October 15, 2009

National Poetry Day

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city

on silent haunches
and then moves on.

-Carl Sandburg (1916)

October 12, 2009

Letter Sorter Therapy

What a sad-looking little letter organizer. Dull brown finish. Labeled a meager $1.99. Empty of all manner of junk mail or office supplies. Simply unable to fulfill its organizational destiny. (Can you hear the violin music?)

I was at the thrift store a few months ago and spotted this gem lying at the end of a checkout aisle. It was ugly, but that day happened to be Labor Day, which means everything is half price! So I purchased it and toted it home where it continued to exist in its depressed state until yesterday when I finally made it purty.

First, I spray painted it a nice off-white, neutral shade:

Yep, that's a glossy finish. This thing's going to sit on my kitchen counter, so it needs to be easy to clean.

Not so sad-looking anymore, but not necessarily chipper, wouldn't you agree? I decided it needed a little color, so I dug out some botanical print scrapbook paper and Mod Podged the backs of the slots:

Now that's an improvement! I added a few label holders and this little letter sorter looked like it was practically smiling at me! But it still wasn't fulfilling its organizational destiny, so...

I stuffed it full of all the items lying on the hot mess that is my countertop. Ah, no more sad little letter sorter. And no more messy landing pad. Now I just have to train the husband to use it!

I'm linking up to DIY Day at Kimba's A Soft Place to Land. Go check out oodles of creative projects!

October 5, 2009

Fall Porch Decor

Our side porch was in need of some attention this fall. The railings and posts were coated in mildew and the screen door's paint was peeling. Things were looking drab to say the least. So I touched up the screen door with a white paint marker, one of the easiest DIY projects ever. (If you don't have a white paint pen, go get one! They're so handy!) The posts and railings took more work; I had to scrub them with bleach, one of the grossest DIY projects ever. It was worth it, though. Look how clean and shiny they are! Now on to the fall decorations...I pulled this chippy red chair out of the storage area of my garage and it looked great on the porch. I love the pops of red; it's a color that works for multiple seasons. I plopped an old wooden pumpkin on there and hung an old grapevine wreath on the back. It needed something else, though. And then I saw the cover of this month's issue of Better Homes and Gardens. They used hedge apples as part of an adorable centerpiece. We have hedge apples aplenty around here, so I just went out and grabbed a few, sprayed them with a coat of sealant and arranged them in a basket. Much better! Total cost of this part of my fall decor: $0!

Okay, now I'll admit that I did spend a little money on my porch. I decided to make a wreath for the door, so I invested in a few fake fall flowers and ribbon. I used another old grapevine wreath (really, these things have a lot of uses!) and just stuck the flowers in where they looked nice. Nothing scientific about it, and no wires involved. My favorite part is the ribbon I used to hang the wreath. Ooo la la!
The last project I did was paint my sad-looking old door. The previous owners had painted the whole thing a depressing gray color, trim and all. I painted the trim a bright white and gave the door three coats of a wine-colored burgundy. Much better! It took a lot of time to tape it and paint it, but the payoff is well worth it. I love driving up to my cheery entrance now!

I'm linking up to the Fall Festival at the DIY Show Off. Go check out what other DIY-ers are doing to decorate for the season!
Edited to add: I'm also linking up to Kimba's DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land. Go check out some other great projects!