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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.

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.

So, this post is mostly about sharing some gratuitous dog photos, but we’ll file it under “photography” and getting to know me and my little family. So here ya go.

That’s Kiko on the left and Sierra on the right. Kiko will be two years old in September, and Sierra is 13 years old (approximately — we’re not super sure exactly how old she is).

Again, Kiko. He pretty much always sports a bandanna. He started with a red one, but these days he’s all turquoise and lovin’ it.

And little Miss Sierra. She’s a cutie. She likes to be the boss.

Here’s another one of them together:

And we’ll end this little dog-lovin’ post with this one of Kiko:

So how about you? Do you all obsessively take photos of your pets? I just can’t help myself. And I can’t help but think that my future kids are going to either be little hams or hate me and my camera.

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.