Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Changes to My Living Room

Thank you all for the lovely comments to yesterday's roman shade tutorial that I shared.
I included a few "after" photos in the post that showed I also made several small but effective changes to the living room.
One change sparked another, and another, and so on.
Since several of you had commented on my dotty spotty pillow, I thought I'd mention that it's Groundworks print called "Twister". I bought it as a fabric remnant from Ebay because it's awfully spendy at full price.

I also relocated some of my artwork to add a bit more color to the space, including our Carter Kustara silhouettes and the Bella Foster print that we received as a wedding present.

Remember the $22 Moroccan-style table I found in Maine over Thanksgiving?
At such a low price, the table wasn't exactly in the best of shape and definitely needed some TLC.
A careful coating of "Wrought Iron" paint by Martha Stewart for Home Depot in a semi-gloss completely changed the overall look of the table and played off of the deep navy from my Groundworks pillow.
Just a couple of quick, easy changes to the living room that make it feel fresh and new.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy-Peasy Custom Roman Shades

Thank you all so much for your very sweet comments to Friday's sneak peak--I could hardly wait to make the reveal! 
Well, Monday is here and I'm excited to share my easy-peasy (and inexpensive) custom roman shade project with you all. 
WARNING: This post is long, but the project was very simple. I hope you'll  humor me and read along.

As the year began, I decided that I wanted to go a little bolder with my decorating choices, and I thought the plain white roman shades in my living room were the perfect place to start.

Here the shades were on Thursday of last week--fine but nothing to write home about:
The plain cotton roman shades were purchased at The Christmas Tree Shops (of all places!) about two and a half years ago when we moved into our current apartment. Each shade was $10, and are still available at The Christmas Tree Shops
As a matter of fact, they were in this week's flyer.
I contemplated a block print fabric, but I broadened my search and found this batik-style cotton coverlet from Etsy that offered a lot of fabric for about $40. Fabric chosen; decision made!
Honestly, up until Thursday afternoon, I wasn't 100% sure if I was going to do the sewing myself or hire someone to sew the shades...then, I thought: 

Wait, Ashley, you can do this.
Why spend money for someone else's effort?
You got this, girl.
(seriously, this was my thought process)

After the pep talk, I decided I could use the existing white roman shade as a template, backing, and foundation for my roman shade. If starting from scratch, I'd have to buy muslin, string, eyelets, and other bits that I didn't need with this solution.
I decided to do a little "mock-up" before I made any cuts to the fabric.
Ready to go, I first laid my printed fabric wrong-side facing up on the floor (the largest surface area I had to work with). 
I laid the roman shade directly on top of the fabric, also with its backside facing up. 
With the roman shade laying atop as a template, I was careful to straighten my printed fabric and pull it taut.
Always be mindful of the direction of your pattern before you cut!
Once the fabric was perfectly taut, I began to cut it about 2" wider than the shade on the vertical sides of the shade. 
Cut the fabric 2" longer on the horizontal sides of the shade as well.
The extra 2" on each vertical side then got folded and pinned to the existing roman shade.
I made the hem about .25" wider than the roman shade so that none of the white would show. 
For the bottom hem of the shade, I cuffed and pinned the printed fabric to the back of the shade, which looked like this:
I'll address the top hem (the part of the shade that's closest to the ceiling) later.
With 3 of 4 sides pinned, I was ready to sew the printed fabric front to the white roman shade backing. I chose to sew by hand because I didn't want the stitches visible from the front of the shade, but you could use a product like Fabri-tac or Stitch Witchery if you don't like to sew.
Just remember: when using Fabri-tac or Stitch Witchery, your project is permanent
By sewing, I can swap out my front fabric anytime I wish.
The last and final step before hanging the newly-jazzed up shades was to secure the top hem of the shade (the edge that abuts the top of the window). There are several ways to do this, but I pulled out my staple gun and stapled the extra 2" of fabric to the wooden dowel at the top of the shade. You can also choose to glue the fabric to the dowel, if you like.
Okay, are you still reading?! 
I know this was long, but I promise the project was pretty quick. 
All told, the shades were done in about 2-2 1/2 episodes of Dateline on Investigation Discovery (my new metric for time).
So, to refresh your memory, here's the before:
And the after, which I'm absolutely crazy about!
This project was really fun and simple, and made such a big impact in my living room. 
It felt great to reuse the shades I already owned and spend very little (only about $40) for fabric.
What do you think?
Would you try this easy-peasy project in your own home?

P.S. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about this project!

Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF, 1/27/12 Edition

Where has the week gone?
I've been in the midst of several projects all week and, because I just can't wait until the reveal on Monday, I had to give you a sneak peak (or two)...

For one, a bold change to the roman shades in my living room:

And another--a new pillow for my sofa:
I can't wait to reveal the full step-by-step roman shade tutorial on Monday.
Be sure to come back next week!

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New, Limited Edition Bella Foster Prints!

Are you familiar with the website Stampa
If not, let me share with you a little about this great new site which offers limited edition prints from buzz-worthy artists represented by the firm Art Department. Recently written up on the nytimes.com, Stampa offers a rotating list of artists, including Bella Foster, for only four weeks at a time.

I've written about Bella Foster before on Meet Me in Philadelphia (see here and here), and I'm really crazy about her dreamy sort of abstract style. She manages to elevate the most mundane household items into watercolor dreams.

I love each and every print, but here are a few that I'm simply giddy over:

 ("Interior" / "New York" via Stampa)

There are sixteen prints available for a very limited time, so be sure to snatch up these beautiful pieces of artwork quickly.
Wouldn't they be a great birthday or Valentine's Day present for someone special?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On The Pinterest Bandwagon

A few months ago, I joined Pinterest after bloggers and friends alike were raving about how awesome/addictive it was. It took me a few months to develop a full-blown addiction, but I can now proudly say that I'm really, really into pinning things!

I'm gathering lots of inspiration, and here's a sample of what I've got so far:
Let's be Pinterest friends, share pretty images, and pin-pin-pin away!

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Better Shop Around

Thrift store shopping didn't yield a new piece for my living room this weekend, but I did do a little online window shopping and I realized something: as the song goes, you better shop around (oh yeah, you better shop around). 

Sure, it can be easy to just snatch up something you love without doing due diligence to see if you're really getting the best deal, but I'll show that mucho dinero can be saved with a little patience and internet investigation.
Perhaps I'll save you some cash today...

Crazy for a glassy architectural coffee table, like me?

The steal: Almar coffee table, $730
The splurge: Origami coffee table, $1,298
(a difference of $500+!)

Desiring a gorgeous leather mirror in which to admire your beauty?

The steal: Hanging circle mirror, $410
The splurge: Captain mirror, $1,200-$1,600
(a difference of $800-$1,200+!)

Need an African-inspired table that doubles as seating in a pinch?

The steal: Carved wood side table, $200
The splurge: Village table, $575
(a difference of $375!)

Looking for a woven basket to help organize your stuff?

The steal: Rectangle basket, $40
The splurge: All-in-one organizer basket, $70
(a difference of $30!)

Desperate for a little porcelain light in your life?

The steal: Bone china table lamp, $195
The splurge: Hector table lamp, $225
(a difference of $30!)

What do you think of these steals?
How much have I saved you?
(and, lest you think I got all "spendy" on you, many of these items are relative steals--I'm a bargain hunter, through and through)

Friday, January 20, 2012

TGIF, 1/20/12 Edition

'Tis Friday again, friends, and I have some miscellany to share before we head into the weekend.
Recently, I snapped this powerful message on a building a few blocks away from our apartment and felt like everyone could benefit from such a validation that I had to pass it along.

Secondly, this is making its way to me and, more importantly, to my living room.
You know I luuuuuhve me some red.

Finally, I'm heading to a few of these places this weekend to hunt down a piece for the open expanse in my living room.

Seems like January is a good time to find treasures as people clean house and donate their wares.
Wish me luck!
(P.S. Impact is opening a new store, which might be the largest thrift store on the East Coast...I cannot wait!)

What do you all have planned for this weekend?
Wishing you all a fun-filled weekend, blog buddies.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Feasting for 100+ Followers!

I might have the sweetest, most thoughtful husband on the planet because he offered to celebrate the 100th follower of Meet Me in Philadelphia (a pretty big blogging milestone in my book) with a feast at whatever restaurant I chose. Isn't he great?

If you're not familiar with Philadelphia, those of us living in the City of Brotherly Love are tremendously spoiled by the bevy of fabulous restaurants here. Really, there are so many great dining options. 

For my "100 Follower Feast," we went to Matyson in Center City Philadelphia.
The unique feature of this particular restaurant is their themed tasting menu, which rotates on a weekly basis. For example, we enjoyed a variety of duck-themed dishes in our previous visit and we enjoyed a series of cheese-based options.
My "100 Follower Feast" was perfect, except for one thing: 
I wish I could have enjoyed this yummy meal with you all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Going, Going, Gone

I've had a love/hate relationship with the 4x4 Ikea Expedit shelf unit in my living room for a long time now and, in a frenzied moment yesterday, I decided to finally say goodbye to it. 

Here it is, going:
Now I have all of this empty space to work with as you enter my apartment.
I want my home to be comprised only of things I love, rather than place holders, and my 5-year old Expedit just didn't meet that criteria any more.  I want to create a welcoming first impression that represents who I am now--a bit more grown up and ready to invest in a piece of furniture for the space.

So, what will fill this void, you say?
How about a sleek console?

A skirted table covered in a fun ethnic textile?

Or a small chest for the storage of mittens, keys, and other "stuff" of entryways?

The possibilities are endless...but I needed to let the Expedit go before I could realize those possibilities.
Do you have a piece that you are finally ready to let go of?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Striking Lamp Gold!

This weekend, I didn't make it to the auction I mentioned on Friday but I did manage to strike lamp gold at a Habitat for Humanity's Restore in New Jersey. 

I walked away with two beautiful lamps with a crackled finish. Each were in fantastic condition and, get this, only $10 a piece
One of the two lamps was quickly set up on my end table in my living room.
And the second lamp I found, also in a crackle finish, was absolutely brand new. Still had the tags on it! 
And, as it turns out, it was a $225+ Martha Stewart Lamp! For $10!
It never ceases to amaze me what can be found at a secondhand/thrift store! 
Have you benefited from the "new year" donation cycle and found any great thrifted items recently?
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