before and after: kitchen table and chairs

table and chairs: after

I love paint. It’s such a fun and cheap change. And if you don’t like it later, all it takes is more paint. It’s easy and fixable, and it can be a great way to add color and character to your space on a budget. And if you’re a renter who can’t paint your walls, why not paint your furniture?

I started with a kitchen table and chairs that, though lovely, were not exactly my style, and I ended up with the perfect fun, bright table set for my kitchen. I guess I spoiled it by starting with the after, but here is the before:

kitchen table and chairs before

The chairs were covered in a forest green with woodland creatures. And the table was very nice, but not my favorite shade of wood.

kitchen table and chairs before

I wanted to add some color and make it my own, so I immediately turned to paint. With a few coats of paint and some new fabric for the chairs, I knew I could turn this table into something brand new and totally me.

I was inspired by an image I saw in HGTV magazine that unfortunately got tossed during the move. I love the strong red and the contrast with the white inside the bathtub. And the delicate wallpaper is so beautiful.

bathroom inspirationI decided on a two-tone table, using a bold color and white, and painted chairs to match. I started by picking out fabric for the chair cushion. I fell in love with this fantastic blue and white fabric that was delicate, graphic, and interesting–like the wallpaper in my inspiration. (Fabric is Valley of Azure, designed by Leah Duncan in the Meadow collection.)

recovered seat cushion

I waffled for days on what colors to choose and exactly how to paint the table, but I ended up with Midnight Swim and a pure white of True Value EasyCare paint in a satin finish. I decided on blue for the top and white on the legs.Continue reading “before and after: kitchen table and chairs”

small cool space

rae's days small cool spaces

I finished one of my 2013 goals of decorating my apartment to enter Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool Spaces contest! I’m so happy with my home. I am really proud of turning this apartment into a place I truly enjoy spending time in and showing off. Please stop by Apartment Therapy’s site and vote for my place and any others that you like!


I love having a full size couch. In my old apartment I could only fit a loveseat, and it was a little too small for company or comfortable naps. Plus, I got to add some pillows that I made!

Continue reading “small cool space”

pillow talk

rae's days couch

It’s finally time for Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool Spaces contest! I can’t wait to enter, but first I have a few finishing touches to complete for my apartment. One of those touches is these throw pillows.

throw pillows

I made them! Well, I made the pillow cases, anyway. The pillow forms I got from Ikea.

Continue reading “pillow talk”

home improvements

My mom is in town, and it’s been so great! She has graciously been helping around the house and that’s meant lots of cleaning and errand running, and also lots of huge improvements to every day life. I’ll post more of the whole apartment later, but check out the before and after of this not new but definitely improved bookcase!



Huge difference, right?

this weekend

embroidery display rae's days

fabric rae's days

mirror rae's days

blanket rae's days

bed rae's days

No new embroidery this week, but I did update the display! My mom is in town visiting and the week was full of errand running and getting ready, and now that she’s here it’s full of fun. We are working on my apartment in between running around the city. I got some fabric to make pillow cases for the couch and bed. I got a new mirror for the bedroom that I hope to hang up today. I also got a flamingo blanket that #fatcat likes to nap under. Hope you all are having a great weekend! Doing a lot of work around here, hope to post some updates this week and get back to embroidery next Sunday.

Usually each Sunday I post the embroidery project I am working on to sew some of my favorite quotes from books. Let me know if you have any quote suggestions! You can see the other quotes in my embroidery project here:

design question

I need help. (I mean, it’s not that serious, it’s a decorating problem, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.)

I’ve been obsessed with getting my apartment as close to finished as possible, and I’m a little stuck with the wall in my bedroom.

bedroom polka dots

Ideally, I’d love to hang an elaborately framed mirror above the bed, but I got a little skittish about hanging a heavy mirror in my rented apartment and also paying for a mirror. So I saw these very cheap black circle mouse pad and thought, why not? So I echoed what I did in my living room….

living room

…but in my bedroom. My worry is that it might look a little immature in my bedroom, where it’s large black polka dots and bright colors. On the other hand, it’s a cheap way to build on a polka dot theme and decorate the wall above my bed. What do you think, yay or nay? What else could I do there that will still let me keep my deposit?

Also, I’ve updated the living room since this picture was taken as well. I can’t wait til it’s ready to show you everything. Back to books and crafts and such later on this week, thanks for helping me get this out of my head and taken care of!

apartment update

One of my goals this year was to get my apartment ready in time to enter it in Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool Spaces contest. I believe it’s usually in April, which gives me about one more month to put on the final touches. Back in November, I listed some of my dream goals for my apartment. So how am I doing?

fatcat comforter

#fatcat on my new duvet cover, which is one thing on my list I crossed off.

for the living room/kitchen

  • get a cowhide rug for the living room, poking out from under the couch 
  • buy (or make!) some giant, round crocheted round rugs for under the table and desk–Still on the search for the perfect rugs for these spots
  • find a cool umbrella stand for next to my front door 
  • place a tiny table or shelf on the wall next to my front door, and maybe a home sweet home artwork or something of the sort —I did find the perfect sized shelves for next to my front door, but I still want to paint them and add a home sweet home artwork for above where I hang my keys.
  • print this gunslinger-inspired print for above my bookshelf–I didn’t end up using that print, but I did fill my wall with paintings that my family and I made.

raes days art wall

  • buy and paint some crown molding to frame my full length mirrors 
  • get a chair for my kitchen table–I ended up using this chair for my desk instead of my kitchen table. My mom has an amazing black and white chair I’m hoping to get my hands on soon for the kitchen area 
  • and some folding chairs for guests
  • get more magnets to keep putting photo on my fridge/front door–This is probably the easiest thing on the list so of course I haven’t done it yet
  • use washi tape to cover up some tile I don’t like in the bathroom–I have ordered some washi tape and I hope to do this as soon as it arrives

for the bedroom

  • this handy craft to make a jewelry holder (i already have the frame)–Done!

raes days jewelry holder

  • I’ve fallen in love with this duvet cover–Also done! I had a moment of panic a few days ago when I realized that I still wanted this duvet cover and it was most likely out of stock. So I looked online–where it was sold out–and check if it was available in stores–it mostly wasn’t–until I found ONE left at a Crate & Barrel in the city. So I called them, ordered it, and picked it up later that day. And the best part was that it was for less than half of the original price. I wouldn’t recommend this as a game plan, though, if it’s something you really want.
  • paint screens to use as a headboard–I have a different plan for my headboard now, but I love the way I’m using these screens instead.

raes days picture shutters

  • yet another round rug for next to the bed–Right now I’m leaning toward using faux sheepskin instead of a round rug

So, I’ve crossed some items off, changed my mind on a few things, and am still waiting to accomplish a few more. Not bad, but I better pick up the pace. I can’t wait to get everything done and share it with you.