A Dining Room Revamp…

 After years of living in white-walled apartments I was both excited and overwhelmed at the decorating possibilities that lay before me after we purchased our 1929 bungalow.  No more horrendous brown carpet, eggshell paint, and New York City sized kitchens.  But as a self diagnosed “serial decorator” I was a little too eager to get this house looking spiffy.  I made A LOT of mistakes.  I was impatient, and on top of that we were completely broke for the first few months because I wasn’t working.  Broke AND impatient are not a good basis for any worthy design plan.  In the first week of being moved in to our new home I painted our living room a yummy shade of Pepto Bismal pink.  Then without so much as a blink, stenciled a purple Ikat pattern on the dining room walls.  It looked like I hired a 12 yr old girl to do my decorating for me.  I had some sort of ill decorating syndrome from years of living in bland apartments, which prevented me from painting or doing anything that wasn’t completely over the top-and WRONG.  Because I had never been able to choose paint colors before, I thought I was relegated to super saturated intense colors.  Why after years of being held back from decorating the way I wanted, would I choose barely there paint colors that you could hardly notice??? I wanted to make a statement-and boy did I.  

Case & point:

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Hodge Podge is the word that comes to mind when looking at this photo.  This was right before we painted the living room Lily Lavender by Benjamin Moore.  (never mind the ghost lights or the folded laundry) Once we lightened up, everything started making more sense.  I still had lots of work to do, but that was definitely my turning point.  I realized that sometimes less is MORE.   And as much as I still hate things being “undone”, I understand now that it takes time, and I think the bottom photo proves that I learned my lesson.  

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 Now you might think I’m just getting ready to share a dining room overhaul with you-and I am, but I’m also sharing a lot more…Growth.  I like to think of this as a sort of decorating coming of age tale if you will.  I’ll be thirty-one this year.  I’ve spent four years growing into myself-in this house that I adore, and this dining room signifies not only personal growth, but the growth I’ve experienced as a decorator.  The design was well thought out, yet also instinctual.  It’s bohemian, and glamorous, and super comfy.  It’s truly a space to “hang out” in, and that’s exactly what we do each night as we put on Frank Sinatra, light the candles, and enjoy a meal together.  

I’m sharing this revamp (more like complete overhaul) in three stages.  It would be far too much to cram all into one post, and I want to compare each area with the before photos.  So suck it

I’m not going to lie, I nearly had a panic attack when we started painting over the Ikat, but I instantly knew I would love having a dark and cozy dining room.  The paint color is Mark Twain grey by Valspar.

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I removed the bar cart from the living room, and opted instead for this tabletop version.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect tray to sit underneath.  books DR close up

I nabbed the mid-century dresser on Craigslist for $70.  The brand is Lenoir House, which was a division of Broyhill.  Lenoir House sold the companies more modest priced pieces. I’m also still (after all these years) thinking of a way to disguise that plywood covered hole in the floor which use to be where the coal burning furnace was.

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The floor lamp is from Target, and the shade is covered in a cheapie Ikea stripe, which I also used for some euro pillows on the window seat.  I like the unconventional pairing of the table lamp on one side, with the floor lamp on the other.  The large oval mirror (also Ikea) reflects so much light and prettiness from the rest of the room.  

As with most things, it’s not 100% finished-I will undoubtedly change things, but the bones of this room are so right that I imagine it will stay this way for quite a while.  

Xo-Tara

DIY Yarn Wall Hanging

I recently came across a yarn wall hanging on Pinterest, and absolutely fell in love.  As with many things that I believe sort of cosmically cross my path, I became instantly obsessed with the idea of creating one of these works of art.  I know obsession seems like a strong word, but that really is the only way to describe it.  It’s all very quick, you know.  And it’s not crazy to think that it’s all kind of serendipitous.  It was the same type of scenario that fueled me to make the Shakshuka.  These wall hangings are clearly not some type of trendy new decoration, and while they never go out of style for bohemian interiors, I imagine that after the 70’s their popularity waned a bit.  But I think it’s a safe bet to say they are resurfacing.  Online retailer One Kings Lane introduced an artisnal line last summer, and they have profiled several weavers, also offering their works for sale.  Anthropologie also recently sold wall hangings such as these.  All Roads Design, a husband/wife creative team, has an amazing Tumblr showcasing many of their gorgeous creations, which are some of the very weavings sold at Anthropologie.  Yarn wall hangings add such lovely texture to a space, and with cute shops like Purl Soho selling such gorgeous yarn- it’s hard to exercise restraint.  I started an entire Pinterest board dedicated to yarn wall hangings to gather inspiration before I set out to make my own.  I searched high and low for a tutorial, and after many exhuasted attempts not being able to find what I was looking for, I decided I was going to have to figure this one out myself.  The only problem is…I don’t know how to mother effin weave.  While I do want to attempt weaving at some point, (my husband just bought me a loom to try!) this DIY takes a much more simple route.  Two words…rag rug.  First let me show you a few of my favorites from Pinterest. (For source, click image)

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When I got the wild hair up my ass that I absolutely had to have one of these, a rag rug was the first thing that came to mind.  Luckily I had one lying around that had never been used, so I started with that. The rug I used is 2’x3′, though I folded it in half to make a smaller wall hanging.  Originally I wanted to make a design directly on top of the rug, weaving my yarn through it, but I wasn’t thrilled with the way it was turning out.  So, I made long tassels out of cream colored yarn, and fed them through to the back of the rug and tied it.  I did this all along the bottom.  Next I used Fabri-tac to glue on some hot pink, and black yarn strips directly to the rug.  Then the most fun part of all.  SEQUINS.  I glued on an entire row of sequins, and then glued some  “here” and “there”.  I love the final look, it’s my Ode’ to a Moroccan wedding blanket.  We just used a strip of wood in between the folded rug and nailed it directly into the wall, But you could hang it on a decorative dowel/hanger for the ease of moving it.

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What I didn’t tell you, is that these photos were taken in my dining room!  No more purple Ikat walls.  Remember when I talked here about our dining room revamp?  Well, It turned into a complete do-over.  It’s not 100% finished, but I’m going to share the progress with you next week.  It’s pretty delicious!  

*I bought, and Love the Charles Bukowski print from Etsy shop Alphonsinne.  

XO-Tara

Glittering Sea Urchins

Hiya! I hope everyone had a wonderful, and relaxing weekend.  I did a few craft projects, talked about philosophical life questions with my husband, read, drank copious amounts of coffee, and watched two great movies (Blue Jasmine & In A World).  

I know I generally don’t divulge a lot about my life here, and I had no intentions of this being/becoming a “personal” blog, but I do fancy myself a creative writer-and coincidentally an over sharer.  Long ago during the hazy days of Myspace (if you think really hard, you’ll remember when it used to be cool) I kept an online journal, and it was my pride and joy.  I shared everything.  Poetry, mothering woes, decorating projects, art, relationship issues, issues I had with myself, nothing was off limits.  It was this cathartic swirling vortex of my neuroses, and for some reason people read it, and moreover, people liked it.  In an effort to get back to that pour my heart out kind of writing, I’m going to start a new tab on this blog called “ramblings”, because well, that’s exactly what it will be.  Maybe a few people will read it, maybe not.  It’s more for me, it’s an effort to be authentic and share the “real” bits of life, the sometimes not so pretty bits that many of us keep locked up inside, until they bubble over into a massive nervous breakdown.  That might be a slight over exaggeration  but you get the point.   

Now, as a reward for sitting and listening to me (and trust me you haven’t heard the half of it) I’m going to show you how to make something pretty, and sparkly.  It’s kinda sorta DIY.  It does involve an electrical cord/socket-so try to not to electrocute yourself.  This DIY was a gift from my dad a couple years ago, but it’s something everyone loves, and people always ask where I got it.  I just recently updated it with glitter—ooooohhaaahhhh.  My mom has had a sea urchin night light for as long as I can remember, but large urchins are not easy to come by like they used to be.  The larger Urchins are not able to be harvested anymore, so nowadays when you buy urchins individually they are on the small side.  If you search Ebay you can find a few lights with a large shell-like this, but they run about $25-30 bucks.  (search sea urchin night light) An individual urchin like the one I have will cost you about $3, so obviously it’s much more cost effective to make your own.  Basically you just drill a hole in the bottom of a piece of wood (big enough for a night light socket to fit in) You can find a socket/cord set like this on Amazon, or probably at your local hardware store.  You could stain/varnish your base, paint it, decoupage it, the options are endless!  That’s basically it.  Get a piece of wood-make it pretty, drill a hole in it, insert your socket , put in a light bulb, and Voila!!  So the next time your on vacation, grab a sea urchin and create one of these magical lights.

urchin bottom   This is the bottom of the light, where the socket goes. 

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Xo-Tara

Use What You’ve Got…

As discussed in my previous post, you know, the one I posted weeks ago?! I had high hopes for the mantle going into 2014.  I’m sure the fact that so much time and attention goes into planning my mantle decor seems ludicrous to most people.  But, it honestly was about more than that.  Sure, I’m an obsessive decorator who’s dreams consist of wallpaper samples and paint swatches, but the obsession over the mantle wasn’t merely about decor, it was more about being a showcase of inspiration.  I am an avid resolution maker, and not just each new year.  ALL.THE.TIME.  I crave change like a Big Mac.  It’ s a blessing, and curse.  Now, obviously the mantle didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, and that is OK too.  I did buy a few prints that I had envisioned for it, but I ended up liking them better in our new and improved dining room, which I will share soon.  That’s the thing about planning, you can’t be too rigid because then you don’t allow room for things to happen organically, and no one wants their decor to feel forced and stuffy.  I ended up using things I already had to decorate the mantle after the holidays, with the exception of the white vase which I scored at Target on clearance.  I bought two, and I am kind of in love with them! While it’s not filled with the things I had originally intended, it is inspirational, and it doesn’t cost anything to decorate with things you already have!  I have a framed card that Ava made me for Mother’s Day, lots of family photos that I clipped on using the glitter pins that held the advent calender, and I even kept a few paper fans up there, because they are fun, and add a touch of whimsy that makes me smile.  
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Ohhh, deer…

Hello Lovelies!

Its time for me to over-share pictures of my Holiday Mantle!  I typically am not one for themes, but this years holiday mantle definitely has one.  Can you guess what it is?

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That’s right guys, this holiday mantle is deertastic!

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Deer antlers, and faux deer heads are everywhere, and have been “trending” for quite some time, so it’s only natural that I (or anyone) would want to cover their mantle with these charming little deer figurines.  This magical holiday season is the perfect time to try and add some whimsy to our lives with a deer-centric holiday mantle.  The mantle is quite simply comprised of tiny deer (new & vintage), bottle brush trees, the same paper fans I used in the Christmas tree, and white string lights.  Some of the trees are just the cheapie ones that you can literally get anywhere, but I added sequins and little embellishments to jazz them up.  The green deer are from Target, the felt deer are from Khols, and the chrome deer head is from Meijer.

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mantlelike We’ve lived in our house for three years, prior to that we had a small apartment in which neither a full size tree would fit, and also one lacking a mantle with which to hang stockings on.  I made our mismatched stockings the year we bought our house.  They mean as much to me now, as they did then.  Finally I have a home where traditions can weave their delicate threads through the heart of our growing family.  I love how the stockings are all representative of each of our personalities, well, except my husbands! I suppose you could say the polka dots represent the fun kitchy-ness of 50’s culture, but that’s a crock of shit! My stocking is vintage chintz, Ava’s is a crazy floral pattern called Larkspur In Bloom from Michael Miller Fabrics, and Sadie’s is a newly sewn velvet leopard one .

http://instagr.am/p/XIjF0/Now lets talk about all the shiny baubles on this years holiday wreath.  I’m sure you’ve seen those vintage ornament wreaths on Pinterest.  There are other ornament wreaths that just use cheapo ornaments, but I’ve had my heart set on a vintage one for a while.  However, I was unwilling to throw down a lot of cash for one, so mine is a thrifty compromise.  

I had to run out for some “filler” ornaments, but honestly everything I needed to make this wreath I had on hand already.  It’s not all vintage because frankly, my collection isn’t that large (yet)-but its beautiful and suits my magpie sensibilities.  Making the wreath is simple, really.  You just hot glue the ornaments onto a wreath form.  Some DIY versions have a specific method for gluing them on, but per my usual cluster fuck fashion,  I hot glued them on rather willy nilly!  I did manage to take a series of photos to show you the progression, so all is not lost.

IMG_2070Ohh, make sure you have lots of iced coffee too!  It helps with the tediousness of this process.

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Your not limited to ornaments either.  As you can see I added vintage jewelry to my wreath, as well as some beaded garland, and cute little buttons from an old issue of Mollie Makes.  Go wild!

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I hope this gives you lots of holiday inspiration!

XO-Tara

Decor Of Christmas Past

Hello sweeties!

Since I’m fairly new to the blogging scene, I thought today I would share with you some old photos of my holiday decor, before I post this years holiday fabulous-ness.  IMG_0519

I got all these little houses in a set for $4 at the thrift store one year, and repainted them in bright fun color schemes.  I love the addition of the vintage Hot Wheels, it just endorses the whole little village vibe.  I want to go to there.

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I made the joy to the world ornament for Ava’s teacher last year, along with 26 others-each with her classmates names on them.  I used my trusty Cricut machine to cut out all the letters and Mod Podged them to the ornaments.  Andplusalso, I totally tried the chalkboard wrapping paper idea that was floating around on Pinterest last year, and loved it! So fun! 

Xo-Tara

Wingbacks & Paint Decks

Hey Guys!

I neglected the good Ol’ blog last week, but I did manage to find two great wingback chairs for a reasonable price ($70 for the pair).  They are in amazing condition, very sturdy, near perfect upholstery, and the feminine shape I prefer.  I am definitely going forward with painting them. I’ve read nearly every tutorial on the subject, and feel confident that It will give me the custom look I want, with a price tag I can actually afford.  

wordI busted out our my moms trusty Benjamin Moore paint deck to start the process of choosing a paint color for these gems.  I am leaning towards kelly green/emerald-green, but tomorrow I could be dead set on lavender!  I’m not shy when it comes to color, if you haven’t noticed.  I have a lavender living room, dark purple ikat dining room, hot pink kitchen, and turquoise breakfast nook.  It sounds like crazy town, but I promise you it works!  I know it sounds like I choose colors on whim, but it’s very intentional, and a lot of time is spent lugging these heavy ass paint decks around trying to decide on the perfect color.  

I welcome your input as to what the color of these chairs should be! 

In other news, we will probably get started making the benches in a few weeks.  I cannot wait!  The wingback chairs take up more visual weight, so having three chairs on each side is too cluttered for my liking.  The simplicity of the benches will allow the wingback chairs to bask in the spotlight.  

I’m still deciding on fabric options for the window seat and pillows, and also trying to decide if I can spruce up the buffet enough to warrant keeping it.  It has a sort of medieval vibe-largely due to the hardware, so a simple swap might suffice.  I was also thinking of painting it to match the wingback chairs-for consistencies sake.

OK-I really must go and make the corn chowder I promised my children for dinner

(Deborah Madison’s recipe-It’s fantastic!)

XO-Tara