Monday, October 31, 2011

Becoming a 'Fan' of Dusting

How is fall treating you? 
I've been enjoying the leaves, the soups, and the sweet trick-or-treaters that showed up at our door over the weekend.

What's not to love? :)
(And seriously, I just want to eat my little kangaroo up!  I'll be so sad when she moves on from snuggly costumes :) )
I know most of the general population does their deep cleaning in the spring.  Me too... mostly.
Some things take shifting gears from summer to fall for them to come to the front of the cleaning line.
Namely.... the ceiling fans.

I'll tell you right now, if you subscribe to the staunch design belief that all ceiling fans should be outlawed, and ripped from the wall like those jerks on Trading Spaces always used to do (am I right?), well then avert your eyes from this post, my friends, and decline any invitations to visit the Midwest in late July or August. ;)

I'm just kidding, but in truth we're an unapologetic ceiling fan kind of household.  Mr.V. believes in the power of near-constant air circulation, and I'm inclined to agree.
The problem is, at some point you turn the fans off.  Like, oh, at the end of summer. And when they stop, you notice THIS:

Um, yuck.

And when you attempt to dust the blades, you get giant grey dust bunnies raining down onto you and your floor.  Double yuck.
 (oh seriously, GAG.  And so embarrassing)

It's only made worse by the realization that you just vacuumed the floor, and OH LOOK!  Now your clean floors are covered in dust again.  SUPER.

So, here's my solution.
Enter: Old Pillowcase.

Everybody has a spare old pillowcase tucked away in a linen closet somewhere - you know, the ones that don't match any other sheet sets, but you keep them tucked away in case of emergencies.

Simply take your pillowcase, and throw it over the blade, then use your hands to drag it back toward the edge. 

As the fabric moves, the dust will fall into the pillowcase, and not on your floors (or on you!).
I usually just dry-dust these, but every now and again I give the blade a bit of my Shaklee Basic H right before I toss the pillow case on.
When you're done, just take it outside and shake it out, then either repeat on another fan, or throw it in the laundry pile (I wash 'em inside-out after dusting).
And there you go.  I'm a "fan"! (Oh Good Lord... Sorry, I couldn't resist)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Feelin' Fall..

 I know I get caught up in decorating for the seasons, and talking about the "feel" of fall, and blah blah blah, but really, does it get any more "Fall" than this?  :)

There is nothing quite like the simple joy that comes from a pile of leaves at Grandma & Grandpa's house..

I love where I live.

My tiny tree-hugger.  :)

Have a great weekend, and make some time to enjoy the season! :)


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tissue Pom-Pom Tutorial

Tissue pom poms are a super-duper easy and inexpensive way to add a punch of color and decoration to any party.
I made some for a couple baby showers I helped throw recently, and you can, too. 
I made 6 of these during one episode of The Office, so you know they're fast and easy! :)

Here's how:

Cut your tissue paper to whatever size you like. 

Stack 8 sheets of tissue paper on top of each other, then make 1 1/2-inch accordian folds, creasing as you go.
Once you have it folded, cut the ends.  I chose to round them, but pointed ends also make for an impactful end result.

Pinch the center of the folds, and
secure the center of the band with floral wire.
[This wire is also what you'll attach your hanging ribbon/wire/line to if you plan to hang your poms.]

Next, fan out the sides. 

The final step is just to carefully seperate [it's tissue paper, after all! :) ] each of the individual layers to 'puff out' the pom pom.

Hang 'em up, and prepare for cuteness. :)
(I forgot to take "after" pictures of the poms I made for my co-worker's baby shower, but I used the exact same technique for these poms that I used for my niece's shower this weekend.  Easy and cute!)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Sweet Shower & Baby Brunch

This weekend we had a full plate - throwing a baby shower with my sister-in-laws for our niece, entertaining for football Saturday, and enjoying some beautiful weather and the change in the seasons outside.

Our niece and her husband are expecting their first baby (a boy! :) ) in December, so the other Aunts and I got together to celebrate and send them home with some "swag" for their new addition.

We chose a simple brunch, so we could celebrate in the morning, then have the rest of the day for everyone to enjoy (and let's be real, here... the Hawkeyes didn't play until 2pm, so we had a narrow window of opportunity! :) )

We had some delicious muffins, fresh fruit, an awesome breakfast casserole made by another one of my talented sisters-in-law, and topped it off with some fizzy lemonade, fresh sun tea and hazelnut coffee.

I added some tissue poms to perk up the color in the kitchen - poms are seriously the easiest, most inexpensive way to add a decorative touch and a pop of color to any party or room. [I'll show you how to make them a little later this week.]

Since we would be using the table for the meal, I didn't want a big centerpiece to get in the way of visiting, so I used circles of varying sizes cut from scrapbook paper to add color like a "runner", and added egg cups with M&Ms - since they're also brightly colored circles - for some texture (and a treat! ).   I forgot to photograph them close up, but what you see in the center is a collection of short and tall baby food jars used as votives on the table.  I use baby food jars all the time
(like Here, Here, and Here) - I think they look like mini-mason jars, and they're a free and easy way to create an upcycled look. 
Not to mention, they were perfect for a BABY shower, right? :)

I carried the circles into the living room with this super simple bunting across the Mantle of Doom... to make it I just cut out 3 different sizes of circles out of different coordinating scrapbook paper, and then layered them together.  I just strung some simple grosgrain ribbon through and twisted it for interest, and, well, there you go.
Easy Peasy.

 As you can see, when she wasn't raiding the M&Ms, The Redhead made herself nice and comfortable with the Mommy-to-Be in the guest of honor chair.

Somebody really should tell her this day was not about her!
What a slacker her mother must be :)

In all, we really had a lovely day! 
We enjoyed yummy food, got to see family we don't regularly get to see, and most of all got to celebrate Sam and her husband AJ's sweet little bundle on the way ! :)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Finished!

It's been months since we finished the basement , but we've just now "officially" put the last big piece in place!

The backsplash is Dun-zo.  WOOT!

Considering it's his, oh, THIRD tile job ever (um, the tiles on the floor in front of the bar were #1.. the basement bathroom was #2...) I think Mr. V. did a great job!!
I still have to pick up stone switch and outlet covers, but seeing this finished wall warms my cold and cynical heart.
We chose a tumbled natural marble that I just love.  It has a great neutral color making it a perfect base, and it coordinates nicely with the dark cabinetry and granite countertop.

We chose to extend the tile all the way to the door frame and up and down that entire wall for several reasons:

1) The tile itself is about 3/4 of an inch thick, so we would have had to have added trim to the edge to finish it off.  Since the tile it so thick, our options were really limited.
2) When we had the tile lined up with the cabinets, it created a "stripe" effect with the small strip of painted wall that looked weird. 

3) Ultimately, finishing trim looked tacky.

4) My Mom suggested we extend the tile all the way out and we don't mess with my momma :)

I'm really happy with how it turned out!  It gives an added touch of texture to that wall that I love.
So.. the [kind of ] Before:

And now After:




Monday, October 3, 2011

It Doesn't Have to Be Orange to Be Fall..

 I love fall.  I love the feel of it, the warmth of it, the smell of it. 
I love decorating for fall.
But this year I struggled.  This year, I couldn't bring myself to decorate in rust and orange and brown.  At least not in the traditional sense.  I'm over it, and looking for a way to say "fall" with a little refinement and without screaming "pumpkin patch".
Now, I'm not hating on traditional fall.  Are they lovely colors?  You betcha.
Maybe I'll just blame the pregnancy, but for now I'm just craving change.  I wanted rustic, natural, and definitely FALL, but with a muted, soothing palette.
I decided to take cues from Nature, and started with these guys on my kitchen table:

Simple white pumpkins and bleached pinecones in a footed bowl.

I layered the seagrass charger/placemat over this fabric one, with rich golds and cool, sky blue.  The warm gold helps bring in the traditional colors without being over-the-top.

My Giant Mantle of Doom got seriously decluttered, broken up into a few smaller vignettes to break up the expanse of it all.  I added the empty black frame to serve as a center focal point and help draw the eye up, and also embrace the windows that I have such a love/hate decorating relationship with.

I kept the autumn details to a minimum - more white pumpkins, a 'slice' of tree stump/bark, and some birch logs..
..a raven and some seagrass in a birch sleeve.  I kept my reclaimed wood frames, and I like how they blend in the space.

Here and there I added rustic touches, trying to keep things color-neutral and focusing on the textures.

Rather than scarecrows and orange pumpkins, I chose white and woven pumpkins and burlap pennants.

This guy got a makeover, and I am loving his new crisp, clean exterior!

The end result is a mix of rustic textures and woodsy elements that has me smelling bonfires and crisp, fresh air every time I walk in the door.  And that makes me feel like Fall.

The bottom line is, do what makes YOU happy.  Decorate for the season in a way that evokes feeling within YOU, tradition be damned.
Because after all, it's your Home.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just perfect for YOU.