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?

Party bloggin’ in the house tonight

So I check my blog stats fairly often. Not often enough to be considered obsessed, but often enough that I can probably give you a pretty accurate ball park of where the numbers are at any given time during the day.

On one hand, I just like little charts and graphs and seeing where everyone is coming from. On the other, it’s just nice to know that there are actually people reading this nonsense.

But even though my stat guesses are usually pretty accurate, for a while I was getting pleasantly surprised every morning at how many people had visited the night before. I would go to bed at around 2-something, and wake to well over 300.

What was the source behind this bizarre (yet pleasing) phenomenon? Today at lunch, my husband and I concluded it must be my West Coast readers.

Me: That makes sense.

Him: While we’re sleeping, they’re partying all night.

Me: Oh yeah?

Him: Yeah. Party blogging.

Me: And what exactly does party blogging look like?

And then he demonstrated (I guess pretend he’s looking at a computer screen ha):
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God love that man.

So question to all you party bloggin’ West Coasters: When are you reading my blog? Is it after 11 EST?

Swank it up

Aaand just because I know I have readers out there who are like, “What IS this, a DECOR blog? That is NOT what I signed up for!”, here is a post that has nothing to do with decor.

So I have a party coming up, right? And it’s a pretty darn swankified occasion. Cocktail party attire is mandatory. (You hear that, guest list? MANDATORY.)

Plus, I’m rather enamored with this sequin trend that is basically EVERYWHERE even Wal-Mart. (Don’t believe me? Check it.)

So anyway. I want sparkly. (It goes with my theme, duh.)

So I bought this:

To me, nothing says “PARTY!” quite like a sequin skirt. But just to keep things from getting too disco ball, I’m going to top it off with some kind of black, 3/4 sleeve sweater and probably throw in some black tights.

And because I plan on being the perfect host (or at least as darn close to it as I can get), I think the perfect finishing touch is this Kate Spade-inspired top knot hairstyle:

Gahhh so cute. Here’s hoping I can pull it off. I may even have to mimic those oversize necklaces too.

So spill. What’s your party look this season?

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!