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Playing with Plates

Self Diagnosed
I suffer from Naked Walls Syndrome.

It's true.

I stand there staring at those big empty spaces, endless possibilities flashing through my head,  and I get a little freezed up. How do I pick something that will truly enhance the space? What does it need, a painting? picture frames? something super quirky like a bicycle or a moose head? (maybe not the moose head...)

This was the problem I faced in the dining room.

Enter Pinterest. I'd become their spokesperson if they'd let me. I spied these beautiful plate displays and it was a done deal.

I like that plates and dining rooms naturally go together (I'm not that wild). Up til this, my limited exposure to plate displays was at Grandma's house, in racks, or curios, usually with kittens or clowns, or something equally kreepy on them. 

But this could actually work. It was hip, and conceptual (I am a little wild). I loved the bright colors and the mix and match of different patterns, sizes, and styles. And the fact that I could get these from my local thrift store for under a buck each was a huge "Seven-Up budget" plus. :)

Here's how it all went down. :)

Plate Project Supplies:
  • Plates of various colors and sizes (you could also do a monochromatic collection. I've seen some pretty nice all white versions of this)
  • Plate hangers of various sizes
  • Paper for templates
  • Toothpaste (yes toothpaste. It will come in handy)
Step 1. Buy a bunch of fun plates. Or serious ones. Whatever floats your boat. I scoured the land over a few of months to find just what I wanted. I didn't know how many plates I'd need for a display big enough for the wall, so I just kept buying and setting up arrangements on my dining room table until I though I had enough.

 There was a bunch of great plates at thrift stores, mostly going for around $.50. I found the rest at Tuesday Morning, Big Lots, 99 Cents Only, Crate and Barrel, and Tai Pan Trading Co. for a dollar or two each. It cost about $20-$25 total for 21 plates.

Step 2. Acquire wall hanging devices. I had no idea plate hangers were so difficult to come by, or would bump up my project cost so much! I cleaned out 3 Wal-Marts and a Target to get all I needed. And at $2-3 each, it cost about $20 for hangers for all the larger plates. There is probably a way cheaper way to buy plate hangers out there. Ebay and Amazon offer bulk packages, but I needed so many different sizes that it wouldn't have saved me anything.

 In my hunt for small plate hangers, I stumbled across this wonderful invention from 3M. They're in the Command Strip family. 

Command Picture-Hanging Strips are velcro-like strips that stick to the wall and the plate and "snap" together when pressed. They worked like a charm, and no nail holes! I just may hang all my pictures with these little guys from now on. I used them on the smaller, lighter ceramic plates, and the plastic ones. I think it was $5 for a box of 8 sets. So that's $25 total for hangers.

Step 3. Contemplate Plate Templates. hah. To avoid making swiss cheese out of my wall, or wasting a bunch of those little sticky strips trying to get a balanced arrangement, I first made butcher paper templates of all the plates and taped them up on the wall.

I drew a sloppy version of what the plate looked like on the paper template, so I wouldn't get confused when it came time to hang everything up.
(looks like I need to change a few light bulbs in here)

Step 4. The Toothpaste Trick. Aha, here's where it plays in. Thank you, Pinterest. Dab toothpaste where the nail would go into the plate hanger and lightly press the plate onto the desired spot on the wall. When you remove the plate, there will be a little tooth paste mark right where you should make your hole. Winning! : )

The plates got hung exactly where I wanted them, no eye balling stress whatsoever.

I made sure to hang everything above "small mischievous child" height. We were particularly paranoid about  that, or a guest brushing up against one and it coming crashing down on their heads. "Welcome to my home, let me break your noggin". I'm pretty sure Liquid Nails was mentioned at one point... But everything seems pretty sturdy! I'm confident they're all safe and could withstand a fair bit of jostling if necessary.

Some close ups. I love this aqua one.

Peacock = love

Grand total for this project:
$25 Plates + $25 Plate hangers and Command Strips= $50. Plates not crashing down on children = Priceless ;) 

Do you suffer from Naked Wall Syndrome too? Where do you get your inspiration? 
On to conquer the next naked wall...
<3 Alyssa
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Post Season Bargain Hunting

That makes me happy :) Nothing like prepping for Christmas 11 1/2 months in advance! Now that I think of it, it's nice that I haven't gotten our Christmas boxes back up in the garage yet. My new additions can be packed up and stored with the rest of our collection, and then, 11 months from now, I'll open them back up to rediscover what I bought for this year. Its kind of like sending myself a present, in the future.

What with having a 3 month old baby boy, a winter cold or two, and husband at home on Christmas vacation, I didn't get as much of a drop on the post- holiday deals as I wanted this time around. But I still was able to find some great deals late in the game, from Wal Mart (heck yes, I shop there) and JoAnn.

At Wal Mart, I snapped up this silver soap dispenser that I had been eyeing.
Originally $5, bought it for $1.50. It's suppose to resemble an ornament I'm sure (there were red, green, and gold ones too), but I'm auditioning this one as a permanent resident for our downstairs bathroom. I used to have a stainless steel dispenser in there, but the darn thing rusted and became gross. Is that normal? I thought stainless steel was the good stuff? Anyway I've been looking for something shiny, inexpensive, and non stainless steel to replace it ever since. And this fit my bill perfectly. Now that I think about it, why didn't I buy two? : / *head to desk*.

At JoAnn, this sign beckoned me from the parking lot. It was like a fat kid and cake.

There was a lot of leftovers to choose from, but my big problem is, I haven't exactly solidified my holiday style yet. Not shabby chic, not bright neon colors, not Santas and snowmen. So, still a little unsure, I played it safe with a few basics. I pictured this pine bough ($6.99 down to $2.10) hanging from a door, probably spiced up with some ribbon and berries(?).

 This silver wired ribbon (12 ft for $4.99, discounted to $1.50) has lots of potential, I like to keep my eyes peeled for stuff that could work for everyday decor as well as holiday.

And lastly, my favorite, meet Mr. Twiggy.

Hello, lovely. <3 At $12.99 on sale for $3.96, he had me at twiggy. I love his shape, the cool, quirky, mod styling, and I can see him potentially painted bright red, as an addition to my mantle next year. 

 I wish there had been more of his herd still left waiting for a good home, but I'm happy I at least got this guy. C'est la vie.

So those were my finds this time around. Do you go bargain hunting for next year too? Find anything good? Do you have a Christmas "style"? 

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New Year's Resolutions

Time for fresh starts, new goals, and, the end of the world (?) : / . Maybe not, but one thing is for sure, I've got a big ol' set of plans for projects I want to accomplish around here, and I will definitely be diy-ing like the end is near!
Now for the grand (and hopefully not too tedious) List ...list... list *echo*. I added a few "dream goals" here and there that most likely won't happen this year, or ever. Maybe if we win the lottery. I'll keep them on just in case.

Living Room:
     We just rearranged things in here to accommodate our new (to us) flat screen (!). Woohoo, gotta love in-laws!:) So things are already in transition. We re-purposed our hutch-turned-buffet from the dining room to be our new entertainment stand and rearranged the couches.
  • Storage baskets for window box
  • Hem curtains (never got around to that)
  • Add drapery wand to curtains
  • Shoe storage solution
  • Shelves for the window wall?
  • Repaint or replace front door
  • Fix leak under window, repair drywall. More on that hot mess in this entry, under the front door pic.
  • Refinish entertainment stand
  • Art for behind the front door like this beauty? --->
  • New rug, diy?
  • Buy two end tables
  • Add real or fake plant to corner
  • Repaint walls light cream  (still trying to de-beige this room), and add molding
  • Makeover existing hall mirror
  • Buy/ make storage unit to divide Living and Dining rooms?
  • Add gallery wall to hall

Dining Room:
  • Replace buffet with other "I-can-throw-my-junk-here" furniture
  • Paint accent wall deeper green. When I lightened the side walls in here, the light green accent wall pretty much disappeared on me. : / 
  • Buy 2 coordinating chairs (to replace the two mismatched ones)
  • <---Buy a really cool table cloth like this

  • Make a garden wall--->?
  • Repaint walls light cream
  • Buy and install blinds
  • New window valance?
  • Art for over stove
  • **Dream Goal** Refinish cabinets, new hardware, concrete counter top, new sink, new dishwasher... I better just stop now

Fireplace Room:

  • Paper Dahlia art for side wall?->
  • <---Make giant ruler
  • **Dream Goal #1** Someday turn this into a family room, add computer/tv, couch, comfy chair
  • **Dream Goal #2** Replace rug (sigh,an expensive purchase that I soon regretted)

Laundry Room:
  • Add window treatment
  • Finish painting
  • Add light fixture--->
  • Come up with laundry basket solution (it's like playing chess in here. Move one basket in, move one out, lift over something, set on washer, etc... no bueno)
  • Come up with broom storage solution (status quo- think a mop, broom, and swiffer teepee stacked in the corner)
  • Nice rug?
  • Spice up the cabinets?

If all goes as planned, this should be our most dramatic transformation of all!
  • Remove old, dangerously low, old,  rusty railing with gaps in the bars perfect for child-sized appendages and/or noggins
  • Replace with  much safer and HIGHER half walls and hand rails
  • Carpet the stairs 
  • Re-hang pictures

Master Bedroom:

I'm hopeful this room will also see a dramatic change!
  • Move Andrew into nursery
  • Change color scheme to gray, yellow, and turquoise like this, this, and this yummy inspiration
  • Buy new comforter and add decorative pillows
  • New side lamps
  • Some DIY art for beside the door
  • Dye curtains yellow??
  • **Dream Goal** swap out granny furniture for something sleek and modern... Craigslist here I come :)

Master Bath:
  • <---Change color scheme to match bedroom
  • New shower curtain
  • New curtains
  • New rugs
  • Do something with existing light fixture
  • New art?
Upstairs Bath:
  • Add "Rubber Ducky" lyrics to walls (paint/decal)
  • Get cool, kid appealing shower curtain
  • Add mirror (who needs to see their face in a bathroom anyway?)
  • **Dream Goal** Repaint cabinets, add new hardware

Front Yard:
  • Replant flower bed, replace summer casualties in flower bed
  • Add seasonal wreaths to front door--->
  • **Dream Goal** Subdue side hill, remove dead trees, fix fences

Whew! there it is. This gets me all fired up and I want to start in on it right now! I know it will take more than just 2012 to tackle all this, but it will be fun to check back here every so often to see what progress I'm making. Good luck with your resolutions!

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