June Recap

Friends. How can we possibly be wrapping up June already? My summer's just getting started! And so far it's just been a bunch of naps. Mostly naps, with a few other activities thrown in between naps. My first week of summer vacation is now over, so I'm ready to look back at June and see how it went:

Books Read

This is Where I Leave You was really sad, but the disfunctional family thing was still kind of funny. The Night Circus started out magical and beautiful, but it ended up being a disappointment. Still, finishing a book is often like finishing a run-even if it wasn't ideal, I still end up with a fresh, new perspective. 

Miles Ran
With the end up the school year and the start of this crazy heat, my mileage dropped a little this month. I ran a total of 29 miles in June, so I'm hoping to bump that up a bit in July.

Rooms Admired
I loved how this home was light and bright, but full of greenery and life. This NYC industrial loft was amazing with so much good stuff you just can't DIY: incredibly high ceilings with skylights, concrete walls, and the perfect open floor plan. I die!

Projects Completed

After a DIY fail, I bounced back with this questionable take on the wire pendant light. The macraméd cord is definitely staying, but the wire pendant may get another try someday. I did find a little time in this busy month to liquid leaf some thrift store needlepoint, which found a home in the dining room.

Internet Goodies Found
+ Can you tell I like plus signs? Cotton and Flax features FREE patterned wallpaper for iPhones, and this months' pattern is the white plus sign on linen!
+ Maybe I get a little too excited about blogs, because I'm weirdly excited about the purchase of this house.
+ Janae shared some great racing tips (because this is obviously a running blog!).

I'm sad to see June go, but I'm going to enjoy July to pieces. I plan to do a lot of running, reading, relaxing, and I've got some DIY projects up my sleeve.  Stay tuned!

So tell me...

Have you read any good books lately?  I'm ready for some more suggestions!
-I've started Gone Girl and I'm loving it, and next I'm thinking about starting A Prayer for Owen Meany.

What happens to your workout schedule when it gets this hot? Or are you lucky enough to live somewhere with milder summers?
-Even when I get up at 4:30 a.m. it's still already 75 degrees and humid, so I just have to be miserable for a while. :(  Still better than running on a treadmill, though.

Have you had any project fails lately?
-Did you see my first wire pendant light?

DIY Wire Pendant Light

While flipping through the pages of Lonny a few weeks ago, I came across an image of a pendant light with its cord wrapped in jute. The jute was just tied with repeating side knots so that the jute appeared to spiral around the cord. I immediately thought, I can do that!  So I did:

I added a pretty clear bulb, but I never hung it up. It still looked a little bare. 

I've already made jute pendant shades, so I wanted this shade to look a little different. Then one day, while digging through my craft supplies for some liquid leaf, look what I found:

So I wondered: could I make a shade out of wire?  Maybe something like this:


So I gathered up some materials and tried my best to build a pendant light sculpture out of wire.

My guesses on supplies were: an exercise ball, all the different types of wire I could find around my house, and some pliers that also cut wire. 

I started out making some giant loops out of wire, using the size of the exercise ball as a guide.  Then I tried to assemble the loops into a globe, tying them together with more wire anywhere they intersected.

Spoiler: it was a DIY failure. When I ran out of wire, I only had this, but I didn't believe it was going to get any better, so I stopped there.

It was too floppy, and the wire was bent in all directions, so it looked like a mess. I stuffed it in the trash and ate some Oreos to make myself feel better.

Then I had a thought. I went back to my inspiration photos, and I noticed something about that Young House Love light. This one:

I love this light. And doesn't it look like two halves of a wire globe put together? Do I have anything like that?

Do those look a little like wire plant hangers, maybe?

I dug a couple of plant hangers out of my garage, and I removed that bird nest looking stuff from inside them and the chains they were hanging from. I put the two halves together with some wire, stuck my light inside (I switched back to a frosted bulb, because the clear one was blinding with just the wire!), and I ended up with this:

Hmm. I like it! I don't love it, though. It's a lot smaller than what I wanted. But it was free, since I used things I already had around my house, and it provides more light in the dressing room, which I needed. And I really do like it. The wire is sturdy and the pattern is a lot fancier than anything I could have made. It's really a perfect smaller version of what I wanted. I just wish it was bigger.

But, if you're looking for the easiest possible way to get a cheap wire pendant, and you don't mind it being a little smaller than the YHL light, the plant hanger plan works pretty well. I've thought about taking the light out and spray painting the wire part a fun color, or maybe black, so all the wire would match. 

So what do you think? Have you made anything for your home lately?

Decorating With Books

Good morning!

I've had a Pinterest board going for a while now with images of beautiful decorating with books. I love to read, so I always have plenty of books around, and books are a great way to add color and interest to a room. Especially for me. I tend to keep wall colors and furnishings pretty neutral, so books and accessories are where I'm comfortable adding color, so I can change it at any time.

Besides, I want every visitor to my home to know that I'm a reader and what I like to read. In my home, you'll find vintage crafting books, books about photography, politics, and comedy. I have a few books I ordered from Scholastic when I was in elementary school and I loved them so much I've kept them. I have some 100+ year old elementary spelling and reading books I found at a flea market, some biographies, Dave Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, and Steve Martin all represented, and some cookbooks other people have bought for me (ha!). Don't you love how much you can learn about a person from examining their bookshelves?

Here are some of my favorite rooms where books aren't just for reading:

Shortly after I first came across this image with all the National Geographics, I actually found piles upon piles of Nat Geo's at a garage sale for really cheap. But for some reason, maybe it was just a really hot day and I was tired, the thought of buying and picking up all those magazines just didn't sound appealing. I've been kicking myself ever since.

All of these images plus many more with great ideas for decorating with books can be found on my Pinterest page.

Kitchen Tour

Good morning! Time to tour my kitchen!  Disclaimer: this is a pretty small room and it was really tough to photograph. So be nice.

The previous owners of our home did a gut renovation of this kitchen before we got here. They installed the new lighting, cabinets, tile countertops, tin ceiling, stainless steel backsplash, sink and faucet, and floor tiles. I thought those things looked fine, and I couldn't afford to redo them, so they stayed as-is. I just did a few cosmetic improvements here and there.

I added the pot hanger early on. I'm not sure if I still like it that much, and our pots and pans are all old hand-me-downs from my family, but now that I've poked holes in the tin ceiling, I guess we'll keep it!  

The previous owner's paint job in this room was pretty terrible. I think they did it at the last minute as they were moving. Not only was it hideous with mustard walls and black trim, but the paint was bubbling and peeling off the trim.  We removed every piece of trim and sanded it down to bare wood to start fresh before priming and painting again. Now that paint is not going anywhere. Just like in the living room, the trim is Simply White, and the walls are Moonlight White, both by Benjamin Moore. We also added the trim along where the ceiling meets the wall. Before, it was just a rough edge of tin.

I painted the basement door with chalkboard paint, and the mountain art is a DIY with construction paper. The photo is an enlarged print from Celebration City in Branson, MO. You know, one of those old-timey pictures where you dress up and hold guns? It was taken about ten years ago, when I was still blonde.

I painted that stair runner forever ago. That landing below the little window where the living room stairs meet the kitchen stairs is actually called a "saddle." Then the stairs join together and go up to the second floor. The art on the wall is a Donald Judd knock-off by me, made with electrical tape.  

We sanded down the windows to bare wood, just like everything else, but I didn't repaint the inside part of the kitchen windows. My original plan was to paint that part of the windows Onyx, like our fireplace, but since then I've gotten busy with listing our house and making higher-priority repairs, so they are currently just stained wood. I'm not sure if I'll do anything different with them at this point.

Painting the walls of this room was a nightmare. At first, I had planned to paint this room light gray, like the dining room. I didn't think the wood cabinets would look right next to white walls, and I thought this room got enough light. After a coat of BM's Stonington Gray, I was stunned to see that the gray I had picked out looked periwinkle and way too dark. It was horrible.

So, I thought all I needed to do was go with a lighter gray. I grabbed another gallon of BM Classic Gray, which is the gray in our dining room and applied two coats. Still periwinkle and horrible. And still not sure how that color could look so right in the dining room and look so gross in the very next room.

I went with Moonlight White out of desperation, having painted my kitchen two different colors and two coats of each. Fortunately, this finally seemed to work, although I think I would have given up after that no matter how it looked. Interestingly, the Moonlight White looks like light gray in this room. *sigh*

At the end of the day, I really do love this kitchen. The layout really makes the most of the space, considering that we're dealing with the windows, stairs, and four doors in this tiny little kitchen. The tin ceiling and track lighting seem to make this room sparkle, and it really takes about ten minutes to get it completely clean.

And here's my favorite part:



See what I mean about those paint colors? That before photo was from our walk-through with our realtor, during the day!  

Light and Breezy

This home looks exactly how I imagine spring. Bright and clean, with the door wide open to let the outdoors in. I'm working hard to get better at keeping plants alive in my home, because I love this look of fresh, clean white everywhere with something living in every room. These rooms look like they would be so easy to breathe in.

View more pictures of this lovely home here.

Liquid Leaf + Needlepoint

The day I finished my grade cards, I came home to relax, cracked open a bottle of liquid leaf, and went to town on some dingy frames I'd gotten at a flea market. Inside the frames there were some weird bird needlepoints, definitely something I want on my walls, so I thought some liquid leaf might dress up the frames a little.

Much better! Okay, last week of school. Let's do this!

I Want to Paint a Wall Black

I have such an urge to paint a wall in my home black. Look how everything in front of these black walls suddenly looks so much better.  

I think this is a great way to create a focal point in the room, like the head of the bed or where the desk sits. It looks best with white or light gray walls of course, and you can't just paint it black and forget it-there must be some great furniture, art, or accessories to feature in front of it. I think this would be a great way to define a space in an open floor plan. Maybe paint the wall behind the dining nook black? Then place an Ikea Docksta table in front of it and hang a statement art piece....

Our house in on the market right now, so I'm wondering how a potential buyer might feel about a black wall. I may have to save this idea for our next home. How do you feel about a black wall, or accent walls in general?

{Etsy Love} Emily's House London

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but I think they look even better (and feel warmer on bare feet) with a few vintage rugs thrown around. While digging around Etsy recently, I stumbled upon Emily's House London, a shop with a great selection of handmade Turkish kilims and rugs. Here's the info from the shop:
My carpets are my passion! Inspiring kilims, pile rugs and vintage carpets, all handmade, unique and timeless. Most rugs are made by Berber woman or Turkish nomads, who have been weaving these carpets initially for their own domestic use. Life is spend on the floor upon which various coverings are always being laid to serve as bedding, blankets, decoration for their homes and tents or as protection against the stony floor. The skills of weaving are obtained by observation and practice and are passed on from mother to daughter. The general look and feel of rug will always be in line with the tradition of the weaver's tribe, but as there is no drawing or cartoon to follow, there is much room for the maker's own imagination, feelings and fantasy. This makes every weaver the artist of her own rug and every piece unique.
Beautiful, unique pieces with a story behind them?  Always welcome in my house. Here are a few of my favorites from Emily's House London:

Aren't they beautiful? As you can tell, I may like my walls and furniture to be calm and peaceful, but when it comes to accessories, I'm needing some color. So what do you think? Any favorites? Do tell!
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