Now with the holiday season nigh, the air is filled with rich, cozy scents reminiscent of home, family, and years past. Glade has come up with a Limited Edition Winter Collection of fragrances, encapsulating all that is wonderful about the season, including one of my favorites, Sparkling Spruce. (more…)
I LOVE me some freeform, rough-hewn, organic-looking ROCKS lying about the house as home decor (and I’ve been a rockhound for as long as I can remember!). Now it’s particularly fashionable to have some large geode chunk or quartz piece sitting on one’s desk or bookshelf (which looks extremely high-end and chic…just ask Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams). But unfortunately these large hunks of rock just cost so darn much, they’re more an investment piece than something you can just get your hands on easily. I decided to go the DIY route, and make my own version of this ubiquitous geode decor – and use it as my own freeform paperweight for my desk. Plus, it’s waaaaaay cheaper than you might think! (Especially when you have some leftover quartz from other projects, like my DIY Free People Quartz Wrapped Bangle and DIY Free People Gold-Dipped Quartz Necklace.) Here’s how to make your own:
polished quartz chunks (get yours from a rock shop in bulk…I got mine from Ed’s House of Gems in NE Portland) / plastic lid with a lip / Weldbond Adhesive (or other glue for rocks) / clear beach glass (found in the floral section at the craft store – it’s used as vase filler) / gold gilding liquid and brush (optional) / rubber bands (optional)
1. Start by placing your beach glass pieces and favorite quartz pieces into your lid to create the base of the piece. Fit as many as you can so that they are stable on the lid. It’s best to vary the shape and size of the pieces, and mix the polished quartz in with the matte beach glass.
2. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, pick every other piece up and carefully add some generous glue along the edges where it touches the other pieces. Some you’ll pick up, others you won’t, but in the end you want all the pieces to have glue along their touching edges. Allow the base to dry.
3. Once the base is sturdy, spread a large amount of glue in all the crevices and gaps [the glue I chose dries clear]. Press stones into the gaps to fill out, paying attention to the overall shape and making it rough and organic-looking like a real geode would be.
4. Allow to dry. You may have to repeat this process a few times until you have built up the top of the piece, since each layer may get too heavy with rocks and they start sliding off before the glue has dried. Finish with a top layer mostly of quartz piece and allow to dry.
5. (not pictured) To make it look like a true rough-hewn geode piece, once dried flip the piece over and glue rocks to the bottom of the base so the base isn’t so perfectly round and the shape of the lid itself. Rubber bands can hold these pieces of rock onto the base until everything is dry.
6. (not pictured) If you so desire, you can give the bottom of the paperweight a layer of liquid gilding…I totally would have, except the lid to my gilding was fused closed and no amount of wrenching would get it off. So I decided the finished paperweight was better without the gold!!
And that’s it! Even though it’s technically just glass and quartz glued together…one would be very hard-pressed to actually figure out that it wasn’t just some cool-looking rock formation.
(P.S. – the beautiful tea roses in the vase are actually one of my favorite Joss & Main purchases! I love their faux florals; these ones are the soft-petaled super-realistic ones.) Plus, the whole project cost me a total of $12.99 ($9 for the bag of quartz, which I had already used for other DIY’s…and $3.99 for the beach glass from Michael’s). I already had the Weldbond at home!
That sounds like a super-bargain, no?!
Hope your office or shelf looks snazzy and lovely with this chic and cheap upgrade. Happy DIY’ing!
For the past couple months, I’ve turned my attention from clothing and accessory DIY’s to home DIY’s. I’ve felt like I was entering a new phase stylistically, and some areas of our house were still frozen in time – almost exactly the same as they were when we first moved in (now 6 years ago!!). One area was our downstairs bathroom.
Straight off of the kitchen and next to the garage door, this is the bathroom that is one of the first things you see when you come in from the garage – and that people visiting our home will always use. It was a pastel mint color with a mid-90’s-style pastel lavender-and-mint wallpaper border. The previous owners of this house LOVED lavender and pastel mint – the entire outside of the house and the master bath were lavender, and the kitchen, downstairs bathroom, and bedroom were pastel mint. Though I don’t mind either of those colors in clothing (some clothing), the color scheme felt a little dated – and completely NOT us. However, after buying the house in February 2008, I went through a phase of painting Lil Tot’s room…then the kitchen…and then I think Hub got tired of constantly living amongst plastic dropcloths and paint cans and told me to stop.So this bathroom lingered for a long time, untouched. I purchased a Monet poster and a faux orchid thingy from Target to deck it out, for the sole reason that both items matched the color scheme. But I HATED this bathroom, and vowed to eventually do something about it.
In January of this year I finally decided: I was going to go modern, with gray and white and stark, raving mad bright orange. I wanted to go bold and cool and mix patterns and push myself out of my comfort zone. And after much browsing on Pinterest and design/home decor blogs, I finally took the plunge.
First, I painted the main wall facing the door white (Miller – straight out of the can eggshell-finish white!!). Once dry, I taped off my stripes, and added a contrasting gray stripe down with the help of this tutorial. (Thanks, Jen!) Then I painted 3 walls the same gray (Glidden Pebble, in case anyone is wondering) in a satin finish (for easy cleaning – important in a bathroom!). One afternoon I handed Lil Tot 4 colors of coordinating gray and orange paint (ignoring his pleas for “Blue! Blue!”) and asked him to paint me a picture on a 24″ x 24″ canvas I’d gotten from Michael’s. At first he was grumpy, but then got into it. After about 30 minutes or so, he was upset that his painting was awful. I said leave it for a day, and the next day try again. And lo and behold, the next day we got out the paints again, and I encouraged him to add more layers of paint over top the parts he didn’t like. And what do you know? He ended up creating a beautiful, personal piece of art that I just love, and am so proud to hang in our house. Plus, he was so proud of himself for painting something he really liked and not giving up the first time around. (To me, it looks like a police car spinning its wheels in the snow…but it could be anything, really.) Seriously, who needs Monet??!Then I found the perfect mirror to replace that hideous mirror at Target. A friend and I pried the builders’ mirror off following this tutorial, with the help of a short crowbar from Home Depot ($11!) it came off easily.
Inspired by this pin, I decided to make some washi tape gemstones on the wall. I bought some orange and grey-striped tape from Michael’s (the white was actually mat-mounting art tape from Dick Blick’s), and made some faceted shapes on the walls. (I really wanted to buy these wall decals – but just couldn’t afford them.:-(
We had the soap and lotion dispensers (Molton Brown White Mulberry, a Christmas gift from years ago…and if you can find this scent on Ebay I highly, highly recommend it!!), so I placed them on a little striped tray from Target. (Tray was bought around Christmas-time, and I haven’t seen it since the Spring at Target, sorry.)The ugly dust-collecting orchid got the boot, and was replaced with what was actually the Ace ceramic hurricane from ZGallerie. (Now on sale for $7.99, folks!) Inside I placed a clear glass vase I had for filling with flowers. Since the hurricane is open, I could also use a colored vase inside and have it peek through!
The books are Hub’s manga. I absolutely loathe having books in the bathroom – I think it ruins the books due to moisture and ugh! other bacteria floating around – plus, it looks super-tacky. But he loves reading them while doing his business (and leaving them all over the counter), so I just became the willow, bent, and covered his favorites in handmade Nepalese Lokta Bean paper and orange book cloth, both purchased from The Paper Source. Book-covering tutorial is here.
I added a lattice-pattern candle from HomeGoods that I just love – smells like lemongrass! – and a homemade baking soda deodorizer in a jar.
I created that following this tutorial, using baking soda and a couple drops of essential oils (about 2/3 what I put in was Eternal Essence Clean Cotton, and the remaining 1/3 Tangerine essential oil). I can’t recommend the Clean Cotton scent enough – it’s just amaaaazing!!!I used an old jam jar, and replaced the lid with a piece of orange cardstock I painted a pattern on with white paint, then punched holes into. If you feel the bathroom is stinky, just shake thejar from side to side holding it above where the smell is originating – and poof! Gone. No nasty chemicals, no cloying, overpowering scents. Beautiful.
The toilet paper holder got moved to the right utilizing a pivoting design…the previous owners must have been left-handed since all the toilet paper holders in our house are on the left side of the toilets! (With hastily-patched screw holes in the walls to the right of the toilets. 😉 I also got a matching towel ring for the wall next to the sink so Lil Tot stops dripping water all over the floor after washing his hands. And I replaced the cabinet pulls with silver hexagonal ones from the Home Depot.
And finally, towels: picked these two grey-and-white patterned ones at TJ Maxx, and I just love the geometric pattern on them. Perfect for our little sanctuary!
Every time I look at this room, I can’t help but smile. It’s so perfect. I want to spend all day in there. Well, not quite all day…. (Maybe that’s weird to share with the Internet…?)
But at least it’s not an eyesore and I’m no longer embarrassed when any guest visiting our house asks to use the bathroom. Yay for small comforts!
And one last time, BEFORE (above) and AFTER (below)…
What do you think? Would you have been able to go with a pop of bold color in such a small space? Or stick to muted pastels?
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Ladies: who’s with me when I say I need a little extra comfort during that time of the month? We all know how it is during our periods: the cramping, aching, irritability, exhaustion, bloating, and general annoyance. I tend to fall into a routine during this time: wearing loose, comfortable, non-restrictive clothing, indulging by curling up with an escapist book and a mug of my favorite Aveda Thé tea (with hints of peppermint and licorice root, yum!), and spending more time than usual just sitting on my bed to ease my aching back. I found also that doing a fun DIY project takes my mind of the general icky feeling that time of the month brings…and if it’s something that can also bring a little relief to my symptoms, so much the better!
My kitty mug: a gift my grandmother Baba – the only grandparent I ever knew – gave me for my 11th birthday (now more than 25 years ago!). I treasure it and only save it for when I’m feeling really down.
I’ve had this long lumbar pillow for a while (originally found at IKEA), and since I’ve been redoing my bedroom to add feminine pops of pink here and there, I felt like creating a brand-new pillowcase for it. Something beautiful. Something inspirational, that would motivate me beyond the blahs and get me to a better place mentally. Or just help prop me up when I feel like indulging in my tea + book combination. So why not a handwritten quote that I can look at and find motivation when I’m blue? It’s pretty easy to make your own, too. Here’s how: You Need:
piece of pink cotton fabric / white cotton fabric / pillow insert / invisible white zipper / sewing machine / matching thread / pins / fabric scissors / measuring tape / marking chalk / black Sharpie laundry marker
How To: 1. Measure your pillow and cut two pieces of fabric that are the measurements + 0.5″ all around for a seam allowance. I chose to use a patterned fabric for the back so my pillow would be reversible.
2. Cut a slightly smaller piece of the pink fabric.
3. Sketch the words on it with marking chalk. (It helps to place the fabric on something hard, like a cutting board, and use a piece of cut fabric as a guide to keep your words straight.) I just freehanded the words, using this picture as inspiration.)
4. Use a Sharpie to write the words and make it permanent. (I should have used a laundry marker, I realized, rather than a regular Sharpie.) 5. Pin the pink fabric to one piece of white fabric, centering it and folding under the raw edge.
6. Sew around the edge of the pink fabric to secure.
7. Make the two larger fabric pieces into a pillowcase by sewing the zipper to each piece with a 0.5″ seam allowance.
8. Open the zipper a small amount. Flatten the piece right sides together with the zipper at the top, and sew all the way around the remaining 3 sides of the fabric. 9. Turn right-side-out and stuff with your pillow insert. And that’s it! I could seriously stare at this quote all day: it helps snap me out of that “period funk” and gets me DOING things! When someone says “Comfort” this is what comes to mind: my bedroom, filled with soothing tones of lush green with gorgeous pink accents, a downy comforter on my memory foam mattress, and my beautiful Quote Pillow, that reminds me that we women can do anything we set our minds to. And can never be stopped by our periods.
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Now that the weather is warming up, I’m dying to redecorate my deck and patio in bold, fun colors. One of the easiest ways to infuse color into your outdoor decor is to craft up some pillows for your patio furniture. With Tulip tie dye, America’s Favorite Tie Dye, you can Tie Dye Your Summer in a flash just by adding water for bold, beautiful color! Here’s how: (more…)