Graphic Design

Open for Business

Before I dive into this blog entry, I wanted to say sorry for spamming all of my readers who get emails anytime I post something — I’m sure you truly enjoyed reading the one and only word in the post: “Shop.” Riveting, huh? You’d think after four years of using WordPress I’d know how to publish a page versus a post. In reality, it’s amazing it’s taken me this long to spam you! Anyway, my bad. It’s not my goal to send you random emails.

Maybe “Shop” was a great teaser for this post, since my exciting news is that my Etsy shop is open for business! Woohoo!!!

A-Smith-of-All-Trades_Etsy-Shop

Right now, I’ve got my nursery prints for sale, along with my popular Do What You Love print (I’ve already sold my first one of these — ahhhhhhh!). I’ll be adding the Adventures of Remmy the Dog prints up there shortly. And, of course, if you’ve seen a design on my blog over the years that you want to see in my shop, comment or send me an email!

A huge thank you to my sister Allie (a fabulously talented artist in Chicago), my friend Beth (who blogs about her fitness journey on BoltingButterfly.com) and blogger Charlotte (over at Monno Design) who all gave me great advice and feedback when it came to the right way to open up shop. They really gave me the push I needed. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, and I finally made it happen!

OK, end of my Etsy store plug. I promise I won’t flood my blog with shameless self promotion, but I’m super excited to share this news 🙂


Do any of my readers have shops of their own? If you do, comment and share your shop link and what you sell! I’d love to see the fabulous things you all are doing.!! I love perusing Etsy and looking at all of the amazing things people have to offer. There are some insanely creative and talented people out there.

Happy Tuesday!

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Christmas, Holiday, Home Improvement, Paint

A mini fireplace renovation and Christmas decor

I love the winter holiday season and all of the decorating that comes with it. I was extra excited to decorate our mantel this year because I just completed a mini fireplace reno.

Do you remember this gem of a fireplace that we started with when we moved in?

Before fireplace

This is how we changed our fireplace after we did our family room reno.

fireplace

The difference in the brightness alone is nuts! But something was still missing. The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors. New doors are so expensive, so I decided to DIY the doors and the inside of the fireplace to complete the three-years-long reno.

Brass doors

To start, I removed the doors and cleaned out the fireplace. Then, I painted the inside of the fireplace black with heat-resistant paint.

Fireplace unpainted

I did two coats of paint on the inside to cover up the soot, and it turned out really nice! I actually contemplated not adding the doors back on, but Brian said he prefered doors to an open fireplace.

Fireplace Brick

Once that was dry, I started to work on the doors. At first, I sprayed the doors with heat-resistant black spray paint. I taped the glass, but didn’t cover all of the panes with newspaper. (Word to the wise — cover the glass! I had to later scrape off paint. Oops.)

Spray painted

The spray paint didn’t hold up so great, so I ended up painting the doors with the same paint I used for the inside of the fireplace. Once that dried, I was able to rehang the doors.

Ready for the big (small?) reveal?

TA DA! Oh, and Christmas decorations 🙂

fireplace3

Do you love the black doors? It’s taken me a while — I actually hated them at first — but I really like them. I’ll admit that I wish they were new and fancy and not spray painted, but considering we don’t use the fireplace and the doors are rarely opened, this little DIY will work just great for us. Buh-bye brass!

The only downside to the painted doors is the paint does scratch off if nicked in the right way. Other than that, I’m really happy with the new look. I don’t miss the old, dated color at all.

OK, enough reno talk. Check out my Christmas decor! I absolutely love my Christmas mantel.

fireplaceremmy

As you can see, Remmy loves it, too. Really, he just loves to sniff his stocking to see if there’s anything in it yet. Sometimes he cries because he can’t get it down. I think it is hilarious — does that make me a mean doggie mom?

santas

On my mantel I have my collection of Jim Shore Santas. We got one as a wedding gift, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I can’t wait to see which new Santas I get this year as gifts.

Christmas is the one time of year we do seasonal decorating, so we take it pretty seriously. We have one real Christmas tree, a small fake tree I decorate with flamingo ornaments, a decorated mantel, a decorated TV shelf and a decorate console table. We even decorate by our bar. And, of course, we do lights outside.

How do you all decorate for Christmas? If you have a blog, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this holiday season. And if you don’t have a blog, no worries… the rest of my house (outside of these photos) is messed up with wrapping paper shreds and stuff I had to move out of the picture frame. It isn’t quite as perfect as it may appear 🙂

Speaking of perfect, I have not been on the ball this year with holiday cards and gifts. I am looking to get holiday cards a.s.a.p. and I found the most adorable cards on Shutterfly that are in the cutest shapes (i.e. not just rectangles). Some have scalloped edges, some have rounded corners and some look like quatrefoils. They are such a fun twist on normal cards — now I just need a cute photo of me, B and Rem!

I also need to get a kickstart on my gifts. I’ve purchased quite a few things, but there are so many gifts I want to make that I haven’t even started on! Work, class and other life craziness has made this holiday season fly by so far. Where are my elves when I need them?! Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have time off before Christmas, so I’ll be my own elf and make my gifts then.

Are you making gifts this year or tackling any mini makeovers before your relatives come to town this holiday season? I’d love to see your holiday decor, renos and crafts! The holidays really do bring out the most creative and fun ideas.

Furniture

Refreshed Grain Bin

I bought an old grain bin this spring that’s been moved from wall to wall until it found its home in my dining room. It’s lived in the dining room for months now, in its grungy, dirty state until I got tired of the grime and fixed it up this weekend.

You can see in this photo below the grain bin in its original state on the day I brought it home. It had a white knob and was all scratched up.

IMG_0876

I took off the white knob, which was only drilled partially into the front of the grain bin. It was a pain in the bttt to remove, but I needed to do that before I could clean around it — it was oddly grimy. Yuck.

Grain Bin_Old

I took a few more photos of the piece before getting started on the refinishing. Here’s the beat up top — probably the worst part of the grain bin.

Grain Bin_Old_Top

The front panel of the top of the bin was super scratched, too.

Grain Bin_Old_Front

Since the wood was in super rough face and didn’t look like it ever had much of a stain on it, I was doubtful that my go-to Restor-A-Finish would work. But lo and behold, this might be the best use of the refinishing product yet. To use Restor-A-Finish, simply dab it on a paper towel and rub it on your piece. Let is sit for 20 minutes, then wipe any excess off.

The grain bin was thirstyyyyy, so there wasn’t too much of the finish to wipe off.

Notice any of the scratches or discoloration before?

Grain Bin_Refinished

Nope! Buh bye scratches!

Grain Bin_Refinished_Side

And hello beautiful, shiny top. I mean, seriously, can you believe the difference?

Grain Bin_Refinished_Top

All I needed to do at this point was add a knob back on the front. I grabbed my drill to make a hole through the front panel, then attached an antique0looking crystal knob.

Grain Bin_Refinished_Knob

So charming. Check out the whole thing:

Grain Bin_Refinished_Whole Project1

I bought the grain bin on a whim — basically I just had to buy something at the Barn Sale I went to back in April. Now that it is freshened up, I love this impulse buy and think it totally belongs. It acts as such a nice mini-buffet in the dining room. We usually have our fruit bowl here, but my three apples looked sad and lonely.

Grain Bin_Refinished_Whole Project

Did I mention we store all of our outdoor equipment in it? Volleyballs, badminton racquets…. all sorts of fun stuff. What… don’t you store that sorta thing in your dining room?