Thursday, December 28, 2017

Update Your Home for the New Year!


We've all got 'em. Mine is pretty much always to lose weight. It lasts for a week or two until the willpower fizzles out and chocolate starts sounding way better than skinny jeans.

But one resolution we CAN keep is to update our house! You might have visited your parents or grandparents this holiday season. Maybe their homes make you jealous... or maybe you look at the same old wood paneling and dusty, outdated curtains and wonder why they never change their style. Of course, if you're like me, you go home and look at your own dusty curtains and wonder why you never change YOUR style.

Enter the Home Update Resolution!

This is the year. You can do it. It starts with some simple baby steps.

Home Update: Baby Steps

1. Clean. I know. It's no fun, but put away your pouty face and get out those rubber gloves. Wipe, vacuum, pick up. You can do it. I believe in you.

2. Declutter & Organize! Now that you've got some space on your dining table, use it as a command center. Start emptying out your kitchen cabinets and drawers. Make piles for "Keep" "Junk" and "Donate".  Anything you haven't used lately, or items that are broken... toss them. Now is NOT the time to be sentimental. Just because your great-aunt Mabel passed down that cracked ugly cookie jar does NOT mean you have to keep it. Take a photo and start a donation box.
Need some ideas on how to organize? Check out my Pinboard:
Here is a link to my Pinboard for organizing and decluttering.

3. Paint the Wood. Some of you will cringe when I say this. I know it is a fad right now to have white painted wood. So, you don't HAVE to do this, but if you have 70s wood paneling that isn't even real wood. Please. FOR HUMANITY. Paint that stuff white! But start with a good cleaning and some Zinsser primer first. And if you're feeling really feisty... paint your outdated wood cabinets, too!

Here is what our dining room looked like after painting the bookshelves and wood paneling.
So much brighter!

4. Change Your Curtains. Maybe they came with the house. Maybe you just don't think about them, but curtains can be like wrinkles for your house... they make it look OLD. Take a look at your favorite rooms on Pinterest. What do they have in common? I bet many of them have simple white curtains or NO curtains at all. I realize naked windows are not always practical, so if you need curtains, make them simple and clean. For our curtains, we used a package of twin flat sheets we bought on Amazon. In white. We clipped them with black curtain rings and saved a TON of money by using electric conduit instead of curtain rods (cost was around $3/rod!). Plus the conduit is WAAAAY less flimsy.

In our daughter's room, we used sheer lace curtains and metal electrical conduit for the curtain rods.
It is much cheaper and stronger than regular curtain rods!
This was our daughter's room before. No lie.

5. Paint Furniture. This is like the wood dilemma above (see #3). I know your orange-ish cabinet and your dark brown buffet and your honey blonde dining table all came from Grandma so-and-so, and she'd roll over in her grave if you painted them, but honestly... they look weird together. So many different wood tones. And they make your house so dark. Take another look at your favorite Pinterest homes. What color are the cabinets, the tables, the buffets? If they're white or gray, then you might want to consider painting your own furniture white or gray, too. Just a suggestion.

See what this dresser looks like after a coat of paint.

6. Update Your Art. Not ready to leap into painting furniture or rooms just yet? Try something smaller. Make a family name sign. It will add some quick and easy farmhouse charm to your home. And maybe it will even give you the redecorating bug, who knows?

Good luck decluttering and updating your house. Here's to a clean, fresh and beautiful NEW YEAR!

Want more farmhouse style décor? Check out this post about Galvanized Farmhouse Finds from Hobby Lobby.

Want an even EASIER way to redecorate your house? Get printable art in my Etsy shop!

Galvanized Farmhouse from Hobby Lobby

I am gaga for galvanized home décor! I just love that faded silver look! Here are a few galvanized farmhouse finds from Hobby Lobby. I already have the three-tiered tray and the metal tray with the handle... and I think I might pick up that lantern soon, too!

This little lantern might have to come to my house, soon!
I have this awesome tray near our coffee bar.
It's perfect for holding tea and jars, and it also works great for seasonal decorating!
 I loved this little tray so much for holding all our odds and ends (think tape, string, glue, keys, etc.) that I bought one for my mama-in-law for Christmas.

**Images source: Hobby Lobby

Get ready for spring by making this monogram wreath!
Read about it in my blog post here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Farmers Market Bench Makeover

Farmers' Market Bench Makeover by What's On My Porch

I find real pleasure in taking something unwanted and old and turning it into something beautiful and useful. This Farmers' Market Bench was no exception.

I found this bench in a thrift store. I knew as soon as I saw it that it would be perfect for an entry way: a place to store shoes or toss a bag or coat. It just needed a little updating.

First, I cleaned and primed the wood with Zinsser primer. This makes it ready to take on paint. You could also sand, but that takes a lot of work, and it's not necessary as long as you prime first. It's easy to think you can skip this step, but I don't recommend it. The paint just won't stick well without it.

Next, I measured the bench and found some cute fonts and printed the words "Farmers' Market" in large letters and taped them together. (Fonts: Mottona and Twiggy Pop).

I colored the backs of my words with willow charcoal and placed the words on my bench. Then I traced them onto the wood with a pencil. I removed the paper and outlined the tracing, again with pencil. Then I filled it in with black acrylic craft paint and a small paintbrush. I extended the "f" and "s" at the beginning and end of "Farmers'".

I love how it turned out! How about you?


Want MORE makeovers?
Check out this Antique Dresser Makeover!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas at the Porch

Can you believe it's nearly Christmas? Where does the time go? I started decorating in early November. I used to wait until after Thanksgiving, but a month just isn't long enough for all the effort that goes into decorating, don't you think?

Here's a peek at Christmas at our lake house. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas cubbies above my coffee bar.

Christmas coffee bar area

Christmas three-tiered tray.

Christmas three-tiered tray

Antique white and red truck with bottlebrush Christmas tree

Christmas centerpiece for the table

Our frosted Christmas tree

Want MORE Christmas decorating ideas?
Check out my blog post on how to decorate Christmas bookshelves!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Woodland Christmas Mantel

Lately, I'm obsessed with woodland décor. Maybe it's because we recently moved to a house near a lake. But there's something romantic and cozy about a fireplace, rustic logs, woodland creatures and buffalo check.

I recently painted the mantel above our fireplace. It was a kind of honey-colored wood and didn't really match. I thought a nice clean white would go better with my style. It also helps items to pop.

For my woodland-themed mantel, I used plain wood branches, painted white to give them more of a birch-feel. For the greenery, I cut up an inexpensive wire garland into "pine branches" and lightly spray painted them white for a frosted look.

The knit stockings are from Christmas Central ( They were really inexpensive (less than $10 each) and are perfect for that "lodge" feeling. I added chalk tags with our names.

Stocking are probably our favorite part of Christmas morning. It's our tradition to let the kids wake up (but not before 6 AM!) and open their stockings first. It keeps them from waking up mom and dad. As they grew older, we added "making coffee" to the stocking tradition. So even if their giggles wake us up, at least there's coffee!

You'll notice a couple of little owls peeking out from the greenery as well as some other little touches like dollar-store snowflakes and a white feather. The glass hurricane jar is from a thrift store. I threw in a little fake snow and added a lantern ornament plus a few bottle brush trees. The red and white scarf is also a thrift store find. And the buffalo check wrapping paper was from the dollar store.


Decorate A Christmas Bookshelf:
See photos and get ideas HERE.
Need more décor? Get this Christmas printable from My Porch Prints on Etsy:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Decorate A Christmas Bookshelf

Decorate a beautiful Christmas bookshelf. From What's On My Porch.

I have a love-hate relationship with our built-in bookshelves. On the one hand, they provide tons of storage and decorating opportunities. On the other, they leave no space for any other pieces of furniture. I will always have bookshelves on my walls. I can't move them. Ever.

Plus, the shelves themselves are not adjustable, so I face major size restrictions when it comes to what will fit on them.

When we moved in, these shelves were brown wood. Ugly brown wood. They date back to the sixties, and it showed! Thankfully, my sweet firstborn daughter and her lovely friend were willing to paint them for me (for a sad twenty bucks apiece). Thanks girls! And I am just thrilled because nothing says "Christmas" like a snowy white backdrop.

And what goes great with snowy white? You got it, RED!

Decorating bookshelves for Christmas can be fun, easy and cheap as I'm about to tell you.

I recommend starting with a basic color scheme. My main colors here are white and red with some muted browns, greens and grays. You can incorporate the items you already have on your shelf, or go full-on Christmas. I decided to incorporate.

A great place for picking up inexpensive decor is the thrift store. It's where I get most of my smaller items, like the mini Christmas trees you see scattered around the shelves.

Here you can see my antique skate topped with tiny presents and a tiny tree.

Another inexpensive idea is to create your own chalkboard. I made this one with an old plank and chalkboard paint. They're so versatile for seasonal decorating. I think this one will stay on the shelf long after Christmas is over.

Ornaments aren't just for the tree! Like this little lantern which adds interest and also works with the red color scheme.

 This beautiful frosted tree was only $12 at Walmart. I picked it up on a whim and am so glad I did! It adds some nice dimension and texture!

An antique store find, this little red gumball machine works great as a snow globe. But you don't have to go antiquing to get your very own... they are sold in many places, including on Amazon.

 Buffalo check is big right now. It gives a nice, "lodge" feeling to your bookshelves. I wrapped empty boxes from my pantry (think cereal, mac-and-cheese, etc.). The paper is from a dollar store.

A bowl of dried pine cones with a scoop and ornament thrown in.

The greenery is actually a cheap Walmart garland, dusted with a light coat of white spray paint and clipped with wire cutters to make "branches" and wreaths.
I scattered these all over my bookshelf, so cute!

Want MORE Christmas ideas?
Check out this Woodland Christmas post. 

This printable design is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

This printable sign is available in my Etsy shop: My Porch Prints
Get this printable sign in Stephanie's Etsy Shop: My Porch Prints.

Looking for Christmas stocking ideas? 

Make your own Vintage Image Stockings.