Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's the Little Things...

Is it weird how little it takes for me to be proud of myself? That has to say something about my psyche, right? Like something good? Because I am so darn proud of myself for doing something that wasn't that difficult. Except the journey took a little longer than expected...

Our house is full of bi fold doors. They look exactly like the one pictured in the center. I know some people really like the shutter look but for some reason they remind me of saloons from the wild west days. To put it simply, I hate them.

Now, not only do we have these doors on our closets (there's two in every bedroom), but we also have two French door versions that lead off of the entry way. The frustrating thing is if you want to close the doors once you get in the room, you have to wedge your fingers in the shutters and pull them closed. It's a little annoying. Actually a lot annoying. And in addition, it's not very pretty to look at a door with a screw head where a knob would normally be. So I figured I'd go to the hardware store and find a screw with no head (yes, that's sadly what I called it) so I could install knobs on both sides of the doors. Easy peasy, right?

Well I got my butt headed to the store and flagged down someone who was working there to ask for these so called "screws with no head." I left that store much more educated, but without a solution. The threaded rods (woot, my vocabulary is increasing) only came in 3" length at the shortest which was about an 1.5" more than I needed them to be. I thought for some reason I'd need some high powered tool to cut through metal. My best bet at this point was to become best friends with a construction worker, (which by the way, I attempted in a bar once but the guy didn't believe I was being genuine when I said I thought his job was really neat...)

With my only solution off of the table, I thought about this problem on and off for months until I magically stumbled upon the solution. Either I suck at searching for things in Google or somehow the magical world of the internet decided to nudge me in the right direction because the solution is so incredibly easy. It took me 15 minutes tops.

All you need is a hack saw, threaded rod (I ended up using a 6"), nuts, and some sort of clamp, which cost me a total of 8 dollars. Not bad for problem that's been irking me for awhile.

First you want to decide how long you want to cut the rod. I made mine about an 1.5" so it would stick out on both sides of the door for the knobs to screw on to. Then you want to screw a nut right up to your measurement (mine was at 1.5".) You're going to use the nut as a guideline for where you cut your rod. At this point you want to clamp it to a work bench or table. I don't have either of those, though I really should get one, so I wrapped a rag around the arm of my outdoor chair and clamped the rod on to it.

Now, as you cut with the hack saw right next to the nut, the nut may start moving down the rod. That's fine, just make sure the nut is on the part of the threaded rod that you're going to be using.

Duck didn't quite appreciate my time outside being work related, so work and play it was. Throw Frisbee, saw, throw Frisbee, saw again... It took me a little longer than it needed to... :)

Eventually you'll end up sawing all the way through and it'll look like this! A much shorter version of what you started off with. It can be difficult to screw something on the end of the rod where you sawed it off and that's where the nut comes it. When you twist the nut completely off (towards the side you just cut), it helps re thread the rod. 

Ooooo, ahhhh, knobs on both sides! Dreams becoming reality right here!
See how simple it is to do? I'm still proud, so I don't care that it was easy! But now I need to find some new knobs. These ones don't do it for me and they're rusting. But I want to make all the closets and doors  in the house the same so I'll probably have to wait until we move downstairs. Better start the search now! I think I'll go with bronze... :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Sitch

I mentioned this in an earlier post, but right now my fiancée and I are renting a room upstairs in a house that his parents rent out to med students in the area. Over the summer we did a lot of packing, storing, and giving away of things from our separate residents to move to a new city and ultimately downsize. I love the house we live in now, but fitting the contents of our previously separate residents into one room has been difficult, to say the least...

Right now Brennan's sister is living in the master bedroom downstairs. She's going to be moving out this May or June to start her new life as Resident with an official M.D. following her name! Such an exciting time for her. And when she moves out, the entire downstairs is going to be emptied. A beautiful clean slate for Brennan and I to make our own. I'm so excited by the prospect! With that being said, there's definitely a lot of positives and negatives to living in a house a year before you get your hands on it.

One thing I've heard a lot of bloggers say (or rather write) is that it's important to live in the space first and see what works before diving in to decorate right away. I'm not a particularly patient person when it comes to decorating. When I dream something up, I want to start immediately. I'm just usually so excited, I can't help it! Which is kind of ironic since one of my favorite styles of decorating is the collected over time look. (The kitchen from It's Complicated anyone?) So ultimately, this year forces me to take a step back and figure out what works. I guess you could say I'm being forced into learning patience... :)

Now it's not like we're living in an empty shell here. The downstairs is decorated and completely furnished by Brennan's sister and she really has a great eye when it comes to design. It's just very different from Brennan and I's style. She likes things to be symmetrical and likes even numbers. I like A-symmetry and odd numbers. Both beautiful. Just different.

Now the big negative or really the big challenge is that this house is not my house. I don't own it, so even though our situation might be a little more lax than a normal renters, I can't just do anything I want to the house. For example, I'd love to demo the master and half bath that share a wall. But I feel like structural changes to the house might be frowned upon by my in-laws since it's their house, as cool as they are. Even with painting I have to make sure I pick out a neutral color that the future buyers or renters (and Brennan's parents) will love. Ultimately this DIYer is DIYing to sell.

I'm not exactly waiting until we move downstairs to get started on improvements though. I've been painting or working on some project every time my roommates go to interview for Residency. It's a perfect way to jumpstart things before we claim the downstairs. And even though the house isn't ours I'm still excited to share our plight to fixing up this house.

Sorry, I know there's a lot of words in this post and not a lot of pictures, lol. But I just wanted to explain my lack of knocking down walls. And for the next four months, I'm just going to continue to dream up ideas from my bedroom.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Modern Family

Modern Family has been featured in a few magazines in the past year. There's no question as to why the set has received so many nods, because it's absolutely stunning. If given a choice I wouldn't design my house exactly like this, but there's something about the feeling it exudes that I love. It's warm and inviting and perfectly fits the loving family that lives here. They may be a little crazy and have their flaws, but they are the Modern Family. It's how I imagine my life in 18 years. And the kind of feeling I hope my house gives off. A house filled with love.
However, there's one room that has received little, if no, media time that deserves a mention. Gloria's closet. It's organized, clean, and perfect. I mean, what girl wouldn't like to have this much room in her closet? You could practically have a dance off in there! Because that's obviously the first thing everyone would do if they had a closet like hers... Glad we're on the same page here, lol. So take in the glory of Gloria's closet! (Eh eh, see what I did there? If you didn't laugh, I laughed for you. Crackin' myself up over here!)
Okay, on to the pictures!

Sorry for the blurry pictures, it was hard to capture Gloria standing still. But wouldn't you love to have this closet? I wouldn't mind the shoe collection either. I love how they designed her closet to look more like a boutique than a boring old place to store clothes. I'm a strong believer that closets should be treated just like any other room in your house. They deserve to beautiful too! In a dream world that is...And apparently Nate Berkus lives in my dream world too because he has the most drop dead gorgeous closet.
via Nate Berkus: The Things that Matter
Wouldn't have expected anything less from my main man Nate. He and I may or may not have an intimate relationship based on the fact I record him every morning at three. Like I said, we're tight.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beautiful and Functional

I've long been a fan of the beauty in the world. It's human nature to appreciate beauty. Beautiful scenery, beautiful houses, beautiful people (I'm talking about you Ryan Gosling...) We all love beauty. So why is when we buy everyday items that the beauty often gets sacrificed?
I heard Stacy, from TLC's What Not To Wear, say once that if you don't have ugly clothes in your wardrobe, then you won't be tempted to wear them. For some reason, that comment has stuck with me since high school and is really something I try to embrace in all aspects of my life. Especially home décor.
We spend money and time trying to find the perfect desk for our office or the perfect counter tops for our kitchen remodel. But then we forget about the little things. Like the ugly stapler now sitting on our beautiful desk, or the functional but lacking in looks soap bottle we have next to the kitchen sink. Of course everything cost money, and sometimes it's just easier to use the functional object. But I've found that when I replace the soap with a pretty bottle, it makes me happier to use it, happier to be around it, and hand washing dishes seems like less of a chore. Silly I know, but we'll say it's all a part of the pursuit of happiness!
Here's a few items I think that hit beauty and functionality right on the mark!

// 1. A bottle opener from High Street Market. At 3 inches high this chubby brass owl bottle opener looks cute on your counter as well as being functional  // 2. Agate Coasters with Gold Leaf Edge from High Street Market. They're almost too pretty to cover with a drink // 3. Paper clips are a necessity in the office, so why not jazz it up with these elephant paper clips from jetpens // 4. Stop digging through your silverware drawer for the steak knife and instead use this horse letter opener from high Street Market // 5. Made from recycled apothecary jars this match container from Etsy is counter worthy  // 6. If you have to make to do lists, you might as well write them out on this stunning notepad from Smock Paper //

All of these items have been on my list for awhile and I've only bought the Smock Paper pad...for my sister-in-law. I see it on her desk and I want to nab it for my myself! It makes me happy just seeing it on her desk! I might have to give in at some point and grab one for myself. :)

"I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful."   -Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Duckling

I'm currently working on a project, but I thought I'd share this picture with you all. Do you see my puppy under the bed? That's where he sleeps every night. By choice. And where he goes to hide from his playmate, Cici. Duck might be a little crazy but I adore him. He's a great companion when I'm doing projects too, despite the mud he seems to get everywhere...
Also, this picture makes me realize I need to clean my mirror. Just in case Duckling decides to do something cute under the bed again, of course! This is why I have more pictures of my dog than my projects  :)
Hope everyone is having a happy weekend!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fossil Fashion

I've long been a fan of Fossil watches. They're the makers of all of those beautiful Michael Kors time tellers that I swear every girl and her mother owns right now. I got my own Fossil watch last Christmas and since then I love to peruse through their sight every once in awhile.

I don't know if I was blind before and now I can suddenly see but I never noticed that they sold clothes until today. I know, there's a big ole tab on the side that clearly says "women." Not sure what I thought happened when you click that well labeled button before today... but I now, for the first time, have experienced the glory of their clothing line! And I absolutely adore it! Their spring line is right up my alley. I really want to add more graphic patterns to my wardrobe to make it a bit more boho chic. Right now my wardrobe is a little too close to neutral for my liking. And although I'm not a big fan of wearing exactly what the models wear, I want to copy all of these looks exactly...

Does anyone else have a major crush on the whole coral-orangey-peach spectrum? In my dream world I've already added the shirt and skirt to my shopping cart and checked out. But hey, while I'm in dream world I might as well add the turquoise watch too... Perfect splash of color.  

I didn't think I was ready for Spring, but these pictures have convinced me. Bring on the sunshine, warm weather, and bright, happy colors!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fire pit LOVE

Earlier I posted about my future backyard haven in the making. It's been a slow process, as in I've-only-bought-one-strand-of-lights kind of slow... But I'm still eager to get moving in the right direction. We probably won't get a lot of use out of the backyard until school gets out in the summer, so my goal is to have the basics in by then.

Even though I'm not planning on purchasing anything right now, I've been on the hunt for a substitute for the fire pit I love. You know how people say "My love knows no boundaries"? Yeah, well, my love does know boundaries...and it starts way before the $2,000 price tag of that copper fire pit... I'm all about saving for big ticket items, but I don't think that fire pit is going to make the cut. Especially when I have a wedding to save for...

So on the hunt I went and I think I hit the jackpot when I found this one from hayneedle.

The comparison of the two is pretty uncanny, isn't it? Obviously I love the copper one more (I have a soft spot for copper in general), but $2,000 vs. $249 is a pretty easy decision to make. And Brennan says he likes it because it reminds him of Harry Potter... Why does that not surprise me? But it's always a win win if the mister likes it since he's pretty vocal about design decisions. Luckily the man has excellent taste :)

All in all I'm pretty excited about this find! It's beautiful and functional, something I'm a big advocate of. And I love the depth. I hope I end up taking the plunge with this purchase sooner as opposed to later since I've got a pile of wood just waiting to be used...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekend Marathon

It's the long ole test weekend. I know it's not the weekend anymore but that's why I called it long. Because it extends allllll the way from Friday right up until tomorrow morning. So maybe weekend is the wrong word to use completely. I should probably insert marathon in there instead. Or some other big and incredibly intellectual word. Because this weekend definitely is intellectual...just not for me.
Brennan, my fiancée, has his first med school exam of the semester tomorrow. I'm not worried about him. He'll do great! But from Friday up until tomorrow morning I've only seen him for meals. Med school is like having a job. And those tests are like pulling overtime. Actually, all of the med school is like pulling overtime now that I think about it... Anyways, any wife or fiancée of a medical student knows that those weekends stretch forever and can be lonely. Especially if all of your friends are in medical school too.
These weekends however have become marathons all about "gettin' it done" for me too. I take a project I've been dreaming about for awhile and finally put it into motion. Now, this ain't my first rodeo y'all... This past weekend involved a lot of painting due to a certain dog incident I'll tell you about later. But I wanted to show you guys a project I did last semester.
With my relatively recent engagement, I was looking for a sweet way to ask my girls (and boy) to be a part of my wedding. Most of them already knew but since I hadn't officially asked them I wanted to do something memorable. I loved the box idea linked below, but the logistics of sending them all around the country seemed to be a difficult feat and a bit pricey. Plus I didn't know all of the details of my wedding as far as what my girls (and boy) were going to be wearing, etc.
This image ended up being the winning ticket. Her presentation of it all is absolutely beautiful! Boy do I wish I had her calligraphy skills! I think that's going to be something I start working on soon. I hate when my handwriting ruins a perfectly great birthday card.

I really wish I had a better picture of everything all laid out but this project was long before I decided to blog my projects. what I ended up coming with it. I'm going to give all of you ladies (and men) a big ole warning here and let you know that this project took FOREVER. I mean seriously, one of my roommates (and future sister in-law) left Friday and came back Sunday and I was still working on it. And when I say I was working on it I mean I was working on it All Day. At least until my hands needed a break.


The coral version I made for my Junior Bridesmaids and I'm really happy with how all of them came out. I feel like putting that much effort into asking my bridesmaids to be in my wedding showed them how important they all were to me. Plus, I think from a bridesmaids point of view it's pretty neat to see who's going to be in the wedding with you!
I honestly can't wait for all of my favorite people from different parts of my life to come together in one place. That's the beauty of a wedding. There will never be another time in my life that everyone that I love will be in that same room, enjoying each others company. All I can say is I can't wait for the big day with my mister. It's times like these when I think how glad I am we didn't elope... :)
 (UPDATE: To make all of these cards I used paper supplies from Paper Source. Persimmon and Sage where the two colors of the envelopes and I used Paper Bag, Cement, and Superfine Soft White for the cards. The paper tape was from an Etsy store.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lost and Found

So the project I was hoping to show you guys from the weekend fell through when my sewing machine decided to behave very badly. It's currently in time out and I'm still hoping I'll be able to magically fix it myself without taking it in to the sewing machine geniuses...
On a side note, I'm tired of calling my sewing machine an it. I think I'm going to name her...Bertha. That's the first name that popped into my head and so she shall now be called Bertha... My future offspring better hope I don't use the same method for naming them too...
 Now. since my blog post for today, and really the rest of the week, has fallen through I've decided to show you guys what I found in my attic. We're currently renting a room upstairs in a house my in-laws own. Both rooms upstairs are connected to separate attics and I decided to do a little exploring a couple of months ago. Look at this chandelier that was tossed in the far back corner of our attic!
There was glass broken everywhere and lots and lots of dust and dirt but the potential is absolutely undeniable.
And after a bit of cleaning...

The couple that lived here before we moved in turned the dining room into a nursery and installed a wobbly ceiling fan instead of this beauty. I'm not a big bedazzle girl. Don't get me wrong, I love diamonds just like every other woman. But I like my sparkle to be elegant and simple. I want one piece to be the center as apposed to 8 pieces competing for attention. I think this chandelier is absolutely perfect though. I'm in love with it. I can't wait to hang it in our future library/study. Maybe paired with some modern pieces. Ahhhh I'm so excited I can't wait!!! I probably need to get the wiring checked out though. It would not be fun to burn down the house my future in-laws own. How is that for welcome to the family?...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Date gone wrong.

I had a date with my sewing machine tonight. I had great plans for us that included intimate proximity and perhaps a glass of wine...or two. It was going to be a relaxing, yet productive Friday night... My date though? Yeah it had other plans. I've spent the last couple of hours fighting with my previously beloved machine.
The last time I truly sewed something slightly complicated was in Elementary school when I made a skort. It was pretty fantastic in all of it's turquoise glory... So it may surprise you when I tell you that my skill level isn't the best... I do know how to sew in a straight line though! Which only occasionally happens I might add. Oops? But I was sure despite my only occasional use of my machine that I'd be able to fix the problem anyways. I'm a DIYer at heart and there's a whole lot of internet out there! Yeah, that optimism only lasted a few hours...Spoiler, I waved the white flag. At least for tonight because it's Friday and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is on TV right now.

Oh dearest sewing machine. I hope you spend the night recouping and get over the obvious hangover you must be suffering from. It would make me the happiest girl in the world if you would cooperate!

I hope there's some seriously miraculous healing going on tonight.

To end on a positive note, you know what makes me happy? This fantastic succulent pot. I have an incredible love for elephants and succulents. The combination is genius! It makes my heart go pitter patter...

Small Pink Porcelain Elephant

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Copy and Paste

Don't you think copy and paste would be such a wonderful addition to real life? It would be like Star Trek meets the Easy button...And I'd like to do exactly that with the kitchen I posted about yesterday.

Isn't she a beaut? Sigh...

But since I can't copy/paste away like I wish I could, I've come up with a few additions or changes you can make to make your kitchen a little bit closer to this one. For now this is going to have to rest in my inspiration file until we move...

1. We all have our own stash of pots and pans. They're a pertinent part of everyday life in the kitchen, so why not display a few of your favorites so they're easy to reach? This wall rack makes your pans artwork. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it helps you feel like a professional chef!

2. Industrial Bronze pendant? A piece versatile enough to go with any décor.

3. These black wooden wishbone chairs are perfect. If I ever can swing it I'm definitely using these as my dining room chairs.

4. I've been on the market for a kettle for quite awhile and I love that this one isn't stainless steel like most on the market. Mixing finishes and mediums is one of the things that makes this kitchen feel so warm and inviting.

5 + 6. This kitchen is full of white ceramic dishes and containers. I think the best way to add this concept to your kitchen is thrifting. I am constantly running into white containers at my local goodwill store. They're super easy to find at inexpensive prices. But the ones I linked to above are actually from Heath Ceramics, a store I've had a crush on for awhile. They're beautiful pieces but a lot pricier than what you'd find at a thrift store :)

7. This French Kitchen Island is pretty close to the one in the movie, which I found out was vintage and custom made. If I had the resources and the space to put this in my kitchen it would be there now. I know it's cliché, but I love Paris. I'm dying to go back and this island makes me think of French pastry chefs. Plus it's an airy piece of furniture that helps make your kitchen space seem a little bit larger.

8. I realized that one of my favorite parts of this kitchen is all of the natural elements. There's fresh fruit piled up everywhere. Now, I don't know about you, but if I put all of those apples in a bowl they'd probably mold before everyone finished eating them. I would need at least two more family members to pull that off... I also noted the potted herbs and vase filled with greenery next to the sink. We all have something green in our backyard, whether it's a bush or potted herbs. Why not cut a few sprigs and put it in some water next to your sink. It reminds you of the outdoors while serving to add a bit of color inside.

I can't afford to replace my kitchen with the beauty's in this post but there definitely are a few concepts I'm going to try and incorporate in my own kitchen. The white dishes collection is starting right away with my wedding registry :) And I will definitely be adding more greenery in my kitchen. It's so easy to do and really does wonders with the hominess it adds. Like I said earlier, this image is definitely going to be filed away for when we buy our first house. Or maybe for the second or

(Update: I just found this website that has pictures taken on the set of the movie and resources for where you can buy the actual pieces featured. It looks like some of the stuff was custom made for the movie specifically)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Complicated...

I absolutely ADORE Meryl Streep. I don't know what it is about her but ever since I've saw the Devil Wears Prada in my tweeny years, it's been love. So of course when It's Complicated came on televisions during my favorite Sunday movie marathon day, I had to watch out of obligation. And then I saw her character Jane Adler's house and I died. Died of pure and absolute envy. If I could somehow magically morph my house into hers, I would. It's eclectic and mismatched and perfection... Sheer and utter perfection. Take a look for yourself and tell me you're not in love too...

(Excuse the blinding blue bar in these pictures. It's a beautiful thing to be able to pause but it's definitely tough on the eyes...)

Okay, seriously this kitchen is to die for. I had to pause the movie to study it... And figure out how I can make my own kitchen EXACTLY LIKE THIS!
The French island with the beautiful marble is stunning... And the windows painted black is a fantastic touch. It's a detail often overlooked but it really makes you focus on the windows and the beautiful view beyond.
This kitchen has such a pieced together feel, as if someone spent time and love putting it all together. It makes it feel so warm and inviting and lived in.

I also love the little coffee stations with the cups already set out and the sugar and cream within arms reach. What an excellent way to start out the morning!
Did you notice the three white containers to the right of the sink? I love the different heights and the cohesive feel. I hate when my shorter kitchen tools get lost in the big ole container next to my stove. This way it's pretty and functional. 
And who wouldn't love all those bowls of fresh fruit lying around to snack on?
In this picture I'm totally digging the pots and pans hung up with the mixture of metals. I have a definite soft spot for copper. And I love the windows flanking the entry to the butlers pantry. Why don't people use windows in interiors more often? They add such an interesting architectural detail. I bet they're a pain in the butt to clean though...



I love the orange pops of color throughout the entire house. And the chairs around the dining table are incredible. I wish I knew where they were from!

Rectangular and round side tables = perfection
Can I have this bedroom?


Honestly I want to comment on every. single. ONE of these pictures. Each time I stare at one I feel like I discover something new about the space that I love. I'll spare you all my detailed inner dialogue but lets just say this will not be the last time I look as these pictures.
(Update: Here's an inspiration board for how to make your own It's Complicated kitchen.)