Little (& Experimental!) Watercolor Series

After taking a long break from watercolor painting, I dove back into it and... well, in some ways it was like being a fish back in water! In other ways, probably more important ways, it has been tough. Whether it's being a little older, or simply being tired from working full-time with young children, I find myself less sure of what I'm doing. Comparing myself to others, or to myself years ago, questioning whether I'm spending my time wisely, whether I have actual skill, etc. Still - I've worked on it every single day. Painting, calligraphy, and experimenting with supplies have filled my evenings and as much of the weekends as I can set aside. Over time, I'm feeling a little more confident and bold, and have been sharing the work on Instagram and with friends and family.

What made the biggest difference, though, was simply sizing down! I remembered how much in college, I loved leaving the campus and painting outside somewhere. A little bit of the joy was the change of scenery, but mostly because I had a great excuse to use smaller paint palettes and little sketchbooks. Everyone around me was working on big canvases, and I loved huddling over something small, and focusing on details or composition. So, I bought a few small watercolor blocks (it's just so much easier than soaking and taping paper - details on what supplies I used are below) and have launched into a series of practice studies! (You can check out my post on 5 ways to get started with watercolor painting, too.)

Some I love, some I don't, they all helped me learn.

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen a few of these! I'm sharing them as I go along, and have so much enjoyed the feedback and support from others! The artist community on Instagram is large, and very warm and positive.

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

Most of these are on 6"x9" watercolor paper, with some of them (like the one right below) on even smaller 4"x6" paper. Big enough to comfortably make brush strokes, but small enough there isn't a lot of pressure for things to be perfect.

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

I'm guessing I'll branch out bigger soon, but for now I'm very much enjoying making these bright and happy little paintings.

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

It is also a little obvious that purple is my favorite color. This weekend, I have plans to complete some Mon Voir style color studies and get out of my comfort zone a little bit, or at least find some new favorite blended colors.

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

Watercolor Supply List

Brushes: Silver Brush Black Velvet size 8 and size 2

Paper: Canson Montval Watercolor Paper Block in 4"x6" and 6"x9"

Paints: Kuretaki Zig 24-Color Paint Set

A few of the paintings include just a tiny bit of table salt before they dried, to create a unique effect (including the painting below - you can see itmost on the leaves in the top left corner).

(background papers are from a local shop in Ithaca, NY, Mockingbird Paperie).

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

Photographing the paintings with some paper and little faux flowers I've collected was actually the most fun part, I think!

 
A little & experimental watercolor series, plus a dose of self-doubt and how to work through it - from danielle and co.
 

Thank you to everyone who has followed along and been so supportive as I've been sharing this work!

Is anyone else getting back into painting after some time off? Prefer working small vs. big? Have a secret collection of fake plants and flowers? I'm not ashamed of it!

Follow along on Instagram, or check out my all-things-watercolor Pinterest board!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Amazon Amazing Lighting: 10 Stylish Pendant Lights

I'm a big online shopping fan. I get the idea of retail therapy, and while a trip into HomeGoods can be fun and energetic it also can be stressful. Also, what is it about the grocery store on Saturdays that brings out the competitive spirit in people? Once, in Wegman's, I watched a women completely freak out on everyone else for not following "the rules of the dairy aisle" - it was pretty intense and I still don't fully understand what the unwritten policies are for picking up a gallon of milk! I turn to Amazon for a lot of things; we have an Amazon Prime membership and definitely make the most of it. Amazon has everything from my favorite flavors of Larabars, to Volkswagon hubcaps (that one surprised me). I actually just bought a new cover for our bathroom exhaust fan, and it's a discontinued model!

BTW, this post is not sponsored even that I realize I sound super effusive about my Amazon shopping. I did include affiliate links - all opinions, however, are my own and I'm pretty sure Amazon has no idea that I exist.

So, when I was browsing for lighting options for various rooms in our house, I was surprised that Amazon had so many options that were unique and stylish looking! Some of them were cooler looking than what I found at much fancier retailers! I thought while I had so many of them bookmarked, I'd go ahead and share my favorites!

10 style pendant light options available on Amazon - they may surprise you! Style round-up from danielle and co.
 

10 Stylish Pendant Lights On Available On Amazon

  1. Mini Style Chandelier, from Light In The Box via Amazon
  2. Single Light Mini Pendant, from Miseno (I just checked and this is no longer on Amazon, but is on Houzz so I've updated the link here... Hopefully it will be back though!)
  3. Ecopower Industrial Edison Pendant Glass Hanging Light, from CLAXY via Amazon
  4. Round Clear Glass Pendant Lighting, from WinSoon via Amazon
  5. Embarcadero Three-Light Pendant, from Forecast Lighting via Amazon
  6. Indoor 3-light Black Pendant Chandelier, from Jojospring via Amazon
  7. Fresnel Collection 1-light Pendant, from Progress Lighting via Amazon
  8. Schoolhouse Collection 1-light Mini Pendant, from Progress Lighting via Amazon
  9. White Lotus Ceiling Pendant Kit, from Excelvan via Amazon
  10. Polygon Wire Pendant Light, from YOBO Lighting via Amazon

What are your favorites? I think mine is No. 4. It's just so round and pretty! I also love how simple No. 8 is... it reminds me of farm houses when I was growing up. I love that sense of nostalgia. No. 7 is pricey but looks so hefty and has such a presence. No. 9 is SO affordable, it would be hard to resist for a nursery.

Have you purchased higher-end looking finishes or accessories off Amazon? Do you look there first, or are you more of a brick & mortar shopper?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Hide Those Cords With a DIY Sofa Table!

Cords are the worst. When you love technology, you have to tolerate it's relatives (i.e. the cords and the chargers). That's just how relationships work! Our living room is where a lot of laptop, phone, and tablet use happens and is a hub for tangled cords, routers, signal extenders, etc.  A solution was needed, since this space is small and anything messy has a big impact.

The living room being small also means our sofa is really stuck between a rock (a wall) and a hard place (a bedroom door). Side tables just felt awkward, so we ditched them and instead use a small garden stool from Homegoods as a handy place to prop feet or set drinks. It just wasn't enough space, though, and I longed for a place to put a lamp and the other little odds and ends that are nice to have within arms reach. It finally dawned on me that a long, skinny table behind the sofa could potentially solve both of my problems.

BTW, I cannot wait to get a new sofa someday. Our current one is comfy enough, but is pretty beat-up and a little outdated with its puffiness. Right now I'm all about working with what I have, though!

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

A DIY sofa table is by no means a revolutionary idea, as any Pinterest search will show you. I wanted to share our take on it, though. I know before DIYing something I'm always trying to find as many different versions as possible, so I can see how it might look in a space similar to mine or find any little shortcuts or tweaks that would customize it more.

Out of all of the zillions of tutorials out there, I found a few particularly helpful and inspiring. Young House Love's sofa table is beautiful, but too beefy for our space. Jenna Sue Design's sofa table seems like an easy and affordable enough build, but we wanted one with a solid side so you couldn't see all of the cords. Mango and Tomato's sofa table seemed the easiest, but we needed a shelf to set some electronic gear and our landline phone on. Urban Jane's sofa table was the most helpful tutorial, and is what I mostly went with... but without using a board on the back of it as a brace (we wanted our table to lie flush against the wall), without the middle vertical board (ours was short enough it didn't need the extra support), and with a second hidden shelf added using the same hardware used for the top board.

Hopefully that helps you see how customizable this project is, and how easily multiple tutorials can be combined to make something that is juuuuust right for your space.

Supply & Budget Breakdown

  • 6' long whiteboard boards from Lowes (3 of them, totaling about $30 with tax).
  • Corner brace hardware (2 packages of these ones, about $7 with tax).
  • Wood screws (I had some of the right length on hand, but make sure yours aren't so long that they go all the way through the board!).
  • Standard household tools (a power drill and rags and a drop cloth for staining).
  • 220 grit sandpaper (I splurged on this Pro Grade stuff, so $16 for 20 sheets... I only used 2 sheets I think).
  • Wood glue (I have a big bottle of this kind, it's only $6 for a decent-sized bottle and holds well.)
  • Dark Walnut Stain (this one from Minwax... a little goes a long way, so this quart has lasted me like 5 projects already).
  • Polycrylic finish (I love love love this one from Minwax. I've tried it in various finishes, and the semi-gloss is by far my favorite. It doesn't take a lot of it, and it just works super well.)
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.

Before buying supplies, I carefully measured the length and height of my sofa, to be sure it would end up exactly how long/tall I needed it. I didn't want the table very deep, so kept in mind to find a board narrow enough. It was important it landed at the right height at the back of the sofa, so drinks could easily be set on it.

We are not yet proud owners of a table or miter saw, and so I took the easy and affordable way out and had the very helpful staff at Lowes cut the boards to size. They do a great job, and their saw can get things really really even. I put it together in our living room, drilling pilot holes for the screws after dabbing a little wood glue where the boards would join.

As seen below, it was not very convenient sitting in the middle of our living room. However, the weather in New York does not allow for a lot of hobby activity in garages or outside. Oh well.

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 
 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 


After it was all put together, I did drag it out to the garage and wait for a day warm enough to stain and polycrylic it. Luckily, stain isn't as picky as paint and it didn't have to warm up tooo much before I could get the project finished. I did two coats of stain and two coats of polycrylic, carefully sanding and wiping down every inch before staining and in between polycrylic coats.

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

See how handy it is at hiding all of that stuff?! All those cords used to just sit in the middle of our living room. Okay, maybe not really, but close enough. That shelf does a great job of holding everything, and it's easy enough to pull our sofa out a bit to reach things when needed (which is only once every few weeks). Plus, it's a great place for the cat to hoard all of her toys. #eyeroll

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

On top of the table we keep a lamp, a few pretty things, some coasters, and a little humidifier/essential oil diffuser. I like this one because its pretty, and it really does make the living room feel a little cozier and smell so nice.

 
Hiding those &$#% cords with a DIY sofa table! Check out this version and links to other tutorials at danielle and co.
 

Do you follow tutorials to-a-t, or combine a few to get something exactly like what you need? And do you build it in the middle of your living room? (I'm betting if you live in the Northeast you might...)

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!