Craft Room Re-do Re-Do

I loved the stripes in my old craft room.  But I needed more sewing space, especially with my new machine.  And the carpet was a minefield of hidden dropped pins. Also very difficult to keep clean of thread and craft crap.  At least that is what my excuse was. And since there was so much going on in the space, I was wanting some clean and bright walls while we were at it. 

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

So here is my new craft/sewing space.  Quite possibly my favorite room in the house. Because I love to be in there.  Because it super functional for my sewing/crafting wishes.  And because it is pretty to look at.

It is this clean and organized all of the time.  Insert sarcasm font.

Here is what we originally started with when we moved in.  Pink and wallpaper.

the before

And then here was the stripes and small table of the original craft room makeover.

craft room

So let’s start with the big stuff.  The walls are painted with the leftovers from the basement- Sherwin William's Eider White.  And the floors are a bamboo hardwood. 

I had a minor freakout the night before the were installed that they were going to be too orange.  As in Honey Oak orange. I may have been seen laying out a whole section of the wood out of the box on top of the ugly honey oak ones in the kitchen. At midnight. To judge if the oranges were different.  But after they went in I love them and they are so much nicer than carpet in the space.  Just a quick sweep and they are clean.  At least the floor part.

Derek made the amazing massive sewing table modifying this plan from Ana White as well as the smaller table that pulls out to give me an L shaped workspace and so that I don’t have to constantly move up and down.  Life-changing.  Both the space on the table and the ability to swing my chair to the side for a quick cut or press.  He knows the way to my heart is building furniture and he does it so well.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

I painted the bottom of the table solid black and glazed the top with a gray paint using my tried and true method with gray acrylic paint.  It is difficult to get a good picture of the finish next to the window, but most people who come into the space think that it is stone before they run their hands over it to see it is wood.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

That was not my intention with the glaze, but I love that it turned out that way. 

I love that my machine is directly in front of the window so that during the day I can look out into the backyard.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Let’s also pretend that I just snapped that photo and the midwest is looking that green this time of year.

Now let’s take a spin around the rest of the room.

The cutting table is the same, just spun around.  It still gives me a lot of floor space (and enough room for an air mattress when we need an additional guest bed).  I got rid of the ironing board, but added a an ironing space modifying this tutorial, making it instead with just a piece of plywood rather than an entire table. The cover is removable like a fitted sheet for washing purposes.  And when I need a really big cutting surface, I just take off the ironing board.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My fabric scraps and works in progress are housed in the cubbies underneath.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My bulletin board is simple…a cork board with fabric stapled around it.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My grandmother’s sewing accessories are in shadow boxes on the wall and I recovered her sewing chair for an extra space when friends come to sew.  It is tucked into the corner.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

My design wall remained the same.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And the Kona color card moved next to my bookshelves.

Derek made some simple forward facing bookshelves like these to hold a sampling of my craft/sewing books.  I have found seeing the covers instead of just having them stacked on a shelf reminds me to use them more-either for specific projects or just for the general inspiration of pretty pictures.  Not all of them fit, but I rotate them around with ones stored the typical way to keep things fresh.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

The roman shade is also DIY with selvedge fabric from Spoonflower.  I loosely used this tutorial and backed it with blackout lining so it can be dark in there for people to sleep if the space is needed for another guest space.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And that print is just perfect for a sewing room.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Also above my sewing table is my friend Lauren’s print.  I love the colors and the sentiment. 

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Notice the seam ripper is well accessible next to my machine

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And some more organization pics if you are into that.  I keep my fabric organized using the mini bolts method as explained here.  It has helped so much with finding what I need.  The top shelf is fabrics other than cotton.  Then my prints organized by color, with some subsections (i.e. Christmas).  And then my solids organized by color.  Don’t worry, my stash has increased a lot since I snapped these pictures.  Especially the solids.  My serger is below that.  My sewing table is so big, I also can keep it out if I am going to be using it frequently.  My precuts and patterns are on the bottom shelf.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Non-sewing craft supplies and batting are on the opposite bookshelf.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty
Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

And rulers, ironing supplies and large amounts of fabric are on the shelves over the chair.

Craft/Sewing Room- Anything Pretty

Whew! Sorry for the picture overload, but I always love looking at where people create and how they organize.  I have learned a lot about how I want a space to work for me when I am sewing and crafting and I think this space fits the bill perfectly.   I think I named most of my sources, but let me know if you are curious about something I missed. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

I am linking up with-

TDC Before and After

How To: Make A Simple Tray

I love trays.  You can have a random collection of stuff sitting on a flat surface looking a whole lot like clutter.  But with a tray, presto.  It looks deliberate and styled.  Magic.

Over the past couple of months, we have been trying to spend a little time spiffing up our master bedroom.  The room that one could argue should be a top priority had been getting the short end of the decorating stick. 

So I wanted a tray for the top of my dresser.  And I wanted it to be a very specific size and color.  DIY project time.

How To: DIY tray

How To: Easy (and Customizable) Wood Tray


Plywood the size of your desired tray

Molding with a rounded edge

Wood filler or caulk

Miter or block of some kind (only a couple of small simple cuts)

Pretty paper for the bottom of the tray

Coordinating Paint Color


Polyurethane of some kind

Pourable resin (can get at hardware or craft stores)

Hammer and Nails (or nail gun)

Spray Adhesive (optional)


1. Cut you wood to the desired shape.  Nail the molding to the side with 90 degree miter cuts at the corners.  Use caulk or wood filler to hide the corner seams.

How To: DIY tray

2. Prime and then paint the sides.  Here is where I tell you not to do what I did.  Either stop the paint before you get any on the tray edge. Or paint the ENTIRE thing.  You will see why in a minute.

How To: DIY tray


3. Poly the sides.  I used a spray.

How To: DIY tray

4. Cut your paper to the exact size of the bottom of the tray.

5. Dry fit it and then spray a light coat of spray adhesive to adhere it to the bottom.  You could probably skip the spray adhesive and be fine if your paper is a tight fit.

How To: DIY tray

6. Mix your resin and pour according to the directions on the packaging.

How To: DIY tray

This is when my mistake became apparent.  With the resin, my paper became translucent and you could see the wood grain…and my paint line.  I did not mind the grain, but the line annoys me.  Not enough to redo the whole thing, but enough to tell you about it.  Oh well…learn from my mistakes.

7. After the resin hardens the amount of time on the packaging (I believe mine was two days), put your crap in there and watch it become collection-like.

How To: DIY tray

My tray is my dump all on my dresser.  And the place where I keep  my favorite jewelry.  Having it out and seen makes me wear it a whole lot more.  And every once in a while I rotate it around.

How To: DIY tray

Not to mention I love the marble paper (found a local paper store).  And I choose to ignore the blue peeking through.

How To: DIY tray

I have been dumping stuff on the tray for two months now and the resin has held up beautifully.

How To: DIY tray

This will be my go-to project for any space that needs some spiffing up.  Next time I will do it properly…or choose some thicker paper.

Italy Memories….On a Wall

I may have mentioned that we went to Italy this summer.

And I may have taken have tons of pictures.

I may have been really tempted to frame all 1457 of them and hang them around the house.

But I knew that would have been just a little overkill.

However there was this big blank wall right behind the chairs in the living room that had “Italy” written all over it.

(Just picture it….it was a blank wall of nothing)

And I just may have had that wall in mind when we planned the Italy trip.

Anyway this what we whipped up….


Because I wanted a way to remember our trip everyday. Without having everyone that walks into the house thinking that our travel photo album barfed all over the place.

My goal was to make look like we collected a wide array of pictures over a long period of time and make it say “Italy” without using all photos.  I think we achieved it and I am so happy how it turned out. 

It all started with this art that we bought for the old house because Derek really liked it.


And it hung over the buffet in the dining room for years until we moved.  But at the new house there was not great place for it, so it sat in the closet for the past couple of years.  Sad.

Since it happened to be a painting of St. Peter’s Basilica, it worked out perfectly for our Italy wall.  And it wasn’t a photo.  Good planning 5 years ago.

Also when we at ZGallerie we stumbled on a Rome sign that was also a perfect addition.  I told Derek I could make it myself, but I got outvoted.  Now we had Rome represented.

After we had our two pieces, we bough some random frames and with the use of our area rug and a measuring tape laid out the the display.

By random, I mean absolutely no plan.  We picked a variety of sizes and finishes.  And different mats.  No plan here.  Collected over time was the desired look.

Next, we hung them all on the wall according to our plan on the floor.  And our new best friends smiled at us from their frames for a month (or two) while I picked out the rest of the pictures to complement the art.


Finally finished….

On the bottom portion we have some photos of course.


In addition to the normal photos, I also modified a photo of the Cinque Terre to make it resemble a painting.


I used a filter in Photoshop to in order to achieve this effect.  And if I can do it in Photoshop, anyone can do it because I still have zero skill with that program.  Also if you don’t have Photoshop, there are tons of photo editing program online that can achieve similar effects.

Another “different than photo thing” I did was with some left over Euros that the bank would not take back when we arrived home.


So of course I had to make something with them.

My first thought was do a rubbing over them with a pencil or charcoal.  And be all all old fashioned and stuff. Bad idea.

So I reverted back to the computer and threw them on the scanner.  I then did multiple random effects in Photoshop and Picnik until I liked how they looked.  Don’t ask me which ones because I have no idea. 

Then there is the top section….


The top right is actually a retro travel poster from the Boston Public Library’s Flickr Photostream.

Tuscany - Siena

High Heeled Foot in the Door mentioned it awhile ago and I had the link safely tucked away until I needed it.  There are so many fun posters there for all sorts of destinations.  I had trouble picking just one poster and can see this becoming a go-to spot for future trips.  Definitely worth checking out.

And last but not least….our Italian phrase.


Il bel far niente.

Or the art of doing nothing.

Something we are both terrible at.  And I would like to pretend that having it written in Italian on the wall will make us stop and smell the roses sometime.


I spent a lot of time with my Italian travel dictionary to try to find the perfect phrase and this seemed like the best fit.

Although there were a lot of great runners up in the “amore” section that I was tempted to put up there and just tell people it meant something nice and romantic.

Non ho mallattie has a nice ring to it don’t you think? (I have no diseases)…..

Or how about “Sono ricco e single” (I am rich and single)….


Oh well…I guess I will have to get busy with the art of doing nothing.

And remembering our amazing vacation daily of course…..

Ode to Overstock

The UPS/FedEx/mail men were among my favorite people this week.  They just kept bringing boxes of goodies.  Not all the boxes are ready to be revealed, but a couple are unpacked and up and running.

When we last left the dining room ceiling saga, I was stumped with what to do.  And out of my list of options, most of you picked Derek’s option of adding the white edging so that the colors looked more similar.

dining room ceiling fun

Derek would like to thank everyone for voting for him.  He reads the blog, but usually does not mention much about it except “do you want me to take pictures of this while I am doing it?”  But on the day on the dining room post I got a call at work making sure that I was not missing the comments that people were agreeing with him.

So I did it.

And it took awhile.

And again it looked great during the day, but at night it looked even worse.  The white of the crown molding and the white of the ceiling looked like completely different colors even though they were the exact.same.paint. 

Very very frustrating.

So at this point, I knew I had to do something about the light fixture since the yellow globes were the main problem.

I bought some other non-yellow globe options and honestly some of them were OK.  But to replace all the globes was going to cost over $70 and for that amount of money I decided I would rather move that light fixture to another location and get a new one for the dining room.

(I apologize for the lack of pictures of the globes….Derek had the new light fixture installed while I was out with friends and did not realize I had not done it yet.  I couldn’t be upset with him because he was installing a light fixture while I was getting a pedicure,  Guess he made up for the whole everyone liking his idea thing.)

Anyway enter overstock and this beauty.


Love the bling.


And while the space is not a total after yet, the ceiling and light is finally finished.


Even at night…..


My other overstock love landed right outside the dining room in the entryway. 

We have had this rug from our prior house in the entryway since we moved in.  It was not bought for the space and no longer fits the style of our house.  Even Derek agreed we needed something new.


I wanted to keep this size rug however for a couple of reasons.  The floors are orange of course and are really beat up in the entryway.  Also when the dogs are running down the stairs at full speed and hit a bare hard wood floor they go flying and further damage the floor.  Hence the need for a big rug.

We tried the IKEA rug in the space and it was too busy and did not flow from the style of the dining room.


Again Overstock to the rescue with this baby….


Love it.  I think the colors and style are perfect.


Now off to open up the other boxes. 

And never paint another dining room ceiling again.


I get bored easily.

Especially when I am not busy painting a new project.

It gives me too much time to look around and want to switch something up.

Even in a perfectly good room that we remodeled less than two years ago.

I don’t think this trait is on my husband’s top ten list of things he loves about me.

It may have to do with spending money.

Or cutting into football watching time.


So when I started thinking about the rooms I wanted to make changes in, it happened to be the first three rooms that we completed when we moved it.  And as I disclaimer I still love them, but they all needed a little freshening up.  And to of course on a budget (see above).  The three rooms are the dining room, family room and office.  And while the office and dining room are still works in progress, the family room’s minor changes are complete.  And they are just enough to keep me happy with the space.

And I am happy to report that no football watching time was infringed on for any part of it.

The Family Room

Issue #1- Too Much Brown

  Since we bought the bookshelves, I have been trying to convince Derek to let me paint the back.  Or apply pretty fabric or decorative paper to give them some pattern and pizzazz.  Just something to break up the boring brown. 


But that idea got vetoed.  Maybe because he knows my propensity to want to change things and anything permanent would not bode well for the solid wood bookcases.  I could day that we could just add built-ins when I get tired of them but I don’t think that would help my case.

So for two years I let it go and tried to enjoy the brown.

Then one day it hit me…..what about spray paint?  It is cheap and easily re-doable and who needs to touch the bookscases?  Why had I not thought of this brilliant idea sooner?

So I spray painted the lamps a blue gray and got new drum shades.  Then the brown tray got a coat of silver.  And I thought I would love it and it would solve of my brown problems. IMG_2947

But a couple of weeks later I am still not sure.  Maybe the blue is too shiny?  Maybe it is too much contrast with the brown bookshelves?  Maybe the lamps are too skinny?  Maybe I should just go with gray instead of blue-gray? Maybe I am just feeling fall-ish now and this is just reading a little too springy?  Maybe I way overthinking this and just need to be happy that is not brown and get over not painting the interior of the bookshelves?


Issue #2 It Just Doesn’t Feel Done

There is another change in the family room that I am 100% in love with….the rug.

I was a little iffy on adding an area rug over carpet.  But the space was not really unified and I wanted some more modernish touches in the room to make it flow more with the adjoining kitchen.  So I got out one of our 5x8 area rugs that we were not using and see what I thought of the idea.

It was love at first site….except the rug was way too small.

So that led us on a rug search.  It had to be big.  And cheap.  And modernish.  And good colors.  And not solid brown (see above). And not matchy with the walls.  But not too orange either. And not too busy.  Basically perfect.

We went everywhere in the city that carried rugs and came back with nothing.  It may have had something to do with how picky I was being.

Overstock had some great and cheap ones, but the colors and sizes were not matching up.  I then stumbled on and found a couple that met all of my criteria.  And free shipping and returns. 

It was a very exciting day.

We ended up with this one.




And I am amazed about how something so simple can complete the space.

Some friends commented that it was brilliant that the circles of the rug complemented the circular coffee table so well.


I was totally thinking that when I picked it out.

Issue# 3 Throw Pillows

You also may notice we now actually have some throw pillows on the couch and chair.  There are still some more half finished in the sewing room, but we at least have some color on the sofa.

But I have a confession to make.

I asked you opinion on throw pillows a long time ago.

About whether I should use the home dec fabric I already had or go with more modern cotton prints.

And the majority of you said to stick with what I had.

Well I didn’t.

Sorry….but I did listen on your advice on the kitchen curtain color, so you can’t stay mad.



So what do you think?  Hopefully I am not the only one that gets the itch to change things up.   But I think I am satisfied with the space and will be able to enjoy my time hanging out in there and not thinking about what I want to change.

For now at least.

Going Back In

Last weekend I realized just how long it has been since we have done an “inside” project.  We had been so busy with outside stuff and Europe prep that the inside has been ignored as of late.

And since I always get some project inspiration with a little wine, some good music and Derek not home to talk me into being more practical and having a plan (hence how the kitchen reno started), the office is now getting a mini-makeover.  Nothing drastic but just a couple of little things that have been bugging me about the space lately.  I am still in the going to Homegoods, returning to Homegoods and buying more at Homegoods stage but I wanted to share a sneak peek at one of the projects that is actually done in the space.

We try to make the decor in our home as personal as possible without going overboard with pictures of the two of us cheesing it up for the camera.  Coming back from Italy, I have been resisting the urge to plaster photos of the trip all over the place, while still putting memorable items on display.  Not so easy.

I saw an idea of displaying travel maps over from Alissa over at 33 Shades of Green awhile ago and loved how it was personal but pretty at the same time.  So I made sure to save all the maps we used during the trip. 

After I had dumped everything off the bookshelves in the office on that Saturday night, I decided to add some frames to the top.  So I messed around with frames I had in various colors and sizes until I found an arrangement I liked.

They were on the smaller side, but I sort of liked just including special sections of the map instead of the entire thing. Also I wanted to change it up in terms of colors on the maps and how they were positioned with mats in the frame.

So I pulled out the maps we used for sightseeing and went to work measuring and cutting with this in mind.


Since I wanted the maps to “mean something” I got the location of our apartment and some major sights included the sections of Rome and Florence I cut out.  To change it up a little bit, I used a more zoomed out map for Siena… commemorate our memorable bus ride of course.   The maps are creased and written on (and probably quite sweaty) but that makes me like them even more.


IMG_2721And now every time I look in the corner now I can remember Italy and where exactly we stayed.  And the bus ride.  And of course the running joke of why I never carried the maps or navigated the entire trip.  Let’s just say my sense of direction was left back in the States.  If I was in charge of this task we would have ended up back in Germany. 



A Dog’s Life

In the quest to slowly but surely get the master bedroom to being officially an “after”, I knew we had to something about one of the last eyesores in the room-the dog beds. 


The current ones were plaid, old and furry.  But they are a necessary evil.

Because you can’t just take away their beds because they are ugly.  Well I guess you could, but that would not be very nice.

And you can buy some cute dog beds but they were never the perfect size or color for our space.  And what fun is buying them when you can easily make them?

So a little while ago I bought some fabric I loved for this purpose.IMG_0633

(In case you are curious…the fabrics are Summer Soiree by Paula Prass and Two by Two Stripe by Michael Miller)

Horribly impractical with the white being perfect to exhibit mud and the black a magnet for dog hair.

But oh well….I told myself that is what a washing machine is for.

I made the beds very simply. I just measured the space, added a couple of inches for seam allowances and the depth of the pillow, and then constructed it just like an envelope backed pillow.  In other words exactly how you could make a pillow case for a pillow form.  Super quick and easy.  And a perfect beginner sewing project.

Here is the back on one bed with the overlapping fabric.


Then you just have to stuff it with something soft and washable. 

You could make a matching pillow form with muslin and polyfil for this purpose.

Or you could be green (and cheap) like me and find something laying around to stuff it with.  Because let’s be honest anything that is soft (for the dogs) and washable (for you) would work.

So let’s just say that you melted a king size duvet insert trying to stuff it in your washer which turned out to be too small.  Not that you (or I) would be dumb enough to do that….we are talking hypothetically.  You could cut that in pieces and stuff your beds with that.  Hypothetically of course.


Whatever you use does not not need to be perfectly sized.  Just shove it in there and you get this….


or this….


Perfectly smooth….no.  But cheap and honestly our dogs have more fun shifting and digging at the lumps to get it to their liking.  Smooth beds are boring.

And if you have extra fabric you could make a little pillow for their head.  


Winter had already shifted the pillow for her liking….but of course would not lay on it as soon as the big bad camera made an appearance.

She was however happy to try both beds before determining which was to her liking.


Which one do you think she should choose?  Is she more a chevron or stripe type of girl?


Turn Back Time

There are some perks to sharing an office with the space that old school library books go to die.  Besides the potential for procrastination. And the ambiance that shelves of books bring (paired with the hum of the main computer servers of course).

Anyway you get to score these finds.

You know when you read the books from the 50’s about how to be a “good wife” and so forth?  Well these remind me of that but only with interior design and decorating….in 1987.  Which of course is also known as the golden years of design and fashion. But on the other really does not seem that long ago.  I would link to them for purchase (or possibly an updated edition) but could not find them anywhere.

Let me share some of the gems-

But I thought that the addition of this coffee table was interesting.….look familiar?


Maybe they were onto something??  Nah, the mint and mauve definitely counteracted that.

Bring back any memories?


This Post Could Possibly Include Christmas Decorations (Yes Before Turkey Day)

I am back for week 2 of the blog party....this time it is Dare To-Entertain.
Dare to DIY

(good thing Emily having this party to make sure I post occasionally during this incredibly busy time at work....this week will be better I promise). Last week there were so many awesome thanksgiving ideas at the party and I met so many great bloggers.

Anyways for this week we were supposed to show off our table, whether it was set for everyday, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Since I like to use any excuse to get out the good china and I have so much more Christmas stuff and because it was a great excuse to start decorating for Christmas early.....I chose a Christmas setting.

The challenge I gave myself: not spending a single cent. I have a slight weakness when it comes to spending money on holiday decorating. But we are not hosting Christmas or Thanksgiving this year so spending money was a little silly.

So here is the Anything Pretty Dining Room (almost) all decked out for the holidays-
Align Center

The details-

These frames were left over favors from my bridal shower, now they are perfect place markers-

My knock-off Pottery Barn plates I found a couple of years ago at ABC Distributing for $10 (for 12). They are less formal than all the china, but I think they add a fun Christmas element to the table-

The bead garland around all the candles-
The table runner-

The napkin and napkin ring-

Of course there were things I would have liked to done (like maybe a glass personalized ornament hanging from a silver branch at each setting or red sparkly candles instead of white) but that would have cost some money so I am happy with what I was able to do with things sitting around the house. This week I am going to add some more decorative elements to the dining room as a whole but this party got the table kick started. Now I just need to pour the red wine!

Thanksgiving DIY Wreath

When I read the first week's theme of the NewlyWoodwards blog party-Dare to: Be Thankful- I will admit that I was totally stumped. Sure, I had tons of great ideas for future weeks but for this one I had nothing.

Dare to DIY

I have fall decorations out but really none of them are DIY and nothing is really spectacular. But lucky for me Martha came to the rescue with this easy and pretty wreath. I am loving the finished product and it completes my dining room decor. Just in time for Thanksgiving....

Best of all it was super cheap-under $7. I would write out the how-to step by step but Martha does such a fine job that I will direct you to read it here.

Of course I did not follow her directions exactly. Instead of all craft and gold paper I used a couple of colors. Some were metallic cardstock and others were scrapbook paper. Here are my colors (in addition to the craft paper) cut into squares:
In addition to the partial roll of craft paper, I used about 8 pieces of colored paper.

Also Michaels does not carry the 2 wire wreath form, so I bought this and it worked great-

Finally, Martha tells you to attach the leaves with a stapler. I started this way and it could be because my wreath form had more wire in it, but I was struggling to get the staples to close. So I would have to staple a leaf on and then flip the wreath over to manually close the staple. This was not fun and I kept stabbing myself. So I switched over to hot glue (so then I could burn myself) and this method was a lot easier as well as allowing me a lot more flexibility in leaf placement.

After I started, I compared my partial wreath with Martha's and realized that my leaves were too far apart.
It was so easy with the hot glue to go back and fill it in.

I love the finished product and how it looks hanging on the simple orange ribbon in our dining room. I am also to happy to report that is very sturdy as it got dropped twice during the hanging process and still looks great. Thanks for the invitation to the party and come back for next week's theme-Dare To: Entertain. I can't wait to see everyone's projects!

Also linked to It's So Very Creative @ It's So Very Cheri

Craft Room Reveal

I love craft rooms. They can be painted in fun colors and contain DIY projects on the more "funky" side and can get away with it because it is a "creative" room. They also have to be heavy on organization if they are not going to be a mess. Not to mention that they are a room that you can start projects in and then leave them out without worrying about stuff being all over the house. I am so lucky that we have space so that I can have an entire room to myself right now. Once we have two kids I will have to fight them for it.

This craft room reveal has been a long time coming. And honestly there are some things that I can see changing in the future.  But before we see what it looks like now, let's take a stroll down memory lane and see where we came from.

All my favorite design features in one room-wallpaper, honey oak and a poorly anchored brass ceiling fan.

When we moved in I thought a good solution would be just ripping down the wallpaper and enjoying the pink paint until I got around to painting. Unfortunately after ripping down the wallpaper I learned that the previous owners had not painted all the way to the ceiling. So I lived with this for about a year.

It was nice to have a room dedicated to creativity, but I was majorly lacking organization and did not have enough workspace.

That brings us to what it looks like today-

The cutting table/craft desk was DIY and you can make one too following the tutorial here.  I knew that this was the one space I could get away with some fun stripes and while it took awhile for all the taping, I loved how it turned out (tutorial here).

And I love my sewing corner….

craft room

Across the back wall I had Derek install a curtain rod for me to hang “in progress” projects.  I love how it works, except for the fact that a lot times projects don’t move from “in progress” to “complete”.  Oh well.


Above the rod are pictures I cut from an old Anne Taintor calendar.  Would they look better in frames…yes.  But this is a low budget craft room redo.

craft room
Above the cutting table is my inspiration board/bulletin board to hang random stuff.  To make it look non-bulletin board like, I wrapped it in fabric and stapled it to the back.  Super quick and easy.

In the other corner we have more storage space.

craft room
Oh and the chandelier.  I really wanted something cool (and expensive) of course.  But the ole budget brought us back to DIY as I detailed here.

I still have one blank wall which my ironing board sits below.  My plans for this area include adding a quilt design wall so that the floor can be retired for this purpose.  Oh and getting a new matching (and unstained) ironing board cover.

craft room

At one point I wrote a post about how I was organizing everything (here).  Well that has all changed as my fabric stash has grown and I am making different things.  And it will most likely change again.  But for now here is the newly organized closet.
craft room
Yes that is what I call organized….you should have seen it a couple of days before this.
I am also utilizing the storage on the cutting table for in progress projects.  each cubby is a different project.
craft room
Like I mentioned before, this room was done a low budget. Here is the breakdown in case you are curious:

Craft Desk: $125 (how-to here)
Sewing Desk: $100 (JCPenney outlet store)
Paint: $70 (painting stripes how-to here)
I used one gallon of Tupelo Tree and one gallon of Sassy Green from Sherwin Williams in this room. We had all the other painting supplies.
Chandelier: $40 (how-to here)
Drapery: $20
For the curtains I used some of the fabric I had originally bought for the kitchen (you know the ones that turned out to be two different colors like I mentioned here). Well, I recycled two panels of that fabric and I had lining fabric left over from the family room panels. So all I needed to buy was the rod and the rings.
Shelving: $125 (from Home depot)
I decided to go with adjustable shelving because at that time I was not sure how I was going to organize everything and it would give me flexibility in the future if I ever changed my mind. Not that that ever happens....
Miscellaneous Organization supplies- $75
Most of the organizational things I had previously and either repainted or recovered them. But I did buy some things to organize all the drawers as well as other things for the shelves.
Sewing Chair- Free
I swiped this chair from Derek's poker table in the basement. Eventually I would like something cuter....but this one matched as was the right price so it got moved to my room.

Grand Total: $555

Not bad for an entire room make-over.  But of course that does not include my fabric stash.

Homegoods Happy

Hope everyone had a great Halloween and are enjoying the leftover candy! Since we have no self control when it comes to sugar, Derek and I have a strange way to resist temptation. Since we both have nut allergies (yeah our future kids are screwed in the genes department), all we buy is peanut butter candy. So it is really easy not to eat it because we literally can't. Even though at this exact moment I am craving some chocolate and just maybe the thought has crossed my mind about the possibility about just taking a lick of the just chocolate with the epi-pen next to me.

Anyway, back on subject, we had a very busy DIY weekend and the bathroom is almost done. The last thing to do is finish accessorizing, decide on a shower curtain (might need your help with this one as I am stuck) and oh yeah get the toilet out of the tub. But other than that minor detail everything else is a go and I can't wait to share it. My grand plan was to share some details and/or a how to today but we were so busy that I did not get a chance to snap pics until Sunday evening and they did not look great in artificial stay tuned for tomorrow and hopefully this daylight savings time things allows me to snap a few before it is dark.

I did make a Homegoods run and of course they did not disappoint.....

And I may have had a two cart trip there last weekend when Derek was out of town. Maneuvering two carts through the store and onto the parking lot by myself is not easy and usually gets some weird looks but is always worth it. For example look what followed me home (safely buckled in with a blanket of course) after that trip (for $30 by the way)-
Snapped with the cell camera

But I did not buy everything that caught my eye- like these lacquered tables that I was thinking about for the entry (sadly they are too big)-
Snapped with the cell camera

It just might be my favorite store.....


Basement Inspiration

We are slowly running out of rooms in our house to start a new project on (we have plenty to still complete since I am the queen of 90% but that is another story).

The basement is part of the final frontier and Derek thinks that since it is "man land" that he gets to make all design and purchasing decisions. Our basement is finished thankfully but right now it is pretty boring with tan walls and old carpet. We only use it currently for the exercise room and as overflow for the guest bedroom. It is one of the few rooms that does not have honey oak trim and I believe Derek is thinking about painting all of it black. Glad he is going to learn how to paint trim because I am pretty sick of it.

Anyway, our basement has two tiny windows so it does not get much light and I want to be able to use the space as a kid area when we have children. So designing this space (on a small budget of course) is going to be tricky.

For a little inspiration I turned to my all time favorite designer-Candice Olsen. I love everything she does and one of the things she does best is basements in my opinion. So here is what I love in case Derek happens to read this when he is thinking about what he wants to do down there:).

Nothing like purple couches to say "man land"

(all photos courtesy of HGTV)

New Home Store Find

I never thought I would say/type these words but....

I might have found a store that ranks up with Homegoods in cool home stuff and price.

I know, I can't believe it either but let me give you the scoop. I was driving to a different Wal-Mart this weekend in search of a final curtain panel for the master bedroom when I saw the JCPenney Outlet Store. Now I have seen this store before but assumed it was just clothes so I had not ventured in. But for some reason on Sunday I noticed that there was a line of cars in a pick-up area to load. Hmmmm...people would not be pulling up pick-ups and SUV's to get clothes. The parking lot was packed but I ventured in. The inside did have a lot of clothes but the back had a lot of housewares and there was a whole side area with furniture and accessories. Was it as nicely organized and presented as But they had so much stuff laying around-beds, patio furniture, desks, chairs, mirrors, lamps, tables, armoires, sheets, rugs etc. This stuff was moving fast. I found a mirror I liked and by the time I circled it was gone. I also was eyeing a modern desk (while hearing Derek's voice in my head saying "where are you going to put that") when a another girl walked past me and sat on it. So if you are going to get deals get there early, bring a buddy to stake your claim and be prepared to spit on/lick things if you want to reserve them.

I did score a new light fixture for our guest room. Is it exactly what I But it was just 30 bucks and for that price I can make a few modications to make it what I want.

The box (the price says 29.99 in case you can't see it)

The previous light fixture, a single can light.
The new (cheap) light fixture
Since it was a recessed light, we had to put on an adapter to put a normal light fixture back up. I am thinking about covering that with a ceiling mediallion. Also we had to take the top portion of the light fixture off because it was hanging too low. I am also thinking about changing out the shade to a straight drum shade in white and possibly spray painting the metal chrome. But I am going to live with it awhile before making the decision. Even with modifications, 30 bucks was a steal.

And I will be back JCPenney Outlet store, next time with reinforcements.

Before/After- Office

Welcome to Anything Pretty Headquarters.

It would look more realistic if HGTV was on the TV and a glass of red wine was on the desk.....but I trust you can use you imagination.

The original color in this room really wasn't bad but the trim was, of course. Also the crown molding was really puny and there was no overhead fixture which made the room very dim at night.


During:Adding another layer of crown and testing paint colors.


This room was originally designed to be a formal living room, but we knew would never use it for that. We are not that kind of people.

So we tried to make a home office that was functional but pretty enough to be by the front door. Eventually we will probably add french doors, but since the doors are an odd size that will be pricey.

I am toying with the idea of adding a rug, but I am not sure if it would make the space look too small. Also I am torn about how I feel about rugs on top of carpet. The color in this room is Sherwin Williams Ivoire. I also tried Blonde, but it was too yellow for what I was picturing.

I have tried yellows before, and I have to admit, this is the first time I got it right. On the paint chip it looked really cream and not bold enough for my tastes.  But on the wall it really reads yellow and turned out perfectly.  Who knew yellow could be so difficult?

Where We Got Stuff:

-Drapes-Target- around $20 a panel
-Ceiling fan-Home Depot- $40
-Art-our photos printed in black and white
-Furniture- Nebraska Furniture Mart (see a theme?)

Before/After- The Family Room

I wish I had taken the time to take more before pics of this pretty room. It would even be better if I had pics with the seller's furniture so we all can take in the view with hunter green and mauve couches as well as fake sunflowers.

Just picture that for a minute....

OK try to stop shuddering at another room with terrible colors paired with red.

Some of the trim in this room was painted white....but looks can be deceiving. They put on one coat of primer, dripped it all over the place and then called it good. The ceiling fan was not properly anchored and the fireplace was living in the 90's in all it's brass and honey oak. The one thing that this room had going for it was it did not have pink blinds like all the others. Small Victories.




family room
So what did we do?  Well first everything was painted obviously.  The trim got the the proper sanding and priming and painting.  And the walls were painted Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage.  Because of all the doors, furniture placement in the space….well was interesting.  But after many many attempts and me saying “it is just not all going to fit” numerous times (and some cursing), we made it all work.

family room
New ceiling fan was properly installed and anchored.

The fireplace was probably our biggest DIY in this space.

family room

Ahhh the fireplace.  The project that was supposed to be lower on the priority list because the tile was not great, we were going to live with it for awhile.

Until I went to Home Depot to grab some things two days after closing and found my husband and friend beating it with a sledge hammer.  Nice.

Only to find it was set in cement.  Which needed to be re-leveled before anything could be retiled. 

Officially in over our head.

Luckily my father-in-law came to the rescue to level it all out so Derek could embark on his first solo tile job. In the end it turned out great.

Also we did not not replace the brass accented fireplace doors.  Just a little high heat spray paint made them good as new. 

family room


The gallery wall was added after our Italy trip (blogged here).

family room

All the pillows and drapes were sewing DIY.  And since the pillows can all be changed easily, hopefully this will fulfill my need to make changes in the space when the urge hits.

family room


Before/After- The Dining Room

Get ready to get into a time machine back to 1990. Warning, you might need some sunglasses....


Red is my favorite color but this shade is so wrong on walls.  Paired with a pink and blue border, stylish brass, and a glimpse into the hip oak kitchen made it cringe-worthy.  It poses the question-pink, blue and  Interesting.

Aren't those sexy curtains? And the almond outlets look nice on the white. You can also see how bad of shape the wainscoting was in.
In Progress:Trying out some colors.....left is Sherwin-Williams Uncertain Grey and right is Foggy Day.  I was going for a bluish-grey in this room with the emphasis on the grey.  And once the room was complete, it was more blue.  But I still love it.  And saved the true grey for another room....

The First “After”:

That is correct….this is round 1.  We went with Uncertain Gray on the walls and Foggy Day on the ceiling. The windows and trim all got new paint and the outlets got switched out to a nice matching white.  Oh yeah, the old brass chandelier also got replaced. 
The taller hutch is more traditional and I am somewhat second-guessing that decision, but since we registered for china at our wedding I wanted a place to keep it all on display.  And enclosed because dusting and I are not friends.
And after living with this after for awhile, I was ready to switch things up.  Like the ceiling and the chandelier.  Red wine may have had a hand in this decision.
The “Real” After (for now at least):
So I changed up the painting scheme on the ceiling as detailed here.  And then I switched out the chandelier (again) because the new paint was looking funky .  And here we are now:
dining room

dining room
dining room
dining room
dining room
Where we got stuff:
Curtains- Bed Bath and Beyond- silk on clearance- $20 a panel- score!
Sconces- Home decorators collection- X-mas gift from mom
Chandelier- Overstock
Dining Set- Local furniture store
Centerpiece Bowl; IKEA
Wine hutch: so old I am not sure, it just happened to match the dining set and fit perfectly in the space.  i am thinking maybe that it was another Bed Bath and Beyond purchase?
But is a room ever really done?  I am thinking it may need some more tweaks in the future.  We will see….

I Think I Need an Intervention....

I have a problem.....I am addicted to saving inspiration pictures. I find them everywhere and if I like something about them I just click and save. I never knew the extent of my addiction until I have been looking for specific pictures of my own to add to the blog and had to sort through pages and pages of inspiration pictures on my computer. So I took on the task on sorting them into specific room categories....and an hour later I am still sorting. I already have an entire folder for nurseries (shhh, don't tell Derek). Maybe that is the reason my computer is starting to run slowly.....

Before/After-Kitchen Remodel

While 1992 had thrown up all over our entire "new" house, the kitchen was by far the worse so it has the honor of starting the before/after pictures. Behold the ugliness.

Pink must have been their favorite color as we had pink laminate counter tops, pink baskets, pink mini blinds and of course more glossy honey oak, wallpaper and brass going on.   Bleh.


Unused empty space by door

Nothing like a florescent light surrounded by oak

The original plan: the kitchen was ugly but functional so we were going to wait a year or two, plan, save money, be smart and not bite off more than we could handle.

The revised plan: one weekend Derek was out of town and I decided (with the help of some wine) that I was ready to start the kitchen. No time like the present.  I had 4 weeks of vacation coming up so that it would be perfect timing. So I got a spray bottle, a ladder and a putty knife and started stripping wallpaper. Derek came home and SURPRISE!  He was so thrilled.


Overall we had a very low budget for our kitchen remodel and planned on doing it DIY. We priced new cabinets and knew that it was not going to be in the budget cards.  And I wanted some solid surface counters….again after the pricing of a solid slab we decided to go with granite tile.  How much did we spend?  Well this DIY remodel was back in the pre-blog era so I was not keeping meticulous records.  We estimate under $3000.  Which in the world of kitchen remodels is nothing.

After the wallpaper was scraped, I realized that light blue lines were visible.  I first thought it must have been the adhesive of the wallpaper.  And then I realized it was a second layer of wallpaper that they had painted over and then applied the newest layer that had already been scraped.  And the first layer was attached directly to the drywall.  So that when you futility tried to to remove it, chunks of drywall came with it.  After cursing and sleeping on our option of re-drywalling the entire space, we went with painting over the first layer of wallpaper.  Hey they had already done it.  I will say three years later, i have never regretted this decision.

The wallpaper was not the only only issue.  We also had a giant hole in the ceiling.  This was the result of water running into the kitchen the first week we owned the house as I settled in to enjoy my new whirlpool bath.  Double lovely.

We scraped the old greasy popcorn, removed the florescent monstrosity and added can lights as well as pendants.

And then the cabinet painting started.   The grey primer brought out the pink countertops even more.   For the complete how-to click here.  I will say it totally changed the look of the kitchen, but it was a very.long.project. 

kitchen remodel
   Good thing we had some empty rooms to paint doors and drawers in…
kitchen remodel
kitchen remodel

The brass cabinet hinges were also replaced to concealed hinges.  Does not sound like a huge detail, but it made such a difference in updating the look of the cabinets.  It required some re-drilling and the how-to is part of this post.

We also added some features during the construction process.  One was a second tier to the peninsula for barstools. kitchen remodelAnother was a bar/wine area (on the left) to fill the empty awkward space.  And give us a bar.

Derek also added over cabinet and under-cabinet lighting.

kitchen remodel The old stained sink was replaced with a single bowl black granite one.

And then we resprayed the ceiling. 

After that was more painting.  Since we went black with the cabinets, I knew we needed something super light on the walls.  I got some inspiration from the backsplash tile and went with Sherwin WIlliams Sea Salt.  Oh and we can’t forget the trim.  The beautiful honey oak trim.  There are six windows in the kitchen alone and they all have mullions in them.  Which take forever to paint.  But I had started this project and we were getting closer to the home stretch.  At least that is what I tried to repeat to myself as I spent hour upon hour painting them. 

For the counters and the backsplash, we had help with the install by Derek’s stepdad.  He installed the granite tiles on the old pink countertops with the help of cement board in between.  He then used a grinder to smooth the edges of the corners to make them round.  Here is what the layering looked like:


We added new hardware to the cabinets and inserted glass into some of the doors (tutorial coming soon).   Outlets and covers were also replaced.

The appliances are/were ugly but they were not in the original kitchen budget.  The dishwasher was replaced first with stainless and the refrigerator followed.  Hopefully the completely functional but incredibly ugly bisque stove and microwave be bye-bye soon as well.





In addition to the white stove, curtains also need to be added before this space is considered really an “after.”  We are only two and a half years removed from the start of the remodel, so we would not want to rush anything though.

I am linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick Show Us Your House!

Homegoods Score

I have a slight obsession with Homegoods. Luckily one is within walking distance in case I need a fix. It is not unusual that I need multiple carts in order to get everything out to my car. You know you bought too much when you have to make more than one trip to get everything in the car. On a recent Homegoods excursion I found these sexy lamps for the master bedroom.

Lamps are one of those things that are always more expensive than you would expect them to be (like faucets and rugs) but at 49.99 I think these babies were a score. I think they will look great in our newly painted master. It was very difficult to get a good pic of them but the white base is glass with a swirly pattern.

More pics to come of the master bedroom renovation (with the lamps) as soon as new furniture arrives!