Divine Dining

Not going to lie, I almost didn’t take these pictures last night.

Actually, as long as we’re being honest, I didn’t take these pictures last night. I took them this morning. Because when I finally unearthed my camera, the battery was dead. So I had to charge it overnight.

The point is, I took them. And they’re still not fantastic, but they’re better than they would have been.

I hope you’re happy. (Erin.)

So anyway, let’s begin, shaallll we?

First, the before shots:

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Kind of depressing, right? Can you believe we’ve lived here for 8 months? To be fair, the dining room hasn’t looked like this for 8 months. But for the last 2-3, it’s been rather dismal.

Here are the new digs:



Much warmer, right? Let’s break it down. (You know you just sang that line to yourself.)

First, the curtains. Don’t you just love when something is meant to be? I don’t actually believe in fate, but I do believe that sometimes things just work out in exactly the best way possible.

And that’s just magical.

Take, for instance, my new dining room curtains. Ain’t they somethin’?

I had gone to Bed Bath & Beyond with the intention of buying some coppery curtains. I had shopped around their site (not to mention, ya know, been there on multiple occasions), so I was pretty certain I would find something to my liking. I was always pretty certain it would cost me at least $20 per panel.

I had made peace with that. Curtains were a necessary investment, and if I was going to buy them, I was going to buy ones I liked. (In this case, it turned out that purchasing curtains was cheaper than purchasing the fabric for curtains, unlike my gorgeous living room drapes. You have seen those, right?)

So anyway, I headed off to BBB (mailer coupon in hand) to meet my (curtain) destiny.

After quickly perusing the options, I found a couple I liked. One, however, was $50 per panel. Um, hi. No. You are a curtain made of polyester, not shimmering gold. Get outa here.

The other options was nice, about $30 per panel. Okaaaay. I mean, I do have the coupon.

And then…well, then something glorious happened.

I chanced upon the clearance rack. And tucked in between a few dingy brown and weird green floral options, I saw it. The perfect coppery shade, at the right length, priced at $9.99. AND they had two of them.

Jack to the pot.

After a quick purchase (WITH the 20% off coupon) home they came. I quickly swapped them in for the stand-in curtains we’ve been using, and suddenly the room took on a cozy, coppery deliciousness.

Like I said: magic.

Next, I made that pretty little table runner. You might recognize the fabric from my other curtains. Because it’s the same thing. Cohesion: It’s a beautiful thing.

The bowl centerpiece usually sits on the living room table, but I moved it in here for a bit of texture and to start bringing in the green.

The room’s biggest issue at the moment is that it’s still a little bare. My main plan of attack for amending this issue? This wall:

As you can see, I’ve already selected one thing to hang (just haven’t gotten around to it yet…this weekend, OK?). I also will be hanging a greenish-gold painting a friend is making for us, along with this:

Except my version is in an olive green color. It’s perfect, right? (For those of you who don’t know, the G&T is my drink. In a big way.)(Oh geez, I’m not an alcoholic, I just like gin.)(This got weird.)

Like this poster? GET YOUR OWN!

Oh, I almost forgot! The rug! It’s this one from IKEA:

Super cheap for a rug, but it still adds a cozy, soft texture to the room, which it definitely needed. (Reddish brown curtains, reddish brown china cabinet, and reddish brown floors is just too much.)

I’m also still planning to get a big green glass vase for one of the back corners, probably from HomeGoods (since I’m such a huge fan of that store now). I’ll keep you posted.

So there you have it. Never let it be said I’m not a woman of my word.

A little light augmentation

All right. I’m going to tell you something that will disappoint some of you. (Mostly Erin.)

I’m not going to show you pictures of the whole dining room today.

I know. I. KNOW. (See, I told you it was mostly Erin.)

The thing is…my phone camera is pretty bad. We knew this. We have all known this, but we have kindly turned a blind eye and smiled sympathetically while murmuring platitudes like, “Oh well, at least we can at least see what it kind of looks like!”

Well, NO MORE.

Ok, that’s probably not entirely true. There will still probably be a lot of phone camera photos in you’re future. Because, let’s face it, I’m one billion times more likely to be carrying my phone than my camera these days.

But the thing is, the phone camera really does not do the room justice. In person, it’s warm and cozy and vintagey/traditional. On the camera, it’s dark and cave-like. Which is exactly the look I was trying to get away from in the first place.

I WILL NOT MOVE BACKWARDS.

Fortunately for you all, I have a real camera somewhere at home. Tonight, I will find it and have some real photos for you. But as of this morning, I don’t have full photos.

What do I have? The usurping of the boob light.

What, pray tell, is a boob light? Observe.

I’m pretty sure just about everyone has had a light like this in their life at some point. That’s not my actual boob light. By the time I get home, it’s dark out, and the only way you can see in the dining room is if I turn on the boob light. But my camera phone does not take good pictures of turned on lights. Ergo, I found this picture on Google. But it looks exactly like my old boob like. (Old boob…heh heh…)

Wanna know what I googled to find that light? “Ugly ceiling light.” Wish I was kidding.

So anyway. I don’t feel comfortable with people flashing their bosoms, so why would I make an exception for my dining room ceiling?

I had considered just covering it with a shade, a la this crafty project from everyone’s favorite homeowners, John and Sherry of Young House Love. (WHAT? You’re interested in home decor and DON’T read their blog? Get OVER there, man.)

So when I went to IKEA to pick up the rug for the dining room (which looks amazing, by the way…but I’m still not showing it to you yet), I perused the lampshades.

I found one option that would work, but I just wasn’t excited about it. Then I saw this:

Ok, that? THAT I could work with.

My primary concern was that it is obviously supposed to be a pendant light. But a quick look-see told me that it functioned basically the same as a lamp shade, so I could probably still attach it the way I had been planning to attach said lamp shade.

So I took it home. (Fully intending to return it if it didn’t work out. I don’t just go around tossing $30 out my car window, thank you very much.)

At home, I opened the box. I’m not sure what I was expecting (the box was about the size of a box of sliced ham you get at the deli), but for some reason I was absurdly surprised that I had to put the thing together myself. (I obviously need to work on my spatial reasoning.)

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Fortunately, it didn’t take too long. (Nor was it at all difficult. I tend to react too quickly to things.)

Once all the little petals were snapped into place, I unscrewed the glass bowl of the boob light. This left me with the metal rod and finial that had formerly held the glass bowl in place. I simple slid the rod into my new lamp “shade,” screwed the finial into place, and stepped back to admire this.

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Note: I removed the top layer of petals. They were pressing against the light bulbs, and I was nervous about mixing heat and plastic (although the lamp’s box said it was safe with our wattage of bulbs). It made me nervous, and I think it looks just as good without the top petals.

I think it looks pretty great in the space. It gives the whole room a bit of a ’70s vibe, but in a good way. Plus, everything is better without a boob light.

For the record, I am aware that this would be so much easier to just explain with a photo of the whole room. But I’m sticking to my guns on this one! YOU WILL SEE THE WHOLE ROOM TOMORROW.

It’s actually better that I’m waiting to show you the whole shebang. I need to hang some stuff on the walls, and right now the room looks a bit bare without those things.

JUST TRUST ME.

So…see you guys tomorrow?

Dining in style

So if you read my post from this morning (and if not, what are you waiting for?), it’s probably pretty clear that my living room is done in terms of decor.

I should probably be a little embarrassed at how much joy fills my heart every time I look at those curtains, but sorry I’m NOT sorry. Those things were a labor of love.

Anywho, that room is looking superb. I’m sure, with enough time, I’ll come up with stuff that needs to be done (I’d like a trunk-like coffee table for more storage and a better organizational system by the desk…), but for now I am quite happy to let things be.

In that room at least.

The next project to complete before the party I mentioned is the dining room.

We STILL have not gotten the credenza for the dining room yet. Long story short, it’s now a full china cabinet and not the one pictured in that old post. But it will be a lot more storage space, and I think it will give the whole room a touch of traditional/vintage style. I’m excited. But the truck we need to pick it up broke down last week, so now we are supposed to get it Wednesday. Barring any additional disaster. (Disaster being relative. It’s not exactly a tsunami, after all.)

The point is, the dining room is next on the decor docket. And, naturally, I have BIG plans, folks.

The color palette will be similar to what I used for the living room (the rooms are connected after all). Here’s a refresher in case you missed that post:

The only difference will be adding in a few brighter greens through art and accessories. Here’s what I’m thinking:

These curtains:

The biggest thing I learned from adding the curtains in the living room is what a big impact draperies can make to warming up a room. And I can tell you know that I will never not hang curtains from the very top of the wall again. It makes the whole space look huge and softens the harshness you can sometimes get from plain white walls. (Actually, the new curtains have even changed my opinion of those plain white walls. I kind of like them now. Crazy what the right linens can do, right?)

So anyway, these dreamy coppery curtains will be a welcome addition to the bare dining room. The room is actually quite spacious, which is why our old too-small server wasn’t doing it any favors. A more prominant storage piece and bold draperies will go a long way in making it look less, you know, like a prison cell.

Next, adding color! (Because black, brown, white, and orange-y brown just ain’t cutting it in the pretty colors factor.)

I’m going to use some of the leftover fabric from the living room curtains to make a runner for the table. The light grey color will also tie in the silver curtain rod we have in this room.

To bring in the green, I want to get a large green vase (like this one recommended by Emily at Go Haus Go!) to put in the far right corner by the window. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to put in it, but I’m thinking something like these to tie in the brown of the china cabinet:

I’m also going to change up the art on the walls a bit. First, a friend is painting us something similar to what you see here (more on that later):

I’m thinking I’ll hang that on the wall facing the china cabinet. I want to put a bigger something next to it. Maybe a gold mirror like this:

Or a vintage-y map like this:

Something big. I also have a few vintage ad posters in on hand, so I’ll see if I can work in one of those too. (I’m thinking of hanging whatever posters I don’t use in the dining room in the kitchen to give that blank slate a bit of style.)(In case you were worried about the other posters feeling left out…)

Then all there will be left to do will be change the lighting a bit and add a cheap white rug from IKEA.

And THEN the room will be ready for company. Which is good because as of today I have about three weeks before said company arrives.

Anyone else find themselves pressured to finish those projects you’ve been putting off when guests are on the way?

How’s it hanging?

In general, I am not the most reliable when it comes to sewing promises.

Remember that dress I said I was going to make? And then said I was giving up on and was going to make into a skirt instead? Those are two examples of sewing promises I have yet to live up to. I’m a sham seamstress.

So when I said I was going to make curtains, I would not have blamed you at all if you had held some doubt it would ever happen.

EXCEPT I DID DO IT SO SUCK IT DOUBTERS.

Except, well, I didn’t actually sew anything. Here’s how it went down.

Step one: Collect fabric (roughly 100 inches long and 1 yard wide…YOU do the conversion, I’m tired from all the crafting), scissors, iron-on hem tape, an iron, and an ironing board. (Say “iron” again.)(Iron.)

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Step two: Work your way around the rectangle of fabric, ironing the edges with the tape to create a roughly 1.5-inch hem. (Be sure to check your hem tape for specific instructions…mine required a bit of steam and about 10-20 seconds of heat.)

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I know, I’m totally wasting my potential as a hand model. Also, taking a photo with one hand while you iron with the other is harder than it looks.

Step three: Hang the curtains!

That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Well, I don’t want to brag, but my husband and I are kind of warriors in that we got this done.

The main issue was that we were changing out the curtain rod. We wanted to use a double rod (heh heh…rod) so we could hang sheer panels during the day to let light in without flaunting ourselves at anyone who happened by the window. (Ah, the trials of a garden apartment.)

So first we had to remove the old curtain rod. Easy enough. (We recycled it to the dining room. More on that when it’s photo-ready.)

Then we had to install the new curtain rod. I wanted to install it as high as possible.

Design tip (that I read online somewheres): If you hang your curtain panels high and wide (even if it’s higher and wider than the actual window), it makes the whole room look taller and therefore bigger. Plus it makes it look like you have gargantuan, gorgeous windows, even if you just have averagely large windows.

The main reason why this step took so long is because we had to use a power drill at a height about a foot (or more) above our heads (after standing on a chair). Your arms get tired, it’s hard to drill straight, you keep dropping the screw and having to get off and on the chair, you’re trying to make everything level — it’s basically a nightmare.

But long story short, we DID it. (Joey did most of the drilling because my pathetic arm strength decided to embarrass womenkind everywhere. Way to go, pathetic arm strength.)

But just look at it!

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And let’s say it’s a sunny day and you want a little natural light AND a little privacy?

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Oh, hello there. It’s like the window is flashing a little leg. Sexy, right? Let’s get an overall room shot.

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Mmm.

You can probably tell that the curtains are a little long. I do plan on remedying this, but quite frankly, I’m exhausted after a busy morning, bleaching and scrubbing my kitchen and bathroom floor, creating giant curtains, and hanging up three sets of curtains. So you’ll have to pardon the slightly baggy look for now.

In all seriousness, my living room is looking mighty fine right now. It just feels cozy and delightful. I’ll post more pictures later this month when the dining room is in order. (I can’t take pictures of the living room from the opposite angle because the dining room is in the background, and it is looking all kinds of jacked up right now. Give it time.)(When I ask for more time before I post apartment pictures, I’m really talking to my friend Erin who has officially stopped believing me that I’m ever going to post pictures of the whole place.)(She’s probably right.)(Except NO I will get it done!)(Erin.)

The credenza we were supposed to get this week sort of fell through (the truck we were borrowing broke down), but I will have furniture updates soon. (Here’s a hint: It’s no longer just a credenza.)(You’re on the edge of your seat, right?)(What is WITH all these parentheticals?)

Anywho, that’s all I’ve got for right now. More on the way!

Clear is the new clever

I was going to save this for a weekday post, but it’s such a quickie craft I think it will do nicely for a weekend post. (Heh heh…quickie…)

You know how a lot of white powders can look the same? Flour, cocaine, sugar, anthrax…all generally white and powdery, right? (And you never though I could work cocaine and anthrax into this blog. Doubters.)

It would be really great if there was a clear, concise, and aesthetically pleasing way to tell them apart, wouldn’t it? (Lots of questions in this post…)

Behold!

Step one: Take an assortment of ambiguous containers of white powder (or really any contents), a few chalkboard stickers, and a chalkboard crayon. (Yup, they exist.)

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Step two: Affix said stickers to said containers, like so:

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Step three: Clearly label containers with said chalkboard crayon. (Or, you know, regular chalk.)

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(Yeah, I was kidding about the cocaine and anthrax. But I would imagine those are two things you would also not want to mix up in a recipe.)

Ta-da! The quickest little craft there ever was.

Pre-party planning

I tend to throw my heart and soul into projects. I invest a lot and I dream big. And even if the final product doesn’t match my lofty aspirations, I would rather go all out than put up a wimpy front.

Case in point, my aforementioned impending party. (Fancy way for saying that party I told y’all about that’s coming up soon-ish.)

The first party we ever had in our apartment was a taco night. You may recall the decor:

Is it necessary to have an actual pinata named Paco at a low-key taco night? Maybe not. Is it fun? Absolutely.

For the Second Annual Classy Cocktail Party, I want to go a little fancier. A little more grown-up. People will be dressed to impress, after all.

I’m majorly in love with all the silver and gold decor ideas I’m seeing on Pinterest lately:




Super fun, right? Plus I love this sparkly garland my blog buddy Paloma featured on her blog here.

So for those of you lucky enough to live in the right zipcode to be invited (or who happen to be visiting!), that’s what you have to look forward to. I always want to get a set of sweet vintage decanters. Something like these (or…you know, ALL of these):

Click images for source info.

And for those of you who won’t be there, never fear. I’m an over-sharer, remember? There will be plenty of photos.

(And if you love my party style, feel free to check out my It’s a Party pin board on Pinterest!)

Changing it up

Ok, so unless you just started reading my blog (in which case, welcome! Have a look around!), you are aware that I am in the throws of redecorating.

You should know things are going well. (I know, you’ll sleep sounder tonight knowing that.)

Here are the projects on the docket:

1. Acquire the credenza. You already know the story of this one. (And if you don’t, click that link!)

2. Sew (or possibly iron seam) the dining room curtains. The fabric arrived yesterday (yay!), so now I just need a few hours to sit down and get it all figured out. I’m using some curtain ring clips (leftover from when we first moved in and didn’t realize our curtains already had a loop to slide the curtain rod through), so I won’t need to sew a loop, but I do need to get a new rod and have the hubster install all of this hardware. Team work!

3. Making the dining room light pretty. It involves this:

I know, you’re on tenterhooks.

4. Slightly adjusting the wall art in the dining room, and finding a large seaglass/vintage green vase for the credenza.

5. Adjusting the color scheme of the living room. I’m really inspired by these photos:

Which leads me to the new color scheme. I’m thinking something like this:

It looks a little too neutral at the moment, but I’m going to pump it up with lots of textures and some glitzy metallics like you see in the above pictures. I’m obsessed with yellow gold and copper, so there will be plenty of that.

At the moment things are very springy in the living room. Green and blue are the main accent colors, and I find more and more that I just don’t like blue. I like navy. But not necessarily living in it.

I want to get these pillow covers to cover over the green pillows for now:

And I bought a pillow like this one last night that is already at home on the couch (Joey may or may not have spent a portion of last night cuddling with it):

I may also need to change out the curtains in here, but I’m holding off on that for now.

Fortunately, I have a motivating force to get all of this stuff done. First, my cousins are coming to visit near the end of December. And to top it all off, we’re having a little party for all our friends the same weekend.

So once again, I’m relying on mild panic to make myself do something. Probably not very healthy. But effective!

All the decorating activities start tomorrow night. Let’s DO this.