This weekend I finally finished a project (in under an hour) that I’d been talking about for the last 6 months! If you remember from several of my previous “Life Right Now” posts, I’d mentioned buying these cloth napkins from West Elm:

cloth napkins1

They are beautiful as napkins, but I had plans to use them to make pillowcases for throw pillows in my living room. I bought them last Thanksgiving, seam ripped out the seams, washed them, and then they sat for months just waiting for me to iron them and sew into pillowcases. The hold up was with pillow forms. All the pillows that we had in the living room had poly-fill inserts. Poly-fill inserts are cheap, but over time they get flat and I feel like in general they just don’t look as nice. For these, I wanted to use down/feather pillow inserts. They are more plush, cooler to the touch, and hold their shape better (you can also give them the “chopped” look if you are into that). I found some in the size I wanted on Amazon, but when I ordered them, they sent me the wrong size. I had to return those and when I went to buy more, the price had gone up. Eventually I ended up buying some from a different seller at a great price for two 22″ pillow forms (these ones at $35 for two).

couch pillows1

I just love how they turned out! I love the bit of shimmer the gold sparkle adds and the way that it ties in with the gold frames on the wall. They even look fine with our green couches (that will hopefully one day be replaced with something more neutral).

couch with pillows1

With these, I sewed a zipper in the bottom so that I can easily change them out or wash them. I wish I’d done that with those patterned teal ones I made. It was quicker to sew in the zipper than it was to hand sew that opening shut and so much more convenient! (here is an easy tutorial if you don’t know how to sew in a zipper).

You could buy enough fabric to make these for the same price or cheaper than the cloth napkins, but this is a great option if you come across a napkin fabric that you really like! Love these!

In honor of National Buttermilk Biscuit Day (May 14), here is my recipe for gravy and gluten-free buttermilk biscuits.

biscuits 31

Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
recipe from Fine Cooking’s Gluten-Free 2014 Magazine – makes 10-12 biscuits

Ingredients:
-1 1/4 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
-3/4 cup cornstarch
-1 Tablespoon sugar
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
-1 large egg
-1 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt) until well combined.
3. Cut butter pieces into flour mixture with a pastry cutter (or a fork or two knives), until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
4. In small bowl, beat egg and add buttermilk. Mix thoroughly.
5. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened and mixture comes together into a soft dough.
6. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
7. Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.
8. Immediately transfer biscuits to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm.

gravy 21

Sausage Gravy

Ingredients:
-1 log Jimmy Dean mild breakfast sausage
-2 Tbsp butter or bacon grease
-1/4 cup flour (I use my GF flour mix)
-2 cups milk (I’ve made with unsweetened almond milk and it works great too!)
-salt & pepper

Directions:
1. In skillet, melt butter or bacon grease on medium-high heat.
2. Scramble and cook sausage.
3. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, and stir until slightly browned.
4. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, until gravy is thickened.
5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Serve with warm biscuits.

butter and jam1

These biscuits are great with gravy, butter, jam, or plain!

Enjoy!

 

april

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING ceramics! Finished up all the pieces from my ceramics class this month. So happy with how they turned out!
COOKING tortilla soup, gf strawberry fruit tart, gf strawberry muffins, grits and grillades, avocado toast, avocado salsa, mojo pork, black beans, lots of rice.
DRINKING green tea with lemon and honey in a mug I made myself.
READING Heather Ross’s book How to Catch a Frog.
WANTING to simplify everything in my life. I’ve been on a mission the last few months. The stuff in my house, closet, work routine, the blogs I read, the ways I spend my time – everything.
PLAYING records on our new record player! Drew has been wanting one for years and we finally bought one!
SEWING nothing.
CROCHETING an afghan that I started months and months ago. Don’t think I’ll finish it anytime in the next couple years…
WISHING I hadn’t developed a head cold on our vacation that stuck around for weeks. But this kitty snuggle while I was sick melted my heart. 

IMG_60321

ENJOYING our wonderful road trip across California.
WAITING for our next adventure.
LIKING the idea of finally working on some design work in our bedroom!
WONDERING what it is that Drew likes about working in the beer industry.
LOVING flowy, summer work tops. And this haiku from my friend Emma at the close of our sharing an office.
HOPING to figure out a good, natural hair routine. I tried Dr. Bronner’s soap and conditioning rinse for several weeks, but just couldn’t deal with how nasty my hair felt while using it. Any recommendations on a good natural shampoo and conditioner?
MARVELING at the beauty and diversity of our country. 
NEEDING to get back to work on my surface pattern design portfolio. Lots of ideas and inspiration this month.
LEARNING all about Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease. My endocrinologist confirmed that my hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance were caused my this autoimmune disease of the thyroid.
SMELLING the sweet, sweet smell of sweet jasmine (photo at top). 

clouds1

WEARING the usual! Loving my cleaned out closet from last month! I think there might still be some more cleaning out to do though!
FOLLOWING (or rather stalking) Craigslist searching for the perfect nightstands and a mid-century modern long dresser for our foyer. I’ve also searched all over online and in a bunch of stores in New Orleans for nightstands. Why are good nightstands so hard to find!?
NOTICING lots of nature this month in our travels. How I miss hills, waterfalls, hiking, and so many other things while living in Louisiana.
KNOWING that life is good.
THINKING about plans for the future and how far Drew and I have come since we met.
BOOKMARKING paint colors and possible desk configurations in preparation for the office renovation happening this summer at work!
CELEBRATING the beautiful weather, even the plethora of rainy days we’ve had lately. It will be way too hot here before long. Enjoying these beautiful days with walks outside, Plum Street Snoballs, and eating outside at restaurants.
OPENING new a new duvet cover and king shams for our bed from West Elm. I’ve had my eye on these ones for years!
LAUGHING at our sweet and funny little kitty. Missed her so much while on vacation!
FEELING grateful for this life I live.

Past Life Right Now posts:
March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015
December 2014November 2014  | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014

Ceramics Class

April 30, 2015

My senior year of college, I took a hand-building ceramics class because I was required to take a 3-dimensional art class for my art major. That class made me fall in love with ceramics. Don’t get me wrong, I love painting and I love digital design, but there is something so nice and rewarding about creating a 3D object with your own two hands, whether for art or function. The fact that it can often be functional is also really nice. I only have so much wall space for paintings, but can always use cups, bowls, mugs, vases, and platters (or gift them!).

Anyway, the class I took in college was a hand-building class (not wheel-throwing), so I made several platters, but mostly art pieces instead of functional ones. I made a giant artichoke (you can see it on my living room bookshelves in our house tour, here), a miniature replica of my childhood home, and a few other pieces. Unfortunately, I took the class my senior year and didn’t have a chance to continue into ceramics more than that.

Signing up for another ceramics class has been on my list of things to do for several years and this year I finally made it happen. Well actually, a friend of mine, Christina, who has an extensive ceramics background, made it happen. She wanted to get back into ceramics again and asked if I wanted to join her.

We signed up at a local studio (Earth and Fire Studio) for two hours one night a week, for two months.

ceramics1

During this studio time, I decided to learn how to work on the wheel. It takes a while to get it down, but I’m so happy with the 11 pieces I made in the last couple months!

None of them are perfect (which I kind-of love), but they are all functional! The first pieces I threw are the short, fat ones (that light pink one in the back and the white speckled one in front) and then as I got better I was able to make bigger, thinner, pieces like the mugs and bowls.

ceramics2

Ceramics is such a process. Cutting and wedging the clay, working on the wheel, letting things set-up and get leather-hard, carving, trimming, making and attaching handles, bisque firing, glazing, final firing. I think it is really neat how ceramics relies on all the elements – earth, water, air, and fire.

ceramics3

I’m so glad I took the time to learn this new skill and to spend time with a friend while doing it. I wish I had more time and energy to keep doing it! I’ll be back again sometime!  In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying drinking my morning tea out of a nice ceramic mug I made myself!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you might know that our bedroom décor has always been the thorn in my side of our house. It has just never been what I’ve wanted it to be, despite many small changes here and there (I will give it credit and say that it has come a long way from where it started…). It is a small room with great natural light, but the wall color has always been wrong, the bedding has never felt put together enough, I’ve been searching for the right nightstands for years, the headboard is too long for the bed, and I’ve yet to get the curtains where I want them. I do love Drew’s dresser and our gold pharmacy style lamps though.

I’ve had some ideas of what I wanted to do in here for a while (neutrals with black and white and pops of color, mixed patterns in the bedding, open wooden nightstands with a drawer, simple, breezy white curtains…) and it is simply time to make it happen. One of the best ways to get a clearer picture of where to head with a room is to go back over your Pinterest boards and look at images of rooms that you’ve pinned. You are guaranteed to find a pattern across the images when you look at them together. I think this is one of the best ways to really visually see your style emerge.

bedroom inspiration board.indd

For me, that means a room with neutral bones (neutral walls, flooring, headboard, furniture), different scales of patterns (geometric, organic, florals), and both soft and deep jewel toned colors (plum, teal, mint, raspberry, lavender) in places that can easily be swapped out when I want a change. I also love deep, dark caramel wood tones and gold and black hardware.

I already knew all those things of course (look at the rest of my house and my style in general), but it always helps to see other rooms that fit within your style and what you like/don’t like about them.

So what is on the to-do list for this room?

  • Nightstands (after over four years of searching, I finally found and ordered ones I loved, but unfortunately they ended up being out of stock and it just wasn’t updated online! I was so sad when I got that order cancellation e-mail! Back to the drawing board.)
  • Curtains (simple, breezy, white)
  • Bedding (I love Kerry Cassill’s block printed textiles and I’ve been eyeing that West Elm duvet for years! I really want to design my own patterns and have them printed on fabric for some of the bedding though!)

Those are the main areas I want to address, but there are also a few things on the “maybe” list:

  • New rug? The one we have is fine and neutral, so I might not change it, but it is a little too small and I like the idea of the rug adding in some extra pattern.
  • Paint the walls? (for the 3rd time…) When we moved in, the walls were a tan color with reddish/orange undertones. I hated it. So we painted it what I thought would be a nice creamy white, but it turned out too yellow. Finally last summer I got tired of the pale yellow, so we painted it a warm grey color that we already had the paint for (it is the same color as the office/studio). It is definitely an improvement, and I’m glad we tried to use what we had, but the color reads totally different than it does in the office and looks too blue in the bedroom. I really want it to be a nice creamy white (like our living room color). But I want to see if changing up the bedding and curtains makes me like the current color more.
  • New headboard? I do love the history in our DIY old door headboard, and it has gotten a couple makeovers over the years to help me like it more, but it drives me crazy that it is too long for our bed. It sticks out like 8 inches or so on each side. It is heavy and is attached well to the bed, but it does move/shake around a little when you get into bed or move around. I would really love something that is upholstered and is softer on my head when I sit in bed to read. (also see next point)
  • New layout? Our room is tiny, so there isn’t a lot of room for re-arranging, but lately I’ve been wondering what the bed would look like centered under the windows on the back wall. I think it could look great, but our current headboard is too high and covers up way too much of the window to make it work. I might try this layout if we decide to switch the headboard.

I’m excited to finally have a relaxing retreat in our home that I love! Stay tuned for the progress!

P.S. Click here to see what the bedroom currently looks like.

All images used in the design board above can be found, with sources, on my “for our apartment” Pinterest board. If you can’t find something you are looking for, let me know in the comments below.

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