Coffee Table Decor using Antique Shop Books

Spring is my favorite time of the year here in Maryland. It’s so gorgeous, green and vibrant throughout the state, I can’t get enough of it. The humidity and unbearable heat haven’t kicked in yet, so it’s still actually enjoyable to be outside. Spring is also when the farmers markets and outdoor festivals begin, too. I must say, I absolutely LOVE street festivals. Live music, food, drinks, fun activities for the kids, what more could I ask for? The first Friday of every month (from May-October) my town closes the streets downtown for pedestrians only. Vendors and small businesses set up tents selling their products/merchandise and all of the restaurants set up cafe-like seating outside on the street and serve food and drinks. There are different bands on every street corner and there are typically fun street performances or parades. It is friendly for the entire family, including dogs. Last year we moved in the middle of August so we were only able to go to two of the festivals, so this year I hope I don’t miss any! The first was last Friday and it was a BLAST! I’ve never stayed later than 7:00 because bedtimes-a-callin for Sophie, but I bet it gets pretty crazy after that. Yesterday morning was also the opening day of my town’s local farmers market! It’s every Saturday and I absolutely love going. They sell all local produce, plants, ice cream, dairy products, meats, beer, wine, essential oils, coffee, pastries, desserts, the list is never-ending. They do an amazing job. I typically go when they open at 9:00 and somehow I end up at the wine tent sampling everything. I clearly like to start my Saturday off on the right foot. I always sample all the sweets and cheeses too, so don’t worry I’m getting a full balanced breakfast. Yesterday I went with my girlfriend and we scarfed down vegan whoopie pies and dark chocolate caramel bark all before 10:00am. We did manage to take a picture of some vegetables, but we didn’t buy any. Next week I have better intentions.

Farmers Market

Right next to the farmers market is one of my favorite antique shops. I have been looking for a galvanized bucket for my new (REAL!!) Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. I figured I’d stop in and take a peak around. I have also been looking for new books for my coffee table. I needed large, skinny books and I haven’t had luck finding ones that were the right color or that didn’t have weird titles. The Antique shop had a huge selection, and on our way out there was a big wall of exactly the size I needed. They had so many cool books about Maryland, but I was on a budget and the Maryland ones were $20 each. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before how cheap I am, and I needed 4-5 books, so that wasn’t happening. I was looking for hardcovers that were coastal colored and found a ton! I ended up getting 5 books for $6 each. I know thrift stores probably have them cheaper, but these books are really cool so I’m ok with it.

Coffee Table Decor BooksCoffee Table Styling 2

fiddle leaf fig

I layered my new (old) books underneath the decor to create a focal point and I love the way it turned out! It’s crazy how a small adjustment makes a huge difference. It’s also nice when something is multi-purpose, the books add different heights to the table, and they’re good reading material. I keep thinking about one of the Maryland books, so I might have to suck it up and go buy it. I’d love to hear how you decorate with books, let me know how you incorporate them into your home!

Coffee Table Styling 1Coffee Table Decor

-Jessie

DIY Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

If you are at all interested in home decor, or perhaps house plants, you probably know the “it” tree is the Fiddle Leaf Fig. Personally, I love it. I love everything about it; the pretty green tropical leaves, the fun name, the beauty and conversation it brings to a room..shall I go on? I remember seeing them pop up a few years ago and I told myself I NEED that tree. I began my hunt for this majestic tree, but it was harder to find than I thought. None of the local nursery’s were selling it, and I’m not sure why but I couldn’t get myself to buy one online. I lost interest in finding a live one, and when I think about it, it was probably for the best. If I laid my paws on it, that sucker would’ve been dead in no time. One thing I am really good at is killing plants. Except orchids, I’m not sure why but I have always been able to keep them alive and thriving. Anyways, I moved on to plan B, a fake tree. It would save me money in the end vs. spending $50-$200 every few months on a living tree. All the forums online say they can be pretty difficult to keep alive, so I know that I made the right decision. Faux trees are still really expensive, especially for a good quality, realistic tree. I ended up ordering one of mine from Amazon for about $90.00. It was a warehouse deal because the box was mangled. Pretty much all the leaves weren’t in tact and one of the stems holding the tree up was broke. I used a zip-tie around the base to hold all the stems together, and put it in a basket to hide everything. It worked pretty well, and the tree looks ok. It definitely doesn’t look real, but it’s huge and fills an awkward, empty corner in my living room. The tree has held me over for the last year or so, but I see all these pictures of gorgeous faux fiddle leaf figs and I get so jealous! I started looking for a new one, one that looks more like a fiddle leaf, and a bit more realistic. Target had two options, but they were both smaller than I hoped for and they were more than I wanted to spend. I saw an ad that Michael’s had Fiddle Leaf  Fig’s and they were on sale for $40! In the picture the tree looked exactly how I was hoping and it said it was 4.5 ft tall–YESSS!! However, my dreams were crushed as soon as I walked in and saw that the tree was $129.99. Even if I used a 50% off coupon I didn’t want to spend that much. I asked a sales associate about the tree in the ad and she said it was a smaller tree that they sold out of about 3 months ago. She didn’t think they were going to get anymore in stock and I was out of luck.

Amazon Fiddle Leaf
My faux Fiddle Leaf from Amazon. (This was a warehouse deal)

I was about to go drown my sorrows in the Starbucks next door but as I was leaving I saw Fiddle Leaf Fig stems! They were huge, and looked pretty realistic. They were $19.99 each, but they were on sale for 60% off, so they would only be $8/stem. A little buzzer went off in my head and I wondered how difficult it would be to make my own knock-off tree. I found the biggest vase the store had, which wasn’t as big as I’d hoped, but I was on a mission so I grabbed it. I picked out three stems (I think I will go back for another one to fill out a bit more), the biggest galvanized bucket they had, faux grass filler, and twine. I was able to get an additional military discount, and I had a few coupons on top of that, so everything was a little less than $35.

Fiddle Leaf step 1
All of my materials. (minus the foam)

I had a foam floral ball hanging around, so I ended up not needing to use the twine I bought. I was going to tie the stems together using the twine and then add the grass filler to hide the ties. The foam ball worked a lot better, so i would definitely recommend that over anything else. I stuck the foam ball into the vase and pushed each stem through. I pushed them in at different heights so it would look more realistic and appear bigger. Once I was satisfied with the different heights I added the grass filler to cover the foam piece. It took less than 5 minutes to put everything together.

I am so excited with how this project turned out! I think it looks better than the one in the store, and it was a fraction of the cost. I think I will be taking a trip back to Michael’s tomorrow to make a few more of these to keep on hand. You never know when you might get a hankerin’ for a Fiddle Leaf, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes if you’re Fiddle Leaf-less.

DIY Fiddle Leaf Fig

-Jessie

DIY Inexpensive Wall Art

Pinterest is one of my best friends. I pin everything. I always have high hopes that I will actually do some of the awesome projects I see, but I rarely ever get around to tackling them. I like to think of myself as crafty, but I’m really not. Every once in awhile I’ll surprise myself and come up with a good idea that actually turns out pretty cool. THIS IS ONE OF THEM! Decorating on a budget is my jam. I love bargain shopping, I have to really love something to pay full price for it. Pretty much everything I own was on sale/clearance/or thrifted. Something that is still lacking/incomplete in my house is art. Paintings don’t usually come cheap, so i like to buy prints off Etsy and frame them. I have quite a few prints around my house, but I don’t have many large pieces. I feel like most rooms need a good statement piece, or something that draws attention. I’ve been working on my new guest room (no, the wall still isn’t finished) and realized it was lacking color. The walls aren’t painted yet, and the bedding is pretty bland so I wanted a pop of color. I was looking for a big painting/print to go above the bed, but everything was either too expensive or too generic. I was strolling through Homegoods and I found a large framed canvas print on clearance for $20.00. I know absolutely nothing about painting, so I wondered if I could paint over what was printed on it currently. Besides finger painting with my one year old I think the last time I painted was in middle school art class. One of my best friends is an amazing artist, so I knew I could pick her brain to see if any of this was possible. Not only did she say it was, she said it would be easy to do (I didn’t need to prime anything first, I could just pick up a brush and go). Her and I took a trip to Michael’s together and she showed me what paints to buy and what paint brushes would be best to use. I mentioned earlier I like decorating on a budget, AKA I’m super cheap. My friend told me I only needed white, and maybe two other colors for what I was looking to do. I ended up getting a starter pack of Artist’s Loft Acrylic Paint because it was on sale for $9.99 and had all the colors I was looking for. I also opted out of getting a paint brush because they were expensive and I wasn’t sure how this would turn out/if I would ever do it again. So I chose sponges. I got a 3-pack of painting sponges for $1.99 and cut them all in half so I didn’t mix the colors. My girlfriend told me to paint like I was using a normal brush, and when I needed to blend, pretend like I was blending my makeup. I love makeup, so I was hoping this would be simple and fun.

Art Original
Framed Canvas before I repainted it.

I taped the frame around the canvas to protect it from my sponge. Paint did leak in a few spots, but once it dried it peeled right off. I used my daughters set up in her playroom, and I must say it worked pretty well. I sat in her miniature chair and used her miniature easel, I felt like Picasso. I also flipped her trash can upside down and used it as a little table to hold my prosecco. It was like one of those wine and paint nights, but at home, and with dog friends instead of human friends.

Art Before-Taped
Tape on the frame on the canvas
art-before
Where the magic happened

I started with one shade of blue and just went a little crazy. I wasn’t sure what I was doing so I just moved the sponge around in random places. I’d choose another color and do the same thing. I kept repeating until there was nothing left to paint. I’m happy I got the set of paint that I did because I ended up using most of the colors except for black and red. Once I was happy with how it looked I added white to blend colors and to lighten it up a bit. I had the intention of not going all the way to the edges with paint, but I couldn’t stop, it just felt so right. When I was finished I decided it needed another pop of a different color, so I added a little bit of yellow and then put my sponge down so I wouldn’t keep going. I personally love how it turned out, and especially because I made something. It was so easy to do, and the entire cost of the project was less than $35.00. I got a little lost in time so I have no idea how long it took me, but I’m going to say less than 45 minutes from taping to finishing. I also loved doing it, so now I’m going to be on the lookout for other cheap art i can repaint. This canvas is 3ftx3ft and was already framed, you could easily go to Michael’s and buy a cheaper canvas (you’d need a coupon) and frame it out yourself for an even lower cost project.

Art After-Drying
Finished! Sorry for the dark picture, my camera died so I had to use my cell phone.
Guest Room After
Finished product!
Art After
Up-close of the painting.

I’d love to see some of your DIY art projects! Let me see what you’ve done!
-Jessie