Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

Yesterday I shared my spring porch decorations and promised to tell you about the roadside redo chair I used. Here she is!

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

Does anyone recognize the before pic? You’ve see my trashy little chair before HERE, holding a bucket of Christmas goodies.

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

I decided since she was playing the lead role this time she deserved some paint. I primed first then put on two coats of black leftover from our DIY window boxes. (NOTE: I got this paint for free during a promotional thing Ace Hardware was running a while back. The problem is they were only giving away flat sheen which is horrible for exterior applications. I plan to go back and buy a quart in semi-gloss soon so I can recoat everything in something more cleanable.)

Next Josh built a new seat out of some scrap cedar we had in the garage.

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

A little more paint.

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

And she was ready for her costume pillow.

This pillow is nothing fancy – just a square stuffed with fluff – but the fabric makes me so happy! I bought it at Jo-Ann’s for 50% off and I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back to get more. To save some fabric and money I decided to take apart an outdoor pillow I already had and use the scraps to put this new one together. The red color was a great match for the back and I was able to reuse the stuffing too. Win-win.

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

Did you notice my fancy ties? Those were Josh’s idea and they’re perfect to hold my masterpiece down during our Chicagoland wind storms. I would love to show you how I made them but I neglected to take any pics. (Sad trombone here.) Maybe next time I’ll remember.

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

Roadside Redo: Little Black Chair All Dressed Up For Spring | laughingabi.com

Isn’t she lovely? I’m so happy when I can repurpose something that was on it’s way to the landfill. Have you saved anything lately and turned it into a star?

SHARE THIS POST

Easy Spring Porch Decorations

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

I’m a little behind this year (just like Mother Nature it seems) but my front porch is finally ready for spring. As usual I kept things simple, opting for a few hot pops of color rather than a big collection of flowers and “stuff”.

I started with the same rug I painted last spring. You can see it’s faded a bit over the winter but other than that it’s in great shape. No holes or snags or frays. I think this summer I may tape the stripes off again and hit it with a can of black spray paint just to give it a face lift.

I used a chair again like last spring but instead of stealing it from the back porch I used a roadside redo this time . More on it’s transformation in another post but for now behold it’s newly-found beauty.

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

And that popping pillow? I made it with a bit of outdoor fabric I scored at Jo-Ann’s for 50% off. (I bought a full yard so you’ll probably see it in some other projects soon.) Oh, and thanks to Josh, it will never blow away in the Chicago wind. He had the great idea to add these ties to the back. That’s why I love him.

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

The colors in the pillow inspired me to buy these red and yellow flowers from Lowe’s which I transplanted into a pot I use every year.

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

Then I finished up this side of the porch with my favorite cement flower pot and a little plant I can never remember the name of. Is it Creeping Jenny or something like that? Anyone? Bueller?

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

The other side of the porch has to stay small and simple or people can’t get in the door. So I picked up a big hanging basket, cut off the hanger, and put it on a plant stand. Done.

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

And that’s it. No muss, no fuss. Just some bright, cheery color and a place to sit and have a drink. What else do you need for spring?

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

Just as a tease, here’s my next project in the front yard. Can’t wait until it stops raining so I can get started.

Easy Spring Porch Decorations | laughingabi.com

What are you getting ready for spring? Any pops of color or roadside redos?

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations

Last week I shared my finished fireplace and mantel and gave you a sneak peek at my spring mantel decorations. Today I’m showing you how I put them all together.

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

Before we talk birds and flowers we should revisit the aged wood background that everything is hanging on. I made it HERE for about $20 and I love the texture it adds to the room. It seems to be the perfect backdrop, no matter what season it is.

Now for some flowers. Bright yellow Forsythia leaves scream spring so I hit Michael’s during a 50% off sale and grabbed a handful of “fakeys” and a grapevine wreath. All-together I spent $17.

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

This is the part where I admit I totally faked it. I have no idea how you’re supposed to make a wreath. All I did was cut off the sprigs with a pair of pliers, jabbed them into the grapevine, and wrapped some floral wire around it in random spots. Does that count as a tutorial? Maybe? No? Either way, I’m happy with how it turned out.

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

Oh, and as for those empty mason jars, I have a plan for those. How perfect will THIS be in them? I can’t wait to try it. I’ll be sure to post an update.

The gold cage and birds were the most challenging part of this project but they’re also my favorite things on the mantel. I started with a plain artist’s canvas from the craft store. (I had one on hand but you can pick them up at Michael’s or JoAnn’s.) A coat of primer and two coats of Clark + Kensington Blue Jolt paint and it was ready for a cage.

I wish I could offer a stencil or pattern or something but I found THIS clip art online and just sketched it out one night while my daughter was at swim practice. (Sorry for the fuzzy iphone pic.)

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

Once my sketch was done I used a gold paint pen to trace the lines and my favorite gold leaf paint from THIS project to fill in the bigger areas. Voila!

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

Up next – birds. Here’s how I made them:
1. I started with THIS clip art and enlarged it on my monitor to the size I wanted.
2. I taped a piece of paper to my screen and oh-so-delicately traced the outline.
3. I cut out the bird and then used it as a template to trace the same shape onto a piece of heavy cardstock. This would ensure it was stable enough to stand up to paint.
4. I cut out the cardstock bird and painted it with the same gold leaf paint I used on the cage.

Obviously I did this twice, making the second bird smaller.

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

Did you notice how the bigger bird is layered in front of the canvas? I tried to give him some depth by gluing a piece of folded cardstock to his back so it created a tab that sticks out perpendicular to the body. I slid that tab between two of the wooden slats and it created the “flying” bird effect. This might have been Josh’s idea but he can never prove it.

The last element was the easiest. A simple frame, a coat of cheery coral paint, and a scrap of fabric leftover from THIS project.

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

Add a gnome candle and an an awkwardly empty vase which I promise to fill it as soon as something blooms around here, and you’ve got a mantel all ready for spring. (You’ll see some votive candles standing in for the mason jars in some of these pics.)

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.com

DIY Spring Mantel Decorations | laughingabi.comI love the bright colors and the look of spring when I walk in the door even though my furnace has been running all day. Sigh.

What are you decorating for spring? Any birds or flowers made their way into your house? Any bright pops of spring color?

Cheap spring porch makeover with a DIY painted rug

Spring has finally arrived in Chicagoland and since we have a huge project coming up this summer in the back yard my top priority for the front porch makeover was CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Two things you should know before we go any further. One, this is what the porch looked like before I started.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Two, my house is very traditional on the outside – two story, box shaped, white with black shutters. It’s a pretty place but it doesn’t look much like the bizarro family living in it. So besides cheap, I wanted it to be more “us”. I wanted people to giggle a little when they stepped up to knock.

My first idea was to dig around the garage and see what I already had. I scored this chair, pillow, plant stand and concrete planter. I picked up a black plastic planter at Home Depot ($2.70) and filled it with a sweet potato vine ($3.60) and red petunia ($1.00). Total spent so far: $7.30 (The other petunia you see is included in the price. It was a three-pack I split up into different pots.)

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Now for the other side of the porch. Things I already owned: a bright green planter, a fake stone with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on it, and some cobblestones from another project. What I bought: another petunia plant ($3.60) and a “Be Happy” flag ($13.00). Total spent so far: $23.90. 

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

STOP. I have to take a minute to tell you how much I love that little flag. Usually these things fall into the cheesy-fru-fru category for me but this one has bright, modern colors and a message that’s perfect for our front door. And what a happy coincidence that the green color on the letters matches the planter I already owned.

With all those pieces in place I went searching for an outdoor rug to tie it all together. Holy crap. Do you guys know how much those things cost? I had no idea. The cheapest one I could find was $60 and it was ugly. So I was scrounging around Menard’s and found this number for $10. Total spent so far: $33.90.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Not much to look at but I had an idea. (Insert The Hubs rubbing his temples and shaking his head.) I could just cut the cheapo rug down to size, pick up one of those sample size cans of paint for $3, and paint my own design. Easy squeezy.

Confession time. This idea was an epic fail. Actually, I love the way it looks but the budget was a hot mess. The problem is the rug soaked up soooo much paint. Here’s how far the little $3 can of paint got me.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

I couldn’t even get all the way around the rug. So I went back and bought a quart of paint for $16.65. It was still cheaper than the $60 option. Right? Total spent so far: $50.55.

Here’s how far that quart of paint got me.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

One. Stripe. Left. I’m not gonna lie. I said some very inappropriate words at this point. Really, really bad ones. Then I went and bought another quart of paint. ($16.65) Total spent so far: $67.20.

And finally . . .

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

And a night shot, just for fun.

Cheap spring porch with a DIY painted rug | laughingabi.com

Some notes in case you want to give this a try.
1.If you’re working with a porous fabric like I was, buy more paint than you think you will need. I could have saved some money by buying a gallon of paint in the beginning but who knew 11 little stripes would take over a quart of paint?
2. Use green Frog Tape to tape off your design. It really does do a better job of sealing the edges and keeping the paint from seeping underneath.
3. Make sure you rub the edges of your tape down before you start painting.
4. PUT NEWSPAPER UNDER YOUR RUG FIRST. My paint bled through to the porch.

So altogether I spent just over $67. Not bad for a 3.5′ x 9′ porch but still $30 more than I planned to spend. Sigh. The good news is, I love the way it turned out. It is happy and fun and colorful and modern. It is not traditional or stuffy or fru-fru or boring. Mission accomplished.

This post is part of the Spring Pinterest Challenge going on over at Young House Love. Make sure you click over and see the amazing projects being linked up. Here are some of the pins that inspired me.

tatertots and jello cottage porch

What spring projects are you working on? Any that turned out different than you planned? Are you still happy with the results? Did you overspend?

 

My spray paint addiction and a spring chalkboard

Some people dream of planting flowers when spring weather hits. Others race outside to jog or ride their bike (pffft). Me? I can’t wait to get my hands on a can of spray paint.

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

So far this season, in between the freak snow storms and flooding rains (we live in Chicagoland), I’ve finished up three spray paint projects.

The first, Teen Queen’s portable ballet barre, I’ve already shared with you.

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

What I didn’t show you are the scars it left – a spray paint junkie’s track marks, if you will.

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

The next project was part of Baby Girl’s bedroom redo. Sorry about the goofy before shot. It’s the only pic I could find with the purple handles. See Baby Girl behind the dresser building her loft bed?

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

I will never get over how a few swipes of paint can take a dresser from Purple Princess to Tree Top Kid.

And finally, my entry chalkboard.

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

Spray paint addiction and spring chalkboard | laughingabi.com

This transformation is my favorite. I’ve always thought the frame would be glorious in glossy white. And it is. It’s so much more clean and modern and . . . purdy. I’ve got it all chalked up for spring despite the freezing rain blowing outside my front door. Mother Nature is such a fickle b!tch.

What spring addictions are you hiding? Keep it clean people, I don’t want to know all that. Tell me just enough to make me feel normal.

My “I couldn’t stand it anymore” lawn project

My "I couldn't stand it anymore" lawn project | laughingabi.com

I was unloading groceries the other day and casually glanced across the back yard. Something inside me snapped. I could not stand to look at my half finished lawn/path project another second. I left the car door open, ran out to the storage shed and grabbed a rake.

The photo above is actually half done already. About 15 minutes into my fury of dirt and rakes and grass seed I thought to grab the camera. You can see our new patio, where the grass is supposed to be, and where the path is. Here it is with the rest of the dirt tilled and the seed down. If you squint and think green thoughts you can see how amazing it will look.

My "I couldn't stand it anymore" lawn project | laughingabi.com

I have to mention that I’m a little obsessed with growing grass. (Lawns people. I’m talking about lawns.) When we moved into this house I had to seed the entire back yard. My kids told the new neighbors that I sat outside everyday and sang to the baby grasses. It wasn’t true (really) but it kind of established my rep in the hood. I just love to see those little green shoots sprout up out of the dirt. Maybe it’s because I grew up on a wheat farm.

I did finally get the rest of the groceries unloaded and put away. Today we are having torrential rains (what the farmers used to call toad-stranglers) that will probably wash all my baby grasses away. Sigh. Here’s what they looked like yesterday. I’m afraid to go look tomorrow.

My "I couldn't stand it anymore" lawn project | laughingabi.com

One last picture to give you an idea of the yard layout. This one is from inside my screened porch. The big circle around the trees is a perennial flower bed that will be overflowing with loveliness in the next 30 days. And the row of rock at the bottom of this shot is the border of another perennial bed. See the little baby flowers sprouting in there? We have a lot of work to do out here this year so these are my official “before” photos. Hopefully I’ll have something beautiful and green to compare them to soon.

My "I couldn't stand it anymore" lawn project | laughingabi.com

Have you had any moments of spring fever yet? Any groceries spoiling in your car because you just couldn’t stand it any longer?