The Unexamined Life..Of Your Coffee Table

I love to explore, I like to plan a whole day in a new place, it gives me a new perspective to return home with. Traveling has been an influence on everything in my home. Experiences bring my imagination to life and I love to daydream about all the possibilities.

I try to make the best of what I have to work with, in part out of care for our environment but also because every object has potential!

So in cultivating my blog over the years I’ve been exploring avenues that I enjoy. Some of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in my life I’ve been completely terrified of. Example: every single place we traveled in California had to be on the side of a mountain, and I am not a fan of heights. Am I glad I did them, yes. Was it terrifying, also yes! College, scary, did that too. Living with other people I didn’t know, scary, did that. Running for a town political role, suuuper scary but also exciting! Buying a home, scary, but extremely rewarding!

So what I’ve been doing lately has been designing a business. Im terrified. I really don’t like change. I have a pretty cushy job, and a pretty easy life. What business do I have trying to mix that up? Well the goal has been to step out of my comfort zone, to give the world a chance to understand what it is I want to give back to it and to try to live my best life!

So here it goes…

Background: I grew up an only child. Which requires me to answer the question, how did you like being an only child? I’ll be honest, it was fine. I pretty much had my imagination to entertain me, instead of another human. I think it also made me look closer at myself (critically) and also the relationship I had with other people. My fatal flaw is people -pleasing. While my parents were older from start, I had to grow up relatively quickly, with a few challenges. Mom had mental health issues, Dad had some workaholic issues. Everyone has issues, but it made my story, and shaped a lot of my strengths.

Neither parent really cared about our living space outside of whether it was clean(it was very dysfunctional). So I found myself making my bed, fluffing my stuffed animals and putting my own decorative towels in the bathroom for when guests came over. Right… I know, people pleaser. They didn’t see the value of a well designed home space. They did have some taste (sort of) Dad was kind of hippy, which now in the era of mid century modern times has found its way back in vogue (go Dad). Mom was more artist, mixed with Greek iconography. So my house was a shmorgusboard if hippy, Jesus and artwork. Not the most cute assembly of furniture pairing. Lots of random paint splatters, brushes and equipment… but it was home.

What I found myself doing in my younger years was constantly reorganizing my own space. My room was like my safe place. The family didn’t always get along, and life wasn’t always roses and sunshine. I tried to stay positive, keep my own space in order and looking as good as I could have it with the resources I had. I remember the feeling of seeing the redesigned space. It was like a breath of fresh air. The odd thing was remembering where everything was placed in the new arrangement. It was necessary to use what I had to work with because asking for something deemed “unnecessary” was more aggravating than making the best of it. In a lot of ways this allowed me to utilize the things I had creatively. I credit the rents with giving me a hard time enough that I had no choice but to make my own designs.

So here I am adulting and trying to find my purpose, and recycle, and drink enough water, and meet my personal goals, you know, be responsible (eye rolling emoji). What I’ve found is that I really want to help people live in the space they feel the most at home. Some people see the value in simplicity while others want their Pinterest dreams to come true. I’ve just found a happy balance of function and artsy, with unique hand made peices. What I’ve always wanted is my space to feel comfortable to anyone who enters. After years of trial and error I think I’ve achieved my design goals.

What is so counter intuitive to so many of my friends and family is making their space work for their family while still meeting their asthetic goals. I’ve always loved Martha Stewart, and I’m a huge fan of HGTV. The difference between my inspirations is that I try to incorporate personal experiences into spaces.

So many designers make your kitchen look like a home and garden magazine but fail to reflect the people who live there. One thing I love is holding the mirror up and saying you are, where you live. Your space is part of your health. Your wellness is directly related to your environment, and for me, I find clarity in order, and reorganization.

Part of the journey I am on in life is bringing my life experiences into my living space, as a reflection of who I am, where I’ve been and what I love.

I have so many photographs of my better half, Joe and I. I have pictures of our cat. I have my mothers artwork, our grandparents wedding photographs, friends, family, trips we’ve been on etc. Our kitchen has been completely redone (by us), and is now pig themed, subtly. before

(Two different times of year so bare with the decor in these pictures)

Our chandelier is restored from basically a dumpster to full beauty (Joe deemed it to be trash).

We built our own bar, we built our headboard, our kitchen island, our entry bench, our master bedroom bench. We redesigned our bathroom fixture. We built custom shelving, we built our ottoman, we’ve upcycled more stuff than we’ve bought. I’m proud of that.

Everything in our home has a story, and it’s about who we are and what we love.

We have made a beautiful space using mostly what we had, and adding our own spin. Our molding may not have perfect lines, although he did a very nice job for a beginner! Our life might not be exactly what you see in a magazine but it has cracks that came with weathering. My favorite part about our home is our life in it. After so many life experiences it’s easy to lose track of where you’ve been. I find a memory around every corner in the lake house that we love.

So I am officially beginning the exciting (and scary as hell) adventure of starting a consulting company for interior decorating, with a focus on life experience, and functional needs. I love to be reminded of all the fun I’ve had. I love my family, and my friends and I make it a point to focus on the positivity both in my life and in my home space. I have helped so many people see positivity and opportunities in their space so they can grow into it or shift into a better arrangement.

As for the coffee table, we turned it into an ottoman.

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Palm Springs- Cali forni yahhh!

When you drive into the dessert-y-seemingly uninteresting route for about an hour in the dark, only to come across perfectly placed palm trees, underlit, you enter into the parallel time of 1970s glamorous Palm Springs!!

This place like many others in Cali have this odd nostalgic romantic aura all around. It wasn’t a mirage, it was like Las Vegas, in that it offered a destination in a place that was so unexpected without the strung out Vegas vibe. Surrounded by mountains, this dessert city had so many facets of Americana proper.

Granted we only had a full day of exploration, but we truly loved the time we had.

The must do list:

1. Relax.

It was vacation and yes even the most exciting adventurers were in search of a good soak. It’s actually science.

We soaked in the hot spring fed pools at the Miracle Springs Hotel and Spa. In all honesty it was not the Ritz; the room was dated and there was a plastic spoon behind the night stand that had become part of the rug, but the pools made up for it.

Our room overlooked the courtyard with 8 different pools, with a fake background, I mean mountains in the back (seriously the mountains did look fake!) All of these glorious pools were different temperatures and were heated naturally by underground hot springs. After the previous 2 days of 45,913 steps and plenty of car time, our bodies were in heaven in this little oasis!

I wouldn’t recommend the hotel for a lavish experience, but if you need a good soak after a long journey then it’s 100% the place to stay.

It was cold at night and extremely windy, but once you get in the pools, it’s like warm hug!

Obviously I need a hot tub or at the very least a proper soaking tub… next house goals!

2. Tacos in full color!

….Because obviously my goal was usually tacos. So the next day we planned the day around soaking, lunch, and leisurely shopping. Also, dinosaurs but I’m getting ahead of myself.

After waking up and soaking for a few hours, we checked out and headed to lunch at (in my opinion) the ideal Palm Springs ambiance! It was like where you expect the lucky charms leprechaun to hang out, the skittles commercials to be filmed, the artists to be in their element… etc. It sure was colorful!

Bonus that they had these awesome Barbie (my favorite) modern art displays in their lobby.

What I loved the most about this was the mid-century modern design that was so authentic to the town. It had a certain joie de vivre unlike anywhere else; freedom, excitement and culture! It felt like a place made for tv. I suppose that is why movie stars loved Palm Springs. It’s a strange but comfortable get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

But the tacos….

were fresh!

And so the glorious experience came to an end…but actually just lunch.

3. Vintage shopping

Every Pinterest girl knows, that the best vintage clothes are in California and the capital of vintage shopping is clearly Palm Springs, or at least Pinterest told me (so it must be true)!

I’m going to be honest I was semi-obsessed with this particular location and was thus on a mission to find it. It wasn’t easy, in fact my poor sense of direction and little knowledge of anything in the area didn’t help, but we finally located it, after a little bit of round about walking. I will say I was surprised that there were not rows of glorious vintage charm shops lining the streets but I suppose we all have expectations. This store did not disappoint!!! If you are looking for the most fabulous classic Haute couture peices, at pretty reasonable prices, then The Fine Art Of Design is a must!!!

Did I mention I’m now officially obsessed (moreso than before) with hat boxes. I need to calm down. This place was quintessential vision. I loved it! I didn’t find the “can’t live without item” I was hoping for but in all honesty it was the experience of it that I can wrap myself up in. The pieces were cultivated and chosen with such care as if chosen for a personal closet rather than for resale.

I think I felt so comfortable here because across the street from a French cafe was a Greek cafe and marketplace, and so my Greek and French heritage was finally on the same page, or at least the same street. Everything made sense and all was in alignment…

I could go on and on, but ultimately it was a colorful day full of zest and high fashion vintage and tacos, what else is there?

4. Du du du dinosaurs!

Yes Pee Wee had a big adventure, and so did we!

We really didn’t stay long, because we knew we had to arrive at Joshua Tree for our next destination before dark, as instructed by our Air BnB host. Spoiler: we stayed in an airstream in the desert and it was awesome!

However like the great dinosaurs of Peewee’s Big Adventure we had to go out with a bang, or was it the ice age? It was definetly getting cold…. ( I didn’t see the movie) either way we found our way out of the dinosaurs and into the desert… and onto the next adventure.

So long Palm Springs you sexy dessert flower! Not only was it a cool laid back groovy experience but the dessert of Palm Springs also made clean energy, for all my green friends! These turbines were rad!

Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it! We sure did!

Leave a comment! Send feedback! Definetly check out Palm Springs if you ever get the chance, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, felt or done!

Next up… Joshua Tree!

How to Make a Fabulous Garland 

First pick your theme.

Then here is a list of materials:

  1. Garland of any length
  2. White lights
  3. Colored plastic ornament balls in either 2 or 3 colors. These are cheap at Walmart
  4. You’ll need wire hooks for the ornaments.
  5. One color material (I used purple) sheer and and sparkly is ideal, you may need 3-5 yards but it depends on the length of your Garland so be mindful.
  6. Get a package of snowflakes or other “filler” type ornaments, make sure these are the opposite color of the material.
  7. You can use a sting of pearls or beads in lieu of the filler.

It was Christmas and I was sick of red, green and gold so I took matters into my own hands… Aka I went to wal -Mart and looked at colors.

I picked purple because it was different and I could pair it with either gold or silver for a clean freshing look.

I picked silver and purple for the stairs.

It’s so amazing how much better a garland looks when it’s full, so don’t be stingy with the ornaments.

Depending on the content of your garland, you may need to add string lights. So basically put up the Garland where you want it, add the lights after and then the fun begins.

**Oh make sure the lights work, you don’t want to get all fancy and then find out only half of the light actually light up.

Now balls, lots of them.  
Start by placing one color all over until you’ve used all the balls in one color.

Now place the other color equally throughout the garland.

Be careful not to use a lot in one are and leave another area blank, try to spread evenly, like frosting a cake.

Now you have 2 different colors and it looks ok… But now add your material…. The easiest way is to cut it into sections and weave it through in random places so it looks like one long weave but it’s not.

After the material is all in place and secured, add the snow flakes or other “filler” to the places which are slightly empty so that your garland has only slight patches of green.

Now plug in the lights and take some pictures, you little home maker you!

You can also use this concept for your tree, think of it like layers… And soon people will be asking you how to do it!

Romantic Night Stands (DIY)

I wanted end tables with blue and white romantic print.
So I found some romantic print fabric at a consignment shop for $5.00 and decided to make them with decoupage.

I bought these night stands which look like they were attached to a mirror or to a headboard previously. The two together were about $30. Solid wood, with nice but subtle detail, these pieces were going to be our night stands.

 This sad end table had all the integrity but none of the flare… So I fixed that.  Admittedly they weren’t much to look at.

  1.  First I painted them 2 coats with behr oatmeal paint so it was a creamy antique look. 
  2. I painted the drawers as well and added knobs. There were no knobs originally, on the drawers. I just bought 4 individual knobs from Home Depot, in a nickel finish. They looked like hammered nickel which was the look I wanted, and they were about $5 each.
      As you can see there were a few cracks but I liked it that way. I wanted a romantic, distressed look. I even took a sanding block and gently sanded the trim peices and around the edges to give it more a more weathered look.
  3. Probably the most difficult part was getting the fabric attached. I say difficult because you have to be very particular when cutting it. So I started by painting a layer of decoupage on the top of the end table. I then placed the whole peice of fabric on top. I’m glad I did this, because had I cut it prior, I probably would have wasted a lot of fabric.

After placing the fabric on the decoupaged top I smoothed it down, making sure it was straight and also that it showed the peice of the fabric that I wanted.

Making sure there were no bubbles or creases I took the decoupage and painted a layer on top of the fabric. I waited (maybe) 10 minutes, then took an exact o knife and carefully followed the ridge at the top. I was very careful not to pull the fabric as this would cause bubbles etc.  After tracing out the fabric it looked perfect but a little tattered. Decoupage is like a glue that dries clear and instead of potentially compromising the fabric or pulling a thread, I decoupaged the corners and pushed down with the brush so as to guide these frays in line.

Then I added a second coat of decoupage and let it dry overnight.

Finally my end table was complete. I later added legs to the bottom because it was a bit short.

I was pleased with the final product it was exactly what I wanted…

I’ve come to realize that when you know what you want the only way to get it is to create it. When you build something, you give yourself exactly what you want. What is more satisfying?

Happy Building!

A Ottoman Project (DIY)

 

I made a coffee table into an ottoman, this was one of my first projects and it set the bar high for me.

I started by finding a cheap but durable coffee table from a second hand store. $40 was what I spent..

I wanted my ottoman tufted so I drilled holes in the table (9 total), before doing anything else.

This step is annoying simply because you have to measure equal measurements so that your peice is symmetrical.

After drilling the holes in the table I realized that the sides had a sort of trim which would stick out and be a huge bruising situation if not addressed properly. I squared off the sides by using plywood to create a smoother edge, much less dangerous for knees and clumsy people such as myself.

I then cut the 5 inch foam which was very overpriced at Joanne fabrics, make sure you bring a coupon.

I made sure to cut the foam so that it was flush with the table.
Then you simply spray an adhesive spray on the table top wood and stick your foam on carefully. Give it about a minute to dry.


Now comes the batting. It looks like the fluff that comes out of your pillow but it makes a big difference.

Roll out the batting on the floor so it’s flat and place your table, with foam attached top side down on top of it.

You can now gently pull the batting to wrap it and then staple (with a staple gun) under the table. No one is looking under the table so it doesn’t need to be perfect but it does need to be tight enough so don’t pull too hard so it rips but keep it secure.

You are basically wrapping it as if it were a present.

  
As you can see it is wrapped and secured and staples are under side.

Now comes the exciting part. The fabric! If you are like me you want a pattern and that’s great but make sure you are extra careful when placing the fabric because if it’s crooked… You will not be happy.

Follow a line that is the easiest way.
When you are securing the fabric attach one side and then pull the parallel side and secure it before doing the perpendicular side. This way everything stays secure, but don’t pull too tight or tufting will not be an option.

The corners are tricky but you just want to pretend you are wrapping a present and fold them uniformly so each corner will look the same, and staple under the table

Going around the legs is tricky but I’m sure if you’ve gotten this far that you can dig it right.

Now for the tufting. This part requires two people. Flip your now fully stapled ottoman on its side.

**Make sure your thread is through the needle so the thred is double length.

Remember those holes we drilled in the begining… Take a large sewing needle preferably 8-10 inches. Using fishing line or a strong vinyl thread, thread your needle, go through the center hole of your ottoman being careful to go straight through once you’ve gotten it through and it’s straight you can thred your button on.

The button can be a fabric one, you buy the kits for those, and they are a pain but they look nice, or any button you want.

So you have your giant needle through and you have a button, thred the needle through the button hole and you can cut the thread to release the needle keeping the two peices of thread together tie a knot  to secure the thread to your button. This step is crucial because you must make sure that the thread is doubled on the button knot but also that the thred is doubled through to the other side because the tufting is literally being held by a thred.

Now you need a partner. One person pushes the button into the foam and the other pulls the thread tight on the other side, and places a staple on the back near the drilled hole. The staple should be lose enough to thread but tight enough so that is is secured. I did more than one staple after tying it to the first.


Let me tell you that tufting is a bitch, there’s no sugar coating it. You pull you push you secure it and you just get frustrated, but once you do one, even though you want to give up don’t! It’s worth it!


Now 8 tufts later aren’t you glad you didn’t just do one!


It is now a chic peice of fabulous furniture… You made it, sweat, tears…  and hopefully no blood… But it’s perfect and it would have cost close to $500 for a comparable size and pattern. For about a $100. Good work!

Now you can reupholster anything! You don’t have to necessarily tuft everything but at least you have the skills!
Bravo and cheers!

How an Old Chair Became French

Step 1. Find your chair

   This chair needed the legs tightened, some new fabric and a lighter color paint or stain.

Step 2. Pop off the chair seat and pick a fabric that you like. I chose a patterned blue and white fabric to give a French country flare.

Step 3. Place the fabric on the floor and the seat faced down so that the underneath part is facing toward the ceiling.

Step 4. Take a staple gun ****carefully**** and staple the fabric to the back of the chair seat. You want it to be tight enough to hold its form but lose enough so that you don’t rip it when you sit.  Cut any excess fabric from the edges and check your seat to make sure it has no lose corners.

If you find one side is pulling more than the other you can simply tighten the other side and stapling again. The process is very forgiving so give yourself a little credit.

Drink some wine too that helps me.

 The seat is right side up here in step 4 the seat should be side down.

Step 5. Sand any varnish off your chair frame using a hand sander or a sand block. If there isn’t a shiny varnish you can get away with lightly sanding instead of going down to the grain.

Let it fully dry and apply a second coat of paint. I used behr paint and primer for this one but you can use any paint you want, chalk paint is very popular because it goes on even and you don’t need too much of it.

Step 6. This is optional, you can distress the edges if you like that look by gently sanding along the corner of the chair legs and making a few strokes along the middle, not too symmetrically though because you want it to look naturally vintage and not forced.

Step 7 is place your set on top of the completed frame and you can either glue it in or screw it in depending on the chair itself, if the chair has drilled holes for screws, utilize them if not, glue will do.

Ta da buds and gals you did it, you made an ugly old chair beautiful again!


Now celebrate by sitting in your new chair proudly!