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Archive for the ‘Reinvent It’ Category

Vases

Over on Boston Mamas, my Use-What-You-Own Hanukkah Table Setting is featured. Fun! Central to the design are these pretty dipped vases. They’re super easy to make, customizable for any holiday or event, and usable long after the celebration is over.

Ready to go? Here’s what you need:

  • Protective table covering
  • Plain glass vases (the kind that end up in closets from florist arrangements or in the 50-cent-bin at your local thrift shop)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Baking sheet or tray
  • Tinfoil
  • Gallon of white latex paint (Please note that you will have nearly all the white paint left, so choose a shade that will work in your house or for some other project later! I used a gallon left over from a bookshelf we painted.)
  • Gallon freezer bag
  • Pint or more of additional colored latex paint (Check the OOPS! rack at your local hardware store for discounted colors that were returned by customers.)

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  1. Clean your vases thoroughly with soap and water. Dry, then wipe down with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Place a protective covering on your work surface.
  3. Cover a baking sheet or tray with tinfoil.
  4. Dip the vases, bottom-first, into the white paint. Hold each vase in the paint for about 10 seconds, then pull out and let the paint drip off. Set down on tinfoil-covered baking sheet or tray; bottom-down for a clean top edge (as I have done in this example) or top-down for a dripped edge.
  5. Let dry for one hour.
  6. Create a “bucket” with your gallon freezer bag by folding the bottom corners of the bag onto themselves. Secure with tape.
  7. Fill your “bucket” with your second paint.
  8. Dip the vases into the second paint. Swoosh the paint around so you get edges that have some movement, then pull out and let the paint drip off. Set down on a newly-tinfoil-covered baking sheet or tray; again, bottom-down for a clean top edge or top-down for a dripped edge.
  9. Let dry for one hour. Wipe down bottoms if there is a thick layer of wet paint.
  10. Fill with flowers and enjoy!

Please note that the paint WILL COME OFF if these vases are put in a dishwasher or washed by hand with too much vigor. Rinse and dry carefully to make them last!

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Earlier this month, Dave and I got away for a night to celebrate his birthday. We had fewer than 24 hours kid-free, so we did what any good suburban couple would do and headed into the big city for the night.

Aw, yeah…we drove the whole 25 minutes into Boston.

Because we stayed down on the waterfront, it really felt like we got away, especially as we hung on the deck looking at this pretty view.

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Before dinner, we took a nice long harbor walk, and found these fun little houseboats along the way.

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I don’t know about you, but ever since watching that Seattle RomCom classic from the ’90s, I’ve always fantasized about living on a houseboat. From what I’ve read, owning a houseboat is not all that it’s cracked up to be — dead fish caught under the boat, bird poop on your deck, etc. — but still, there’s something totally cool about it. Or maybe it’s just that Tom Hanks was there.

Seattle Houseboat

As I looked closer at this lineup of houseboats, I figured they must have been some sort of floating hotel or something since they all had the same signs on them. Upon a little Googling, I discovered that they are part of the Sleep Afloat fleet — houseboats for nightly (or longer) rentals in cities up and down the Eastern seaboard, as well as Los Angeles. Started by a houseboat owner who traveled for work and was disappointed by the “cookie cutter” hotel options, Sleep Afloat became the answer to his own conundrum: enjoying the live-afloat life while needing a short-term place to stay.

Docked in Miami Beach, “Living the Dream” which sleeps eight, has two bathrooms, and looks pretty well appointed, seems like a bargain to me at $200 per night.

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Vessels from Sleep Afloat’s fleet are docked in 11 cities, including a few that we’re going to hit on an upcoming family road trip.

I think my houseboat fantasy might just come true, if even for a night (minus Tom).

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So — have any of you ever slept on a houseboat?

Image credits: Boston images by Paige Lewin, “Sleepless in Seattle” houseboat from Seattle PI“Living the Dream” from Sleep Afloat

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Looking for pretty, inexpensive, brass drawer pulls?

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Aren’t they fabulous?

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Find them here.

Furniture image by Paige Lewin. Furniture design by Paige Lewin in collaboration with Bill Jones of Fresh Air Millworks.

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On the way to a friend’s house this morning, I received an urgent text from her.

“I have a mantel that needs editing. HELP!”

She was right.

SudMantelBefore

I understand why my friend had a challenging time styling the mantel since it’s very shallow and quite long.

The fishing pole, particularly special to her angler husband, wasn’t going anywhere.

It’s hard to see, but the round vase is a total showstopper. It has these beautiful abstract horses all over it, perfect for my friend who spends a few evenings each week riding, so I knew that needed to stay. Front and center.

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I cleared everything off and we went hunting around her house using the vase as a launching point. When we came back and assessed the options, I found that there was nice collection of pottery and wooden objects.

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Using the vase as the focal point, I created groupings that followed the line of the pole. I weighted the center, and left the right side of the asymmetrical mantel empty, letting it sort of recede visually.

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Not bad for 10 minutes and zero dollars.

SudMantelBeforeandAfter

Do you have a 10-minute, use-what-you’ve-got styling that you want to share? Send images to mudroomboston@gmail.com and you might be featured in an upcoming 10-Minute Styling post!

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Who doesn’t love blue? Not me, that’s for sure. I think I’ve had at least one blue room in every house in which I’ve lived and loved every single one. Contrary to conventional color theory, not all blues are soothing, as is the case with one of my favorite paint colors — Benjamin Moore’s Peacock Blue. I used it in a dining room, and it hardly put my dinner guests to sleep. See?

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Right? No sleeping allowed in those funny paper hats.

You can’t go wrong with blue walls, but you can choose the wrong blue paint. The six blues below — my Ain’t-Got-No-Blues Blues — seem to work for me every time.

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Do you love blue, and if so, what’s your favorite shade?

All images by Paige Lewin. Dinner guests include isabelka and A Philosopher Who Practices ArchitectureAll paint colors by Ben Moore, natch.

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Here in Boston, it seems we’re still trying to decide if it’s winter or spring. It was 30 yesterday morning and 50 by afternoon, and although we missed the Nor’easter that was supposed to hit us, nobody feels safe enough to store away the winter boots quite yet.

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I’ve never been that adept at transition dressing — y’know, that winter-to-spring and fall-to-winter wardrobe conundrum — but I think I’ve finally landed on a formula.

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Bright cotton skimmers + leather patterned flats + cozy merino sweater + fabulous statement necklace = warm enough for winter and colorful enough for spring. (The pants? Ridiculously flattering and cheap, but consider sizing up.)

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Perfection.

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All images by Paige Lewin.  

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Last week, I spent a few days with my mom at her home in North Carolina. Although I didn’t grow up there, it seemed that every time I opened a closet or cabinet, some object behind the door reminded me of my childhood. These great hobnail goblets — my grandmother’s originally — were such objects.

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I have loved these goblets for as long as I can remember, sparkly and fancy, filled with memories of my mom’s unsweetened iced tea with two lemons. In fact, if you were to say the word “goblet” to me (does anyone even say goblet anymore?), these glasses are what would spring to mind. When I became old enough to use such fancy glassware — twelve, maybe — I drank my milk out them each night at dinner. And even when I came home for breaks during college, they were the first glasses I reached for when I wanted to throw back an iced Coke with a bag of chips while watching a 90210 marathon (ah, youth).

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Lucky for me, my mom decided that she’d had enough years enjoying the glasses and sent them home with me this time. Now I’m hoping my boys love them as much as I do.

So, dear readers, is there tableware from your childhood that conjures up memories for you? And have you gotten to hold on to some pieces for your generation or the next?

All images by Paige Lewin. For similar hobnail lovelies, visit Etsy or ebay.

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When it comes to my wardrobe, I like to keep things simple; clean lines, great colors, the occasional pattern. After spending my 20s purchasing cheap, trendy clothes, I’ve tried to move toward pieces that will last me the long haul. It’s not that I ignore trends all together (I did, in fact, buy a mullet dress this summer), but of-the-moment pieces are few and far between.

When it comes to accessories, however…mah lawd, I do love a good accessory. Classic, trendy, cheap, expensive, well-made, junky…I’ll take ’em all. Accessories are my THANG. Give me a Gap t-shirt, a ball skirt, and my collection of accessories and I could get you to the Oscars.

Oh wait, that’s been done already.

Anyway, you get it. Accessories. LOVE.

Want to see what accessories I’ve been wearing all summer?

  1. This leather-inlaid necklace is INSANELY beautiful, but more importantly, wearable with everything and in every season.
  2. The perfect studs. And the deal of the century.
  3. I felt a little bit guilty buying these sunnies, but given the fact that I wear them every day and answer to hey, movie star! now, it makes it all worth it.
  4. For Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a stunning gold-plated cuff. Having always been more of a bangle or link bracelet girl, I never knew how much I would love a gold cuff. I’ve worn it approximately 68 days since I got it. He got mine from a super cute shop on the North Shore, but here’s a similar one.
  5. I have coveted a white tote (and particularly this white tote) for a long, long time. But the dirt was keeping me from the move. Whatevs, that’s what leather cleaner is for.
  6. Turns out leopard is sort of like black, white, and navy — it goes with everything. Plus, these wedge espadrilles make your legs look awesome. (p.s. – they only run in whole sizes and they run big; consider taking a size down)

  1. I love nearly everything Kendra Scott makes, but I love these best. They come in a zillion colors and literally MAKE an outfit.
  2. If you don’t like attention, don’t wear strappy red-orange shoes. (p.s., again – sometimes J.Crew’s sales are better in store than online. Just sayin’.)
  3. I have a similar little bag in neon peach, but I love this mint version.
  4. The perfect cotton summer tote. My best friend gave this one to me (in a whale pattern) and it makes me happy every time I use it.
  5. When I’m not wearing my gold cuff, I’m definitely sporting a statement ring.
  6. Most fedoras don’t work on me because the brims are too small and the crown is too high, but this one is just right. Mine is sold out online, but you can find a similar one here.

  1. A few years ago I bought myself a pair of utterly classic light brown wedges from Clarks. Even as I was buying them, I was making fun of myself buying what seemed like total orthopedic sandals. But they are amahzingly comfortable, have stayed in perfect condition for years, and elicit compliments every time I wear them. Equally orthopedically-awesome ones can be found here.
  2. This super delicate necklace makes me feel sweet and strong all at the same time.
  3. When I’m not wearing my Kate Spades, I’m wearing Wayfarers.
  4. I got this tote in early Spring in a warm camel color. It’s simple design makes it a great work tote with more than enough room for a laptop sleeve or iPad, files, wallet, latest issue of House Beautiful, water bottle, and more. I never carry a purse when I’m using this.
  5. The upgraded summer camp friendship bracelet. Although it’s a pricey piece, it’s dear to my heart. Four of us gal pals got them last year to commemorate ten years of friendship. Sarah, one of us four, passed away in May 2011 and now her husband wears it for her.

So, friends, what are you wearing this summer? Do you love accessories too?

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It is cold, rainy, and desperately depressing here in Boston right now.

After a spring-tease in April, we’ve been treated to nearly nothing but clouds since May started.

Out went the kelly green shorts, coral blouses and peep-toe espadrilles from three weeks ago. Back in came the black cashmere and boots of fall.

And I am SO over fall clothes.

I didn’t think anything could jolt me out of my precipitation-induced coma, until I saw the designs of Madcap Cottage today.

Have you seen? They’re like visual antidepressants.

Candy colors! Stripes! Florals!

John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon, the talents behind Madcap Cottage, might as well have their M.D.s, ’cause I feel a whole lot better after an hour in their world.

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Image credits: Madcap Cottage

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I’m off to Vermont this weekend for a family wedding (congratulations Lauren and Justin!)…how about you?  The wedding is in the north country, so I’ll have lots of time to catch up on reading on the way up and back.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve spent hours getting lost in my favorite blogs, so I’m really looking forward to it.

See you soon!

Want to get lost in The Mudroom? Start with my most popular DIY posts:

An easy inspiration board

Making bookshelves pretty

Paint can lighting

Naptime? Makeover!

Image credit: Mary Sarah Holland

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