Saturday, January 12, 2013

Making friends with trends


I’ve often felt like trends in design and fashion were the monsters to fight against in order to live a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive life.

For some reason I remember the first time that I noticed fashion trends when I was 8 or 9 years old.  So, to date myself this puts us right around 1992 when teal and purple became the colors.  Does anyone remember this?  Let me refresh your memory:

image via etsy


Anyway, I remember being at the mall with my Mom and as we passed by the different shop windows I started to see that purple and teal kept repeating over and over.  I asked why was it that all the shops were selling clothing that was the same colors?  My Mom’s explanation that different colors become popular still left me with questions. 

What about all the other pretty colors that I had gotten quite used to and fond of?  What about all those pale pastels?  Were these colors just not going to be available anymore?  Who was making this decision? 

I envisioned some kind of annual meeting where all the stores I could think of would all sit down and discuss what colors the clothes would be.  All in all it left me feeling rather manipulated.  Why are they telling me what colors I can wear and what’s popular and what to like, I thought.

At the time I imagined these trend setters to be the chain stores at the mall.  Like some kind of convention between GAP, Express, and The Limited.  Okay, so those guys aren’t exactly the top of the design world, but I didn’t know that.

Perhaps it’s because we now have so many different sources of inspiration when it comes to design, I no longer feel that trends are suffocating.  With blogs and Pinterest and even browsing stores it’s easy to pick and choose to follow trends or not.

Also I’m now finding it easy to Pin an idea or just enjoy looking at it without feeling any need to actually own anything new myself.

And sometimes there’s a trend that suits me perfectly to get on board with.  For example when I heard that the “color of the year” for 2013 would be emerald green I was ready.  My neighbors had this great green chair that they were going to put out for free, so I gladly and quickly took it off their hands.

I’m enjoying this trending color and I didn’t even have to buy anything!





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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Easy, Natural Fall Decor

With the change of seasons I'm so excited to be able to put together a new fall mantle.  Since we finished the living room and painted the walls getting to enjoy our space has been such a treat.  If you haven't seen the living room we were dealing with before, click here to check it out.

As usual, for fall I didn't want to have to buy something that I won't have room to store.  I kept the mantle decor very simple.  Too simple?  I don't know, but I love it.

I kept the mirrors that I've had up since spring.  I added two small square vases and filled them with black gravel/sand mix from the craft store.  Then I clipped a few spent flower heads from the Tiny Garden and stuck them in the sand.

I used my apothocary jar that had seashells in it this summer to hold horse chestnuts I found while walking the dog and a small handful of faux leaves.  I got the gourds at the grocery store and just added 3 of them for a little bit of color.

That's it.  I love it and it took me about 5 minutes total.  My kind of decorating!

For my front door wreath, I took the same approach of trying to work with what I have and keep it simple.  I already had a grapevine wreath so I was trying to think about what to decorate it with.  One night we were having corn on the cob and so I just decided to save the husks and see what happend.  I laid them out on a cookie sheet and as they dried they took on these adorable curles!  I love it!

So I just arranged the husks and used hot glue to attach them to the wreath form.  I then added a floral pick from the craft store and called it done.  It's soft looking, but has been surprisingly durable hanging on the front door as we go in and out.

Happy Fall!

Linking Up At:
Cottage & Vine

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Color Attraction

A couple of times lately I've been asked what my favorite colors are when it comes to decorating.  Usually I'm quick to have an answer, but this one has left me stammering.  I often state green is my favorite color, but when I look around my home it's all but absent.  I love lots of colors but that's not my answer either because I'm not one to use many colors at one time.  Lately, I've been craving simple spaces that often have lots of whites.

I decided to pull some of my favorite inspiration pictures to help me explain my answer.

I love contrast

Source: via Darija on Pinterest

I love it when one color gets to be bold

I love open space and breathing room for details to be noticed

Source: via Darija on Pinterest

I love texture in a subdued room.  Monochrome rooms are like a palate cleanser for enjoying more color later.

Oh, and I also noticed while looking through my picture files that I really love mustard yellow.  I use it in my house too, so perhaps the easiest answer.

So many lovely colors to give a try.  Even though mustard has been a mainstay for me the past few years, I have to say that there is another color I am feeling excited about.... that is Emerald Green.  I added a dose of emerald green to my sewing room and it's perfect.  Okay, maybe green can be my favorite again.

Is this a hard question or what?

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Monday, August 13, 2012

How far we've come

Last week as I was passing through the living room it struck me how calm this room feels.  It's just the way I always hoped it would feel.  

Starting out it looked something like this:
What!?  Yeah, I'm not sure what's going on.  Moving furniture, installing a storm door and NOT working on the room yet.  I can't believe that I'm posting this picture!  It's such a great reminder though of all the work that was involved in rehabbing this space.

The biggest problem with the room was that the paint was no longer sticking to the plaster walls.  Also, the plaster surface was uneven and cracked in different places.  

A second problem was that the trim and built-in shelves were painted over without proper surface preparation.  This was causing the paint to chip extremely easily adding to the shabby appearance of everything.  So one of the first steps that I took was to scrape, strip, sand and repaint all the woodwork.

It was great to accomplish getting all the woodwork done, but it was  pretty much impossible to enjoy since the walls were still a problem.  To get that mess in order we had to bring in a professional plasterer to completely redo the walls and ceiling.

Before our plasterer arrived we had to do a lot of prep work.  So last summer we emptied out the living room and did our best to embrace all the dust and grit that came along with tearing out the old ceiling, installing recessed lights and preparing the walls for new plaster.

The living room looked like this shortly before Dave, our plasterer arrived:
The old ceiling had to be completely replaced. 

Here's the room starting to take shape.  The scaffolding allowed the plasterer to work on the ceiling.

Once the plaster coats were all done we had to allow a few weeks for it to cure.  We actually decided to leave the bare plaster for a while and enjoy the raw texture.  It's smooth as glass, but has a matte finish.

Finally this Spring I figured out what paint color I wanted to use.  So here it is now, our calm and peaceful living room:

There were times when I didn't think we'd make it.  And even though getting the walls replastered was really dramatic it still didn't  feel finished until the paint was on.  The wall color is Benjamin Moore's Edgecomb Grey by the way.

What a relief to have another functional space for us to spend time together and enjoy.
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Sunday, August 5, 2012


The IKEA catalogs just came out, did you notice?  Mine arrived in the mail yesterday, just in time for my friend to suggest an IKEA shopping trip.  I browsed the catalog on the drive over.  We had plenty of time to look at it as we got stuck in some seemingly unending traffic.
Once we arrived at the store we stopped for Swedish meatballs to regain our energy.  After dropping her kids off in Small Land we could concentrate on checking everything out.
First off, I have to say the catalog was a bit of a disappointment.  It didn’t seem as organized as previous years.  For reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on it also didn’t seem as inspiring as some previous years’ catalogs. 
But visiting the showrooms is always fun.  The kitchens and baths were standouts for us this time.  My friend is doing a bath update, so we spent a lot of time looking at sinks and cabinets.  They have some great options right now.  We also enjoyed the new textiles and rugs.
Most Adorable:
This Torva Tradgard bed set for kids is really cute.  With the veggies out and about working in the garden.
Biggest Bummer:
IKEA’s Edland collection is discontinued.  Waah, I never figured out where to use it, but I really loved those pieces, especially the wardrobe and the bed.
They had the best little white porcelain pulls on them.  There was a wardrobe in the as-is area that was a bit tempting.
Best Surprise:
Last time I was at IKEA they didn’t have any Toftbo bathmats and I thought they were gone.  Well, here it is again, the Toftbo in white is what I picked up.toftbo-bathmat__IKEA 1299 microfiber
Most Desired:
An entire display kitchen with brown/black cabinets and white island with all the fixings.
Closest Call:
For $39, this Vittsjo laptop desk almost came home with me.  I really like how airy it is, but I think I would prefer a frosted glass top to help with smudges.  I’m still considering it though.vittsjo-laptop-table__3900
Most Exciting Purchase:
We didn’t come home with much, but I’m excited about my new Upphetta coffee/tea press.  We already have a larger one, but some days when just a small amount will due this will be perfect.  It’s 34oz.
Till we meet again, IKEA. Pin It

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Finding My Voice

A few months have gone by again since I last posted any updates here.  I love the idea of my blog and having a place to chronicle the journey with our little house, but it's just that- an idea.  I tell myself that I'm just too busy to get to it right now, but that's really only a partial excuse.  In reality how long does a post really have to take?  Of course I have the time to jot something down occasionally.

So what is it then?

It's easier to read other blogs, check Facebook or get lost "pinning" pictures than it is to put words to my own thoughts. 

Instead of showing pictures of the progress we're making I feel like it's not good enough and I want to wait until things are more done, more clean, more decorated.

Most of all, I often find that I talk myself out of writing posts.  That's silly, because this is my blog and it doesn't really matter what I say or how well I say it.  It's a chance for me to express all these thoughts I always have rattling around in my introvert's brain.

It's time I found my voice and stop holding back.  I have several projects in progress or completed and I've been thinking a lot lately about clothes and the size of my wardrobe.  I'm not going to talk myself out of sharing this time. 

So that is my confession and my declaration.

I'll be back later this week!

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

When projects get out of control (II)

In my last post I shared a picture of my living room in a state of complete mid-project disarray.  The living room is done now, but the chaos has just moved on to the next room that is getting torn up.  Not that we aren’t loving our new space, because we really, really are.  It’s just that we always have more projects to do, and projects are really disruptive. 
Even small projects can create a big mess, make you drag out all sorts of tools and supplies, and have unexpected changes in plans.  There’s always the unplanned trips to the store for additional supplies and of course all sorts of interruptions like having to make some lunch, or you know go to work or something.
Ok, so all these projects can get really overwhelming so how do I keep it going? 
1.  Focus on something smaller or breaking a project up into smaller tasks.  Making these cinnamon ornaments was an easy and fun project that was really satisfying even if the rest of the house (or room) wasn’t perfect.  Being able to accomplish something that can be completed within a couple hours provides some instant gratification and helps stave off the burnout from working on the big house projects that take a lot longer.

2.  Another way of refocusing and remembering what’s important and what all this work on our house is about is to spend some quality time with my guys.  Sometimes the more important goal is just to recharge a bit.
IMG_3318_edit for blog

3.  Getting out of the house altogether and doing something totally non-house and non-project related is another tool for coping with all the craziness.  It’s not usually the first thing that I want to do, but a lot of times it’s the best thing for me.  Then I can come back with more energy and ideas.
Those are a few ways that I try to hang on to my sanity while we tear apart our tiny house.  I guess it’s working because I think our house projects are actually getting more fun as we go along. Pin It

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When projects get out of control

From what I hear, home ownership always involves lots of projects.  Our tiny house is definitely what you could call a "fixer upper" so house projects have been the norm for us for as long as this house has been in our lives.  Had we known then what we know now about our house both R and I would agree that we would have walked away from this house.  Actually, run screaming is more like it.  The whole house is one big project and we've both felt like we're in over our heads at times.  With no time machine forthcoming, we've learned over time that we have to balance the need to get things done with the need to do things away from home sometimes too.

First, here are some signs that your project has gotten out of control:
  • You want to stay at work longer hours so that you don't have to face working on your project at home
  • The first question you hear from friends and family when they call you is, "how's the house coming along?"
  • You think of the cost of a dinner out in terms of how many sheets of drywall, cans of paint, or other supply that would purchase from the home improvement store
  • You can't remember the last time you didn't have the cordless drill charging on the kitchen counter
  • You no longer feel strange running errands or shopping at the grocery store wearing old clothes with paint stains on them
More seriously, if you are hating your house and feeling miserable about your situation or maybe even being short-tempered with others, it's time to re-evaluate the project and get things back in control. 

Our most recent out-of-control project has been our living room.

Our living room has been looking approximately like this for a few months now.  Yes, I said months.  And yes that means I haven't sat in my sofa or walked sock-foot through the room since summertime. 

At least the ceiling is up now, but we've still got some work to do.  I'll be back with more updates on that and I can't wait - it's going to be an amazing transformation.  And I'd like to post a bit on getting a project back on track and coping with construction disruption too. Pin It

Monday, November 28, 2011

My fabulous sewing room reveal!

A long, long time ago my husband and I built a new room for me to use as my sewing/crafting/peaceful get-away space. I was blogging at the time and posted our progress and showed the room off just as it was almost done and ready for furniture.  

My room has been a great little haven for me and I'm excited to finally be putting some pictures up here to document it.

Now lets get to the pictures...

eeek!  I called this 'the dungeon'

AFTER lots of hard work, insulation, drywall and paint

come on in

desk and work table to move around for different tasks

I stash my upcoming projects and mending in this basket.  The rest of the fabric is stored in the trunk on the other side of room.

thread and storage bins

some ribbon in the glass bin- LOVE these

Lane cedar chest from my Grandma where I'm storing most of my fabric. I made the pillows using a zig-zag tutorial from Make It Do.

Roo in the circle chair, which is temporarily out of the room as you can see in the next picture

sad my veg calendar year is coming to an end, the illustrations are so pretty.  EDIT: I just found out the calendar, a printable from Cottage Industrialist is going to be offered again this year, so I can just do it all again!

another place for Roo to lay when he visits me in my room

my sweet cast iron "pin pan" that I got at a yard sale

the room in action- it is really little, but I feel lucky to have a dedicated crafting space at all

It feels great to finally get that posted. I hope to get back to blogging more regularly now. I have lots more to share just about this room as well as our other projects around the house.

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