Thursday, September 30, 2010

My DIY: Scarf to bolero

This is not quite as lame as it looks, although it is pretty lame. But I'm too busy to finish up any of the good stuff this week.

I've been trying to figure out some more ways to wear scarves since I have so many of them and wear none of them. A scarf theoretically should offer a stylish way to ward off an early autumn chill.

With two safety pins, you can actually get your boho on and convert a scarf that was around your neck or waist into a little jacket.

You will need a large rectangular or square scarf. My scarf is the ikat one from World Market (sadly, no longer available) which is a 40-inch square. To make it a rectangle, I folded it in half.

Then fold the two ends down to make a triangle.

Insert a safety pin about midway between the point of the triangle and the center where the two folds meet (in other words, about 10 to 15 inches from the center of your fabric in case you can't see the tiny pin in the photo.) Do the same on the other side.

Stick your arms through. You may have to adjust the pin location to allow enough looseness for your arms.

Go forth and be groovy.

Back to the motherland

I'll be sharing a few photos from our recent trip back to Ohio. We got to play with babies.

And little boys. Did you know they make electronic hamsters? Brilliant. They have as much personality as a real hamster (e.g. zero), and they live longer. Max and Danny are going over their collection with Tom.

The kids really get into their food.

My cousin and her husband made the rustic table. Note the contrasting glossy chandelier with 'tennis bracelet' accents.

My uncle's grilled fajitas. Yum.

My aunt's raspberry pie made with berries from her backyard and garnished with berries and mint leaves.

Baby Brock demonstrating safe Oreo eating techniques.

Oreo, post-Brock.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rose petal chandelier

Another DIY almost faux capiz-y chandelier. Couldn't resist this one though because it requires NO CUTTING OF A ZILLION LITTLE CIRCLES.

Angie at Country Chic Cottage used dollar store rose petals (you'll need about eight packages) for this one, along with embroidery hoops and some fishing line.

There should be some sort of Nobel prize for Crafting that Avoids Tedious Manual Steps. Angie, I nominate you. And toss some rose petals your way.

Make DIY faux vintage arrows

Vintage arrows are all the decor rage right now. If you don't want to spend $50 plus on a set, you might consider the DIY options from Danielle Thompson at Thompson Family Life.

She made the arrow heads out of . . .love this . . . pencil erasers. Your kids will not shoot their eye out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ripe summer colors - exhibit A

Technically it's fall and summer color is out the window.

But my inspiration for the month of September was the colors of ripe summer fruit and September is not over yet. Here are a few rooms that exhibit the touch of color I was imagining.

Jules at The Diversion Project calls grey 'the launch pad' since it launches other colors so well.

I have not actually applied this colory theory to anything home decor related yet. But I did find a secondhand raspberry colored snakeskin print scarf, which I added to my grey Goodwill dress today, a bold move for me.

Are you bringing on more color this fall?

Also, if you've done a project you'd like to share or you've got some inspiring images of interiors, fashion or anything else for that matter, link up to my Inspired By blog party for September.

Images: Cabbage Rose via Little Blue Deer ; Elle Decor and Micasa via The Diversion Project; de Le Couna via Griege.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The weekend

We visited some wineries along the North Fork of Long Island Saturday. Good cheap fun. Free music at many places, lovely places to walk and sit and extraordinary people watching. Half the sippers looked like they were probably some kind of style editor at Glamour magazine (You know, that casual chicness that looks exhausting to achieve.) or maybe possibly someone famous but you can't quite place who.

Dita at Handmade Nest asked for a photo of my husband and me having fun on the beach. Here is a photo of my husband having fun. There is no photo of me because I was not having fun. Somehow in the middle of a heat wave, we managed to find the only spot in the entire state of New York that was covered in a chilly mist.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gone to the beach

We are making our once a year trip to the beach, my husband's anniversary gift to me since he is not a beachy person.

We never make it there until September. But it's still hot (in the 80s) but not too hot. And the crowds are gone.

Images: Daniel Farmer; The Vamoose

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DIY birch trees three ways

Birch is big. But if you can't afford Cole & Sons Woods wallpaper, there are three DIY projects that give you a bit of birch for less.

Courtney at And Then There was Home made a freehand birch wall mural using white paint.

Elizabeth Abernathy made birch wall art out of cereal boxes. Get the project at Curbly.

Katie Steuernagle at Ohdeedoh made a faux birch log side table out of, among other things, wet toilet paper.

A word about this last project. Some of you may be thinking, why not just get a birch log instead of faking it? From personal experience, I know it can take years to find a stick let alone a log in Brooklyn.

I eventually did my own DIY birch using . . . birch. However, I got it from the trash, not the forest. The glamourous city life.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Christina at Griege calls it "objects of interest." Shari at Little Blue Deer has the great phrase "rustic ephemera." Then there's Thomas O'Brien, the "collector decorator" at Four Walls and a Roof.

What's a girl to do but add more stuff?

So I tried, starting with this mini leather suitcase that I found discarded. Definitely rustic (e.g. beat up) if not ephemera.

Inside I keep a microcosm of my full treasure trove of buttons and belts and beads.

It looked a little lonely by itself.

I added my camera and a notebook.

And then stopped.

And later saw Lindsey Bond's Alabama cottage in the October issue of House Beautiful.

Sigh. The white sofas. The spare art. The lack of stuff. So me. And here's what Lindsey says:

"Pristine white, clean lines, symmetry, neatness: that's what I call serenity . . . I do use objects sparingly, because I don't like clutter. It makes me so nervous."

So here's my "collected yet spare" vignette. In the time it took me to create this, Christi at Charm Home decorated a whole house.

How about you? Collector or minimalist or somewhere in between?

Images: Via Griege; Roman and Williams via Cabbage Rose; Thomas O'Brien via Four Walls and a Roof; Jonny Valiant for House Beautiful via Bellevue and Rose.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DIY Fashion Week

Me watching New York Fashion Week a few years ago: "Who would wear that?"

Me watching New York Fashion Week as an aspirational frugal DIY design blogger: "I could make that."

Get a full rundown on all the DIY possibilities for Spring 2011 at this article on

Image: Getty Images. Necklace and dress: Lela Rose

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My DIY: Felt flowers

A quick and easy DIY for a busy week.

These flowers were so fast to make I forgot to take much in the way of photos. But the principle is the same as for my dahlia from an old shirt. These are easier though since there is no issue with fraying or general limpness.

Cut a strip of felt about two inches wide. For the dahlia, make tapered cuts. For the mum, make straight cuts. Roll the strip and glue as you go. Add a pin back to the back.

Two or three of these on a sweater or knit hat looks mighty cute if I do say so myself. Vintage insect pin optional.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More poufs

In my efforts to keep you up to date with all things pouf and ottoman related, be aware that World Market now has these for $90.

And these for $39. Fulfill your pouf and your suzani craving in one product.

Or DIY it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My DIY: Dollar Store Abstract Expressionism

I've long been a fan of wild black and white expressionists like Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline.

This Kline painting was featured on the last page of this month's House Beautiful.

Some Franz Kline knockoffs appeared in Kevin Sharkey's vaunted NYC apartment makeover. The one above the bed is too scary to sleep under, but I liked the set in the living room.

Fake art is not a new DIY concept, but I bet this is the first abstract expressionist ripoff to rely on a tossed-out poster frame and some dollar store products.

This golf poster 'challenged' me to give it a makeover.

Take some dollar store poster board cut to fit a second-hand frame. Grab some black acrylic paint, dollar store or otherwise. Get loose. Paint.

To show I'm not a complete dilettante, note that I rejected my first painting. Not enough negative space.

Allow to dry and frame.

The Picasso is also a DIY, using the time-honored artistic technique known as "tracing."

Get some more DIY art inspiration at What the Vita.