Wednesday, December 7, 2011



Jonathan here. Hope everyone is having a good week and the start of your Holiday Season has been great! We have been busy getting frame orders finished and shipped out- still many to get done... but we're getting there!

I wanted to introduce my sister, Bekah! She, like us, loves to look for deals at thrift stores and resale shops! She moved to Los Angeles last spring and she has been busy getting things for her apartment! She's sharing a post today about a recent thrift store purchase. So, I'll let her take it away...

Hey everyone-
Bekah here. As Jonathan mentioned, I moved to Los Angeles from New York City a few months ago. After staying with my boyfriend's parents for a while, we are finally in an apartment. I'm really excited to finally be in our own space and can't wait to do it up to suit our style. I'm also thrilled to be able to share some of that here on the J & A Designs blog— I know Jonathan and Anna love DIY and decorating as much as I do and I'll be bringing the experience of decorating as a renter to the table.

My first challenge—and this is one for owners and renters—was a thrift store couch. I saw this couch and thought it was adorable- a fun but not too feminine print, simple lines, comfortable but not too overstuffed, not gigantic and only $75. It was a little musty—I figured it had been in someone's basement—but I felt confident that I could work some magic on it. Worst case scenario, I was out 75 bucks. Seemed like a worthy risk considering a new couch would've been a few hundred dollars (at least). So…I went for it.

I had some ideas for getting the musty smell out and I did a little bit of googling to get some more hints. This post on Living With Lindsay was helpful and I found a complete guide to cleaning thrift store finds here. Once I got the couch to the apartment, I took off all the cushions and sprayed the entire thing down with vinegar. White vinegar is great for getting out smells- yes, it smells like vinegar but once it dries, there's no vinegar smell left behind. I usually do half water/ half vinegar mix but actually did straight up vinegar for this. I've never known it to damage fabrics, but certainly if you're concerned about that, you should test it in an inconspicuous spot. After the vinegar (I didn't wait for it to dry), I covered the whole thing with baking soda. I let it sit for about a week. I've heard (and read) that letting s piece of furniture sit in the sun helps with smells as well—I tried to situate the couch and cushions in front of windows for a little bit of sun, but I'm not sure it was enough to help. If the weather's nice and you can drag your piece out into the air and sunshine, by all means, do so.

When a week was up, I vacuumed the baking soda off of the couch and the cushions. It takes a while, but it's actually really gratifying to see the white stuff get all sucked up! This vinegar/baking soda thing worked beautifully—musty smell completely gone… except for the 3 cushions that make up the seat part of the couch. It became clear to me at this point that perhaps the couch's previous owner had… cats. Or something. The cushion covers had zippers so I decided to dig a little deeper and take the covers off. That's when I found the stains—on both sides of the foam cushions—and a stronger smell. I promptly decided to throw out the cushions and buy new foam. I was impatient and instead of going to a foam store, just went to Jo-Ann Fabrics. They had 5 inch foam so I got that, as well as some batting to wrap around the foam—this was how the original cushions were put together. I laundered the covers and did some more googling to see if there was something magical that would obliterate the smell of cat pee (sorry!). There were a few different suggestions, but the one thing that kept popping up was a product called Nature's Miracle . I trotted on done to PetCo and picked up a bottle. The application process is similar to Febreze—spray it all over the offensive area, let it dry—and it has enzymes in it that break down biological stains. It took a couple of applications (ok—four) but it worked! As with the vinegar, if you have any concerns about how it will effect the fabric, test in an inconspicuous location.

To be clear, I DO NOT recommend buying anything that smells like cat pee, but if you happen to find yourself in the same situation, this method just might work for you too. Check out the pics of my vinegar and baking soda- covered couch! Yeah, when I said covered, I meant covered :) 

Anybody have any other tips to add??

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tiny Prints Holiday Cards

I wanted to share about the website that we plan on getting our Christmas cards from this year! The website is called Tiny Prints and they have such cute cards! They are offering 50 free prints to bloggers this year and we are excited to post about them!

We really like this card:

Here's the link to it:

It's very cute and funky and different than other cards that you see in the store.

I also really like this one:

Here is the link for it:

It's very simple and I love that the back of the card is patterned too! I think this one would be very unique when people opened it up!

Tiny Prints is awesome- and I'm looking forward to using them for lots of things in the future! You can check out their Holiday cards here!

Now we just have to take a picture for our cards! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge: Fall Wreath

Okay, ONE more Pinterest Challenge project! We made this a few weeks ago, but it was Pinterest-inspired so I wanted to share it! 

I orginally saw this wreath on Pinterst: 
See the pin here.

I really liked the moss wreath, but I couldn't find a good sized moss wreath. I read online that a lot of people just cover wreaths in moss... and I didn't really want to spend that much time on the wreath, so I opted for a grapevine wreath instead.

I ordered the burlap ribbon online and get the pumpkins and moss at Michael's and Hobby Lobby!

It looks good on our front door! Can't wait to do some more Pinterest inspired projects for the holidays!

Pinterest Challenge: Burlap Covered Cork Board

We're back with another Pinterest Challenge Project that we recently completed!

We were inspired by a cork board we saw on Aubrey + Lindsay's little HOUSE BLOG. They had made it to go above a desk in their office, we wanted to do the same! In our new house, we're lucky to have a good sized area we use as an office space. It has room for not only our big, retro desk, but also another taller desk that's good for standing at or using a bar stool at. We'll blog about the desk sometime in the future! 

Here's the inspiration picture:

So... we decided we wanted a large cork board above our 2nd desk. We ordered a large cork board off Amazon (this one here). We decided to cover the board in burlap!

Started out by ironing the burlap to get the fold lines out.

I laid the burlap out on the floor after it was ironed. I sprayed the front of the cork board with spray adhesive and laid the cork board down on the cork board. Then, I stapled the excess burlap on the back of the cork board frame.

Next, we wanted to do a trim around the frame of the cork board. We used upholstery tacks from Lowe's. I started out placing them at the corners then halfway on each side.

By the time I had finished, it ended up being about 1 tack for every 1.5 inches.

The tacks had come through the back of the frame, so I taped down the excess burlap which also covered up the pins in the back of the frame.

I think this board turned out really well! We're excited to start "pinning" things up on it- real pinning... not the Pinterest kind- haha! :)

Pinterest Challenge: Mason Jar Lamp

For those of you who like to read blogs, especially those about home decorating, etc., you may have heard about the Pinterest Challenge. It was initiated by Young House Love and a few other bloggers. It's not sponsored by Pinterest- but it's meant to get people actually doing the things they've been pinning on Pinterest!

So, we decided to participate in this fall's edition of the Pinterest Challenge! We actually have a couple of projects that we'll share in three different posts.

The first one is this DIY lamp we found on Pinterest. We immediately thought it would look great in our kitchen! The picture below is from someone else who originally made the lamp (their blog is here).

My mom had an old mason jar and lid, and we found a lamp shade similar to this one (might be the same one) at Target. We bought a light kit at Lowe's and Jonathan put it together! It actually seems to be pretty easy to make a lamp! So, here are some pictures of the process (excuse the poor iPhone quality of these pictures!):

Jonathan started with the Mason Jar and lid...

He drilled a hole in the Mason Jar lid

The light kit comes with "stoppers" (a few different sizes) that fit down in the hole. (You can use old bottles, etc. to make lamps with a kit like this one.)

Then, he put the light kit together and put the shade on!

The lamp looks great in our kitchen!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our House: Why We Love it + The Outside

So... we said weeks ago we were going to blog about our new house after we closed on it... and we never did! But, we have been a little busy! We were at the Canton Flea Market last week- which went very well- but leading up to that, we were working like crazy to get ready for it! And now, we're busy with orders and getting ready for the Olde Towne Market in Clinton next month... but we wanted to take a few minutes to tell you why we decided to buy this house, as well as share a few photos of the outside of the house.

Okay... so, we said in a previous post that we were not expecting to buy a house, but this house came on the market and we knew we had to go look at it.  Since this house was in my parent's neighborhood, I'd driven by it for years and always liked it. And once we saw the house inside, we knew we loved it! We made an offer a couple days later... and soon, it was ours!

So... reasons we love our house:

1. It's older... but it's in good shape! So it has the charm of an older home, but it doesn't have a ton of work to do right now.

2. It sits right on a beautiful lake. When you look at our front window... you see water and we love it!

3. Hardwood floors in most of the house!

4. TWO WALK-IN CLOSETS in the very good sized master suite! Need I say more?

5. The workshop building that was already in the back yard- perfect for Jonathan's tools and making frames!

These are just a few of the reasons we love our house... as we share more pictures of the inside, we'll tell you about other things we love. But for now, we'll leave you with some pictures of the outside and front of our new house!

Here's a shot of the front of our house!

This is our view out the front window and from our front door!

Close up shot of our front door and fall decorations!

These ducks live on the lake and Jonathan likes to feed them.

These two are always the most hungry! The white one will practically stand on your feet begging for food!

So... there's a few pictures for now. More to come later! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Be True To Your School!

Hello and happy Wednesday (well it's almost over now, but when I wrote this it wasn't) to everyone reading! Between moving into our new house and getting ready for the Canton Flea Market (which is just a week away now!!), we've been BUSY! But, we wanted to share a few photos of some school spirit themed frames we've made! Everyone loves to display photos from games, tailgating, etc- so why not do it with a frame that's your school's colors?!

These will be special order items, so we can do these frames in any school colors! It can be your favorite college or high school. School colors will look great on any of our frames, but they especially look good on our Large Chunky 4x6, Chunky 4x6, Mini Chunky and Clip Chunky Frames! We already have paint for most colleges and universities in Mississippi, but we can get paint for probably (any) school you have in mind! Contact us today (via Etsy or by emailing so we can get started on your school spirit frame! These will make great Christmas gifts this year!

Here are some pictures of frames we have made as examples:

 Large Chunky 4x6 ($25) for Mississippi State and Ole Miss

Large 4x6 Chunky ($25) - Mississippi State

Large 4x6 Chunky ($25) - Ole Miss

Mini Clip Frame ($10) - Mississippi State

Remember - these are special order so contact us if you are interested in purchasing a school frame! :)

On a personal note... we'll (hopefully) be back on the blog later this week with a first look at our new house! PLUS- we'll have a guest post by Jonathan's sister some time very soon about some of the vintage furniture she's gotten for her new apartment out in Los Angeles! Stay tuned...!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Many Homes of J&A: Part 1

The title of this post may make you think that we currently have many homes... but that's not quite what we mean. We mean the many homes we've had over the past 19 months (right before we got married, and since we've been married).

If you know us, you know we've moved several times since we got married last summer! So... before we make our next (and final- at least for quite a while) big move at the beginning of next week, we wanted to share the places we've lived since we got married. This post is "Part 1" because we will (hopefully) post "Part 2" next week once we move in to our new house!! 

Home #1: Meadow Oaks Apartment

We got this apartment before we got married, thinking we'd live there after we got married for a year or so. We really liked this had a big living room, a good size kitchen- with washer and dryer hookups!

But, before we even graduated from MC, we found out Jonathan would be a Resident Director, also know as an "RD" at MC... so we moved out of this apartment and actually, our friend Zach moved in!

Home #2: The Temporary College Plaza Apartment

When Jonathan moved out of our first apartment (this was before the wedding), he had to move in to a temporary apartment at College Plaza (the apartment complex MC uses where Jonathan was the RD). This was a one bedroom apartment, and thank goodness it was temporary!

A few weeks after the wedding, we were able to move in to the RD Apartment at College Plaza. 

Home #3: The College Plaza Apartment

The College Plaza Apartment was a 2 bedroom apartment. The kitchen had vintage wallpaper that we actually liked! It was also the birthplace of J&A Designs! It's hard for us to imagine having to still make frames in that small of a space, but we did make a few.

Early in the Fall, the RD in the freshmen boys dorm left, and Jonathan took his place. Which meant we packed up again!

Home #4: Chrestman Hall

I never thought I'd live in a freshmen boys' dorm, but I did! We lived in an apartment in Chrestman Hall at MC for 8 months! And we worked on a lot of picture frames in this apartment! This apartment was home to the smallest kitchen ever! It was about the size of a walk-in closet. But, the bedrooms in this apartment were huge! 

Home #5: The Rental House

So, when Jonathan decided to leave MC, it meant we had to find a place to live! And we found a town house to rent in Clinton. We thought we'd be in this town house at least a year, maybe two. This town house has been great because it had a garage that we could work in and make frames, plus it had enough room for an office and a work room for painting frames.

So, that brings us to now! We weren't planning on buying a house any time soon. We'd actually looked before we decided to rent the town house, but we couldn't find anything we loved in Clinton- and we wanted to stay here in Clinton. We knew we wanted something older that had some character, but that was updated enough that we wouldn't have to do a TON of work on it. I've always loved the neighborhood my parents live in- not only because I grew up there, but because it's very pretty and quiet. A little over a month ago, we'd been talking again about how we wished we could buy a house, but because of our lease, as well as not being able to find anything, it just wasn't in the picture right now. Then, on a Friday, a house went up for sale in my parents' neighborhood. We called that day and scheduled to come see the house on Sunday. After walking through the house for a few minutes, we knew we wanted it! On Monday, we made an offer on it, and the offer was accepted by the end of the week! 

The past month has been crazy as we've been making frames for upcoming markets and orders, signing lots of papers along the way involving the house and packing up our stuff this week! We close on the house on Monday and we couldn't be more excited! 

So... more on our new house after we close next week- including some pictures! 

Happy Thursday and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Craigslist Roundup!

Okay... so I've had an idea to do (maybe) weekly posts on cool Craigslist finds for the week here in the Jackson area. I was inspired by Apartment Therapy's posts they put up weekly of finds like this one in big cities ( NY, LA, DC, Chicago etc.) Most of their finds are awesome pieces... but the big cities usually have MANY more listings... so there's bound to be awesome stuff there.

But, every once in a while, there are some good pieces listed on Craigslist in the Jackson area. We've written before (here) about how much we love consignment shops, antique stores, and especially Craigslist. At least once a day, one of us scouts out the current furniture listings on Craigslist. So... here are a few things we found that we thought were worth sharing.

Check out these great bookshelves we found in this post. They are "Legal Style" as the post says with glass doors on the front- much cooler than your basic bookshelf. And these are only $40 a piece!

These chairs would look great re-done- even just spray painted with new cushions! They are only $50 for the pair!

How about 4 of these chairs for only $50? So what if they don't have a seat? You can always make some seats when you only pay $50 for 4! And this is CHEAP- we've been looking for chairs!

These dressers are a little expensive- but really pretty! $400 for the set and these are at the Flowood Flea Market (we think)- one of the places we've blogged about before as a great place to find antiques! Several places (Forget Me Nots in Brandon, Flea Market in Flowood, 49 S. Antiques & Flea Market and the Flea Market in Clinton occasionally list new items on Craigslist.)

This dining set is only $75 and it could easily be re-painted! Pretty sure this is at the Flowood Flea Market too!

 We've been looking for a new dresser- so usually if the listing title has anything about a dresser we click through to see what it is! This antique dresser is only $80 and includes the mirror!

This one is only $60! We'd probably call these people- but it's located a little to far for us to drive.

HOW COOL is this?!? Who doesn't want a little restaurant booth for their house? Only $75 too!

This Farmhouse Table looks famiar! I recognize the picture from when we bought our Farmhouse table (although this one is 8 feet instead of 6). This couple handmakes these tables and sells them from their house.

Anna has been looking for a vanity now that we'll have a master bedroom with room for one (the same master bedroom that has TWO walk-in closets- I'M SO EXCITED!) She found this one the other day and we picked it up today! We'll probably repaint it soon after we move!

Although you can find some cool stuff on Craigslist... there's a lot of junk too. Like this chair:

If you like one of these pieces, we encourage you to try out Craigslist for yourself- but since we haven't talked to any of the owners of these items- we have no idea if the items are still available.

And since we're talking about Craigslist here... I'll leave you with the general rules we go by when buying off Craigslist (the ones we originally mentioned in this post):

1. When you find out the person's name who has the item- be a stalker! Look them up on Facebook- make sure they don't look completely creepy on Facebook. Although they could be creepy in real life, even if they look normal on Facebook- at least you can maybe see what they look like and find out a few things about them. 

2. If you decide to purchase something and you're going to pick it up at their house- look it up on Google maps. Find out what neighborhood it's in. Make sure you're not going to a sketchy area of town.

3. When you go to pick something up- take someone with you. We always go together or Jonathan takes someone with him to help him.

4. Tell some other people where you're going- in case anything did happen. Although, usually these transactions happen pretty smoothly- you'd better be safe than sorry. So let someone else know where you are headed to pick up an item, the person's name who has the item, etc.

5. Take cash to pay for your item. Most sellers expect cash only anyway, but you don't want to have to worry about a stranger cashing your check in a timely manner, etc.