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:

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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).

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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).

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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!

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.

Our Home, November 2014

January 23, 2015

It’s been two years since I shared our last house tour (November of 2012). Last November (2014), I got to thinking that it would be nice to take pictures and do another house tour, to see how our home has evolved over the last two years. I took these pictures in November, but with the craziness of the holidays and such, I’m just now getting to post them (sounds a lot like last time as well!). The empty room photos are from move-in day (which also happened to be my 20th birthday) in 2011. In just a few months, we’ll have lived in this apartment for four years.

Our home is at a really nice place. I’m finally satisfied enough with everything that I don’t have a big, long, to-do list anymore. Sure, it would be nice to paint the kitchen (I’d renovate it if we owned the house) and hallway, replace the bedroom curtains, make a more welcoming entry, get a nice, neutral colored sofa, etc., but for now, I’m happy with our home as it is! So happy to have this cozy little spot to call ours.

Foyer & Dining Room:

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Curtains are from Pottery Barn Teenplant/console table we built ourselves, dining room table is from the Nashville flea market, dining chairs are vintage, rug is from Target, baskets on the console table shelves are from Target, milk glass bowl, old Reader’s Digest books, and small white cabinet are thrifted, black lamp was given to us by Drew’s mom and then I gave it a makeover, Self-Portrait woodcut is by me, paintings in the room are by me, framed engagement photos we took ourselves, the glass jar candles on the side table and console are from our wedding, door wreath I made, wooden stump is the cake stand from our wedding, gold plant pot is from Home Depot that I painted, crock planter is vintage from my dad, and all other plant pots are either from Lowe’s or TJ Maxx. Walls are painted Smoked Oyster by Valspar in a Satin finish.

Things on our to-do list for the foyer:

  • Sand and paint the little white cabinet (I like it white, but the paint is old and chipped/peeling).
  • Create a little entryway/mudroom area right inside the door with a little bench, a mirror, and some coat hooks or something.
  • Eventually, I would like to get a china cabinet of some sort to go on the entryway wall in here for storage/bar area.

Living room:

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Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, coffee table/bench base was bought from a little shop in the French Quarter and Drew and I made the tufted top, white coffee table tray is from West Elm, neon pink side table is from Target, white bookcase is from IKEA, painting was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), gallery wall pieces: “I love you” print hand-lettered by me, my favorite vintage photo of my grandparents, one of my first surface pattern designs (!!!), a test sheet out of my watercolor sketchbook (that one will probably change eventually, I just put that in for now), an elephant print  that reminds me of my Mamaw (she collected little elephant figurines and that print reminds me of a shirt she used to wear), “Yours Sincerely,” painting I did a few years ago, my favorite picture of my sisters/nieces/nephew that I took when we were in Puerto Rico (with a stray cat), “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a gold skeleton key that opened my childhood bedroom door (and was the official key for our secret club), a photo I took of my childhood front yard when I was home for my Papaw’s funeral last Spring, and my final drawing for the first art class I ever took at Tulane, curtains I made from white sheets, big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), glass candy dish, wooden ladder and quilts are vintage/thrifted, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), and the three abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me. Wall color is Asiago by Valspar in a satin finish.

Things on our to-do list for the living room:

  • Eventually replace the rug with a nicer one.
  • Eventually replace the couches with a nice grey velvet sectional. (I can’t wait to not have green couches! But these are comfortable and in good shape, so replacing them is not a high priority.)
  • At some point, I want to cut down the tree stump in the foyer (the cake stand from our wedding) and turn it into the table top of that neon pink side table. And then paint the pink either oil-rubbed bronze or gold.

Hallway:

This hallway, right off the side of the living room, runs all the way down the house. The kitchen is the first door on the right, office/studio is the second door and then at the end of the hallway is the laundry room. At the laundry room, the hallway turns to the right with the bathroom straight ahead and our bedroom to the left.

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Hallway bookcases are from IKEA, little cabinet of drawers was thrifted on a vacation in Savannah, GA, LOVE painting was a bridal shower gift from my friend Tonya, streetcar cross-stitchwas made by my mother-in-law, fleur-de-lis coat hook was a gift, small country scene painting was painted by my 8th grade teacher (a friend of my mother-in-law), biggest framed print is by Katie Daisy, the rest of the pictures are either wedding photos (by Stephanie of Stephanie’s Photography), small paintings my me, or random things like framed fortune cookies, a painted piece of wood (not sure why that’s up there actually), or prints collected over time (a couple are from our honeymoon).

Things on our to-do list for the hallway:

  • Paint the walls the same color as the living room?
  • Extend the frame gallery farther down the walls?
  • Put in a pretty hanging light fixture (one that’s thrifted and refashioned).
  • Get a nice rug/runner for in front of the bookcases?
  • Add a wooden top to the bookcases?

If I owned this house, I would install tall board and batten all the way down the hallway, painting the lower part the same color as the trim and the top half a different, contrasting color. I would hang art in white frames all along the top part. I would also probably build in some nicer bookcases. But alas, we are just renting, so that probably won’t happen.

Kitchen:

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Kitchen rug is by Dash and Albert, checked hand towels are from Target, green utensil holder is a plant pot from Hobby Lobby, gold tray and wooden cheese board were Christmas gifts from my sister, ceramic apple and stool are from TJ Maxx, artwork above the sink is from here, cookbook holder was a wedding gift from Target, baking station cabinet is from Nadeau in New Orleans, wooden cabinet and small white floral plant pot were thrifted.

Things on our to-do list for the kitchen:

  • Add bamboo or white fabric roman shades to the windows.
  • Paint the walls the same Smoked Oyster color as the foyer?
  • Hang something on the wall between the pantry and the windows. Maybe a hanging spice rack?

If we owned this house, I would extend the cabinets along the window wall, moving the sink to be underneath the window closest to the pantry, add a backsplash, replace the countertops, and re-paint the cabinets. But we don’t own it, so that will probably never happen. Nice to dream though.

Office & Art Studio:

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My desk chair is from World Market, Drew’s wooden desk chair was thrifted, baskets on the built-in shelves and the middle desk shelf are from Target, other smaller baskets on desk shelves are from Michael’s, rug is from Target, curtains I made out of sheets from TJ Maxx, easel is from Craigslist, pink curvy glass lamp is from Home Goods (got it on vacation years ago in Charleston, SC), standing lamp is from Target, small wooden table was thrifted years ago (it used to live in my childhood bedroom), shelves DIY built-in out of IKEA Extra-Deep Billy Bookcases, Painting Taboret is IKEA kitchen cart, big ornate gold frame, small brass pineapple, and brass plant pot were thrifted, elephant print on bookshelves is from this Etsy shop, Live Simply print from this Etsy shop, small purple/yellow print on bookshelves we got in Portland, OR but is Old School Stationeersgreen elephant piggy bank is from Urban Outfitters, glittery gold frames on wall are from Michaels, prints in them are prints of my paintings, wooden abstract painting on desk is by me, two taped up paintings on my side of the desk were bought at an estate sale and painted by Pierce Jonassen, “It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful” print from The Nester, a taped up print-out of one of my first repeatable patterns, taped up painting on Drew’s side is by me, crewelwork embroidery in gold frame was thrifted, white ceramic turtle is from West Elm, silver desk lamp is from IKEA, and rose window print is from here. Read more about my art studio inspiration wall, here. Read about how we built our desk (an IKEA hack), here). Walls are painted Grey Ghost (Olympic from Lowe’s) in a satin finish. Chalkboard wall is painted with black chalkboard paint (also Valspar from Lowe’s).

Things on our to-do list for my office/studio:

  • New desk chair (my current one has a wobbly leg and it is too short for the height of the desk).
  • Eventually, get a nicer (larger) rug.
  • Eventually, maybe, add nicer bamboo blinds to the windows to replace the cheap vinyl ones?

Laundry Room:

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The curtains used to hang in my freshman college dorm room (originally from Wal-Mart), the laundry basket is from TJ Maxx, the ironing board and cover are from Target, ladder from Lowe’s, my dad bought the washer and dryer for me (they were from a friend from our hometown that used to live in New Orleans –she was moving from New Orleans and didn’t need to take them with her), the deep freezer is from Lowe’s, the rug and the wire baskets on the shelves are from TJ Maxx, wall shelving Drew and I bought from Lowe’s, standing shelving unit is the MULIG from IKEA.

Things on our to-do list for the laundry room:

  • Nothing really! This room is tight and stuffed, but I’m so happy to have it!

Bathroom:

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Creme-colored rug from World Market, magazine rack and grey/white hand towel from TJ Maxx, abstract painting by me, old books and brass bowl are thrifted, soap dispenser from Target, frames from Michael’s and spray painted gold, striped Turkish towels from Loomed NOLA, shower curtain made by me from a sheet, and houses plant pot is vintage. Small hallway right outside the bathroom is painted Semi-Sweet by Valspar in a satin finish and top art is thrifted, bottom is by me.

Things on our to-do list for the bathroom:

  • Repaint or replace the magazine rack (the cream color isn’t really jiving with the white in the room).
  • Add a patterned rug to the small hallway right outside the bathroom.

Bedroom:

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Headboard made by us from an old door, sheets are a mixture from Target and TJ Maxx, coverlet/bedspread and gold pharmacy-style table lamps from TJ Maxx/HomeGoods, dresser from Drew’s childhood bedroom, cream curtains from the pergola at our wedding (originally from Target) and white ones are from IKEA, rug and black pharmacy-style floor lamp from Target, painting by Lulie Wallace, white bookcase from IKEA, and fushia velvet chair from World Market. Walls are painted Grey Ghost (Olympic from Lowe’s) in a satin finish, the same color as the office.

Things on our to-do list for the bedroom:

  • Find (or build) nightstands. Since this room is small and they have to fit underneath the overhang from the headboard, they have to be a really specific size and I haven’t been about to find ones that will work.
  • New curtains. The cream-colored ones clash with the grey walls and the white ones are too short.
  • The bedding could still use a little work. I think sheets in a bolder pattern would be nice.

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So happy with the changes we’ve made since the last house tour!

Christmas Cards & Decor 2014

December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Rowlands!

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Sending Christmas Cards might just be my favorite Christmas tradition. I love getting them in the mail from our family and friends and I love looking back at our past Christmas cards and seeing how much we’ve changed over the last few years. Ours this year includes our sweet little Violet. It also includes my hand-lettering again! See last year’s card, here.

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Here are all the Christmas cards since we’ve been married! 2012, 2013, and 2014! All washi taped to our French doors along with the other cards we’ve been receiving. We’ve gotten several more since I took this picture and now almost the entire door is covered up.

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Our tree looks pretty similar to last year, with just silver, gold, and white ornaments. I love using the beads we’ve caught at Mardi Gras parades here in New Orleans on our tree.

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My favorite part of our simple Christmas decor is the sparkly, white, metal snowflakes we hang from the curtain rods in here. The closest thing to real snow we see here in New Orleans!

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This year I also added some homemade Crochet Snowflakes to our tree.

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I also finally bought a tree skirt as well! (The last few year’s I’ve just bunched up a quilt under the tree.) I bought this metallic gold fabric one while shopping with my sister and mother-in-law the day after Thanksgiving.

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We also have a sweet little wooden nativity scene out this year. It was a Christmas gift last year from my mother-in-law.

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Love my Lindsay Letters print of one of my favorite Christmas songs.

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Of course, the most difficult part of this Christmas has been keeping this little kitty out of the tree! I’ve hung lemon slices along the bottom of the tree and we daily spray it down with orange citrus spray which helps, but she still gets in there. I didn’t put breakable ornaments on the tree this year, so I’m less worried about the tree and more worried about her unwrapping all the gifts. Eating paper is her favorite. So far, most of the gifts have a few bite marks and a few straightened bows, but only one gift has had the paper ripped off. Hopefully it stays that way!

Past Christmas Posts:

Merry Christmas 2010! (the Christmas we got engaged) and Christmas Eve that year

Christmas Shortbread Cookies (from before I was Gluten-free)

Christmas Decorating (our first year in this apartment)

Doily Christmas Wrapping

Our First Rowland Family Christmas Card

Our Second Rowland Family Christmas Card

Last Year’s Christmas Decor

Scenes from Last Christmas

Christmas Memories, Heartache, and Peace

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

 

Drew’s Dresser Makeover

November 18, 2014

In the last couple weeks I’ve finished yet another project that has been on my to-do list for years: re-finishing Drew’s childhood dresser.

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Here you can see what it looked like before. When Drew was younger a faux metal paint finish had been done to the front of the drawers. I painted over it as a temporary solution years ago until I had the chance to sand the entire thing down and completely refinish it. The top had some water damage (from a fish tank that had leaked) and the sides were just generally beat up from years of use.

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I paint stripped the front of the drawers, sanded the entire thing down, gave it a good cleaning, applied a coat of wood conditioner, three coats of dark walnut stain, and three coats of satin polyurethane (same process I used here). The results are pretty gorgeous.

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I think it turned out beautifully. I love the new crystal and brass knobs I found at Hobby Lobby (they were on sale, so I got all 8 for $20) and I think they accent the dresser perfectly.

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So happy with the results and to have this project off my to-do list!

P.S. You can see that we also re-painted our bedroom walls this weekend too…

 

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