Tag: home decor

Weekend Projects: Converting Our Dining Room to a Playroom

The chalkboard wall I added to my kids' playroom.

A little over a year ago we handed over another room of our tiny 1400 square foot house to our little boy and it all started with a teepee.

While deciding what to get Cooper for his first real Christmas (the previous year he was a tiny 6 weeks old) I discovered the most adorable (and on sale) teepee from Crate and Barrel’s The Land of Nod. I had to have it.

When the teepee arrived it came in multiple, very large boxes, and it occurred to me that we didn’t have a single spot to put the very adorable teepee. Cooper’s room was already at the brink of full with his crib, changing table, and glider. Our front bedroom was still functioning as a guest bedroom, and a teepee didn’t quite fit the decor.

As I looked around, brainstorming ideas for where this was going to go, I really began noticing the overflowing basket of toys in our living room. I realized this was just the beginning. Cooper had only just learned how to walk, and already our house was overrun with his stuff. It was just going to get worse. I told Nick that I was going to try rearranging things and he was just going to have to trust me. I promised we would put everything back if it didn’t work.

But really, what we both knew was my mind was made up. We were saying goodbye to our rarely used (but nice to have around) dining room.

Our dining room before it was converted into our kids' playroom.

Our house was built in the 1940’s with a screened in porch on the side. We aren’t sure when, but at some point before we purchased the house the porch was converted into an interior space. It still has the feel of a former porch, it’s long and narrow. You have to step down through the doorway to access it, and the windows are big and beautiful, letting in amazing natural light. It isn’t very poorly insulated. As Nick likes to put it, in winter you can feel the heat leaving your body if you are sitting next to the doorway to the room.

The only time the room was used was when I was making art and we were entertaining guests. I couldn’t justify the space we use most, our living room, continuing to fill up with Cooper things when we had this space that could be better utilized. I started by moving the cloth covered chairs pictured above and the adorable white, round table that I loved in our kitchen (read about it in a visual journal post here) to our attic. I mourned the loss of those pieces of furniture for a moment before moving onto my next task, telling myself one day in a bigger house they would once again see the light of day. I moved the farm table and benches to our kitchen and paired them with the blue chairs that were already in there. The table ate up the small nook in our kitchen, but I ended up painting them white to help it feel less full.

Next, I added the cushy, letter and number floor mat to cover the hard tile. I cut them to make sure every inch of the tile was covered. When Nick saw me cutting up the mats I had just bought to “test whether or not this would work” I think he realized it was a done deal whether he liked it or not. The floor mats have served two useful purposes in that room. They help Cooper from getting less injured when he falls and it helps insulate the floor.

I already loved the turquoise color in the room, so I opted not to repaint the entire room. Instead, I added a full chalkboard wall to one wall. Cooper loves scribbling on it, and I loved adding the “Cow Jumped Over the Moon” poem to it.

The chalkboard wall in my kids' playroom.

We even have a space where we mark Cooper’s height. Kennedy will be up on the board before long! I also mark it on the door molding with a sharpie for a more permanent record than chalk.

After floor covering and painting, all that was missing was Cooper’s stuff. I didn’t realize how much stuff he actually had until it immediately filled up the room. We added a shelf for books and toys, as well as various baskets. His teepee looked amazing in the corner. I still haven’t figured out how to keep the room looking neat with all the scooters, bikes, and toys lining the walls, but if I am being honest with myself a playroom really shouldn’t ever look clean.

I kept a shutter that Nick found on the side of the road propped up against the wall. Someone painted “free at last” in purple on it. I love it. I have thought about adding to it, but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I love that this is exactly the way we found it, and I can’t decide if I want to touch it. I imagine the original artist painting the vines and text, only someone in good spirits would paint “free at last.” It adds good vibes to the room. Around the shutter I added some artwork that I have traded for at festivals over the years. One of my favorites is a piece by Lovely Bones Illustrations (follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here), a little creature painted on a cut piece of wood.

Cooper’s teepee fits perfectly in the corner and is always full of pillows, stuffed animals, and a Cooper from time to time.

While I wish we still had a more comfortable place to sit and break bread with friends, I would never go back on covnerting the playroom. Having a space where Cooper can play freely is invaluable. It also helps to have a room where I can toss his stuff without thinking twice about the way it looks.

This is Cooper Christmas morning when he got his teepee:

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Check out my other chalkboard paint project here. Want to read more? Get these posts delivered right to your inbox by subscribing in the form below. Thanks for stopping by!

Craft Projects: Creating Cooper’s Nursery


Nick and I have been waiting a long time to meet our first baby, Cooper James Panetta. Since March, we have patiently gone through each day, week, and month, counting down the days, checking our weekly updates, visiting the doctor, picking up baby necessities, and checking off our to do list. Now, finally, tomorrow is the day we get to meet our sweet little boy.

The process of expanding our family took longer than expected and we hit more road blocks than expected. When the morning finally came when I saw two pink lines after much waiting, I was thrilled. However, similar to our journey leading up to this pregnancy, not everything goes according to plan. I have had some hard lessons in learning to let go and not get so caught up in “the plan.” I think it was meant to be this way to prepare me for the chaos of motherhood.

A few weeks ago we found out Cooper had a different plan for how he wanted to make his entrance into this world. He decided he liked his head resting in my rib cage, and he wanted to be breech. Despite multiple check ups and an attempt to manually flip him, he very adamantly decided to stay put. Because of this, we are scheduled for a c-section tomorrow morning, at 8:30 am. Tomorrow I become a mother and my life changes for ever, for what I know will be the best.

A natural part of planning for a baby is the nesting process, preparing the nursery. As an artist and lover of all things interior decorating, I was almost more excited about this than the baby in the beginning. After all, baby was going to take 9 months of cooking to get ready, I could start the nursery immediately. Last weekend the last item went into place, and his bedroom is complete. Now all we need is a baby.

The EntrywayHis room is located on the first floor of our house. I love that the first thing I see when I open his door is his crib. I can’t wait to go in, in the morning and see his sweet face greeting me.

Lucky for me I married a very crafty man, and he made the wood and metal sign with Cooper’s name on it. He salvaged wood from a home renovation down the street, a historic 1800’s home in East Lake, Atlanta, GA. It’s full of holes and character, exactly what I wanted to use for the base of the piece. We added some stain and paint, sanded it down, and finished it off with metal letters I ordered from Monson Metal Co. on Etsy. This piece was one of the first projects for the room, and the perfect decor to go above his crib.

I painted the room with a light, turquoise blue color, and a gray accent wall. The accent wall was a piece of cake to complete, even though it looks like a complicated process. I first painted all four walls turquoise, then taped off the thin stripe pattern using painter’s tape. After the tape pattern was complete and I made sure it was well stuck to the wall, I painted a layer of gray on top. Once the paint dried, I pulled the tape off, and touched up any rough edges.

The Room

I found the rug for a steal at overstock.com. I knew I wanted a large area rug to keep my feet warm for those late night feedings and for a soft surface for Cooper to sit, lay, play, and crawl on. The darker color will allow the inevitable stains to blend in and the light color pattern gives it nice contrast.

The Nursery

The crib and glider were purchased at Buy Buy Baby, the side table from Target, and the desk was a Craigslist find from college that I was able to repurpose in the room as a changing table.

Storage Unit

After months of searching for the perfect size storage unit to go under the changing table, I once again turned to my handy hub. I purchased 7 baskets at 50% off from Hobby Lobby and he built the unit around them. In a small room, with a small closet, and no space for a dresser, we had to get creative with our storage. This unit now holds Coopers diapers, swaddle blankets, socks, mittens, hats, toys, baby care, and breastfeeding supplies. I finished off the sides of the unit by adding pieces of the fabric used in his bedding.

The Details

In addition to my handy hub, I also have a very artistic and crafty mom. She volunteered to make all of Cooper’s bedding and we found beautiful geometric fabric at spoonflower.com. I first fell in love the with triangle pattern, I loved the blues, greens, and grays. This fabric set the tone and color palette for the entire room. After settling on the triangles, I found a beautiful gray weather vane pattern for the bedskirt. Although the bumpers will have to be removed when Cooper first comes home, I can’t wait to add them back in, in a few months

Etsy was my go to place when the glider finally arrived and I realized I needed throw pillows. My love of all things Harry Potter finally found it’s place in a “I solemnly swear I am up to no good” pillow from Ander’s Attic. Shortly after placing the order for the first pillow I found the “Boy: a noise with first on it,” pillow, and had to have it. It arrived quickly after I placed my order with HeSheChic, and I was able to customize the color of the ink and size of the pillow.

Wall Hangings

The walls are filled with decor made by Nick, Dekanimal (from Etsy), and me. The Cooper sign is exactly what I envisioned for the space and I love the modern, geometric animal prints contrasting the antique Cooper sign style on the opposite wall. My encaustic clouds piece hangs next to the glider and the my encaustic alphabet hangs on the wall next to the door.


Since Nick and I first found out we were pregnant in early spring, we have been collecting items for little man. Plush sheep were discovered by Nick on the app “Geek.” Handmade creatures were found in a tiny shop in downtown Asheville, and books have made their way from each of our childhoods to the bedside table.

New books, toys, clothes, and everything we need have slowly filled the closet, storage unit, side table, and changing table. Nick and I are truly blessed to have such amazing family, friends, and coworkers. Thanks to their help we are set and ready for Cooper to come home.

maternityCooper’s first pictures will find their way to a post soon. Until then, bear with me while I take a short hiatus from blogging and focus on rearing my first born. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Get updates straight to your inbox by subscribing below and please share with others! Thanks for stopping by.

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Guest Post: How to Make Custom Wine Bottle Labels by Ruth Hinds

Having your own wine bottle labels at your wedding is a great way to add a personal touch without breaking the bank. Coupled with this, they can be fairly easy to make once you know what you’re doing! A little bit of creativity and some simple equipment is all you need.

Let’s take a look at the steps you need to follow to create your very own wine bottle labels for your wedding drinks.

Untitled 2

Image source: http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4147/4970571214_674bccfd97.jpg

1. Remove the existing labels from your wine bottles

First of all, take the existing labels off your purchased wine. One of the benefits of doing this is that no one will know if you haven’t spent a fortune on your drinks! Only the hardcore wine drinkers will realise, so it’s easy to get away with saving yourself some cash.

To remove the labels, fill a bath with warm water and leave the bottles to soak for at least half an hour. After this time, it will be fairly easy to scrape off the labels with a spatula. If there’s any remaining residue from the glue, use a gentle soap to remove it.

2. Design and create your new labels

The design of your new labels is only limited by your imagination, and you may already have some ideas in mind for your bottles. You may want to include a drawing, a picture, or maybe just keep things understated with a pretty font displaying the couple’s names. If you’re struggling, look in magazines or online for some inspiration.

Use scrapbook paper, and print your design directly onto it from your computer. You can use special design software if you want to create something fancy, though Microsoft Word or Publisher will often suffice. Once printed, carefully cut out the individual labels. You may want to use special scissors to create pretty edges.


Image source: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6100/6307381575_53a50930ae.jpg

3. Attach your new labels to the bottles

Next, simply attach your labels with a strong glue. It can take a little time to get them straight, so it’s worth having a few spares to practice on! The end result will look just as professional as anything you could buy in the shops.

4. Place your bottles on the tables for your big day

The next step is the fun part – serving your wine and showing off your creations! Even if you’re serving budget drinks, when you place your bottles alongside some decent wine glasses, it will create a feeling of style and luxury.

As you can see, it really is easy to make your own wine bottle labels for your wedding. Within just a few hours, you could have created your very own special twist to add personality to your big event.

Are you looking for ways to add a touch of individuality to your wedding day? Will you be trying your own wine bottle labels?

This article was brought to you by Ruth Hinds on behalf of Gurasu. Gurasu sells fine glassware products, including crystal, for the more discerning customer. 

Review and Giveaway: Photobox Canvas Print (closed)


A few weeks ago I was contacted by Roy Bainbridge, the PR Manager of a UK company Photobox, about doing a review and giveaway of their canvas print line. Photobox is an online digital photograph company, specializing in photograph based gifts. They offer a range of items, from photo albums made from your uploaded files to clothing, calendars, and stationary, to a wide range of canvas print styles and sizes. When I first began looking into the company I expected a small boutique, start up, looking for some outside-of-the-box PR opportunities. What I found was an already established company, with over 116,000 likes on their Facebook page.

After researching the company and seeing what they offer online, I couldn’t wait to partner with them and review one of their canvas prints. I quickly went to my extensive Iphoto library, and began sifting through pictures to find the perfect one to convert to a canvas print. Once I found the perfect photo, one of Nick and my engagement pictures, I created a username on Photobox, and e-mailed Roy my information. He very quickly credited my account for one Classic Canvas print, 60cm x 40.6cm (in non-metric terms a 24″ x 16″ x 1.5″) plus shipping.

Once he notified me of my credited account I couldn’t wait to get started. I logged back into Photobox, and got to work. I selected “Canvas” at the top of their website, scrolled down to “Classic Canvas”, and selected my size. I first attempted the “drag and drop” upload option to insert my picture, but it continued to give me an error message. I finally went through the traditional, “upload and select your file” option, and it worked perfectly.


I was bummed to find out my original plan of having a wrapped image print (where the image continues on the sides of the canvas) was not an option with the image I chose. By having the sides wrap it caused the image to crop in too much, and our feet ended up wrapping around the side. I considered switching pictures all together to achieve this look, but decided I was too attached to this one to change. I reluctantly decided to have a non-wrapped image, and have since considered either framing it or painting the edges black, both which are easy to do. As you order your print keep this in mind, if you want a wrapped image make sure your original photograph is able to be cropped.

The remainder of the ordering process was a piece of cake, overall their website was very user friendly. I placed my order and eagerly awaited it’s arrival.

A week later the box finally arrived. I ripped it open and pulled out my greatly anticipated print. At first I was very excited to see our picture enlarged so much, but then I was bummed when I realized the canvas was very loose on the frame. When I looked at it at the side it had a distinct ripple affect. I immediately e-mailed Roy and explained the situation, and asked how it could be fixed. In no time at all he responded with a sincere apology, explanation, and solution.

Apparently a few recent orders of the Classic Canvas prints had calibration issues with the joint measurements, which affected the tightness. By the time he e-mailed me back he had already been in contact with customer service about the issue and re-sent my order through. If there is ever an issue with an order, the re-order is automatically sent through quality control, where it is reviewed and looked at by and actual human being (amazing!) before it is re-shipped. It’s nice to know that with such a large company they take care of their customers.

Although I was bummed that I had to wait another week for my canvas to come in, in a way I was also glad that I experienced their customer service department. This gave me a more comprehensive experience with the company, and I now feel I can give more than one perspective on my overall experience with them.


Less than a week later my new, new canvas print showed up on my doorstep. Once again I ripped open the box and discovered my beautiful, high quality print. It still had a slight ripple in the canvas, but not nearly to the extent of the first one. After 24 hours the ripple was gone, leaving a tight, perfect print. I believe the long shipping process from the UK to the States with heat, etc. caused it to temporarily loosen. If you experience something similar with your order I suggest you wait at least 24 hours before contacting them.

All in all my experience with Photobox was a wonderful one, and I LOVE my print! I have it proudly displayed in my house and I can’t wait to pick out the perfect frame to finish it off. What I love even more about the company was their willingness to not only send me a free print, but also offer one to one of my readers. Enter below for your chance to win your very own Classic Canvas print, at whatever size you desire!!

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is:

1. Tweet about the giveaway and include a link to Photobox (http://www.photobox.co.uk/shop/wall-decor/canvas-prints)

2. A tweet is preferred  but if you don’t have a Twitter account please mention the giveaway on Facebook, and include the link: http://www.photobox.co.uk/shop/wall-decor/canvas-prints

3. Comment below and include a link to your tweet or facebook page! The winner will be randomly selected next Tuesday (6/25/13)! All tweets and likes will be checked before the winner is notified.

If you don’t win this amazing giveaway try using Photobox for your next canvas print, they are a great, reliable company and they continuously offer specials and discounts on orders! Click here to purchase your own photo canvas

Thanks for reading my review of Photobox and entering my giveaway! Help me spread the word about my blog by tweeting, liking, e-mailing, and sharing with others, I can’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!



Mixed Media Art: Encaustic Chair

Chair Painting

I am very excited to share my most recent art series. I began experimenting with encaustic collage with my fork and spoon paintings (click here to see them) and recently tried out patterned paper collages, and fell in love!

I have always enjoyed collaging, which is evident through my enthusiasm for visual journaling, and I am excited I have found a way to merge my two art styles. For a long time I created figurative works of art, and it is time to move away from that and challenge myself to do something new, which is where the objects came from.

For each painting I will focus on one object, it can be anything from a chair to a key to a clock. Through this series I hope to take these mundane, everyday objects and transform them, and  bring attention back to them.

I am also interested in other people’s interpretation of these everyday things, which is where you come in. I would like to know what these objects make you think of. Does a simple picture of a chair bring to mind memories, comforts, or images of your own favorite chair?

These objects that we use on a daily basis inevitably become a part of who we are through repetition, tradition, memories, or even our daily needs. Whether we recognize it or not these things plant themselves into our minds and memories, and may one day come knocking when we see a similar teapot, which could remind you of celebrating your American Doll’s birthdays with annual tea parties, at least that is what it does to me.

A thought that has crossed my mind with this series is to create a response piece to each of the originals, which will incorporate other people’s perspectives on what these objects mean. I hope to collage these written responses into the background of the response piece.

Good, bad, or mundane I want to know! If you would like to participate in my next work of art all you have to do is comment below about what this chair, or chairs in general make you think of. Thanks for your assistance in my creative pursuits! On your way down to the comment area enjoy some detail shots of my recent work of art!

mixed media art-encaustic chair

Chair Painting Detail 3

If you fell in love with this piece and have to have it, you can buy it! It is now listed on my Etsy shop here! As always, thanks for stopping by!