Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Girls on the Flying Trapeze

We're finally finished with Christmas - just in time for New Years Eve!  I'm not going to lie and say it was the best Christmas ever (mostly due to the fact that I worked the entire time my family was in town so I feel like I barely saw them), but it had some really nice moments.

The gift I was definitely most excited about was a trapeze lesson for my two girls.  The boyfriend and I are big believers in giving the kids more "experience" presents than just more material items.  We love making memories and I think the trapeze lesson will be something neither girl will ever forget.

We did the lessons at Trapeze Austin.  Of course, even especially at Christmas I have to get a deal.  Regular 1-hour lessons are $47.  I went through a Groupon deal (they frequently are on both the Austin Groupon and the San Antonio Groupon, which is where I bought mine) where they were only $23.  But I also had a Groupon coupon for $10 off and so I got both for $18 each (61% off!).

When we got there, I could tell my 8-year-old, Lauren, was getting nervous.  I thought for the beginner lesson, they would probably be hanging from a bar about four feet off of the ground.  Not the case at all.  I'm not the best at judging measurements, but the platform was probably about 30-40 feet off of the ground.  Very intimidating!  I was super happy with the choice to do it for both of the girls, Chelsea being there definitely helped build up Lauren's confidence.

They had a couple of minutes of vigorous stretching and warm-ups, which the girls were not too keen on.  Lauren made the comment that "This is worse than P.E.!"

Safety first - they attached belts for the safety rope. 

Next, they practiced bringing their knees up on the low bar.  I was really impressed with the coaching style.  Both of the trainers were very enthusiastic and supportive.

Now it was time for the real deal.  Look how high it is!

Lauren definitely had it harder - being so small she couldn't hold on to the trapeze and the stand on the platform at the same time, so they lifted her.

I didn't think she would take another turn after that, but she worked up her courage and did it one more time!  Afterwards she said it was a lot of fun, but didn't want to do it again.

Chelsea, on the other hand, was a natural.  They suggested she come back for the two-hour class and she's excited about doing it again!  I might even join her next time, it looked like so much fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dining Room Storage

Everyone ready for another entry into "Kai Does Not Know How to Photoshop"?  You would think I'd be too embarrassed to show you how much I suck at it, but since 80% of the suckage is due to the fact that I don't have enough time to write a blog post, much less design moodboards for them, so I'm okay with total strangers laughing at my complete lack of skills.

Let me introduce you to the dining room.

Forgive me for once again posting pictures from when we first moved into the place.  It's just easier to explain what I'm talking about without exposing my mismatched/half-finished dining room as a giant distraction.

I love our dining space - it's large enough for our table and some storage.  The problem is, I've been seesawing back and forth as to where that storage should go and what type of storage it should be.  Now that the table and rug are in place, storage is the last big item that I need to find.  So it's decision time.

With only one full wall, I've always envisioned putting the storage there.

Flanking bookshelves?

A credenza?

A whole wall of shelving?

Since this back wall is the first thing you see when you walk into my house, I want to make sure whatever I do there doesn't make the entire place feel smaller - which any large storage piece has the possibility of doing.  Something with mirrors would be nice, but probably pricy.

I went back to the drawing board (literally) and started playing around with the idea of moving the storage to the same wall as the sliding glass door.  The door is centered on the wall, so there's about 48 inches on either side.  Even when you take some of that away for curtains, that's still three feet of storage space for a total of six feet - which is pretty much the same amount I would get on the large wall.

That's right, I threw in a table and some curtains.  It's practically 3-D.
I love the idea of using Ikea wall cabinets hung low to make two floating cabinets.  Eliminating the legs of a piece makes the space feel larger.  And wall cabinets are designed for dishware, so they're a better choice than using bookshelves like I previously posted about.  Here are a few awesome Ikea cabinets turned into floating credenzas that I found.

Fauxdenza via Door Sixteen

The Brick House Floating Credenza

Made By Girl Floating Cabinets
I really love the above - only with a slightly more rustic top (like the middle picture).  By my calculations, I'll need two 36" wide wall cabinets.  I love the glossy look to the doors, but for some reason that makes them much more expensive, so I'll probably get the plain ones and dress them up with some pretty knobs.

I also loved how Naomi dressed up these Ikea shelves with some gold spray paint.  So I thought I could put them above for extra open storage.

I'm 79% sold on the idea.  I just have to get the supplies.  Then there is still the big wall to address...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rug Score

Yes, I'm still alive.  I've just been ridiculously busy between work, Christmas shopping and more work.  I picked up some assistant work with my friend who is an event photographer.  Love the extra cash around the holidays.  Can't say I loved the drunks at Vegas Night quite so much, but I did get to hang out with 3 Elvises at once so it was a memorable night.

Anyway, I'm very close to being finished with Christmas shopping.  I do realize that Christmas is less than a week away and I'm actually very behind schedule, but it's just one of those years. 

I was luckily able to find things online for most of our out-of-town friend and family and had it shipped directly to them, which helped a ton.  I am a huge fan of online shopping, especially stacking sales with online coupons.  So, despite the fact that I am not finished shopping for other people, I couldn't resist using a $20 off $100 coupon Overstock e-mailed me this morning.

What did I get?  This rug, of course!

I've been eyeing it for weeks now, and the price fluctuates all over the place so I wanted to make sure I got it on the low end.  Area rugs are currently 15% off, so stacking it with the coupon and the free shipping promotion made a big dent in the price (which I have seen for as much as $158).  I never really expected to be able to get it for under $100 (even if it's just a smidgen under at $98.99), so I am extremely happy.  Let's hope I stay happy when it gets here and I see it in person.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Folding Screens

Since I keep saving pictures of folding screens, one will probably make its way into my house eventually.  Not sure where it will go (or how I will afford one), just that I love them.

Unexpected Interiors

Traditional Home

Elle Decor via Meet Me in Philadelphia

Sorry some of the pictures are missing sources.  It's late and I'm too tired to do the necessary research.  I know, that's why people love Pinterest - it's just not my thing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lounge Chairs

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving yesterday!  I didn't do a specific post about it, but let me express my extreme gratitude for you - the reader.  I've always looked at Love in Idleness as my place to come and ramble about house-related stuff the boyfriend gets tired of hearing about.  So it is super touching that someone takes time out of their day to read (and sometimes even comment!) about my ideas or projects.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Speaking of the boyfriend.  He's told me in no uncertain terms that he hates our couch.  I assumed at first he hated that it is kinda ugly since I'm still saving up pennies to get it reupholstered.  This is what it looked like when we brought it home:

It looks exactly the same except now it sits on a blue rug and people think we have an unhealthy obsession with the color.  Eventually it's going taupe.   Although every time I see an episode of How I Met Your Mother I consider going golden yellow like Lily and Marshall's apartment. 

But then I think, you can find golden yellow retro couches every day on the side of the road, and I don't think they're all that attractive.  So it would probably be a big waste of money to have it recovered to look like a curb couch. 

It turns out that the boyfriend hates the low back.  I personally love it - both aesthetically and comfort-wise.  Which means, I'm not getting rid of the couch any time soon.  However, to keep the piece, I've decided to find him a Man Chair.  Something he can lean back and relax in - that our kids will refer to as "Dad's Chair."

Unfortunately, since I told him of the idea, I've come to realize this is his version of a Man Chair.

Preferably the kind with a built-in cooler and surround speakers.

Yeah, not happening.

My dream is to score a Plycraft or other knock-off of the classic Eames lounge chair and ottoman.  One will appear every couple of months on Craigslist (typically around $500), but they usually disappear within hours - what a hot ticket.

The other idea is to go with a distressed leather chair - either a club or a wingback.  Unfortunately, this option won't really save us any money (and might actually be more expensive), but leather chairs are much easier to find.  I'm really hoping to score at one of the nearby outlet malls - Restoration Hardware Outlet, are you listening?

Either way, like the couch's reupholstery, it's going to be an investment.  One that really makes sense since we'll get a lot of use out of it through the years.  Like most things in our house, I'd rather wait (and save) for what I really want than waste money on something I don't love completely.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fabrics Update

My love affair with fabric has been pretty well-documented on this blog, as well as my tendency to over-analyze every purchase for our house.  For example, it took me an entire year to pick the fabric for my dining room chairsA year.  However, lately I've been finding the "perfect" fabrics for my to-do list and I'm excited to be moving out of the endlessly hunting phase.

First off, an update on the Robert Allen Tidal Bay purchase from  I bought it on Monday and it arrived on Friday, which I thought was a pretty nice turnaround.  Here it is spread out on my bed - pardon the poor lighting as I forgot to take these pictures while the sun was still shining.

When I saw it in person, I told the boyfriend that I wanted to make love to it.  That's not a totally weird reaction, right?  Having not ordered a sample, I was apprehensive it would turn up and be hideous, but it's absolutely perfect.  Well, except for the flaw.

But that's why I scored it for the discount price of $5.95/yard.

The streak repeats about every 24 inches, but is luckily placed about 2/3 from the top of the fabric.  Which is perfect for what I want to use the fabric for.  Once I make the folds on the roman shade you won't see it at all.  They still have a few yards left at Fabricguru, but if you would rather not worry about the flaw, I also found a few colorways at the Online Fabric Store starting at $11.30/yard.

Besides being totally inappropriate with some fabric, this also happened at my house this weekend.

That's right - we put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.  I'm still not sure how the boyfriend got me to go along since it is our tradition to put up the tree on November 26, but it has helped me get into the holiday mood.  I still haven't bought the first present, but I have started the decision-making process.

Anyway, check out our sad, naked windows.  Still curtainless after all these months.  But I've finally picked a fabric!  (I think.)

Kind of out there, I know.  In my head, it's looking like a perfect combination of glamour, rock, and global.  I'm hoping that the print is small enough and subtle enough that it reads as a print without drawing a lot of attention.  I plan on using black trim similar to this picture. 

Dwellers without Decorators
The colors look perfect online.  Of course, I can't find a swatch for less than $12 after shipping, so I'm going to bite the bullet and order a few yards before taking the plunge of buying all 24 yards.  Hopefully I'm still as sold once it gets here.

And lastly, remember the bolster pillows I scored a few weeks ago?  They're for my son's room and I'm 99% sold on this fabric:
It also doesn't have a sample - so annoying.  However, I think I only need 2 yards, so it's not an investment to buy it sight unseen.  It's a close enough match to the blue of his bookshelves and a small enough print that it should work well with the large scale stripes on the bedding.

So, that's it.  Decisions made and hopefully I'll be putting them in my shopping carts soon.  How about you?  Have you finally made a choice on something for your home?  Surely someone else is indecisive as me?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Overstock Stools

WTF, Overstock?  Why do you have such cute stuff that I feel I must have immediately because I'm afraid of it selling out?  And why is all just slightly out of my immediate budget?

I was perfectly happy with the Ikea stools we had picked out until I stumbled across these gorgeous ones at the

Adjustable Natural Fir Wood Finish Barstool $133
They are almost $100 more each than the Ikea stools.  That would be enough to give a sane person some pause.  Me:  Absolutely not.  Love them still just as much. 
They look very similar to these Restoration Hardware stools which are $100 more each.  So I'd like to think of the Overstock ones as a steal, really.

I briefly considered selling a kidney to finance an Overstock shopping spree, but that's probably not a good idea with diabetes running rampant in my family.  And I love my kid too much to sell him on the black market.  Hmmmm, maybe Santa Claus will be extra nice this year?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Great Thanksgiving Turkey

I'm buying my turkeys today!  Why plural?  Well, I have enough room in my freezer and I plan on making one for when the kids are here for Christmas, so I might as well buy it now when it's cheap.

For the past decade or so, my family has used this recipe to cook turkeys.  My mom saw it on Oprah and once she made it, no one would ever let her make a "regular" turkey again - it's so dry in comparison.  This one comes out super moist.  When I took over cooking Thanksgiving five years ago, of course I had to keep the tradition alive.

Servings: Serves 10


1 1/2 cups Dijon mustard

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (do not discard lemon rinds)

1 (15-pound) free-range turkey

2 bunches fresh poultry herbs

2 to 3 cups hot water


To make marinade: Combine ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

To make turkey: Preheat oven to 350°.

Clean out cavity of the turkey and rinse well, inside and out. Pat dry and place turkey in a large roasting pan. Pour the marinade over the turkey.

Tie turkey legs together and cover tips with foil. Stuff cavity of turkey with lemon rinds and one bunch of poultry herbs. Place the second bunch of herbs in the roasting pan. Place turkey breast-side up in roasting pan. Insert thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. Cover with foil and roast for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, add hot water to the bottom of the pan. Stir to make gravy for basting. Baste turkey and cover with foil. Roast turkey another 30 minutes and repeat basting process. Continue basting every 15 minutes until the thermometer reaches 180–185°, approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Remove turkey from oven and place on cutting board. Cover turkey well with foil to keep warm. Let it rest 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

Here's a video showing her make the turkey.  It's not the best looking bird, but oh - so yummy.  I'm making myself hungry just thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Robert Allen Tidal Bay

I have been relentlessly stalking this fabric for about two weeks now.

Robert Allen Tidal Bay in Pewter
I stumbled across it during one of my frequent virtual window shopping expeditions.  I love fabricguru - it's lots of remnants and slightly damaged fabrics at discount prices.  It's like an outlet mall for fabric.  They have some great brands, like Duralee, Kravet, Brunschwig & Fils, and (obviously) Robert Allen.

I previously saw the print (in navy) on Knight Moves.  I remembered really liking it then too.

There are lots of colorways.  Fabricguru has it in "navy," "pewter," and "ice".  The Designer's Attic (a discount fabric blog) sold 2 1/4 yards of it for $57 in "cafe".

Fabricguru is selling it for $5.95 a yard!

Why so cheap?  Well, it has a flaw.  "A white spot in middle." 

Now, as much as I adore fabricguru, this is one of the two reasons I've never bought anything from them before.  First off, they have a flat rate shipping fee of $4.99.  That's great if you're buying tons of fabric, but for two yards I kind of feel ripped off.  Secondly, since they are selling damaged goods online, wouldn't it make sense to take a picture of the damage?  Sometimes they do - such as the navy colorway's "scattered white spots" - but for the pewter, if there's a white spot in the picture, I can't find it.

I was a little torn.  Should I buy it and risk getting it with a huge white spot in the middle that I can't cover up?  Should I buy extra just in case?  Maybe it's not worth the risk?

I checked with the boyfriend, who, for the first time ever, actually liked something I showed to him.  In fact, I think he was a little jealous that I wasn't buying it for our room, but for our son's room.  I want to make a fake roman shade for the large window in his room and I thought this would be the perfect fabric.  I plan on using orange trim along the bottom, sort of like this picture.

Via DecorPad
With the boyfriend's enthusiastic approval, I decided to buy the fabric, risks and all.  However, with Christmas on the way, I had to wait for "splurge" money from the sale of the blue bed.  You can imagine how frustrating that was - the bed sitting on Craigslist for a week while I agonized over whether the fabric would sell out.  Originally, they only had 26 yards and over the next week I saw that slowly drop to only 19 yards.

Luckily, I was finally able to pull the trigger yesterday.  I bought 2 yards, which should be plenty to make the shade.  I'll do an update when it gets here.  There's still a couple of yards left if anyone else is interested.  Now that I've gotten the few yards I need, I have no problem passing along the good deal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Peacock Blue Twin Bed

A little bit of paint turns a ho-hum before...
Into a dramatic after!

Okay, not that dramatic.  Especially since I was way too busy last week to do anything but throw the frame into the front yard and snap a picture.  I'm also way too busy to properly maintain our yard - that's why it looks so depressing.  Although, to be fair, it was an unbearably hot summer and the grass only recently turned green again.  And that's my neighbor's crazy bush, not ours.  We call it "The Murder Bush" because it completely covers her front porch and if I was a nefarious murderer looking for an easy place to hide before leaping onto some unsuspecting person, that would be it.  We used to have one too, but they luckily removed it before we moved in.

Unfortunately, it left a large discoloration on the bricks.  You can see it directly behind the bed in this picture.  Anyone know how to get that off?  One day I'm going to add some curb appeal to our house and it would be nice if it didn't look so dingy.

Anyway, back to the bed.  I finished it a while back and everything was fairly straightforward except for my attempt at glazing.  It looked beautiful around the carving details, but when it came to large flat areas it just looked dirty.  I obviously wasn't doing something right.  Luckily, I only glazed the headboard, so I didn't have to repaint the entire bed.

I think it's super cute and wish I still had a girls' room so I could keep it.  I listed it for $125 on Craigslist and it just sat there.  Not a single e-mail.  Pretty discouraging.  I'm not used to things not selling right away, so I aggressively dropped the price to $75.  Not nearly the profit I was hoping for, but it must have been the right price because I suddenly had several buyers.  I love having back-ups, because anyone who has ever sold something on Craigslist knows about those annoying no-shows.

So here's the profit break-down:  I bought the bed off of Craigslist for $25.  I spent $25 (or $24.32 - something like that, after taxes) on a quart of Martha Stewart paint in Plumage and Minwax Wipe-on poly in Satin from Home Depot.  So, total investment, $50, for a $25 profit.  Not that great.  However, I had to buy the paint and poly anyway to finish another project, so my "glass half-full" brain likes to think of it as a $50 profit, which sounds so much better even if it's technically not true.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Hate You, Ralph Lauren

Reasons why I hate Ralph Lauren:

1.  He pronounces his name Lauren instead of Lauren (like my stepdaughter and the other 30 million people named Lauren). I don't care if his family has been doing that for fifteen generations, it still sounds pretentious to me.

2.  I will never forgive him or the powers that be for turning the Team USA's uniforms into walking advertisements for Polo.

Notice how F-ing big that crap is!

3.  Most recently, after 9 months of waiting I finally started receiving my free year's subscription to Elle Decor.  I got it so long ago, I'm not even sure how I scored it for free (MyCokeRewards maybe?).  So far I'm not incredibly impressed with the magazine (definitely like House Beautiful more), but since I frequently find pictures online marked Elle Decor that I like, hopefully it's just a one-off issue. 

Anyway, back to why I hate Ralph Lauren.  The back front cover is a huge ad for Ralph Lauren Home featuring this dining room.

Ignoring pretty much everything in the room except for the dining set, my first reactions was - that's pretty awesome and maybe I should just forget about the red dining chair idea and do some gold accents.

You see, being someone who finishes a project about once a year has disadvantages beyond the apparent "my house is in the middle of ten billion projects" look I've got going on.  One of the main ones is it allows you time to second-guess yourself over every little idea and inspiration.  All it takes is one pretty picture...

The jury is still out - sort of.  The black and gold is pretty, but maybe too sophisticated for our duplex rental.  And I really like the rug I'm currently stalking on Overstock, which would not look good with the table.  And maybe the thing I like best about the Ralph Lauren table are the brass feet.  Which you can totally DIY - if you're as crazy-talented as Bri:

However, they wouldn't look good on my dining set.  So, I'm fairly sure that I'm going to stick with the red - if I ever get enough balls to actually start painting them.  That reminds me of this quote from Betty White: 

Who doesn't love Betty White?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Anthropologie Favorites

I love this cabinet from Anthopologie - and don't think it would be incredibly hard to DIY my own version.  Just have to find the right pair of bookshelves.

Kitamura Cabinet
And if I had the funds, I would buy this sofa in a heartbeat.

Cotswold Sofa