Secretary Desk Facelift

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When you grow up and it’s time to leave the nest, you take many things with you: life lessons, mom’s sugar cookie recipe, and, for most of us, your childhood bedroom set. Nothing says adulthood like a throwback to middle school sleepovers. My lucky inheritance: a 50-year old, Amish secretary desk.

I’ve squirmed at this desk since my 11-year old, tomboy-self noticed the “flowery” carvings at the top of the secretary. Thirteen years later, there I was: still under-joyed by the handcrafted piece of furniture. It was finally time. I had to bite the bullet and paint the sucker.

Rules Worth Breaking – never paint over the natural look of wood, whether it’s furniture, trim/panelling, or an antique trinket. 

The fact of the matter is, sometimes things need a facelift… a fresh perspective… a little light. Take it from the experts at Domino (shown below) who are no strangers to painting a wood panel or two in order to make a statement.

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Here’s what you’ll need to know before you dive in:

1. Does the wood furniture need to be sanded?
Yes if the wood is pre-finished. Lightly sand enough to dull the finish so the new paint will stick better. 

2. Do you need to prime the wood?
No if you are using chalk paint. Chalk paint serves as a paint and primer duo and can be sanded down to achieve a distressed finish. Ask your hardware store’s paint specialist what kind of primer is best for your specific furniture.

3. Will I need multiple coats of paint?
Most likely, yes. If the wood has not been finished before, it will soak up the primer and paint, thus needing more layers of paint.

4. How do I know what paint finish to choose?
This is by preference. Most design guru’s are going for a matte finish as seen in the Domino images above. If you want a glossier undertone, move up to a glossy finish. For a distressed look, try coating your piece with chalk paint and then lightly sanding it down.

 How to make it your own:

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 1. New Hardware.
Knobs can make all the difference. They are the accessories of a piece of furniture. Find funky, unique knobs at Anthropologie or Hobby Lobby. I chose to stick with the original (handmade!) ceramic knobs on my secretary desk for an understated look. To add femininity, I spray painted all of the screws/hinges gold. It’s the little things! 

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2. Add a surprise.
Drawers leave room for some fun. I painted the inside and sides of my secretary’s drawers a soft mint color to mimic the pattern of my bedspread. The hidden pop of color adds an extra surprise to the desk. Looking for a bigger impact? Paint the entire backing of the desk a bright color.

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3. Dress it up.
This secretary had some growing up to do. No longer a tomboy’s homework station, it’s now used as my vanity. Since I went with a light cool gray color, I brought in lots of bright color with make up trays and jewelry bowls. 

Blanc_HutchRoomShow me your refinished furniture projects by using the hashtag #boldwithblanc.

Happy DIY-ing!

Brush Stroke Lamp DIY


blogger’s note: I’ve been getting lots of inquires about the brush stroke lamp I created out of a Goodwill find. This post was originally published as a collaboration with one of my favorite health and style bloggers, Peaches to Pearls. The Jana Bek inspired design is a quick and easy weekend project that makes a statement!


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Hello Peaches to Pearls readers! I am so honored to be guest blogging for Luisa today! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Tarah. I’m a 24 year old graphic designer from Charleston, South Carolina. When I’m not painting, eating up the holy city (literally… yum!), or sending beach pics to my freezing loved ones in Chicago, I write Blanc – a lifestyle blog for professional newcomers.

Besides being President and Vice Pres. in the 5’2″ and under club, little Miss Luisa and I have a lot in common: we believe a pop of color makes the outfit (or room), a doughnut is better with sprinkles, and that you don’t have to spend big to go big. Oh! and we can’t pass up the J.Crew sale rack.

Today, I want to share with you a little about Blanc. It is my mission to relate: to share my experiences and to tell you the tales of what young 20-somethings could really use in life (or just for fun!), rather than which $59 platter you should buy. Because at some point in our lives, we are all new. We are a clean slate, we are fresh eyes, we have yet to be molded. We are blanc.

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If you’re starting to say say “cut to the chase Tarah – how do I make that damn lamp,” then don’t worry, I got you girl. Today I’m going to share with you a designers hack: my $25 lamp created to mimic one of my favorite interior designers Jana Bek’s (http://janabek.com/the-shop/) legendary beacon.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A lamp (obvs) – pick something with a smooth surface that can easily be painted
  • Spray primer & spray paint (I used Krylon’s 2-in-1)
  • Acryllic paint, color of your choosing
  • An inch and a half wide paint brush
  • Metallic paint pen (optional)
  • Clear acryllic gloss finishing spray

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Step #1: Let’s start with the lamp. I found this show stopper at Goodwill for just $5! Notes on finding the perfect fit: pick a lamp with a large surface area. This allows your pattern to translate easier.

Photo4Step #2: Spray prime and paint your lamp. Be sure to hold your spray can at least 8-inches away from the lamp in order to get an even coat.

Step #3: Let the painting begin. Create a scene of large and small overlapping ovals. There is no proper way to methoidize this step, so just go with the flow! Painters tip: I used an paint brush with hard brissles and mangled them pre-painting. Since the goal is to get a brushed look, I wanted the ends of the brissles to be a little flared.

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Step #4: Accenting the lips. Every girl loves a good stained lip and so will your lamp. I chose to paint my base a metallic gold to add a pop of sophistication. I used a paint pen that I had on hand, but metallic paint will work as well.

Step #5: Seal the deal. Coat your final product with a gloss finishing spray to add dimension.

Step #6: Add the accessories. I topped my designer-look alike off with a geometric lamp shade I found at Target (on sale for $24.99).

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When always looking your best is our #1 priority – let’s face it, we all want Luisa’s closet…SWOON! – we tend to forget to dress other parts of our lives: our home, our creativity, and sometimes our diet. I challenge my fellow Peaches to Pearls followers to do something creative this weekend. Create your own Jana Bek look-alike, organize your closet (see my tips here (http://blanc-blog.com/2015/01/19/team-organization/)) or simply make a Valentines day card for a friend. Share your findings with me on social media via @blancblog and hashtag #boldwithblanc.

Cheers my loves!
xoxo,

Tarah

beetle necklace how-to

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From Charleston’s own Croghan’s Jewel Box goldbug earrings  (photo below) to J.Crew’s most recent window displays, the fashion industry is bugging out – pardon my pun. 

Springs hottest new trend: bugs. 

I am all over this trend. I’ve always liked the creepy crawlers; in an artistic sense, that is. Even my gallery wall has watercolor painting of 8-legged creatures. There’s something a little cool about bugs in the artistic world.

Croghan's Jewel Box Goldbug Earrings, $110
Croghan’s Jewel Box Goldbug Earrings, $110

Today I’ll be teaching my fantastic followers how to make this killer necklace. It’s the perfect pairing of edge and feminine, summer vibes: the bright-white, nautical-inspired base, the happy-go-lucky neon color pop, and of course, the statement beetle that I found at Hobby Lobby. All and all, this necklace cost about $30 – a steal compared to the Croghan’s find above!
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Here’s what you’ll need

  • Rope (roughly 1 yard)
  • Textured leather or fabric (metallic will catch the eye)
  • Nuts or other metal detailing
  • Thread or twine (I chose neon for spring)
  • A medallion or statement bead (my beetle)
  • Hot glue or super glue
  • Wire

Step1

Step #1

Cut your yard of rope in half. Start with one half of the rope and string 5 nuts about 10 inches up the rope. I chose verdigris shaded nuts which means they have a slight aqua tone. One you’ve strung your 5 nuts, tie a knot just below them to hold in place and to add dimension to your necklace.

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Step #2

Using your hot glue gun or super glue, adhere your leather or fabric to the rope by rolling it around the rope and gluing in place. I used hot glue because I had it on hand, but super glue will be much thinner and easier to work with. Once stable, tie a knot in the rope at the bottom of the leather/fabric piece and string 3 more for a patterned look.

Step4

Step #3

Tie a knot below your last three washers. Then, string one more. This final washer should be about an inch below the knot. Using the final washer as a center point, create a ‘U’ with your rope. Using about 5-inches of wire, wrap the ‘U’ together to form a loop. This will be where side 1 of your necklace ends. Cut off all excess rope.

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Step #4

Attach your medallion or statement bead by wrapping its loop with the final washer using 3-inches of wire.

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Step #5

Finally, add a pop of color! Hide the looping wire in Step #3 by wrapping it with neon thread. Careful, this step takes longer with thinner thread so try doubling-up your strings when wrapping. Secure the neon thread by tying a knot in the final wrapping. For extra strength, I added a small drop of glue to the back side.

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Step #6

Repeat Steps #1-6 on side two of your necklace. I chose to attach the two ends casually by tying a knot.

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Share your buggin’ DIY necklace with me on social media (@blancblog) and hashtag #boldwithblanc 

xoxo

 

blanc’s guide to floral arrangements

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Girl Problem #12892582: We all want flowers, damn it.

Well, if you could look up a yearbook picture of me in middle school, the quote underneath my photo may have been something along the lines of  “b-ball > flowers”. In fact, I spent half of my childhood playing hot wheels with my little brother in the back room of my mom’s flower shop – which has always been something I majorly regret. Why didn’t I pick up a stem and start crafting? As boyish as I was at age 10, I was artistic enough to dabble, wasn’t I?

Today, I find myself in quite the opposite predicament. I have become a flower-loving female for Pete’s sake! And I don’t waste any time nagging* my boyfriend for them when my BFF Instagrams her “just because”/”he’s the best” valencia filter, flower shot. It’s all in fun… he knows I’m kidding…….. right?

*Sidenote: He does get me flowers (amongst many gifts). I’m just greedy and think it’s fun to get on his nerves. Evil? Maybe. 😉

With the holiday of chocolates – I mean love – coming up, I thought to myself: what could be more useful than a cheat sheet to creating the perfect floral arrangement? Why this thought popped into my head, I’m not really sure considering I have honestly never made a floral arrangement in my life. But then I’m reminded, floral arrangements are an art form, and art all follows the same rules. So, my Sunday afternoon consisted of a $15 trip to Trader Joe’s, a handful of flowers, and some crafting.

Flower Arrangement Anatomy

FlowerAnatomyBlancGathering Tips:

  • Choose flowers with various sizes: large, medium-large & medium-small, and small
  • Look for textures (I added a succulent I had in my kitchen)
  • Pick from your yard (I have a great magnolia tree next to my entryway. The greenery is from that!)

My Flower Choices (from left to right): hydrangeas, astartea (also called wax flower), and gerber daisies.

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Arranging Tips:

  • Create a focal point and build around that (highlight it with greenery or small budded flowers)
  • Overlap the lip of your vase (this adds dimension). This is called “breaking the edge.”
  • Vary sizes, colors, and textures throughout your piece
  • Think balance (not symmetry): in size, colors, and height

Blanc Floral TutorialMy motto: just go for it. There is no wrong way and the more you practice, the better you will get. Gift your creations to a teacher, a boss, or a loved one this Valentine’s Day. Share your arrangements on social media with the hashtag #boldwithblanc.

Have questions? Comment below.

 

how to: strap & tassle necklace

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You know that moment of absolute lust you get when seeing the perfect piece of jewelry? Yup, it happened. My stylish boss walked into the office with this killer boho necklace – a chunky leather strap (which had her initial embossed on one side) escalated down to these gorgeous stones and ending with a perfectly plump, oversize tassel. Ugh, I moaned. I want.

In the midst of The Every Girl’s 30-day-Wear-Your-Wardrobe challenge, I had sworn myself to not buy any new clothes or accessories for a month… not that I could afford the necklace anyway. Being the smartalic that I am, I knew I could find a loop hole. For those who can’t afford, make. And for those who can’t buy clothes, buy art supplies. Nailed it.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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Depending on your beads, $25 should get you all the supplies you need to make this necklace.
  • A yard of 1″ thick leather, belt strapping, or ribbon of your choosing. You want to think durability here.
  • Crafting brads (these look like push pins that have two legs), any size
  • Mod Podge or another gluing agent
  • Craft wire. Be intentional with color.
  • Beads of your choosing. I went for a tribal look, but stones or agates will work too!
  • Fringe (I chose leather) or a string tassel

I spent a total of $21 at Hobby Lobby.

(Step No. 1)

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Make sure your ends don’t fray by using Mod Podge or glue

Secure your strap: use Mod Podge to seal the ends of your strap to avoid fraying. Once dry, fold about an inch of the strap over to make a loop and push your brads through the two layers. Separate the ends of the brads to secure the loop. I used small, antique copper brads so I used three on each side. If you have larger, more decorative brads, you can use less.

(Step No. 2)

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Tip: fold over your wire end to avoid getting caught in your strap.

Cut 4-feet of wire. Start by folding over the tip of your wire. This will avoid it getting caught in your strap material. Next, push about 18 inches of wire through the strap loop. Wrap the wire through your strap loop repeatedly so you get a layered look. Secure the loose (bent) end of your wire by twisting it around your newly created wrap.  String the first side of beads.

(Step No. 3)

Glue, roll, & hold to secure
Glue, roll, & hold to secure

Create your tassel. Simply apply glue to the top of your fringe and roll like a sleeping bag. Once your glue is dry, string your wire through the center hole, starting from the bottom and through to the top. Then, wrap the tassel’s top base for security (same as step one). Once you have a wrapped look you like, string your wire through the center hole again, starting from the bottom and through to the top. You should have a tassel that sits happily between the two sides of your necklace.

(Step No. 4)

I chose tribal beads for a neutral look
I chose tribal beads for a neutral look

String your beads on side two. Repeat step one to secure the other side of your necklace.

(Step No. 5)

Share your version on Instagram (@blancblog) or in the comment section below!
Share your version on Instagram (@blancblog) or in the comment section below!

Go rock your designer look-alike necklace. Share your version on Facebook and Instagram and tag me, @blancblog!