Friday, April 29, 2011

April: Three Things Under $30

Each month I'm introducing three of my favorite things - the catch:
Everything I list will cost less than $30.
I've said it before - things don't have to be expensive to be beautiful.
To the list....

Glass Fisherman's Floats
These floats from Pottery Barn are one of my favorite, favorite purchases this spring. 
They are so simple, but so versatile.
I currently have them stacked in this glass cylinder, but they look equally chic in a rich wood bowl, or mixed in with some other natural elements.

 $7 ea.

Pier 1 Filled Candle Tin
It's a super easy way to add a pop of color and a yummy scent to any room.
There are 4 different scents/designs available.  I chose "Vanilla Orchid"
and it is divine.  Light and airy, but the vanilla keeps it homey.


Natural Woven Table Runner
This loose-weave jute table runner had me at hello.
(Here it is making an appearance on my Easter table)

Pottery Barn carried an identical one a few years ago, and I couldn't bring myself to pull the $60 trigger.
I regretted it for a while. But not anymore!

Target's version is a dead ringer for the PB runner, and at $17.99, is a heck of a lot easier to justify to my husband. :)



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Table

I know I'm a couple days late to post about our Easter table, but it just took me that long to get the pictures out of the camera.  Lots of things kept distracting me, like
this little stinker

(please note who couldn't stand not to have his snout in the picture, too)

and the NBA playoffs.  And Dancing With the Stars (yep, I said that out loud).  :)

I hosted our annual Easter Brunch this year, and while there were things I'll definitely take note of to adapt or change for next year (if they let me host again, haha), I think we had ourselves one bodacious Resurrection Celebration, if I do say so.

We don't have a formal dining room (well technically we do, but we made it our office) so for our post-church brunch we turned the kitchen table the other direction, and extended both leaves so we could seat 8.
(the following pictures were taken before we left for church, so there are still some details that are incomplete.  But you get the idea).

For inspiration, I started with these tablecloths:

I bought them both back in February on Mega-Clearance at Target.

I loved the bird pattern, but the only size they had was a circular tablecloth, and I needed a large oval to fit my extended table.
Plus, the pattern was a little busy for an overall tablecloth, but it was perfect for a runner.  So, that's what I did.  I laid out the tablecloth, folded it over and cut the measurement I needed, cut that remnant into two pieces then sewed them together.  After conquering the Frankenstein Slipcovers, this was a piece. of. cake.  ;)
(The other tablecloth I left in-tact and used as the tablecloth for the kids table in the other room.  Perfect.)

I didn't take pictures of the layering process, though I wish I had.

I started with my plain white tablecloth, then placed this woven jute/seagrass table runner down the center. It wasn't quiiite long enough, so I added a layer of robin's egg blue placemats underneath the jute runner, with the edges peeking out at the ends.

You can see the blue placemats in the (crappy) picture below. 
I loved the color pop at the ends of the table, but what the photo doesn't show is how the blue showed through the jute, tying the color all the way down the table.

Next, I added my bird runner, but I placed it width-wise across the table, for 2 reasons:
1) the round tablecloth didn't have enough fabric for me to make a runner the length of the long table
2) I already had a long visual line going one way, and I wanted some contrast.  Plus, with the table oriented the way it was, the bird runner was more prominently displayed as guests came down the hall from the front entry.  I liked that.

Here's what it looked like up close

Those metal scroll chargers had gotten a makeover the day before Easter.
I wanted to use two different chargers to create some variance in textures, and I like the idea of playing with different materials.
I have had these chargers for about 8 years, just packed away.  The shape is great, but they were showing some wear:

You can see the original color is a bronzey mahogany color, and they were scratched and the paint was peeling.
Nothing a quick coat of paint couldn't cure!
I gave them a quick dusting of Rust-Oleum's flat black in the garage and they were good as new.

The other 4 chargers were these dark woven ones.  I bought them last year at World Market, but I think they still carry them in the store.

For the napkins I used a bunny fold that I found a tutorial for online, and I thought they turned out adorable!
 I might have been the only person who cared about the fold of the napkin, but I liked the added subtle height it gave the table, and whatev, it was cute. :)

The egg cups you see above the plate were used for our "placecards":

I took the Easter Eggs that The Redhead, Miss L and Mr. E. dyed with my mom, and just added our names with a sharpie. 
I kept the eggs in the fridge until just before the guests arrived.

Once the table was set, I finished off the look with a few simple bunches of fresh flowers from Trader Joe's in 3 vintage Mason/Ball jars that I found at a local flea market.

The turquoise glass pulled out the blues from the placemats, the bird runner, and these little nests I added on the ends to add just a little more natural texture to pull everything together.

I've always thought that baby food jars look like mini-mason jars, so I threw a few tealights into the baby food jars and used them as votives down the center.

Add great company, good food, and a reminder of the Great Sacrifice that serves as the reason
we celebrate Easter, and we had a wonderful holiday together.

Linking to: HOH

Monday, April 25, 2011

Slipcovers: The Frankenstein Files

This was my living room sofa. 
It was 10 years old and was being demoted to the [newly finished] basement, so new living room furniture could move in.

Normally, that would be totes okay.
But the problem was, we had just spent close to a year finishing the basement ourselves, and
I had been working my hiney off to make the space a nifty retreat for my family.
We had fresh paint, new carpeting, custom cabinetry... and this old couch (+chair and ottoman) just looked dumpy.
I wasn't happy.
But we didn't have the budget for a second new set of furniture.
And there's no way I was buying a secondhand sofa because I'm terrified of bedbugs.
(solid surfaces only from Craigslist, people!)
Old furniture was making our new space that we worked so hard on, look OLD.

So I went to work.
I got a sewing machine for Christmas that I promptly named Martha, and taught myself to use it.
I made this pillow and I'm pretty sure I was the Queen of the World.

So since I could sew a pillow, then SURELY I could sew a slipcover, right?
OK, even I'm not that stupid.
I knew I couldn't handle the curves of the rolled arms on my current sofa. 
But I WAS confident that I could handle covering the cushions on my own.
Enter IKEA.

The Ikea Ektorp Sofa has the same shape as my old sofa, with two big differences: length and cushion quantity.

I took a chance and bought the Ektorp slipcover for $50 (which is an amazing price for a tailored slipcover), and rather than pay IKEA's outrageous shipping ($35 for shipping a $50 cover is pretty extreme, I think) a friend who was coming that way picked it up and brought it home for me (Thanks again, Sara!).
Good Homies are hard to find. :)

My sofa is longer than the Ektorp by about 3 inches on either side.  And it's a little more full in the rolled arm, but with a little tugging and some seam ripping, it fit.

Every time I see this picture, I keep hearing "Fat guy in a little coat...." in my head.
I love you, Tommy Boy. :)

Since my couch has two large cushions and the Ektorp has 3 small ones, I knew I had to make new cushion covers.  SO, I took the Ektorp cushions and cut them up, using that fabric to piece together the holes I had to cut to fit the arms, as well as add length to the sides. 
(sorry, no pics here.  I was with this thing and wasn't thinking "tutorial" during this process. 
I was thinking "finish fortheloveofGodFINISH")

It became this comic Frankenstein-ish piecing of fabric that still makes me laugh out loud. 
I feared if I took the "sleeves" off the couch and ran the pieces through the sewing machine, that I would overcompensate the seam allowance and sew it too small.  Since it was already such a tight fit and I am such a novice, I didn't want to take that chance.
The result is a massive amount of hand-stitching (followed by massive amounts of swearing)
that I don't think I could bring myself to do ever, ever again.

 I found a twill fabric at Hobby Lobby that matched pretty well, so I stocked up on my 40% off coupons and only ended up spending about $30 on fabric (that's with the coupon) for the cushions and piping.

The chair that goes with the set is actually a chair and a half - and the Ektorp is so small that my chair was actually closer in size to the Ektorp loveseat.

So close in size, actually, that I didn't have to sew this cover.  It is folded and the fabric is tucked in a couple places, but if you've read this blog for any amount of time you know that straight up "perfection"
really isn't my bag.

The result is an old, slouchy couch and chair that have a new lease. 


And coming soon I'll show you how making that ottoman slipcover (piping and all!) was the easiest thing to make since my first pillow cover. 
 No, really.

The goal was to buy us just a few more years until we can get new furniture for downstairs.
For now, my Frankenstein covers are suiting us just fine.
And since I did them myself, I'm so inappropriately proud of myself I could just bust.

Though, if you are a professional seamstress or have any semblance of sewing skillz at all,
and you come over?  You'll need to make eye contact with me at all times so I can be sure you're not looking at my crappy seams, m'kay? :)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Basement (sort of) Reveal!

OK guys.  Let me preface this post with a disclaimer:
I still have lots to work on in this basement.
We still have a backsplash to install.
The walls are currently bare.
The playroom is just a room with toys shoved in it so that will be a future project.
The bathroom is still without a shower door, built-in shelves, fixtures like a towel ring and bar.

But I'm tired of waiting and it's my blog so I'm gonna show you what we've done anyway. :)

For fun, we'll start with the "befores".  You know, just for the fanfare of it all :)

Basement Way Before:


(Hey man, there is a boatload of pictures coming up.  So just...prepare yourself.)

Mr.V's obnoxious pride and joy:
(I'll be honest though - it was supadupa-fly for March Madness. :) )

Does that seating group look familiar?
It's a YAY-YAY-YAY moment for me that's coming up in its own future post :)

Pillow covers:
Khaki tonal stripe: Pottery Barn
Chevron stripe + Brown rosette: Moi.  Meaning me.  I did those.  (Huzzah!)  :)

Big khaki pillows: Target
Turquoise weave pillow cover: Pottery Barn
Chevron + Brown rosette covers:  Oops, I did it again :)

Wine fridge is totally in use, BTW.   
Test-driven and fully functional :)
We haven't gotten to the backsplash yet, so it's currently just leaning up against the wall.

It looks saucy in the recessed under-cabinet lighting Mr.V. installed.
It's a specialty tile, rather heavy and thicker than most.  So we're taking our time on the install - researching technique, etc. - to make sure we get it right.

The granite on the counter is Venetian Gold.
Cool sister has the same stuff in her kitchen and I like to copy her.
It's kind of a hobby of mine.

I am currently dating this tile, I love it so much.

So that's the big reveal!
After close to a year of power tools, paint and sweat equity, it's [basically] finished!
I didn't show you the bathroom or the playroom because they're pretty much all "move along, move along, nothing to see here".  But rest assured they're on the to-do list and will be making appearances in the future as I try to tackle those rooms.

This is by far the biggest project we've taken on to date, and I just wanted to say thanks for all your encouragement along the way - it's been awesome!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just a Little Paint

I don't have to tell you that just a little paint can make a big difference.

So between a certain someone's double ear infection, planning Easter brunch, and a large project at work, things are a little busy around here.
[and by the way, be sure to stop back on Friday for pics of the (finally!) finished basement!]

So, I'll spare the yammering about the Power of Paint and get right to the before and after pictures, because that's all anyone really wants anyway.  Right? :)

Clearance easter-egg-colored apothecary-style jars at Hobby Lobby.
$1 and some change/ea. :
Great shape, bad colors.  Baaaaad.  That green was neon in real life, and the purple was what I'm calling "Grape Ape Cough Syrup".  Nothing lovely about either one. 
Trust me.

A coat of primer + 2 coats of Rustoleum Navajo White later:

Slightly less assaulting on the eyes, no? :)

Have a great day!