Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ollie the Owl

I love owls. Yes, I've admitted it. However, I've loved owls since before owls were plastered all over the pages of decorating magazines or pictured on the main page of etsy.  I loved owls before they infiltrated home decor. Now that they are here, though, I am not complaining.  I have been picky, though. I've been searching for the perfect owl to place on my bookshelf. I wanted a quirky owl that reminded me of the owl from Winnie the Pooh, the tootsie roll pop commercials; basically I wanted an owl that reminded me of my childhood. After years of searching, I finally found him.

I was Goodwill hunting (nice pun, huh??) for sheets a couple weekends ago when on the shelf he called my name.  For only a dollar, how could I pass him up, the perfect owl?

John informed me as soon as I brought him home that he was creepy and weird-looking. I paid no heed, for I knew he was perfect...well, would be perfect once he was introduced to some white spray paint.

Early Monday morning after wiping him down I took him outside and sprayed, sprayed, and sprayed some more. It took five light coats to begin to cover up his natural coloring.  Not to be deterred, I kept on spraying...until I discovered the bubbling. Oh the bubbling.

I blame the humidity. The back of the can states you should paint when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees and when the humidity is under 80%.  After storming inside and checking I discovered the humidity was 90%. Yuck.

So, I let him dry to 24 hours, lightly sanded him and tried again.

I just finished up another couple coats of paint and am now moping on the couch.  Ollie the Owl looks worse than Monday.

At least he won't creep John out anymore. Perhaps in a week or so I'll try again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sans Internet

So true. Our internet went down Friday morning and our household suffered for five long days. Not to worry - a technician came by this morning at 7:30am to flip some switches in a box outside and all is right with the world again. However, no internet is enough to make you clean the house, organize closets, and reconnect with your movie collection. 

I never realized until this weekend how dependent we were on the internet. Aside from the fact that John is a grad student with lots of homework to do, he also teaches guitar lessons online via skype. Most of our dinner recipes come from googling what we're in the mood for. Our nightly entertainment is in the form of Netflix (soon to be disconnected, though, once the fee hikes begin) and mapquest helps us discover new parks and neighborhoods where we take Layla-Butt on walks.  Whenever I have a question or a random thought about the world (which is very often) I always turn to google to learn things such as why mushrooms are growing in my aloe pot and when dogs are allowed back on the beaches. We had no clue what was happening just a couple hours of east of us when the hurricane hit our coast and I couldn't leave annoying facebook comments on my little sister's wall.

We have had internet for an hour and so far I've caught up on a couple blogs, glanced at pinterest, became overwhelmed by my emails, and stalked facebook.

It feels good to have the world at my fingertips again.

Stay tuned for a blog post about the evils of humidity and spray paint. It'll be a sad sad story.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Turning a Rag into a Rag Rug

Back in July, in the midst of my unplanned summer vacation, I discovered the rag rug.  To me, this rug seemed to be the perfect upcycling project - one that has been around since the 1800s.  As with most things these days, I immediately turned to pinterest to get my visual fill of these beautiful and simple rugs.

diy rag rug tutorial

Knowing that I would need a lot of fabric (and that a lot of fabric can quickly become costly), I headed to Goodwill in search of sheets. Let me just tell you that Goodwill sheets have now become my go to for all things that require fabric. I bought one king size flat sheet, one queen size fitted sheet, and two queen size flat sheets for a total of $8.  That's a heck of a lot of fabric, let me tell you!

sheets upcycle rug diy

With three of my four sheets being white, I decided to dye two of them with RIT dye. That was quite an afternoon adventure...feel free to read all about it here.

rag rug tutorial diy

Armed with my beautifully dyed sheets (unfortunately the aquamarine color turned out more of a baby blue), I began the boring task of cutting them into long strips. 

rag rug tutorial sheets diy

If you look at the lower right-hand corner of the sheet below, you'll notice the notches I cut. Each strip was about an inch wide - I learned the wider strips provide hefty rows on your rug but are difficult to crochet while the skinnier strips result in puny rows but easier crocheting. Inch wide strips seemed to be a nice compromise.

diy rag rug tutorial

Another tip is to roll your strips into a big ball. It helps to keep everything organized, unknotted, and tidy.  To begin crocheting the rug I followed this video from Sugar Bee Crafts. It's super duper easy - basically you are making a chain of the most basic crochet stitch. I assure you you can do it even if you have no crocheting background.

 Here is my chain of single stitches.  If you want a circular rug, follow the directions in the video regarding twisting it on top of itself. I decided to make an oval rug so I made a longer chain of stitches and then doubled back.

diy rag rug tutorial

The next 500 steps are all the same - check out Sugar Bee Crafts' other video to see what that stitch looks like:

 After several rows of crocheting, here is what the rug looked like. I was very disappointed once I took a step back - it was looking more like a nursery rug rather than a bold rug intended for my kitchen. I blame the aquamarine dye that turned baby blue.

tutorial rag rug upcycle diy

It definitely needed a bolder color to offset the pastel color theme so I found a red and blue striped sheet to try to incorporate.

rag rug using sheets

Interestingly, I needed only three rows of this bolder sheet to offset the pale rug and bring some life into it.  It took me three days of crocheting to complete the project and I must tell you that a marathon of Gilmore Girls definitely helps while you sit crocheting circle after circle, row after row.  I myself chose season two as the background for my rag rug.

goodwill sheets into diy rag rug

That is how you turn rags into a rag rug.  It was much easier than I expected and I think I may be making another one come winter when I'm holed up in the apartment with nothing to do but watch another Gilmore Girl marathon.

diy rag rug tutorial

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Knotted Fingers

I've been a crocheting fiend the past couple days.  When I get into a project of any kind, I tend to just throw myself at it and forget everything else (like eating and cleaning).  After hours of crocheting thick strips of fabric, my fingers are pretty bruised and sore so I'm taking a quick resting break.  Have you ever raised your head to glance around while you're in the midst of a big project to realize the trail of destruction you've left? That's what I did this morning and boy oh boy was it scary!  I thought I'd share with you my living room and how it has looked since Monday.

We could play a game of I Spy with this photo.  I spy a recent Goodwill owl purchase, a glass from two days ago, seven haphazard pillows, a salt shaker being used as inspiration, and a lazy Layla-Butt.

During my next break to rest my fingers I'm planning on spending some quality time with the owl giving him a makeover. I'm kind of excited.

And now I bid you goodbye because I am itching to put the glass in the dishwasher, mail back the netflix movie, and place the pillows back on the couches.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Green with Envy


In the past couple days I've become obsessed with green couches. Believe me - obsessed. 


 I love the burst of boldness, yet in a soft, watercolor kind of way. 


Before this obsessive love affair began I believed couches should be neutral. Blank canvases, if you will, to be accessorized with throw pillows and a soft blanket.


Now I find myself wondering why the couch can't be the main accessory in the larger living room.  Throw pillows are fabulous, but they are like a ring...pretty but not quite enough to make a large statement. 


Not too long ago I shared that I really wanted to do something about the dark tan slip cover I had made for my large couch.  I think I've decided I need a green couch. In fact, let me rephrase that: I am wild with desire for a green couch. I simply need to decide on a shade.

So, what do you think about the green couch?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Owners Manual

I just spent thirty minutes reading our washing machine's owners manual, ten minutes reading and re-reading the directions on the back of the RIT dye box, and twenty minutes on the phone with my mom all to figure out why, with a tub of blue dye, my washing machine suddenly decided to stop working. 

I decided to forge ahead thinking, "Well, my machine is full of bright blue dye, I may as well use it before freaking out" and started using metal tongs to agitate and mix my fabric in the clear, bright blue water.  During brief breaks (because the RIT dye box warns you must have the fabric agitating constantly for 30 to 60 minutes) I stood baffled in front of my washing machine wondering what went wrong. I was worried to push too many buttons out of fear it would reset, empty the water and dye from the tub, and begin anew and so I kept agitating my fabric. 

After 60 minutes I finally decided it was time to show the machine who was boss (there was nothing to lose if and when the machine showed me who was boss) and started by shutting the lid of the washer so I could get a good look at the many buttons.  The moment the lid clicked shut I began to feel vibrations, the machine began moving, and I heard the agitation of the wash cycle begin.

Yes, I know that my washer's lid must be shut in order for the washing cycle to run. Yes, I know the moment I open the lid, it pauses. Yes, I know I wasted over an hour baffled while staring, with the lid open, at the blue sea of water.

I'm sitting on the couch now, listening to the washing cycle make it's little noises while typing with bright blue hands because I hadn't remembered about my yellow rubber gloves until just now. Perhaps I could just start this Monday over again? Can I get a re-do, please?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Destination: Goodwill

It's difficult to begin working again when an entire summer has gone by without supply shopping, inspiration dreaming, and/or Goodwill tripping. I have many ideas floating around in my head but I must venture out and collect pieces, supplies, and trash to turn into awesomeness.

Today's shopping list includes sheets, toys, sheets, mirrors, sheets, plant pots, and more sheets. I'm giddy at the idea of walking up and down aisles, gathering items as well as ideas.  I plan on picking up enough project supplies to last a few get excited because I definitely am!

Also on today's to do list is to pick out some paint colors! I've been putting this off for months, but I'm finally forcing myself to make this very important and key decision.  If you've been reading for some time, then you know I cannot stand Ursula, our TV stand, or the mismatched bedroom furniture. I'm already mentally preparing for paint coated hair.

Here's hoping I find a goldmine of great stuff!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Goodbye, Summer.

Dear Summer,

As you know, you're my absolute favorite of all the seasons.  Your happy-go-lucky attitude is contagious, your sun kisses feel amazing, and your accessories of flowers, birds, and trees always make me smile.  I have enjoyed the many adventures and carefree activities you planned for us the past few months.  We caught your relaxed and lighthearted attitude and used it for spur of the moment searches for waterfalls, random trips to Charlotte, unplanned road trips to visit family, and lazy days by the pool. 

We can boast a record number of camping trips this summer thanks to your amazing weather and beckoning call.  We shared many nights together listening to one another while I sat on the balcony sipping my wine.

I do blame you, Summer, for my uncreative and unfocused mind of recent weeks. With so many promises of parks to explore, free music concerts to attend, ice cream to eat how could I continue creating DIY awesomeness? On one hand, I sadly bid you goodbye knowing that it will be nine long months before I can play with you again; on the other hand, I am eager to shed this carefree attitude that is not my nature and begin my list-making, deadline meeting, project finishing life again.

While I sadly wave goodbye to you, I also wave hello to the blog-o-sphere that I re-enter.

See you next year,


Monday, August 8, 2011

Cinderella, Cinderella

When I was younger and I was staring at my massive chore list, I liked to think of myself as poor Cinderella. These days I just buck up and do what's needed knowing I'll love the outcome of completing my cleaning to do list.

Today is one of those days when I sat the husband down, stated that our home needed to be cleaned and that I was enlisted his help. It's one of those deep clean, scour every corner type of days - the kind when, after seeing the dust-filled bookshelf, you throw up your hands, wonder how such filth found it's way into the house, and declare war.

I've just finished washing our windows inside and out and I never knew how bright and sunshiny our living room can be. I'm taking a small break from cleaning to sit on the couch and smile at the sliding glass doors. Next up, cleaning the baseboards with vinegar and sprinkling baking soda throughout the carpet to vacuum up.  I told you - it's war!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The 90's Want Their Hemp Back

I remember when hemp was all the rage...I made hemp jewelry all summer long, I obsessed over hemp belts, and the schools were discussing the ban of hemp.  Gone are the days that I knew all the coolest types of braids and knots, though I do still have a couple bracelets in the bottom of my jewelry box.

Today I was inspired by an old roll of hemp in the back of the closet and am currently working on a new project!  The hemp inspiration coupled with a need to rearrange some cluttered corners has forced me to start cutting and knotting and braiding again.

Let's hope the outcome is as awesome as what I'm seeing in my mind!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Scary World of Bleach

My very first home decor project in our current apartment was dealing with a very ugly couch.  You can read about my need for a cheap and quick slipcover here.  Our couch, after experimenting with sheets and draping methods looks like this currently:

Note that this is an old picture before we painted our end tables white.  The quick and cheap slipcover has held up for eight months and is still hiding the ugly couch like a pro.  The only complaint I have is the color of the sheets. When I visited Target to buy the flat sheets necessary for the project, they were out of the pretty oatmeal color I wanted so I purchased this green-tinted khaki color instead. In the picture it looks fine, but in real life it has more of a brownish-greenish tinge to it and I haven't been a fan since the day I stood in the Target aisle.

Now, why am I complaining about the color of our slip covered couch after living with it for eight months? I have a project in mind for the floor lamp (you can see it in the picture above) but I need to change the color of the slipcover for it all to really work.  The lamp project is still a secret for the time being, but I do need your help with the slip cover.  Ideally, I would like to find a way to simply tone down the darkness of the brown and lighten it up a little. In comes my idea of bleaching the slipcover. 

I've never really worked with bleach - I always seem to ruin things whenever I try to bleach out a stain so I'm a little frightened of the idea of bleaching the slipcover.  What do you think? Do you think it would lighten the fabric uniformly or do you think I'd get weird splotches of uneven color?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Running Away

When I was younger I ran away. Many times. You see, my parents wronged me often and running away was the surefire way to punish them and make them realize the error of their ways. Making me do more chores than my sisters, not allowing me to extend my bedtime even though I was old enough to stay up later, punishing me for something my sister did...they needed to be punished. And so I would write an angst-filled letter, leave it on my bed, and climb under my bed to hide and wait. 

Yes, I never really ran away - I was too scared.  But I wanted them to think I had run away for I knew that would work just as well. A healthy dose of fear would remind them how wonderful I was.  Unfortunately they never seemed to come looking for me. Perhaps it was because to a six year old 10 minutes under a bed felt like two hours or perhaps because when they send me to my room, they knew I was in my room and not slinging my bag over my shoulder and running away.  Whatever the reason, I always gave up, threw away the letter and went about the rest of the day like normal. 

Well, last week I ran away again.  I didn't run away from anyone but instead decided to hide from the stress and guilt and pressure and fear.  I didn't leave a note but I eventually gave up, unpacked my bags and resettled into my normal life.  That is why there wasn't a blog post in a week. That is why I ignored all the emails alerting me to nice comments people left. That is why I refused to read a single blog entry.  Instead, I spent time with my littlest sister and father. I ran away to Virginia and played games and ate delicious food and stole figs.  I laughed until I cried, practiced funny faces, and became a child again. 

I am home again after crawling out of my hiding spot, an adult once more, and I've unpacked my bags and re-faced the real world. Yes, I couldn't really run away - I am too scared. 

While hiding out in Richmond, I did visit the neighborhood Goodwill and found some wonderful things...I mean, who doesn't need a banana Halloween costume in July or a broken music stand? 

  We thought this chair looked like a butt. It was too tall to climb into a try it out, but I'm sure it was very comfortable. 

Listening to the ocean in Goodwill...who knew a sea shell was worth $4.50! At that price, we all took turns listening to the waves and then put it back.

I had never seen Apple Bottom life mission is now complete.

And here is proof that Leslie is illegal (although we did coerce her to steal the figs)...

They were delicious!

It's nice to be home and I've missed you all!


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