Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So What Wednesday

Linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew" for a little Sandy themed SO WHAT.

So WHAT if...

  • I'm over hurricanes? I mean, c'mon. Blizzards are way more fun because you can go outside and play in the snow. I don't want to go puddle jumping when the 'hood smells like a gerbil cage.
  • I never lost power? Don't hate if you did. I have a brick row house from 1880. I win.
  • I'm glad to back in the office? I mean, I love me a long weekend, but I was getting a little stir crazy.
  • I drank during the day? I wasn't driving, no one was working, and what else do you do in a natural disaster?
  • I kept making jokes about Hurricane Sandy being like my mom Sandy? C'mon. We all know that when she gets cold, she gets bitchy (mixing with a cold front). And she was 15 minutes ahead of the forecast (my mom is always early), and messing up Halloween plans (my mom's birthday is Halloween).
  • I called to wish my mom a happy birthday at a suitable hour and still woke her up? It's for all the years she woke me up in college for my birthday.
  • I'm not handing out candy this Halloween? I'm turning of the porch light and hiding for two reasons: I'm cheap and I would eat more than I handed out.
Difference? Less leaves.
*I know I fared so well that it sounds like I'm bragging, but for people not directly impacted, there are rays of sunshine. I do sympathize with those who fared worse, so don't go hating. I don't have time for that.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 4

Oh Sandy, you make this post perfect. And no, Mom, I'm not talking to you. Granted, we're both known to watch the boob tube a lot, I'm talking to the Sandy of the Hurricane variety. I digress.

I'm home today as Sandy merges with a Nor'Easter over the District. the wind and rain haven't really kicked up, but since all mass transportation and office building closed, I'm going rock yoga pants and watch movies while I work today. Oh, and since I'll be looking at the boob tube, I'm glad I got to Part 4 of my Pinterest makeover.

Let's face it. I'm addicted to TV.

And I need my Real Housewives in HD.

And I need them out of the way.

Enter: My Dad and Madre Dos' housewarming gift.

The 32" 780p LCD gem.

Minus the stand. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Because my dad is handy and hung the TV (first time not so level), I'm not going to post about it. Other than the anchors and nails used here went through the drywall and the brick that's 3" back, I also acquire spackle and a putty knife which will be handy when I move out.

Anyway, with the DVR and DVD, we had to mount a shelf to the side. If I chose below the TV, I would have to duck walking around the bed or hang everything higher. Not. Happening.

Here's what I was left with:
Black cords es no bueno on a light wall.

Lots of messy cords in the way.
Yes. I lived with it this way for several months. Deal. I was busy. Or whatever.

Anyway, I set out to make some upgrades by covering the cords and hiding them on top of the cable box.

Enter, leftover fabric from my curtains and some pop up mini-boxes from Closetmaid at Target.

First, I tidied up the area a little bit with cable ties and coax staples found at your local hardware store.
Legit amazing.

Coax staples kept the extension cord and coax cable neat and trim against the wall and blending in.

Cable ties tightened up the mass of power, HDMI, and video cords to the TV.
Then I set to making the cord sleeve with left over fabric.

What you'll need:

  • Fabric (at least double the width of the cords your covering and a little longer than what is seen so it can be tucked away.)
  • Velcro squares or strip
  • Scissors
For my cords, I already had a stretch of fabric a little longer that the cords from the TV to the cable box and since it was 8" wide, I didn't trim any excess.

With my fabric folded in half, right side out, I can tell that it will hold my cords.
Right side down, I fold the top over and affix half of the velcro (right side). Just below it, I place the other half of the velcro (wrong side). When you bring the two together, you will have a tube right side out.
Continue the length of the fabric to complete your cord cover.
Once you're ready to cover the cords, you simply un-velcro, then re-velcro over the cords.

 After everything was back in order, I tucked the cords into the pop-up boxes.

Voila! Cords are camouflaged with come creativity!
Now for the all-too-important Before & After Shot!!

With a little creativity, you can take the drab to fab with how to cover unsightly cords or a general mess. And, as you can see from the time on the cable box to staple the cords to the wall, cable tie the cords together, and make and install the cord cover. For 50 minutes worth of my time to clean up that mess, it was well worth it! Granted, I wasn't inspired by any actual pins, but someone has got to go out there and make new ones, right?

Now I can cozy up and get down with all of my Real Housewives.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 3

Now that you've seen the final product of the back corner and the closet wall, I'm going to talk to you about the curtains.

And then for a tutorial about how I (and by I, I mean my Aunt Marsha) sewed the panels. First, I will tell you that I'm sure that I could have done it with a lot more patience, time, and a sewing machine...with her supervision. There is no way I could have done this without frustration and wasting material.
Don't you just love the look of the bars and brick? Me too. Now you know why a whole wall of curtains had to be done. 
In short, my Aunt Marsha rocks.

Anyway, here's how I went about choosing my fabric with guidance from my aunt.

  1. Hunker down at the computer with my glasses so you can see clearly.
  2. Go through thousands of swatch samples from JoAnn's Fabric. Don't limit yourself and click on every sub-category. If you have a color idea in mind, make sure that you look at your primary and secondary colors, i.e. primary: purple, white, gray, secondary: blue, dark gray, etc.
  3. To see how the colors would go together, I saved the swatches as pictures and stitched them together with Picasa Collage Maker. Very simple and helped me start to visualize what I was about to do.
  4. Since I had a long wall (8 feet) I knew that I would need at least 1.5 times that in width to get a "casual" hang in the fabric. For a dense look, you would double the width.
  5. The panels of fabric helped me decide on what came to be about 1.5 times the amount of fabric in width.
  6. For length, you need to measure the height that you want to hang. I was somewhat limited by the height by my reach from a 6 foot ladder. And the top of the window is already at 9 feet. I don't think I need 12 foot high curtains, thankyouverymuch. Remember this gem pin?

For the rod, that was pure math and really only based on the finials. Basically, I already had the brushed silver look going on my furniture. And they are rectangular, so boom. Choices made. And Target had it.

Once the fabric came in, you basically have to create a hem, fold down a bit at the sides, and then create a rod pocket which is really just fancy talk for not sealing the edge of what is essentially a hem. Make sure that the rod pocket is also big enough for your rod in case you choose something thick.

Iron those suckers before you hang them.

Once you're ready to hang the rod, make sure that you measure & level twice, drill once. The end of the rod should be about three inches out from your windows. In my case, I put the ends of the rod 3 inches in from the wall.

Be prepared to go up and down the ladder. A lot. Like, annoyingly a lot. Especially if you're hanging these by yourself. Actually, make sure someone is around to hand you things. That would reduce the number of trips up and down the ladder.
You can see the top edge of the window and the window about the door. That? Determined the height of my drapes. Well, that and the height I could reach from a 6 foot ladder.
With the finials and the body of the fabric, you can see how the curtains really fill the space. 
I love how my curtains turned out. They cover a mucky, random door, filter light so I have a little bit more of a cave to sleep in, and adds a HUGE pop of color. BOOM.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 2

Closet Wall Edition

Now that you're hooked on my mad skillz on Pinterest and my bedroom, I thought that I would showcase the other half of my bedroom for the real deal ingenuity that would make my mom say that I should have been an enginerd engineer.

First, let's start with the BEFORE picture so you can see what I was working with.
No center support and no shelf. LAME. Obvious a boy lived here before me. And? Let's talk about the second rod 6" above that rod (barely visible here). WTF?
Somehow, I found the extra support bracket that should be upholding the rod and installed that sucker with drywall screws and my screw driver. (Yes, every adult should own one. Go get yours.)

Then, with the help of my dad, we picked up a laminated piece of particle board found at Home Deport or Lowes in various widths and lengths. Lucky for me, they had one in the (almost) right length and width.

After a stop at Target to get literal bargain bins ($5.54/each) for the above closet storage and some cloth Closetmaid collapsible bins ($7.99/each), I managed to create storage and minimize the clutter.

Now, I knew that I needed something major to cover that stupid, random storage space. I had mulled over an idea to have floating canvases, a tension rod with cafe curtains...but I settled on oversized canvases that would hide the bins, but be a piece of art.

Ta Da! Clutter is hidden!
Then I had to decide what to do with the canvases. To leave them white? What about a coat of paint from the Colorado Gray to match the other wall? Create a piece of wall art?

To the Pinterest!

Source: via Ana on Pinterest

Source: via Ana on Pinterest

From these two pins, I liked the idea of a blossoming tree as I already have the flowers and cherry blossoms through the seasons on my bed wall. I liked the idea of the leaves, but wasn't sure I could incorporate them into the canvases.

I settled on a hybrid of the two pins. I would try to make flower buds from the fabric plus paint tree limbs. For my background? I used the leftover Colorado Gray from the bed wall! Score!

(I was better about taking pictures this time.)

What you'll need:

  • Sponge brushes (varying sizes - paint & Mod Podge)
  • Brushes (I used a 1 1/2" for the tree)
  • Paint
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Patience

Give your canvases a couple of solid coats of your background color.

While the paint dries on the background, go ahead and make some leaves. *I made circles believing I could make something similar to my canvas flowers, but it looked poopy.
Watching paint dry.
I assembled the canvases as they would hang. Taking my brush, I gooped up a lot of paint and swirled the tree branches out from the trunk. I like twisty branches.
To add some depth to the branches and trunk, I added brown shading  to show that the branches stemmed from all parts of the tree, not just the top & bottom.
After trying to place the circles, I decided that I needed to make proper leaves.

I made a form to trace with scissors to make a good looking leaf shape.
As I made a batch of leaves, I started to place them on the canvas to see what looks good so the colors are distributed evenly and logically on the limbs.
Overall, the tree looks balanced and like an ethereal tree from the depths of Pinterest.
Now, get to Mod Podging!

I suggest working methodically from the closest leaves to the farthest so you're not sweeping them out of place as you move about the canvas. And don't forget the overall coat to the canvases to make sure the sheen is consistent.

Once dry to the touch (which is about 30 minutes), go ahead and hang those suckers to start enjoying your craftiness and cover your clutter.

 And now for the big wow in a side-by-side comparison.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I talk about how to make those curtains from Part 1 and leave enough for other decorations around the room *cough* artwork *cough*

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pinterest Bedroom Makeover - Part 1

Back Corner Edition

First, I need to thank Pinterest for my ridiculous obsession with sprucing up my room. I'm not usually one to have lots of things on the walls...until Pinterest came along.

Oh, Pinterest, how you inspire me.

This is how I came to choose my height of curtains for my back wall. Which is difficult since my ceilings are 12' high. And the window? The top of it is at 9'. Yeah. It's tall. Not to mention, I have this ugly door. It's my fire escape. Which is highly complicated for an escape seeing as on the other side, I have an iron bar door which I have to unlock with a key. And then once that's open? I have to choose to jump down 10 feet into the basement apartment entrance or step onto the iron bar door and swing over to the fence and shimmy down like Spider Man. But I digress. It's an ugly door.

Yeah. Like I said. U-G-L-Y.
Before moving in, my awesome landlord not only agreed to let me paint the right wall, he also painted it! (Well, he had someone paint it and it was getting painted anyway.) I chose "Colorado Gray" from Benjamin Moore. Which is really a gray-blue as you'll see below.

Once I had my curtain fabric picked out, I went to the "gallery space" above my bed. I already had some random canvases from wanting to be artsy fartsy, a mirror I got on the cheap, and a picture I got from Eastern Market that was the progression of a cherry tree about the Tidal Basin with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the background.

Cheap poster frame for the pics? OK! And you'll see the Colorado Gray is blue.

From my Artsy Fartsy board, I hybridized these two pins:

Enter: The Fabric Flower Mod Podged Wall Art.

Assemble your goods:
Mod Podge
Sponge brush

Here's I Frankensteined my way through this project:

  1. Instead of using math or a string, I outlined glass bowls I had to choose the size of the circles to draw on the canvases.
  2. Again without using math, I traced circles onto fabric that were about 3" and 2" in diameter. Pro tip: If you fold your fabric, you can cut out more than one circle at a time. I cut about 30 each of the two sizes total for my three fabric choices (leftover from my curtains...see how I did that?)
  3. Cut all those circles in half. Boom. Doubled your petal count.
  4. From there, I lined up the edge of the 3" gray fabric along the circle outline (sorry I didn't take pics because my hands were a little glue-y.)
  5. By applying Mod Podge to the backside of the fabric, it's like gluing paper down. Pro tip: apply a layer of Mod Podge directly to the canvas to make sticking easier.
  6. Once I completed the circle, I went over top of the pieces with Mod Podge because I knew that I would be irritated as hell if even one petal started to wilt.
  7. The next layer, I used the 3" purple and offset those petals from the gray by half.
  8. I continued with the white fabric and offset it from the purple. 
  9. I then used another round of the 3" circles in all three colors.
  10. Switch to your small cirlces and continue to fill in the circle.
  11. Once you're to the middle and a small circle fits nicely in the center, spackle that sucker down. Pro tip: Don't be afraid of Mod Podge. It dries clear.
  12. Repeat on other circles.
  13. Since the Mod Podge will create a subtle sheen on the canvas, I did one thin layer over the whole canvas to keep the appearance uniform once they were hung on the wall.
Boom. Hybrid pins.
To finish up my wall, I slapped some purple paint on the frame of that cheapo mirror to add another pop of color.

Now onto the part of the post that you really care about: the AFTER photos!

Tall curtains? Check. Wall collage? Check.

Lighting is not great because I also realized my overhead light is not centered.
Now, for the comparison photos for an even BIGGER impact!

BOOM! Big reveal!

BAM! Look at the difference!

Buh-bye ugly door! (But not forever in case I was in need of escape from an inferno...but that's beside the point.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So What Wednesday

Yep. It's Wednesday. And it's caught me by surprise again.

OK, well. Not completely by surprise, but yeah. You know.

I'm linking up with Shannon Life After I "Dew" to say SO WHAT?!

So WHAT if...

  • I still haven't recapped Colorado? I mean, it happened. It was awesome. I'm back to real life.
  • I chopped my locks? I'll get around to taking a picture when I'm not frustrated with the miscommunicated bang situation.
  • I do have a couple of Pinterest inspired posts in the works? They will become pins themselves. 
  • I've had frosting for dessert? It's good for the soul.
  • I had pizza for dinner Friday through Monday? It's good when you find a good GF crust. And banana peppers. You must have banana peppers.
  • I'm pretty sure Aviva on Real Housewives of NYC is not crazy for developing anxiety? I think I'm getting up there.
  • I sleep with my door closed at night? Every. Night. I had to really gear up just to crack it for air flow in the summer heat.
  • I typically drink the majority of my eight eights (64 oz) of water from dinner to bedtime? Now you know why footie pajamas are not realistic for me.