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Spring Pinterest Polka Dots

8 May

pinterest spring

If you’re unfamiliar with the seasonal Pinterest Challenges (first of all, where have you been?!), it’s a challenge to get pinterest users to stop pinning ‘someday’ projects and start DOING.  All you have to do is take inspiration from pinterest and put your own spin on a project.  This season’s gracious hosts are Sherry @ Young House Love , Katie @ Bower Power Blog, Emily @ Sparkle Meets Pop, and Renee @ RedBirdBlue.  I can’t wait to see what projects they tackle!

My previous season’s Pinterest Challenge projects include sketch chair art, a DIY juju, and a coffee table bench to name a few (check them all out here).

I know I posted a pseudo-pinterest challenge on Monday,

elis one

but I’m an overachiever apparently and couldn’t resist doing another project.

I’ve been loving pretty much any DIY project I see lately with gold polka dots:  Chelsea from Lovely indeed has tackled a gold polka dot photo backdrop, a gold polka dot table runner, and a suede and (you guessed it) gold polka dot mouse pad.  Cassie from Hi Sugarplum went to town on this gold dot vase.  So, I’m jumping on the bandwagon admittedly.

About a month ago, I pinned these pillows from Anthropologie

polka dot anthro pillows

When this season’s challenge came along, it didn’t take me long to decide on this.  And I did it in under an hour, so SCORE!

diy pillow settee

(Please excuse the picture quality- I forgot my good camera at Clark again so I had to rely on my iphone camera and I am not perfected in the science of iphoneography… side note to self for future iphone pics: zooming makes it grainy, zoom AFTER you take the shot.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.)

I already had the gray fabric, a pillow form and sponge, so all I needed to buy was a few dollars worth of copper paint.  I said it, Copper, not Gold.  Gasp! I thought the rosy quality of the copper would compliment the gray best.

diy pillow supplies

I chose to make an envelope style pillow because they’re easy to make and easy to take off the pillow and wash.

First step is to cut your fabric- this will wrap the pillow with seams only on the 2 sides.  Make sure you allow for overlap for the ‘envelope’ part (I allowed 3 inches since I was using a small pillow form)

diy pillow cut to size

Next, fold over one of the shorter sides about 1/4 to 1/2 inch, then fold it over again.  Pin and sew- this will be exposed at your ‘envelope’ opening.

DIY pillow hem edge

Once that is sewn, fold your fabric into your pillow shape.  Make sure the ‘bad side’ of the fabric is out and the finished edge you just created in folded inside so that everything’s corrent when you turn it all right side out.  I’m not a fan whatsoever of karate chopped pillows– I like them overstuffed, so I made my pillow cover 1 inch smaller than my pillow in each direction.

DIY pillow measure size

Once you sew up the 2 sides, you can turn the pillow cover right side out.

DIY pillow flipped

Now it’s time for the fun part!!

DIY pillow paint

I did a few polka dot trials on a scrap piece to figure out my technique before I started on my pillow.

DIY pillow dot trial

I put the pillow into the cover still in its plastic so that I could paint my dots without worrying about the paint bleeding through to the pillow or the back of the fabric.

DIY pillow dots

I let it dry overnight before I took the plastic-covered pillow form out of the cover and re-inserted it sans plastic.

I’m swooning over the copper/gray combo and the scale of the dots!  Yes, I’m swooning over a pillow and yes, I know I have issues.  I embrace them.

DIY pillow

Bear approves.

DIY pillow bear

Are you loving it as much as I am??

diy pillow angle pic

I’d love to see you’re projects!  Link them up in the comments, or just say HI!


House Guest

21 Aug

Who knew that painting and adding picture rail to the dining room would take this long?! *raises hand*  yeah…. I figured it wouldn’t go as quick as I wanted, but a girl can dream.

Walls are painted, trim is up, painted, caulked, holes are filled… all I have left is some paint touch-ups on the trim.  I can’t wait to REALLY pull the room together, but what pleases me most is that the trim looks like belongs.  like it’s always been there.  yay!

My self-imposed hard deadline to get this all touched up and done is this weekend.  Why this weekend?  We have friends coming over on Saturday, but more importantly, Sunday marks the beginning of having a house guest.  Remember how I mentioned that my parents are moving?  As I mentioned, Mom has a job in Boston metro-west area starting next week.  They sold their house in less than 2 weeks, but something’s still missing.  A house to move into!  So until they find the right house, Handy Dad’ll be staying with his sister in CT and Mom’ll be staying with us during the week.  This will be the first time anyone will actually be staying in our ‘guestroom’ which until now has just been the cats room with the extra tv.  Hope they like they’re new roommate!

Since hopefully (for all of our sake’s) this living arrangement will only be for a month or so, I’m trying not to worry too much about design.  Trying.  Not fully succeeding, though.  Mom’s bringing her own twin bed and dresser (just about all the room can fit), but that still won’t stop me from drooling over some spectacular small guest rooms on Pinterest.

I love that daybed and bolsters. I have a thing for bolsters lately. I can’t figure out a way to fit them into my house, though (yet).

What’s not to love in this one. Chic yet cozy.

A little more country than I usually go, but I loves me a stripe on the wall.

Multi-purpose with built-ins and a perfectly painted ceiling? I could live with this in my house.

So, which room do you want, Mom?

sources: 1/2/3/4

Modern Quilting

15 Aug

When I was in middle school, my mom made me a quilt.  Nice and sophisticated twin size with pink and purple hearts.  (I picked out the pattern when I was little in case you were questioning)  When she got around to making my sisters quilt, a few years later (when my sister was in college), she got a queen size quilt with a more grown up blue and gold starbursts.  Since then, Mom’s been promising me a ‘grown up’ quilt if I can just pick a pattern that I like.  Since I’m not drawn to traditional quilts (shocker) it’s easier said than done.

Now, I’m not saying this is the one, but Holy Chic Quilt, Batman!  Those aren’t words I usually associate together- chic and quilt, but this little lady earns it.

Stay tuned tomorrow for updates on my living room TV wall, and hopefully some progress on the dining room!

Random side note:  I’m learning how to type pretty well with one hand, since a certain kitten had decided that blogging time is also cuddle time.

Musical Blasphemy or Design Genius?

9 Aug

For quite a while, I’ve been toying with an idea.  Depending on the day, I could be on either side of the fence.

Painting a piano… is it musical blasphemy or design genius?

Today I’m on the “paint it” side of the fence.  Meet my piano:

I grew up with this piano.  It has stories.  Stories that include being doused with Sprite while partying like it was 1999 (when it turned 1999).  Prior to my parents owning the piano, it was my grandmothers.  It is not, however, a precious antique.  The plastic keys are chipped, the finish could use help in some spots, and the bench has been repaired several times.  The sentiment with the piano far exceeds it’s value, so I’ve been considering making it more of a focal point.  with paint.

I dream about this piano from Design Mom.  That green is

Shabby chic normally gets glares from me, but Lisa from The Pennington Point just hit the nail on the head with her blue piano.

Yellow? Yes, please.  Bridget at Bake at 350 certainly knows how to treat a $99 thrift store piano right.

Turquoise piano AND a plate wall? OK! (Check out the room in more detail at Addicted 2 Decorating)

Yup, definitely on the “paint it” side today, especially after looking at those pianos again.  I think a bright color would bring out the art deco lines of my piano and make it feel more special.  Of course getting it tuned more than once every 3 years would probably make it feel special, but we really don’t want to spoil it too much.  No one likes a pampered piano.  Am I right?

So which side of the fence are you on?

Styling Crash Course

31 Jul

This week I’ve decided to give myself a styling crash course.  It’s kind of embarrassing actually, but in the year and a half that we’ve had this house, I really haven’t styled anything.  I made things look nice for my housewarming over a year ago and then have been collecting things in piles since.  *slaps self on back of hand*  bad dog designer.  That’s also why I’ve been dragging my feet in showing you an updated home tour (soon, I promise!!)

Naturally before I actually got to styling my own house, I needed to find some inspiration images online.  My name is Karen, and I’m a Pinterest addict.  Such eye-candy!

The first room in my house to get styled is the bedroom.  I’ve got all the big components in it- furniture, curtains, bed linens… Now, it’s all about the icing on the cake, the cherry on top- the accessories!

This really was easy- all I had to do to style the bedroom was put a cat on it.  Me-ow.

Ok, well, maybe there was a bit more to bedroom details than capturing Charlie’s excitement over a made bed.  I was losing daylight with my futzing styling, so unfortunately you’ll have to be patient until tomorrow when I can show you some well lit styling montages.

AAAAAAND the living room is getting a very exciting addition this week (no, not a chair yet) that I can’t wait to share with you.

So many pretty things are happening over here this week, I hope you stay tuned!

Blogging My Way

28 Jun

When people ask me the name of my blog, I generally get sideways glances when I tell them.  It’s long winded, I know, but there is a point behind it, I swear!  I originally started blogging because I was feeling lost.  I decided that if I started exploring my creativity and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, it might lead me to some realizations about myself and what I wanted out of life.  My original plan was to commit to blogging at least twice a week for at least a year (hence the “Year”) and explore things outside of my comfort zone (“Strategic”), in hopes that by challenging myself, I would open up an unknown world of possibility (“Serendipity”).

serendipity [ˌsɛrənˈdɪpɪtɪ] n the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident

When I began blogging a year and a half ago, I had no idea that it would turn into a home design/DIY focused blog and that it would help me rediscover my design passions.  Serendipitous, don’t you think?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist).  I’ve enjoyed blogging and sharing my ‘adventures’ more than I ever anticipated, so it’s time to up my game.

For the past month, I’ve been an eager learner in Blogging Your Way 2.0 run by the amazing Holly Becker (of Decor8).  Maybe I can absorb some of her and the other teachers’ blogging awesomeness simply by proximity.  Just in case that doesn’t work, however, I figure I should make the most of the lessons and homework assignments.  (Some of the homework assignments have included this post and this post).  The class has far exceeded my expectations!  It has me looking at my blog in a whole new light.  I’m just disappointed that the month-long class is almost over- I want more!

The most beneficial part of this class for me is that it’s helping me find my voice.  This is an outlet for me to share my passion and build my brand, and I need to present my thoughts in the best possible way.  I always know what point I want to get across in my posts (sometimes babbling a bit too much about it), but I’m starting to really understand the best way to curate the information.  There will be a bit of trial and error really figuring this stuff out, but it’s only getting better from here!

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

3 Ways to avoid Box Store Syndrome

20 Jun

Box Store Syndrome

1. A condition characterized by look-alike living rooms, bland bedrooms, and souless spaces.

2. Letting an unknown store decorator dictate your style; lacking a personal touch.

Never ever ever ever buy all the pieces of furniture in one set.  We’ve all done it.  We should all not do it again.  Let’s make a deal.

I’m as guilty as the rest of you, but I’m still kicking myself for it.  Take my living room.  When we first moved in, our living room was a bit of a snooze (understatement of the year).  It said nothing about who we are and it really could have been a room in any house.

By breaking up the seating set and mixing up materials with a new glass coffee table, even the in-progress living room is much more interesting.

Play with styles and finishes.  Have fun with your furniture!  You can still find a living room ‘set’ at one store, though if you look a little harder.  Instead of buying the sofa and chair of the same collection, look around the showroom for complimenting pieces.

Don’t get me wrong, not all the pieces need to be different.  A sofa of one style, and a pair of chairs in another can have the same stunning effect.

Own your space!  There are many other ways personalize a space beyond family photos.  Your room should reflect who you are.  Are you a fun young couple who loves the outdoors?  Your space should not be a stuffy formal room with perfectly polished accessories.  Love hiking? Incorporate rustic woods.  Are you a theater buff?  Add drama through window treatments.  Do you LOVE the color purple? (guilty!)  Don’t shy away from it, celebrate it!  If your room feels like YOU, it will feel more like home.

One of the best ways to put your stamp on a space is through accessories.

If an item speaks to you, find a way to incorporate it into your space.  Souvenirs from your travels, artwork from your children, or simply a piece that makes you smile will all add personality to your surroundings.

Group items together for a more cohesive feel.  Pro tip: odd numbers are almost always more pleasing to the eye.  Try this in action by grouping 3 items of different scales together (think small, med, and large).

Emily Henderson via Centsational Girl