Monthly Archives: August 2011

“Mag Tag” with BH&G {September}

We are back with another installment of “Mag Tag” – This time we’re flipping through the latest Better Homes and Gardens, the September issue. There were so many fun features between this month’s pages! And most of them were all about my favorite time of year: Fall…Oh, how I have enjoyed my morning walks with Rocky as of late – The air is so crisp and fresh. Of course, by lunch time, all of that cool deliciousness is gone after the sun toasts everything up nicely…But at least the dog and I get to enjoy it for ten minutes. Pretty soon it will be Fall-like all day long! Can’t wait…It always seems to go by too quickly though. Before you know it, I’ll be on here complaining about the bitter cold of Winter (which I am NOT a fan of), but oh well…I should enjoy each and EVERY day as it comes, right??

Anyway, on with the Mag Tagging…Love the cover with all it’s oranges, reds and browns.

They had a small featurette about e-readers, which I thought was fun. I am still very much enjoying my Kindle (you can read all about my initial reaction and researching here) – This is kind of terrible to admit, but I am actually finding myself reading more often then before. Who knows, maybe it’s just the novelty of it all (did you catch that little pun I threw in there?? 🙂 ). My mom bought a Nook over the weekend and seems to be really enjoying it so far. I never thought I’d say this, but power to the e-reader!

I saw this and had to gush a moment – Seems like my good friend, Savannah, has set yet ANOTHER trend (see the first one in last month’s “Mag Tag” here) – This time, BH&G writers are spouting off about a very familar material to be used behind glass in a tray…Corks!!! You can’t see it very well, but it’s in the big lefthand photo with wine glasses sitting on top.

Here’s a small closeup they snuck into the upper corner of the page. Pretty neat idea – Way to go, Savannah, on beating them to it!

Check out this amazing idea for postcards!!! They are actually made out of slivers of wood! By grabbing some fun stamps, you can really dress up this organic take on paper snail mail. Find them here (for only $3.25 each!).

The rainbowed bookshelf below reminds me of my own bookshelf styling 🙂 Mine’s not quite as hip though…Still need to get rid of a few novels before it looks as light and airy as this shelving unit. I love the bright yellow color they used! And the little accessories throughout have my heart going pitter patter. I don’t know why, but I am really into bookshelf styling these days. Still trying to get the hang of it…

Nice use of could-be-wasted space along the wall descending the staircase by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge – She never fails to impress. Looking forward to flipping through her book, which comes out September 6th!

I got super excited when I flipped to this feature 🙂 I love me some Stacy London…The way that woman dresses (and the way she successfully dresses OTHER people) is to die for. I’d love for her to come over and give me a lesson in what not to wear! Although I hope there wouldn’t be too many things thrown into the trash…

Quick tip, straight from London herself: Three closet essentials are a fitted blazer, a printed blouse and a nice pair of jeans. I am proud to say that I actually have all three of these things (phew!) and I totally agree. All work well together or styled with other closet essentials like a nice pencil skirt or chunky necklace. Lord knows I have my fair share of those…

I love this…

Her Mantra: To figure out your personal style, you’ve first got to come to terms with the raw material: your body. Look at it, really look at it, then decide what you’d like to emphasize and what you need to balance visually. You’ve got to dress for the body you have. When you dress soley for yourself – your body, you life, your age – you become beautiful.

Alas, I am no longer the thin little 20-year-old I used to be…But this year, I’ve decided to embrace my soon-to-be late twenties body. I’m going to suck it up and buy clothes that actually fit me instead of trying to continue squeezing into my size 6 jeans (WHICH, I am proud to admit, I finally donated to Goodwill this past weekend). I know it could be a lot worse (and I really do love food too much to care all THAT much about how I look), but we all know it’s important to accept things and be confident in the skin we’re in.

It. Will. Be. Okay.

Just gotta keep telling myself that…

Speaking of weight, check out this delicious meal idea! An open face chicken salad sandwich…Yumm…Since John and I are pretty religiously following this meal plan for our dinners, we don’t often need extra recipes, but this could be a nice filler for one random evening. Or maybe a lunch idea??

And speaking of weight and diet…Here’s a little exercise encouragement – Yoga! I really enjoy yoga. I don’t know that it makes you lose weight, but it sure makes you feel GOOD inside and out. I think I’ll have to look into joining a class this Fall…

Well there you have it – Another quick run-through of the latest Better Homes and Gardens mag! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Sometimes magazines can be so inspiring…My life goal is to work on one someday. Cross your fingers (and your toes) for me that I can make that dream a reality!!

See you back here on Friday 🙂

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Pinspiration Monday: Bathroom Storage

As with all of my Pinspiration Monday posts, I started by grabbing a screen shot (specifically using Jing – SUCH a neat program btw) of the pin I used as inspiration. So over I went to Pinterest, where I was immediately distracted by all the AMAZING things people are pinning these days! Everything from outfits to recipes to DIY holiday projects – I probably just repined close to ten things…Got a little carried away. But “Carrie” IS my name after all!!!

Okay, sorry…That was lame even for a Monday. So anyways, after wasting a sufficient amount of time on other people’s boards, I eventually made my way over to my own and grabbed the image that I used for today’s Pinterest-inspired project:

This project was care of Hollie over on (as a quick interjection, I am going to try making it a point to name the source for my Pinterest-inspired projects. I’ve been noticing some rumblings of unrest in the blogging world of DIYers getting their projects pinned with no credit. I definitely don’t want to fuel that fire…Let me know if I forget to post sources in the future!!). So anyways, yes, this genius idea was originally thought up by Hollie and I knew I just had to try it out!

All I needed to get this show on the road was a wicker basket – I bought mine from Michael’s for 40% off! I think it came to about $6. If you’ll notice in the pin above, the best baskets to use are the ones with straight “walls”, not the slanty kind because then your towels would roll right out.

The plan was to just screw right through the wicker and hope to goodness that it would hold…This is me getting it level up on the wall:

Next step – Tap two nails through the wicker material into the wall to hold it in place until I could get the screws. The nails also started the hole for the screws so that I didn’t need to worry with a drill or anything. A few manual twists with the screwdriver and amazingly, we were in business! SERIOUSLY, it was that easy.

I wish I could have found a longer basket, but I was kind of limited in my selection of non-slanty baskets…I contemplated getting two of them, but decided against it because for whatever reason I don’t like the idea of a basket centered under each of the two silhouettes. I like the asymmetry of the single centered one better. Call me quirky if you must…

After grabbing some colorful hand towels from our linen closet in the studio and rolling them up like my Pinspiration photo, I was all finished! May just be one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever taken on!

Hope you have a good Monday 🙂

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Gone antiquing

Last week, I made a bold statement about having a certain something special up my sleeve. John and I planned a Saturday day trip a ways out-of-town to a REALLY neat antique store we’ve been to once (even posted about it here). I had a verrryyyyy specific purpose in mind for this trip and was set on making my plan work.

Guess what though?? Didn’t go quite the way I wanted it to.

Here was my vision: One day a while back it occurred to me how cool it would be to use a ladder as a magazine rack! But not just a ladder leaned up against a wall – Oh no…I was going to suspend it on the wall using four curtain rod U/L-shaped brackets (yeah, I just made that term up…But you know what I’m talking about!)

The last time we went to this particular antique shop, there were at least half a dozen old wooden ladders leaning against the front porch. So John and I made the 45-minute trek out there with a hack saw in hand the back of the truck (I didn’t need but about four feet of the ladder so I figured we’d just cut it down).

This is us trolling along down the highway 🙂

John was too busy…ya know…manning the vehicle to actually give me a good camera smile. But I guess I can’t be too nit picky 😉

Well we pulled up and saw not a single ladder in sight…

I probably should have gotten a little worried at this point, but I didn’t. I was too excited to get in there and look at the millions of little trinkets and one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. I knew I’d find my ladder leaning up SOMEWHERE.

Before I get to THAT let down/disappointment/defeat, allow me to show you the gem this store really is. Here’s what you see when you walk through the front doors (sorry the photos pretty much suck throughout this entire post – It was pretty dark in there, and I only brought my little point-and-shoot camera instead of our bulky professional one):

Hey…Those horse bookends look familiar…Good thing I got mine for 3 bucks for the pair instead of $12 EACH!

A silver/pewter collector’s dream…

I love the way this bookshelf looks with the wallpaper down the back panel! So pretty…And I even thought the framed fabric doily on one of the shelves was pretty endearing, especially if you happen to have a collection of them – Maybe from a grandmother? A bunch of them framed on the wall could be really fun and unique!

Then we decided to make the trek upstairs to see what we could see. On the way, I saw these two Asian prints and fell in love…Too bad they were $40 each. That was pretty much the theme of this trip. I saw SOOOO many things I wanted to take home, but being that it was an “antique” store and not my usual “thrift” store, things were way out of our price range. So sad…

Up on the second floor, we saw a few interesting things. John found a gigantic beer glass and some comics, and I found a box of Breyer horses. They were $18 each though…Apparently my really old banged up toys are still worth a little something!

Checking out the comics…

While he was doing that, I made a circle around the outdoor porch area on the second floor. Wasn’t TOO much to see, except maybe this awesome vintage sign…

Need a chair?

Or some shutters? (this was back down on the main level porch, where I was continuing my hunt for the ladders that I knew had to be somewhere)

Alas, there were no ladders to be found…The only thing we ACTUALLY walked out of there with was a handful of old comic books. When we went to the register, I asked the guy if they had any ladders. He knew exactly what I was talking about right away and told me to go check around the entire perimeter of the store because sometimes they have them kind of laying around. He even told us that he often saws them down to size for people – It was meant to be!!!

After paying and heading back outside for a second go through, I got a little excited when I saw this from afar…

But it was a little too rotten/soggy for my purposes once we got up close.

There were only two things I even thought about buying – This nifty little retro clock (which apparently doesn’t actually work) for $3:

And this BEAUTIFUL orange bird cage to serve as decoration at our bird-themed wedding next year:

But the former was a little too superfluous to add to our already overwhelming array of vintage clocks and the latter was a little out of my comfort zone in terms of price (at a whopping $99), but I guess it was fun to window shop/dream…Maybe?

::sigh:: Overall, it was a bit of a disappointing trip, but we saw some pretty neat things and John got a great deal on comics. All was not lost.

Hopefully the next time we go out there we’ll see dozens of old ladders and I will finally get to work on that DIY project – Until next time…

Have a great weekend! Don’t let Irene blow you away if you live on the east coast…Or fall into any cracks following earthquake aftershocks…I think Mother Nature is PMSing.

(Photo credit for bracket: here)

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Dorm living

I recently received a reader question that I just had to share – As you can probably tell from the title of this post, it involves dorm room decor! Given the time of year (back to school!), I figured it was the perfect thing to chat about today.

Read on:

“Hi, I remember reading something you wrote a while back about how you have always been very decorative even back when you had to decorate your dorm room. Well, I’m entering my second year of college and I really want to spruce up my dorm and make it feel more like home. I want to start searching thrift stores for some more affordable things to decorate my room but I don’t know exactly where to start. Do you have any key tips that I could use to help decorate my small space? Thank you!”

I was always REALLY excited about decorating my dorm rooms in college. I went through three different colleges before I finally settled on the last one as the “right” college for me – So as you can imagine, I had my fair share of dorm rooms.

The first one I inhabited was with my best friend and we had a BLAST being out of our parent’s houses for the first time. We ended up pushing ours beds together so that we had this gigantic double bed, and we put black light tubes up in the florescent ceiling fixtures. We thought it was the coolest thing when, from the ground looking up, you could tell which room was ours because of the purple glow. We covered the walls with music posters and glow-in-the-dark stars and moons, and brought in handpainted cabinets for storage.

Pretty chaotic right? It was definitely a little manic in there and I wouldn’t exactly recommend this type of design (if you can call it “design”) to a stylish college student. I think Beth and I were just so excited to be on our own that we went a little crazy.

When I moved on to my next college, things honestly didn’t get much better. My first dorm room was actually a converted Econo Lodge Motel…The kind where the the sink area of the bathroom is inside the room (not behind a door) and the front of the room opened onto a metal exterior walkway. I hear they’ve since demolished the building and built something new and fancy, but I actually enjoyed that little room!

My roommate only lasted about two weeks before she high tailed it to a room on campus – I don’t think many students wanted to live in the college dump, as it was known. So I had the place to myself 🙂 The university left all of the extra furniture (we had two twin beds, two armoires, two desks and two chairs between us) thinking I’d get a replacement, but that never happened.

So industrious younger Carrie took it upon herself to make do! I took the bed frames apart, hid the metal and wood pieces behind the desks and stacked the mattresses on top of one another for a platform look. I then went home one weekend and stapled some fabric to a piece of plywood to create an upholstered head board and tucked that behind the head area of the two mattresses. It looked MUCH less “dormy” that way. Of course a photo of this (my first ever DIY project) is nowhere to be found…But I’m sure you guys are imaginative enough to picture it…

For the rest of the extra furniture, I just did the best I could. The extra desk became my entertainment center, holding my television and stereo, and the extra bed (before I transformed it into an extra cushy twin bed by stacking the mattresses) was used as a couch of sorts or just a second place for me to collapse on after a grueling hours-long session in the art studios.

As you can see, I was still following the same punk-inspired crazy wall art, but I tried to group them into graphic squares on the wall thinking they looked a little less chaotic. Of course now looking at these photos six years later, I’m about to have a corinary – Wayyyyyyyyyyy too much going on. But boy-oh-boy did I think it was “cool” back then…

Anyway, when I moved into an apartment my Junior year, I finally started to calm down with the posters and random colors…I was so happy to finally have real furniture and a space that looked unique – Not filled with old ratty furniture totally cookie-cutter-similar to my neighbor’s or roommate’s. The townhome that I moved into with two friends was definitely a step up from dorm living with a kitchen, dining area, living room and a bedroom on each floor with a private bathroom each.

I used fresh, clean white double bed linens in my new space and hung an old shelf that I painted white in the bathroom for my toiletries. I was REALLY into my art history studies at this point, so for the walls, I bought a few clearance art prints from Michael’s and put them in inexpensive black mats for a clean framed look without the high cost of wood and glass. I used an old thrifted white night stand by my bed and topped it with a modern lamp I found in the clearance section at Lowe’s.

As you can see in some of the few good photos I found of the room below, at one point I also used framed scrapbook paper as wall art and a little white shelf as a nightstand of sorts. I also brought a glass lamp from my parent’s house that seemed a little more grown up then the plastic bendable desk lamp I used in my other dorm rooms.

Sorry I can’t help it…Look at how adorable my baby kitty was back then!!! This was four years ago, right after I adopted Luna – She loved my socks.

In short (or rather “long” since this post is now over 1,500 words) how you decorate your dorm room is COMPETELY up to you, but my advice for someone looking to infuse their dorm room with a feeling of “home” is to avoid the made-for-dorm accessories that stock pile places like Bed Bath & Beyond or Target every summer. I can’t deny that there are some SUPER cute thing in those collections (I definitely went hog-wild with them in my first couple of years as a college student), but re-read the words “stock pile” in the previous sentence…Do you really want to follow the trend and buy things you know millions of other girls (or guys!) are snatching up? Maybe pick out a couple of things and then fill in with your own! Pieces like art, lamps and storage shelves can easily be found in places other then big box stores. If you like a lamp from home, ask your parents – Maybe you can bring it with you! Or you can always comb through your local thrift store for special finds uniquely “you”.

Here are a couple of awesome looks I discovered while trolling the internet…

See how using a subdued color palate makes your dorm room a little more sophisticated? By going with earthy colors the dorm room below looks like a cozy room in any house – Yet, if you look closely, you’ll see the white -painted cinderblock walls, bad 70’s tile floor and the window air unit. You probably won’t be able to fit two arm chairs in your real-life dorm room, but you could definitely find a similar floor lamp and style your bookshelves and bedding with this image as inspiration!

I pulled this one because, if you luck out with a room in an older building, you might be able to play up the architecture – Like these AMAZING wood floors.

I know I keep saying that subdued colors are the way to go, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut out color if you’re all for it! The vibrant colors in this room give it TONS of life and personality – But by using patterns and fabrics with a more mature edge, you bring your dorm room from “college student” to “young adult”. LOVE that old redone desk chair by the way…

This one is my all time favorite…The desk chair? The simple, geographic wall art? Refurbished mirror? Yes, PLEASE! The lighting is beautiful (and totally attainable if you can make it to your nearest Ikea) and the bedding is neutral and clean. Adore that leaning, fabric-covered board for jewelry storage too…If you can’t tell from the horrific photos of my rooms as a freshman and sophomore (yes, I now think they are “horrific” after doing my research on today’s dorm room styles) I had an issue with storage – I think we ALL do when trying to live in a small space. Major props to the stylish girls who put this together…

The truth and point is, for someone creative and unique, dorm life is one of the most fabulous times of your youth – You have control over your own space out from under the watchful eye of your parents. Take advantage of this time and infuse your OWN style into the space. You like bright orange? Pick up a retro orange lamp from a thrift store! You want to DIY some wall art? Throw some paint at a canvas and hang it on the wall for next to NOTHING in terms of cost. This is your time to make mistakes (in life and in decorating) so enjoy it and learn learn learn…Your next home will thank you for it 🙂

(Photo credit for dorm room image #1: here; image #2: here; #3: here; #4: here)

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Pinspiration Monday: Laundry Room Artwork (continued…)

So here’s where I left off with this project…In complete disaster:

I attempted to use copy paper cut outs to mask off the shape of clothespins, but my stencils were a bit too flimsy to keep the paint from slipping under the edges. Noooo good.

So I decided to start from scratch. I ended up just spray painting all of the canvases to a nice even solid color – Luckily, I had a fairly good array of colors to choose from in our existing spray paint can collection. We finished up with a yellow one, a blue one and two different shades of green:

The next step was to print and cut out two more clothespin stencils – I printed them onto the same cheap-o copier paper as before since all they had to do was help me trace the shape this time, not mask paint. After a few quick swipes with my pen, I was ready to start painting!

I picked out a medium-sized paint brush and painted three coats of white paint inside the lines I had traced out. It actually took four coats to cover up the pen marks on the yellow canvas…It’s sort of difficult to get good contrast between white and yellow paint colors. But I eventually got it to where I was satisfied. These pieces are DEFINITELY not works of art, and I wasn’t intending to make them look perfect. They’re just meant to be a cute way to punch up the walls in the laundry room so that it’s not so “blah” in there…

The great thing about acrylic paint is that it dries VERY quickly, so there was no need to wait around for a couple of hours before I got to hang them up.

Here’s the wall all sad and boring before:

And here it is with new art!

Doesn’t really serve much purpose and the canvases could really stand to have some frames, but they make me smile a little 🙂 At least they don’t look as bad as the first try!!! I might replace them down the line with something more permanent (maybe a couple of framed vintage laundry detergent ads?) – We’ll see! It’s way better then it was, that’s for sure…Here’s a quick “Before” and “After” to reiterate that:

And “After”:

Helloooooo color and character…

Hope you have a good Monday!

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“Thrift Store SCORE!” {8/19/11}

Okay, I give up. Consider this my little white flag…I know I said that I was going to cut back my “Thrift Store SCORE!” posts to one a month so that I could subsequently limit my intake of thrifted purchases, but I think we all knew that wasn’t going to last. There was no way I was going to wait until September to show off my latest second-hand gem!

Allow me to introduce you to the little trouble maker that ruined my best-laid plans:

Now let me just interject that I TRIED to resist buying this table…I first glimpsed it a week and a half ago when mom and I were out hunting for vintage plates for the wedding, but I passed it by. It was a little pricey (at $45) and I didn’t know where I would put it. At least not at the time…Fast forward a week and I couldn’t get the dang thing out of my head! I wondered aimlessly throughout the house for a few minutes desperate to find a spot for the table – That’s when I had my light bulb moment…

The living room sofa could EASILY accommodate an extra side table after moving the magazine rack out of the way!!!

So when my sister came to visit for the weekend and suggested that we drop by the thrift store, I casually shrugged and nodded all the while dreaming of the little golden Moroccan table that I was going to swoop up. The only problem was that it wasn’t there 🙁 I searched and searched but couldn’t find it anywhere – I’m fine with admitting that I probably circled the huge warehouse piled high with old furniture, records, trinkets and art about two or three times to come away with nada.

As we left the store with NOTHING in hand (there’s a first for everything right?) I took it as a sign that I didn’t need another piece of furniture and I should probably save that $45 for something like groceries – Something practical. Even though an extra side table is pretty “practical” when you need to set down a drink…


My sister and I parted ways for the afternoon and I decided to take some time to myself with my Kindle (John was off with his guy friends to Roanoke for the day). So there I was sitting on the couch, all nestled and calm, when it suddenly hit me that I knew where the table was.

Allow me to explain…This particular thrift store is composed of two separate warehouses – One is a bit more rugged and you have to dig for treasures, whereas the other is more like a boutique. After Kat and I left the first warehouse, she even asked if I wanted to go up to the other one, but I shook my head and said “I don’t think I need anything up there…” – But in fact I DID need something up there!!!

Yes, I got back in my car. Yes, I made a SECOND trip downtown to the same store I was at an hour beforehand. And yes, I finally found and purchased my latest “Thrift Store SCORE!” for a cool $40.00 (I talked her down $5).

This is what I love about thrift store finds…The stories that go along with them 🙂

So here are a few more details of my little table:

I love all of that intricate detail! And the metallic finish definitely plays up the gold tones throughout the room – Like the yellow stenciled wall and new art print.

Here it is all styled up – It looks like Ginny the cat thinks it’s pretty enough to stare at!

I was a little sad to displace the awesome magazine holder (a past “Thrift Store SCORE” gushed about here), but it found a new home upstairs in our bedroom and I think it works very well in its new spot.

A place for everything and everything in its place…

Hope you have a great weekend and happy thrifting!!! John and I have plans to hit up our favorite out-of-town thrift store tomorrow so stay tuned next week (hopefully) for something new I’ve got up my sleeve 🙂

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The things we do for our pets…

Pets are not animals – They are family. That is certainly true of our little household at least! John and I are the proud parents/owners of a hound dog and two cats. Rocky is John’s loyal, separation-anxious-prone mutt that he got from the pound last year, and Luna and Ginny are my two crazy/wild/insane/cuddly kitties – Luna is all black and Ginny is a chestnut and honey-colored tabby. It’s never a dull day at our house, that’s for sure.

Here’s a quick an extensive photo album because I love these animals so much and can’t help but show them off…

Ohhhhh, how I adore them…

But the point is that we all (at least John and I do) make concessions for our pets – Case in point, today’s post.

So here’s the dilemma: John absolutely REFUSES to keep the closet door closed. I know some of you are probably like “Huh? What’s the big deal?”, but I guess this is just one of my (many) unexplainable pet peeves. I keep a fairly well-organized closet, but I still don’t have much interest in seeing all of my clothes on a daily basis.

Before I moved in with John, this wasn’t a big deal – But now that we coexist on a daily basis, I figured it was time to put my foot down. However, my cats decided to throw a major kink in things by taking up residence behind the hanging clothes – Apparently, there were some pretty epic hiding places in there. The proof is in the photo above where you can see them prowling near the doorway.

So closing the door became a thing of the past out of love for the kitties…

But seeing all of those clothes STILL irked me!!! So I came up with a solution. The new plan was to buy a few yards of pretty fabric, pick up some curtain ring clips and an extension rod from Target and cover that closet for good without barricading Luna and Ginny from their hiding place. When I mentioned all of this to my mom though, she suggested looking for an already-hemmed shower curtain instead – I was sold. Anything to avoid sewing, which I refuse to even attempt.

Off we went to Target where I came away with this little haul:

And five minutes later, we were in business! No, seriously. It was THAT easy! All I did was snap the curtain rings on (I pretty much used the shower curtain hook holes as a guide), strung them onto the extension rod and put it in place in the doorway.

Et voila!

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I have a sculpture of a naked woman on the dresser…A product of being an art major. I’m thinking about spray painting it white (surprise, surprise) to make it look like a Greek marble sculpture.

But I digress…

I was really happy when I found this shower curtain. I was definitely planning on settling on some plain waffle fabric shower curtain not expecting them to have something in our gray/yellow color scheme. But this silvery starburst pattern is kind of retro (which we love) and definitely goes with the rest of the room. Total score!

Oh, and here’s a view from the inside of the closet:

I THOUGHT about taking the door off the hinges, but it tucks away so nicely and I didn’t feel like bothering John with having to find a way to store this somewhere in his garage since that’s inevitably where it would have ended up. Besides, now I still have a way to hide from burglars (because that’s always an imminent threat of course).

And while we’re in here, I thought I’d share our closet logic!

This is John’s side – You can tell he’s a guy who doesn’t care how his clothes look…

And then we shift completely to my side which is color-coded…

…with shoes perfectly lined up in their own plastic boxes…

What can I say? I feel like I should be slightly embarrassed right now, but I love my clean organized half of the closet so I’m simply going to leave it at that!

If you see these photos and are all for it, let me just tell you that it’s SO easy to do. The shoe boxes came from Target for like a dollar a pop (they often go on clearance on the end caps) and my logic behind rainbow-fying my clothes is that if I’m feeling like a green day, I just head straight for that section and I’m set! Or if I start with a pair of shoes and want to match my shirt to it – Well you get the point. There’s a fine art to my outfit pairing, but I won’t bore you with that unless I’m asked.

My cats are happy. John’s happy. Carrie’s happy. Job accomplished 🙂

P.S. Happy birthday, John’s dad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pinspiration Monday: White Horse

No…Not the “Knight in Shining Armor” type of white horse…I’m talking about the ceramic version! I have seen these regal little figurines pop up a lot recently in home decor trends. They don’t really serve much purpose, but I think they add a touch of elegance to a space. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up riding horses (as did my mom and cousin) – It kind of runs in the family, so horses are special to me. You might remember these little guys I picked up at a thrift store fairly recently…

But anyways, I have been itching to buy into the ceramic white horse trend for the last couple of months. These are the pins that have inspired me and led me to this point and blog post:

(red arrow above was added to direct your attention to the chunky white horse tucked away in the bookcase)

I FIRST really noticed this accessory trend when browsing through one of my favorite home decor blogs, One Brooklyn Modern. If you are into modern, sleek design and urban architecture, Anne’s blog is for you! Love it…But anyway, back in May she received a rather large brown box – Inside was the most exquisite horse statue I’ve ever seen! Sooo jealous…

It’s pretty large too…The whole thing almost came up to her husband’s hip! I knew I had to try something like it…My solution? It’s probably not too hard to guess what with my obsession over white spray paint 🙂

As I mentioned before, I grew up in a horse-oriented family so it should come as no surprise that I spent a lot of my childhood playing with horse toys. I had a big pink bucket full of the plastic variety and could spend HOURS engrossed in their imaginary lives. I haven’t gotten them out and dusted them off in a while though…Until now.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on designer white horses or wasting too many hours combing through thrift stores to find the perfect vintage statuette, I simply made a quick trip to my parents house 12 minutes down the road and picked up three of my childhood toys. The plan was to choose one, spray paint it white and use it to style up the DIY-ed oak shelves in our living room. Can’t beat FREE!

These were my options…Mr. Gray pony:

Black Beauty:

And Mrs. Brown:

For anyone familiar with horse toys, you may recognize that these aren’t just any horse toys…They’re Breyer horses. It’s difficult for me to even call these “toys” given their price tags (click on over to their website to see how expensive they are). But my justification for essentially ruining a collector’s toy was that the horses pictured above are probably upwards of 18 years old and pretty banged up by a young child (who shall remain nameless). I doubt they are worth anything – And even if they were, they hold too much sentimental value for me to want to sell. By making one of them usable again, I feel like I’m giving it a new life. That satisfies my conscience at least.

So to make my decision, I placed each of the three on the shelf for comparison.

Ultimately, I chose Mrs. Brown because I liked her very relaxed posture in comparison to Black Beauty’s gung-ho attitude. Mr. Gray Pony was a bit too small for the space…So after a solemn farewell and “Good luck!” from her horsey friends…

…Mrs. Brown got ready for her makeover. After a few quick sprays from my white spray paint out on the front side-walk, she was looking a bit more monochromatic!

Only one problem…Had to get her underside done! As you can see, I had missed a few spots.

So I broke out some yellow cleaning gloves and held her by a hoof to get the rest all painted – Here she is all done!

After an hour or so of drying (or about 25 minutes because I’m too impatient), I put her up on the shelf in her new place of glory!

I love how the glossy paint really DOES make it look porcelain or ceramic! It’s difficult for me to believe it since I’ve been acquainted with this particular horse for my lifetime, but hopefully visitors will assume it’s the real deal (unless of course, they read the blog…). I also love how the white brings out the muscles in the figurine – The great thing about using an expensive Breyer horse is that you know you’ll get a really nice looking and true-to-life figure when all is said and done.

Happy Monday!

(Photo credit for huge white horse from One Brooklyn Modern: here)

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A Little Taste of the Moulin Rouge

We all know that art is subjective…What we choose to put up on our walls is purely a matter of taste, so there really IS no “right” or “wrong”. I know that some of you out there will probably hate what I’m about to show you, but that’s okay 🙂 To each her own!

As you may know, John and I have been slowly building up our living room – We bought a new couch, added art, and did a little wall painting (most recently our stenciled wall, which I am almost ready to reveal in all its glory). The room is FINALLY starting to feel finished and “us”, although I have a feeling that it will never be completely “done”. I’m the kind of nester/home-maker who likes to tweak things constantly, just to create new edge in a room.

Our most recent update was a little art switcheroo. I’ve never actually pointed the original set of prints out to you, so here’s what I was working with before they got the boot:

The three pieces are actually just some images I found online that I printed on regular copier paper and stuck in some frames (once black and silver, now spray-painted white). They were pretty much place holders until I could find something a little more substantial and interesting. But they’re super cute little place holders, right?? I especially like the middle one that says “Home Sweet Mid-Century Modern Home” 🙂 I’m actually thinking of relocating them to the laundry room as some punchy graphic wall art since I’m having some issues with the art I had planned to use…See that debacle here.

Over the weekend, I went out with my mom in search of more vintage china for the wedding. While we were there I happened to come across a beautttiiiffullll framed print by one of my favorite artists, Toulouse-Lautrec. For those of you who aren’t ridiculously obsessed with art history like moi, you may recognize this particular artist from the Moulin Rouge movie of 2001. He was the short character with a love for all things alcoholic and philosophical. Toulouse was a real person and artist back in the late 1800’s and became one of the greatest artists of the Post-Impressionist era, my favorite period in art.

Here’s a smattering of his paintings:

All pretty provocative images for the end of the 19th century…Women dancing together, ladies lying around dressed in slips, etc.

Okay, okay…I know this is all getting a bit academic. So let’s get to the point.

When I stumbled upon the framed Lautrec print I knew I had to have it…Mom was a little less convinced, but I loved the print and it also seemed like a great new conversation piece for the living room (didn’t hurt that it totally reminded me of something Emily Henderson, my idol, would pick out). So up to the register we went!

Here are a few details:

I even love the frame…Which is a combination of distressed gold-painted wood and natural canvas.

Oh, and I was able to get it down to $24, I think. Not bad!

The back is a little damaged to say the least, but who cares – No one is going to see that side, and it doesn’t affect the front. This is also when I found out that the piece was originally from a New York art distribution company 🙂 Happy surprise!

But let’s see it up on the wall already, right??


And now after!

As I said, not everyone will agree with me – But I think the new piece is so much more sophisticated and professional. It’s hard NOT to be when you go from cute-sy posters printed off the internet to a professionally framed art print from New York. It’s also got the same muted teal, yellow and orange color palate we’ve got going on in the room. I love how the metallic frame adds a touch of elegance and continues to bring out the warm yellows throughout the space.

And as luck would have it, John approved 🙂 PHEW!!!

Hope everyone has a delightful weekend!

(Photo credit for Toulouse-Lautec paintings: here)

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Today I wanted to reveal yet another fun project that my friend, Savannah, and I worked on together (see the other here). This one is going to blow your socks off…

So the age-old dilemma “What do I buy my sister-in-law for her birthday!?” struck Savannah recently and she was forced to put on her thinking cap. I say “forced” with sarcasm though, because she really lucked out when she got Aury – One of the coolest gals we know! And Savannah’s second piece of luck is that Aury loves wine…There are SO many fun things you can gift to a wine lover!

When Savannah explained the idea she came up with and asked if I wanted to help, I was over the moon – This project was all about the “DIY”, and there’s pretty much nothing more rewarding than working on a custom gift by hand for a loved one.

So here was the plan: Buy a shadow box from Michael’s, our closest craft store, and fill it with salvaged wine corks that Savannah was able to score at a yard sale for 25 cents!

But that’s not all…Savannah wanted to arrange some of the corks in a vertical way to create a “C” motif in the center of the horizontal corks in honor of Aury’s last name – Such a cute idea! This is what she had laid out on the table as a test run when I got to the house. Don’t you love how she picked out the pinkish red wine corks for the “C”?

And I L-O-V-E the variety of cork images and wording! More on that later though…

So the first step was to get a shadow box. Off we went to Michael’s where we bought the large frame for the other project (again, you can check that out here) and the shadow box for Aury’s birthday gift. I also picked up a new and improved hot glue gun since this project was gonna need a lot of it…My mini glue gun was officially disqualified.

To start the project, we decided to fill the frame box with the horizontal corks and then add the vertical corks in the “C” shape later. So we got to work putting together the rows, doing our best to alternate the various brands and making sure the interesting sides were facing up. When we came to the end of a row and there was an empty gap, Savannah took one of the real corks (some were of the plastic variety…) and gently cut it to size using a kitchen knife. The soft cork cut pretty easily and we were able to make everything fit to a T!

Time to start layering in the “C”! Since Savannah had already pulled out the red wine corks, we just shifted them from the table to the frame. The stain of the red wine really set the vertical corks apart.

At this point before we started gluing, we took a deep breath and closed the lid of the shadow box – Miracle of miracles, it closed without a hitch! So we got to gluing, spreading a thin layer of hot glue on the underside of the horizontal corks and then a small dab on the vertical ones. We just adhered them right to the canvas board of the frame. Everything was going swimmingly until we decided to test the frame again. This time we weren’t so lucky…

The frame wouldn’t close anymore…You may already know why. When we tested it sans hot glue the glass “door” of the shadow box frame sat perfectly, but with the slight added height of the glue it was a no-go.

It took us a second to realize that the glass had to be taken out. There really wasn’t any need for the glass protection since the contents of the frame would be secure. The only problem was that the glass was epoxied to the frame so it wasn’t something we could just slip out…So on to “Plan B”! We grabbed a hammer, some plastic bags and got to work whacking away at the brand new frame! It was kinda fun 🙂

All we did was slip the glass “door” of the frame into a plastic bag and then hit it a couple of times until we heard the glass shatter. All of the dangerous parts stayed in the plastic bag, which we carefully removed and put in the garbage.

Success! It didn’t really make a difference visually to lose the glass so we nervously giggled, high fived and then tested the latch one more time. This time, it worked.  (P.S. Gotta love Savannah’s hot pink hammer, as seen in the background of the shot below – We are one bad a$$ female duo!)

With that crisis averted, we carried on with the placement and the gluing. After the “C” and horizontal corks were in place, we just filled in by cutting the soft corks into all sorts of teeny tiny wedges.

The last step was to remove the web of hot glue from the surface of the corks, and we were done!

Here are all of the fun detail shots I took to give you the full effect of this interesting DIY art project:

Some of the highlights are the fire-breathing bear (or is that something a little less cool? Hopefully this isn’t an “I drank too much wine” bear)…

The “WOOF WOOF” cork for all our dog lovers out there…

The one with lofty promises (if you can’t read it, it says “I selected this cork to ensure the highest wine quality”)…

And the foreigner (“Bonjour!”)…

I was officially given permission to post about this project after the weekend when it was gifted to its new owner – I heard that Aury loved the piece and I couldn’t be more pleased that I could help in some way. Thanks to Savannah for letting me take part!

Happy birthday, Aury!!!

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