Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nook time!

In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, I thought celebrating cozy reading nooks might make everyone feel a little bit warmer. My favorite thing to do when the cold weather hits is to curl up with hot tea and a book (ok, maybe a computer?) Nothing makes me love the cold weather more than a warm place from which to escape, so on that note let's look at my favorite nooks!! 

For the princess at heart? This little nook is the one of the most romantic settings I've come across. There is nothing like white twinkling lights and a chandelier to create the ultimate feminine space. I don't think I would ever leave. 

This nook's oil paintings and warm colors scream for nothing but first editions and espresso. Though, I'm sure US Weekly and Mountain Dew would substitute just fine in this serene little corner. 

A perfect hideaway built under this beautiful arch, I love the layers of pillows and blankets available in this little space. The rustic stool and simple curtains are the ideal touches to finish off this colorful nook.

What a wonderful solution for combining storage and sleeping! Especially in areas where space is at a premium, this would be a great way to sneak an extra bed.

This nook has two things I will always love: toile and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. So chic...

I love the built-in bookshelves in this nook (and I recognize the Nancy Drew's in the bottom corner!!!) The rough wood frame says rustic, while the modern fabric keeps the look up-to-date.

So the space might not technically be a nook, but it looks so cozy nonetheless. This chair would fit one girl and one (slightly overweight) King Charles perfectly!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A heavy dose of navy :)

Navy is one of my top three favorite colors and so much fun to use when decorating. A little bit nautical and way cooler than black, navy is always my go-to dark color. It looks fresh paired with white and yellow (or sexy with gray and orange). Navy is a versatile color for any design.

Smoking counter tops

There are so many options when it comes to kitchen counters today, it is easy to make it one of the most fabulous parts of your home. Natural stone is always a good value for resale (granite being the most popular because of it's durability) but here are a few other ways to make your sure counter tops stand above the rest. 

Go with color! I am OBSESSED with the hot pink and natural wood combination. I would love to do this in a pool house or anywhere with lots of light.

Choose an irregular pattern. The more organic the pattern, the more I love it! The minimal design around the counter top allows the focus stay on the marble's natural beauty.

Think wood! Great for a rustic feel, a beautiful piece of wood can be as unique as any stone. Wood counter tops exude warmth and comfort, but make sure you have a good sealant!

Paint? A fun makeover project, I think this gray polka dot is extremely charming. I wouldn't just start by slapping some paint on my counters, but I bet enough googling could make a DIY happen.

Glass?!? Ok, so I don't know how often you see this, but what a cool idea! I love the modern look and I bet it feels amazing...maybe this will be around one day soon?

Honed natural stone? Instead of glossy granite, why not think matte? I think a matte natural stone counter top is one of the chicest options out there right now (if you're up for a little more maintenance?)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

5 minute hostess gift

I am always looking for an original hostess gift (that people will actually enjoy!) Costing only $15 and taking only 5 minutes, this jute (rope) wrapped orchid is my new favorite. 

Because my original pot was brown, I did not mind a little space between the twine. If you are going for perfect, it might take closer to 15 minutes to wrap. My favorite part about DIY projects are the imperfections, but it's up to you on how "hand-made" you want your gift to look. 

I recommend orchids because they come in all colors and are very easy to care for (all it takes to keep it alive are three pieces of ice in the pot a week). This bright fuchsia color was ideal for my girly-girl friend, but there should be a wide variety from which to choose.

What you'll need to complete this project: an orchid (I got mine at the Lowes Food for just $13), jute twine ($2 at Home Depot) and adhesive. 

*Although I started the project with tacky glue, spray adhesive was much faster! Both are going to leave a little glue on your fingers but I am definitely going to use the spray adhesive from now on. 

Start by spraying the top half of the pot with adhesive. Beginning at the top/backside wrap the jute twine around the plant as evenly as possible. If you want to prevent space between the twine, just carefully roll the twine upwards until they touch. 

Continue to work your way down the pot until you've covered the area with the glue. Next spray the bottom half of the planter with adhesive. *Be careful not to glue your plant to the surface on which you are working (this almost happened to me!) To prevent this just make sure you are moving the pot while you are wrapping it with twine. It also helps to put down another sheet of paper after you have sprayed.

Once you have reached the bottom, add a little bit of extra adhesive to keep the end in place and voile! You have a beautiful gift for any hostess or housewarming party. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Minty fresh

An invigorating combination of modern and sweet, mint has become a staple in color pallets from New York to California. Mint is versatile enough that it can be paired with a thick stripe for a bold effect or softened with white to create a relaxing retreat. It looks fantastic when accented with any metallic (my favorite is gold!) and is a breath of fresh air for any room in the house. Next time your walls are in need of an update, think mint! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The elephant in the room

Over the last several years, elephants have been popping up in all shapes and sizes in design! A symbol of wisdom and obedience in the Hindu culture for thousands of years, elephants convey a meaning far beyond the typical design trend. The gentle creature is a great way to add organic and spiritual interest to any room (or maybe you just like elephants?!) Either way this animal is an interesting accessory for any place in the home.  


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY gold leaf bowls

 This DIY  is based on a lovely project from Kelli Murray's blog that you can find here.

What you will need: Mod Podge, balloons, newspaper, gold leaf (starter kits often include the adhesive and sealer), acrylic paint, paint brushes (foam and bristle), razor.

1. Start by blowing up balloons in various sizes. I used 5", 9" and 12" balloons. (I found it can also work if you just buy one size and blow them up to different sizes).

2. Now here's the sticky part...use Mod Podge and a foam brush to glue strips of torn newspaper onto your balloon. The thicker the better, so don't be afraid to layer on the newspaper and glue. Try to eliminate as many creases and bubbles as possible, but also remember that part of this project's charm is that it is handmade, so you don't have to aim for perfect!

3. When you have finished Mod Podging all of your balloons, let them sit overnight (or at least 5 hours) to dry. For me this is the hardest part of any DIY because once I start a project, I want to finish it. Trust me, however, you want them to be dry and it's nice to get away from the glue fumes.

4. Next pop the balloons. The rubber should shrivel into the middle of the bowl, but if it gets stuck in a few places just use your fingers to help peel them off. These bowls are surprisingly sturdy (I dropped mine several times and they were fine). The edges will be very jagged, but sharp scissors should remove those quickly. I just cut the top bit off until I had the bowl the size I wanted.

5. Now paint the inside and outside of each bowl the color of your choosing. It will take two to three coats depending on the color you pick. 

6. Once the paint has dried--which shouldn't be too long if you are using acrylic paint--it's time to start the gold leaf! (*Warning: Gold leaf is delicate to work with and can be tricky!) I picked various sizes of polka dots as my pattern, but the sky's the limit!

7. Start by either spraying or painting the adhesive onto the bowl and letting it sit for a minute or two. Use your fingers to place the leaf in sections until the desired area is covered. I found my fingers would get sticky after a few sections, so I used a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover to keep my fingers from sticking to every gold flake in sight. This is pretty drying for your skin, so make sure you slather your hands in lotion after you're finished. The razor blade is used to remove any excess gold leaf.

*If you want the base to be primarily gold, then I recommend leafing the entire bowl (like the one to the right or the one on the bottom), then painting your pattern over top. Since we are using acrylic paint, it will take two coats. The first coat tends to be transparent, but the second coat will stick to the first coat just fine.
*If you want the leaf in a larger pattern (like the bowl on the left) then I would use a paint brush dipped in adhesive to create the design. You will have trouble making clean edges, but I just used my base paint over the uneven edges of the gold leaf to give the illusion of a smooth finish.

8. Last but not least, spray with a coat of sealant. This will prevent the leaf from flaking off and gives it a lasting result. Now it's time to enjoy!

Not your normal nightstand

Why should your bed get all the attention? Nightstands are the first thing you face when getting out of bed in the morning, which makes it the optimal place to layer your favorite pictures, books and accessories. A great lamp and fresh flowers are the ideal finishing touches to help you rise with the sun!