Archive for October, 2011
The DIY in me has emerged. My inner craftiness has been dormant for so long. It’s such a relief to finally let it all out. Now that we have a house where there’s room to store craft supplies and easily display craft projects, there’s no holding this chick back from making pillow covers, table runners, leaf art, and wreaths. So get your glue guns out and your wire cutters ready, because the holidays are upon us (Happy Halloween!) and we’s gots some craftin’ to do!
This post is brought to you via Pinterest inspiration, or shall I say Pinspiration? Sounds sweaty…
- Grapevine wreath or similar
- 2 yards of burlap
- Wooden letter of your choosing
- Paint for wooden letter
- Glitter spray paint
- Wheat or straw or something earthy
- Ribbon in a fall color scheme
- Fake flowers
- Beaded wire
- Floral wire
I got all my materials at Michaels except for the burlap. I purchased that at Hancocks. By the way, my Hancocks Fabrics has some lights out in their sign for the letters H, A, and N. It makes for an interesting store front… I’m so immature sometimes.
This wreath is fairly simple. I cut out 4” wide strips of burlap and accordion folded them. I placed them on the wreath form to figure out how many strips I needed. I needed 4. I still had a little bit of a gap, but that’s okay because that’s where I put my flowers.
Once I accordion folded a strip, I stuck some floral wire through it and secured both ends to the wreath, spreading out the burlap to the desired length and volume. I did this for all of the strips.
When it came to my flower bundle, I gathered the blooms into a compact bouquet and wrapped floral wire around the stems as close to the blooms as possible. I used wire cutters to cut off the excess stems. I used floral wire to secure the bouquet in the lower left portion of my wreath.
For the wheat and the beaded wire, I experimented around with different arrangements until I found something I liked. Then, I cut everything to the proper length and used… you guessed it… floral wire to secure in place. The great thing about the burlap is that it can hide all the ends of your decorations if you position them underneath the folds.
I painted my letter with two coats of bright orange paint and let it dry. Then, I took it outside on some newspaper and sprayed it with 2 light coats of gold glitter spray paint. I won’t lie. It was fun. Who doesn’t like glitter? Who doesn’t like spray paint? Whoever decided to combine them is a genius and sounds like a really fun person. I let it dry overnight. The next day I used my fall ribbon (which I got on sale in the Christmas section – go figure) to secure the letter in the middle of the wreath by tying it underneath the burlap at the top of the wreath.
And here is my version:
Me likey. The sparkly orange S really stands out from the street. One of these days I’m going to get a spotlight we can put in the yard so it’s easier to see the wreaths I hang up around the holidays.
And just for kicks, here is the table runner I whipped up last week:
I set the table all pretty for these pictures. Believe me, it’s not always like that. The runner is double-sided in case you didn’t catch that. Fall leaves are on one side, gobbling turkeys on the other. Yay me!
Oh! And some cupcakes I made for all of our work colleagues:
Happy fall! Happy Halloween! Can you tell it’s my favorite time of the year?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 9 so far )
I don’t know what it is about women and curtains, but I’ve caught the bug. Can you tell by the second consecutive post on curtains?
Yesterday, I shared the curtains we picked out for our master bedroom. “Picked out” are golden words. And I don’t say them casually. There’s nothing like being able to buy pre-made curtains at an affordable price.
For the den, it was a different story. I wanted some yellow and white patterned panel curtains. You can check out the color palette we’re going for here.
There was an overwhelming amount of apple green and tan in the room so I thought the best way to bring in some yellow was with window treatments. Unfortunately, all the pre-made yellow window treatments I looked at were very juvenile. I suppose it’s a pretty popular and androgynous nursery color. Then one day, I found this image on Pinterest from this lovely blog:
These curtains happened to be made out of the very same fabric I was eying on fabric.com. Coincidence? I think not! I ordered two samples of fabric so I could be sure before I ordered 20 yards of it. Here are the samples:
Hmm… Adam and I both scratched our heads. Eenie, meanie, miney, moe. The one on the top was the winner due to the ratio of yellow to white and it had a more even pattern. I also knew what this fabric would look like 8 feet high and 4 and a half feet wide.
We have 3 windows in our den which means I would need to make 6 panels. Figuring in hemlines, shrinking from washing, fabric for coordinating throw pillows, and some extra “oops” fabric, I ordered 20 yards of fabric and 16 yards of lining. We want the curtains to be good blockers of light since this is our TV room. The fabric was approximately $160 with an online promo code and sale – down from over $200! Adam had sticker shock at first, but I think it’s because he’s still learning how much home-related things cost. If I’d had these professionally made, it would have cost a couple hundred bucks per window. If I purchased them pre-made from the store, it would have cost $300+. So even though Adam thought it was pretty expensive, and one hundred and sixty doll-hairs isn’t something to sneeze at, we’re still saving money. And yes, we need curtains in there in order to watch movies on Sammy in the D.A.R.K. Plus, they make a room look so much better.
I inspected the fabric for imperfections and cut out my 6 panels at 8 feet exactly giving myself plenty of extra in case of shrinkage. I thought about washing the whole bolt in one piece, but decided my washer would not appreciate 300 square feet of fabric in a single load. I washed it on a cool gentle cycle with Woolite; it recommended a mild detergent. I washed the lining in a separate load. I gently dried the lining, but my drapery fabric instructions said “DO NOT DRY”. I let it line dry overnight and put them through the dryer on air dry for a couple of rounds. When they still weren’t dry, they went a few rounds of the “less dry” setting on the lowest heat setting our dryer has. The point was to pre-shrink the fabric before sewing. And let me tell you, that 100% cotton fabric shrank. All of the panels shrank by about 6 inches. Thank goodness they weren’t any shorter. But they’re all set for Spring Cleaning time when I’ll take it down and send it through the wash again. Here’s a toast to wishful thinking!
I think it’s imperative to let you know that I logged about 5 hours on a sewing machine before this curtain project. It’s safe to say that I have absolutely NO experience. I cut the lining 2.5 inches longer than my finished panel length (84”+ 2.5”=86.5”) and 3 inches narrower than the existing width of the fabric – 51”. I worked with the width the fabric came in, a standard 54”. Then I really got started. If I knew sewing required so much of my least favorite household chore – ironing – I wouldn’t have been so eager beaver. Really, my Saturday went like this. Wash. Dry. Dry. Dry. Iron. Measure. Pin. Iron. Measure. Pin. Iron. Sew. Repeat. So here is what I did step-by-step. I followed the advice of Midwest Magnolia and Orange Sugar. My method is a mish mash of their methods, so I give them all the credit. Check out the links. They took step by step pictures. I didn’t.
Curtain Panel How-To
*all stitching was with a straight utility stitch
- Cut fabric to length. Adding 2” total for top hem (1” folded over twice) and 4” total for bottom hem (2” folded over twice). If you’re pre-washing after cutting it, read your care instructions and add some extra inches for safety’s sake.
- Double fold bottom hem. Wrong side up, fold bottom hem over 2”, pin and press. Fold over again 2”, pin and press.
- Stitch bottom hem close to hemline – about 1/8”. Be sure to reverse stitch beginning and end of seam.
- Measure and cut lining. Lining should be cut 2.5” longer than your finished curtain length and 3 inches narrower.
- Double fold bottom hem in lining. Wrong side up, fold bottom hem over 2” and press. Fold over again 2” and press. Pin in place
- Stitch bottom hem in lining close to hemline – about 1/8”. Be sure to reverse stitch beginning and end of seam.
- Placement of Lining onto Fabric.
- Place fabric right side up and lay lining on top of fabric, right side down. Wrong sides out.
- Line up bottom of lining 1.5” above bottom of fabric.
- Line up right side and pin.
- You should have 2”+ of fabric at the top hem. This is good
- Sew right side of lining to fabric using a .5” seam. Remember to back stitch. It’s a long curtain. So be patient and go slow.
- Pull the left side of lining over to line up with the left side of the Fabric. Remember that the lining is 3” skinnier than the fabric and will need to be pulled and pressed into place. This is okay because the fabric will overlap on the lining side once you turn it right side out. Pin in place.
- Sew left side of lining to fabric using a .5” seam. Remember to back stitch.
- Turn fabric out and iron — This will take some maneuvering to get an even amount of fabric on the back side of the curtain, but it is pretty easy. Press edges in place.
- Miter bottom corners. Take the bottom corners of your sides on the inside side of the curtain and fold them under. Press and blind stitch them in place.
- Double fold top hem. Fold top hem over 1” and press. Fold over again 1” and press. Pin in place. It should cover the lining now.
- Stitch top hem close to hemline – about 1/8”. Be sure to back stitch beginning and end of seam.
So here are my yellow beauties in all their sunshine and glory:
Things to consider:
- Patterned fabric requires more work. I did not get too particular about matching up my patterns. For instance, all 6 of my panels do not start and stop at the same point in the repeating pattern. I did, however, make sure that my hemlines were even based on the repeating pattern. This wasn’t too tricky. I made sure to cut my fabric as straight as possible. The only panel I had trouble with was the first one off the bolt that I’m guessing some cross-eyed idiot at the warehouse cut. No bitterness here. I just had to spend a lot of extra time cheating some hemlines on that panel to make it look straight.
- Use painters tape to clearly define your seam allowance on your machine. This was so helpful. Having a giant piece of bright blue tape to guide me instead of a teeny little tick mark was one secret of my success.
- Forget about sewing 7 foot long curtains at your little sewing table. I set up shop on our dining room table. I needed every bit of the surface.
- Take a page out of Sherry Petersik’s book and use an area rug as a straight edge for cutting your fabric. Such a great trick!
- After sewing the sides of the lining to the fabric, I laid the whole curtain on the floor, lining side up, and pulled at it until I had a 1” border of fabric on each side of the lining. I pinned it in place so I could press the sides easier.
- THESE CURTAINS TOOK ME FOREVER. FOREVER AS IN OVER 30 HOURS OF LABOR. I was probably a lot slower since it was my first rodeo, but just be warned…
- Materials you will need:
- Sewing machine
- Extra machine needle
- Rotary cutter – good for cutting the lining, but wasn’t sharp enough for my thicker curtain fabric
- Cutting mat with measurements
- Sharp set of sewing scissors
- Straight pins
- Measuring tape – not the kind you get at the hardware store. The ribbon kind.
- Iron and ironing board
- Seam ripper – if you mess up, it’s no big deal. That’s what a seam ripper is for.
- Tape measure – the kind you get at the hardware store for cutting out really long pieces of fabric
Not to toot my own horn, but I am super proud of these babies. They were time consuming yes, and frustrating, but they turned out so well and I did them all by myself. I know that yellow isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Heck, I’ve already said I don’t like yellow walls. But I really like these curtains. They cheer up such a rustic room with all the wood paneling.
Do we plan to paint the wood paneling? No. I really like our paneling. It has these fluted grooves and it feels more solid than a lot of paneling from the mid-century. Plus it’s in a basement room, so I think it’s rather fitting. You know? It’s lodgey. And that’s not a word. It would kind of be a shame if us youngins’ came blazing in there and painted 50-year-old wood paneling. I mean, who do we think we are? It would be no easy task, either. I’ve heard about the horrors of seepage, not to mention that this room is humongous. No thank you.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
This post is about curtains so if you’d rather read about running, cooking, making stuff that doesn’t require a sewing machine, or painting, this post isn’t it. I’m all about some curtains right now.
I got lucky with the master bedroom curtains. Bed, Bath and Beyond happened to have just what I wanted in stock nearby. Oftentimes, what I want simply doesn’t exist, which is why I’m learning to sew.
We had some gift cards leftover from our wedding, and Christmas, and um, myhighschoolgraduation. Yeah, I should clean out my wallet… So we saved some money, which is always a good thing. I bought the curtain rods at Lowe’s though I tried to use ones I already had. They weren’t long enough. But I get an A for effort.
Side Note: The Previous Home Owners left quite a few window treatments. We are keeping some of them, but most of them were pretty ugly and don’t match our décor. In fact, the only curtains I plan to reuse are these:
I hope to use these in one of our guest rooms. I’m considering dyeing them a chocolate brown and sewing a bottom color block on the bottom 3 feet or so. More on that adventure later…
And what you’ve been waiting for… Here are the master bedroom curtains. Drumroll please….
I now have my bedroom trifecta of bedding, rug, and drapes. Woo-hoo! Let’s bask in the ease of buying something at the store. It is sooooo underrated. Believe me. I suffered through a week of sewing 6 7-foot tall curtain panels. Not the most complicated project, but oh so time consuming. Anyway, I love, love, LOVE the color palette in our bedroom: cool blues and soothing grays and platinums. It’s so spa like. I was nervous about the blue drape on a blue wall, but I think it looks niiiiice. I’m a sucker for tone on tone.
Notice how high we hung them? I like my curtains pretty high. I think they’re about 5 inches from the ceiling. It definitely adds height to the room. We hung them about 10 inches out from each side of the windows. You can see that the left curtain panel is behind our headboard on the window near the bed. When we first moved in I was annoyed that the off-center window was going to throw off anything I wanted to do over the headboard. But I decided there wasn’t much I could do. The way the furniture is now is the only way it will work due to the placement of doors and windows in here. Plus, I’ve come up with a plan that will embrace all that asymmetry. I’m sure I’ll let you know what that is once it’s closer to fruition.
The curtains are a tad formal with those French pleats. But the lack of a valance brings the formality down a notch. Over time, I plan to bring in an eclectic mix of artwork – by yours truly, local artists, and those fantastic people on Etsy – to dilute the formal mood. We also have them pooling on the floor for a more dramatic look. Some people don’t like that, but I think it works for a bedroom. I would be wary if I let my curtains pool on the floor in a high traffic area.
Never fear! This is just the first post of a 2 part series on curtains! Next time, I’ll go on forever and ever about the curtains I made all by myself. I’m so proud.
UPDATE: Since these pictures were taken, we’ve acquired 3 new pillows for the bed. Yesss! My pillow purchasing habits have resulted in a throw pillow moratorium in our house right now. I’m sure I’ll get some pictures up of the room as it progresses.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
From IScreenYouScreen based in Cadillac, Michigan:
From japonicas in Perth, Australia:
From HungryArt based in Pennsylvania:
Zoo Animal Linocuts
From BandAPrints in Fort Collins, Colorado:
From articipe in Baltimore, Maryland:
From DestinysCreations in Windsor, Connecticut:
Georgia Heart Necklace
From n2design in San Luis Obispo, California:
From BGBJewelry in Phoenix, Arizona:
Turquoise Quartz Earrings
Aqua Quartz Necklace
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For our den, I picked the color scheme of apple green, yellow, and tan about a year ago when we moved into our first apartment. I still haven’t fallen in love with it, so I decided to incorporate turquoise for a cool (as in not warm) element. Here are some rooms off of Pinterest with similar color schemes:
So far, I really like it. I have my doubts occasionally. It’s a lot of warring bright colors, I know, but I’m being careful by using them in accents like throw pillows, wall art, curtains, etc. I thought these tiles would be a great way to bring that color into the room. I plan to bring in some throw pillows and I also bought some little friends about a month ago.
Meet Petey and Harley. You should have seen Adam’s face when I pulled Petey out of that HomeGoods sack. I’ve never seen his eyes roll that far around in their sockets. My question to all of you is, “is life worth living without some birds?” And though he may not appreciate this idiom, Petey killed two birds with one stone: he was a turquoise element I needed and he was a bird. I love ceramic birds.
By the time I brought Harley home a few weeks later, Adam was not surprised. I got Harley from an antiques shop in Atlanta that’s closing its doors. It was a sweet deal! I love horses – even green ones. And then I found this guy on zgallerie and I feel like I scored!
I am so trendy! They want 100 buckaroos for this stallion and he’s a boring gray. Plus he’s veiny. Doesn’t he look like he could be Harley’s dull, nerdy, older brother? I snagged Harls for a fraction of the price and he fits in nicely in our zoo – er, den. Speaking of my love for horses, I salivate every time I see this pin on my pinterest from Ballard Designs.
I wish I could DIY something like that.
My animal friends are living on our mantle and in our built-in bookshelf to the right of our fireplace. I am one of those people that believe too many books on a bookshelf makes for a boring design visual. You have to have a variation of things: books, boxes, bowls, picture frames, and ceramic animals (fo’ sho’). Just watch Emily Henderson on HGTV. She’s a genius at staging shelves. Although she usually crams too much stuff on there to suit even my cluttered taste. Getting our shelf configuration just right will take some time, but I’m having fun with it. I needed some yeller stuff, hence Adam’s growing collection of National Geographics. The bookcase could use some metallic things that have interesting texture to them. It is still a work in progress. But here’s what we have so far. I apologize for the bad lighting. Getting new light fixtures in this room is on the to-do list.
And there is our wedding album almost a year later! Hooray! It’s fantastic.
Up next – get ready for all you ever wanted to know about curtains: buying them and making them!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
I love to-do lists. I think I rely on them more than food, water, and shelter. And that’s sad. In college, I wrote down every single task in my planner. Once I graduated, I carried around a weekly to-do sheet. It had everything on there: laundry, gym time (this is beginning to sound like Jersey Shore), call the insurance company, go to the grocery store, etc. Anal retentive? Me? No, no, no. I found a system and it works for me. If I forget to do something because I didn’t write it down, I get stressed. Can you tell I’m Type A? Now, I rely so heavily on the list that if something isn’t on there, it doesn’t exist.
So what happens when you buy a 47-year-old house? You make an extremely long to-do list. The House To-Do List is completely separate from my everyday to-do list. With the everyday list, I plan things out on a weekly basis. The house list is going to be over the course of years and years – something I have to remind myself constantly. We were lucky because there’s nothing wrong with our home. Everything works. The plumbing, wiring, insulation, HVAC, and windows are all functioning and most are new. But it needs some updating and we want to make changes that will make it our own. We are up to the challenge. We’re already rolling up our sleeves and turning our house into a home. There are tons of things on here that we’ve already checked off that I haven’t shared with you. Hopefully, I’ll get back to blog business in the next few weeks and post some pictures of our progress. Things have been so busy with work, house stuff, yard chores, and fun times with friends that I haven’t had a spare moment to blog about our busy lives. So here’s the To-Do List in all its glory in case you’d like to see. Crossing off some of those items gave me such an endorphin rush.
1. Replace washers in bathtub in hall bath
2. Curtains for the living room, dining room, office, guest bedroom, guest bedroom, master bedroom, family room, kitchen, etc.
- Navy and green flat-lined roman shade for windows in kitchen – need rods extended out on L-brackets or just ring screws with a hook on curtain
- o Spray paint black curtain rods
- o Pillow covers for throws in family room: 2 yellow, 1 turquoise, tan/brown/ivory
3. Blinds for kitchen, master bedroom and bath, den
4. Paint living room (Parchment Paper), office, kitchen (Behr Topiary Tint), master bedroom (Valspar lament blue), guest bedroom (Valspar Cincinnatian Hotel Taupe), guest bedroom, main, upstairs and downstairs hallways, master closet, pantry
5. Stencil living room – in progress
6. Trim branches off of utility lines
7. Treat deck
8. Purchase and install new light fixture for over master sink
9. Replace the hardware on the built-in shelves in family room
10. Paint the front door and shutters – maybe shutters a dark green and front door Valspar Allen & Roth Front Door Red
11. Build or buy a larger window box that suits the scale of the bay window. Plant it.
12. Add a lamp to the lamp post
13. Dig up the weeping cherry and boxwoods in the front of the yard – in progress
14. General cleaning-out of pine islands, over-growth, dead trees, little trees, little bushes etc. – in progress
15. Expand pine island in front
16. Plant fescue in front
17. Plant foundation shrubs in front of house
18. Fill-in some of the sloping in front yard
19. Bury clean-out caps or cover-up
20. “Wallpaper” the big hallway upstairs with mixed and matched frames
- Apothecary sign, black frames (set of 3), framed wedding invitation, pictures from wedding,
21. Paint the back of the bookshelves on the wall they are on with something fun and bright? Could wallpaper these or use drawer-liner
22. Cheap art solution in living room over couch and upright piano
23. Frame 4 photos on the sides of mirror in dining room
24. Find a place to hang blue matted frame – office? Nook in basement?
25. Hang ledge shelves we inherited from previous owners over master bed
26. Add crown molding to the upstairs bedrooms
27. Add chair rail in dining room and wainscoting molding
28. Chalkboard paint the side of oven cabinet
29. Add some fun organizational stuff to the garage near the backdoor (a hook for dog leashes, storage for shoes)
30. Make or buy or refurbish a long bench for the foot of the bed
31. Get vintage chairs for the living room and refinish and re-upholster
32. Build a compost bin and a rain barrel
33. Pressure wash patio
34. Remove rose bushes, level out garden bed, and seed for grass
35. Hang a swing and/or hammock from a tree out back
36. Hunt down some thrift store or craigslist bedside tables and refinish them for the master (drawers for some hidden storage)
37. Add shelving in garage
38. Remove door on kitchen from hall
39. Widen doorway on kitchen from hall
40. Plant around mailbox
41. Fence front of backyard and repair left side
42. Remove ivy – in progress (this is torture)
43. Remove dead tree
44. Pine straw the side of house
45. Cover patio with stampcrete
46. Pave stampcrete path from patio to deck
47. Remodel hall bath
48. Remodel master bath
49. Tile half bath
50. Remodel kitchen
51. New light fixtures for house, inside and out
52. Get IKEA shelving system with cubbies for office or spare bedroom/craft room
53. Repair molding to attic entry
54. Nail down quarter round in downstairs bath
55. Spray paint vents white – in progress
56. Switch outlets to white – in progress
57. Find an old chest on Craigslist and refinish for alcove in basement
58. Make a sunburst mirror and spray paint gold for over chest in alcove
59. Paint wall behind the washer and dryer
60. Make Atlanta subway art for console table
61. Make built-ins around the washer and dryer for functional space (ironing board, laundry supplies, dry cleaning bin, drying rack or clothesline)
62. Remove sliding closet doors in bedrooms, replace with something else tbd
63. Replace bedroom doors and hardware
64. Repurpose closet doors into work table for office
65. Replace garage door with a plantation door
66. Make ombre painting for master bedroom
67. Disassemble playground
68. Add shelving in unfinished basement
69. Get lampshades for lamps in master
70. Spray paint floor lamp & buy new shade
71. Build a recycling sorter
72. Get full bed and dresser from room at home for basement bedroom
73. Caulk and seal exterior of back door in family room
74. Replace battery in smoke detector in basement
75. Buy fire extinguisher (1 for basement)
76. Replace toilet seats (3)
77. Drawer and shelf-liner for kitchen
78. Re-plant the planter that is built-in to the porch with some shade plants
79. Re-plant the various planters around the yard
80. Organize our closet and dressers
81. Get storage solution for master bath
82. Paint back door chocolate brown
83. Brace deck
84. Stain and poly trim around back door in family room
85. Install low-flow shower head in master, get plumber to sign off so we can get the water turned on
86. Dig up dirt for a summer garden in the sunniest spot in yard (back of garage)
87. Get 32 Gal. rolling garbage can and recycle bins/bags
88. Patch holes in dining room and paint over
89. Install lighting underneath kitchen cabinets
90. Purchase and install new light fixture for over kitchen sink
91. Make 12 x12 wooden squares with scrapbook paper over loveseat
By the way, my personal to-do list has been reformed! I was nervous about going all digital with it, but I decided to give it a go. If you have an Apple or Droid device, you should check out the Remember the Milk application. It’s pretty sweet.
I have the app for the iPad and its design is very similar to Twitter for iPad – all those screens you can swipe off to get gone. It will sync with your Outlook tasks and separate work tasks, personal tasks, and school tasks. It sends you email reminders every morning with your to-do’s. You can mark things as complete. You can write notes for each task if you need to. You can give them a time deadline as well. So far, I like it better than carrying around a ratty piece of paper with crossed-off items in ineligible handwriting.
Update: I’m obsessed with Remember the Milk. It has changed my life. I don’t know how I ever lived without it before.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )