Life

Interior Decorating Class

Last week I finished my interior decorating class that I took through Howard Community College. It was a 6-week class that met at a local high school during which we learned about basic design principles, color, accessorizing, floor plans, window treatments…. it was awesome.

The class was small — only 12 people — so we got to talk to our instructor a lot about projects we are working on and problems we are running into. I chose to focus on our living room during the class and actually made a lot of progress! For me, the most helpful classes were the floor plan session and the color session.

Floor Plan

There’s always been something off about the way I had the furniture arranged upstairs, so the floor plan class allowed me to get feedback and ideas from my classmates. They suggested that I take two chairs and place them directly in front of the coffee table to create a designated seating/conversation area. I’d been wanting to buy two chairs, but I had planned to place them on the walls, versus in the middle of the room.

When I placed the chairs in front of the coffee table, it really did create a much more conversation-ready sitting area.

Floor Plan1

You can kind of see that here:

Room

Those are the second set of chairs that I bought for the room. And guess what…

Dining Chairs

…those went back, too. I got them from Target for a great price, but since they are dining chairs they were just too small. Well, if I were to put them along the wall like I originally planned, they were perfect. But in this new configuration, they were too small and too obviously for a dining room.

Instead, I swapped them out for two charcoal slipper chairs from Target.

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They have a great button detail that sort of mimics the faux tuft in our couch.

Slipper Chair

I definitely sacrificed quality for coast on this purchase, which is unfair since the chairs are actually quite comfortable and very nice now. But, I’m pretty sure they won’t last more than a few years, especially with a furniture-loving dog and future kiddos — at $128 a chair, that’s not the end of the world.

Now, my next challenges. End tables and color!

Another portion of our class was spent looking through catalogs to see if anything piqued our interest. It really helped us nail down our individual styles, too.

I love the Ballard catalog best — does the circled table look familiar? That’s my coffee table (well, two of them) that I got from the thrift store!

Catalog

This page has the end table I’m pining over. They are $149 and I’d need two of them, so I’m basically waiting until I feel like dropping $300. I think I’m going to poke around at thrift stores for a few months before I make that decision. But if I don’t find anything else, I’ll eventually be purchasing these – I love how the iron will match the coffee tables without being too matchy-matchy. And the mirror will reflect lamplight and the light from our bay window! I just need to find them at a thrift store for $10/each now ūüôā

Catalog1

Yes, I am cheap. Well, not cheap. Just frugal.

Now color — that is my real challenge. ¬†I love the gray and mint combo I’ve got going on, but I think the room is too dark and too monochromatic. So now I am working on adding more color to the space to create more visual interest in the space. I will be doing this through throw pillows and artwork. You can actually see some of the pillows I’m considering on my Pillows Pinterest board. I’ve been adding like crazy this weekend. Now I just need to make decisions. A lot of them are from Etsy, which means no returns. So it’s a little extra incentive to make sure I am positive before I purchase.

Pillows

I’ll hopefully make a decision soon and move on with artwork. The walls are crying for something on the. I’m thinking a gallery of some sort behind the couch and a console table with a mirror above it on the other wall. We’ll see what happens!

#HoCoArts #HoCoSchools #HCPSS #HoCoCrafts #HoCoBlogs

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Craft Projects, Furniture

Over-sized Jar Lamp

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Happy one-year house anniversary to us! A year ago today we closed on our house — what an adventure it has been. Every room of our house has been painted, we did a massive family room overhaul, and tackled smaller projects here and there along the way.

My newest project is making our living room pretty, which started last weekend when we got rid of our old, grimy couch and purchased a pretty, new one!

Old Couch

If you are on vine or twitter, you can see the satisfying thud this ugly thing made when it hit the bottom of the dumpster at the local dump. So satisfying.

We didn’t mourn this couch long (or at all) — from the dump we headed to a local warehouse to pick up the clearance couch we’d purchased the night before. Not to brag too much, but we got our new couch for a steal!

AND IT IS ADORABLE!

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The pillows that came with the couch were a little too Hawaiian for me, so I picked up the charcoal gray and teal pillows at Target! I also got a gray throw and snagged the light gray pillow from our bedroom. It is so pretty. I love it.

Now that I actually have a couch I like and something to jump off of from a design standpoint, I am going non-stop to make this room perfect. See, this is my room. There is no TV and no computer, just a big window and a comfy couch. I want to be able to read in here! I can during the day, but at night I am in a fish bowl. That’s why I am working to find the perfect curtains for our bay window. I ordered some online, so fingers are crossed that they work.

In the meantime, I needed some more light in this room. With just the overhead ceiling fan, the light in this room is just mediocre come night-time. I have a beautiful glass lamp that I bought for super cheap at Target because it was broken. I fixed that and just need a flashy shade. I need a few more lamps though, so I decided to make my own.

Using a shade I had from the thrift store and an old, large jar, I set off today to make another light for that room.

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The first thing I needed to do was put a hole in the center of my jar lid. To do so, I had to find a drill bit large enough to fit my threaded pole (attached to the light fixture and to the nut underneath the lid). Once I found one, I carefully drilled through the lid while it was screwed onto the jar.

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Originally, I wanted to keep the green lid for my lamp, but no amount of scrubbing could remove the “crayon” label from childhood.

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Before I started to spray paint my lamp fixture, I figured out just how I was going to secure all of the parts of my lap. I ended up drilling through a mason jar lid with the same drill bit to use as extra support underneath the jar lid. I opted for a stack of washers on top of the lid to raise the light fixture up, and one washer and two nuts underneath for added stability.

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I also used a lamp harp to support the shade.

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Between the brassy harp, green lid and silver washers, I needed one finish for all of the parts of my lamp. I got out some metallic silver spray paint and lightly dusted all of the parts so they would match. I also did a coat of polyurethane.

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When everything was dry, I assembled all of the pieces: Light socket & threaded rod > harp > washers > lid > mason jar lid > washer > two nuts. I tightened the heck out of everything, and when it was good and secure I placed the lid of the jar back onto the freshly washed and crayon-free jar.

I added the shade and the finial and put it next to the couch.

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What do you think? It turned out pretty darn cute if you ask me. Now I just need to replace that old piano bench with something a little classier since my couch is so pretty now!

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Did I mention I only paid $2 for the gorgeous shade?

Craft Projects

Low-sew pillows

I’ve seen a lot of post lately on no-sew pillows that look really cute. I needed a pillow or two for my painted yellow chairs, so I decided to try my own version of the no-sew pillow. I’m calling it a low-sew pillow because I hand-stitched them a little so they’d be more permanent. I used the same ideas though, and stayed far away from my sewing machine!

Low-Sew Pillow No. 1

Years ago I made a bunch of pillow to match my Paris-themed bedroom at my dad’s house. My step mom made me cute pillows and a matching bed skirt, too. On the way home yesterday, I stopped by and grabbed the old pillows to give them a new look so they’d match our yellow chairs perfectly. The first pillow I tackled was this long,¬†cylindrical¬†pillow.

First, I ironed out all of the creases in the fabric and laid the pillow on top. I cut off the excess fabric, leaving enough to wrap around the pillow and then bunch at the edges.

Once I had the fabric cut down to size, I ironed flat the ragged edge that would be exposed on the pillow.

With the edge ironed flat, I pulled the remaining raw edge up over the pillow and stitched a few stitches directly into the pillow to hold it in place.

Then, I folded the nicely ironed side up and over the pillow and did a stitch all the way down the seam. Since I have no plans of this pillow sitting anywhere but on my yellow chairs and I don’t anticipate the chairs themselves getting too much use, I was fine doing a raw stich on the underside of the pillow. If I were to make this pillow for my couch and it was to be tossed around all of the time, I would have stitched this part on a machine so it looked cleaner. Like I said, I am going for a low-sew pillow, so this worked just fine for me. I also really like seeing stitches in some things. I think they look neat.

With the pillow covered lengthwise, it was time to finish the edges. I flipped the pillow vertically so the white pillow underneath the fabric was showing. I placed a stitch in the center of the top of the pillow then started folding the fabric down onto the needle. This gave the pillow a bunched look at both ends. When the fabric had all been bunched, I folded down the top of the last flap of fabric so no raw edges were exposed. I then did a quick stitch to keep that part down. I did this for both ends of the pillow.

Now comes the fun part. I wanted to add an accent to my pillow, so I created a teal flower out of fabric. To do this, I cut eight circles out of my teal fabric and folded each circle into eighths.

Once all of the circles were folded, I stitched them together joining each folded circle at the pointy base. Once all eight were threaded together, I looped back around and put one last stitch into the first circle. That left me with a ring of fabric petals. I started to stitch that onto my pillow, spreading out each petal to give the flower dimension. Once I was happy with how that looked, I sewed a navy button onto the center of my flower. With that, my pillow was complete!

 

So cute, right? I was excited to pop it onto the yellow chair to see how it looked.

Cute, but something was definitely missing. With that, I started on my second low-sew pillow.

Low-Sew Pillow No. 2

For my second pillow, I picked a gray polka-dotted fabric. I also decided to go with a square pillow. I ripped off the cover of an old pillow and got to work.

I did a similar technique as I did with the first pillow, folding the raw fabric up to the center of the pillow and stitching the fabric to the pillow.

Once that was tacked into place, I folded one of the remaining tides and tacked onto the pillow as well.

Looks really nice, huh? For the final flap, I folded all of the raw edges under before folding the flap onto the pillow. I then did a stitch around all of the exposed seams. Once the pillow was all low-sewn into place, I added a big ol’ yellow flower to the top corner using the same technique as on the first pillow.

LOVE IT! Back to the chair!

Adorable, right? I like it so much better with two pillows!

Two pillows down, two to go.

Low-Sew Pillow No. 3

This was the last pillow I made last night — I got all tuckered out after three of them. This one is way different!

I started with a small rectangular pillow.

Like the other pillows, I folded up the long sides and stitched them together.

Now comes the fun part! With the excess fabric, I took up each end of the fabric and tied it into a knot in the center of the pillow.

If the fabric I was using didn’t fray, I could have simply cut off the white edges and went on my merry way. But I chose a fabric that would fray if I left it cut, so I trimmed off the white edges and tucked one half of the bow underneath the left side of the pillow, and the other part of the bow under the right side of the pillow. Then, I tacked down the corners underneath so the stitches were hidden and the edges od the bow wouldn’t pop back out accidentally.

Super cute! But it was missing an accent color. No flower for this pillow — I sewed a yellow buttons on top of the polka dots. Then I decided that was ugly, so I removed all but one little accent button. So cute.

Low-Sew pillow No. 3, complete!

I love my yellow chairs even more with the accent pillows — the pillows do a nice job of toning down the crazy yellow of the chairs.

I also think I’m going to move them chairs upstairs into our gray living room. They look nicer against the gray than they do against the greenish-blue.

Thanks for stopping by!