Posts from the ‘Multi-purpose’ Category

It’s a woman’s prerogative, right?

People used to ask me how the condo was coming along, and my answer almost always seemed to be “Really great, we’re almost done decorating!” I would laugh along when they replied “You’re never really done. And when you are, it’s time to move.” But in my head I would think how every decision I’ve made thus far is beautiful and wonderful and I’ll never grow tired of it.

Apparently never is equivalent to 8 months in the life of a decorator.

I’ve slowed down considerably in the past few months, happy, nay – ecstatic, with the way things were. But now as the holidays have become just a memory and the decorations are stored away in the office closet, I’m charging full force back into condo decor.

Our bedroom has become dull and lifeless.

Our office is lacking a craft space.

 

 

Our bathroom resembles an olive. 

You’re probably shaking your heads, some of you knowing this feeling all too well, some of you bewildered with my seemingly sudden change of heart. But fret not! All these rooms need are a little tweak here, a pop of color there, and I will be back on my honeymoon!

We moved here in May. With the whole summer ahead of us, I was out every night gathering inspiration and creating magic (aka beautiful decor), thanks to the sights and scenes that can be taken in while enjoying outdoor seating at 1 of the many restaurants on our block.

With the winter months upon us, all I want to do is go home and cuddle up on the couch in my snuggie. A boring home makes me sluggish, a sluggish me makes a boring home, what a conundrum! Well Mother Nature can’t get me down! Effective immediately, I will be assigning myself homework and deadlines. Follow me on Twitter or Like me on Facebook to keep up with my daily homework assignments and to offer suggestions for projects.

Viva la Condo!

This is what I get for not being an architect…

Or maybe it’s what I get for not taking measurements. Anyway…

When Chris and I bought our condo the dining room measurements were listed as 8’x8′ on MLS Trend. When we got our condo appraised, the floorplan drawn up in the paperwork also noted the dining room as 8’x8′. When I bought a 16′ piece of wood from Home Depot and had it cut in 2 for the dining room bench, I assumed both pieces were 8′. So when I bought four 8′ pieces of wood for the bench back this week, I assumed they would fit.

Well it turns out our dining room is actually 7’10” x 7’10”.

The wood is still 8′.

Uh oh.

So after 3 trips to Lowe’s in 2 hours Wednesday night, the bench back is secured and upholstered..and standing on its side behind the dining room bench.On the bright side, the bench is reupholstered in this beautiful, more appropriate, more luxurious fabric. The brown pleather was nice in theory, but it was purchased before we painted the room. The red washed out the brown and it just looked cheap. I stapled the new fabric right over the pleather plus another layer of batting, so it’s plusher than ever.The Instructional:

I laid down the fabric first, smoothing out all wrinkles. The batting went over that and the wood over that. I utilized Chris to make sure the wood went down in its place in 1 try, as to not snag or fluster the batting. I didn’t think of how I would secure the 4 long pieces until I got home with the wood and realized I would need to lay a thin 1 inch piece perpendicular. This photo shows the 2″ pieces that I purchased as the bench sides, but they were too thick. So began my 1st of 3 journeys to Lowe’s.I purchased three 1″ thick pieces of wood to secure the four 8′ pieces. To ensure a tight fit for the fabric, I stapled the batting and fabric around all 4 sides before screwing on the 3 smaller pieces.Since this couldn’t safely rest on top of the bench, I had to head back out to Lowe’s for a picture hanging kit (This was actually the 3rd trip as the 2nd trip I forgot my wallet…where is my head these days?). I partially hammered the rings in until they were tight enough to screw in (a screwdriver can’t be used with these). After tying the wire through 3 rings it was ready to hang.The kit also included U-brackets to hang the wire upon. Each of these can hold 75 lbs. I used 2, 1 for every 4 feet.Re-upholstering the bench was a breeze. I pulled the bench a foot away from the wall, turned it on its side and laid the batting on top of the pleather.I repeated this step with the fabric and turned the bench on its other side to staple the bottom.Since the back was way too heavy and Chris wasn’t home, it took me about an hour of maneuvering and pivoting until I realized the back was too long. My shoulder muscles ache today just from getting it over the bench to its upright position.Being the optimists that we are, we didn’t let this snafu hinder us from enjoying Chris’ birthday dinner in our dining room. Truffle fries, grilled sausage with carmelized onions, and filet mignon à la Daddy Mims. Delicious!Excuse the lighting..Ambiance isn’t captured well on film.

NYE Rational Elegance

So Christmas has passed and we’ve all moved on to New Years’ Eve. I will be celebrating the end of 2010 with an intimate dinner party, complete with adult beverages, sequins, and a peacock hair pin. Much like Halloween, NYE should be a time of outrageous wardrobes. The difference is that you want to look outrageously good, not outrageously inappropriate.

 

My Halloween costume consisted of mismatched items from my closet and a few accessories from Five Below. That really won’t fly for this specific night. I need a fancy dress, high heels, some sparkly earrings, a clutch, sky high eyelashes, etc. etc. It adds up. So while I’ve been perusing the racks for something to tickle my fancy, it occurred to me that spending $100, maybe multiple hundreds on a dress only appropriate for 1 night of the year seemed a little irrational. So comes the time for me to introduce Extravagance to Rational.

This mannequin from Macy’s has just the right amount of bling and poof. Unfortunately I am not 9 feet tall nor does Macy’s actually carry this dress. So this year I’ve decided to tone down the dress and tone up the accessories. Gold sequin sling backs, the a fore-mentioned peacock hair pin, bangles, necklaces, earrings…basically I’ll be dripping in costume jewelry. Add all that to the above dress and it’s overkill. Pair it with a LBD…Rational Elegance.

 

 

*(All accessories are from Pier 1. Shoes are from Sears.)

Make your own gifts

Be careful, you may want to keep these “gifts” for yourself. The good news is they are so inexpensive and easy to make, you can make one for your friend, and another one for yourself!

Last year Chris and I fermented vodka for a few of our close friends. We bought funky corked bottles at stores like Home Goods and Marshall’s, peeled lemons (no white pith) and placed in vodka along with raspberries. After 2 weeks they tasted like flavored vodka, which some may enjoy, but we prefer fruitier, less stringent drinks. This Limoncello recipe from Learnvest will deliver just the thing:

What you’ll need:

  • 8 lemons
  • 750 ml bottle of 100 proof vodka
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • Funky corked bottles

First combine the lemon peels (no white pith) with the vodka in a jar. Let this sit airtight for 1 week.

When the week is up, boil the 2 cups of sugar with the 3 cups of water and let cool. Strain the peels from the vodka mixture and stir in the sugar mix. Pour the tasty concoction into the funky bottles and add lemons for garnish if you choose. This gift will also go good with a set of martini glasses if you want to go the extra mile.

If you’re looking for something that will last longer, this picture frame tray is a good idea for the entertainer in your group.

I love trays. They’re decorative, keep clutter off the table, easy to hide, and they just add that little touch that a boring coffee table needs. They’re especially handy for the popular upholstered coffee tables that have been taking furniture stores by storm. When I was tray shopping upon move in, I was specifically looking a tray that I could hang on the wall when not in use. I didn’t find it. So when I saw this Picture frame tray at BHG, I knew what my bedside tables would be getting for Christmas.

Remove the glass from the frame and paint a color of your choice (skip this step if the original color is appropriate). Once dry, screw a drawer pull onto each short side of the frame. Place the glass back in with a decorative wallpaper or fabric remnant in the place of a photo. Or for a more personalized touch, keep a photo of something sentimental in the frame(think landmark, page from their favorite book, recipe for the cookie dough you 2 devoured before baking). Pair with these photo coasters from Bed, Bath & Beyond for a full coffee table wardrobe:

If you’re looking for something less sappy for a colleague, MIL or new acquaintance, these Gourmet Spoons from Learnvest will show how thoughtful you are without being a permanent reminder in the home.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of gourmet chocolate chips
  • 20-25 heavy-duty plastic spoons
  • Nuts, small candies, or crushed candy cane bits
  • wax paper
  • Decorative plastic wrap
  • Ribbon

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and stir until smooth. Dip the spoons into the chocolate and sprinkle on the candy bits. Refrigerate on wax paper until chocolate hardens. Wrap each spoon separately and tie with the ribbon. Present in a decorative box or tin. These can be savored as a lollipop or used to stir flavor into drinks.

I have not personally tested these DIY gifts yet but plan on doing so next week. Check back for my experience and review.

Pretty Practical

I am on a constant lookout for new ways to stay organized. Owning a piece of property will bring out Danny Tanner-esque habits that one never knew existed. In previous residences, I never put much time into storage and de-clutter because the lease expiration date was always looming in the distance. I was always thinking of moving. Knowing that I will be staying where I am now for several years, I have no qualms about improving the space. Really, organizing is just a way of making a space easier to keep clean. Who doesn’t love that?!

Better Homes & Gardens really gets me. They know what I’m about. That’s why they’re always sending me emails with new storage ideas. Of course, some of the slide-shows they send me are a complete waste of time, especially when they fore-go instructions for a measly “Find a decorator in your area” link. But every relationship hits rough spots. They always make it up to me with flowers (I’m talking beautiful centerpieces in my email).

I can’t possibly use all the ideas given, especially with my 20 sq. ft. pantry/laundry room/coat room, but I can sure as heck pass the good ones along. Think of me as a weed whacker. I cut through the unsightly disaster to bring you beautiful, inspirational ideas for your home.

This small red laundry caddy was once an entertainment center, before the days of wall-mounts. A can of paint, a few screws, and a metal pole later: stress free laundromat.

Lazy Susans are not just for picnic tables anymore. I have 1 in my fridge for various sauces and condiments. Everything is within easy reach, refusing to be forgotten about to the point where it no longer resembles its original state. Seriously, these things have saved me so much money. I can’t tell you how often I used to make my grocery list, jotting down an item I already have because it has been relegated to the back of the fridge. AND..they’re under $10! Make sure to get one with a raised lip to avoid sliding.

I LOVE this floating ironing board. I, myself, use a steamer for all my wrinkly garments, but if I had an ironing board, I would definitely mount it to something. If you’re new here, I love things that float. Floor space is very valuable in a condo.

Along the same lines…

Most of us have those few articles of delicate clothing that won’t hold up in the rough and tumble of the dryer. We’ve all seen the fold-up drying rack that gets propped in the middle of your bedroom/ living room/ kitchen, etc overnight until your clothes are dry. Or worse, if you’re like me without such rack, you resort to draping your clothes over pieces of furniture. You should see our place after laundry day, it’s as if our bedroom closet spit up.

But this little treasure is out of the way even when in use. I don’t hang my wet clothes like shown here, for fear of them losing shape, but all the wooden bars are perfect for draping articles over. These are somewhat pricier than their cumbersome counterpart, but given how much I hate waking up to wet clothes in the living room, I’ll spend the extra $30 on the floating variety at Amazon.

Moving on..

I am a fan of glass containers. I have several on my vanity for hair ties, make up brushes, earring studs, etc. I have 1 in my laundry room as a “lost & found” for quarters and such that fall out of our pant pockets during the wash cycle. I also have several under my bathroom sink for shaving necessities, chapsticks and the like. They are very affordable…as low as $2 at Walmart, and can come in all shapes and sizes to meet your needs.

Always remember that practicality can be pretty. Guests may not see your laundry room, but that does not mean you should neglect it. With simple solutions like these, you’ll be looking forward to laundry day before you know it! Wash on!

The VIP lounge gets a little more VI

Let there be light! My dad finally made his way over to fix our dining room light. We have ceiling fans in every room, only 1 has a light. It’s not necessary in the larger rooms because we have lamps but the dining room could not be used without a ceiling light. I tried to install it myself, and was about 95% accurate…just forgot to strip the wire. Now I know.

Since the light installation, I feel as if our condo has grown by about 70 sq. ft. We have a room in which we can dine! Who’d have thought? I was so excited that I had to hang the corbels right away. I came up with a layout and measured accordingly. The installation was very easy. Hammer and hang. I also found a 12 pack of candles..with votives..earlier in the day for $6. Could it be any more perfect?

There are 8 on the back wall and 2 on each side wall.

Still looking for a pullback for the drapes.

Making things pretty

I’ve shown furniture pieces that I wallpapered in previous posts, but never before have I shown the process. That changes now.

I’ve been wanting to wallpaper the built-in center unit in my bedroom closet for a while now, but didn’t want to deal with taking it down. so I started smaller.

While cleaning up the office for our housewarming, I came across a small drawer that I bought months ago from Target when we were first moving. It had been sitting under the desk for months, unused. So I inserted it into my vanity without measuring…luckily it fit like a glove!Then I applied wallpaper glue using a neat little rolling sponge. This baby goes miles!

This wallpaper is from the same roll I bought off ebay for $10. More wallpaper than I could ever need…who am I kidding, I’ll find a way.

Press the wallpaper on with a smoothing tool..any straight edge will work really..to get out all air pockets.Go over the edges with a box cutter to obtain neat edges.Finito!

Pre-vanity I kept all my jewelry and makeup in drawers at the bottom of the office closet. I freed those up for guest linens, arts & crafts, miscellaneous storage, and sewing accessories. Any chance I can to improve storage, I jump at.

My vanity gets better looking each day 🙂

Now that I am experienced with wallpapering vertically, I can tackle the closet built-in. Stay tuned!

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