Thursday, December 1, 2016

{ Trash to Treasure } Accent Chairs Before & After!

I have a confession: I love to make old things new. I really really do. I've been doing this so for as long as I can remember. Like when I was 10, I would make Barbie clothes out of old clothes and orphan socks (strapless dresses #allday). As I got older, I was into hardcore up-cycling: shoe boxes into glam memory boxes (still do it to this day!) and upgrading my wardrobe with bleach, paint or scissors. But today, nothing gets me going like flipping furniture, oh yeah!

Take my latest furniture flip as the perfect example.

I found these chairs and turned their dark, dreadful exterior into something I could live with - literately and figuratively. The BEST art however, is that this project only cost me a total of $13!!

The chairs = FREE, I found them up the block, around the corner. True story.
The Fabric = $4.00 A Target Threshold curtain from the Goodwill ($24 original price)
The Paint = $9 Behr Paint, from Home Depot's "Oops Paint" selection; paint left behind by a customer)
Total = $13

I have this motto I found on Pinterest (really wish I knew the author, so I could give them a long hug)
"Do what you can, with what you have". I apply this mantra daily, maybe multiple times a day.

With that said, I use my apartment's "foyer" to do my DIY projects. {Clearly, a separate garage is at the very top of my dream home must-haves} Fortunately, my neighbors have accepted this side of me. When working on this project after breakfast, one of my neighbors came out and gave me some plastic gloves, she said "don't ruin your manicure". #heartwarming

My littlest and bestest helper, my daughter. She's always volunteering to help. 9 out of 10 times I say no #sorrynotsorry, its just that 9 out of 10 times I'm working with products and equipment not safe for kids, except today! I allowed her to help me paint because the project was fool-proof! I made my own chalk-paint. And one of the best things about chalk paint (besides the fact it dries super fast) Its that it doesn't leave streaks!! She couldn't mess up the paint job, if she tried! So while she gave the chairs their first coat of paint, I got to work on the upholstering part of the chairs.

Here's what I used to upholster the chair. But all you REALLY need is The Staple gun.

This was an inexpensive staple gun from The Home Depot. If you've never upholstered before, I don't recommend getting a more sophisticated tool, keep it simple until you've mastered the skill.

The first thing I did, was remove the (disgusting, dusty) vinyl that the seats had. I used a letter opener,  to pry off the old staples, so fancy.

What is not shown: when I cut the fabric to size. 

All you need to do: trace the old piece of fabric on your new fabric, cut it and staple it.
Important step: Start with the corners.
Give it a clean and neat appearance by folding a pleat as you staple.  

I also considered the pattern on the fabric, I did my best to keep the pattern symmetrical. This especially necessary when working with stripes.

Once the chairs were completed, I screwed them back to the chair frame. It was a really simple project. I can't wait to do it again!

Aren't they grand? It definitely gave our living room a little special something. 

Thanks for stopping by & Happy Thriftin'


Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Prima Ballerina's 3rd Birthday Bash!

I am finally able to share pictures of my daughter's 3rd birthday party from this past February! Long story short, these pictures were held captive in my external hard-drive and have finally been set free! 
[insert emotional crying emoji here]


This birthday party was a true labor of love. Like 250 hours of labor and loads and loads of love.

I began to plan my daughter's party in late October (2015). I did have to take a break in mid December because my December baby was celebrating his 6th Birthday and well he's a super kid, so I had to give him a super hero kind of party. period. But soon after, it was back to ballerina party mode. It was a big deal because this would be my girl's FIRST party EVER.

I just had to share it with y'all because if you're a Mom of one or many, you want two things for your child on their birthday: 1. That your child is really, truly Happy and 2. That you don't break the bank, making her happy. I am happy to say, we accomplished both those things and so here's how we did it!     [I've also included affiliate links to some of the products I used]

For starters, we saved big by hosting the party at home. Sure we don't have the ideal space for entertaining on a daily basis, but we do when we shove our furniture in the bedrooms!

Secondly, we saved bigger cha-ching by avoiding rental fees.  I took my two folding 6ft tables, joined them together and used white tablecloths, topped with lace curtains to hide the plastic industrial look and give it a pretty yet functional seating area  (when styling on a budget, you get creative in the best ways!).  For the tablescape, I used several different elements to fill the large center.  A birdcage on a cake stand with its own DIY tulle skirt, floating candles, her first pair of ballet flats, a cylinder with wands for the girls and individual place settings from, you guessed it, Dollar Tree.

My apartment didn't come with a fancy crystal chandelier, shucks.  So in order to give the room a wow factor, I made a large cluster of tissue paper pom poms, tissue flowers, paper lanterns, like these, ballerinas die cuts and a bead garland (also from DT).  The secret sauce: you can never have too much stuff in your cluster.  Like Ever.  And I don't know if there's anything more inexpensive than tissue paper.

{ When the party was over, I moved this cluster and incorporated into her room decor }

Party favors are usually where I like to spend the bigger buck. Its your way of thanking your guests from coming to celebrate with you and for any gifts that you may have received.  However, I didn't have the big bucks to spend so I made all of my party favors: each ballerina got her own tu-tu!  The tulle skirts were so easy to make but definitely the most time consuming.  But they looked so good on display and on the mini ballerina's it was so worth it! I purchase this tulle.

The Mommas received miniature cake stands that I made (tutorial coming soon) :)

Ballerina die cut, hanging from fishing wire.

This monogram was my favorite DIY! I had found a giant G made of foam board, waking by a GAP store one day and I just had to have it.  I had sprayed it pink and had it mounted over my daughter's headboard.  Then I found this pin on Pinterest using coffee filters as flowers and this beauty was born.  Following this post, I will be sharing individual posts on how I made this and the other fun decor used for the party!  Comment below and let me know which one was your favorite!

{Sigh! This little onesie was how I shared the gender with my beau. He had an inkling that it was a girl, but the surprised still made him surprisingly emotional. It was so sweet}

Another die cut I made.

{That wooden dollhouse above my hutch was a special gift for my daughter from one my dearest friends. She had scored it at a local thrift, and being a mother of four boys, she just couldn't help but spoil my girl with such a beautiful dollhouse! I practically cried, it was something I always wanted as a little girl, so for my baby to have one, made me even more happy}

And now for the cake table, easy DIY backdrop and special custom cakes from none other than my dearest childhood friend and my daughter's Godmother; Oribel from Sugar Cuppies!

Rather than one giant 3 tier cake, I wanted 3 individual cakes. Oribel's fondant skills incorporated the colors and flair in edible versions of the party itself! They were just as yummy as they were pretty! 

I then cut cake toppers using this (My 2015 birthday gift from my beau and bestie!) My favorite birthday gift (besides life itself), to date!

I made these cake stands from plates I scored at the thrift for .50, gold glitter ribbon from DT and a large candlestick I coated with gold glitter, I adhered it using crazy glue... its still standing tall. 

The tissue paper garland was another DIY, obvi.

The pinwheels were adorned with doilies and ballerina silhouettes that I cut using this. I made little tutus using leftover tulle. I placed 3 of these in the middle of a gold vintage frame I found in my building. You have no idea how I geeked I was when I scored this find!

Last but not least, we celebrated my girl, with style and grace and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, even the hiccups... the many many hiccups (like getting sick with Strep throat the day before the party, yeah. that happened). The most important thing remained: Gabby was happy.

Here's my girl blowing her candles for the 3rd time. Ha!
(For privacy reasons, I've excluded pictures of my friends and their little ballerinas.)

El Fin.

.:Next on Sarah Sweet & Simple:.
I will be sharing with you how I made my own party decorations using inexpensive materials so you can give your next event that truly custom and personal touch :) 

And let me know if you have any questions or comments below, I'd love to hear from you!

Sincerely, Sarah

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Small Space Solution: The Baby Wall

When I learned I was expecting baby #4 you can well imagine that I had a panic attack, a freak-out "OMG" moment and then a "pin it and get over it" moment. That's the moment when my mind is so fried that I escape reality by seeking inspiration via Pinterest and then nothing in reality feels so bad (works every time). 

We had recently moved into a bigger apartment, however, space was still limited. The baby would definitely be with us until he was big enough to join his brothers. Therefore, I would only be able to have a "wall" for our baby... that is space for a crib and an armoir of some sort for the baby's things. That's when I saw this beautiful, clean and neutral layout:

This image was embedded in my brain for over a year. I couldn't shake it! Even after the baby was born (our third boy!) And so it happens, that one afternoon, walking home from the park with the kids, I took a detour and walked down a different block than usual and this stunner was kicked the curb and had my name written all over it.

Read my post on how I turned this trashed dresser into a true treasure HERE!

My goal was to create a space for all the baby's things but that didn't make our bedroom feel so much like a nursery. We wanted a nice balance, and to do that I wanted a piece of furniture that worked with the pieces in our room but more importantly, that it was functional.

Although the piece was missing a drawer, I solved the problem by tossing the other drawer and filling the gaps with baskets. The baskets served as storage for the extra diapers, wipes and baby blankets.

The drawers were small, but enough for our babies tiny clothes.
Drawer 1: socks, bibs and burp cloths
Drawer 2: Onesies
Drawer 3: Pajama sets
Drawer 4: Playsets

On top, the changing pad and the must-have wipe warmer (highly recommend!!), diapers and baby lotions and ointments.

Next to the dresser was the baby's crib. And that't it. That's all we needed for our little guy. "The Baby Wall" proved to be a perfect alternative solution to the "nursery" we didn't have.  Overtime, we changed the art in the frames, swapped out the keepsakes for baby books. It was a versatile space to organize the baby's things as he grew.

By baby #4, you realize how much stuff you don't really need. And with limited space, being a mommy minimalist just comes with the territory. Pun not intended ;)


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to Basics: Shelf Life

I am a die-hard fan of shelves. It's like a practical piece of furniture but without the bulk or the commitment. It is my answer to almost every organizing issue: when you don't know where to put your stuff. Your stuff becomes piles of stuff and all over the place. You know the saying "a place for your things and your things in its place". Bingo.

Using shelves can clear off floor space, and who wouldn't want that? They can be used for storage. They can be used to display things. They can be useful anywhere you put them. Here are some ways you can incorporate shelves in every room of your home.

In the Bathroom
Are you limited in storage space in the bathroom? Maria combated her bathroom clutter with a few small shelves to provide great storage for...:

The Kitchen
LOVE, love, love this whole little space...IKEA kitchen carts, shelves and bar with S hooks, baskets and magazine files from HomeGoods, glass canisters from Walmart  {Cozy.Cottage.Cute}:

In the Dining Room
Tour House- Clean Cottage Decor:

In the Living Room
Cute cozy gray living room | gray and white patterned ottomans | gray couch | gray walls | gray rug:

The Home Office

The Master Bedroom
Instead of a gallery wall, use Ikea picture ledges so you can swap out the art and frames whenever you want!:

The Beauty Bar

The Kid's Bedroom
beautifully styled girl's bedroom shelves // caitlin wilson:

As you can see, shelves come in all shapes, colors and sizes making they're appearance and functionality super versatile. Its a win win.

Now, let's talk about how to implement shelves in your home (and yeah, how to mount them!)

There are a few design rules to consider when mounting shelves. #1 on the list:

When mounting a shelves, use the rule of 3. Like in life - one is a loner, two is a couple and three is a party! ;)

Second, consider the space where you want to mount the shelves - that will determine the kind of shelves you will use. There are floating shelves; usually thicker without visible brackets. Ledges (my new favorite) are thin about 3 in deep and 1/2 in height. I recommend these sorts of shelves to lean frames and books and smaller items. And your average (but never boring) shelf with brackets, can hold plenty of things and the most weight (see the instructions below to secure mounting). My tip: have fun with the brackets. IKEA USA has a large variation of inexpensive brackets. Have fun trying different colors with spray paint.

Third, how to style your shelves. If you're mounting shelves in the living room or kitchen - try to minimize how much stuff you put on them. Too much of a good thing can make the room look instantly cluttered. Space items out and use a variety of different elements in various sizes (tall and small, round and skinny); books, pictures, a decorative storage box, a stylish structure, a live or faux plant or floral arrangement. But if you're using your shelves for storage, try using bins, baskets and boxes in the same color and similar style, the key to being organized is also to keep it tidy, a solid color palette will make it pleasing to the eye. If you'd like to know more about how to organize your bins and boxes, let me know in the comments below, it will certainly need its own post!

Finally, I can give you my personal how-to mount a shelf but at this point, I wing it, sometimes I even cut corners (shh don't tell!) But if you've never used a drill or even hammer, I think a thorough tutorial is required so I went to my online handyman for help!

Check out this How to Hang Shelves by the Family Handyman

Hope you found this post helpful! And if you try the shelf thing, share your victory with me below!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Loving The Home You Have

Having a place to call home is a blessing. Despite the chaos surrounding us, the clutter in the entryway, the overstuffed mail sorter, there are things you can always love about your home. Ga'head, make a list. I'll wait.

I gave myself this same task a few weeks ago when I found myself frustrated with the constant hustle and bustle of running a household and the very little that I actually enjoyed about it. I follow some bloggers with homes that can make your mouth water. My IG is flooded with constant posts of beautiful homes, perfectly tidy kid rooms, bright and airy living rooms, cozy guest rooms, state of the art kitchens with freshly cut peonies on the island. I mean, c'mon! But its out there. And as a content consumer, I found myself overly consumed by it. I admire those women who keep up their homes just so. Want to know what else I noticed? many don't have kids. And if they do, they're old enough to wipe their own bums and pour their own cereals. You know what I would be capable of if my kids could do that!? I'd plank a wall. I'd stain my wood floors 5 shades darker. I'd try one of those Shanty2Chic projects. No wait, that can't be done in an apartment in Brooklyn. Or can it? hmm.

But the reality is, my kids are still small and need me for feedings and baths and playtime and cuddles. And I need them to need me as much as possible because they're not going to be so little forever. By the way, I do remind myself of this every time I complain about not having time to myself to paint or mount a shelf. My kids need me. Period.

Moreover, my home is MY home. It's what I prayed God for and I got. Which is a lesson in itself. My prayers were more like "God, we just need more space for my family! I need more rooms, more closets" God was like check, check check. Thank you Lord. Next time, I will definitely be more specific in my prayers... because that's how God works. And besides, I've put in a lot of love in to making my home, mine (or ours). I've done what I could with what I could and that keeps me excited about what to do next.

Loving the home you have makes your home perfect just the way it is. Appreciating that I have a roof over my head to having nice linens on my bed. It's about investing in what you have or dreaming a new dream. But never settle and don't break the bank. That's it. Love your home. And more importantly, love the people you share it with,


Friday, January 8, 2016

From Shabby to Chic: Kitchen Sideboard UPDATE

Here's how I turned a $25 Thrift Store dresser from its shabby state to a chic AND functional kitchen sideboard.

What I did:
I took my handy dandy electronic sander and gave the top a good sanding, it really needed it. The rest of the body and drawers didn't, so I just made sure to wipe it clean of dust, residue and the like. Followed by 1 coat of primer. I believe in primer especially when painting a dark piece a light color, For two specific reasons: Your paint would adhere better (important when painting laminate) and you'll save on using so much of your very expensive paint! By the way, ALWAYS go for a quart than a gallon unless you're painting a room.

The color: Benjamin Moore Spa Day
 I painted the drawers in the kid's room (they "camped" in our room for a week until the smell was clear). Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do when you don't have the luxury of a yard or a garage.

I gave the body and the drawers 2 coats of paint. The second coat was to cover any and all streaks for a seamless finish. I let dry for 48 hours before putting anything on top. If you're painting in hot climate where humidity is high, I would wait even longer. The paint will feel dry to the touch but it can become sticky to furnishings. You want it to be super duper dry before giving it any use.

Here's what you don't see: the middle doors, which I decided not to use since I use the three center drawers for pots and pans. I need quick and easy access to these items and the doors would just be an extra step I didn't need. And besides, I think it appeals to the kitchen much better this way.

Finally, ABOVE the sideboard is this:

In conclusion: don't judge a dresser by it's "supposed purpose" give it new life and new use and you'll be amazed by the result.