Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Salvation Army Find

I went to the Salvation Army this afternoon intending to donate some stuff I had cleaned out, but apparently everyone else in Ann Arbor had the same idea. The line to donate was crazy long, so I decided to just take a look around and try again tomorrow.

I found what I thought was a really cool looking cabinet, perhaps a speaker. I had plans for it immediately replace the front with two cute little doors, paint, and use in my office. BUT, it was actually the amp for an organ, for sale only with the organ. I don't have room for one of those, nor the need. So that was out.
In the furniture section, I did find a cute little side table. I was particuarly drawn to it because of the detailing on the drawer, and the legs. It looks very similar to my desk, and could make a cute printer/plant/lamp table or whatever in the office.
I plan to paint it-- but the color depends on where it ends up. If its in the office, I would probably start with the same white as my desk, and maybe use an accent color. But when I got it in my apartment, I put it next to my couch, and now I'm torn. It could make an excellent side table.
So I don't know whats going to happen to it. But I'll let you know.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

I don't want to brag but...

Pink christmas trees are totally cool this year.
And I've had one for like 4 years.

At Michael's last night, I saw they had light pink trees on sale for $19.99. I don't know how tall they were-- maybe 5 feet? If I had room for one and cats that didn't knock things over for sport, it would have been mine!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Candles!

Grad school has made me rather thrifty. This year for christmas I decided I wanted to make my female relatives (aunts, mom, stepmom, grandma) candles. Since I've had some time off to relax, and I had multiple coupons for JoAnns, I decided to try my luck at making candles today.

Last weekend I collected some old canning and jelly jars from the salvation army to make the candles in. I decided to get them there so they were not all the same, and I got some pretty ones. Different shapes, sizes and patterns.
I got wax, wicks, dye and scent, and set to work. I don't have a fancy double-boiler candle maker thing, so I improvised. I read online that a coffee can would work, but I didn't have one of those either. I did, however, have a can of mandarin oranges. So I had a little snack, cleaned the can and started cooking! (kind of..)
I took action shots.
My high tech set up...


Three jars in various stages of getting ready: you have to put in the wick and then keep it standing while the candle hardens. They probably sell some fancy tool for this, but since I was using a can of mandarin oranges for melting the wax, I went with the low-tech "use a spoon" method. It actually worked out quite well.


I poured the tallest jar first, then I had to melt more wax to pour the next two. You can see the taller one is lighter than the smaller ones, and the wax continues to lighten as it cools.

This is about 30 minutes after pouring. You can see the wax is even lighter.

I used french vanilla scent and brown dye. Brown really wasn't my first choice, but Joanns had a limited, strange selection of colors. Lavender, yellow and brown. OK? I guess "french vanilla" lends itself to a brown color, so that's ok.
Since I wasn't sure how this was going to go, I only bought 1 pound of wax, which I used up. Tomorrow I will probably go to another store (Michaels?) to scope out their selection, and get some more wax. As the wax is drying, it settles, so you have to "top it off." I didn't plan well so I didn't have any wax left with which to do this. And I have many more candles to make.
I'm hoping to find one more color and maybe another scent. I don't want to get too complicated-- I have a limited supply of cans in my cupboard in which I can melt wax.
The best part about this is now I know how relatively easy it is. My new question, instead of "would this look good on my head?" will be "can I make this into a candle?"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Armoire


 The pink color in my armoire has been bothering me recently. I am trying to build a living room that is cohesive, and the pink was just not working with the other colors in the room. Either because this week has been rough or because I felt free for Thanksgiving Day break, I decided it was time to repaint the inside of the armoire. But what color? Perhaps a grey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Small Spaces

I realized tonight while talking to people at a party that not everyone has an appreciation for living in small spaces. The word "loft" was tossed around like a dirty word. I was heart broken!




The conversation reminded me about an awesome loft I came across on a website (in stockholm) that for me, is really amazing. It might only be 32 m2 (about 350 square feet) but it looks very livable.


(picture of the living space from the loft bed)

I apologize because this website is not in English, but the pictures speak for themselves.
http://www.alvhemmakleri.se/index.php?page=hem-till-salu&object_id=OBJ17735_1005694042&view=images

FYI- this studio loft is for sale if you're still looking for that perfect christmas present for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little Chairs

Why are little chairs so awesome?
Every time I come across mini versions of designer chairs I have the urge to buy them.
So you can see what I mean, here are pictures of some mini chairs:

These sets are both from Chiasso.com, but I know they are available elsewhere. So cool!
The first set is a mix of designers- Meis Van Der Roeh Barcelona Chair, Charles and Ray Eames, the Hardoy butterfly chair, The blue Panton chair, and others
And the second set is all Eames chairs.
You can order them for me at www.chiasso.com.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dresses I'm Digging

On Wednesday for a strange reason I was on State st. in Ann Arbor around lunch time. I had just had lunch, and had an hour or so before I needed to be back to school. I decided to check out this new store in town, called Pitaya. Pitaya is kind of like a...smaller, slightly higher quality Forever 21..
They apparently have locations in several college town places. You can check out their website at www.pitayaonline.com. They don't have all of their stuff online unfortunately.


So I was drawn to this dress they had on display that was one shoulder, with a large flower on the collar bone. Turns out it was a "infinite dress"-- you can wear it many different ways, but all of them include a rather open back. I really liked the one shoulder look, but I didn't want to show so much skin. This dress seemed perfect for my department's holiday party. I've spent far too much time searching the internet for a classier version of this dress, finding some nice ones, but with much larger price tags as well.




Fear not! I found a dress that fits what I was looking for. The dress in the lower left hand corner is from Target. It is part of their Limited Edition collection, for the holidays I guess.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jewelry I'm digging

After somehow making my way to the jewelry section of Anthropoligie's website, I fell in love. With their dramatic jewelry. If you've seen my other posts, you know that I'm not scared of a statement piece or two. I made the following cool little graphic of awesome jewelry from Anrthopologie (all still available, christmas is coming!) This is my first awesome little graphic, and my first time trying to post one to my blog to heres to hoping it works out.




Speaking of awesome jewelry, today while in Ann Taylor Loft I found an awesome necklace that I really needed, only it was 49.50, which is uh..49.50 more than my jewelry budget for this month. Even worse, its not on their website, and I can't find a picture anywhere!
I will try to describe:
It was a bib necklace, the main bib part was a black felt. There was a ribbon around the edge, and dark colored gems scattered on it. The chain was big plastic links.
I knew there was a Michael's across the street, and I knew I could cut out felt in a similar shape and glue sparkily stuff on it, so I decided to go see what I could find.
I got black felt, ribbon and a variety of fake rhinestones and shiny things. I was unable to find anything to make the chain part that pleased me, so I decided I would use ribbon instead.

(jewelry on a lamp? why not. Whitney has a belt on her plant)


Ok, maybe a picture will look better in daylight. But its a good start! I'm considering cutting the bib to make it more U-shaped...but I'm undecided.
It cost me about $12 to buy the supplies for this-- and I definitely have enough of everything to make another.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Office Closet

Remember this?Well, I did some serious work editing what was in my office, resulting in a couple trips to the salvation army, and reorganized my closet. This is what my bookcase looks like now:



Much better, right?
But even more exciting is what the inside of the closet looks like now. I had a much smaller bookcase in the closet, which was not big enough for my collection of binders. I got this one at target for a mere $19.99, and it fits very nicely. The additional shelves allow me to organize my extra office supplies out of my vision if I'm working at my desk, and the door can be closed!



On the other side of the closet, I got baskets and boxes to organize a lot of my craft and sewing stuff. The boxes on the top shelf have scrapbooking stuff, that box on the left holds 12x12 paper. That box was not easy to find! The middle shelf has some holiday decorations and other random stuff, and the bottom shelf has sewing things! One container has projects that I am currently working on, and the other has my collection of material, ribbon, facing, etc. (The patterns and thread and scissors are on the other bookcase, in the boxes on the bottom shelf) That big ugly looking box in the front is my sewing machine. Some day a project will be to clean that up. Perhaps with pretty contact paper? I'm hesitant because the sewing machine is technically an antique and I don't want to ruin its original box (ugh..more than it already is).

Glittery Pumpkins!


It has been a long time since I posted last-- same story-- lots of school work. I have, however, done a few things since I last wrote.
To decorate for Halloween, I wanted to use glittery pink pumpkins. My inspiration came from a post on casasugar about decorating with orange and pink for Halloween. I thought, easy enough, I'll find something glittery at target or Michael's.
Not so much. So I decided I was going to have to do it myself. I bought tiny plastic pumpkins ("berry size" according to the package), glue and Martha Stewart pink glitter and went to work.
MS's glitter is amazing, first of all. It is very fine, giving it good coverage, but it is still everywhere in my apartment. The project took a little more time than I expected-- only one side of the pumpkin could be done at a time, then it had to dry, some had to be spot fixed, and then after they were dry, sprayed with hair spray to try to limit the amount of glitter that came off.
All in all it probably took me about 3 weeks to get the whole thing done-- not 3 full time weeks, but 3 weeks of spending a couple nights a week gluing and glittering while watching tv.


Glittery pumpkins or Halloween decorations isn't a new idea, its not even an unpopular idea.
Jane from Jane & Josephine initially motivated me. You can see her decor here. (she was featured on casasugar)

Martha Stewart even suggests that glittery bones are an elegant way to decorate for Halloween.


Even pottery barn is stocking glittered halloween decor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Projects Lately :(

Well, since I have started school for the year I really have not had time to work on any projects. I've been trying to decide what I should do with this blog in the mean time, and I think I will use it to write about both fashion and home decorating things that I come across.
One "problem" I have right now is my school bag. I currently have a black computer bag (from JCPenny) that I like, but it is not holding up well. So, the search has begun for a new bag. These are my requirements:
-large enough for a large binder, possibly a couple textbooks, wallet, phone, water bottle, lunch...appropriate to put a laptop in from time to time (not every day)
-tote style. I have never had good luck with messenger bags, and I don't want a backpack.
-neutral color. I'm thinking black or brown, but I could probably go for other colors.
I'll be posting pictures of any bags I find that I like, and I would appreciate any suggestions people have for me.

Finally, to close, Things I'm Digging:
-Tarina Tarantino style jewelry: If I had an extra 750 big ones hanging around, this would be hanging around my neck (pic from tarinatarantino.com)
But since I don't, it isn't. I have found some similarly inspired pieces at other places, like Claires and Forever 21.

-Hilarious notecards:
(http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_2&listing_id=26381529)

-mirrored furniture. Another thing for an extra $750-800 laying around. Sigh.
From http://www.zgallerie.com/pc-1285-67-borghese-3-drawer-dresser.aspx
The good news about mirrored furniture is that it IS available at reasonable(ish) prices. Urban Outfitters recently had a mirrored bedside table, and Target has a few mirrored pieces right now. I have seen one in particular (http://www.target.com/Glass-Accent-Table-25-25/dp/B0023UWO1S/ref=br_1_24?ie=UTF8&frombrowse=1&searchView=grid5&searchNodeID=2057388011&node=2057388011&searchRank=salesrank&searchPage=1&searchSize=30&id=Glass%20Accent%20Table%2025%2025) at the local target several times and it just wants to come home with me!! They also have a mirrored jewelry box and vanity tray.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Long time.

I haven't posted in a while because I went home for my dads wedding for a week. That doesn't mean I wasnt doing some decorating work though. While home, I went to one of my favorite stores, The Christmas Tree Store. It's kind of like a Marshalls/tjmaxx, except with no clothing and most things are made just for the store. I was on the look out for lamps for the office, and I found some!
Below is the desk lamp I got, for $9.99, including the shade!

Below is the floor lamp I got to put next to the chair. I got this one for $29.99!



I really want to get rid of that second shelf thing there next to the bookcase, and move that whole corner down a little.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This or that?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More office Progress






Today was a rather productive day. After resting in the morning to make my big headahce go away I was able to do some work in the afternoon and evening. I started with taking the second desk out of the room, and taking it apart. I then went on to the closet and saw that I have far too many plastic tubs. I designated one of them for winter clothes and moved that to my bedroom closet, I made a tub to collect thing to donate to the Salvation Army, and a decent amount of stuff to just throw away. After several trips to the dumpster with desk pieces and garbage, and several trips to my car with things for the salvation army, the room has made some seriously progress.
After dinner I ran to Home Depot, because they always seem to have a selection of large house plants for a reasonable price. I found a great tropical palm plant that is probably close to 5 ft tall if it stood up straight.
I changed the arraingement of the room, putting the desk on the wall that the second desk was on, and put the bookcase to the left flat against the wall instead of kitty-cornered. I also have decided to part with the chair I had been using in there, and instead use a chair that is meant for my dinning room table. I only have room for 2 chairs at the kitchen table, so two remain in a closet. This seems like a good solution for now. I don't have the heart to paint that chair the same color as the desk, but perhaps in the future I will find something that is reasonable to paint.
Lastly, I brought the side chair in from my living room. I'm imagining a little table next to that chair for setting my drink on when I'm reading in that chair. I also think that a floor lamp might go behind that chair in the future.
The plant-- its in a pretty awkward space right now, right in the middle. I'm not exactly sure where that will end up.
I am also really digging the idea of having my desk completely cleaned off (ie no pencil cup or bill holder on desk). It gives it a much more sleek and relaxing design. I have some more ideas for the room, but thats all for now.

Office progress


I have made some progress on my office revamp. I spent an evening doing "research"--walking around target and tjmaxx looking for some ideas. I came away with a couple pretty non-specific ideas. First, I need to paint my desk a lighter color, find a tall potted plant, and a couple new lamps--maybe a floor lamp and a desk lamp.
I decided to get rid of the second desk I had in that room, and have also spent time going through the closet to get rid of other things I no longer need-- like many pairs of long, long curtains that I used in my apartment in Chicago, and other random stuff. I picked a color for the desk yesterday and primed and painted that.
I'm hoping that the result will be a much calmer, clutter free working environment so I can do some serious studying in the coming year. Its my last year as a student for a couple years (yeehaw!) so it needs to count.
I'm also thinking of a new rug, and moving the side chair I have in to make a comfy place to read/nap. To finish it out, I want to add some candles/vases. I just thought of the idea of keeping track of what I spend, so I'm going to do that. Last night I spent $35 on paint, brushes, a tray, a drop cloth, etc. Thats all I have spent so far besides time.
Here is a picture of my primed (but not painted) desk:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Depressing. Please advise.


So I am starting a class tomorrow, an intensive biology class. In preparation for this class, I went school supply shopping with a classmate. After the binder and notebook shopping, I started looking at my office a little more. It sucks. While I have spent quite a bit of time perfecting the other rooms in my apartment, I have spent very very little time on the office, and it shows. My other rooms look put together and planned, while this room looks like I just threw whatever I had in it. Which is what I did. So, here are the undoctored pictures of my horrible office space. How do I fix this? I've been considering painting my desk a color--a bright green or blue of some sort. Should I get a new desk? Get rid of the second desk? what do I put on the wall where that hideous wire shelf is? How else can I rearrange this ugly room? I really do like looking out the window, but its not necessary. That is the only window, and it faces east, so it doesn't get much sun in the hours that I am using it.
In the mean time, I'm going to spend some time looking at other peoples offices online and will post what I find.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I fixed it!


Some how I had an extra piece sewn into the bird. The pattern is for two fabrics--a belly and the top, only I read it as "cut two" of the belly piece. Looks much nicer now, and it's still popular with the kitties.

Its a bird, I swear.


I found a free pattern online for a bird, originally intended for making a mobile (here). However, I immediately thought it would be an awesome toy to make for my cats. So I printed the pattern at work today (A single 8x10 page) and tried it tonight with some left over apple and pear fabric.

So, its not exactly recognizable as a bird, but Franklin and Ellie are a sucker for anything with catnip (I have even sewn catnip into baby socks and they don't complain). So I put some catnip in with the stuffing, and then caught this picture of Ellie with it mid-bunny-kick. Its a hit!


I think I will continue to make them with my leftover fabric-- it takes such a small amount of fabric and such a short time to sew that I will be able to make many of these at a time. I'm thinking I'll stockpile them to use as gifts and for my planned etsy shop.

Looking at the pictures on the original webpage, I want to know how they made the tail so flat and without visible stitching. The instructions say to sew the other seams, turn, stuff then sew the tail shut..Cheaters.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Can't Believe I Didn't Think of This Before


I've spent the last month or so looking at the two end tables in my living room trying to decide what to do with them. I've had them for a little more than two years--I was either given them by or bought them really cheaply from the people I babysat for in Chicago when they moved away. They are your standard particle board end tables, but had started looking rather rough lately.
Given I'm a student, it didn't seem reasonable to throw away these perfectly good tables to buy something new, when I can't really afford anything nice (or nicer than these). I thought about painting them pink to match the inside of the armoire, or somehow otherwise covering them. But today, a light bulb went off in my head! I have a gallon of glossy black paint in my closet also left over from the armoire!
So this evening I repainted them, and I think they look great! Now I'm thinking maybe I should still try something else with them. I'm digging mirrored furniture right now, and I have seen several tutorials for doing it yourself, but I'm afraid that might be too much for my living room. If I do one, I have to do the other, right? That's a lot of mirror. Maybe the new shiny black finish will be enough to satisfy me for a while.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Artwork for my bedroom


After I took that big mirror out of my bedroom and put it in my living room, that space above my bed was looking really empty. I've spent some time trying to decide what to put in its place. I was looking for something that would match the colors of the things already in my room, but not be too expensive. I was finally inspired late last week to get some fabric with blue and brown and recover some canvases I had. I found some fabrics at joanns that I liked, and also got some ribbon that matched to use.
Making these things was really easy- I just stretched the fabric over the canvas and used a staple gun to staple it on the back. I then added the ribbon in the same way. Once I had decided which ribbon to use on which fabric and how to position it, the whole thing took about 10 minutes. I am really happy with the final product, and also think its cool that if I decide I want different colors or find some other amazing fabric it will be really easy to change these up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dilemmas


Ellie smells the flowers.
I bought these candle holders a while ago at Target on a whim. I love the shape of them, but I am unsure if they are strong enough to stand out against the color of the wall. I don't have candles in them because they are for tapers, and I'd like shorter ones. I think I am going to keep these candle holders regardless, because well..I don't have the receipt anymore, plus they were maybe $10 total.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Frustrations!

While I have finished the apple/pear dress and put it in my closet, the first dress I started making is taking a bit more time. I wasn't happy with the way the collar looked (and frankly it just wasn't right), the zipper needed to be fixed and I wanted to add a strip of fabric at the bottom to make the dress a bit longer. Well, at this point, I have made the collar THREE TIMES and I'm still not sure if I'm happy. I have also put the zipper in three times, there isn't a seam on the darn dress that I haven't done at least twice. I'm starting to think I'm learning to rip seams, not sew them!
Today I decided, after the suggestion of someone who has sewn a lot more than I, that since I could put on and take off the dress without unzipping it, I would just remove the zipper and sew the seam. Also, I've had a considerable bit of trouble with the fabric itself, as it is silky, and frays very easily. To fix that, I cut strips of iron-on interfacing about 1 inch wide, and fused them down both sides of the seam where the zipper used to be. That will stop the fabric from fraying any more.
The original pattern for the dress called for "gathering"- basically some loose stitching across the top that I would then pull tight. I wasn't digging this--it wasn't easy to control while sewing, which also made the collar look goofy. So instead I have fashioned some pleats, which is one of the few things I am quite happy about!
I have also made really good friends with my iron. I didn't realize how much ironing was involved in sewing!

Since blogs are much better with pictures-- I took some of the seams I have been sewing, ripping out and re-sewing (x3). Enjoy!

The fabric fraying and the interfacing fused on.





Mes amis the iron, pin cushion, interfacing and the dress.

Oops, I ironed my ruler. I thought ironing made things flat..