Trend Watch: Agates, Geodes and Marbleizing

I don't know about you, but I've been seeing agate stone patterns popping up all over the place. It certainly feels like a growing trend in the home decor sphere and is even creeping into the stationery and art realm.



West Elm is in on the game with these awesome agate bookends

The most obvious way to get a little agate into your life? Buy some actual chunks of the stone and use them as bookends or coasters and dangly window decor. They even make beautiful jewelry!

blue and edged with gold by kirahley kreations


gold-edged, green agate necklace pendant by FARRAjewel

You can get the agate look on your wall with large sheets of hand-marbleized paper. Toss them in a frame and BOOM, instant art!

pretty mantel styling by The Lovely Cupboard

Like this phone case, there are some great products with agate images to be found on Society6.


If you love these gems of nature like I do, check out my Pinterest board devoted solely to the subject, Agate Crystal Gem.

Super Fun Bedsheets for Adults DO Exist!

I just finished making up the master bed and I thought to myself, "man, why are there no fun, patterned sheet sets for adults?" I knew West Elm had good patterned sheet sets and some cool, patterny duvet covers but I wanted to find polka dotted sheets in fun colors that were bright and fun but wouldn't scream "I still sleep in a queen because they make super hero sheets this size" or "I'll never grow up, mortgage be damned!"

While it's easy to find wild and colorfully patterned duvet covers and shams but I prefer the "fun" to be inside the bed. I'd rather the room feel soothing and like a welcome place to rest but with a secret. Like a fruity candy filling inside a classic and reserved chocolate shell. When you peel back the covers of the bed it's like a happy surprise. If only Willy Wonka designed bed linens ...

Curiosity sent me on an immediate mission to prove myself wrong. In the latest issue of HGTV Magazine I had seen a cute kids bedroom with white on yellow polka dotted sheets from Land of Nod, so I started there.


What a glorious selection of fun patterns and colors! Here are my more adult favorites (come on, I'd love those stars and lightning bolts but the other half would very quickly veto them) from Land of Nod, though keep in mind they only go up to Queen size.

like a classic wool suit with a twist, the aptly named, Dapper


large white dots on navy are the preppy cool New School



Fashionista is a girly take on a hand-made graphic pattern

Mixed with rich solid colors, layered neutrals or even complimentary ethnic prints these sheets can easily go from kiddie to cool.

Emboldened by these finds in the kids department I ventured forth with the obvious Google search "fun bed sheets for adults." When the top result was The Company Store, I smacked my forehead, DUH!

Orb Moonshadow has a lovely color palette


the delightfully mid-century Carson

so fun and bright, I love these graphic Calypso Fish for summer or that dream beach house

If you're willing to shell out some more money for sheets Pine Cone Hill also has some colorful and fun options. To look at.

adult but still cool, Watercolor Dots


super fun Lyric Paisley


Parma is ornate but not stuffy

I am delighted to report that there are many sources for fun bedding out there. An immediately obvious source is the ever delightful, Marimekko brand. You can find a good variety at FinnStyle here, and a few more at Crate and Barrel here.

Here is a little list of other blog bedding round-ups and sites to find fun stuff:
2. Snurk Bedding: visual trickery and funny duvet covers
3. Society6 has gotten in on the bedding game with artist made duvets
4. All Modern has some gems in their bedding section with solid brights, ogee pattern, a super cool water splash pattern and many varieties of stripes, dots and even color-blocking.
5. Pottery Barn teen won me over with the fun cheetah, paisley, plaids and rugby stripe.
6. TrendHunter is really on the ball with humorous and fast food inspired finds.

Why should kids have all the fun anyway?

Before + After: Front Door

With all the changes going on in the inside of our new home, I wanted to do something small but with big impact to make the house feel more like ours from the outside. While we will probably repaint it in the next couple of years, it's not at the top of our list for now. I opted instead to change the front door color. Front door colors are kind of like lipstick, a color can change the whole look.

Our house started with a plain white front door on the outside. When I spotted this front door in my first HGTV magazine (July 2013) I knew that something bright and cheery was just what the house needed to feel like "ours."

That is seriously cheery, right? [source]

Initially, I had a tough time narrowing it down to one choice. The Pantone paint selection at Valspar has a ton of saturated brights so that's where I pulled my chip choices from. There were about 5 paint chips taped to the front door for two months while I debated. It came down to two so we decided to paint the lighter color first for ease of painting over it with something stronger if it didn't feel right.

The final choice? Pantone's Bay from Lowe's. It's a soft and minty sea green that looks pretty with the grey exterior and black and white trim.


As for tips and tricks, this was pretty straight forward. Just remember to remember how your door handle and dead bolt lock go back together. I left the door on the hinges because they were too hard remove and wiped down the door to get dirt and grime off before painting and didn't prime it. I bought a quart of paint and that was more than enough for two coats.

While I was feeling super productive I decided to sand part of the jamb surface of the door that had been sticking when closed. While it helped the door close easier the sander "grabbed" the painted surface of the interior of the door and peeled off a huge chunk of the interior coat of paint. Boo! Down the rabbit hole I went ...

With large swaths of latex paint peeled off and the primer exposed I had to tackle the new eyesore. Rather than try to re-paint over the primer that seemed suspect (given how easy it was to pull large sheets of paint off) I opted to strip it down to the original wood.

Enter Citristrip, my new favorite paint stripper. Not only can you use it inside, you don't have to wear a mask to protect you from the fumes. Score! I did wear eye protection though. Two trips to the doctor for stripper/sand in the eye was enough motivation to avoid another incident. 

The tools I used were: nitrile gloves, a new plastic putty knife, a plastic drop cloth over a canvas one (just in case, I'm clumsy), lots of wooden skewers for cranny strippy (not Granny stripping -- you creep), an old brush, a wide-mouthed jar and Citristrip. You'll also want some paint thinner to clean the wood surface of excess stripper and any last stubborn bits of paint. Beware of where the stripper and paint thinner are at all times, you don't want any stray drops contacting anything other than what you want stripped -- it will affect the surface it touches.


Stripping in progress. Coat the surface with an old paint brush and the stripper and then stick a cut open plastic bag against the surface and wait. The plastic bag helps the stripper to stay moist and really helps with peeling the paint off. You'll also want to use the points of the skewers to scrape all the paint bits out of the corners of the moulding details.


The paint on the door was hiding some patched areas and quite a few dings and dents. Luckily, I dig it. Eventually, I'll be tackling the stairs with a fresh coat of dark chocolate stain on the tread surfaces and the railing and painting the spindles to match the house trim. My plan is to use the same stain from the stairs on the door to tie it all together for a cohesive entryway.

**UPDATE** I have finally stained the inside of the front door. Mr wasn't into my idea of black stain so I went next darkest and bought a little can of Rustoleum in Kona. I did one liberal coat of stain with a cheapie 3 inch foam brush and then wiped up the excess with rags. I did let the stain sit on the surface for a little bit before wiping to really let that dry wood soak it up. There are a couple imperfections in the door surface where the stain didn't take so well but for now I'm leaving them and calling it "rustic." After about four days of drying I bought a can of poly sealer but I've not put it on yet. I like the feel of the raw wood but I think I'll do one coat of matte for good measure. I didn't take the door down (again) so we'll see if I can do it without getting too many drips and runs.

Office Chair Make-over Quickie


 Nothing satisfies the DIY heart as quickly as changing the fabric of a chair. This office chair is no exception! In need of a comfy chair for my art table, I nabbed this office bad boy at my local GCF Store for the sale price of $5.99 plus tax. It has a nice "sit" to it and is slightly bouncy given the shape. The back is soft too and the right height. The chair's only negative was that scratchy, drab, office-blue upholstery.


I set off for a fabric pick-me-up at this awesome local fabric store called The Cloth Barn. It is a veritable fabric haven and I've found myself wandering the racks for many an hour. If you ever hear audible "Oohs" and "Awws" among the bolts, it's me. Coincidental, if I am ever reported missing, look for me there first. Anyway, there is a remnant room that is always good for a rummage and that's where I found a 3/4 yard piece of thick, upholstery weight, grey and yellow ikat. (I don't know about you, but I love a good ikat). It was a whopping $3 per yard.

 
Score! (Cody the dog is equally excited)

For that seamless look, this chair has a panel on the back that snaps in with four plastic plug thingies. Once I snapped those off the rest of dis-assembly was a cinch. Before recovering I didn't bother removing the existing fabric and just stapled my fabric over the top. The yardage wasn't quite big enough to center the main ikat element and leave enough fabric for all the necessary pieces so I opted for an off-center set up that allowed alignment between the top cushion and the bottom. I probably just lost all you OCD perfectionists out there but please bear with me to the end?

After a moment of hesitance I remembered this re-do was about quick frugality and one must not fret about the whole symmetry thing.


After many staples, the cushions were complete and I was on to the back panel with my fingers crossed that I had enough fabric left to cover it. BARELY. The panel is metal and the fabric had been stretched and anchored with metal hooks and my last scrap was not big enough. What to do, what to do?

Hot glue gun.

Tenuous moments and burned fingers later, the last bit of fabric somehow managed to cover the back panel. A quick assembly and BOOM. I have one snazzy work chair. Bye, bye drab office blues!

Ain't she a beaut?!
(See, the off centered pattern works just fine since both the top and bottom cushion are matched up. 
I told you it'd all work out!)

Project budget:  roughly $10.00
chair - $6ish
fabric - $3ish
staples and hot glue - $0 (already had these)

   
At home next to my messy art desk.

Note: I briefly considered spray painting the chair frame but the gray powder coating works well enough with the fabric and I worried about the potential of paint rubbing off into the carpet and making me a nasty mess. So I opted to leave it as is.

April's First Friday Art Post: Original Prints on Etsy

Welcome to the inaugural First Friday Art Post! The first Friday of each month I'll bring you great art from around the web, kind of like my own little art walk.

--------------

I love printmaking. In college I was lucky enough to take a printmaking class in my last semester where we learned various processes from intaglio etching to lithography to reduction woodcuts. There is something so satisfying about the printmaking process. I love all aspects of the production itself, from the mixing of inks, to setting up a system for perfect registration, to rolling plates through the press. There is nothing quite as satisfying as a drying rack full of prints, drying and waiting to be editioned.

It's no secret that I love art. This has manifested itself in a bit of an art buying habit that I don't see the need to correct (Mr. P may disagree). Etsy is one of my favorite sources for finding original prints at less than bank-breaking prices. I love that the world-wide art community is so accessible via Etsy. I can buy a piece from a local artist or from one half the world away.

Without further ado, let me showcase some of the art prints I've already purchased for myself along with some of the pieces I have my eye on this-very-moment.

Own it ...





(see more waiting to be framed in my flat file cabinet)



 Want it ...




















If you like what you see here, follow me on Etsy for more of my favorite art finds.

Don't forget to back away from the computer once in a while because it's always a great idea to support your local art community. Go to your town or city's First Friday Art Walks, and get to know those making beautiful things right in your own backyard!

Molly & Jason Mesnick's Baby Shower Decor

Big news came via twitter today! My "Animals Born Free" Party Decor suite at Minted popped up as the decor for Molly Mesnick's (of The Bachelor fame) baby shower. Jenny Cookie's created the sweets to reflect the invitation and decor. She even strung some of the table confetti to create a banner for the cake. Let's just get to Lisi Wolf Photography's photos that so perfectly capture the event and decor.


Photos of the shower have been featured on people.com as well as E! online, Yahoo, Project Nursery, The Bump, Lil Sugar, Babble and more. The shower was also shown on E! News!

Pretty awesome.

Quilts

I'm officially on a quilt kick. This has never happened before.

I spent more than a few weekends at auction houses growing up. I remember my parents' main objective was buying antique quilts but I didn't really "get" the appeal. We always had hand-made quilts on our beds and a few hanging around the house. I often enjoyed looking at them up close, examining all the different patterns and colors that were part of each little square and triangle. Then I'd look around the whole quilt to find other pieces of the same fabric. When I got older I began to notice how different the quilt looked up close compared to from across a room.

In 2001 I moved off to college and forgot about quilts all together until my 21st birthday. My dad's gift was a quilt of my own. From then on, every bed I owned until my wedding had that quilt on it. Sadly, it's now relegated to our guest room's twin bed and I miss it. (I can get a photo I'll add it to the post ... )

At Christmas I went home for the first time in a year. Being back in my parent's homes I realized how much I liked the way they had their homes decorated. Interesting antique furniture pieces, unique quilts, lamps and old books mixed with functional modern and non-precious items. Nothing stuff or pretentious or "old lady."

I want to bring quilts back into my life. I miss the weight multiple layers of blankets and quilts have but my husband swears his size 13 arches hurt when he sleeps with too much weight on his feet so we just have a fluffy comforter now. Alas, I am itching to buy one!

Of course, I am much more drawn to quilts that are more graphic in nature but even the most "Granny" of quilts can be beautiful, not to mention the time and amazing craftsmanship it takes to create one. So, without further ado, check out these sweet quilts, old and new!


[Gee's Bend Quilts by Pottery Barn]
Learn more about the Gee's Bend quilters here and here.




[Handmade Patchwork Quilt 84" x 79" Diamond Cubes on eBay]




[modern Triangles Crib Quilt on Etsy]




[quilt-like patterned coverlet Kaleidoscope Patchwork Quilt by Urban Outfitters]





[modern art quilt Blue Progression 9 Patch 61" x 84" by Eleanor McCain]




[a nice limited palette Half to Whole Quilt by Carrie Strine]


You can find all kinds of vintage/antique quilts on eBay in all price ranges and in various states of condition. I'd imagine you can also find some good ones in your local thrift shop if you check often. There are many Etsy sellers with new handmade quilts available too and I'll wager a guess that you can commission them to be made in specific colors and patterns for the right price.

Style I'd Steal

Have you seen the sneak peek on Design*Sponge today?! I am so delighted to see a home with western touches AND bright colors AND a mix of antique and modern furniture with lots of interesting art mixed in. This is just the kind of style I'd love my own home to have and now that I've seen someone else's version I can see more clearly how to achieve my own vision.


Bedroom: The horizontal stripes on the bedding are reminiscent of striped western shirts and old school mattresses and I am actually digging the natural wood trim with the wall color. The only negative for me is the shotgun propped against the wall (see original post) which makes this scene look over-styled -- even if it is Texas.


Kitchen: I am a huge fan of the blue cabinets combined with the natural wood open shelving. I don't think I'd take subway tile all the way to the ceiling (a little too "easy clean-up/Dexter's kill room" for me) but everything about the structure of this kitchen I like. It certainly doesn't hurt to have the concrete counter tops and floor, plus I actually own a table just like the one in the middle of the room!


Living: Look at that awesome floor lamp! I'm also a big fan of the ram head over the fireplace, the round coffee table and the bright pops of color everywhere.


Bathroom: I love everything in this bathroom from the claw-foot tub to the painted door!

Love, love, love!

Bedroom Update

A while back I wrote about trying to pick some bedding that would bring a little "spice" and cheer to my bedroom during the grey English winters. Well, I've since made my decision and have some pics to show you!


At the time I purchased the Echo Design Jaipur duvet cover (queen size) the matching shams were all sold out online so I bought the shower curtain instead to make my own shams with it. My mom gifted me with the small red accent pillow. I already owned the larger, darker red pillow as well as the two slatey blue shams behind the pillowcases.

Our dressers are Crate & Barrel, the bed frame is from Ashley Furniture, the side tables are from TJ Maxx (they were an ugly mustard color before I sanded and painted them a gloss black), the white side table lamp came from the Goodwill and the other side table lamp is the one I grew up with. I think it's an antique but who knows for sure. The two black and white prints above the bed are from deviantART. It's a hodge-podge collection for sure but it works for us, at least for now!


Jennifer Lopez Bedding Collection Escape Bedding Coordinates (Google Affiliate Ad)
Chaps Home French Riviera Bedding Coordinates (Google Affiliate Ad)