Thursday, September 18, 2014

West Elm Souk Rug Pattern Inspired Pillow Cover DIY

It was gettin' crafty up in here today- Check out my latest little DIY pillow cover project!

A combination of things inspired me to take on this little DIY project which started when I found this cute "Ziggy" pillow from Fine Little Day  on Pinterest a while back....

The pattern was cute, simple, irregular and had a handmade sort of feel.  I kept coming back to the Pin thinking "I wonder if I should try to DIY something like this?"

The look or texture of the print reminded me of the popular zig-zag or interlacing trellis patterned Souk and Torres rugs at West Elm with that similar irregular type line work...
West Elm Souk Wool Rug $199-$1299 and Torres Wool Kilim Rug $59-$599; Sidenote- I'd love to have one of these if anyone has a spare $1,000 I can borrow?! JK
I figured I should give this DIY a green light using a combo of the looks I was inspired by,  seemed like DIY-ing the print would be totally do-able right?  So, I had to try it!

I had an old cheaper white pillow cover that I figured I could sacrifice in case this turned out terribly and after steaming and ironing it for nearly an hour to de-wrinkle it was ready!  I started out by lining up the pattern look I wanted with painters tape.  I wanted to fit the three lines of diamonds going along the length of the Souk rug so I started by lining up that pattern with painters tape.
Using the painters tape allowed me to adjust and get the right size and shape similar to the rug.  Once I had the diamond shapes fitting across the center I cut out a piece of cardboard that fit into each of those three diamonds then used it to trace out the top and bottom rows of the diamond/zig zag pattern.  Once that was complete I used black fabric paint and a foam brush to apply the pattern.
All in all, it was a pretty simple DIY and I imagine there's probably ten other (and perhaps better?) ways I could have gone about applying or tracing out the pattern?  But I am just happy with the end result!  I think it has a simple modern look that we can fit easily into our living room or sunroom decor.  What do you think?

 Do like how the pattern turned out?
If you want to try this DIY, would you do the same pattern or something different? 

I almost want to attempt a sewing version of this DIY now, hmmm... Using the same pattern inspiration I could use thicker yarn and stitch it through a pillow cover instead of the printed/painted version?!  Sound crazy or should I try it???  Let me know!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

An Old Street Sign to Remember a Special Place

Don't you love when you are in the right place at the right time?

That happened to me earlier today during a walk with the dogs when I happened to stumble upon a couple city workers that were taking down old street signs and putting up new ones.  Being the neighborhood history nerd (posts on our house history and neighborhood history) and weirdo in general that I am, I had to bother ask them, "Excuse me, what do you do with the old street signs?" and one of the workers replied with, "Do you want one?" and the other began taking apart the old sign to give to me.
This little random moment totally made my day!  

Even though it was probably TMI I told them, "My husband and I live in the first home we've ever owned on this street, so thank you, it's special to have."  I kind that might have brightened up their day a little too?  Then, with the street sign in hand I walked home grinning like an idiot :)
Maybe it seems silly to be this excited over a street sign but I'm thankful to have this sign that marks the place that became our very first home together (you know I am also a weird overly sentimental person too right?).  Whether we are here for another year, ten, or twenty-five, this home and neighborhood will always hold a special place in my heart.  Ahhh, aren't you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside too?!

Where would you put it or what would you do with it?  
Would you have asked for a sign too? 
Does anyone in Minneapolis know how old the streets signs were that just got replaced?

I don't think we can really display it anywhere since most of our walls have windows breaking up the amount of space we could place it on so I'm not really sure what or if we will do anything with it.  If you have ideas let me know!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How the Sunroom Ended Up

Now, where was I again with my house projects, hmmm.... Oh yea, the Sunroom!  Seems like forever long ago when I began changing up the look of our sunroom but I finally got around to adding in a few finishing touches and I'm calling it complete... for now at least :)
The images shown on the left above are various "before" photos of our sunroom- 2009 when we moved into our home, 2010 after we painted the room and refinished the wood floors, and 2011 after Alex built the radiator cover/bench.

This sort of spontaneous room update started with changing the paint color to the darker black/blue paint (same color that we used in the kitchen, Martha Stewart Francesca from Home Depot).
The next change I tackled for the room was redo #2  on the set of chairs I picked up at a yard sale last summer.  Yep, making the chairs blue with a maroon seat cushion was a really poor choice but I did learn how to tuft a seat cushion at least!  Not a total waste I guess?
I admitted my DIY mistake and made my wronged chairs look right with a new coat of paint on the wood, faux leather upholstery, and silver nailhead trim.
Click here to see the second chair redo (updated to black & added nailhead trim)

After painting the room and fixing the chairs, the sunroom project took a pause... a VERY long pause.  
[Insert NYC, my 30th birthday, Hong Kong, China, Toledo, filming a tiling project, Alex in Europe, big business partner meeting at work, and last but not least my unlucky ER visit to get 16 stitches on my shin]
- PLAY - 

With all that craziness behind me, I had time to tinker and finish things up in the sunroom again!  The finishing touches included new wall decor, window treatments, light fixture, and repurposing/redecorating our DIY radiator cover/bench.
On a random Ikea trip I picked up the Marmorblad pair of curtains for $17.99 (not sure why I can't find them on Ikea's website, they are shown on page 264 if you have their 2014 catalog).  I thought the look fit nicely with the color and mood of the room and I liked the simple modern windowpane pattern.  
The light fixture was kind of a random experiment.  While at Ikea I found the $5 Hemma Cord Set and thought why not?  I was looking for something different than a floor lamp or table lamp when it came to lighting and so far I'm liking the change.  I might get a different shade for it, we'll see!

For the wall art I just shifted around some frames and mirrors I had in other places.  I used a mix of family photos and a few travel photos of Alex and I. 
Over on our DIY radiator cover/bench (click here for the DIY tutorial if you are interested) I made the decision that it didn't make sense to have pillows on it because we never actually used it as a bench or sat on it really.  Instead, we mainly used it for storage and I kept my indoor plants there because the windows are south facing.  
I also started keeping a basket of all the typical items I would bring outside at the end of the bench right by the door.  It came in handy a lot this summer, whether it was just me and the dogs sitting outside on the deck or if we had company over too.

That's the whole update in a nutshell!  I'd love to know what you think of the new look!

Do you like the updated look?

What are you favorite changes?

What else would you add or change in the Sunroom?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Quirky Wall Art Find from Hong Kong

I know I've mentioned a time or two before that I LOVE to find unique decor pieces when I am traveling so naturally, I had to bring something home from my recent trip to Hong Kong.  I suppose what I'm about to show you isn't something you'd expect to come from Hong Kong specifically but nonetheless, this find was amazing and I knew I had to bring it home!

I found the piece during our day shopping in the Ladies Market and the Jade Market.
I wasn't having any luck at all going through booth after booth at the Ladies Market until I found one filled with painted canvas artwork.  I began sifting through a stacked up pile of paintings and stumbled upon this....
I was smitten!  It is so odd, quirky, AND it reminded me of Rocco!  LOL!  Sure, it looks like a female and Rocco isn't, but it was the look on the dog's face in the painting that seemed EXACTLY like Rocco's grumpy face!

For comparison I give you exhibit A- Rocco's smug grumpy face, not often captured on camera because dude knows how to ham it up but it's true, he's got a grumpy side...
It could be that the whole attitude of the dog in the painting that reminded me of Rocco?  He's cute but he is kind of an a**hole most of the time, I love him but boy oh boy he is hard to please.  I've heard it's a Shih Tzu thing?

Anyway, I got the 18" x 26" canvas paint for just $5 USD!  I did some major bargaining, love bargaining in foreign countries, I just repeat the number/price over and over as though I don't know how to say anything else.  I swear it's a fantastic strategy :)

Once I got it home, I decided that it'd probably be best to just frame it with a white matte around it and settled on the simple Ribba frame from Ikea for $19.99.  Before I could frame it though, I had to fix the unpainted corners on the canvas fabric.  Thankfully I was able to mix some paint and achieved the right color to match the ground of the painting.

After the corners dried I was able to place the painting in the frame and mounted it on one of our living room walls.
Who knows if that's where it will stay but for now I think it's a perfect home for this odd little pup!  I also should say that I didn't intend to be on a dog themed kick this week, just happened to end up that way?!  Be sure to check out the LONG doggie care list that Alex put together for our dogs if you haven't already- it is almost 3 pages long and pretty humorous! 

What do you think?  Would you have bought it too?
What do you think of the frame and mat I paired with the painting?
What would you have looked for in Hong Kong?

If you are interested in seeing other bits of home decor I have brought home from my travels click here, here, here, or here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The (Unintentionally Humorous?) Guide to Rocco & Sadie, Written by Alex

In honor of National Dog Day, I thought I'd share something dog related that has been entertaining to some of my co-workers :)  Hope you enjoy this as much as they did!

Not too long ago Alex and I talked about our back-to-back travel mess which pretty much was a month and a half of travel, a wee bit together but mostly apart for work.  Now, if you know us you know we have two fur babies (Rocco and Sadie) and had to figure out a plan for their care during the time we both were away.  Thankfully, our friends Eric & Rose were happy to take care of our little kiddos for a while!
Like most dog owners, I wanted to make sure our kiddos had everything they needed to be cared for and comfortable which meant packing their overnight bag with food, treats, dog toys, the blankets they sleep with, and whatever doggie stuff else.  After that, I mentioned to Alex that I still had to write up a note for when to give them food, how much, temperament stuff, etc.  Here's where it gets funny/cute/nerdy...

The following morning I received an email from Alex that just said "For Eric and Rose" in the subject line.  When I opened the email and began reading, my jaw dropped.  Alex wrote out a two and a half page "guide" of sorts for Rocco and Sadie.  It was well written, accurate, thoughtful, humorous, and totally true- which written out made it incredibly hilarious!

REALLY-  Would you have guessed that Rocco "missed his calling in the adult industry"???  Or that he "is the obvious heir to our estate"?   And that Sadie "will invade your personal space as much as you allow"?  Not sure if you have to know Alex and I or our dogs better to get the humor, but I hope you find it entertaining at least?!   Happy National Dog Day, here it is....

·         1 Cup of dry food with half container of moist topper – Dinner is typically at 6:30 or so
o   Half Milkbone treat at various points throughout the day (after morning potty, upon returning home, etc…)
·         Rocco can be really snotty about wanting to eat his dinner and will sometimes wait until just before bed. This is normal. All you really need to do is make sure Sadie doesn’t eat his food.

·         Rocco can be a d*ck. He doesn’t bite or anything and he’s always super friendly when he encounters new people (on walks and what not). He just has a bit of an attitude sometimes. He doesn’t really like to be picked up and snuggled. Most affection with Rocco is on his terms. Sometimes he will go into these little barking/growling fits we call. Our best guess is that he just really wants to play. He’s a big softy at heart but he has this really Napoleonic fa├žade. He’s quite intelligent and he will exploit you.

Weird Things:
·         Wheezing Attacks:
o   Best way to describe them would be an asthma attack/heavy snorting – these are common with his breed and others that have really short faces. It can seem scary the first time it happens as you may think he’s choking on something. DO NOT pick him up when this happens. Instead, I always hold his chest with a light but firm pressure and stay with him through the episode. This doesn’t happen a lot so I doubt that you’ll have to worry about it. If it does happen, it’s usually short and rarely lasts more than a minute.
·         Barfing/Spitting Up:
o   Sometimes Rocco gets an upset tummy from eating too fast or drinking too fast, or a host of other Rocco reasons. If he does, it’s usually just a chunk of food or two and slimy, watery stomach goo. No real cause for alarm.
·         Humping
o   Not much to say here. Dude missed his calling in the adult industry…This side of Rocco might come out, perhaps it will not. Deal with it as you see fit. We’ll split any royalty checks for filmed performances with the two of you 50/50.
·         He’s little:
o   Although he doesn’t like to act small, his little sister has about 40lbs on him. They play very well together and it should even provide you both with some great entertainment however, we tend to error on the side of caution in his favor because he is little and our first born – thus the obvious heir to all of our estate. Use your best judgment. He’s had a sports injury once before from playing too rough so we’re just a wee bit more cautious now. We like to help him off of higher perches too (he likes to sit on the backs of couches and stuff) just to make sure he doesn’t jump down and hurt his little legs.
·         His Eyes:
o   They’re big and they’re also very close to the end of his nose so they weep more frequently than on dogs with longer noses. He’s freshly trimmed and scrubbed so I doubt that you will even notice over the course of 3 days but, if you notice a discharge (in the morning or after a long nap) it’s perfectly normal. If during play he stops and starts to rub his eyes, he may have got something in one of them or maybe was poked. We always handle this on a case by case basis and proceed as necessary – either helping him remove the foreign object or halting the play time.
·         Outdoor Time:
o   Be sure to keep him leashed unless under your supervision in a fenced yard. There have been a couple of instances in which we needed to chase him down because he got excited about something and made a break for it. Generally though, you won’t have to worry about him straying too far from your side. On walks, you can count on him taking a dump no fewer than twice…

·         1 Cup of dry food in the morning as breakfast. 2 cups of dry food with half a container of moist topper for dinner – Typically around 6:30 or so.
o   Full Milkbone treat at various points throughout the day (after morning potty, upon returning home, etc…)
o   You’ve been to our house so you know we’re not too shy about table scraps. Just little pieces of stuff is ok on occasion but, don’t feel like you need to share. Sadie is a hound dog through and through – she’ll eat just about anything (in moderation).
o   NOTE: She has taken a tray of cookies from a countertop on Christmas Day when no one was looking but in general, she’s well behaved.

·         Sadie is a hound dog. She has 3 major loves in this life – Food, snuggles and sleep. 
- She will invade your personal space as much as you allow. 
- She will eat nearly anything that you offer to her. 
- And she likes to curl up for a nap quite a bit. 
·        She is the second born in our household and therefore she sometimes gets jealous if Rocco is getting too much attention. She’s not mean about, she just wants to be involved. She listens very well and is highly intelligent.

Weird Things:
·         Health and Whatnot:
o   No strange things to report. She’s a hunting/hound dog. As a general classification, these dogs are ridiculously sturdy and reliable. Give her love and feed her, and it is highly unlikely that you will have any cause for concern.
·         Outdoor Time:
o   Must be leashed at all times unless under supervision in a fenced in yard. She loves watching birds and chasing after squirrels so it’s important to keep her under supervision. She can run with you (half hour-ish maybe longer if it’s not hot out). If someone does take her for a run, I have to request that Rocco be receiving some sort of fun time/attention too… our kids get very jealous of one another. On walks, she is prone to pulling a bit so I like to keep her leash shorter and try to keep her near my side…it’s a work in progress.

These two dogs are our children and largely they’re our only family. They play very well together but there is an obvious size difference. We trust your judgment on what you feel is good for them and we know you will always keep their best interest in mind.  Although reading this sheet will lead you to believe that Rocco is a real pain in the ass, they’re both great dogs that have their own unique way of looking at the world. I hope you have fun with them as I am sure they will have fun with you. In the event of any emergency do not hesitate to take them to the nearest animal hospital/vet. You do not have to call if you believe it’s an emergency. For something small or if you feel something is just a little off, please give us a ring – there could be something that we’ve unintentionally left off this guide.

Thanks again for watching our babies, it’s a huge help!


Cracks me up to see how much longer Rocco's list is than Sadie's, dude's a diva I tell ya!  
Well, I suppose I knew these things about our dogs, sort of, just never thought about them in that detail.  Gotta give it to Alex, he's a clever writer :)  THANK YOU AGAIN Eric & Rose for putting up with our kiddos!

Hope all of you with doggies enjoyed this day dedicated to doggie appreciation too!
Also gotta ask...
Would you want to hang with our pups?  Or do they sound high maintenance?!?  LOL

Our Sunroom update is coming up next along with the new wall art I picked up in Hong Kong (oddly enough it's dog-ish themed too, not on purpose, ironic I suppose?).  Hope you'll get back into the Home Stuff/DIY-ing gear with me later this week, see ya then!

Additional Dog Day background info (click here for more):
National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day - for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Five years ago today, Alex and I married one another.  Sadly, I wish I could say that (today) Alex and I were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary together but due to the apocalypse of work travel, Alex is across the pond in Europe once again.  Wa-wa.

Perhaps because I am on my own and have had too much time to noodle on the meaning/thought/significance of this day but it made me think about my life before marriage and that after it, nothing at all has been the same- and I am very thankful for that.  I look back at Alex and I then and now... Knowing what our hopes and dreams were and now knowing where we ended up five years later and it's kind of surreal.

You say "I do" that day based on your love for one another, faith, and (hopefully) how you've envisioned/discussed the life you want to have together but still, you don't know how things will play out years after that day but today -five years later- I feel incredibly thankful for the adventure Alex and I have been on since joining our lives together.  It's complicated, fun, challenging, rewarding, fulfilling, etc.  Really it's everything... it's the greatest gift I feel I've ever been given in life. 
So forgive me for being cheesy, but since my groom is time zones away I wanted to post this little anniversary surprise and say- Happy Anniversary My Love!  Thank you for making everything in life more amazing because I'm sharing it with you.  Hope you can put up with me for a few more years :)


I know all the travels, birthdays, filming stuff, anniversaries, and all un-house/DIY stuff might have been making things dull for a while but I'm ready to get back into business!  I'll be posting pics of the sunroom this weekend and the fun piece of wall art I picked up in Hong Kong!  Fun house stuff ahead, hope to see you back soon!  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lights, Camera, Hammers and High Heels in Action!

I'm baaaaack! (FINALLY!)  Feels like I've been gone for a month- maybe because I've barely slept at all in the last two and a half weeks so it really feels like a whole month?! LOL :)  

Oddly enough, the day after I returned home from New York, China, Hong Kong, and Toledo  (can't leave out Toledo!), Alex and I had an amazing project scheduled that we couldn't pass up!  Despite the tricky timing, we/I got through the day and just as we expected, it was a pretty awesome experience...

Wanted to share a few pics, but can't share much about the details (for now?!).  I know, boo-hoo!

It was a ______ day for Alex and I (still can't pick a word for it, cool/ surreal/ awesome/ funny/ unordinary/ crazy/ etc.?) and I just wanted to write a little something about it here on the blog since it's the reason we got the opportunity- Well, the blog and really everyone out there that has been reading/experiencing our home DIY adventures with us.  You kept us going and made every project much more fun than going at it on our own :) Thank you.  Yes, it sounds kinda lame, maybe even empty as simple as it is typed out, but we truly mean it. Thank you! 

I know posts have been slow and a wee bit boring for a while but I'm still crazy thankful for everyone still reading.  Fingers crossed, this adventure will get more interesting from here, we'll see!