Monday, October 31, 2011

What's in a Name?

We've all seen those wonderfully artistic photo letter collages for spelling out your family name or any other word or phrase with special meaning. I've wanted one for a while now, but wasn't sold on any way to do it.

I could purchase this from,

which would be awesome, but I wasn't willing to pay the $160 for the whole piece, or even $108 for just the pictures. (Seriously?!?)

I considered printing letters in different fonts on patterned paper, using chipboard letters, and trying to find photos online to use for the letters. None of these options was particularly appealing. 

Then I stumbled on this post at Little Mac Shack (seen on Pintrest here). Miss Mac inspired me to summon my courage and try taking my own pictures of objects around my home. It was an amazing experience to go from feeling completely lost and confounded to seeing letters pop up everywhere around my house.

I started snapping away; then pulled the photos into Picasa for some photo editing, uploaded them to Costco Photo, and had them printed by 5:00 PM.

A quick trip to Michaels later (with my additional 25% off any 40% off sale-price frame coupon in hand), I came home with my spoils and got to work.

A little glass cleaning and photo framing later, and I was done! I couldn't believe it! I had wanted a piece like this for so long, and all it took was half a day and $20. 

It also makes it more meaningful that the photos are of objects around my own home. Completely unique and personal. I can't wait to get it up on the wall! Here's another look without the camera flash.

I commented to Darin how grateful I am that it wasn't difficult to find a six opening frame. His reply was, "So that's why you married me--to change your last name to one with six letters instead of seven." Sure, Dear. That's why I married you. *rolls eyes*

PS. I submitted this post to the Fall Pintrest Challenge on Young House Love as mentioned here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Chic: Inspiring But Not for Everyone (Though Jonathan Adler Would Disagree)

I just finished reading Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Accessorizing and Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Colors.


These books are not for the faint of heart. It takes an iron stomach to digest all of the design inspiration and tips packed in these two volumes. Basically, my mother would hate them, and my French grandmother would love them.

If you are at all squeamish about adding color and life to your home, calmly turn around and run the other way. If you want to chuck everything considered "safe" (a.k.a. boring) out the window and embrace color and the art that interior decorating can be, pick these books up and prepare to be inspired!


I believe that your home should make you happy.

I believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right. Unless the husband is gay.

I believe in carbohydrates and to hell with the puffy consequences.

I believe minimalism is a bummer.

I believe handcrafted tchotchkes are life-enhancing.

I believe tassels are the earrings of the home.

I believe in the innate chicness of red with brown.

I believe in being underdressed or overdressed, always.

I believe celebrities should pay full price.

I believe in Palm Beach style: Louis chairs, chinoiserie, Lilly Pulitzer, The Breakers circa '72.

I believe my designs are award-winning even though they've never actually won any.

I believe in Aid to Artisans.

I believe dogs should be allowed in stores and restaurants.

I believe you should throw out your Blackberry and go pick some actual blackberries.

I believe my lamps will make you look younger and thinner.

I believe in irreverent luxury.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Autumn Wreath

I would like to introduce you to my friend Autumn Wreath. Say 'hello,' Autumn Wreath. (Okay, so I'm really glad that my wreath didn't start speaking. That would be super creepy.)

I have a goal to create four wreaths for my front door, one for each season. Obviously, with the rain and cooler temperatures and changing leaves, this wreath is currently hanging on my door. It may not be much to look at, but it was super simple to make.

I bought one of those faux leaf garlands, a grapevine wreath, and some ribbon. I attached the garland to the wreath at regular intervals (every other plastic chain link) with floral wire, made a big bow and attached it using floral wire. And voilĂ ! An autumn wreath that only took about twenty minutes to throw together.

Do you change your look with the seasons? Do you embrace the natural door look? Are you curious how I hang my wreath without a wreath hook or pounding a nail into my door? Leave a comment and share!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coffee Filter Pendant Tutorial

As promised in this post, here is how I created my coffee filter pendant light.


  • Paper Lantern
  • Coffee Filters*
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Eraser-less Pencil or Wooden Dowel Rod**
  • Favorite movie, series, book on tape, or radio station***

*Buy about twice as many as you think you need. The 18" lantern above took about 1000 coffee filters!
**For the purpose of this tutorial, I will only be referring to a pencil.
***Making one of these can take a while (depending on how big your lantern is), so do yourself a favor and don't skip this one!

Step 1: Warm up your hot glue gun while you turn on your favorite listening media and assemble your lantern.

Step 2: Grab your pencil or dowel rod and stick it in the middle of a filter. (I usually hold the filter in the palm of one hand and place the pencil with the other, but I needed a hand free to take the picture.)

Step 3: Fold the filter over the pencil and loosely hold in place as shown below. Put a dot of hot glue on the filter over the end of the pencil. 

Step 4: Stick the glued end on the lantern and hold in place using the pencil. Count to 12-30, until the glue has cooled, then pull or twist the pencil off. Sometimes you need to stick your other hand (the hand that's not holding the pencil) inside the filter and put a finger on the back side of the gluing spot to make sure you get good adhesion. (I hope that made sense.)

Step 5: Get comfortable and just keep gluing. I like to work around, following the spiral of the bamboo supports, to keep my spacing even. And speaking of spacing, space the filters 1"-2" apart. There are five reasons to do this. 1) The light will be able to shine through the finished shade easier, 2) it will need fewer filters, 3) it will be easier to keep adding filters (they push against each other as you continue to add more), 4) it will go a lot faster, and 5) because of number 4, you will hate yourself if you don't. Since we're all about loving ourselves here, do yourself a favor and space the filters loosely. Also, stagger them from row to row to achieve a more even look.

As you continue to add filters, the gaps will fill in and it will look great. Here's what mine looked like after about twenty minutes.

This is what it looks like after Lion King and Lion King 2: Simba's Pride.

We're making progress, ladies and gents!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Patience, Love and Expression

So I had seen this book,

Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick on Amazon as a "recommended for you" item, but I didn't think much of it. I was at the library recently and saw it on the shelf. I thought to myself, "Eh, why not." I started reading it in the car a few days later and made little flapping motions to my husband while bouncing up and down in my seat to get his attention. I had read something that I thought, "Oh my gosh, this is so true."

He didn't get it--but, then again, he doesn't get most of what I do, so it's okay. He supports me in my insanity and lends a hand or two when I ask.

Anyway, what I had read was as follows:
"Allow yourself the patience to know it will all come together in time, and enjoy the process! For me home decor is not a goal, but a continually evolving and kinetic art project."
Amy Butler
After one of my friends telling me how overwhelming she finds trying to decorate her home, I realized that not everyone approaches the process the same way I do. (Cue the "Well, duh.") She was thinking that one had to do it all at once. YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE!

Decorating your home is an evolutionary process that is never truly finished. (Good thing, too, or I would have to find a new hobby!) It is also a journey of self-discovery. By the time you start feeling comfortable with your space, you find that it is becoming a visual and physical representation of yourself. When someone walks into your home, they get an impression of who the occupants are. Put your own personal stamp on your space and never look back!

Some other gems from this book include the following:
"Use your critical eye to see and use your heart to feel--and then trust your instincts."
Shannon Fricke
"Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love brought together under one roof."
Nate Berkus
Okay, I'm going to get off my soapbox now and get on with my day. I hope that all of you lovely readers either agree with me, or have gotten something to think about. Decorating should not be an overwhelming process. Yes, it can be daunting at times, but know that it is an expression of yourself and what you love. Rome was not built in a day. You did not become who you are now in a day. Give your home the same time and freedom.

Sometimes people will ask me how I came up with an idea after I finish a project. The truth is I spend weeks, months, sometimes even years thinking about something before making a decision and going for it. It is a process. I've been working for two years on my home, and not one of my rooms is completely finished (though some are close). I do not tell you this to discourage you, but rather to encourage you to cut your self some slack and enjoy the journey.

Love what you do! Love your home! Love who you are!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lamps, Glorious Lamps

Lamps. Yes, that's right. You heard me. Lamps. Today we are talking about lamps. Specifically this lamp.

I have wanted lamps like these since I first saw them ten years ago. Last week I finally got them! *squeal of delight*

I purchased the shades on clearance at Sears months ago for $6 a pop. I waited on the bases until I decided to just buck up and pull the trigger. At $30 a piece at Target, it felt like a lot.

Target Home® Mix-and-Match Lamp Base - Medium

But then you look at the alternatives; and, all of a sudden, $30 doesn't seem so bad. For instance, this lamp from Joss & Main. It's part of the Ore International collection (don't quote me on that) and retails for $129.95.
Joss&Main Crystal Table Lamp 

Or this lamp from Lamps Plus for $149.99.

Lamps Plus Stacked Crystal Sphere Table Lamp

Yep, $30 isn't so bad. Seriously, can you tell a huge difference between these and the designer ones?

Modeling a Floor Plan

Okay, and we're back! Sorry I've been out for so long, but enough of that. Let's jump right in to today's post!

Yesterday I went over to one of my friend's house and measured her main floor to draw up a floor plan. If any of you want to try to do the same, this is how it worked.

First I did a rough sketch of what the space looked like. You could measure and draw as you go, but I find it more efficient to draw first then measure second. After the rough sketch of everything I wanted to include in my measurements was done, I pulled out my tape measure and got to work.

I took my sketch home and hopped on (which I learned about here) and quickly modeled what their space looks like,

and a few ideas of mine of what it could look like.

It's far from perfect and the measurements are a little off, but it did give me a quick reference point. I also like that I can click on any floor and it will give me the square-footage so I don't have to figure it out myself. It makes pricing new flooring so much easier!

A big thanks to my friend who left me invade her space!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

And We're Out

Sorry, everyone. I'm going to be on hiatus for a few days. Looking forward to some exciting updates next week. See you then!