Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Living Room Switcheroo

Remember how a few posts ago I said that I could simply change out a few things in my living room and it would completely change the whole look of the room?  Well, I did, and it did.  Here's the before with the fall colors and turquoise accents:

Well, I decided to change it out for Christmas and bring back the red and black.

All I had to do was turn my decorative doors around, switch out a few pillows and blankets, switch the mirror over the fireplace, change out some artwork, switch out the coffee table (written out, that sounds like a lot more work than it actually was) and add my few Christmas decorations.  (Yes, I do realize that Christmas was almost a whole month ago, but what can I say, I'm a master procrastinator.)

And presto-change-o, it looks like a whole new room!  :o)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Yarn Wreaths

I decided to be crafty for Christmas this year.  I am lucky enough to have both of my Grandmas nearby and so for Christmas this year, I decided to do these yarn wreaths for them.  I figured since they're not holiday-themed, they can keep them up anytime of the year (if they want... they might think they're really ugly and just hang them up so I don't feel bad, but Grandmas are great at making you think all your creations are beautiful, whether they are or not)  I not-so-sneakily asked them what their favorite colors were, and they were, respectively: pink and purple.

I have to give credit for this idea to my mom, who when I asked for suggestions of what to get as gifts this year, she said, "why don't you make them each a wreath?"  Great idea!  So, I hopped on Pinterest and subsequently pinned about 100 different ideas.  I really liked the yarn wreaths because you can make them in any color of the rainbow, so the possibilities are endless.

Pinterest also has a ton of ideas for fabric flowers, which I thought would make a nice addition to these wreaths.  I sort of adapted this idea to my needs using scraps of fabric that I got from.... yep, you guessed it!  My Grandma!  She has an entire dresser full of scrap fabric from past crafts and sewing projects so I "borrowed" all of it... for "Christmas crafts".  Bahaha, I'm so sneaky.

Anyway, I picked up a couple skeins of yarn in pink and purple, my wreath form, and some straight pins for pinning on all my fabric flowers.  Then I went through all my scrap fabric and picked out coordinating fabrics in pinks and purples to use for my flowers.

Here's the materials I started with:

I was originally going to do the whole monogram thing, but in the end, I couldn't figure out how to attach the letter and there just didn't seem to be any good place to put it, so I left it out.  

I used a straw wreath form (make sure to leave the plastic on!) but you can use any type.  I've also heard that a pool noodle duct taped into a circular form works great.  

Anyway, just start wrapping your yarn around the wreath form... and around, and around... for about a solid hour and a half until it's completely covered.  This took about 3/4 of the skein of yarn and did take almost a full 90 minutes to finish.  

Once your wreath is wrapped you can start embellishing it as you want it.  I cut out flower shapes in the scraps and layered them and then used buttons for the flower centers and straight pins to attach the flowers to the wreath.  No sewing necessary.  For the rosettes, I simply took long strips of fabric and then twisted it and rolled it into a circular pattern and pinned it on as well.  I just kept adding until it looked full enough.  For the leaves, I cut the fabric in a leaf shape, pinched the end together to make it more 3D and pinned them on.  Surprisingly, this part went pretty fast... faster than wrapping the wreath.  

Once I had the first one finished, I simply copied the same pattern using different colored fabrics so they would both have basically the same design in the end.  

And here's the finished product:

All in all, it was really pretty easy and fun.  I might get ambitious and make more later on.  There are some really adorable Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter, and Christmas themed ones on Pinterest.  And if you have extra yarn or fabric lying around, it's a great way to use it up.  This would work well with ribbon too, and probably go a lot faster.  I'm thinking a cute feather boa wrapped around the wreath form might look adorable too... hmmm....  The possibilities really are endless!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sneak Peek

I want to tell you a little story.  It's about an impatient wife, and an exasperated husband.  What had happened was.... I came home one day with a bright idea to rip out our completely functional, somewhat dated, bathroom vanity and put in a bright shiny pedestal sink, paint the dingy walls, add new cabinets, lighting and a fancy mirror.  Easy peasy!  In my brain it was anyway.  We already had the pedestal sink from a previous reno that we never finished, and we had two nightstands with marble tops that would be perfect for storage cabinets!  All completely free!  Easy!  Done in a flash!  Bahahahahahaha!

Here was my brilliant idea:  (Disclaimer: SketchUp is the devil. You can just bump a wall out here, drag and drop a sink there, and it's all looking beautiful on paper in about 5 minutes.  That doesn't really happen in real life.)  Here's the bathroom as it was before we moved in:

The footprint of the bathroom is pretty long and narrow and eventually we'd like to take out that wall across from the sink (which is the back of our master bedroom closet) and turn that into more space in the bathroom.  That's waaaay down the line, though.  Right now I just wanted to do a Phase 1 reno to make the bathroom a little prettier and more functional.  

The bathroom has always been a little dingy and outdated, which bugs me.  As you can see from the pics above, the vanity is awkward (Why is it off-centered?  Why are there no cabinets below?  Why would you leave the plumbing exposed?  Why are the countertops painted?) and it makes for a tight squeeze with two people trying to get ready in the mornings.  The sink was originally blue (as was the tile and tub) but the previous owners painted (yes, painted) it all white.  They didn't do the neatest job, so the paint is coming off in places and there's a lot of brush strokes and drips clearly visible.  There's some really ugly lighting in there and it's dark like a cave at night.  

Changes on my list included a fresh coat of bright paint, new lighting, and some bright white cabinetry and a new sink.  I eventually want to get a new tub and tile surround, and tile the floor with some pretty white hex-tile, but that's not in the budget right now, so that'll have to wait on the back-burner for a few more years.

I sketched up my ideas and it seemed so easy!  Did I mention SketchUp is the devil?  Here's my SketchUp plan:

The floorplan:

View of the new pedestal sink and storage cabinets:

Some floating shelves above the toilet for more storage:

And a new ceiling-height white shower curtain to hide the painted tile/tub:

After one evening of angrily ripping everything out, which almost ended in Daniel divorcing me on the spot, here's where we ended up:

Yes, those are holes in the drywall, which is so old they don't make the same thickness anymore!  Yes, the plumbing is off-centered just enough so that we have to move all the pipes!  Yes, the electrical is so old that will all have to be re-done!  Yes, there is mold growing on the walls because there is no exhaust in this room! Yes, that's yet another expense to be added to our already over-stretched Phase 1 "free" bathroom renovation budget!  Yes, we do have to replace a big section of the ceiling where Daniel almost fell through while trying to re-do the wiring!

Whew!  I'm tired already.  And my part of this thing hasn't even really started.  This was one of those projects that I think will only take a weekend or so to complete, and then 5 months later, it still looks like the pics above.  We have made some progress.  We have a working sink.  Beadboard has gone up.  Some wiring has been completed.  That's about it.  But I'll be sure to keep you posted on our Phase 1 progress!  Stay tuned!

Note: If you want to check out our progress, click here, here, here, and here.

Holiday Home Tour 2013

I know I'm running behind on this Christmas post, but that seems to be my theme for 2013-2014.  I've been a little slack lately about getting things done and getting motivated over the holidays.  Anyway, just thought I'd share our holiday house tour photos... better late than never!

It's usually a tradition for me to get started with my Christmas decorating the day after Thanksgiving.  No Black Friday shopping for this girl... I would much rather stay home and hide in my pj's.  This year, however, I was a little behind.  There was a bit of a Christmas light fiasco while I was trying to put the tree up, and long story short, after about four strands of dud lights, I almost ended up not putting a tree up at all.  I did manage to get this book tree put up the day after Thanksgiving.  This was one of my Pinterest DIY must-dos and for once I actually finished a project I pinned!

It took every book that I had in the house, but it was really easy.  Just stack the books biggest to smallest in a circular pattern until your 'tree' is the height you want it to be.  Wrap some lights around it and put a topper on of your choice (optional) and done.  I used a cardboard star box that I got at Hobby Lobby for about $3.  I thought about cutting out a design in the box lid and putting a light inside, but then I got distracted by something interesting on TV and the rest is history....

Leon was a big help in putting up the lights.  :o)

I really wanted to put up my big, fancy, pretty tree in the music room this year, but our house is just too small for a full-size tree.  Instead I put up this mini pre-lit tree that was a hand-me-down from my Grandma.  It's midsection lights had blown out so I still had to wrap some lights around it, but it ended up working out okay.  Since this room is all lime green, turquoise, and blue, I thought my usual red & green ornaments would be a little clashy in here.  I decided to use all my white, crystal, and beaded ornaments instead and it turned out all sparkly and shiny and it was just the right amount of ornaments for the size of the tree.

I also put up my Christmas village in here, complete with my favorite decorations of all time - the Clothespin People.  These have been around since before me, and I've loved these ever since I was a little girl.  My mom and my Grandma made most of them, and then I added to them growing up.  They're still my favorite to this day.  

All this was done, but I still wanted a tree in my living room.  We have to keep the music room closed off most of the time because of a couple mischievous cats, so I wasn't able to see my Christmas decorations in here too much.  The big window is in here though, so I like to have a tree in front of that, and our living room set up is pretty full, with not much room for a tree.

I decided to get a tall, skinny tree that I could fit in the corner of the living room to make it a little more festive in there.  I got this 5' Alpine pre-lit tree at Hobby Lobby.   I think it tucked away quite nicely in there and didn't take up too much space. (Please excuse the eerie blue glow coming from the TV, I forgot to turn it off before snapping this pic.)  And it turned out to be just the right size for all my favorite traditional red & green ornaments.


Turned out pretty festive after all.  Daniel says I do way too much decorating since it's just the 2 of us and we don't really have anyone over, but hey, I like looking at it even if no one else gets to see it!


Since I have about a gazillion jars lying around the house, I decided to take another idea from Pinterest and make some of these village-in-a-jar things.  I had a blast doing these and ended up with a ton of them scattered all over the house.  I used cheap laundry detergent as my fake snow and got some little pipe-cleaner trees along with some extra greenery I had lying around to use for my evergreens, and then just used some old ornaments that came in an advent calendar for my miniature scenes.


I also made this Christmas card 'tree' on the side of the refrigerator.  In the beginning, I got mad at my luck with Christmas lights and said, "I'm not even going to do a tree this year!" and then in the end I think I ended up with at least a little tree in every room of the house.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for Christmas decorations.


And then, just for cuteness sake, I have to throw in some pics of my Christmas kitties.  :o)


All this Christmas decorating wore them out!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my Christmas Home Tour, 2013.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!