Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 762's pretty

Photo by House Beautiful

I'm looking forward to a pretty easy weekend at home. We're going to hit a church-wide yard sale and the farmer's market on Saturday morning, and then work on whipping Wes' office into shape. Here's hoping we'll have some decent progress to show you next week!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 761: questions about seagrass

Every time I post images of our living room my inbox is flooded with questions about our seagrass rug, so I suppose it's time to formally address them for all to hear. First I will say that I love our rug and would buy it again in a heartbeat (we found it at HomeGoods). Also that caring for it has really been quite easy, now that we've found the right product to use.

Soon after we bought the rug, we adopted a puppy, and soon after that, she started having some, ahem, gastrointestinal problems. I'm sure you don't want to hear the details, but let's just say that I cannot imagine anything more gross happening on my beloved new rug! It was a little stressful (and did I mention gross?).

We tried all of the home remedies we could find online, but nothing worked and I was hesitant to try regular carpet cleaner because I'd heard horror stories about bleaching on natural fiber rugs. Turns out, those were all about sisal, but that's a different story. Next, I opened the phone book and started calling down the rows looking for someone who would take on a "natural fiber rug with pet stains," and even once or twice wrote down the numbers spotted on sides of vans driving down the road. I was desperate, and no one could help.

One day I was flipping through my latest issue of Martha Stewart Living, and I stopped to read the questions from readers -- I never miss the questions from readers! One lady was asking about caring for natural fiber rugs, and Martha suggested the product she uses at home, Host Dry Carpet Cleaner. I figured it couldn't hurt, so we tracked some down and have not looked back. This stuff is amazing! I really, truly saved our rug, and I'm sure it will save many more rugs down the road.

If you want more info about seagrass, check out Joni's post on Cote de Texas.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 760's lovely photos

Now that we've upgraded to a DSLR camera (we gave ourselves a Nikon D60 for our anniversary), I've been trying to hone up on my skills (don't worry, I'm not the next blogger-turned-photographer, but I needed a hobby in a big way!). I had a photojournalism class in college which gave me a little background on composition and technique, but I tend to learn by inspiration. I love a good still life, and this photostream is really inspiring me today.

Edit: I'm not sure it was clear before, but these are not my photographs, they belong to this talented girl!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 758's water dog

This is Maddie's favorite place. Lucky for her, it's only about 30 minutes away, and Wes and I enjoy it as well.

If we ever live on a body of water, she will be in it every single day. She likes to swim out and retrieve her ball, but can entertain herself (and us) just swimming and splashing around and defending our pier against evil Jet Skiis.

Summer is hard work!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 755's pretty

I'm headed for a weekend at the lake with my favorite gals from high school {and before}. This year, we're celebrating an upcoming wedding and news that a little one is on the way! We're still making the rounds on the wedding circuit, but it looks like the baby shower circuit isn't far behind!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 754's amusing photos

See these two photos? I saw them both on two different blogs yesterday, was compelled enough by each of them to right-click to save. They are both living rooms, they are both pretty, and the similarities pretty much end there. Yet I cannot choose a favorite.

The top image is, I believe, from Kate Spade's home -- correct me if I'm wrong. The bottom is a home for sale featured on Cote de Texas. You can see the rest of the house here.

So tell me, which do you prefer? The wild fabric, interesting accessories and over-the-top art of the first, or the restrained (almost to within an inch of its life) color palette and carefully-edited look in the second?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 753's second try

My second attempt at making roman shades from mini-blinds was much more successful than the first. Here's how I did it:

I learned last time that the blackout liner had to be attached to the fabric before attaching fabric to the blinds, so the first thing I did was cut the liner to the exact size I wanted my shade to be. The also really helped me keep straight lines, since I now had a clean, straight edge to follow.

Next, I cut my fabric so that it was about an inch bigger than the liner on all four sides. Then, I used my fabric glue and folded the fabric around the edges. This is the back of the shade that faces the window, so you can trim it a little to make it look neater.

The next step is to get the blinds ready to attach to the fabric (and liner). If you need a visual, hop over to Jenny's instructions. I let the blinds out all the way and took them off the wall and laid them on the floor, face up. I cut each of the small strings that go between the slats and removed the outside strings, being careful not to cut the lift strings, which are the strings in the middle of the slats. Then, I removed the plugs on the bottom of the blinds, and slid all but five slats off.

Now I put (what was left of) the blinds face down on my fabric and glued the top on first, taking care to not glue the lift strings down and leaving space at each end to reattach the blinds (now shades!) to the window.

Now I measured for each slat (I did them 9 inches apart) and place them all before gluing any of them. Then I glued them down, taking care not to glue the lift strings, and then reattached the bottom by tying new knots in the string and replacing the plugs.

Then they went back in the window! I'm so pleased at how they turned out -- much better than last time! I hope this helps if you are thinking of trying this project -- certainly feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. It's definitely a great idea, and I want to make sure all of the credit for it goes to Jenny of Little Green Notebook. I merely bow at the throne of her DIY goddessness.

By the way, the fabric is Florabunda in Sea Glass by P. Kaufman. You can get it online here, though I decided to patronize King Cotton, a great local shop.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 752's house tour

Love this cool Birmingham cottage featured today on MyHomeIdeas. Isn't this exterior great? I wouldn't change a thing!

Photos by Tria Giovan for MyHomeIdeas.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 751's lovely table

Today I have a little crush on Restoration Hardware's Trestle Salvaged Wood Dining Table, spotted in House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year, designed by Ina Garten.

This table would look just as handsome in an office space or library (though I'm not sure I could handle the cord clutter) as it would in a dining room.

My Dad recently bought some lumber that was taken from a very old barn that was torn down near his place in Tennessee. Wonder if I could convince him that I need a few pieces for a table?!

Day 751: skirted tables

Don't you love a skirted buffet table (like this one, from Cote de Texas)? Or is that just me? I recently made two of them ... sort of.

My sister was married last weekend and the ceremony was on a patio/overlook at Vulcan Park here in town. There were two lovely map/table/things showing visitors what they can see from the overlook right in the ceremony spot. Do you know what I'm talking about? I don't know what to call them. There were big arrows pointing to the airport and the UAB campus and they were tilted so that everyone at the wedding would be able to see them. Not very attractive, to say the least.

I got the bright idea that Wes and I can make some "tables" -- for lack of a better word -- to slide over the map-thingies for the wedding. The construction part was pretty simple -- just some plywood and two-by-threes. I covered them in simple cotton duck fabric.

I can't sew, but I'm pretty handy with a staple gun, if I do say so myself. The fabric I bought wasn't as wide as the tables needed to be, so I devised a way to make a "pleat" in the middle with a simple fold.

There is a pleat on the corners, too, which was an easy way to make them look pretty seamless. To save time (and because it is kind of windy on that overlook) I stapled the bottom of the skirt to the bottom brace of the table.

I don't have a great picture of them finished, but here's one from the rehearsal so you can see the scale. They're pretty big -- a little too big for our little house or I would keep them as they are -- 44 inches tall, and 20-by-64 inches on top, to be exact. I think I'm going to try to take the fabric off and have Wes make a smaller version to use as a desk in the office. We'll add a piece of glass to the top and a great lamp and -- voila! Instant desk. In the mean time, here are a few others I love:

These three photos: Top, Erika Powell; Bottom two, Grant K. Gibson.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 748

After the wedding, I headed down to Fort Morgan, Alabama for a few days with my dad's side of the family and a few friends. It was fun to have a few kiddos to play with on the beach, and despite my desire to play photographer with 5-year-old Hunter and 3-year-old Casey, there were too many kites to be blown and holes to be dug in the sand to sit still. I did manage to get a couple of good ones, I think.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 747

I'm back! The wedding was absolutely beautiful and just completely perfect. Really. My sister and her husband were just a blur of happiness all day long (hence the above photo). My few days at the beach were a lovely and fitting way to end the event, and I hope I'll be back later to share some of that. In the mean time, here are a few snippets of the day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 741's pretty

Little sister's wedding weekend is finally here! We'll be spending the weekend with family and friends celebrating their blessed union, then it's off to the beach for a few days of what I'm sure will be some much-needed r & r.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 740: the one that got away

Photo by Architectural Digest

Well, really the one I left behind is more appropriate. I've been dying to hang a lantern over our dining room table -- dying! The brass chandelier that's there just isn't doing it for me (though I do want to spray it white and put it somewhere else) and I think a lantern is the way to go.

And I'm not the only one. Domino (above) liked the idea, too. How great is this room? Love the round table, the chairs with the fun checks on the back, the stacks of books and the cheerful curtains. Maybe replace the coral with some fluffy hydrangeas and I'll move right in.

Interior design by Stephen Knollenberg

Lanterns work in traditional or more sleek, modern spaces. All three of these look similar, but the rooms are so different. And yet, it works in all three applications, I think.

Last weekend, while browsing an antique store in my hometown, I spotted this beauty: an old gas post lantern. The dealer had a note attached (with the photo at the top of this post, actually) suggesting that it be removed from the post, rewired, and hung indoors. Hello! That's exactly what I would want to do. It was old and crusty and perfect, but I hadn't exactly planned to drop $200 that morning on something that would still need some work. But that may have been a total steal -- I don't exactly have a frame of reference for antique lanterns, and I have no clue what it would cost to have it re-worked.

But now of course I'm regretting leaving it behind. Dad? Are you out there?? Christmas is but a few short months away, hint, hint!