Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hiding the stuff

Unless you have been to my place, you have no idea about all the little surprises it has to offer... one being the murphy's bed in the living room. Perfect for overnight guests!

The doors that hide my guest bedroom (haha!) are original to the house, 18-pane leaded cast glass. So, they hide the innerworkings of the bed a decent amount, but without something behind the glass, the bed is still visible. See below for my quick and budget friendly solution.

To hide the bed completely, I decided to cover the inside of the windows with fabric. Lucky for me, someone who lived here before had the same idea, so the sash curtain rods were already installed at the top and bottom of the windows.

I shopped around for some fabric, initially looking for a large-scale graphic print. However, I stumbled upon a textile at JoAnn Fabrics with large scale scripty foreign words, and immediately knew that was the direction I would head. Unfortunately, that textile was selling for $40+/yard... not in my budget. The DIY in me immediately knew I could pull off the look for much less.

I headed to the $1.99/yard, 36" muslin... much better... and snagged 4-1/2 yards of it with a 40% off coupon and headed home to begin my project. (I didn't need to buy any markers for this project, as I had a slew of permanent markers to choose from at home).

Next, I needed to find a scripty font to trace onto my muslin... I didn't trust my freehand enough to pull this one off. I visited and decided on a free font called Signerica Medium, which looks like this 

From the get go, I knew I would write the words in German. It's my favorite language for many reasons and has a special place between me and my bestie (she even sent me a German Christmas card once!). I printed a handful of phrases about sleeping, dreaming and spending the night in different point sizes.

Next, I turned to the muslin. First, I washed (to take care of shrinkage) and ironed it. Then, I folded each end of the fabric over and sewed a straight line on my machine to make a pocket for the rod at the top and the bottom. After I tested the fit of each panel, I set out to trace the words.

There was no rhyme or reason to my placement of the words, only that I tried not to use the same phrases near each other and also tried to vary the phrases of different size for a random look.

Once all the words were traced, I hung the curtains and my project was complete! In just under 4 hours and for only about $5, my guest bed is hidden... unless someone wants to put it to use, of course! And an added bonus: when I move, I will be able to easily repurpose the fabric as a pillow cover or curtains for a guest room at my next place!

Have you DIY'd a print on a neutral fabric using markers or paint? Are you willing to splurge on a high end textile for a small project?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

How is it already December 23rd? Somehow I have managed to keep up with the hustle and the bustle of the holidays in the past month even while I was working lots of extra hours.

Some of those extra hours came from a trip I made to Germany for business. While on the way back to the States, I had a layover in Amsterdam. The Dutch had some pretty magical decorations...

Check out this wreath, it's a pretty simple concept, just a mass of decorations on one side of a wreath, leaving half as a simple version of itself. The photo doesn't illustrate it well, but the wreath is more flat than it is round... please forgive me, as I snapped this while walking to catch my connecting flight. And it has a very thick form (i.e. the center hole is very small in proportion to the overall size).
It would probably be a pretty easy DIY, I'll have to give it a try next year... hopefully I can score some supplies during after-holiday sales! My plan is to cut a donut shape from a piece of heavyweight cardboard.

Then wrap the shape with simple garland to create a stylized version of a wreath. Once all the cardboard is covered, attach strings of beads, ornaments and other festive oddities to half of the wreath. Seems pretty simple, eh?

I've been snapping photos of commercial decorations around town all season for inspiration.
This is another decoration in the Amsterdam airport... a small tree made to feel tall in a vertical planter. This is a great way to add height to a short tree, not to mention it allows you to use your tall planters all year long and saves some dough since you're only decorating half a tree!

I snapped these three photos at Sears while I was shopping on Black Friday. Sears sure has stepped up their game. Check out these chic decorations! I planned to paint some fallen sticks in my yard to add to my tree, but never got to it before the weather got too cold. The wooden trees would be pretty easy to cut if you had the right power tools. And those "snowballs" in the galvanized tub are too cute! I'm keeping all these ideas in my back pocket for Christmas 2012!

Where do you find holiday decorating inspiration? Magazines? Commercial spaces? The internet?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wonderful Winter Cocktail

I stumbled upon the yummiest winter cocktail last week and just had to share.

I met some friends for drinks at Bonefish Grill for happy hour. When I arrived, they all had cloudy-white martinis in front of them. I knew I would be joining the bandwagon as soon as I read the cocktail menu.

So what was the drink? A Winter White Cosmopolitan. It was delish to say the least. So delish that I snapped a photo of the menu so I would remember to buy the liquors and try to make this myself!

One google attempt and I found a recipe and photo! The photo above is from This Teacher's Lounge, who also loved the drink in 2010.

And here is the recipe from

1-1/2 ounces cranberry vodka (Bonefish uses Stoli Cranberi)
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce white cranberry juice
3-4 frozencranberries as garnish

1. Combine ingredients over ice in a shaker tin. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Float frozen cranberries on top for garnish.

I'm considering taking the ingredients for this drink to a holiday party in a few weeks as my pitch in for food/beverage. Put the bottles and garnish on a chic serving tray with the directions in a small silver frame so guests can help themselves!

Do you have a favorite wintertime cocktail? Do you serve signature cocktails at your holiday parties? Have you ever taken the ingredients and directions to make a cocktail with you to a party? Seems like a creative pitch-in item to me!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is it winter already?

Once again, much. too. long. between posts.

What brings me back? Probably the fact that I get all crafty-pants when the holidays roll around and I always want to share my DIYs for others to try out. Last winter I posted about the Holiday Door Decor I DIY'd for my boyfriend's front door. This year I hope to post a few items I plan to make.

First, though... today the feeling of the holidays finally set in. I had lunch at Traders Point Creamery with a friend and we saw their advertisement for "Christmas on the Farm". It's an event they hold two weekends in December. Activities at the farm include hanging with Old St. Nick and live Elk, Sleigh-Hayrides around the farm, live music and carolling, and craft-making opportunities for children. You know I'm making my boyfriend go with me!

I snapped this photo as I was walking to my car after lunch. 

Doesn't the Land Rover look like such an expedition vehicle? I was so surprised to see it in Indiana. On a farm! Now Traders Point Creamery is on my list for a warmer-weather outing as well. A tour of the farm in that machine sounds excellent. I've heard when you take a tour you have the opportunity to milk a cow - what an experience!

Point in case? If you're in Indianapolis, or ever here visiting, you should swing by Traders Point Creamery. I swear this isn't an advertisement. I just love it there and wish I would take advantage of being so close to it, more.

Do you have fun plans to celebrate the holidays aside from family dinners? Do you have any out-traditions in November or December? Every weekend until 2012 is full on my calendar. How does that happen every year?

Monday, May 16, 2011


Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted. A long time.

News on the homefront: I got a new job [almost 2 months ago, now] and I'll be packin' up and calling a new place home in another 2 months. Lots o' changin'!

I've decided I'm going to start fresh with a few items in the new place. This weekend I began the adventure with some fabulous new silverware from TJ Maxx. And now, I stumbled upon some plate-goodness this morning. Not sure I'll be purchasing these, but a gal can dream... right?

These Silhouette Plates over at BHLDN are so so pretty. I think they would make every-day dinners feel extra special.

How did you choose your everyday tableware? Did you stumble upon it or search high and low for the perfect pieces? Did you go with a classic pattern or something more trendy? How about color for dishes... do or don't?

Friday, November 26, 2010

So-Pretty Candy Apple Treats

As a designer, I am blessed to have product reps visit our architecture and design firm with treats in tow on a daily basis.

As a designer, I am also cursed to have product reps visit our architecture and design firm with treats in town on a daily basis. Think cookies and doughnuts in your face at least three times per week. Hard. To. Pass. Up.

Luckily, we have some reps who are wonderfully creative. And sometimes even little health-conscious. Natalie, one of our wallcovering reps, always delights us with yummy and pretty treats. Last week we were lucky enough to have some of her handmade goodness delivered. Before I cut into mine, I took a photo to share with all of you. Then, emailed Natalie to ask for a wallcovering sample and her recipe. If she wouldn't mind sharing it, of course.

Lucky for you, she shared. I think these apples would be the perfect holiday treat. Using both red and green apples would pretty much make them sing Christmas Carols!

From Natalie:

My recipe is kind of loose, especially since I made so many but I’m going to base this on a yield of 6.

1 - 14oz. package of caramels (Yes, I cheated…I wanted to make the caramel from scratch but I decided I’ll try that when I make a small quantity!)
6 – apples (I use Granny Smith because I like the color and the tartness)
2 T. – milk
Chocolate chips
Vegetable oil
Craft sticks

Optional: Vanilla Extract, Chopped Nuts, Crushed Graham Cracker or topping of your choice: candy, marshmallows, toffee, etc

Generously butter a cookie sheet.  Clean apples, remove stems and insert craft stick about ¾ into the apple.

Caramel apples:
Melt caramels in a medium pan over low heat, add 2 T. milk while melting.  Stir frequently until fully melted and smooth.  (Optional – stir in about 1-2 tsp vanilla)  Dip and twirl apple in melted caramel covering about 2/3 + of the apple, wipe excess caramel on the side of the pan, turn the apple upside down and twirl a few more times so the caramel flows towards the top, caramel should cover about ¾ of the apple.  (If using toppings, dip the apples immediately into the topping.)  Place apple on buttered cookie sheet.  Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until caramel sets.

Chocolate Drizzle:
Melt chocolate chips (1/3 to ½ cup? I don’t measure??) in double broiler or in microwave.  If using a microwave, melt in 20-30 second increments (stirring in between) until chocolate is smooth.  Stir in vegetable oil, start with a teaspoon and slowly add more if needed until chocolate is glossy and drips in a smooth stream when raising the spoon.  Hold apple parallel (or slanted a bit downward) over the bowl of chocolate, twirl apple while drizzling the chocolate.  (You could also do a second drizzle in white chocolate.)  Refrigerate again for about 10 minutes.  


For the finishing touches, Natalie used cupcake liners to cut down on possible messiness and ribbon to decorate the sticks.

Natalie said I made her day by asking for the recipe.
She totally made my day, too!

What would you use as a topping for these apples? Crushed candy canes would be super festive! Do you have a favorite holiday treat recipe that is so pretty it's like receiving a gift?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Door Decor

Last year, after my holiday decorations were complete, I stumbled upon an inspiring image posted by AnNicole over at Our Suburban Cottage.  Luckily, I remembered it this year when I assigned myself the task of Christmas-ing Up my boyfriend's house... his multi-colored lights lining the eaves of the house just weren't enough for me last year.

So, while he watched Sunday football, I got to work... see below for details on how to make your own!

2009 inspiration

2010 creation

Since his front door is red, I chose two colors of green ribbon to hang pine cones from. I would have loved to use a ribbon similar to the purply-red color used by the folks over at Country Living. It is so pretty. Very Holiday, but not traditional red or green.

Next, I hot glued the ribbon to the top of nine pine cones varying in size (nine because odd numbered things are usually more pleasing to the eye). I cheated and purchased a bag of pine cones instead of collecting them from the yard. I won't tell if you do the same. To figure the length of the ribbon, I measured from the point the knot would be hanging at the door. I intended to use a wreath hanger or 3m hook, but to my surprise there was already a nail in the door.

After all the pine cones were securely glued, I held all of ribbon in one hand while pulling each strand until they were all varying in lengths that would lay nicely together. Once satisfied, I tied a knot in the ribbon. And, tada! A new, very cost effective decoration that is the perfect amount of holiday for a bachelor's door.