Embracing the Rainbow: DIY Painted Candlestick Holders and Lessons Learned in Accessorizing your Fireplace.

Mantle decorated… go ahead and check that off the list!

This living room is starting to look like the people that live here have got it together! (Don’t let it fool you, we definitely don’t)

Three sentances in, and already on a tangent. Any hoo… Look! Look!

Ok. So, I know mantles are not the most exciting topic in the world, And, as far as mantles go, it’s probably not the most amazing mantle in the world. But, still, I am pretty proud of it!

I have a confession to make, Decor accessories freak me out. Ceramic knickknacks, while I often admire them on the racks at TJ Maxx, we don’t own a single one. (I really love those glass sand timer things… but I have no idea where it is appropriate to display one) I always look on in envy at the little vignettes, created of frames and candles and odds and ends, that other people are able to arrange so easily. I’ve just never been able to do it. Until now.

What really makes the mantle, is those rainbow candle holders.  My latest little DIY project. (When I dreamed this up- I thought I was a genious! That this was a completely original idea. Then I started seeing painted candlestick holders all over Pinterest. Martha Stewart even has a tutorial… Damn you Martha!)

Here’s how I did it:

I bought several brass candlestick holders from the local thrift store. All of them were under $1 (What a deal!) (Kennedy liked them too. She wanted me to tell you they make a lot of awesome noises when you beat them against the floor.)

Next, we washed them. (Or rather, I tried to keep the water in the bucket while Kennedy helped.)

There was still a little wax residue in the hard to reach spots. So we boiled it.That did the trick.

I gave the candle holders time to dry completely.

Time to prime. I used a primer made by Valspar (from Lowes) that was designed especially for metal. I sprayed a coat of primer over each candle holder. The candle holders had a lot of nooks and crannies, and I wanted to be thorough, so, after a couple hours, I turned them upside-down and sprayed another coat. 

Then I went wild on the spray paint aisle. I looked at dozens of colors before settling on these (later, I switched out that farmhouse blue (upper middle) for a brilliant orange):

And sprayed away. This took several coats. Some more than others. I used a variety of spray paint brands. The most difficult thing was getting the color even on such uneven surfaces. A more experienced spray painter may be able to do it in a coat or two.

(As you can see, at this point I had developed a vision for the mantle and added a couple frames.)

And look at those beauties! Don’t they make you smile!

Here’s a close up of the other side, just in case you’re wondering about my the rainbow frames.

Turns out I didn’t use all the pieces I spray painted on the mantle. It looked way too chaotic with the whole mantle filled  up. It took me countless rearrangements and hours of staring to figure out that the ‘less is more’ mantra is really the way to go when it comes to mantle accessorizing.

I may used the extra candlesticks somewhere else. Maybe on our bar. Or maybe one day I’ll get the courage to attempt a centerpiece arrangement on the dinner table and they’ll be a part of that. Who knows? Another post for another time.

For now, lets just admire my beautiful mantle one last time. It’s everything I could hope for in a mantle… playfully sophisticated… subtly colorful … eclectically traditional.

Do you love it?

What about you? Have you been playing with spraying paint lately? I now have a collection of spray paints in the garage and I am on the prowl. Give me some ideas!


One of Those Everyday Moments

This morning was a rough one. Breakfast featured a bowl of cheerios, tossed on the floor. She’s also developed an aversion to clothes, so getting dressed was a twenty minute tug of war session. A trip to the grocery store ended abruptly with the onset of a temper tantrum.

We pulled in the driveway of the house. I unbuckle her and set her free.

A moment later, I see this.

It was either get upset or just go with it. There was no way to win this one. Her shoes were already soaked.  We had nothing better to do. I sighed, grabbed the camera and started snapping.

She splished.

She splashed.

She explored.

She found treasures.

And splashed some more.

She searched for other puddles.

The mud got on her face.

And in her hair.

It was just a wonderful everyday moment that almost didn’t happen. Sometimes I get so caught up with what our plans are and what we should be doing.

Sometimes I forget that she’s a little person who just wants to express herself. So I write this post as a reminder to myself; To let always let her play in the mud; to not fuss over spilled Cheerios; to let her run around naked, occasionally. To let her be her amazing 18- month- old self.

Mirror, Mirror

Another living room project to check off the list! I’m on fire this week!

I bought this mirror a couple years ago from Pier 1.

I have always liked it… but not really that much. It just never really jibbed with what I was trying to accomplish in the living room. When I decided give the living room a serious makeover (read more about that here), that mirror was one of the first things that I knew needed to change. I didn’t want to trash it- there’s nothing wrong with it, and I paid a pretty penny for it (well, a pretty penny in my world, a world where large accessories are not normally purchased, but made.) So I decided to paint it.

I’ve been working on it for months, just a half hour here and there, whenever a surge of focus and energy coincided with a sleeping toddler.

And drum roll please!

I am really pleased with it. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt that before it just took itself to seriously and now it has that playful to match the rest of the room.

You can see I wasn’t real precise about staying in the “lines”. Believe or not that was intentional. The imperfections adds the whimsical quality. I think my favorite part is the yellow- it really pops! Although the blue holds it’s own too!

I opted not to paint the red on the bottom. I may one day, but for now it works, keeps the frame grounded. I already had the black and grey,  but I picked up the blue and yellow up at Hobby Lobby. They were on sale for 2 dollars each. That’s right, this makeover cost my 4 dollars plus tax…. that’s right in my budget!

Doesn’t it look good with my freshly painted walls? Oh, I love easy improvements!

Before & Progress: The Living Room

It’s been quiet round here, atleast at the Schmitt House Blog. At the actual Schmitt house- it’s been anything but. Perhaps you remember my longwinded, gripe-filled post about my living room a few weeks back? Well, no more griping, it is official- I have completed the first few steps towards making my living room fabulous!

I am so excited about how it is coming together already! And this is just the beginning!

Before I reveal all, let’s back track… Here’s a few before photos:

Kind of makes you want to pull your hair out, right?

And now, the very same room after a couple coats of paint!

Don’t mind the dust on the mantle- I was a bit over eager to document the loveliness that is my living room, I promise it has been since cleaned up. And ignore the toys all over the floor, just keeping it real. If it’s between 8 in the morning and 8 in the evening, there’s no getting away from them. But other than those little details… isn’t it just a marvelous change? Come on say it.. Oh la la! The color we went with is Sherwin Williams 7534 Outerbanks. I love it, It just infuses light and warmth into the room.

Here’s another view:

We also got new curtains. That was a big decision. That bag in the foreground- it’s filled the three sets of curtains that didn’t make the cut. As for the keepers, I have had my eye on similar curtains from World Market for a while, but at 25 dollars a pop, I was waiting on a super good sale. Instead, I scored these sparkly gems at TJ Maxx for $25 for the pair. At the store, I thought they might be too bright, but no, they are just right. It’s not over though,  I might add some white sheers… What do you think?

One more angle:

(Please excuse the exposed bulbs on the fan. Another project to put on the list.)The red wall is gone. I kind of thought I would miss it, I fought so hard for it, and defended it for so long, but I have to admit (grudgingly), everyone was right. It was too dark. Although I remain fond of the memory, this is so much better. When you open the door and walk into the house, this new color quietly beckons you in, tells you to take off your shoes and gives you a hug. The blood red wall just kind of said “BAM! I’m here!”

There must be a dozen things I still need to do, the biggest of them being to paint all the trim and moldings, the smallest being to put up art. One wall hasn’t even been painted yet. But It’s an inspiring start. Devin, who could care less about anything decor-related(, unless it relates to where his electronics are stored,) actually told me that “he can see the room’s potential and is excited about it!”

What about you? Anyone painting? Redecorating? Anyone else tripping over Let’s Rock Elmo all day long?

An Afternoon at the Museum… with 3 Kids Under 3… is Exhausting

That’s right last week we drove to the Lafayette and visited the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. In total, there were 6 of us, Kennedy and I, of course, and our friends, Chloe (who is 2) and Dean (who is 9 months), and their parents. The kids had a blast, the parents did too. Here’s some of the details of the excursion.

One of the first rooms was the Grocery Store. Kennedy and Chloe pushed around little grocery carts like mad women grocery shopping before a Sunday dinner.

Don’t expect many smiles from my little redhead in this post. She refused to nap that morning.

They also ‘rang up’ all their items, which mostly consisted of slamming random buttons until the register opened.

Chloe, much to her Daddy’s dismay, focused on items like soymilk, tofu, and radishes.

Kennedy, not to be outdone, went straight to the meat aisle and filled her cart with t-bones and sausages.

Then there was the Toddler Play Area. It was a wide open area filled with a playhouse, a treehouse, a train set, a couple horses to climb, books to read and puzzles to figure out. Pretty much the stuff toddler dreams are made of.

The train set table has a hole in the center so you can be surrounded, the complete 360 degrees, by trains. Awesomeness.

This was pretty much the best smile I got all afternoon, atleast, on camera. This in a little treehouse. She loved it. Claimed it as her own. The only way to get her out was to climb up in there myself.

But right back in she’d go. I promised her we’d build her one. Seriously, can you imagine a tree house loft over her bed in a couple years? I think that would officially make her childhood magical!

I think Baby Dean was a fan of the tree house too. Especially with his Mama in the window.

Sharing the horsey… It lasted about 30 seconds…

And there was a Bubble Room. I was sure this would blow lil’ miss’s mind, but didn’t go over as well as I thought. Must be the lack of nap in the air.

The photo’s terrible, but isn’t that awesome? You can create a bubble around yourself. That’s right, you can be inside a bubble! We need one of these at the house too! (For me, but Kennedy can play too!)


There were also a bunch of troughs and wands to make huge bubbles.

There was a Cafe too.

Look at that, brother and sister making red beans and rice!

What a handsome boy!

I went a little photo crazy with him!

Last one!

There was also a newsroom.

“And now to Kennedy for the latest on the state of the economy.”

An ambulance.

Before I know it, she’ll be able to see over that wheel!

A veterinary office.

He likes monkeys.

About seven minutes after we got in the car to go home, I looked back and the Kennedy was sound asleep. At just the same time, I got a text saying Chloe and Dean had zonked out too. That has got to be some sort of record, three babies asleep in less than seven minutes.

What an afternoon!

Her New Chairs

We received a package from Grandpa yesterday. It contained two of these fun little numbers:

MAMMUT Children's chair, blue Width: 15 3/8 " Height: 26 3/8 " Seat depth: 10 1/4 " Seat height: 11 3/4 "  Width: 39 cm Height: 67 cm Seat depth: 26 cm Seat height: 30 cm

from: Ikea

I put one together while the Kennedy watched over her bowl of Cheerios this morning. By the time I had clicked two of the legs into place, she knew what it was. “Chair! Chair! My Chair!” Squeal of delight. “My Chair! Blue Chair! My chair!” That continued through the end of breakfast and hand washing.

I put her down and she wasted no time testing that baby out.

Once she got up, she took a minute to revel in the size appropriateness. Then she gave me sweet eyes.

Look Mama, I’m so big! Kick, kick, kick! Oh, the possibilities!

In our house, we welcome furniture by pushing it around the house. The dog helped.

Then she discovered the second chair. She demanded, in true 18-month-old-fashion, that I put together that one as well. Cause, you know it might be different.

One for me, one for Elmo!

Thanks, Grandpa!


Lil Miss and Her Green Thumb

New Year’s Resolution Number 16: Plant a garden with Kennedy.

New Year’s Resolution Number 9: Make our home more beautiful.

Check and fraction of a check!

I used to buy indoor plants a lot. The deep green ones that are hardy and impossible to kill. I stopped because I killed them, all of the every time. After Kennedy was born, I received a few congratulatory plants in the mail. They died too. Consequently, I never gave much thought to planting a garden. My brown thumb should never get near anything green. But, as I’ve watched Kennedy grow and develop into a little person with her own interests and her own tastes in the last few months, the idea has bubbled to the forefront of my mind several times. They say it’s impossible to know at 18 months old, but I can see her dad’s passion for math and science run through her veins as well. She is particularly enamored with the concept of action and reaction, and I see her perform little science experiments all day long. (This week we love to turn the light on and off on and off, on and off.)

I don’t expect to grasp the concept of a growing plant right now, but it seemed right up her alley. So I did a couple internet searches on things like “toddler gardens” and “when to plant.” Turns out January is the perfect time to start a garden in Louisiana (I’ll never get over warm weather in January!)  So off to Lowes we went. I bought some seed starting mix and some seeds.I got vegetable and herb seeds. I meant to buy flower seeds too, but all the veggies just looked so good. Just look at those purple carrots, I can already hear the crispy crunch as I take a bite. And fresh lavender? Well, that was just too lovely of an idea to pass up.  We’ll get flowers later.

The rest of the tools were already in my garage. With the exception of the gloves, I am not 100 percent sure how they got there, Probably a former roommate.

The first step of a garden is to plant the seeds in those card board potters (Probably not the right name, but accurately descriptive, so we’ll stick with it). 1 seed in each potter. Keep the soil moist and indoors for 6-8 weeks before transplanting into the ground. That’s basically what I got from my Google search.

But let me back it up and slow it down.

First we filled the little potters with soil. Lil’ Miss took to this right away. She filled all 48 spaces like a pro.

Sorry for the messy patio. And the weird cropping. It’s been a while since I used my point and shoot camera.

Then we added the seeds. Turns outs I bought way too many. I would be surprised if we used a quarter of the seeds that I purchased. Something to possibly keep in mind, (I didn’t think about it beforehand) for gardening with young toddlers is the size of the seeds. The green beans and the cantaloupe had seeds big enough for Kennedy to plant herself. The tomato plant seeds were teeny tiny, the broccoli and cauliflower seeds were pretty small too. That isn’t to say she got frustrated though- she understood where the seeds were supposed to go and happily took charge of the task.

Some of the seeds got roommates though- I hope that won’t be an issue in a few weeks.

She even found some dried beans on the ground (probably from an activity we did together a few weeks ago) and planted those. That amazed me! I didn’t really expect her to make the connection. What a smart cookie!

I tried to get a photo of the two of us in the window reflection. After all- moments like these I’ll have to treasure when she is 16 and wants nothing to do with me.

Then we watered our seeds. I don’t have a watering can (maybe this is why all my indoor plants died?), so I used a cup.

Now just to sit back and let those babies grow. Hopefully Kennedy’s thumb will out green my brown thumb.

In the meantime, does anyone have any tips? Comments? Gardening resources? Did I already so something to kill the broccoli? I could use all the help I can get!