Posts made in February, 2013

The living room revisited (my plan of attack for creating a cozier, less anemic space)

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Living Room | 0 comments

Ok, I’m just going to come right out and say it…

There’s too much white going on in our living room.

There.  It’s out.  I’ve said it and I feel much better now.  Thank you!

Please don’t get me wrong – I adore my white Ektorp sofa.  It’s been insanely easy to keep clean given that I have an electrician hubby who comes home rather dirty from construction-ish job sites each day.  And it’s valiantly held its own against our fur family of three who shed uncontrollably and occasionally decide that the sofa is an appropriate place to drop the odd hairball (despite that I’ve asked them several times to head toward the ugly kitchen linoleum whenever they feel queasy.)  (Unfortunately cats don’t seem to understand the washability factor of solid surfaces vs fabric.)

But yes, my living room needs a little ooomph.  A little less shabby, a little less chic, if you will, with a little more cozy and a lot more colour blended in.  Because right now we’re hanging out in blahs-ville.  And we’re looking a little anemic.  And I’m in need of a big ol’ change.

I should have seen this coming.  My absolute favourite Ikea living room set up is this one (which doesn’t have a source attached to it, but given that absolutely EVERYTHING in this room appears to be from Ikea, I’m pretty sure this is an image courtesy of the good folk under the big blue and yellow sign…)

Ikea image with white Ektorp sofas and black gray and yellow accents

There’s still a lot of white happening in that room, but the white is so nicely balanced by the darker elements (the black and white cushions, darker drapes, the black side table and bookcase) plus a little colour too.  :)

Contrast all that with my current living room…

Edgecomb Gray living room with white Ektorp furniture

(Insert sad muted trombone womp-womp here.)  White sofa, white chairs, white fireplace, white drapes, white coffeetable, greige walls, beige lamps, light-coloured cushions…  Yawn.  I’m bored.  You?

So, with our Ikea trip for bedroom textiles still looming, here’s what I have planned….

1.  We’re going to swap out the curtains.  I need new curtains for the bedroom, so the white curtains currently decorating our living room will be heading upstairs to their new bedroom-y home and I’m hoping to find nice gray replacement curtains for down here.  Maybe even another pair of Ikea Ritva curtains (but this time in gray):

2.  I may do the unthinkable and get black slipcovers for our two white Ikea Tullsta chairs.  Maybe.  I’m not 100% sold on this idea yet (black seems so… dark), but those two little Tullsta chairs seem to get furrier and dirtier than our couch (despite that we sit on them far less) and I’ve never been a huge fan of white on those two chairs anyway.  They look… cheap or something to me.  (I’m not sure why.)  And plus, I found this image of a sweet little black Tullsta chair from site House to Home and realized that black might be a nice change…

Ikea black Tullsta Ektorp chair with colourful cushion

Truth be told, I’d rather slipcover them in gray than black, but the Tullsta slipcover options are a wee bit limited (so black it might be!)

3.  Last, but not least, I’d really like new pillows and throws in various grays to match our area rug, since nothing actually matches our area rug right now – a fact that I didn’t realize until I read this rather brilliant post about choosing cushions for your sofa from Centsational Girl (thank you Centsational Girl!)  Here’s an example I found from Varrell Home Designs that demonstrates CG’s theory that your cushions should match your rug to some extent – they have a navy rug, and they’ve incorporated navy and blue in some of the cushions.  And, as a result, it all looks rather lovely together!

Pretty navy blue and white living room with Ektorp and ikea furniture

So those are my goals for now.  New drapes, possibly new Tullsta slipcovers, and definitely a few new cushions.  It’s my plan of attack.  And I’m quite excited to start attacking.

And, afterwards, I’m pretty sure I’ll wonder why I didn’t think of this earlier.

 

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A tisket, a tasket, I found a brand new (sale-priced!) basket (alternate title: three cheers for Michaels!)

Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Living Room | 2 comments

Michaels rocks.  Can I say that?  It really really does.  (And I’m not a Michaels ambassador and they’re not paying me for that endorsement, I just love them lots and lots!) (not that I’d say no if they offered…) (just saying.)  I popped into my local Michaels store the other day to pick up another ball of yarn for my ongoing scarf project (since I’m knitting like a madman over here lately) and I walked out with…

-a lovely basket I found on sale (regularly $44, all mine for $22!)

-a pretty metallic picture frame picked out of the clearance pile for $4 (happy squeal!)

-a sheet of lovely scrapbook paper that was neither on sale nor on clearance (but it’s pretty and, at $0.99, it still felt like a ginormous bargain)

…and my ball of yarn (of course!)  Quite the hodge-podge-y group of items eh?  But, oh… I had plans.  All of this Michaels-bounty (minus the yarn) went toward updating my little living room and faux fireplace.

And, that all said, here’s the result of lots of rearranging and tweaking and pondering and tweaking some more…

White faux fireplace in Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray living room with basket inside

Tada!  OK.  So it’s not necessarily a hallelujah moment, but I think it looks better.  :)  Here’s what I did…

First…

I summoned my inner DIY-er and created the world’s easiest art for inside my new (really really inexpensive!) metallic frame (which, btw, reminds me a lot of the fancy gold frames my grandmother used to have scattered around her house) (which, of course, makes me love this frame even more.)  The instructions?

-cut a 4×6″ rectangle (to match the size of the frame) from a sheet of basic white printer paper

-fold it in half and cut a heart into it (a la grade one Valentine’s Day art project)

-put said piece of paper (minus cutout heart) in the frame (letting the brown cardboard backing that came with the frame peek through the cutout)

…and poof!  Instant 30 second art.

Simple and easy heart art print project using basic white paper

Super cute, eh?  And, almost as important, super easy!

That all said, I can’t really take any credit for this project.  I first saw this idea here on House Pretty’s lovely blog.  My method is a little different, but the overall end result is pretty similar.  And I don’t want to be a big bad awesome easy art project idea thief!  So, House Pretty, I’m totally tipping my hat to you on this one.  :)

And then…

My second easiest-ever DIY art project?  Adding that lovely $0.99 scrapbook paper to a frame for an instant print.  No fancy instructions required, just add scrapbook paper to frame, put frame in a frame-worthy spot, and admire.  Done!

Easy framed scrapbook paper DIY art project

The paper I used doesn’t even really fit my frame, if you want to get all technical about it.  The paper is 12×12″ I think (or whatever standard scrapbook paper size is) and the frame is matted for an 11×14″.  But it still works. Truth be told, I kinda want to wallpaper my entire house with this scrapbook paper.  So springy!  So happy!  I’m hoping to find other places around the house where I can use this pretty paper shortly (which, in turn, means another trip to Michaels – yay!)  I love it just that much.

As does Jacob.  Lesson learned: never try to take pictures of things on the floor.  When you do, this happens…

Orange cat photobombing my picture (but being cute about it)

Yup.  Jacob agreed that this scrapbook paper was the prettiest he had ever seen (and, as a result, he felt he should roll around on it.)

I’m hardly a scrapbooking aficionado, but I’m guessing that cats don’t make very good scrapbookers.

And last (but definitely not least) (in fact, the opposite of least… most?)…

The basket is my absolute favourite addition to the room.  I’ve been searching for a basket to fill the fireplace void for a while now, but baskets are crazy expensive (and I’m rather frugal.)  Which is why I did a little happy dance in the middle of Michaels when I realized that all of their baskets were marked 50% off.  Woo!  And I’m pretty sure I practically skipped out of the store.  (I tend to do that when I find a good deal.  People look at me funny, but I don’t care.  Cocked eyebrows can’t compare with the joy of finding a bargain.)

Wondering what to put in faux fireplace hole?  Add a basket full of blankets!  Easy and pretty and functional!

Doesn’t it look cozy all filled with blankets?  Yep!  I’m ridiculously pleased with my find.  :)

In conclusion…

So there!  Those were my Michaels-inspired updates!  I made a couple of non-Michaels-related improvements too, like the framed black and white pic of me and my girlfriends from back in our university years (that I found while rummaging through our second bedroom last weekend) (we look so young… sigh!)  And I did a bit (um, a lot) of rearranging too.

Pretty simple fireplace mantel with round mirror and whites, creams and a bit of blue

All in all, the room is coming.  Slowly but surely.  I figure by the time we decide to sell the house I’ll get it right.  I still need something on the wall to the left of my pretty little faux fireplace (besides the cats’ beloved scratch post, of course) but that’s a whole different story (that I’ve already obsessed a bit about HERE) for a whole different day.

Living room in Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray with white Ektorp couch and faux fireplace

Until then, I’ll likely continue rearranging things weekly-ish and posting regular fireplace-mantel updates.

Excited?  Me too.  :)

 

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Lions and zebras and giraffes (oh my!) (it’s a bit like a Toto song in here…)

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Nursery | 0 comments

Have I ever mentioned that we have not one, but TWO bedrooms in this house?  Shocking, I know!  The second bedroom sits directly across the tiny little hallway from our master-ish bedroom (“master-ish” because at about 10×10′ it’s hardly grandiose.)  And this second bedroom is where we hide stuff.  (True story.)  A desk, our filing cabinet, a couple of storage chests, random boxes that we still haven’t emptied since the move (um, like, 2+ years ago…)  I leave the door closed 95% of the time because I can’t handle looking at the mess.  Why don’t we use this bedroom for something substantial (like an office or a guest room or some sort of similarly dignified purpose?)  Afterall, our house IS rather tiny, so you’d think we’d put the room to good, functional use, right?

Look…

Yellow nursery with painted jungle animals - giraffe and elephant

Yup.  Lookout Tarzan, we’ve entered a happy little jungle!

Little yellow nursery with animals painted on walls - lions and zebras and butterflies

The people who owned this house before us used this room as their nursery (obviously.)  And, truth be told, I’m hoping that one day it might possibly be our nursery too.  And, because of that, I can’t bear to paint over the rather cheery-looking animals that someone carefully and lovingly painted on the walls.

Painted jungle animals on nursery walls - butterfly on yellow

Jungle themed nursery with yellow walls and painted animals - lions and butterfly

Are jungle animals my thing?  Um, no.  And even when this does become our nursery some day, the animals will likely get traded in for a far more subdued colour palette (since it’s rather glaringly bright in this room, and I’m more of a muted grays kinda gal.)  But, until then, I don’t have the heart to ruthlessly paint over those happy little faces.

Hand painted giraffe in yellow nursery

Especially the giraffe.  He makes me smile.  :)

 

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The cheesecake incident (and other Valentine’s Day tales)‏

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Recipes we love! | 0 comments

Once upon a time, a long long time ago (pre-marriage, pre-home ownership, pre-multi-cat clan) I made Sweetie a cheesecake for Valentine’s Day.  Sweetie and I had only been together for a few months at this point, and I was quite proud of my pretty little cheesecake (and rather excited to show him my culinary skills!)  It was perfect!  I carefully decorated the top with a cherry pie filling heart, and lovingly stashed it away in the fridge so it would set and be ready for Valentine’s Day supper.

Then Sweetie came home from work.  And then Sweetie went to look for a snack.  And then…  I heard a shriek come from the kitchen.

“Oh no!  Sweetie?” I heard Sweetie exclaim.  (And, yes, Sweetie calls me Sweetie.)  (Barf, I know.  We’re gross.)

“Yes?”  I replied, a little concerned by the panic in his voice.

And then came the saddest question ever: “You have another cheesecake, right?”

I ran to the kitchen.  There, upsidedown and on the floor in front of Bertha (the archaic electricity-sucking poop-coloured brown fridge that dominated our apartment kitchen) was my cheesecake.

It was a traumatic moment, I’m not gonna lie.  And I did not, in fact, have another cheesecake.

It was a very sad Valentine’s Day indeed.

But, as always, life must carry on.  And it did, sans cheesecake.  Sweetie and I moved out of our ugly-fridge-filled apartment and bought our first house.  We got married.  We sold our first house and bought another house.  And in the midst of all this moving and marrying we adopted a few cats along the way too.

Yes, cheesecake incident or not, life has been good.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, and in remembrance of that sad, sad day many years ago, I delved into my recipe pile last night and made a cheesecake (much like the ill-fated floor-bound cheesecake of yore.)  The recipe is super easy.  It’s my mom’s cheesecake recipe (a well-loved recipe I remember her making throughout my childhood) but, truth be told, I’m pretty sure it’s actually quite likely Philly’s recipe, or Kraft’s recipe, or something like that.  (Dear cream cheese makers and/or Kraft execs, I apologize if my mom plagiarized your recipe and called it her own.  It’s very tasty!  Thank you!)

Here’s the recipe…

 

INGREDIENTS

1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust (or if you’re really ambitious – I am not – you can make your own!)

1 envelope of Dream Whip (prepared)

1 cup icing sugar

1 8oz package of cream cheese (softened)

1 can of cherry pie filling

METHOD

1.  Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions.

2.  Add icing sugar and cream cheese.  Beat until smooth.

3.  Pour cream cheese mixture into graham cracker pie crust.

4.  Refrigerate (far away from clumsy husbands) until set (a couple of hours should do!)

5.  Top with cherry pie filling.  (Heart shape adorable, but optional.)

6.  Devour.

 

And here’s what my finished little heart-adorned Valentine’s Day cheesecake looks like…

No bake cherry cheesecake recipe for Valentine's Day baking

Cute, eh?  :)

That cheesecake is chilling in the fridge as we speak.  And Sweetie has officially banished himself from our kitchen until suppertime, as he does every Valentine’s Day.  He knows he only gets one Valentine’s Day cheesecake each year.  And he also knows he’s prone to dropping things.  Delicious things.

Yep.  He’s not taking any chances.

Hope your Valentine’s Day is full of love, and food-related incident free.  :)

 

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Brightening things up a wee bit (farewell ugly ceiling fan, hello pretty pendant!)

Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Bedroom | 0 comments

While we still haven’t picked up the lovely linens that I’m longing for (our big Ikea trip is still pending!), we’re gradually nearing the finish line of bedroom makeover-ness.

Our latest triumph?  The ugly unbalanced unpretty ceiling fan is gone.  Woo!  Here’s the before…

…and here’s our much improved bedroom lighting situation now…

Pretty white semi flush mount damask drum shade bedroom light

So much better!

Truth be told, I’ve had this new light forever – it’s actually a pendant light (the Hampton Bay 1 Light Barrel Pendant Chrome Finish Fabric Shade light, to be exact) (or, in short, THIS one) that I purchased from Home Depot a while back to replace the monstrosity that originally lived in our dining room.  But it seemed a little dwarfed above our fairly large dining room table, so it’s been stashed away in the spare bedroom ever since, just waiting for an opportunity to bear illumination.

The Home Depot website shows the light as intended – all pendant-y and such…

White fabric drum shade Hampton Bay swirly damask pendant light

Sweetie cleverly removed the extra length-making rods (technical term) and poof – it’s now a semi-flush mount.  And it’s pretty!

Pretty bedroom ceiling light drum shade white and semi flush mount in Revere Pewter bedroom

So there!  A brief little bedroom progress update for you.  I can see the finish line for this project approaching rather quickly.  Pretty new Revere Pewter paint?  Check!  Fresh-looking Snowfall White trim?  Check!  New (-ish) lighting?  Check!  New curtains and bedding?  New curtains and bedding?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Stay tuned…  :)

 

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