Sunday, March 17, 2013

Color of the Year: Emerald

Every year around this time, Pantone releases their spin on what the Color of the Year trend forecast will be. For 2013, they've chosen an emerald tone, which reads a bit more blue than your typical Kelly Green.

When asked about the rationale for choosing this color for 2013, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman responded: "Green is the most abundant hue in nature- the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum... Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal, and rejuvenation, which is so important in today's complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors".

In light of it being St. Patrick's day, and with the coming of Spring, this is a good choice. It carries optimism and a reserved sense of fun. I'm interested to see how this color trend will carry through to the back half of the year, and which tones will be pared with it to make a bold green become the shade for Fall and Winter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Color of the Week: Indigo

For myself, the essence of Fall this year, is best represented by deep, inky indigo hues. Indigo in its nature is a hard color to peg. On its own, it relays a thousand shades and more depth than you could ask for. But, when pared with a complimentary color, its true tone- blue or purple- comes to life.

This week's color is from Benjamin Moore's new Color Stories line, and is called Approaching Storm CSP-535. It is a moodier indigo, and carries a muted gray tone about it. A color like this can stand on its own, and really doesn't need to rely on a brighter accent to carry it through. I see this shade working well for a dining room- one with crown molding and architectural interest. I could also see this color working well in a bedroom, casting a dark shadow to emulate the nighttime sky.

I must admit, that my recent indigo obsession was spurred on by the candle featured above. It's from Pier 1, and the fragrance is called "Indigo Blues" and contains notes of cedar, patchouli, and musk. I've pretty much had it burning non-stop, every evening, for the past few weeks. When picturing Fall-time imagery, most direct their thoughts immediately to burnt orange and golden tones. This year, I like to consider the inky indigo that truly is the Fall's dusky approach.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bathroom Art 2.0

It's pretty typical. People usually come over, and the first thing they say is, "oh my god, I loove your entryway- it's so bright and fun!". And we thank them, and move on. And then they say, "woow, I loove your hot pink living room", and usually follow it up with a comment on how they wish they had brighter colors in their home. And statements like these cause me to realize that our entire place is a conversation starter, just waiting to happen. But, hands down, the best surprise of all is when one of them uses the bathroom, and come out with a big grin on their face. And I can tell that they've just seen our designated towel holders and the personalized artwork that accompanies it (all chronicled over here).

As Hazel has gotten a bit bigger, and no longer has her mouth hidden by an enormous pacifier, I decided to update her picture, and personalize it a bit to her likes and who she is. I drew her as a mermaid, in a yellow tutu, discovering treasure. The mermaid bit was a must, as she is enamoured with all things ocean, and as especially been on the mermaid bandwagon ever since Barbie came out with a mermaid movie (just in case you weren't aware, Barbie has decided to stop being a plastic doll, and is now starring in animated children's films). The tutu is a homage to her love of dancing, and she is certainly ahead of the pack when it comes to movement. And finally, the discovery of treasure is all about how fascinated she is by the world around her- and how every day brings her wonderment and surprise.

Next up is Everett's first drawing. This one I struggled with a bit, as he's only a couple of months old, and hasn't really taken up interests such as mermaids or dance as of yet. How do you possibly capture the personality of someone who is just becoming who they are?- it's a pretty daunting task. I decided to go a bit generic and draw him in his whale bath tub- and the thing that I wanted to capture most with his drawing was his smile. He has a great smile- it truly takes up his entire face. And his laugh sounds just like something out of a Huggies commercial. The green frame is one that we picked up at IKEA when we were newly pregnant with him- long before we knew that he was a boy. And it is one of the best colors on him. After drawing both his and Hazel's pictures, I'm interested to see what his next update will be, and what sorts of interests and changes will accompany it.

And finally, here's the whole family: I decided not to update Jackie's and my picture, as I still get quite a kick out of them. We're hoping to get some new towels for us- maybe our own color too, or something to match our frames. And it's not merely a cosmetic change, as we've had these towels for a looong time, and it's time for something fluffy and new. When we hung the towel hooks, we hung four, and used the far right one has a guest towel hook for the longest time, just saving it for the day when our family of 4 would be complete. This is probably one of my greatest artistic achievements, and it brings me joy every morning. And I'll never grow tired of witnessing someone step out of our bathroom, having seen the pictures for the first time, with a massive grin on their face.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Reupholstering a Wing Back Chair

This is one of those moments when I desperately wished that I had a before picture. Instead, I have a bit of a story, and a whole lot of after.
When we began to discuss options for giving up a nook in our bedroom for Everett (more to come on that soon), one of the wants that we outlined for the space was a comfortable chair to rock Everett to sleep in. After many failed IKEA attempts, and not really willing to spend $500+ on something from Pier 1 or Sears, we went thrifting. Rather, Jackie did the thrifting will I was at work. She scoped out a few gems and sent pictures of them to my phone. Our number one priority was comfort and function, but something that wasn't too sore on the eyes was a bit necessary as well. My other priority- which I made pretty loud and clear, was that the chair would somehow have to be reupholstered. I'm not sure why, but I seriously get heebie-jeebies whenever I sit in a thrift store chair... like I have bugs and grease crawling all over my body. I guess you could file it under "snob", right along with my stubborn nature to only drink Starbucks coffee.
Anyways, of the three chairs that we checked out, the one we ended up purchasing stuck out the most because it was a wing back chair, and it was the most comfortable: score. However, it would also be the most difficult to reupholster: boo. I should've learned from recovering that Roman Shade, that I just am no good with fabric. So, for $40, we purchased a wing back chair that was brownish in color (I say "ish" because there really were many tones going on, and brown was the most recognizable), and had wood stained cabriole legs.
Similar to the Roman Shade, there was much debate over the choice of fabric that we would use to cover it. When we moved into our apartment, we purchased a small TULLSTA chair from IKEA, and Hazel really messed that chair up. It didn't clean easily, and the solid color of the fabric really showed off any stain. *yuck*. This taught us that the fabric needed to be super durable and easy to clean. We also didn't want to spend an arm and a leg on the fabric, as this chair could easily turn into a $100+ project, and that would defeat the purpose of buying something used. After many failed fabric store attempts, we remembered an old green fabric with lots of pattern on it, that we had purchased in bulk on a clearance table at IKEA, probably 5 years ago. Fortunately, we had more than enough fabric to get the job done.

And so, here is the final result:

WOW! So, how did we do it? Well, I'm only going to claim about 5% of this victory, and I'm going to attribute the rest to my amazing wife. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's take a moment to admire the radness of the fabric: Yes, it does showcase trees, purple cars, a heart, silhouettes of people, and even a cow.

Now, for the execution of the project. Prior to even picking up a sewing needle, I attempted to read up on some reupholstery tutorials. Most implied that the best way to perform a successful reupholstery, was to cut up the existing fabric and remove it from the furniture piece. Then, to cut the same size shapes from the fabric, and reattach. Simple, right? Well, just as quickly as I finished reading up on this information, Jackie pretty much had half of the chair done, without ever ripping a single piece of fabric off. How did she do it? Well, I'm still not entirely sure. She's kind of awesome that way. She just roughly measured, cut up the fabric, and sewed piece by piece to cover the entire surface area. It was pretty remarkable to witness. To attach the newly formed fabric slipcover, we used upholstery tacks that we purchased at a fabric store. We debated getting some chunky silver ones, and using them to border the edges of the arm rests, but decided to keep it simple with the plain black tacks. And with a few flicks of a hammer, the chair was crafted into a new life.


Oh, and as for my 5% of the contribution: I got to paint the legs! And I was more than honored to do it! It did take one coat of primer, two coats of Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee, and 2 coats of water-based high gloss Varathane to get the job done. But it certainly transformed those legs from a drab walnut stain to a chic and modern look.

And, yes, all of these pictures were taken in our living room, due to the fact that the chair really didn't last in the nursery nook for very long. Originally it fit nice and snug between the wall and Everett's bassinet. But, Everett didn't stay little for long, and we had to quickly upgrade him to a full-size crib, which meant that the chair had to go... into the living room!- which gave a great opportunity for us to ditch that nasty and generic TULLSTA, and replace it with something personalized and easy to clean.

So, there you have it: a long-winded explanation on how a chair came into our lives, with very little explanation as to how to reupholster a chair. My advice: marry someone brilliant- they'll figure out the rest.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall is Here

I was having coffee with a friend last night, discussing the change of seasons, and how- on many levels- it just doesn't feel like Fall yet. Sure, the Pumpkin Spice Lattes are abundant. And, I suppose there's an occasional barren tree, surrounded by a base of orange leaves. But, something seems missing. So, I had Hazel help me bring a little bit of Fall into our home.- which, for the record, Hazel doesn't seem to understand the concept of Fall, as whenever I tell her that Fall is here, she says, "oh, Fall!", and drops to the ground.

Below is the latest addition to our Fall decor- it's a white ceramic owl that I bought for Jackie on the first day of Fall, to help ring in the new season. Knowing us, once Fall is done, I'm pretty sure that the owl will take up permanent residence in our living room- but, who knows.

Oh, and speaking of owls- I pretty much spent the entire 2011 year blogging whenever applicable about the owl butter dish from West Elm. Well, I definitely bought it as a surprise for Jackie for Christmas. I love it's sunny yellow color, and now that our family is a unit of 4, it holds that much more meaning.

Anyways, back to Fall- with the chilly night air seeping into our living room, that Hazel and I have just decorated, and with a fresh batch of candy corn, and orange candles glimmering, Fall is here, and wherever you are.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Trend to Watch: Foxes

I think that it was around this time last year that I predicted the trend of owls- and look at how that exploded! Just in our own living space, I can count 4 owl-related decorative items that are part of our everyday decor. But, as the owl trend seems to be fleeting away, it's become apparent that foxes are the new owls.

Check out some of these great fox-related finds!:

Fox placemat:

placemats, fox

Ceramic fox speaker:

Platinum Fox:

Sly Fox Door Knocker:

On a recent trip to the Canadian Superstore, we came across this new line of kids decor called Jump Kids World Collection. We snapped up a clock and a storage bin for Hazel- both with a fox motif!

Here's the clock:

and here's the storage bin:

The fox is a creature that brings some well-needed warmth into the coming Autumn and Winter months. He can be portrayed as friendly or sly, and I highly recommend showcasing fox decor in the main living areas of your home, as it can tend to be a seasonal item, and may not hold the same weight during the warmer Spring and Summer months, as it does in the later half of the year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Re-covering a Roman Shade

This is a DIY project that has been plaguing my To-Do Lists for months! I was in way over my head with this one, and as per usual, it was all my idea. And as with all great ideas, this one began with a need... sort of. It all started with the need of covering up the light that poured in from our french door leading onto our balcony. For the time being, as we were unsure of what window covering to go with, we draped a piece of IKEA fabric that was pinned onto a magnetic curtain rod. While the temporary covering looked great, it still did not block out enough light, and the rod fell down a few times when Hazel would tug onto the fabric *ouch!*

As I've mentioned before, one of the perks of my job at Home Depot, is that when product comes in damaged or neglected, I can get first dibs at receiving it at a potentially discounted price. I had a customer who had purchased some Roman Shades for a set of french doors. One of the shades came slightly un-glued at the bottom rail, and this was unacceptable to her- and so, we re-ordered a new shade for her. I then called the manufacturer to inquire about shipping the broken shade back to them. They suggested that I simply throw the shade in the garbage, as it was off no use to them... did I mention that the shade was worth $350? And they wanted me to throw it out!? So, I pulled some strings, and got the blind for free! It had a top down/ bottom up feature- meaning that the shade could be lowered and raised from the top and the bottom of the blind. The only issue I had with it was its silky, cream-colored fabric. It was a bit too old lady for my liking.

Jackie and I tormented ourselves trying to find the perfect fabric to cover the shade- as it had to be thick enough to block most of the light, had to be somewhat fun and whimsical, and had to be a fabric that we wouldn't grow tired of for a long time. We stumbled upon this green indoor/outdoor fabric at Fabricland- on discount- and thought it would be a solid addition, as the tones went well with the dresser and Hazel's play mat.

As far as re-covering the shade went... well, I think I spent a few hours simply staring at the fabric and the roman shade, trying to come up with a brilliant scheme of how to tackle the project. I assumed that sewing would be involved, and late one night, I sewed the top seam of the shade on via hand-stitch, as sewing machines and myself tend to not get along. Realizing that this project was becoming more of a chore than anything, I decided to speed things up by purchasing some fabric glue. The plan was to start by gluing at the seams, waiting for it to dry, and then wrapping the excess fabric tight, and gluing that to the back of the shade. I applied the glue very liberally to the seams between the fabric's folds. And it seemed to be working great, until it dried- and looked like dried snot. It was pretty discouraging. So, I threw the shade back into the closet, and let some more time pass.

Fortunately, as time went on, the seams were less snot-like, and now I was left with having to glue the excess fabric down the sides of the shade. For this, I pursued a different avenue: using iron-on fabric tape. And what a difference it made!- Gone was the snotty-glue appearance. And instead, I ended up with crisp, clean lines. My recommendation: use that iron-on tape! It made the project a breeze, and I was happy to have the shade re-covered.

The final step of the Roman Shade project was to mount it to the door. The door was metal, and so I made sure to purchase metal screws, rather than use the cheap drywall screws that came with the blind. Jackie ended up doing the mounting part, as I just couldn't seem to drill a pilot hole evenly. The only tragedy that occurred with hanging the blind was that, during the process of hanging the brackets, the blind was stepped on, and shattered one of the clips that operated the top down/ bottom up feature. Boo. But, the blind served its purpose. It's a project that I'm really glad to have completed- but will likely never do again. It resulted in too much hassle, and felt more like a chore than a project that I was excited about. However, it felt pretty good to step back and admire the shade once it was mounted. Gone was the nasty granny-linen fabric; it was replaced with a funky floral print that complimented our living room perfectly.

After having the shade up on the door for many months- and throughout the summer especially, the shade has certainly served its purpose. It has become as much a part of the room as the hot pink feature wall, or our color coded DVD shelves. And best of all- it keeps our creeper neighbors from looking in!