Nov 21, 2012

Pillow Casing

Last week I spotted a pair of perfect purple pillows to help transition our living room from spring green and aqua to look cozier for fall and winter.

Purple and chevrons.  Love.

But since we wanted this seasonal switch-out to be as cheap as possible, we opted not to buy any other pillows.  Plus we already loved the shape and size of the four pillows we had in the living room.  They were just the wrong color.  So we got a little creative.

We took inspiration from here:

Knock-off Crate & Barrel Citrine drapes

And here:

From Ashli's blog, Maillardville Manor

And the seemingly ubiquitous JoAnn Fabric coupons that are always crowding our mailbox.  Mix with three hours with my mom in her sewing room (thanks, Mom!) and we ended up with envelope pillow covers for our four existing pillows.


I am so excited that I found a way to use pretty much every last inch of that Bella Porte Citrine fabric.  I continue to be completely smitten with it.  And Steve actually found the modern floral while we were "casing" (haha) JoAnn fabric.  Tell you what ladies, marry a man whose mother quilted when he was a boy.  Steve's grasp of color and texture are quite impressive.  The yellows are almost an identical match, the gray ties in our couch, and the white continues the pattern from the citrine and looks nice next to the TV stand.

We chose to sew our envelopes so that the seam ran vertically rather than horizontally, so it more closely resembles a pillow sham than an envelope.  It works perfectly.  Our blue pillows are inside them, nice and fluffy with the right proportions for our furniture.  When we're ready to switch colors back for spring, I'll just take the covers off and we'll be done.  My favorite kind of decorating:  THE EASY KIND.

Doing the splits.

Plus, my 95" drapes from Target came in!  Not sure why the picture shows them as having a rod pocket, because they have a very nice grommet top.  I chose these curtains (the "Grayson" if you're interested) because of one major factor: the price.  They were super-cheap for a set of two.  They're not high-quality, and they're not entirely light-blocking, nor are they lined, but they looked nice after a pass with an iron and  color is exactly what I was aiming for (and I didn't have to drive to Ikea to get them).

You can't really see the rich aubergine color in the picture (hello iphone and no photo editing), but it's awesome.  And plenty cozy.

And Star Trek on the TV.  Bonus points if you know which episode!

We are done with the seasonal switch-ups!  Well, until the day after Thanksgiving, and then Christmas will take over our house.  Can't wait!

Nov 16, 2012


At least it's a welcome invasion!

My sister-in-law is tying the knot on December first and needed a place to crash between moving out of the room she rents and moving in with her soon-to-be-hubs.  So Tabi will be staying with us during the last week of November.  This is so great for two reasons.  The most important reason being I love her and will be happy to see her so often, even if it's only for a week.  The other reason is that it's finally getting my butt in gear to finish up some projects I've been stalled on to make sure our guest bedroom and bathroom are as inviting as possible.

Three projects are standing between us and having our guest space ready for Tabi's stay.

The tub in the guest bathroom still needs to be patched.


The mirror in the guest bathroom still needs to be framed out (which really isn't super-important, but once we patch the tub it'll be the only guest bathroom project left before we declare the entire room done-zo, so to take a page from John & Sherry's playbook, "Dude, get on that already.").

Alllllmost done.

And, oh yeah, maybe we should find the bed under all the junk we've accumulated in the bedroom.

*Shake My Head*

We've actually already made a little progress on the guest bedroom.  Between some focused organizing/storing, Craigslisting some items and donating some items, things now look like this:

(Slow) Progress.

Okay, so it's not good yet.  At least you can tell there's a bed in the room.  Wish us luck at getting it all done before Tabi arrives!

Nov 14, 2012

Adventures in Cleaning Microfiber

Last winter, Steve and I purchased our big gray living room couch from Macy's on super-duper sale.  It was microfiber, which we loved- in addition to being deep and wide, the couch is velvety-soft.  But I wasn't totally sure how to clean it properly.  And as with any item that you love (and/or cost more than a couple of bucks), I want to keep it in as good condition as I can.

Even so, we do live real life around here.  We've got dogs that get up on that couch and as any dog owner can attest, dogs create schmutz (official definition here).  Also, sometimes Steve and I eat food while sitting on that couch watching movies.  And even though we're careful, sometimes we get a little schmutz on the couch too.

So I found this great tutorial on (where else?) Pinterest for cleaning microfiber.  I linked into Chris & Robin's Nest Blog and followed their instructions.  I experienced great results using their cleaning method without harming the microfiber.

One problem.  It took FOR-EV-ER to spot clean all of the schmutz.  And it made my arm tired.  I'm lazy, remember?

So this week, when it was time to clean the schmutz off the couch, I opted to be a risk taker.  I pulled the microfiber cover off one of the throw pillows and threw it in the wash.  I ran it on a delicate wash cycle with minimal detergent and a delicate dry cycle while biting my fingernails and hoping I wouldn't have to sacrifice a pillow because it shrunk or faded due to my recklessness.  Thankfully, it turned out great!  No color change at all, no shrinking, nothing.  And NO sign of the schmutz!  I did a happy dance and threw all of the pillow and cushion covers in the wash, and now we have a nice, clean, non-wrinkly, non-schmutzy microfiber couch again!


 Well, at least for a few minutes....

Indy the schmutz culprit.

Nov 13, 2012

Purple Haze

Our living room just got a little more cozy.  We are switching out our accent colors for fall and winter!  Turquoise and spring green are being traded for aubergine and warm yellow!  And we're doing it on the super-cheap.  Here's a sneak peek:  pillows with a great chevron pattern that we found for $14 each at Marshalls.

Pillow love.

Isn't she pretty?  Her twin sister ain't so bad, either.

I've got some sewing projects in the works and an order from Target on the way that will complete the seasonal transformation.  I should be ready to show off the finished product within a week!

Nov 10, 2012

Kitchen Rug: Third Time's The Charm?

It's no secret that I have been agonizing over a runner for our kitchen for what seems like forever.  Seriously, I posted about it in June, July, August, and September.  Well folks, I think we may have finally solved the rug dilemma.

I was oh-so-innocently browsing in Target one day when I wandered down their rug aisle.  They had some new styles in.... including some gray and yellow runners from their Threshold collection.  I'd pull the picture from Target's website for you, but I think my local Target may be a test market for these rugs because I can't find them anywhere on the internet!

Sidebar-- what is it about Target?  I am certainly not immune to Target's charms (heck, I worked at one about ten years ago, but that's a story for another day).  Sometimes I go there and all of their inventory looks too modern or too outdated or too cheap or too fill-in-the-blank.  Other times I go to browse at Target and end up with a cart full of amazing stuff that I love.

 Amber from Crappy Pictures totally understands.

Well, this particular trip to Target felt just. like. that.  I snagged one of the runners and decided to just try it in the kitchen.  It was from Target, so of course I could return it if it didn't work.  I am so good at rationalizing ways to give Target my money.

I was delighted to find that the colors were perfect, but the size for using the runner down the middle of the kitchen was just... off.  So Steve and I discussed our alternatives and tried some alternate arrangements of the rug. Was the third time the charm for our months-long kitchen runner search? Yes!!

Stripey goodness.

Is it exactly what I wanted?  Well, no.  But I think we came to the conclusion that our kitchen is an odd width/length, and short of hand-making or custom-ordering a runner, we'd never be totally happy.  And we do love the runner itself.  It's a cotton flatweave, so it's washable.  The gray goes *perfectly* and the yellow is just a touch more subdued than the yellow in our linens and the nearby dining room curtains, which has kindly prevented our kitchen from moving toward yellow overload.  And it's in just the right spot to keep the dog dishes from skittering all over our kitchen.


The runner was actually about six inches too long to fit the length of cabinetry in front of the sink.  I'm pretty sure that I can modify it to make it shorter, but for now we've simply folded two of the stripes under and things seem to be working perfectly.  You know me, the easier, the better.  That rug will probably stay folded under for all time.


The best part?  Unlike the other runners that I've tried from Crate & Barrel and One Kings Lane, this one from Target was a measly $35.  I know that this isn't going to solve our dogs-constantly-licking-the-floor issue, but I think I am just going to have to deal with frequently hand-mopping our floor with my homemade cleaners.  Although it's a pain, it'll better for our health and our dogs' health.  Plus, sometimes having a surface in your kitchen that needs to be regularly deep-cleaned motivates you to deep-clean other surfaces in your kitchen, and a super-clean kitchen is never a bad thing.

So for now (FINALLY!),  I'm calling it.  The search for a kitchen rug is over, thanks to Target and its hypnotic bullseye.