Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I love Christmas, and I especially love decorating for this blessed Holiday! I just finished filling our entire home with Christmas decor and I have to say, it looks lovely! Since we're having a Christmas party tonight, I don't have time to take pictures of each and every wreath, candle, ornament, etc., so here are some pics of our home last Christmas...

This silver wreath that hangs on our door was bought at Kohl's 2 years ago during an after-Christmas sale for $2.75 (I just love a good bargain).

White lights and artificial trees can be nice, but nothing says "home" like a real Christmas tree covered with colorful lights, red and silver orbs, and ornaments from our childhood.

This little manger scene is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. I bought it last year'll never guess...The Dollar Store! I love the authentic looking hay, the politically correct Wise Man, and the tiny baby Jesus.

A close-up of our sparkly ornaments.

Our tree skirt, purchased last year at Home Depot with a gift card we were given as a wedding gift.

I hope you enjoyed this little house tour. Merry Christmas! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Feeling Festive

Here are some pictures of the Autumn-inspired touches around our home, as well as some yummy Fall and Halloween-themed foods I've made over the past few weeks:

Hot cocoa made with half and half (inspired by Carrie), served in one of my favorite Starbucks mugs (bought last year for $2 during a post-Christmas sale!)

Food and decor at our little Halloween gathering...The orange Target platter holds "Halloweenies" - hot dog weenies wrapped in crescent rolls with 2 little dots of mustard for "eyes" - they looked like mummies :)

My first ever home-made apple pie (served on Halloween, hence the bat-shaped vents)

Layla, from theletteredcottage, inspired these...However, instead of real pumpkins, paint, and using a doily as a stencil, I used faux pumpkins (so they can be used year after year), a brown sharpie marker, and I free-handed the "W" and the design.

A close-up of the big pumpkin

The wreath on our door, bought at Michael's for 50% off

What are your favorite Fall foods or decorations?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

To Shag or Not to Shag...

No, not that kind of shag! This kind:

I know what you're thinking: "A shag rug? What is this, 1972?"

But you have to understand what we are dealing with. Under our dining room table is a black, bamboo rug that was purchased a little over a year ago from cb2. I thought, being from Crate & Barrel's sister store, the rug would be fabulous. Unfortunately, it did not live up to its expectations.

The bamboo cracks under very little pressure (i.e. walking across it in high-heels), leaving ugly, bare plastic. Even worse: it create splinters that will inevitably jab into your feet the minute you step on the rug. It's not the most comfortable environment for guests who have come over for dinner and now have to spend the rest of the evening nursing their sore feet. Therefore, we are now in search of a new, soft rug, preferably either black or gray (with or without a pattern).

After lots of searching, I found something that is right up our alley...a shag rug! The customer reviews say that small-pile shag rugs can be easily vacuumed, hide stains, and are uber-soft; exactly what we need for our dining room!

I read the following paragraph and would like to know what you think:

"We all know of the stereotypical 70's "hippy shag" carpet. However, did you know that shaggy rugs have actually made a comeback in recent years? Although the horrid green, brown, and orange colors of the 70's didn't live on, shaggy rugs are still going strong!"

Is this true? If I don't buy a shag rug in one of the hideous 70's colors, could it actually look nice in my contemporary home?

Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, and tons of other stores currently carry a large selection of shag rugs. Here are some images from their websites:

So, what do you think? Has the shag rug actually made a comeback?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello Fall!

When I was little, Fall made me sad; it meant the end of warm weather, the end of summer vacation, and the beginning of 9 straight months of school.

Now, Fall makes me very happy; it means making yummy drinks (vanilla chai latte, anyone?) and delicious, hearty meals. Fall also means dressing our home in twinkling candles and all sorts of autumnal decorations that make it feel like a cozy little nest.

Here are some of my favorite Fall inspiration pictures. I am already using some of them in our home and will be sharing pictures in the weeks to come :)

So, what are your favorite things about Fall?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Almost Friday!

Isn't this room divine? I love the high ceilings, floor-length curtains, and natural linen furniture.

I hope you all have a fun, refreshing weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yard Saling

What do you think of the new, festive look? :)

While visiting family in New York, I stumbled upon the most amazing Yard Sale.

Cloth napkins, vintage books, teapots ~ everything you could think of, for very reasonable prices.

So, after about an hour of sifting through everything, I finally decided on a nice assortment of items. When I walked over to the woman who was hosting the sale, she smiled at me and said "Hi! That will be six dollars."


Six dollars...seriously? I honestly thought she was joking. I had at least $25 worth of items in my hands and scattered behind me (I found so much great stuff, I couldn't even hold it all!). Oh, and when I say $25, I mean 25 yard sale dollars...that would equal about 100+ retail store dollars. ;)

Well, she was not joking, and even though I offered to give her more money (hardcore yard-salers, please don't mock me too much for that one), she insisted, and I walked away with a ton of great items and a very full wallet!

Here are a few of my finds...

4x6 gold frame: will be painted white & placed on my new desk in the study

White Teapot ~ already found a home on the turquoise shelf by the dining room

Bamboo Tray ~ may be painted white (like yours, Deb!)

Not pictured: 2 hardcover books on decorating, 4 magenta cloth napkins (for Valentine's day), 1 teal-colored vintage book on gardening, Phase 10 (the game), 1 stove-top cover (I'll be painting it white and hanging it on the wall ~ the scrollwork on it is beautiful!), 1 tall black-and-white laundry basket, 2 3lb weights, and I think there's even more but I can't remember. :)

Have you found any great deals lately?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Before & After: Lamp

My goal is to use as little moula as possible to make something as fabulous as possible. Case in point: my lamp project.

While taking out the trash a few months back (actually, Ben was putting the trash in the dumpster while I supervised from the car), I saw something sitting by the dumpster. My curiosity got the best of me and I jumped out to find out what this little treasure could be.

Lo and was a lamp! But not just any lamp: a free lamp. Unfortunately, my dear husband and I did not see eye to eye on this discovery...

Me: Just look at this beautiful lamp!

Ben: Why are you putting someone else's trash in our car?

Thankfully, in the end, Ben just sighed (after getting tired of hearing me shriek "please?! It's free!!" a hundred times) and let me bring home my new treasure.

Since the lamp was free, I decided to see if I could find a lampshade that was nearly as budget-friendly.

Sadly, after a month of searching (at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, J.C. Penny, Target, etc.) I could not find a single lampshade that fit both our budget and our style.

But then, just as I was about to cave and settle for a pitifully small, $17 drum shade from Target...I re-discovered Ikea's scratch-and-dent section! Much to my surprise, I found an enormous, black and white striped drum shade for just $2.75 - and there isn't even anything wrong with it! Can you believe it?! Two dollars and seventy-five cents!!! That definitely deserves three exclamation points! ;)

So, I snatched up the perfect lampshade and immediately went to work on my new-to-me lamp...

The lamp: BEFORE

The lamp: AFTER painting it with primer

My "new" lamp, with its new shade

A view of the guest room/study* with the lamp

A lovely bedside lamp for our guests**

So, have you been working on any free (or nearly free) projects?

*This room will be painted gray once I receive my free paint!

** The orange pillow cover was a recent purchase from West Elm. Ben suggested that instead of buying a pillow form, we should just fill it with the stuffing from an old "husband" (one of those pillows you rest against) we had lying around. He's pretty much a genius! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Etsy Love

Etsy is one of my favorite things on the web. So many creative little touches for your home and for your wardrobe. Here are some of my current favs:




hmm I can't remember where I found this one...


What are your etsy favorites? And if you're never checked out etsy, you are missing out!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Desk Dreams

The husband and I have a guest room/office that is on the cusp of greatness. First came the throw pillows, then came the lamp, and soon, the paint (yes, I finally made a decision). Then, finally, it will be time for the desk.

We used to have 2 desks (1 in my apartment, 1 in his) but saw no reason for the 2nd one. Once we got married, we would have only one working desktop PC, a MacBook, and an old desktop PC that was on its way out. So, we got rid of my desk. We gave it to...actually, I don't remember what we did with my old desk. Good Will, maybe? The trash? Gosh I'm glad it's the weekend - my brain is fried! Anyway, with Grad School resuming this October, the husband and I decided it was time to create some space for me in the office.

I had been drooling over this Parsons Desk from West Elm for months and months...

Isn't it gorgeous? John & Sherry over at YoungHouseLove have the same one in glossy white:
Unfortunately, at $329, it was oceans away from our price range.

Then came the Mini Parsons Desk from West Elm...

just as chich but even more adorable!

Alas, our newlywed budget could never take the $250 beating.

Then, out of nowhere, I stumbled upon this little gem...Could it be? A nearly identical Parsons Desk from Walmart of all places for just forty-nine dollars?!

I immediately told the husband about the desk. His response? "It's very simple...but definitely nice and modern". I agree - it is perfect!

Sadly, they are out of stock in BOTH Walmarts in our area, as well as the Walmart near my mom's house in New York AND they are out of stock online. Ugh! What's a girl to do? I must have this desk!

So, my plan is to obsessive-compulsively check the website and call each Walmart in the surrounding area every single day until I find one in stock. And if I ever feel like giving up, I will look at this for inspiration to continue in my pursuit for the perfect (and affordable) desk...

So, what is your most recent "must-have" item?

Monday, August 10, 2009

I won!!

The freaking hilarious Katie Bower of BowerPower had a giveaway last week, and guess who won???

That's right: ME!!

This giveaway was for enough Olympic Paint to cover an ENTIRE room...soI get to paint a whole room for free! *insert happy dance*

Can you tell I'm excited?! :)

Now that I've won, I can't decide (surprise, surprise) whether to paint the guest bath (currently white) or the guest room/office (currently sky blue). The guest room/office has really improved since adding my collage (see a few posts back), new pillow from West Elm, and thrifted lamp (pics coming soon). But it would be nice to get all of that paint for free! Bathrooms are a pain in the bootie to paint, but I would LOVE to give it some color! Our current guest bathroom accessories are beige, yellow, and blue, but I really wouldn't mind foregoing these colors for something more contemporary/modern.

So, what will it be?

A bold color for the bland bathroom?
(not black, but something more interesting than boring white)

Or a contemporary shade for the Guest Room/Office?
(like a dark slate blue or charcoal gray?)

Please help me decide!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

For Now

I'm afraid I'm just too indecisive to settle on a web design. If I bought one, I'd probably end up wanting a change next week and would have wasted my money and the designer's time. So, for now, I'm settling for this one. It's a bit bold, but it works.

I can't decide what to do with our dining room. It has charcoal-colored walls, a white chair rail, a small white cabinet, and is decorated with silver pictures and mirrors. I love all of that, but the problem is that the table in the very center of the dining area is about 20 years old and was a hand-me-down from my you can imagine what it looks like! Faux oak wood, lots of detailing on the oddly shaped chairs, etc.

We're currently living in an apartment and have neither the space nor the funds to purchase a table set that we can "grow into". I started to paint the table last summer about a week before my wedding. Eight cans of spray-paint later, I realized that I should have primed the piece first because all of the wood was showing through.

So, the table is currently hidden by a white tablecloth and four gray place-mats. I'm thinking of buying a vintage/modern runner to dress it up a bit but I have no idea what to do about those hideous chairs! They really stand out like a sore thumb amidst our contemporary accessories.

Oh well. Until we can afford to make a more drastic change, I will have to settle for day-dreaming about these glorious dining rooms...

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