Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Etsy Shop of the Month!

How is it already September?!?!  Does that mean summer is sad.  But it also means it is time for our next Etsy Shop of the Month!  And this Etsy Shop is offering Mission Decorate readers a discount so read all the way to the bottom for your very own discount code.

Without further ado, please welcome Bradens Grace to the Mission Decorate stage!  You have heard me mention Bradens Grace before in this post but now you get to learn all about Lauren and her wonderful shop.

Bradens Grace is named after Lauren's two children, Braden and Grace.  And they are the very reason for this wonderful shop.  Lauren left her job in the corporate retail world to be home with them and that is when Bradens Grace was created.  She specializes in all things chalkboard vinyl and she does it beautifully!

Here are a few of my favorite items...

Chalk Tags Rectangle - 3.5 inch - 4

Chalkboard hanging tags!  Great for labeling, decorating or even as gift tags.

Fancy Mini Chalkboard Stands with Chalkboard Label  --- Place Settings, Food Marker, Wedding Chalkboards, Rustic Wedding
Mini chalkboard stands!  Perfect for labeling food at a buffet.

Truck Chalkboard Vinyl Labels - Organize and Personalize with Chalk Labels 
Wouldn't these be cute in a little boys room!

Chalkboard Labels  Organize and Personalize with Chalk Labels   - 36 Labels - Rectangle, Fancy, and Oval FREE SHIPPING

And of course all her wonderful labels!  They can help you organize anything and everything!  I used them on paint cans for some of my daughters "art" stuff...

So go check out all of Lauren's great stuff and let us know what amazing ideas you come up with!  And now for that discount...

Use the discount code MISSIONDECORATE at checkout and you will receive 15% off your purchase.  Yippee!

Today is the This Into That Facebook Party!  Join us at the Mission Decorate Facebook Page to link up your This Into That projects.  "Like" the page and you will be ready to post.

See you there!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Build Your Own Patio Furniture

OK...most people buy patio furniture before the last week of August.  But we are not most people!  No, we are not smarter.  No, we don't know some big secret about buying discount at the end of the season.  We are just indecisive and cheap.  OK, cheap is a stretch.  We just didn't want to spend a whole bunch of money when we didn't know what we wanted. 

But we finally decided a few weeks ago that we wanted a picnic table.  Yup, your basic wooden what you find in the local park picnic table.  But surprisingly they don't come cheap.  300, 400 even 600 bucks online.  That is until we found this...

A build your own picnic table kit for $88!  All the wood, bolts, screws and plans included.  Now we are talking!  So we picked it up at our local big box hardware store yesterday.  (Menards for the locals.  Home Depot had them as well but was all out this late in the game.)  And we had the thing built in about an hour.

It started out looking like this...

And after unloading the box we had this...

We began with the frame and made sure to follow the directions perfectly (not always our strong suit.)

But when things got hairy we had backup.

( know...hilarious!)  But the process was pretty smooth and it all started to come together nicely.

And with a few more boards we had this!

It still needs to be stained and sealed.  We also drilled a hole in the center and plan to put an umbrella there.  But we have friends coming over tonight for dinner so we will take it on a test run before we finish it up.  

Not to bad for $88 and an hours work! 

Now don't forget the This Into That Facebook Party is on Wednesday!  "Like" the Mission Decorate Facebook page and post pictures of your This Into That project anytime during the day on 8/31!  See you there!

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The Girl Creative

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wonderful in Wisconsin!

I live in Wisconsin.  Have I mentioned that before?!?!  Most days it is just like living anywhere store, gym, library, park, all your basic neccesities.  But then I have a morning like I did this morning and I turn into a little kid in a candy store.  Actually more like a big kid at a vegetable and flower farm.  And that is when I know I am not in Kansas California anymore. 

My wonderful friend (Hi Anna!) and I took our daughters to The Tree Farm this morning.  In the winter The Tree Farm is exactly what you think it is...a cut your own Christmas tree farm but in the summer it is a wonderful pick you own vegetables and flowers farm.  And like all things wonderful in Wisconsin ("Wonderful in Wisconsin", I like that!  I think I will use it for the title of this post!)  it is embarrassingly inexpensive.  For $6 I got everything that you will see in the upcoming pictures, including three vases worth of flowers.  SIX BUCKS PEOPLE!  (Sorry, needed to be repeated.)  

Let's begin with all the beautiful flowers...

These now sit in a small round vase on the console table behind the TV and really brighten up the room.

The color of these beauties are amazing!  Look at then glow in the sunlight...

And these freshen up the mantel and make me smile!

Look at their texture...

There was a group of friends selecting flowers who we chatted with for a moment and they were 3 friends of a bride getting married tomorrow.  The bride had put them in charge of flowers and they were getting buckets of fabulous flowers for the big day.  They were having so much fun and probably saving so much money.  I thought it was a brilliant idea and I plan on stealing it for the next wedding I plan.  (Or the first wedding I plan, but who is counting.)

I did bring home a few vegetables but not much only because I already hit up the produce section at the
co-op this week, but there where a few things I couldn't resist.  Like this purple basil.  My husband is a basil fanatic so this is for you babe.

We also had a blast digging carrots out of the ground.  But I will say all the effort for just one carrot made me question mother nature a bit.

I also grabbed the only resonable size cucumber I could find.  The rest where the size of my head!  And then my friend took this beauty home (no not my daughter, just the squash.)

So as you can see it was a fun and productive Wisconsin morning. I can't wait to go back to cut down my Christmas tree!  (Or to point and watch while my husband cuts down my Christmas tree.) 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Have any of you ever heard of the website 20x200?  Well if not you get to hear all about it now! 

So many of us want unique, fresh art to hang on our walls but so many of us don't have the budget (that's me!).  Well, 20x200 not only gives us the opportunity to fill our walls with beautiful art it gives artists a way to connect with those of us looking for them.  20x200 features one to two pieces of art a week.  They create 200 prints of the smallest size (usually 8x11) and sell them to us for $20!  Yup, you read that right...$20!  (They also give us the option to frame the art and purchase larger sizes for a bit more money but still super reasonable.)

And I am so excited because I just purchased my first piece of art from them!  Check it out!

Lauren DiCioccio, the artist, takes pages from magazines - in this case Vogue - and turns them into art.  She assigns a color to each letter (greyscale for numbers) and creates this beautiful dot art that feels as though you could read it right off the page.  Pretty cool, right!?!?!

I also found a great video on the 20x200 website about how to frame artwork on your own and I thought it had some great tips.  Check it out here!  I love the tip about buying a basic frame but getting a custom mat.  I looked into doing that for this piece of art but it didn't work out with the frame I had chosen.  But I will use that tip in the future for sure!

I did, however, follow their rules about using a simple frame and white mat to bring all the focus onto the art.

I grabbed this simple frame from Michaels for $7.99 using a coupon.  (Have I mentioned that Michaels always has coupons for frames in the "weekly ad" on their website.  Please don't ever pay full price!)  And then I secured the art on top on the mat that came with the frame using adhesive dots, which are so handy to have around for whenever you need them!  My brand new art is now sitting on top of my cabinet turned shelf and it looks great.  I love the combination of old and new!

Now I just have to fill the rest of the shelf!  Any suggestions?

Side  Note: I was not compensated in any way by 20x200.  Not saying that I would turn down free art if they offered :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Truth Behind the Pillow

Another This Into That project brought to you by Mission Decorate and the letter P (sorry, my daughter is watching Seasame Street right now.)

It would have been very easy for me to give you the more attractive version of this story.  You know, the one where everything goes right and the project takes no time at all. But I do believe it is my duty to give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so here it is...

A few months back I read a post on Centsational Girl (a great blog that I love to read) about a no-sew cloth napkin pillow.  And as we all know I love anything that is titled "no sew" and I am in desperate need of accent pillows so I was thrilled.  Centsational Girl used beautiful and inexpensive cloth napkins from World Market and fusible web to create wonderful pillow covers.  So that is what I did!  I picked up beautiful blue cloth napkins at World Market for about $3 a piece, dug out the iron-on no-sew adhesive I used to make the curtains in my daughters room and followed her directions.  But, sadly, I did not have much success.  I found the adhesive to just not be strong enough to truly hold the edges together so needless to say I was frustrated. 

I put the project aside about a month ago but then yesterday I had some odd inspiration that there is no reason I can't do some hand sewn work...right?!?!? So I picked it up again and finished it off!.  Check out my nice new blue pillow to compliment the Pottery Barn pillow already on our couch. 

So happy it is done and I didn't waste two great napkins!  Let me break down the great tips Centsational Girl shared that made this come together!  Step two napkins.  I bought two unmatched napkins.  They matched in color and style but I thought two different pattern (front and back) would be fun. 

Next...cut one of the napkins in half.  Yup, right down the middle.  Then flip the two napkins around so the already sewn hems overlap each other about 1/2 an each.  (But don't actually measure.  that is one of the great parts of this project...there is no measuring!)  Do you see that you now have an opening in the middle of the pillow cover to insert the pillow?

OK, lay the napkins down  pattern side to pattern side.  So you will be working with them inside out. 

Because you overlapped the cut napkin you will have a little extra of the non-cut napkin peaking out of one side so just trim that off.

From here the method of securing them together is up to you.  You can pull out your sewing machine and put my hand sewing abilities to shame.  You can follow Centsational Girl from the link above and try the fusible web (and please let me know if you have better success then I did).  Or you can pull out the good old handy needle and thread, sit down in front of an episode of The Bachelor Pad (the best trash on TV right now) and sew it up by hand.

To finish up flip the pillow cover outside out (is that even a real thing) and then put a pillow insert inside and you are done!  Easy as that...minus my month long set back.  But don't the two different napkins look great?!?!

So in truth it is very simple and inexpensive!  And I will definitely do this again since there are so many amazing napkin patterns out there how could I stop at just one! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Organizing on a Dime (or maybe a little bit more)

Good morning!  Autumn from Space for Living is joining us today to share her amazing insight on organizing our home while making use of our This Into That theme!  Thanks for hanging out with us today, Autumn and HI to all her Space for Living readers!    

I am thrilled to be partnering up with Jill over at Mission Decorate as a part of her August theme, This Into That...using ordinary things in unconventional ways, all while spending very little money.

One of the many things I love about organizing is how you can change the look and feel of a space with very little money. Don't be lulled into the notion that you need the latest fancy schmancy gadgets to get yourself organized. A few simple household items can quickly turn into fabulous organizing solutions! When you turn This into That you save resources and keep your hard earned money in your pocket. A win-win.

Here are some of my favorite budget-friendly items to help bring order into any space. First up, the dish pan:

There are endless possibilities with a dish pan. Now, it might not the prettiest thing, but the benefits trump its lackluster look. It is cheap, at around $2, and sturdier than any dollar store basket you can find. These things can really take a beating which is why I use them all over my house. It is a perfect book box, because the lip makes it easier to grab and move.

Book boxes are perfect for little hands unable to stack and line up books on a shelf. I also use one for bath toys under the sink and one for holding cleaning supplies is the kitchen.

My favorite use for a dish pan is as baking caddy. When ever the baking mood strikes, this tub is out with all my supplies corralled and ready for baking. No searching for the missing baking soda behind various jars, plus the tub makes for easy clean up too.

Of course, you don't always have to go out and buy containers, (even if they are only $2). Free boxes have been used since prehistoric time to organize, okay maybe not that long ago, but for awhile. Checkbook boxes, shoe boxes and my new favorite, kid-sized shoe boxes, make great drawer dividers for just about anything, including spices.

But don't throw out those lids, which can also help keep things in their place.

When you turn a shoe box on its side, wham-bam you have totally workable shelf (for lighter items only).

Your brain could go into overload with ideas for cardboard boxes alone. For instance, cake boxes can become a desk organizer.

And what about paper towel rolls? Yes, you heard me right, paper towel rolls for organizing! With one empty roll and a little Contact paper or fabric...

This turns into a fantastic and free plastic bag dispenser.

Thanks to my 4 year old and her modeling skills, for showing the plastic bag dispenser in action. To use stuff the bags in the top one-by-one and then pull from the bottom when you need one. Each tube holds around 5-8 bags. Since we try to limit the plastic bag use in household, it is the perfect amount for us.

Speaking of rolls, the toilet paper roll excels at cord corralling. Here is an idea from Pinterest via

So clever! (For even more Pinterest organizing tricks check out some of my favorites here.)
Using what you have on hand is organizing at its best! Although I love to stare at those glossy magazine pictures, and sometimes you do need lovely containers on your desk, it is about finding the balance within your own budget. Next time you feel the urge to buy some lovely, but pricey, containers, look around your home first to uncover your own organizing tricks to turn clutter into order.
What is your favorite "unconventional" organizing tools? Does anyone else have a toilet paper roll collection?

Share your own This into That projects at the This Into That Party on Facebook on Wednesday, August 31st. "Like" the Mission Decorate Facebook page to get updates and to join in on the fun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cabinet Doors to Art!

A warm welcome to Autumn from Space for Living and HELLO to all her readers!  Space for Living is joining us this week for This Into That.  Today's post (below) will be shared on Space for Living and Autumn will join us on Thursday to share her ideas of how This Into That can be used to organize our homes.  We can't wait!

This, ladies and gents, is my ultimate This Into That project for August.  For the cost of going to the movies, I made an entire wall of art! 

You know those cabinet doors you have been hearing so much about.  Yes, the ones I bought at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  Well, I have finally put them to good use...

I bought these doors with no real plan in place so I spent the first month glancing at them every time I went in the garage thinking hmmmmm what should I do with these.  I woke up in the middle of the night several times thinking "Ah ha!  I've got it!"  Actually that is where the idea for the shelf came up.  It was about 3am and I was lying in bed not able to sleep and I thought "SHELF!"  Wow, that is just as sad as it sounds. 

Well, let me break this down for you a little bit.  I bought 4 cabinet doors for $2 a piece.  (I actually bought one more huge door, which you see behind the four doors in this pic but that is being saved for something else.)

Each door began with a different finish and color and they all received different pampering.  The small door was primed, painted, stenciled and splattered.  The cream door was sanded, primed, crackled unsuccessfully, sanded again then painted and stenciled.  The wood finish door was sanded, primed white and painted blue.  And the black door was painted with 4 coats (darn black), roughed up with the sander then given a shelf. 

One of my favorite parts of this project are the knobs.  I thought putting knobs on the doors would not only tip people off to what the things hanging on my wall originally were but I also thought it was a little playful and fun.  I bought the knobs on the same trip to the ReStore for 50 cents a piece.  Again I had no idea what I was going to do with them at the time but I figured I would come up with something.  They started out looking like this...

And with some acrylic craft paint and a little creativity they came out looking like this...

The craft paint worked great, but I will say that I am not certain it is the best for knobs you will be handling everyday.  I think with more use the paint would rub off.  But since my knobs are just for show, I think they will hold up just fine.

So all in this amazing wall of art came to about $15!  $10 for the doors and knobs and about $5 in various paint.  One great way to save cash on paint is if you only need a small amount buy those handy dandy tubs of paint samples.  That is what I did for the blue and it was the perfect amount for about $3. 

So I hope you all enjoyed my This Into That project!  I can't wait to see what yall have been working on at the This Into That Party on Facebook on Wednesday, August 31st.  "Like" the Mission Decorate Facebook page to get updates and to join in on the fun.

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Beyond The Picket Fence