Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sprucing up a Brick Fireplace

The idea of a brick fireplace doesn't thrill me. I far prefer a gorgeous stone fireplace or chunky white surround with a fab mantle. However, I actually really like this brick fireplace. Somehow it's not an ugly 70's style brick fireplace, but more of a rustic country style (at least in my mind!). It was still in need of some sprucing up and decorating, a task that wasn't proving easy for me to do. For 4 years I played around with different things on the mantle, but nothing seemed right. Since it's such a strong focal point in our family room, it was time it got the lovin it deserved.

Here it is in all its brass-er-ific glory. While I wish they didn't even put in the gas insert, as it hides the lovely arched detail, I must admit that it's awfully convenient to flick a switch for insta-fire. So the insert will stay. But on one condition: The brass has gotta go!!! It would be nice
to eventually get a custom insert that fits exactly with the arch.

We know it, we hate it, gotta get rid of it....brass.

Out comes the heat resistant black spray paint.

Up goes the tape and newspaper.

It's looking better already!

Let's say it together now: Much Better!!!

I had a vision of a rustic large basket filled with wood. I mentioned it to my mom who said she had the perfect basket which she found at a thrift store. It is just what I had in mind! I love the wooden base.

While not exactly the mirror I had envisioned (I love the round rustic wood mirror in Renovation Hardware right now, but I don't love the $500 price tag!), it is good for now. I did add some dark glaze to tone down the pewter look.

I placed my candlesticks and topiaries here, and found this lovely clock a few weeks ago. I don't normally go for the symetrical look, but this is workin' for me...I love it!

Although I spent the time to de-brassify my insert, I still didn't really love the look of it, so I placed this pretty screen in front. It was still worth going to the trouble of painting the trim black as the brass still would shine through the glass on the screen. I added a few more candle sticks and decorative touches, and I am happy to say that my fireplace is finally done. I love it! My family room still has some changes to go through. I am finally ready to get rid of my cheap lamps, and I am tiring of my sofa material. More on that soon!
Linking to my favorite parties!


Where I Blog

The lovely & talented Kate from Centsational Girl is hosting an impromptu party: Where do you Blog?

While I have a lovely new, fast, fancy desk top computer in my office, I far prefer to use my little netbook in my space: the formal living room. The kids find it entirely too boring in here, and my hubby far prefers to be in a more casual space. When I was a kid, I never quite understood the whole 'formal living room', don't touch, don't go in there idea. Now that I have kids, I.Get.It. So great to have a space that is so me. Where I can get away from it all and relax, catch up on emails and read the wonderful inspiration out there in blogland.

This is the chair that I have claimed for the purpose. So comfy, and the view through the large windows is so pretty.

Of course, I either have my morning coffee, or afternoon tea with me. I am still working on a few refinishing projects for this room, and will then share the entire space. I have had so much fun creating this 'grown-up' (yikes! am I a grown up already?? My, how time flies!!) space & if we ever had to move, I would definately hope for a house with both a formal living room and family room space.

Thank you to Kate for the fun party!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autumn Lovelies

With the temperatures cooling (ahhh, finally!) and the leaves starting to turn (already??), my favorite time of the year is just around the corner: Fall!!! I see that I am certainly not alone in my love for the season as many bloggers are prepping for this precious time of the year.

Last week we were on a mini vacation before the start of school. This week, projects abound chez Willow Wisp. One quick project was to autumize this cute tiered stand that I found last week. I LOVE this stand, and just had to have it. I've been looking for something to pretty up my kitchen island for a while now, and this was perfect.

Enter pumpkins, squash, gourds, apples, & a pinch of Spanish moss for good measure. Result: Cute, festive, autumn loveliness.

The squash is real. I found fake mini apples & pumpkins, which are quite realistic looking.

I already have plans for this tiered stand for Christmas: I envision chestnuts, pomegranates, clove covered oranges....oh my!

Stay tuned for many more finished projects to come! While the next few weeks will be busy with the start of school, one more mini trip, a big girl turning 3 and several more sets of visitors trying to squeeze in one last trip before the end of summer, I still hope to get these projects completed and up for you all to see. Enjoy these last precious days of summer, when the evenings are cooler, and the excitement of the coming season is just ahead!

Linking to my favorite parties & to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, and Thrifty Decor Chic's impromptu Fall Decor Link Up!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inspiring Ideas

Last fall, I stumbled upon a blog which has filled me with so much inspiration, and left me pouring over past posts, dreaming of trying some of their wonderful ideas. Their blog, Kari & Kijsa, has been dormant for some time, but I still refer to it regularly for fresh inspiration. Two projects which they featured, I have replicated here.

While I strive to post original ideas, I also believe that part of blogging, for myself anyhow, is the sharing of ideas, whether new, or inspired by others. While many may have seen these ideas already, some may have not, and if I can pass along this inspiration to others, then I have fulfilled one of my missions in starting this blog. Ok, enough of the sappy stuff, and on to the projects!

My first project is this cute chalkboard painted silver tray. This is a thrift store find, bought for $1.95. It was the perfect size for what I had in mind. Check out Kari & Kijsa's version here.

I found chalkboard markers at Staples, and added a monogrammed F. I envision writing cute seasonal sentiments & inspiring quotes.

I used a sharp blade on the painters tape to get an exact edge to follow the curves and details of the tray, and simply applied two coats of blackboard spray paint.

When I saw Kari & Kijsa's boxwood wreath, I had a mission: I adore the classic simplicity. I searched for months, and finally found this oval beauty. I added this black ribbon, and will be making an F monogram (my first attempt with the jigsaw ended in disaster.....I'm waiting until hubby returns from working away to give me some much needed assistance!). I may modify the wreath with the seasons, either by changing the ribbon colour, or adding other embellishments.

Truly a wonderful place for inspiration, this Blogland!

Linking to my favorite parties!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hormonious Pillows

This week I received a much anticipated package in the mail: my new pillow cases from Rie at Home & Harmony. They are so gorgeous! I absolutely love the paisley fabric and hope to order some yardage for curtains and accessories for my Master Bedroom.

The burlap F monogrammed pillow and blue paisley pillow are from Rie.

They go well with the pillows I currently was using on my living room sofas. Beautiful pillows make such a difference to the look of the couch. You can easily change them out with the seasons, and give your furniture a completely different look depending on the style of cushions. I am going for a more relaxed traditional appeal. I tried to choose fabrics and fringes that compliment the room, and give it an extra special flare. The striped fabric matches two chairs in the room, and the longer greenish pillows with the tassels match our dining room chair fabric. While I try not to get too 'matchy-matchy' I also think it's wise to bring in some common elements to pull the room together. I chose neutral sofas, with a simple roll arm and skirt. I was a little uncertain about using a plain off white sofa, but I'm sooooo glad this is what I went with. They are the perfect neutral backdrop, and will stand the test of time and tastes. They have even survived for the past 3 years without major incidence with a 3 & 6 year old!

I always insist on down forms for my pillows. It makes such a difference in the look of the pillow, and really doesn't cost much. In fact, a few of these forms were purchased at Ikea for $5.oo each, and are just as nice as the more expensive forms I bought previously.

I went with two sofas in the room, rather than a love seat and sofa, as the room is large enough to support it, and it allows for more seating. This is the matching sofa, with a similar, but slightly different array of pillows. I am waiting on one remaining element in my room (a gorgeous little table that I have been refinishing) and will then share the entire room with you.

Who thought pillows would be such fun! They are definitely one of my favorite accessories in any room!

Linking to my favorite parties!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I was in Victoria last week on a lovely little trip. Besides the beautiful scenery, beaches, inner harbor, museum etc etc, the city also has fantastic shopping!! One of my favorite stops is Chintz and Co. My husband always gets nervous when I shop there!

Just feast your eyes on this! These are only two little corners of this huge, two storey store.

I was a good girl, however, and didn't break the bank. In fact, I found a few deals. I bought some topiary supplies. I love the little moss type balls, which were only $1.29 each!

I already had several urns and other containers just waiting for a topiary. Previously I had bought real Myrtle plants in a topiary shape. These were lovely, but quite expensive, and didn't survive long (sigh). Faux it is.

I collected willow branches from our Curly Willow tree in our yard. I used florists foam as the base, and quite simply cut a piece of wood and stuck it in the foam, then stuck on the ball on top. Easy Peasy.

I used florists pins to tack down sheet moss on top. I would usually have used hot glue, but I thought I'd give this a try. It worked great, and no fingers were burnt in the process!

Ain't they sweet?

This urn sat empty in this spot for a long time, just waiting for a friend.

My new topiary collection.

The topiaries help finish off the dining room.

My fireplace has been such a tricky space for me to decorate. It has undergone many changes. I'm not normally a fan of brick fireplaces, but this one is quite unique and beautiful. I'll have to show you the entire thing once I get my mirror in place (harder to find the perfect round mirror than one would think!). My husband managed to fix my broken candle stick. It has a few chips, but it just adds to the rustic look.

I'm lovin the new Topiaries, and better yet, I'm lovin that I don't have to water them or worry that they won't survive!

Linking to my favorite parties!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pewter Plate Remedy

When my grandmother sold her home, her treasures were divided amongst the family and I was lucky enough to adopt several beautiful pieces. One of these pieces is a cute corner cabinet and many of its contents.

I love the pewter tea/coffee set. I have always loved the look of pewter. It reminds me of something that would be found in an old English country home. I placed these small blue and white plates in with the tea set, and while I love the plates (also a thrift store find), they didn't seem substantial enough in size to really hold their own. I decided that the perfect solution would be to layer it with some pewter plates. In comes my mom, armed with treasures galore. She did indeed have several pewter plates, but alas, they were not big enough (as seen on the left side). In fact, they were even smaller than the blue & whites. We searched high and low for months for some pewter plates, but that type of thing doesn't come along often (at least in the thrifting world). Rather than settle on a different option, I decided to create my own pewter-esque plates.

Enter inexpensive white plates (seen on the right). I found these at a discount store. They were the right size, and I liked the pretty scalloped edge. I pulled out my handy dandy pewter spray paint and voila! You girls are always spray painting the most amazing things, so I thought why not? This should work, as the plates will not be used; they are strictly for display.

I think the result is pretty good. I am still working on collecting treasures for this space, but I'd rather find fabulous things slowly over time, than buy stuff just to fill a spot.

These hydrangea's were dried 25 years ago!!! They are from my grandmother's garden. I remember playing in this garden when I was a little girl, so these flowers are very special to me.

Here is the cabinet in place. It was the absolutely perfect piece for this corner. The cabinet was originally my great uncles, and then handed down to my grandma. She refinished it, but had lined the back with faux wood panel drawer liner (very 70's of you grandma!)

My solution was to re-line the back with Anaglypta, which I then painted the same colour as the walls so it would blend. It looks white here, but is actually more of a creamy yellow tone. I also replaced the velvet on the shelf, but I'm not sure I am lovin' the royal blue. I can forsee changing this out when I find the perfect colour. I was going for more of a french blue, but wasn't able to find anything suitable.

Not to worry, these actual pewter plates will find a home elsewhere!

Linking to my favorite parties!