I like old houses. I love their character and the way the spaces work together. I love their quirks and their potential. Realizing that I may not get to purchase an old charmer right away, I’ve been collecting ways to add a little character to any space.
First up: that beautiful molding. That 8-inch tall, expensive molding. If you’re not up for removing all your old trim or new trim just isn’t in your budget, try this brilliant idea from The House of Smiths: simply add a small piece of molding above your original trim, paint the wall and both pieces of trim the same color, and voila! Fabulous chunky baseboards without the price tag.
Exposed brick can add warmth along with character to any room. No original chimney to expose? No worries. A company called Brick-it offers real vintage bricks cut into thin slices, along with an easy installation system. My favorite is this multicolor specimen reclaimed from a building in Milwaukee.
One of the things I love most about older homes are the elegant details. An easy way to add elegance in a big way that doesn’t impact your house’s footprint is to simply look up. Your ceiling can be ignored or become a showcase—it’s up to you. Is your style formal and elegant? A decorative molding treatment like the one above might be for you. More cottage casual? Try faux wood beams. The possibilities are endless!
I like ruffles. Just ask my coworkers—I don’t think more than a day or two goes by that I don’t show up at the office in them. It was one of the things that drew me to this blanket, which I’ve made much progress on over the last few months! I’ve experimented with different techniques and I think I’ve finally figured out what works the best: Once you have your first row of stitches (in a circle), do two or three more rows at a two-to-one ratio—or even triple it if you want a lot of fullness—stitches, then finish it off with a one-to-one ratio of stitches in each row. Once you like the size, gather up the edges with a row of single crochets and you’re set!
Filed under DIY, home goods
Inspired by this blanket—found where else but Pinterest—I’ve started crocheting again. The actual pattern is available online (just click on the image, it’s part of the Picasa gallery), but I’m not a fan of following patterns so I’m making it up as I go along! Here’s what I have done so far… I’ll keep posting progress reports, this one’s going to take a while!
Sorry guys, I’m officially out of clever puns for posts about embroidery at the moment. But I have been stitching furiously!
I think my stitcher’s block earlier this month stemmed from not having an image of the final product in my head before I began. So lately I’ve been creating free form designs—no drawing on the fabric before hand, no tracing a sketch. I’ve been experimenting with new stitches and techniques, all the while just adding whatever I feel like in the moment. I love the way they’ve turned out, expect more of these in the future! Of course, these are all available here.
Filed under art, home goods
Despite the snow on the ground, wedding season must be nearly upon us—I just received my first pearlized envelope in the mail. So what’s a gracious guest to do? Start planning the gift now instead of grabbing whatever’s left on the registry on the way to the reception.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now: Many modern couple just want cash. It’s easy for you, it leaves them free to spend it on whatever they need. Rare is the bride and groom who don’t already live together and really need to stock a new home. I’m not saying don’t go out and get something to wrap up, but if you don’t? Hey, that’s ok. Get a nice card (ahem, we have a few suggestions), throw in some cash and call it a day.
Now on to the more three-dimensional presents! (This is a gift guide after all.) First up: Registries are there for a reason! Believe it or not, nobody wants the $5 set of fish-shaped serving bowls you found at TJ Maxx (true story). Choose something from the couple’s registry, then find a way to make it more fun. Do they want a wok? Fill it with hoisin, soy sauce, rice noodles and a cookbook. Did they register for always-exciting new flatware? Package them up with a napkin and funky napkin ring for each place setting. A box of plates can come wrapped in a tablecloth. You get the idea.
If—and this is a big if—you know the couple really, really well, you may [pause for dramatic effect]… go off registry.
Make sure you’re gift is something they couldn’t register for—maybe something completely custom like the “Story of Us” wall hanging above, or a product handmade by a local artisan, like any of the cast iron pans shaped like Midwestern states below.
Another great option? Find something the couple can do together. Fund a date night (a gift card to their favorite restaurant or wine bar and concert tickets ought to do the trick), give vouchers for a cooking class or start a new hobby (beer or wine-making kit anyone?).
Best friends with the bride? Give her something truly special: a custom fashion illustration of her dress. Local artist Jen Thompson of Illustrate the Dress created this beauty below (modeled by Miss Mollie Busby on her wedding day).
Whatever you give, do so with love and know that your presence on the dance floor well past 11pm means just as much—if not more—than whatever you set on the gift table 5 hours prior. Happy wedding season!