Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Drapes are Done!

I finally finished the drapes!  I have to say that I am very proud of myself.  This is definitely the most difficult project completed to date.  The tutorial I followed wasn't that tricky, but doing everything four times (made four panels) and trying to be precise was exhausting.

So, here is the before:

And, before you say anything: yes - the TV is in front of the windows.  I know!  This is totally a no-no.  But honestly there is nowhere else to put it!  OH WELL. 
So anyway.  After hanging the drapes, I couldn't just sit back and open a bottle of rose.  Well, I did.  But then I had to hem them, and then I had to train them.  Apparently you must train your drapes to fall in nice folds by tying them up for a few days.  Here is a pic of the drapes in training:

And did I mention that these are fully lined?  Check it out:

Enough already!  Here they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love them and sort of can't believe that I made them.  But believe it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lamp Attack!

Everyone in my family has terrible eyesight.  Like getting-glasses-in-second-grade terrible.  Out of everyone, mine is the "best" and it is still the worst.  Plus, I have "dry eyes" so wearing contact lenses was not fun.  That being said, I had LASIK surgery in 2005 and it was awesome.  However, I have noticed that my vision has started to deteriorate; I am having trouble both reading and seeing far-away things again. 

Allllll that was lead up to this:

This is the ceiling fixture in the living room.  I love it so!  It is pretty!  But it is not bright.  I think some of the bulbs in it went out?  But, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to remove the glass so I am stuck squinting and straining my eyes to read in that room.  Not really, but you know what I mean. 

Anyhoodles, after I saw the Young House Lovers decide to put a low console table behind their grey L-shaped sofa (THEY ARE TOTALLY COPYING ME), I decided to copy them back and also put a table there.  And!  I can add lamps!  So I've got that going for me. 

Can you help me try to decide what lamps to get?  I need a pair.  My only concern is that I think the lamps need to be very low-profile because I am not moving my gallery wall.  Uh uh. 

Here are my top contenders:

1.  West Elm Loft Task Lamp

Pros:  on sale!  skinny!  sort of industrial yet not too modern!
Cons:  not sure I love it?  maybe I do?  I think I do!

2.  Anthropologie Menlo Lamp

Pros:  love!  so cute!  see through!  only takes special bulbs!
Cons:  expensive to get two.  only takes special bulbs.

3.  Kirkland Blue Table Lamp

Pros:  cheap!
Cons:  cheap!  also boring?

Soooooo....what do you think:???????????????????

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pick a Peck of Purple Piped Pillows

I made a cute crib-sized pillow to go with the yellow quilt -- and it's piped!!!  Purple piping on a pillow is perfect.

It was easy -- I used pre-made piping from Joann's.  Just stitch the piping onto one side of your fabric before you sew the pillow together.  Easy peasy.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Make Your Own Gallery Wall

The wall behind my sofa, which is the first wall you see when you enter the house, has been blank for a long time.  At one point, I wanted a super giant painting there.  I thought I found a gorgeous, oversized abstract painting at a thrift store near my house.  I spotted it a while ago, and over time, in my mind, it became the perfect piece to put there.  I remember that it was priced at $275 and was going to go back to the store and offer $200 cash.  However, when I returned to the store and saw the painting again, I realized something.  It was ugly!  Totally, seriously ugly.  And it wasn't an abstract, like I had thought.  It was a very motel-lobby painting of the Golden Gate bridge on a foggy day.  Yikes.  Not this bad but almost:

My next thought was to have two large abstract-ish landscapes painted by a local artist I know (a.k.a. my dad).  I think he is still working on these?  It has been a loooong time.  I guess he is busy?  Who knows, he is a strange individual.  Anyway, if they ever get finished, I can put them in another room.

Then I decided that the simplest thing to do would be to create a gallery wall.  You know I had enough Ikea ribba frames to do this.  I used art I had around, including four prints from 20x200.  I filled out the arrangement with a plate and rectangular dish that were collecting dust in the china cabinet.  I also added two random postcards as place holders - when I find something better (like maybe an oversized antique key or something interesting/lame like that) I'm going to remove the post cards.  (Leave your address and I'll send one to you).

The hardest part of all this is making the arrangement.  Here is how you do it:

1.  Look at images of gallery walls online.  Decide what style you want -- an orderly grid of matching frames, a grouping of similar frames, a mish-mash of thrift store randoms, etc.  I decided that I wanted an arrangement that had an even outer perimeter, but was a mish-mash within those borders.

2.  Using wrapping paper or newspaper, make templates of all your frames.  Note which frames are to be hung horizontally or vertically.

3.  Using blue painter's tape, tape them to the wall.  Start with the biggest pieces -- for example, my largest frame gave me the height of my project.  Going from biggest to smallest made sense for me.  This step took a while -- maybe 2 hours?  I took a lot of breaks.

Here is what my arrangement looked like once I was happy with it:

4.  One at a time, hang each piece.  Leave the paper up and put the nails right through it.  When all the nails are in, rip out the paper and hang the frames.  You may have to make adjustments -- I moved a few pieces and leveled out some others.

5.  Enjoy!  Here is my finished gallery wall:

Don't you feel just like you are in a gallery, looking at a wall????

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Complicated Project Alert!

I told you I have a lot of baby friends!  My cutest baby friend, Charlie, needs a quilt for her room ASAP.  Her room has turquoise/Tiffany blue walls and pink bedding.  In fact, it looks exactly like this, except she is a baby so there is a crib instead of a bed.  But you get the idea.  I may have helped decorate this room.

ANYHOO, in my mind, I wanted to make a quilt that sort of used the paper doll motif of the bedding, but was also not too "country" because this baby's mama hates anything that is vaguely "country" or "shabby chic" or "olde fashioned."  I guess her style is Manly/Modern/Retro?  Sort of like Don Draper but in furniture form?

So ANYHOO Part 2, I found some perfect fabric in the Penny Lane collection, but I wasn't sure what to do with it.  Patchwork squares would not cut it.   Here is part of the fabric bundle I ordered (you need a surprisingly large amount just to make a crib quilt):

Then I saw this quilt pattern - which is for making a manly quilt full of ties and brown colors:

And I decided that I would get this pattern but change all the ties into paper dolls, change all the colors and change the border to be less quaint.  So, that's where I am.  I have a bunch of pink and blue fabric and a pattern for brown ties.  Can't wait to see where this ends!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Fabric Madness

I keep buying fabric!  I got this at Joann's.  I don't know what to do with it, but I liked the colors and the seaweed-like pattern.

AND I was just filled in on this place called Rosie's Calico Cupboard here in San Diego.  Apparently it is THE Place To Go for fabric in all of SoCal!  Where the elite meet, etc.  I haven't gone yet.  I'm scared!  It's a Happening Place!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Drapery Progress

I'm making progress on the drapes for the living room.  I've completed the top seams, and am now going to add the lining (fancy!) and sides.  Shouldn't be too difficult?  I found a nice tutorial online and have been following it religiously!

I am a teensy bit worried that they will be too *busy* ... but I really love the colors and am going to wait and see what they look like once they are up.

I'm also a tad worried about the hanging process.... four lined drapes are HEAVY!  Much heavier than the current sheers.  I think I will have to re-install the drapery hardware to make sure it is really secure.

Another worry - I'm definitely going to need new sofa pillows!  But that is a fun worry.  I'm thinking ikat???

We'll see...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quilt Alert! - Quilt for Chloe!

I finished the quilt for my friend's brand new baby girl!  I am very happy with it!

I think it is super spring-y and cute!

The back looks nice too!


Of course, it is riddled with errors.  We can examine those at a later date.  Also my son looks super creepy in the above photo.  I'm now working on a matching pillow with piped edges.  Hope to have them finished by the weekend.  I've got to get this quilt in the mail - Dinky had the baby this morning!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unusual Windows

My house was built in 1950, which seems kind of old for San Diego?  Anyway, before we moved in, it was old in another way.  A total old lady house!  Mauve carpets and Old Spaghetti Factory fans and fixtures in every room.  Like a pastel bordello.

One of the more charming aspects of the old-fashiony decor was some unusual window shutters in the dining room.  The shutters have bands of fabric attached behind them.  When we moved in, there was sort of a tatty faux burlap (looking for photos...) which I removed.  I originally wanted to put in some adorable green Hable Construction fabric (the Beads pattern in Green Bean), but it was like $80 a yard and I would have needed 7 yards.  Yikes!

So after some serious searching, I found some Japanese import leafy green (EVERYTHING MUST BE GREEN) fabric that appeared to be sort of linen-like in texture at Fabric Worm.

I didn't even sew these!  They are made with iron-on hem tape!  It was easy as they are all just rectangles with wide hems at the top and bottom.  The fabric is held on the back by metal tabs at the top and bottom of the shutter frame:

I've never seen this type of shutter before.  Have you??  Also, what do you usually order at the Old Spaghetti Factory?  Manager's Special?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Black Thumbs, Unite!

Do you have a green thumb?  An effortless way with plants and gardens?  Do rosebushes flourish beneath your fertile gaze and cut flowers last for weeks under your care?  GO AWAY!  Just kiddin'!  Come back!  I'll wait here.

So, for the rest of us (those who just buy new orchids once the blooms fall off because there is no way they are coming back) I have found the solution!  Paper flowers!!!

These are just made of white tissue paper.  I'm pretty sure I can't kill them!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Elephants are the New Cows

At some point in my childhood, my mom decided she was going to collect cows and cow-related ephemera.  I think this occurred when our house was overhauled from 1970's gold and avocado to 1980's black and white?  Also she really liked this one cow creamer she had that looked like this?

Anyway, from then on, she had cows coming out of her ears.  Our kitchen was overrun with cow tea pots, cow cutting boards, cow figurines.  Every birthday, Mothers Day, Chrismukkah, etc., it was cows.  COWS COWS COWS!  I think you get it.

But this wasn't new - her mom (my grandma) was the same way about elephants, but like 10,000 times more.  Everything in my grandma's house was elephantty.   My grandma also wrote or put a sticker on the bottom of each elephant saying when/where/who the elephant was from.  Some of them are from the 1940's.

After my grandma passed, we shared the elephants around the family.  I got a bunch of cute ones that now live in my china cabinet:

I also have an elephant on my mantel:

And two elephants on my entry table:

That one elephant is glittered.  Just wanted to see what would happen!  It was fun.

I am also contemplating spray painting that elephant tea pot white?  What do you think???

ALSO - I don't want to become an elephant lady!  So for future gifts, let's just tell everyone I collect these.

Friday, April 8, 2011

More Fun With Spray Paint - Intergalactic Edition

If you're anything like me, you're always thinking about interesting ways to display Star Wars figurines.

Wait, you're not?  Oh.

ANYWAY, I found this wooden frame thing at the thrift shop.  I think it was $7?  For some reason I was strangely attracted to it?  I was pretty sure it would be good for getting some of my son's smaller toys off the ground.  It had a scratched up oak finish (I neglected to take a before shot), but after a light sanding and two coats of orange glossy spray paint, we hung it on the wall and now it looks like this:

I think it came out pretty cool.  It's pretty cool.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Project Alert!

My friend Dinky is having a baby very soon!  That can only mean one thing: it's time to put the quilt-making machine into motion.  The Lady Dinkles McStinkles told me the baby's nursery was yellow, with plum and apricot accents.  That was that.  I immediately stopped working (hi, boss!) and began a nonstop OCD-style search for fabric online.  

And then I found this:

It's Moda Fabrics Trefoil in Sunshine from the Central Park collection.  The whole Central Park collection was great, but this print in particular was perfect - the right colors plus it was totally Dinky in a nutshell (help, she's in a nutshell).

I decided to get a Central Park charm pack (set of pre-cut 5" squares) and make a simple 9 square pattern that uses the Trefoil print for the back.

Here are some of the squares with the coordinating patterns -- the finished quilt will have 9 blocks with 9 squares each:

Time to get sewing!!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hey, Pillow: Get out of my dreams; get into my house

Have you seen this pillow?  It's the yellow rosette DwellStudio pillow from Target.

This pillow really gets around.  I've seen it all over bloggy land!  It's here and here and 10 million other places too.  I think it got into my brain?  Because I had a dream about it?  And then the very next time I went to Target, it was there, staring at me like a square alien with nine yellow eyes.  I was forced to buy it.  And I have to say I think it looks pretty adorable on my bed with the homemade curtains hanging there.

Billy Ocean should write a song about this pillow!  I would totally not turn the radio if it came on.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Okay.... I just bought an excessive amount of this fabric and need something to do with it.  I'm thinking living room curtains????  A bunch of pinafore dresses for a singing Austrian family?  Update to follow...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

I did it!  I made a quilt!  I am very impressed with myself!

I was at the bookstore and saw the Spring 2011 edition of Quits and More magazine.  After I overcame mild shock at the fact that there are multiple quilt-based magazines, I was intrigued by two things mentioned on the cover: "23 Easy Projects!" and "PLUS More Baby Quilts!"  You will notice that this magazine uses a lot of exclamation points!  Just like me!  It was a match made in heaven!

So as I was flipping through the magazine, I saw this baby who looks JUST LIKE my brother-in-law.  It was uncanny!  And hilarious.

Then, my eyes drifted to the quilt upon which the brother-in-law-baby was having his tummy time.... cute, right?

Anyway, I read the directions and decided I could do it.   Off to Jo-Ann's!  I purchased plain white fabric, a small green print and some interfacing.  Also some green thread to be fancy.   The technique used by this quilt - applique - was similar to my practice Tiny Quilt so it wasn't that hard.  Also I finally figured out how to do the binding.  The directions in this magazine were very clear and easy to follow.  So now I have this:

AND I have a case of quilting fever!  It's like Bieber Fever but for old ladies.