Posts Tagged ‘decorating’

Deck The Halls

Monday, December 10th, 2012

My house is sort of a disaster right now. There’s a two foot tall turkey made from a paper bag left over from Thanksgiving that I can’t throw away because Caroline is in love with it. There’s a bright orange toddler slide the kids keep dragging in from the porch. There’s a broken camera in five pieces on the kitchen island. And the dining room (a.k.a. Party Central) looks like a winter candy cane forest wonderland threw up on it.

But Mandy posted some adorable pictures of her adorable home decorated for Christmas and I wanted to play along. I love seeing people’s decorations in real life versus the ones in the Pottery Barn catalog, which basically just makes me want to give up on life. ┬áMy decor this year is a mix of stuff I put up every Christmas and stuff that’s already up for Caroline’s birthday. The party stuff will probably be up until February because I hate putting so much effort into decorating for just ONE DAY. I realize the solution to that problem is to just not put so much effort into decorating, but I am not entirely rational when it comes to holidays/birthdays.

This is Mr. Bear. I won him one year when I worked at Target for getting the most customer compliment cards. I used to think he was hideous and tacky but I sort of love him now.

What do you think? Are my halls thoroughly decked?

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Pinterest Living Room Makeover

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Confession: I’ve taken the “before” pictures for this makeover no less than five different times. Every time I walk through the living room (which is every time I go upstairs or check the mail) I am underwhelmed by its boringness and uselessness. We live in an old house, designed for formal entertaining (you can see the house tour here, although we’ve changed almost every room since then) which is fantastic when it comes to throwing parties but not so great for every day life. We don’t use the front door and we almost never use the dining room, so the front of the house has become a catch-all for junk. There isn’t even a couch in the living room – the free one I got off Craigslist went out with the trash before Evan’s 1st birthday and I haven’t found something I like/can afford. Which means for the last year (and then some), our living room has looked like this:

From a few weeks ago. Just ignore the ball pit we just FINALLY took down from Little Evan’s 2nd birthday party. Also, that TV isn’t hooked up/attached to anything yet, so it’s just a big black light-blocking hole.
This is from Saturday morning. I moved some stuff to the mantle to try to make it more interesting. It didn’t really work.

I know it was built for afternoon teas and dinner parties, but living in half our house is stupid – why feel cramped when we have an extra 300+ square feet of EMPTY SPACE to spread out in? And why do I keep insisting on using it as a FORMAL living room, when almost none of our living is formal?

So my mission was two fold:
1. Make our living room both more functional and more fun and
2. Don’t spend any money

Enter Pinterest.

{handprint art, chalkboard table, bright colored room, fabric garland, covered canvas, button letter}

And here’s how it looks now:

Breakdown:
-I bought the canvases from Michael’s when they were on sale AND I had a coupon, to save for a day when I was feeling creative. The striped ones are tissue paper attached with spray adhesive.
-All the paint, felt and ribbons are from previous projects, especially Caroline’s Nursery.
-The bright colored pillow covers are from Life’s Candy, my wonderful friend Mae’s shop. I relocated them from our entrance bench.
-The fabric on the garland was tablecloths at Little Evan’s 2nd birthday.
-The plates are straight up dinner plates from our cabinet, purchased at Walmart in 2001.
6. The empty frame was in our basement.
7. I bought the vases at Target for $3.24 each back in March to fill in the empty mantle.
8. The coffee table was in the basement, the blue chair was in the attic and the toys were in the toy box.

Since the coffee table is black you can’t really see the chalkboard paint unless I’ve drawn on it, so all it takes is a quick swipe with a damp paper towel and we have our grown-up piece of furniture back. The baskets underneath neatly hide all the toys and the chalk.

So paint, buttons, fabric, and some repurposing turned our boring wasted space into a cute, usable room. Now I just need to find a small couch, some big comfy floor pillows and a DVD player for that TV and we might actually start spending some time in there!

Of course I finished this just in time to change it all again for Christmas. Maybe we’ll go with a rainbow theme for the holidays this year.

Thirty Hand Made Days

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Also known as: I’ve started buying stuff with polka dots on it for Little Evan’s 2nd birthday party because his theme is going to be Bubbles, Balls & Balloons Edition.

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Caroline’s Nursery

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Caroline’s nursery is not actually a nursery. It’s really not even Caroline’s right now, since it’s full of toddler toys and doesn’t have a crib. But it does have nice carpet, a very comfy nursing chair, lots of pretty colorful things and a big closet full of little girl clothes. I’m pretty excited about the room in general, since in about a week I’m going to be staring down the barrel of taking care of two kids on my own (I have been SOOOO spoiled with E home and my mom here) and a fun place for all of us to hang out is going to make that a lot easier. Plus it will be PERFECT for play dates. Who wants to come over?!

Welcome!

My mom wrote “Caroline” in place of “Baby Girl” on the chalkboard tray before we brought her home.

View from the door

This room really needs to be painted. The paint is like primer, totally flat, and there are a zillion scratches and chips and scrapes on the walls. But I sort of figure it’s only a matter of time before someone colors on them in permanent marker anyway, so painting it now would be an exercise in futility. Also, I freaking hate painting.

From behind the glider

My favorite corner

The chair is from Babies R Us (this one is better than the defective one, but the seat is ALREADY kind of lopsided so I don’t recommend it, no matter how comfortable it seems in the store) but the ottoman came with our old glider that’s still in Little Evan’s room. My mom recovered the ugly beige with one of the cute fabrics I bought. Curtains are Ikea, pillows are from Target, blanket on the chair was a gift from my friend Amanda, tutu (hanging on the wall) and ribbon mobile are two of my craft projects.

Man, those moldings REALLY need a coat of paint. Yikes.

Here’s the most important nursery planning tip ever: BUY A DRESSER INSTEAD OF A CHANGING TABLE. Or at least buy a changing table with drawers. Those open shelves are useless. This one is from Ikea and it’s just the right size. Lamp and shade also from Ikea. If you can’t read the banner, it’s actually Charley Harper Flash Cards spelling out “Caroline” held on a ribbon by wooden clothes-pins. There mirrors were on clearance at Target for $1.25 so I bought 4 (the other two are on another wall) and painted the frames in bright colors to match the room. I hung them at toddler-height so Little Evan can play peek-a-boo with himself. (p.s. The child sized broom courtesy of a toddler who felt it REALLY belonged in this picture.)

The wall behind the main door

The floor pillows are my FAVORITE thing about the room. The fabric on top of the front pillow is what inspired the color scheme and the pink and orange fabrics were from Caroline’s baby shower. I’m terrible at sewing but my mom is AWESOME and after I tracked down some nice big fluffy pillow forms (Ikea! $6.99! It was cheaper than buying poly-fill!) she whipped these right up for me. Now they’re perfect for lounging around on the floor during play time. Mirrors are the other two I bought at Target and the baby hats/bows/booties are all just hanging on a ribbon with clothes pins. I went a little clothes-pin-crazy in here.

TA-DA! This is where the whole room started. So in case you were wondering, the theme of the room is orange, pink, green, blue, brown, birds, nature, vintage, nursery rhymes, and transportation. I have a hard time making choices.

I bought a yard of this fabric at Ikea. But it wasn’t at my local Ikea, it was during my super awesome fantastic amazingly amazing trip to Minnesota so it’s extra special. The frame was another freebie from after a garage sale that I spray painted orange.

Toddler play corner

Built-in book shelves. Please note my awesome variety of pretty much every book series ever written for children. And maybe one TOTALLY CHILD INAPPROPRIATE book by Edward Gorey.

Evan is in love with his little table and chairs (a Christmas gift from his grandma and grandpa)

Other stuff in this corner: Lamp & shade, easel, and abacus from Ikea. Animal shaped bins are from Target, various plastic toys from EVERY PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAT SELLS TOYS.

He really wanted to be in EVERY picture.

The canvas on the wall was super cheap at Target (on clearance, less than $5). It was bright and happy and figured I couldn’t even MAKE something for less. The table my doll house is on is actually an old dining room table from Ikea (this one, purchased by E at least 7 years ago, painted by me 5 years ago) that he shortened the legs on to make it toddler height. Hanging toy storage in the corner also from Ikea (they should really pay me commission or something for plugging their stuff, right?) The rocker Little Evan is sitting in was my mom’s when she was a child. It had an unfortunate run in with her dog that left it a little worse for the wear but it’s still functional. Plus it means a lot to have vintage stuff like that used by my kids.

A few details...

1. Vintage airplane mobile (my brother’s when he was a baby) It plays “Fly Me To The Moon”
2. Bebeh feet!
3. Vintage fabric birds hanging in the window over the doll house
4. Beautiful hand-made teether from Little Alouette. LOVE LOVE LOVE everything from Amy’s shop, plus she is an extremely nice person (I met her at The Creative Connection). I’m sitting on my hands right now to keep from ordering this little owl shaped teether. Or just getting three for $35. But Caroline can’t even see her hands yet so it seems a little excessive. For record, I’d get the owl, the hippo and the fawn. Just, you know, FYI.
5. Vintage tea cup from my Aunt Susan
6. Vintage dress (mine when I was little) hanging on the wall. Too pretty for the closet!
7. The “LOVE” sign is a wood cutout I bought for $1 at Joann’s and spray painted with a little help from some blue painter’s tape. The bird has a pull string that makes it play music and flap it’s wings (vintage from my childhood).
8. Easter ducky (also from Aunt Susan) sitting on nursery rhyme books from the baby shower

Thanks for visiting!

So in the end, it’s not really a design-magazine worthy kind of space but I’m totally in love with it. Better yet, the kids seem to really like it.

Oh my God, saying “the kids” sounds so weird. I have KIDS.

If I missed the source for anything you’re wondering about, let me know and I can tell you where it came from. Full disclosure: the two or three Amazon links do go through my associates account so I get like, 4 cents or something if you purchase the item by clicking through my link.

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Before and After: New Master Bedroom

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

I need you to go ahead and ignore the piles of clothes, the bed-skirtless mattress, closetless doors and lack of curtains, art on the walls, etc. We’re still finishing up the transition but had to take a break today to clean the 1st floor of the house so I didn’t die dead of embarrassment when E’s hockey team comes over later for a cookout.

Really though, considering how horrifying the “before” pictures are, I have no idea why I’m bother to put disclaimers on this at all. ONE MILLION PERCENT BETTER.

Before and After: New Master Bedroom

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

In case anyone cares:
The trim is Glidden White on White
The walls are Glidden Shell White
The ceiling got two coats of Behr Pure White ceiling paint
The carpet is called NRF Sail Away Cedar Brown (Yeah, I’m not a carpet expert, we said “We want something mid-grade” and they said “We have a crap-ton of this stuff, we’ll sell it to you cheap.”)
The closet organizers are from Home Depot
We replaced every outlet, outlet cover, switch, switch plate and blank cover with white ones.
We put in 2 four foot electric baseboard heaters, also white, with a matching white thermostat

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