Valentine’s Day Gift – 5 Senses

So Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and I typically am not a fan of this made up holiday, but I have new man in my life and I thought I would do a little something for him. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money since we will be going on vacation together in March.

I decided to give him 5 small gifts that coordinated with your 5 senses (Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound).

Touch:

I went and bought lavender massage oil. I wrote on a piece of white paper “To initiate weekly massages” with red and pink sharpie markers and then cut with fancy scissors.

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Taste:

I went and bought a big bag of his favorite candy, Kit Kat bars. On a piece paper using same markers and scissors it said “You’re the Kit to my Kat”

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Smell:

Every movie night we light a candle and turn off the lights. I have loved that ever since the first time he did it. We burned through that candle quickly. What can I say we love movies. I went and bought a new candle to replace the old and wrote on the tag “For our movie nights”.

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Sight:

For sight I decided to have a picture printed off of us from New Years Eve. I found a frame at Marshall’s that said “you’re my favorite”. It was the perfect find.

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Sound:

For sound, I bought him an Itunes gift card and wrote “So you can download legally”. Inside joke. 🙂

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Put it all together

I bought 3 polka bags and 2 stripped bags from Target and found deep pinkish red tissue paper. I placed 1 gift in each bag and added the tissue paper. I also found tags at Target in the $1 bin. On each tag I wrote the sense and tied it to its appropriate bag.

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Can’t wait to see what he thinks on Sunday!

Happy Valentines Day!

 

Mom’s 60th Birthday Celebration

My beautiful mamasita turned 60 on the 14th. She is the first one out of her high school girlfriends to turn 60 so I wanted to throw her a big bash with all of the ladies. I also included some of the women in our family.

If you know me, you know when I take on a project, I don’t leave a single thing out. I love all of the little details and some you may not notice, but I totally do. I am a little OCD too.

Color Theme:

For the color theme I chose black, silver, gold, and white. Everything at the party stemmed from those colors. I felt like it gave the party a touch of elegance.

The Invite:

I chose to use evite to send out my invite to everyone. This made it much easier for keeping track of the guests and the emailing option was great! You can find the template I used here.  I kept it small and just invited her girlfriends and women of the family. We had roughly 16 people come.

The Location:

Since I have a small apartment, we used my mom’s house for the party. This was great because she didn’t have to drive anywhere afterwards. Plus her house is a great space for the amount of people we had and I didn’t have an added cost of renting a venue.

The Entryway:

I created a flashback poster for the doorway. I googled pop culture in January 1956 and couldn’t believe how many websites there were. These were just a few of the things I found. I then went on Pinterest and looked up chalkboard fonts. I downloaded them to my computer and it was so easy to make the sign. I went to the $1 store and bought an 8 x 10 black frame and added a votive candle. It was a great way to have the party begin before the guests even walked into the house.

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The Bar Area:

The entrance leads you right into the bar area so it needed to be done up right!

On the fireplace I strung tissue paper garland that I made, as well as photo garland. For the photo garland I used twine and baby clothespins I found at Michael’s. They were the in silver and gold, perfect for the party’s color theme. I had a coupon for them which made them really cheap. I then went through my mom’s old photos and asked her brothers to send some as well. I mixed in some more recent photos I had on Facebook.

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On the accent table in the seating area I made the gift table. I placed a white table cloth over the table and found a image on Pinterest saying “You are so loved” in gold. I printed that out and put it in a 4 x 6 frame. I put some other photos in frames I already had on hand. A small vase of baby’s breath and 2 votive candles completed the decor.

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Now onto the most important part, the bar itself! My mom has a beautiful bar and is a great focal point of the room. I made tissue paper poms in gold, black, silver, and white and hung them above the bar. I then added a vase of baby’s breath, an image I found on Pinterest that said, “She had a cocktail in her hand and confetti in her hair”, along with a photo of her and my brother and 2 votive candles. On either side were the makings for a perfect cocktail.

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The Living Room:

At first I was not planning on using the living room but decided to have appetizers and drinks there first. I set up extra chairs and bar stools around the room. On the coffee table I had the appetizers, cheese plate (Thank you Janice), Philly Cheese steak rolls, veggies and dip, and veggie birds nests from Trader Joe’s. I found black and white paisley paper plates and napkins at the dollar store. In the middle of the table was a vase of baby’s breath and votive candles. We also had girls night party music on in the background.

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In the door ways I hung up tassel garland.

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My mom still had some of her holiday items up, so that saved me some money. I chose not to buy balloons. It would have looked too busy. Thank you, mom!

I set up a memory table in the living room. I had a vase of baby’s breath, a photo frame, votive candles, and another frame with a sign that said, “A good friend knows all of your stories, a best friend helped you write them. Please share your favorite stories of Mary.” I found a black and silver edge box at Michael’s in their 80% off section. I found index cards without lines and wrote the word memories in gold on the bottom of each card. I bought black, silver and gold markers for the guests to write their favorite memories of her with. We then read the memories throughout the night.

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The Bathroom:

Very simple- I placed a mason jar of baby’s breath and a votive candle.

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The Dining Room:

I ended up having 16 people for dinner so my mom’s table wasn’t big enough to hold everyone. I borrowed 2 folding tables from my aunt and uncle. They raised to the height of my moms table, which was great! I covered both tables with black paper tablecloths I found at Party City. In the center was a vase of fresh white flowers, votive candles and ceramic gold and white bowl filled with everyone’s favorite M&M’s. I then moved the bar stools from the living room back to the dining room for dinner.

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On one of the buffet tables I set up a dessert station. On either side was a small vase of baby’s breath, votive candle and a frame. One frame said “A party without cake, is just a meeting” (Julia Child) and the other said “Treat Yo Self”. Both images I found on Pinterest. In the middle of the table was the main dessert, carrot cake from this amazing bakery here in Rochester, NY- Cheesy Eddies. Their carrot and cheese cakes are beyond amazing. Thank you to my lovely Aunt Theresa for contributing this to the party. We placed the cake on a gold charger for extra style. I then created a gold 60 for the top. I bought a wooden 6 and 0 from Michael’s and I painted them gold. While the paint was still wet, I sprinkled edible gold sparkles (just in case some fell into the cake, I didn’t want anyone to get sick). I also bought a dowel rod and had my boyfriend cut them into 5″ pieces. I glued them to the back of the 6 and 0 and let 2 inches hang below. That made it easy for sticking into the cake. I sprinkled some gold star confetti for extra bling as well. We also had vanilla ice cream, cannolis and eclairs (thank you Aunt Betsy). I used the same black and white plates and napkins that I used for the appetizers.

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On the other buffet table I set up the favor table.  The first favor was a notepad almost the size of a mouse pad that I had found in the $1 bin at Target. I found wrapping paper in my colors at Michael’s. I wrapped each one up individually and tied them with ribbon/bakers twine in the party inspiration colors. I placed them in a silver wire basket.

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The other favor I have to give major props to my best friend Michelle for. I had this idea to give everyone a sugar cookie with a 60 written on top. She went above and beyond and made 110 sugar cookies. We spent several hours frosting each cookie in white and then topped with silver and gold sprinkles. Each guest received 3 cookies. I bought clear treat bags and color inspiration ribbon to tie each bag. I placed the cookie packs in a silver wire basket.

In the middle of the table with a frame that said “We hope you had fun, please take one”, and 2 votive candles.

The Kitchen:

My mom has a very nice island in her kitchen that makes a great buffet table! I covered it in a black table cloth and a lantern my mom already had. I bought white plastic plates and bowls, as well as fancy white disposable napkins. This made for such an easy clean up! I then used mason jars with black labels left over from a bridal shower I helped plan. I placed plastic spoons, knives, and forks into each one and wrote on the black label. I topped it off with the same gold ribbon I used for the cookie bags.

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The Meal:

My mom loves wedge salads so I knew I had to have a wedge salad bar. I cut up heads of iceberg into 6 pieces, and had a white serving dish with 3 sections that included halved cherry tomatoes, red onions, and crispy bacon. I found a carafe in Target bargain bin that was black and white stripped. I used that for the blue cheese dressing.

Now that winter has officially hit Western NY, I wanted to have comfort food as the meal. Something that warms your soul. Growing up our favorite winter meal was chicken and biscuits. I thought that was perfect! I threw the chicken, veggies, spices, and broth in the crock pot the night before, that way I could do the final step in the morning. In the morning I removed the chicken from the crock pot and shredded. I then added chicken, veggies, broth to a stock pot and added the flour, milk and potatoes and cooked until it thickened up. I then transferred everything back to the crock pot and set to warm. This made for easy serving at the buffet.

Recipe adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

I had every intention of making homemade biscuits but fell short on time. I made easy drop biscuits and they were delicious!

The Entertainment:

Between sharing memories, girl talk, and the party radio station, we played games. I am addicted to Catch Phrase now. Best game ever!

Outcome and additional photos:

All and all it was an incredible night. She knew she was having a party and who was coming, but she did not know the amount of work I was putting into it. I am so glad I was able to do this for her. She totally deserves it! She does so much for our family and friends. She is such an incredible woman and I am beyond blessed to have her as my mom. Happy 60th, Mom! I love you and hope you had a great time!

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Apartment Bathroom Upgrades

As many of you know I live in a small studio apartment but decorate and design like I live in a house. I absolutely love my apartment. It is the perfect size for me and the upgrades I have made in the last 5 years have really made it comfy and cozy.

I never really did anything with the bathroom when I moved in 5 years ago, so I guess it was time. My off white walls in the bathroom were starting to look dingy and were starting to chip. I absolutely love all grey hues. My living area is also a soft gray. The color I chose for the walls was a slate gray with a blue hint and I did the chair rail a bright white. Just with painting it felt brand new, fresh and clean.

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I was at the Ronald McDonald Household sale during the week and found this wood shelf for $6.00. It was the perfect size for the wall above the toilet. I sanded it down and  gave it several coats of the same white paint I used on the walls.

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Now I hate to measure when hanging things. And I am actually pretty awful at it. LOL. I took a piece of painters tape and placed it on the back of the shelf where the screw holes were. I then took a sharpie and marked on the tape where the holes were located.

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I then took the tape off the shelf and brought it over to the wall and got out my drill. I drilled through the tape marked holes and into the wall.

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I then removed the painters tape and hung the shelf.

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Now the fun part, STAGING!!!  The top shelf I used a silver candle holder and soft blue washcloths that I already had on hand.

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The second shelf I bought a gray soap dish at the $1 store, used a soap that my aunt gave me and placed a terracotta pot with a fake succulent in it. I actually found the pots at the same Ronald McDonald House sale and got 4 for $.50. I painted the pots the same white as shelf and walls.

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The third shelf I used glass jars that I found in Target’s $1.00 bins and filled them with cotton balls, Epsom salts, and q-tips (which I already had on hand).

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The bottom shelf was another pot with a succulent and the remainder of the soft blue washcloths.

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The finished product was way more than I imagined. I am in love with it. It totally fit my spa-like vision.

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I added some cream hand towels to the bar.

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I then bought a new white shower curtain from Bed Bath and Beyond. It actually didn’t cost me anything, as I had a gift card.

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On the opposite wall of the shelf I had a piece of artwork that was hanging prior to upgrades. I also have 2 small throw rugs that are the same color as the washcloths on the shelf.

I just need to do a window covering but it is such a small window that it may be complicated. I am going to brainstorm on it, so be on the look out for a new how-to.

It was a very easy and frugal upgrade to my bathroom. I can’t stop going in and just staring at it from the doorway. I can’t wait to take a bath with my bath salts.

Paint:    $20.00

Shelf:    $6.00

Pots:   $.50

Succulents:    $6.00

Soap dish:   $1.00

Jars:   $3.00

Total: $36.50

Monday Creativity: Wreath Ideas

There is just something about walking by someones front door and seeing a beautiful. My living situation is a little different. I live in a building that has 5 apartments total. Their apartment doors are so blah. They have no character. I like to have a splash of color and creativity to liven up my floor. I have actually decorated the railings at Christmas too. Maybe I should make a wreath for each of the other tenants in building.

Here are some of the wreaths I have created:

Drink Umbrella Wreath

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Very easy to make. All you need is a Styrofoam wreath ring and a package of drink umbrellas. Be careful when opening and sticking the umbrellas into the ring. Add a piece of ribbon and hang. Great for summer, pool parties, and luaus.

Bare Feet Welcome

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This wreath I gave a friend of mine because she is an avid take your shoes of girl. I thought doing it pretty and girly would be a nice way to ask people to take their shoes off prior to coming in the house. This was also an easy wreath. Styrofoam wreath and fuzzy green yarn. Wrap and cover the entire form. Grab some fake flower buds and stick the stem into the Styrofoam. Make a cute little flag with colored paper and a toothpick, add some pretty ribbon, and you are done.

Forsythia Branch Wreath

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This wreath was also a gift but I loved it so much that I made one for myself. These are so expensive that it is much cheaper to make it yourself. It also was incredibly easy. All you need is a brown vine wreath and 3 forsythia branches. I always wait until they are 50% off at Michaels or make sure you have a coupon. Just cut the branches with wire cutters and weave in in the vine wreath.

Tissue Paper Pom Wreath

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I made this for a tiki party I threw at work. Use this link for the how-to.

Coffee Filter Wreath

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I made this wreath for my Friends Theme Party. This was a little more difficult. I bought a white Styrofoam wreath and coffee filters at the $1 store. Taking 1 at a time bunch the filter in the middle (almost like you are putting a napkin in a napkin ring), using a pencil or scissors (be careful) press the pointed end of the filter into the form. Fluff out the filter. Continue till the form is covered. I added a little twine to hang.

Autumn Floral

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This is my latest creation. I grabbed small bouquets of autumn color at Michaels for $1 each. Simply cut the branch and stick into a vine wreath. Alternate the colors for a vibrant display.

Monday Creativity: Tissue Paper Flowers

Two weeks ago I was put in charge to plan our annual summer picnic at work. I love planning a party so I needless to say I was so excited. Each employee was bringing something to pass so I didn’t need to worry about food or drink. I still wanted the decor to be bright and vibrant, almost luau-ish with still trying to say very cheap. Lol.

I decided to make small tissue paper flower for each table as a “runner”. However my OCD “ness”  would not all me to have the same color flower as table cloth. It got very interesting in  my studio apartment. I actually made a chart for each table and the order the flowers should be in.  My co-workers had a field day with that! 🙂 All in good fun.

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Here are your steps:

  1. Head over to your favorite $1 store and pick up some tissue paper. I ended up making close to 60 flowers so I used 3 packs of tissue paper.

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2) Separate each color into their own piles.

3) Take one color and fold it in half ( you can do multiple sheets here)

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4) Fold in half again until you  form a square

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5) Unfold and cut on the creases you just made

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6) Take 6 cut sheets and stack them on top of each other. I cut all of my tissue paper first before I started to assemble. You can do whatever you desire.

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7) Fold like an accordion.

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8) Place a staple in the middle

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9) Now to cute the ends. You can either cut the ends into a V, Upside down U, or you can fray the edges

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10) Work from the inside out and poof out each piece of tissue paper. Be very careful though. Tissue paper will rip if you are too rough.

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I had some poms left over so I decided to make a very last minute wreath out of cardboard.

I took a plate and traced around it.

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Then took a ramekin and placed that in the middle and traced that.

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Take a pair sharp scissors and cut on the lines.

Take your poms and either staple tape or glue to the cardboard.

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It was definitely a lot of work doing 60 flowers but I managed to get them all done in one day and everyone loved them at our summer picnic. They paired really nicely with the lei’s on the tables as well. (another $1 store find)

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Seeds of Friendship – Party Favor

Last week I celebrated my 33rd birthday and was very blessed to be able to celebrate it all week with the people who mean so much to me. My friend Janice threw a delicious little birthday dinner party for our gal clan. When we celebrate our birthday’s, a little favor is always given. I wanted to team up with Janice in the favor department. She gave a little wooden bird and I made seed packets for each person. They went together perfectly

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What You’ll Need:

Wooden Popsicle sticks (any size will do)

Washi Tape  (I found in the $1 bin at Target)

Seed Packets (Home Depot, Target, Walmart, any garden store)

Small treat bags (I found in the clearance section at JoAnn’s)

Gift Tags, or make your own (I found in the $1 bin at Target)

Sharpie

Ribbon (if needed)

Hole Punch

What To Do:

First wrap washi tape at one end of the Popsicle stick. It adds a little color and style to your flower pot or box.

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Write the name of your flowers at the other end of the stick

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For the tag, I found mine at Target. I cut off the to/from part and wrote on the design “Seeds of Friendship”. I love these tags as they came with a little twine to attach to the bag. If your tags do not, punch a hole and add a little ribbon or rope.

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Now it is time to put everything together.

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Place the seeds and stick inside of your treat bag. Fold over the flap and punch a hole. Take your tag and tie through the hole.

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Voila! A cheap and easy favor your guests will enjoy. They will think of you and the party every time they look at your flowers.

Renter’s Guide to Design and Organization: Sofa Table

I originally had 2 ceramic blue garden tables next to my couch and they were so small and barely just fit my lamps. Guests couldn’t fit a drink on them or even their phone. I bought them because they were cute and I got an amazing deal on them from Michaels. I really couldn’t not buy them. They also were very short. Not your average side table but they were adorable. Oh well, I will sell them in the garage sale this year.

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Having such a small apartment I really need to make the most out of every space I can. I saw on Pinterest (surprise, surprise), these tables people made for behind their couches. Theirs were just the length of the couch and I really wanted to use the entire wall. I wanted to be able to  have both lamps, picture frames, and candles on the table, with still extra room for drinks,phone, etc.

I first measured the length of my wall. It was 100”. Then I measured the height of the couch and it was 36”. I moved the couch out from the wall to see how much space I could spare without interrupting the walk space. I decided 8” was good and it allowed my lamps to fit perfectly.

 So on my lunch hour I hit up Home Depot. I took my coworker and friend Stacie as back up and as an extra brain. Measurements and math are not my friend. I love Home Depot. I love that they cut it all for you. Plus, no one in their right mind should ever give me a saw. Stacie the whole time was like” This is totally not going to fit in your car.” I proved her wrong. Granted we had to put the wood through the trunk onto the dashboard but it fit. Love my new Focus!

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It was just me putting this monstrosity together so I had to get creative. I decided to use gorilla glue to attach the pieces of wood together first. Gorilla Glue is messsssssssssy but it really did the trick. Once it was all dry I was able to glue the legs to the top and then let it sit. After everything was dry I took my power drill and added screws. That baby isn’t going anywhere! Once all was screwed in I added a heavy duty cardboard to the front of the table. It gave it a finished look. More like wall shelf. I used small nails to attach. It was similar to those cheap book cases you purchase at Walmart or Target that have that cardboard backing. I am woman! Hear me roar! Who needs a man?!?!?

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(Don’t mind the unmade bed. I had to complete this project in my living space.)

After everything was put together I went on to paint. My walls are a soft gray and majority of my furniture is white with a few pops of light wood. I decided to paint the table black. I felt the room need a pop of darkness. My mom’s friend let me borrow a black glossy paint. I added  2 coats and it turned out great!

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Once all was dry I moved it to the wall. It fit perfectly and made the wall a real focal piece.

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While I was at it I wanted to give the rest of the space a little pick me up. I went to JoAnn’s and found new yellow and gray artwork. Baskets at Marshalls were on clearance. I used them for blankets and magazines. Also, all of my new frames came from TJMaxx’s clearance rack. I found a small metal lantern from Target the dollar section and voila! It’s totally what I needed and now when I have people over they have more room! I actually sit on my couch more now that this is all set.

Wood and Form Core: $35.00 at Home Depot

Screws/Gorilla Glue:    Already had

Black Paint:                 Given to me

Lamps:                         Already had

Art work:                      $21.00 at Joann’s

Picture Frames:          $10.00 at TJMaxx

Wicker Baskets:          $15.00 at Marshalls

Lantern:                       $3.00 at Target

Cost of this project:      $84.00