So Fine They’ll Never See Ya Leavin’ By the Back Door

January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment


The first time I saw this house — and in fact, all the times I saw it before we moved in — I thought the kitchen wallpaper was a rather pretty, if dull, blue and tan pinstripe. After the previous owner moved out (thus removing all the tchochkes from the walls) I was a bit horrified to discover that the wallpaper had apparently originally been blue and white pinstriped. I was full-on grossed out when I found a roll of the wallpaper, dated a mere 7 years earlier. So, painting the kitchen was the third thing we did (changing the toilet seats was the first, painting the closets was the second — I can’t abide a used toilet seat or unfresh closet) after taking possession.

That was 12 years ago, and we decided last month that it was time for a new paint job. This time, I went all out and in addition to painting the walls a sunny yellow with white trim, I painted the dark wood cabinets white. Talk about transformation! Suddenly the kitchen is this cheerful, bright space. The only problem was, the old valances were off-white. Have you ever put off white curtains next to white paint? The curtains just look dirty. So, something new on the windows.

I was browsing Pinterest, like I do, when I came across this pin showing strips of fabric tied as a valance. I love the casualness of it  for the kitchen, and you can hardly beat the price if you’ve got strips of scrap fabric handy. Of course, all of my fabric is in storage, but a quick trip to the local Joann clearance section netted me several fat quarter packs in the right colors for less than $10 all told. With the yellow walls, white cabinets, and accents of red and blue, I decided to use fabrics of the same colors in various prints, with a little orange and green thrown in here and there.  I absolutely adore the way they came out!


Found It on the Internet Friday #16

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fall has…fallen. The temperatures are dropping, and I’m chilly ALL THE TIME. So when I came across this tutorial for a super easy, lightweight cowl I was all over it. It’s exactly right for chilly-but-not-cold weather.

I’m wearing it doubled — cute, right?

It’s seriously so, so easy. Take an old tshirt (or a new one you picked up on sale or something). Cut the bottom hem off. Then cut parallel to the bottom hem just under the sleeves. You now have a tube of fabric. Stretch that mutha out as much as you can. Start with stretching it your full wingspan, then you can step on one end and pull the other up — the more you stretch it, the longer it will get (obviously) and the curlier the edges will get. I think I might make a few more of these and decorate them with bleach pen designs, or dip dye them, or applique them…

Found It on the Internet Friday #15

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh, Pinterest. The delights you lead me to. This one was so easy…a rectangle of jersey fabric with a couple yards of t-shirt yarn sewn on to opposite corners. You can wear it as a skirt, as a wrap, as a top.

So comfy on a sweltering day.

This one is a bit longer and makes a great lightweight skirt — it can even be worn as a mini-dress.

You’ll need some jersey fabric, wide enough to wrap around your waist (or chest) about 1 1/2 times. The length of the fabric will determine the length of the skirt/top. The grey piece in the top pic is about 30″, and I flip it over at the top before I criss-cross and tie it when I wear it as a shirt. The red piece on the bottom is about 36″ and is a great longer skirt. Both pieces are 45″ wide.

Found It on the Internet Friday #2

July 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

Something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

This will never be what it's supposed to be. Just not gonna happen.

I found this awesome tutorial for making ojami (japanese bean bags) a couple weeks ago and thought, “Hey, that does look like fun!” So I decided it would be this week’s FIotIF project. It looked simple enough, and really, it probably is. But when you’re too lazy to look up the instructions on your interwebby device and just trust to your somewhat dodgy memory, things can go — and in this case clearly have gone — awry.

Now that I’m looking at the instructions, I clearly skipped, oh, about 7 steps. And also just made up a bunch of stuff. So I’m thinking I’ll try this one again over the weekend, actually following the directions this time. And I think it’ll turn out great. Because again, awesome tutorial. It’s hardly their fault I’m too lazy to follow them.

From bench to boudoir

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

(ETA: This is the second of the three projects I mentioned in yesterday’s post.)

Magazine clipping


A few months ago I was flipping through a home dec magazine and came across a clever idea for a headboard. Since I was in the market for a headboard, I clipped it an added it to my idea wall. I decided the easiest way to get the look was to use a bench cushion. I kept my eyes open, but didn’t happen on anything suitable until a few weeks ago.

I was in IKEA, making my way to the one non-self-serve check-out that was open (I hate self-serve checkout. If I wanted to work in retail, I would. At the very least I should get a discount, since I’m doing the work of a checkout clerk they no longer have to pay. But I digress.) and there, right in the middle of a bunch of other completely unrelated stuff, was a single patio bench cushion. I figured it would be pretty cheap because, you know, IKEA. I was right: for $7.99 I finally had my headboard cushion.

The only thing was, it was covered it a very bright blue and purple striped fabric…definitely not something that would fit well in my lovely, tranquil boudoir. It’s pretty easy to recover a cushion, so I hit my fabric stash and came up with a great print that I bought last year on a business trip. Not only was it pretty, it coordinated beautifully with the fabrics I already had in the room and would serve as a great focal point — something the room had heretofore been lacking.

I didn’t have quite enough to cover the whole cushion, but I reasoned that there was one whole side of the cushion that would only be seen by the wall, so it didn’t really need to be covered. I also decided that since the cushion would get very little actual use (as opposed to if it were actually be used as a cushion), and since I was planning on using buttons to tuft it as in the original, I really only needed to tack down the edges.

Closeup of buttons

Tufting accomplished with vintage buttons

I really love adding vintage touches to projects like this, so I dug into my button stash and came up with a bunch of buttons of different styles but similar sizes. I got the tufting done with minimal blood loss, and added on ties made from strips of the same fabric I used to make my curtains. Then I turned my attention to the “shelf” part of the project.

Closeup of tie

A close-up view of the tie

I really didn’t want to spend a lot of any money so I headed out to the garage where I found this perfectly sized, already finished piece of wood. Gotta love it when that happens. I originally thought to mount it perpendicular to the wall so it could serve as an actual shelf, but I didn’t want to spoil the look with brackets, and I didn’t have screws long enough to support it via holes drilled in the shelf, so I ended up just hanging it flat on the wall. I screwed a few small eye bolts across the bottom, and tied my cushion on.

Now I have a great, inexpensive headboard that also serves as a focal point for the room and — to my delight — a comfortable back and head rest when I’m sitting and reading in bed.

Finished headboard

Works beautifully, dontcha think?

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