Archive | December, 2011

Happening in 2012

30 Dec

Happy (almost) New Year!

2012 just has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Source: sarahearn.blogspot.com via Martha on Pinterest

Everyone is making resolutions. But you know what? I kind of like it. I love the idea of everyone improving a little bit, together. There’s a sense of camaraderie to it, even if statistics show a lot of resolutions are given up on by February.

I believe our job is to find our own purpose. We all have the means to better ourselves and our situations.

“It is what it is, but it will become what you make of it.” – Pat Summitt (via Leah Bray Nichols)

Source: flickr.com via Rachel on Pinterest

So, here are some of the things I want to make happen in 2012:

  • Improve this little blog and meet some fellow DIY bloggers (something I looking forward to doing at the Haven Conference in June!)
  • Play the piano again. I know a little bit, but I’m starting lessons so I can actually move beyond Christmas songs! And, to be honest, one of the reasons I want to learn to play is because I think rooms with pianos are gorgeous and I refuse to be a girl who owns a piano she can’t play.
  • Further my yoga practice.
  • Create a gallery wall in my house with all of the great photos that currently live on my computer.
  • Add some more healthy staples to my cooking repertoire. I’ve been trying to make tweaks to incorporate more clean eating into my life (and eliminate over-processed and chemically-altered foods), so I’m on the hunt for yummy recipes and snack ideas. (This girl likes to snack.)
  • Create a memory book from all of the things I cleaned out of my old bedroom at my parents’ house. Well maybe not all of the things, but the important ones.
  • Complete at least one DIY project a month.
  • Remind myself to find something pretty in every day.
How about you? What are of your goals for the coming year? Please share in the comments (maybe we’ll all get some good ideas!)

What’s Your New Year’s Eve Decor Style?

28 Dec

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I did, and I’m still enjoying some time off.

Now it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday – New Year’s Eve!

Are you hosting a New Year’s Eve party?

New Year’s Eve decorating is really an excuse to douse everything in glitter and bling. And who doesn’t want in on that?

If you’re looking for some inspiration, look no further than Pinterest. My picks:

How cute is this?

Source: lisastorms.typepad.com via Julia on Pinterest

Lisa Storms used craft store materials to punch up New Year’s Eve. I especially love the numbered corks.

Source: hostessblog.com via Courtney on Pinterest

This glam New Year’s Eve idea board is from Anders Ruff. Check out her Etsy page for printables! My favorite is the vintage-style mini-champagne labels. So cute!

Source: everythingfab.com via Nicole on Pinterest

Doesn’t this make you feel like you’re floating in a glass of champagne? This decor find is my favorite – simple and classy, but still shimmery and festive! Check out the full party plan at Everything Fabulous.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?

Framed: Calendar Art

23 Dec

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

I’m ready to spend the weekend unwrapping presents and Christmas cookies, how about you?

But first, a little something to keep in mind as we inch closer to 2012.

Don’t throw away your 2011 calendars!

I love using calendars for pretty art. There are so many beautiful choices and since they are mostly inexpensive, you can switch them around throughout the year.

Here are a few framed calendar pages in my bedroom:

Calendar Art Jewelry Holder

Pin It

Calendars pages aren’t exclusive to the wall.

I found this frame at T.J. Maxx, not in the frame aisle, put in the prints aisle. One of my favorite ways to find inexpensive frames is to search the prints aisle at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or other discount stores. The prints aren’t usually the prettiest, but you can find some great frames.

This one had a vintage feel, so I picked it up for about $9.99 and replaced the (ugly) print inside with this pretty one from a vintage advertising calendar.

It now sits on my vanity and acts as a jewelry holder. I love that it is big enough to display all of my necklaces, so I’m never fumbling around in a knotted mess looking for the one I want to wear. In front of the jewelry holder is a shell box I found in an antique store. I use it to hide my makeup; it’s out of the way in its box but still right there when I’m getting ready.

Calendar Art

Same calendar, same process, different month. I hit T.J. Maxx at just the right time to find a bunch of beautiful, vintage-style frames that were just begging for better prints. I stocked up.

In case you’re wondering, the bird clock is my mom’s (it’s from the 70s but feels somewhat now – probably because they put a bird on it) and the Fresh Lilac candle is my new favorite scent from Target. It’s only $9.99 (I’m sensing a price theme in today’s post) and it makes my room smell lovely even when it’s unlit. The votives in the middle are from the Dollar Store and I wrapped them in frosted ribbon.

On the other side of the room, I used a calendar filled with great old photos of New York City to add some interest to a narrow strip of wall by the window:

Calendar Art

I told you I stocked up on frames! I bought this calendar after a trip to New York and it always makes me think of it. The photos are kind of quirky too. The middle shot is of a parachute ride on Coney Island – people literally sat in a basket and were released from the top of a tower. Somehow I don’t think that would pass in amusement parks today.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for pretty 2012 calendars over the next week. I’ve already spotted a few on Etsy. How about you? Do you frame calendars? Are you also guilty of stalking the T.J. Maxx prints aisle for pretty frames?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for reading this little blog. It’s been so much fun to write and even more fun to read your comments. I’ve got a ton of ideas for next year, so I hope you’ll stick with me!

Merry Christmas!

Adventures in Sewing

20 Dec

I have a confession:

I can’t sew.

I learned the basic needle and thread thing as a kid, but then I went through a mini-feminist stage. Whenever my mom tried to teach me something I deemed traditional “woman’s work” I rebelled. I thought I’d just become rich and have people do that sort of thing for me. Sensible, right?

Well, the irony…I now write a blog dedicated to homemaking. So there, Past Katie. Growing up has taught me that feminism and homemaking skills are not mutually exclusive. Follow your passion, as they say, and my passion is pretty things.

Want to know what’s not pretty? A coat and a sweater pushed to the back of your closet because they lost buttons, um, months ago.

Nothing like a wardrobe shortage to make a girl learn a new skill.

Sadly, my beloved no-sew iron-on tape does not work on buttons (I used it to make curtains in two rooms in my house, though – check out a tutorial here – Sherry is a fellow non-sewer!)

So (haha),I picked up this sewing kit for $8.99 at Target.

Singer Sewing Kit

Here’s what was inside:

Sewing Kit Content

  • Instant Hem Tape (know it)
  • Iron-On Hem Tape (know it, love it)
  • Needle Compact with Threader (I have no idea what a threader is, or why it has a Native American chief on it. Can anyone shed some light?)
  • Seam Ripper (Obvious, but I’ve never used one.)
  • Marking Pencil (It says it’s water soluble, so…that’s good?)
  • Thimble (how cute!)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Gauge (no clue)
  • Straight Pins
  • 5 mini spools of thread

The subject:

Coat

I’ve sewn buttons before, but usually badly and not finishing before someone took the whole thing out of my hands and said, “Here, just let me do it.”

This time, I was determined to do it myself. With a little help from Mr. Hong.

Who’s Mr. Hong? Oh, just the angriest looking tailor I’ve ever seen, who stars in his own sewing tutorial on VideoJug (whose tag line is amusingly “Get Good at Life.”):

It won’t let me embed, but you can check out Mr. Hong here.

He doesn’t look happy about it, but Mr. Hong took me through the steps, and with much pausing and rewinding, I did it! I actually ended up sewing 3 buttons, two on the coat and one on a sweater. Here’s the coat:

Coat 2

I won’t be auditioning for Project Runway anytime soon, but it works!

If you’re equally clueless, take a look at Mr. Hong’s video. It explains it much better than I can.

I can now check button sewing off the life skills list. I know, I know, it should have been checked off around 10-years-old, but I was busy. Babysitter Club books don’t just read themselves, people.

I feel better thinking about that How I Met Your Mother episode where they discussed each of the characters’ knowledge gaps – things they should know how to do, but some reason, don’t. This was definitely my knowledge gap.

What’s something you should know how to do but don’t? (‘Fess up!)

Oh, and if you think this means I’m going to take a second look at that curbside sewing machine table and get inspired to go full-on seamstress, think again. I’m sticking to buttons.

It’s Christmas Week!

19 Dec

I know everyone says this, all the time, but I seriously can’t believe it’s the week of Christmas already.

Maybe it’s the weird warm weather we’ve been having lately, but I just don’t feel like it’s time yet.

But it is! And I’m excited for a few days to spend with family, away from work, eating too much and exchanging presents. My whole family will be in one place this year, a rarity, so it’s sure to be a festive (read: loud) time.

In case you’re still struggling to believe it’s Christmas too, I’ve rounded up my Top 5 Christmas-y posts in one place. Maybe they’ll inspire some last-minute gifts or decorations.

How are you spending this week? Traveling? Shopping? Me time before the relatives arrive? I’ll be doing a bit of 2 and 3, in between working.

Happy Christmas week!

Victorians Smiling

16 Dec Victorian Girl

Happy Friday!

Would you believe me if I told you this photograph was taken in the 1890s?

Doesn’t this girl look like she could fit in today?

The photo comes from a collection of pictures called Victorians Smiling on Retronaut. And I’m a bit obsessed.

The photos are haunting in that they take away the rigid austerity we usually associate with Victorians.

Victorian Girl 2

Victorian Couple

Minus the high collars and hairstyles, this couple could be in a photo booth at a wedding today. They’re adorable!

I’m so inspired by the photos in this collection. I always feel when I buy or find something antique, it has a story. These photos help me imagine the real people in those stories, not the stereotypical stern faces we usually see. It strengthens that connection.

Check out the full collection at Retronaut. You might want to wait until you have some time on your hands, though – the site is packed full of vintage photos from the 1800s on. Fascinating stuff.

Oh, and all you single ladies, you might want to read up on this before heading out this weekend. You’re welcome.