December 3, 2010

Felted Soap

Fiat Luxe Felted Soaps - Anthropologie

These felted soaps at Anthropologie have always caught my eye. Have you been to their store to see the huge basket filled with these beautifully colored soaps covered in felted wool? They would add such a unique touch to a guest bathroom: a couple of them on top of a basket of white towels?, search felted soap for a large selection of these handcrafted items.

I have always wondered how they were crafted. On YouTube, I found this:

This project seems easy enough. With some nice bars of soap, colorful wool batting and a washboard, you can make your own? Anyone know where I can find a washboard?

Have you ever made any felted wool items, i.e. ornaments, scarves, pillows, or even felted wool soaps? Please share the details, I would love to know more. Thanks so much!

November 18, 2010

Address Front and Center

I've always thought that a little front door re-do is one of the easiest ways to highlight your home. After a previous post on this subject, a friend asked me to help her with her front door/entry.



Her house numbers were hidden most months of the year by a beautiful maple. The front door is the front and center focal point of her porch. Thus we ordered vinyl lettering from Etsy shop:  Allie000 . Best $10 transformation I have seen.


Also, the door mat was so small considering the space on the porch. Most of the area is covered by an overhang so it made sense so purchase an all weather rug from that filled the area. 

One thing we considered while looking for an outdoor rug was how it would look with the existing flooring inside the home.  I love how this rug feels like an extension of the tiles inside the home.

Thanks for visiting and be sure to let me know if you have any questions. I had taken a ton of step by step photos detailing the application of the vinyl numbers. Unfortunately, something terrible happened in the uploading process and all of my images disappeared! Yes, they are gone!

November 9, 2010

Chalkboard Before/After

$30 Restaurant Chalkboard from 2ndUse

                         $12.98 Tintable Chalkboard Paint Home Depot      
6 Coats of Paint

Random Notes

For months, I had my eye on a large restaurant chalkboard catalogued in 2nd Uses' online inventory.   I finally made it to their warehouse and finding it in stock. A bit of negotiating and cramming into my car and my new purchase was home with me.

This project couldn't be easier, especially considering the varieties of chalkboard paint available today. There are many colors you can select with the tintable chalkboard paint. I went with a dark charcoal gray. I ended up painting 6 coats to ensure coverage.  For optimal outcome, allow 24 hours between coats.

I delayed posting about this chalkboard project because I envisioned having a beautiful drawing or some great inspiring quote on the board before photographing. And here you have it... a Mom list left by college boy, a note from our neighbor, cross country meet score and my attempts at an inspiring quote along with a stick figure drawing. This dining room chalkboard will never be perfectly "coiffed" but it will always perfectly depict life at home.

October 27, 2010

Subway Art Revisited

I haven't forgotten about the number one project on my list: 

 Large Subway Art Sign

I am actually obsessed with finding out the best and least expensive way of reaching project completion. Chris from has provided me with great advice and a link to his phenomenal subway signs that can be custom ordered.  You can select printed canvas or printed paper signs for more than reasonable prices.  Unfortunately, I am looking at a very specific size for my living room. 

Thus I continued on with practicing with my original plan: 

Print lettering off word doc.,transfer to contact paper.

Cut out with exacto knife.

 Transfer to painted canvas, spray paint black and peel off contact paper.
    Final product leaves me wondering. The outcome is a little messy and even for one letter this was time consuming. Back to the drawing board... Any ideas? Thoughts? Comments?  Thanks so much for visiting.

October 4, 2010

Display Hard Earned Effort

With active cross country and track athletes like these:

We were bound to amass a lot of these:

Using an existing frame that had a thin shelf insert:

 A piece of foam core board cut to size:

Ironed on white cotton twill using steam seaming:

 Cut down a few black headed straight pins:

Trimmed off ribbons, played with arrangement of medals, tacked down with pins, voila!:

A look at the framed medals hung:

As I looked at the pile of medals on closet hooks, in boxes, etc.  I was inspired by the my dad's Naval career medals and the professional display case he has them in.  This was a great hour long project.  Now our college student has his medals framed instead of hanging all over his closet.

September 29, 2010

Same House, Different Quick Fix

 Bookshelf before:

Bookshelf After:

Before I even saw the fireplace at my friend's home, I saw the gorgeous wall to wall bank of built in bookshelves  with storage below. Let me paint the picture of this cozy family room: comfy couches, soft carpet, huge gabled window to the outside that frames a beautiful maple, large fireplace, piano, books, games and throw blankets. I can imagine how much quality family time this room enjoys, it's the perfect setting.

To start, the bookshelf was great, filled with photos, memorabilia, books and book collections.  I loved the large black and white photos covering the backboard.  Said friend and I started tinkering (well, mostly me with her wondering why I continually get sidetracked), and realized that there was just a lot of stuff on the shelves.  The first thing you see when you walk in the room are the shelves, and while it was family friendly and family filled, there was too much.

I suggested that she limit the palette of the pottery pieces on the shelves, rearrange the books and streamline the memorabilia. She did this all in one day all on her own and I think it looks fantastic!  The pottery, photos and memorabilia she left on the shelves stand out and have more space for viewing and touching.  The books look so organized in an effortless manner.

Other tips:
  • arrange books in order of height
  • bring book spines close to the edge
  • give items space
Take a look at your bookshelves or display shelves, do you need a friendly opinion on how they might be improved? Better yet, send me a picture and we can blog about it!

September 24, 2010

Quick Fix

Quick post today about a quick fix.  A friend invited me over to take a look at her front porch (more on that later), of course I became side tracked as she gave me the tour of her lovely home.  She has recently had this beautiful fireplace redone including the mantle, the photos don't do it justice.  But neither did the small scale items she had place on the mantle. 

By simply removing the small items and finding some great pottery/crocks that she had in her cupboards, we gave her mantle a very quick fix. Cost:  $0.

What do you think of this before/after?

September 21, 2010

Subway Sign Art

Recently I visited Restoration Hardware where these huge hanging Subway Signs caught my eye and have had me obsessed ever since. There is one wall in my living room that needs a large vertical hanging. I love letters and numbers and the black and white graphic aspect of these art pieces. Priced at $795 each, this is a definite DIY project. Armed with inspiration, I am hoping to figure out the best way to reproduce subway sign art at a fraction of the cost.

Sign content - I decided on names of places that are special to my family and I.

Fonts - sizing and spacing on a Word Document. This is what I have so far (this may look a bit different than the final project due to compatability issues with word and blogger):


3630 ½ SENECA







Today I am off to the print shop to figure out how the least expensive way for me to reproduce the exact fonts and spacing I want onto a large blank stretched canvas.

My sister-in-law, Wendy is working on this project as well. Visit her post on SimplyBrookes for her point of view. If you have any ideas, or are inspired to join in, please comment.

Hopefully I will soon be posting a terrific replica of this Subway Sign art.

September 17, 2010


I finally checked off an activity on my summer list a few weeks ago,Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUP. Using large, lightweight and very stable boards, you can readily paddle through the water enjoying an full body workout with ease. At the NW Outdoor Center on Lake Union, rentals are $13.00/hour.

With my nephew in town, this was a great adventure on a hot, sunny day. An added bonus was close up views of the famous house boats on Lake Union. We were also able to remove our life jackets, dive into the lake from the paddle board and reboard easily. I was so sure of our stability on the boards, I paddled back in and grabbed my camera to document our day including the downtown backdrop.

Hope you have the opportunity to try this popular new sport.

September 15, 2010

Pearly Girl

Pearl photos courtesy of daughter Andie

Animals have a way of filling your home and heart with their presence. I've always felt that they know the true you. We recently lost our cat Pearl, she had a gift of centering your day. The queen of love, serene and senile, quietly insisting you stop and pet her. The reward was her instant appreciation of your attention with purring and grateful eyes.

Thank you Pearl, we'll miss our Pearly girl.

September 8, 2010

Front Porch Before/After

A close friend, who is selling her home, asked me to "refresh" her front porch. To me, this is the perfect project: simple, streamlined and finite. (Insert image of me gleefully clapping while embarking on this projecto). If I could travel around neighborhoods "pearing down" clutter while helping a home make its best first impression, I would be so fulfilled.

Front Porch Before

Front Porch After

Planter After

Sitting Area Before

Sitting Area After

Sitting Area After

As you can see from the photos, CC's front porch is in great shape, we just thought it could be better:

To Start - We removed everything from the porch (aside from the large planters and bolted bench), hosed it all down, cleaned the windows, removed spider webs, etc. A new front door mat was added.

Plantings - The mismatched pots were pulled, not because I had a problem with the variety, I wanted the porch to appear large and low maintenance. We also had a plant budget and filling large containers can add up. If you want to make an impact with a large planter, you have to overflow the container with plants, the fuller the better. We also cut back a lot of the greenery along the staircase making it tidy and open.

Sitting Area - The bench was in a perfect location for enjoying garden views and passerbys. To showcase the area, we removed the hose reel, found a great outdoor seat cushion and pillow, and added a side table and candle lantern that were hidden in the back yard. With the existing wisteria framing the view, this sitting area became even more inviting.

Do you have any front porch before/afters? Thanks for visiting and please feel free to comment/suggest!

September 6, 2010

Long Time No Post

It's been ages since I have blogged. We've been a house of transition, dropping this guy off:

For his first year here (WSU Dorm room):

In this beautiful part of Washington state:

I'm not sure when I will get used to him being away, but we have fallen back into routine, thus blogging resumption will ensue. Thanks for understanding!

For more photos of the beautiful Palouse region of Washington State, please visit this incredible photographers' website, David Bostock Photography:

August 2, 2010

2010 Graduate

June rolls around and our mailbox begins to fill with lovely traditional graduation announcements from children we've watched grow up. We could hardly believe our own son was 18 and graduating, let alone the kids who used to come over for play dates, swimming adventures and walks to the park.

A friend had sent a unique announcement in 2009, his card motivated me to try something different too. While a fan of the traditional, I wanted my son's announcement to be personal (his own sentiment), include senior photographs, and be informative (he attached a card with college and new contact information).

And I confess, my timing is off if you wanted to consider using this idea for a spring graduate. If inspired, tag this post to use next year, and in the meanwhile compile great photos for the project.

I typically use Shutterfly to print photos. Their site is simple to use and offers many different card/stationary project options. Considering price, value and layout, I chose to use 4 x 8 photocards. This layout allowed for a 3 image upload with text variations below. Shutterfly walks you through the upload steps as well as sizing the images to fit the project. Edit, finalize and pay and the postcards arrive in home roughly 5-8 days later.

This grad photocard has received rave reviews from friends and family. I hope this post inspires you to consider unique options for the class of 2011!