simple valentines bunting

IMG_8562During our short stretch of snow days I, as could have been predicted, spent countless hours on Pinterest. Of course people are pinning all sorts of valentines ideas which I normally pass up and don’t spend time on. But the past few days, I’ve had nothing but time. So I decided to follow up on a pin that led me to where I printed off the bunting from this free template. 

I’m so glad I did! Simple, cute, quick and not flashy or overly pink. Love it.

IMG_8564I printed two pages onto a nice burlap-brown colored card stock. Simply staple the top corners together. It creates a great hinge for the two triangles.
IMG_8563IMG_8571 IMG_8561You putting up any simple valentine’s day decorations?

O Christmas Tree

It feels a little funny doing the whole Christmas tree thing when it’s just Matt and I. We don’t think there is a fat jolly man bringing us presents, nor do we load the bottom up with gifts to ourselves or others. And It’s a lot of work for something that few other people will see. But, we both feel that we must do it, for some inarticulate reason. Neither of us have strong feelings about it…it’s just something you do. So we did it. I do like the lights. And the smell.

We went U-Picking. Which was a bit overwhelming for an indecisive perfectionist like me.

037049But, against all odds we found one. Haley approved.

040042044Unbeknownst to me, I had an evening of decorating the tree alone ahead of me. My hubby informed me, a bit late, that he had grad school work to do. Luckily my lovely friend Lisby came by unannounced and was roped into tree decorating duty. I don’t think she minded.

053054-001055-001054It was like being in college (or maybe even high school) again. Matt actually had to come out and turn our Christmas music down so he could focus on his work. We just laughed and moaned “Poor Matt”. So that made it all worth it to me. As far as I’m concerned the setting-up part is the whole point and is something to be shared and enjoyed! Lisby made it so.

To my surprise (and Matt’s) we finished decorating the tree.

018I still love the metal washtub, doubling as the tree basin and the big metal star topper, both repeats from last year.

This washtub is from Lowes. I think it cost about $15 and our tree stand fits perfectly inside. I like its rustic and clean look.

017I couldn’t find a topper last year that met my standards. I wanted a big, rustic, metal star. I eventually settled with two wall-mount stars and just stuck em’ together with wire.

006I’d love to hear about your Christmas tree traditions. Got any good tips or DIY projects for your tree this year?

Spool holder update.


 There were so many of you who thought the spool holder was going to be awesome that I wanted to show you the almost-finished product. 193 spools of thread later (all but 8 were given to me) and I look like the most intense sewer ever. This one is about 6 inches longer than the original. It was pretty heavy (~25lbs) so we hung it into studs and used screw-in, enclosed hooks.

I only have about 10 bobbins that have thread on them currently, so I’m thinking of actually lining the side with little nails to hold them, instead of like the original where there is a bobbin under each spool. We’ll see, I haven’t made up my mind. Anyway, I’m just excited to look at it all day. If you’re interested in making one of these bad boys, here’s the tutorial!

Nowwww…what to sew??

Vintage heaven right here on Earth.

And you’d never expect to find it in CT. But alas, there it was. The English Building Market in down town New Haven. My friend Julie said, “Yeah, there is this really cool store that you would love…it’s called English Building Market, it’s got all sorts of cool antiques.” I thought, “Right, cool.” Cause really, after scoping out almost all the antique malls in Portland you begin to see a lot of the same vibe. You learn to walk in and head for sections you think might have what you’re looking for and there are usually sections or booths that you pass right by. Or it’s a vintage market where there seems to be an unspoken rule that nothing can be priced at under $50.

I walked into this English Building Market, AKA Heaven, and about pee’d my pants with excitement.

 So much excitement, that I actually took pictures, (I asked permission). I’ve never taken pictures inside a store, ever. Every nook and cranny was like a chic still life.

Filled to the brim with pieces I could envision in my own home.

 The prices astonished me, it was so reasonable! Some trendy Portlander would have turned this place into basically a museum. But not here, here I could actually afford to take a little bit of the joy home with me.

 They have covered all era’s here, modern, 70’s, 30’s, you name it. One thing I really liked about the set-up of the store was that everything was displayed in such a way, that you kind of had to dig through stuff to see what was there. So in a way, you felt like you were discovering some hidden treasure. People who shop at stores like this, are people who like the discovery of a piece. When it’s all stacked on shelves and organized by size, shape and color, it doesn’t seem unique. Here it was almost like being at the best estate sale of your life. Where you can discover something in the corner that the last person missed.

 Vintage clothes? They’ve got TONS of that.

Vintage fabric? Tons of that too.

 Vintage Pyrex and other unique dishes? Yeah they’ve got it.

Every corner of this place sparkles.

If you are a lover of antiques and/or beautiful spaces, I know you’ll feel the same way.

Places like this are so inspiring to me…

…like getting a shot of creative adrenaline.

 So congrats to Carol Orr who began the English Building Market and who keeps it in its current heavenly state. I’m sure it took a lot of elbow grease to make it what it is and a lot of energy to keep it how it is.

 Sigh. If New Haven wasn’t 2,696 miles away, you can bet I’d be a regular.

Time to get knobby.

One long REI-dividend story short, I had a few bucks extra to spend the past week. I decided to spend it on making simple updates around the house…’cause that’s what I like to do. Not many people would spend their rarely received spending money on door knobs and paint. But I do.

First off, this was the state of our door knobs…

 Scratched and peeling…they were kinda gross. I’ve always loved glass door knobs, so I went on a hunt for some. I hit up all of the Portland salvage stores first. I quickly discovered that old glass knobs do not come cheap. Even the beat up ones were spendy. I was NOT about to pay $28 for one door knob. No matter how old and cool it was. Instead I went to Lowes. I was able to spend $25 and get all the knobs we needed, plus some special spray paint to make the brass base fit the existing black plate on each door.

 I covered each glass knob ($6ish for a pair) with painters tape and sprayed two even coats of dark spray paint on the brass base. It dried. I peeled off the tape (my favorite part)…and glee ensued.

 Fancy look for 1/6th the price.

We also updated our dining room a little bit. We painted it a fresh bright blue and I’ll be recovering our drum shade with a fun fabric here in couple days. More on that later.

Some Spring Cleaning.

Something about the sun slowly starting to make its way back in through the windows…areas of the house that have been pleasantly dark and unseen are now illuminated and…dusty as heck.

Our bookcase was in rough shape. Looking at it in the bright morning light, you could see about a 1/2 inch thick layer of dust on top. Ugh. We also packed away all our dvd’s. A. We don’t own a television, B. The disc drive on our laptop doesn’t work and C. We watch everything online. But you know, we love the movies so they’re packed away, having left a dusty void in their wake.

So I decided it was time to give our shelf the TLC is hasn’t ever seen…ever. So I took everything off and reorganized it. Check it out…

Can you see what I did differently? If your name is Tyler Hale you should be able to tell pretty quickly. Here’s a hint:

 Sigh. While its irritating looking at the dust and grime, having to deep clean all the nooks and crannies…it sure feels good to get it done and to enjoy it afterwards.

Next up…the pantry. Ugh.