September 13, 2011

A great mail day….

This is what I call a great mail day.  No Bills.  Lots of magazines and catalogues.

And a little gift from Pottery Barn.

Here are a few things that caught my eye.

It’s a duffel bag AND it’s an ipod speaker station.  Really weird, but slightly intriguing.  And I don’t even think it’s all that ugly, at least in white.

A wire basket for my laundry room to hold my shoes, it’s long and narrow, and might fit perfectly in my tiny laundry room/mudroom/pass through.

I’m loving these convex mirrors.  A set of three would make for interesting wall art.

I’m off to catch up on my magazines and catalogues (and maybe do a little online shopping).

September 12, 2011

How to sew a lined sink skirt

Under Promise and Over Deliver.  I’ll remember that mantra next time before making absolute promises on this blog of mine.  Although I promised to share the full instructions on my DIY sink skirt last week, you’ll have to settle for all of the goodness a week late.

Supplies Needed:

Fabric (1-3 yards as determined by your sink measurements)

Liner (1-3 yards as determined by your sink measurements) – I used Roc Lon Rain No Stain Drapery Liner from JoAnns

Velcro strips: One side should be sticky so that you can stick it directly to the sink while the other side will be sewed directly to the fabric

Sewing Machine, iron, ironing board, spray starch, pins, coordinating thread

Ribbon or trim (optional)

1.  Measure sink.  My sister’s utility sink was 33 inches high.  The two sides of the sink, as well as the front of the sink, were 23 inches long, for a total combined width of 69 inches.  I added 4 inches to the height to account for a 4 inch hem, as well as 1/2 inch to account for a 1/2 inch seam allowance to sew together the liner and the fabric at the top.  I added 4 inches to the width of the sink skirt to account for the corner pleats (2 inches per pleat), as well as another inch to account for a 1/2 seam allowance on either side.  I made the liner 3 inches shorter than the outer fabric (like you would typically see in lined drapery panels).  The liner should be the same exact width as the sink skirt.  See below figure to calculate measurements for the outer fabric and the liner.

2.  Cut fabric and liner accordingly.  With a fabric with a large repeat or directional repeat, take extra care before you cut.  Make sure you’ll be happy with the part of the pattern that will be centered on your sink.  Even though the fabric I used was 54 inches wide, I was able to turn the fabric on its side and use the width of the fabric for the height of my sink skirt.  This may not be possible on fabrics where there is a strong directional repeat.  If this is the case, you’d have to sew two panels together to get the necessary width.

3.  Hem the fabric and liner.  I used a blind hem stitch on my fabric and liner .  Although, it’s not necessary to use a blind hem stitch.  Do what you feel comfortable with.  I referred to my sewing machine manual, as well as youtube video tutorials, for a refresher on the blind hem stitch.  I found this youtube video helpful.

4.  Place the hemmed fabric and liner right sides together and pin.  Sew a 1/2 inch seam allowance on all 3 sides.  Do not sew the hems together.  Turn the sink skirt inside out.  The liner should hang 3 inches higher than the outer fabric.

5.  Use temporary clips (I used clothespins, but binder clips would also work) to position the sink skirt on the sink.  Using the clips position the pleats so that they are even and lay correctly.  Pin the pleats once you’re pleased with how they look.

6.  Remove sink skirt and pin velcro to backside of sink skirt.  Sew the velcro to the top of the sink skirt, taking extra care when you are sewing through the pleats.  At this point you’re sewing through several layers of fabric and you want to make sure you don’t break a needle.  I actually hand-rolled my machine through these stitches at the pleats.

7.  Take the sink skirt to the ironing board and press into place the corner pleats.  Use spray starch if you’d like to give the pleats extra hold.

8.  Attach the sticky side of the velcro to the sink, and then connect the two velcro strips.

9.  Optional: Finish the top of the sink skirt with ribbon or trim to complete the look.

A few extra thoughts.  It’s not necessary to line the sink skirt.  However, I was working with linen and thought it would give extra weight to the fabric so that it would hang nicely.  When making the corner pleats, I did not pleat/crease the liner.  Lastly, we added the black grossgrain ribbon to the top to give the sink skirt a more finished look.  I think the ribbon completed the look beautifully – but we just fabric glued it on (so that we wouldn’t see any stitch lines).

If you have any questions about my process, feel free to comment below.  Good luck sewing your sink skirt!

September 8, 2011

Hand Soap

Hand Soap…exciting stuff right? I wouldn’t typically deem hand soap worthy of an entire blog post. However, I have a new obsession: Pecksniffs Gardenia and White Peach Moisturizing Hand Soap. I first spotted this hand soap at HomeGoods (where else?!). I was instantly smitten with the pretty bottle. I picked up one bottle and used it as a starting point for re-decorating my powder room. Yes, this soap is that pretty – it inspired my powder room re-do! I loved the clean lines, the black lettering against the white soap, not to mention it was topped off with a shiny silver cap and dispenser. O and did I mention it smells heavenly? Hmmm…I’m not quite sure anyone else has ever described a bottle of hand soap in such detail…but I’ll gladly be the first. I was feeling pretty pleased with my purchase so on my twice weekly visits to HomeGoods (there is one near my work and one near my house so I typically pop in to each store once a week), I starting buying more soap. I’ll admit, it’s a problem. I’m a hand soap hoarder. Thus far I’ve purchased 8 bottles! In my defense, two are being used in the extra bathrooms, and one I gifted to my Aunt who shared my same enthusiasm for this soap. She remarked how much she loved the soap so I let her in on my hoarding problem and insisted she take a bottle home with her. So I ‘m down to only 5 extra bottles! The main reason that I’ve been hoarding this soap is that HomeGoods is selling a 16.90 oz bottle for $4.99 while Amazon is selling the same size bottle for $25.50. I think I’ll buy a bottle or two a week month. At this rate I’ll be moving homes before I need to buy more hand soap.

O and did I mention I also picked up a few of the coordinating candles?

I know it’s silly that a bottle of hand soap makes me happy. But, I thought I’d share my new obsession with you. So tell me, what seemingly insignificant items around your house put a smile on your face?

September 7, 2011

Garden Stools and a newly styled wall and vignette

Isn’t it funny how a new purchase for your home can inspire you to re-decorate?  Last week I told you about the garden stools I purchased at Goodwill.  As soon as I returned home I started moving furniture around.  I knew that I wanted the garden stools to be used in my family room so that I could pull them out for extra seating when we have company.  I have an empty wall in my family room that I figured would be perfect.  The wall holds one of my favorite pieces of art.  Here is what it looked like after I put the stools under the painting.

The scale was all wrong.  There was way too much space between the painting and the garden stools – and there was nothing happening to help relate the art to the garden stools.  I brought in a table that I had in my foyer.  The table was purchased at HomeGoods but is almost identical to this one sold at Ballard Designs (and for the record my purchase price was 1/4 of the price).

Adding the table was definitely an improvement.  Now let’s create a little vignette.  I just borrowed books and other items from around my house.

Looking at these pictures, I’m pretty happy with my newly styled wall and vignette.  I’m sure I’ll play around with different accessories in the future.  If you’re looking for more information on to how to create an interesting tablescape, Maria Killam, Colour Expert, has a great post on her site about how to style a vignette.

Now, what color to paint my stools.  Do I go bold with orange?  Classic with Navy?  Or play it safe with white?  Decisions, decisions.

On a side note, do you like my painting?  When it comes to selecting art for my home, I simply purchase what I love.  This painting was purchased at HomeGoods for only $50 dollars.  I’m sure it’s a mass produced piece, and I’m not even able to make out the artist’s signature.   Despite this, when I look at the piece I feel happy.  I love the colors – I love the orange dress and the unexpected pop of color with the yellow umbrella.  I wonder where this handsome couple is going.  What city are they in?  Is it a first date, or have they been married for years?  What is your favorite piece of art?  Where did you purchase it and why do you love it?

September 7, 2011

DIY Tailored Sink Skirt – the after picture

I was able to accomplish most items on my Labor Day Weekend to-do list. While I’m still catching up on uploading pictures and typing out instructions for my DIY tutorials, I thought I’d share an after picture of the skirt I sewed for my sister’s laundry room utility sink. I can’t wait to share my process. I’m a newbie to the world of sewing, but if you can sew a straight line I promise you that you can make a lined, tailored sink skirt. Here is the unstyled picture from my iphone. I’ll be sure to get the tutorial, more pictures, and all of the details up this week.

Isn’t it pretty? I’m so pleased with the end results.

The fabric is Wilmington Multi from Calico Corner.

September 2, 2011

Weekend Plans

What are you all up to this weekend? I’ve got rather ambitious plans that involve some sewing and DIY projects. I hope to get some things finished this weekend to share with you all next week. My sister and I are getting together to create upholstered headboards for our guest bedrooms. Here is the vibe I’m going for in my guest bedroom.

While at my sister’s house I’m hoping to complete her housewarming gift. A tailored skirt for her laundry room utility sink, made out of this pretty fabric.

Here is to hoping for a productive holiday weekend. Happy Friday!

September 1, 2011

Loving these pillows…

I’m lusting over these fun pillows from Lamps Plus (who knew?!). I’m a lover of the color orange (and grey and cream and navy). Combined in a fun pattern like leopard and ikat – just perfection.

Find them here, here, and here

August 31, 2011

the light fixture that wasn’t

Last week I shared with you my kitchen mood board.  All of the elements in my design plan – the lighting, the fabric, the tile – were selected after several weeks of browsing home décor blogs, pinterest, and catalogs in search of inspiration.  While the tile was a pretty easy decision – I had my heart set on white subway tile – lighting and fabric is a whole other ball game.  The options are nearly endless.  The more I researched the more I became confused.  After making my fifth or so pinterest mood board, I finally felt confident in my design plan.  I selected the Ikea Leran Pendant Lamp for over our kitchen table.

I loved that the natural texture of the shade would be juxtaposed against the shiny black kitchen table we already own from Crate and Barrel. 

I was in love with the mix of natural materials (pendant) and painted wood (table).  And let’s be honest…the $89.99 price tag of the Ikea Leran made this an easy decision.  I decided to hang the Ikea Leran over our table and the Crate and Barrel Victory Pendant over the island.


I thought that the light fixtures related enough (in size and shape)…but would make for an interesting combination of industrial steel and natural woven fibers.  I also loved that the pendant hanging over the island would be silver galvanized steel (and tie in nicely with our soon to be grey/charcoal walls), while the Ikea Leran would be hanging over our shiny black table (but relate to the stain of our kitchen cabinets).

Well all of my planning was for naught.  My husband vetoed the Ikea Leran on the spot during our trip to Ikea.  Back to the drawing pinterest board.

The Crate and Barrel Victory Pendant lamp arrived the very same day the Ikea Leran was vetoed.  I opened the box to find a light fixture whose scale was way too large to be used over our island.  The light fixture measures almost 26 inches in diameter, while the depth of the island is only 27.5 inches.  The proportions just weren’t going to work.

My light fixture plan was a fail – a double fail.  I selected two light fixtures that weren’t going to work for the space (albeit for two different reasons).

To salvage my plan I decided that the Victory pendant lamp would work with the scale of our table (45 inches in diameter without the leaf).  I’m going to have that fixture hung above our kitchen table.  I then worked to find a light fixture for over our island.  A light fixture with the correct dimensions,  and also one that my husband approved of.  I decided on the Ballard Addie Pendant.  I couldn’t be happier with my two choices and dare I say, I’m actually happier with the combinatin of the Addie Pendant and the Victory Pendant than I was with the original plan.


From this experience I learned a very valuable lesson: Measure.  Measure again, and then triple check your measurements just one more time.

Kitchen Update: The final reveal of the kitchen will probably take a bit longer than first anticipated.  I still have to schedule our painter, as well as decide on/order fabric (and then sew the drapes).  Flipping through the Ballard Designs catalog I came across two more Ikat fabrics that I like and I’m awaiting the arrival of the fabric samples.  So far, these three are in the running.  What would you select?


August 30, 2011

My local Goodwill – also known as the “Target outlet center”

My local Goodwill has been chock-full-o-goodness lately, and I just returned from yet another sucessful trip.  There is a Goodwill a few minutes from my house, and it just happens to be next to the Giant where I stop in for quick grocery runs (shhh! don’t tell Wegmans I’ve been unfaithful).

A few weeks back I stopped into Goodwill and picked up a pair of beautiful BRAND NEW lamps.  Literally, brand stinking new, they still had the Target stickers on them.  Click here for the link to the lamps on Target’s website.  Target is selling these lamps for 59.99 a pop.  Goodwill’s price: 9.99 per lamp.  Yes, I saved a total of 100 dollars off retail price.  While I believe that I “saved” 100 dollars, my husband likes to argue that I didn’t save anything and in fact I “spent” 20.  Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe.  Either way I came home with some brand new lamps in exchange for 20 bucks.  While the lamps were a pretty color, the plum really wasn’t fitting in with my decor scheme.  I’ve already given the lamps a makeover (which explains the setting of the pictures below):

Today, I stopped into Goodwill on my way home from work and was pleasantly surprised to find that Target had just unloaded more NEW merchandise.  I was greeted by this beautiful sight:

I know what you’re thinking.  Ceramic garden stools covered in pink flowers – ugly.  But at 24.99 per stool, it’s nothing that a can of spray paint can’t fix.  I know that garden stools have been all the rage lately in home decor, but I’m not over them.  In fact, I’ve been lusting after a pair for a while now and I’m so happy to have found a pair that don’t do too much damage to my decor budget.  Target is selling these stools for 59.99 each.  Enough said.

I also picked up some other goodies while at Goodwill today.  I’m in the process of decorating one of our guest bedrooms (yes of course I’ll be sharing all of the design and DIY goodness) and was in desperate need of a bedskirt to cover the ugly bedframe.  Team Goodwill-Target to the rescue again.  I scored a King size bedskirt for…wait for it…2 dollars and 49 cents.  Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pictures…

Let’s recap my “savings.”

Lamps – Target price: 120    Goodwill price: 20

Ceramic garden stools – Target price: 120    Goodwill price: 50

Bedskirt – Target price: 32    Goodwill price: 2.50

Total spent: $72.50

Total saved: $199.50

Goodwill trip = success!

August 26, 2011

a {minor} kitchen remodel – progress!

When I left my house today, I said goodbye to this as my backsplash:

and helloooooooo to this:

U.S. Ceramic Tile Bright Snow White 3 in. x 6 in. Ceramic Wall Tile

Before we get to the after pictures, let’s walk through the process. 

1. Buy tile from Home Depot. 

2. Beg my Dad for help

3. Go to work, come home from work, and admire Dad’s mad tiling skills

I hate to break it to you but this was NOT a DIY project.  There are many projects I’m willing to tackle on my own – but when power tools are involved, along with the possibility of losing a finger -I hire out.  And by hire I mean politely beg ask my contractor father for his services.  In return, I treated him to some really great takeout for dinner.  Fair trade, right?

I was able to snap a few pictures along the way, for your viewing pleasure only.  I won’t even begin to provide an explanation for what was happening here.

And how about a few after pictures?  As you can see we went with grey grout.  The darker grout helps to tie in the dark granite countertops.  I’m not able to find the grout on Home Depot’s website, but I can tell you it came in a box (as opposed to a bag) and the color was “light grey.”

You like?  I loooooove!

You’ll also notice that my Dad switched out the builders grade “cream” electrical fixtures to pure white.  Again, I’m not here to provide a tutorial (especially not when it comes to electrical), but it is something to think about when tiling your backsplash.

Although this is just the start of this makeover, I can already see how much lighter and brighter this space is becoming.  I’ve got a smile on my face just thinking about the end results.  There are still a lot of big projects to tackle: painting, curtains, and light fixtures.  I’ll also need to decide on artwork and smaller area rugs for in front of the sink and sliding glass door.  While I won’t be tackling the painting or the electrical work on my own, you will see me DIY the drapery panels.  Eventually, I’d love to put together a lined drapery panel tutorial and share it with you.

**hugs to my Dad for tackling this tiling project for me**