A Little Feat

“If you’ll be my dixie chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee lamb, and we can walk together down in dixieland.” Originally written by Little Feat, and rediscovered through Dave Matthews and his sneaky live recordings.

Bored one night and falling deeper in love with this Spring inspired quote I decided to try my hand at a little illustration/calligraphy work. For the most part I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

 

A Little Cabin in the Woods for Lucky Number 8

I met the man of my dreams March 1st, 2005. Which means March 1st, 2013 was time to celebrate our 8 (EIGHT!!) year anniversary. Every year we plan a get away to escape our hectic lives, his fire pager, preferably hide somewhere with no cell service and just be us. We’ve done everything from an extended weekend trip to Montreal, to a quick 1 day overnight in Mystic, Connecticut.

mystic aquarium

Hanging out with the Beluga Whale at Mystic Aquarium circa 2010

This year we were hurting for a magical weekend get away. And this year, for the first time ever, the future hubs did all the planning. I told him all I wanted was a quite place away from the world where I could bake all weekend. And my Pretty People, did he deliver.

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We escaped to the Catskills in the great state of New York to the most perfect little cabin in the woods one has ever seen. He even pulled some strings with Mother Nature and had a constant gentle snow fall all day. It was like living in the happiest little snow globe for the weekend. The cabin was originally built in the 1950’s, and recently lovingly restored. The owner, a contractor, didn’t overlook a single detail.

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The little square windows in the bathroom were by far my favorite

The cabin is brand new, spotless, and design wise it was perfect. Being a designer myself I appreciated every hand selected antique detail he added back into the cabin to fill the old/new cabin with some nostalgic charm.

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We definitely relaxed and recharged (much needed to gear up for wedding planning). I also baked some yummy treats so stay tuned for some easy and delicious recipes!

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What’s Your Numbah, Sugah?

03.01.05 the date that I like to think changed my life forever. It was that date 8 years ago that I met my soul mate and never looked back. We still to this day wish each other “happy anniversary” the first of every month. It has turned into more of a game so many months later who can wish it first and on what media device. (I usually win on all accounts)

03.01.05 are our numbers. Period. Even when we (finally) get married I’m sure we’ll still do something special on the first of March. These numbers were my semi inspiration for a project I’d been dying to do. As seen in a previous post I recovered my blue college apartment pillows to match our red cabinet. Love them. The fabric however was rather summery and just doesn’t work year round.

graphic-diy-pillow

Graphic and typography items are popping up everywhere; numbers, letters, quotes. I decided to take our most treasured numbers and create graphic pillows for the living room. The process was easy. Find a font you love, I used the font “Elephant” (should be standard on most PC’s) I really liked the vintage feel of this font; the serifs, the almost hand typed feel if you could call it that.

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Once a font is selected increase the font size, a lot. I think my letters were done at a 60 or 70 point. Print them out, tape or rubber cement the print down to a thicker piece of paper, and cut them out to form a stencil. If you have a steady enough hand I recommend tracing the number/letters with pencil and painting within the pencil lines. You could also use the stencil as a true stencil but I found the paint tends to sneak underneath creating less than graphic crisp lines.

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I used cheap yet thick and sturdy fabric from Ikea, $3.99 for half a yard and typical craft paint $2 in a charcoal gray. You could use a fabric medium if you chose to but I found the paint spread and held just fine, even after washing. I used a graphic red striped fabric (also Ikea) for the reverse side to play with the red accents throughout the room and the vintage graphic feel of the pillow. I used the same pocket hemmed technique illustrated in the previous pillow post, an easy way to create removable pillow covers.

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I really love how they came out and adore that they reflect something so meaningful to us in such a subtle, stylish way.

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PS Happy Anniversary Babe! 8 years (AAAHHHHH!!) Time really flies when you’re having the time of your life. Looking forward to many more adventures together. Love you!

What I Bought on my Summer Vacation

As mentioned in a previous post, we ventured to the center of New York State for a family reunion. On our way home through back country roads, we happened upon a little antique shop on a corner, a corner that held my ‘chair destiny’. Wrapped around the building was a multitude of dining chairs on display. Big ones, wood ones, ladder backs, 50’s vintage, and 2 mid century modern beauties. As my head craned and almost detached, eagle eyes locked on my dreams quickly moving out of view I shrieked at my future hubs, “aahhh! Stop! Reverse! U-turn! Chairs. Dream chairs. Please U turn. About face! HUURRRYYY!” I think I straight up stopped forming sentences mid way through my spazz out. A U-turn he did make and chair destiny we did fufill.

Oh yes. And it gets better. We checked them out, 1 leg looked a little wobbly (and by wobbly I mean basically detached), the wood finish was flaking, and the seat fabric wasn’t my dream BUT the lines were perfect and exactly what I’ve been looking for for almost 2 years. I’m sure I looked extra lovingly into Mr. Fabulous’s eyes with that “I absolutely can’t live without these” look and he agreed, they were pretty snazzy. ***upon proof reading Future Hubs would like the record to state that “pretty snazzy” was not in his vocabulary that day*** As we carried them around the corner to chat with the owner, I prepared my haggling brain. “So how much are we willing to spend? I’m thinking like $20 a chair tops.” Mr. Fabulous didn’t totally agree as one was breaking, he was thinking $15 and $10 for the slightly damaged one. I heard where he was coming from but still after searching forever for chairs this fabulous I was set on $40 for the pair max.

We found the owner, told him we were interested in the chairs and asked for a price. He shifted his stance and said “oh I dunno, $10 for the pair?”
….

(pause for dramatic effect)….

….

“SOLD! I’ll grab my cash!”

I don’t know how I didn’t kiss this man. Dream chairs for $5 a piece. I kid you not the exact chairs in New York City would easily have been $20-25 each. Got to love being in the country.

I will confess the chair leg fell off as we were loading it into the car but I didn’t care. A little wood glue and all would be fine. Needless to say these beauties are my next little project and I can not wait. A play by play on the rehab is soon to come. Basic goal is fix the leg, sand down, re-stain, recover the seats, and enjoy.

Did any of you find a must have house item this summer? Freak out on your significant other over chairs of destiny? Let me know! I love hearing your stories.

Paris Day Dreaming

What does a 27 year old do without power for 8 days? Oh that’s right, she pretends she’s 90 (or living in the Colonial era) and makes embroideries. Lots of embroideries.

This little beauty surprisingly took up most of my week. I blame the intricacies of all that steel work. I’ve had Paris on the brain ever since visiting the beautiful city last month. (More on that 3 country whirl wind trip soon, promise!)

I decided to hang her over the sink; a happy day dream to escape my dish pan hand hell. (Damn you apartment sans dishwasher!)

I found the frame at Joann’s Fabrics. $3.99. I painted the once black frame robin’s egg blue to make it cheery and kitchen matchy. My favorite part of the frame is the subtle details  which reflect the details in the tower itself.

Probably one of the best things to come from 8 days without power or heat. You have to agree Paris really is always a good idea. (Even when your travel buddy has a horrible cold and Belgium goes on strike. More trip details to come!)

The Mitten Tree

While trying to fill some space on my autumn gallery wall(I promise I will post how to hang a gallery wall super super super soon) I happened upon this print on Etsy by O’Reilly Ink. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the piece but wasn’t crazy about the colors. Plus I didn’t feel passionately about any of the tree species featured.

I decided to create a knock off print based on the design concept but featuring colors and subjects I was more into.

I selected the Sassafras tree as my study subject. If you are not aware of the amazingness of this tree it’s also lovingly called the Mitten Tree. Scientifically it’s the only deciduous tree that produces 3 different shaped leaves (at least the only one in the North East/North America).

There is also a fairy tale version “How the Sassafras Tree (or Mitten Tree) Got its Leaves” (as best remembered by yours truly)

Once upon a time there was a little old lady who had a cabin in the woods. Winter was coming so she decided to make some mittens. She finished her first mitten and realized she forgot the thumbs.

So she threw that pair out her window. The following day she tried again to make a pair of mittens this time she knitted too many thumb holes so out the window that pair went.

Finally the following day she knitted the perfect pair of mittens. Thumb holes in the right places, plenty of room for fingers.

She went to bed that night proud of her work. She woke up the next morning to find a mouse scurrying out of the cabin with her perfect mittens. Luckily she remembered how to make the proper pair and didn’t think much of the mouse, hoping the mittens would keep him warm. Winter came and went and the little old lady had warm hands all winter long. Then it was time for Spring which brought on the usual chirping birds, blooming flowers, and a remarkable new tree outside of the old lady’s cabin. A tree which was growing right outside the window she threw all her failed mittens out of. Now, what made this tree remarkable was it’s leaves reflected all the mittens she made over the last winter.

And that my friends is the story of the Mitten Tree.

So, anyway, this is a story I grew up with and a tree I always look for when out and about. This tree I decided shall be my muse. Creating the artwork is pretty easy, anyone with mild artistic talent and computer skills should be able to pull it off.

First dust off your pencils and sketch the leaf (leaves) of your choice. You could probably trace the leaf if that makes you more comfortable. Once you’re happy with your sketch grab a thin tipped Sharpie or other black inked pen. Outline the leaves and add a few veins for good measure.

Once the sketching is done and outlining is complete scan it into your computer. I used Photoshop however even Paint would do the trick. Open the scan up and use the paint bucket tool to fill in the fields with whatever color you desire. Finally find a fun free hand font and add the genus, species, and common name to the graphic. Print that sucker up slap it in a frame and admire your amazing artistic skills.

Yay cheap and easy diy artwork!

Custom Up my Buttons Baby

You are ALL welcome for getting that award winning song in your head. (Obnoxiously catchy pop music by sexually suggestive named groups anyone?)

In an upcoming post I’ll be divulging you all with my first ever recovered furniture piece. A tufted upholstered bench that lives at the foot of our bed. A bench, I might add, that was plucked from the garbage. Got to love free.

The first (and easiest) step of recovering the garbage picked bench was creating covered buttons to match the new fabric. A quick trip to Joann’s landed me a pack of buttons for covering complete with the covering tools. I believe the kit cost $4 for 10 buttons.

Directions found on the back of the box were very straight forward. First use the fabric template to trace the pattern onto the desired fabric. Step 2, cut around the traced circle.

Step 3 assemble the fabric, button, button back, and circle tool for hammering, then hammer the set up into place. I found it was easiest to kind of push everything together by hand just enough so it stayed in place and then hammer it in for good.

After a few good taps remove the freshly made button from the assembly, give it a push or two for good measure and get pumped that you have made custom fabric covered buttons in no time flat.

Privacy, Please!

We like to think we live in the “faux country”. “Faux” because we’re really just in the suburbs 20 miles from Manhattan and not country at all. “Country” because even though we’re in the “burbs” we’re on an acre of property, have families of deer sleeping in our front yard and located across the street from a park complete with walking paths and ponds for fishing. So privacy really isn’t an issue, yet an issue at the same time. Especially when our green property hits winter and our leafy shroud disappears. Most rooms don’t make a difference privacy wise. Some, like the bathroom, makes a big difference. Not to mention we have a MASSIVE window in our bathroom. I love the natural light it brings in but hate that the window ends around mid thigh. Sorry but I don’t need to be that showy with the neighbors. Plus I love peaking out that window. The solution? A cafe curtain. Straight modern and starts at collarbone level. Everyone wins. Minus the peeping tom’s of course.

I had my personal seamstress (aka Mom) help with the sewing, however this style curtain is a beyond easy sew. First measure the window. If you want it to hang straight (like the one shown) and not bunched the actual size of the window is all you need. Add an extra about an inch on all sides for the hem and an extra 2 or 3 inches for the curtain rod “sleeve”. Sew a hem on all sides, then fold the top down to create the “sleeve” for the curtain rod and sew. That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Presto! instant privacy.

I found the fabric at Ikea for around $7 a yard. I believe I only needed around 1/2 a yard. So for roughly $3.50 plus the cost of curtain rod I had fabulous and simple privacy.  The plain white linen was just that, plain. I wanted to add a ribbon stripe around the curtain for a little more detail. Problem was a slippery silk ribbon was going to be a rather annoying pinning/sewing job. Solution? My always trusty go to material… Paint! 1 tube of navy acrylic craft paint from your local craft store (less than $3) and some masking tape made for a quick and easy custom detail.

Simple, cheap, and functional. Can’t beat that. Total project cost? under $10 when including the tension rod. Fabulous.

A Place for Hanging

Moving into a place in September has it’s perks. No need to worry about where to hang your coats. Once late October hits however, a place to hang coats that isn’t a distant closet or draped over a knee wall is crucial. Rather than running out to a local store to buy a $30 piece of wood with hooks we decided to build our own. Building a coat rack was cheap, easy, and allowed us to customize the length and color to match an awesome mirror we found to hang above. (Unfortunately the mirror was purchased before realizing our landlord left a massive mirror opposite our rack, but still built custom for our future house.)

All you need is a 1″ x 4″ piece of wood, hooks, stain/paint, and mounting brackets. Have your home improvement store cut down the wood to your desired length, hit it with a coat or 2 of stain/paint space your hooks as you would like them. Pre-drill some holes, screw in hooks, and mount. THAT easy. Not to mention now you have something to brag about building yourself that you will be guaranteed to see every day from October to May.

Ahh. Organization. Can’t tell you how many times I walked by this when it was first hung and went “just lovely.”

Brand New Antique Shelves

On September 15, 2010 Brendan and I moved into our first apartment. That same day we realized that our apartment with it’s many closets were simply large voids behind doors. Not a single one had a shelf inside. To remedy the problem, specifically in the pantry, my wonderful man built me free standing shelves that we can take with us to our next home but still shove in the closet and hold all of our non perishable items. (Extra fabulous because we’ve moved into the smallest kitchen possible)

The shelves were inspired buy this lovely antique from White Flower Farm House:

I HIGHLY suggest anyone in the eastern Long Island area stop by. Small place, but full of such cute stuff.  When I went, of course, my dream shelves were already sold. So we build out own. Costing roughly $20 for materials, I drew plans, Brendan assembled, and I finished. We make such a fabulous team.

To Build:
We used 1″ x 12″  planks of wood, cut to fit (roughly 3′-0″ wide) little 1″x 2″ for ledgers, and 2″ x 4″ for the legs. Assembly was simple (I’m told). First, get your local hardware store to cut everything to your required dimension. Second, space ledgers evenly, screw to legs kind of building 2 ladders. Once the ledgers are in place add your 1″x 12″ shelves starting with the bottom shelf, then the top, then fill in the middle. Screw each shelf into the ledger as you go.

Our shelves are anchored into the wall since it’s in a closet. If you want a free standing set of shelves we recommend adding cross bracing across the back using something like a 1×2 diagonally across the back. (See the white flower farmhouse image as example)

Once built it was my turn to play. To create an “already been around for 100 years” look I used a candle to wax up the shelves before painting. Add wax to the areas where wear and tear would normally happen. (edges, fronts of shelves, bottom legs). Paint with 1 coat of a color you would like to see peaking through the paint (I chose white). Once dry wax again, I did a mix of same areas 1st wax was applied and a few new places. Paint with top coat paint (Robin’s Egg Blue to match the kitchen aid).  Once second coat is dry break out your sand paper and start sanding the areas the wax was applied. It’s AMAZING, little effort and the paint starts peeling off. It really makes an awesome weathered look.

Every time I walk into my pantry I smile. I love these shelves.