“S” Marks the Spot

This weekend was all about crafts.  I painted, I glossed, I shopped for new ideas and even went thrifting for a chance to take part in John and Sherry’s Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge! (more on what I bought / transformed later).  But before I get there, I wanted to tackle a simple project to put a little personalization to our built-ins.

I love the look of the personalized letter plaques that you see in either Ballard Design or Pottery Barn.  The just add these rustic and yet meaningful little tweak to a shelf or a wall.  Like some of these:

Ballard Ballard2

I really didn’t want to break the bank on this little project (some of these are $70!!) so I headed down to my Joanne’s and picked up our personalized letter, “S” in the paper mache section.  I had a coupon, so got this at a super reasonable price of $1.99.  These are so basic you can do almost anything with them like paint them any color, find a decorative paper and decoupage them, cover them in fabric or glitter… I almost went the glitter route.  I thought it might be a little “wow” sparkle on the shelves around the fireplace, but I decided to go a simpler route with the look of a metal like the ones I could by instead.

I headed over to Michael’s and picked up some of Martha Stewart’s metallic multi-surface craft paint and decided on Gun-Metal for the shade.  The pewter color was also calling my name, but I liked how this dark grey played off the bricks on the fireplace, but didn’t reach a full black.



Then I just used a 1/2 foam brush and painted on 3-ish coats until it covered the cardboard fully and had the tint I was looking for.  Really, this paint goes on and dries so fast I was twiddling my thumbs between each 2 minute application!  After it dried I did some refreshing and rearranging to the bookshelves and up it went!



The metallic paint has a slight gloss that real metal would and at a fraction of the cost!  All in all this project was very affordable:

  • Paper Mache Letter: $1.99
  • Metallic Paint: $2.12 (I had a 15% off coupon)

Total Cost: $4.11.  Less than $5!!  And the hubs just loves it!  We’re still in that newlywed bliss, having been married for less than 3 months, so he loves that I’m adding all these touches for “Schreib” in the house!  Here’s a shot of that side of the bookcase:


Things are starting to come together on these shelves!  It’s funny how hard collecting “stuff” can be.. I don’t want to pick up just anything and keep striving to find things that have meaning to us.

What were you guys up to this weekend?  Any painting, thrift storing, or crafting?? How do you pick accessories to buy??


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Face Lift!

One of the very first projects we wanted to do when we moved in was to add a full wall of built-ins in our living room.  The living room has a corner with an odd angle too it and the room is not super huge, but it’s definitely a good enough size for our family of 3 (wife + hubs + dog).  My dad is an amazing contractor and we are so very very lucky to have his help, expertise, and hands around to create things like this for us!

Here’s the before:


Living Room

And to just get right to it… the after (well, from last spring…)

Living Room 2.1

We’re still working on filling the shelves and getting things laid out in good way there, but we just love love love how it all came together.  Since this was a little bigger of a project than our first-time-home-buyers-hands were really willing to tackle, we were definitely ok with my dad working his magic!  There’s plenty else for us to do!  The whole plan started with a small sketch I did of my idea.  No dimensions, just an idea of the layout and we talked the rest of it through.

He started with removing the stone mantle that was there previously so we could build out the wood mantle and a spot for the TV instead. The mantle came out in 2 pieces and now sit as steps in front of our shed in the backyard.  You can also faintly see pencil marks and lines where he laid out the location of the shelves, etc.


Then he started laying out the cabinets for the unit’s foundation. My house was originally built-in 1890, so trust me when I say, not only are the floors not level there is not one wall that is plumb in our house either! We also designed the unit with accent lighting along the upper shelf, so my dad tapped off an existing outlet, wired through the wall to a new switch and brought the power and cable into the top of the unit.

After that, it seemed to come together so quickly (although my dad might not agree with me!).

FP-05 FP-07


My dad fluted all those by hand!


We kept the fireplace a wood burning fireplace for now, but there’s talk of converting it to gas.  We’ll see as time goes on.  I love how the dark grey brick just stands out now, though.  We painted the entire unit our whole house trim color, Alabaster by Sherwin Williams in semi-gloss.  It’s a nice creamy white that works well with all the neutral greys we chose for the walls.  Just to bask at it’s finished glory one more time… ahhhh….

Living Room 2.1

What do you think?  Do you have any tips on filling shelves that you could share?  Have an awesomely contract-y dad that can help make your house amazing too??

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By Land or By Sea?

Jake and I got engaged on December 1, 2012.  We went up to York, Maine for a winter weekend getaway and it was there he asked me to marry him!  After surprise, shock, awe and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for this man of mine, I said “Yes!” of course, and we had a gorgeous overnight together!  We even got up and watched the sunrise in the cold cold winter morning.


Frist things first was to figure out where we wanted to get married and when.  He’s from New York, I’m from NH, so family would have to travel a little ways.  We did some talking and knew we wanted a great venue, but not the super high price tag, so decided on November for our wedding.  We’ve lucked out with weather in November the past few years, so thought we’d go for it!  It would still have that fall feel as well, and we just love Autumns in New England.  So, then it came to choosing a venue.  I’m a pretty decisive person – I either like it, or I don’t, for the most part.

We visited this first, LOVELY place:  Willowdale Estates in Massachusetts and we went for an open house tour.  Man, this place was gor-geous.  It’s a charming country estate that was left as part of the National Parks system and is now used for weddings and special events.  It truly was astounding!



Check out this bathroom in the bridal suite!  Willowdale Bath


There was so much else to love about this historical home besides just the toilet room, but one of them (for us) was not the price tag.  We were planning a very small wedding (50-60 ppl) and just didn’t want to break the bank on just the venue.  By order of importance food ranked much higher for us so we had to pass on this gorgeous place.

After that we basically did a lot of searching online and decided to go back to our original idea of getting married by the ocean.  We got engaged by the ocean after all, and I really wanted some blue in the color palette!  After looking in the Gloucester area, my mom came across this place, The Emerson Inn by the Sea.  It had quite a few more of the items on our list: a place for people to stay, the option of a house rental for an after party, a gorgeous ocean view, and a historic / home-like feel.

Emerson Inn

On of our favorite features of the Inn was the grand staircase leading down to the parlor and Jake and I decided that we would marry at the base of the stairs.  Gorgeous!


The dining room is beautiful too and adjoins this space!  I can’t wait to show you more, but after seeing the Inn and meeting some of the charming staff, we were sold after only seeing 2 venues!  Time now for all the fun stuff (and I’m not talking about the dress)… invites, crafts, table favors, flowers…


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