Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Napkin DIY & Giveaway (Sponsored by Online Fabric Store)

Today's post is sponsored by Online Fabric Store, and if you're looking for all-things fabric and crafting, definitely check out their extensive, affordable selection!

On Monday, I queried you readers about your napkin usage at home. I'm trying to end my paper napkin habit and begin a lifelong commitment to cloth napkins. Many of you chimed in, and mentioned that you regularly use cloth napkins, to which I say: 
Wow! I'm thoroughly impressed! Who knew I had such classy readers?

Well, when Online Fabric Store approached me about sponsoring a post, I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to use some of their amazing fabric inventory for a practical project--namely cloth napkins. They  were kind enough to issue me a gift card for the fabric of my choice, and I wanted to pass along the generosity in the form of this giveaway!

I chose the Gold Irish Linen Burlap fabric which, at $17.15, was both affordable and rich looking.
In person, I was also able to feel just how soft this fabric is.
(via Online Fabric Store)
I ordered my fabric and within 2 days it was at my door--how great is that?
If prints are more your speed, I recommend checking out their Portfolio fabric collection.
With fabric in hand, I was ready to make a set of four mitered napkins.

If you want to make your own napkins, here's what you'll need:
1 yard of fabric
an iron
sewing machine and invisible thread or embroidery floss and an embroidery needle

Let's begin, shall we?

Step 1:
Lay out your chosen fabric. I recommend using an existing napkin as a template for cutting.
The napkins I made measured 17" x 17" unfinished and will be 16" x 16" when completed.
Cut four 17" x 17" squares and iron each so that fabric is crisp.
Step #2:
With each 17" x 17" square ironed, take one square of fabric and use your iron to press down 1/4" of fabric down on each of its four sides. Repeat this step all the way around your napkin once more.
Each side of your napkin will be 1/2" smaller than before.
Step #3:
With 1/2" ironed down on all four sides, open up your folded corners.
Take your scissors and snip the corner (see the second picture).
Step #4:
From the corner you just snipped, fold down about 1/8" of fabric and iron flat. Now, fold your fabric in at each corner so it meets at a 45 degree angle--leaving you with a mitered corner.
Iron that corner down and pin.
Repeat for the three remaining corners on your napkin.
Step #5:
Proceed to the sewing machine (or, if stitching by hand, get your embroidery floss and needle ready!).
Sew, sew, sew--this is the easiest part!
Now, sit back and admire your handiwork.
And, as a special treat to you, my lovely readers, I am giving away a set of 4 Gold Irish Linen Burlap napkins, fabric courtesy of Online Fabric Store!

To enter the giveaway:
Make sure you're a follower of Meet Me in Philadelphia* and comment below.
Be sure to have a valid email address so I can contact the winner.
(Sorry, U.S. readers only)

*To become a follower, click on the 'Join this site' button on the sidebar that looks like this:
The giveaway will be open until Sunday, March 4 at 11:59PM.
Good luck!

Thanks again to Online Fabric Store for sponsoring this post, so be sure to check out their budget-and-style conscious offerings!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Ashley on Her 28th Birthday

Today is my birthday, and I'm not really sure that I have any real expectations for 28.  
Are there specific expectations the world has for late twenty-somethings?
As a 27-year old, I became a wife, grew this blog, and also became a bit of a reluctant housewife (if you're new, read more about those things here, here, and here).

What's exactly in store for me at 28? Who knows. 
I do know though that I am talented, and smart, and motivated. 
I do know I have a lot in me that I haven't yet revealed and, while that makes me sound very confident I'm not always that way. Perhaps that's one of the great lessons I will learn at 28: 

To be bolder and more confident, but always humble and appreciative.
To be less critical of myself.
To learn from every opportunity.
To compare less.

This brings me to you all:
First, thank you. 
I get so much joy from connecting with such kind, supportive people that I can't even tell you.
Meet Me in Philadelphia hasn't joined that next tier of bloggers (you know, the ones with all the name recognition), so I am truly beside myself when I have a new follower or a new comment. 
Really, I am.

Blogging, and having an audience to share with, has really opened up a source of creativity in me that I ignored for a long time and I'm excited (and a bit anxious) to see where it leads me at 28. 

Happy birthday to me, and thank you all for making every day feel like my birthday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Classing It Up with Cloth Napkins...and an Upcoming Giveaway!

This is a pretty personal question, but honest with me: 
Do you use cloth napkins or paper napkins with your nightly meals? 

I have to fess up: I use paper napkins, specifically these recycled napkins from Marcal.
But, on the cusp of my twenty-eighth birthday (which is tomorrow, ahem), I'm resolving to grow up/class up my life through simple changes--and I'm starting is by retiring my paper napkins for their cloth cousins.

Sure, the convenience of paper napkins can't be beat, but there's just something special about sitting down to a table where pretty cloth napkins have been set out, am I right? Suddenly even the most standard grilled cheese-and-tomato soup dinner is classed up.

Not convinced that there are cloth napkins chic enough to compliment your next dinner?
Let me prove you wrong with a few of my favorites:
1. Peony pink napkins from High Street Market
2. Green ikat-print napkins from Sur la Table
3. Check linen napkins from Fog Linen
4. Snow printed napkins from West Elm
5. Amanda blue napkins from Roberta Roller Rabbit
6. Check, please napkins from Luru Home
7. Sister Parish Burma napkins from Alicia's Table
8. Liberty London cotton club napkins from Sue Fisher King

Aside from the premade cloth napkins that abound online and in stores, why not try your hand at sewing your own cloth napkins? There are several tutorials for napkins with mitered corners that are easy to follow and will guarantee a professional looking result (try Design*Sponge and Skip to My Lou)
(via Design*Sponge)

All this talk of handmade cloth napkins brings me to my upcoming giveaway!
On Wednesday, March 1, you'll have a chance to win a set of 4 linen napkins hand-sewn by moi!
The giveaway is sponsored by Online Fabric Store, where you'll find lots of supplies for your next sewing or decorating project.

So, do you use cloth napkins or paper napkins?
I hope you'll consider making the switch and, certainly, checking back on Wednesday and entering the cloth napkin giveaway!

Friday, February 24, 2012

TGIF, 2/24/12 Edition

(illustrations via Real Simple)

Midweek, I found myself struck down in the prime of my life by, of all things, a cold.
Not a standard, run-of-the-mill common cold...I'm working on my third box of tissues and I don't predict this thing will release its grip on me soon. Boo.

Anyway, my parents are visiting from Connecticut this weekend to celebrate Adam's birthday (which was last Monday) and my birthday (which is next Tuesday).
Hope you all have a great (and common cold-free) weekend, friends!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Adding It Up

Ever found a catalog piece that is the perfect price for your budget and the right size for your space, but also a little "meh" aesthetically? It happens to me all the time.

While not every item in our home can be a show-stopper, there should be a few that are. What separates the standard piece of furniture from the special piece is just an extra detail. Today, I've gathered a few ideas that will disguise a catalog item's not-so-special provenance and will have your family and friends questioning where you found such a unique treasure.

Want to transform a budget side table into a beacon of Art Deco glory?
(table via Lamps Plus and gold leafing kit via Rex Art)

Why not introduce some gold hardware and gold legs to glamorize affordable West Elm cabinetry?
(console via West Elm, hardware via Paxton Hardware, spray paint via Utrecht)

How about infusing a neutral, feminine bench with a sophisticated print and color?
(bench via Home Decorators, fabric via Parlor Textiles, Galaxy paint via Benjamin Moore)

How about taking a timeless chair and pairing it with an unexpected DIY upholstery treatment?
(chair via Overstock, Azurite, Bluebird, and Artesian Well paint via Home Depot)

Why ignore the pleadings of this MDF parsons console to be covered in a chic linen fabric?
(console via Ikea, linen fabric via Gray Line Linen, fabric glue via Amazon, and staple gun via Amazon)

With some easy to find additions to affordable pieces, your home will look custom and unlike any other.
Would you consider making some of these additions in your space?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wishing and Hoping and Thinking and Praying

My birthday is less than a week away, so I've been busy compiling a wish list of sorts for my home. Though I don't anticipate all of these things will be wrapped in pretty paper for my birthday, half of the fun is gathering and sharing these "need to find" items with you all.

I'm currently wishing and hoping and thinking and praying for...

1. A small kilim or persian rug for the bathroom
In December I put some much needed effort into our bathroom (see projects here and here), and I'm sold on the idea of adding a worn, soft kilim or persian rug for the space.
(via Pinterest and Pinterest)
This style, instead of the standard cotton bathroom mat, adds a exotic touch to a utilitarian room and is exactly what I'm looking for in my bathroom, which you'll see below. Ideally, the rug I find would be no larger than 22" x 36". Other than that, I'm open to pretty much any option.
If you have a great vendor to recommend or a rug up for Ebay auction, let me know!

2. An antique pedestal table for my den
See the white pedestal table (it's holding the chess set) on the left in this picture of Jenny Komenda's loft?
(via Little Green Notebook)
I'm on the search for one such table to infuse a traditional aspect to my den:
A traditional pedestal/library-style table is a versatile piece that would be as at home in my den as in a future foyer or living room corner, don't you agree? If I came across a table like these styles below, I'd be happy as a clam.
(via 1st Dibs and 1st Dibs)

3. A small dresser or commode for my barren "entryway"
Since I rid myself of my aging Ikea Expedit bookcase, I've had an open spot between our apartment door and living room sofa. And, like any interior design-nut, I'm dying to fill the void with a piece of furniture that is both beautiful and practical.
Now, wouldn't a quality piece like this commode or that dresser be perfect?
(via V&M and V&M)

4. A gilt-n-glass rectangular coffee table for the living room
While out with Naomi on Friday, I came across a brass and glass coffee table like this one from Maison Bagues and I was instantly smitten; however my excitement was short-lived when I was told the price: a whopping $2,200.

(via 1st Dibs)
Uh, yeah, sorry, I'll pass.
To refresh your memory, here is what I'm currently working with.
I'm open to gilding a metal table, so I'd love to here your recommendations for getting myself close to the $2.2k Bagues table above.

There you have it, the "need to find" items that I'm wishing and hoping and thinking and praying will find their way to my apartment. What a great birthday present that would be!

Friday, February 17, 2012

TGIF, 2/17/12 Edition

I feel like such a negligent blogger this week friends, so I thought before the week was out I would share with you what I've been devoting my time to recently (and, no, most of it has nothing to do with design).
I've been...
1) Getting my lazy self back to the gym and, man, I need to personally thank David Bowie, Passion Pit and Cut Copy for giving me the musical motivation for those last five minutes on the stationary bike.

2. Reading my new book, a biography of Lyndon Johnson. I'm very into non-fiction lately.

3. Trying my damnedest to stop biting my's a gross habit,  I know.

4. Obsessing over newly-acquired products. I'm in love with my new scent "Crushed" by Tokyo Milk and am hopeful that the Mavala Double Lash serum grows my eyelashes to never-before-seen lengths.

So there you have it, where I've been. I'll be back next week with my usual posting schedule, but until then: have a wonderful weekend! I'm off to hunt down antique treasures today with Naomi of Design Manifest fame, so wish us luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Harbinger LA

When you were a kid, did you ever read the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? It is  a story about a pair of siblings who run away and decide to camp out inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art...and it elicited such a thrill in me when I read it in the fifth grade.

As it turns out, I still dream of sneaking into an inspiring space during the day, hiding until closing, and then living it up there overnight. If I could realize this dream, I'd love to spend the night in the showroom of Harbinger in Los Angeles. 

The truth is, this showroom so perfectly combines gorgeous textiles, fabulously diverse furniture and the most worldy accessories that it's hard to believe this place isn't just some chic person's home.

To plan my own little Frankweiler experience, I'd probably hide under this glorious settee:
I'd duck behind that tall tree:
I'd roll myself into that duvet and keep very, very still:
I'd wear a red print to camoflage myself against this loveseat:
Yoohoo, it's me behind this screen:
I'd ask that deer side table to keep look out for me:
I'd cower under this sawhorse desk and enjoy the view:
And, when the coast was clear, I'd luxuriate in this glamorous canopy bed and fall into a stylish slumber.
(all via Harbinger LA)

So, if you open the newspaper soon and read about a crazy design-obsessed girl found sleeping in a Los Angeles showroom, it's probably me...but really, could you blame me?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Is In The Air

(via Rob Ryan)

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!
While I don't really need a holiday to celebrate romance, the color red, or candy, it's still fun to mark the day with a few special treats like a note of love, a heart-printed skirt, or even a vintage diamond ring.

Here are some of prettier ways to commemorate the best elements of February 14th: 
1. Valentine's Day postcards via Rifle Paper Co.
2. Needlepoint valentines via Terrain
3. 1920's Art Deco diamond ring via Erie Basin
4. 55-count Valentine's Day chocolate box via John & Kira's (a local Philly fave!)
5. Revlon "Fire & Ice" classic red lipstick via
6. Jardin skirt in "heart throb" print via J. Crew

How are you marking Valentine's Day in your life?
Sending you each a little love from the City of Brotherly Love on this Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

TGIF, 2/10/12 Edition

Happy Friday, friends!

Is it just me, or are Fridays better when they are preceded by a Thursday night episode of "Parks and Rec," am I right? If you agree with me, then you'll be happy to hear that you too can buy a custom designed/hewed wooden creation from Ron Swanson (also known as actor Nick Offerman).
(via Offerman Wood Shop)

I have to credit my husband Adam for finding this little piece of decor-celebrity irony for me.
Now, if you aren't a massive fan of "Parks and Rec" (and, perhaps more generally of Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, or Chris Pratt), then I recommend you spend your weekend catching up on all of the hilarity.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Series: You Better Shop Around

A few weeks ago I posted a round-up some of my favorite "steal vs. splurge" finds that promised to save you tons o' cash on products that varied only in terms of price. As it turns out, I received such overwhelmingly positive responses to this post that I thought I'd make this into a semi-regular feature, which I'm calling "You Better Shop Around". 

The truth is, I love hunting for deals and sharing them with anyone who will listen. 
So, let's dive right into the first entry into this series!

On the look out for a linear metal-framed coffee table?

The steal: Dakota coffee table, $120
The splurge: Box frame coffee table, $280
(a difference of $160!)

Need a touch of brassy, twiggy goodness to pair with your favorite chair?
(thanks for the heads up, Dina!)
The stealTwig accent table, $50
The splurgeTwig table, $470
(a difference of $420!)

Longing for a handsome upholstered bench to add a bit of masculinity to your space?

The steal: Hampton pillowtop bench, $360
The splurge: Marit ottoman, $600
(a difference of $240!)

Want to introduce some woodsy lighting to your walls?
The steal: Branch sconce, $315
The splurge: Bare branch wall sconce, $550
(a difference of $235!)

What is your take on these steal and splurge options?
Does more expensive always mean better?

And, if there's anything you're longing to find in a less-expensive option, send me an email or a tweet and I'd love to track it down for you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What, no Lazy Boy in your house, Brooke Shields?

Ever seen those Lazy Boy commercials where Brooke Shields tries to pretend she has many pieces of the mid-range furniture brand in her home? Yeah, well, she wasn't being honest it seems. 

Her artfully decorated Manhattan townhouse appears in the latest issue of Architectural Digest and reveals spaces where the bulk of a recliner would definitely be at odds. Take a look at her real digs:
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