Tag Archives: design ideas

Can’t Stop Thinking about Lighting

So my quest for the perfect dining room is close to complete.


My Dining Room

My Horrible Fireplace Mantle

All I need to do is:

  1. Finish the drapes. I’m going to add a foot or so of accent fabric to the bottom of the white IKEA drapes I bought.
  2. Paint the fireplace mantle. I can’t stand the wood. I know some people love natural wood and think it is a sacrilege to paint it, but since I dislike the look of this mantle so much as is, I’m going to do it.
  3. Better accessorize the mantle and new shelves. I’m not so good at accessorizing. We have lots of great stuff to display. I just have a hard time put it all together in a pretty and cohesive way.
  4. Put a light above the dining table.

So this leads me to what I’ve decided to write about today. Lighting. Unless we get an electrician to put in an overhead lighting socket, we’re going to have to find a nice, non-hardwired light to hang.

Decorated Paper Shade inside an Anthropologie Store

I saw this very cool lighting idea at the Anthropologie store near me. It’s a huge Chinese paper lantern that is covered with old book pages, photos and other ephemera. I think this would add a nice personal touch to the dining room.

Drum Pendant Light with Lining

A simple drum pendant light that is lined with wallpaper or other decorative paper would be lovely above the table.

Orla Kiely Drum Pendant Shade

Or perhaps a drum pendant that has a pretty exterior?

IKEA Knappa Pendant

I already purchased this IKEA pendant as a temporary solution – though I have yet to hang it. I think my husband thinks it will look cheesy, but perhaps he’ll change his mind after I put it up.

Hmmm. I guess I should just put something up and give it a try!



Filed under decorating, inspiration, style

Finally, After Three Years…A Headboard

Yes, it’s taken me three years to make a headboard for our master bedroom. Yes, I had this same idea for a headboard for three years. Yes, I’m just that lazy or just that much of a procrastinator. Yes, it’s done and I love it.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just take way too long to make a decision about something. Like this silly headboard. I kept thinking that the perfect headboard, at the perfect price, was going to jump out at me. I found lots of headboards that I really liked but never pulled the trigger on buying them because I kept thinking I’d find one similar at a better price.

My husband and I agreed that we wanted an upholstered headboard. I’ve seen lots of tutorials on how to make them, but they have all required me to go to the hardware store and get a piece of plywood cut to order and then create a seemingly complicated system for hanging it on the wall. I like simple. The simpler, the better.

So last week I was in Michaels cruising around – without the kids – and went into the painting canvas aisle. I like to buy canvases just in case I ever feel crafty and decide to start creating collage art (I’ve done one and want to do more, but you know how it is). So while I was looking at the big canvases, I had a thought. “Alyse,” I said, “why don’t you buy three big canvases, wrap batting and fabric around them and hang them up as a headboard.” Why didn’t I think of that before? No need to cut plywood, no need to do a fancy hanging system.

Fabric is from the Revive collection by Art Gallery Fabrics

So that’s what I did. I bought three 24″ x 30″ canvases and a package of quilt batting for about $43 (the canvases were 50% off!). When I got home, I went into my stash of fabric and found a piece that was big enough to cover the three panels and that coordinated with our purple wall. I’m actually surprised that I had enough of this fabric to do the job, but I guess I was waiting for the right project to use it.

I cut out pieces of fabric and batting that were about 3 inches larger than the canvases on all sides. Used a staple gun to attach the material to the canvases and then screwed two picture hanging hooks into each panel. Easy.

The toughest part was making sure the nails for the panels were level. So if you decide to do this, just be sure you have a good level handy.

I can’t believe it took me three years to do this. It’s such a relief to have this project crossed off the list!


Filed under craft, decorating, project, style

A Whole Lotta Junk Love

Happy Wednesday!

Sorry I missed last week’s installment of the Junk Love Club. Seems like life is pretty these days with school winding down and so many kids’ activities on the calendar. But enough of that. I’m here today to share my junk!

Since I missed last week, I thought that today I would share a whole vignette of junk that is in my home’s entryway.

I got this chair when I worked at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. At one point they were getting rid of a bunch of old office furniture for next to nothing. I saw this chair with a $5 price tag and knew I needed it. The cushion easily detaches so I’ve recovered it a couple times. This fabric was purchased in the bargain bin of a local upholstery fabric store for about $2. I figure for prices like that, I can afford to change the look on a whim!

The table is another pre-marriage find of my husband’s. It’s a cute little wrought iron table with glass top. There is a nick in the corner of the glass but I think it adds character – or that’s just what I tell myself because I’m too lazy to go get a new piece of glass.

The “vase” on the table is an olive oil bottle. It’s not vintage – we bought the olive oil at a little Middle Eastern market in town – but it has a vintage-y look that I like. It’s fun to fill it with fresh flowers!

Enjoy your week, my friends!

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The Fish Tank is Coming, The Fish Tank is Coming

We got word yesterday that the BIG fish tank and stand has arrived at the fish store. Oh boy, here comes the fun part! The only bummer is that the doors on the custom stand are wrong, but, alas, the hubby says they’ll deliver it with the wrong doors and just replace them when the new doors are ready.

So my quest for a new dining table is on – along with new dining chairs, rug, and lots of accessories!

Saw Horse Zinc Dining Table

I found this awesome table at a cool, little shop in Northwest Portland called Manor. The difference between the table we saw and the one pictured above was the legs. The one at Manor had legs that looked like criss-crossed puzzle piece – even cooler than the table above. I thought this would make a unique and modern statement. But upon further consideration, we came to the realization that a steel top with a zinc finish may not be the best for, say, red wine spills. I don’t mind a few water rings, but big red blotchy stains might not be the statement I’m looking for.

Eastvold Custom Woodworks

So then I found this style table. I love the idea of a giant, chunky, wooden table. The trestle-style base would be good as no one would be stuck sitting right next to or in front of a table leg when you squeeze bunches of people around the table. This one is made by a Eastvold Custom Woodworks, a small, independent company in Minnesota. I don’t think we want anything quite this rustic, but I love the style. I’m not sure how much it would cost to have a custom table built and shipped to Oregon, but I think I’m going to look into it.

"Life and style on a modern houseboat" from Sunset

I ran across this idea on Sunset. How fun would it be to find previously loved chairs and reupholstering them with fun fabric? Fun!! I do have a bit of an obsession with fabric so this would be right up my alley. I’ll probably start scouring Craigslist and maybe do some garage sale-ing – ’tis the season, right?!

The Nines Armless Chair by Crate & Barrel

My last thought of the day is about finding a couple chairs with a little table in between to place by the front windows. I have an armless chair from Crate & Barrel (similar to the one above) that I thought I could have reupholstered – to complement my fun fabric dining chairs, of course. Maybe I find a similar style chair and just use the fabric on each to turn them into a pair. Or if I could find a deal on a pair of chairs, I go for that. Hmmm.

HGTV's Green Home's Sitting Room

HGTV's Green Home's Master Bedroom

I do like the bold prints of these chairs. I think the style of these chairs might be a bit too big for my dining room space, but I like the idea of making a statement with fabric like this.

So between going to Cub Scouts, baseball games, ballet class, school carpooling, and a little work, I’ll get going on my furniture shopping this week. Good luck to me!


Filed under decorating, inspiration, shopping, style

Switch-A-Roo Dining Room

We’re soon going to be embarking on a little switch-a-roo in our house. My husband has finally decided to get a BIG fish tank – it’s like 6-feet long and will be about 5-feet tall and 2 1/2-feet wide. Well, said fish tank is not going to fit up the stairs to our attic room where he now has his fish tanks so I conceded and said he could have it on the ground floor of the house – with the caveat that I get a new dining room. So we’re going to take our current dining room and turn it into the new “fish room” and take our living room, which hardly ever gets used, and make it the dining room.

I’m totally excited about this! The new dining room will be bigger and have a fireplace. The new fish tank is going to arrive in about 3 weeks so I’ve been spending lots of time looking for inspiration on how to decorate the dining room – it’s become a bit of an obsession, really. I’ve recently discovered Houzz and am loving all the inspiration rooms on the site. It’s cool because not all (some but not all) are professionally designed. Anyone can submit photos of their homes, so you can see rooms that people actually live in.

Here are a few of the rooms that caught my eye on a recent Houzz visit:

from Houzz by Stacie Velton

I love the metal medicine cabinet used as a liquor cabinet in this dining room. And the beautiful table. And the gorgeous chandelier.

from These Roving Eyes

I’m thinking subtle stripes on the walls would be lovely.

from Houzz by LDa Architecture & Interiors

Great pops of color in this room. And the chairs look comfy.

from Houzz by sfgirlbybay

The armchairs by the window are perfect. I’ve got big front windows that I could put cool chairs like this in front of. Perfect setting for a glass of wine before dinner is served!

What I seem to be noticing in all of my inspiration rooms is that the chairs and the tables are not at all matchy-matchy. Definitely going to have to go for a more eclectic collection of seating. I can’t wait to start! I’ll keep you posted.


Filed under decorating, inspiration, style

This Baby Stuff is Too Stinkin’ Cute

I was going through all my crafty magazines today and doing a little organizing when I ran across some old Martha Stewart Baby magazines. I remember buying the first one  when we decided that we were ready to have a baby and the other two after I found out I was pregnant. It still makes me giddy to see all the adorable baby things – even after I am so over having babies.

Martha Stewart Baby (Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003)

Looking back through these Martha Stewart Special Issues, my love for Martha Stewart is renewed. She and her awesome staff have such a way of creating timeless projects. The decorating ideas in these issues are as stylish today as they were eight years ago. I don’t know if it’s even possible to obtain the back issues (Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003), but there are lots of great baby projects on MarthaStewart.com.

Martha Stewart Baby (Fall 2002)

If you or anyone you know is having a baby soon, Martha has some great birth announcement ideas. You may think that it’s just a big pain in the butt, especially after just having a baby, to make your own announcements, but with a little planning ahead before the baby is born, it can easily be done. I found it quite gratifying to make my own for both my kids. I felt like I was putting my special touch on the announcements and adding a little personality to them. These magazines gave me the inspiration for my kids announcements.

Martha Stewart Baby (Spring 2002)

Martha Stewart Baby (Spring 2002)

For my son’s announcement, I made “business cards” with all his vital statistics and used brads to attach them to cardstock which I had printed my son’s footprint on (I scanned in the footprint that the hospital had made right after he was born). I had pictures of him printed out, punched a hole in the top of each, and attached it to the back of the card with the brad. My son kept the nickname “Big Baby” for a long time  – that was his “title” on his business card.

My son's birth announcement

For my daughter’s announcement, I went for a little more girly. I bought precut square paper that I think is made for scrapbooking. It came in a pack that had about six different patterns, all in pink and brown motifs. I used a punch to make the holes for the ribbon that I used to attach the vital statistics card on the front and a picture of her on the back. The pink paper I used had a bit of a sparkly shine to it that made printing on it a bit tricky. The paper went through the printer just fine, but it took a few minutes for the ink to dry. I had to lay each page out individually to dry so that ink wouldn’t smudge. In the end, I really liked the way it turned out.

My daughter's birth announcement

My baby days are over, but I don’t know if I can bear to give these issues up. There will always be gifts to be made, right?!

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Filed under childhood, craft, inspiration, kids, project

Have you met my new friend? Lonny Magazine

I went through a deep depression when my favorite magazines (Blueprint, Domino, Cookie) closed shop. OK, deep depression may be a little exaggerated but I was pretty bummed.

Winter 2009 issue of Lonny Magazine

But I now have a new light in my life – Lonny Magazine. The first issue of Lonny was published in October last year and a second Winter 2009 issue in December. With 175 pages of great design, articles and photographs in the Winter issue, my yearning for magazines gone by has disappeared.

Lonny is strictly online right now, which does give them the opportunity to publish so much great stuff, but I do miss having a printed copy to lounge around on the couch with. Maybe they’ll do print runs in the future. In the meantime, I’ll just cozy up to my Mac when I need a design fix!

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