Hey Tannie, where you been?

I be in my studio, studio!

That’s right, one of my life long dreams have finally been realized. Thanks to the hard work of my super duper handy Dan.

I finally have an art studio to call my own!

We have been working hard converting the front office into a full on art studio. JOY!! And now that it is FINALLY complete, I can share it with all of you!

Here is where we started.

before | The Smithocracy before | The SmithocracyAs you can see, it was kind of a hodge podge, not sure what to do with this space, type of a room. At one point it even became a gym. But I never took pictures of that. Just imagine empty room, with a TV and exercise equipment. Yawn.

Shall we see what it looks like today? Literally today, I just took these pictures.

Here is a not so awesome panorama. However, it gives a good idea of the space.

Art Studio |The SmithocracyLets look at the details, shall we?

Art Studio |The Smithocracy Art Studio |The Smithocracy   Art Studio |The Smithocracy Art Studio |The Smithocracy  Art Studio |The Smithocracy Art Studio |The Smithocracy

Art Studio |The SmithocracyI am beyond happy! It is so nice to have a space to work in. It keeps me from spreading my mess to every part of the house. It’s also nice having all my supplies out of boxes.

Logan was the first to give it a test drive.

Logan |The SmithocracyAs you can imagine A LOT of projects occurred to get to the final product. So my next few posts will be all about the things we did. Installing floors, building shelves, making curtains, etc. So much to share! So stay tuned.

Anyone out there have there own space to create in? Please share!


A Little More Privacy Please

Hello Wednesday, how are you?

I am sure you guys were wondering if I was about to miss my once a week post goal. Well fear not, I am not! Just took me a little longer to get the ball rolling. Busy busy busy. However I am so excited to share my latest little project!

For those who follow me elsewhere (see this post) you will have seen this little Sneak Peek.

instagram sneak peekThose that are of the more Quick of Mind and Wit quickly gathered that I had some blinds waiting around to be useful.

I soon followed up with this tease.

IMG_20130212_170012So where are these wonderful Privacy Providers?

If you said Kitchen, come on down!!!

Kitchen | The SmithocracyIt is really nice knowing I may now cook, eat, kiss my hubby whilst not being observed. Yes, that is right, I just used whilst in a sentence.

Let us go on a journey back through time shall we?

(insert Wayne’s World Flashback Sequence here)

Here is my sad kitchen when we first moved in.

beforeSo empty and sad.

Then I made a plan. A Photoshop Plan.

photoshop plan | The SmithocracyAnd then reality happened. (table project here)

_MG_6816Time to add some chairs.

_MG_6926And that brings us to today. Privacy Galore!

Here they are up.

upNow down.

blinds down | The SmithocracyIt really helps complete the room and make it seem as if people actually live here. Also I don’t have to feel creeped out if I walk through the kitchen at night anymore. I always feel like someone is watching…dun, dun, DUN!!!

If you are wondering, they are Bamboo Roller Shades. I would tell you where I ordered them, but I got the last ones and they aren’t selling them anymore. I decided that it was obviously fated for me to have these blinds. Seeing as they were the last three, I needed three, and they fit my windows EXACTLY. So from now on, we will refer to the Privacy Blinds as the Blinds of Destiny. (if you read that in a booming echo-y voice, then you are spot on.)

What do you think of my Blinds of Destiny? For some reason they make me feel more mature and grown up. Why do you think that is?

Have a great day and I wish you luck in finding your own privacy providing Blinds of Destiny.

Chevron Tree Skirt Tutorial

Happy Wednesday all. We are mid week and feeling good! If you recall from this post, I promised a tutorial on that tree skirt. I know it is pretty much after the fact (the fact being Christmas of course.) But I am still going to provide the tutorial. Just Pin it and save it for next year!

Speaking of Pinterest, that is where I received the inspiration for this project. I am sure many of you Pinterest People saw this image floating around. (Not my image, it belongs to the site mentioned below the image.)

Inspiration by Project Run and PlayWhen I pinned it, the text read “Chevron Tree Skirt Tutorial.” However when I followed the link over to Project Run and Play, I discovered that it was NOT in fact a tree skirt tutorial, but a circle skirt tutorial. Like to wear…for people.  Not trees.

My first thought was, no problem, I will just adapt it. However I felt that the directions seemed a little time consuming for what I had in mind. Perfect for a skirt you might wear frequently, but not perfect for something you get out once a year to sit on the floor. So rather then adapting, I decided to just do my own thing and make it up as I go.

So here is my, FOR REAL, Chevron Tree Skirt Tutorial.

Chevron Tree Skirt Tutorial by The Smithocracy As established in my Christmas Tour Post, I was going grey and red this year. And probably will for the next few years. I am not one to mess with what works.

I happened to have some leftover fabric from some pillows I made.

Red and chevron materialLots of fabric, but no pattern. So I decided to grab my old tree skirt and make one.

cut out the shapeI measured, and folded until I got something that looked like this.

folded downThis gave me the basic shape I needed to work with. And since I was never going to use this skirt again, I went ahead and cut it down to size. Once cut, I set it on top of some newsprint that was to be my future pattern.

place on paperI knew I wanted the grey chevron on the inside and the red solid on the border. So first I traced the material and cut out the general shape.

Paper stencile for tree skirtThe I used the original fabric as a stencil to mark where the border and the top come in.

mark where the seam istrace the curve

curve on stencilecut stencilcut curve awayVoila! I know had a pattern for the inside, and the border. I set aside the small half circle shape and used the large cone shape first.

I needed to make sure each section looked the same. In order to do that I lined up the center of my pattern with the down line (I am sure there is a better word for that) of the chevron.

line center of chevronThen I pinned it in place and cut away.

piecesAs I cut, I set each piece down so I could keep track of my success. Soon I had the right amount, which is 9 btw, and already it was looking cool. :-)

all the piecesWorking with chevron was tricky. I had to use more fabric then I thought, because of the pattern. One way to offset that was I would alternate the direction. So if I cut one panel with the small end of the pattern at the top, then I would cut the next panel with the small end facing down. That way I could take full advantage of the material I had. Does that make any kind of sense?

stencile on fabric

Now time for the Red. This time I folded the fabric several times before pinning. That way I could cut more then one section out at a time.

pin the curvecut the curveOnce those were cut out, it was time to sew, sew, sew. You know what that looks like right? Well I hope so, because I couldn’t take a picture of myself doing it. First I sewed the red panel to the chevron pattern. This was tricky since there is a curve involved. But I found that if I just treat it like a straight line and go super slow, it works just fine.

sew curve to chevronOnce the two colors were together I began sewing the panels together. I would take two panels and lay them on top of each other, pattern facing inward.

Then I just kept on keepin’ on. sew panels togetherSoon I had all 9 panels sewn together. However remember, it is a tree skirt. So I did not connect the front and the back. That is left open in order to go around the back of the tree.

Next I seemed up all the edges using the ‘ol turn and flip that I show here.

seam all edgesThen I stole the velcro from my old Tree skirt to use on the new one.

velcroThen Ta Da! A tree skirt was born.

Chevron Tree Skirt Tutorial by The SmithocracyChevron Tree Skirt Tutorial- by The SmithocracyChevron and Red Tree Skirt - The SmithocracyI was pretty happy about it, especially considering how I literally just made it up in my brain. I will be honest, it most likely can be done better. I would not do a super close up inspection of anything. But for what it is, it totally works.

Phew! Glad to have that out-of-the-way. I always feel like I go through the process again when I write these tutorials. I feel as if I should have a second tree skirt sitting here on the counter! Oh well. :-)

Hope you enjoyed it and maybe will want to try it for yourself next year.

Hasta la Pasta!

Establish A House…

I have been excited to share this project for a REALLY long time. We finally completed it last week! It all started about 9 months ago (no a baby is not involved.) I had been looking for something to put in our main entrance. It has a huge wall and needed some love.

See below.

That wall was crying out to me for something huge and dramatic. So one day I received my Restoration Hardware catalog, where I saw this photo.

The huge Subway Poster really caught my eye. I loved the black and white/vintage vibe. And if you are on Pinterest you know that subway posters are rather in right now.

Two things I didn’t love about it. 1. The price of $850 and 2. How generic it was. Everyone has these it seems. Also I have never been to New York, so the street names mean nothing to me.

One of The Smithocracy Rules about art is that is must Mean Something. All the art in our home has a purpose. It could be about somewhere we have been, or something to inspire us to be better. I also prefer my art to be spiritual in some way, but not in your face spiritual. Like the yellow painting you see in the top photo. That is titled The Mustard Seed, I painted it about 3 years ago. Anyway it is representative of faith and how it can start out small, like a mustard seed, but grows into a large tree. You can find that story in the bible. I like that story and wanted to represent faith growing in our home.

Here is a close up of that art. It has a watermark it, sorry but having someone steal my art once was enough for me.

Anyway back to my dilema.

So just ordering that poster would not meet any of those requirements. However I happen to know a retired Graphic Designer with some time on her hands (that’s me, if you don’t know). So I said to myself “Self! we can make this!”

I knew the look I wanted, now I just needed the right words.

I wanted the words to be something that represented our family. Something that when guests walked in the door, they knew right away what The Smiths were about. It was a bit of a struggle to find that perfect thing. Until…I was sitting in Sunday School and the Teacher used the following scripture (Mormon scripture) in class.

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;”      ~ D&C 109:8

It was perfect! I quickly wrote it down, and the next day I went to work. Once I got the design down I contacted Tommy, one of my favorite large format printers at Speed Pro Imaging, to print my Giant Masterpiece.

And I mean GIANT. You can see it laying there next to the daybed. It is 42″x96″ or 3.5 feet x 8 feet if you don’t want to do the math.

I was so happy! However the next, and most troubling step was framing this guy. So for months he just sat in storage until Dan and I could come up with a solution. So last week we finally figured it out.

Dan researched and learned all about building GIANT frames. And build one he did.

Then we mounted the art to some backer board. Which we then had to cut down to size.

Once that was done, we needed to attach it to the frame. This took some thinking. We had to have everything perfectly even as it was pretty much a one shot thing. Remember this is HUGE and Heavy. So no easy re-dos people. We decided to work backwards. So we placed the frame on top of the art and made sure it was nice and square. (FYI we protected the art with acetate that I ordered online. Later down the road, when the budget allows, we will order actual glass to put in a new frame.)

Then Dan got the pleasure of securing from the bottom up.

Actually everything you see, I did too, I just can’t take pictures of myself. In fact I am missing, in pictures, quite a few steps. Each one required both of us and all of our hands. So I took what I could.

Once we felt the back was secure enough, we transferred it to the floor and finished the job.

Once the art was secure it was time for me to finish the frame. We saved this step for last, because we knew the framing would scratch the finish we were going to use. And since I wasn’t painting it, we were confident in not getting any on the art work.

We wanted a silver frame, since that is usually the color I frame with. So to do the job I got out the ‘ol handy dandy Rub ‘n Buff.

I really like this stuff. You just use your finger to spread it on and it covers everything so nicely. It is great for changing a picture frame from a color you don’t like to any of the colors they carry. I used it for the picture in our bedroom from this post.

Just know that the process is very messy on your hands. So no photos of me doing it.

Once it was dry it was time to hang it up! Easy to say, but not do when you are talking about a large piece of art like this. But Dan came through and we achieved success without injury. A miracle!

Here is the view from the Living Room.

And another from down the hall by my office.

It is so nice finally having this project done. Well almost done. Like I said, when we can, we will order actual glass for the thing. Then we will have to re-frame it. I am super happy with the results for the most part. However I am wondering if the silver is too blah. Perhaps I should have done some other color, like I photo-shopped below.

Also I wonder if we should just let it rest on the floor and lean back, rather then hanging it on the wall. Let me know what you think. Since we are going to be doing a new frame in the future I will get a chance to change my mind. So I would love to hear everybody’s opinion.

Besides all that, I really like this and it added just the right amount of drama to my boring entry. Stay tuned till next time when I share all about The Wedding Party of the Century.

Seriously, my brothers wedding reception from this last weekend was so so fun and I can’t wait to share.

Happy Monday!

Halloween Pillow Tutorials

Hello! I am back from the good ‘ol city of San Fransico. My brother got hitched and I can’t wait to share all about it. However I will wait another week on that, as we have one more reception to get through. Meanwhile lets make some Halloween Pillows shall we?

Last week I showed you around the house in this post.

I made a promise at that time, and now I will follow through on that promise. See in The Smithocracy, all Smithocrats come through on their promises.

My favorite and easiest way to spruce up for the Holidays, is to use slip covers on my current pillows. As seen here.

It is easy and quick to do. Plus it saves on storage space. Rather then keeping a bunch of pillows around, I just remove the slip covers and fold them up till next time.

So I made three pillows this year for Halloween. Actually 4, but I am only going to demo three. The 4 is the Chevron pillow you see below.

It is just fabric, no decor. Each pillow was sewn using the tutorial I gave here. So I am not going to explain that again. For the benefit of the tutorial I am assuming you have already chosen the material and sewn your slip cover. You are now ready to decorate it Halloween Style! Shall we begin?

First up…Web Pillow

I used a white canvas for the material of the slip cover. It is super durable and I liked the corduroy like texture.

I gathered my supplies which included the items below.

I was so excited to find these chargers!  My original plan had been to find some black felt and cut out my own web. That would have been a huge pain, but I was willing to do it. However, the second I saw I could skip that step I jumped on it!

First I placed the Charger on my slip cover and cut it down to size, like so.

I then used some parchment paper to line the inside of the case. I was not sure if the glue would seep through or not.

Then I covered the back of the felt charger with the liquid stitch and used my finger to spread it around.

Once that was done, I pressed it down into place. It grabbed rather quickly, but I still pressed it down really well just to make sure. Once I felt confident it was on there good, I set it aside to try.

There was a tiny scrap left that I glued on the bottom corner and  TA DA! I am done!

Next is the Skeleton Hand PIllow

I used a flannel material for this project. For the pillow and the hand. I wanted this one to be soft and fuzzy.

I like textures.

Supplies were the same liquid stitch, some white flannel and a skeleton hand stencil I sketched out on paper.

Using the paper as a stencil, I cut out each piece individually. This is why I don’t have a copy to share. Sorry!!! All cut up now.

I actually ended up not pinning each piece. I just used my hands to hold the stencil on the fabric, and cut it out that way. No picture though as I needed both my hands! :-)

To keep track of the pieces I assembled the hand as I went.

Then I used the liquid stitch again and glued each piece in place. Again I lined the pillow case with parchment paper.

Only a little dry time and that was done as well.

I was bummed that the hand covered the smaller web on the other pillow, but I got over it. Just something I didn’t think about in the planning stages. Oh well.
Last but not least is The Skull Pillow

This pillow was easy because I already had the stencil from this project. Many people mocked me for using an actual stencil blank rather than freezer paper. However, this post justifies my actions. :-) I use this stencil a lot, so freezer paper is a no go for me.

Here are the suppliesThe stencil, the shirt form and the slip cover. I also used some silver spray paint, but the picture did not turn out.

This slip cover, I made from a linen type material. I wanted a rougher feel for this guy. Then I inserted the shirt form inside, to protect from seepage. Any thick material will do, I just happened to have this one on hand. I placed the stencil on the slip cover and took it outside for the rest.

**HINT** use a light spray adhesive on your stencil to help it stay in place. This also prevents clouding.

Make sure every inch of the fabric that you don’t want sprayed is covered. Otherwise it will get some spray dust on it. This time I used an actual t-shirt spray paint. I have used regular spray paint in the past and that works just as well, as long as it is glossy. Any other spray tends to wash out.

Once sprayed, I let this one dry for most of the day and then…

Done! A new skull pillow for my couch.

If you want to make this one you can get a skull template from this post. The skull and template were designed and made by me.
So there you go, some fun and easy ways to make your house a little more Halloween fun.

Let me know if you try any of these! Good luck!


Pillow Time

Hello. Today we are going to learn how to make pillows. Oh joy!

I love sewing pillows. It is literally the easiest sewing project on the planet. If you think that you are a person that can’t sew, well you are wrong. You can sew a pillow. My 6 year old could sew a pillow. Surely you are more skilled then a 6 year old. :-)

So lets begin.

First, a big question. Why did I need to sew a pillow? The answer to that question lies in this oft seen photo.

I first showed you this photo in the Small Changes post. I revealed that I had gotten some new bedding. Mostly a duvet cover and the matching pillows, shown in the picture. Ever since I have made this upgrade, I have felt that the bed looked wimpy in some way. I cannot have a wimpy bed. So I analyzed the situation and noticed that the addition to one more euro pillow in the back would be just the thing to beef things up. Now I had made the bedskirt and the Euro shams and small pillows years ago, when Austin was a baby. So I knew (or thought I knew) I still had the pattern. Also I had plenty of leftover material. So it was just a matter of purchasing a euro pillowform.

I then gathered all my supplies, only to discover that something was missing.

No pattern!

Somehow in the last 8 years, I have lost my pattern for the bedding I made. So bummer for me, but woohoo for you. Why? Because that meant I had to wing it, and by winging it, you get a tutorial on how to make a pillow case, without a pattern.

So first step, I grabbed one of the old pillows and stripped it of it’s casing.

So if you have a pillow that is the same size you want to make, just take off the current casing and use it as a pattern. If not, then just use the pillowform you bought/have. I have done this in the past as well.

Next lay your pillow case, inside out, or pillowform on top of the fabric you are using. Do not double the fabric. You only want one large square. This is for the front.

If using the pillowform, make it as flat as possible, and be sure to give yourself  3/4 to 1 inch out. That way you have room for your seams. If using a pillow case already laying around, make sure it is inside out. That way you have the seams included. However I still went about 1/4 inch out, but definitely not more than that.

Next, cut.

You should be left with a large square for the front. Now my pattern is random, so I didn’t need to think too much about direction of the fabric, except for up and down. Make sure you pay attention to how you want your fabric to be, once the pillow is complete. Especially if using stripes of some sort.

Next is for the back. For this pillow, I am using an overlap method. So we will be cutting out two rectangles. I like this method, because it is easy to insert and remove the pillowform. You also have the choice to include, or not include buttons. With this pillow, I am doing buttons. Only because the other pillows have them. Otherwise I would normally skip that step.

So for the back, I placed my fabric on top of the back of the other pillow case I am copying. I then folded the fabric back, until it lined up with the other panel.

If you are using a pillowform, or your sample case doesn’t have the overlap insert, then here is what you do.

You want two rectangles that overlap in the back. You do not want them to only come half way. So do not just make a second square and cut it in half. Each rectangle should cover about 3/4 of the back. This leaves room to not only overlap, but also for the seams.

Once I figured my correct rectangle length, I cut again.

This is what I ended up with.

You will notice that one of my rectangles is longer then the other. Don’t worry, I trimmed it up later on. It just has the printed “made by” info on the bottom.

Once that was done, I pieced it together, as if it were already a real pillow. So not inside out…yet.

Since my fabric does have an Up and Down to it, I needed to make sure everything was going the right direction. I then was able to decide which sides of the rectangles were going to get seamed. Hint: it is the overlapping sides that you see folded up in the photo.

I took it to the ironing board and prepared it for the good ‘ol double fold that I talk about in this post.

Only this time, I made the double fold a bit wider, to make room for the button-holes. If you are not doing buttons, then make it whatever thickness (or thinness) you want.

Once ironed, I sewed a straight line to make the seam. Now I did not do this method when I first made these pillows. I just sewed it once. Now I know better. You can see the difference here.

On the left is the new pillow, with the double fold. The right is the old one. If you look closely you can see the fraying fabric. Now, on the new one I did a double seam. One on the inside, and one on the outside. You can see it in the picture above. Again, this is for the button-holes. You don’t have to do this, but it does make it twice as tough.

Next, it was time for button holes. This part is not so easy, but is doable. I went to the manual on this one.

You can find button-hole instructions on the internet, or your own sewing machines manual. I would give the instructions, but they are specific to my machine. I use a Brother, and the directions were rather simple. So hopefully yours are as well. But like I said before, you can totally skip this step and not use button-holes at all. The pillow case will still work great.

So lets see how I did?

It’s ok.  A little wobbly. But it will work.

Once the button-hole is sewn, you get a seam ripper, and rip ‘er new one. Don’t rip your new seams though.

And voila!

A quick test to see if it worked.

And it did.

Now to sew the pillow and be done. So this is when we want to do everything backwards. Imagine your pillow case is inside out.

I have laid everything out, all facing inward. The panel with the button-holes on it, is the one underneath the top panel. When the pillow is the correct way out, we want the button holes on the outside. If you didn’t do button-holes, then no worries. It doesn’t matter which panel goes on bottom. Just as long as they overlap.

Next pin, pin, pin. You want everything to hold while you sew. Sorry, I got excited and forgot to take a picture of it pinned.

Then you basically sew a giant square. Just place a straight stitch about a 1/4 inch in along each length of the square.

You people without button-holes, you are done! Just flip it back out, and stuff the pillowform inside like so.

You have a new pillow! Yipee!. Side note: how awesome does that pillow look on my couch? I may have to explore this a little.

Button-hole people, do the same, but you are not done yet. We are still going to place the pillow form inside, but we need to sew the buttons on.

Using the button-holes as a guide, hand sew your buttons onto the lower panel. Make sure it is in a place that lines up with the button-hole above.

Once the button is sewed on, button it of course!

There you go! A beautiful new pillow. Lets see the shot again.

This project took me about an hour. If it is your first time, give yourself a little longer. But once you have it down, you can get these guys pumped out pretty quickly.

So lets see how it looks on the bed!


Another angle.

Much better, I think. Can you tell which is the new one?

I feel much better now that the bed is beefed up a little. A headboard is still needed…badly! It is on the list, and hopefully coming soon. Dan and I finally came up with a plan and look that we are both happy with. So hopefully the Build a Headboard bill will pass soon. :-)

Happy pillow making and good luck!

P.S. If you make a pillow, please share it with us on facebook. We would love to see!

It’s Neat to have a Seat.

Well it is finally done!!! That long-awaited for kitchen table. You can see the start of the journey in this post, and this post.

So let us see, in pictures what exactly is happening here.

First we started out with this.

Just a big empty space. And it stayed that way for quite a long time. It even posed as a work room for the Giant Curtain Project and the Sneaky Trash project.

Then I bought this little (BIG) guy.

He was good from far, but far from good. You can’t tell from the picture, but a lot of Love was needed. I mean A LOT. So so so much love. But I digress.

Too impatient to wait for a finished product, I then I used my Imagination and Photoshop skills to come up with this little image.

Most of you voted for the red base. However the other half of The Smithocracy leadership, did not love red, or any color. So after much debate in congress, it was agreed that black was the least controversial color. So peace was restored once more.

So now where does that leave us? Oh yeah, you probably want to see how it really looks. So now I have to decide…

Do I just show you the final product without taking you through the journey?

Do I make you wait and wait, just as I did?

NO!!! I hated this project, and so I will not make you suffer as I did. Here you go!

Complete and in full glory. No Photoshop here folks! Can you see the differences? One big difference is that we did end up changing the light fixture, but it obviously is not the glass pendent I initially worked into the imagination photo. Still no stools for the counter. But we will get there.

So I don’t know about you but, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Yes four loves. Love to the power of 4, and you get 4 Smithocratic votes of yes on this one!

“But wait, Tannie, didn’t you JUST say you hated this project?”

Yes I did, Dear Reader, yes I did.

And now I will take you through the Journey of the Table.
I will try to show pictures as I can, but the more I hate a project, the less time I take to take pictures. So yeah, not so many.

First we had to peel of this SUPER thick varnish, which had an amazing smell. And if you can’t read my sarcasm on that, then I mean terrible smell. Once that was done, we disassembled the legs and painted them black.

Here is a nice after picture in the late evening.

Nice and black. This is when I still thought this project was the best idea ever.

After that we got the joy and blessing of scraping off, who knows how many years, of chewing gum. Delicious. This was a restaurant table at one point. But I was still surprised at the amount of gum!

So now is when I want to make a plea.

Please do not stick your gum under a table. You don’t know if that table will someday end up in some poor DIY-ers garage. And there they are, stuck, cleaning your disgusting gum. You should really feel ashamed.

Moving on.

After that I sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded…need I go on? Yes, I sanded some more. And because we wanted a very smooth finish, we covered the top with wood filler, where I got to sand and sand and sand some more.

Now I do not want to reinvent the wheel here. So here are the blogs I checked out to decide how we wanted to paint the table.

Centsational Girl

The Cerniks

Bryn Alexandra

Young House Love

So I had all this wonderful information from bloggers who have done it before. Dan and I decided to nix using the spray gun method. He hates using ours, and I don’t know how, and didn’t feel like learning. So that ruled out that method. We really were worried about any sort of roll marks or paint lines. So we decided to go the spray paint method.

We did prime first of course. That is the one thing every blog agrees on. Prime, prime, prime. So prime we did.

I should have known it would have been a disaster, when after the very first coat, right when things looked perfect and beautiful, this happened.

Yep, a bee flew in and landed right smack into my perfect paint.

He was so mad!

I was so mad!

We were both buzzing mad!

Do not fear for the bee, I gave him a hand and set him outside, where he spent the next hour cleaning himself off, buzzing and cursing at me, and then flew home.

After that, it was one disaster after another. First the bee, and having to fix that. Then the paint, for whatever reason, would not dry consistently glossy. The table looked like it had some sort of spotted glossy disease. I did the primer, I did thin even coats, I waited the appropriate time to dry in between. But it was not happening. The other problem was that our wood filler idea did not work. Instead you could see every flaw, every hole, and every sanding mark.

So it was time to go back to the drawing board. Which meant more sanding. *sigh.*

At the great suggestion from a friend, I decided to switch methods. I went with using a sponge roller and just flat house paint. This method was best described by Bryn Alexandria. So read her post, and you will know what I did.

To fix all the flaws and holes, I used some drywall repair stuff, and it worked really well, just was tedious and meant more sanding.

So I painted, sanded, patched, painted, sanded patched, So on and So Forth. Until it was as smooth as a…insert your favorite “smooth as” saying.

Once the paint looked perfect I applied the Polycrylic as recommended. And here is the result.


I was so relieved and happy. So a HUGE thank you to Bryn!! I will now use this method for all my furniture. Sorry spray paint, you are a failure.

So we let it cure for three days and changed the light fixture.

Look how happy Dan looks, changing a light. He is so fun to do projects with!

Then we stuck it in the house.

Then we searched for the perfect chairs.

Which we did find at West Elm.

And voila!

Table bliss achieved.

We did in fact, actually buy a vase that we were going to turn into a glass pendent. But he found a new home on the fireplace.

Along with our new friend Mr. Hoots.

So I am super happy with the results, not so happy with the process. I guess the Moral of This Story is, hard work always pays off. Even if most of the hard work was pointless.

Also sanding is your friend and enemy. It is your Frenemy.

And what were the boys doing during all this.

Making the Best Blanket Fort Of All Time of course!

Anyway, anyone have a project that went wrong, but right all at the same time?

Please share!!!

P.S. The Smithocracy needs your vote! Like us on facebook and stay up to date on all things Smithocratic! Including giveaways. :-) Yes bribery just happened.

Small Changes

Over the summer we did not do any major projects, but we did do a bunch of tiny ones. Sometimes the best change is a small one. So today we will just highlight some of those tiny changes. There are a couple that I may go back and later do the step by step. But for now we will enjoy the small things.

First we took the time to beautify our front and back porches. A wonderful birthday gift from my mother.

So here is a look at the front porch. Sorry, no before pictures on this.

and a detail shot.

The back patio.

another angle.

One of my favorite of the small changes. It really helped me feel more moved in. Just having that little bit of color. Potted plants seem like a settled in, permanent type of a thing. So I was so glad to get that!

Next I did a few small things in the living room. I have a before and after on this, so lets see if you can spot the changes.

First, the before.


This one has been fun, because when people walk in, they know Something Is Different. But what that Thing is, they can’t figure out. I have had comments, like “this room feels more lived in.” Or “Why does it seem like you have stuff in here now?”

Well if you didn’t spot it, I have added a brown and larger lamp shade to give weight to the lamp in the corner. Two Living Plants have been added, some art on the mantle and one of the stick pots has been tossed.

It’s amazing how those very very small changes really help make the room a littler more solid. Now of course it is still not complete. But I don’t like putting things in place just as a place holder. Either it has the Thing it is going to have or it is empty. That way the space constantly mocks me for improvement. So The mantle will slowly get added too. But for now some art and a plant are good.

Next is a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG awaited one. For a while now I have had my eye on a certain pin-tucked duvet cover at Target. It is a knock-off of one made by West Elm. Well this summer I finally committed and covered up our poor naked Duvet.

Here is the before.

How embarrassing. Well Naked No More!

I wish I had staged this after photo a little better. Oh well. Just take my word for it, that it is a huge improvement. Of course the bedroom is still a little stark, but that is a large change, not a small one.

We also had another small thing change in the bedroom. Something that I have not shared with the reader yet, is that Dan and I are in a battle. For many a year the main rulers of The Smithocracy have been at a stand still. And it is all over a piece of art.

I love it, Dan hates it.

Here is said art.

You can see it here in our old house, Proudly Displayed on the wall.

It is a piece, that I can understand, will not always be universally loved. But I like it. It is constantly under much heated discussion. So far I have come out on top and Mr. Poppy has stayed in the bedroom. However the one thing we agree on is that the frame needs to be updated. The gold and brown is sad and old. So I took care of that just last week.

Hello silver frame. We also actually hung it on the wall. This was a super easy change that I will do a tutorial on later. However Dan, is slightly happier to see the gold gone. We do still plane on actually re-framing it. The brown felt is gross. But for now, silver is good.

Last but not least, we finally added the extra bars on the day bed. The thing was driving me crazy with the bolsters constantly falling through.

Here is the before.

And now for the after. *hint – no we have not painted it yet.*

So much better!!!!  Now the bolsters stay right where they should. Good Bolsters. We will give all the details when we finally do paint it. Coming soon…I promise!

Well that does it for our small summer changes. We also made some changes on the blog! We added a photo in the about section and a new page about advertising. So check it out!

Any small changes in your life that have made a big impact? Tell us about it!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter in the Giveaway. Contest ends Friday! So like us on facebook to win! Check it out here.



Being Manly

Hello! You may remember this little organizational item I created a couple months ago.

I blog all about it here.

Well it has been super useful in keeping ME organized. But I noticed it doesn’t do much to help the ‘ol hubsters want to stay organized. He wanted a MANLY list. So I made this one!

Chock full of Manliness, this is THE MANLY HONEY-DO LIST FOR MEN. :-) When Dan wants to get it done, he can now do it in style. I specifically limited the lines to 8 in order to not overwhelm The Man with endless honey-do items. If you are anything like me, I tend to get too excited about getting “stuff done” and end up with a list for Dan with around 50 items on it. So this makes him happy and keeps me under control!

Anyway if you like this list and want one for yourself, you can find it on my etsy store, along with the To Do Daily notepad.


***UPDATE*** I have since closed the Etsy store. Just not enough traffic. Selling one notepad, once a month is more annoying then beneficial. So if you still want one, then just contact me directly and we will work directly. Thanks!

Dun dun dun… Daybed!

It’s here, the long awaited, much talked about (let’s see if you even remember from this post about it) Daybed! It turned out so great…but alas, it is still not Quiiiiiiiiiite finished. It still needs some paint on the ol’ timber, but who knows when that will actually get done. So here in all it’s (mostly) complete glory are the details.  Or the Deets as you young folk say.

First we needed a plan. And the plan was a daybed. I really wanted this daybed from West Elm.

However, we at The Smithocracy are cheap cheap cheap. So if we don’t want to spend it, we build it!

We scoured the internet for some plans and we found this great little site.

The Design Confidential

Rayan Turner is the person behind this site. It has so many great ideas for the DIYer and this is where we found some plans for the perfect daybed. To see what we found go here. But here is the idea.

We now had a plan, now we just needed action. Dan studied the shopping list and gathered the necessary materials.

Careful careful measuring. Then time to grab the crew and do some cutting.

Once he had all the cuts needed, we ended up with this.

Yep, a pile of wood. BUT a pile of wood that is cut to correct proportions.

I little bit of roughing out…

A little bit of screwing in…

We are starting to get closer…

A little closer…

Feeling good now!

And voila! Done!

If only it was actually that easy.

This project was only supposed to take a couple hours, maybe a day at tops. We took about three days on it. For two reasons.

1. There were a couple flaws in the plans that Dan had to correct. I couldn’t tell you what they were. I just know there was a long hour of grumbling coming from the garage at one point. (Don’t tell, but this may have had a tiny bit to do with the fact that some of the plans were misread by a certain handy man)

2. Now this was the main trouble.

Every single screw stripped out on us. EVERY ONE. And there are A LOT of screws in this thing. So this caused a lot of headache and arm ache and possibly some glaring.

However Dan powered through it and we ended up with this masterpiece.

Here it is debuting as a guest bed.

We plan to paint the wood a satin grey color. We are also going to add another set of cross bars on the side to help hold the bolsters up better.

They tend to fall through…all the time.

The Smithocracy verdict is that we LOVE it! It is so handy in my office. We use it to watch very important things like The Legend Of Korra or Madd Chadd videos. It has also come in super handy for some fun guests.

For those of you that are more detailed oriented.

The wood and materials was around $40 and purchased at Home Depot

The Mattress cover and bolsters are from West Elm

The Mattress is from a local place called Austin Consignment. No the Mattress was NOT consignment. ew.

The Large Pillows are from IKEA

And the yellow pillow and bedding is from Target.

I think the total for this project, including buying a mattress was $300.

Not too bad I think.

So thank you to The Design Confidential. Without your plans, we would still be daybed-less. And that would be so sad.