Can You Smell Smoke?

Well now, that’s just my brain, working overtime!
Go get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger)– there are a lotta words in this post.

On Monday you saw my lovely SIL’s inspiration pins. I used those to come up with a look for her kitchen/dining area, keeping in mind words like “young,” “fresh,” “fun,” “family,” all of which come to mind when I think of her, my brother-in-law & their kiddos. I laugh like crazy every time I am with them, so I think that a sense of whimsy without fussiness (who has time for fussiness with two kids under 8?) is important in shaping their space.

Here is what I envision:

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1.  A series of the new Kallax (Expedit’s replacement) shelving units– two tall ones laid sideways along the long dining room wall and one short one on the short wall will provide TONS of storage for this busy family, without taking up too much valuable floor space. What I love about the new version is that they come in truly scrumptious colours, including a minty green similar to the colour in one of my SIL’s inspiration shots! They allow for open and closed storage, a must for my clutter-hating SIL. With some chalkboard tags to label the pretty baskets, everyone will
a) be able to put things where they belong,
b) access and take responsibility for their own stuff.
Even the kids will be able to reach– useful for putting things away (Auntie is a firm believer in “A Place for Everything and Everything in It’s Place,” as is Mummy, kiddos! ;) ), and for helping to set the table, etc. The baskets & cubbies are big enough to store table linens, the protein powder, Tupperware, toys, cookbooks… the list is endless, really. These babies are not bestsellers for nothing.

2. A bright and cheery rug under the table will bring in the pop of bright colour my SIL would like in the otherwise neutral space (cupboards & backsplash are white, countertops dark). Choosing an indoor-outdoor rug means easy cleaning when spills happen, and it will resist fading in the strong southern sunlight that enters the room.
The coral colour ties in with some cute artwork in the nearby living space.

3. I imagine a chalkboard wall on the short wall at the foot/head of the dining table with room for personalized hanging clipboards and space for a calendar to help keep everyone organized. The top of the smaller Kallax unit there will provide space for a laptop and a task light (seriously, how GOOD are these Ranarp lights?)  for bill-paying/emailing school, a phone, baskets for keys, maybe a file  storage system for incoming mail, etc. And it will all look good while also being VERY practical. The idea is for my SIL not to feel overwhelmed by piles of stuff on the table.
(She and I both have pilers for partners. Luckily, it is their only flaw! ;) )

4. Okay, Interwebz & family, stay with me here and TRUST ME on this one. I think the long dining room wall needs some visual interest to tie in with and balance the texture of the subway tile backsplash on the opposite side of the room. Which is where my most controversial design choice comes in.
(I can HEAR you, MJ & MB– just bear with me!)
The wallpaper shown here is
a) not removable, after all. Womp womp. BUT, it is STILL a Great Idea because it is
b) very modern and crisp, not old-ladyish or fusty at all,
c) the element that will take this space from “That looks nice, did you do it yourself?” to
“HOLY HANNAH! Your house is AMAAAAAAZING! Honey, this is what I want OUR house to look like!”
There is always one element in every space that causes a client/family member to balk. (See: trying to get men to paint wood.) When that happens, I remind said client/family member that they have asked for my help for precisely this reason: I can see what they cannot. They need to trust me. AJ & MJ, you need to trust me. It’s gonna be BANANAS! So, so, SO very good. It will be the thing that you cannot stop coming into the room to look at, to just stare at because you can’t believe how cool it looks and how you never thought it could look THAT GOOD. And (pinch you!) it’s in YOUR house!

That’s how happy it’s gonna make you.
I promise.

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5. On that long, wallpapered wall, above the Kallax units (in the gorgeous, minty green), I propose a gallery wall of all white frames. Some pieces might be permanent, some might be Real Art, some might be cute finds you pick up here and there, some (I hope) will be art made by my adorable niece and nephew.
It’ll be so great!

6. Finally, my SIL and I are going to DIY us up a series of the groovy Himmeli pendants in a few different sizes. The Pinterest is a-buzz with tutorials and we are relatively clever ladies, so I figure we can manage it. And then we will make my honey/my SIL’s big bro wire up all that Himmeli goodness. Because he loves his baby sister to the end of the world, so of course he will do it with a smile on his face. (And some swear words. It’s how he rolls.)

Alright, let me have it. What do you think?

All In The Family

My sister-in-law has great taste. Her home is chic and modern and crisp and fun, just like her and her family. So I was really flattered when she texted me last week to ask for help with some design advice.  Quicker than you can say “Pinterest,” I was on the job! I set up a joint pin board for us and I started pinning away with my ideas to help her update her kitchen/dining space to make it more functional for her busy family.

Here are a few of the things on her “Must Have” list:

-a “command centre” to keep all my adorable niece & nephew’s school forms, calendars, etc in order
(Did I mention that my niece and nephew are ADORABLE?!)
-space to store stuff– table linens, my brother-in-law’s protein powder (man likes to work out!), all the trappings that come with kids, etc.
-new light for over the table
-cupboard storage reorganization

Not surprisingly, she and I are really on the same page with respect to the vibe/feel of the space– she even pinned some stuff that I had envisioned in my head but had not yet pinned!
Here are some of the images she added to our joint pin board:

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Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

These inspiration photos are very similar to what I had in mind for the space.
Stay tuned to see what I’ve got up my sleeve in Wednesday’s post!

Hoppy Easter!

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Need some quick and easy favours for Easter dinner?

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Here’s what I did with some cloth bags from the bargain bin at Target. First, I hand-stamped them with the recipients’ names and then filled them with some cute treats: Easter-themed bubbles (because nothing says “Spring!” like going outside and blowing bubbles!), and a few sweets. I had some heart-shaped thingies meant to jeuje up Ikea string lights, so added those to the ties on the bags and, quicker than you can say, “The Easter Bunny’s your uncle!” I was done.
My kinda project: speedy and sweet.
I gave mine away to my students, but they’d work well as place settings, too.

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If you celebrated Passover this week, I hope you had a great time and ate lots of yummy goodies.
If you are celebrating Easter this weekend, I hope you have a great time and eat lots of goodies.

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Just Because….

delovelydelightfulsource unknown; via Pinterest

I thought about calling this post “Places-I’d-Love-to-Call-My-Own-But-It’s-Probably-Best-That-They-Are-Not-My-Own-Because-if-They-Were-I’d-Never-Ever-Leave-And-That-Would-Be-Just-Plain-Anti-Social.”

Then I thought better of it.

You’re welcome.

delovelydelightfulsource unknown; via Pinterest

delovelydelightfulsource unknown; via Pinterest

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Hop To It

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Recently, I was overcome by the NEED TO SEW SOMETHING. It had been far too long since I had made anything from scratch and I was longing to get out my sewing machine and some fabric. Serendipitously enough, I stumbled upon this post about Mandi‘s home-sewn bunnies.  Aren’t they adorable? I couldn’t wait to make a few of my own!

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I put my own spin on the size and shape, but I really loved the mis-matched eyes and the quirky personalities of Mandi’s bunnies, so I made sure to give my funny bunnies similar.

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These ones will be making their way to some little ones I know and love. This weekend will see me whipping up a few more in order to get them off to their destinations in time for Easter.

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What are you up to this weekend?

Circular Impressions

A few weeks back, I managed to snag the only Nate Berkus brass lamp base in the store at my local Target. I had had my eye on it online, so I was pretty chuffed when I ran across it.
I snapped it right up, even though there really wasn’t a shade that worked with it.

Luckily (M would certainly choose another word…), I am a lampshade hoarder, so I knew I’d have something in my stash that I could use to finish it off. In the end, the only thing I had that was the right scale was a plain white linen shade.
It looked okay. But it was, to be honest, too white for the room.

The search for the right shade was on.
I tried the coordinating Nate shade, in navy. Didn’t suit the room.
I found a burlap-esque one at Homesense and tried it. It was okay, but a bit too small and it made the light too dim.

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Then, I noticed Jana Bek‘s lovely desk lamps in her Instagram feed.

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I’d seen them around the interwebz and liked them, but Jana had made her OWN version and I thought to myself, “Self, this idea could be adapted to solve the lampshade problem….”  I figured I could easily transfer the painting idea from the base to the shade. Why not?

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Out came my favourite new paint and my brushes. I took a deep breath and….painted.
It looked….not too bad!
But the shade was lacking something, so I taped off the top and added a band of gold.

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I’m pretty happy with it. I will (because it’s just the way I roll) probably keep looking for the Absolutely Perfect Shade, but this one works just fine for now. The shade only cost $20, so it’s not a huge investment if I find something better down the line.

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Crazy Sexy Pom Pom

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 You might remember this from the festive season.

I loved the look of the pink glass bauble dangling from the antler of our golden ibex (or whatever he is) and I missed it when I de-Christmasified.

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Serendipitously, I found myself with some of leftover Crazy Sexy Wool in Hot Punk Pink after I knit myself my fabulous Billie Collar from Wool and the Gang.
I figured it was just about enough to make a big ol’ pompom. So I made one!

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I love the way it adds a pop of brightness to the wall above our bed.

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The size I chose to make was probably a bit too big for the amount of wool I had leftover, but I like the way the “looser” pompom allows for the movement in the wool to be visible. It is the most amazingly soft, thick wool and I like that I can see its sort of curly texture.

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Feel like making a giant pompom or two this weekend?
Here is a tutorial.
(I used a rectangular cardboard piece cut out of a box, rather than using an embroidery hoop.)