January 23, 2012

Fraiser Crane's Apartment: Modernized

It's been a while since I did a modernized a TV show home set, but upon a reader request's I wanted to update the set of Fraiser (you can check out my past TV updates: The Golden GirlsThree's Company and The Brady Bunch here).

Dr. Fraiser Crane, a bachelor with a refined taste for the finer things in life, lived in his Seattle apartment with his father Marty. We watched Fraiser in his apartment from 1993 to 2004, during which time he had a contemporary style.  He had a neutral living room, except of course for Marty's old recliner chair.

In the dining area, Fraiser had a pedestal table with glass top and neutral chair.


Fraiser's set still has a lot of elements which could still be stylish today, but I'd like to think that if Fraiser was still living in Seattle he'd have a more modern and minimalistic style these days.


Here's how I'd modernize Fraiser's apartment if the TV show took place today:


- New neutral sofa.  Still neutral, but with a sleeker design (Crate & Barrel)
- Curved console table (West Elm)
- Modern coffee table. I think Fraiser would be into more minimalist look these days. (Crate & Barrel)
- Floor lamp to update the torch lights he has at the back of the room. (Pottery Barn)
- Modern recliner.  I think Martin would agree to this sleek, but comfy chair. (West Elm)
- Wood and metal side table, perfect for holding Martin's beer and remote. (West Elm)
- Glass dining table. Still glass, but a new look. (Crate & Barrel)
- Cutback chairs. Since the rest of the room is neutral, I think Fraiser would like these patterned chairs. (Target)

That's how I imagine Fraiser living these days, back in his Seattle pad.  Did you watch Fraiser?  I still like to catch the re-runs on TV.  I have a lot of fun putting these looks together, so leave a comment if there are any other TV shows you'd like to see updated.

January 22, 2012

Snowy Snout

I’ve been quarantining myself at home this past week with a bad cold.  Yesterday, I finally felt better enough to step foot outside to play with my pup in the snow.  Although we’ve had a few brutally cold spells, overall this winter has been pretty mild and this is the first real snow fall we’ve seen all season (aside from a small sprinkle of freak October snow).  My pup loves the snow and was pumped to get outside to play and munch on some ice.

Today we dressed him in a doggy vest (he’s a little guy and needs clothes to keep warm sometimes) and he couldn’t wait to get outside to play a game of soccer with his dad.

Has it finally snowed around you?  Any snowmen and snow angels in your neck of the woods?

January 18, 2012

DIY Fabric Gift Bags

So I know Christmas is long over, but I had to do just one last holiday related post and in a minute you'll see why.  Plus, I bet you are still finding pine needles across your house, so that makes one more holiday post okay in my book.  Now, here’s what my house looked like before gift exchanging with my family last year (2010):


Presents were everywhere and those plastic bags were filled with even  more wrapped gifts.  I don’t have an aftermath shot of that year, but here’s what the room looked like after all the gifts had been opened a few years ago:

Crazy right?  A big wrapping paper mess!  Now I know many families have a trash bag prepared and throw wrapping paper away as they open gifts, but I’ve always hated ruining the fun of present opening with having to stop and cleanup every 2 minutes.  You have to admit it is kind of fun to make a big giant mess and shouldn’t exchanging presents be fun?  Of course, cleaning up that mess is no fun at all.  Plus, wrapping so many presents is a nightmare!  Especially when there is a lot of other things to do for the holidays, gift wrapping just seems like a chore.

So after last year, my sister had the brilliant idea to sew reusable fabric gift bags.  It would be less of a mess, greener (no more wasting paper and these are reusable each year), cheaper in the long run (no more buying paper), more durable than using paper gift bags, easy to store when not in use, and best of all save a TON of time gift wrapping.  So we tried it this past year.  And here’s what the tree looked like:


Still a lot of presents, but the majority of them were in nice and neat cloth gift bags (we didn’t have enough bags for all of the gifts).  And let me tell you, gift wrapping was a breeze this year!  Now, I chose to loosely wrap/cover the presents in tissue paper before putting them in the fabric gift bags because I was worried some of the unwrapping mystery fun would be lost without wrapping, but it really wasn’t a big deal.  My sister just put her gifts in the bags, without tissue paper, and opening them wasn’t any less fun.  You can still shake or feel the bag and have pre-opening present guessing fun with the fabric bags so none of the “magic” was lost. 

So why am I telling you about this now?  Because now is the perfect time to buy holiday fabric because it’s on clearance!  Last year, around this time, I went to Walmart and stocked up on holiday fabric once it was 50 or 75% off.  I got several prints and I believe they were about $1.10 per yard.  I bought a LOT of it and ended up spending about $25 total.  Our plan was to sew the bags throughout the year, but of course we procrastinated until this past December (that’s why we ended up running out of time and not having enough bags sewn).  I’m not sure what their selection is like now, but a year ago when I bought the fabric, Walmart had cute holiday prints like Frosty the Snowman and Winnie the Pooh.

To make the bags, we first cut the fabric using paper gift bags as a guide for size.  I just put the paper gift bag on my fabric and cut the fabric to be slightly taller and two times wider than the paper template.  Then, depending on how it was cut (either 2 or 3 sides would have to be sewn shut depending on the kinds of pieces you are using) I sewed all of the sides together, just leaving an opening at the top.  The top was hemmed and we ran ribbon through so the bags would tie shut.  And its not necessary, but when I wasn’t lazy, I also sewed across the bottom two corners as shown so the finished product would have a more defined gift bag shape.  The photo below shows where I sewed in red:


Pretty simple!  As I mentioned before, I am a total novice when it comes to sewing, but this was a very easy project for me.  Here’s what this finished gift bag looked like:


I am very happy my sister convinced me to do this (she’s going to love reading that).  The biggest benefit of the gift bags is not having to spend hours wrapping presents like we used to.   The bags were a huge time saver and not any less fun.  My nephews (all under age 8) didn’t seem to care how the presents were wrapped and enjoyed opening them just the same.  Hopefully we will sew the remainder of our fabric into bags ahead of next December so we will be fully stocked up for the next holiday season.  Only 11 months to go!

January 11, 2012

2012 New DIYear Resolutions

Being the list-making person that I am, I had to put together a list of resolutions/goals for 2012, or as I like to call them - New DIYear Resolutions (get it- because it's DIY stuff!)  I will be updating everyone on my 2011 goals soon (spoiler: I did surprisingly well) but in the meanwhile I wanted to share what I hope will be on the docket for twenty-twelve.

2012 New DIYear Resolutions:

Refinish Garage Sale Chest:  Back in July 2010, I bought a dingy and dirty, but full of potential, wood cabinet at a garage sale for only $2.  But embarrassingly, this diamond in the rough has been sitting in my garage as-is since the day I bought it.  It's high time to restore this beauty.

Refinish Our Fireplace:  Our fireplace was already on my to-do list back in 2010 and I achieved my goal for that year when my Dad built an expanded mantle shelf (see the improved before-and-after below).  Since then, I also figured out how to disguise our flat screen TV cables.  But, I'd really like to take the fireplace one step further by getting rid of the brass accents, painting the mantle, and maybe adding some new tile.

Create a Proper Window Seat: We have a nice window seat area in our living room, but I've never gotten around to making a nice cushion for it.  I bought the foam for the cushion when we first moved in but had to put it away when we got our dog and he went through his rebelious teething and chewing stage.  Now that he's a good boy (most of the time), I've put the foam cushion back but have only loosely wrapped it in some boring extra fabric I had on hand.  This year, I'd like to sew a proper window seat cushion with some fun fabric and accessorize it with new pillows.

Ongoing Organizing: I've had organizing on my goals list for both 2010 and 2011.  I accomplished a lot of organizing in the last two years, but I've always felt that this has to be an ongoing goal in order keep everything shipshape.  I think decluttering as well as keeping drawers, closets, and papers in order is an ongoing process so I plan to continue my organizational kick throughout 2012.  This year, I may try to be more organized with my organizing (there's a type-A statement if I've ever heard one) by tasking myself with one specific closet or area per month to tackle.  In addition to organizing, I have been experimenting with a few different cleaning methods and plans to keep the house nice and tidy.  My goal for the year is to have my house pass the "pop-in" test at all times, meaning that my house is clean enough to have anyone stop by at any time.  Wish me luck with that one!

In addition to my home goals, I also wanted to share my personal resolutions this year.  

Daily Photo Project:  This year, I'd like to take one photo every single day that captures a highlight or something memorable from the day.  I'm hoping that this will be like a visual diary where I'll be able to look back on the year and see the memorable moments.  In the 11 days that I've been doing this so far, I've also found that it's been getting me to think creativly.  I'm taking the photos with my iPhone and the simplicity of the phone camera is making me put a lot of thought into how the image should be framed and getting me to see simple everyday things as camera-worthy moments.

Learn to use SLR Camera:  My other photo related goal for the year is to learn to use a DSLR camera.  I purchased a Canon Rebel T3 over the holidays and am really excited to join the SLR world.  I've been playing around with the camera, but I really need to sit down, crack open my manual, and learn the ins and outs of it.  I know there are a lot of great resources online to learn to use DSLRs, are there any resources you can recommend?

Travel:  You probably already know how much I like to travel, heck I even created a travel gallery wall devoted to enjoying all of my vacation photos.  So of course I'd love to take another vacation in 2012.  We haven't made any plans about where or when yet, but I hope 2012 brings us somewhere warm and preferably beachy.

So those are my goals for 2012!  I have a few projects that I'd really like to accomplish, but I've left a lot of time for myself to accomplish home projects as they come up.  What are your goals for the year?

January 10, 2012

2012 Free Printable Calendar

When I’m not around here blogging, I have an office job as my full time gig.  At work, I constantly need to use a calendar and I like the kind that shows all 12 months on one page.  I often have to plan projects a few months in advance, so it’s helpful to see the entire year all at once.  I usually just print something basic, but since I’m always looking at this thing, I decided to make a calendar myself this year so it would be easy to read, but also kinda pretty.  Here’s the calendar I came up with that’s now hanging at my desk at work (and no, there is no way to hide those cables- I tried!)
And here’s a close-up of the calendar (sorry for the iPhone pics).  I kept the calendar simple, but used some cute colors to make it pretty.  I also wanted a way to highlight holidays without making a big notation so I simply changed the color of their dates.
Want a free printable copy of this calendar?  You’re in luck, you can download this printable calendar in either PDF or Word format.  I included Word format in case you wanted to make any edits to it or wanted to highlight birthdays or other events on it.   Nothing is required to print the calendar, just click on the link and be on your way, but if you wanted to help a girl out I’d love it if you followed me on Google Friend Connect/Blogger or Twitter in return.  Enjoy and Happy 2012!

January 09, 2012

UPS My Choice Giveaway Winner

Back before the holidays, I blogged about a new service called UPS My Choice. This is a new service by UPS that allows members to sign up for free and receive phone, email, or text alerts notifying you in advance of when your packages will arrive and approximate delivery time frames.

The holidays might be over, but this is a cool service for anytime of year.  And I know y'all are shopping online year-round!  You can sign up for UPS My Choice here.

UPS was kind enough to sponsor a gift-card giveaway and I'm happy to announce that the winner is Shellie (I have emailed you with details).

Disclosure: I received compensation from UPS in the form of a gift card to participate in this campaign promoting the UPS My Choice delivery service. In addition, UPS provided the gift card I am using as the prize in my promotion. 

January 04, 2012

Apartment Guide's Helpful Tips & Giveaway Winner

Now that the holidays are over, I know a lot of us are anxious to get our homes back in order.  I must confess that our Christmas tree is still up, ornaments and all, as I’m never one to rush to take it down due to a mix of enjoying how it looks/smells and dreading the work to take down all of the holiday d├ęcor and put ornaments away.  But once the tree does go down, I always admire how my house looks less cluttered and bigger, plus I get to play around with new ways to decorate as I put my usual decorations back up.  I’ll be posting about this soon (you know, once that tree actually comes down), but in the meanwhile I wanted to bring you some helpful home decorating tips from our friends at Apartment Guide.

You probably know about Apartment Guide as a great source to find a new place to rent (they have photos, floor plans, and lots of moving tips), but over on Moving Today they have articles and resources not only if you’re moving but if you’re already moved in and looking to spruce up your place.  And nothing could be more timely than their article about cleaning up after the holidays.  They offer helpful tips like:

-Say Goodbye: Don’t get overly sentimental and keep decorations up too long (*cough*cough* I don’t know anyone like that *cough*cough*).
-Organize: Take time to pack decorations away nicely so they’re stored safely and easy to find next year.
-Re-Gift the Wrapping: Organize used gift boxes and bows to re-use later (I like to this one too).
-Plan Ahead: While taking decorations down, inspect items like strings of light that have gone out and fix or toss them so you won’t be hassled with it next year.
-Recycle: Find out what options your community offers to recycle live trees and wreaths.
-Clean Up: Give your place a thorough cleaning and enjoy your post-holiday look.

You can read the full article here. Of course they also have plenty of non-holiday related articles too, like tips for cleaning out your kitchen pantry, how to save money on cleaning supplies, tips for living with small closets, and tips for keeping your bathroom clean.  Plus, over on the ApartmentGuide.com blog they have lots of great articles too.  And of course you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Last, but not least, I also wanted to announce the winner of the $50 Amex giftcard giveaway courtesy of Apartment Guide.  Congratulations goes to Laura R!  I have messaged you the details.  Thanks to those that entered!

I'll be sharing my holiday clean-up efforts soon.  Are you already packed up and put away or are you a holiday procrastinator like me?

Full disclosure: Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “How to Decorate Your First Place” program.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “How to Decorate Your First Place” program. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

January 03, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Happy 2012!  Whew!  Christmas and New Years were a whirlwind of fun, but boy am I wiped out now!  I was lucky enough to have over a week and a half off of work, but between finishing gift shopping, Christmas preparations, family get togethers, New Years Eve party preparations, and New Years Eve and Day parties, I am exhausted!  I wouldn’t change a thing though, I love the holidays and am fortunate I got to spend quality time with my family.

Christmas was wonderful.  We had a few great family dinners, I happily gifted a few surprises, and Santa was very kind to me as well.  I was surprised with the gift of a new sewing machine that I've already put to good use.  My sweet hubby also surprised me with a collection of the greatest movies of all time, so you can add watching them to my 2012 to-do list.  Cooking is also on my to-do list, as I got shiny stainless steel pots and pans from my family.  New Years was a great deal of fun too.  I threw my annual New Years Eve bash followed by a sleepy, more relaxed New Years Day leftover lunch.  I loved having my family over and spending time together on a festive occasion.  We served good luck foods from around the world and had 12 grapes in each of our champagne glasses at midnight so each month of the new year would be sweet.  I even stayed up until 4 am.  It was a grand time!  Here's a glimpse of what the last two weeks looked like around here.
December 2011

But now I'm back to work and back to blogging.  Thanks to everyone who reads this little 'ol blog, you make me feel truly special!  I am amazed by how much this blog has grown over the past year and I have my readers to thank!  And can bet your bottom dollar that I'm looking forward to 2012 around here.  I'll be back with my annual recap and New Years resolutions soon.  I'm looking forward to more projects and blogging more often in 2012.  How were your holidays?  Is there anything you'd like to see more of here in the new year?