Pretty Small Things: air plant homes!

Over the holidays I went air plant hunting in Florida. Ever since, I've been itching to find them pretty little homes. Well, I've made some progress and I'm excited to share it with you!

A very fun air plant home that has been on my DIY list for a wile was a hollowed out lightbulb. I finally did it - yay! I used these instructions by Team Droid to modify the lightbulb and it really wasn't too difficult at all. His warnings about glass shards are definitely accurate, so follow his instructions and be safe!

I also used some beautiful wire and glass globes I found at Homegoods for about $8 total. (But, I had a giftcard from my soon-to-be mother-in-law - thank you Linda!!) I added some gravel and a shell for a terrarium look. 

The last two air plant homes I came up with were a little shell and a beautiful box from my soon-to-be sister-in-law. Thank you Jody!! Aren't my (soon-to-be) in-laws stylin?

Moral of the story: air plants are super awesome and versatile - you can put them almost anywhere and they look amazing!

Which is your favorite? Where would you put your air plants?


Grounded for a Week

This week, insideways is grounded! Really, I'm just going to share plant themed posts this week. Get it? Plants? Grounded? So clever... nope? We'll that's ok I like it.

In the past I've shared a couple of planting projects, so today I'm going to update you on how they're doing and how I would do things a little differently next time.

Brass Duck Planter
(see the original post here)

I'm still in love with this planter and overall it's worked out really well! The challenge with this project is my duck bowl has no drainage. That's a bad situation for plants because if roots sit in water, the plant will die. To combat that problem, I put a layer of gravel in the bottom of my duck bowl before planting the succulents. Unfortunately I still lost one of them. See the little dirt patch there? Yep - man down. Because of the way the bowl slopes, all of the water sat on that poor little plant's roots.

After a little research, I discovered that there were more steps I could have taken to protect my plant's roots via Elsie McLaughlin Designs. Check out her post to make sure you keep your plants healthy in their drainage-less containers.

DIY Herb Garden
(see the original post here)

I'm happy to report that my Pepsi crate herb garden is doing really really well! To be honest, Tim and I haven't cooked with any of the herbs yet because we're giving them a little time to flourish before we start snipping them. Here's the one thing I changed from the original post; Shortly after posting, I got a couple of comments letting me know that mint (one of the herbs I planted) has a tendency to take over a herb garden and kill all of your other herbs - how rude!

In a very easy fix, I moved the mint into its own pot where it can grow as aggressively as it would like. Now the Pepsi crate has cilantro! Honestly, I wanted cilantro in the first place, but Home Depot was out of it when Tim and I chose our plants. Win win in the end eh?

Toy Giraffe Planter
(see the original post here)

I looooove the look of this planter, but I have to be honest... it's been an epic fail for the succulents I planted in it... Above you'll see how they started out - nice and healthy. Below... not doing so well...

There are two reasons this might have happened. 1) There's not a lot of soil in the body of the giraffe for the succulents to hang on to. Maybe their roots just couldn't get a grip. 2) I put this planter in a location with very little sunlight. My bad. Once I noticed the succulents didn't look so good, I moved them to the porch with tons of light. They were either too far gone or it was problem #1 after all. Bummer. SO, I'm pretty sure I'm going to make some sort of fake plant or craft plant to put in here. The toy giraffe is just not so great for a live plant. (If you tried this project and your plant is doing well, PLEASE let me know! I'd love to know how you did it!)

My First Succulents
(see the original post here)

They're alive! But, I have a question... see the guy in the back left? He's not looking so hot... does anyone know if that's normal? Is he molting? Does loosing his little pods mean he's going to grow some new ones or that little brother succulents are going to start to grow? Bueller? Anyone? Halp!


Blog Swap: Meet Sarah from Renewed Upon a Dream

Today I have a very special treat for you; I'm handing insideways over to Sarah, one of my favorite blogging buddies, while I head on over to her blog, Renewed Upon a Dream. Don't forget to stop by her blog to see what I've cooked up for her readers :)

Welcome Sarah!! Take it away!


Hello!  My name is Sarah & I have a little blog called Renewed Upon a Dream.  I'm so excited to be doing this blog exchange with Jennifer!  I love her blog & check it regularly to see what she's been up to!

Probably the best gift that I got for Christmas this year was this little nightstand that was sitting in front of the tree on Christmas morning.

I had been looking for a new bedside table, and my mom found this one at the nearby Salvation Army for just $18!  It's got a really cute shape doesn't it?  However, the finish was super ugly yellowish with goldish accents & some random stains.  Not pretty.  But, the shape & details on it were cute, and it was a breeze to refinish it for our bedroom!

I love refinishing furniture & have done quite a bit of it recently.  I love taking things from "eh" to beautiful!  I did this one the very same weekend that I worked on my television consul.  This piece didn't require nearly as much prep work as the consul though requiring only the normal washing, sanding, wiping, priming.  It did have one random hole drilled in the drawer front that I had to plug up.  I think it used to have different hardware on it before & they just drilled new holes & didn't fix the old ones.

I used a straight out of the can Behr white flat paint as my base.  Then had a little fun trying something new with Martha Stewart's glaze in Mercury that I got from Home Depot.  I had seen this & wanted to give it a try, but was a little nervous about it.  I loved how my table looked just in white, and was kinda scared I was going to mess it up.  But, I told myself that I can always paint it back to plain white if I didn't like it, so I went ahead & gave it a try.

I applied the glaze with a sponge brush. I did it with a VERY light hand, kinda like dry brushing, and spread out what I did apply so that it was very very thin.  This does leave brush strokes if you do it this way.  I applied it to the whole piece, and wasn't quite sure what I thought about it.  I wondered if I should do it with a heavier hand, but I wasn't sure.

This glaze had a very long drying time.  I read online elsewhere that it can take up to 24 hours to dry.  That's probably for a regular application, but mine was taking longer than a regular paint would.  After about an hour of drying time, I went at it with a rag.  This is so not very scientific, but basically, I rubbed in any glaze that was remaining & not dry yet. Kind of like buffing it.  This allowed some of the access glaze to come off, while the remaining glaze no longer showed the brush lines!  I wasn't really sure what I was doing when I started doing this, I just hoped that it would look good.  And I think it worked!

I didn't really like it with the brush marks, but after I buffed the glaze in, it looked fabulous!  The glaze gave it some very nice dimension.  I'm not sure how this glaze would look if applied with a more heavy hand, but I think it'd probably look nice on things like frames or shelves even.  Also, a little bit goes a long way.  I'm gonna have this stuff forever!

I sealed my work the next day with wax.  I love the way furniture feels after its been waxed, and I like the soft look of it as well.  With the use of the glaze, my piece already had some shimmer to it, so I didn't want to loose that by applying a glossy finishing coat.  I am so happy with how this turned out.  It looks lovely in our little room next to our bed.

I'm planning a few more changes to our bedroom coming up soon.  I really hope that you'll come join me at Renewed Upon a Dream to see what else I've got going on over there!


Totally adorable right? I know I'll be watching for more of her bedroom changes. Thanks for sharing your talents Sarah! 


One Room Challenge: Week Two - Dear God...

This is a tale of a young lady whose life got a little busy. In its insanity something needed to give, so she put off her one room challenge project until the last minute... can you guess how this ends?

Back to first person writing... because my life got insane I decided to do the "easiest" DIY I had planned for the room. Via inspiration from Merrypad and Adventures of an Almost 40 Year Old Intern, I decided to paint my rug with an ikat pattern.

Look how lovely these two projects are!

So I began...

The jute rug was a $10 craigslist find from forever ago. Tim and I were both tired of how it looked, so it was a perfect candidate for this project.

I started strong, carefully measuring out the line and painting... oh wait... that's not really the ikat pattern you were going for... "Oh well" I said to myself, "I still like it." And I did.

At its best, things were looking great. I liked the worn look of the uneven paint. So I started to go faster... it got later into the evening... you know where this is going.

The lines were getting more and more... not line like. "Well, I'll just keep going and see how it looks in the end." Then that little cluster eff happened right there. There's no fixing that mess... Tim was amazing and said "maybe you should just keep going until the end." Nope. This was not meant to be. This is an Escher painting, not the rug I wanted.

So there I sat. Actually, below is a picture of exactly how I sat.

Epic fail on week two of a blogging challenge with 14 other incredible ladies? It was totally a laugh or cry moment. Well, I decided to laugh and I hope you can laugh with me. I figure, I'll pick up things again next week with a little more patience and planning. It will all still work out right? Right...

Go check out the other One Room Challengers (you know, the ones who are actually succeeding)

Suzanne from Saved by Suzy  ................  Kelly from Refreshed Designs
Jaydn from Dutch.British.Love  .................  Danylle from Nana Moon Shop
Nicole from Nicole Scott Designs  ...................  Taylor from Taylor Morgan Design
Tiffany from Living Savvy  .....................  Jennifer from The Pink Pagoda
Kim from Kim Macumber Interiors  ....................  Lisa from Trapped in North Jersey
Emily from Rue de Emily  ......................  Janet from House Four
Linda from My Crafty Home-life  ...................  Sharon from A Lifestyle Thing


Get On the Love Train

Hi there! "Hello" is pretty much what this whole post is about. One of my major goals for insideways is to form a community of friends. There are so many awesome people out there in the world, and goodness if the internet isn't a great way to connect with them. So, here's a little roundup of ways to experience insideways and me on the web - let's connect!

RSS: RSS stands for "really simple syndication." Did you know that? I didn't until about 3 minutes ago... Anywho, RSS lets you subscribe to insideways using feedburner. You can choose whatever reader you want (google reader, yahoo, etc.) and whenever a post goes up on insideways, it will automatically pop into your reader. That's how I follow all of my favorite blogs to be sure I never miss a post!

Pinterest: Oh Pinterest - can we agree that it's one of the better things to have happened to the DIY sphere of the internet? I use Pinterest for two reasons 1) for me - to keep track of things I love or want to try and 2) for you - to share cool design pictures. I've decided that (for the most part) I want insideways to have original content (meaning original photos). BUT, there are so many awesome things out there that I'd love you to see! Following my Pinterest feed and insideways gives you the best of both worlds :)

Twitter: As some of you may know, I'm a classical cellist - my "job" so to speak. As a musician, I love for my audience members to be able to get to know me on a day-to-day basis, but I want you to be able to get to know me too. So, Twitter is my crossover social media outlet. I post little bits of my daily life - musical and bloggy - so you can get to know me as a whole person with all of my different interests.

Instagram: So here's the truth. You can follow me on instagram if you want to see lots of pictures of my cats. I'm pretty sure that's embarrassing, but it's how things work in my life :)

Email: You can always send me an email. I can't tell you how much I love reading them! Don't be shy, say hello!

Facebook:... I actually don't have a facebook page for this blog. Is that a crime? Do you guys want one?? Let me know and I can get on it :)

So that's it! I'd love to get to know you, so don't be shy :)


That Awkward Space in Your Home

I don't know about you, but I find hallways to be one of the most difficult spaces to decorate. Most furniture is too big to fit... Doorways get in the way of a continuous flow... Then, if you do happen to find a nice little set up for your hallway, photographing it can be really tricky.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to hit a perfect storm of being happy with my hallway decorations and having the equipment to photogram them - woo! Time to share!

Here you can see the layout of my hallway. I've set up two little vignette areas to cover the length of the hallway and because there are two longe stretches of wall space.

If you remember my little art gallery from this post, you'll notice it's growing! It's so easy to add extra art to an organic/random gallery layout.

Adding a bench to the hallway is always a really great solution. They're nice and narrow, but also super functional for shoe storage. We hung Tim's sailboat painting from his Grandfather to cover up this super ugly electrical box.

So here are the photo taking details for those of you who are interested:

1. Tripod: There is no natural light in this hallway. None. Which means it's pretty dim. Instead of raising the ISO to get the right exposure and risking a lot of noise on my photo, I put my camera on a tripod and slowed the shutter speed waaaaay down. The resulting image was nice and bright!
2. Photoshop: (You could use any number of different photo editing softwares for this, but I used Photoshop.) The lack of natural light in this hallway makes taking a nice clean picture difficult because artificial lights look really yellow or green to cameras. Using my photo editing software, I was able to adjust the white balance and brightness of these photos to make them look like they do to the natural eye (our brain fixes these things for us because it's awesome like that.)

So there you have it - a tricky little space shared! Whew, that's been on my list forever. Feels good to have it out there :)

Where is the tricky space in your house?


DIY Crochet Pillow

In my quest to try projects in different crafty mediums this year I've taken up an old crafty pastime of mine again - crocheting. Now when I say "old crafty pastime" I'm putting a lot of emphasis on the "old." We're talking ooooold - like haven't done it since jr high school old. Yep.

So, I went to the most logical place to relearn - youtube. After a little exploring and dabbling, I decided to make a pillow case with a crochet front!

Here's how I did it...

1. To get started I followed the instructions in this video.

And got this granny square...

2. After I finished a total of 16 granny squares (it took me three evenings of easy work in front of the TV), I followed this video to connect them together.

And ended up with this big square. This part only took an hour or so. About now I was getting really excited :)

3. Then I blocked my crochet square using this technique (to be completely honest, I just watched this video on mute while I did something else haha):

So, I pinned my crochet square and steamed away using my regular old iron.

Then it was time to build the rest of my pillow...

4. I decided to make an envelope pillow case for the base of my pillow. I cut out one long rectangle of fabric with these dimensions: crochet square height + 1 inch by crochet square width x2 + 6 inches.

5. The next step was to hem the two short sides of the rectangle. Then I wrapped the rectangle inward to the correct width of the crochet square, making sure the wrong side of the fabric faced outward. 

6. Then I sewed along the top and bottom edges. Just four straight lines of stitching total and I could flip it right side out to have a pillow case! This is the easiest pillow case and took me about 20 minutes to make from scratch!

7. Then came my least favorite step. I had to hand stitch the crochet square to the front of the pillow case using a whip stitch. This part took me about 3 hours, or as I measure it, four episodes of Hoarders. I usually hate hand sewing, but in the end it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be :)

8. After seeing the crochet square attached to the pillow, I thought it needed a little sumtin sumtin extra. I decided to add a burlap heart! I cut out the heart then machine sewed around its edges so it wouldn't unravel. I hand stitched it on the pillow front using a basic running stitch.


I think this is the second most time consuming home project I've taken on, which honestly caught me by surprise. But, It was totally worth it and super relaxing.

 I think my favorite thing about this project is it has a lot of different elements that can easily be adjusted or remixed into different creations altogether. Essentially, I just took a bunch of very basic crocheting and sewing skills and crammed them into one DIY. If you want to try this yourself but have questions, please don't hesitate to email me and ask or leave a comment!

What's the most time consuming DIY you've tackled?


The One Room Challenge

That's right, the challenge is on! We're gonna do it!!! One room woo!!
Ahem, excuse me I guess I should explain...

I am so super excited to be joining 14 other blogging ladies in the challenge to finish one room in your home. Finish! Over the next 5 weeks we'll be tackling a room from start to finish and sharing our progress each Wednesday.

The room I've chosen? The dreaded spare bedroom (que horrifying music now).

The backstory: Five months ago I moved from Boston to San Diego - from this apartment to a white box. Most of the house came together pretty quickly. The living room is done and even landed me a feature on Apartment Therapy (Eeee!). The bedroom is all set and Tim and I are feeling generally at home throughout the apartment. But there's that room... that one room... the spare bedroom. It's been a huuuuge challenge! It started as a white box, then became the "we're still unpacking room"....

Embarrassing... more on that here.

And here we are now:

Livable, but not pretty by a long shot. More on that here.

I'm ready. This room will not beat me!!

Here are the challenges:
1. Storage: Oh. My. Gosh. Storage is the number one biggest problem in this room. We can't install any kind of permanent storage solutions (ie built-ins), but we definitely need the storage space that a wall of built-ins would provide.
2. Technology: Tim has some really awesome music equipment in this room and happens to have it in the most perfect-to-use set up ever. It's great! But... it's a little unsightly. I'll be working hard to creatively balance out the technology without reducing usefulness.
3. Color: We're not allowed to paint so color solutions are a little tricky. I'm working up some ideas for balancing out all of the black we have in the room from music equipment.
4. Budget: There really isn't one, as in as few dollars as humanly possible. Also, we're very unsure of how long we'll stay in this apartment, so we don't want solutions that will only work for this place. To recap, anything purchased needs to be c-h-e-a-p cheap and versatile for other spaces.

So that's it! I'm rearing and ready to go, so you can expect some pretty fun DIY updates over the next few weeks!! I'm also pinning inspiration for the room, so feel free to follow along there as well.

What do you think? Gonna join the challenge!?

Meet the other One Room Challengers

Suzanne from Saved by Suzy  ................  Kelly from Refreshed Designs
Jaydn from Dutch.British.Love  .................  Danylle from Nana Moon Shop
Nicole from Nicole Scott Designs  ...................  Taylor from Taylor Morgan Design
Tiffany from Living Savvy  .....................  Jennifer from The Pink Pagoda
Kim from Kim Macumber Interiors  ....................  Lisa from Trapped in North Jersey
Emily from Rue de Emily  ......................  Janet from House Four
Linda from My Crafty Home-life  ...................  Sharon from A Lifestyle Thing

(Special thanks to Linda for coordinating this shindig!)


Roadside Flowers

Doesn't the title of this post sound a little like an awesome/horrible romance novel? I'm pretty sure the protagonists name would be Scarlet Rose or something equally impressive...

Where am I going with all of this...?

Oh right - flowers. Nothing makes a home feel special in the same way that little bunches of fresh flowers can and I'm totally in love with it. But... flowers aren't always cheap. I don't know about you, but sometimes it feels so extravagant to buy flowers; they're just going to die in a week or so right? So maaaybe there's another option? Yup, just look at the native foliage in your area with a little imagination!

I love snagging little plant trimmings on my walk home from school. Today I thought I would share the potential of little roadside flowers by making four simple arrangements for your viewing pleasure.

These little buds (above) grow on a huge bush. All together on the bush this plant doesn't look like "flower" material, but one branch by itself adds a bright touch to any room!

To be honest, I wasn't sure it these would work well in a little vase. They turned out wonderfully - so feminine. Sometimes you just have to try it out!

Probably the easiest way to add a little green to your room is to just grab a small branch with leaves. You would think it might look silly, but this is one of my favorites.

Don't underestimate the beauty of "weed" flowers. These little daisies grow everywhere and just look adorable in a little milk glass vase.

Just in case you're curious, here's a picture of part the walk I take to pick my flowers...

Hahah, not glamorous and definitely not where you would expect to find cute little trimmings for your home!

Before you go out and try it for yourself, there are a couple things to beware of...

1. I wouldn't recommend picking flowers from gardens - you don't want any angry neighbors! I make sure all of the plants I take trimmings from are in clearly un-landscaped areas.
2. If you have pets, always be careful about the plants you bring into your home. Some plants can be really poisonous for animals.
3. Watch out for little critters that might be living in your trimmings! No one wants little spiders or ants for new roommates.
4. If you have allergies, it might be a good idea to wear gloves when you pick your flowers. When you do your own flower picking you're likely to get a little sap on your fingers. Even if you're not allergic to a flower's smell, sometimes the sap can irritate sensitive skin.

Ok now go grab a pair of scissors and take a walk! I'm sure you'll find some pretty fantastic stuff in your own neighborhood and if you do, be sure to let me know!