Monday, December 31, 2012

Adieu, 2012

2012, you were truly wonderful. Usually I am ready to leave the old year behind and start a new, but the truth is, this year was great to me, and to my family.

We spent a lot of the year stressed and overwhelmed with the process of buying our house, but once we cinched the deal in July, we were able to enjoy what we'd been waiting for. We also celebrated my mom's wedding, my promotion, I spoke at WMC Fest among amazing company, and left our apartment behind for a new chapter. It was a wild ride, but it will be a tough act to follow.

I'm never one for resolutions, but I'm hoping to bring many more DIY projects, design posts, and a daily feature to the blog this year. Stay tuned tomorrow for details — and happy celebrating!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY: Bold Striped Curtains

As I mentioned in my DIY Ombre Curtains post — window coverings can get pretty pricey. What's even more frustrating is when you just can't find what you want out there in the market. I had a vision for striped curtains, but they had to be BOLD — the bigger the stripes, the better.

I couldn't find them anywhere, until my old friend Pinterest led me to this post with instructions on how to make exactly what I wanted.

This was strikingly easy, but took some time. I also made four panels, since we used these on our living room window and our dining room window. They are the two windows in the front of the house, and we felt they had to match.

What you'll need to make 2 curtains (for one window):

2 cream grommet curtain panels (mine were from Pottery Barn)
5 yards black cotton twill fabric
4+ rolls of Stitch Witchery or other fusible web adhesive
4+ spools of 3/8" black grosgrain ribbon
White pencil or chalk
Rotary cutter or fabric scissors

Start by cutting your strips of black fabric. Depending on the size of your drapes, you'll want to do some math to figure out how long the stripes need to be. Mine were 84" long, and I wanted 4 black stripes, so I subtracted the grommet tab from the total length, then divided that by 7 (total stripes). Phew - this is boggling my math-inept brain. Each stripe ended up being 11"The length will be the same for all of the stripes except for the bottom one — it will have to be a couple inches longer, so it can be folded under for a finished look. For the rest, you will just leave the edges raw.

As for the width, you'll want to add at least an inch on each side, so they can also be folded around and secured on the back of the panel.

Disclaimer: this is our fugly attic carpet. But hey...we have a finished attic at least, right?

Lay your curtain panel out and place your stripes down, measure the spaces to make sure they're even, and get to ironing. Use a strip of Stitch Witchery at the edges of each stripe, and iron carefully to adhere the stripes to the panel. Don't worry about folding the raw edges over to create a seam - you'll just cover the raw edge with grosgrain ribbon, also attached with the Stitch Witchery. 

Once you're finished attaching the stripes and ribbon, flip the panel to the other side, and fold extra stripe fabric over and secure with more iron-on adhesive. Also do this with the ribbon - it will give you a seamless, finished edge.

Here's a good shot of how the edges should look.

Repeat for the second panel, and you're done! Each panel took me about two hours, but by the time I was on my fourth I flew through it. I'm so happy with the process and how bold they look in our house. Our dining room totally pops, and the stripes also compliment the cozy neutral scheme we have in our living room. They work perfectly in both spaces.

Now that I've got a whole bag full of Stitch Witchery, I'm looking for more projects like this. If you have any ideas, send them my way!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Weekend with Stella & Dot

My Stella & Dot trunk show was Friday night and it was a total blast! I have admired a lot of their pieces online, but hadn't seen any in person until attending a friend's trunk show. After that I was smitten, and had my own show this weekend. With a great group of girls, and my awesome Stella stylist Jenna, we had a night of holiday sweets and Christmas ale. 

It was hard to choose which things to snatch up, but I ended up with a big gold statement necklace that had my name all over it.

Trays and displays of sparkles...

Gingerbread bites with white chocolate to go with all that Christmas ale!

My favorite bracelet that I got at a previous show, with a link bracelet my sister bought me in Italy

I rounded out the weekend with some more DIY projects around the house (posts coming up this week!) and had a delicious dinner out at Momocho with Jim. I could eat there every weekend — we had this crazy JalapeƱo gingersnap bread pudding for dessert — how does something that sounds so weird taste SO amazing? 

Huge thanks to all of my pals who made it out on Friday — and to anyone who is interested in shopping some Stella for holiday gifts (or yourself!) you can shop through my trunk show link. They have great stuff and half of their line is under $50. 

Hope you had a great weekend too — hello, December!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Products + AG Flea

The AG Flea market opened this week, and I have a new wintery print and some paper sailboat ornaments available for the holiday season. I've been thinking about these boats for a while, so I'm really happy that they came out as I had them in my head!

The boats are currently for sale here in both colorways, and custom colors are also available. The metallic paper and tinsel twine are my favorite accents :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Etsy Hearts: Happy Thanksgiving

1. Be Thankful print from Olive + Birch | 2. Branch wine stoppers from The Bent Tree | 3. Personalized pumpkin magnets from Sierra Metal Design | 4. Plush turkey drumstick from Whimsy loves Whit | 5. Vintage glass dish from Labiblioteca 

There isn't much I love more than Thanksgiving. Food, family, red wine and Great Lakes Christmas Ale, PUMPKIN PIE, getting drunk with friends the night before – I'm in heaven just thinking about it. For me, no two Thanksgivings are alike. Splitting time between mom and dad and Jim's family, we're switching things up year to year, but every year includes those same special staples that make it one of my favorite holidays. It's one last bit of autumn before the holiday craze begins!

What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Monday, November 5, 2012

DIY: Nautical Rope Mirror

When I first saw this mirror DIY, I knew we had to make it for our master bedroom. We have a subtle nautical look in the bedroom (no boats or lighthouses, thank you very much). It was an IKEA hack inspired by a Restoration Hardware mirror, and cost us under $50 to make. Win!

To make it, all you'll need is:

An IKEA Grundtal mirror
A non-active doorknob (one without the working/locking parts)
Two screw-in large metal eyelets
6 feet of large rope (available by the foot at Home Depot)
A couple of screws + a drill
Fishing wire or strong thread

The interesting thing about this mirror (and the original Restoration Hardware one) is that it doesn't actually hang on the rope. There's no tension there. So, you will start by hanging the mirror on the wall as you normally would - leaving room for the rope and doorknob fixture at the top.

After you hang the mirror, screw the eyelets into the wall. You can measure up from the floor to make sure they're even on both sides. You will probably need to drill some starter holes in the wall since the eyelets are pretty thick.

Now, you'll attach the doorknob to the wall with screws (there should be holes on the plate of the doorknob). You can mount it as high as you'd like - I believe ours was about a foot and a half above the top of the mirror.

Finally, thread the rope through one of the eyelets and finish it with a stop-knot. Loop it up over the knob, and down through the next eyelet, tying with another knot. Trim the ends of the rope and loop some fishing wire around the ends to stop the rope from unraveling.

And that's it! It was an easy DIY that added something really unique to our room. Mirrors can be expensive, so I'm really happy we were able to make something budget-friendly that ended up being better than anything we could have bought!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Nesting Snapshots


Things are coming together little by little - and it's the greatest weather to be inside, putting things out and getting organized. Our new doormat is one of my favorite things we've gotten, as well as this porcelain pineapple that makes me smile.

We're going to be getting rain this weekend, but hopefully it won't stop us from carving pumpkins and getting ready for Halloween. It really snuck up on us this year — it's my favorite time of year and I hope we can slow down for a minute and enjoy it. Are you decorating for Halloween? Baking pumpkin seeds? Dressing up?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

House Renovation: Week 2

...And I'm back for week two! This week saw a lot of cosmetic progress, although it was slow because the work on the floors prevented us from doing everything we wanted. The bedrooms got painted (bedroom 3, the office, is still not pictured - it was full of our junk because the floors weren't being done in there). 

This is the dining room...

The first coat of oil went down, and looked bea-utiful!

Here's the master, with the floors done, walls painted, and ceiling fan from the guest room switched into this room. You can see a bit more of the design of the master in my previous post, with the ombre curtains - so I'm backtracking a little. 

The guest room — pretty peach with a drum shade semi-flush mount. Neither one of us is crazy about ceiling fans, but this one suited the master so we decided to put it in there. With all of the other lighting we had to buy (we replaced everything - hallway lights, landings...) it wasn't such a bad thing to repurpose something for now! 

This was favorably known as the "Linen Closet Excavation of 2012." Our new linen closet is so perfect, it makes me smile every time I open it. Going through all of our stuff and reorganizing it took an entire afternoon — but now it's so neat and tidy, it was worth it. We'll see how long it stays that way!

That's all I have to share for now, we're finally unpacked and the rooms are almost fully decorated, so the true "afters" are still to come. We just made this amazing rope mirror for the bedroom, so I'll be posting that DIY next. See you soon!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY: Ombre Curtains

When it came to buying things for the house, curtains were the one thing that I was excited to look at, but not excited to buy. Have you bought curtains lately? They are so unbelievably expensive (at least the ones I wanted were) and you never need just one panel. That's where things get crazy — you start counting the windows in your house, ca-ching ca-ching! Next thing you know, you're spending a grand on fabric that hangs from your windows.

After I convinced myself that buying those Anthropologie curtains would be totally insane, I thought about making a DIY version of them. When I realized the ruffles might just be a little too much, I decided to keep with the idea of hand-dying, but go with something a little simpler.

This was a very easy DIY, but it took some time to get the hang of it. You'll have to set up your work are to suit your space — I've read that you can do this outside with a clothesline, or if you have somewhere else to drape/pin up the curtains to dry, that works too. This is definitely a bit on the messy side, so be sure to wear your paint clothes just in case, and put a tarp down.


2 white curtain panels (mine are from Target)
2 bottles of liquid RIT dye in teal (or color of your choice, for the main part of the ombre)
1 bottle of liquid RIT dye in royal blue (this is for the bottom dipped piece)
Pair of rubber gloves
Nearby sink or hose
Clothesline + Pins
Beer! (duh)


You will dye the panels one at a time, so I'll walk you through one, then you just repeat!

1) Measure + mark: The bottom half of the curtain will be the ombre part, and the top will remain white. So first, fold each panel in half and make a light pen mark on the back side of the panel, along the edge. These marks will help tell you where to stop when you're pulling each section out of the dye. This halfway mark is where you will dip to when you begin. Then, measure that bottom half into thirds and mark those sections. These will make the ombre gradation easier for you to plan — if you want to wing it, go for it! I found that there were plenty of other "happy accidents" that occurred, so I'm glad I at least measured and got the sections to be somewhat even. You still get a natural look with measuring.

2) Rinse + Dip: Rinse each curtain in warm water before beginning. You want them damp, not wet, so squeeze out excess water. Fill a bucket with the hottest water you can, and add one third of one bottle of teal dye. With a gloved hand, swish the dye around in the water to mix it. Next, dip the curtain into the bucket and stop at the halfway mark. Let this section soak for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add another third of the bottle of teal dye to the water, careful to not pour directly onto the curtain. Again, swish the dye around to mix. Pull the curtain out to the next pen mark. Let this part sit for 10 minutes.

For the next section, add the remaining dye (last third) in the bottle and pull the curtain out to the bottom third. At this point, you might need to pin up the curtain so it's not laying on the floor. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

Now that the curtains have been dyed in teal ombre (and hopefully looking really cool) you're going to rinse them (I believe in cold water, check the instructions on the dye). A lot of dye is going to rinse off, so don't freak out, it won't come off the curtain :) They will lighten up slightly, so take that into consideration with your dipping times and adjust depending on the look you want.

Gently give them a squeeze to get excess water out, then hang them to dry slightly. This was when I moved on to the next panels (I did three), so now you can repeat. Dump out your bucket and start fresh for each panel.

3) Dip the bottom: After all the panels were dyed teal, it was time to dip them in a darker color just to add that extra bit of gradation. In a bucket of hot water, add half the bottle of royal blue dye. Hang the curtain and dip just the very bottom in the bucket. I didn't measure this, just eyeballed it. Let this soak for 10 minutes. Repeat this for the second panel, with a fresh bucket and the remaining half of the dye.

4) Rinse + hang: Rinse the bottom portion that you just dyed, and hang these puppies up to dry! A little tip for hanging - make sure if you have to fold the curtains over the clothesline (if they're too long to just pin) don't let the white portion touch the dyed areas at all. The littlest bit of wet dye will leave spots. If you do get a spot on the white, you can spot treat them with bleach right away.

Let them dry overnight, then you're ready to go!

They look so airy and beachy, and beautiful when the light comes through. I couldn't be happier with this DIY — it's budget friendly and totally customizable. You can make as many curtains as you want, in whatever colors you want. 

I also kind of want to dye everything now — have you ever dyed anything for fun? Aside from those tie-dye tees we made in the 90s?

I was so encouraged by making these, that I decided to make my own bold striped curtains for the living and dining rooms. That one doesn't involve dye, but it's equally as easy. I'll be sharing that DIY shortly, so check back!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

House Renovation: Week 1

Amidst our efforts to unpack, I was finally able to compile all of my photos of our house progress. These are all from our first week in the house — starting September 24th — and it's weird to look back and think this was only a couple weeks ago. We got so far in such a short amount of time, thanks to 12-hour days and having lots of help from our families. 

Since we were having our hardwood floors refinished throughout the house, we were on a very tight timeline to get our projects done before the floor guy showed up. It was a crunch, but we accomplished all of our goals (and then some).

Here's everything we accomplished in the first week — I'll follow up with weeks 2 + 3 later, because it was just too much to show all at once. So, let's get to it!


This was the second floor hallway — the linen closet is behind those white doors, the master door is on the left and the guest room is across the hall, on the right. The door in the front right goes to the attic, and the third bedroom (which will be an office) is behind me to the left, at the top of the stairs.


Here are the stairs going down to the first floor landing. The striped wallpaper and the carpet not only didn't fit our aesthetic, but they made the hallway feel very closed in and narrow, which it was not. 


The night we got our keys, we looked around, took some 'before' pictures, and got to work demolishing stuff. This is Jim ripping down the wall in the linen closet, which backed up into the master bedroom closet (below). Meanwhile, I got to work taking down the wallpaper.


The linen closet was very deep, and had some removable wire shelves in it — pretty makeshift. Our plan was to expand the master closet into that space, thus making the linen closet shallower. We also wanted to install some permanent wood shelves and replace the bi-fold door. And trash that old red carpet.

This was the master closet. It was actually pretty large, but the small door opening made it very difficult to access the space. This door fit the linen closet space, so we planned to use this door as the door for the linen closet (which would match the other original doors in the hallway) and install large bi-fold doors for this closet. We also removed the carpet so the hardwood floors could be redone. *I also just realized that "tah-tah!" should have been spelled with an 'h' but it's late, and you get the point.


Jim and his dad are cutting open the new door I stand and chew my nails.


I was a little scared when I saw this plaster disaster (hehe) but they knew what they were doing. Fun fact: did you know they used to mix horse hair in with the plaster in these old homes? It acted as a sort of "mesh" to hold the plaster together. I'm not sure how I like the thought of 90+ year old horse hair in my walls, so I'll just pretend I didn't hear that.


My mom, Jim's mom, and I handled the wallpaper, and it was a bitch. To make matters worse, we found a BONUS layer of wallpaper underneath! Oh joy. So we were at it for an entire day.

Hallway has been sanded, cleaned of old glue, and primed...


Here's the living room — the plaster ceiling had some damaged areas from previous problems that had been fixed, so that was at the top of our list. So was taking care of this paint color which made the room so dark and heavy (and just...weird).


These photos make it all look so easy, don't they? ;) Oh, and the walls have been painted! They look a little weird in the bad lighting, but they are Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. While the guys handled the construction work, I was on paint-till-I-drop duty. I actually enjoy painting, but this definitely tested me! Thankfully, everyone pitched in so we could stay on track.


Here's more closet progress...


Getting there! We are just waiting on the doors at this point — they were a special order —and we've just added some finishing details. And I am digging this wall color. Majorly. It's Sherwin Williams Gale Force.

That pretty much ends the projects from week one — the other two bedrooms and the hallways got painted but I'll be able to share those in my next post since they were a bit of a mess during all of this. Next up: floor sanding and moving in!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Moved!'s been quiet over here!

I just recently moved in our house (that we bought back in JULY!) and things have been very, very crazy. We've done a lot of cosmetic work to the house, so things are still a bit of a mess and we're still living out of boxes. We've made a lot of progress lately, though, so I can't wait to share some photos after things get settled. AND we now have wifi — so I'm back on the grid!

I will have some fun, budget-friendly home decor DIYs to share, as well as before and after shots of our projects.

See you soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

DIY: Lakewood Subway Sign Art

With so much house preparation work being done, it's hard to even think about what's going on our walls (aside from paint, of course). But since we've pretty much gathered all of the furniture and little touches we can right now, our thoughts have finally drifted towards thinking about art. We got the new Restoration Hardware catalog last week, and as it usually does, it featured these delicious vintage subway signs. Jim has actually been wanting one for a while, so it seemed the perfect time to not just get one, but make a custom one with our new street name on it!

We had the perfect frame, so within a couple hours of me agonizing over street names, typefaces, and kerning behind my laptop, we finally have our own custom print for the living room.

The original prints are longer and narrower, but I wanted to do something with a slightly different proportion. We still wanted it to be large and dramatic, which is what we loved so much about the Restoration Hardware prints. This one is sized at 18x26", and we got it printed at Kinko's for about 30 bucks. 

The vintage ones were also hand-painted, so the irregularities in the lettering would be impossible to achieve without hand drawing the whole thing. However, I think we got pretty darn close and we love the result!

I included a lot of the obvious main Lakewood streets, but chose some for variety of length or punctuation — and put in a couple neighborhood streets so ours would fit in. So, can you guess which one is our new street?!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ragged Row Opening Party

A few weeks ago (I can't believe how fast that's gone) my friend Brigitte opened her new store in Sewickley, PA with private party and preview. All of her hard work over the last year produced one amazing result and I'm so excited for her new adventure as a business owner!

Window looking out to Beaver Street — flanked by Mother denim

The fitting room features this incredible metallic chevron wall - that she painted herself! Girl is crazy talented with painter's tape.

Shore Society has hit Pittsburgh! Brigitte has featured some of my prints in her store (thank you!) in addition to selling some of her own prints and cards (the chevron watercolor and the cards mixed with mine are her designs). She and her boyfriend Dave have also designed some PA-pride prints and silkscreened t-shirts with the designs. They look awesome.

We had a great time at the party and I wish I could have bought everything. She's carrying quite a range of styles and brands for fall — my favorites have to be the snakeskin leggings she had, and a Milly wool triangle skirt. She also carries some of my favorite jewelry lines — Gorjana, House of Harlow, and low luv x erin wasson. If you live in the 'burgh or are wanting to take a road trip, definitely stop in and check it out. Sewickley is such a cute neighborhood (Clevelanders, think Chagrin Falls but bigger) and I wish we could have explored a bit more. Next time!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Color crush: Pink + Navy

I'm majorly obsessed with navy (all the time) and pairing it with hot pink (lately). I currently have navy and orange in my bathroom, but I think I'll be trying to slip in a bit more pink in the new house. I just made this anchor print that I plan on hanging in our bedroom. Here are some other color combos, what do you like with your navy?


{sources: image 1, image 2}