Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Spring Break Bachelorette Party: New Orleans style!

Hi friends! 

One of the biggest perks of working in higher education is about to commence...the coveted spring break {paid} off!! Woo Hoo! Since I could work, I always worked over spring break, so the blissful beach days and getaways were non-existent.


So, naturally, I have to take full advantage of this fact and take a road trip! {And boy, it couldn’t have come at a better time}  My lovely best friend is getting married in May and too has a spring break to take { she’s in doctoral school so she DEFINITELY could use a girls weekend} so…bachelorette party in New Orleans was the plan! It will be my first visit to New Orleans, unbelievably…I can almost taste the crawfish, jambalaya and hurricanes!


So with our destination set, I asked my new friend Lila over at The ConstantTourist to fill me in on the must-dos of the Crescent City, her current locale. She has an amazing food & travel blog full of mouth-watering recipes and details from her world travels. In other words, she is living the dream!  {sigh} 

The Constant Tourist, a must read

So, she was kind enough to write a post detailing the perfect inclusive itinerary for the ideal girl’s weekend in New Orleans, full of pampering and patios, brunching and gallivanting around. Read all about it here. It sounds incredible...and nothing like getting travel advice from a local!
So, last night, I was surrounded by glitter, feathers and mardi gras beads making super-cute masks for our masquerade night-out. Can’t wait to show them off, but they’re a secret for now.:)

I’ll be back next week with lots of fun pictures. Afterward, a whole week of landscaping, hammock-lounging, reading and crafting are in my future. Bout time! Les bon temps rouler, y’all!

Friday, March 2, 2012

TV on a Brick Fireplace: A Whitewashed Mantle Makeover

Hi friends!
So, it’s time to get real about the TV mounted on a brick fireplace scenario. Like many 70s homes, we have a brick wall fireplace, caddy-cornered.
Now, I love the exposed brick, but it makes for an awkward layout. The only natural place for the TV to go was over the fireplace. After doing some research, I found that mounting a TV into the bricks would probably cost big bucks from the help of a pro. And though it looks great…let’s get real…where do all the cable boxes and DVD players go? I saw pictures like this and thought…???


So, the existing mantle was rough cedar but was in decent condition, but again with the yee-haw cowboy cedar. 
Blah and blah. It just didn’t pop, and I’ve always like the clean look of a white fireplace surround. And that bronze ta go. So, I came up with an idea to build a lacquered fireplace surround and whitewash the mantle. I ran into this excellent tutorial at Censational Girl for basic whitewashing. It is BEYOND simple to recreate the look…2 parts latex paint (I actually just used white Kilx primer) and one part water.
My inspiration piece at Centsational Girl

Brush against the grain, and it gives it a rustic, shabby chic look! My lovely mother-in-law helped me out (Thought I was crazy at first!) It will look like too much at first, but will dry much lighter.
Jackie, going against the grain
 I loved the look, just like I did in my bathroom makeover.
White washed mantle
The hubs and my father-in-law worked hard on building the frame. We just used 2x4s and 1x8s to build a simple frame with a  hollow back that sat flush against the brick. This gave us room to drill through the top and disguise the wires. All in all, we spent under $30 on materials.

The boys, doing their thing & having a brewsky, per usual
We drilled another hole at the bottom at the back. TIP: Use a piece of electrical tape to keep your wires together. When you need to add something, tape it to your existing bundle and weave them through. This might be tricky, so be sure to have all your electronics that you plan to use handy.

Now, we just fit the frame under the lip, spackled the seams and put our TV on a stand on top! Nice and sturdy! I keep the cable box on a vintage beer crate, and will be making a fireplace surround out of an old vintage gate soon.

Much better, no? Can't wait to decorate it! We'll add a little molding around the bottom and call it a day! Anyone have any suggestions for cleaning the fireplace burn? We'll hide it, but just curious. 
Have a wonderful weekend & stay crafty!

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