bedroom design

Over a year ago, I posted this inspiration board for our bedroom:

bedroom inspiration board.inddAnd finally, our bedroom is starting to feel the way I want it to! Pretty and relaxing, soft, but with some contrast. I love black, white, and gold with pops of jewel-toned colors. (see the before, hereI think it could still use some quirky accessories and some more patterned textiles, but I thought it was finally time for an update:

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cait nightstand 31

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i love you pillow 21

bed vi lights 21

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chair 21

Last December we painted the headboard wall Semi-Sweet (by Valspar at Lowes), the same color as the small hallway outside our bedroom that connects it to the bathroom. Then I hand painted the geometric pattern with a gold Sharpie paint pen (and a ruler and level!). It was really quick and easy actually! I followed this tutorial by Mandi at Vintage Revivals. The rest of the walls in here are painted Grey Ghost (by Olympic at Lowes).

We finally updated our nightstands with super simple ones we found on Craigslist for $30 (total for both!). We had mis-matched ones for years in here while I was searching for the right ones (this is a small space for them to fit in and they had to be short enough to fit under the headboard overhang). I really, really wanted these ones. For the longest time they were out of stock. When they did finally come back in stock, I couldn’t justify spending $230 a piece plus shipping for them. I was hoping they would go on sale, but they didn’t and I got tired of waiting (although it looks like they are finally on sale now — a year later!). I stalked Craigslist like crazy to find anything that would be a suitable replacement for the odd and mis-matched ones we had, until I found these. They are real wood and a great size for our small bedroom. Ideally they would have a drawer and be a little deeper, but for the price I’m not complaining. Drew has a basket on his shelf and I have that black and white inlaid box on mine to take the place of a drawer, which is working out just fine.

We also got new bedding. I’d been eyeing West Elm’s Jacquard Leaf Duvet Cover and Shams for a while (you know me and quatrefoils!) and I finally got them last summer on sale. I really loved the Onyx color (black) but the contrast was a tan/cream color, not white. So I went with the Flax/White ones. I’d also been eyeing those plus sheets from Target for a while and I ended up waiting too long to buy them and they were sold out of a queen size. I bought the only size they had left (on sale) – a California King set. The pillows and flat sheet work just fine (I’ll probably trim the sheet eventually, but I actually like that it hangs over the bed farther than a queen), but the fitted sheet is obviously way too big. We are just using a plain white fitted sheet for now. The “I Love You” pillow I made out of fabric I ordered in a design of mine. That’s my handwriting!

I would like to replace the curtains with simple white ones (the current white ones are too short and the cream ones are too long and too yellow). I bought some plain white sheets to make into curtains for in here (I need 6 panels!), but I haven’t gotten around to making them. I would also like to eventually layer in some more block printed textiles to the bedding – either adding some more of my patterns or some of Kerry Cassill’s block printed textiles. I love our white mattelasse/coverlet, but I would really like one in a bigger King size. I like having it drop farther over the side of the bed (and Drew is less likely to pull the covers off of me in the middle of the night!). We also really need a new bed skirt – ours is ripped on one side! I could also see adding a different rug (fluffy and soft Moroccan? flat weave patterned? vintage kilim?) and maybe a simple upholstered headboard. I’m happy for now with how far this room has come!

Headboard we made from an old door (see here and here), dresser was Drew’s childhood dresser that we refinished, gold pharmacy lamps are from HomeGoods, gold I LOVE YOU banner is from Target, floral painting is by Lulie Wallace, girl with flowers print is by Raven Roxanne, geometric canister is from Hobby Lobby, ceramic dishes were made by my ceramics teacher in college – Sarah House, pink chair is from World Market, geometric pillow is from H&M, black floor lamp is from Target, jewelry stand, white elephant, and black and white inlaid box were all Christmas gifts from my sister, shelving is the IKEA Expedit, sheets are from Target, duvet and shams are from West Elm, copper twinkle lights are from Amazon, nightstands are vintage, art above Drew’s nightstand is by Emily McDowell, art above mine is a handwritten note from Drew. :)

Value Quilt

December 30, 2015

One of my biggest (and scariest!) goals for 2015 was to learn to quilt. I grew up sewing and collecting fabric, but I’d never made a quilt before. It’s no secret that I would love to design my own fabric collections one day. Part of being a fabric designer (at least for quilting cotton collections) is making them into quilt patterns and quilts, so it was something I needed to learn to advance my career professionally. It was also something I wanted to know how to do. I studied quilts a bit in college and incorporated elements of them into my painting and art work. I even made a quilt top in college (that turned out rather horribly! I wish I knew then what I know now!), stretched it, and painted on it for my abstract painting class final (it is hanging in our living room!). I love quilts and the history in them. I love the mix of fabrics and the ability to put time and effort into something that can be used to cuddle up on the couch with and also pass along to children and grandchildren. Such beautiful works of art! I had also amassed a nice collection of fabrics and needed something to do with them!

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You might remember this photo (above) that I posted on Instagram around this time last year. Last year for Christmas, I asked my dad to buy me a couple quilting books I wanted (LOVE this one) and some new fabrics from a local (to Southern IL) fabric store (the amazing Hancock’s of Paducah) to use in a quilt I wanted to make. My caption on this photo was, Love, love, love all these new fabrics that I’ll be using this year as I teach myself to quilt! #2015 #makeithappen #starttoday” I’m so happy to say that I made it happen! I not only used those fabrics above (and more from my collection) to make this value quilt, but as you already know, this past summer I attended a Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Anna Maria Horner’s Craft South in Nashville with all the designers of Cotton and Steel. I learned some additional quilting tips there and pieced my Mod Hexagon Quilt. I did all the piecing on that quilt, but was nervous to do the quilting and binding myself, so I sent it off to a lady that I met at the workshop to long-arm quilt and bind it for me. It turned out wonderfully! But I’m happy to say that on my Value Quilt, I conquered my fears and did every single bit of it myself!! I pieced it (even designing a few of the fabrics myself!), quilted it, and bound it! I’ve done a lot of cool things this year, but making this quilt is perhaps my proudest accomplishment of the year!

Here are some photos from the process (with pretty afters!):

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Pulling out fabrics from my collection and organizing them into light, medium, and dark values.

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I had to set my old desk back up in my office to have a cutting table.

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One of my greatest quilting fears was not getting the seams on the squares to line up correctly. I had a rather frightening experience with this when making the quilt top I painted on in college. But thanks to Alexia Abegg (one of the designers of Cotton and Steel), I did it! At the workshop I attended last summer, I asked her to show me her secrets to getting those intersections to line up perfectly. Turns out, it isn’t that hard! The secret is in making sure your blocks are the same size (I already knew that part), and then making sure you press your seams for the rows in opposite directions so that they nest into one another at the intersections. Before you sew, you nestle them together and pin in place. It worked wonderfully!

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I was also really worried about whether or not I would even be able to quilt this on my basic Singer sewing machine. But it worked just fine! I did simple, straight line quilting on either side of the diagonals. Quilting it on a diagonal helped to reduce some of the bulk stuck under the neck of my sewing machine. Drew helped me pin baste the quilt sandwich together (you are the best, love!).

I also have to give a shout out to JoAnn Hinkle of In Stitches in Lebanon, TN. I fell madly in love with that black and white fabric (Faye Burgos of Marcus Brothers Fabrics, Medallion Trellis in Black from her Quartette Collection). But when I went to buy more of it online for the backing, it was out of stock everywhere! I guess it isn’t in print anymore. I searched the Marcus Brother’s fabrics website for retailers of their fabrics to see if I could find someone with it in stock. There weren’t any quilt shops that had it in New Orleans, so I looked around Southern IL (my hometown). Hancock’s of Paducah didn’t have it either. So I started looking at Quilt Shops in the Nashville/Lebanon, TN area (where my older sister lives). I got in touch with JoAnn of In Stitches and she tracked it down for me at a warehouse. Thank you so, so much JoAnn!

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I had never made binding or bound a quilt before either, but it turned out wonderfully! These clips were great (there they are in a handmade bowl I threw in my ceramics studio!). The dark pink/wine colored thread that I used to hand sew the binding on the back of the quilt actually belonged to Marie, my first cousin twice removed (the daughter of my Papaw’s uncle Courtland). Her niece passed along a lot of her sewing things to me, mostly colorful spools of thread. Marie grew up on the same land that I did. Love that little extra bit of history included in this quilt.

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Drew holding the finished pieced top up in City Park in New Orleans so I could get a nice photo of the top!

And now, the after photos:

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This quilt is a memory quilt of sorts in that it contains fabrics from my collection through the years. Some of these I collected as a child for various sewing projects, some I bought in college for art projects, some I’ve collected as I’ve traveled – a cute fabric shop we went to in Portsmouth, NH on our honeymoon, some fabrics from Portland, OR, some from here, some from back home. It also contains fabrics from many of my favorite fabric designers, some of which I’ve had the opportunity to meet or get to know in the last year or two. I also designed a few of these fabrics and had them printed on Spoonflower. That rose pink floral on the eggplant background above is mine. That is a little rose I illustrated from the rosebushes we planted in the front yard of our apartment.

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The handwriting fabric, above, is my Mamaw, Evelyn’s, handwriting. It is her telling me “I love you” on a note she gave me when I was little. I turned it into a pattern and had it printed. There is also another fabric in this quilt that is my handwriting saying “I love you” back. The small blue and white check next to it is actually a bit of one of my Papaw’s shirts.

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I love the mix of colors along with bits of black and white (and metallic gold!). I have a slight obsession with black and white. I feel like you don’t see a lot of quilts that use black in them, but I love the sophistication it adds and helps to balance out the colors a bit. This quilt is so me!

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I just love the way it came out so much! I love the simple diamond pattern on the back from the quilting.

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I just finished sewing on the last bit of the binding last night. I can’t wait to snuggle up under it on the couch for movie nights! Violet loves sleeping under my last quilt, I’m curious if she’ll like this one just as much.

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The flowers my dad gave me for Christmas look so pretty with it!

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I put together this basic instruction guide on what I did, in case you want to make your own:

Value Quilt Plans.inddSome other helpful resources include: this tutorial on value quilting (with photos of some beautiful quilts), how to make binding, and how to hand sew the back of the binding.

Drew and I seem to get more house projects done in the summer than any other time of the year (last summer we painted the living room, foyer, french doors, little hallway, and built a living room ottoman/bench (more about those here). This year we’ve painted the long hallway and kitchen, made over a side table, added some homemade pillows, and the project below). I’m not sure why, considering summer is always sweltering in NOLA. Maybe it is the longer daylight hours and general sense of excitement that summer brings? But, I’m not complaining! We’ve recently done a couple things in the foyer/dining room that were long overdue. Now it’s become one of our favorite rooms in the house!

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I’ve wanted a church pew for bench seating for our dining room for a long time. New Orleans doesn’t really seem to have an abundance of old church pews though. I’d looked and looked on Craigslist with no luck. But earlier this summer, my older sister, Blair, who lives in Nashville, TN, called me one day saying that her babysitter was selling one. She went to look at it and the dimensions were exactly what I was looking for! She bought it for me and stored it at her house until Memorial Day when she brought it to my hometown in Illinois for my dad to store until he had time to bring it to New Orleans for me. When Drew and I were visiting family over Memorial Day we got to see it for the first time and it was in a little rougher shape than I originally thought. All the transporting had broken the bottom of one of its legs and the seat was a little wobbly. My dad took it to a guy to have the leg fixed, seat reinforced, and he also sanded it down for me (the original finish was dirty and dingy –I think it had been left outside for a little bit and had some moisture damage).

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It still needs a little love, and I’ll eventually put a little more work into it and then probably seal it. But for now, I love it! Such a cozy spot in there now.

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Violet definitely approves of her new sunny napping spot! I wish I knew more about its history. I only know it came out of an old church in Nashville. I love having pieces with old stories in our home.

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Our second new piece of furniture is this lovely 1960’s mid-century modern china cabinet base. It also has quite the story! I’d been searching for a dresser like this for in here for a long time. We needed storage for our bar items and some overflow from the kitchen (cloth napkins for dinner, etc..) as well as Drew wanted a place to put the record player and store his records. New Orleans is also quite lacking in mid-century pieces, but I’d still been stalking Craigslist with no luck. Then on Facebook one day, a friend of mine from Southern Illinois posted a photo of this one that she’d seen and loved at a local antiques shop, but didn’t have a place for. I immediately texted my little sisters begging them to go find it for me. They both had to work, but a couple days later, right as I was getting ready to board a plane to NYC for my fabric design workshop, Jill called me and said she was on her way over there to look for it. When I landed in New York I had several text messages waiting for me, including a receipt of the deposit she’d made on it for me (yay Jilli!). She even talked them down in price for me and I got it for a steal! (double yay!)

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Once I was back from NYC, I called and paid for it over the phone, then my dad went over and picked it up for me. It worked out perfectly that he already needed to bring me my church pew, so he was able to bring this down too in the same trip. I waited most of the summer for them, but he finally brought them down a couple weekends ago. It is so perfect for what we needed and in amazing shape. The side cabinets are perfect for storing records!

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Finally having the dresser in place spurred on the next project I’d been wanting to tackle in here for a while — wall shelving! With all the horizontal surfaces in here (dresser, table, console table, side table) all at close to the same height, we really needed something with some height in here to balance everything else out.

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These shelves make such great use of otherwise mostly wasted space in our house. Actually this wall is the least shown view of our house on my blog! I don’t think I’ve posted a picture of this wall for several years since Drew’s old desk used to live here. The last couple years it has been a mostly empty space or a storage space for supplies of whatever project we were working on at the time. I LOVE it now!

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I love that it provides a place for barware/glass storage, plants (that Violet kept getting into elsewhere), art, etc… I’ve been wanting to create a welcoming entry area in our home for years and this area with the mirror is finally getting us there! I can’t decide if I want to also hang a couple coat hooks up here as well. The top shelves especially could use a little more styling. I’m thinking of putting a big fern or something up there. We also need more lighting in this area of the room, so maybe a hanging lamp as well?

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The rails, brackets, and wood are all from Lowe’s. The rails and brackets were originally white and we spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze. They are screwed into studs, so they aren’t going anywhere! This is actually probably the most secure thing that we’ve ever put on the walls in our house! Sidenote: we also figured out the best way to find studs in old homes with plaster walls! Find an outlet on the wall (there is one behind where the dresser is) and drill a screw into either side of it to see if it hits a stud. Electrical boxes for outlets are pretty much always attached to a stud. Once you find one, measure 16 inches over in either direction and you should find all the studs. (We did have to drill several holes in the wall to accomplish this. We did it close to the bottom of the wall though and I actually forgot about even filling them in. No one can see them with the dresser there.) With plaster walls like this, there is wooden slatting behind the walls, so using an electric stud finder never worked for us. This electric box and measure trick worked like a charm though! These railing systems are pretty inexpensive for the impact they make! I plan on eventually staining the shelves a light honey color, but wanted to live with them as is for a bit while I made up my mind for sure. At first I was worried about having too much wood in the room already, but I don’t think I really want to paint them either (there is a lot of white in here too with the door and trim and blinds). So I’m going to do a lighter tone than the rest of the wood surfaces in here, but something that isn’t as stark as raw wood.

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So there you have it! A full view of our entire foyer/dining room area. I just love how “us” this room feels now!

P.S. Did you see how many pictures Violet made it into? That pillow on the console table is her “perch” and she loves it up there. Easily spends half her day or more there.

This weekend, I finally finished up a simple little project that had been on my to-do list for a long time. Making over this side table with a little bit of spray paint and the wooden stump cake stand from our wedding.

beforeafter

I bought this table on clearance at Target for $10 a couple years ago. I love having it in the living room, as it is super convenient to pull over to set my laptop on or whatever while I’m working from the couch. However, the style could’ve fit in better with our decor and I didn’t love the cheap laminate top.

If you remember from our wedding (three years ago!), I bought this thick wooden tree slice to use as our cake stand.

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Since our wedding, it has just been sitting around our house with no real purpose. I didn’t want to throw it out, but I didn’t have a good use for it as is. So when we went back to our hometown a few weeks ago, I brought it with us, in hopes that someone we knew with a chainsaw could cut it up for me into more usable pieces.

I was over at my friend Tonya’s house chatting with her and her mom, when I remembered that her brother, Tyler, had cut several wood slices for Tonya for her wedding. The cake stand just so happened to still be in my car and her brother agreed to cut it down for me. He even cut it into three slices, so I have other pieces that I can use in the future for other projects. (Thanks Tyler!!)

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Tonya also helped me scrape off some of the bark that was falling off. (You are the best Tonya!!)

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Then once we got back to New Orleans, I sanded down the wood top (no one wants to get splinters from your side table!) and added three coats of satin finish polyurethane, while Drew lightly sanded and spray painted the base with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.

It really takes a village sometimes!

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I love how it turned out! I think the wood and black combo make it look a lot more sophisticated and fit in a lot better with our style. I love the thicker top and that I was able to use something with sentimental meaning!

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!