Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch

I've never appreciated a weekend like I do now that Jonathan and I are both working normal full time jobs.  I love getting off of work at 3:30 and having time to come home, rest, work out, clean the house, and cook dinner before the husband gets home.  In Boston we were both working irregular hours, so I never knew week to week how many nights we would both be home for dinner.  It is so much easier to plan grocery shopping and life in general knowing that we'll both be home every night.  And like I said, the weekends.  In Boston we were both frequently working Saturdays.  Now we spend our weekends watching football (so much football) and doing things around the house.

Today's project was inspired by Pinterest, that perfectionist's paradise, that utopia of picture perfect weddings and baked goods and home decorating.  I love Pinterest because I feel sometimes I just need a little inspiration to be able to come up with something on my own.

I saw these prints on Pinterest a while back and love them because they reminded me of the song "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch," by The Four Tops. And I love the simplicity of this kind of print. Partly because it's playful and fun, and partly because I feel like I can easily reproduce it.

A simple, fun, and easy addition.  I picture a lot of this happening in our kitchen in the coming days (now if only I can find Jonathan one of these stylin' suits!):

Monday, October 7, 2013

Weekend Projects: DIY Headboard

This is our bed.

At least, it was our bed last week.  And this is our bedroom, not sugar coated, complete with dirty laundry in the corner and sad, bare, we-just-moved-in wall.  Yes, this home, and the people in it, are most definitely a work in progress.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may know I've been dreaming of headboards lately.  I am so very tired of this ho hum bed.  In our last apartment, I hung some lace curtains to give the illusion of a window.  They were the same lace curtains that covered the window behind the bed in our beautiful, light-filled Cambridge apartment.  They were given to us by our friends, who masterfully decorated our apartment while we were away on our honeymoon.  I could still cry thinking about it.

So after all my Pinterest searching, I decided I could probably manage to build a headboard.  I love making things and fixing things, so it was a fun (and easy!) weekend project for me.  

Step One: Measure.  This is based on taste.  I wanted my headboard to be medium height and classically shaped--nothing fancy.  My measurements were five feet across and three feet high. 

Step Two: Take a trip to the fabric store.  Choose something you love.  But then again, if you find after everything that you don't love it, it is easy to change.  Besides buying enough fabric to wrap around the wood, you'll also need batting.  Most tutorials suggest using both one or two inch foam and batting, but after hearing the price per yard of foam, I decided I didn't need that much padding.  I bought two packages of twin-sized, high loft, polyester quilt batting.

Step Three: Buy some wood.  Most tutorials suggest plywood, but the helpful man at the home supply store recommended Oriented Strand Board (OSB).  My extensive construction knowledge tells me that the two materials are basically the same.  But OSB is less than half the price.  That was an easy decision for me.  I went with half inch plywood.  I've seen people use quarter inch as well, which seems pretty thin to me, but may be a better, lighter choice if you are planning on hanging your headboard on the wall.

Step Four: Iron.  I was tempted to skip this step.  Ironing is one of my least favorite things, and my mom could surely tell you that I've been much more likely in my lifetime to wear something wrinkled than to pull out the ironing board.  Having such an impeccably well-dressed husband has somewhat reformed me.  He seriously cares about wrinkles.  And though he does most of his ironing himself (what a man!), I find myself more and more satisfied with a crisp shirt.  And a crisp headboard.  So I ironed.

Step Five: Lay out the fabric, face down, and cover with the two layers of batting (followed by the foam, if you are so inclined).  

My kitchen fit perfectly.  I should have included step Four and a Half: get down on hands and knees with a spray bottle and clean the kitchen floor.

Step Six: Add the board.  If you are using a patterned fabric, like me, take some time to make sure the pattern is going to lay on the headboard straight.  

Step Seven: Wrap and staple, making sure the batting comes all the way to the back of the board.  This is fairly simple and fun.  I did have to cut off a lot of my batting to reduce the bulk on the back of the headboard.

Step Eight: Install!  Hanging is an option, as is screwing the board into the bed frame.  For now, I opted to rest the headboard on the box spring.  It may not be the most professional installation, but after a long morning of DIYing, it was the quickest option, and it has held up so far.

The finished product!

I like the bedroom so much better now!  It's no Crate and Barrel, but it's a step forward at least.

To end my day of home renovation, I hung a mirror that I bought for $2 at a yard sale recently.

And I added a little color to the bathroom by hanging this enormous lion painting that I won in a drawing at work last week.  Its previous home was the Phoenix clinic, which was recently redecorated.

As the cherry on top of the weekend, we finally bought a couch.  I was happy with my two little dream Ikea chairs, which I bought off Craigslist last year.  But now that we have a real couch, I have to say, it does feel much more homey.   

And thus ends my home improvement weekend!  I think I need a day off.  What should my next project be?

Saturday, October 5, 2013


In pursuit of finishing the first DIY of this new apartment, I recently made a trip to the fabric store.  I distinctly remember being dragged to Hancock Fabrics as a girl, lamenting all the way the sheer boredom that awaited me there.  My mom and Mawmaw would spend what seemed like hours carefully choosing fabric for a quilt or some other project.  I would roam the aisles, touching every suede and fleece, leafing through boxes of tissuey patterns, ogling the rainbow display of thread.
A few years ago, the fabric store went out of business.  My mom took advantage of their blowout closing sale by grabbing up a whole dresser full of just-in-case fabric.  Just in case some project presented itself.  Despite my early disdain of trips to the fabric store, when Hancock's closed it felt like they were boarding up my childhood.

During my first week of work I discovered I loved mini peppermint patties.  I took it as a sign that I have officially become old.  Peppermint patties are what my grandma eats, and I have never, ever wanted one--until now.  I sit in my cubicle and savor their cool dark chocolate in between phone calls.

This trip to the fabric store was the second recent sign that I have become the epitome of an adult.
I suddenly love going to the fabric store.

Rows upon rows of bright fabrics, waiting to be transformed into something.  Baby quilts, halloween costumes, upholstered chairs, kitschy sewing projects - the possibilities!

In the end, I narrowed my fabric choices down to about ten, with the help of a phone call to Mom and about an hour of wandering, wide eyed, through racks upon racks of chevrons, toiles, and soft velvets.

Those who know me well will breathe a sigh of relief that the above print was never in the running for this DIY.  
I did eventually choose a print, upon returning the next day with my husband.  He was, by the way, extremely reluctant to spend more than ten minutes in that store, and clearly does not share my appreciation for textiles.

Stay tuned for the DIY!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, October 3, 2013

South Mountain

I drove a friend to his home the other day in Phoenix.
The sun was setting, and we drove straight like an arrow to the West, with a blinding ball of light before us, just at the horizon.  As we drove, I couldn't believe how the landscape changed, from flat, populated Tempe, past the highway, beyond the strip malls and fast food joints, until South Mountain suddenly rose up to the left, out of the desert.
It's a short, long hill that snakes its way parallel to Baseline Road.  In the past, I've laughed at little hills called mountains, but South Mountain is not to be laughed it.  Maybe it was the time of day, that golden hour, but there was a regality and a silent dignity that rose from the ground in that place, and it shut my mouth.
The road rose up and down abruptly, narrowing out as we wound our way through the neighborhood, a cluster of adobe-tan houses like a little village at the base of the hill.
I couldn't help but be breathless.  On one side, a desert wilderness, and a trailhead leading up the mountain.  On the other, the lights of Phoenix twinkling as the darkness crept in, the flat land sparkling its defiant eye toward the hills beneath me.

There is beauty everywhere.

As time barrels on into October, I find myself missing that Boston fall less and less.  There may not be golden orange leaves raining to the ground, but the air in the mornings here is crisp and fresh, and you can tell a new season is coming.  If I want, I can wear a sweater, even if it may live up to its name.  I had a pumpkin spice latte despite the 80 degree temperatures.  And you know what?  It was still delicious.
For now we are enjoying our little apartment and finally starting to clear out the boxes and add some personality.  I have a big DIY planned within the next week or two -- something I've been dying to do since we moved in.  More on that to come!