30 August 2013

A Thanks To My Sponsors!

It's that time again- to thank the people who help make my blogging possible! 

Lighting is one of my absolute favorite parts of a room. The right light fixture can set the whole mood for a room and make it look extra special. That's why I love 

They have a huge selection of the most gorgeous lighting.

And of course what's a room without the stuff to fill it- so there's 
they've got furniture, decor, AND gorgeous lighting.

Speaking of DecoraUSA, today I'm over at their blog talking about shelves in the living room and why they're so darn great. Read it here

29 August 2013

Dining Room Sneak Peek

I am dying for this room to be done. The long wait is making me crazy. 
At least there are a few views of it that look completed and pretty. 

Btw...you'll find me over at the blog for Chandelier Warehouse today talking about bathroom lighting
Who's happy it's almost Friday?! 

28 August 2013

For Like Ever- In Color

 If you've never read about this project then the title of this post will make no sense to you. 
But while we were living in Minneapolis Rob and I made a huge shadowbox frame to house my wedding veil. 

It's hard to figure out sometimes why things can work really well in one house and not so well in another. I loved this thing in our last house- it was one of my favorite things in our living room. 

In our current living room, however, it's been looking pretty lack-luster, and a few days ago I finally figured out exactly why (beyond the fact that it's on a wall where everything is beige). 

When I first decided that I wanted to display my wedding veil in our house instead of keeping it packed away in a box, it was really important to me that it was displayed in a way that would look (for lack of better wording) cool. I didn't want it to look frumpy, or stuffy, or like I was creating a shrine to our wedding day. I wanted to be able to see it (especially since I'd dropped my dress off at Goodwill) but I wanted it to look kind of quirky and fun. Hence the cheeky wording that I included and totally copied from this poster. 

So the other day I realized that the biggest reason the poster hasn't been working for me in this house is that in this living room it no longer looks the way I wanted it to- fun. 
Our last living room was pretty dated just because it was an older house that hadn't been updated. So surrounded with such an old-fashioned look, the wording on the poster I made was all it took to make the whole thing look super unexpected and fun. Here though, on this big beige wall, the wording isn't enough to make the poster stand out. It's blending in and looking blah. 

So after having that epiphany I happened to get the perfect inspiration for livening up my poster when I visited one of my favorite blogs Amber Interior Design. In her living room she has a poster next to her tv that has multicolored writing and I love it. 

I knew that's what would totally up the fun with my poster- some colorful letters. 

{This was the longest explanation in the world.}

So here is my wedding veil display now:

So much more playful than the before:

I do love that shiny metallic paper so I left one letter in each word in the gold. 

Changing the letters was super easy- the back of this frame just screws on so it was simple to take the back off and use the old letters as a template for the new ones by gluing them facedown on the colored paper and then cutting them out. I had this done in a nap time. 

And I'm so super thrilled with how it looks. 

27 August 2013

5 Items Under $30 To Bring Your Decor Up-To-Date

 With decorating, following the trends is definitely not the most important thing. The most important thing is that you decorate in a way that you love. Your home should make you happy, so you should surround yourself with things that make you happy when you see them, whether they are trendy or not. 

That being said, sometimes, like our wardrobes, our decor can start to look a little stale. Just like how one day you walk into your closet and realize you're still wearing the same clothes that you bought right out of high school, you may look around your house and realize that not much has changed in quite a few years and your house may as well be running around in it's head-to-toe Juicy Couture tracksuit in total denial that it just isn't cool anymore. If you love that tracksuit, and you just can't live without it, then don't. {See first paragraph.} But to avoid a house that looks like a time capsule, sometimes you need to throw in a couple up-to-the-minute items to keep things looking fresh. 

Here are a few that are trending right now in home decor. These mix well with absolutely any style and will instantly make your home look more current. The best part? They are all super easy to find and under $30. 

Everybody who is anybody has this pillow. I'm not kidding. Which naturally is why I'm planning on getting it- until I have it I feel like a nobody. ;) 

Another from Ikea, and again this thing is everywhere. Having this throw will definitely keep you looking like you are in the know about the trends. 

This one is newer but is starting to pop up all over the place. Jump aboard now and be ahead of the curve. 

Make a wish and bring some luck to your decor with this gorgeous and very fashionable art.  

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree- $8.88 Wal-Mart 

This last one isn't new- this tree has been trending for the last couple years now. But I included it in this list because it is still going strong. If you have the patience to wait for it to grow, you can get a small one (around 2-3 ft) from the Wal-Mart garden center for less than $9.00. If you've got this plant in your corner you can decorate with cat paraphernalia and still look cool. Okay maybe that's stretching it. But you'll be the most stylish cat lady around. 

26 August 2013

Striped Pot

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Rob and I spent our Saturday putting together dining room furniture, so our bedroom is finally (after a couple months) free of unassembled seating. Unfortunately we still don't have a table, so I can't call that room done yet. We keep hitting snags with what I'm really wanting, so hopefully we'll figure out how to make it happen soon. 

In the meantime, I striped this little planter pot over the weekend. 



Painting the stripes was super easy- I just taped them off the same way that I did for the stripes on the drawers of the black and white table. It looks so much more fun up there now. 

I still have a lot more plans for this kinda boring fireplace area (that include not having that super unflattering view of the ceiling fan).  At least there's a little more going on up there now though. 

Have a great one! 

23 August 2013

How To Do Buttonless Tufting On Couch Cushions

 Knot knot.

Who's there? 

A whole bunch of knotted tufts!

Sorry, that opening was lame. 
But you know what's not lame? My newly tufted couch cushions.

Now, this couch is not my dream couch. I would love something different. In fact I frequently haunt couch sales online just looking for the perfect sofa at the perfect price. But until the day comes that I find the right sofa AND actually have the money for it, the changes I've made to my current one make it a lot easier to live with. 

It began it's life looking like this:

Re-covering the cushions to get rid of the microfiber and making new back cushions to get rid of the ridiculous amount of pillows made this couch look a billion times better. 

But the problem with the new back cushions was that they had to be fluffed all.the.freaking.time to keep them from looking like this-

After getting leaned on and half-sat on they'd get smushed and saggy and just look like a wreck. I was having to fluff them multiple times per day to keep their shape right. 

So I decided to tuft them so that they'd hold their shape and always look good. I didn't want buttons though, so I searched around for a good tutorial on buttonless tufting since I've never done it before, but I came up empty-handed. So, I made up my own way, and I'm really happy with how it came out! 

Here's what I did:

I used this embroidery thread that matched my couch fabric really well-

I unwound the length of both my arms stretched out to the sides- three times. It took a lot of thread to make each tuft because of the knots. 

After cutting the super long piece of thread I found the center and folded it in half

I threaded the looped end through my largest upholstery needle 

and then pulled the needle to the center of the strands of thread so that my thread was now 4 strands thick. This part alone takes up a big chunk of all that thread since it ends up being a quarter as long as it was in the beginning. 

I tied the end in a knot by wrapping the four strands 6 times around my finger and then kind of rolling it off so that all the loops wrapped around each other and then pulled tight. It's really hard to explain it right but I think this is the common way to tie the end of thread when hand sewing so anyone who's done that should know what I'm talking about. 

Unlike with most sewing though, the knot was going to be seen- it's what is front and center in each of the tufts. And each knot came out looking something like this-

Loopy, uneven...more of a snarl than a knot. Kinda like what happens in my hair if I don't use leave-in conditioner. 

So to make it pretty I threaded a normal sized needle with the same embroidery thread (only 1 strand of it this time) and sewed all over the knot to pull everything nice and tight and get it into the shape of a ball. 

I can't believe I didn't get a picture of one of the knots when it was totally finished and looking good, but I didn't. Just imagine a tight ball of thread tying the four strands of embroidery thread together on the upholstery needle. 

So that's what I did to get my thread ready for each tuft; to get the fabric ready I first fluffed the crap out of the cushions. I made sure all the stuffing inside was distributed around as evenly as possible and the cushion was laying flat. 

Then I measured and marked the spots for each of the tufts using a disappearing ink fabric pen. 

For the two larger cushions I did two rows of five tufts and for the shorter cushion I did two rows of four. Now in hindsight something I'd do differently with my measuring would be to move the bottom row up a little more. When I plotted everything out on the front of the cushion I made the bottom row of tufts the same distance from the bottom of the pillow as I made the top row of tufts from the top of the pillow. I didn't think about the fact that once the pillow was standing back up like normal the bottom of it was going to get pushed down a little from the weight of the pillow so the bottom tufts were no longer going to look like they were spaced the same as the top ones. Make sense? You can see what I'm talking about in this photo-

If I were madly in love with this couch and wanting to keep it forever I'd probably cut all the thread and  re-tuft it just to make everything look more evenly spaced. But since this is just the solution to keep me happy with it for a while longer I don't have the motivation to do all that. Just keep that tip in mind if you try this with your couch cushions, especially if they are really soft and floppy like mine {a firmer cushion probably wouldn't have this problem}. 

But anyways, once I had all spots marked for the tufts it was time to start tufting. 
I started at the front of the cushion so that it would get the pretty knot. I pushed the embroidery needle through the dot I'd made with the pen and pulled it out through the back of the cushion till all the thread was through and the knot was sitting tight against the front of the cushion. Then I put the needle back through the back of the cushion about a quarter inch from the spot where I'd first pulled it through and brought it out the front of the cushion right by the knot and pulled tight so it made the tuft.

Then I put the needle into the fabric on the opposite side of the knot so that the thread would cross over it and pulled the needle back through the back of the cushion and pulled tight again.

I adjusted the tension on the thread until I liked the depth of the tuft from the front, then I cut the thread right at the needle so I still had a long strand hanging in the back to knot. 

Knotting the thread in back was a little tricky since it was attached to the cushion and I didn't have as much room when winding it around my finger and then pulling it tight to make the knot. But luckily these knots didn't need to be as good-looking as the ones in front. I didn't make these cushions reversible because it was super hard to bring the needle out in just the right spot in the back, so the spacing of the tufts on the back of the cushions is not right at all.  So while I didn't want the knots back there to look like absolute crap, I didn't spend as much time making them pretty as I did with the front ones. I still sewed them though to make them look decent and also to make them strong since it was so hard to tie them. {A few of them were so difficult I ended up just having to wad up the thread and then sew them up extra good to even make the knot.} 

Here's a photo of that sewing process- this one is from early on, and with the first few that I did I used regular thread to tighten the knots on the back of the cushion because I was worried about running out of the good thread. But once I started seeing that I wasn't blowing through the spools of embroidery thread too quickly (I'd bought two of them) I switched over to using that thread to sew these knots too.

Also with the knots in back I did a couple stitches into the cushion fabric too to attach the knot directly to it just to help keep things really strong. 

And that was it. 

Here is a finished tuft.

And a half-finished cushion. 

You can really see the difference the tufting made when you look at a tufted and untufted cushion side by side. 

In addition to how much better the cushions look with tufting, I'm also really surprised at how much more comfortable they are. They felt amazing to lean up against before the tufting if they'd been freshly fluffed and were the right shape (like leaning up against a giant body pillow) but once they started to get saggy it was hard to get comfortable against them. Now when we sit down they are always comfortable and I like the feeling of the firmer cushion. 

You can see I mixed up the pillows a little bit on the couch. I put away one of the dark brown zebra print pillows and brought out a lighter one in a larger print that I've had for a while. (It's from Pillows by Dezign.) I like how it looks better without every pillow being an identical pair. 

Another before of the cushions:

And after:

Overall I'm pretty happy with how the cushions came out. It's hard to get home-made cushions looking perfect since, well, they aren't. But doing this on a store bought couch cushion would look amazing. I'm definitely thrilled with this tufting technique. I'm sure I'll be using it again at some point! 

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