Archives for category: Inspirations

Oh goodness… I’m embarrassed that I haven’t shared an update with you lately! I took a temporary break from crafting to focus on other projects. Plus, I haven’t come across anything I felt compelled to make.

I’m one of those crazy types who just can’t wait until December to put up my Christmas decorations. Our living room is filled with red, green, blue, brown and yellow accents year-round, so Christmas colors match our decor perfectly.

I’m hoping to buy a few more trinkets within the next few weeks, but decorating can be darn expensive. I may wait until after the holiday to grab several discounted items for next year.

Christmas decor

My favorite new decoration? The branch tree! I purchased a sweater-inspired Target vase and filled it with branches from my parents’ yard. I used metallic spray paint for a frosted feel and added mini tree ornaments to the mix.

Christmas tree, branches

How did you (or how will you) decorate this season? Do you have any tips/tricks for finding affordable Christmas decor? 

I’ve wanted to make and/or buy a pretty little serving tray for a while now (see beautiful examples over at Sand and Sisal or Prudent Baby,) so when I found this rooster-ized tray on clearance at Garden Ridge, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to glam it up.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a good barnyard reference here and there, but this tray didn’t exude the shabby-chic charm I sought. At only $3, I knew I could turn it into something I’d want to display in my home.

I started the project by spray painting the tray’s interior white. It took approximately three coats to cover up the rooster, but it was well worth the effort.

Once the paint dried, I marked my chevron stripes with painter’s tape. Chevron can be a bit tricky; I wish I spent a little more time trying to perfect this. An exacto knife would prove handy during this step.

I painted the entire tray yellow (it took approximately two coats to get the job done) and removed the tape.

It isn’t perfect, but I absolutely love my new tray!  It really brightens up the living room.

Here’s the official before and after shot.

I may lightly sand my tray in the future for a more shabby-chic look, but for now, I’m keeping it as-is.

Have you ever created your own serving tray? How’d you customize it? 

I don’t love fall quite as much as spring and summer, but I’ll take it. Ohio autumns are full of gorgeous changing leaves, pumpkin-flavored coffees (I heart you, PSL) and my personal favorite: Ohio State football! I won’t attend my first 2012 season game until November, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Remember the $2 grape vine wreath I purchased while thrifting a few weeks ago? During a fit of weekend inspiration, I jazzed it up with a few fall flowers.

Here’s how you can make your own! Begin by cutting felt squares into uneven circles. I purchased my felt at Hobby Lobby (4 pieces for $1.)

Cut each felt circle in a spiral pattern (starting at the outside and moving toward the middle.)

Grab the section where you began cutting, and start wrapping the felt around itself. Hot glue the ends, and use a scrap piece to secure the back.

Repeat this process until you create several flowers. Hot glue each felt flower to the wreath.

Ta da! What a simple way to dress up wreaths, lamps and other decor. You could always create felt leaves as well, but I wanted to keep my wreath simple.

What’s your favorite part about this season?

I’m making a conscious effort to reexamine my spending habits. I’m saving up for a few large purchases, so cutting costs serves as a vital step toward reaching my goals. Unfortunately, cutting spending = less pretty shoes, less home decor items and less DIY projects (because let’s face it… DIY isn’t always cheap!)

I’ve been itching for a little retail therapy, especially in the home goods department. A thrifty approach helped fulfill my needs without breaking the budget.

I picked up these great finds at an awesome Columbus thrift store, and I only spent $11!

  • The grape vine wreath cost $2. Once I add a few DIY rosettes, it’ll be the perfect fall accessory. (Stay tuned for the finished product!)
  • I love the frame’s ornate, shabby-chic look. All it needs is a coat of paint and new artwork (no offense, emo 90s girl.)

  • Milk glass makes my heart flutter. At only $2 each, I couldn’t pass these up.
  • Placing small items in clear apothecary jars = every organizational freak’s dream. I think I’ll use this jar to store cotton balls or other bathroom necessities.

Did you complete any clearance shopping/thrifting trips lately? If so, what did you find? 

Months passed since my last Ikea trip, and I’m afraid I may be sinking into withdrawl. I enter that store with a $20 wish list and leave with $80+ worth of Swedish goods every time. The beautifully displayed merchandise and unbelievably affordable prices suck me in time and time again. You’re sneaky, Ikea.

As much as I love this retailer, I’m sure you and I can both agree that many of its products are pretty standard. I recently stumbled across Ikea Hackers: a site that allows fans to share how they transformed Ikea items from drab to fab. It’s chock full of inspiring DIY ideas, and many projects include step-by-step instructions, too.

Here’s a few of my favorite hacks:

Nailhead Side Table

Two Lack tables and nailhead trim join in harmony and create one absolutely gorgeous side table. You can view the IKEA Hackers instructions here.

Coffee Table Ottoman

I found this project on the Simply Kelly blog. Kelly purchased a Klubbo coffee table and converted it into a cozy upholstered ottoman. Isn’t it gorgeous? I’d be scared to prop my feet up on that pretty fabric.

Billy Bookcase Upgrade

Ikea’s Billy bookcase received a stylish upgrade thanks to Diane at the In My Own Style blog. She transformed the standard Ikea product into a showcase item with a little cardboard and fabric. I absolutely love this idea, especially since it would be easy to change the fabric panels when you want a new look.

Have you ever “hacked” an Ikea item? If so, how’d it turn out?

My parents have kept a garden for decades. I have tons of fond childhood memories watching the veggies grow and helping my grandma (who was a real farmer for years) pick hundreds of green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. I spent endless summers eating BLTs and enjoying my all-time favorite snack: cucumbers with Italian dressing.

The fam graciously gave me several fresh-picked cucumbers and tomatoes when I visited this month, so I turned the combo into a summer salad. It makes a great lunch and it’s definitely much more sophisticated than my usual cucumber/dressing combo, so I wanted to share the recipe with you!

On a random note: Can we all agree that home-grown veggies taste much better than store-bought ones?

Summer Salad

(Serves 3-4)

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Vinegar (I used a few tablespoons)
  • Olive oil (I used a few tablespoons)

Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, basil and feta in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, vinegar and oil to your taste. Chill and enjoy!

Note: If you need more protein in the dish, add a tuna packet. 

Thank you, Chicago Color Run 2012, for reminding me that running can actually be enjoyable.

Earlier this month, six of my friends and I made the trek up to one of the coolest cities around and participated in the Color Run. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event, it’s a 5K walk/run that blasts you with “paint” (colored mineral powder) as you make your way through the course. That may not sound very thrilling to you, but it sounded like a blast to the 8,000 folks who joined me at the Chicago race. (You can check if the Color Run is coming to your city by visiting its website.)

I was really excited for the race…

…and this is what I looked like in the aftermath.

The weather that morning was absolutely perfect: mid 60s and not a cloud in the sky. We all completed the course and laughed about how completely ridiculous we looked. It took me three days to get all of the green paint out of my ear, and my dear friend Bethany definitely looked like the Incredible Hulk!

Now that I’ve completed my first two 5Ks and met my goal,  I’m trying to decide what physical feat I should tackle next. A 10K seems like the next logical step, but I’m not sure if I love running enough to commit to the training.

For those of you who’ve participated in a 5K: Did your first race fuel your love for running? Were you able to stick with it and continue setting running goals, or did you try another sport/fitness tool? 

I’ve been MIA in the crafting/decor arena lately. Now that I’ve been in my new rental for approximately six months, everything is finally starting to feel “put together.” The walls are covered with art (with the exception of one or two that need some TLC.) We have enough furniture to fill the space. It’s all coming together very nicely.

Instead of focusing on small projects, I’m trying to put extra cash into my “wish list” fund so that I can finally buy a few large items I really love. I’ve been blessed with lots of awesome furniture hand-me-downs, but I’m itching to buy a few new pieces I can call my own.

I’m not planning on buying anything for another year or so, but here’s what’s on my wish list:

1. A new bed/headboard

I’m currently getting by with a hand-me-down mattress and a simple steel frame from Sam’s Club. I don’t even have a headboard (but you can check out my pseudo headboard here.)

I’ve been drooling over Crate & Barrel’s Colette Bed for years. The nailhead trim is absolutely gorgeous, and it even comes with a matching bench! I’d love to purchase a new bed frame, headboard and mattress when I have enough cash to spare. I think upgrading from a full to a queen will be worth the investment, too.

2. A new couch

My hand-me-down loveseat is cozy, but it barely accommodates two people. I’d love to purchase a full-size couch: maybe something similar to Macy’s Chloe Sofa.

My trusty hand-me-down love seat. It’s small but mighty.

I love this Chloe Sofa from Macy’s. It has a vintage feel without looking too stuffy.

What’s on your wish list? 

I did it! I finally sucked it up and ran my first “official” 5K this weekend.

Lindsey, Jenn, Courtney and me getting ready to run.

Although it wasn’t my best race (that last mile wasn’t pretty,) the experience was incredible. I got to band together with approximately 50,000 men, women and kids to raise money for a breast cancer cure. Oh, and the weather was awesome.

Now I’m even more excited to participate in the Color Run next month.

Two months ago, I decided to light a fire under my anti-running butt and sign up for my first 5K: The Chicago Color Run.

Now that I’m in my third month of training, I must admit that I kinda, sorta enjoy this whole running thing. I even signed up for a second 5K, which I’ll run this upcoming Saturday.

I’m still not a running pro, and I don’t think I’ll ever be a marathoner. Either way, it’s fun to push my own limits and use running as an excuse to enjoy this gorgeous spring weather.

In case you’re feeling inspired and want to train for a 5K, I’m happy to share my three-month running plan with you. I’ve never been a runner beforeand I found this plan very achievable. I needed to take it very slow in the first month, especially since I have an injury-prone knee.

It’s difficult to stick to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Sunday schedule, but I try my best to get four days in per week.

First Month

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday- 1-1.5 miles

2 full miles last Sunday

Second Month

Monday, Wednesday, Friday- 2 miles

Sunday- 3-4 slow miles

Third Month 

Monday and Friday- 2 miles

Wednesday- 3 slow miles

Sunday- 4 slow miles

Running friends: What training plan did you follow to run your first 5K? Was it successful?