February 28, 2011

show me, show me!

OK guys and gals.  I know you've been up to some fun DIY projects.  I can feel it.  ;)  So I want to see!!  Send pics of your current triumph in the DIY world to rachelshouseblog@gmail.com and maybe I'll post it on the blog!!

Check out this before and after if you need a tad bit more inspiration before getting started.  LOVE.

February 26, 2011

Jaw dropping photo albums

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I need a photo album that looks like this PRONTO.  Does anyone know where I can get one of these?  Or better yet...how to make one?  No slip covers, please.

February 25, 2011

I *heart* this: over-dyed vintage rugs

These re-purposed rugs from ABC Carpet are the cat's meow.  They're called Color Reform rugs and are essentially vintage rugs over-dyed in a fun and funky way.  As soon as the budget allows, I'm getting one of these babies for my great room!!

Price ranges anywhere from $1299 to $15199 currently.  A pretty penny, yes.  But worth every single one of those pretty pennies. :)

February 23, 2011

DIY fabric florettes

I've received quite a few inquiries on my petite fabric flowers, so I thought I'd do a quick little tutorial on how to make these sweet things.  They are quick and easy, even for the DIY novice.  So, here's how it's done!
1.  Cut out 8 same sized circles.  If you are not a perfectionist, this project is for you!!  The circles do not have to be exactly the same size, cut perfectly, can have tattered edges, etc.  This is what makes this project so quick!  The size I've used in the illustrations below are 2" in diameter, but honestly there is no rule as to how big or small so go wild!  I've seen other people use 6 circles instead of 8, but I like them fuller looking.
2.  Fold the circle in half and then again into a pie shape.
3.  Thread your needle through the folded tip.
4.  Repeat until all 8 circles (or 6 if you go that way) have been threaded.
5.  Tie a tight knot and fluff.  You can either tie the knot at the end of the last pie shape that you thread or you can make a loop back to the first.  Either way works!  Honestly, you can't screw this project up.
That's it!!  Once you get the hang of it, you can finish one florette in 2 minutes or so.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!  I have used them for garland, to decorate a clothes pin, and as confetti scattered around over a tablescape.  But I'm sure you can think of another thousand and one ideas for them.  Hope you like!!!

February 21, 2011

Chaise Love

A chaise is on the tip top of my wish list for my living room.  I want one in a fun color (maybe navy?) with tufting and wooden feminine legs.  I hope I can find room for one!  Until then I'll drool over these beauties.
Can't you just imagine yourself in one of these rooms reading a thrilling book during a thunderstorm?  How cozy!

If I find that I don't have the room for a chaise, I may just have to settle for this lovely creation from Anthropologie.  Compromise can be beautiful sometimes!

February 19, 2011

I <3 this: vintage quilts

I <3 vintage quilts.  Even before I realized my affinity for all things vintage, I was an avid quilt lover.  My mom asked me as a teenager what type of bedding I wanted.  This was a big deal, because up until then I was sporting cartoons on my comforter.  My mom thought I'd go for something wild in color and fad-ish.  But no, I wanted a quilt!  I still love that comforter.  It's artistic and unassuming.

Check out these amazing quilts from Montgomery Rag:

I want this one. So. Bad.

How can you resist these beautiful works of art by Thomas Campbell? (found on Decor8)

Quilts have also made it into photo shoots and I am LOVING the results:

*This next collage of images is from Simply Bloom Photography.
*The next 4 images are from Sarah Rhoads Photography blog.  Check out her work here!

Just one more reason I want to learn to sew!!

February 16, 2011

DIY Project: Family Tree

OK let me just start by saying this might be my favorite DIY project ever!!  I'm over-the-moon excited to make a family tree that is not only a loving recollection of some of my favorite people but is also a beautiful art installation for my home.  Excited excited excited!!!

The idea came a year ago, before we even moved into our home.  I was watching Dear Genevieve on HGTV and saw her put lockets with people's pics inside on a piece of driftwood, making a modern interpretation of a family tree. Brilliant! Up until then, I hadn't even thought of doing something so seemingly old fashioned in my home.  Family trees have a tendency to be museum-like, old, and very formal.  Not that that is bad.  Just not me.  But this episode got my gears turning.  My original idea was to take 10 shadow boxes and line them up symmetrically down my hallway.  Each shadow box would be decorated differently with the family member's personality in mind.  Their pictures would not be included and their names would not be written.  Call it abstract.  I wanted people to look at them carefully and guess who is who.  So I wrote it down in my handy dandy notebook and didn't think much of it for months.

Then a few days ago, I got an invite to a baby shower of a dear friend.  When looking at her mailing, my first thought was "Oh, how cute! I love that the tree could sort of symbolize them adding to their family tree."  More gears turning.  Light bulbs going off.  Aaaannddd....eureka!  
I know it seems a bit crude to write all over a baby invitation, but this mommy-to-be will understand - she's the best. :)  I'm sure she will be pumped that her invite was responsible for a huge part of my house and besides...I couldn't help myself!  My mind went back to those 10 shadow boxes.  What if those shadow boxes weren't symmetrical?  What if they were stacked on top of each other in an artsy way?  What if they had a central tree theme?  What if the tree was the background but it was covered with different materials in different boxes?  What if, what if, what if?  So, the brilliant idea from Genevieve evolved into a very personal expression of my very own.  Yes!!!

To get started, I drew what my tree would look like.  If you remember from previous posts, I can't draw.  Hence all the squiggly cross-out marks in this image.  But the lack of skilz won't matter in the final product.  If they had, I wouldn't have even tried, believe me!  I wanted my tree to be bare, off kilter, with a wind blown look.  I kind of love it.

Next step: a large scale model.  This is not the fabric I'll use for the final product, but I wanted a template to work on that would allow me to make mistakes.  I'll be doing a few things in this project I've never tried before, so a $2 piece of fabric to ruin was well worth it.

This large scale art installation is probably going to take awhile.  I mean, it took me a year to come up with the idea, so I'd imagine I'll finish in another year or two. ;)  Here's a few ideas I've had so far, though.  For my own shadow box, I have coral glass beads from Ghana, an old necklace I don't want anymore to put Andrew and Emma's pics in, and something yellow of course.  I'll also add a polaroid or something photography related as well as a few other personal touches.  For my sister's box, I am making the cross pictured below, as her faith is the central most influential point in her life.  I'll also add a song bird because she's a beautiful singer.  For Andrew's brother's box, I have a sketch of a shoe he made as a child (he's a shoe designer now).  For my deceased father, I saved a bow tie that he wore to work (he was a pianist).  You get the idea.

Seriously, I'm so excited.
I'm teaching myself a bit of embroidery for this project for the outline of the entire tree.  It seems pretty easy so far, but we'll see how it goes on a big scale!  The left is a loop stitch and the right is a split stitch.  I love both of them, so I'll let Andrew decide which one is used on the real material.  Have I mentioned that I'm excited?!
If you have any fun ideas for me to add to my family tree, please comment!  I promise I'll take your suggestion to heart and if I use it, I'll make sure to put a picture of that part on a future blog post.  Keep in mind that my total budget for this piece is $50 plus cost of shadow boxes.

February 15, 2011

take me to morocco

I have a dream.  That one day.  I will live here.

Or here.

Or here.
Until then, I'll use this dream as inspiration to make my home in the suburbs a little taste of Morocco.

February 14, 2011

how Martha Stewart changed my life

Besides being a genius decorator, Martha Stewart is as influential as they come in the long forgotten world of etiquette.  I remember watching her show ages ago (before her show was live and super popular) and realizing for the first time how important it is to treat your guests with care.  In most houses, the guest room is the last room attended to.  It is usually the smallest room in the house with hand-me-down sheets, no curtains and the storage is already filled to the brim with the homeowner's things.  It's a great way to say to someone who has traveled a long way to visit "you can stay, but I'd rather you not stay long".  When is the last time you remember going to someone's house to stay and wishing you could stay just one more day?  Exactly.  

After Martha Stewart's education on how to treat a guest with excellence, I feel responsible to do so!  Here's a few tips from the Martha Stewart website on how a guest should be welcomed in your home:

*Allot adequate closet and drawer space and provide hangers.
*Have a full-length mirror in the bedroom.
*Have a working alarm clock in the bedroom.
*Invest in a few small touches in the room, such as bottled water, chocolates, or fresh flowers.
*Provide a sitting area with a pillow and throw, an adjacent table, and a good adjustable- brightness lamp in the room your guests will be staying in.
*Provide extra blankets for temperature control in the bedroom. 
*Provide reading material, including several magazines and a daily newspaper. 
*Stock enough towels, washcloths and hand towels for all guests.
*Stock up on toilet paper and other necessities and make sure they know where to locate extras.

You may see this and think it sounds more like a hotel than a guest room.  I agree.  Actually I don't.  It should be so much nicer than a hotel room!  I have started working on the guest room in our own home and am pretty pleased with the results.  From the above checklist, I can cross off the full-length mirror, working alarm clock, sitting area, extra blankets and reading material.  All done!  A few more minor touches and my guests will feel like they have hit the guest room jackpot!

Here's a few shots from my recent guest room endeavors:

I decided to add a few photos on the wall that I had taken originally for my art gallery in NoDa.  Adding artwork that I have made adds a personal touch and makes a guest feel right at home.

I originally asked for a quilt for Christmas for the living room.  You know, something to cozy up in during those cold winter months.  But when Andrew found me this one, I couldn't resist putting it in the guest room.  It's going to be a lovely addition!  Hopefully my guests will sleep like a baby...
I've also added a few prints in the guest bath.

Some other things I've added to the guest room and guest bathroom:

So, just to be clear, you are welcome in my home any time (if you're not a freak and I know you). ;)  While you are here, I'll treat you like a welcomed guest should be treated!  I hope this little soap box rant has inspired someone else to transform your guest room into the ultimate guest retreat!

February 11, 2011

little heres and theres

While we are waiting for wedding season to kick off before tackling any more major projects at the Barker house, we have plenty of little odds and ends to finish that won't cost too much money.  The first?  Our master bedroom light.  We bought this baby from West Elm months ago, but Andrew never got around to installing it until yesterday.  To make up for his extreme lateness, he was super nice and offered to patch up the part of the ceiling that was covered by the old fixture.  I was so thankful for the kind thought until I went to see him in action and noticed that he was using our wall color for the ceiling.  Fail.  I guess he looked for the can with the closest thing to white in it.  So, I'll just add that to the little projects I'll be finishing later.  Andrew has been banned from ever painting again, by the way. ;)

So, here's our light all put up.  I made the cord cover out of chocolate brown burlap.  If it wasn't for the gray spot on the ceiling, it would look pretty perfect if I do say so myself!

There are quite a few little heres and theres to be finished in that room.  Remember this picture from an old post?  I was waiting for the perfect images to fill the frame...

... and these three images of our rings made the cut!  I love how the colors fit in seamlessly with the other art on the wall.

In other news, I recently found an amazing place to shop!  It is DANGEROUS for me to go there.  I always end up spending way too much!  The Depot at Gibson Mill in Concord is my favorite antique mall ever.  I just found this amazing side table (left) and collectible apothecary jars in mint condition (right).  The side table is going by my sofa and the apothecary jars in our guest bathroom.  Love love love that place!

PS If you decide to take a trip to The Depot, I have a few tips for you:

1.  Give yourself plenty of time!  Don't even step in there if you don't plan to spend a few hours browsing.
2.  Take notes.  I found it really helpful to do price comparisons.  Take those little jars (pictured above).  They were $21 for the pair, but I found similar ones earlier on in the day for $24 each!  I write the items I like down, the price, and the aisle and store number so I can find something later if I decide to go back.  That way I'm not lugging the whole store with me.
3.  Talk to Joey Reese. Joey is a friend of mine that will gladly help you find something quickly.  He is responsible for helping me score a GREAT deal on the side table that I love so much.  Just ask for him at the front of the mall.  He also has a fantastic booth himself, so be sure to check out his stuff!
4.  Bring me with you!