Monday, January 31, 2011

A Lover's Holiday

also known as Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Some have very mixed feelings about this day...
  • It's a Hallmark holiday made to guzzle money
  • who needs a special holiday to celebrate love?
  • I love it! It makes me feel so special
  • I'm single so could care less
  • it disgusts me, it just reminds me that I don't have a special someone
  • it's one day that causes me to slow down and realize how lucky I am to have ____________.
For me personally, I'm indifferent. I do appreciate something small, but don't hold my breath waiting for some big celebration. My hubby and his best friend always get together for NBA All-Star weekend and since college it has always fell on Valentine's day/weekend. Last year they went as far as making T-shirts. Check out the picture (and date below).

Back in the reader's survey, a few of you mentioned you wanted a Valentine's post. So if you're married, dating, single, or anywhere in between, I put together a post, upon your request, entitled,  All things Valentine's.

First up Decorations, some of these I spotted in a cute shop in Georgetown, others I found on the net.

Homemade Gift Ideas 
for anyone. Not just your significant other but teacher, friend, or mom. Love the idea of these cookies, a bookmark, or bath fizzes with a hidden message...

or fill an old wine bottle or mason jar with 15 (or any amount you want) little notes that display qualities or things you admire about your significant other. They could read all the notes in one sitting or only be allowed to read one per day. Then tie some pretty ribbon around the top. Guys cherish personal homemade gifts just like us gals.

Invite a few good girlfriends over or if you can, convince your man to sit down and get lost in a good chick flick. A few good ones in random order...

Titanic, The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry met Sally, Sweet Home Alabama, Notting Hill, Gone with the Wind, Pretty Woman, and the list could go on forever.

Do Something Extra
I'm all about being simple here people. Valentine's day is all about showing your love or that you care for someone. For me, it's not about fancy gifts but in the little things. I'm not saying I don't enjoy a beautiful bouquet because I sure do, but here are some simple ways to show your appreciation...
  • Place some candy and a small card on the car windshield 
  • fill up the gas tank
  • get up early and make breakfast
  • If you're married like me and if you do something that annoys your spouse, make an extra effort not to do it. Ok honey, I'll put my dishes in the sink and not leave them on the coffee table :)
  • Send them an e-card at work
  • give up the remote for a night or two
So there's my mind dump of Valentine Ideas. Whether you like it, hate it, or brush off something for someone to show them you care. I always tell my students that kindness is so simple yet often forgotten.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pillow Tutorial

When I first shared my homemade pillow, I'm promised a tutorial. Here it is...

  • Fabric
  • Fusible Fleece (optional but recommended)
  • Needle/Thread
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Ruler/Scissors/Pencil 
  • Sewing Machine 
  • Polyester filling
Step 1
Cut fabric to the desired length of pillow. Allow an extra inch for each side. If you want your pillow to be 12 inches long, measure 13 inches. For this tutorial I didn't really care what size my pillow came out to be, so I just measured a 12 inch square.

Step 2
Cut another panel the same exact size for the other side of the pillow. You can use the same fabric or two different kinds (depending on how you want you pillow to look). To keep things interesting, I chose 2 different types of fabric. I just placed the fabric over top and cut around it. I do not have a lot of patience for measuring.  Repeat with 2 more fleece panels. 
You should now have 4 panels (2 fabric and 2 fleece) all cut to the same length. 

Step 3
Fuse one piece of fleece to one fabric panel following the directions on the fleece. Just lay the fabric on top of the fusible side of the fleece and iron together for 15 seconds.  Iron slow and steady so they adhere. Repeat for second piece of fleece and fabric. You should now have two panels.
Tip: I use fleece so the shell of the pillow is thicker, sturdier, and more durable.

Step 4
Place two panels together fabric side touching. 
Step 5
Sew panels together. When you finish sewing one length the pillow, rotate and continuing sewing all the way around. 
Leave a 4 inch gap in the middle of one side.
It should now look like this...
It got a little uneven, so I carefully trimmed the sides but be careful not to cut too close to the seem. 

Step 6
Carefully snip off all 4 corners.
Step 7
Turn pillow right side out through 4 inch gap. Using your finger make sure to poke out the corners.  Stuff with polyester filling. I stuff it nice and full. Almost done.

Step 8
Carefully fold fabric over at 4 inch opening and pin shut.

 Step 9
Hand sew together, carefully removing pins once you get to them. Tie a secure knot at the end and your done!!

If you want to add the flowers, check out this tutorial. I just overlapped mine instead of making them so circular. 

Depending on what I'm feeling, I can choose to display either side of the pillow.

Happy pillow making!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bedroom Reveal

I've been working on our bedroom for about two weeks. I first gave you a sneak peek, then shared the battle I had over the new bedding, created a homemade pillow, and then put together wall art with fabric and frames.

Before I show you what it looks like now, let's rewind to the very beginning...
 Then came makeover number one in the summer of '09...

Now here it is January 2011...

On the window sill I put together a few books, metal letters, and a small vase with some flowers. I added some height with a picture that I made. It consists of newspaper and a few maps placed over some cardboard. I chose maps that had personal meaning to us. They are: Germany - our first trip to Europe together, Pennsylvania - where we met, and then Washington DC - where we live now.
There's the trunk I bought off craigslist. I decided to keep it the original color and placed it at the foot of the bed for some added color and storage in the room. It holds extra blankets and sheets and keeps our pillows off the floor when we go to bed.

So there you have it. It was very hard to photograph. It was so bright this morning and then a bit dark this afternoon. I tried my best to get the ideal lighting. Now for the price.

Here's what I bought:
  • Duvet cover: $67.00
  • Grayish/Blue pillow: $8.00
  • Wall Art: $12.36
  • Curtains: $29.00, free with gift card
Some things I already had and just moved into the bedroom.

Grand Total: $87.36
Not too shabby.
    That's how our room looks today. I really am pleased with the outcome. We'll see how long it stays that way before I decide to change it again. ha. I do love me a good makeover.

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Frames, Fabric & Fun

    I thought I'd use some alliteration in the title since the 5th graders just wrapped up their poetry unit, and I have a zillion poetry terms fresh in my mind.

    I found a few fame displays out here in blog land (check them out here and here) and wanted to give it a whirl myself. So, my hunt for frames began. I did not want to spend a lot of money and was ready to plow through the clearance racks. Are you ready for some crazy finds? I bought...
    • 1 frame from T J Maxx on clearance for $2.00
    • 2 frames from Michaels, $1.00 each
    • 2 frames from Salvation Army, $1.50 each

    5 frames for $6.00. Crazy. I lightly sanded each frame and painted them all a dark gray.

    I wanted to add some color to the walls (without actually painting) so I added some colorful fabric to each frame. It took me a while (a good 25 minutes) to find fabrics that were cohesive but not too matchy matchy. Here's what I found...

     I cut out the fabric to fit each frame. I tried multiple arrangements on the floor before deciding which one I liked the best.

    I got all the fabrics for $6.36. This project was fun from start to finish.
    Grand total: $12.36

    Now that's what I call High Style on a Small Budget!

    Can't wait for you to see them in action (by that I mean hanging still on my bedroom wall) when I reveal the new bedroom.
    Have you been following along? If not, check out the sneak peek, new bedding, and homemade pillow posts to get caught up.

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Homemade Pillow

    I have been working on report cards for hours (ahhh) and need a break. So, I wanted to share with you my latest creation.

    If you have been reading the blog recently, you know that I am redoing our bedroom. I have already given you a sneak peek and shared with you our new bedding. I am almost ready to show you the whole room.

    I bought a new decorative pillow for our bed and have been looking for another one. I really didn't want to spend a lot of money, and actually I haven't been able to find one I like. So I thought, why not make one? So, last night I did.

    I had some extra gray fabric on hand and it was perfect for the mini-pillow (it's 8 in. by 8 in.) I wanted to make. It took me about 2 hours. After I made the pillow, I used this tutorial as a guide to add some colorful flowers. I say guide because mine are more overlapped and not so circular.

    I plan on making a tutorial for this pillow at some point. It is so easy. I had an awful migraine while making it and was in no mood to stop every step and take pictures.

    If you look closely you can see the new bedding and other pillow I purchased for $8.00 on sale. I was over-the-moon excited when I scored that deal.

    I am very pleased with my custom made pillow and love the feel it adds to the bed.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    A Recipe

    Back in the reader's survey, some of you mentioned you wanted to see more recipes. I am trying my best to fulfill all of your requests. Slowly but surely. I'm also trying to blog more often. Heck, this is my 4th day in a row and my 8th post in January. So far so good.

    So, I thought I would share one of my favorites. Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries. It's quick, healthy, and gooooood.

    I use the Rachel Ray recipe:
    Caribbean Turkey Burgers
    A couple tips:
    • It calls for a mango salsa. I've made it before but it is not necessary. If you want to make it fine, if not, fine too. I don't make it.
    • I always buy a pound of turkey meat and the recipe calls for 2, I just cut everything in half.
    • I never buy fresh basil and throw in dried cilantro instead or skip it all together.
    • I always add a bit more brown sugar because we like them a bit sweeter.
    • Toss them on the George Foreman (or a real grill if you're so lucky) for about 6-7 minutes and they're done.
    • I add ketchup and mayo.
    Sweet Potato Fries
    I usually use 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes. Before I cut them, I warm them up individually in the microwave for 1 minute. They are too hard to cut otherwise. I learned the hard way and cut my finger pretty badly. Toss some olive oil over them and bake in the oven at 400 degrees. I don't have an exact time but around 15 minutes...stirring a few times in between. I usually make the fries first and then make the burgers. By the time the burgers are made and cooked, the fries are done. I like them a little crispy.

    It is one of our quick but tasty recipes. JD's favorite. He would eat them every week if he could.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    A Bedding Battle

    Yesterday, I gave you a sneak peek into the looks of our new bedroom. I'm still trying to work out a few details so in the meantime I wanted to share the bedding battle.

    Yep, a battle. Between JD and I? Nope. Between me, myself, and I. If you read my shower curtain post you'll know that I've been a bit indecisive recently which is normally out of character for me. I am usually pretty quick at making decisions and feeling confident in them.

    So let's rewind...when we first got married we got a green duvet cover. Okay but nothing special. Remember it from the sore sight of our first bedroom?
    Then came makeover number 1 in the summer of '09. Since it was summer, we purchased a lighter coverlet in light green (check out the whole makeover here).Now when winter comes around we pull out the heavier, infamous, dark green comforter. Needless to say it matches nothing and is just plain boring. Last winter I searched for a new duvet and came up empty handed.

    This winter I was determined to find something new and the search began. Long story short, I searched everywhere and again found nothing. Partly because I didn't know what I wanted.

    So I decided to go with white because it would match the room and I thought why not? I've been on a white kick anyway. Oh and to make matters more difficult, since I chose to go with white, I wanted something a little extra to make it more exciting. Perhaps a pattern or maybe a ruffle? Kind of like this from Anthropologie, but I didn't want to spend a fortune.

    I had 20% off to Bed, Bath, and Beyond so I went there first. They had slim pickins for what matched my criteria which was white with some flavor and not too expensive. I was thinking around $50-$75 with my coupon. But they did have one that I LOVED but with a $140.00 price tag. Knowing it was way out of price range, I didn't dwell on it and left.

    I could continue to ramble on about how I went back to the store, left again, and then went back a third time to finally purchase it and include all details in between but the point is...
    • I now have a soft duvet cover that I love
    • It is white but not too boring
    • With my 20% off coupon and $50.00 visa gift card it landed in my preferred price range ($67.00)
    • It adds a whole new brighter feel to the room
    So without further ado...
    You'll have to wait to see it 'live' in the Douglas household when I reveal the new look.

    ...and it goes great with our new $20.00 jersey sheets from Wal-Mart. It's like sleeping on a cloud.

    One thing to take away from this debacle: If you really like something and it will last a while, don't be afraid to splurge.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Sneak Peek

    Guess What? I'm changing the look of our bedroom again. We needed (ok I really wanted) a new duvet cover for our winter comforter and the rest is history. I'm going for a whole new look. I worked 4 hours tonight on a project and am not quite ready to post all the details yet. So I will leave you with a sneak peak...
    Stay tuned for the new look, the long debate and final conclusion on our new bedding, and of course some major bargains.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011


    I was typing this whole long thing about my design style and how it continues to evolve and how I can't wait to own a home someday...blah blah blah blah.

    But all I really want to do is show you some photos that inspire me... first 4 photos found hereNext 2 photos found hereNext photo found here
    I love this kitchen found here

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    The Hunt for a Shower Curtain

    is finally over.

    I've been looking for months, actually over a year now, for a new shower curtain. You would think I could just find one I like and buy it. But no. I wish it was that easy. It took me so long because I couldn't decide what I wanted.

    One thing I knew for sure was I wanted a fabric curtain. Did I want some color? If so, what color? But I also liked white. Is white boring? Texture? Price? Most fabric shower curtains run around $50.00. Was that too much? Should I just pay the money since I've been looking so long? Anyway, I just couldn't decide until today.

    The big deciding factor was I couldn't stand to look at the UGLY shower curtain we currently had any longer. I bought it right after we got married for $6.99 at Marshals. It was green, 100% polyester and a sore to look at. It worked great for 2 years, but it was time to be replaced.

    So today while shopping at Target, I found one that fit my every need.
    • Fabric curtain, 100% cotton
    • White, but not too boring
    • On clearance
    Here's a close-up of the price
    Our bathroom is so small that I had a very difficult time getting a good angle/picture of the new shower curtain. I did my best, but it looks much better in person.
    I like that it is mostly white with just a little gray design on the bottom. If we weren't renting I would paint the walls in our bathroom a light gray. Gray is the new beige so they say.

    Lesson of the day: don't rush into buying something. A year later, I finally found a new shower curtain and love it.