Fall Decorations

09.21.2010

I’m not a ‘decorate for the season’ person…the one exception being Christmas. Though, come to think of it, I didn’t even do that last year as I was very busy and we spend Christmas at our parent’s houses so it seemed pointless . It’s not that I’m anti-holidays or anti-seasons, I’m just someone who tries not to create extra work for herself.

That being said, I do love when people decorate for the holidays, so I am happy that all people are not me! I’ve been spending the last hour or so taking a look at simple decorating ideas. Who knows? Maybe some of them will rub off on me and I’ll end up doing a little bit of fall decorating. Here are some of my favorite ideas.

The first three are from Better Homes & Gardens. I especially love the idea of just putting some pretty branches in a vase.

Using a bunch of different shapes of gourds in the same color can be quite elegant:

Or how about stringing a bunch of little gourds together for some homemade garland? Adorable!

Perhaps most simply of all, a nice arrangement of fall pumpkins, gourds, squash, branches and leaves is always nice.

 It’s no surprise that I’m attracted to the decorations that require the least effort. No wrestling with branches and corn husks to create a wreath for me. Nope, I prefer a much simpler, more elegant arrangement of gourds on the table or some dried branches in a vase. I think I just may have to make a trip to the farmer’s market this weekend to search for some gourds. I may decorate for fall this year after all!

-Sara

Advertisements

Flower How-To

03.17.2010

As promised yesterday, here are the instructions on how to make the little flowers I put onto my dining room artwork.  I mentioned that the idea came from a Martha Stewart Living article, so I had a little petal-shaped template to begin with.  Since I didn’t get around to making copies of it at work, I ended up just putting a post-it over the magazine page and tracing the template.  I knew I wanted a couple different sizes of flowers, so I took a second post-it and, pretending the lines from the original petal were offset just a bit, I enlarged it slightly.  I then cut those out and ended up with my two petal templates.  It’s difficult to judge scale by this photo, but the smaller is about the size of my thumb and the large is, well, about the size of my dad’s thumb (he had really big hands!)

Using double-stick tape, I affixed the templates to some turqoise-blue fabric samples I had gotten from a sales rep.  The Martha Stewart article recommended using Ultra Suede as the edges would not fray when cut, but I did not go this route.  Instead, I used a Crypton fabric (widely used in healthcare settings for its moisture barrier properties) as it has a plasticky coating on the back that I knew would also keep the fabric from fraying at the edges when cut.  I repeated this over and over again until I had a bunch of petals.

The next step was to sew the petals together.  Taking four of the same size petal, I then loosely sewed them together using two stitches at the bottom of each petal (I’m sure this stitch has a name, but I’m not much of a sewer, so I wouldn’t know!)

After doing this, you pull on the thread to gather the petals together.

Finally, I sewed the ends together to complete the flower.  This step was the trickiest though, as I had to make sure to hold the gathered petals tightly in place so they didn’t loosen up while I attempted to finish sewing the flower together.  My first attempt had to be thrown out, but I got better as I went along.  Here’s what you end up with when all is said and done:

Once I had made a bunch of these in the two sizes I wanted, I started placing them on my panel and then glued in place with my Fabric-Tac glue.  In the end, it was a pretty easy project to take on–even for a non-sewer like me!

-Sara


Project Status: Finished!

03.16.2010

I am finally finished with the artwork for my dining room!  If you remember, a while back I sent out a request for help.  I was having trouble deciding how many trees to include on my fabric panel.  Most people like one of the first two options and a few liked the original with just two trees.  Over the past month or so I would take a day and tape a third tree up, leave it there for a few hours, come back and more it to another place, then live it there for a few hours…just to see what I liked the best.

Well, you know what?  Turns out I really like the panel with just two trees.  I had always intended on there being three, but every time I added a third tree, it looked too crowded to me.  I did do a little embelishing though and here’s the final product:

Now for the how-to.  This project was very similar to the other fabric panels I made, I just didn’t involve paint this time around.  I started with this beautiful green floral fabric from Knoll Textiles that I’ve loved ever since it came out a few years ago.  I wrapped that around a wood frame that I purchased at Michael’s.

After that, I made my tree template.  This was done in AutoCAD.  I imported an image I liked, traced over the image and then placed my trees into a rectangle the same size as my panel (24″ x 36″).  After printing this out to scale, I cut the trees out and pinned them to my second fabric–a brown, outdoor fabric I picked up on clearance at Joanne’s.  My mom found it and I really liked it because it has a very subtle crosshatching pattern to it that reminded me of tree bark. 

I proceeded to cut along the lines, moving pins as I went along to make sure the fabric didn’t slip.  In the end, I had my trees.  At this point, I placed them on the fabric panel to see how things looked.

Once I was sure I liked the placement, I glued them down with Fabric-Tac glue.  It was an old bottle and I had to squeeze pretty hard to get the glue out, but it worked really well!  This is where I stopped at and took a couple month break in the project…mostly because I was having trouble finding the time to finish, but also because I wasn’t sure if I should stop at two, or keep adding trees.

I finally decided on leaving it at two trees, but knew the panel needed something…more.  I had clipped out an article from a Martha Stewart magazine a few months ago about how to make small flowers out of ultrasuede fabric.  She showed them as embellishments on throw pillows, but I thought they would be perfect for my panel (check back tomorrow and I’ll explain how I made them!).  I went to work on my flowers over the past weekend and after I glued those onto my artwork, I realized it had morphed into exactly what I had hoped…a beautiful piece of art that was simple, calming and caused me to smile every time I walked past!

-Sara


Outdoor Living

03.04.2010

I didn’t think that I would be writing any posts this week as I am on vacation in Florida.  Unfortunately though, the weather is not very cooperative.  As I write this, it is about 46 degrees outside.  Granted, it’s only 7:40 am, but still!  It’s only supposed to warm up to the low 60s today, which is about 10-15 degrees lower than it typically is in early March.  So you can understand why I, along with everyone else down here, am complaining about the weather.

Most of the activities revolve around the outdoors down here, and often the water in particular, and since it is too cold to do many of these activities comfortably, I am inside on the computer.  Be that as it may, I am still in Florida so I have the outdoors on my mind and have spent the past hour or so looking at outdoor living spaces on the internet.  Here are a few of them for your enjoyment!

A gorgeous outdoor living space in Southern California, complete with its own small pond:

A couple of cozy porches.  Notice the painted floor of the second image…porches seem to be a very popular place to try your hand at painted floors!

And finally, some intimate outdoor spaces:

What great examples of how design doesn’t have to stop at your front (or back) door.  By carrying it into the outdoors, you increase the living space of your home and hopefully your enjoyment of it! (Images link to their sources).

-Sara


Painted Floors

02.02.2010

When my husband and I moved into our house, we didn’t even consider refinishing the wood floors even though they needed it.  My assumption was that it was very expensive to do so I didn’t bother looking into it.  I have since learned that it’s not as expensive as I once thought, but it’s not inexpensive either.  It is, however, very messy as the dust from the wood gets EVERYWHERE (Kim can attest to this as this is a project she has lived through).

I’ve also discovered that painting your worn-out wood floors can be a less expensive, but no less beautiful, option to re-sanding and re-staining.  Exhibit A (care of Martha Stewart):

It really changes the look of a space and is an unexpected touch.  Prep work ranges from simply washing or vacuuming your floors to sanding them.  After that, it’s a matter of coming up with a pattern, doing a little taping off and painting.  A layer of polyurethane can be added on top to help protect the paint.  I’m tempted to try it out myself—I’ll share my process if I do!  Here are a few more painted floors for your viewing pleasure:

Coastal Living

Sherwin Williams

Cottage Living (Above four images)

Source unknown.

-Sara