Home Decor

As Seen in Issue 11 of the Magnolia Journal

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Issue No. 11 of the Magnolia Journal surrounds the idea of Freedom and inspires you to celebrate freedom in a number of ways. Maybe you celebrate freedom by choosing a path for you instead of what was expected, maybe it’s letting go of comforts to allow room for growth, maybe it’s packing out your kids into the car and living life on the road, or maybe it’s simply running through the grass barefoot on a summer day with literally nothing else to do. There’s even a summer bucket list that will inspire you to make this the best summer ever and live like you’re a kid again. If this sounds like your jam or you just want some of the grilled flatbread recipes (because they look freaking delicious and easy to make), go get it. If you just want to find a few Joanna Gaines approved items you can buy online, well then, I can help you with that. Just keep scrolling.


Backpack by Walker Family Goods

There’s an entire article about the Walker Family in this issue. They sound kind of amazing and I want to be them for like a week (likely I’d change my mind after 1 day in the car with my kids). Plus I’m just loving the vintage vibe of this bag.

Chemical Free Sunscreen

Look, I use the bad stuff on my kids too because it works. I’m trying to do better though and this one caught my eye.




Coconut Milk Roll On Perfume

There’s a seaweed + sea salt one I really want to try. I haven’t used perfume in years, but this makes me want to try.


But seriously, this issue has me saying all the yeses and I’m really anxious to try the spinach + artichoke flatbread and the tomato + basil flatbread. There’s even a recipe for chimichurri with avocado that sounds amazing too and since our outdoor kitchen is finally up and running, you can bet we might just be trying that one very soon with whatever steak I can get Tyler to cook. I don’t grill so if you know what an appropriate cut of mean for a chimichurri is, feel free to share.

So yeah, if you’re asking my opinion, I’d totally recommend issue no. 11 of the Magnolia Journal.

-Monica

The Etsy Shop: Printable Wall Art

So admittedly when I made those freebie printables for email subscribers, I was really enjoying myself. Ever since I’ve been obsessed with typography, learning as much about it as I can, and putting together these printables for your home. I’ve decided to take what I’ve been playing with and reopen my Etsy shop with some of the designs I’ve been working on.

Have you ever considered printables for home decor before?

They’re a super affordable way to add style to your home and they’re easy to change out with the seasons (or just when you’re ready for something new).

What if you don’t have a printer or your printer isn’t that great?

No worries! Just send the file off to your local office supply store or print shop for printing (Costco, FedEx Kinkos, Office Depot, Walgreens, etc.). Have them print on a smooth cardstock or matte photo paper. If you have a larger budget consider places like Framebridge where they frame it for you. Really any online printer will also work (mpix.com, Shutterfly, etc.). Don’t let you printer or lack thereof keep you from affordable artwork.

As a thank you for visiting my blog, I want to extend an offer for you to use at my Etsy shop. Buy 3 printable items and get 33% OFF (Now through August 31, 2019). Just use the code BLOGLOVE or click HERE.

If you print and use any of my printables (either the free ones or the ones from Etsy) I’d love to see it in your space. Tag me on Instagram @monicabrownblog or use the hashtag #monicabrownblog. Happy Buying!

Wanna get your hands on my free printables? Check out my blog post titled 16 Free Printables for Your Home or Office.

-Monica Brown

16 Free Printables For Your Home or Office

One of my goals is to make decorating your home easier. Maybe that means helping make it more affordable or maybe it means giving you ideas based on our DIYs that you didn’t think of before. It can mean a lot of things, but today it means I’ve been working on a little freebie for you and I’m kind of excited about it. Starting now, when you sign up on my email list, you get these 16 super adorable signs (in a digital format) that you can print at home or send off to your favorite printing lab. Who doesn’t love affordable (or in this case, FREE) home decor? Be sure to share your end product with me on Instagram by tagging @monicabrownblog or using the hashtag #monicabrownblog.

21 Farmhouse Finds at Big Lots

Post contains affiliate links.

I’m pretty sure the last time I was in a Big Lots was approximately 9 ish years ago when we lived about a quarter of a mile from one in San Antonio. The last few days I’ve been seeing them pop up in my Instagram and Facebook feeds with sponsored ads and I’ve got to say, I’m seeing some cute things that I would have never expected from a Big Lots. I’m shocked really and just looked up where my nearest Big Lots is because I think a visit is in order this week.

I’m also the queen of a good deal. I almost never buy anything that isn’t discounted or at least that I know isn’t a good value for the money. There are days that I wish I wasn’t that person, but I am which means I spend a lot of time making sure I’ve found the best deal possible on just about everything. The dog chewed up my son’s shoes the other day and I still haven’t found him a new pair, because I just feel like I could do better than any deals I’ve found online or in store so far. It’s a problem I think.

So yeah, if you’re looking for that Farmhouse look in your home, but on a budget, I may have just found a solution for you with these items from Big Lots. There’s more than this online too, but here are just a few of my favorites with that Fixer Upper vibe.

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Standing House Shelf with Woven Back

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Gold Metal Tabletop Clock

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Gold Metal & Glass 3-Section Test Tube Bud Vase

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Metal House Tealight Candle Holder

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You Are My Home Wood Panel Framed Plaque

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Gray Odessa Throw Pillow (17X17)

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Ether Miranda Diamond Lumbar Pillow (13X18)

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Adelyn Ether Throw Pillow (17X17)

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Bria Gray Stripe Throw Pillow (13X18)

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Small Grid Wire & Wooden Basket with Canvas Liner

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Round Hanging Wall Mirror with Rope (19”)

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“Home Is” Home Icon Framed Wall Plaque

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“Let’s Stay Home” Rustic Plaque

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Hanging Circle Shelf

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Smoky Finish Embossed Glass Bottle with Beads

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Living Colors Woodchip Tabletop Basket

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Cream Ribbed Ceramic Vase

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“Love” Metal & Wood Tabletop Decor

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Crinkle 3-Piece Quilt Set

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Plaid Microfiber 4-Piece Sheet Set

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Silver Galvenized Lantern

So are you as impressed as I am? Seriously, I’ve never seen anything this cute in Big Lots, but I’m happy to see them stepping up their game and providing attractive Farmhouse decor at affordable prices.

-Monica

ThermaLeaf® Fire Retardant Artificial Foilage Review

The awesome people over at ThermaLeaf® sent me this Bird's Nest Fern last week and I'm pretty excited about it.  I haven't really decided on it's final resting place in the house just yet and I'm thinking I need a plant stand that's a bit more elevated because that stool belongs to my kids and they're not going to let me use it forever.  

This plant is fire retardant artificial foilage which is pretty cool.  I love me some real plants, don't get me wrong, but I have my fair share of artificial around the house too.  Truth be told, when I went to set up this quick little shoot for this plant, I had to move some things out of the way, one of which was a plant I probably hadn't watered in three weeks and it really needed some tlc asap. Sometimes I just forget because life is busy.

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So obviously PRO # 1 is that I can't kill this thing.  I love never having to water which is the only reason my cacti are currently surviving in my bathroom.  Apparently the humidity from our shower is enough to keep them alive.  So yeah, I love that I get the appeal of a plant without having to remember to water it.

PRO #2 is that it's fire retardant.  Look, nobody plans on needing things to be fire retardant, but I have a toddler boy and I'm sure there is a reason their pajamas are fire redardant.  

PRO # 3 is that I love the base on this thing.  It came with a black planter pot and I stole the terra-cotta from another plant of mine.  But what I love about it is the base is heavy and details didn't get skipped over.  I was afraid that my kids or the dog would be knocking this over on the regular, but that heavy base should keep it in place and make that more of a challenge.  The folks at ThermaLeaf® actually tried to make the soil look real by adding some natural looking elements.  I appreciate that.  I also just love the base of the stems and the attention to detail there.

PRO # 4 is this thing seems like it'll be easy to wipe down.   I feel like sometimes you can buy artificial foliage that is basically impossible to clean so I'm happy this looks so easy.  Housekeeping isn't exactly my favorite activity.

PRO #5 is that it looks good in my house.  There is just something about plants that adds life to a home and seeing them just makes me happy and just overall improves my mood.  This one reminds me of the beach or somewhere tropical, which is totally my happy place.


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My single CON is that it isn't real.  In a perfect world I'd have all the real plants and someone to make sure I didn't kill them, but that's just not realistic in a lot of situations.  Worry free artificial plants definitley have their place.

If you want to learn more about ThermaLeaf® fire retardant artificial foilage, visit their website at http://www.thermaleaf.com/ 

ThermaLeaf® provided me with a coupon code to share with you that can be used at www.silkplantsdirect.com.  That code is BLOGGER10 and it will get you 10% OFF a non custom order.

Fixer Upper Style For My Windows on the Cheap

Ask me who I'd like to be right now and my asnwer is probably Joanna Gaines minus a few kids because let's be real, two is enough for me.  

An episode of Fixer Upper from season 2 is my inspiration for our latest home improvement project.  I always wanted to do this in our old house, but life never really allowed or rather, we didn't make time.  

See that wood header piece above the window?  I wanted something like that on our otherwise boring windows.

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We don't have curtains for a couple of reasons.  1. Tyler hates them and 2. his allergies are terrible.  Curtains are just one more thing that collect dust and as cute as they are, we've just opted not to do them mostly (I actually have a pair in the dining room and Saida's room).  But this means my windows were so not cool and so boring and weren't really contributing anything to our home in terms of style or character.  Not to mention our home is a brand new home void of much in the way of character to begin with.  So I decided to do this simpliest version of this idea that I could think of.  

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So this was literally as simple as buying wood, cutting it to size, staining it, and screwing it to the wall.  There really isn't anything special about the wood we bought.  I didn't even poly it.  I was really just thinking how do I do this as cheap as possible with as little work as possible and still get something I think looks really cool.  

Next on the list for this room is a rug and maybe a large house plant. 

Side note:  Why are rugs so expensive?  Where do I find an affordable one that doesn't suck? And how do I know how big of one to buy?  I suck at rugs.

OKAY LET'S BREAK DOWN HOW TO DO THIS

STEP ONE: Measure your windows.

In my personal opinion you have two options here.  One is to have a piece of wood for each window and the other is to do like I did here and have a piece of wood for each set of windows.  I measured window sill edge to window sill edge because I wanted a little bit of overhang and that just made sense to me as a simple way to decide on a measurement.

Once I had all my measurements, I took into account how long the boards are at Lowe's and started figuring out how many window treatments I could get per board.

STEP TWO: Family Trip to Lowe's 

Get however many boards you've determined you need.  I'm pretty sure ours are 1x8s, but really you can just get whatever fits the look you're going for.

Wood Stain.  I used a combo of Minwax Weathered Oak and Early American.  1 part Weathered Oak and 3 parts Early American.  I also found a sponge next to the stain that I used to apply the stain once mixed.

Screws - We used black sheetrock screws just because I like to accent with black and it goes with what's happening in our home.  Make sure you buy something that isn't too long, but is going to go through whatever board you choose and still be able to secure to the wall. 

Drop Cloths - Depending on where you plan to do the staining of the wood, I'd definitely invest in a drop cloth or something to protect the floor of wherever the staining is happening.

Sand paper - we used a pretty fine sand paper

STEP THREE: Cut and sand the wood

The cutting part was Tyler's job.  I gave him measurements and told him which pieces were supposed to come out of each board and he went for it.

The sanding is really just so the wood will take the stain and you can remove any sharp edges.  I sanded off all sharp edges of my boards because that's the look I wanted.  I took a wet cloth to my boards afterwards just to remove some of the dust.  Sanding as many boards as I had took forever so I stopped for the day and came back to stain another day.

STEP FOUR: Stain the wood

Again I mixed one part Weathered Oak to three parts Early American and then generously applied the stain with a sponge to one board at a time going with the grain of the wood.  I let it sit for about 7 minutes and wiped it away with the grain of the wood.  I love how the knots in the wood absorbed more stain and really gave the wood some character.

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STEP FIVE: Find a really cute young thing to do the install for you.

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Just kidding.  But for real though, this could take a couple people depending on how much space you're covering.  We got ours lined up the way we wanted them, made sure they were level, and that we were screwing into a stud.  We also mounted ours down just enough to cover the mechanical part of the blinds.

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And that was it.  Now we have Fixer Upper worthy windows instead of ugly builder windows for way less than traditional window treatments would have ever cost.

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