Pretty Small Things: a (not so small) wicker giraffe

The other day I was casually perusing craigslist using some of my favorite search words - kilim, rug, rattan, cane, bentwood, and... wicker. Wicker might be my favorite. Does anyone else do this? Just me?

Anywho, I happend across a listing I just couldn't pass up. A 5 foot. Wicker. Giraffe. WITH. A planter in his back. ohmygosh!

Clearly I had to have him so I shot off an email to the seller then raced over with cash in hand: $40 - not a good deal at all, but I don't care. Now he lives on my porch in all his vertically abundant wonderfulness.

On the left: where he lives. Doesn't it look like I need some sort of art or hanging plant above the chair for balance now? Working on it. On the right: an awkwardly angled picture so you can see all of his glory. So tall. Planter. I'm a happy girl.

Oh that face! I love you too wicker giraffe!

What do you think? Crazy or insanely awesome?


The One Room Challenge: Explained

Alright readers, it's time for the nitty gritty on the One Room Challenge; the inside story of how it alllll fell apart. Why share it? Well 1) I hope it will make you laugh but 2) There are so many amazing DIY projects out there on the web and sometimes you forget that even the most avid DIYers have rough times of it. Consider this post a reminder that we're all human :)

First, here's a link to the reveal photos - the room didn't turn out so badly in the end, it just wasn't how I imagined it would look. Here is why...

In our last weekend before the One Room Challenge reveal, the first order of business was to finish the Ikea Expdit hack Tim and I had started. Like I mentioned on this post, the plan was to add doors to the bottom three shelves to provide some covered storage. I bought some BEAUtiful reclaimed wood from Builders Trading Company in Encinitas for the doors and we were excited to get them installed!

On Saturday (after a late start because of a 4 hour recording session I had in the morning) Tim and I went to Home Depot together to get all of the hardware for the project. I've never bought so many screws in my life! We got home and started mapping out our first cut. Exciting, no? Well, "no" is correct. We quickly realized we needed a square - a tool we didn't have. Back to Home Depot!

While the second trip was a little annoying, Tim and I were still in good sprits and enjoying each other's company. When we got home, we started our first cut - finally!! After about 15 seconds and 2 inches of cutting the battery powered circular saw died. "Oh well, backup battery time!" Dead. "Come on!"

So at this point it's nearing 5pm and we're starting to feel a little hopeless. So little time left! Oh, and my pretty hallway? Looks like this...

(This is seriously our only place to work in our apartment. Yes, that is in fact sawdust all over the carpet.)

We decided we needed to finish something to get our motivation back. So, we went to the second project on our list - hang the curtains.

To give ourselves the room we needed, we pulled everything away from the wall and made a HUGE mess - all in the name of progress!

Tim drills the pilot hole for the curtain rod hardware and... wait... "steel studs? Seriously!? Wow." We can't hang the curtains. Without stud support they would just rip out of the walls (or our cats would rip them out of the walls).

So that was that.

A really big part of my design plan (and something I had spent hours working on already)... nixed. 

Here's a picture of Tim holding them up so you can get an idea of how it would have looked - lots of soft texture, the beautiful rope curtain rod, bright neutrals that wouldn't make the room feel small, and a pop of blue. So pretty and so far out of reach. 

And that's when Tim and I decided to call it a night. Time to recharge the "we can do this" batteries.


Enter Sunday. I'm feeling up for the challenge and ready to face the Ikea hack again! Woo, let's go! I have a slight migraine, but I'll just take the new migraine meds my Dr prescribed and be good to go, right? Wrong. These meds are serious stuff and can make your migraine worse before making it better. I ended up in bed in a fetal position with Tim rubbing my back until I fell asleep. Rough times my friends, rough times. 

In some good news, after an hour of sleeping the medicine did get rid of my migraine, and I was once again ready for the challenge! Tim and I started cutting wood(... oh ahem, that sounds a little dirty... oops). We made a map of all of the cuts we needed to make and got down to it only to discover we were short the wood we needed to finish. "Oh well, we'll get more - keep going!"

So we did.

Long story short (although this is already a crazy long story - sorry) at the end of a LONG day, we finished exactly one door. 

See it there? Among the wreckage? 

There was clearly no way we were going to finish.  We decided that to maintain our mental health it was best to leave it alone. So that was that! We cleaned up, I took pictures for the reveal, and boy do we both feel good to be finished for the time being.

Ok I'm feeling so badly about the amount of text in this post! I tried to make it short, there was just a lot to tell! Sorry!

If you've made it this far, I'd like to invite you to share your own DIY frustrations in the comments on this post. Link to a blog post, enjoy a little venting, and take a sec read other people's stories. DIYing can be hard and I think it helps to know you're not alone :)

So let's hear it - have you had DIY projects go bust?


One Room Challenge: Week 6 - The Big Reveal!

Oh doesn't everyone love a good reveal? Well, today's the big day - the One Room Challenge Reveal Finale! Without further adieu...

Before... when I first moved into my apartment and it was nothing but a plain white box...

After!... here it is today - our music room, supply/storage central, and guest bedroom for the brave of heart...

Here's an in between shot of where I started at the beginning of the One Room Challenge.

Tim and I made a LOT of progress, no?

We added string art to the big bare wall and rearranged furniture slightly to make the room feel more spacious. 

We hacked a huuge Ikea Expedit for much more stylish storage that really fit our needs. 

We got a new rug from Ikea (after destroying our old one) that I'm madly in love with, which adds a ton of pattern to an otherwise dull room. 

But the truth? We're not finished. Drats. Challenge fail. See that one little wood door on the Expedit? Yep, that was a bigger plan. Missing the curtains I mentioned in an earlier post? Yep, that was a bigger plan. The reality is, life got bigger than our plans were and crazy unforeseen obstacles cut us short. It's a looooong story, so I'm sharing it on the blog tomorrow. For now, let's just enjoy the progress we did make! I think it looks a lot better!!

A HUGE thanks to Linda from My Crafty Home Life for arranging this shindig - it's one of the hardest but coolest things I've done. Today is the big day, so don't forget to check the results from the other challengers. Reveals wheeee!


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


DIY Placemats

You know those projects that sit on your want-to-do list (or Pinterest board) forever? Well this was one of those projects for me. When I saw this lined paper patterned baby blanket from Cornflower Blue Studio I just knew I wanted to make my own version as placemats.

Since I already had my sewing machine out for the curtains I made for the One Room Challenge, it was finally time.

Before going on I just have to say, Cornflower Blue Studio has some of the cutest stuff ever!! She doesn't make the baby blanket anymore, but sells adorable hand embroidered love notes that I'm totally swooning over - wedding maybe? Not to mention she makes stunning modern fiber art inspired by coral and barnacles. I mean stop it. So good. (By the way, this wasn't sponsored - I just like her stuff that much.)

Here's how it turned out! It's a little hard to see the details, but it's very cute, I promise.

I love that the lines are all crooked - it looks so happy and homemade :)
Here she is all decked out for dinner...

I am seriously rearing for a dinner party! My coasters, thrifted plates (to be shared soon), and now placemats... I'm all ready and man am I dying to make a centerpiece! To bad my apartment doesn't have room for a dining table :(

Have you ever had a tight quarters dinner party? How did you pull it off??


Sharing the Love

Is anyone else reading this regularly blown away by all of the awesome blogging and crafty people out there? I know I am. Most definitely. 

Well, I thought I would introduce you to two wonderful ladies who sent me links to projects they did influenced by insideways (what an honor right??)

As part of a totally adorable playroom makeover, Katie used the homemade carbon paper technique I shared in my Scrabble Art DIY to trace this great quote on the wall. Check out this post for more pictures and this post for the full reveal

Before                                                   After

This is just a little peek at Erika's first post ever on her blog Collections of Her! Hooray Erika! Great name right? She sent me the sweetest note ever... "Just wanted to share with you what your blog has inspired me to do. I pulled out my blog that I was going to start up last summer and finally posted on it... You've really shown me how to use things in unique ways and the second photo there looks better than the rest because I used your photography advice. Thank you!" No, thank YOU Erika for making my day with that email. Hop on by her blog to see how she reorganized her kitchen counter. 

These ladies are probably the sweetest people in the entire world, why not stop by and leave them a comment to let them know how great they are :)

If you make or have made an insideways inspired project, be sure to shoot me an email. I'd love to hear all about it!


DIY Paper Bag Purse

I little while ago I was lucky enough to swap blogs with the adorable blogger Sarah from Renewed Upon a Dream. RUaD is absolutely one of my daily reads.

Since you might not have been able to make your way over to her blog (something you should fix right now), today I want to share little sewing project with you - an easy-to-sew little purse inspired by paper bag lunches and this Pinterest pin. This is a great project to try if you're just learning to sew, plus the little bag you'll end up with full of whimsy and nostalgia - my favorite style :)

What you'll need: pattern printout (you can download it here), 1 yard of fabric (or 1/2 yards of fabric in two different colors), matching thread, and sewing supplies such as pins and scissors.

1. Fold your fabric in half and cut out a rectangle using the pattern. (Most fabric comes folded in half already. You can just use that fold - that's what I did!) Do this twice - one piece will be the outside of your bag and the other will be the lining. You can use a different color for your lining if you'd like.

(Be sure to cut out the two little triangles of piece [B] on your lining piece.)

2. On your outer piece, pin the "right" sides of the fabric together and sew a seam down the left and right side with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Do the same thing for your lining piece, but leave a gap in your seam between the two triangle cutouts.

3. Fold your bottom left corner of your lining piece so the seam and fabric fold are on top of one another (as pictured below). Press your new corner flat and pin on the corner pattern piece.

Sew a seam on your corner with the edge of your sewing machine's foot touching the edge of the pattern. Repeat step 3 for the bottom right corner on your lining piece and for the two bottom corners on your outer piece.

4. Pin the top edge of your lining to the top edge of your outer piece with the "right" sides of the fabric together. What you end up with should look like a bag, but with all of the raw seam edges showing. Sew the lining to the outer piece with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

7. Turn your bag right side out using the small hole between the triangle cutouts in the lining.

8. Hand stitch the hole in your lining shut.

9. Iron press the seams of your bag to make it nice and crisp. To add a few extra creases for a real paper bag look, fold your bag as if it were a grocery store paper bag and iron in all of the creases.

Voila! You have a little purse!

I love how cute my new little bag is, but the best part of this project is that it's such a basic pattern. Once you feel comfortable, you can add on to this design as much as you dare; handles, buttons, velcro, different patterns - the sky is the limit to make a bag that fits your needs and style!



One Room Challenge: Week 5 (!!!)

Welcome to week 5 of the One Room Challenge! Can you tell I'm saying that with false confidence followed by a nervous laugh? No? Good.

It is down to the wire in every sense of the word and I'm getting a little worried I'm not going to finish... I know I know, technically that means I would fail the challenge... ick. I'm hopeful (with a touch of healthy denial) that I'll be able to pull everything together. Cross your fingers for me?

This week I actually have a color scheme to share with you! A little late for color schemes, no? BUT, I've never been good at coming up with one in advance - I just choose colors I like as I go. Add enough white and it always seems to work out :)

The colors I'm working with are... [[drum roll]]... gold and blue with a lot of brown and white neutrals.
Nothing revolutionary, but I loves loves loves it.

Mostly the color scheme came together because I settled on my curtain plan. Since the walls in my room are really white and really blank and I'm trying to soften up a corner of serious music technology (check the before pictures here), I've decided to do a wall of curtains. In the end, I'm hoping it will had a lot of soft texture, more vertical interest, and give the illusion that there's more architecture to the room (ie windows) than there really is. Disclaimer: this is the first time I've ever used curtains in any room I've decorated. What's wrong with me...?

Here's a close up of the materials I'm working with. I bought a huuuge drop cloth from Home Depot for two canvas panels that are going to go on the far left and right of my curtain wall. (Only $20 and a super awesome texture with TONS of leftover fabric for other projects = win.) For the rest, I bought 4 panels of white linen sheers from Ikea (only $26 total!!). I'm in the process of sewing a stripe of the perfect blue velvet onto the bottom of the sheers for a little weight and color.

Tim and I will hang the curtains on that awesome rope you see in the picture above. It's a little nautical and a lot awesome. I'm tres excited :)

Oh oh oh, since my camera was busted McGee last week, here's a picture of the hinges we bought for the doors we're installing on the Ikea Epedit. Nice and industrial, but simple so they won't look too crazy.

In full disclosure, the curtains would be hung by now if we hadn't hit some unavoidable obstacles (namely a thrown back for Tim and a massive migraine for me). So for now...

... the curtains sit as a giant cat nest in need of serious ironing...

Dear home DIY gods, please save me from the procrastinating mess I've gotten myself into. Pretty please?

Check out the other (more organized) 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


DIY Heart Coasters

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!

Today I wanted to share an adorable DIY that you can apply to any season - your very own felt coasters.
Here's what you'll need...

Scissors, a pen, felt, and coordinating embroidery thread. I chose contrasting thread and felt colors so my stitches would show, but you can choose thread colors that match your felt if you'd like to hide your stitches (or use a hot glue gun for an even easier project without any stitches showing).

Trace two hearts onto your felt. I made a pattern out of paper to make sure mine were the same size.

Cut out your hearts. Be sure ink marks from the pen are cut off too so you don't have messy edges on your coaster.

Stitch your two pieces of felt together and you're done! Pro Tip: If you want to add any extras to your coasters (like embroidery, buttons, or other bits of felt), do it before step three so the knots or extra stitches don't show.

The coasters were so easy and fun I decided to make a few more then planned... Upon Tim's request, Mr. and Ms. Pac Man... and a little acorn because why not? :)

I officially have too many coasters now (yes Tim, I'm admitting it)... time to apply some of my collecting strategies... this is going to be tough! 

What would you make into a coaster?


A Homemade Valentine's Card

For me, nothing says "I care" like "I made it for you." I love one of a kind gifts and personalized details! While Tim and I don't go all out for Valentine's Day, I wanted to make him a card to let him know how much I really really really love him. I thought I would share some of the fun techniques I used with you!

1. Sewing on Paper: I've wanted to try sewing on paper for a LONG TIME now. It has such a great unexpected and very special look to it, and you can mix and match different fun stitches. Pro Tip: Be sure to use heavy paper as the base of your card if you plan to sew on it. Get some extra and test your stitches to be sure your card will turn out the way you want it to. 

2. Layer Different Papers: I used some extra wrapping tissue and brown paper to jazz up my card. The layers add depth and interest. I ripped the edges of my paper, but you can cut yours with clean lines for a different look.

3. Print on Unconventional Paper: I printed a black and white picture of Tim and I on some extra brown paper I had. It didn't print perfectly, but the streaks and imperfections are part of the charm. I love the vintage feel the brown paper gives our picture.

4. Perforated Coupons: They might be a little silly, but I love thoughtful coupons as gifts. If you sew on your card without using thread you can make perforations so your sweetheart can rip off their coupon whenever they want! Pro Tip: Be sure to test the stitch length before you make your perforations. Too long and your paper won't rip easily. Too short and you'll sew your card into pieces!

5. Heart Stamps: I saw this cute little trick on Design Thoughts and couldn't wait to try it. Using a toilet paper roll you can stamp as many hearts as you'd like. Works like a charm! I'm going to write a personal message to Tim on top of those cute hearts, but that's for just between the two of us :)

The most important thing of all is to make it personal. Inside jokes, references to meaningful events - it's just between you and your special someone after all! Good luck with any last minute Valentine-ing you need to do - hope these techniques help!