Monday, May 30, 2011

Branch jewelry holder

Hi, all!  I was hoping that I would get back here earlier than now, but things only get crazier by the day.  That being said, I had a few moments to be creative today and did a simple little project.  I originally got the idea from my favorite bedroom in an Ikea catalog but I also recently saw the idea on a blog, as well.

I wish that I could show you where but I have forgotten.  Anyhow, this project is sooo easy.  Here is what you need:

1 large stick (from your garden or bought from a florist or craft strore)
twine or colorful ribbon
a scrubby sponge (that you won't use again) or sandpaper

The process is really easy. If you buy a nice smooth stick from a craft store or a florist, you can skip step one.  I found mine in the park (totally free) so I had to wash them and strip off all the dirt and moss.  So, step one is to clean your branch with hot water and a rough sponge or with sandpaper.  Then, let the branches dry.


Once the branches are dry, tie twine or ribbon on both ends and hang up over your dresser, in the bathroom, etc.  Then decorate it with your cutest jewelry!  I wish I had a cuter picture of mine hanging sweetly over my dresser, but I actually don't have one (sadness).  So, I put it up above my desk for a picture so it didn't look lonely.  In reality, it's in my closet :-(  Enjoy!

Another really cute idea would be to use a much bigger branch with lots of sticks going off of it and hang it directly on the wall with a screw gun.  If it was big enough, it could take up a good chunk of wall and display all your stuff.  You could also paint it a pretty color or white.  Just let your creative juices flow.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

H&M browsing

It's been a while and I apologize.  I started some new lessons this week (and dealt with a lot of stress in getting them in the first place).  They are a 20 minute train ride away (plus a 15 minute walk to the train station and a 10 minute car ride to the company) and they begin at 8:30 am.  So, my normal afternoon/evening ESL teaching schedule, which allowed me to get up at 8 am on early days and was very easy to get used to, is now completely different.  I get up at 5:45 or 6:00 am and since it is the first week, my body is completely confused and exhausted.  Needless to say, I have been in bed before dark every night this week. 

But, here is a quick post for you about cool stuff on the H&M website.  First thing I found is for everyone and is called H&M Life.  It is pretty much a style guide and has some great ideas and lovely pictures...styled perfectly of course.  Check it out for more stylish ideas!  
All photos credit to H&M Life.  I LOVE her outfit, so classic and cool. 

Bright and happy for summer.

What would you give to look this glamorous?
I also looked at the H&M Home website today. I hate to do this to all you people in the US, but as far as I know, H&M Home is not yet available in the states.  What a shame!  Because the stuff is seriously cute and seriously affordable.  Check out the British store (link above).  Here are a few of my favorite (or should I say favourite) things:
All images H&M Home (United Kingdom)...what a garden party.  Something about it kind of feels Great Gatsby.

Would DIE for this duvet cover...and pretty much this whole room.  Okay, really, I seriously LOVE this room!

What a charming little pillow.  They have one with a button in the middle too!

Cool graphic but still rustic magazine or junk storage. 

Nice tea towel for the kitchen.

I LOVE this butterfly pillow.

Hope this inspires you.  Now it is way past my bedtime.  Good night!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring fling

Tonight I have a new blog obsession.  It is called Decorating: A Journal by Nest Decorating.  The woman who writes the blog has a beautiful house.  It is colorful, happy and whimsical without being stuffy or too perfect.  Honestly, this woman's house is exactly how I would like my house to be someday.  :-) A girl can dream, can't she? 

In addition to her awesome interiors, the lovely lady who does Nest Decorating also makes the most beautiful jewelry.  Now, I know that normally I am very "thrifty," meaning that I tell you about things that are under ten dollars or are free.  But, her jewelry is SO beautiful and not at all unreasonable that I can't help but suggest it.  In fact, I am thinking about getting a few of the things.  They would make perfect gifts (it's graduation season!) because they are both really special and unique while not being too expensive.  Plus, it is great to support small businesses.  Her Etsy store is called Nest Pretty Things.  Here are the pieces I am lusting after...hint, hint, wink wink (I hope my boyfriend's reading this).  :-)

Little Sunny Earrings - $16.00
Beaded 14K Gold GF Hoops - $18.00
In this color
Sparrow Bobby Pin- This bobby pin is only $10
The Pia Earrings, Miranda Earrings and Mabel Earrings are also quite special. 

What do you think about this house?  Does it inspire you?  What does?  

Enjoy and have a nice evening! 


Thursday, May 12, 2011

TV and Crafts

So, I am doing my best on these key holders.  Here is my first one.  The pictures are a little blurry, sorry.  The first one is against my white wall and is hard to see.  The second is against my darker table.  I hope you like.  They are seriously EASY!  And cost = 0 EUROS


Over the last few days while I was "dealing with life" I took a little time to relax and calm myself and reorganized my desk.  I know that doesn't exactly seem relaxing, but I love to do this kind of stuff so I enjoyed it.  It got me focusing on other things for a while and gave me a pretty space to sit while I am writing or planning my lessons. 

The first thing I did was to buy a bulletin board for 3 EUROS.  Inspired by some of the blogs I read, I realized that I should have a place where I can easily tack up inspirational pictures or items, and then just as easily take them down again when my mood changes.  Plus, something like this can be a bit of a necessity for my forgetful mind.  I love the result and love that I have all these inspiring images constantly staring me in the face. 

Then I cleared everything off my desk and got rid of the clutter.  I decided to change my lamp to the other side and cover it with a temporary piece or cotton fabric (it's the new kind of bulb so it doesn't get that hot) because it is really ugly.  Hopefully I can get a new lamp soon.  Then I stacked things neatly and, caring more about prettiness than function, I added a few feminine touches.  I got a really sweet pink pearled taper candle at the drug store for .65 cents and a little green votive holder on sale for 1 EURO. 

Additionally, I changed the layout of the artwork on the walls because it felt too harsh and geometrical as it was.  I think the lack of symmetry now creates a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere and doesn't feel as harsh.  I am still looking for something round to hang up...possibly a wall clock.  Anyway, here are some before and after pics. 

Before- Here is the before shot.  At the time I had just moved the desk.  See how hideous the lamp is?  The desk isn't horribly cluttered (although it had become so when I decided to revamp the area) but it is also not very cozy or inspiring. Notice how cold the wall looks. 

 After-  It is so much cozier now!  I love the bulletin board and the candles.  I love that it is a little more girly (sorry P., but you just have to deal with it).  Overall, it is just a more inspiring space. 
After- A close up of my pretty candles.  Made an egg cup into a taper holder by filling it with rice and putting the candle in.  I like how it doesn't fit perfectly.  The little box holds things like tape and paper clips (which I always seem to lose). 

In addition to revamping my desk, we have recently made some changes to the kitchen.  In fact, we did this when my friend Ben was here because his blowup mattress took up the whole dining room.  (Come stay with us!  That thing is huge and super comfy!)  We needed to put one of the tables in the kitchen (although it looks like one four person table, we actually have two two person tables).  We did it and fell in love with it.  Something about eating in the kitchen or having tea there was so cozy.  My kitchen gets great light, despite the fact that we only have a skylight in there, and always has a nice breeze.  So, we decided to keep the table (a table) in there.  We are still looking for another table, as our dining room is currently half empty, but I am hoping to find a vintage one at the flea market that comes through here at the end of June. 

And finally...Who makes this kind of stuff?  An actual "decoration" I saw at the German discount market.  Now I am sure that there are some of you out there who are SO talented that you could actually incorporate this into your decor and make it look cool and whimsical.  And, God bless you.  The rest of us should just stay clear!  Phleeeeeassseee!


DIY day

Hello!  It's been a while since I have been a little busy with life the last few days.  But, I was doing a little surfing this afternoon (waiting for a phone call) I came upon some really awesome DIY things.  Time to get working!


I am dying to make these lamps for pretty much all over my house.  They are a great idea and the tutorial comes from the website Crafty Nest

Then there is also this beautiful hanging lamp from More Design Please made entirely out of lace doilies.  I am dying to make it for my bedroom to soften it up, as it often feels too masculine to me. Honestly, I think that may be my Sunday project this weekend (the forecast says rain)!  My only challenge is finding real doilies.  Would it be tacky to use paper ones, lol?  It actually looks easier than the hemp lamps! 

This little key holder is too cute and I am actually thinking about doing this project tonight!  It doesn't look too difficult.  Plus, it comes surprisingly from the Fiskars website.  And I have got to plug Fiskars for just a minute because they are Finnish!  My "schwiegermutter" is Finnish and brought me back some real Finnish Fiskars (say that ten times fast) from her last trip.  I will be sure to use them when I tackle my project tonight. 

And then this is this project which I absolutely will not tackle.  For various reasons, the first of which being that I don't have a sewing machine and the second of which being that, even if I did have a sewing machine, I hardly know how to use one.  It's from A Little Lovely Blog, which is, in fact, quite lovely.  But, I beg you to try this project and tell me how it goes.  Better yet, I beg you to try this project and do it for me so I can hang this lovely yellow masterpiece in my future bathroom, which will actually have a shower.  (I wouldn't mind having the insanely expensive Anthropologie version, either!)  

I hope this inspires you to take on a couple of projects today or this week or this weekend.  It's amazing what you can do for your own home with a few bucks (or in the case of the shower curtain above $20--which is not bad for something so fantastic) and a little creativity. 


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Love for many mothers on Mother's Day

So sad to be so far away from the best mama in the world!

My mom was a stay at home mom and I feel so grateful to have had her around all those years to shape me, support me, give me love and help me grow up.  When I think of the person I am I know that so much of that is due to her.  She has a heart of gold, not only when it comes to my sister and I but with everyone she meets (unless you cut in line at the grocery store...then you got another thing comin').  I miss her everyday and can wait to have her here in Coburg again.  Nothing feels better than waking up in my house to my mom and her cup of instant coffee.

I love you, mom.  And I wish we were together.

I'm lucky, too, because I am filled with women in my life who I think of as 2nd, 3rd or 4th mothers.  Danielle's mom tops that list and I love her so much.  She's always been an inspiration to me, as well, and she is the best 2nd mother I could ask for.  Then I have my two aunts Anita and Janet.  I am so close with them, I don't even know if I can just call them aunts anymore.  I grew up with these three amazing sisters teaching me and loving me and, most importantly, being the best examples of sisterhood I could possibly imagine.  They love each other more than any three people I can imagine in this world and they are so close with each other I can't imagine one without the other two.  They own a business together and they argue and drive each other nuts from time to time; but nothing stops them from calling each other in tears when they have had a bad day, or cracking each other up, or giving it to the other one straight when those pants really do make her butt look fat.  I only hope that my sister and I have such an amazing, loving and close relationship when we get older. 

Finally, I have the best "Schwiegermutter" a girl could ever ask for.  She is an example of a fierce, loving and loyal woman that I hope one day to emulate.  She has continually been here for me during the highs and lows of living abroad and I love her dearly.   I am so thankful for all that she (and her husband) have done for me!   I couldn't be more blessed with the family I have chosen to become a part of. 

In fact, I couldn't be more blessed in anything.  I am so lucky to have so many amazing "mothers" in my life.   What amazing role-models and friends I have.  Happy Mother's Day and I love you all so much! 

To the best decorator I know...

 Every thing I am I owe to her.  I can't imagine where I would be without her.  Happy Mother's Day, mama! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Handmade for Mom

Well, it is almost Mother's Day and it was my intention to make monogrammed tea towels for my mom and show you how to make them (albeit a little last minute).  But, nothing ever goes as planned and it turns out that our local printer does not print on the iron on transfers that I would have needed to do the project.  Instead, I will give you a short list of handmade (and inexpensive) gifts to give mom this Sunday.  If she's amazing as my mom she deserves a whole lot more, but, really, there is no way we can ever pay back that love anyway.

One easy gift that I always wholeheartedly endorse is the gift of experience.  In fact, I have read that some studies show that money CAN actually buy happiness, when used to invest in experiences (going out to dinner, going to concerts, traveling) as opposed to material objects.  If you have a little money to spend on mom this year, I suggest taking her somewhere.  If she likes music, make it a concert.  If she likes decorating, like my mom, take her to a home tour or take her shopping and get her one thing she wants.  As long as your are doing it together (and you spend the day telling her how much you appreciate all she has done for you) she will enjoy it.

If you don't have money to spend (no shame in that) do the even more thoughtful thing and make her a fancy lunch at home (complete with flowers and a fancy cocktail) and be sure to invite all of your siblings.  Or set up a nice all-day spa day at home for her.  You can join her for homemade face masks and paint her toenails.  You could have some of her favorite magazines ready and make a nice spa-style lunch.  Just be sure to do ALL the work around the house: answering phones, cleaning up after yourself, getting her a glass of ice tea with lemon.  I really don't think there is a better gift than a fun mother-daughter/son bonding session.

As for some handmade gifts, I have found a lot on Martha Stewart's website.  Unless you have unlimited funding like Martha (or do insider trading) you are unlikely to be able to afford all the specialty products you need to do her projects.  So, they usually have to be adapted with ingredients and materials that you can find at your local grocery store or craft store. 

She had these Teacup Lights years and years ago, I think after I saw the idea in the magazine. I made them for Christmas and then made them several times after that.  I still make them from time to time and they are adorable and so easy.  Go to your local Goodwill/Salvation Army and get a few cute, old teacups or use any old ones that don't belong to a set anymore.  Get wicks and a block of wax from the craft store (the wax can be a little expensive, but you can use it for a lot of candles) or use many old semi-used candles and then melt the wax in a medium sized bowl over boiling water.  Tie the wicks to wooden skewers and place them on top of the cup.  Pour the wax in and wait for them to set.  It's as easy as that! (And Martha even gives you pictures!)

I wanted to make an altered version of the Iron-On Monogram Tote for Mother's Day this year (sorry to ruin any surprises mom) but I wanted to use the monograms for tea towels.  The beauty is that you can download the monogram pattern from her website and then use it however you want.  I thought it would be cute on some brightly colored tea towels and then was going to play around with a few other patterns on some.  Iron-ons are usually a piece of cake and if you have a functioning printer that also prints color they even easier. 

I am sorry that I can't show you a finished attempt! But maybe I will still make them after Mother's Day and let you know how they go.  I also like the idea of the Tub Teas and the Pantry Soaps, although the Tub Teas need specialty herbs from an online company.  I assume it's not cheap.  I'd look for loose teas at my grocery store.  The Pantry Soaps look beautiful and I have made soap before (although not for a long time) but I honestly have no idea where to get glycerine here.  If I could I would make these in a heartbeat!  They really do use all stuff I already have in my pantry!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these ideas for mom.  Probably you are already on top of it, but for those of you who are scrambling for some last minute ideas, here you are! Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.  Until we become moms ourselves we will never know how much you give up for us and how appreciative we should be.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  And to my mom, you are the best and I can't imagine life without you.  I hope you know how much I love you from so far away.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teapot and inspiration for this week

My teapot from eBay came this week while Ben was here and we probably used the thing 100 times before he left.  It is awesome and oh-so-charming!  It holds a liter of tea and looks great with almost every mug I have at my house.  And some how, it makes every room you carry it into look cozier.  Maybe it is it's curvy shape, the cute pattern or the promise of something warm to drink--I don't know-- but I have found myself carrying it around from room to room just so I can look at it and feel warm inside.  Of course it doesn't help that it has been almost winter cold this first week of May.   I am now thinking about the two cute teapots I have waiting for me in California and I am even wanting more.  Perhaps this is the beginning of an obsession or a collection. 

Can you believe this thing cost me like 5 Euros?! 

Additionally, I thought that I would put up a couple of pictures that gave me a lot of inspiration this morning.  Ikea Family (a kind of frequent buyers Ikea club) has a website where other Ikea Family members send in pictures of what they have done with Ikea stuff.  I had NO idea that people could do such amazing things with Ikea furniture.  But, check these out!  (All are off the Ikea Family Live website.)

By far my favorite.  I think it's an Ikea lamp and table.  Love the femininity of this one! And the wallpaper.

I love that this is modern and masculine but still super cozy. 

Love the old table, old rug and new couch. 

I'm obsessed with these bright colors right now.  And I like the idea of the lamp on the coffee table (even if the cord does look like a hazard).

I think this bookcase looks so subtle.  Doesn't look Ikea-y at all!

Love the couch and the traditional chair.  Plus, look at that wall of books. 

Okay, actually this isn't from Ikea, this is from the website Pinterest. Nice use of the yellow Hemnes, though.

Funky but cozy and unique. 

Additionally, I found these stencils of poppies online and they are totally making me want to paint poppies everywhere.  I have thought about trying to use them as iron-on transfers and making pillows or just trying to copy the design onto a canvas or paper and make a piece of art.  Or both.  What do you think? 

Anyway, maybe you can spruce up your Ikea furniture, too!  I am certainly going to have a go at it.  I think that for my living room, finding a vintage or antique coffee table would make all the difference.  The cheap coffee table and matching bookshelf probably give me away. 

Stay tuned for a few last minute Mother's Day gift ideas.