Different Strokes

It’s been nearly nine months since I moved into my little home, and I often forget just how much work I’ve done to make it feel like mine. This weekend while I was cleaning out the files on my computer, I came across the original photos that were posted to the Craigslist ad for my place, and it was quite the welcome reminder what a little love, patience, and sweat can do to a space. Let’s go for a spin down memory lane…

Living Area – Then

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Living Area – Now

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Kitchen – Then

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Kitchen – Now

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And my personal favorite… Bathroom – Then

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Bathroom – Now

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It’s pretty spectacular what you can do with a little imagination and a grad student budget. Bless the colorful woman that lived in my home before me, but may I never be tasked with decorating a room alongside her. Can’t wait to keep watching this place take shape.

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Love At First Sight

One addition to my home that I have been desperately searching for was a small entry table to live under my new mirror. The hunt has proven to be quite the challenge. The table had to be just right – not so deep that it would interfere with opening my front door, not so wide that it would run into my electrical outlets, and tall enough to meet my mirror at the right height. I didn’t want to just buy any old table online and decided I would wait for the right piece to find me. And Saturday afternoon it did! I was browsing at the Ross near me, which usually has quite the skimpy furniture collection, but there she was. And let me tell you, she is truly perfect.

Here she is! Trying to name her because she really is name-worthy. Suggestions are welcome.

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I love that I now have a place for my larger hardbacks. That Young House Love book has been begging for a better home! The hardware is also removable so I plan on finding something a bit anthro inspired to better match the rest of the space.

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Ain’t she a beaut?

It’s Been a Long Time Coming

But a change finally did come! 100 points to Ravenclaw if you understand my Sam Cooke reference. But really. After three months of puke-orange kitchen nightmares, it’s finally gone. Completely gone. No more nights staring at my kitchen walls telling myself this would be the week – the week I finally paint my kitchen. And people, it feels oh so good. I’ve never felt so satisfied staring at a blank white wall. So here she was in all her puke-orange glory (sorry for the bad iPhone pic):

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Kitchen BeforeAnd here she is now…

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DSC_0004Don’t get me wrong… there is still a TON of work to be done. And there really is just no hope for that awful tile. That being said, just getting rid of the orange has made such a difference. But, let me tell you, it was no easy feat. There was a lot of climbing on top of refrigerators and behind washing machines and under cabinetry… and on top of counters. You get the idea.

Half of my walls are also covered in some pretty nasty 70s paneling which had some pretty wild cracks from floor to ceiling. But what girl isn’t always equipped with a jar of spackle and a spackling knife? I ended up spending quite a bit of time repairing the cracks which delayed the process by about a day. But my spackle starts off purple and then turns white, which makes me really happy, so it was all good.

DSC_0066And if that stupid orange hadn’t caused me enough heartache already, it took nearly five coats to completely cover.

DSC_0060But after much hard work, a lot of paint in my hair, and some really sore quads, she is done. I can’t wait to find some curtains for the window and figure out something fun to do on all my blank wall space. So many options! Simply can’t wait!

Here she is… one last time 🙂

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Subtle Changes

I love how even the smallest of additions can make spaces in my home feel so much closer to complete. Over inauguration weekend, a dear friend of mine came to visit from NYC and with her she brought a darling metal “A” for my new place. Not sure if it was by chance or she is just extremely observant and thoughtful, but it matched perfectly with my new photo gallery wall.

This weekend, I finally added it to my gallery and it makes the whole thing feel so much more complete. Here’s what she looks like:

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Cute, no? I really really love how it turned out. Thanks, V for the awesome A! I’m hoping to add more frames in the future, but I want it to evolve slowly. Until then.

Pay No Attention to the Clothes Behind the Curtain

FINALLYYYY! I finally finally made the curtain for my one baby closet that houses my entire life. I ordered the burlap months ago but never got around to actually making the curtain. But today? Curtain is hung and I am a happy girl.

I originally learned how to make no-sew curtains when I started reading Young House Love two years ago. Since then they’ve become a DIY love of mine. I made my current curtains for my old apartment and made my sister a set of snazzy yellow and grey curtains. So I was looking forward to tackling a project I had done before.

When I finally unraveled my yards of burlap I realized that I got less than I ordered and was about 7 inches short. So I started by trimming 4 inches off width wise which gave me a few extra scraps and the potential to get creative.

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After I trimmed the edges, I needed to hem them. I prefer to iron the hem first so I can see the edge without committing to anything.

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After I had the hem ironed down, I placed my Heat n’ Bond hem tape in the crease and ironed the hem closed.

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After I had both sides hemmed, I needed to add some length to my curtain. I started by taking my scraps and cutting them into four pieces. Then I just hemmed them to the bottom of the curtain, which created a cute striped detail.

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(And I trimmed that little bit of excess on the end). Then I took some jute string I had and threaded it across the top of the curtain so that I could hang the panel.

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The final product? Heaven.

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Here’s a better look at the striped detail at the bottom.

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And I just love how it looks next to my necklaces.

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Happy heart ❤

But s*** it was 99 cents!

I’m back. The hiatus is over and after a month of letting my hair down, lots of reflection, and a few key moments of clarity I am so ready to tackle this new year and enjoy all it has to offer.

My new years resolution? If it makes me happy I should do it. If it gives me butterflies I should buy it. If it makes me feel awesome I should wear it.

So I decided to start my year off with something that equally makes me happy, gives me butterflies, and makes me feel awesome… why a BARGAIN of course!

If you’ve yet to hear Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, here’s where I change your life.

If you know me, then you know that this hands down wins as my theme song. I don’t pay full price for anything, and the Arlington Goodwill and I are well acquainted. One of my best Goodwill wins wasn’t even mine but was this killer bench I helped Young Scholar’s Life refinish. Macklemore also makes for a pretty killer bargain hunting soundtrack.

So the year began poppin’ some tags (at TJMaxx not the Goodwill but close enough) and by the end of the night I was home with an incredible new rug which originally cost over $300. I, however, only paid $120.

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The rug covers nearly the entire floor of my living area, which makes the space feel so much cozier and more easily allows for floor-living, which of course includes floor-DIYing, floor-reading, and floor-west-wing-watching. I also love how very anthro it feels without the anthro price. Because, let’s be real… who can afford a $20 teacup? Not this lady.

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My pretty new rug was not my only bargain that day. I also managed to snag this equally-anthro-feeling mirror that I’m totally obsessed with at less than half the original price.

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It lives right by my front door which is incredibly convenient in the mornings when I’m running late to work. I also hope to buy a nice, compact buffet or sideboard for the empty space underneath it. It’s on the to-do list.

The only problem now? My curtains no longer match at all, which means I’ll need to make new ones… oh shucks 🙂 So at the end of the day, I paid more than 99 cents (sorry Macklemore), but I certainly got a bargain. Not to mention I’m absolutely loving my new additions.

Happy. Butterflies. Awesome. I could get used to 2013.

ORB Family Fun

I’m back…. after much too long. This weekend I traveled far below the Mason-Dixon to my lovely hometown of Memphis, TN to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday! The weekend was filled with lots of laughs, cocktails, mustaches, and a few happy tears.

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"Yo Yo The Big 6-0"

Amazing carrot cake made by Marian. Decorated hastily by me.

Check out my awkward arm... meh.

With my daddy and pretty sisters. Check out my awkward arm… meh.

After the festivities concluded, I being the DIY/YHL-obsessed girl that I am, convinced my Dad and Stepmom to paint their old 90s brass shower frame Rustoleum Universal in Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB). My dad was clearly hesitant so we only tested the inside of two panels so he could see how it would look.

First we taped/papered off the glass and tile portion of the shower.

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Next, I carefully sprayed a thin coat of the ORB over the not-so-trendy brass frame. After testing a small section, my Dad seemed to totally be on board so I finished spraying the inside of the two glass panels we had taped off.

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After letting it sit for a few hours, we peeled back the paper and tape. Dad and Marian (my step-mom) seemed to be happy with the result (you know unless they just have really good poker faces and were humoring me, though I don’t think that was the case).

DSC_0238It looks black in the photos, but in real life it has this nice bronze-shimmery tone to it.

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I am just so in love with how it turned out. They’re hoping to finish the rest of it sometime in the coming weeks. I’m also planning on ORB-ing up my door knobs here pretty soon, and this project made me all the more excited to do so!

A Ruffled Winter Wonderland

About a month ago I made a leap and bought a new duvet cover that was way girlier than  anything I’ve ever owned, but I figured hey what the… hay? Bad joke. I ordered it through Ebay from a retailer in India. After about two weeks I still had no word that it had shipped, so I sent them a message to which they replied that they had had an entire week off to celebrate Diwali and my order had not yet been processed.

I was no doubt frustrated, but as festive of a person as I am, I couldn’t get mad over holiday celebrations. So I patiently waited for my new duvet. FedEx made their first attempt to deliver it the Friday after Thanksgiving, but because I was in Indiana they were unable to deliver it. The Monday after I returned I left the doortag signed on my door, but that evening still no package. I called FedEx and calmly explained what happened, so they made a note to the driver to leave the package no matter what. The next evening when I arrived home there was still no package. So I called FedEx and less calmly explained what happened. 24 hours later I had my duvet FINALLY!!!

DSC_0014DSC_0024I think the ruffles need some time to become less stiff and unwrinkle, but so far I love it. And it feels so cozy and welcoming. I need to buy two fuller pillows for the shams and some sweet throw pillows. On the to-do list. I also had to add a small buffer at the foot of the bed for my sweet sweet kitten. Okay she’s no kitten and a bit queen sized, but I love her all the same. I will be introducing her soon.

And although I still have quite a bit of holiday decorating to do, I thought I’d share a pic of my new Christmas tree. He is so perfect and fat and I love to see him twinkling through the window. Just love love love this time of year.

DSC_0012My little studio is really starting to feel like a home.

P.S. Check out my tree topper… HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS!!!