Dress Up A Candle

Candles are great accent pieces. They also make for a great mini canvas upon which to express your creative side. I like to dress them up with beads, wire, decorative tacks, pins – anything that you can just stick in the candle to give it a little pizzaz.

For this project I used a few simple jewelry findings, a wire cutter and wire.

The candles I’m using are already fairly pliable, in that I can stick the wire or tacks in without cracking the candle. If the candles are too hard you could warm the findings  with warm water or a blow dryer. You could also warm the candle in the oven on the lowest temperature for a few minutes.

Just decorate to your liking. Very simple.

I did a trio of candles. Here is a before and after:


There are many ideas out there on how to decorate candles, I think this is one of the easiest. This project took me about an hour to complete.

Give it a try then please, do share…

And Now The End is Near (here)

Yes! I believe the end of this redo is here. Well, we’re never really “done” right?

I’ve posted before and after photos along the way, but here is a quick over view with final shots:

Before - Bland and Boring

Midway - getting there

Midway - getting there

After - Fireplace painted white

After - Fireplace painted white. This will have to do until I retile it.

For now, I’ve learned to live with the brown sofas, which by the way I really like, but I’m not crazy about it in this room. So I decided to camouflage them with pillows I made while I continue my search for the perfect sofa.

Blue line across the wall was distracting (this is the wall the tv is on, so we stare at it often...

Originally, I had continued the height of the aqua blue across the wall we have the T.V. against. After living with this for a couple of weeks, I decided I really didn’t like it. There was something very distracting and uncomfortable about staring at this line for long periods. I brought the line down a foot, which helped ease the “tension” given off by the sudden  break in the two colors.

A small detail: The original outlets and plates were an ugly yellowish tone. We replaced them at a total cost of about $50.00 (for six) Over all, this was the biggest splurge, in that I paid full price for them. It wasn’t a “fun” purchase, but I think it had a big impact in giving the room a finished look. It’s the little things right?

When I started, I gave myself a flexible budget. I didn’t want to spend a lot – I have too many rooms and a yard to make over to be dropping hundreds here and there on every little inspiring piece of art work or knickknack for one room – so my goal was to redo this room with as little damage to our bank account as possible. In my first post about this redo, I jokingly wrote I was giving myself a $50.00 budget, which would have been great, but wasn’t at all realistic. In reality I knew I didn’t want to spend more than $500.00. (This didn’t include the price of a new sofa set.) I didn’t keep track of my expenses down to the penny, but I did keep a pretty good tally of expenses which came out to be $350.00, give or take only a few dollars.

Today, I found the perfect table to go in the corner where I have the two small tables. It was what I originally had in mind. It was only $45.00 – I’m debating going back to buy it. I’ll think about it for a few more days. No, we’re never really “done”.

Now I have my canvas thoroughly prepped. I can live in this room and enjoy it without being distracted by the blandness of it all.  My husband actually likes it too and is relieved the room doesn’t resemble the “Gold Member”set, which is what he thought of the moment he saw the aqua blue walls. (Honestly, I think even that would have been an improvement from what it was before.)

Well, onto the next project…

Thanks, Cable Guy!

cable spool

can't you see the potential here?

A few months ago we had cable installed in our house. Either by accident, forgetfulness or laziness, the cable guy left behind the empty spool used to keep the cable wrapped up.

You would think I’d have thrown this piece of junk out a long time ago, but … “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and I was sure I would be able to make a treasure out of this little gem some day. Turns out someday came a few days ago when I thought about how I’d like to have a small pouffe (ottoman)/table that would be a good height to use when I sat on the floor.

While researching ottomans and pouffes on the internet I had that all familiar thought  leap into my head; “I could make that”. I remembered the spool left behind by the cable guy and I realized; “I could so totally make that.”

Of course, mine was not likely to be as beautifully crafted as those advertised on-line or for sale in department stores. For one thing, I don’t own a sewing machine and the thought of hand sewing a hundred scraps of fabric together was enough to squelch my enthusiasm. The other option was patchwork printed fabric. Too many of these looked ‘shabby chic’ or ‘country cottage, which wasn’t what I wanted. So patchwork was not really an option for me. No, my pouffe was to look nothing like those sweet little beauties I find so charming, but they did inspire me to get creative with what I had on hand and see what I could come up with.

The cable spool was the perfect support. First, I used old pillows to fill in the center space of the spool. Also, because bolts protruding from the top (and bottom) of the spool would have made for an uneven table top, I cut a piece of scrap wood to place over the top to create a smooth table top surface.

Here is the skeleton of the pouffe. I used tape to hold the pillows in place while I stapled them to the to the spool. I also used the tape to hold the cut top in place.

So then the transformation began. I covered the top with an old white sheet, then covered that with the sheer white fabric I’d used for subtle accent in other parts of the room. I also covered the bottom with a scrap of aqua blue fabric I cut from an old bed skirt. I had left over fabric from the window treatment I made for the sliding door and used it to cover the pouffe. I did this with a staple gun. I also used a glue gun at the seams as I didn’t have the patience to sew the seams together.

I liked the look it was taking on, but I definitely needed to do something about the top edge. I had this old clothes line rope and started to braid it, thinking I could add a thick braid around the top edge to dress it off. I didn’t like that, it was too nautical looking. I played around with different twists until I came up with this up and down pattern.  I really like it and think it is a good complement to the pattern of the fabric. I attached the rope with a glue gun.


Let me tell you, glue guns produce extremely hot glue. I recommend not using this tool within ear shot of young children –  or even,  quite possibly, drunk sailors. With each inadvertent application of one million degree glue to my tender finger tips, pain manifested itself into an acute form of Tourette’s.  I’m sure I invented a few colorful phrases that might even make a sailor blush. OUCH!

I thought I’d be done after the trim was applied. I know my blistered fingers should have been enough for me to announce the project complete,  but I wanted to embellish a bit. I thought a few beads and some texture would make the piece a little more interesting. I used yarn to add a textured design to the white space on the fabric. Again I used the glue gun for this and again my expletives sent the dogs running for cover with their tails between their legs. (That glue gets damn hot I tell ya). I added beads to the trim. The possibilities are really endless. You could add tassels, appliques, sequins – anything. I may add more to it another day, but for now I think I am satisfied with the way it is. Maybe when my fingers are done healing.


Total cost for this ottoman: $2.65 for the yarn. I had all the other supplies on hand. I know it looks nothing like the patchwork pouffes hand crafted by highly skilled artisans,  but I like it.

And to think, I owe it all to the cable guy.

If you think you might make a pouffe, and I think you really should, I would suggest adding handles. I wish I would have done this as it would have made it easier to scoot it around. I could probably add them now, but I think it would be much easier to add them from the beginning because they have to be sewed on, which would best be done from the back side of the fabric.

I Could Make That…

How often do you think to yourself ” I could make that”? I find myself thinking that all the time, but rarely do I ever put forth the effort to make what ever object it is that is apparently so simple to make. Well, I do attempt to make lots of things, but when it comes right down to it, isn’t it so much easier just to buy that little objet d’ art than to tackle it on such a personal level? In reality though, there is more personal satisfaction in creating something with your own hands than there is from buying it.

A few weeks ago, I spent an entire day searching high and low for simple, inexpensive white tables. I would’ve even opted for tables I could have painted white, but I had little luck finding basic tables at a price I thought reasonable. Then I thought, how hard could it be to make a table? It’s just a square top and four legs right? I remembered the scrap wood I had in the garage and thought it would be fun to put my (limited) carpentry skills to the test.

I’ve always been intrigued by carpentry but I’ve also always found it slightly intimidating. Not because of a fear of power tools or the thought of losing a couple of digits (or an entire hand) but because the thought of damaging perfect, beautiful wood was so dismaying. Luckily, the scrap wood I would be using was far from perfect or beautiful so I wasn’t too worried about doing it much damage.

The boards I’d be using for the legs of one table were already the perfect height and would require no cutting. I would though, need to cut at lest two inches off the other boards for the second table. Surely I would be able to cut two inches off a piece of wood, right? Well, not exactly – thank goodness for thick carpeting, it is great for keeping slightly uneven legs from wobbling. Regardless of my inability to cut a straight line, the main issue with the boards was the width. A single board would not make for a very supportive leg, so I had to join two boards to make one leg. First, I glued two boards together along the edges, then used wood screws for a secure hold. I filled the holes with putty, let dry and then smoothed over with sand paper before painting.

The wood I used for the table tops was a little troublesome. It’s the pressed board type of wood which tends to crumble when cut, leaving rough exposed edges. Sanding does nothing to smooth it out and only causes more crumbling.To camouflage the rough edges on the first table I glued a strand of faux pearls to the edge.

It was more difficult to camouflage the rough edge of the second table.  I smoothed off the edges with dry wall tape and joint compound. I used the drywall compound to form the tape over the edge of the table to give the edge a smooth finish. I let it dry over night, then painted. I was actually surprised how well this worked.

To better camouflage the rough edges, I used sheer fabric to give the tables a light, breezy feel. For the first table I glued the fabric to the table just under the faux pearls, giving the table a sheer airy skirt. For the second table, I simply draped a piece of the same fabric over the top.

This was a simple project. The most tedious part of this job was – you guessed it – painting them WHITE. (I’m pretty sure, after this room redo I will never paint another thing white ever again). It’s because of this task I would have rather purchased tables but, I really enjoyed building them. I found using the power tools to create something functional from nothing very empowering. Though these tables are not exactly what I had in mind for this space, I am happy with them for now.

This corner now seems complete. I dressed up the plain white lamp with a string of white beads to which I attached a few blue glass beads to give just a little bit of color.  I am still debating whether I should embellish the lamp shade. What do you think?

I needed some art work here so I created this collage as well.

So, in this corner we have a tally of:

After, but still in progress

table lamp –  $7.88 (marked down from $19.99 at Target)
lamp shade – $14.99 at Target
wood screws –  $5.65 for a quarter pound
giving us a grand total of $28.52 


I’m almost done. I have two more projects I’m working on for this room – which I will, of course, share with you in the very near future (I hope). I’m in a real dilemma with my sofa. I’m trying to keep my budget very low, so new sofas are not my part of my plan, but I’m finding accent pillows, weather purchased or made will be quite pricey as would reupholstering.  So, I’m trying to convince myself it’s really not that bad. I’m also trying to convince myself NOT to go out and buy a new set. Hmmmmmm. Any advice?

Well, that’s it for now, I hope to have more soon.

The Before and After Process

I broke down this project by walls.  Here is the first part of this project: (try to ignore the fire-place  – yeah right!  – I plan on tiling it this summer)

Not to brag, but the pictures really don’t do justice and I love how this is coming together. The bold aqua blue is calmed by the “iced teal”. At first, I didn’t care for this color as it reminded me of the “seafoam green” that was such a popular bathroom color back in the 80’s. But now that I’ve added a lot of white, (still) Asian inspired accents, I really like how breezy and calming the room is starting to feel.

On the other hand, I felt the room was becoming a little too monochromatic.To add an unexpected burst of color I created what I am calling my ‘Chinese Pop Art Cat’ to hang above the fireplace. Creating this cat was pretty easy, I drew the outline of the cat, masked him off, painted the back ground then painted the body with two contrasting colors. You could do this with any simple shape and since there are no details in this style of painting it can be completed with in a few hours and with out much skill.

In case you are wondering about the title, I was originally going to do a  chinese brush painting with simple lines and shapes.  I saw a black and white brush painting of this cat, and thought it would be fun to do something completely different, like pop art. Though you cant see it here, I used a stamp of Chinese calligraphy to add a subtle pattern to the background.

Now, I only have three walls left  and the room will be complete. The process has been slow as I’ve had to do a few side projects to help keep my budget low. I’ve done some art work, built a couple of tables and repainted a lot of objects to make them work better in this room. So far, I have painted most objects white and I am really tired of painting stuff, and I am especially tired of painting stuff white (ughhhh) but I just keep thinking of the money I’m saving to put towards tiling the fire-place or purchasing a new sofa set. I have a few more projects to complete before the entire space comes together though which, unfortunately, probably means painting more stuff white (ughhhh).

Buddha before

Buddha before

Buddha after

Needless to say, I went over my $50.00 budget. But not by much, and I found a few good deals along the way.  Like the 12×12 lattice mirror, marked down to 15.00 from $45.00

And two of these plaques  – the color was perfect – each only $8.00; 60% off the original price! To break down the cost (excluding paint):

LACK wall shelf $19.99
LACK wall shelf $16.99 X 2
Small shelf           $5.99
Mirror                  $14.99
Lattice Mirror      $15.00
Wall plaques         $8.00 X 2

Total:                   $105.95

Here is a quick before and after so far…