Office complete!

Well, my fabulous yellow Salvation Army chair finally made it’s way from Charlotte to Charleston and so the office is now officially complete. And just in time for graduate school to start in about a week – eeeek (that’s a squeal of nervous excitement, fyi)! I’m excited about how everything came together. The chair looks a bit orangey in the pictures, but it’s more yellow in person. What do y’all think?!

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Here’s a closer look at the wall candy:

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The prints on the right are lyrics from Forever Young by Bob Dylan. It’s a very special song for me and my dad (we even danced to it at my wedding), so I ordered him a set from this fabulous Etsy shop and I couldn’t resist getting myself a set. I got the mirrors for cheap at a local auction and spray painted them, as seen here. I just love old pictures, especially when they mean something to me. The top picture is from my great-great grandmother’s graduation day (on my mom’s side) and the bottom one is a family portrait of my great-grandfather and his brothers and sisters (on my dad’s side). It’s so fascinating to see the outfits they wore and the way they styled their hair. WinnieJane probably wouldn’t exist without the people in those pictures!

Of course, when I say that the office is complete, I mean that it’s mostly complete. I still want to put up some kind of window treatment. I just need to decide on a valance or panels? Hmmmm.

Here’s a quick little reminder of what the room looked like before:

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ImageNo need to dwell, though.

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Ah, much better. I love the little button details on the chair!

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Happy Monday! xoxo, p

Easter Things

First off, a quick, haphazard project. I had a canvas drop cloth leftover from when I painted the office and for some reason I kept trying to think of some way to reuse it besides the obvious. And then I started thinking about how I needed new place mates for all the visitors we would be having for Easter weekend and that’s where I got the idea for chalkboard place mates. I googled/pinterested the idea to see if anyone else had tried it but came up with nothing. Everything out there used a hardsurface as their base, which is certainly more practical, but I was set on using what I had already. So I winged it. Wang it? Wung it? Winged it.

I cut my drop cloth into 12″x18″ rectangles and thought about hemming the edges for about 3 seconds and then I was like, nope, too much work. So I got out my chalkboard paint and gave each rectangle a coat. I was too impatient to do multiple coats and I wasn’t sure the cloth could put up with much more. Since I only did one coat, this pretty much means that I can’t erase the chalk on the placemat, but that’s fine because I had a design in mind that I liked and I can’t image doing much else with them.
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I just gave each one a nice little border and then drew an outline of a plate and the fork, knife and spoon. Btw, forks are really hard to draw with chalk. Thank God you can’t see the full-on fork drawing because it’s just laughable. Most of them ended up looking like pitchforks. Oh well. Here’s the table all set for our weekend visitors:

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We had a great Easter weekend and got plenty of use of the new place mats. Matt’s dad, stepmom and brother all came to visit and it was great because my brother and dad were in town as well. Family weekend! Once Matt’s parents got here on Friday night, we headed to The Boathouse on Isle of Palms for Randy’s first birthday celebration and had fabulous meal #1 of the weekend. Between all of us we had oysters, crab cakes, fish, sirloin and gouda mac & cheese. Delish! I topped my meal off with a glass of really delicious champagne, Freixenet. All you locals out there, head out to the Boat House for a great view of the water, great service and a great meal. On Saturday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and had lunch at Vickery’s on Shem Creek. It was a little windy to sit outside, but we enjoyed a drink on the deck while we waited for our table. How beautiful is this city? We are so blessed!


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A mere four hours later I was back at our house setting the table for a gigantic combined birthday dinner for Randy and my dad. Matt grilled some delicious Filet Mignons for us. That boy can grill, y’all. Yum yum. And it’s not a birthday without cake so I used this recipe for a delicious dessert. It truly was the most amazing chocolate cake ever. If I do say so myself. It was a great night with family and we had so many laughs together. God is good.

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Our church had a beautiful outdoor mass for Easter Sunday and it was so nice to share it with Matt’s dad and stepmom, as well as Matt’s brother who is Catholic, too. We had a beautiful weekend that involved lots of eating and laughing. Can you ask for much else?

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xoxo, p

All Natural Cleaning Things

Y’all, the most amazing thing happened in our house yesterday, and it involves the Internet, a few basic household supplies and some veryyyy dirty, slimy, grimy windows.

When we first moved in our townhome about a year ago, the window in the den that faces out onto the street was all smudged and smeared. So I casually grabbed a bottle of Windex and gave that grime a few spritzes. La de da, nothing out of the ordinary. Grabbed some paper towels and started wiping away. And then I wiped some more. And then I put some muscle in it and wiped some more. And then I scrubbed. And scraped. And yelled. And nothing worked. So frustrating!

After a few weeks, I noticed that it was getting worse and that’s when I realized the grime is actually dried doggy slobber from when Bentleigh (and the two adorable golden retrievers that lived here before us) likes to sit at the window (for hours at a time, literally) and stare out into the street.

So for anyone out there who is struggling with windows that are coated in years worth of dried doggy slobber, look no further! I have your solution!

I started getting into the homemade, all-natural cleaner trend back when Pinterest became all the rage and I realized that there were better, cheaper, healthier options out there for our house. Cleaning solutions are expensive, y’all. It’s crazy. And half the time you don’t even know if what you end up buying is actually going to work.

I didn’t even know how dirty and grimey our bathtub/shower was until I used this recipe for homemade shower cleaner. Get ready, it’s real tough. Have you cleared enough space in your brain? Ok.

Homemade shower cleaner: 1/2 part Dawn dishsoap, 1/2 part white vinegar. Pour into spray bottle, shake gently. Spray on grimey-ness, let it sit and then scrub it off. I often spray this stuff on about 15 mins before I’m about to take a shower. I just bring my little scrub brush in the shower with me and take about 5 minutes to scrub-a-dub my bathtub. Easy peasy.

So, back to my windows. I was in the middle of my Spring Cleaning yesterday, that grimey, opaque window was glaring at me the whole time just daring me to try to find a solution to it. I’m not sure why it took me this long to think of it, but I just decided to sit down and Google homemade glass cleaner. Well along comes this same list.

Homemade glass/window cleaner: 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup alcohol, 1 TBSP corn starch, 2 cups warm water. Pour into spray bottle and shake gently.

Now, my spray bottle wasn’t big enough for these measurements, so I did a little adjusting. Also, I didn’t have any rubbing alcohol so I just omitted that and doubled the amount of vinegar I used.

Y’all. THIS STUFF IS A GIFT FROM THE GOOD LORD HIMSELF! Take a look at our window before:

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And here is literally 3 minutes later after I sprayed that beautiful nectar from the gods onto that grime and used the smallest amount of muscle to wipe it off:

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I wish you could have seen this transformation in person because these pictures are doing this miracle about 15% justice. I’m pretty sure if I’d had rubbing alcohol on hand, it probably would have taken one minute instead of three.

Matt came home and the only thing I said to him was, “Check out the front window” and as soon as he glanced at it, he was like, “OMG. I can see through it!”

Seriously, the only downside of this stuff is that I can no longer justify walking around our den in the buff because the window is no longer opaque. Dang it, Google! This is all your fault.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. Matt and I will spend Good Friday doing a little relaxing, going to the Stations of the Cross and waiting for his family to arrive so we can celebrate Easter and also my fabulous Father-in-Law’s birthday!

xoxo, p

Sofa Things and Pillow Things

We bought our couches about a year ago and as lame as it sounds, it was a memorable milestone in our marriage. A local furniture store was going out of business – you know how it is, the giant big neon signs, those cars driving aimlessly around the city with the ads on the roof that just seem to always be there no matter where you go or when – so I dragged Matt and my mom in one day “just to look.” And for the record, I truly just wanted to look because I really hate furniture stores and furniture salesmen. They are basically like car salesmen but slightly less slimy. I really dislike being hounded and prodded by sales people when I’m browsing their store. And at furniture stores they are just standing at the door waiting to hound you the second you walk in. Annoying.

I digress. We looked around and saw a set that we both really liked, but sofas are expensive, even when the entire store is going out of business. I walked by the set from behind, from the left, the right and the front. I walked around it in a circle, take a seat in the middle of it, get up and walk around again. Walk back, take a seat on the right of the sofa, get up, and do another lap around the store. I had a serious process here, people. Finally, when our little sales guy told us for like the millionth time that he could make us a “really sweet deal” especially for “two sweet young ladies (meaning my Mom and me)” – at which point I was like, “Seriously, bro?” – I was like, Ok, what’s a sweet deal?

My inherent disdain for furniture salesmen meant that I was out to get a good price and if they wouldn’t agree to a number I had in my head, then we were going to walk out. And I meant it too. I hate when sales people win. So little sales guy says, “Well maa’m, for the sofa and the love seat I think I can getchya down to $1,000.” To which I was like, “Haha, ok see ya, BYE!” And he was like “Woah there little lady, slow down.” And I took a deep breath and said to myself, “Do not punch this poor man, he is trying to make a living and support his family like everyone else.”

So we chatted some more and I wanted to get down to $800 and the lowest they would go is $900 so we ended up leaving the store. I was really proud of us and how we stuck to our guns. But as we were driving back, Matt and I both decided that sometimes you gotta give a little to get a little. So I sucked up my pride, Matt pulled a quick little U-ey (he’s always the driver) and we were back in that store within 5 minutes. I said, “Little sales dude, make it $850 and you gotta deal.” So we did and we certainly did NOT pay an extra $90 for delivery. Ugh, makes my blood boil just thinking about it.

We bought our set in January using some leftover Christmas money and a little bit of savings and it really has been a good investment. A year later and they are still in great shape. My only complaint is that the cushions are velcroed to the actual seat so you can’t flip to cushions every once and awhile to keep them plump. It was so hard to spend that much money all at once, but at the same time it felt so grownup to be making the investment. It is definitely an experience I’ll remember. The set was originally $2,000 so we saved over $1,000 and that felt really good too.

(For the record, the above conversations are more of a paraphrase than a verbatim recollection. I’m terrible at remembering specific conversations, but the overall tone and gist is accurate)

This post was actually supposed to be brief one about how I tried to make some new pillows for our couch (only took me a full year to get around to it) and I failed. The couch came with some pretty ugly generic pillows that just didn’t match with our – OK my taste, lesbihonest, Matt does not give two flying flips about what the couch pillows look like – tastes, and plus they were all the same and that’s just boring. Here’s a pic of the couch on the showroom floor the day we bought them. I convinced them to throw in a letter “T” from one of their showroom titles glued to the wall. Since they were closing, they weren’t opposed to letting it go.

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Booooring pillows. Excuse me whilst I yawn dramatically just at the sight of them. So I’ve picked up a few pillows along the way that I liked and I was at Hobby Lobby the other day and saw what I thought was the perfect complimentary fabric that I’d been waiting for all along. ImageHere’s a preview of it all laid out on the floor ready to be pressed when my ever-so-helpful assistant came along and decided to take a nap on it instead. So I go to use this brilliant tutorial for an pillow envelope, realize I didn’t get enough fabric to cover my 20 x 20 pillows, made a custom sized pillow and stuffed it with the fluff from inside my booooring pillows and liked what I saw.

ImageNot bad right? I thought so, too. I skipped on down the stairs singing a little tune which was promptly interrupted once I put my little babies on the couch.

Womp. Womp.

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It was like Clash of the Titans but worse. It was like Vicki and Tamara on last seasons’s RHOC. Or everyone and Alexis, also from RHOC, duh.

I realize we don’t really have a set “style” in our den but still, the colors were just all wrong. Way too bright and way too crazy for everything else in the room. And it just didn’t match. It was the exact opposite of what I envisioned in my head. Fail.

So, color me bummed. The hunt for a complimenting pillow is back on and I will probably be taking apart the pillows and using the fabric for something else. Poor things were just getting used to their new lives as little-appreciated, undervalued decor pieces.

So this post was completely all over the place and sort of random, but I wanted to document our sofa story so that I can read this 10 years from now and remember where we started. Who knows where our sofas will be then, but this will be a cool way to remember them. And also I can remember that time that I made a terrible decor decision (not the first, obviously) and how it had me cringing in embarrassment at its very sight any time I walked in the room.

Happy Tuesday! xoxo, p

Office update

Turns out I’m kind of weird when it comes to putting a room together from scratch. I’ll check something big off the list, like paint the walls or finish the desk, and then take like a week off and regroup or whatever you want to call it. I’ve got the desk kind of set up and the bookshelf kind of set up and the bar-cart-looking-table kind of set up and I’m hoping it will all kind of fall together once I get the study chair in there. Here’s how things are looking now. 

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The vintage radio was the most perfect, wonderful Christmas gift from my perfect, wonderful husband and I got that little lamp at an auction for two bucks. I made that sad lamp the Little Lamp That Could with a few coats of red Krylon. I got the industrial char off Craigslist and I wish SOO badly that the dude had one more to sell because two is always better than one especially in the case of this awesome chair. But alas, one will do for now. 

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I have big plans for what will go in that giant blank space on the wall above the desk : shelves involving a few L brackets and a 2 x 6. I am sooo not good with power tools which makes this is a real nail-biter, peeps. Especially since I don’t own those walls I’m drilling into, just rent them for a ridiculous amount of money per month. Also, our stud-finder is sometimes reliable, most of the time not. So that makes it a little worse. Probably should get that worked out. 

But, in other news, I found the perfect chair to complete the room at the Salvation Army in Charlotte. It’s still currently in Charlotte for various reasons but it shall be here soon and I can NOT WAIT. What’s that? A sneak peek you say? OKAY!

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Isn’t she beautiful and perfect??? Can’t wait til she’s in her little corner in the study and everything will be right with the world again! 

xoxo, p 

Sewing Things

The new desk got it’s first piece of as– action yesterday. What? We keeps it PG ’round here. Especially now that my family is reading along. Hiiiiii family! 

Last year shortly before my aunt died, she gave me her sewing machine. It’s a memorable moment for me because when she handed it to me, I said “Well, you’ll have to teach me how to use this thing once you get better.” The words felt stiff as the tumbled out of my mouth because they were painfully, obviously untrue. They hung awkwardly in the air as I shifted on my feet. Though it was still early in her sudden cancer diagnosis, we both knew that she wasn’t getting better. 

It’s worth mentioning here that my aunt Pat, also my godmother and namesake, is another woman in my life that this blog might as well be named for. She never married and never had children yet still managed to provide the ultimate role model for a housewife. She was an exemplary woman and nothing short of an inspiration in all that she did for not only our family, but for her church and her community. I miss her everyday.

Shortly after she died, I signed up for sewing lessons at a local fabric store down the street from our house and it was quite the adventure. I’ve never had a particularly domestic soul — my Barbies and American Girl dolls had lame outfits and never ate because I had no interest in pretend cooking, let alone the real thing. But alas, I got married and a husband and he actually requires real food and decent clothes so domesticity became a necessity. Rude. 

Anyways, sewing always intrigued me, I think because it is so antiquated. I love that it’s a bit of a dying art. I mean, I hate that it is. But I dig the exclusivity. I showed up for the first sewing lesson 30 minutes late (typical) and upon leaving the girl next to me mentioned that I could always “take cooking classes” (typical again). But I trucked on and I’m so glad I did. It was a great experience and I learned just enough to get by. I’ve made a few things here and there and even managed a pretty great beach tote for my mom and mother-in-laws this past Christmas. 

I still struggle with a few things, namely cutting. I don’t know why but I struggle with it. I really want to invest in a good rotary cutter and mat. Any suggestions? I obviously don’t want to spend a whole lot of money, but I figure it’s not something to go cheap on. 

Also – and excuse me while I get technical here – but whenever I sew two (or more) pieces together the top one always stretches out so that the two don’t end up sewn together perfectly. Is this making sense? I’ve tried a few different things to fix it but it happens every time and it usually ends with me having to fold over the part that stretches and sew over it. Not pretty. I have no clue if this makes sense but if anyone out there in WordPress land reads this and knows what I’m saying, advice is greatly appreciated!

So like I said, I got to use my new sewing table yesterday for the first time and I followed this tutorial to make a quick, simple clutch for a gift for a friend. I’ve done it a few times before and it’s a great tute to go back to because it’s so simple but the result is great. I added a piece of thin fusible fleece to give it a little more structure as an actual clutch (the original tutorial is for a diaper clutch). Sidenote: Can’t wait to show pictures of the office looking cute and organized. It’s still a WIP (work in progress) so it’s a mess right now. 

ImageI love the fabric I used for the clutch. I picked it up at Hobby Lobby around Christmas and had just enough left for this project. Cute, cheap fabric has been so easy to come by ever since Hobby Lobby opened here in Mount Pleasant. I used to have to travel up to North Charleston to Hancock Fabric and it was a terrible experience every. single. time. Horrible customer service. Long wait times. Messy. Unorganized. Never again.

Here’s the finished product. I have a ton of costume jewelry laying around so I grabbed a random pin/broach thingy and stuck it on there for a more finished look. 

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Happy Tuesday! xoxo, p

 

Easy A(rt)

Giant gold frame from Goodwill – $4

DIY printable from Picsa – $0

Engineer print from Staples – $2

$6 art. Not a bad day.

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There she blows chillin’ in a chair for now. I was too lazy to get up from the couch to take a picture straight on so we’ll just call this image “artsy.” For real though, I’ve got very specific plans for this baby, but first the office walls need to be painted (fingers crossed, next week). The quote is from the Great Gatsby, one of my favorites because I think it can mean so many different things.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms out farther…and one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against  the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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Other things: this pup has been keeping watch while I painted the desk/door the past few days. Excuse the crappy iPhone pictures, although let’s be real, they don’t look much different from any other pictures I post. I’ll work on that. Maybe.

xoxo, p