mother’s day: diy breakfast in bed tray

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My poor mother. She has received a boat-load of Mother’s Day gifts that were handcrafted with love and personality: hand-cut heart-shaped cards, finger-painted murals, and discombobulated pottery to say the least. And hey – I grew up to earn a fine art degree so I had some skill as a child, right?

Let’s face it, when it comes to DIY, we can’t all be Martha Stewart. But that doesn’t give us the right to give up! Ladies and gents, you have a week to get your act together and serve your mum breakfast in bed in style. Introducing, the do-it-yourself serving tray: durable wood, clean-safe stained glass, and stylish copper handles. Trust me – you can do this!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 14 x 14 inch cut smooth wood  (this is your base)
  • 12 x 12 inch stained glass (find tons of pre-cut color/pattern choices at Hobby Lobby)
  • 1/4-inch copper pipe, 2 pieces at 12-inches long
  • 1/4-inch copper elbows, 4 total
  • permanent adhesive glue
  • paint and primer
  • power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit

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Step No. 1: Prep your base

Start by sanding your wood base, if needed. Apply a primer, then the paint color of your choice. I chose to paint my base an off-white to allow the copper and marble green to really pop.

Step No. 2: Adhere the glass

Using a strong adhesive glue, coat the back of your stained glass. Place in the center of the painted wood base. Let dry.

Step No. 3: Attaching your handles

Start by applying permanent glue onto each end of your copper pipe and then attach the copper elbow. Do this for both sides of your pipe and let dry. This will be your handle. Position the handle on your tray and measure the length from each elbow’s center point. Mark the center points on the tray with a pencil.

Next, use your power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit to drill partially into the wooden base (roughly 1/8-inch). You may want to seek assistance with for part if you have never used a power drill.

Finally, fill your newly created intention with permanent adhesive. Insert the handle elbows into the intentions so they fit snug. Let dry.

Step No. 4: Mimosa’s and Mom

Surprise your favorite lady with fresh blooms from the garden and a bubbly mimosa to start her day. Happy Mother’s Day!


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Don’t forget to share your creations online! Tag @blancblog and hashtag #boldwithblanc

xoxo

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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. 

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Happy DIY-ing!

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.

Step5

Step #4

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

Step6

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 thrifting

Like all young-20-somethings, I love a great find at a great (cheap!) price. From a 60% off sale at Loft, to my $1,200 Ralph Lauren lamp look-alike (find at Target), there is nothing better than finding a designer look for less. Decorating my home has been a priority to me. It’s something that makes me creatively happy. Each time I get a Z-Gallerie or CB2 catelog in the mail, each time I walk into Target, and each and every time I get to tour a design-savvy friends’ home, I drool.

Most my age will pick up furniture from Ikea or Target at a price that is affordable on a $30k budget. While these pieces are great (and can be DIY-ed!), these major stores are missing a key element in good design: uniqueness. And for uniqueness, you have to think outside the box. You have to thrift shop.


Thrifted pieces can become designer look-alikes – you just have to know how to find them.


A little bit of background on my home: half of it came from out of the box places. My gold bamboo side table was an antique from my mom. My navy trellis-pattern chairs and orange-drawer side table came from my dad’s office (where they suffered through ugly maroon upholstery and shiny mahongony stain). My 5-foot long, industrial desk was a Craigslist find. Look everywhere from thrift shops, consignment stores, or garage/estate sales in wealthier neighborhoods.

You have to see the potential in the ugly. Here are my tips for thrifting the right pieces:

  1. Think outside the box. A long and low dresser can be a tv stand. A baby changing station would make a great bar cart.
  2. See past the ugly. Remove the hideous lamp shade. Take away the paint splatter. Polish the dusty.
  3. Look for timeless shape and lines. Think: your old childhood dresser. Magazines are updating these pieces with metallic lacquer or chalk paint.
  4. Look for name brands. Think: Lane furniture – a great brand that makes for the perfect DIY.
  5. Bamboo and rattan are always classics, but often overlooked. Think: classic outdoor furniture or Asian-inspired pieces. Update a bamboo chair in a neutral paint color for a timeless look or try a bright orange with a funky patterned cushion for something more trendy. I love how Society Social styles their bamboo chairs.
  6. Sometimes it’s a matter of accessorizing. Replace the hardware on a mid-century classic to update a tired look.

I  know what you’re thinking – “Yes, Tarah, those tips are great and all, but I still don’t think I have the imagination to see the potential in the ugliness that lies at Goodwill.”

Well, let me help you. I traveled through the town of Mount Pleasant tirelessly (ha, okay I enjoyed it) searching thrift store after thrift store for you. All while doing my best not to buy everything I see. See the potential in these:

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Timeless lines will get you there. I love this side table for three reasons. It has a glass top, it has unique double-legs, and it’s hardware is original. I’m not a huge fan of the white, so I would style it one of two ways. 1. I’d spray paint the entire thing (minus the glass) or 2., if it can be disassembled, I’d only spray paint the white pieces and polish the existing metal. Compare to the West Elm find on the right.

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This is a great example of Rule #2: See past the ugly. My junior year of college, I moved into this amazing industrial apartment: high ceilings, brick walls, exposed beams and pipes. I wish I had a faux fireplace to display in there. I love this Pinterest find in hot pink and this classic black fireplace from Lonny Magazine.  Add candles or a fireplace screen to polish off the opening.blanc.thrift.lamp

I walked by this lamp three times before taking the time to check it out. It was having severe She’s All That syndrome with no Freddy Prince Junior to save it. Once I took off the oversize lampshade, I truly loved the piece. Not only is it real marble, but it’s vintage and has two bulb sources. I would pair this lamp with shorter, rectangular shade like my retail find from Society Social.

blanc.thrift.nightstandThese classic side tables were a dime a dozen at the thrift store. All they need is a little paint and perhaps some killer Anthropologie knobs. Since both of these side tables offer storage, I love using them as a night stand or a mini-bar! Compare them to these (kind of plain Jane – am I allowed to say that?) $300 West Elm night stands.

blanc.thrift.fleurThese bookends are another example of Rule #3: Know classic patterns. Versions of this fleur de lys pattern have made their way from Europe into almost every American home – whether through crown molding or a damask wallpaper. I wouldn’t do a thing to this thrift store find. (Compare it to these Etsy bookends)

blanc.thrift.trunkThe Pinterest world has embedded into everyone’s brains: you need a trunk. Use it for at your bed’s end, as foyer bench, as a coffee table – the possibility are oh-so endless. Trunks are an old-time classic and can be found in almost any thrift store. Compare them to this Pottery Barn trunk I found online or this painted vintage trunk detailed with a patterned cushion.

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I love this piece of furniture. It’s a perfect example of Rule #4. Lane is a furniture brand that has been around… forever. Most of their original pieces are now found in thrift shops. They are great quality, but won’t be as overpriced as some of the more exclusive vintage brands. I would love to get my hands on this piece and turn it into a bar like Lonny Magazine did on the right! A touch of paint (maybe vertical ombre stripes, if you’re up to it) and some new hardware should do the trick!

blanc.thrift.secretaryI’m so glad this was on hold for an estate sale or I would have bought it. I love the look of this secretary. My desk needs (a large iMac, sketchbooks, and a large calendar of blog post ideas) are a little overloaded for this small secretary, so I’d use it one of two ways. Idea #1 would be a vanity. It could provide extra drawer storage in a bedroom, and could display make up brushes and jewelry quite nicely. Close the hinged desk when you have guests over to hide clutter. Idea #2 would be, you guessed it, a bar. Open the hinge while entertaining to display drink selections and to have a surface for cocktail mixing. Compare to this Pottery Barn find.

blanc.thrift.vanityThis last piece is probably the most intimidating. This vintage vanity is all decked out: curved mirror, greek-key carvings, and oversized feet. It requires a certain taste, but it’s definitely unique. There are a couple of ways you could spin this reno: 1. Add polish to freshen it up. 2. Paint. You could go with a neutrual color, but in my opinion, a piece like this is a wow factor. I’d go with a silver lacquer and add feminine accessories. 3. If the mirror is removable, I’d separate the pieces and use it as a desk. No offense to my World Market comparison, but how much cooler is this thrift find?!


My last note for thrifting-newbies: Always remember that a stain or finish can be changed, hardware can be removed, and a pop of color never killed anyone.


 

 

 

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!