Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘House & Home’ Category

My house was built in 1928, and along with tiny closets and plaster walls, that means charming details. One of my favorite of those details is our mailbox. It’s actually a little mail chute with a little mini-door next to the front door. See:

Here’s a closer view:

It’s super convenient to get the mail, seeing as I don’t even have to open my front door. And when our friends with kids come over, the little ones L-O-V-E that little door. My husband likes to tell them that tiny pirates live inside. Yeah, he’s that guy. And they love him.

But the other day, I got the mail and didn’t shut the mailbox. A little while later, I looked over from my perch on the couch and saw this:

I’ve lived here for a year and a half, and as many times as I’ve gotten the mail, the inside of the little door — with paint slapped on in what looks like an afterthought — never really bothered me. I guess it was mostly because the little door was always shut, hiding the slack paint job from my eyes. And who cares if the back of the mailbox door looks kind of crappy, right? But for some reason, that day, I cared. And not only did I care, but I actually did something about it. I grabbed my book of scrapbook paper and picked a patterned paper that is fun, but not too crazy. Who doesn’t love some stripes?

Then, I measured the back side of the mailbox door and cut the paper to size and put a hole where the “door knob” gets screwed in.

I used some paper glaze and a paintbrush to glue the patterned paper to the back of the door.

Once it dried, I painted another layer of glaze on top of the paper to seal it.

It looks really glossy in the next picture, but that’s just because the glaze is still wet.

I waited until it dried, then replaced the little mini door knob and stepped back to admire my mini makeover.

It’s just a small thing that took very little time and effort, and it’s hidden 99 percent of the time, but it makes me happy.

Have you tackled any “hidden” projects lately that make you happy? Let me see. Please.

Read Full Post »

I use bobby pins all the time. Not every day, but close. And somehow, it always seems like once I put a bobby pin in my hair, it becomes practically disposable. I don’t have a home for bobby pins, so they end up in random spots and I can never find them when I need them, so I grab some new ones instead. It’s not a good system.

So, I thought this was one of the simplest and most brilliant things I’ve ever seen (originally from here):

To be honest, it never really occurred to me that bobby pins are magnetic. Once I saw this, I got right to it. Since I generally do my hair in front of the medicine cabinet, that’s where it seemed like I should corral my bobbies. So I went from this, before:

And with a couple of strips of adhesive-backed magnets and about three minutes…

I had a place for my bobby pins to land when I take my hair down at the end of the day:

Here’s a closer look:

And one more close-up, for good measure:

It was one of the easiest organization projects I’ve ever done. And it’s easily hidden away behind the medicine cabinet door. How about you? How do you keep your bobby pins organized? Or other hair supplies? Have any great secrets of organization I should know about? I could use ’em.

Read Full Post »

I have jewelry boxes. Two of them, in fact. And you might think that would mean organized jewelry. Two words. Ha. Ha. The thing is, when my jewelry is hidden away in little drawers and cabinets, I don’t wear it. So I inevitably wear a pair of earrings, then take them off and set them on top of the jewelry box at the end of the day. Eventually, I have a little pile of earrings that I chose from when it comes time to adorn my ears in the morning, completely ignoring all the earrings tucked away inside the jewelry box, out of sight.

So all the inspiring jewelry displays on Pinterest got me excited. There are so many creative ideas to make functional art out of organizing jewelry. Ideas like this (originally from here):

And this (originally from here):

And this (originally from here):

And this (originally from here):

So a while ago, I picked up some old frames from a thrift store and got out the spray paint.

Valspar has spray paint in a color called “New Avocado.” It’s the same color that I used as the accent on the headboard that I painted, shown here. (Though I didn’t use spray paint for that application.)

Once the paint had dried, I grabbed some wire, some crimping beads (basically, I raided my jewelry-making stash), and a staple gun, and came up with this:

The crimping beads were to keep the earrings from all sliding to the center of wire. It actually worked pretty well. Here’s what it looked like with earrings on display:

I liked it pretty well for a while. But it was crowded. And it took a while to put together. I still had three more frames to make, but I had run out of time the day I made it, so the lone frame leaned against the wall. For months. And in that time, I realized a pretty major flaw in the design. Since the frame is completely open, if I missed the wire when I was hanging a pair of earrings back up, the earring would slip behind the frame and fall to the ground. Which happened far too often. I’m sad to say that I still have random earrings lost behind my dresser.

So I decided to call a redo when I saw this (originally from here):

I used a pair of needle-nose pliers to rip out the wire and staples. Then I went to the hardware store and got this:

It’s a sheet of decorative, laser-cut aluminum called Lincane. (Or maybe the design is called lincane? Not really sure about that, actually.) While I was at Lowe’s, I also picked up a pair of tin snips to cut the metal sheet down to size.

I basically just put the corner of the metal sheet into the corner of the back of the frame and marked the spot where it needed to be trimmed.

Then, I got to snipping. It was way easier than I thought it would be. I expected it to take a lot of effort to cut through the metal, but to my surprise, it was like a hot knife through butter. (Well, maybe not that easy, but pretty close.) I think it was partly because all the holes make the metal perforated. And the other thing the holes made easy was cutting straight lines. It was like a built-in guide. Nice.

See. Easy Peasy.

Then, I just slipped the metal into the back of the frame.

I used the staple gun to secure it in place. I didn’t staple through the metal, but rather into the wood like little tabs to block the metal from falling out the back.

Like this:

Pretty simple, huh?

Three more frames filled, and they went up on the wall. And so did all of my earrings.

I’m not totally sure about the configuration of the frames, but I like it, for now.

And now, I don’t have earrings falling behind the frames and down behind my dresser.

I kind of love it. And I kind of love the Pinterest Challenge for giving me the push I needed to get it done. If you don’t know what the Pinterest Challenge is, go check out Young House Love, Bower Power Blog, Ana White, and House of Earnest to see what all the fun is about. And if you’re participating in the Pinterest Challenge yourself, please feel free to link to your own projects in the comments. I’d LOVE to see what you all have been pinning and more importantly, what you’ve been making! Oh, and feel free to check out my boards on Pinterest, and don’t forget to follow me there, too.

Read Full Post »

For a while now, I’ve been admiring the clever embroidery-hoops-as-circular-fabric-frames idea that is floating all over Pinterest these days. So much so that I bought a variety of embroidery hoops at Hobby Lobby several months ago, with the intention of completing this project. I just didn’t know, at the time, where in the house it would end up. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can see some examples here, herehere, and here. The image below was the first I saw (and pinned) that inspired me to incorporate this idea into my decor somehow.

How’s that for a giant wall-o-fabric-circles? My take on it = much, much smaller scale, but I do love the inspiration.

One of the saddest things about my bedroom before I painted it a while back was the lack of art on the walls. So I’m happy to say that I have begun to add art in the form of some cute fabrics that coordinate with the new duvet cover and gray walls (as well as coordinating with one another without “matching” exactly).

I actually completed this project while I was supposed to be cleaning in preparation for the arrival of my best friend and her boyfriend. Somehow I ended up on the floor next to my bed with a stack of fabric, some scissors and a bunch of embroidery hoops. I really don’t know how it happened, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.

I basically just placed the hoop on one of my fabric choices, cut around the circle, and stretched the fabric in the hoop.

You can see in the picture below that there were some pretty major creases in some of the fabrics. Did I bother ironing? Nope. (Mostly because I’m lazy.) Instead, I just stretched it good and tight and the wrinkles disappeared. Good enough for me.

Once I had all the fabrics in their respective “frames,” I had to deal with the excess fabric that peeked out from the back before putting them on the wall.

First, I trimmed the excess down to about a quarter- to a half-inch around the edges.

Then, out came the glue gun!

I just put a few inches of glue around the inside of the back of the frame and folded the fabric down to stick to the glue.

Until they all looked like this from the back:

Then, it was time to put them on the wall. I wasn’t too scientific with this stage. I just held one up at a time, marked the approximate spot I wanted the nail, put a tiny piece of scotch tape over the marking, and hammered a tiny nail in place. (I have plaster walls, and the tape helps to keep bits of plaster from crumbling when putting a nail in the wall.) Then I just placed the hoop on the nail and moved on to the next one. Easy-peasy.

I moved some of the smallest hoops from one nail to another a few times, but I think I ended up with my original layout in the end. Nope. I went back and checked and a couple are switched in the “final” layout. Now that I see it, I might like the original layout better. Maybe I’ll go switch it. Maybe.

I really love the pops of color, and the circles look like polka dots on the wall. So fun!

And a view from a little further away, so you can see how it looks with the rest of the room:

That last photo (and the next few) should probably have been part of a different post where I tell you about the headboard that I painted to match my new storage bed (see headboard before painting here), but I somehow lost all my photos of the process. I guess I haven’t quite mastered the organization that having a blog requires. Sad face.

But the headboard is fun, no? I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

And I really like how the fabrics in the hoops allowed my to bring in some other accent colors to the room. The green is the obvious star, but I really wanted to incorporate some turquoise accents, and the fabrics tie the colors all together.

Here are some more headboard pics for your enjoyment. I guess I’m a little photo-happy in this post. Oh well.

Oh, this next photo reminds me that there is another step that I have planned to really finish this project, but it was not in the cards for a procrastinating-from-cleaning-by-DIYing-some-art kind of project. Can you guess what it is?

If you guessed paint, you’re on the same page as me. I’m thinking that the “New Avocado” (by Valspar) paint that I used on the inside bookcase portion of the headboard is destined to end up on those embroidery hoop frames. I think that it will really bring everything together. But that’s a project — and a post — for another day. Until then, one last look at those cute little polka dots:

What do you think? Do you like the colors and fabrics? How about the headboard? Not bad for a $10 Goodwill snag, huh? And what about painting the embroidery hoops green? Should I skip it, or will the green unify the room like I think it will? Or maybe you think I should paint them, but not green. Do tell. I’m all ears.

Read Full Post »

988. That’s how many square feet we have. That’s two bedrooms, each with two tiny closets, one small bathroom, a relatively large, but narrow, living room/dining room combo, and a small, but functional kitchen. Our house was built in 1928, so closet and storage space is sparse. The two closets in the bedrooms and a small, half-closet in the bathroom for linens is all we get. No pantry. No coat closet. No hall closet. No extra storage.

So needless to say, storage is an issue for us. Which is why it’s important for us to gain a little storage wherever we can. We look for furniture that can do double duty. Everything has to be functional. Extra functional, even. Which is why we recently got this:

It’s the Queen Brimnes storage bed from Ikea (seen here). The bed was $249, and the slats were another $40, for a total of $289. A LOT less than many of the storage beds we’ve looked at. We snagged it a month or so ago when we took a 5-hour road trip (each way) to the nearest Ikea. We live in St. Louis, and the closest one is in Chicago. We made it a day trip and got tons of stuff, but the biggest and most exciting purchase was the storage bed. And we were definitely in need of a bed, in general. Since we moved into our house, more than a year ago, we’ve been sleeping on our awesome Denver Mattress Company mattress, on the box spring, on the floor. Kind of sad. And a little ghetto. So a bed was on the wish list, but I was waiting to find the perfect storage bed.

I’ve been wanting a storage bed since before we even moved into our tiny, but lovely house because it really just makes perfect sense to me, no matter how much (or how little) storage you may already have. The space under the bed is such a waste. When I was a kid, I used that space, but not effectively. It was basically just the place I shoved everything I could when I was told to clean my room. Then, when I was told to clean under my bed, I had to get a broomstick or something to get all the crap out. Like I said, not effective use of that space.

But the storage bed is perfect. (Or at least, our’s is.) It utilizes all the space under the bed with two huge drawers on each side that allow easy access to everything stored under there. No wasted space. Everyday access. Double-duty furniture. Function!

You might have noticed in the picture above that one of the drawer bottoms is white and one is brown. I get to blame that on Chad. I did the majority of the assembly while Chad was out golfing (we both have our hobbies…), but when he came home, he graciously offered to help. Hence, the wrong side of the bottom got assembled on the right side. By the time I noticed, it was really too late to change it without a great deal of effort. Oops. But no matter. It’s just the inside of a drawer, and I will probably end up putting a liner over them anyway. Eventually.

Here are a few pictures of the assembly process, in case you’re interested.

As you can see, it came in three, flat boxes. Gotta love that we were able to get a queen-sized bed from Chicago to St. Louis in our old Subaru Outback.

I organized all the hardware on a sheet pan to keep things contained and easy to find before starting the assembly process. Plus I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing any pieces.

Besides the mattress and box spring, which I stood on their sides, I had already cleared everything from the room for my recent paint job, so I had plenty of room to assemble the bed.

See all that space? We don’t just get to put a bed on top of it. We actually get to use it! Can you tell I’m excited about storage? Anyway. I think this is about how much progress I had made when Chad arrived and offered to help finish the job.

Just the drawers and slats left now. First, the slats.

That’s me. Once we got the slats in place, we were eager to put the mattress on the bed and see what it was going to look like. We could have used the box spring in addition to the mattress, but the slats make it unnecessary and the bed would have been much to high with the frame, box spring and mattress. So the box spring ended up in the basement. (I guess I should have mentioned that we do have a basement for long-term storage, for which I’m so grateful.)

The drawers were the last thing to assemble. You can see that the drawer with the wrong-side-up bottom was the first to be assembled and put in place.

There I am putting the final touch (the handle) on the last drawer. I can’t really explain why this picture is in black and white, except that when I was going through the pictures, I guess I thought I looked a little less grubby in black and white. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m definitely not a get-all-cute-before-DIYing-stuff kind of girl. But maybe this blog will change that. Maybe.

Here it is all assembled, drawers in. Chad was clearly exhausted by his day of golf and bed assembly.

And there it is all made up. You might notice the mismatched headboard back there. I got that for 10 bucks from Goodwill a while ago. I’ll be back to tell you more about that later.

In the meantime, let me know what you think. Do you have (or lust after) a storage bed of your own? Are you as perplexed as I am that storage beds aren’t the norm? Please dish.

Read Full Post »

If you don’t know what Pinterest is, go request your invite now (unless, of course, you want to keep yourself from spending far too much time in front of a computer screen “pinning” and “repinning”). But seriously, it’s worth checking out. Here’s some info about it.

If you do know what Pinterest is, you are probably already an addict like me.  And maybe you already know about “The Pinterest Challenge” — the brainchild of Sherry and John over at YoungHouseLove.com, Katie and Jeremy from BowerPowerBlog.com, Joey and Lana from JoeyandLana.com, and HGTV’s Design Star, Emily Henderson at StyleByEmilyHenderson.com. If not, you can check out their posts about the idea here, here, here, and here, respectively (there’s even a funny little video to explain the whole shebang). And since they’ve invited all of us to join in the fun, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pull a project or two out of the inspiration I’ve been gathering for a while now.

Here’s the Pinspiration for my project:

One of the really nice things about Pinterest is that if you see something you like, you can just click on the image and go directly to the original link. If there’s a tutorial, you’re right there to see it. And you can repin the image as a reminder to yourself and a catalogue of ideas — no bookmarks necessary. (I should mention that, although I sound a bit like a Pinterest commercial here, I wasn’t paid or perked to talk about them; I just think it’s a cool concept and spend a fair amount of time pinning the hours away.)

This particular pin linked to a tutorial from MarthaStewart.com for making flowers to adorn some throw pillows. I wasn’t really interested (or shall I say, pinterested? Har, har.) in the pillows — just the flowers.

I had bought this felt from Felt On The Fly through Etsy.com a while back:

So I used the white piece of felt to attempt the flowers in question. I cut petals in a variety of sizes, including really teeny tiny ones (smaller than I thought would even work, but it did!). First, I cut strips of felt; then I cut the strips into tiny rectangles, like this:

Then, I cut the rectangles into little petals, like this:

I found that they really didn’t have to be perfect or all exactly the same, as long as I started with the same size rectangle. There’s a template on the link, but I just eyeballed it. I should probably mention, in case you hadn’t noticed, that I opted to make a five-petaled flower instead of the four-petaled variety shown in the original Pinspiration. I just liked it better that way, but I think you could do any amount of petals you’d like. Once I had the petals cut, it was easy to take a little length of thread and a needle and connect the petals like this:

Then, I just had to pull the thread tight and tie a knot or two in the end of it.

And it’s a flower! So simple.

You can see that I made a few different-sized ones. You can also see that the flowers look different in the center depending on how tight I pulled the thread before tying it off. I really like that they’re all a little different. At first I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them, so I just propped them up against some frames that I have waiting to become another Pinterest-inspired project.

But then I remembered another project that I had started. I decided a while back to make a wreath for our bare front door out of sticks I collected from our tree-covered backyard. This is how it started:

I didn’t have a wreath form sitting around, and I was anxious to get started, so I went searching around the house for something that might suffice. I found the long stems with thick wire inside — leftover from some silk flowers that I bought a few months ago for my wedding. The stems were super long, so I had cut them shorter, but saved the leftovers to be re-purposed — it turns out — into a wreath form. After bending two stems into half circles, I used the florist tape that I had leftover from the silk flowers wedding project to join and cover the two stems.

Then, I took a bunch of twigs and broke them into similarly sized pieces and plugged in the hot glue gun. Once they were all broken, I started gluing them on the circle.

There are lots of ideas on Pinterest that use sticks, but here’s an example of one that inspired this project; Let’s call it my twigspiration, originally from here:

I had a picture in my head before I started, so I arranged the sticks as close to that vision as I could.

But I quickly decided that I didn’t like the way it was looking. I might have been able to salvage it, but the angles were annoying me, so I ripped all the sticks off the circle on which I had just glued them. Fail. Or rather, try again.

I liked this a lot better than the first attempt. I felt like it definitely needed something else, as it was kind of scrawny. But I was out of time, so I stuck it on the door until I could figure out what to add to make it a little more fun.

Are you getting where I’m going with this? That’s right. Remember those felt flowers?

I just placed them around the wreath in little bunches.

I made quite a few more flowers once I decided to put them on the needs-something wreath. In fact, I just had the wreath in front of me and kept placing the flowers on the wreath as I finished making each one until I liked the way it looked, then put a little hot glue underneath them. I even made a tiny flower and glued it in the center of the largest flower, just because I thought it was cute.

Once the wreath was full of flowers, I put it back on the door. And rather liked it.

It’s still a little on the scrawny side, but I like the difference in texture between the rough sticks and the soft felt. Here’s another closeup, this time hanging on the door outside.

Another view of the whole door all fancied up with its new wreath.

And one more picture for good measure.

So there you have it. A couple Pinspired crafts, put together to make one new wreath for my previously bare door.

What do you think? Should I have just waited to make a wreath until I had the “proper” supplies? Or do you like that I re-purposed old stuff I had around the house? I’m pretty excited to see if others who’ve taken on “The Pinterest Challenge” have used old stuff to make cool new stuff. Feel free to share your projects here. Otherwise, I’ll see you over on Pinterest. Oh, and feel free to follow me, too.

Update: Don’t forget to check out the projects that the founders of “The Pinterest Challenge” dreamed up. YoungHouseLove’s clothespin chandelier, BowerPower’s shim mirror, JoeyandLana’s chalkboard fridge, and StyleByEmilyHenderson’s nailhead closet doors. They’re all pretty awesome. Go see.

Read Full Post »

Why is it that the master bedroom — where I sleep every night, dress every morning, and begin and end each day — is the last place I decorate? I guess it’s just that I can close the door when guests are over and devote my time and energy to the rooms in which they will be instead.

Oh well. Now that I’ve lived in this house for more than a year and have gotten a basic layer of decor in the common areas of the house, I can finally work on creating a space for my husband and myself that will welcome us to each new day and calm us into sleep after that day has taken its toll on us.

After finally finding a duvet cover that I liked/was willing to pay the asking price for (seen here), I got to paint! I had been waiting for this moment pretty much since the day we moved in. I was lucky enough to really love the color of the living room/dining room (it’s one big room, really). The same color is in the hallway. I’m good with that. The kitchen is perfectly neutral, as is the bathroom. And the guest bedroom definitely isn’t my first choice in paint color, but it’s fine for the time being. (I’m hoping that it won’t be more than a year or so before I’m contemplating what color to paint the nursery — which is what that room will ultimately be — anyway.)

In sum, I’m good with the colors of all the rooms in our little home, except our bedroom. At first, I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t really like it. But after looking at the house a couple of times before the sale was final, I decided I kinda hated it. By the time we moved in, it was official. It’s not that it’s an inherently bad color. It’s just that the slightly salmon, kinda terracotta, almost orange hue was too energized for a space that I feel should be soothing. Here, you can see what I mean. (Or not. Maybe you love it. That’s OK, too.)

You can also see that I was prepping for a paint job. (And that I threw all the covers and sheets into the middle of the bed when I moved the bed to the middle of the room so I could get to all the walls. Embarrassing.)

Anyway, once I got the duvet cover, I finally felt like I had a centerpiece to build a room around. And I finally felt like I could pick a color scheme. And that meant I finally got to paint my room.

I had originally been kind of obsessed with aqua and thought I might paint my room some shade of blue/green/turquoise/teal/aqua. But the duvet dictated otherwise. Gray seemed like a natural choice. Plus I’ve been loving all the gray walls over at YoungHouseLove.com lately.

So off I went to the hardware store to pick paint swatches. I was honestly kind of bummed by the selection of grays, but it’s probably best that my choices were sort of limited because I don’t always do well with decisions. In any case, I brought them home and pretty quickly narrowed the selection down to two or three and showed Chad. We both liked one in particular — Notre Dame (5006-1B) by Valspar (in a flat finish) — so off I went to get paint and supplies from the hardware store.

After using our vacuum’s dusting attachment to get the dust off the walls and molding, I taped off the room using Scotch blue painter’s tape with edgelock. I considered just cutting in by hand, but it’s been a while since I’ve painted anything, and I didn’t really want to risk it. Plus, we don’t have an appropriate ladder, so I would be using a step stool to reach the top of the wall, and I didn’t want to be stretching my arms and trying to be accurate with a paintbrush. But it was definitely a pain. It took quite a bit longer to tape everything than I anticipated. Probably an hour and a half or so.

Then, I started painting.

Again, the process took longer than I expected (which always happens to me – I guess I’m just an optimist and always think projects are going to be quick and easy…). In fact, I had intended to finish the whole project in one sitting, but I had a potluck to get to that night and barely finished the first coat of paint before I had to leave to get to the potluck (and I was still a little late).

After that first coat, I only had about 1/3 of the gallon of paint left. And the coverage was pretty good. Except for a few spots. Boo. I thought about just touching up those spots where a little orange poked through the gray, especially since I chose a flat finish for the project, which is the easiest finish to touch up. But I worried it might look kind of patchy and/or I might miss a few spots and it would bug me down the road.

So a couple of days later (the first chance I had a few hours at once to work), I went back to the hardware store to get an extra quart of paint. I mixed the quart with the remaining 1/3 of the original gallon, just to make sure the color was seamless, and got to work on coat #2.

I don’t know if I was putting too heavy of a coat on the walls, but I ran out of paint again. Boo. I did realize that the Valspar paint I was using claimed to be “thick, one coat coverage,” so maybe I was just using a little too thin of a coat the first time around, actually. In any case, I think I had a premonition that this might happen and I decided to paint around the room in the opposite direction for the second coat than I did for the first coat. In other words, I started both coats on the wall where the door is, but for the first coat, I went clockwise, to paint the wall to its right, all the way around. For the second coat, I painted counter-clockwise.

As a result, the last wall I painted the first coat (which seemed to be the spottiest paint job — probably because I was rushing a bit by the time I got to that wall) was the second wall I painted the second coat. So I had plenty of paint to make sure all the spots got covered. By the time I ran out of paint the second time around, I had nearly finished the whole room. I was bummed, but I waited a couple of days and decided that I couldn’t tell the difference between the area of the last wall that only got one, thick coat and the area that got two. And I decided that if I couldn’t tell the difference, no one else would be able to either. So I declared myself done.

Then it was time to pull the tape and see the nice crisp edges that it left.

Or not! Can you see that bleeding? Bummer. All that time spent taping, and it didn’t even really work. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if this just happens, but I’ll think a little harder before spending time taping next time. On the bright side, once I had nice fresh paint on the walls, the trim started looking pretty dingy to me. Normally, that wouldn’t be a bright side at all, but at least when I finally get around to freshening up the paint on the trim, I can make those edges a little more crisp, too. One day. Maybe soon…

OK. So, now that I’ve managed to write 1318 words about painting a few walls, let’s see the finished room, shall we?

There are a couple of projects hiding in this picture that I’ll be back to tell you about soon, but until then, what do you think about the gray walls? Do they work with the duvet cover? Did you prefer the original color, or do you find the gray more soothing, as I do? And while we’re at it, do you have any tips for using painter’s tape (or for NOT using painter’s tape)? Should I have done a better job on my first coat of paint and skipped the second coat altogether, or should I have gone a little thinner with both coats to ensure I had enough paint to cover the whole room? Thoughts? Tips? Advice? I’m all ears.

Read Full Post »

Duvet cover, covered.

Chad and I moved into our house on May 20, 2010. Since then, our home has been evolving, but we’ve focused most of our efforts on getting the kitchen and the living/dining room set up. There’s still a lot I want to do in those rooms, but right now, my attention has turned.

Of all the rooms in the house, our bedroom has been most neglected. It’s the one room in the house with a paint color that I hate. It’s the room that has two random items thrown on the wall where there happened to be nails already hanging. Curtains? Nope. Laundry organization? Hardly. Mismatched nightstands and dressers? You betcha. Cute bedding? Only if you think a plain white fleece blanket is happening these days. (It’s really not.) I bet you want to see, don’t you? O.K. Here she is:

Kind of sad, huh? I’ve been wanting a new duvet cover to start the redecorating process, but haven’t been able to find one that I like. I really wanted a large-scale print to bring some graphic, fun pattern to the room. I’ve been fixated on turquoise/aqua colors and really wanted a print that incorporated that color family, but also had other colors in the mix for more accent color options.

I swear I looked at every duvet cover that exists. I couldn’t find anything that fit my requirements. And I’ve been looking for about a year now. I’ve considered making one, but haven’t found fabric that fit my duvet cover qualifications. Plus, I was bummed by the idea of having seams in the duvet cover (fabric is generally 36 – 45 inches wide — 54 inches, tops). So I kept looking. I kept searching. Hoping I’d find just the right one. Then I found this on Overstock.com:And I fell in love. It’s called “English Garden 6-pc King-size Duvet Cover and Insert Set” and it’s $224.99 for the King-size set. (I’ve read that a king-sized duvet cover is the way to go for a queen-size bed so that it hangs low enough on each side that you don’t have to fight with your husband for the covers.) It comes with a duvet insert, two decorative pillows, the duvet cover, and two shams. But I already have a duvet and didn’t really want to pay for another one. And I really couldn’t have cared less about the decorative pillows. I’d probably rather make some myself. And — news flash — I’m cheap. And when all I really wanted was what is essentially a giant pillowcase for my down comforter, I can’t really see paying more than 200 big ones (even if I really love it). So I waited. And I looked some more. And I still didn’t find anything I liked more. And I put the English garden duvet set on my wedding registry. But no one got it for us. Wop-wah.

So I looked more. And somehow, all my requirements and specifications and colors went out the window when I saw this:

Something about the leafy-shape was modern, but still kind of earthy and organic looking. And the chartreuse-y green was just fun enough to get my mind off of aqua. Plus, I think I can still find ways to work pops of aqua/turquoise into the rest of the room, as I think the colors will coordinate well. Oh, plus — see that stripey side? Yup. It’s reversible. Bonus. It’s called Gaya Duvet Cover Set and it cost $99.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but with the ubiquitous 20% off coupons, we’re talking 80 bucks. That, I can deal with. (I’m not sure I could buy fabric to make one myself for that.) And I had a $100 gift card we got as a wedding gift. Woo-hoo.

So I left my dreams of English Gardens for modern, leafy Gaya.

Nice, right? For now, I just have a fleece blanket inside, but I think it’ll look even better when I get our duvet back from the dry cleaners. I mean, the room definitely still needs lots of work, starting with a paint job (next on the list), but the duvet cover is crossed off the list, and I have to say, I’m quite happy with it. What do you think? Should I have just bit the bullet and shelled out the beans for the English Garden duvet set I originally fell in love with? Or did I end up with a better cover in the end by being a cheapo? Let me know if you like it, and I’ll keep you posted on the next stages of my little bedroom makeover.

Read Full Post »