Tuesday, May 8

You Are Here

My favorite hobby in the entire world is listening to music. Well, and singing at the top of my lungs. It brings me more peace than anything else I've ever known. Music was imparted in my soul from birth. Today while I was working out, this song came up in my iTunes playlist. It spoke to my soul, so I thought I'd share it with my blog readers. It's very much how I've been feeling about my life lately. Lovely. 

You Are Here
The Wailin' Jennys
Watch the YouTube video
Buy the CD here or here.

You wonder why you wonder when, 
You wonder how now and then, 
How you became who you've become
You are here, And yet you dream of being there, 
Of being where you think the good life has begun

Every darkened hallway, Every fallen dream, 
Every battle lost and Every shadow in between
Will bring you to your knees and Closer to the reason

And there's no making cases, For getting out or trading places
And there's no turning back, No you are here
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsty.com/the-wailin-jennys-you-are-here-lyrics.html ]
Who can say who made the choice, 
In the matter of your birth
Who brought about that fateful day, 
Well you are here and born with fire and desire
You're the only one can stand in your own way

And every broken arrow, Every hardened smile
Every foolish gamble and Every lonely mile
Will bring you to your knees and Closer to the reason

And there's no making cases For getting out or trading places
And there's no turning back No you are here

And every sign of love, Every seed that's growing
Every sweet surrender To that silent knowing
Will bring you to your knees and Closer to the reason

And there's no making cases For getting out or trading places
And there's no turning back No you are here...

Saturday, May 5

Bamboo Chair Makeover

I have always had a penchant for the "five dollar chair." Blame this on my BFF, Rachel, who coined this phrase long ago in our days of yard sales stemming way back to college days of dumpster diving. When I see a chair that is under $25, and is screaming for a makeover, my pulse literally starts to race. I have actually run to grab a few at various places.

You can imagine how much my heart fluttered when I was in Thrift Town, and stumbled upon this $24 gem.

Now, I know what you are thinking, who would want this southwestern atrocity in their house? But you have to choose to see the potential in the piece. (I think this is a good lesson for people, too.) So, I snatched it up and proudly carried my purchase to the car. 

Next came the tough decisions. What color and fabric do I want? If you read Young House Love, you'll know what I mean when you debate these sort of things. Also, their office chairs were my true inspiration for this makeover. My dining room was already painted a similar shade of lettuce leaf green, so I knew I wanted contrast. Also, my Anthropologie tablecloth, an AMAZING gift from the man friend for Christmas, had to be taken into consideration. So, I purchase some lovely peacock blue fabric on clearance for a mere $6, and settled on a high gloss red for the chair. 

Another small problem was the fact that one of the decorative pieces was missing on the front right corner of the chair. After a week long trip to my mom's chair guy, he recreated the piece for me and repaired the wobbly arm for a mere $30. Well worth it in the long run. 

So I flipped this baby over, unscrewed the seat, and went to work on the reupholstery. 

Here she is with her new corner piece and the reupholstered seat. (Please excuse the pink pig behind the chair. Apparently Molly was having a play day when this picture was taken!) Unfortunately, I had a problem with my iPhone, and lost the pictures of the reupholstery steps. Needless to say, this wasn't hard. This is the perfect type of job for someone new to the world of reupholstery. 

  • Remove all the staples from under the seat of the upholstery you want to remove. I used needle nose pliers to do this. 

  • Once all removed, lay your old piece of fabric on top of the reverse side of your new fabric. It may help to pin this in place. 

  • Cut out the same shape in your new fabric. 

  • Center your new fabric on the chair and flip over. Carefully fold the edges around like you are wrapping a package. You'll want to use special attention to the corners. 

  • I used a Stanley SharpShooter Heavy Duty Staple gun and 3/8" staples. You'll want to pull the fabric as tight as possible. It would be helpful to have someone to help you, but I did this all by myself.

  • You'll need to fold the corner to create the best looking creases from the front. Again, it's sort of like wrapping a Christmas present. Make sure your staples are close enough together to keep the fabric from gaping or bubbling. 

Once you are all done, your hands will be a little sore. Nothing that a cold glass of ice tea can't quickly correct :)

Once I finished the seat, I took the chair out to spray paint. I used Krylon Dual Pain + Primer in Banner Red. It did take 2 cans because of all the detail work on the chair. This can be purchased at Walmart for about $4 or $5 a can. 

Remember to do several light coats with even strokes that slightly over lap. You don't want drip marks. I let the paint dry about 10 minutes between coats, and I had to apply 3 for the main color. I then went back and did some touch ups to some of the crevices after I did a full inspection of the chair. 

Here is the chair while drying. I'm sure my neighbors really appreciated my art project while in progress. But hey, my front yard has way better wind protection than my back yard, which is very important if you don't want dust or dirt sticking to your wet paint! 

And here is the final result once she was all dry and back in the house! 

And the before/after shot: 

And with the perfect pillow to tie is in with the table cloth. IF you look closely, you can see the edge of it in the top of this picture.

So, after the 
$24 for the chair
+ $6 fabric
+ $30 for chair repair, and
+ $9 for spray paint
$69 for a chair that I LOVE!! 

Again, a bargain compared to the one's that I love from Jonathan Adler or even Ballard Designs

I hope this inspires you to go out and find your own chair to makeover for your house. I promise that with a little hard work and imagination, you can have the perfect chair for any space in your home.


Tuesday, May 1

My Casa, In Progress

So, I promised some photos of my house, now that it's "designed" if you will. I can't title this post "After" because my house is continuously in progress. As a creative person, I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my living space and create new things to make it my own. Because I live on a pretty tight budget, I can't afford to do all of these things at once. Sometimes I need to buy some new clothes, shoes, or accessories, too. I like my ensembles to be just as well designed as my house, after all!

So, without further ado, here is my lovely little house.

My living room. (And Molly, my sweet dog.)
Tufted Ottoman from Overstock.com, leather club chair from a garage sale,
houndstooth rug from Walmart.com (similar one)

View from the other side of my living room. I took and hand developed the photos 
above the couch while I lived in Italy in college.  Lampshade and base from Target, pillows are from 
the old Liberty of London for Target collection, and curtains are from IKEA. 

 My side table. The painting is of Patty Griffin, painted by my 
college roommate and BFF, Rachel. 
Frame from Aaron Brothers, tray is a DIY, vases are vintage. 

My entry table/desk. I painted the LOVE paintings back in 2002
(before Carrie had one in her apartment in the SATC movie), 
and made the record bowl from my favorite childhood album. The mirror was a purchase 
on a road trip to Cape Cod in college, and the other knick knacks are from various trips and estate sales.

My mantle. I have too many shoes, so I use a few as display items.
My fireplace is just for decoration, so I put a stained glass piece inside of it.
The mirror hung over my grandparents bed when I spent summers with them. 
The trunks are from various estate sales. 
The briefcase was my dad's from his very first job as a JAG attorney. 

The view from my front door. 

Close up of my mantle. A photo of my mom, candle from One King's Lane,
a platter painted by my BFF's mom, Ella, and a quote about Life. 

Close up of the other side of my mantle. Another photo of my mom, and of my nephews. 
A Vespa and Italian street cafe are my odes to when I lived in Italy in 2003. 

My dining room. The hutch will soon get a makeover in turquoise :)
The dining table was an anniversary gift from my grandfather to my grandmother. 
It's my favorite piece I own. You can see where they put their water glasses 
each morning for their entire marriage! Oh, and the table cloth is from Anthro

I use my hutch for displaying books, photos, etc. 
The bottom cabinets store all of my crafting supplies. 

One of my favorite projects. I redid this chair for about $34 total. 
A steal compared to the Jonathan Adler version! 

My wall of art in the dining room. These are just some of my favorite things.
My talented friends Julie and Tina added their art to this wall! 

The other wall of my dining room. The "box" on the dresser is my hope box. 
I place things that I feel blessed with and wish for inside. 
The dresser belonged to my grandfather, and it's another one of my favorite pieces. 

My tiny kitchen. The vintage elements are all my grandmothers. 
I purchased the turquoise mixer for a steal on Amazon, as it was being discontinued.
My plates and glasses are all mix and match. I collect vintage juice glasses and 
love how they look in the glass front cabinets. 

View from the hall into my girly bathroom. 
The wine rack has been revamped into a magazine rack in the hall. 
Rachel's dad, Mike, carved the lovely dove on my wall. 

The vintage powder room :)

Hand towels from T.J. Maxx. 

Vintage chair and hand mirror, candle and tray from Anthropologie, & shelf from Target. 

View from hallway into my bedroom. 
I can't seem to get a good picture of my hallway shelf. That will come soon. 

My bed. Bedding from Ruelala, Dwell bird pillow, redone vintage dresser, 
headboard from Craigslist, rug from Hautelook.com, and shams from West Elm. 

My travel wall. Cape Cod, NYC, London, Paris, Tuscany, Capri, and Martha's Vineyard. 
Trunk, bedside table, and tea kettle are all family heirlooms.

My vanity is from Pottery Barn. The rocker was my great grandparents, and my great grandmother made the quilt on it. The map of Paris was purchased while living in Europe. 

DIY art, garage sale lamp, jewelry box is a gift from my mom, and the purse was purchased in Italy. 

DIY jewelry board in my closet. Madame sign is from Anthropologie, circa 2003. 

My crazy closet. 

Just one of my shoe organizers. 

 And because I just had to, my favorite DIY chevron wall over my mantle. 

Thanks for taking a tour of my house! I'll post some specifics on some of my DIY projects soon, and I'll be sure to update you on projects that I complete. 


My Casa, Before

In April 2010, I moved into a 1920s duplex in the Cultural Arts district. I've wanted to live in this neighborhood since I was in my teens. I fell in love with the hardwood floors, the vintage wallpaper in the bathroom, and the huge closet. I sacrificed such things as a dishwasher for the love of vintage charm. Over the past 2 years, I've completed quite a few projects to turn this bare space into something that I really love. I don't have lots of spare change, so this was all done on a budget, and with lots of DIY efforts. Some of my friends call me the Queen of the Estate Sale, because that's where I tend to pick up most of my finds. Between thrift stores, Ebay, my parents attic, Craigs List, and some road side acquisitions, I've gotten pretty lucky on finding the perfect pieces for my space. At least for now. So, here's a peak at my house when I moved in. I'll share pictures this week of the space as it's evolved and what projects I have in the works. Thanks for reading and I hope I can help inspire some of you to do the same in your own homes!

View from the street. 

My very vintage, mint green bathroom.

The first section of my amazingly large closet!

The back half of my closet. 

Built in storage nook in my tiny hallway. 

The Dining Room Chandelier

Looking into the Living Room, from the Dining. 
(That's Ruby, my friend Jaedeanne's daughter. 
I can't believe how much she has grown in 2 years!)

My "decorative" fireplace and sconces

My VERY taupe kitchen. I do love the glass cabinets, though. 

Oversized laundry room/pantry. 

My gorgeous hardwood floors and the view from my front door.
That's the bedroom to the back left, and bathroom to the right. 

So, there is the tour of my house from when I first got the keys. I'll be back in my next post to show you the current state of affairs. Thanks for reading! 


Wednesday, April 18


After much thought, I've decided to update my blog. I want to incorporate more of my creative design projects. It's gotten hard to write as much about my personal life, because some people aren't as keen when I share about them as others. So, I'll still keep you updated on what's going on in my oh-so fabulous life, but hopefully you'll enjoy some of the new things I'd like to share as well.

Look for posts over the next month. Thanks for your patience!