August 30, 2011

Dining Room Shake Up

Here’s what my dining room has looked like pretty much the entire time we’ve lived in our house:

I change the dining room table setting frequently, but the layout to the room has remained the same.  You can see our family room peaking from the corner of the photo below.  Our family room is to one side of the dining room and our living room is directly adjacent to the dining room.

We usually keep the extension leaf in the table and the table is always positioned long-ways in the room.

On the opposite wall (this photo best shows the colors in the room), we have a little tray table stand that I usually keep family photos on.

Well, my dining room was recently shaken to its core!  For the first time ever, I decided to rotate the dining room table!

Instead of placing the table long-ways, it now goes across the width of the room.  Since we don’t have any large dinner parties planned in the near future, we decided to take out the extension leaf to fit the table in this way.  You can see our living room peaking out in the photo below, for a better idea of the room’s orientation:

Here’s how the place settings look now, with the table facing the new direction:

And the tray table now has room to sit along the main wall of the room.  We couldn’t have it here previously, because the dining chairs would bump into it.

So that’s the change that will forever be known as the Great Dining Room Shake-up of 2011!  Okay, maybe it’s not that huge of a change, but the new arraignment has certainly has a made the room look very different.  I love playing around with furniture arraignments once in a while to refresh a room’s look.  Are you guilty of the same?

August 26, 2011

Couple Speak Contest

I’d be lying if I said the Mister and I never get into an argument while we’re doing home improvement projects. We may love each other dearly, but put a paint brush or some sand paper in our hands and suddenly it’s “that’s not how you should do it” or “here, just give it to me” or “fine, do it however you want,
I’m done with this project!” Please tell me we’re not the only ones that get this way?!

3M sure doesn’t think so and they decided to host a "couples speak” contest. 3M (makers of products like painter’s tape and sandpaper you probably have in your toolbox right now) is offering a chance to win $5,000 for the best couples speak video showcasing how couples communicate during home improvement projects. Yep, that’s a $5,000 prize!

To enter this amazing contest, create a funny lighthearted video using the kind of language couples use during home improvement projects. The video shouldn’t show 3M product as it’s all about what happens when things go wrong. The video should be no longer than 2 minutes and should end with one of the animations provided on the 3M site.

In addition to the video contest, there is a weekly $250 translation contest!

Click here for more details and to enter this contest!

You can also share this amazing contest on Twitter and Facebook!

August 23, 2011

Washington DC Roadtrip

We hit the road last Friday for a little road trip to Washington DC!  For Rob's 30th birthday this year, I planned a trip to Washington to do some sightseeing and watch a Nationals vs Phillies game (we're big Phillies fans and this was the only weekend this year that they played in DC).

As soon as we got to DC, our first stop was to of course check out the White House.  We unfortunately couldn't get White House tour tickets (they have to be requested about four months in advance), but we did get a look at it from the outside.

I was also excited to see Michelle Obama's White House vegetable garden in the back.  Too bad we didn't get to spot the Obamas too!

We did a little more exploring and got a nice view of the Capitol building.

Then, it was time for the Phillies game!  There was a two hour rain delay during the game, so we definitly got a very thorough look at the stadium while we were waiting for the game to start back up!  We were amazed to see so many Phillies fans there; at least 80% of the crowd had also made the road trip down to DC for the game.  In fact, throughout the rest of the weekend no matter where we went (tours, museums, restaurants) it seemed like half the crowd was wearing Phillies t-shirts.  We are serious about our baseball in Philadelphia!

The next day, we put on our sneakers for some serious walking and sightseeing.  We had a morning tour of the Capitol building.  Here I am out front:

The building was beautiful and in the center of the building is the Capitol Rotunda with a gorgeous fresco painted on the inside of the dome.

Our tour guide explained that the fresco, called the Apotheosis of Washington, depicts George Washington being elevated like a God.  Here's a close up of George (at the top of the image) :

The Rotunda also contains several statues of important Americans and large paintings depicting events in American history.

The paintings were done in the early 1800s and depict important American events like the signing of the Declaration of Independence:

And the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis:

After our tour, we set off for a day of sightseeing.  From the Capitol building, we could see the Washington monument (spoiler alert: it took us the entire day to get there).

We started at the Library of Congress and then walked along the National Mall to the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden, Natural History Museum, took a lunch break, and went to the American History Museum.

I had been to the Natural History Museum as a kid and was pleased that I still enjoyed it as an adult (dinosaur bones are cool at any age in my opinion).  This was my first trip to the American History Museum though and I really enjoyed it. The museum is full of cool American "artifacts" like George Washington's suit, the top hat Abraham Lincoln was wearing when he was shot, and the gowns all of the First Ladies wore to their Inaugural Ball.  We didn't have time for the other Smithsonian museums, but I had been to some others as a kid and they are really great.  Plus they are all free so it's easy to come and go from each museum.

After the museums, we finally ended up at the Washington Monument:

By the time we reached the Washington Monument our feet were tired and our bellies were hungry so we headed off to dinner.  We really enjoyed Washington DC and were happy we were able to squeeze in a lot of sightseeing into the weekend.  Have you visited Washington DC?  What were your favorite sights?

August 18, 2011

Placemat Pillows

I've gone a little pillow crazy lately.  In addition to the vintage beach combing pillow I shared the other day, I made two other pillows recently.  This time they weren't from a vintage towel, but instead from fabric placemats.

I found two giraffe print placemats at HomeGoods for just 50 cents each.  Yep, just $1 buckaroo for both of them!  Since I didn't really have a use for them as a traditional placemat, I decided to turn them into pillows.


At first I was just going to sew the two placemats together, but then I realized that they were made of two pieces of fabric that were sewn together and I could just open them up and stuff the inside.  This method is way easier and now I could make two pillows instead of one!


First I washed the placemats and then ironed them.  Then I used a seam ripper to create a small opening in the seam, just big enough for me to squeeze the pillow stuffing into.  I stuffed the pilllows, sewed the opening shut, and they were done!  Easy peasy!


And now I can add a little animalistic touch to my sofa!  Now there's a word I never thought I'd use on my blog!


The pillows match well with my sea themed pillow, so I decided to place them on my living room couch.  I think the similar colors make the pillows work well together even though the patterns are so different.


I've been keeping an eye out at HomeGoods for clearance placemats and kitchen towels these days!  Any suggestions from other things I could make pillows out of?

I'm sharing this project on Workin' On it Wednesday, House of Hepworths, Less than Perfect Life of Bliss, check out the other great projects featured!

August 17, 2011

DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Remember that old saying, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?  Well the truth is that you can catch the most flies with soda bottles and fruit juice. This probably won’t go down in history as one of my most exciting blog posts, but I thought I’d share this nifty trick for an annoying problem.

During the summers, we tend to get fruit flies in the kitchen.  One fruit fly is not a big deal, but they like to hang out by the dozens which can get quite annoying.  Luckily, fruit flies can be easily outsmarted and all you need is a soda bottle.

A soda bottle with a smaller opening, like a 20 liter or 1 quart bottle, will work best.  First, cut off the top half of the bottle.


Then, invert it and place it upside down back into the bottle.  Then fill it with something sweet like orange juice.  The fruit flies will smell the sweet juice and will fly into the bottle.  Sadly for them, they can fly in but won’t be able to fly out, thus creating a fruit fly trap of doom.


After a couple of days, the fruit fly trap will be full of the little guys and your kitchen will be fruit fly free.  I would show you an after photo, but I doubt anyone wants to see a soda bottle full of flies.

Is it weird that I feel bad typing up this blog posts?  I feel bad killing any bugs (except mosquitos- they’re evil) and I even try to capture and release regular sized flies, but I haven’t come across a better solution to get rid of these little buggers.  Do you have any tricks to get rid of household pests?

August 14, 2011

Beach Print Pillows

Earlier this summer, I picked up this vintage beach print fabric at a garage sale for 25 cents.  I love the fun sea-themed print and couldn’t pass it up for just a quarter.  I think it was originally sold as a some sort of tapestry, or maybe a kitchen towel of sorts, but it was clear that it had been folded up and never touched- maybe even for a few decades!  If anyone recognizes this pattern, I’d love to hear about it!


So I took it home, washed it, ironed it, and decided to sew it into a pillow.  I simply folded it in half (wrong side out) and then sewed the three remaining sides shut, leaving a little opening for me to stuff it.


It was a fast, easy, and cheap project, and I love the results!  Both sides of the pillow have a fun look.



The pillow is a nice fit on my living room couch next to my starfish pillows (from The Christmas Tree Shops a few years ago).  I love this beachy look for the summer!



I’ve since been keeping an eye out for other vintage fabrics at yard sales.  Have you ever come across vintage fabrics?  Any good places to look for them?

I'm linking this project up to Southern Hospitality, Mad in Crafts, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Skip to my Lou, Super Stinky Boys, c.r.a.f.t, Between Naps on the Porch, Making the World Cuter, Creative Kristi, Less than Perfect Life of Bliss; check out the other great projects featured.

August 12, 2011

2012 Ikea Catalog

It’s that time of year again- the Ikea catalog is here! 


For years and years I’ve enjoyed flipping through the Ikea catalog and all of it’s eye candy.  Here’s what caught my attention this year:

Pretty bedding!  Ikea seems to have several pretty new bedding options this year.  The pink and purple Lyckoak duvet set caught my eye (page 171).


I like the blue dotted Smorboll duvet too (page 178).  And such great prices!


In the d├ęcor department, Ikea’s selection of pretty colored glass vases and candleholders really impressed me.  There are so many pretty things on page 288, I don’t know where to look first!


Plum colors continue to gain in popularity and these two purplish vases (Varlikt) stood out to me (page 287).


I also noticed some cute purple drinking glasses (Skoja) and I love their color and shape.


Looks like I’ll have to make another trip to Ikea soon!  Do you enjoy pouring through the Ikea catalog too?  What caught your eye this year?

August 09, 2011

My Favorite Projects: July 2011

Can you believe it's August already!  I'm a little behind with sharing my favorite projects from last month, but here they finally are.

First, here's a look at what kept me busy in July. We had a great month full of celebrations!

It was my husband's 30th birthday. Thanks for all of the nice comments about his party and to those of you who requested a copy of his 1981 trivia game.

We also celebrated the 4th of July and I got a little patriotic with my decor.

My front doorstep got a little festive too.

And I celebrated picking peculiar purple peppers.

As usual, I also found tons of inspiration online.  Here are just a few of the great projects I came across last month:

The Scrap Shoppe shared a handy clothespin picture hanging system

Running Lawyer created an awesome travel photo gallery wall (spoiler alert: I have something similar in the works in my casa)

Hip Hip Hooray! made a very pretty crepe paper garland

Casos & Coisas da Bonfa created a clever wineglass tea-light lamp 

Aren't these projects great?!  What kept you busy last month?

P.S. If you've been featured this month (or last month) feel free to grab a button to display on your site!