Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Perfect Spot for a Former English Major

Did you know that I was an English major in college?
I'm embarrassed to say I've never read or wrote as much as I did in college, thanks in no small part to careers, relationships and the daily grind of know how it 'tis.

Someday I hope to have a special spot in my home meant to encourage literary adventures.
I'd gladly curl up with a good novel and forget about the business of the everyday in any of these spaces:
(all via my Pinterest)

Could you see setting aside a room, no matter how small, meant just for reading?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Fabulous $5 Fabric Find from the Thrift Store

Ever seen those jumbled collections of fabric that look like a glorified rag bag at your local thrifting haunts? You know the ones: they're usually gathered in discarded, plastic comforter packaging. Next time you spot one, it may be worth your while to see if amidst the junk fabric lies a hidden treasure.

...and here's why:
In a trip to my oft-mentioned favorite thrifting spot, I spotted an overflowing bag of mismatched fabrics for $5. Most of the bag's contents were probably polyester in nature, but one print in the sack caught my eye.

Once at home, I unearthed over 3 yards of a vintage Thibaut cotton floral print called "Primavera" from the bag and quickly put the vibrant fabric to work as a table runner for my dining room.
With a few more yards to spare, I'm wondering what I should make next with this pretty print. Any ideas?

Add this $5 treasure to my growing list of surprisingly thrift store finds (for more, check out this and this)!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Cornices for My Bedroom Windows

After posting about the cornices and pelmets recently, I couldn't stop thinking about how my bedroom windows felt a bit "undone" at the top. Enter today's project!

Here were the windows before, sans cornice:
Because there are quirks to our bedroom windows, I opted to save major time and money by using 2 tri-fold presentation foam boards (~$15 each) instead of using wood to build the cornices.

I started by taking basic measurements of the windows, deciding upon a cornice that was 12" high and extended 5"  out from the wall. My curtain panels run floor-to-ceiling, so I wanted a cornice that hit the right proportions to the window without being dwarfed or oversized. 
Once marked, I used my X-acto knife to make the cuts.
 I also marked the foam board to know which board would go where.
I chose tri-fold boards instead of foam board sheets because tri-fold boards have built-in corners! 
For added stability, I placed a short brace made from foam board at each cornice's interior corner. 
 With the foundation of the cornice strong, I sprayed it with adhesive spray and wrapped it in quilting batting.
My next step: stapling my fabric over the batting. I had remnants of the Roberta Roller Rabbit hand-stamped fabric that I used for the window curtains and used the last bit to cover the cornices.
I glued 3/4"-wide bias tape across the bottom of the cornice using Liquid Stitch for a decorative detail.
With the cornices constructed and covered in fabric, they were ready to be installed.
I attached 2 of these medium triangle hooks on each cornice, while Adam was kind enough to secure the cornices to the ceiling with the hooks. 
The cornices are so much lighter than they'd be if they were made from wood!
Ready to see my newly-topped bedroom windows?
And an important detail shot: you can see that the fabric's pattern runs vertically on the cornice and horizontally on the curtain panels (an intentional choice on my part).
The cornices took ~$40 in supplies (foam board; batting; bias tape trim; hooks) and ~2 hours to complete.
For such an inexpensive and relatively quick project, the impact is huge! 

What do you think?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Today is summer's unofficial start, as well as a day to honor those who gave their lives in military service.

The day also provides a welcomed respite from the last few weeks, which have been pretty busy for me (perhaps you noticed the less-than-regular posting 'round here). I began my new job last Monday, following two weeks that included a photo shoot (more on that soon!), a visit from my parents, and our trip to Chicago.

I'm trying to get myself back into the groove of working and being a productive wife, friend, and blogger, so bear with me! I promise there will be more projects and exciting news in the near future.

Have a lovely Memorial Day, sweet readers. Wishing you all a yummy barbecue, a winning baseball season, and a relaxing day at the beach this summer!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Visting Chicago: Shopping for Antiques

Downtown Chicago is home to the famous "Magnificent Mile" where a shopper can drop thousands if she's not careful; but during our Chicago visit, Adam and I sought out a different neighborhood for shopping: Edgewater.

Why did we take a 30-minute bus ride from our Lincoln Park hotel to the Edgewater neighborhood?
Two reasons, actually: Edgewater Antique Mall and Broadway Antique Market.

These two multi-dealer antique spots are chock full of goodies, especially those pieces that are modern or mid-century in origin. I'm pretty sure I walked through each booth with eyes and mouth wide open.
Take a look at some of my favorite items:
Writing this post reminds me that I should have bought everything in sight and rented a U-Haul to get home instead of flying. How fun is that multicolored cushion ottoman?
And that brass and stone table? Talk about regret.
These black Italian chairs were $125 for the pair and so, so sleek.
In need of a burl wood parsons table with at least 3 leaves?
After Edgwater Antique Mall, we headed one block away to the Broadway Antique Market which proudly advertised a shopper's favorite word: SALE!
BAM can only be described as a mid-century lover's mecca. See what I mean...
I appreciated the unexpected combination of Bertoia chair and Empire-style table.
And don't even get me started on the brass-and-wool bench.
If I had a massive suitcase, I would not have left this beauty behind. Trust.
Can't you just see this blue blown glass fixture in my bedroom?
You know you can.
(all images via Meet Me in Philadelphia)

Prices were very reasonable, I thought, for the quality offerings these stores had. If you're planning a trip to Chicago, I definitely recommend adding these spots to your itinerary.

Edgewater Antique Mall
6134 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660

Broadway Antiques Market
6130 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Visiting Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago

On our brief trip to Chicago, my husband and I admittedly weren't the best tourists. 
We didn't visit Lake Michigan or eat a Chicago-style hot dog or stop by the Field Museum...
but we did visit a fantastic spot that enlivened my soul as only art can do.

We spent last Friday morning slowly roaming around The Art Institute of Chicago, which is magical, really.
There's nothing like being in the presence of unparalleled greatness, and that's what the AIC offered.
I couldn't help myself but to snap seemingly thousands of pictures.

We saw Chagall.
 We saw Calder.
 We saw Georgia O'Keefe.
 We saw Paul Cezanne.
 We saw George Seurat.
We saw Pablo Picasso.
 We saw Jackson Pollock.
 We saw Yves Klein.
 We saw Salvador Dali.
 We saw Cy Twombly.
 We saw Alex Katz.
 We saw Constantin Brancusi.
We saw Barbara Kruger.
We saw Claude Monet.
We saw Willem de Kooning.
and, of course, we saw Vincent Van Gogh.
And we saw countless other interesting pieces, such as:
(all images via Meet Me in Philadelphia)

If the sheer number of images didn't emphasize it enough, I could have spent hours at The Art Institute of Chicago. What a special place to celebrate the diverse artistic talents of humanity.
Hope you enjoyed the tour!
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