Archive for ‘DIY’

November 19, 2012

I’ve Got Swag

Well… I have A swag.

I’ve been working on holiday door decor since the townhouse days and could never get it quite right. I think I’m a little closer this year.

The difference has definitely been the fondness I have for our new front door.  These are our first holidays together (yes, I’m talking about me and my door), and I want to do it up right. I knew a swag style design would work better than a wreath next to our linear doorlite, so I started searching Pinterest for swag arrangements that I liked.

image courtesy of

source unknown – please contact me if you know the source

image courtesy of

All arrangements seemed to have few elements with some emphasis in the center. I have some sort of weird obsession with eucalyptus, so I decided to start there. I did a bit of window shopping, but ultimately found myself in the dried floral aisle of Hobby Lobby. They had several different colors of Eucalyptus, but purple stood out to me.

The purple was dark and moody, just the way I like it. Plus, I’m a huge fan of purple with orange and green – a triad color scheme. I grabbed the Eucalyptus, some barely green Dune Grass, and then paced back and forth through the Hobby Lobby aisles looking for the perfect centerpiece to my swag. Grapevine orbs? Faux bird’s nests? Faux Forsythia branches? All good options, but I ended up taking home a couple nameless faux tropical flowers that were dusted with purple and green. I also grabbed some deep navy ribbon that was so close in color to my moody purple that I could hardly stand it.

Once I got home, I spread all my goodies out on the dining table and started arranging. Jin helped by chewing rouge grasses and promptly vomiting them up.

My first step was cutting down the stems of the nameless tropical flowers and tying them together using twist-ties.

Then I laid out my Eucalyptus and Dune Grass, while Jin sniffed some fake flowers…

Then plopped my tropicals on top and called it good.

I tied it all together with a rubber band and began wrapping the base with my ribbon. I tied one end of the ribbon in a knot around the rubber band then wrapped until I could wrap no more and tied a knot in the ribbon on to itself.

I then knotted one end of the hanging ribbon onto the  knot of the base ribbon. You follow?

The last step was to holler at Rob to hold the arrangement against the door while I stepped into the front yard to eyeball exactly where the arrangement should be hung. Nail ‘er into place (on top of the door) and call her done.

Errr… no. The witch’s broomstick was not what I was going for. I let the swag hang for half a day, just to be sure of how much I hated it, then took it down and fussed a bit with it.

Ahh… that’s better. Simple is always better.

Now to clean up that cat vomit.

November 18, 2011

Stamp of Approval

Last week I was able to fulfill another Pinterest desire of mine – stamped gift wrap.


This image caught my eye because I love using mailing paper for gift wrap and hate the typical santa-shaped name tags. Knowing I was going to be wrapping some wedding gifts for friends, I stopped by Hobby Lobby to buy some alphabet stamps (really I stopped by Michael’s first, then later returned the Michael’s stamps to keep my favored Hobby Lobby stamps). Below is a peek at our tiny stamped signature. I’ll share more when Christmas gift wrapping time has come around.

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October 22, 2011


A friend recently asked how long Rob and I have lived in the house on Penny Lane. It took me a while to realize it has only been a little over 2 years. I could have sworn it has been longer. But, boy, does that make me feel better about the little progress we have made in the last year – A.K.A. none.

I did, however, get a little pep in my step when October came around. I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving dinner again and I was hoping the space would be a bit more pulled together and festive this year.

One of the items I wanted to address was a piece of wall art I had created for the living room. The black, white and yellow chevron piece was originally located in the fireplace nook, before I decided I hated it. Seen here:


I moved the piece temporarily to above the cabinet loaned to me by my dad. Seen here:


I never photographed the art and cabinet together because it was genuinely meant to be a temporary placing. Of course, as is typical for me, that temporary placement lasted months. I have other plans in mind for the black, white and yellow chevron piece – namely to repaint it and hang it in Rob’s office – but still wanted something above the cabinet to add height.

Knowing I didn’t want to spend any money, I rummaged through my existing stockpile of frames and art and came across a piece Rob and I had purchased a long time ago, prior to the house. It had previously hung at the top of the stairs at our townhouse. It looked great there, but the coloring is off for this house. So I painted it.





Like my jammies?

I used left over sample paint to cover up the purplish gray that clashed with the rest of the house. It took a bit of time to go over it, but I think it was worthwhile, even if I don’t use it in its intended spot. I’ll post pictures as soon as I’m decided.

My other fun craft was creating some fall decorations appropriate for this minimalist house. You may remember my painted gourds from Thanksgiving 2009.



While inexpensive, the gourds were tricky to paint. I dried them out first, then painted and painted and painted. The natural oils from the gourds would seep through and stain the paint so I was constantly touching them up.

This year I decided to go faux – Michael’s had a ton of realistically shaped pumpkins and gourds for 50% off. I wouldn’t buy them at full price. Just saying. They were expensive enough at half off. I then stood in the crafts paint aisle for a good 15 minutes trying to decide what color to paint my new faux gourds. I ended up choosing the color “linen”, which is exactly as it sounds.

I started with a pumpkin, a gourd and two bottles of paint.



When I was halfway finished painting the two, I decided I wanted to get a slew more.



I finished the gourds by painting the stems a glossy black, which contrasts nicely with the matte, ceramic-like finish of the linen paint.



Now to decorate with them. This may take months…

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February 12, 2011

Enje Shades

You probably read here about our installation of IKEA Enje shades. I did my best to give a brief tutorial of how to cut and install the shades, but I knew most of my audience wouldn’t care, so I didn’t go into a great amount of detail. Luckily, Anna over at Door Sixteen recently posted a detailed tutorial on her own adventures of cutting Enje shades. I actually learned some new things that make me feel a bit stupid… but that’s ok. I’ll pass on the knowledge to you and we can pretend I didn’t do the needless, awkward things I did do.

image courtesy of Door Sixteen

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July 12, 2010

Wood Floors Pt. 1

Just to show you how dedicated Rob is to finishing the never-ending flooring project in our house, he’s using a nail gun right now to reattach the baseboards.  Or maybe he’s just wanting his TV back in its rightful home.

Starting Friday, we finally got to that huge stack of wood sitting in our living room.  And don’t overestimate our awesomeness, because we had tons of help.  Our friends, Gavin and Heather, gave up their weekend to help us lay some floors.

Yesterday, we spent the day working in the master bedroom.

The floors are engineered wood strips that we glued together and floated over the concrete slab.

By default, we had to go about 1/3 of the way into the hallway.

Another friend’s miter saw that he’s so graciously let us borrow. Thanks, Dave!

Our beautiful, although dusty, wood floors.

And last, but not least, our sleeping quarters for the last couple of nights. Comfy!

December 23, 2009

Don’t Forget to Hang Up Your Sock…

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d share some of this year’s decorations and crafts.  This has certainly been a make-do-with-what-ya-got season for us, so when I couldn’t buy, I made; and when I couldn’t make, I worked with what I already had.

For instance, after my first gift wrapping session, I realized I was out of bows.  I suppose I wasn’t really out of bows.  Just out of bows that I would be willing to use.  The left-overs were a mixture of red and silver striped and lime green and silver striped bows that I just wasn’t fond of.  Instead of going out and buying another $5 bag of 70% useable bows, I decided to use a tutorial to make my own.

Then, when a holiday office decorating contest was announced, I decided to spend some time, rather than money to decorate. I used two different tutorials to create ornaments and swirls to hang from the beams in my office.

I tied for second place, by the way, and won a $25 gift card to Target, which I promptly spent in preparation for a visit from my dad and step-mom.

Our Christmas decor colors are bronze, red and silver/white, which lends well to both a modern and rustic (read: modern with warmth) interior.  Our ornaments are a mixture of store bought bulbs, traditional gift ornaments from my mom, and those purchased on our annual trip to a Disney park.  Disney ornaments and Christmas decorations can easily become kitschy, but keeping an eye for simplicity and cohesiveness, I think I’ve succeeded at keeping everything tasteful.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

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December 8, 2009

Inspired, again.

I am constantly on my computer.  And Rob is constantly nagging at me to get off my computer.  What he doesn’t know is that at any moment, I could find inspiration on my computer.  Take Thursday night, for example.  I was up far too late, reading and rereading interior design blogs.  Sometime around 11pm, I was reminded of a design book I had received last Christmas.  I realized that I hadn’t opened this book since we found our house, which meant I could look through it with fresh eyes. I found the book and began flipping through the pages.  I was excited to find images like this one that put looks together that I had only imagined.

And images like this one that encouraged more imagination.

I had previously picked out a drum shade pendant to replace the countrified faux patina chandelier that came with the house. But the above image had me wondering if I could find something even larger in scale.  I returned to my computer and started searching for an alternative.  I quickly came across a popular kids’ craft involving a balloon, some yarn, and glue.  I did a bit more research and found the craft adapted to the scale I had in mind. The next morning, I told Rob he was either going to love me or hate me because I had a great idea.  I was going to DIY a dining room light fixture and save us $150 in the process.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The obligatory “before” pictures

Rob installing the new pendant

And the “afters”

We’ll see how long it stays up there!