• 14 Apr 2012

    DIY Colored Jeans (Mint)

    in DIY, Homelife

    I like everyone else I know has been Jonesing for some of those awesome colored jeans that are so in style right now, especially the mint.

    [from here]

    Unfortunately, mint ones are SOOOOOooo expensive. Not only are they expensive, but most stores (Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, etc) version of "colored jeans" are more like "colored stretchy pants." I don't want stretchy pants! So I was thinking about the possibility of dying my own, and found this blog post that pointed me in the right direction.

    What you will need for this project:
    1. White jeans (regular or bleached jeans don't look right).
    2. Fabric DYE (I used RIT available at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's etc)
    3. A Bucket
    4. Hot Water
    Optional:Salt, Dish gloves, a glass bowl, a stirring implement - I used grill tongs.
    I went to Clothes Mentor (which is always right next to Plato's closet, but I've gone up a few sizes and nothing at Plato's fits me these days) and went looking for some white denim jeans. The nice thing about Clothes Mentor is they basically only take "brand name" (their definition is a bit different than mine) AND they appeal to an older demographic who apparently lives in white jeans (hello mom, I'm talking about you!). I quickly found 3 pair that fit: Levi's, Ralph Lauren and Coldwater Creek. REAL denim, not that gross strechy stuff in varying cuts.

    Now I wanted either cigarette skinnies or boyfriend cut to roll up, but right now, I don't care about that stuff - if it looked good in the "hip/thigh" region, then I bought them. After I colored them, I was planning on doing a DIY skinny jeans project too. Any pair of pants can be skinny pants with a sewing machine. You could probably find some much more affordable than the $10-$20 a pair I found at your local Salvation Army. I'm going to check there next - this "dyeing jeans" thing is addicting.

    I went to Hobby Lobby to get some RIT dye. Now you guys could get a better quality dye online, or a cheaper price on RIT with a JoAnn's coupon or something, but I was impatient. I looked at RIT's website for their color formula guide and found the colors I wanted for mint green, pale yellow, and salmon pink.

    I lined with a plastic bag because I plan on doing this a couple times with different colors, and the bottom of the bucket was gross. That step is totally optional. Then I warmed up my tap water and started filling the bucket, while simultaneously boiling a pot of water on the stove. Did I mention I was impatient?

    First, I wet my white jeans with very hot water - good and saturated.

    I followed the color formula directions for Green 1 #234 - I had dye in a powder and liquid form. I mixed this in a glass bowl with boiling water and dumped it into my bucket full of hot water (WITHOUT THE JEANS IN THERE YET).

    [this is from my yellow batch]

    Things I learned from this: The RIT recipes are to create a very saturated version of the shade. For the pastel color that I was actually shooting for, I should have used WAY LESS color. Live and learn. Two more pair of jeans. ALSO when mixing with powder, make sure you use boiling water in a glass bowl first, and pour the mixed potion into the pot, but leave out the "dregs" at the bottom of the bowl. Those particles that didn't really dissolve all the way will leave weird spots on your clothes. If you're using a higher quality dye, or all liquids, I don't think you'd have those problems.

    After I'd mixed up the hot batch of dye in the bucket, I slowly added the wet jeans. Then I started stirring them with the BBQ thing. My green pair, and first attempt, I had some pretty potent dye and only left them in the mix a few minutes. My yellow dye bath was much more watered down, and they soaked for about 30 minutes.

    [rinsing, again this is my yellow pair]

    I pulled them out of the dye bath, and rinsed them off in the sink. I took them out to dry in the back, and noticed that there were some splotchy spots so I dumped them back in the dye bath to get more evenly color. More rinsing, then I threw them in the wash, and dryer and TADA.

  • 04 Nov 2011

    God Loves Me and My Decorating

    in Tour My House
    Sometimes I feel like God remembers what I see and like when I'm shopping and later finds it for me on Craigslist. Okay, maybe that sounds a little nuts, but this kind of stuff has happened so many times for me! Here's the story.

    Almost two years ago, before I was married, I was out shopping in Martin City at an adorable (but expensive) home decor shop, Rooms that Bloom, and I saw this gorgeous headboard! It was a queen size (which I thought we were going to have at the time) dark wood with little carved birds that perched on top. And it was like $2000. Later, I found it online, again still for a couple thousand dollars.

    Well that was a couple years ago, we closed on our house, got married, moved in to our little project renovation, bought bedroom furniture, even decided to go with a King bed (glad I didn't get that headboard in queen) all sorts of things happened...but I never found a headboard I liked. I kept remembering the little birdies.

    I did find the Claudette Headboard by Ballard Designs, below.

    But even Ballard's is $599 for a King, and honestly I don't like it as much. There's only one lonely bird, the wood looks too light and it looks kinda cheap to me - not to mention $599 on a headboard isn't exactly a bargain, and that doesn't include shipping! Nope, that wasn't the one for me.

    A couple weeks ago, I was cleaning out my iPhone photo library. Do you ever do that? Go through all your mobile photos and delete the silly ones? Well that's what I was doing when I came across the original photo I had taken almost 2 years ago of that queen-size bird headboard. I thought to myself how sad it was that I was probably never going to find it at a price I could afford, and I deleted the photo.

    The next day, yes I'm totally serious, THE NEXT DAY, I was cruising Craigslist on my phone as is a regular habit of mine, and I came across this post with a blurry photo about a King headboard with birds. I instantly emailed the guy asking if he'd hold it for me. A few days later, my awesome dad, who has made more Craigslist truck pickup trips for me than I can count, and my husband, who's had to move more of my Craigslist purchases in and out of various rooms of our house, went to check this thing out.

    When they got there, my husband sent me this photo from his "junkyard."

    That's my headboard! Brand-new, tags still on it, just one small nick on a post. This guys sells off unclaimed freight like this and sold it to me for LESS than 10% of the computer retail price above. Same manufacturer, same everything.

    Here it is in my room - this thing is MASSIVE and beautiful and I love it. Every time I see it, I think about the faithfulness of the Lord to hear even the smallest desire our heart. It reminds me that He cares about my little budget housewife's decorating heart, and that He can find me unbelievable things, above and beyond all I could ask or imagine just to let me know that He loves me.

  • 22 Oct 2011

    House Siding in Process

    in Tour My House
    I have failed to show the front of my house yet, and there's a reason for that. It's really ugly. As in, "I'm embarrassed that's my house" ugly. There's a lot of reasons for the ugly: Old splotchy painted rotting wood shakes, peeling trim, falling-down guttering, runaway landscaping: it's ugly. But this week, we're making significant progress: we're getting our house sided and the guttering replaced!

    When we priced house painting, which is a short-term fix and doesn't factor in all the wood rot repair and guttering issues, it was like $2500! And we'd have to do that over and over again! So we decided to bite the bullet and finance the whole siding/guttering thing. We've barely scraped by during the "rainy season" (ie. Spring) the last 2 years with bad gutters and flooding basements. I'm really scared to do that again. My dad recommended the people who did sided his house, and we got an estimate and went from there.

    We've lived here a year and a half, and sure, I'd love to redo our exterior with cedar shakes, but let's be realistic, this isn't Martha's Vineyard, it's not in our budget, and that kind of investment isn't going to pay off in our neighborhood. Before:

    This gives you a good idea of what the house looked like, even though this photo is in the middle of the siding process. The far left side of the photo near our garage has already been sided, the far right (a guest bedroom) has been stripped, and the middle part are the original poorly-painted creamish shakes with dark green trim.

    During: See that flower bed all saggy and sinking? That's gotta go before they get to that part of the house with the siding. I don't know why we didn't think of this before they started. Having decided we wanted it gone, I blazed forward in traditional fashion (have you seen what I've done to the bathroom?) and got Tommy, our room-renting friend to go after it with a pickax. We discovered just how much dirt is really in that flower bed (A LOT) and how rotten the shakes and wood were behind it (I-punched-hole-in-house), and that's when our wonderful Hispanic siders stepped in to help out our little porch project.

    Flower bed Demo:


    As you can see, the ugly flower box is gone, I've painted the green front door Martha Stewart's Sea glass, and found a wreath on sale at T.J.Maxx. I'm still not sure if I'm happy with the front door color - I think I want something a little more Tiffany blue, but I'm going to try this for a while. We also got a new doorbell button and porch light fixture from Home Depot (and this one over by the garage) that actually work now - yeah! Our fearless siding team installed them for us, which made life simpler. The planter and little boxwood is from Home Depot as well, they had their shrubbery on clearance for winter. I love boxwood. The rug is from Pottery Barn - a wedding gift from someone I've never met who frequented this website. I can't tell you what a special privilege it was to receive a wedding present from someone just because my website blessed them.

    There are a few items from Pottery Barn that I still want for our entry: some twiggy house numbers and their Aviary Mailbox. Ugh, why is it so expensive?

  • 27 Sep 2011

    My New Couch

    in Tour My House
    My front room has undergone a bit of a transformation of style in the last couple weeks. First, someone offered me some money for my white vintage matelasse couch - and I sold it. I really loved the way it looks, but the whiteness of it always made me a little nervous. Next, I found some awesome botanical prints at a warehouse sale and snatched them up. Here's the before and after below.

    And the after. I found this blue velvet Ethan Allen Chesterfield sofa on Craigslist. I've been seeing velvet chesterfield's all over Pinterest, and thought that this would be the perfect punch of color. The coffee table is different as well. I thought the space called for something larger, and found this "after" one on Craigslist. I still have some DIY mods to do on it, but I like it's size better for the space. What do you think?

  • 25 Aug 2011

    Decor Trends in 2011, Are You In Style or Over It?

    in Decor Trends, Homelife

    I've been following decor blogs since we moved into our house over a year now, and I've come to terms with one thing: decor trends are real and pervasive! I don't think it's a bad thing, but we're influenced by what we look at (which should be a wake up call to be sensitive to what we put before our eyes.) As I've watched blogs this past year, my tastes in decorating styles has changed and evolved, and things I never thought I'd like or want in my house, I do!

    But like many of you, I like in the land of "budget." I can't afford to redo my interior every year to keep in step with "trends" and if I invest heavily into trendy instead of timeless, I'm going to find my house on one of those "trends we hope die" lists.

    But I thought it would be fun to make a list of some of the trends that I'm seeing pop up in the decorator world, and you let me know if you like it, hate it, have it, or are over it. I'm sticking with mostly accessories on this post, and some of them are older trends that I'm just now getting to - I'm not a professional people! These are in no particular order, and no offense if you hate these, have these or want them. If I've missed something, add it below in the comments!

    Birch logs

    If trees could be trendy, birch would win. I never flip through a decor magazine without seeing birch logs. My husband even notices now that I pointed it out. I don't have any birch logs, but I would like a little decorative pile by our fireplace.

    Garden Stools

    These things are everywhere, it's bizarre. At first, when I noticed this trend, I was very resistant. I didn't like it, it didn't seem to serve and function, and the decor it added didn't really appeal to me. I've caved quite a bit to the point that if I saw a nice white or green solid colored garden stool on sale for $30, I'd pick it up for sure, but I don't think I'd spend any more than that.


    It's taken me forever to really figure out what this is, and to recognize it. Apparently Ikat is a woven fabric from a whole bunch of countries, vague enough? (more at wiki), but it has a very ethnic look to it, and it is so crazy popular right now in all sorts of crazy colors, upholstery, and applications! Like many trends, initially I was not fond of it at all, but I'm currently decorating my husband's den, and I've found a couple more traditional looking ikat fabrics for throw pillows hoping to evoke its more timeless less trendy side. The photos below aren't necessarily my favorite uses, but it's just to help you get familiar with the pattern if you aren't already, and recognize it when you see it because you're going to see it everywhere.

    This is more of the IKAT vibe for Jason's den.


    Graphic prints are big right now, but Chevron is one I just have a hard time connecting with. The only place I really like it is in wood flooring patterns, but there I'd call it Herringbone.

    Grainsacks and Burlap

    I've always been fond of "upcycling" or taking old things and recycling them into something new and lovely, and the grainsack trend is a perfect example...gone wild. Old feed sacks are in such demand now that they are getting hard to find at a cheap price, so now we're faking them! I don't have any authentic grainsacks, but I am using some bleached drop cloths for a few things, which are very inspired by the traditional grainsack.

    I've always been entranced with burlap. It's such an industrial, hard-working fabric that now we're seeing reinvented as a poor man's linen in elegant expressions, and I love it. I've got lots of burlap kicking around my house, it's so versatile and inexpensive, and there are many uses for it. I will say that in its cheap raw state, its smelly, itchy and scratchy. For a while, I had a burlap curtain, and it just smelled so much that I had to take it down. I wouldn't use it for upholstery, pillows, or anything that I'm touching.

    Moroccan Poufs

    Crochet, leather, or quilted, poufs or moroccan ottomans are very trendy this year, but as for me, I've been to morocco, and I fell on the floor trying to sit on these things just like I did at Marshall's two days ago. I don't understand the usage logic, but they do look cool.

    Ceramic Animals and Busts

    Some people love white ceramic animals, and know they do. I didn't think I did, then I realized that I do have a white ceramic horse head! The owls kinda freak me out though. I would like to expand my bust collection.



    Whether ceramic, paper mache, cardboard or real, just the horns or the head to go with is, antlers are IN! And it's not just for cabin's and lodges anymore. They're showing up in modern, eclectic and traditional decor. They can be a paper weight or accessory, part of furniture or lighting, something to hang on the wall to serve function or simply decoration. I've seen all kinds: deer, moose, elk, bull, those African varieties, you name it! I don't have any, but I definitely want some antlers for my husband's den. (Except for the ram's heads. Those kind of freak me o ut and remind me of Dragnet with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd.) Unfortunately, with supply and demand, the price has gone way up. Calling all hunters, I need me some antlers!

    Sunburst Mirror and Federal-Style Convex Mirrors

    The Sunburst mirror is absolutely an undeniable trend that I see everywhere! I'm actually pretty indifferent to it. I like it in the Ballard magazines I get, but I don't own one and I'm not shopping for one.

    The Federalist-style convex mirror is a weak spot for me. I am an absolute sucker for those, and I own 2 small ones, and honestly want more. Obsessed. But to be fair (to me), I liked these mirrors the first time I saw them at an antique store quite a while ago, and I'm still kicking myself I didn't buy the big wooden one when I saw it for $35. Seriously kicking.

    Tolix Chairs

    This is a trend that when I first saw them, I thought "Those look uncomfortable, why would I want them?" But now things have changed. They are everywhere and very trendy, but timeless too. I waaaaaaannnnnt them! They are much more comfortable than they look. I've checked them out at World Market and other places. I still can't decide between the natural metal or robin's egg blue, but at around $100 a pop, I've got some time to save and think about it.

    Cloche domes

    Also called bell jars, and I think you can add the prolific use of apothecary jars to this trend. When I see them in blogs or magazines, I tend to like them. It's seems like you can put anything under glass or in a jar, and it looks nice, whether a birds nest, soap, pasta, candy or Christmas ornaments. And you don't have to dust it. Sounds like a win win. To be honest, I don't have a cloche or apothecary jar, but I'd like one (or five). I do have a teensy apothecary-style thing, but it is sitting on my mantle, because I don't know what to put in it, as it's rather small. On a related trend, I've seen a lot of pantry and laundry room redo's including food stuffs and detergents in apothecary-style glass jars, and I love that!

    Subway Art

    This trend I have mixed feelings about. When it's done right, I think it can be really classy. I like the Restoration Hardware version (but I definitely don't want to pay for it.) I think the DIY craze has mutilated this trend into something inkjet and tacky. I'll let you do a Pinterest search to get an idea of what I'm talking about. I'm not saying that any personalized DIY subway art is necessarily bad, but it's got to look right, with the right typography and execution. I definitely don't like it when it's anything but geographical places (like house rules, cute sayings, food ingredients etc). I personally don't have any subway art yet, but if the Restoration Hardware pieces show up on Craigslist, I would pick them up if I could for my husband's man cave. I've only selected examples I like below.

    Restoration Hardware Subway Art
    Restoration Hardware

    Faux Bamboo

    Faux bamboo furniture in bright colors and shiny laquered finishes are popping up all over the blogosphere giving new life to thrift store finds all over the place. I haven't gotten any pieces yet, but these inspiration pictures sure do help. I'm keeping these in mind when I shop now.


    I don't have a sheepskin rug, but am in the market for one. I remember growing up when my mom and I went to Sam's Club, I'd always pet the sheepskin throws. And since they've shown up in cottage decor for a couple hundred years, there may be a timeless quality to them as well. What do you think?


    It's basically a clear plastic that come in and out of style as furniture since it was invented, but now it's "in." I'm still kind of undecided on this trend, I don't mind it when it's mixed in with other furniture, but I don't like matchy matchy table and chairs. I didn't think I owned anything, but I actually do have a lucite tray that my mom found me at a thrift store.


    Cutting out silhouettes seems like some sort of a Pride and Prejudice era entertainment and courting ritual, but its become a full on decor trend. Silhouettes are popping up everywhere, but I don't have one, and I want to learn how to make them. I'd really like to make a silhouette of my dogs.

    Cowhide Rugs

    Honestly, I can't tell for the life of me how cowhide dresses up and down the way these pictures show it, but I've got to admit, I like it. I think I prefer the white one to the blotchy black and white, but at a couple hundred dollars, I'm waiting on this trend too, but it is on my list!

    Other trends include gallery walls and chalk paint (you've seen those in the photos above), master's paintings, imperial trellis prints, antique brass accessories, botanical artwork, typography, terrariums and what else? Let me know in the comments.

  • 20 Jun 2011

    Fallen Tree

    in Tour My House

    We had quite a storm here in South Kansas City the other night. I was still up around 2 am reading, and suddenly I heard a huge CRRRAACK. I expected to have a tree come through the bedroom, but thankfully that didn't happen. The next day we discovered that a large walnut tree next to our driveway entrance had been uprooted.

    The tree used to be in the middle of that large mound of brush in the middle of the photo, but was now sprawled across our lawn. Thankfully, we didn't want that tree anyways. It was on the demolition list, awaiting financing, and with it being on the ground, it was actually much cheaper to cut up.

    We've still got a large stump issue to deal with, but I also have some great projects lined up: tree stump tables.

    Found a great tutorial here, and have lots of stumps to work with and some friends who want to join in, so in about a month or so, after they dry out a little more, I'll probably have a stump table post. If you have no idea what I'm talking about - here's some "Tree Stump Table" inspiration posts.

  • 14 Jun 2011

    Home Tour

    in Tour My House

    Living Room

    We've been married over a year now, and have had lots of changes to the May Casa. It's become more than a house, it's become a home, and boy have we come a long way! This is what the living room looked like when we first toured the house. Empty, basic, but with lots of potential.

    One of the first things we did when we moved in was to remove that giant mirror from above the fireplace and take down the curtains. When we got back from our honeymoon, I started on the blue dining room wallpaper, but you can read more about that little project over here.

    [above] This was what our living room looked like shortly after we moved in. We didn't have a lot of furniture, the overstuffed chairs and desk were given to us, I found the brown leather couch on Craigslist, and we were just blessed to have something! It stayed in this general state for some time. Sure, I moved it around and arranged it in different ways.

    By Autumn, it had morphed into something more like this. I can't tell you how many times I pushed around the furniture trying to find a way for it to all work together. I think that's just a given of trying to decorate in a new space.

    [above] This is the living room now. It has come a long way in the last year. Some key pieces that really helped were the two mirrors on either side of the window - I found those at Goodwill and painted them white. I also adore my trestle coffee table, another Craigslist purchase that has undergone a painting makeover as well. The green gingham wingchair recliner is one of my favorites, possibly because I found it on the side of the road for free, it's in perfect condition and incredibly comfortable. I can't leave out the lovely vintage white matelasse sofa that I found at the recommendation of a friend at a garage sale. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

    I still have a lot to do. The old porch pillars (that I found in the shed) are just thrown up there for right now. I love the architectural details, but I know that's not the right place for them. I also need to get a real curtain rod with some nice curtains - I'm thinking maybe a cream linen? The beige ones were on sale for pennies at Target, and they work interim. I'm also still struggling with arrangement, side tables, and lamps. This room is quite large, and without any overhead lighting, and getting the right balance of tables and lighting has been tricky, and I'm still not happy with it yet.

    *Decorative pillows and botanical lamp shade from Pottery Barn.

    I'm still in the position of looking for inexpensive, but interesting accessories. The thing with moving into a house with absolutely nothing is that you have absolutely nothing! Many blogs I follow show people "shopping" their house - moving things from other rooms, or pulling them from a closet full of accessorizing options, but I didn't have that because I didn't have anything, and what little I did have felt like a Tuscan hangover. I started by painting my mishmash of stuff white: the cheapo pine end tables, iron candleholders, "M" monogram, candlesticks, and shelves. That helped everything blend into the same general color scheme. (And yes, I also used Rustoleum's Heirloom White and I love it. thanks to Centsational Girl for first turning me on to that.)

    I've found some things I'm starting to like, the framed page is from a 1500's Bible. It's from Genesis, the story of Abraham and Sarah. Other frames I've found at thrift stores, along with my mother's senior picture, which I love. HomeGoods is also a favorite, but all in all the accessories are still very much a work in progress.

    This furniture arrangement only works for the warmer months as in the winter, we use our wood-burning stove quite regularly, and love it.

    Dining Room

    You saw the "before" above with the blue wallpaper. Well hiding behind the blue wallpaper was some kind of Mount Vernon wallpaper that also had to come down. Read the whole saga here.

    The table was found on the side of the road, and I *love* it. The side chairs I found on Craigslist, and I'm still looking for the perfect end chairs.


    The kitchen when we moved in had blue wallpaper, a border featuring ducks, curtains with ducks, and a large scripture painted onto the beadboard, but the real problem to me was the cabinets. The upper cabinets were dramatically tilted so that when you opened a cupboard, the whole door came swinging out at you. After almost having our heads taken off while reaching for the coffee in the morning, we decided to promptly remove the doors.

    My husband looked at this "after" and said, "You could have put the dishes away." True, I guess I could have. We've removed two layers of wallpaper in the kitchen, replaced the cabinet hardware, and painted the insides of the cupboards a navy blue. We also have a wonderful new stove, which is like my best friend. We still need to paint the bottom cabinets, which I'm not terribly looking forward to. I'd also like to build a shelf for the microwave (an appliance I hate using), and replace the lighting fixture over the sink. A new sink and faucet would be nice too. Actually I'd love a extreme kitchen makeover, but we work with what we have.

    On the other side of the room are some of my favorite Craigslist finds. A marble table, 4 antique Thonet chairs, and banquette bench. It's still looking a little stark. I'd love to find a small hutch or something similar. My husband secured this pantry-door whiteboard for me, and I think it would be great with a large elegant frame around it. And of course, I need some nice pillows and pad for the bench.

    My Office / Library

    That area behind the large, wavy window and French doors is my office. It started out as a paneled, shelf-lined little cave that collected dust and junk, and wasn't near as charming as the mental image of a library.

    See how cluttered and dark it looks? We took out most of this shelving and readjusted the furniture arrangement, but this room still has a lot of work ahead - the paneling need to be painted, some of the wall repaired, and it's just aching for a funky rug.

    Master Bedroom

    When we moved in, the master bedroom had dark maroon crown molding and a floral border. As I removed the border, I discovered mold had been growing underneath it during the house's vacancy. Yuck! Originally, We had a queen-size bed, which we shared with two large dogs. That arrangement didn't last very long. Now we our guests enjoy a lovely queen bed, and we've upgraded to a king.

    This is how we initially set up our room. Basically as you walked down the hallway, and looked onto the giant bed in between two windows. The framing was nice, but this arrangement put the bed in the middle of the room, making it feel much smaller than it really is. On a side note, can I mention how hard it is to style a king bed? I've googled, and searched for recommendations, but haven't found much. Queen beds are so much easier to get that "lovely bedding" vibe. King's just look huge, and the pillow proportions are never right.

    This our setup now. We've moved the bed to the side, placing it in a little alcove. With this new arrangement we have more privacy, and floor space. Now the view from the hallway is a dresser with topiaries, and a bench made from a shipping pallet (that really is way to big.) There's now room for a sitting area on the other side of the room that for now holds a wing chair and ottoman and my absolute favorite mirror eagle mirror.

    I still need to do a final coat of paint on the trim molding (Sherwin Williams Roman White), and then to hang the curtain rods and find some nice affordable curtains. Easier said than done. I'm leaning towards buying some fabric and making my own.

    *mercury glass lamps from HomeGoods.

    Sewing Room / Future Nursery

    I have to confess, I haven't done very much with this room. The above is about what it looked like days after we moved in. I grew up with that double bed, and those curtains and comforter, and this quickly became a back-up guest room that isn't frequently used or entered.

    After a year, I have moved some laundry items in here, including my ironing board and sewing machine. The rug was a freebie, and after not being able to get rid of it any other way, we put it in here. Actually this room needs a rug of some sort, as sound reverberates in here. I have plans to make this a temporary craft room until it's time to decorate for a nursery, as this room is closest to ours, and right next to the bathroom.

    *The "pooh-bear lamp" as I call it, was found a thrift store. I painted it Disney's Pooh Bear yellow, thus the name and the fact that it looks like a giant honey pot. The lampshade was on sale at Pottery Barn, as were the quilted shams. The duvet cover is from Target years ago.

  • 22 May 2011

    Adventures in Upholstery

    Been meaning to write a post about my adventures in reupholstering. I started with recovering dining room seats and headboards, and then found a $20 chairs at a thrift store that had a great shape to it. The fabric wasn't terrible, but I thought it might be a good reupholstery practice chair with some fabric I found at an antique mall.

    I think the worst part about reupholstering something is removing all the old stuff! With this chair, I tried to be really careful removing the old fabric, because I wanted to use it as a pattern for my new one. Next time, I'm not sure if I'll use that technique. I had a few pattern problems. Removing a zillion staples (with my handy needle-nose pliers) and nail head trim. When taking something apart like this, it really opens your eyes to how it's all put together. It actually starts to make sense. After I finished this chair, I'd look at upholstered furniture, and imagine where all the pieces are stapled.

    Thankfully, the batting, webbing and springs were all in great condition, so I was able to reuse it all, as well as the nailhead trim. Now I was using fabric remnants that I got at an antique mall, and the pattern wasn't oriented the right way on all my pieces. I had the option of having sideways ducks, or altering the "pattern" a little bit. It probably would have been easier to do my first project with a solid instead of a print. Live and learn. I sanded the legs down and whitewashed them a little bit, and used copper to highlight some of the curves. I finished the legs with some clear Minwax paste wax, one of my favorite treatments.

    The end product turned out pretty good. I did zero sewing on this project. I fake a welt using the old welt cording and stapling around the cord. One of the worst parts about this chair was nailing in the nailhead trim. I bent handfulls of nails trying, and getting them straight was a lot harder than I thought.

    After recovering from this project a couple, I'm excited to start another.

    I found a great wingback chair for $5 at a garage sale, but I still haven't decided how to reupholster it, which is why I need your help. I have 3 ideas in mind, and I've included some example photos, and I'd love to hear your opinion!

    1. Miss Mustard Seed style drop cloth wingback.
    Simple off-white made from bleached drop cloths.

    This picture is actually a slipcovered wingback, but you get the idea.

    2. Drop-cloth based fabrics different on each panel.
    Kinda hard to explain. I mean where the wings are one fabric, the seat is another, and the back is different, like the pics below.

    3. Patchwork Wingback.
    Where the upholstery consists of a patchworks of fabrics.

    Leave your two cents below :)

  • 16 Apr 2011

    My Crate and Barrel Knock-Off

    I've always wanted carrara marble countertops. I know they are trendy and all over the place, but so beautiful! But let's be realistic: probably not going to happen, and probably should based on the abuse of our current countertops. Then I saw this kitchen set at Crate and Barrel months ago, and loved it immediately. The carrara marble top, the Thonet bistro chairs. It was the perfect way to incorporate the carrara marble, without putting your drippy coffee pot on it. But it was also $1299 just for the table. (see it here at Crate and Barrel)

    So I put it out of my mind thinking there was now way. But I do watch Craigslist, as you well know. And when I came across a carrara marble table, I got really excited. And then the bistro chairs followed.

    Moving this slab of marble was a beast. J.May was out of town on a ministry trip, so I recruited our friend Tommy, but I helped carry this thing out to the truck too. It weighs around 200 lbs! Let's just say we found another guy to help Tommy get it into the kitchen. I've still got a little tweaking to do with the table base. I'm not sure if I'm going to paint it, stain it, or find something else altogether to use as a base, but I am so excited with the way things are coming together.

    Originally, I was looking for bentwood bistro chairs that I could spray paint in a glossy black, but when I saw the patina on these chairs (made in Poland and Czechoslovakia a long time ago) I knew there was no way I could paint them. They are gorg and I've have started a love affair with these beautiful chairs. When I started paying attention, I saw them everywhere. They remind me of Parisian cafes. *heart*

    Related: Apartment Therapy on Bentwood Chairs
  • 22 Feb 2011

    Wingback Love

    in Decor Trends

    If you look at any home interior magazines, decorator blogs, or TV show in styles that are traditional, modern, or country cottage, I think you'll find one thing in common with all of them...



    Okay, I'll admit it, I'm currently somewhat obsessed with wingback chairs. I LOVE them, their lines, their dignity and timelessness. *Love* I really want to get two matching wingbacks for our living room, but I need to raise some more Wingback Capital. I've even made a wingback inspiration album. I thought I'd share some of my favorites taking a look at some current trends.

    French Linen, Burlap, Coffee Bag Wingback

    Popularized by Restoration Hardware and the "deconstructed" movement among decorators, I personally LOVE this style, and would take any one (or two) of these.





    Subway Lettering Trend 




    Trendy Fabrics

    Wingback Beds


    Now there's even been a revival of Wingback Beds, which I absolutely love. My husband, who doesn't really care one way or another, stops everytime we're out and about and says, "I bet you like that bed."

    It can be masculine with a tweed, linen or burlap

    Or feminine with tufting or luxury fabrics like velvet or toile

    And you can even make your own!

    Or in Leather

    Or even Seagrass

    Or get the Seagrass Wingback Chair

    French Provincial

    Always in.


    With it's square edges and clean lines. It may not be my favorite, but it's still beautiful!

    I'm still on the (bargain) hunt for my two matching wingbacks, but I've got a price limit to work with. I've been trolling Craigslist, which is a great place to find them, and area consignment shops. I'm also checking out upholsters in my area. In some cases, it would be a lot better deal to buy a cheaper Wingback or pair off of Craiglist and have it professionally reupholstered. You've got check the prices on that first, factoring in the investment of the piece of furniture, making sure it has a sturdy frame, also factoring in the cost of fabric and upholstery, but you could end up with a great deal and a very unique piece. If you're crafty, you could also make your own slipcover from scratch or you could buy a slipcover, and tailor it using upholstery tacks.

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