like to get the most out of my seasonal décor.)

So, without further ado, here is how I’m celebrating Spring!

I saw the window idea at Classicly Amber (via Pinterest) and had just pulled a few old windows out of a curbside pick up pile. Speaking of Pinterest, if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out! It is a great place to “pin” ideas you see and be able to refer back to them easily.

Beth at The Stories of A2Z gave a tutorial on using Pinterest HERE. She’s the one who introduced me in the first place, so I’ll let the master show you the ropes!

I always make it a point to refer back to the original source if I get an idea somewhere else. (Granted, some things are so widespread amongst bloggers, that it is hard to credit the original source.) Pinterest has helped me keep all the ideas together and makes it easier to find the original source. Plus, you can follow other people’s pins and boards. Feel free to sign up and follow mine HERE. Then you can steal my ideas before I blog about it…just kidding!

The striped pedestal holding up the plant is actually a cake stand I made recently using a plate and a candlestick. I’ll be blogging about it later this week, but trust me it is nothing new. You’ve probably seen this trick somewhere else.

This little adorable birdhouse was lovingly painted by my 7 year old son. I always have a stock of $1 birdhouses that they like to decorate on a rainy day. This one brings so much sunshine into my heart.

I love how easy this centerpiece was to create. I rested the ceramic bird into  a shredded paper bag nest. Then set the nest on top of a ceiling medallion ($3 at a yard sale) and surrounded the medallion with ivy.

And finally, my favorite: a robin’s egg nest that I made with chicken eggs.

You can view the tutorial for making the eggs and nest at TLC’s Parentables today.

If you struggle with decorating and creating vignettes, you might want to read a few of the guidelines I use when designing groupings and seasonal décor HERE.

Entering this post into the CSI Spring Decor and Vignettes challenge:

Visit thecsiproject.com

Creating Seasonal Vignettes

6_tips_for_seasonal_vignettes

I like to revitalize my love for a room by switching out the décor throughout the year. Decorating for the season gives the room a fresh look. Mantles are the ideal place to begin:

Autumn

 Christmas

Valentine’s Day

Springtime

But, if you don’t have a mantle, you can use any flat surface!

Side Table

Pedestal

Pie Safe Cabinet

Built-in Bookshelf

Recessed Window Seat

Here are six tips for creating successful vignettes:

1. Varied heights

Try to create a visual triangle. Have one tallest object, then a 2nd tallest and a shortest. I use books all the time to help elevate an object that might be at the same height as another object. Attractive wooden crates or boxes covered with cloth can work too.

2. Varied textures

Using a variety of textures creates visual interest. In the picture below I have a ceramic bird sitting on torn strips of newspaper in a plaster container on top of an embroidered linen and some books.

3. Color palette

Choosing a color palette of 3 colors or less is an easy way to create an appealing vignette. For my Valentine’s Day vignette I chose to work with primarily red and white with some black.

The next year, the color palette was red, aqua and white.

4. Odd numbered groupings

Vignettes and small groupings tend to look better when you use an odd number of objects.

For example, in the grouping above, I have assembled:

1. Birdhouse on a candlestick (visually they are one object)

2. Bird nest in pedestal (again visually counts as one)

3. Stack of books

4. Picture frame

5. Felted rose laying in front of the picture frame.

5. Varied Shapes and Scale

Vignettes work well if you can vary the shape and scale of your objects. Grouping many objects of the same size and shape will not give your eye enough to explore and study. Always take a step back from your vignette to make sure that your grouping has different shapes and sizes represented.

6. It’s Your Décor

This is the most important rule! Make sure you create something you like. Use your own objects. And if you love it, that is all that matters. It really doesn’t have to meet someone else’s criteria of perfection. I wrote a whole post on imperfect decorating HERE.

Happy Decorating!

  

Did you spy Christmas cards in the background? Sure, it is February, but I love them too much to take them down yet. If you’d like to read more “Fall in Love with Your Home” February posts, click on the button below to see a recap of this month’s theme: