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Fabulous Finds Friday - 1st Edition

October 29, 2010

Happy Friday everyone!

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I wanted to start a new segment on my blog which features 5 holiday gift ideas under $50 every Friday from now until the end of the season.

Not only will I be able to keep an ongoing list of potential gift ideas for my friends and family but hopefully I'll be able to introduce you to a gift you may not have thought of for that person in your life that has everything!

Let's start the first Fabulous Finds Friday off with this knitted Nantucket throw from Z Gallerie:

[ Image via Z Gallerie ]

I love the chunky knit and how warm and cozy it looks! It's on sale for $49.99 (from $69.95) and would be great to cuddle up with on the couch during the upcoming cooler months :)

Next on the list is this fun Tic Tac Toe game which is also from Z Gallerie:

[ Image via Z Gallerie ]

This is 10x better than playing tic tac toe the regular way and at $34.95, it'd make a great gift for a sibling or close friend!

The Pixel Hurricane from Crate and Barrel caught my eye immediately and would look great on a mantel or as part of a holiday tablescape:

[ Image via Crate and Barrel ]

Can you imagine the awesome shadows it would cast?! It's $39.95 which is a little expensive for a hurricane candle holder but it's generously sized and would make a wonderful gift!

Up next are the adorable Elf Candle Holders from CB2:


[ Image via CB2 ]

They're only $5.95/each and would make great stocking stuffers! I remember them selling out really quickly last year so if you like them, I'd buy a set of them now before they're gone!

Last but not least is the TRĂ…DIG Bowl from IKEA:

[ Image via IKEA ]

I own the red version of this bowl and absolutely love it! It's only $24.95 and can hold a variety of items like fresh fruit, decorative vase fillers or maybe even chips if you lined it with something first so they wouldn't fall through.

What did you think of the first Fabulous Finds Friday? What would you like to see included next week?

Mondo Mondo Mondo

October 28, 2010

Tonight marks the eighth season finale of Project Runway and on one hand, I'm really excited to see who wins but on the other, I'm sad for the season to be over because it was better than most of the others I've seen.

[ Image courtesy of myLifetime.com ]

I'll be rooting for Mondo Guerra to win it all because, not only has he been the most innovative designer this season, he has taken risk after risk with every look he's created and has produced interesting and fresh looks each time.

Not only that but man oh man is he a master at mixing patterns! I have so much respect for him as a designer and as a person and I think I may end up shedding a tear (or two) if he doesn't win.

Will you be watching the season finale? If so, who are you rooting for?

Graham Moss

October 27, 2010

Has anyone else been introduced to the amazing portfolio of Graham Moss? I hadn't been until yesterday when a friend of mine e-mailed me the photo below noting how great the DIY pendant lamp I made would look in black if I were to make another.

I love the black, white and yellow color combination

What a great silhouette photo wall

I love those lamps and the porcupine spiked looking mirror along with the
collection of yellow pottery

[ All images via Graham Moss ]

I love his eclectic style, his use of color (something I'm still trying in my own house) and how lighthearted each room seems. What did you think of Graham's portfolio?

To see more, click here.

Welcome to my Living Room

October 26, 2010

Feel free to virtually kick your shoes off and stay awhile :)

I moved the extra chair and accent table from the man cave to the living room

I need to find a large piece of art or a larger mirror for above the fireplace since my ceilings are so high and that little mirror isn't doing the space justice

You can see part of my dining room (and my boyfriend's laptop) through this
little pass through area

My ceilings are 18' high and sometimes at night, you can see the moon through that window up there. Oh and don't mind that 80's style brass fan, it's going to be replaced very soon :)

Love this golden bear :)

To Keep or Not To Keep

October 23, 2010

Last night I did what every bored 25-year-old aspiring interior decorator does: I went browsing around HomeGoods. While I was there, I stumbled upon a pair of lamps that I thought might work in my living room. I left them there but couldn't stop thinking about them throughout the night so I went back and got them this morning.

I like the height (32.5") and the overall shape of them but I'm not too wild about the cut-out (it's growing on me) and they have a lot of scratches and chips on them so I haven't decided if I'm going to keep them yet and I've left the tags on them in case I decide to return them.

If I do decide to keep them, I think they'd benefit greatly from a fresh coat of glossy black spray paint to help hide the damage. I showed my boyfriend and he says they look like a sewing needle ... what do you think? Should I keep them or keep looking around?

Kitchen Dilemma

October 22, 2010

Aside from new stainless steel appliances, my kitchen hasn't been updated since it was built 25 years ago. The countertops are a hideous mix of off-white colored laminate with some kind of wood looking trim. The cabinets are solid oak and in great condition but all of the wood really darkens the already tiny room. I've repainted 4 times already and I'm still not happy with the color. I'm not sure if it's the lighting or if I just suck at choosing paint colors but whatever it is, I think it's time for some major updating.

Here's how my kitchen looked after I repainted it Martha Stewart's "Chinchilla":

It's OK but I don't love it, I'm just living with it. Oh, and don't mind the awful blue mini blinds, I have a white replacement shade I just haven't put up yet. 

Here's my kitchen before I painted it "Chinchilla":

I don't remember the name of the color but it was a delicious charcoal gray that I LOVED but at night, the kitchen kind of felt like a cave. Maybe if the cabinets were all white, it wouldn't have been as dark...

So here's a run down of what I've been thinking:
  • Paint the cabinets white to help lighten up the space (no budget for new ones)
  • Install modern hardware on the cabinets
  • Install a white subway tile backsplash to, again, lighten up the space
  • Replace the countertops with a light colored granite. I was thinking white with some gray mixed in but I do love the look of sleek black granite countertops and it will blend nicely with the stovetop. Hmmm...
  • Paint. For the 5th time. Since the cabinets and backsplash will be white, I was thinking of going dark again. Maybe navy or another shade of charcoal gray?
I was inspired by these photos and love the navy and white color combination:

[ Image via HGTV ]

[ Image via JK Bergin ]

[ Image via Apartment Therapy ]

What do you think of the navy and white color combination? Have any of you painted your cabinets? Do they chip/scratch over time or did you put a coat of something over the paint to prevent chipping/scratching?

It Always Seems Impossible...

October 20, 2010

How sweet is this print from The Love Shop?

[ Image courtesy of The Love Shop ]

The quote is a favorite of mine from Nelson Mandela and the print would look great in a bedroom or bathroom to inspire you when you wake up first thing in the morning!

DIY String Pendant Lamp

October 17, 2010

For this DIY project, I was inspired by the Random Light from DWR. Unfortunately, I don't have $1,100+ to spend on a pendant lamp but DWR's images made the light look fairly easy to make so I did a quick Google search for some instructions and stumbled upon this tutorial from Instructables.

I took notes of the materials needed and got the following (I already had the white bowl and the old paintbrush):

  • One 400 yard ball of white 100% mercerized crochet cotton string/yarn - $5
  • One 16 oz bottle of Stiffy fabric stiffener (any brand will work) - $7
  • One kids bouncy ball (about 18" in diameter) - $3.

I wanted a bouncy ball instead of a regular balloon because I knew it wouldn't lose its shape while drying like a balloon could. I had to switch to plan B (an exercise ball) though so this didn't end up being used.

Unfortunately, when I brought the blue ball home, I held it up next to the pendant lamp I already had (the KNAPPA from IKEA) and realized it was about the same size. This would've been fine except that I've been wanting a larger pendant lamp for a while so I started thinking of a plan B.

I ended up using an exercise ball I had lying around that I got for $5 from Walmart about two years ago. It was the perfect size (25" in diameter) and I knew it wouldn't deflate and lose its shape like a normal balloon would.

I started the process by placing the yarn in the white bowl and pouring the entire 16 oz bottle of fabric stiffener on top of it so it could soak through and guarantee that each piece of yarn would be saturated. Then I started wrapping the ball with the yarn in random patterns until there was no more yarn left (about an hour). I wasn't able to take any in progress shots because this project was extremely MESSY (note the fabric stiffener mess all over the table) and my hands and arms were covered in fabric stiffener (wear gloves if you can).

Here's what the exercise ball looked like when I was done wrapping the yarn around it:

I had some excess fabric stiffener left over so I used the paintbrush and gently "painted" it over the yarn to make sure everything would stick and not pull away while drying overnight. In hindsight, I would have skipped this step because when I popped the exercise ball this morning, the fabric stiffener dried like glue would which created a shell of the ball it was stuck to. The glue shell creates a film which you can kind of see-through and you can carefully remove the glue from the yarn by poking an object through each hole but it's a HUGE, time-consuming pain and I'm still not done :(

Once the ball had air-dried a little outside, I brought it in and hung it from my shower head to dry overnight. In case you're wondering why I hung it in my shower, I was paranoid that fabric stiffener was going to drip down and ruin my hardwood floors.

After 24 hours of drying time, I took the ball down and began the removal process. Because an exercise ball is thicker than a normal balloon, I had to puncture it with a small nail several times for it to start deflating. Realizing this method was going to take forever, I used scissors to cut a hole into the side of the ball to speed up the deflating process.

Once the ball deflated, I cut a hole out of the string so I could slowly pull parts of the exercise ball through it and cut pieces of it off since I knew the whole thing wasn't going to come out at once.

Now it was time to figure out how to get this massive fragile string circle to hang from the light fixture I removed the KNAPPA pendant from. I'll admit that I hadn't thought this far ahead in the process haha

To do this, I tied some leftover yarn from one side of the circle to another and repeated the process to form an X. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the glue shell I was talking about earlier.

It's hard to explain how I got the lamp to actually hang from the light fixture but I basically pinched two pieces of the yarn together and tied an additional piece of yarn around them to hold it in place. I repeated the process once more so the lamp would hang as level as possible.

And here it is hanging in place (apologies for the grainy photos):

TOTAL COST: $20! Once I figure out how to get the rest of the glue shell removed, I'll post updated pictures :)

Welcome to my Desert DOOMicile...

October 15, 2010

I have a confession to make: in the two years I've lived at my desert domicile, I've never decorated for Halloween. It's not that I don't like Halloween, it's just that without a basement or an attic, I literally have no room to store any unnecessary decorations (like holiday ones).

I told myself I wasn't going to go crazy with decorations but after an all-day shopping spree last Friday, I found myself with more glittery skulls than I knew what to do with! Oh well, my boyfriend's birthday is on Halloween so I'm using that as my excuse for not sticking to my original plan!

Anyway, here's the console table all Halloweenified (I know it's not a word but let's just go with it, ok?):

I kept my zebra console table and The Saturday Evening Post canvas because they both fit in with the black, red, white, orange and silver theme I was trying to go for. I added spiderwebs to the white IKEA stick tree I've had forever (a second tree was also used on the fireplace mantel) and raided my mom's bookshelves for some spooky titled books to place the candy bowl on.

I topped the bowl with a $5 crow I got at Michael's, placed a concrete bust I got at the Dollar Tree under a glass canister to mimic the look of a specimen and stuck a "bloody" candle that I made myself (using an old Martha Stewart trick) into a tapered holder that I had previously beautified with some glossy black spray paint and with that, the console table was complete :)

Next up, the fireplace mantel:


To decorate the mantel, I added another spider-webbed IKEA stick tree, hung a Pier 1 mummy ornament from it, added some more spooky books and topped them with a faux pumpkin. I also added another bloody candle and glossy black candle holder along with two tealight holders from IKEA which, to me, mimic the look of a carved pumpkin!

For the actual fireplace, I kept things simple by adding three ghost tea light holders and then gave Bernard (the white monkey) some spiderweb love as well!

And last but not least is the dining room:

For the dining room table, I added a glittery candelabra I picked up at Pier 1 for the centerpiece and surrounded it with some felt placemats that have spiders cut out around the edges, simple white dinnerware topped with an orange cloth napkin and a RIP tombstone I spray painted with some more glossy black spray paint.

For the sideboard, I kept my orange table lamps but added some spiderwebs to the lampshades. Then I placed a black cake stand in the middle, topped it with a big black glitter skull and added some black glitter skull hand tea light holders to the sides. The hanging white circle in front of the window is actually mirror that I covered with a creepy looking placemat I found at Target.

I wanted to keep things simple for my built-in bookshelves since there was already a lot going on with my table and sideboard. I cleared them off and hung some old skeleton keys, added another faux pumpkin, a few white plates I glued spiders onto, another spooky book which I topped with a bowl of mini silver skulls and another big black glitter skull and then I added some simple white IKEA vases and glossy black skull heads to complete the look.

So how did I do on my first attempt at making my desert domicile Halloween friendly? What have you done to get your house prepped for Halloween?

I entered the CSI challenge:

Visit thecsiproject.com

I entered the link party at Sew Woodsy:

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