Monday, August 3, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I have a virus. Or rather my computer does. I've been fighting with it for a couple weeks now, and every time I think it's gone it pops up again in a few days. This basically means I'm effed.

I backed up my important files and digital music as best I could online, including project pics, but now I don't want to pull any more images from my camera until I reinstall Windows. Oy.

Just for the record, the coffee table is finished, the dinning room chairs are recovered, and I made a pendant lamp. And I have pretty pictures of everything...I just can't show them to you yet. So I apologize if there is a delay in posts. I should work on the computer tonight when I get home, but we'll see how that goes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Side Table Before and After

When I moved from my studio to my current 1 bedrom I had a serious furniture shortage. This resulted in a trip to my local Salvation Army in search of tables and lamps, on a serious budget. I came away with a load of stuff, including two matching side tables.

Sister table in the bedroom

The dark wood and black center insert just weren't working for me. I considered trying to pull out the middle and laying mosaic, but upon further investigation I realized the black board was the only thing in the center.

Not wanting to do serious measuring/construction on a cheap table, I decided to just paint the wood and cover the middle.

Emma provided moral support.

Please excuse the darkness. It was probably about midnight when I finished.

An improvement, no?

Close-up of the decoupage.

It was an easy project. I got a lot of mileage out of can of white primer. Then I only had to buy paper and decoupage paste, which wasn't terribly expensive.


I have to say, I'm super happy with the changes in the living room. I have a few more projects to post still, then I'll be doing some total room pics!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Painted Front Door with a Surprise

My front door was hideous.

I mean it was a special brand of awful. It was probably a kind of slate-ish, blue/grey color at one point, but that had long since evolved into dingy filth. And it has clearly been forced open once in the past, which is most likely what prompted the addition of the dead bolt. Seriously. Ugly and creepy.


Now, I'm not technically, exactly allowed to paint in my apartment. But this called for a little bending of the rules...and really they only ever told me not to paint the walls.

Instant improvement.

So it started, and in a few hours, this:

Became this:

As for the surprise? A splash of color on the inside!

This is far from the most involved thing I've done. But I have to admit it has probably made the most impact on how I feel about my home. And I did it with stuff I had around from other projects.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Decorating with maps

I've been thinking a lot lately about ways to take up a significant chunk of blank wall space. Since I moved the new couch in I had to rearrange every bit of furniture, which of course means the art has to be shuffled as well.

Decorating on a strict budget has been a challenge, but the availability of alley-found furniture and discount stores for fabrics and rugs has made it manageable. The one place I'm having trouble is with art. I've seen a lot of creative things done with paper and even coffee filters, but that just isn't my aesthetic. I also can't paint the walls, so I need to throw some color up there. Hence my current train of thought: hang some maps.

The idea of a big classroom map with original hanging hardware makes me swoon, but I'm having trouble finding one. I would use it has a back drop behind the couch and always have it pulled down. But there are other maps that might look cool in a grouping or one their own. And Etsy is a great place to find vintage maps. Here are a few of my favs:

French map of the US from Extra Virgin Home

Map of TX with Blue Bonnets Hankie from Blue Bonnets Etc.

Archeology/Natural history 3D map from Austin Modern

Illustrated NY state map from Holcroft

I'm going to continue hunting for my pull-down classroom map, but these are other examples I might keep in mind. Anyone know any schools that are upgrading their maps?!?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Teaser: coffee table

Just a quick teaser to say that I found a giant, solid wood coffee table in my alley last night. I tried to find something similar online but can't find anything remotely close. It's currently covered in stickers and glitter on top (I have no clue), but I should be able to fix that and make it cute again. I'm smelling a project for the long weekend!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Paris Men: Spring 2010

Dear Fashion Gods,

If it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you mind possibly, maybe, dressing the men in my life from the Dunhill and Hermes Spring 2010 lines? I'm a sucker for great tailoring.

Dunhill Spring 2010 Designer: Kim Jones
Image via

Herm├Ęs Spring 2010 Designer: Veronique Nichanian
Image via

Full slide shows here and here.

Merci et bises,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fiesta Kitchen

I told you I had lots of projects waiting in the wings. A friend of mine suggested that I hold on to them and space them out, but I just get so excited! I'm in the middle of upgrading my kitchen decor. It wasn't really a planned project, so much as a simple summer idea spiraled out of control.

See, I wanted an herb garden to sit by my kitchen window. And I wanted pretty pots in which to plant my herbs. But it was a bitch finding pots I liked and could afford (ain't that always the catch?) Then it was my new-found, crafty ways to the rescue!

Plain terracotta pots + spackle to hid cracks (damaged ones were super cheap!) + generous festive paint=

Textured fiesta fun! You can kind of see one of my dish towels in the background, and you might notice that it continues the fiesta theme. Oh yes. A color scheme was born.

This led to another project involving my front door, but that's an update for another day.

Spearmint close up

Parsley and Dill shackin' up before we lost Dill to the dark side.

Currently I have basil, spearmint, and parsley growing. I tried dill, but it recently went brown and died...maybe the heat? My green thumb isn't exactly finely honed.

Nicaragua here we come...almost!

I love planning vacations. I love researching, snooping, reviewing, and, most of all, booking and enjoying. That is why today is pretty much the best day ever; we booked our flight to Nicaragua and reserved a room at Casa del Soul in San Juan del Sur.

I dare you to go look and die with envy. Seriously.

Not really, don't die, but if you feel a twinge of jealousy...well...I'm not sorry. :) I haven't had a real vacation in about...three and a half years, so this is long overdue. We will be spending five insanely lovely nights surrounded by jungle with an ocean view. My heart just skipped a beat!

Is it the end of August yet?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Couch!

Ok, time for a real update about, you know, my house. I got a new couch a couple weeks ago, and it was just about all the excitement I could handle.

I had been living with a cheap Ikea love seat that I totally hated and was falling apart. Then I got a visit from the magic couch fairy. No joke. My friend Laura found a new apartment and the previous tenant wanted to leave her couch to Laura or just throw it away. Laura didn't need a new couch, so she asked if I wanted it. I took one look at it and couldn't say no. We are talking about a three-piece, vintage sectional from the 1940s or 50s with original upholstery (which had some wear, but I'll get to that in a minute). It's arm less, has sweeping backs, and beautiful cream coloring with sublet bits of silver sparkle. Words don't do it justice.

It's so pretty! With Emma in her new favorite spot...right in the middle.

Close up of texture, with curtains.

This couch could not suffer the fate of a Chicago alley dumping. No. It needed a good home. After a visit from RugDoctor (rented from Menards and used by yours truly...another update in itself) my new baby was good to go. There is some seroius wear on the third piece (not pictured) but I figure that's where pillows and throws will live. LOVE.

I actually have a back log of projects to post about, so more coming soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Etsy Finds: Lirola

There are so many gorgeous things on Etsy I can hardly stand it! I was a little late to the party, only starting my addiction a few months ago, but man has it changed the way I shop and think about diy projects.

I know I promised project pics, but today I would rather highlight a fantastic little shop: Lirola!

The designs are simple, feminine, and they look so darn comfortable. See for yourself:

Image via Lirola's Etsy shop

The whole idea of buying clothing where you 100% are sure of the source is fantastic, not to mention you get a great opportunity to support the handmade community. And the dress above is no more expensive than if you were to go shopping at a place like Anthropologie (which I also frequent), but I feel more justified spending cash on something handmade.

I myself have been considering opening up a shop, but so far that has been easier said than done. I'm still in the initial planning stages.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Away for a bit/ Back with avengence

I was in Indianapolis for three days attending a seminar for work. I took my camera with every intention of finding a pretty thing to bring back and post here. What did I find? Nothing. Zero. Zip. So yeah...I don't have pretty things for you. Instead I have a boring update about nothing. Enjoy!

(Real update about my herb garden/pot decorating project coming soon.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Go Wings!

I may live in Chicago, but my heart belongs to Detroit.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Homecoming hijinx

I managed to escape the chilly Chicago spring in early May and made my way to sunny South Carolina. Mum was incredibly happy to see me over Mother's Day weekend and just a few weeks before my birthday. And she wanted to pick my brain about a project she had on the horizon. Being a middle school teacher Mum frequently has extracurricular duties like puting on a Thanksgiving potluck or tutoring, but this time her activities wandered into my realm: the realm of glitter and hot glue. 

Mum had volunteered to handle the elections for the king and queen of the 8th grade spring dance. Our objective was to create sashes for the Court and figure out a plan for crowns for the king and queen. I think the whole project ended up costing around $30, and we ended up with 8 sashes and the king's crown. 

Totally cute right?

They're just tubes of white sateen fabric, glitter lettering (with tacky glue and my lovely penmanship), and fake flowers found at Michaels. 

I also got a new camera while I was there for my bday (thanks Mum!), and these were my first pics. I hope to improve as time goes by. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A shot in the dark

So, I've decided to start a blog, and it's making me feel kind of like I'm 13 all over again. Will I be popular? Will people think I'm funny? My social anxiety is turned up to 11.

BUT, I've decided to shelf all that and treat this more like a place for me to collect my thoughts, archive my projects, and perhaps learn a little bit about writing along the way. This space will be dedicated to, as the title says, pretty things. I know that's vague, but it will allow me to explore new interests. Topics are likely to include: cooking, sewing, crafts, decorating, and possibly writing. I haven't made up my mind about that last one yet.

Anyway, welcome, and I hope we become friends. Let's make a deal right now: I will try my best not to bore you to death if you promise to play nice.