Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adding Beauty to Your Home, for FREE!!

Hi guys!

Popping in today for a quick reminder about thinking outside the box.

Many times I feel myself getting discouraged when I'm trying to decorate my home. It seems like all the projects I wanna do, or the things I wanna buy are just too expensive. 

That's when I have to stop and remind myself to look around. There are so many things out there that can help me on this journey to the cozy home I want to surround my family with. Things that don't cost a ton of money, and in some cases may even be free!

Todays example of thinking outside the box?

The flowers in these pics, they're actually weeds. 

They've been growing in huge bunches out behind our house and I kept noticing how they really were actually kinda pretty. I finally walked back there last night, tore a few off (they bled this lovely milky stuff), brought them in the house and threw them in a vase.

Totally free!

Disclaimer: The owners of The Concrete Cottage hold no liability if the weeds flowers you bring in your house happen to bring with them special little friends. We recommend shaking them off just a bit and a thorough inspection prior to heading to the house.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

West Elm comes to Kansas City

… and I got to experience it first hand!!

As I told you yesterday, I was invited to a Media Tour at West Elm's Kansas City store the day before its official opening. My daughter Morgan and I piled in the car and drove the 2.5 hours to KC yesterday morning. Tuesday was her very first day of college classes, but she had Wednesday off. What better way to recoup from one whole day of school then a road trip with mom!


There were so many amazing things to see!
I've been flipping through West Elm catalogues for years now, but yesterday was the first time I've had the opportunity to step into a store.

If you've also not had the chance, let me take you through one in pictures. 

These table linens all match my decor beautifully. I wanted to take EVERYTHING home!!

The bedding… LOVE!

This Gauze Stitched blanket was my favorite.

West Elm has a Local section in their stores that has got to be one of the neatest things they provide. This area consists of all local designers and artisans whose work is being sold right here in the midst of everything you'd expect to find at West Elm. And let me say, the local items offered are fabulous!!

You can find those yummy arrows here at Axel Co.'s Etsy shop if you're not local. 
The prints on the lower right at

They're hard to see, but the Kansas City print in the middle is from
The trays you see standing up on the right are leather and are crafted by
On the far right are luxurious throws that feel absolutely amazing by

Morgan was pretty taken with the local items too! This one from

I know there are a few local artists that I've missed, but it was pretty much the busiest area in the store, so a little difficult to get all the details.

Not only do they sell local, but the Community Board helps locals and tourists know about some of the great things to see and eat in KC. 
One of these days I will finally make it back up there for First Fridays! I've been dying to go to the antique stores in the West Bottoms Historic District for ages now.

Then there were the accessories.

The window displays.

Even a back to school section for college that's extremely affordable.
Think duvets starting at $49 for a queen!!

Oh, and lest I forget, the Halloween decor was out.

If you're stumped for what color to paint your room, drapes to hang, end table and lamp to throw together? They offer free design services. Yep, they'll either go over photos of your space with you, or even come to your house to help. 

All for free!!

This little area was my favorite.

"You've gotta come feel this pillow Mom!!"

Huge fan of that massive dip dyed fabric chandelier! 
I think everyone needs one.

You can see a few more of my photos plus pics from some of the other lovely bloggers I met during the tour via Instagram.  #westelmkc 

Morgan and I had a wonderful time, and were even invited to stay for the grand opening party last night. We had to decline so we could get home at a reasonable hour, but from the pics I saw on IG, they had a blast! 

I should also add, that I was given a small tote bag as a gift for being there, but otherwise have not been compensated by West Elm for this post. All the opinions and rave reviews are strictly the result of me loving home decor and loving West Elm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

West Elm in Kansas City

Ampersand Design Studio featured at West Elm Kansas City

Gonna have some fun today!

I'm hopping in the car and heading to Kansas City. West Elm is opening their doors in KC for the first time tomorrow, and somehow I got lucky enough to be invited to their Media Tour.
I'll get to go in and see everything today that the public has to wait till tomorrow to see! 

Eeek! Yes, I'm excited!!

I've got a freshly charged battery in the camera and Harry Potter audio books all cued up for the drive. 

Kansas City here I come!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Starbucks Little Mermaid Logo

When my oldest was a little girl, she had this infatuation with The Little Mermaid.
You know the kind.
The kind where she watched it over and over and over.
When she'd leave the room, I might have been known to hit fast forward in hope of getting to the end before she came back. 
Maybe it was mean.
Maybe it helped keep a young mommy sane.

As she's grown older, her obsessions have become a bit more manageable. In fact, she's even developed a taste, if you willfor a few of my obsessions.

One of those obsessions would be Starbucks.

When I saw a graphic someone put together of the Starbucks Mermaid switched out with Ariel, Sebastian and the eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, it was sheer perfection.
Of course I showed my girl and it was a given that I would make her a sign with the graphic for her room.

I painted it on canvas yesterday.
Eventually I'll show you the wall she plans to add this to, but till then, please enjoy it styled with a random peach, dying flowers mixed with fake flowers, a cup of watered down black coffee I won't be drinking while using my iPad holder as an easel.

Obviously I'll put any random old thing together if they create a halfway decent photo.

So again, enjoy!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Painted Metal Jug

You know those beautiful old metal jugs that are so popular right now? Maybe they aren't as popular as I think, and it's like buying a new car and all the sudden you see that car everywhere. So maybe it's just that I've been wanting an old metal jug so I think I see them all over the internet. Or, maybe they're just all over the internet. 

Anyway, I've been looking for one. 

And guess where I found one? 

In my basement, I have a huge box filled with decorations from my kitchen in our last house. I have no idea why I went down and looked in the box, but you might have already guessed what I found lying there. Yep, I already owned one. How does one forget something like that? I'm trying to not think about the answer to that? (I'm old, I know, I'm old. Dangett!!)

My jug-in-a-box didn't exactly have the look I wanted, so I did what I always do and painted it.

Somewhere, in all the pics floating around the internet, I saw a photo of an old jug with a layer of rust on the bottom (I have no idea where I saw it, or I'd provide a link). I really liked the look, so I set about creating my own version. Minus the actual rust.

I started with a good coat of ASCP in Old White. To give the bottom the "rusty feel" I liked, I used silver leafing. I don't have pics of the process, cuz I've been a very bad blogger lately, but the steps are simple.

Paint on the Metal Leaf Adhesive (can be found at any craft store) to any spot you want the metal leafing to adhere. Let it dry (it'll feel tacky), then apply the Silver Leafing Sheets.

The silver leaf by itself was way too bright and perfect. To fix that, I added a coat of Clear Annie Sloan Wax over the entire surface of the jug to seal it. Then added a few coats of the Dark AS Wax to the silver leaf. This added a lovely aged patina look I was after. 

I think the lesson here is... hoarding old junk in the basement for 4 years isn't as awful as Mr. Concrete thinks it is cuz some days you find old treasures you didn't remember you had.


It's probably time for a garage sale.

These are some of the fun blogs I link up to on a regular basis.