Rack-Card Kiosk

Are you ready for our first transformation of 2014??  That plain-jane rack-card kiosk in my dining room finally has a new look!

Transformed rack-card holder

Technically I finished this project late last year but what difference does it really make? Am I right?? Last year a friend gave me this display kiosk that she’d picked up at a store closing sale. I had lots of great ideas about how to use it but none of them ever really seemed to win my heart.

It was always one of those, ‘Well, I could put pictures in it. . . or maybe I’ll save cards that we receive. . . or MAYBE invitations to events. I love invitations and they’re always so pretty!’ Round and round I would go, never really making up my mind.Boring rack-card displayOne day, as I walked in the door from work, I checked the mail saw this card we’d received from the water project and popped it in the kiosk. It was in that moment that I knew.

Display personal cardsThe next free evening we had I went to Lowe’s and scoured the spray paint aisle. My initial moment of inspiration said ‘go for the gold’ but standing there looking at gold I knew it was all wrong. I pulled and audible and went black. Man oh man, I’m sure glad I did!

A little paint goes a long wayUpdated rack-card displayDisplay Christmas cards and family photosSo needless to say, I’m kind of using it to display a conglomeration of our lives. . .pictures, invites, cards, etc. (you know, like every single idea I’d previously had) but somehow against that beautiful black back-drop it’s all more wonderful that I could have imagined.Rack-Card Display from thefrontpoarch.comWhat are you working on for 2014?

Make your own: Dipped Branches

Remember that one time I got some sticks from my yard and turned them into a faux mantle and then they got recycled again into driftwood art?

Well I’m at it again with these custom dipped branches.How to make Dipped Branches from thefrontpoarch.com

I started with several branches that I picked up from around my yard.

Branches from the yardThey got trimmed and cut down to size and then separated into 2 piles based on size.

Trimmed BranchesNext, I chose my paint colors; purple, green and gold. I haven’t told you this yet but I’ve dreaming of painting my living room in a peacock color scheme and I know these will fit it well when I do. They’ll also probably make an appearance at the upcoming bridal shower.

I set up my paint station again, just like I did for my dipped votives and set to work.

Painting StationIf you’re doing this at home, as a part of your paint station you’re going to need a place to hang the drying branches. I have a wire shelf just above my laundry area which I used to hang my branches on.

Start by tying a piece of fishing line (or string) on the ‘top’ part of each branch. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be tight enough not to slip off. If you have a lot of bark like I did, this won’t be a problem!

Tie fishing line on branch

If you have spray paint, towards the ‘bottom’ part of each branch, tape off where you want the dip line for the first color. 
Taping off BranchesThen paint away! I found it less messy to hold the stick vertically and spray downward toward drop cloth.

Branch spray painted goldImmediately hang the branch to dry and repeat with the remaining branches. I chose to work with one color at a time, first I did gold (which took 2 coats). . .

Gold Dipped Branches

. . . and then purple and green. For branches that you’re actually going to dip into a paint can/bucket, you don’t need to tape off a ‘dip’ line, just dunk away! You’ll notice that on my purple dipped branches I did use tape because my purple paint can wasn’t very tall so I used a brush to help me out on the first layer. First coat - dipped branchesAfter the paint dried for 24 hours, I dipped a 2nd and on some even a 3rd layer of paint and just like that they were done.

Dipped Branches - thefrontpoarch.com

Create custom dipped branches @ thefrontpoarch.com

I’m still looking for an appropriate container for the larger branches to call home but until then I’ll just enjoy these beauties.

How to make Dipped Branches from thefrontpoarch.comWhat fun things have you made out of material found in the great outdoors?


SPS: Dining Room Curtains

Today in the Small Project Series we’re celebrating the hanging of curtains.

That’s right. Now, try to contain your excitement. After all, it’s not everyday we hang curtains in this house!!

In fact it’s been about 6 months since I purchased these beauties. . .and they’ve been hanging just like this the entire time!

Curtains sat there for 6 monthsPathetic, I know. So I finally got my act together and made another cheap, awesome, professional curtain rod and in less than 20 minutes what I’d been putting off for 6 months became this beautiful reality.

I finally hung the curtains in the dining roomNew Dining Room CurtainsMy favorite part is how it ties the whole dining space together.

Dining Room - Finished thefrontpoarch.comThanks for celebrating with me!

This is the saga that never ends

Yes it goes on and on my friends! Earlier this spring I made my 1st, 2nd and 3rd attempts to hang a piece of original art in my dining room. . . and I thought I was done. A few weeks ago (about 6 months after I finally hung the painting) I came home from work to this. Painting FellBack to the drawing board.

I still really believed that the 3M Velcro Strips would work so gave it another go this time opting for 6 smaller strips instead of the 4 larger strips. Instead of super glue, I gave this Loctite Crafter’s Adhesive a try. As usual, I put adhesive on both the strips and the back of the painting, weighted each strip and let it dry for 24 hours.

3M Strips & Craft GlueThat was about 7 days ago and I’m happy to report that so far everything is still intact! So far so good!Beautiful.

As a part of my continued effort to usher in autumn, the painting now has this lovely paper bead garland.Painting with fall paper bead garlandI’ll keep you posted. What do you think, will it stay or will it fall?

Painting is back on the wall

SPS: Adding trim to the kitchen desk

That’s right another installment of the Small Project Series! The SPS are all those small things that still need to be done after a big project but you just lack the motivation to finish . . . in my case because I’m already dreaming about the next big project!

Up today is the built-in desk in my kitchen. At first glance I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘That’s looks awesome!’TFP Upholstery 17

But when you take a closer look you’ll see that we never added the trim and you can now view this huge gaping hole where the right side meets the wall. Yikes.

Adding Trim to Kitchen Desk

So last weekend I finally busted out the tape measure and cut three pieces of quarter round, 1 for the right side and 2 for where the back meets the wall.

(This was the first time I’d ever used a miter saw!)

Cutting TrimAs per usual, Phillip was gracious enough to do the hard part: nailing the trim into place! Since it is such a small space it was really hard to get in there with the nail gun much less get a decent picture of the process.

Nailing TrimWhen he was done I filled the holes and painted everything, here’s the finished product!

Kitchen Desk with TrimI know it may seem like much to you but every time I walk by and see trim instead of gaping hole, it makes my heart happy.

Desk with TrimAny small projects on the line-up for this weekend?

SPS: I finally fixed that hole next to the entryway bar

Remember that time we installed our custom counter top for the entryway bar?

Yeah. . . it’s a distant memory for me too. . .because it was in FEBRUARY!!

(March, April, May. . .)

7 months ago to be exact. (And really more than that since it actually went in before Christmas, I just blogged about it in February.)

TFP Kitchen Bar 9So hang on to your seats ladies and gentlemen [insert drumroll here] because I have finally patched that awkward rectangle on the kitchen wall!!

Finished Kitchen Bar - thefrontpoarch.com(Please ignore the blue dolly in the back ground, that’s another story for another day. . .)

Back to the awkward wall patch, the original counter stuck about 2″ further from the stone wall which made it really uncomfortable to sit at our new built-in benches. To fix the rectangle, I took the counter top off (we haven’t glued it down yet since I haven’t fixed the wall yet AND because it’s really hard to move refrigerators in and out of your kitchen with it in place. . . .again, a story for another day.)

Where was I??

I took the counter top off and sanded down the area so it would be as smooth as possible. Since the original counter was installed before the house was painted, the exposed area went all the way down to the sheet rock.

Fixing this hole. . . 6 months later - thefrontpoarch.comAfter sanding it got a good coat of primer and paint. . . .

Paint & Primer. . . and there you have it! Quick. Simple. And took so little time I regret 100% not just doing this when we installed the counter top.

Finished Kitchen Bar - thefrontpoarch.comI also took the opportunity to add a little touch up paint to some areas of the kitchen that are already showing wear and tear. We really love our high texture walls, but they do get nicked ALL the time. Behind the trash can is the worst, in less than a year it’s rubbed off an entire strip texture and the lid has left the wall grimy and generally dirty looking.

Trash Rubbing off PaintOh well, a new coat will do for now. Who knows, maybe I need a trash can guard. Anybody else had similar trouble?


2013 House Tour: Part 1

Man oh man where has the summer gone? I’m in Sipapu, NM this week running with our last camp of the summer and afterward I’m looking forward to some much needed rest and relaxation!

Meanwhile, it’s time again for the annual house tour and even I am in shock of how much has changed around these parts in just over a year! Because I’m always up for a trip down memory lane, I thought we’d do a little ‘before & after’ with the tour from 2012.

The Front Poarch

2012 House Tour PorchWowza. See what I mean? Let’s see, in the past year we’ve created a seating area on the porch, hung some new bird feeders, created not 1 but 2 pieces of garden art and given that sad looking pineapple a pop of color! The patio has gotten new planters, a water hose bin and new house numbers (1 of which has gone missing at the moment. . . .). Personally, my response to these changes was quite delightful as it was quite similar to what I had pictured.

House Tour EntryHouse Tour Outdoor AccessoriesAnd the front door?

2012 House Tour Front DoorIt got replaced in December and a new wreath this Spring!

Hour Tour Front DoorThe entryway got a new coat of paint along with the rest of the living room.

2012 House Tour Entryway

And we made this wall into a chalk wall!House Tour EntrywayHouse Tour Open to the Living RoomThis little eat-in kitchen nook has gone through some drastic changes!

2012 House Tour Kitchen TableWe updated the bar, completed the kitchen gallery art and built some eat-in seating after we painted the entire kitchen.

House Tour Eat-in Kitchen

Across from the kitchen table, we added a screen door to our pantry and did a little bit of yarn art as well as adding this sweet command center.

House Tour Pantry

Remember that dreamy recipe nook?

2012 House Tour Recipe NookIt underwent a pretty drastic renovation and is now put to great use!

House Tour Recipe NookHouse Tour Recipe StationHere’s another reminder of the beautiful wall paper that used to grace our walls.

2012 House Tour KitchenI’m constantly amazed at what a few coats of paint can do!

House Tour KitchenHouse Tour Kitchen AccessoriesLast but not least, the dining room. I’ve even forgotten how tan everything was!

2012 House Tour Dining RoomWe colorblocked our walls and picked up this awesome vintage buffet from my grandparents house.

House Tour Dining Room

I also tried my hand at hanging un-framed art and it took not 1, not 2 but 3 attempts!

House Tour Dining Room 2Most recently, I created the Happy Day art installation and I love how it brightens up the room!

House Tour Buffet More to come soon because don’t worry, right in the middle of photographing the living room we decided to buy a new couch!




How to Throw an Awesome Party

Last Saturday we celebrated being debt-free, and today I’m here to share 5 awesome party tips! I would have shared this post sooner, but we called a few of our friends and visited an escape game room and rejoiced in our debt-free lifestyle.

How to throw an awesome party - thefrontpoarch.com

1. Pick a theme!

Since we were celebrating being debt free we chose a money theme. From the decorations to the food – everything was green!

How to throw a party 9

2. Shop the dollar store.

The first place I go for party inspiration is the dollar store. I always end up purchasing cheap decor and gaining lots of ideas for my theme. For our debt free party I picked up these awesome shades for the kids to play with as well as several bags of coin rolls which I used as filler in large vases.

How to throw a party 43. Make your own decorations.

Use your creativity and get to work! I picked up a few poster boards at the dollar store and made these large, hanging spirals.

How to throw a party 2

4. Use things you already have.

If you’re anything like me, you have lots of items around your home that can be put to good use during a party. As usual, my Fiestaware served food and a few coffee cups doubled as utensil holders. I borrowed 2 large drink dispensers from my mom and reused my placecard holders as food labels.

How to throw a party 5

A few leftover wine bottles quickly became a centerpiece.How to throw a party 8

5. Simplify your menu.

This one is probably the hardest for me. When it comes to the menu, I tend to dream big. . .. wwaaayyyyy bigger than what I can actually accomplish. This time I went with a few simple items; green fruit, green veggies, grilled chicken and pork skewers, chips and green salsas.

How to throw a party 6

6. Have fun!

We tried our hand at a few outdoor games, and had a grand night!

How to throw a party 7

How to throw a party 1

How to throw an awesome party - thefrontpoarch.com


DIY Paper Rosette Art

Paper rosettes have been popping up all over the place an I have to say. . . I’m in love!



paper rosette tutorial


I have been inspired and today I’m going to show you how to make your own Paper Rosette Art!
Paper Rosette Art 14

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • 20 – 30 sheet of colorful paper or wallpaper samples
  • cardstock for backing
  • scissors
  • paper cutter
  • hot glue or tape

Paper Rosette Art 1

I used this tutorial for the rosettes, here’s a brief overview. Start with a large rosette so you’ll have an accent or focal point. Begin by cutting a 12″ square piece of paper in half so you have to 6×12″ pieces. Fold the short ends accordion style so you have the longest possible piece.Paper Rosette Art 2

Using your hot glue, attach the piece together in a row. . . .Paper Rosette Art 3. . . . until you have enough for a circle, probably 5-6.

Paper Rosette Art 4Fold the upper edge towards the center,

Paper Rosette Art 5and glue some of the inner folds together so you get a nice, round shape.

Paper Rosette Art 6After about an hour’s work you should have a pile ready to go!

Paper Rosette Art 8Flip them over and cut out the card stock to use as backing. I chose to use my circle cutter but since no one will see this side you could also just cut a square.Paper Rosette Art 7Now you’re ready to assemble this art! I grabbed an old cabinet door from my stash (the same one that made an appearance at Christmas) but you could use anything from a chalkboard to an old window, a dresser drawer or a mirror!

Paper Rosette Art 9

I then grabbed my hot glue gun and just started placing and gluing the rosettes where they looked right. Don’t worry about making it symmetrical  just trust your gut!

Now, in case you were wondering I DID just say that I glued the rosettes to my wall with hot glue. I know, I know. . . .I’m crazy. It works for me and it’s never chipped my paint but it may not work for you. You could use pretty much anything to hang your rosettes, nails, thumb tacks, gaffers tape, etc.Paper Rosette Art 13

In order to create depth I rummaged through my recycle pile and came up with this, an old cap from a face-wash bottle. I glued the lid together and then to the back of my rosette. . . . .

Paper Rosette Art 10

. . . . and then to the wall. See that layering?Paper Rosette Art 11Don’t have an old face-wash bottle lying around? No problem – you could also use the top from a soda or beer bottle, a cork or a piece of thick cardboard.

Paper Rosette Art 12Finish placing your rosettes and you’re done!

Paper Rosette Art 15

Paper Rosette Art 17Paper Rosette Art 16Any trends you’re swooning over this spring?

Recap: The Trip of a Lifetime

It’s hard for me to believe that my Trip of a Lifetime has already come and gone! I still remember the time when my friend was recommending the Good Sam checklist, and now everything has come to an end, and I am back to the daily routine again. My mom and I had a blast and I will always cherish the time I got to spend with her. I know I won’t be able to give you a complete recap of our amazing week but I’ll do my best and fare warning, you’re about to see A LOT of pictures!

Mom and I have been planning this trip for years and since my parents are train buffs, we opted to take Amtrak from my hometown of McGregor, TX to Pittsburgh, PA. For those of you who have never ridden a train – DO IT! You’ll have the time of your life! Train travel is very relaxing and luckily for us, has awesome luggage requirements as compared to its airline counterpart.

Not much has changed about this old station since my childhood and I couldn’t love it more! I have so many memories of waiting in this station, to travel by train or just watch it go by.Fiestaware Tour 9

Most trains consist of several coach cars, a few sleeper cars (where we traveled), a dining car, a lounge car (the one with the big windows) and of course, an engine.Fiestaware Tour 10

Our sleeper car room had it’s own bathroom which is a huge luxury on the train and chairs that folded out into beds.
Fiestaware Tour 13Coming and going from Pittsburgh we had a layover in Chicago so we took the opportunity to see a few sights! Chicago’s Union Station is beautiful and if filled with lots of classic architecture.

Fiestaware Tour 12

On our way home we stopped by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Museum where we found this Civil War era $500 from the National Bank of Lowell (MA) which also happens to be the name of my brother. Oh, and that large cube? That’s what $1million looks like in $1 bills!Fiestaware Tour 11

In Pittsburgh, we rented a car and drove about 45 minutes to Newell, WV, home of Homer Laughlin China Company that makes Fiestware. The factory itself . . . .is  little lack luster. . . .let’s just say it’s not exactly a tourist destination but since we were the only ones there at 9am and it didn’t open until 9:30am. . . . we had to find a few touristy photo ops. I mean, we came all the way from Texas for this!Fiestaware Tour 14

Fiestaware Tour 17

Just down Fiesta Drive, there’s a bone yard of broken Fiestaware which we later found out has just recently been sold to a start-up company that wants to make concrete counter-tops with speckles of Fiestaware mixed in. I might have to look into that in the future!Fiestaware Tour 22Needless to say, when 9:30am came, we were the first ones in the door.

Fiestaware Tour 18

It was every color of the rainbow we’d dreamed of AND more! I mean, eat your heart out!Fiestaware Tour 15

At 10:30am we got to go on a tour of the factory and as luck would have it, mom and I were the only 2 on the tour! We weren’t allowed to take pictures but we did get to see the entire process from clay to the finished product and it was very fascinating. When I made the reservation I was told we were going to walk a mile and a half and they weren’t kidding, we definitely got our workout in! At the end of the tour we got to see the Fiestware museum, a small room off the factory that had shelf after shelf of every retired Fiesta color.

Fiestaware Tour 21

Just off the main show floor was the 2nds room which was filled with slightly blemished dishes that were a fraction of the price. We spent most of our time in this room, filling egg crates with stacks of colorful dishware. I mainly tried to buy pieces that you can’t regularly find in departments stores so I came home with several different types of serving bowls, a carafe, pie plates and loaf pans.Fiestaware Tour 16

Once everything was said and done we had an entire trunk full of Fiestware!

Fiestaware Tour 19

We packed our dishes into our suitcases and headed home! I didn’t get a ton of pictures of my ‘loot’ but here’s a shot of my kitchen table as I was unpacking it.

Fiestaware Tour 23

Doesn’t it just make you happy? It’s like a rainbow of color everyday!

If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend you make the short trip out to Newell, WV, you won’t regret it! For my mom and I it truly was the trip of a lifetime!