Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Thursday, May 09, 2013

did you ever know that you're my hero? {Updated}

I've been coming up with lots of ideas for what I could write about, but I am actually more interested to know what you're doing. Did you know that, when I write "So, what's going on with you?" I actually want to know what's happening with you? Like, for real. Even if I don't know you in person, I would like to have a chat. So if you're cleaning your refrigerator or petting your cat while you read, I am genuinely interested in finding that out. This means you, Dad.

Update: Ask and you shall receive! I got quite a few messages this morning that Disqus is not working right. Geez, you guys, thanks so much for letting me know. I still don't like Blogger comments, but for now it will be what I'm using. Try it out for me? Thanks!

Moving on from begging, I will share a bit of what's we're up to today. A shipment of two giant boxes arrived in our mudroom. They are waiting for Grandpa Dave's arrival tomorrow so he and Nate can assemble a backyard cedar playhouse for the girls. Meanwhile, our entryway smells delightfully of a cedar chest. I suggested to Vivi that they girls could color the outside of the boxes with crayons, and she enthusiastically replied, "Let's design some plans for this art project." Future engineer?

In other tales of household heroism, Mom and I planned and hung a gallery wall in our stairwell when she was in town. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Care to take a gander?


The wall on the right is going to have some of its photos swapped, but even empty frames are a huge upgrade from what was there (i.e. nothing). Some of these shots I will leave, though, like the ones professionally taken and all the B&Ws. Others, like the flowers (left over from a years-ago failed nursery project) will be swapped with more chic landscapes. More of England, perhaps? Here, have a closer look:



Right now it has a funky mixture of B&W, sepia, and colors. I'd prefer B&W with red accents, but maybe this is one of those projects where you step back and chew on some hay for a minute before you make changes. Do you have any first impressions to share?

My favorite is the opposite wall, with its mostly symmetrical layout and matching colors.

I need to get a magic eraser for those pencil marks. And where's that personal assistant I ordered?

Mom laid the whole planned display on the floor first, which helped tremendously with placement. Is this a well known decorating trick? I have tried it before, but she added the element of snapping a photo, which was key in avoiding confusion once half the frames were hung.

At one point as I was standing on the old rickety wood ladder, precariously nailing hardware, I noticed a sign on the ladder that reads "This unit is not meant to be used separately." Ha. Fear of heights aside, I found the whole experience completely fulfilling. Productivity provides its own brand of endorphins, I suppose. I just wish I could be as productive all the time as I am when visitors are around, especially my mom, who is the doer of all doers. Therein lies the rub, since most of our visitors probably want to do other things than assist my home improvement exploits.

Perhaps I can lure you over with a glass of white wine. You can sit on the stairs and direct where and how my photo swapping should occur, and I'll do the labor. Deal?

Friday, March 01, 2013

spring cleaning update to your kitchen: {guest post}

How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions? I wised up this year and didn't announce my resolutions, thereby (in theory) circumventing guilt when I did not fulfill them. However, being a person who seeks self-improvement, I did make some mental notes on areas of my life and home I'd like to tinker with this year. One area I highlighted for renovation is the kitchen. But despite loads of inspiration on my Pinterest boards, I am having trouble getting started. Cue those guilty feelings.

With the beginning of March comes thoughts of spring cleaning, so it feels like a good time to put aside the fear and guilt and get moving on some of those resolutions. Today I'm bringing in a guest with expertise in the field of home improvement, and she's going to give us some frugal ideas for where to begin on updating your kitchen. Be sure to read to the bottom for Jillian's bio. Take it away, Jillian!
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Ikea kitchens
Image Credit: Ikea

This year when you're doing your annual spring cleaning, don't just clear out the clutter from your kitchen; –make it better by improving the organization, updating the design, and maybe even doing a bit of renovation.

Here are several great ideas to make your kitchen the best room in the house.


Ikea Kitchens
Image Credit: Ikea


Organize(rs for) your drawers. 

How many times have you cleaned out your drawers and made everything look fantastic, only to open them a few weeks later and discover that everything has gotten cluttered again? No system is perfect, but there are some great drawer organization systems that can go a long way towards helping. Ikea offers these simple drawer organizers that help you to divide your cabinets with clean lines, and several manufacturers are even applying this idea to dinnerware with pegged dish organizers. You can move the pegs around as you need to fit your particular plates, bowls, and saucers, and never worry about where they're supposed to go.


My mom's kitchen after recent updates (note the mirror and newly painted cabinets)


Do it with mirrors. 

Everyone knows that mirrors work wonders at making spaces feel bigger, but few people think to use this knowledge in their kitchen. If you have a cramped cooking area, you can make it appear larger by adding in a mirrored backsplash. You'll open the space up with reflections and create a brighter, cleaner look.


Provide a facelift. 

Redoing your entire kitchen can be prohibitively expensive, but that doesn't mean that you can't use frugal tips to make it look like a new room. Convince people that you replaced your cabinetry by getting new doors. Some places even offer them unfinished for as little as $9.95 per door! Alternatively, you could paint your current doors a different color and simply pick up some fancy new hardware.



Ikea KitchensSink and faucet. 

Another piece of hardware that can make a big impact is your sink and faucet. Change out both, and you can have a truly different look in your kitchen, especially if you're going from a traditional metal sink to one made of stone, china, or even glass. Of course, some sinks can cost in the thousands. For many, that's probably too expensive, so if that's you, make an impression with a new designer faucet. You can even help the environment by getting one that's low-flow.


Hang around. 

One great way to get organized and revitalize the look of your kitchen is to utilize the vertical space – especially the space underneath counters. If you’re really feeling in the mood to change things up, you can get a cabinet that suspends your microwave over the stove and free up more of the counter. Those looking for something a bit easier, though, may want to try a hanging pot rack or a hanging wine rack.


Ikea Kitchens
Image Credit: Ikea

Change out your chairs. 

If you have a small table in your kitchen or a breakfast bar, the kind of seating you use can make a big statement about the room. Are you stately and refined, or sleek and modern? Even changing out something seemingly small like your seating can greatly affect the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Perhaps just as important, smaller chairs can give you more space and make your kitchen feel bigger than it really is.


About the author: Jillian Watkinson is a DIY expert and has written about home and gardens for many years. You can find other examples of her writing on The Design Inspirationalist, The Kitchen Blog, and Pegasus Lighting. When she’s not writing, you can find her covering Community Home Supply and other useful supply companies for various projects.

Editor's note: This post is part of LHITS DIY Linky and The Homestead Barn Hop.

Monday, August 13, 2012

on dream houses, the word of the day, and other haps

Tell me, friends, do you spend time planning your dream house? If so, do you plan what you will adorn the walls with or do you focus on building your own home some day?

I focus on the former, but truthfully it's more like I obsess over one or two minute details, like that I will have a gallery wall or a map room some day. We are still renting a home, so those dreams have to stay just that for the time being. But whenever I am feeling blue about not being able to jazz up my current dwelling, I turn to Pinterest and pin to my heart's desire.

Here are some of my favorites lately (and you can see the whole board here). Do tell me what your dream home will include.

Gallery wall of black and white photos. {Swoon}

                                   Source: ciaonewportbeach.blogspot.com via Lone Home Ranger on Pinterest


Friday, June 15, 2012

wardrobing 101: {guest post}

Hey y'all,
I don't think I needed to tell you this post is by a guest because you've likely heard by now that I am completely without fashion sense. I either missed the gene or the boat, but either way the proverbial ship has sailed, so I rely heavily on the advice of others. Enter the fabulous, sage wisdom of my blogger friend Sheri. If you haven't seen her other guest post on recession-era gardening, you should check it out; it's one of the most popular posts ever. Also be sure to read through to the bottom of this post so you can check out her bio and a link to her blog.
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Why is getting dressed so complicated? Even for women who work in a traditional office setting, there are still nights and weekends to contend with. And for those of us who work from home (either part-time or full-time), “casual” can easily slip into “I’ve given up.”

I’ve been self-employed for 10 years now, running my own landscape design firm from home. When I’m on a job site, my outfit consists of a t-shirt, cargo pants and gardening clogs. Easy. But what about the rest of my week? I have 3 kids –ages 21, 15 and 3 - and my “typical” week consists of working from home (on garden plans or my blog), meeting with clients, playground adventures, and the occasional lunch with friends.

On most days I wake up at 6am and am dressed and ready for the day by 8. My goal – as often as possible – is to NOT have to change clothes during the day. Which means that I have to look pulled together, be prepared for any number of scenarios, and of course – be comfortable.  As I am also of “a certain age”, I’ve been getting dressed for a long time and have pretty much honed my wardrobing down to a science.

Monday, March 05, 2012

DIY reading nook: my first guest post {squeal!}


Y'all probably know by now I'm not a squealer, so my news today must mean a great deal to me because I can't stop squealing when I see it: my first guest post on another blog! I was so pleased that Emily from S.A.H.M. i AM asked me to return the favor she did for me a few weeks back. Emily is a great friend, and she shares the unique distinction of being the only virtual-world bestie of mine; I've never met her in person but we've gabbed by phone, e-mail, and gobs of blog comments. I was drawn to her blog the first time I participated in NaBloPoMo, so I emailed her to tell her how much I loved it, and the rest is history. And get this...we even share a birthday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the mantel: before and after

I have previously discussed my love of Pinterest, but I hadn't actually made anything I've pinned, aside from a chicken recipe, until now. I never would have taken on the mantel project in the first place had it not been for the zillions of gorgeous mantel decoration photos I'd scrolled through and pinned on Pinterest in recent weeks. I kept staring at my mantel last week, knowing I wanted to change it but thinking it would take time and money. But it didn't! I spent only a few minutes and $2 on a gourd. The rest of the stuff came from other places in the house.

I am annoyed at myself for not planning ahead and taking a picture of the drab, cliche mantel we had prior to my little project. Oh well, this blurry picture is the best I could find. Keep your expectations low:


Since you can't really see beyond Charlie's giant head, I'll paint you a picture. All that was on my mantel before was a framed map (which we love but was out of place there) and some books pinned between two carved elephant book ends.


Progress! It's still not perfect. I know I need to take down some accessories to make it less cluttered, I just can't decide which ones. I'm also looking forward to getting more fall elements as the weather changes, like maple leaves or a wheat bundle or two.




Wish I had the skills needed to edit out my external flash reflection in the picture of us in Paris. I currently have a 30-day Photoshop trial, but I'm finding that it is more difficult and less fun than I thought it would be to play around with it. Feels like work, you know? And when I'm Mommying, I'm all about doing only stuff that feels like play in my spare time. I still want to get some version of Adobe (probably either Photoshop Premier Elements or Lightroom), but I think I'm going to take a friend's advice and sign up for a class to help me understand all the fun gadgets.

Despite my amateur decorating and photographing technique, I'm linking to a fall-themed mantel blog party. I didn't know such a thing existed until reading a design blog today. There is much to love about the Interwebs these days.

Update 10/16/11: I added more fall elements to our mantel, including a few pumpkin tree branches from Trader Joe's, a giant gourd from a local farm, and some owl candles from TJ Maxx. Am I trendy or what?



Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm sorry, did you say something?...

If I didn't respond to your email or answer my phone or come to the knock at the door, it's because I have fallen in love with Pinterest. It may be the coolest thing ever to have graced the Interwebs and has rapidly become my favorite activity during nap time. You can "pin" anything you find that has an image associated with it, like a recipe, a nifty craft project, or an inspiration for a room in your house. So long disorganized magazine clippings, hello Pinterest. You should check it out! But don't say I didn't warn you about the potential for time suckage...

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