Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bunk Bed Project - Part 3 - Footboard and Legs

This project might end up being a million posts long, but it's really not a difficult project at all.  Just time consuming.  And there's that whole full time job that likes to get in my way.  Plus, I try to be a good neighbor and not use my loud power tools after 9 pm.  So, I basically get in about an hour every weeknight after cooking dinner, playing with my kid and watching television.  But I'm not making excuses, because I've actually got a lot done since my last post.

I built the footboard.  Which is exactly like the headboard, only upside down in this picture.

Then the plans called for extra leg supports to be added.  I was so excited that my measurements were spot on, I had to call the boyfriend out to the garage to show off my super carpentry skills.

I added the supports and started on the real time consuming part - filling the holes and any uneven spots on the wood (especially the knot holes). 

The now-beefed-up legs are actually two 2x4's screwed together.  I want them to look like one seamless piece, so I'm experimenting with a two part process where I caulk the seam, and then go over with wood filler after the caulk has cured.  It's one of those things that takes no time at all to do, but then you have to wait at least 2 hours in between each step.

I keep reminding myself to go slowly and do the steps carefully and to the best of my ability - it will pay off in the end.  But I'm so excited to see the finished product and it's getting very close to us being able to put it all together for a test fit!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bunk Bed Project - Part 2 - Headboard

A couple of months ago, I bought a new toy.

My first miter saw.  Isn't he handsome?

After much research and waffling, I ended up going with a 10" DeWalt Compound Miter Saw.  10 inches because it was lighter than a 12 inch and most of the crosscuts I make are on wood less than 6 inches wide.  I chose DeWalt after reading all of the stellar reviews.  It basically came down to me choosing between a much more basic DeWalt or a fancier saw from another brand.  (By fancier, I mean, a sliding miter saw with a built in laser.)  Although bells and whistles are nice, for $200+ I wanted an investment piece I wouldn't have to replace in a couple of years.

It came out of the box almost completely set up (all I had to do was unpack, put on the dust bag, and plug it in).  The blade was even squared and ready to go.  They send it with a pretty average blade, but for my project it has been cutting beautifully, so I haven't upgraded to a nicer blade yet.

First, I measured and cut all of my lumber for the main bed frame.  I am waiting to cut the guard rail and ladder until after I put together the bed.  I sanded the pieces for the headboard and put them together with countersunk 3" screws.  (I actually bought a Kreg Jig specifically for this bed, but decided since the vertical legs were going to be covered up anyway, it would actually be less work to screw through them instead of through the 2x6 horizontal boards.)

It must weight 200 pounds - solid as a rock and perfectly level.  So excited!  Now I have to do the exact same thing for the footboard (less exciting).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bunk Bed Project - Part 1 - Shopping

A little over two years ago (yes, two years), I decided to make bunk beds for my son's room.  Well, those bunk beds are officially started!

I went to Home Depot yesterday and picked up my lumber and some other supplies.  For this project, I'm following Ana White's plan - Side Street Bunk Beds.  I'll also be adding a ladder and a railing on one side of the top bunk.

I went to a fairly quiet Home Depot and was pleasantly surprised by the first-class service I received.  I had two guys pulling boards for me and checking them for straightness.  Another man went back and forth picking out my screws, bolts, and some other accessories.  And yet another guy loaded it up for me.  I joked with the boyfriend that he was no longer allowed to go with me to Home Depot - since obviously they thought I was completely helpless and did all the hard work for me.

I picked framing lumber (pine) for the 2x6s and whitewood for the 2x4s and 2x2s.  The whitewood looked better than the other choice, yellow pine, although I swore to stay away from whitewood after my kitchen rolling storage fiasco (still have to blog about that one...).  I ended up picking up some pre-primed 1x3 pine for the railing.

By the way, for anyone who is reading this because they are looking into making this plan - the lumber list is currently wrong - you need 4 2x2s.

I borrowed my friend's Suburban to get it all home.

Currently, there's an oversized pool table taking up most of our one-car garage (aka my workspace), so I'm going to have to move all of this to the patio and work there.

Atticus asked if he would be able to sleep on his bunk beds tonight.  I laughed and told him definitely not, although I'll try to get them finished in a week or two.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rachael Ray Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my local Salvation Army store and everything was 50% off.  A thrifting miracle - right?  Unfortunately, I wasn't the first cowgirl to the rodeo and quality furniture was nowhere to be seen.  So I ended up buying a whole bunch of cookbooks (12 or 15, don't remember now, and they were like $1 or $1.50 each).  Just went kind of cookbook crazy.

I am a big fan of the Taste of Home cookbooks and have several that have been my go-to's for the last couple of years.  However, I had gotten to a point where I was making the same dishes a lot, which, even if you really love the end result, makes cooking much more of a chore than an adventure.  So I wanted to be more experimental and daring with my cooking.

One of the cookbooks I picked up was Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats, which came out 8 years ago.  I like Rachael and have watched her shows before, but was never really inspired to try any of her recipes.  So I decided to do a mini Julie & Julia challenge and do 2 weeks of nothing but dinners from this book.

The only rule I made was that I had to cook her recipe - no substitutions.  I did end up cheating on one dish - it involved mushrooms and no one in this family likes mushrooms even the slightest tiniest bit.  But all of the rest where done to her specifications.

I'm now a Rachael Ray fan (at least of this cookbook), and I'll tell you why:

1.)  Everything has been tasty.  Most have been dishes I would cook again.  A few have been ones I crossed off as repeats, but they were still tasty - just not great enough to demand it again.

2.)  Portions are big.  Almost all of them say they serve 4 and actually serve closer to 6-8.  This works well for my family of 3 because there are usually leftovers for lunches or extras for people who happen to drop by during dinnertime.

3.)  I like that most are a meal - or at least the meat and one side.  I'm a big fan of one-pot cooking (cause I hate doing dishes), but it's nice to have a complimentary side included with the main dish recipe.

4.)  She includes a lot of fresh ingredients.  You can tell she is used to buying her groceries by the day, or maybe only a couple of days ahead.  This has been a fairly big adjustment to me - since I go grocery shopping once every 2 weeks.  Besides a few fresh herbs I have growing, I tend to use dry herbs.  And I like to pre-make as much as possible so I can cook really quickly after work.  (They are "30 Minute Meals" - but mostly if you have all of your stuff prepped like you're on a cooking show - or you're a super-fast veggie chopper.)   I still used these strategies, just had to make sure I cooked anything with a fresh, non-freezable veg - like lettuce - soon after my shopping trip.

5.)  Lots of variety and fairly easy instructions.  Not many pictures, but that kind of forced me to actually read the recipes and not just pick them based on visuals.  She has some ingredients that I had to google from the store to see where I should be looking for them, but nothing too highly priced (dashes of saffron everywhere, or truffle oil, for example).

The negatives:

1.)  She never gives amounts for salt and pepper.  I understand everyone is going to prefer a different amount and you should taste as you cook - but in some cases, like adding it to raw meat, it wold be better to have a suggested amount.  I wish she would also give dry ingredient substitution amounts for herbs.

2.)  My main beef - she messes up a lot of dishes.  It obviously varies by recipe, but many of them require 2-3 pans/pots and then a couple of bowls on the side.   

So far, those are my only complaints.  After finishing the first two weeks, I extended it for another two, so I'll have cooked through an entire month of nothing but RR soon.  We'll see how long this cooking experiment can last.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Project Sofa Rehab - Part 1 - The Fabric

We're FINALLY moving forward with the sofa reupholstering!  I am very excited!!  The boyfriend is decidedly less so.  He thinks the sofa is beyond saving, and he might be right, but I'm am optimistic it will be gorgeous and people will come from miles around to snuggle and pet the soft, soft fabric.

I bought 20 yards of this black velvet:

Antique Cotton Velvet @ Fabric.com

It's rated at 100,000 double rubs, which is a good rating for sofa upholstery, and it was only $10.98/yard.  With free shipping , a 15% off coupon code, and tax, it totaled $200.19.  (19 cents over budget, but we'll live.)

I decided on cotton velvet because 1.) I'm pretty sure the original fabric is cotton velvet and it's lasted the last 40 years (admittedly, it is on its very last legs);  2.) I've been happy with the way the current velvet has stood up to my six year old;  and 3.) Velvet was recommended as a good-wearing fabric on several sites I checked.

Next step:  I've talked to a couple of upholstery shops and like one in particular.  So we're going to go check out his work in person and hopefully drop off the sofa sometime next week once the fabric comes in.  Not sure what we're going to do without a sofa for 2 weeks.  Maybe I'll get one off of Craigslist and then resell it?  Or just use one of the 300+ chairs we have floating around the house.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On Disappointment

Hiya, guys.  Yesterday sucked.  Plain and simple.

I mentioned at the end of my last post that it looked like we were going to be moving soon.  Well, that's not happening. 

Basically, a couple of weeks ago, the boyfriend's mom was laid off.  She came to us, very worried that she would no longer be able to make ends meet and proposing that we find a house we could share.  The sooner the better. 

Before any of this happened, I was Ms. Contented Where She Lives.  I really love our duplex - it's in a great neighborhood, right across the street from my son's school where we absolutely love everyone, I walk to work, it's not looking like such a hot mess anymore as projects are finally getting wrapped up, etc., etc., etc. 

But family is family.  You do what you need to do.  So we started looking.

It was all very surreal, actually.  Because my mother-in-law (I call her that even though the in-law part is not actually legal) pays quite a bit for her current rental, when you combined what we pay with half of what she currently pays, we were looking at McMansions.  The first house we liked was 2700+ sq. ft. - which was kind of laughable really.  I would have felt like such a poser living there.  (Not bashing people with big houses.  I'd take it any day.  It's just such a giant leap from our compact duplex to a place so enormous.)  Then, we found what I thought was a perfect house - smaller (2000+ sq. ft.) and therefore less upkeep, but laid out in wings so that we had our own sections of the house and wouldn't be stepping all over each other.  Completely redone with bells and whistles galore.

I made a house tour video for the blog.  I went crazy on Pinterest.  It was all so exciting - like new things are.

Then, my mother-in-law changed her mind.  Got cold feet.  Whatever. 

I'm not mad at her.  I'd much rather her change her mind now than after we sign leases or started packing up stuff.  She's kind of an emotional wreck right now and shouldn't really be making big life decisions like picking a new home, anyway.  She thought she needed to, but it looks like she won't have to anymore. 

But I'm still sad and disappointed (like when you wake up from an awesome dream to realize it was all fake), but in a weird way.  I'm relieved.  I don't have to pack or move (which are some of my least favorite things ever).  We're staying in the neighborhood we love, in the house that is home.  I can stop coming up with polite ways to say "your microfiber Ashley furniture is the bane of my existence and needs to be put somewhere other people can't see it."

So - all good things.  However, I'm still kind of sad.  Because for a week there, we were going to pay the exact same amount of money we currently do, but be living in a much, much nicer home.  It made me not-so-content with my current place, which is in turn making me feel violated in a very personal way.  Like my life isn't good enough. 

That is definitely how I do not want to feel.  So, instead, I'm going to focus on the positives until I'm back in my contented zone.  One of the nice things about touring new homes is it makes you rethink and re-evaluate your furniture.  What works, what doesn't, what I'm willing to part with, what has to make the cut.  I feel a new rush of inspiration and the desire to finish decorating spaces (and enjoy them) before we have to move out of it (for real this time).  It might not be a McMansion, but it is pretty special to us.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dining Room Wall with Art

The impulsively bought art arrived last weekend and I immediately hung it up.  That's not an exaggeration - it went from a tube on my front porch to hanging on my wall in less than 15 minutes, and that includes deciphering Ikea instructions (yes, they have instructions for a picture frame - and thank goodness or I would have never figured it out) and cutting the print down to fit my square frame.

These are cell pics, so pretend you have glaucoma or something.  Obvs, the colors are not true-to-life.

Wait a sec, I'll give you an even bigger crappy cell phone pic so you can see my Ikea Vittsjo shelving units. 

I didn't even have to style the shelves for these pictures.  When I installed the shelves about two months ago, I spent an entire weekend arranging/changing/driving the boyfriend crazy until I was happy with the results.  Then I (and this is the most important step) forbade anyone in the house to touch anything on these shelves - ever. 

In this next pic, you'll see the problem that I immediately noticed after hanging up the picture.


I thought - maybe it's just me being too anal.  So asked the boyfriend what he thought of the new art.  To which he replied (without missing a beat), "How can I tell with all that glare going on?"

Obviously, I should have taken it into conisderation that I was going to hang this cheapo-glass frame (meaning, it's not one of those fancy non-glare ones) across from three windows and a big sliding glass door.  But I didn't. 

My initial reaction was - "Shucks, I guess I need to find art on canvas to replace it and then move this one to the opposite wall where glare shouldn't be a problem."

Then I thought about getting a round mirror.  What do you think - would a round shape be prettier in contrast with the square shelves?

But, in the last couple of days, reality has set in.  Which means, there is talk of us moving soon and since it took me 2 years to put up this picture, I doubt I'll put replacing it high on my list. 

I like the piece though, so it's a keeper.  And it looks awfully pretty at night.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Liebster Award, Part 2

Since I was in total TMI mode yesterday, I had to split up my response to Julia's Liebster Award.  On to Part 2!

The Rules

Each blogger needs to:

1.  Post 11 random facts about themselves;
2. Answer the 11 questions set out by the person who gave you the award;
3. Choose 11 new bloggers to give the award to and link to them in your post;
4. Create 11 new questions for the newly awarded bloggers to answer;
5. Comment on each newly awarded bloggers blog to let them know about the award; and
6. You cannot tag back the person who awarded you the Liebster Award!

My Answers to Julia's Questions

1. Do you live in the same state that you were born in? If yes, do you live in the same town?
No, I am originally from Louisiana and now live in Texas.

2. When you were a kid, what did you want to "be when you grew up?"
At various times:  a ballerina, an author, a lawyer

3. Is your answer to question 2, your occupation now or ever?
No - especially the ballerina part.  However, I still write sometimes and maybe one day...

4. What is your dream vacation?
My ultimate dream would be a true Grand Tour of Europe - how they used to do it centuries ago.  Spend two or three years going from place to place, spending a couple of months in one place at a time.  Soaking it all in.

5. What is your favorite charity?

St. Jude's in honor of my cousin, Savannah.

6. What kind of camera do you have?
A crappy one.
7. What is your hidden talent?

I'm stronger than I look.

8. What do you value most in your life?
My family.

9. Do you think painting over wood furniture is okay?

Obviously, but I think it should only be done when it will improve the piece of furniture - not just to fit into a certain style.

10. Who is your favorite author?
Vladimir Nabokov

11. What is the significance of the name of your blog?

I go into more detail here (my very first post), but basically I think our homes are the visual manifestation of a family's love - so love in idleness.  It's from Shakespeare and when we buy our forever home it will be the home's name (because I grew up reading Anne of Green Gables and think all homes should have poetic names).  Meanwhile, it's just a blog.

Bloggers (with less than 200 followers) I'm Giving the Award To:

1.  Heather @ Love Your Space
2.  Meghan @ I'm Glad I Exist
3.  Elyse @ Peonies and Brass
4.  Jennifer @ Belladwella
5.  Cindy @ The Victorian Journey
6.  Donna @ Restore and Renew
7.  Kim @ Design Thoughts
8.  Erin @ Clementine and Olive
9.  Meaghan @ Lovelee Honeybee
10.  Rachel and Katie @ Pinteresting
11.  Kristi @ Simple Pretty Things

My Questions for the Winners:

1.  What is your favorite black and white movie?
2.  Do you sing (loudly) while driving?  Windows up or down?  People in the car or not?
3.  What was the most useless class you took in school?
4.  What was your best thrift shop score?
5.  Are there more animals in your house than people?
6.  What is your least favorite chore?
7.  When you go on vacation, would you rather drive or fly?
8.  What is your TV guilty pleasure?  (Mine is the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures - love that show!)
9.  What is your favorite thrifty savings tip?
10.  Do you follow recipes when you cook, or just wing it?
11.  Why do you like blogging?

Have fun!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Liebster Award, Part 1

Julia at It's Always Ruetten was sweet enough to give me a Liebster Award! 

You're supposed to post 11 random facts about yourself, answer 11 questions from the person who gave you the award, and nominate 11 bloggers and give them questions.  However, I was obviously feeling pretty verbose and wrote way too much for the first part (the 11 random facts) - so I'll be splitting this into two posts.

Part 1

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.  I was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes - one extra digit on each hand/foot.  They were removed when I was just a baby, so I don't have any good pictures.  I guess it wasn't something my parents wanted to properly document.  I still have the scars, and it's always my go-to random fact about myself when you have to play this game at work/school/etc.  Now for 10 more...

2.  I'm a list freak, especially about movies and books.  It started my senior year in high school when the Modern Library released its list of "100 Best English-language Novels of the 20th Century."  I considered myself well-read at that point, so the fact that I had only read two books on the list was like a gauntlet thrown in my face.  I still have the newspaper clipping and when I read one of the books, I cross it off. 

It's sad that 15 years later, I still haven't finished the list (especially since I vowed to be finished before I turned 30) - but it's hardly the only list I'm working on.  I frequent a site called Lists of Bests (which looks like it's down right now, but should be up again soon) where you can adopt lists of movies/books/place/things to work on.   It's a great way to find book and movie recommendations, or just feel all warm and fuzzy when you finish a list.

3.  I've only left the U.S. once - I spent a month in Ireland when I was in college.  I love travel and want to go everywhere. 

4.  The boyfriend and I currently have no plans to get married - ever.  We've waffled a bit over the years, and sometimes I feel pressure because our daughters and his mom really want us to get married.  But it's not something I really want or need.

5.    My favorite actor is Ewan McGregor.  I simply love everything about him and fear that I will one day meet him and turn into a slobbering fool. 

6.  My favorite bands are The Beatles and Travis.  I bought Florence and the Machine's latest album in December and I haven't taken it out of the car stereo since.  It is kind of driving my family crazy, so I have been making an effort to find new music to listen to.

7.  My middle name is Luella.  I was named after two of my great grandmothers - Lou and Ella.  However, when I got in trouble when I was little, my mom always called me Kai Luella.  And I guess it happened a lot because at one point I believed my name was "Kai Luella" and my older sister's name was "Kai." So, when I was in high school, one of my friends told me the Spanish pronunciation is "Lu-eya" and that's how I've pronounced it ever since.  Even my mom uses it, so I think that makes it official.

8.  While we're on names - Kai is pronounced "Ki" - rhymes with Sky, My, Pie, etc.  It was mispronounced both times I graduated (high school and college), and about a million times besides.  It has been getting better lately - I think the name is becoming more popular.

9.  I've seen every movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

10.  My son is named Atticus after the character from To Kill a Mockingbird.

and finally...

11.  My favorite food is crawfish.  You haven't lived until you've been to a crawfish boil with hot piles of them heaped on a table, with potatoes and corn....  Yum.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a great place to get them in Austin.

That's all for today.  I'll be back tomorrow with answers for Julia's questions and my nominees.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cheap Art Options

I needed some impulsively bought art to go in my impulsively bought frame, right?  This picture will go on the back wall of my dining room, which has turned into the focal wall of the whole house.  For the last couple of months, I've been dead set on ordering a 20x20" print of this antelope picture from EyePoetryPhotography on etsy.

Only now I'm leaning towards getting this frame with a huge mat (from Target, yo!) and getting the original 5"x5" size of the art. 

Although I love a huge quirky picture for a focal point, the colors are a little sedate and we needed more color.

I stumbled across a site called Imagekind the other night when I was looking for some fun, colorful abstract art on the cheap.  Independent artists upload and sell their works in prints, posters, and printed canvases.

Love Spill

I loved this print by Nancy Ramirez, but it didn't come in a large enough size.

Tangy Revival
And the colors in this one by Erin Ashley are crazy good - but not for the dining room.  But I still want it.  Where can it go?

watercolor 3110501
I finally picked this one by Belgian artist pol ledent.  The colors look amazing - especially that pop of purple since I've been wanting to incorporate some neon purple.  Unfortunately, it's not a square print, but since it's just a cheap print I don't trim it down.  I bought the large size - 32" x 24" - and after a 30% off discount they were offering, it cost under $30 including shipping.

Just waiting for it to arrive!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Square Matless Art

Last Friday, I made an impromptu stop at Ikea and picked up a square Stromby frame.

For some reason, they're not on the website, but it is the 19 3/4" x 19 3/4" and cost $12.99.

I thought the thin frame looked more modern than the Ribba frames, and I knew I wanted a matless print.  This is the aluminum color, but there's a strong possibility I'll spray paint it.

Lonny via Peonies and Brass

I think there is something very modern about big square matless art.  I drew inspiration from this picture of a Lonny office (although judging from the size of the desk - also Ikea - those frames are probably 35" square).

Some other square art I had pinned:

Restoration Hardware - one day I'm going to hack this

via Design Crisis

Tomorrow, I'll share what art I bought to go in it.

P.S. And, of course, the next day I went to Goodwill and there was an even bigger, high-end square silver frame for $6.  I ended up not buying it, but since the artwork was super ugly it might still be there when I go back, which is the Goodwill gods telling me it was meant to be.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Faux Tortoiseshell

You guys, it must be spring or something because I'm actually getting sh*t done around here!  Of course, everything is taking about 10 times longer to complete than originally planned, and I'm taking next to zero pictures because I'm the best blogger ever, but I'm still super excited that I'm crossing some things off the list!

#1 - I planted the first stage of our front yard garden this last weekend - two new flower beds and cleaning up a huge amount of weeds/lava rock.  Of course, stupid Austin decided to almost freeze the next couple of nights and some of my annuals are not looking so great, but hopefully they'll recover.  This weekend, I'll get around to mulching the new beds and putting in a few stepping stones.

#2 - My neighbor and I built rolling pantries for our kitchens (she lives on the other side of the duplex so our kitchens are mirrored).  They're based on this idea by Classy Clutter.  I will not be doing a tutorial, but maybe a "lessons learned" post.  It'll be functional, but not my best DIY moment, that's for sure.  They need to be painted and the back installed.

#3 - The boyfriend has been refinishing a pool table for the past couple of weeks and he's almost finished with all of the woodwork.  I will do a post on this later, because he's done such a wonderful job. I know he did all of the hard work, but I'm going to give myself a producer's credit since I gave such great advice. ;)

#4 - The dining room is 80% done.  Maybe even 85%.  It's actually been looking good for a while now, I just lost the cord that charges my camera, so I guess I'm going to either buy a new one or take crappy phone pics.  Tomorrow, I'm hopefully going to be picking up this bad boy from Craigslist for $20.

It's the last piece of furniture I need for the dining room - a coffee station/bar cart (sans wheels).   I'd love to get some mirrors cut to fit in the sunken oval sections and, unless I really dig the finish when I see it in person, I'm leaning towards experimenting with tortoiseshell.

I'm not the biggest fan of faux finishes, but I think tortoiseshell can look super pretty on rounded wood.  See what I mean?

SadieandStella via Pinterest

There are a couple of good tutorials online.  Some blog link I lost along the way led me to this wonderfully detailed tutorial.

Extreme Restoration

I also read through the comments on this Little Green Notebook post and followed Laura's link to The Paint Effects Bible on Amazon.

I guess a trip to Michael's just got added to my list as well.  Isn't that always the case - finish one project (or in my case - step 1 of a project) and add a couple of new ones? 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Goodwill Rug

I finally managed to go thrift store shopping this weekend.  It has literally been months, and I was getting symptoms of withdrawal.  I didn't find any furniture, but I did score this:

It's a gigantic (10x13) Chinoiserie rug - 100% New Zealand wool, made in Egypt.  $30 - no lie.  It didn't even have pet hairs or stains - and it came with a wonderfully thick rug pad.

I wasn't in the market for a rug so I bought it for resale, but when I rolled it out to clean it, I decided it was too nice not to keep.  I replaced our free West Elm rug in the living room (and got a good workout to boot - now I know why people roll up dead bodies in rugs, you can hardly tell the difference).  I like the print in there, I had a few too many solid colors in the space.

I looked up the company, and it looks like similar rugs of this size generally sell for $1500-$1700.  So it was basically 98% off and in near-perfect condition.  Yay for Goodwill!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Library Dining Rooms

I love the look of a library dining room.  It works extremely well because of the combination of two spaces you might not use that much (formal dining room and a library) into a layered and interesting use of square footage.  I tend to like the ones with built ins and a darker, cozier design.

My favorite at the moment:

Peter Dunham designed, from Domino via designing "the life"
Habitually Chic

Simply Beautiful
Your Day Simplified
Beautiful Libraries
Apartment Therapy
Pics above and below via Victoria Dreste Designs

The one below isn't my style at all, but I love how it translates the idea of a library dining room into the space of a small breakfast nook, but the use of a mirror makes it look a lot bigger.  Fantastic space plan.

Traditions Journal

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Free Garden Plans

This is the year we tackle the front yard.  We did a vegetable garden last year with mixed results (lots of growth, but not enough food to make me feel all the work was worthwhile), so I feel a little more confident about my gardening abilities.  I didn't want to try a front yard garden before I conquered my black thumb, because, after all, it will be on full display for everyone to judge and potentially mock.

Right now we're in the budgeting/planning phase.  A great site I found for information is BHG.com - they even have free garden plans which give you all the details from what flowers to buy, to how to properly plant and take care of them.

I like this one for the area near the sidewalk, which has a slight slope.  Plus, we could use a nice path from the sidewalk to the front door since we currently cut across our neighbor's yard, which is probably a big faux pas.

My top 3 goals are to find plants hardy enough (and low-maintenance enough) that they won't die from the extreme Texas heat or my general lack of gardening mojo, that are cheap (you know it), and are mostly perennials so I don't have to replant the entire garden every year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oly Bed Knock-Off

This is the Oly Studio Diego Bed.  It's gold, has spindles, is textured.  I'm sure it costs an arm and a leg (I found one quote of $5,450).

via Zinc Door and Pinterest

It's famous.

High Point Market via M.A.S.H. by Tiffany

My favorite thing about it is the combination of canopy and upholstered headboard.  Because I want both.  But since I dislike the notion of losing an arm or a leg (or both), I thought this cheap-o version could fit the bill.

Lauren King Metal Canopy Bed - Overstock

Gold leafed, of course.  It doesn't have the texture or spindles of the original, but I think the streamlined version would still be pretty.  Only $296.99 currently.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nude Motorcycle Jacket

I made my Spring wish list of clothes to buy a couple of weeks ago.  A lot of the pictures I saved on my Pinterest inspiration board featured a nude or khaki coolored blazer. 

Polyvore - Untitled #69 by bbs25
via Pinterest

However, since I'm also looking to buy both a coral and a navy blazer, I decided to branch out and look for a proper jacket.  I liked this look "in-my-closet" put together on Polyvore, which inspired me to start searching for a nude motorcycle or bomber jacket.

Since it will be 150 degrees here in Austin by April, I thought the earlier I bought it, the better.  And, of course, I wasn't going to spend a lot on it.  I've been looking for a pair of nude heels and I realized my skin looks much better with a pinkish/light nude color that a darker one, so I thought I might apply the principal to my nude colored jacket as well.  I ended up finding two lighter choices.
Kohl's Hydraulic Moto Jacket
This one was at Kohls, on sale for $67.99, down from $98.  Plus, there was a 15% off coupon code at Retailmenot.com.  I liked the rose gold accents, but thought it might read too shiny/cheap in person.
Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket
The second option (and the one I ended up going with) was at New York & Company.  On sale for $44.97, down from $89.95.  I added a $5 nail polish to get the total up and used a coupon code for $20 off of $50 - so end the end I paid $34.97 before taxes and shipping (total after $46.50).  I'm actually not swept off my feet by the picture (and New York & Company's website doesn't feature a lot of detail shots), but for the price I thought I had to give it a try.
via Pinterest
In case it doesn't work out, I have been researching options of a nude cropped or bomber style jacket.  I liked the picture of Lauren Conrad and her jacket from Kohls, but they don't sell it anymore.  However, New York & Company does have this one:
Faux Leather Cropped Jacket
It's more expensive - $89.95, although there are frequently coupons for $30-50 off $100 purchases.  We'll see, though.  Hopefully my original (cheaper) purchase will work out.