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Planning For The End (Table)

We moved to a new state/town/home eight weeks ago, which means we have been using a big, blue plastic storage tote as a end table for eight weeks now. Honestly, it was already there as we unpacked and approximately the right height to sit a lamp on so there you have it. It is time to get it together and get real with our tables.

Last week I popped into a local second-hand store here in Ithaca, the Finger Lakes ReUse, with only about 10 minutes to spare. I knew I was after side or end tables (someone tell me the difference?) and this one stood out in the crowd pretty quickly. Not because she’s beautiful (she isn’t) or flashy (definitely not) but because she was the somewhat-hard-to-find-size we need, very very sturdy, has rounded-corners (we have little foreheads running in circles nearby) and has a shelf below for storage.  At $35 she was a bit more than I would usually want to spend for a second-hand table, but she fit the bill so I took the leap.

Here she is in all her… well, not exactly glory yet…

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

But she will get there. Oh yes, she will.

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

The classic Paloma Pose. This is her version of blue steel. Yes, our children propped all those pullows up against the walls for some reason. I assume they were probably launching something across the room at them… sigh.

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

There is a label on the bottom, but looking up the company online yielded zero results. You can kindajustbarely see in this photo the underside of the top of the table which I think shows the original color of the wood and which was actually quite nice.

It isn’t good wood, just veneer, and is a bit dry and the finish is not in great condition. So it is slated to be refinished for sure. I’m brainstorming ideas, so please let me know if you think I’m on the right track or totally bananas. Anyone else just get that Gwen Stefani song stuck in their heads? No? Just me?

I’ve found some good Pinspiration (not all of the pics linked are of tables, so you have to use your imagination a bit).

Perhaps a glossy black with gold dipped legs like this?

Or an ultramarine blue like this?

You all know I’ve been in a Mid-Century mood, so maybe a nice avocado like this? I’m afraid that might be hard to coordinate, but would be a little unique. The green table linked here is gorgeous too… the color is so bold!

In the meantime, I’ll see what the Mister thinks, get it all gussied painted up, and show it off!

Anyone else doing 10-minute-or-less thrift store shopping? Have a cat with a photo-op problem? Want to dip some stuff in gold?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


Canvassing The Area (and Painting Big)

Yeah, it has been a minute since I painted big. For the record, I do have my BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (that is a real place, I swear) so did my requisite large-scale drawings and oil paintings, but time flies and I’ve turned to more convenient, portable, and economical mediums. But then… we  got big walls.

Our new apartment isn’t grandly spacious, but it does have comfortable-sized rooms and that includes comfortable-sized walls. The layout of our last home meant the sofa was oriented in the middle of the broad living room, making it a space-divider. This home puts the sofa against the wall, and that big old blank beige area was glaring me down.

So, I did something about it.

Painting Big | Painting Sunny

FYI, that watermark is a watermark and not there in real life. There is also a bit of a glare in the photography I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of, so just went with it. Yes, I spent this weekend covered in glorious paint! I may be a little rusty, so it may not be perfect, but I enjoyed myself and the living room is a little brighter and bolder now.

Would you like to see that in situ?

Painting Big | Painting SunnyTo start, I gathered by trusty stash of supplies. Let’s pretend it isn’t a hot mess, alright? I once worked with someone who said “hot mess” about fifty times a day, and it sounds like it would be annoying but I actually really enjoyed it, and every once in a while I like to find a way to work it into conversation. Like now.

Painting Big | Painting Sunny

You will notice a can of latex house-paint in that pile of stuff. Yes, the darker areas of the final painting are from this nice muted navy blue paint I already had on hand (more on that project coming someday soonish) and it was an affordable way to cover some of the canvas and create a nice dark base, so I began the painting by shading in some areas with it in a way that felt composed, to me.

Of course, I needed a big #%$ canvas. To the other art school brats professionals out there, I do understand that the proper way to go is purchasing the canvas and quality stretcher bars separately, stretching it, and applying the layers of gesso myself. However, I was just looking to get my feet wet and warm up a bit. I wanted a gallery-wrap canvas (it is deeper so looks better without a frame and sits a little more nicely against the way, in my opinion) so I headed to my local Micheal’s armed with a 40% off coupon and left with this canvas for about 50 bones. Yes, that is a lot of cash to me too, but for a large canvas I’d consider it reasonable. The quality felt alright too for a pre-streched canvas, so I was on my way!

Painting Big | Painting SunnyOh Paloma, why do you crave attention this way?

For those of you curious about what the back of a gallery-wrap canvas looks like (as opposed to a traditional back-stapled canvas) here is a quick shot of it:

Painting Big | Painting SunnyThere are two new supplies I also grabbed at Michaels, and one was a bit of a splurge for me. Spoiler alert, the splurge was the paintbrush. I didn’t have a big enough brush to comfortable work on this size of canvas, and I also didn’t have a nice filbert. It was a perfect storm, and I bought this baby. Isn’t she pretty? Don’t worry, those clean white bristles didn’t stay that way long. The paint was due to my craving for a gold, and my dislike of my current gold acrylics.

Painting Big | Painting Sunny

Did I say acrylics? Yes, I did. I’ve painted with watercolor, acrylics, oils, egg tempera, milk paints, and probably other mediums I’m forgetting. At this point, I don’t have a studio area and am using my kitchen table. With small children around. It is a challenge, people. So, I choose to use something that dries quickly (so my kitchen table can go back to being a kitchen table), is non-toxic for the kids and pets around, and is easy to clean up. I’m a bit messy. I do hope to get back to other mediums someday, but right now I’m happy to work with what works for me.

Want to see some detail shots?

Painting Big | Painting Sunny

I didn’t mean for it to be quite so red-white-and-blue but I’m cool with it.

Painting Big | Painting Sunny

 It isn’t perfect, but it was fun and got my feet wet. I’m hoping to do another one soon for the bedroom wall and am thinking of trying a bit more bold of a color statement. Get excited, people!

With our current rental having all-beige walls, I’m hoping to frame out this canvas and some other ones with some natural wood frames at some point, but as framing costs some serious mullah it will either have to wait or I have to DIY it.

Anyone have some awesome DIY-canvas-frame tips? Want to loan me a circular saw in case I ever get around to it? Itching to paint on as big a surface as they can find? Say “hot mess” a lot?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY

I love to write about my DIY adventures, many of which focus on the home and how to make it just a little bit prettier. But you know what is different about this blog and many of the others like it?

I rent.

Having just relocated, renting a home while we get settled and learn about the community makes sense for us. Renting can pose some challenges when it comes to DIY adventures for the home. After 10 years of renting everything from a 525 sq. foot apartment in grad school to a spacious HOA-controlled three-story townhouse, I’ve learned a lot about what was worth it and what wasn’t when it came to beautifying my spaces. I’m also not the only one.

Recently, I spied this article from Dwell in the Twittersphere, it made me think about how far some people stretch to make a rental fit for them, and how a little creativity can go a long way. If you can minimize your life a little, all the better. I’ve been inspired by the whimsical beauty of Oh Happy Day’s 500 square foot rented apartment, a rental bedroom upgrade by JWK Style (featured on Little Green Notebook), and pretty much everything pretty on Apartment Therapy’s website. See, renters, we are not alone! It’s time to unite!

Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | by Painting Sunny

Seriously hard to believe this is in a rental, but I believe her… Source: JWK Style via Little Green Notebook

Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | by Painting Sunny

Okay, so her landlord sounds ultra-cool, but this is a good example of the power of negotiation. Source: Oh Happy Day

So, those other people’s pics are gorgeous, but what’s actually worked for me?

Yes, you can take it with you. Some stuff, at least. I try to focus on things that can follow me to my next home and which are versatile enough to fit be useful in case my next place has a very different layout or amenities.What’s some stuff I’ve made that changed the look of my home, without being bolted in place? DIY mercury-glass lamps, sewn pretty pillow covers, colorful artwork for the walls, hand-painted paper lanterns, a little red occasional table… the possibilities are endless, and you don’t have to walk away from like you would re-painted kitchen cabinets or built-in shelving.

Illicit spray-painting. In the dark. Sometimes. When you rent, especially in a multi-unit place, it can be hard to find somewhere you can paint stuff without worrying about upsetting the neighbors. I mean, I get it – why should they have to smell the painty-fumes while they’re enjoying dinner just so I can have a coral-colored ceramic hippo? But it can def cramp my style. So, what are your options?

  • It isn’t necessarily a cool move, but you could find a little spot away from other people’s homes and just try to spray paint really quickly at dusk, hoping your landlord doesn’t notice. Honestly, I’ve been there.
  • Find a friend with a big yard who will let you come over and paint in a corner of it. Don’t forget to bring a drop cloth so you don’t color her grass purple. Probably a bottle of wine is a good idea, too, since you’ll be hanging out while the paint dries.
  • See if there is a vented spray-booth in your area. Many fine art studios and art schools have ventilated spray-booths for using paints and adhesives. For a fee, or just out of the goodness of their hearts, they might let you use one.
  • Again, if you have more money than time or ventilated-space of your own, try asking an automotive shop if they will spray it for you. My mother once had an auto-shop use their car-painting equipment to spray a locker for me and it worked out awesomely! They probably have some cool colors, too.
  • Switch to a brush-on paint and use a good drop-cloth. If you choose a low or no VOC option like milk-paint or good latex paints, you can use your kitchen as a studio with no worries! It doesn’t have quite the same effect as spray-paint and can be a longer process but can achieve some even more unique special affects.

Bold and bright distractions! Pop some bright wrapping paper in a frame and make a new focal point in your space. Some quirky kitchen utensils on a counter, a colorful accessory in the living room, a wall full of books you love… these are the things your visitors will remember. A modern and cool environment is great, but I’ve always felt like rented homes need a little extra personality to feel like you put your stamp on them.

Bring it to life. I just posted about my new and lovely little houseplants, and since they found a new home here it’s felt more like one to me, too. I’m not saying you have to live in a jungle or invest stock in Miracle Grow, but having a little something green, leafy, and alive can make the space feel loved and show everyone your nurturing side. Check out this awesome post from A Cup Of Jo on how to buy houseplants “once and for all.”

Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | by Painting Sunny

Yes, my cat photo-bombs.

What is just not my rented-cup-of-tea?

Really sticky stuff. I haven’t tried out this temporary wallpaper. Or these removable sticky tiles. Yeah, I’m just not sure about that. I need to see someone remove them in real-life before I’ll stop being a scarety-cat. Oh Happy Day tried some out, though, and the removal seemed to have some pros and cons. Maybe see what she thinks?

Taking the kitchen cabinet doors off. I’ve removed closet doors and put them back up, but kitchen’s just have… so many cabinets. When I’m in the process of moving to a new place, getting cabinets back up without dents just doesn’t sound stress-reducing.

Swapping out the wired-lighting.  I love a good spray-paint session with a lamp, so customized lighting is totally my scene. Figuring out how to turn off the electrical, finding a ladder, and getting a chandelier over the dining room table is not. Most overhead lighting in places I’ve rented has been alright and fairly basic looking, so it hasn’t ever been worth it to mess with. I can just turn the lights off, switch on a lamp, and try to ignore that light-fixture-that-looks-like-a-boob. BHG had some good suggestions on lighting in rentals, though.

Check out my Renting It! Pinterest Board for more inspiration, or one of these awesome-possum places:

My Little Apartment

The Borrowed Abode

Better Homes & Garden’s idea round-up

Apartment Therapy

The Handmade Home’s colorful rental ideas

Anyone else renting and still DIYing? Not willing to mess with electrical stuff? Strangely obsessed with houseplants lately?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

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BTW, Nasa Wants You To Buy Houseplants

Last weekend we experienced the Ithaca Farmers Market for the first time, and it really was incredible….

NASA wants you to have houseplants | Painting SunnyOf the many things this community has to offer, the Farmers Market is well-known, well-established, and well-loved. On our very first visit, we already knew someone there – I think it will definitely be a regular weekend activity. We didn’t actually buy a lot of the things a Farmers Market is meant for, but we still spent a few dollars in order to test out the breakfast burritos we had heard so much about, the iced coffee, and finally a few house plants.

I say finally because we did not bring any houseplants along with us, despite my really high value on them. It just didn’t make sense to see if the moving company would keep them alive inside a truck for two weeks. So, I kept the pots and we stocked up after we got a little bit settled.

BTW, did you know that NASA wants you to have houseplants? They practically insist, really. Not only have they found houseplants improve air quality by removing toxins but have such a psychological benefit they can help you recover from illnesses faster. Umm, in a house with two kids where everyone always is catching a cold… yes, please.

NASA wants you to have houseplants | Painting Sunny

The above plants are now members of our household. The two grouped together on the far left came from the Farmers Market for $5 per plant, and include a jade plant and an aloe plant. When I was a kid we often had aloe plants around so they are a little nostalgic for me.

The plants on the right include… well, “tropical plants” from Home Depot that were each between $2-4 dollars. Not hard on the wallet, if you ask me… and easy on the eyes. They all seemed so healthy! I believe one is an asparagus fern, and one is a “ZZ plant”… not sure what the other one is, but it was so pretty and healthy we got two! So, those plants went right into….

NASA wants you to have houseplants | Painting Sunny… these pots. I did not realize how much I appear to be drawn towards blue and white pots until they were lumped together. Yep… a little homogenous. At least it flows nicely throughout the house!

While at Home Depot I grabbed some Miracle Gro Moisture Control soil – this isn’t sponsored in any way, it’s just the soil I’ve had the best luck with in the past.

NASA wants you to have houseplants | Painting Sunny

Don’t they say every room should include plants and books? I’m pretty sure that’s a thing. If not, it should be.

The plants have made the house feel oh-so-much-more cozy. I can’t really tell if there are less toxins in the room, so I guess I’ll just have to trust NASA on that one.

NASA wants you to have houseplants | Painting SunnyI didn’t get a good pic of the asparagus fern, but it’s probably just as well. The cat has taken to chewing on it constantly. It’s like her after-dinner mint. Who knows how long the little fern will survive… sniff. NASA wants you to have houseplants | Painting SunnySpeaking of the cat, she continues her tradition of photo-bombing. With only her tail. It’s like a new trend or something. I didn’t even realize she had done it until I went to upload the photos. This was probably taken two seconds before she realized how delicious ferns can be.

Anyone else starting totally clean-slate with their houseplants? Unintentionally collecting those blue and white plant pots? Need to actually read that book that keeps turning up in their photographs? Hoping their cat can digest asparagus fern?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


DIY Ceramic Animal Hall of Fame

Okay, this post is random and yet feels necessary. And okay, a bunch of them are not at all ceramic-looking and are gold or brass… that is just the current DIY climate. Hater’s gonna hate, but sometimes when there is a bandwagon you just have to jump on it. That sounded more confusing than I thought it would.

I present to you, The World Wide Web’s Best Ceramacized Animals.

I feel pretty confident that is a word.

DIY Ceramic Animal Hall of Fame | Painting Sunny

Can you believe it isn’t all owls? I’m just as shocked. But seriously, the fat little owl is probably my favorite.

1. DIY Animal Bookend by Natalme. Seriously, that is one cute hippo and the blue is so vibrant. My little boy would love one in his room, for suresies.

2. Do a Deer by Bower Power. How could this not be included, this deer is just so damn regal. Her Sexy Rexy post should get an honorable mention, as well.

3. Horse Squared by Young House Love. Obviously, YHL gets mentioned as they are my fav blog to obsess over follow. Still, these horse heads are unique in their bright color and more abstract design. I would love to stumble upon something like the before at my local thrift store! (No idea why that rhymed strangely.)

4. A Happier Ceramic Owl by A Swell Place to Dwell. This owl is bad ass now. I love the pink, too – my dream is to find some ceramic animals to spray paint, and for them to end up hot pink or coral or somewhere in between, so this one I was especially drawn too.

5. Spray-painted cockatoo by On My Honor. Honestly, I just never expected to see a spray-painted cockatoo. This one takes the prize for originality, and also for props in the picture. I love it.

6. Ceramic Owl Makeover by Teal and Lime. Yes, this one is my favorite. It looks so much like something from West Elm or Pottery Barn, I had to read the post twice. This owl has so much personality! I thought the owl craze might be about over, but this one should kick-start it again.

7. DIY Gold Elephant by The Eclectic Owl. Okay, this might be the most pinned thing in the universe it is so cool! Just wait until I get my hands on a plastic elephant. That sounded more violent than I meant. Anyway, I also love her very random collection of books put together and the fact that I believe I have read all of them at some point.

8. Updating X-Mas Decorations by Beautiful Haven. I first saw this on Better After, and while it is possibly the most random addition to this list (even more so than the cockatoo, since I’m pretty sure an elf isn’t an animal) I love how it turned out. And yes, I love that this blog is named Beautiful Haven since my own little daughter is named Haven and she is certainly beautiful. It is a cool elf, in any case. #I’mNotBiased

9. DIY Dollarstore White Lion Bookends by Sweet Suite Ten. I love projects that originate at the Dollar Store, and this is one of the best turnouts I’ve seen! They are just so perfectly spray-painted… Michelle, please come over to my house and help me with my technique?

10. Pottery Barn Inspired Easter Ceramics by First Lady of the House. I hope she runs across a bunny at some point, I would love to see how it turns out! These would be sweet in a nursery any time of year, not just at Easter. I love that duck that is lunging forward!

11. DIY Brass Figurines by Hi Sugar Plum. These are so cool, and I love how differently they each looked before! It’s like your own fancy  little zoo. On a random note, that lamp next to the giraffe is so gorgeous… I can’t stop staring.

Anyone else hanging desperately on to this ceramic animal trend? Scouring a thrift shop for a rabbit or giraffe, or just open to whatever animal may find you? Is this a random enough post? It’s a little obvious what I’ve been pinning, huh?

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Pretty Pretty Patio Things

Spring is in the air! Okay, I’m a little belated… it’s totally 87 degrees out and BBQ season has hit full-on swing. As we are in the midst of relocating and will be a little bit “between houses” this June, I’m relying on good old online-window-shopping to satisfy my patio cravings. Let’s just cut to the chase, right?Pretty Patio Moodboard, Summer 2013 | Painting SunnyFrom Top Left, Moving Clockwise…

    1.  Ikea, SKYN Serving bowl, white for $9.00
    2. West Elm, Bend Dining Chair for $249.00 – $498.00 (on sale $119.99 – $239.99)
    3. World Market, Aqua Bird Ceramic Drink Dispenser for $29.99
    4. World Market, Multi Stripe Chevron Tray for $16.99
    5. World Market, Chains Indoor-Outdoor Rug, Black/Neutral for $49.99 – $699.99
    6. West Elm, Mosaic Tiled Bistro Table – Aqua Glass for $399.00 (on sale $319.00)
    7. World Market, Wild Stix Sidewalk Chalk, 4-Piece for $2.49
    8. World Market, Aqua Rectangular 2-Tier Tiffin for $9.99
    9. Ikea, BÄRBAR Tray, dotted, multicolor for $5.99
    10. West Elm, Martini Side Table – Silver for $149.00
    11. West Elm, Porcelain Hurricanes – Floral for $29.00 – $49.00

Who could resist that oh-so-bright-and-fresh chevron tray from World Market? I think it is also safe to say that aqua is still a hot summer color. Browsing around, it seems like a vintage vibe is in the air for this season, along with some mid-century modern design elements. I’m throwing around these terms with more confidence than I probably should.
Anyone else charmed by striped sidewalk chalk? Mixing their aqua’s and sunny yellow’s? Laying more patterns than is probably advisable? I’m off for more packing fun!
PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.

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Little Pink Whiteboard Project

Sometimes it’s those quick little projects that are so satisfying, fun, and brighten up my day and a room in the house, too. This is one of them. Haven has had two dry erase boards hanging above the desk in her room for years now, which are totally mismatched and she only really uses one of them. They are awesome to have around, but I wanted to make it a little brighter for her. Mom covered one in pictures and captions of Haven with her loved ones originally, so those will go back up after we get settled in our new place (Just a few more weeks! Eeek!)

Isn’t she pretty? (at least for a dry erase board…)

Little Pink Whiteboard Project | Painting Sunny

I learned how hard it is to get a dynamic photo with nice composition… of a dry erase board. Also, I should have cleaned the marker off the white surface of it before taking the picture. That’s what I get for trying to snap pics while getting ready in the morning.

Here she is before: the darker-colored wood-framed one to the right. Not the one covered in Tic Tac. To be specific. BTW, is it called Tic Tac?

Little Pink Whiteboard Project | Painting Sunny

I decided to use other whiteboard (the lighter-colored one to the left) in Lo’s room after we move, as it fits better with his decorating scheme and both kids could use one. One board is a quicker little mid-week painting project, too!

Little Pink Whiteboard Project | Painting Sunny

I started off by prepping the board to be painted. The most important part was to make sure the actual dry erase board part didn’t get painted on. I used some notebook paper and painters tape to cover the surface.

This was easy-peesy-lemon-squeezy. Yep, I just said that. I started off with a couple quick coats of Krylon spray primer that I already had sitting around, then followed it up with three light coats of Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint in Raspberry. BTW, this is not sponsored by Krylon in any way – they don’t know I exist. It’s just what I’ve been using.

I love the color. I still have almost the entire spray can left, and am hoping to find some thrift-store ceramic animals at some point (come on, someone please donate some to our local Goodwill!) and spray them the same color.

True confession: The paint didn’t stick as well in a couple tiny spots as I would like it to have. I assume partly because wasn’t sanded (was technically a wood surface, but not very sandable. That’s a word. Also, I partly painted in the half-dark and with fluctuating temps so who knows what all contributed. It actually isn’t noticeable unless you’re holding it up to the light and rubbing it, so I have a feeling no one else will ever notice.

Well, that’s one quick little project out of the way before the move.

Anyone else spray painting in the almost dark? Going for shades of pink on their office supplies? Happy it is spray-painting weather again?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.