January 2016 - Dimples and Tangles


Ok, so I've never claimed to be a "real" decorator or designer.  This blog is solely an outlet for me to share what I'm doing in my own home.  That being said, my home is totally my place to experiment with decor, and I change things often.  Many times things are done on a trial and error basis.  It helps that I do a lot of the work myself and when I get the itch to change I try to do it on a budget, and if I make a mistake not much more is lost than my time and effort. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don't... and I try again.  

I think that's the key for anyone making their home a place that they love.  If at first you don't succeed, keep trying.  Don't be afraid to admit that you might have made a decorating mistake, move on, and start over.

When we did a kitchen refresh about a year and a half ago, I replaced the large lanterns that we had installed over the island with brass lotus flower pendants.  With the lanterns I learned, only after the fact, that it's not a good idea to have a fixture with glass in it over the stove.  The glass will get greasy/dirty/grimy super fast and it's not fun or easy to clean.  See? Trial and error.  So, I replaced the lanterns with the new pendants.  Honestly, I knew all along that they were probably too small for the space, but I loved them and didn't care.  I knew they would be a place holder until something better came along, and at that time I would find a new spot for them in our home.

I continued to have a soft spot for the lanterns, though, and since looking at beautiful photos all day is part of my "job", I started noticing a trend.  I'm seeing more and more lantern type fixtures WITHOUT GLASS, and a lightbulb went off in my head.  Duh!!! Why didn't I just remove the glass from my fixtures?

Once the inspiration struck,  the wheels started spinning fast.  If I was putting the lanterns back, I wanted them to be a bit more playful, so I started entertaining the idea of painting them a bold glossy color (shocker, I know).  And although green has been my BFF for a while, I wanted to mix in something new.  I'm really starting to want to broaden my color palette to a point where anything goes.  Green, blue and white, black and white will always be there, but what if I want to throw in some yellow?  I want my house to say "Sure!"  Red?  "You bet!"  A splash of hot pink somewhere?  "Awesome!"  

I'm sure my neutral loving friends think I've gone cuckoo... It sounds crazy to just throw any color in, but some of my favorite designers and bloggers do just that, and it totally works.  So, my experiment is just beginning.

When deciding on a color for the lanterns, green was a possibility but I knew I wanted to branch out.  I considered just about every color, but really?  Red has always been one of my first color loves.  Almost every house we've lived in until this one has had a red color scheme, and even here I got my red fix in my daughter's room

I'm such a visual person, I had to see what they might look like, so I did a very crude mock up... and I kinda loved it!

My only hesitation was with so much kelly green around my house, I didn't want it to look like Christmas year round.  However, I think with all of the blue and white and other patterns and colors around, hopefully everything will live happily together without screaming Ho Ho Ho.

Once I decided on the color (one of my favorites, Sunrise Red by Rustoleum), we providentially had a day that was warm enough to spray them, and my sweet husband hung them the next day (I was a little nervous to tell him of my plan at first because this would be the THIRD time he's switched those lights out... ;)  It was actually a breeze, though.  Without those huge panes of glass, the lanterns were light as a feather (another bonus of removing the glass!).  

Although they're completely different styles, I also like how they relate to the vintage crystal chandelier that is in the breakfast nook.

If you've been around for a while, you might remember that I originally purchased the lights at the Habitat ReStore, and gave them a makeover from their original shiny brass finish.  And, we had to reconfigure the lighting in the ceiling because we originally didn't have any fixtures over the island.  If you happen to click on some of those older posts, I can't believe how much our kitchen has changed.  Here's a little progression over our 8 years here (and that first photo isn't even the original of when we bought the house with all of it's wallpapered and orangey oak cabinet goodness!).

Now, I have a feeling I'm going to need some new pillows in the living room.  If you give a mouse a cookie...

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Well, here we are 9 months after I completed my Master Bedroom for the One Room Challenge last Spring, and my DIY upholstered ottomans are one of the projects that I have neglected to share with you.   So, since I'm spending January trying to clean out and organize and not doing many blog-worthy projects, I thought this would be a great time to finally share this tutorial with you.

how to reupholster a footstool, Robert Allen Malakos malachite fabric, DIY ottoman makeover, brass trunk coffee table, accessory concierge agate necklace

I think that this is a project anyone could tackle, it's mainly measuring, ironing, and stapling.  I did a tiny bit of sewing to make the cording around the top edge (which you could do too if you can sew a straight line- here's a great tutorial), but you could even get around that by purchasing ready made cording if you wish.

I came across these stools on Craigslist and although dated, loved the shape and size and they were very sturdy.  I had been thinking about a set-up like this (Edie's home is a huge inspiration to me!), and was keeping an eye out for stools that I could use in front of the fireplace that could be easily moved if needed.

For the makeover, I started by removing all of the printed fabric.  The box underneath was covered in another gold-ish fabric with padding underneath, and I left all of that intact since it would be covered up again.  The stools were a bit bulky and hard to maneuver, so I added simple casters to the bottom to make them easier to move.

Update in the time since I've done these... apparently the bottom was just particle board or something that's wasn't very strong, because it came apart under a few of the wheels.  Since then, I removed the wheels, had a thin piece of pine plywood cut to fit the bottom, screwed it over the existing bottom, then reattached the wheels.  Now they have something strong and sturdy to attach to.

I wanted to beef up the padded top a little bit, so I used some scraps that I already had.  I think there's some foam from an egg crate mattress, some padding from a mattress pad, and a few layers of batting.  I cut them a few inches larger than the top so they hung over the sides.

Next I layered my fabric on top of the batting.  With an idea in mind of where I wanted the cording to go to divide the top from the sides,  I stapled all of those layers down along the sides, pulling tightly.  It helps to start in the middle of each side, pull the fabric across and do the opposite side next, then repeat with the other two sides, making sure your fabric is straight and taught as you staple.  When you reach the corners just pull then down a little more and bunch the fabric slightly as needed to get a smooth finish.

After the top was stapled down it was time to add the cording.  This was the only part that was necessary for sewing.  You could also purchase a pre-made piping or cording to use if you don't want to make your own.  I decided where the cording would go and made a template (there's a mark on that paper that lines up with the bottom of the stool- the top lines up where the cording will go) to make it easy to line up around all of the sides.  At the time I didn't have my air compressor stapler yet, so I used this electric stapler for this project.  It's reasonably priced and does a fine job for lighter upholstery projects.  It definitely saves your hand from all of that manual stapling with a regular staple gun.

Be sure to finish off the starting/ending point of the cording like this-

For each stool I cut 4 panels for the corners and 4 panels for the sides.  I won't give measurements here because sizes vary, but measure from the bottom of the cording to just where you want the skirt to hit the floor, then add about 2 1/2 inches (allows about an inch for the top and 1 1/2 inch for the bottom hem which I like to turn under twice for a completely finished edge).  For the corner pieces, I cut them about 10" wide which allowed for an inch on each side to turn under.  Finish the sides and bottom of each piece by pressing with an iron and then pressing no-sew tape fusible tape under the fold to make it secure.  You could definitely sew this if you wanted to, but I wanted a finished look without seeing any stitching, and this is easier and faster!  Don't use any fusible tape on the top, only fold it under and press so you'll have a crisp edge there as well.  This will be important in the next step.  

To attach the sides and corners to the stool, you'll want to use a cardboard upholstery tack strip to get a crisp, finished, professional looking edge.  Tear a piece off just a little bit longer than the fabric piece you're working with.  Attach the corners first, because you'll want the full side pieces to be layered on top.  Place the corner piece in position where it just touches the floor, then flip it up from the bottom so it's upside down but the top is still in place.  You're going to position the cardboard strip right up in the top fold that you pressed previously, as close as you can get it to the bottom of the cording, and then staple along the top edge, all the way across the piece of fabric you're attaching. 

When you flip your fabric piece back down, it should fit nice and tight against the cording. 

Repeat that process for all of the corners, then all 4 sides on top, making sure everything lines up along the hemline at the bottom.

If you are happy with that look, sit back and smile, because you're finished!  I wanted to add a bit more detail, though, so I attached some nail head tacks.  These strips are definitely the fastest and easiest way to add nail head trim, but you could do individual tacks if you're a glutton for punishment you want an even more professional look.

I originally used fabric glue to add some hot pink ribbon along the bottom of mine for another pop of color, too,

and that's how they looked for the reveal of my bedroom.  

How to reupholster an ottoman, Robert Allen Malakos malachite fabric, diy upholstered ottoman makeover, colorful master bedroom, upholstered headboard

Since then, I've moved them back and forth from my room to the Living Room and decided to remove the pink trim (there was some glue residue left on the fabric which came off easily but gently rubbing with a wet cloth).  I can't promise that I won't add another trim someday if I find something I love!  By the way, this fabric is by Robert Allen and is called Malakos and it's available here that I've found for it, just in case you love it as much as I do.  ;)  It comes in several other colors, too!

How to reupholster an ottoman, Robert Allen Malakos malachite fabric, diy upholstered ottoman makeover,

This pair has been one of my best Craigslist purchases, and they were actually pretty simple to re-cover.  I have a weakness for pairs of ottomans, they're just so versatile!

How to reupholster an ottoman, Robert Allen Malakos malachite fabric, diy upholstered ottoman makeover,

How to reupholster an ottoman, Robert Allen Malakos malachite fabric, diy upholstered ottoman makeover,

*affiliate links used

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Weren't we just decorating for Christmas a few days ago?  I can't believe it's almost time for Valentine's Day!  I don't generally do a lot of decorating for the lovely day, but it is fun to sprinkle a few festive reminders of the holiday here and there.

Feeling a bit crafty and thinking along the same lines as the 3D paper ornaments I made for Christmas, I made a little piece of 3D heart artwork to tuck in a vignette or shelf.

Valentine's Day craft, paper crafting, Valentine's Day Artwork

I started with a few simple supplies that I had on hand- an open frame (or remove the glass of a regular frame) and patterned paper.  I also used mat board, rubber cement, Elmer's glue, and hot glue.  Note:  I took my paper to our church and used the die cutter for my hearts, but you might have a paper punch or cutting machine that would work well also.  If all else fails, trace some hearts that are all uniform and use your good old scissors to cut them out.  ;)

Glue patterned paper for the backing to a scrap piece of mat board or cardboard cut to fit the frame opening.  I like to use rubber cement or spray adhesive for a smooth finish.  

Glue hearts that will be the base on backing board, arranging them in the order you wish.  I liked this arrangement because we just so happen to have 4 people in our little family, but you could do whatever number of hearts you want, according to the size of the heart you've cut out and your frame size.  I think even one in the middle with lots of space around it would look nice.  

Fold the rest of the hearts exactly in half, right sides together.  

Choose 3 patterns to layer on top, and one more for the center.  Fold the heart that will be in the center in half with wrong sides together, glue closed.

Assemble by gluing each heart together with a thin line of glue along the back of the middle fold (think of it as a spine), then hold it in place on the heart underneath it.  I used Elmer's school glue for this part.  Repeat until all are glued together (gluing each fold on top of another, keeping glue line thin and just down the fold).  I found it easiest to glue the 3 middle hearts together, then the top 1/2 heart, folding them across themselves each time for a few seconds to keep them straight and allowing the glue to dry for a few minutes.   

Lastly I  glued all of the hearts already assembled to the heart glued down to the backing paper.  For that last step, I used a hot glue gun because the glittery paper wasn't working well with regular glue, and you'll want a quick drying glue to secure the last pieces together.  

Then, pop it in the frame.  I like to secure it with a few glazier points (demonstrated here) if it's a wood frame or even just a few drops of hot glue around the edge.  It won't take much and if you just add a few tiny dabs of glue it will be easy to pop it off when you're ready to change out the picture.  

Valentine's Day craft, paper crafting, Valentine's Day Artwork

Valentine's Day craft, paper crafting, Valentine's Day Artwork

I think my little afternoon craft project turned out pretty cute!  Do you do much decorating for Valentine's Day?

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Sometimes I have to mull over a project for a while, and sometimes a thought pops into my head and I have the spray paint in my hands 10 seconds later.  Last week the latter happened.  I gave a little sneak peek on Instagram (I would love for you to follow me if you're not, pretty please!) but here's a few clues for you all, too!

Hunted Interior

Tobi Fairley

Windsor Smith

Better Homes and Gardens

via Style at Home, photography by Donna Griffith

Magnolia Homes

Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley


Hmmmm, maybe I'm branching out from my old standby?!?  I'll be sharing what I've been up to next week.  You might be shocked...   

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, we'll be sitting at a basketball tourney cheering away!

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Today I have a super quick tip for you to boost your home's style and the money in your wallet!  I'm going to start by assuming that you all know the key to beautiful, plump pillows is to use a down insert.  Polyfil pillows just get crushed and flattened over time, with no chance of fluffing them back up.  We all know that, right?  (If you're allergic to down filling, I'm so sorry!  The down alternative pillows are probably your next best option over polyfil stuffing.)

Here's where my tip of the day comes in...  down inserts can be expensive.  Recently I was just about to head to the local fabric store that sells them and plunk down almost $20 for a 24x24 down insert that I needed.  Just in the nick of time, I ducked into Homegoods and happened to spot this beauty on the clearance rack.

Well, not so much a beauty to me, it's not quite my style.  But, it was a perfectly plump 24" down pillow marked down to $7.00!  I couldn't check out fast enough.  Even though this cover was sewn closed rather than having a zipper, I just carefully cut it off to free my new insert from inside.  

It slipped right into my green cover that I needed it for and I smiled at my $13 savings!  So, never forget to check the clearance rack, and don't judge a pillow by it's cover.  Remember, it's what's on the inside that counts! 

Ikea is really the best place that I've found for down inserts, and I like to keep a few on hand.  However, their sizes are usually limited to 12x20, 20x20, and 26x26, so if I'm looking for something in between I have to get resourceful.  FYI, most of my pillows that I make are 20", but I use a 22" form so they are plump.  I made the green covers about 22" so I've needed 24" inserts for them.  Always buy a slightly larger insert than the size of your pillow if you want it to fluff up nice and full.

That just reminded me to share with you one more thing- if you have Euro pillows (26x26) for your bed that don't seem to work quite right, try a 28x28" down insert in them.  I found that size locally at Tuesday Morning and they have been the best thing for my bed shams!  The 26" inserts never seemed to fill the sham enough to make it stand up right, especially when I used a sham with any kind of flange border.  They need to be stuffed full and tight to look pretty.

Are you a down pillow convert, and if so what's your best source?

*affiliate links used

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