Monday, February 27, 2012

Darn Drapes - And Faking Pleats

Last spring we finished our basement, and it's been WONDERFUL to have completed.

From a decor standpoint, I'd say we're more in a "holding pattern" with the current design, until I figure out how to reconcile my design aesthetic with Mr.V's desire for "Sports!  Sports Everywhere!" without the room ending up looking like this:

or something similar.

[Am I the only gal with a husband whose idea of a "dream room" looks like a team memorabilia shop barfed all over the place?  Just me?  Hmm.  Well then.]

So until I come up with the grand scheme for the room, I needed to tackle a project that has been bugging me from day 1 - the darned drapes.

We have 2 daylight windows in the basement, which is great for letting light in.
However, on day 2 of completed construction, I discovered one of the neighbor kiddos, peering in to the [treatment-free] window.  Now, while that's pretty harmless, I thought we should probably get some window coverings up, stat, since I didn't feel like advertising this as "hey, come on in and grab these!" to people with perhaps more sinister intentions.

So, I bought some nice, simple curtains and got 'em up on that window.  Since I wasn't certain exactly *how* this room would end up, I went with white, since they would coordinate with the slipcovers I made for the couch and chair.
The curtains were nice.
And Fine.

But one thing TOTALLY bugged me...

We rarely, if ever, close this door.  So this is how it stands 99% of the time.  A lovely, painted, creamy ivory door (which isn't that dark in person, by the way.  But even so, there's still a definite difference between the two) and crisp, bright white curtains.
Maybe it's the pregnancy, but I couldn't deal.
So, out they came.  I have plans for those curtains elsewhere in the house, so not to worry.

I found these pretty drapes at Pier 1 (and they're currently on sale!) - they're the perfect blend of the blue that I've got in the pillows on the sofa and chair, and the ivory in the door and trim.  AND they're lined, which is nice when trying to keep away prying eyes.

Like most curtains, these came with the typical pole-pocket tabs on the back (which is what I used to hang the plain white ones).

 This time, though, I planned to use rings for a more tailored look.  But these curtains didn't have pleats.
No worries, just fake it.
 Simply make a nice, straight "pinch" from the outside of the fabric with your fingers.  To keep the even spacing, I just pinched right above each of the pole-tabs.  No measuring for me! :)

Then, simply clip your rings from the outside to hold the pleat together.  Done!
No sewing, no fabric fuse... perfectly faked tailored drapes. 
Well buddy, what do you think?

Yep, I like 'em too.  :)


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Second Time Around: Nursery Update

...I'm officially "nesting". :)

I've got roughly 8 weeks until this little girl will make her arrival, so I've been "on the clock", so to speak, with a number of projects around the house that I'd like done before the Little Miss joins the party.
One of the rather important ones on the list, is the nursery.

When we were expecting The Redhead, though we knew she was a "she", we deliberately created a gender neutral nursery.  
1) To cover our hineys in case the ultrasound tech was wrong with her proclamation of "GIRL!" and more importantly 
2) I wanted a serene space that I only had to do ONCE.  

While I've been enjoying making updates to the space, I can't see the point of doing it all again just for kicks.  But that's just me.
Since I started blogging when The Redhead was around 1, I've never posted here what her nursery looked like. 
 Here's a peek at its humble beginnings:

 Mr. V. putting together the crib.  What he doesn't know is that that side rail goes on the *other* side. :)

In reading the directions, Mr.V. read out loud "The only tool you will need for assembly is a phillips screwdriver - Sweet!"  Literally *seconds* later, "someone" stole the phillips from the floor and took off down the stairs.  I managed to snap a photo of the thief red-handed (pawed?)
[[As an aside, look how LITTLE my Newman is in this picture!  Now he's all growed up! ]]

 And what we ended up with.  It's nice, but nothing to really write home about.

This time around, I've been focusing on the details:

We kept all the furniture, bedding and wall color, and added simple drapes to the window for texture.
The crib, rocker and dresser came from a local furniture store, and the rug and bedding are from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child - European Dot in Silver Sage.. 
You can see the bumper in the "before" picture... that was just for show.  
Since I didn't end up using the bumper until The Redhead was a year old and kept getting her chubby arms and legs stuck in between the rails, I didn't bother putting it on yet at all for this one.  
But I love that bedding.

I painted the trim the same custom blend I used in The Redhead's Big Girl Room
The wall color is from Home Depot's "Fresh Aire" no VOC line, but I can't remember the name of the color offhand.  It's basically the color of chocolate milk.

Over the course of the last couple years, these frames have held baby photos, abstract art,  and come World Series time, may have held a photo or two of Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, just to fire up the Cubs-loving Mr. V. :)
These days, I just have scrapbook paper in the frames as a place holder until/if I find something more sentimental to put in there.

 I've mentioned before that I'm just *over* floating shelves.  
And, the ones I had in this spot previously were always a little droopy - I could get them to hang straight, but not level, if that makes sense?
So, they're outta here. 
In their place, I just did a simple grouping - a sentimental photo of Newman's paw playing "whack-a-mole" on my pregnant belly when I was expecting The Redhead (he would try to "catch" the baby when it moved in my tummy - too cute!), and some easy DIY art - I made a simple alphabet chart for one, and for the large one just found an elephant silhouette online and traced it onto scrapbook paper.  
I used a sample of Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage paint, and painted the matte of the [dollar store] frame for the alphabet pic.
Done and done.

I made the pennants from scrap material I already had, including my original striped crib sheet that got snagged on the side of the crib when I was pulling it out to wash it, and tore.  Recycling! :)
I used the DIY pennant tutorial I described HERE.

 In all, I'm really pleased with how the room has shaped up... I guess now all it needs is a baby! :)


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Monday, February 20, 2012

Laundry Room SOS: Before & After

So over the past couple of weeks, this room just GOT to me.
Has that ever happened to you before?  Something you don't really notice day in and day out all of a sudden whaps you in the face and you just can't handle it anymore?

Welcome to my Laundry Room.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Office Wall Update

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you are so busy you can't see straight... but you have nothing to show for it?
Egads, that's my life right now.  I'm in the middle of 18 projects, and don't have anything complete to show you on any of 'em.  Well, almost.
I'm doing my best to get through that punch list, but for now I have some progress on the nekkid wall in our office.

Slowly  but surely, things are coming together.
After updating the primary wall with the storage/buffet and the Gallery Wall, you'll remember this spectacular wall just off to the right:

How blessedly... boring. (And randomly messy!  Yeesh)
 Since this picture, we've gotten rid of the desktop computer, which has opened up enough space that I can keep my sewing machine out, and actually use this surface, which is nice.
For the wall, I started by adding my Nailhead Trim Corkboard.

I didn't want the corkboard all centered up over the desk, though, and I needed something to balance it out.  Something somewhat substantial, but not heavy.  And preferably with a little storage.
But I'm kind of over floating shelves.
I kept going back to these metal locker-style "wall pockets" from Ballard - I was planning on getting two, and hanging them vertically, one right over the other.

I also liked these wire wall baskets from PB but thought they may be too "cottage" for this room.

I wasn't jazzed about the price of either ($35 ea. and $24 ea., respectively), but was ready to pull the trigger at Ballard when I had a religious experience at TJ Maxx, of all places.

I found exactly what I was looking for - right style, right size, right color... for $12.

I'm pretty sure it was fate.  Or destiny.  or me fulfilling a fate-filled destiny.
I don't know, all I know is that in seeing it was the only one on the shelf, I whipped that thing into my cart so fast all that was left was a vapor outline of where the basket used to be.
I may have even squealed a little.  Don't judge me.

So, back at the house I got things up on the wall, and wouldn't you know I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out.  I have a place for tools and fabric and odds and ends, but can still maintain a clear workspace on the table top.
That's my sewing machine in the center (sporting a dust cover I made from a leftover scrap of drop cloth, natch), and the Cricut on the right.  Believe it or not, *that* cover is actually the liner that came with a magazine basket that is currently hanging out in the basement.  Go figure it fit just perfect over the Cricut.

We decided to leave the printer/scanner hooked up (over on the left) so when we do need to use it, we can just plug in the laptop easily and use the desktop for that work.

For review - Before:


It's not a major change, but considering this room (and this wall) is basically one of the first, if not THE first thing you see when you walk through our front door, it makes me breathe a sign of relief to know it's not a giant messy drop-station anymore.

We added the drop cloth curtains that used to hang in my living room to the opposite wall in the office, and I love them there.
Now I just need to find a home for a few odds and ends, then get my hiney in gear painting the trim and this room Will. Be. DONE!  Can I get a Woo-Hoo? :)


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Monday, February 6, 2012

So Pinteresting....

Like the great majority of you, I'm hopelessly addicted to

Follow Me on Pinterest

I've always thought I am *reasonably* creative.  Certainly not professionally awesome, but I would settle on "able to come up with something in a pinch".
Thanks to Pinterest, I'm learning that there are some people in this world that Blow. My. Mind.

From decor to cooking to "shut the front door why didn't I think of that?!?" tips for everything under the sun, it's painfully obvious that I have so much to learn.
So thank goodness I can pin all of everyone else's ideas. :)

Today, I'm highlighting some of my favorites from the last, oh, hour or so.  [because you KNOW every time you log onto that site, you have a new favorite something or other!] :)


This kitchen is so close to perfection I might marry it.  Maybe change those pendants, but that's about it. Maybe. LOVE.

I have no idea where or when the occasion might arise for me to set up some sort of woodland dinner tryst, not to mention my recent-construction-lack-of-mature-trees dilemma, but I LOVE all the lanterns and I'd like to go here, please.  And have a meal.

I am CRAY-zee about reading nooks these days.  Working on plans for building one into The Redhead's playroom, but that's a project for post-baby-birthin'.  And the end of basketball season.

I want to live in this pantry.  I would totally do it, too.

You know how I feel about labeled closets.  Yes.Please.

Hiding the giant tub o'dog food?  Brilliant!  
Building it into gorgeous cabinetry? Priceless!
Now, what does Pinterest suggest for the slobbery pieces of food that just fall out of his mouth when he eats? :)

And then there is the FOOD, people.  I know I really don't need to explain.
These chicken & cheese lasagna roll-ups are yummy, easy, and LOOK like they are much more difficult to make than they actually are.  
Bonus points from me!!

Sopapilla cheesecake using crescent rolls.  OH. MY. WORD.  I made these this weekend I could have rolled over and died. And, it looks like Baby (yes! of course!  the BABY! ;) )  wants more, so I'll probably make them again.  Like, SOON.  :)

I could literally talk for at least a day straight about what I love about Pinterest and all the smarter-more-creative-than-me people that are out there in this world, but folks, I've got to get back to pinning. :)

If you're interested in my obsession, you can
Follow Me on Pinterest
if you're so inclined. :)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spring = Dig. Drop. Done.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We've had such an unseasonably mild winter this year, I've had spring on the brain for some time.
And until this little gal in-utero decided to make her presence known, a backyard overhaul was on the docket for this spring.  Well, having an April baby just means we'll have a year to get our next year's plans in order! :)
One thing on my list is COLOR.  Beautiful, glorious, spring COLOR.
Mr.V's family is dutch so tulips are always at the top of their lists, but I am loving all kinds of spring flowers this year!
I LOVE flowers, but I don't have much of a green thumb.  The easy answer?
They're idiot-proof, promise.
So have you heard of the site Dig Drop Done? ( visit to learn more
They've got 3 ladies leading you through the site - I relate to Marcy, the supermom.  I'm no supermom, but Marcy is a beginner at bulbs and is go go go.  Really, though, they represent all of us:
There is a bunch of super helpful info for beginners - they really make it sound so doable.  And Doable, folks, is my language. 
So now that I've piqued your curiosity about Dig.Drop.Done, you NEED to check out the contest they are running - YOU WANT TO WIN THIS!
Over at Curbside Chaos, they are doing a major yard giveaway worth $5,000!
All you have to do is submit a photo of your yard at Curbside Chaos.
  • The lucky winner will not only receive a $5,000 yard makeover, but they will also receive a visit from Taniya Nayak (@TaniyaNayak on Twitter) from HGTV!
  • Taniya will go through and give you tips on the best way to update your yard! She'll also be giving you some creative ideas for incorporating flower bulbs into your landscape.
  • For every share on Twitter, “Bulbs. Dig, Drop, Done.” will donate $1.00 to Rebuilding Together – the nation’s leading nonprofit, working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities.  How awesome is that? 
And in addition, they're making it so, super easy for you to pretti-fy your yard this year with bulbs! 

You can also check out the Garden Guru tool on Curbside Chaos for lots of great information on planting bulbs.
In 4 easy steps, you'll learn which bulbs are the perfect ones for you to plant based on your region and when you want them to bloom.   Once you select what you want to plant, they'll walk you through how and when to "dig and drop" to get the best results!
Here’s how it works:
Step 1 – Pick your Country
Step 2 – Pick your location within that Country
Step 3 – Choose the type of bulb you want to grow
Step 4 – Check out the Planting Guide that shows you how to plant your bulbs.
If I can do this, people, TRUST ME.  A monkey can, too.  :)

So have fun!  Enter away!  And if you win, you TOTALLY have to come back here and share your "After" pictures. :)
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