Linwood Avenue


a lamp and a book redo

tutorial, decoratingtiffin mills3 Comments

my first tutorial / redo of 2014!!!  (i should add a disclaimer to please, please don't judge me for the dirty finger prints all over my front door. sure i could have photoshopped them out, but i'm trying to keep it real. and living in a house with 2 boy munchkins means dirt is very real!!!)

so, i needed a lamp for my front hallway. the old one got moved to my bedroom and the small table lamp i replaced it with in the hallway was just not doing the job. the thing about lamps is i hate buying them. since i tend to like large, over scaled lamps, they are generally so very expensive and i have never understand why. this is one of the main reasons i started making my own to sell because i wanted to bring reasonably priced lamps to people.

anyway, i remembered that a few years ago i exiled a large brass urn shaped lamp to the attic. perfect, except it definitely needed a makeover because it was just so bland and boring (the reason it was exiled in the first place).


i thought about decoupaging something onto it or painting it with chalk paint. in the end, decoupage won out once i found an old copy of Great Expectations at the thrift. 4 easy steps and i was done.

  1. spray paint a primer onto the lamp to give the brass finish a slight grip.
  2. cut small sections from a book of your choice (a preferably damaged book since cutting up a perfectly good book ranks right up there a felony in my mind :)
  3. with a foam brush, brush on some mod podge, stick on paper strip and then brush a layer of mod podge over the strip. repeat over entire lamp
  4. spray finished lamp with a clear hi-gloss spray paint.

the only tip i have is to place your book pages so all the text is going the same direction. the final result is pretty busy and i think it would be too busy if some words were upside-down or vertical. but then again, i do tend to be pretty anal when crafting, so disregard this if you are a fly by the seat of your pants kinda crafter!


my favorite part of the lamp is right in the middle of the photo above - "O Estella, Estella!". i probably should have read the book again before i cut it all up!

this project has so many options. how cute would it look with childrens book pages for a kid's room? or music paper?

did you do any out of the box crafting during your holiday down time?

love, tiffin

a dining room and a house tour

decorating, house tourtiffin mills4 Comments

i'm back with more of my house tour!

here is the dining room which is the first room to the left when you walk in the house.


the room is a perfect square which fits my circular dining room table perfectly. i love this round table so much for dinners with friends and game night. a round table is so much better than long rectangles because you can see everyone and talk to everyone.


the blue cabinet between the windows holds my ever growing milk glass collection. on the doors i have taped some watercolors i did on old book pages to bring a bit more art into the space.


i painted the room white so all my treasures and trinkets would pop. this wall is filled with some family pictures, a fabric covered M and a few etsy photographs i have picked up through the years. i cannot believe my munchkins were once that little. at 9 and 7, they still resemble these pics, but i have a hard time seeing the baby faces that are reflected here.


family room and a house tour

decorating, house tourtiffin mills2 Comments
round two of my house tour is the family room - or what is currently the only clean room in the house!

i should probably have saved this room for the middle of the pack because it is my problem room. i have just never gotten that "i'm finished" feeling in here. not that you should ever have an "i'm finished" feeling in any room, because then you look around 20 years later and it's all pleather couches and gaudy wallpaper, but hopefully you know what i mean. the mantle is ever changing and really not anything spectacular at the moment, but i do like that my recent luggage painting has found a home there along with a strand of bunting i just made.

when we moved in, the judges paneling in this room was all dark brown and i knew it needed to be painted because the room does not have much natural light. before you get all hot and bothered about painting the wood - the paneling is really crappy 1/8" thick pieces "wood". not beautiful thick cherry which i would never have painted.

a few things about this shot:
  • all the tables are second hand
  • the child's rocking chair has been passed down many generations in my family
  • the orange lamp is a yard sale find that i LOVE - the base has a nightlight in it and glows orange. perfect lighting for movie nights. haha!
  • i am a sucker for large floor throw pillows which you see stacked up on an antique chest in the far corner. my trick is to buy the cheapest, ugliest large pillow you can find and then recover them. i think these pillows were $5 each and then i put upholstery fabric on the top and a generic brown on the bottom which is tip #2 - always use a cheap solid fabric on the back of your pillows, it's silly to waste $$$ on the backside of something.  

the best thing we ever did in this room is put in a set of hinge pin doors. previously, we have a tiny single door leading out to the deck which let hardly any light in at all. when we built our new deck, we doubled the door width and it has made all the difference. i knew i didn't want french doors because the couldn't really swing any where. i had settled on sliders, but the contractor talked me out of those because they let a lot of air out. the hinge pin turned out perfect. the left side does not move and is essentially a large window, then the right side is the door part that opens.

a few more things about this shot:
  • the mirror is a recent $10 purchase - it's chippy and worn and i LOVE it!
  • the tv stand dresser is a $100 purchase. i took out the top dresser, added a mdf plank in it's place, drilled a 2" hole in the back of the dresser for cables and now i have a place for the satellite box, dvd player, etc.
that's it for the tour today - see you next week!

a hallway and a house tour

decorating, house tourtiffin mills1 Comment
i have decided to do a new feature on the blog over the summer since my creativeness takes a back seat to the pool and that area might be lacking for a few weeks! i absolutely love peeking into other bloggers homes, so i thought why not share mine as a visual house tour.

i live in a traditional colonial where you walk in and the dining room is on the left and the formal living room on the right. then you travel down the center hallway and the kitchen is on the left and the family room is on the right. the above shot is what you see when you enter the house. a small table that houses my seasonal vignettes and a vintage mirror above which i absolutely love. my mom has a mirror similar to this that i have coveted for years, so when i saw this one at a thrift store, i scooped it up. i actually decorate with a lot of thrift finds so i will point them out when i can. in my book, this is the way to go. 80% thrift and 20% splurge. you feel so good about the deals you get that you don't feel bad about the one expensive piece you must have.

the color on the wall is "silence" by glidden and is the perfect soft blue for my house - not too baby and definitely not beige! the rule that hallways need to be beige should be tossed out. many other colors can be transition colors between rooms, you just have to forget your fears and go for it - it is only paint after all!

i wanted some artwork to line the walls, but was a nervous nelly about how much it would cost, until i fell in love with a bird calendar by cavallini and my search was over. these calendars are printed on top quality paper and you get 12 individual pieces of art that all relate to one another and look great in a grouping. i am also a huge fan of ikea frames. they are simple enough to not overwhelm multiple pieces of art, but substantial enough to not look cheap.

there you have it, the first stop on your linwood avenue house tour. once i get a sunny day, the family room will be next (because it is the one filled with the least amount of junk at the moment :)

paint and chalk

decoratingtiffin mills9 Comments
ok guys, i need your help. my dining room is forever being worked on and one of the last items on the list is the buffet. i bought this piece over a year ago at an estate sale and let me be the first to say it is a beast. measuring over 6 feet long, but with size comes all the storage i could possibly want, so it's perfect.

in the room redo, i painted the walls white because i want my accessories to be the pop of color this time around. the yellow chandelier will soon be moving to the laundry room and will be replaced by the crystal one lying on top of the table. i love the direction the room is moving, but the sore thumb is the buffet which is located behind the table. i want to paint it, but cannot decide which option to chose which is where you come in. seriously guys, i see that you are reading, now is the time to pipe up and leave a comment about what you would do, humor me. my options are to have it professionally painted a hi-gloss color like midnight blue (similar style to my sewing table). or jump on the chalk paint craze and do it myself in a grey/yellow combo or something along those lines.

i have one piece that is already pretty close to chalk paint, but my apprehension is that this technique is too much the "shabby chic" style that i am trying to steer away from. i did that years ago and i want to move my house into a bohemian cottage style. lots of color, lots of mix/matched items. but the appealing part is i can do it myself and i am always up for learning a new technique.

here is a close up of the doors that have huge knobs. once i am finished painting, i hope to find some reproductions of these drapery tiebacks to be used as knobs.

so there you have it, my decorating dilemma. what would you do - professionally paint or chalk paint at home???

rearranging and reminiscing

decorating, thriftingtiffin mills4 Comments

do you guys rearrange your house all the time? i am constantly moving things from one room to the next and sometimes back again. as a little girl, i remember always wanting to move my room around and that desire has never left me. i am a person that likes change and gets a bit restless living in a house for more than 5 years (crazy, huh?), so my cure is to rearrange and redecorate. i am drawn towards little moments in decorating - the unexpected when you turn a corner. i have my grandmothers spoon collection and recently it has landed in a tiny corner of the dining room. at first, it bothered me that it wasn't more predominantly displayed, but now, i really like this vignette. the spoons displayed with some of my vintage aprons work well nestled in between the white cabinet and the wall.

my next decision was to finally bring my collection of glass spice jars out of the attic where they were placed 5 years ago on moving day. i have been waiting to pull them out until i find the perfect spice jar labels. well, i hunt and scour the internet for labels, but none of them are quite right. i know i should just make my own, but i'm being a tad bit lazy in that department.

so up they went, completely naked and unfilled. in all their emptiness, i still find them awfully pretty. as long as they put a smile on my face, i don't need to rush to fill them. at least that is what i am telling myself :)

a quilt and petals

decorating, sewingtiffin mills2 Comments

my dining room redo is moving right along. i finally finished the table quilt and am completely smitten. i cut 8 pie pieces out of 4 fabrics from anna maria horner and tula pink. i sewed the pie sections together, then layered it on top of a white sheet for backing and low-loft batting in the middle.

i have not yet mastered free form quilting - instead, i stitched a line along each side of the seams. following along the seam created from attaching the pieces together, gives you a great ruler to ensure a straight stitch. then i measured out and added 2 more lines of stitching within each pie starting on the outside edge and ending in the middle.

once quilted together, i decided to scallop the edge of each section to mimic flower petals. i was worried about the binding going along the curves, but it turned out great.

this room is taking on a much more eclectic style which is so much more me than the formal room i had before. my tastes are always changing, but i think i will love this table quilt forever!

cabinets and redos

decorating, fabrictiffin mills5 Comments

my dining room transformation is moving along. a bit slowly, but at least it is moving forward and not at a standstill. i was able to move my waterlogged, found cabinet in this past weekend and love, love, love it! you can go here to read about it's beginnings :)

i simply cleaned off any flaking paint and then dressed it up with some fabric and new handles. since i paid nothing for the cabinet, i completely splurged on the handles. they are from anthropologie and although i think both are prefect, i must say the branch pulls on the bottom drawer are my favorite. the back of the cabinet is lined with tula pink fabric and really ads a bit of fun to the room. i used super 77 spray glue to attach it to the back, but i think the wood still holds some water because when i went back the next day, 2 of the 3 panels had fallen down. to fix this, i ran a length of double sided tape along the top edge of each nook and this seems to have done the trick.

the cabinet originally had 2 doors on the bottom, but one was not salvagable from water damage. i decided to take the doors off completely and use this for open storage of my various quilts and bridge tablecloths. i can't wait to pile the cabinet up with all the crazy pattens i have collected over the years.

that's it for now. at the rate i'm going, it might be thanksgiving before the room makes it's debut, but i will keep you posted along the way!

table covers and a new room

decorating, sewingtiffin mills1 Comment

remember when i posted this cabinet last week? well, it has sparked a complete dining room re-do and i am so excited. i went to our super special fabric store in town a few days ago for inspiration and it might possibly be my favorite place. this isn't just your average fabric store that carries patterns made by big corporations. no sirree. this fabric store carries all the big names... amy butler, anna maria horner, heather bailey - the list goes on and on. the store goes on and on as well with an assault of color wherever you turn!

back to the dining room - i have decided to paint the walls antique white and bring all the color in as accessories. above are 4 fabrics i chose to brighten up the space. from left to right, the first 3 are anna maria horner fabrics while the last, scallop pattern is by tula pink - a new to me designer. it is often difficult to mix and match different designers' fabric, but i think the scallop print compliments the other 3. in my opinion, they were made for each other.

the tula pink print will line the back of the white cabinet and then i big plans in store for the rest of the fabric.

this is a mock up of a crazy quilted table cover i came up with. we have a 5ft round mahogeny table in the dining room and when you include the chairs, the entire look is a bit wood heavy. i love the table and chairs, but really want to soften it up this time around. the quilt will be slightly smaller than 5 feet in diameter which means it will not hang over the table as tablecloths usually do. i will also use very low loft batting when pulling the quilt together so it won't be too puffy. i am so excited to start sewing and i hope it comes out exactly like i have pictured in my head. as every one well knows, this doesn't happen all the time :) however it turns out, i will be sure to document the progress with lots of before and afters.

thank goodness the munchkins have camp next week - between painting, sewing and hanging new crown moulding, my days will be packed!

cabinets and curbs

decoratingtiffin millsComment

it is no secret among my friends that i have an extreme need to rescue any piece of furniture left on the side of the road. no matter if i have room for it of not, that cast off is going home with me and i will do my best to refurbish it.

i recently scored a beautiful cabinet with a hutch and it is a real beauty, i promise! my friend had this cabinet in her dining room for as many years as i have known her. they moved last june and it didn't fit into the new house, so for a year, it was banished to the back deck to soak in rain water and wind damage. the thing is, i absolutely love the peeling paint that the water damage created. a slight ooh and ahhh from me and it was mine (little did my husband know :)

the munchkins and i went to work flaking off all the loose paint. then i mixed up a bleach/water solution and scrubbed it free of mold and debris. it will be a bit tight, but i am going to put it in my dining room as a storage unit for my new cake stand collection. the bottom of the cabinet originally had 2 doors, but since one broke, i am going for the open shelf look. this is where i am going to place some vintage quilts and bridge tablecloths that i have inherited from grandmothers. have i told you about my bridge tablecloth collection? that might be another post altogether ;)

hopefully full photos will come shortly, but since this little cabinet has actually sparked an entire dining room redo, only time will tell the actual completion date!