August 27, 2009

No More Lies!

Whew! So I've been quiet on all fronts about what I was REALLY busy doing last week, but for good reason.... well, then I just plain got busy with work. I planned a surprise anniversary party for my parents with my brother and sister-in-law. I couldn't share my plans on the Internets!! My parents got married 30 years ago, and didn't make a fuss about it. They had each been married before, and from what I've heard over the years, it was just immediate family, at my mom's house, the pastor suggested my mom drug my brother for the ceremony (hellian child that he was), and my mom wore a very simple (yet cool) light blue dress. Unimportant details I guess, but 30 years later we wanted to give them another classy yet simple backyard celebration.
The parents
Made Them Cut the Cake
These two are the reason I am here today for more than the obvious reason. Their love, patience, financial support, encouragement, (did I say patience and oh-so-generous financial support?) is why I am who I am and where I am today. They've also been a great example of what real marriage is like in a world of celebrity make-ups and break-ups - a couple that has riden the waves of ups and downs, good times and bad, and come out stronger. Thirty years after their wedding (yesterday exactly), I'm so glad we could honor them for this milestone as they prepare for the next big chapter, life without work!!
All in all we had close to 50 people, family and friends coming from all parts of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and, well, me - the rebel child - came from Illinois. Just a few highlights...
Mom's family
The Garen Family - Timer Worked!

Dad's family
Shirden Family

And our Mamaw and Papaw

The party
Pork is Yummy

The Nephew
Mmmm.. Cupcakes!

The Niece
My Angel

August 25, 2009

The Final Frontier

My poor master bedroom hasn’t gotten any action. (Get your minds out of the gutter, people, I’m talking about design here…) The original inspiration for this room was VINTAGE and SUBDUED. I wanted a more traditional mellow design palate, but the white, greys and builder beige has created an oh-so-boring and blah bedroom – not at all what I was looking for. Now that the rest of the apartment has been put together and is ready for company, it’s time to tackle my own room.

Apartment Update2  015

Apartment Update2  009

I’m ready to ramp it up. In the coming days I’ll be…

  • Hanging a few 50 percent off wall d├ęcor items I picked up at Hobby Lobby in Indiana
  • Using the remaining two art canvases I got on sale in a back-to-school 3-pack a few weeks ago to showcase some leftover fabric from my pillow shams (photo below)
  • Putting a project in the September issue of Country Living to good use to spice up those inexpensive IKEA frames

    2009-08-01 at 09-22-41

Stay tuned!!

August 21, 2009

Project: Family Time

I took a few days off to spend a summer weekend with the family in Indiana.  While my mom and I did happen to tour the countryside visiting several of her favorite quilt shops in Ohio and spend significant time in Hobby Lobby this afternoon, this weekend is really all about...

making Star Wars characters out of play-doh...

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picking grandma's no-so-wild flowers... 

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bubbles.... lots and lots of bubbles...

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more of Grandma's bubbles - once just isn't enough....  

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and pretending sticks are lightsabers with grandpa 

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you know, the important things.  

August 18, 2009

360 degrees and 100 percent complete!

By my estimates (and if you know me math is not my favorite subject), this room cost me well under $100. Why so cheap? Well, I'm cheating. I purchased the fabric over a year ago, so I didn't count that. The bedding, the lamp, the framed vintage Chicago "vacation" poster and the orange box are all stuff I already owned that needed a home in the new place, so I didn't count that stuff either. The "nightstand" is actually an IKEA "Gilbert" stool and can be used as my 10th chair for a large dinner party. (I LOVE furniture with dual purposes - feels like you can cut that price tag in half!) And, as you saw from my previous posts on the pom poms, WELCOME letters, pennant and wall art, all of my diy projects used up supplies I already had around the house or things that I came across/scouted/stalked while on sale.

In fact, the second-most expensive thing in the room you might not have even noticed. It's the coat rack along the back wall. The room doesn't have a closet, and the one closet in the entire house is jam-packed with my clothes. There's no room for my guests' things, so I created a spot for them to hang dresses for nights out, suits for business meetings, whatever they may be in town to wear and do. Aren't I thoughtful? I think so, sometimes!

Guest Room 2

Guest Room 4

The Guest Room

The Guest Room Looking Out

The Guest Room - View from the Bed

Now I must admit my biggest problem with this entire project. This room doesn't get ANY use. Well, my parents stayed in there once, and I keep my steamer in there when I'm not taking photos of it for the Internet, but for all practical purposes I really don't need this room and never use it. But I now need excuses to use this room because I love it too much to not enjoy it!!! (This is a big hint for loved ones near and far.....)

Pom Pom Perils

As if my guest room hadn't gotten girly and nursery-like enough yet with feminine patchwork all over the place, ribbon decor, pennants and big white nursery-like letters, I had to up the ante even more. I couldn't resist making a few pom poms from a Martha Stewart kit my digits latched onto in a Michael's store earlier this spring and wouldn't let go of. (It was on SALE! How could I put it down???)

I followed the directions on the package, illustrated below, but I must tell you that what they don't tell you is before you start spreading out all the tissue paper into a glorious ball of fluff, you really should tie ribbon to the wire holding the thing together in the center. Thank goodness I thought of that before it was too late!! I then took that string that was already attached to the center of each pom pom in one hand, a 3M sticky hook ready to stick in the other and (WAIT - MOM PLEASE STOP READING HERE!) perilously climbed atop my short - but only - step stool on top of my guest bed. With my legs shaking vigorously below me and my mind racing to "would the downstairs neighbor hear the crash? Is she even home?" I did it - three times in fact, and all without falling!!

Pom Pom Step 1

Pom Pom Step 2

Pom Pom Step 3

Pom Pom Step 4

The Perils of D-I-Y

Adding Pizzazz with Pennants

It's time for one more easy no-sew project! While it was raining on Sunday, I decided that the wall with my "WELCOME" was kinda boring. It needed color - and you guessed it, I STILL have Amy Butler fabric left over!! So, I decided to increase the fun factor of the room even more by pinning a string of pennants to the wall.

First up, I created a triangle pattern on wax paper using the graph on my cutting board and my straight edge, and then I cut out a bunch of triangles with pinking sheers. (Note, if I wanted this pennant project to be two-sided, I could have used fusible interfacing to iron two pieces of fabric together, right sides out and cut THAT out with the triangle pattern. This project didn't require that though - the back side will be against a wall!) It's also important to note that the pinking sheers not only LOOK cool, but will keep the fabric from shredding out on the ends, although if you plan to wash your pennant, I don't advise this quick method - I'd sew the edges.

Pennant Step 1

Next I laid the triangles out and came up with a pattern of sorts.

Pennant Step 2

Once I knew the order, I dug out my Heat and Bond and cut strips of it the width of each triangle's top and decided how far apart on the ribbon I wanted each triangle to be.

Pennant Step 3

I carefully measured where each triangle should fall on the ribbon - and layered the Heat and Bond strips on the top edge of each triangle, and followed suit with the ribbon. While holding my breathe, I then placed the iron on top of the sandwich for roughly 5 seconds - it only take a few to activate the heat and bond!

Pennant Step 4

Repeat, repeat, repeat - super easy - and then, wala!!! A somewhat juvenile, yet fun, splash of color to the wall - all with supplies that were just sitting around the house begging to be put to good use.

WELCOME to Casa Emi

August 17, 2009

Welcoming Walls

Back in the guest room, I've still got a few walls to tackle. You know, it's a typical room with four of 'em. This wall, the one above the headboard, was an easy one. I was inspired by a lot of nurseries and baby's rooms with words or letters on pennants or signs or those adhesive letters, but what do you write on a guest room wall? My name seemed kinda silly, "Sweet Dreams" didn't feel right - but then I stumbled upon "WELCOME."

"WELCOME" seemed perfect. I love having company, and because all of my family is at least one, if not two, states away, I really want them to feel that they're loved and received with open arms when they make the journey to the city. "WELCOME" was exactly the right word - and big, bold cardboard letters on clearance at JoAnn's for $1 and some change each were exactly how I wanted to spell it!

Welcome Letters - The Before
Only problem? The ones on sale were brown, not white. Brown on builder beige walls would be oh so ugly! So, I pulled out some semi-gloss latex paint I had leftover from my table and chairs project and went to town. Nothing fancy, just two coats with a 2" inch or so acrylic paint brush.

Welcome Letters - During
When they dried, I used magical 3M adhesive stickies that came in a package of small hooks (tomorrow's post will explain why I had these) to adhere them to the wall - after I measured and created a line with blue painter's tape - one of my favorite inventions of all time.

Hanging the "WELCOME"

Tomorrow I'll share with you two more quick no-sew projects that completed the room and share the big reveal! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

May I Interrupt Regularly Scheduled Programming...

If you're like me, you're rather obsessed with creating a place where you and your loved ones feel both comforted and comfortable, a place that expresses your creativity, your values, and your innermost inspirations. It's what you dream about, doodle about, and get excited about sharing with others. But, that place we like to call home isn't where we spend the most time, is it? If you're like me, it's definitely not. I spend a majority of my waking hours at my other home a few miles east - you know, at the office.

My other place - my second home - I am very thankful to report is also a place where I feel comfortable to express myself, be creative, write and learn on a daily basis. And in this dire economy, I feel even more blessed that I not only have a job, but a job that I really do love. It's not the subject of this blog for many reasons, but today I'd like to take a moment to wish myself a happy one-year anniversary at my second home away from home.

2009-08-11 at 06-02-30

P.S. I hope you enjoy the photo. Last Tuesday happened to be a gorgeous day and I had my camera downtown, so I snapped a few pictures of my office building, because, let's face it, it ain't no ordinary office building - it's the John Hancock Center!

Easy on the Wallet Walls

It's back to school time, meaning there are all kinds of sales on art supplies, especially here in Chicago where fine art high schools and colleges seem to be everywhere. I have a hard time passing by a good sale without stopping, so I recently ended up with a three pack of medium-sized art canvases. I had no clue what I would do with them, but for $8.99 plus outrageous Chicago sales tax, why not?

As I was working on my guest room yesterday, I realized I had one small frame that would just float away on its own. It needed a friend for it to hold its own in the room. I had dreams of finding a beautiful print on Etsy, or taking a series of photographs I would want my guests to enjoy and having them framed, but all these ideas seemed rather expensive. So I forced my mind to less expensive thoughts! I had white canvases..... and ribbon.... and a staple gun!

Staple Gun Fun

Close-up on Wall Hanging #2

Wall Hanging #2 - FINALE!

It might not stay this way forever, but I really like it, so who knows!?!

August 16, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Thanks to rain showers and waking up early both Saturday and Sunday, I got a lot done this weekend - the guest room is complete, in fact!  First up, my "quilt art."  

The idea of "quilt art" came about because I had a good amount of Amy Butler fabric left over from one of my first quilting projects - pillow shams that now live in my guest room - and that room until this weekend had totally blank walls.  I thought it would be fun to create a wall hanging out of this fabric, but something about making a traditional wall quilt seemed rather old-fashioned to me.  How else can you display quilting?  I asked myself the same question - you stretch it over an art canvas!!!  

First off, though, you need a quilting pattern.  I sketched one out myself - I even did my own math to make it fit the size canvas I was able buy for roughly $10 and carry home on the bus from Pearl Art.  

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Next up, I cut out the blocks, sewed them all together, put on a batting back and decided to use a decorative stitch to quilt her up.  

2009-08-03 at 06-58-48

Yeah, THAT didn't work as planned.... Have you ever tried to rip out decorative stitching?  It's nearly impossible.  So, I cut the quilt up - again - on the seam and sewed it up again - batting and all.  I don't recommend, but it turned out!  Sometimes life throws ya uneven decorative stitching and you have to roll with a plan B!! 

Ooopsie Fix

Once I fixed my oopsie, I stretched it across the canvas and had fun with the staple gun, careful to not send myself to the emergency room.  I live alone, and I'd prefer to not be found bleeding to death on my dining room floor!!  

Before the Staple Gun...

What do you think?  I can't wait to show you the rest of the room, but I'll be spreading that out across the week if I can hold out that long.  

Wall Hanging Close-up

August 14, 2009

Big Plans, Big Distractions!!


This weekend I hope to finally tackle the mini-guest room. I have three projects in mind for this room and I have all the supplies ready to go. BUT,  it’s Air & Water Show weekend here in the Windy City. (Last year I was on a boat and got some AMAZING photos. I had a hard time picking just one to share!) I’m also taking in a Cubs game tomorrow afternoon. Distractions abound, but I hope to welcome family and friends with a finished room soon. 

I'm staying in tonight, in fact, to save money for tomorrow afternoon's festivities and get a head start I'm so excited.  This IS happy hour to me sometimes!!  The room has the most fun and funky plan of them all, as it’s tucked away out of sight and rarely used. What's planned?  Just a few hints...

A very WELCOMING room with…. Pennants…… PomPoms…… and…… Patchwork!

Oh, and I might have taken a bit of inspiration from a nursery, because, well, that’s unfortunately a long way out for me but I have never let that stop me before!

August 13, 2009

Dining on a Dime - Grand Finale!

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Final result!!! The chairs are covered in Paula Prass Flights of Fancy fabrics. I love the pattern, colors and the price of quilting fabric versus upholstery fabric. Isn't it lovely? I adore white furniture, and so proud of my little project I did all on my own, for roughly a few hundred dollars. (Ace Hardware loves when I do DIY projects... I'm a regular now!)

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2009-08-12 at 10-58-16

Dining on a Dime - Part 2



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