On a Color Coordinating Kick!

New condo, freshly moved, starting from scratch and living solo means one thing in my mind: decorating my place however I want, no matter how unconventional that may be.  For me this was an opportunity to cross a little something (and by little something I mean definitely a minor bucket list item…nothing I would look back on with regret if I didn’t completely….none the less: it’s on the list!) off the bucket list: color coordinating my bookshelf!  I often feel a little like a hoarder, even more so after just going through a move that took me (just ONE person) at least 2 weeks to prepare for….it took my old roommate all of a couple hours.  I feel even more like a hoarder when it comes to my books! I can’t get rid of them, won’t get rid of them, have a strange sense of accomplishment when I look at them all and realize how many great things I’ve read (and maybe how much time I have had on my hands).  What better way to show them off besides color coordinating them (alphabetizing is so last year)! This being said, moving into my own place was the perfect opportunity to break into the storage unit and roll out my many boxes of literary accomplishments (or in some cases literary guilty pleasures).  Final result…

IMG_4240(doesn’t actually feel like that many books when I look at this picture…especially after all the hype I typed about it above).  None the less…it brings a strange sense of happiness to me when I see it.

Another color coordinating opportunity I jumped on was when working on a large picture project!  I have lots of pictures I love and not many ways to display them so I figured I’d make one really big picture, with a lot of my favorite smaller ones…for some unconscious reason I envisioned it arranged via color scheme.  So after many hours on photoshop/InDesign, a few trips to the printer and too much money at the framer this is what I had (sorry for the yellowish coloring…bad lighting and I don’t feel like fixing them in photoshop)

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a few up-close shots

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Needless to say the last few days have been lots of fun…gotta love a blank canvas:-)

Next project: pallet coffee table

inspiration for it:

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Mother’s Day Extravaganza!!

So I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted…which I’ve felt pretty bad about (not so much because I know people are anxiously awaiting my next quib on life, but because I spent so much time making this site that I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting it!).  But I did hear something the other day that made me feel a little bit better.  A local guy who has come talk to us a few times during our Americorps meetings, and who is a local freelance writer (aka does lots of blogging) said there’s not a specific volume of blogging one should do…the correct number of blogs to post is however many times during that week/month/year you have something good to write about.  and when I think about it, I’d much rather be the occassional exciting package that comes in the mail as opposed to the spammy stuff you get everyday from the credit card company.

But none the less…I’m back and I have something good to post (or at least I think so).  What better way to come back than with a post about one of the greatest crafting holiday opportunities of all…MOTHER’S DAY!  I know no one ever believes me when I say it but my favorite part of the holidays is just having everyone (or almost everyone) under the same roof.  I feel like for a while most of these occassions for our family seemed to be centered around sad events so it’s always so much fun when you can get everyone together to just be happy.  I think that also has something to do with why I like decorating, cooking, crafting etc. for all these holidays…like if I make it a really fun, over the top event people will look forward to it as much as I do (a kind of “if you build it…they will come” situation), even though I know my family looks forward to it anyways.  But that’s just me…plus it gives me an excuse to do all the things I love doing: if it involves colors, crafting, baking, displaying, presenting etc (basically stuffing peoples stomachs and visual capacities) then it’s right up my alley.

At these occassional picture opps are of course always in order…and of course Chic snuck her way in there as well (ok maybe she didn’t sneak in as much as she was hoisted from her peaceful roaming for photo opps and stalked around the house with a camera)

But anyways…onto the festivities!  I’m not going to lie, I spent a lot (bordering on a slightly sad) amount of time trying to get everything ready or organized for the brunch.  My life the past week has consisted of grocery lists, different menu options, seating arrangements, color themes, streamers vs. ribbon, table setting ideas, sketches of possible arrangements and different ways to make poofy paper balls and card stock pin wheels…the important things!  I also spent a lot of time at Michales (thank bajesus for gift cards), Party City, Sprouts Farmer’s Market, scouring the back of my cabinets and the depths of my craft drawers and in the digital world of Pinterest.

Once it was time to set up and began as I usual do with projects such as these: set EVERYTHING I’m going to use out so I see what I have to work with.

And then it was time to build the tables…starting from the bottom up.  After careful consideration I decided to make the table runner from tapped streamers (did you know they’re like $1 and seem to be as endless as the bottom of Mary Poppin’s bag?) and did perpendicular lines (aligned with the various seating positions) out of ribbon of coordinating color.  Top those off with very large doilies and homemade place tags and it’s time to start adding all the fun stuff.

And by fun stuff I mean tissue paper “pom-poms” in different shades of pink and white, different size, shape, height vases, celebratory champagne flutes, mason jars painted light pink on the inside and pink and white tulips! (and then of course more streamers hanging from the chandelier above which, to my luck, I have no pictures of).

We also turned a small side table into the Mimosa stations (sparkling cider station for my nieces :-).  To add some variety (which is the spice of life) to the table there was, of course, orange juice but also ruby red grapefruit juice, a tropical peach, mango papaya juice and rasberry lemonade.  the table, of course, had to also have doilies, colorful labels, matching garnish and streamers!

And finally onto the food table!! I feel like this is where you really have to get creative wtih what you have (I obviously don’t want to go buy new presentation plates but it’s almost impossible to find cheap cake stands at the party store that don’t have some disney character on them…which normally I would love…but I don’t think my mom is as into little mermaid and strawberry shortcake as I am).  At this point I was very greatful for the plethora of serving trays, baking pans and doilies my mom has scattered throughout her many kitchen cabinets.  When it comes to tables like this I think it’s all about different heights and small accents so I pulled out the flat trays, the tall cake stands small crystal champagne glasses and stuffed them on with color, food and flowers.  In addition to the food on the “menu” I also went to the local grocery store baking section and got those cheap donut holes and mini cinnamon rolls to just add some extra (and edible) place fillers.  (There were also matching streamers hanging around the edge of the table which, again, I have no pictures of).

The final menu consisted of:

Kale Salad

Raw Berry Crisp (OhSheGlows)

Oven-Roasted, Rosemary Potatoes (which were very easy: 6 diced potatoes roasted with a chopped yellow onion, EVOO, s and p and rosemary sprigs for about an hour at 350…was more than enough to feed 8 people).

A Cinnamon Struesel Bundt Cake (made by mamacita Plattner herself)

Scrambled Eggs with a variety of toppings (cheeses, chives, salsa, hot sauce and ketchup)

Chocolate Graham Muffins (EatingWell.com)

Lemon Poppy-Seed Loaf (superhealthykids.com)

Cupcakes my brother and his family brought

and then of course the decorative, $1, donuts and mini cinnamon rolls

needless to say there was tons of food left over

Although my Mom said she wanted “the brunch” to be her gift I think it’s way more fun to give someone something that is a tangible keepsake.  So I went to Target and got one plain-white, wide-rimmed dinner plate and a matching side plate for not very much money and a black Market from Michael’s that was meant for writing on glass, plastic and metal (it didn’t say porcelain but I figured it if can write on plastic and hold its form…it’ll work on porcelain).  I kind of struggled with what to write on the plates.  Although I tend to be very nostalgic I have a hard time being lovey-dovey and I definitely don’t go for cheezy mooshy quotes…which as it turns out categorizes 99% of quotes about moms.  So I tried to do some quotes from books that are relevant to my family and that had a tad of humor to them (written around the rim of the large plate using a long piece of tape, continuously moved down with each line, to keep everythin aligned). The smaller plate has a heart with the word “mom” in different languages.  Thanks Aunt Linda for sending me this personalized plate idea!!! I think good old Rhonda liked it…she’s surprisingly pretty easy to please.

Overall Mother’s Day: A Stuffing Extravaganza Success (if I do say so myself).

Sprucing up Space and Thrift Store Finds

Although I am always good for the occasional splurge, I (contrary to what my mother might say) am more of a thrifty shopper than anything else.  Part of it is, of course, the prices but I also love getting something that is unique, has a little more personality and has some interesting, unknown story behind it (I do however always make sure it’s clean!!)  So I thought I’d do a post about my favorite thrift store pieces, how I use them, ways to get creative with these cheap finds and how to use it all to make a cozy and unique space.

My first all time favorite…The Green Chopping Block, something like $30.  I’ve mostly been using it as my night stand, but there was a time period where it was sort of a little work station: where I’d leave the mail, pens, pads and had my printer on the bottom.

I bought it from QCumberz (on 7th Ave and Indian School in the Melrose district) which is BY FAR the best place to get this kind of stuff:  they have really unique and TONS of things but it’s not as expensive as your usual antique store. Some of their stuff takes a little restoration but I think that’s the fun part.  They also have lot’s of good, cheap finds for crafting/around the house projects like old shutters, doors, window panes, signs etc.

My other (close second) favorite is my Yellow Armoire.  This piece was a little bit pricier, something around $200, but when you consider a) it’s good quality b) didn’t need any paint or anything, c) most armoires are way more than that and d) has played a crutial role in my clothing/junk/yarn etc. organization it’s a pretty good bargain.

I got this from an antique store on the west side of Phoenix called the Brass Armadillo (off the 17 and Cactus)

Another recent purchase (also from QCumberz) were my forest green Night Stands with french sayings written all over it (which I use as my living room table…I clearly have a habit for switching funiture uses around”).  They were each around $30 and they work perfectly with our livingroom layout since a square or even more rectangle table wouldn’t really work.

Two other  QCumberz purchase are my Key Shaped Key Ring Hanger, something like $25(which worked out great in my Kappa sorority house and still works great now) and my ChalkBoard Converted Cabinet, I think this was like $10.

While not necessarily thrift store finds next few were still deals I found and/or took a little creativity to put together

My Bed Frame which I got off of overstock.com like 5 years ago…it was exactly what I wanted, well built and cost just under $200.  Considering I use it pretty much everynight I’d say that’s a good deal (if what they say is true: that the true price of something equals how much you paid by how many times you used it then this actually cost me 11 cents).

Another great piece I was offered to me by my parents’ friends.  It was an old Desk Table that was sort of a medium colored, glossy wood.  To make it more my style I sanded it and painted it over with a cream colored house paint…gotta love (basically) free furniture.

I made this shelf (and actually I have the supplies for another one which honestly I just don’t have wall space for but I am not capapble of getting rid of awesome pieces that were such a great deal) with wall brackets that were ON SALE from Anthropologie for like $12 each(not usually cheap but they do have good deals every once in a while) and the shelf part is just a piece of wood I found at QCumberz.

And while we’re on the topic of budgets and thriftiness I thought it would be good to throw in a few of my favorite, cheap ways to spruce up your space.  I like to display everything, I’d take shelves over cabinets anyday…why have all these things if I can’t utilize them as decoration when they’re not being used for their real purposes (and they’re usually not being used for their real purposes)?

Rule number one (and probably the only rule…unless you really do have absolutely nothing) is best said in the words of Bethenny Frankel: “Use What You Have!”

Some of the things I tend to have around my house, in bulk quantities, that tend to liven up your space (and personalize it!) are:

Books-I have the majority of the books I’ve ever read,most of them are in storage in boxes heavier than my refrigerator, but I keep my favorites and the most current around my house all the time to fill in some of the empty, dull spaces.  Amazon is definitely the best place to find cheap books…sometimes for even just a few cents.

Candles and Lanterns: candles you can usually find on sale at Michaels, Target etc. for a pretty cheap price.  If you get one’s that look good and smell good than you’re killing 2 birds with one stone! (My favorite candles are Voluspa in Baltic Amber-not necessarily the cheapest but definitely the BEST).  Lanterns are also a favorite of mine.  Good ones can be kind of expensive but I found these (for like $15 each) at Marshall’s in CA.

Over the years I’ve accumulated lot’s of paintings which, I’ll admit, are a pain in the ass to carry around with me but they make such great decorations that I can’t leave them behind!

Sometimes I hang Scarves in spots that look like they could use a little color

I’ve also collected (not intentionally) lot’s of Boxes over the years…great for storage AND some personality.  Also, if you’re specifically looking for great boxes definitely hit up Bevmo…they’ll give you old really nice cigar boxes for like $2 dollars and wine box crate things for usually $4.

Then of course there are pictures! Out of all of these pictures and books are my favorite kind of decorations.  They’re relatively cheap to print and you can find cheap frames in lot’s of places (ie Michaels and Hobby Lobby).  I’ve also recently gotten into modge podging my pictures onto canvases.

All in all….If I had to suggest a few places to look for ways to decorate/furnish your house for a good price I’d say any unique fun place with good sales (ie Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters), QCumberz (or any other antique shop in the Melrose District), other places for deals like overstock.com, Marshalls, Etsy is another GREAT place to look for this kind of stuff…and of course YOUR OWN HOUSE!!!