Attempted Cover-Up

Since I was dressing up the makeup/jewelry corner of my bedroom, I attempted to do something about this situation:

Of course, I turned to the laziest solution possible – pretty paper! And ended up with this:

So easy:

Add:

Ta-da!

But I guess you get what you pay for (in time and effort) ’cause I’m not sure I like the final result. It manages to be matchy-matchy and chaotic at the same time – maybe I just need a different paper pattern…

Better before?

I Heart Washi Tape

I recently acquired an awesome original comic book drawing of catwoman and wanted to hang it up above my makeup/jewelry table. So I popped it into a floating frame I had lying around, but the shiny silver wasn’t really tying in. Washi tape to the rescue!

Took about 10 minutes to go from this:

To this!:

And soon, the slowly-evolving corner of my bedroom went from this:

To this:

It’s a little hard to tell in these photos, but trust me, the floating frame ties in so much better now that it has a gold-striped finish.

To keep it harmonious, I used the same gold-striped washi tape to put up some cards and sketches I had lying around. Along with some postcards of El Bosco’s “Garden of Earthly Delights”, which I saw in the Prado museum in Madrid and which may just be my favorite painting in the entire world (for now).

The beauty of using washi tape is that it’s removable so if I ever get tired of this particular melange, I can always switch it out for whatever’s tickling my fancy at the moment.

Experimenting with Washi Tape

Last week I saw some washi tape in a cute little store called Firefly on Abbot Kinney. I think I sat there for at least 15 minutes alternately squealing and fretting over which colors to buy (mint green, neon pink, navy polka dots??). I ended up with two gold-colored rolls and then ordered a Martha Stewart brand pack off Amazon. The “mt” brand is imported from Japan and costs $6 a roll. The four Martha Stewart rolls cost $5 total. But do I even need to tell you how much higher quality the Japanese stuff is? No? Then I won’t.

First, I tried gussying up the black lampshade on my owl lamp that I’ve been meaning to change out since I bought him (see failed attempt #1 here).

I started out with just a few conservative vertical stripes:

Then tried a few diagonal ones:

Then I decided what the hell, it’s temporary, and it all got a little out of hand:

After about a week, the look is still not growing on me, so I think I’ll just peel off all that tape and start over – that’s the beauty of the stuff! So I guess this is failed attempt #2. Stupid owl hat…

Fortunately, my desk took to the washi tape much more happily. Here she is BEFORE:

And after about 10 minutes of taping, she’s just a little glitzier:

The bottom row tore as I was applying it (guess which tape I was using) but I actually kind of liked how it looked so I just left it. Makes it a little imperfect and not too precious, I think.

More washi tape experiments to come!

The Lazy DIYer

I found these napkins on sale at Cost Plus for $2 each and immediately knew they would make a really cute pillow.  Just sew them together, stuff a pillow form in there, et voila!

Of course they sat there for a full four months, just draped over the pillow form and for awhile, that was good enough. Then I got fed up with myself and sewed them together in the laziest way possible.

1) Rescue sewing machine from the sad, dusty little corner in which it’s been languishing.

2) Lay one napkin on top of the other and pin edges (barely).

3) Sew along three edges. Do not even bother to lift needle up at the corners, just rotate the napkins 90 degrees and keep going.

4) Stuff pillow form in and pin the remaining edges (again, only just).

5) Skip any attempt at zippers, velcro or envelope closures. Do not for one second contemplate sewing that last long seam shut by hand. Instead, just scrunch the pillow form as far back in the case as it will go so you can grab the remaining napkin edges and wedge them under the sewing machine foot.

6) Sew that last seam shut, wrestling with the edges the entire time. Studiously ignore the very wonky result. Trust me, no one will notice.

7) Hooray, you’ve succeeded in making your own $4 pillow cover with the least amount of effort possible. Lazy DIY FTW!

It even has crisp, flanged eges – purely by happy circumstance.

Now to find two more napkins for the still-naked guy on the left…

Variations on a Theme

Just some quick pics of the goes-with-everything bracelet and watch combos I’ve been wearing lately. If you want to get more use out of pieces of jewelry, try wrapping a necklace around your wrist – it can add a lot of interest layered in with some other bracelets. Hooray for multitaskers! (Alton Brown would approve).

Pillow Switcheroo

Switched up some of the pillows on my couch recently – I had collected a random assortment in shades of blue, but with the blue blanket and navy tray, it was all looking a little safe and ho-hum.

Here’s the before:

And the after! 

Looks much less blah and I love how the deep yellow on the new pillows ties in with the gold finish on the mirrors and yellow elements in the gallery wall behind. And so easy – hooray for the power of pillows.  =)

A couple more comparison shots for ‘ya:

Ms. Thinker approves.

Pops of Neon

I’ve fully embraced the neon trend – in fact, I’ve come to fully embrace trends as a general matter. I used to sneer at stuff like this but I think it was because all through my teens and 20s, I never had the confidence to pull off anything bright or showy. And now I do. One good thing (among many!) that comes with being three decades old. So I’m going to rock small doses of these punchy, fun pops of color while I still can. =)

Also, lunch outdoors followed by a pedicure makes for one fantastic Tuesday afternoon!

First Impressions

It’s high time I upgraded my sad, little entryway area – it tries so hard, but it’s really unequipped for everything I ask of it: dumping grounds for my purse, keys, unsorted mail, things I need to remember to bring with me the next day, random findings when I clean out my purses.  There’s a bench in there somewhere that theoretically people could sit on to take off and put on their shoes, but you can see how that usually works out: 

I’ve made some progress, but there’s still lots to do: give the big mirror a bronze-gold finish, install some hooks for my purse and jacket, DIY a hanging mail holder, find a cute iPhone dock, hang up a clock and some artwork, fix the bottom drawer on that damn shoe dresser… Phew! No wonder I let this blog idle for so long, even a teeny entryway makeover takes so much work. I’ll keep you posted. =)

In Which I Attempt to Give Mr. Owl a New Hat

I got this quirky owl lamp from Target for super-cheap but never really liked the shade that came with it. Too dark for the neutrals, gold accents and bright colors going on elsewhere in the room.

I always thought a bright yellow shade would suit Mr. Owl, so I picked up this promising one from World Market for $25.

I thought I could just pop it on and walk away with a satisfied look on my face, but here’s where Mr. Owl got a little… non-cooperative.

I’d forgotten that the original shade screwed on ABOVE the lightbulb, suspended on this oblong, metal thingamabob. Whereas the new shade was supposed to rest UNDER the lightbulb.

So if I tried to just screw the new shade on top of the thingamabob, it would sit ridiculously high:

Mr. Owl does not approve.

But when I tried to screw the new shade on under the lightbulb like it was meant to go, the result was even more laughable:

I actually left it like that and just giggled for a good five minutes.

Mr. Owl is definitely not amused.

Then I tried McGuyver-ing the shade a little higher by using various household items and ended up dropping and shattering the lightbulb.

Sad.

I finally got the shade to sit a little higher by wrapping a rubber-band around the light bulb socket. So now it looks marginally better. But, I dunno, the shade sits all wobbly now and I think it’s just too big for Mr. Owl’s little frame (the shininess is from the shrink-wrap, the shade is actually a matte fabric).

So I’ll probably return this thing to World Market and keep looking for the perfect new shade (only the best for Mr. Owl) – or maybe I’ll try and recover the original one with some new fabric.

To be continued! …

 

Happy Chair Refresh

It only took me three months but I finally finished painting one of the boring ol’ Ikea chairs I inherited with my apartment. (One month between coats isn’t so bad, right?….)

Here she is, all happy next to her unpainted brother:

At $25 each, these Ikea “Stockholm” chairs are a fantastic buy and pretty sturdy with clean, classic lines.

But the “black-brown” finish wasn’t really doing it for me, so I slappped on  some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White.

And I really mean slapped on…the first coat went on horribly. This was my first time painting a chair and I didn’t realize how tricky chairs are with all their pieces and joints. In hindsight I should have watered down the chalk paint a little bit ’cause it just glopped and built up in all the corners and edges. This is probably why it took me three months – chair was being such a pain in the butt!

After three coats of white paint, the chair was looking a little pale and ghostly, so I perked it up with some $1 yellow acrylic paint that I had on hand. It’s definitely not perfect and you can tell it’s hand-painted, but it really livens up my little desk corner, so I’m pretty happy with it!