round up {painted dining room chairs}

I’m back with another round up for you! More inspiration. More ideas. What are your thoughts on painted dining room chairs? I recently painted our chairs… twice. First in a blue gray. I liked the color, but not on the chairs. So I used leftover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (which is much more durable anyway) and they’re now French Linen, a warm, taupey-gray. Lovely. And the matte finish of chalk paint (sealed with clear wax) is wonderful! I see pictures of dining room chairs in fun colors and I think I like them. And I do! But I’ve come to realize that I like to live among more neutral colors, so I can change the decorations or accessories and bring in color that way. (Yes, Mom, I know you’re laughing at that.. I always insisted on bold colors, especially on walls, and now I realize that I actually prefer more neutral!)

Anyway, here are some painted dining room chairs for you to take a look at…


a beautiful mess









So what do you think? Would you put painted chairs around your table? Maybe it’s too much of a commitment to make all your chairs kelly green or bright red. What about painting just one chair? Or two? Perhaps the chairs at the ends of the table (if your table is rectangle). We actually have one black chair at the end of the table. And G’s booster seat is at the other end, on a completely different chair all together. I do like the mismatched look of dining room chairs! If you have painted chairs, I’d love to see them!


perpetual birthday calendar {free printable!}

Last August, I wrote this post and offered a free {madebyrice} perpetual birthday calendar printable. All you had to do was email me or leave a comment, and I’d send you the pdf file. It was lots of fun to hear from you. I thought, since it’s the beginning of a new year (and readership has grown since the last offer), it’d be a nice time to give away the perpetual calendar again! It’s simple and functional, perfect for helping you remember those important dates, and best of all, you can keep it year after year! No more transferring birthdays and anniversaries to your new calendar every year. And if your family is expanding, it’s easy to add more birthdays and anniversaries! (I’ll be a nerd and admit that I kind of like writing in my new calendar each year… but this is still great!) Instead of emailing the file, it’s available right here in this post! I’d still love to hear from you guys. If you want to comment here, or send an email {ricedesignblog (at) gmail (dot) com} that’d be wonderful! You can even sign up on the left to receive notifications of new posts.


I printed my calendar on brown paper (8.5×11), because I really like brown paper. But you can print yours on whatever you like! I do recommend card stock to make it more durable. The pdf is 6 pages. Once you print, just cut down the center of each page. Punch a hole in the top, loop some twine or string through it and you’re ready to go. Add your important dates and hang it up. I hope you enjoy your perpetual calendar! Click on the link below to get yours!




I hope you enjoy your calendar! Don’t forget to say hi!

{This is for personal use only. Not for resale. All rights belong to RICE Designs.}

round up {twinkle lights}

This week has been so exciting for me. On Monday morning, Remodelista featured one of my photographs. On Monday night, I got an email that craftgawker¬†accepted one of my submissions. And last night, I got another email that they accepted another submission. It’s quite exciting and I’m very grateful! Crafting and creating is such fun for me and I love sharing it with others. If this is your first visit, welcome! I hope you look around and come back soon soon. Feel free you say ‘hi’ in the comments or via email {ricedesignblog (at) gmail (dot) com}. I’d love to hear from you! I’m working on a little site makeover to make it easier to navigate and a little more eye-catching. This web/blog design thing is foreign to me! I’m much better with spray paint and glue!

There’s nothing like a gray day to kill productivity and squash my plans to photograph our diy headboard! It’s not just a little cloudy. It’s been really dark and gray all day long. Quite dreary. I’m so excited to share that project, though. It’ll happen this week!

So for today, let’s talk about twinkle lights. Aka Christmas lights. Aka the electric company’s best friend. Most commonly seen in December, or year round in a college house. They can also be found in my house. Four rooms of my house, actually. There’s something about twinkle lights that just make me happy. They actually give off a nice, soft light and, when done right, can look not-college. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!

I’ll self appoint myself a twinkle light expert, for the time being, and give a couple tips for adding some non-college twinkle to your home!

1. Match your wall color. Hanging lights against a white wall? Go for the white wire. Dark wall? Go for the typical green wire. Gray wall? Eh, your call. Whatever blends in more!

2. To make up for not using an led strand, I use mine sparingly. I just like the light from regular, old fashioned, energy-sucking twinkle lights! (I actually haven’t noticed a change in our electric bill from them!)

3. Invest in some 3-M hooks (they make ones specifically for light wire). Small nails also work for hanging. Just skip the tape. And try to space the hooks/nails relatively evenly the lights hang evenly.

4. Hide the end, if you can (perhaps behind a picture or in a vase). If not, just put a hook/nail at the end so it’s not just dangling there.

5. I think they look nice up where the wall meets the ceiling, framing a wall a little bit.

And here are some examples of twinkle lights done right!


I don’t know the source of this photo. If it’s yours or you know who it belongs to, please let me know!

I love this kitchen. White and bright. The wood floors and accents bring in warmth. And those twinkle lights framing the window are so charming.


This photo is from a home tour on Apartment Therapy.

This is how I have the twinkle lights in our home- where the wall meets the ceiling.


via sfgirlbybay

Chalkboard and twinkle lights. What a great combo.


This photo and the next is from Annaleena.

Another great combo- driftwood and twinkle lights.


A graphic take on twinkle lights! Creative!


Photo by Steven Michael Photography via Ruffled

And of course, twinkle lights can be used outside, too. We had trees wrapped in lights at our outdoor wedding, similar to this lovely photograph. Twinkle lights always look romantic at a wedding, but could also be a nice addition to your yard any time!


Here’s an instagram shot of our dining room back before Christmas. I put the lights up for the holidays, but decided to keep them up because they’re just so cozy to eat under! (Nice photo bomb, G!)

So what do you think? Should twinkle lights be limited to holiday decorations and college houses? Personally, I think they’re lovely anytime!

(P.S. You can sign up over there on the left so you don’t miss anything at RICE!)

simple things {vanilla extract in your coffee}

I love coffee. I look forward to making a fresh pot every morning. I have one cup right away, and save one for later. Mm. Delicious. Unless I’m having it iced (in the summer), my second cup always has to be reheated. Sometimes the first cup does too, if I don’t drink it soon enough. And I’m always bummed that reheated coffee always tastes a little… off. Bitter, perhaps? Instead of dumping more sugar or honey in it (I already add enough half and half!) my Mom suggested I give it a little splash of vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract. A little goes a long way. And the bitterness is gone! Sometimes I even add a splash to my morning coffee, just because I like the flavor. So next time you have to reheat your coffee and notice it tastes a little off, try adding some vanilla! Thanks for the tip, Mom!


Your coffee doesn’t turn that color with just a little bit of half and half!

(And another quick tip… before you pour your coffee in your mug, run it under some hot water/let some hot water sit it in. It’ll heat up the mug a little bit and prevent your coffee from getting cooled off right away. After all, pouring in enough half and half already cools it down a little bit by itself!)

diy {alphabet fridge}

When you have a preschooler, your entire life is a learning experience. Your home is a classroom whether you intend to homeschool or not! I’ve been trying to find and incorporate some intentional learning into our routine. Gabriel is an active and energetic three year old boy, so I’m trying to find hands on learning, specifically working on numbers, letters, shapes and colors. I just turned our fridge from a blank, white box into a letter and number search. It was really quick and easy. It’s temporary. And it costs less than $5! And here’s a shocker… I used more gold spray paint!


what you need: 

vinyl sticker letters and numbers (I found some at Walmart, near the kids markers and craft things. A large pack for about $3).

optional: magnetic numbers and letters, a pointer, magnets, etc.

what you do:

Our pack of stickers had letters and numbers in 2 different sizes, several of each letter. I started randomly sticking the large letters all over the fridge. Then I did the numbers. Then the small letters. I skipped the small numbers because of space.

The stickers can be moved if needed. I just eye balled it, spacing as evenly as I could, but not being too particular. You could make it more or less challenging depending on how far you spread out letters (A in the top left, B in the bottom right etc).

If you don’t want to put the stickers on your fridge, you could put on them on blank wall that’s kid level. I actually like them on the fridge. I think they look kinda cool and graphic. And Gabriel can play with them while I’m working in the kitchen.


then play!

If you have magnetic numbers/letters, your child could play a sort of matching game and put the magnets on top of the corresponding stickers. Or collect any kind of magnet and have your child place a magnet on each letter as you say the ABCs. Or just call out random letters and have him/her put on magnet on it. Point to letters using a pointer. It doesn’t have to be long and involved. If you’re walking by the fridge together, pause and ask if he/she can find a certain letter/number. Lots of different ways to use the alphabet fridge!

I had a pack of magnetic letters/number from the dollar store. They were in primary colors- red, blue, yellow, green. My affinity for gold spray paint (coupled with a beautifully warm day perfect for spray painting) made me paint the magnets. Completely unnecessary. But I do like them gold!


What are some other ways you incorporate learning into your day with your preschooler?

Check back soon. I have another project I’m really excited to share… our diy headboard!

diy: rock picture clip

And just like that, the weekend is over and it’s Monday. This Monday has been particularly exciting. RICE Designs is featured on the website Remodelista! A couple weeks ago, I got an email from the editor in London, asking if she could use one of my images in a post. She was so kind and emailed me this morning to tell me the post went up! To say I’m excited and honored is an understatement. You should take some time to browse their website. It’s full of inspiration. I especially love the DIY ideas. And I can easily daydream looking at the architect visits. Thanks Christine and Remodelista!

So, if you’re here for the first time and you came from Remodelista, here’s a warm welcome to you! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy what you see and come back soon.

To start this chilly, rainy Monday, here’s a little DIY project. It’s simple and uses some of my favorite things.

diy rock picture clips


what you need:

a small stack of river rocks. I used 3.

a mini clothespin (you could use a regular sized one, but I preferred the small size. You can find them at Walmart in the office section).

spray paint (of course I used gold!)

glue (I used hot glue, but for durability’s sake, I would recommend something stronger).

what you do:

1. Spray paint your rocks. Nice, even, thin coats, until they’re sufficiently covered.

2. Stack your rocks. See what sculpture you like best. My rocks were nice and flat, so I could have skipped the glue on the rocks all together. When you’re stacking your rocks, consider where you will attach the clothespin. (And I have to give my Mom a shout out here.. I got the rock stacking thing honestly!)

3. Glue your rocks together.

4. Decide where to put your clothes pin and then glue it in place.

5. Clip your favorite picture and enjoy! I have mine sitting on my nightstand, but I’m sure it will move frequently. After all, I am a perpetual re-arranger.

You could also use this to hold recipe cards in the kitchen. Or make a smaller version and use it as a place card at your next dinner party! You could clip pictures of each guest, or write their names and clip that. And, of course, you can choose any color you like. I just have an affinity for gold spray paint!


Enjoy and have a wonderful Monday!

I’m linking up to the Make It Challenge!


rambling about craig.

Well, his list that is. You know. Craig’s List. Oh brother. Someone take the laptop away from me!

I was browsing Craig’s List earlier. Not because I’m looking for anything. But because I think it’s fun. Maybe I need to find a better hobby. But until then, I thought I’d share some of my findings and thoughts on those findings. Do you use Craig’s List? It’s addicting. Nothing like the rush of finding a great bargain or exactly what you’re searching for. Well, except for maybe making cold hard cash selling something you no longer need. That’s pretty great, too.

As I was browsing the Richmond VA Craig’s List, I came across the listing for this chair..


Richmond, VA. Comfy Chair. $60

Seriously. Whoever listed this chair knows how take a picture for their ad. Because usually yellow, orange and brown plaid does absolutely nothing for me. But suddenly I kinda like it. I actually think in the right room, with the right decor, this chair could be great. Maybe in a little boy’s room. That simple wood frame is pretty great. And if yellow, orange and brown plaid really isn’t your thing, you could recover the cushions. But bravo, seller, for taking great pictures. I need to find another adjective besides ‘great’ to use for the rest of this post.


Richmond, VA. Solid Wood Dressers (small). $20 each

Simple. Solid. A fun coat of paint could bring new life into these babies.


Richmond, VA. Wooden table (with leaf). $50.

Way to go, people of Richmond, for taking nice pictures for your ads. And for including important information like dimensions. This is a cute wooden table. The top could use refinishing, but hey, once you pile it with mail, dinner and your kid’s homework, you probably wouldn’t even notice the discoloration. I’m a big fan of round tables and I think this one is lovely. Plus an extra leaf is pretty awesome.


Richmond, VA. 2 Chairs. $75/pair.

I love these chairs. With new upholstery on the cushions, they could be awesome. Nice clean lines. Solid wood. Check it out. Don’t be turned off by upholstery that isn’t to your liking. You could change it.


Charlottesville, VA. Antique Dry Sink and Cupboard. $125

Dry sinks are awesome. And this one has a great (ahh, there it is again) shape. Having a baby? Get a dry sink. Use it as a changing table. Then when your kid’s taking care of business on the toilet, you have a nice piece of furniture for your home. It’s what my parents did when I was born. And what we did. With the same dry sink. Very sentimental. You know the hypothetical question, “if your house was on fire, what’s one item you would take with you?” My answer is the dry sink. (It should be noted that Gabriel and Tristan are safely outside, away from the burning house. Tristan saved our box of keepsakes. Wait, what am I thinking?! I’ll get the box, Tristan can haul the dry sink. Gabe would probably rescue his beloved giraffey/lamby-giraffey… or maybe Iron Man).


Charlottesville, VA. Dresser. $30.

No, this dresser probably isn’t the most lovely piece of furniture you’ve ever seen. However, I just got one similar for G’s room, gave it a good scrubbing and painted it white, and I love it now. If it’s sturdy and solid, there’s a lot that can be done with the clean lines of this piece! I usually don’t go for a ton of mid century modern, but was pleasantly surprised when I painted it white.


Charlottesville, VA. Steamer Trunk. $75. 

Always keep your eyes open for trunks. We have two and I love them. One, a $5 yard sale score (serious bargain) is storage for gallons of paint and has our TV sitting on top of it. The second, a Craig’s List find (for $20?) lives under the window in the dining room. I’ll be honest and say I can’t remember what I’m keeping it in. Must not be important. But it provides a nice place to perch by the fire and look out the window. It’s also some extra seating in the dining room. Trunks are multi purpose and ones like this are also beautiful. So if you have $75 and live close to it, you should go get it.


Charlottesville, VA. Antique Boxes. $100 for the set.

I love these. And I wish I could get them. How lovely would they look in the corner of a room, or even beside a bed. They’re beautiful. I love them.


Roanoke, VA. Bistro Type Chairs. $30/pair.

These are just cute.


Roanoke, VA. Trunk. $40.

Nice trunk. Nice price.

And that concludes sharing and rambling about random Craig’s List finds. Have you scored anything from Craig recently? Sold anything? When you’re looking, remember to look at lines, shape and structure. Upholstery and finish (paint or stain) can always be changed. Also, you can now make your browsing experience more user friendly on Craig’s List. Select (pic view) at the top to see little thumbnails of each picture. Then you don’t have to click on the ad to see that that “nice bookcase” for $20 is really the same one you can buy at Walmart for less money. And you can also choose to see only listings by owner. Then when obnoxious mattress stores decide to use Craig’s List as free advertising, you don’t have to sift through their hundreds of “FREE LAYAWAY! FREE LAYAWAY! FREE LAYAWAY! ALL MATTRESS SETS!” ads. Surely our local Craig’s List isn’t the only one plagued by those!

Happy Craig’s Listing! Check back Monday for an update on the bedroom makeovers happening at our home!