How to Paint an Ombré Wall Technique

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How to Paint an Ombré Wall Gradient | Pretty Handy Girl

Ombré painting is EVERYWHERE. Clothing, home décor and even wall paint techniques. An ombré wall is the paint technique I chose to create a misty and ethereal look in our master bedroom. It started when I fell in love with Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore but didn’t want to make our entire bedroom too dark (I have a hard enough time waking up in the morning.) I decided a good solution was to use the dark charcoal gray color on a focal wall behind the headboard. But, I didn’t want to stop the color in the corners and create a sharp line.

How to Paint an Ombré Wall Gradient | Pretty Handy Girl

Instead, I wanted a softer edge that would make us feel like we were being hugged by the room.

How to Paint an Ombré Wall Gradient | Pretty Handy Girl

I used Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore to paint the other three walls in the bedroom, but created a random ragged edge where the two colors meet.

How to Paint an Ombré Wall Gradient | Pretty Handy Girl

This is how the side walls look in preparation for the ombré wall technique.

How to Paint an Ombré Wall Gradient | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

  • Dark latex paint color (Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore)
  • Lighter latex paint color (Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore)
  • A small container with a mixture of the two colors to create an in between gray
  • Paint brush
  • Dry brush
  • Water-filled spray bottle
  • ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape
  • Damp car wash sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Wet wipes or wet rag

Instructions: [Read more...]

How to Fake a Fake Pumpkin (Faux Painting Tutorial)

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Have you seen those neon orange fake pumpkins and nearly vomited because you wouldn’t dream of decorating with them. I mean, get real, everyone would know they were fake. Ah ha, but have you seen the price tags? $1 – $6? For that price you might just be willing to take a leap of faith with me, wouldn’t you? Awesome, because I’m going to show you how to faux paint a fake pumpkin so you can decorate with them year after year and hopefully fool your friends.

Materials:

materials

  • Fake pumpkins
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (French Linen, Country Grey, Pure White, Versailles, Duck Egg)
  • Acrylic craft paint – Brown and Green
  • Sea sponge
  • Stencil brush
  • Medium round brush
  • Fan brush
  • Palette knife for mixing
  • Container or palette for mixing

(Ignore the extra paint tubes and brushes above, the listed ones are all I used.)

Instructions:

Start by painting all the pumpkins with French Linen. Allow them to dry.

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Painting Realistic White Pumpkins: [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...]

Romancing the Mantle

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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.

Make Your Own Terrarium and Save Hundreds of Dollars

Tile Adhesives from Tile Depot

Terrariums are making a comeback in home décor. Gone are the octagonal mirrored terrariums. They have been replaced by sleak apothecary jars, tall cylinders and lidded glass vessels (to name just a few shapes.)

Twig Terrariums has an amazing array of beautiful ready made terrariums or DIY kits for sale! Some of them have stunning details, right down to a little miniature person inside the lush world. The terrarium below sells for $200.

If you want to create your own version that is a little more budget friendly, it isn’t hard to do. In fact you can get some plants from a local nursery or as close as your own backyard!

Materials:

  • Glass container (with or without a lid)
  • Small decorative pebbles or pea gravel
  • Potting soil
  • Live Moss
  • Terrarium plants (small shade loving plants)
  • Potting shovel
  • Water

1. Clean your glass container with soap and water and dry it.

2. Add a layer of gravel or decorative pebbles to the bottom of your glass container.

 

3. Add a layer of potting soil. No need to level it.

 

4. Collect your plants and think through the plant placement in your head.

 

5. Gently remove a plant from the pot.

If it is root bound (all the roots are wound tightly around the bottom) gently tease some of the roots free and break apart the roots at the bottom of the plant.

 

6. Insert your plants into the soil.

Put taller plants at the back and the shorter ones in the front so you can see all the plants.

 

7. Cover the soil with moss. You can cut or tear pieces to fit flush with the edge of the terrarium.

8. Fill your terrarium and let the water soak in. The water should reach the top of the rocks. Check the water level a few times a week and be sure to refill when the water gets low. If your terrarium has a lid you won’t have to water as often as a lidless variety.

 

9. Add any decorative embellishments like these faux mushrooms (tutorial HERE)…

…or my sons’ favorite, a little plastic dinosaur!

Terrariums make the perfect year round accessory. I have them prominently featured in my living room along with some other natural elements.

This version was made entirely with plants that I have growing in my shade bed. Small ferns, arugula and creeping ground covers. Plus, I added a few round pebbles for visual interest.

I might pick up a tiny person or two at a hobby shop next time I’m near one. Anyone seen any that look like the characters in “Land of the Lost” heh, heh, heh!


In the meantime, I’m loving my cost effective terrarium. Yes, terrarium singular, because the cylinder terrarium was a gift for our friends who dog sat for us.


I almost wouldn’t be surprised to see a fairy take up residence in one.

I’ve been busy working on some more projects to show you, so hang tight and check back soon! ;-) In the meantime, I hope you have a fabulous weekend and are enjoying Fall!

 

Fall Mantle Decor and Vignettes

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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

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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

Inspired by Spring Flowers

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Oh happy day! My spirits are being lifted by the showy flowers that are blooming outside my window. This post is for those of you that are still suffering through this brutal winter. My thoughts are with you often, and I hope these colors help brighten your day and let you know that Spring is on its way.

So, grab a warm drink or blanket and sit back for a few minutes of buds, blossoms and blooms.


 

When there is so much colorful artistry outside, I couldn’t help bringing a few inside.

I wish you had smell-o-vision. Those little white flowers on the left are called Daphne, and they have the most fragrantly sweet lemon scent.

I’m going to try to root some Daphne shortly after the flowers fade. Apparently that is the best time to snip them, add some rooting hormone, and stick them in a pot. Wish me luck!

I found this decanter set at Goodwill last week and they are the perfect size to hold a few daffodils at our table.

Does anyone else’s child have Staff & Teacher appreciation week coming up? Ours is this week, and I found an economical solution for the multitude of gifts I needed for each teacher, office staff, bus driver, etc. I’ll be sharing that with you later this week!

Decorating with Plants – Guest Post from Sand & Sisal

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Today, I have another special guest for you. Kim from Sand & Sisal is here to share with us some tips for using plants to decorate and improve our homes.

And the best news is that you don’t need a green thumb to care for many of these. She breaks down each plant’s water and light needs.

If you haven’t been to Kim’s blog, you need to surf on over there right now (get it? Sand & Sisal, Surf?! Ha, ha, I’m so witty. One of my favorite projects she has tackled was renovating her 1949 Bathroom.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After

Amazing transformation isn’t it?! Okay, now everyone kick back, and enjoy a guest post from my friend Kim at Sand & Sisal.

Hello everyone! I’m Kim from Sand & Sisal, and I’m so glad to be guest posting for Brittany’s “Fall in Love with Your Home” series today. Brittany and I are southern girls and actually live only a few hours away from each other, but we met through blogging and were Twitter friends. I was thrilled to meet her face to face at the Blissdom 2011 Conference held at Opryland in Nashville, TN.

PHC & SS

The Opryland Hotel has 9 acres of lush indoor gardens and even though there was snow outside the tropical foliage and flowers brought a touch of paradise that melted any vacationer’s wintery chill. Below are some pictures I took in their gorgeous Conservatory.

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Springtime (thankfully) is approaching fast here in the South, but you can have a taste of spring by bringing a bit of the tropics indoors! One of my favorite plants to have around the house, and had also covered Opryland’s gardens, is the Peace Lily. Its lush green foliage, beautiful white blooms, and low maintenance make the Peace Lily a household favorite.

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The Peace Lily requires low light and should be watered to keep soil moist but allow the soil to dry out between watering. The Peace Lily is one of the top 10 plants that clean the air in your home. They are known to reduce formaldehyde and carbon monoxide levels.

Do you have an empty corner that just needs something? I have several! The Majesty Palm, another “clean air plant” is what you need!

majesty palm

Majesty palms thrive on bright light and minimal water but I have found they do quite well in moderate light. I have several that are all on the north side of my home. Water these palms once a week but make sure they are not sitting in water or they will yellow and drop dead quickly.

Need a pop of color? The Flamingo Flower comes in red, pink, white, or lavender. It blooms year round and requires medium light with moist soil. I have found the Flamingo Flower to be an easy plant with a showy blooming performance.

flamingo flower

Another plant with bright, bold color is the Croton. Croton’s start out dark green but will develop bold color as they mature and are allowed to have bright light and cooler temperatures. So if your Croton is lacking in color, then move it to a bright window but don’t let it get overheated. It loves to be moist so this one requires watering at least once a week. The Croton is another top “clean air plant”.

croton plant

Plants not only help clean the oxygen in our homes but add a sense of tranquility and comfort to our indoor spaces. Choose an empty corner or a lonely tabletop and add lush plant, and I promise, you’ll smile, and maybe just breathe a bit better!

Kim

Thank you Kim! I love decorating with plants! They offer such life and texture to my vignettes.

After reading Kim’s post, I’m ready to try my thumb at a bigger species. So, I’m off to the nursery to buy one of those gorgeous majesty palms. I had not idea I could grow one of them in my home.

How about you? Do you have any plants you love to decorate with?

Creating Seasonal Vignettes

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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: