Friday, December 16, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

It truly is. I love Christmas season. It's festive everywhere. Everybody looks happy. The lights, the songs, the gifts, the food, the stress, the time off from work I love it all. So I try to make my house look festive during this time. We bought a 6.5 feet tree for our 2nd Christmas after we married and slowly built up my stock of ornaments and outdoor lights year after year. It may not be enough for most of you who have grown up celebrating Christmas season this way, but from where I came, this is a big deal. I am so glad I can do this and thankful that my husband shares the same enthusiasm. I make sure to send pictures to my Grandma every year, she is the reason I know Christmas and appreciate it as much as I do today.
Here is our tree in the living room that I adore.

And some of my favorite ornaments...

The Nativity set and White Santa with presents....

Dining Table centerpiece....

Family room...

I added some pinks and purples in the family room for baby, like this vase filled with purple ornaments and a tutu skirt wrapped around, a vase near fireplace filled with pinkish easter basket fillers.

We had some extra lights from outside that I placed inside fireplace to make it look like fire. Except for the green wire coming out of the fireplace and the extension cord, I love how the lights look like fire.

We don't have tree topper yet. May be for next year.

There it is. Christmas decor at our house. Simple, but special for us, especially since it is our baby's First Christmas.

Here is the cutie, getting ready to decorate the tree.

I'm linking up at Kelly's Korner, Blue-Eyed Bride, Thrifty Decor Chick, A Thoughtful PlaceThe Nester & The Christmas Cheer Link Party

Baby Toys in Family room

They are everywhere. It seems like yesterday that we came home with a baby so tiny and delicate and here she is already 9 months old, with a room full of toys. It seems to be impossible to keep the house tidy. I know, many of you are thinking, wait till she can walk and talk. I don't even want to think about it now. For now, I want to deal with the baby clutter i.e., toys and books all over the floor in our family room. So I bought an Expedit 2X2 shelf from IKEA. I actually wanted to get a 2X4 for under the window in her nursery for a while, but she is not using her nursery much right now. She plays in the family room while we do our chores and 2X2 will fit in well in our family room. So I bought that thinking if I ever wanted similar storage in her nursery, I could buy another 2X2 and put both next to each other (thats why I bought a white one). Or I may sell this on craigslist (which I never have good luck with) and buy the bigger one, who knows. As I said, for now, I need to tackle the clutter in family room.

It was perfect. The 2 colorful bins I had bought at Target for her toys fit into the cubbies, it looks pretty and clean.

I placed a tall vase filled with purple ornaments on this shelf and a tutu skirt I bought for her (@babies r us for less than 10 bucks) around the vase. Part of my holiday decor. Al her soft toys and rocker fit in perfectly in the other 2 cubbies. Love how it looks, and how clean the room looks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Family Room

I bought a new piece of furniture last weekend to tackle baby clutter in our family room. Before posting about it, I realized I never shared our family room pictures with you. So, here they are from back in September. It was much cleaner at that time, since the bean was less than 6 months old and wasn't so active.

Our open concept Kitchen and Family room. Sorry, no pictures of kitchen yet. I have to do some cleanup before I can show it to you.

Our beloved, kinda modern sectional. Me n Hubby are very particular about not to buy bulky furniture. By the way I painted that abstract art on the wall. I am an artist, ain't I? Ok, no kidding. I am not an artist, but I can make simple things like this out of my interest in art.

Here is the big TV, view from sectional. Sorry for the cross picture. It was intentional to avoid glare on TV from big open windows and doors. With so much light during the day its hard to take pictures in this room. That reminds me, did you notice the hideous window valances? No offense, but the previous owners (very sweet couple) had a theme for the house. Palm trees. More on that here.

I am sure you noticed my theme. Yes, I am going Green. more like the color Green. I gave each room an accent color while we first started decorating this home. We only had few things at that time so a single accent color in the room looked pretty. But now, as we started adding more stuff to each room, trying to match with the color theme, it is becoming too much of same color. So I am trying to mix up some like colors. That tiny blue vase in the built-in shelf is my attempt to mixing up blues and greens in this room.

So there you have it. Our family room. Where all the action happens. I'll be back soon with more readable matter about the baby clutter in this room.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Owlie Owlie...

Owls are everywhere these days. Its like the theme of the of the year. One of them made its way into our house too. I was window shopping at Z Gallerie during Thanksgiving weekend and spotted this Ceramic Owl coin bank. It was $12.95 and everything in store was 20% off that weekend.

I have been wanting to buy a piggy bank for my baby ever since I started planning her nursery even before she was born. But this Owlie changed my mind instantly. It looks more modern than babyish unlike the piggy. So at $11.16 (with tax), it flew home with me and is resting on our baby's dresser.

Did you know there is an Easy button?

I love finding deals on craigslist. I know lot of you do as well. Its my first go to place when I am looking for furniture. I feel there is not much inventory in our area compared to what people find elsewhere on craigslist, but that's a different story. I did find a portable crib, a changing station and a glider that I am yet to reupholster. But if you are like me, spoiled by Google images search, you might have thought countless times if there is a way to browse craigslist images only, instead of clicking on each post. Well, someone heard our wishes and made it possible.  CRAIGSEASY!!!

Apparently, its been around for more than a year. I found it late. No surprise, I didn't know about Pinterest until recently. Here is the interesting story of how this "Easy" button was born. Best part, it works with most classified sites. Happy deal searching!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Corky Vase

My Dad loves WINE and my husband loves to collect the corks. So everytime my dad visits (usually for couple of months) we stock up lot of vino at home. That leaves a lot of corks. I didn't know what to do with them until recently I have been in blog world. While I take time to make something with them, I decided to display them in a vase. I had some short square ikea glass vases so I arranged the corks in them. I decided to place it on the corner wine rack that my husband calls his mini bar (what better place to display corks than wine rack, right?), Since I accent our Living room with orange, added a trim at the bottom of the vase with an orange scrap paper.

Now, all I need to do is find an Orange rug, and some throw pillows, and couple of side tables and.... its a looooooong list. I'll get there, eventually.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baby Mobile update

The baby mobile I made as part of Fall Pinterest Challenge hosted by Katie and Sherry felt a little too empty. So I enhanced it by adding some circles I made with paint chips. I have read online that many people felt it is not fair to get paint chips just for using them for decoration, instead of using them for choosing paint colors. I felt a little guilty too. So I asked the guy at paint section in Home Depot if I could take couple of paint chips in 3 colors for a personal use. He gave me a 'You are funny' look and joked "Sure, but don't take all of them". It may have been strange for him to ask but I felt good that I took permission. Its just for personal satisfaction so when I tell people I took them from store they don't think I stole them.

Anyway, here are the before and after.

What do you think? Is it better? not so much?

Monday, November 28, 2011

No Sew Crib Skirt

I bought our baby's crib and crib bedding on clearance at Target. It was very economical, but the bedding didn't include a crib skirt. I have been planning on sewing one on my own. But with my sewing skills I knew it would be one long project. So I did some quick fix with a fabric I ordered for $3 a yard on

  • Cut the fabric according to the length of the crib and the height between crib railing and floor, adding 3 inches for seams. 
  • Hemmed the floor side of fabric with iron on hemming tape.
  • Attached the other side of fabric to inner side of crib railing using Scotch adhesive mounting squares.
Simple as that. After I am done with it I accidentally found this video on YHL blog which is very neat. (Now I know why they are famous, its all in the details). So to make my skirting more professional, I went to Walmart to get velcro wanting to replace the adhesive mounting squares with them. There were few choices, but there is one that was just 79 cents so bought it. Once I reached home, I cut an inch wide piece of both sides of the velcro and tried to attach it to the fabric. DAMN! There is no adhesive to it. I bought the wrong kind. It was a sew on velcro. I should have taken some time to read the labels and give it a thought before buying. Lesson learnt. I am not in mood to go back to the store for the right kind, so the skirt has to stay like that for now.

Did any of you do an unthoughtful purchase like this and din't realize until you are ready to use it? Come on, tell me I am not the only one.

Did you notice the cute little socks on the crib? A friend gave them for the baby, they were too cute to be used and outgrown in no time. So I stuffed them with some tissue paper and placed them on the crib. They look more like shoes to me. The skirt fabric actually ties in with the colors of the bedding I found for $35 at Target. I used the spare fitted sheet here, which also matches with the set, but the original sheet that came with it is pink and brown/green polka dots.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When life gives Mums, Make a Bouquet

I don't have a green thumb, but when it comes to Mums and Tomatoes, I do pretty good. Truth be told, they don't need a green thumb. Whenever I need some flowers for our traditional festival celebrations, we buy Mums plants and after cutting the blooms, we plant them. So this time of the year we are over loaded with blooms in different colors and patterns (gardeners out there, pardon me for my non-gardner vocabulary). They look pretty in the backyard, but our house inside could use some of that beauty. So I started making a flower arrangement. This was my first attempt so I am not expecting to make it 30 bucks worth.

I had saved up couple of f;ower arrangment bases from our baby's first party. Basically, they are plastic bowl with foam taped on securely.

I started arranging the flowers on the foam, once all done, filled in the gaps with some leaves. We don't have a lot of plants with strong shiny leaves, so I just used some short jasmine branches. Rose leaves would have been ok too I guess.

I placed this on a vase I had from our last order of Edible Arrangments bouquet and the shape of it worked perfectly. I am pleased with the outcome. Not a match to professional $30 bouquet, but for $0, its pretty good. Poured some water so the foam could soak up and keep the flowers fresh for a while.

This is for you Mom. Happy Birthday!

Did any of you make flower arrangements with blooms from your garden? If so, can you share some tips for next time I have a bounty of blooms in my yard?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Semi DIY Project - Window Treatments

For me, window treatments are intimidating. As thrifty as I am, I can't let meyself splurge on custom treatments and I am too scared to do them on my own. What if the curtains I choose are a total disaster? What if I try making my own and spend more than custom ones? What if I try to customize a store bought curtains and totally ruin them?
After speculating for months, for once, I thought I should tell myself "What if they turn out great?" and decided to give it a try. So I started with Master bedroom. I already have two 95" Ikea panels in gray/silver and two 84" JC Penny panels in Seaside blue. I bought some patterned fabric that matches with the blue curtains. Here is what I plan to do.

Alternate gray and blue panels to cover door-wide window segment and just use gray panels on narrow windows (the way they are now, except for changing the rods). I have to cover one sliding door, a wide window next to the door and 2 skinny windows. So I need 4 ikea gray panels (2 already owned, so need to get 2 more), 3 Seaside blue panels (2 already owned, need to get 1 more), two 24 inch curtain rods, one 120 inch curtain rod and curtain clips. Ofcourse lot of Heat n Bond/ Stitch wichery as well, because I am no good at sewing. I will post the progress and result once this project is done.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Boring Thermostat or Pretty Thermostat?

I have been introduced to Pinterest recently and while I was browsing through it first time I saw this awesome idea of Embellishing Thermostat by Lauren from All Things Homie. It was brilliant. So I was in hunt for a perfect picture frame for this. I found one at my recent trip to Homegoods at $6.99.

I definitely wanted to change the color, but I didn't have my heart set on any. I picked up some clearance paint samples at homedepot a while ago for 50 cents each. One of them was pale green and another some antique-country looking blue. I gave them a try on the back of the frame and blue looked much better. So I started painting with a small brush.

Half way through, I found the 'not so perfectly covered in paint' look of it, but I have already painted one section of it so I continued. I expected it to be quicker process, but with all the nooks an crannies, it took a lot longer than I thought. I wished I went with the not so perfect look, or spent a couple more dollars for a spray paint. An hour later, I have completely painted the frame and it looked like this. It wasn't glossy paint so the finish was more rustic.

After being hung on the wall with my usual Command picture hanging strips, it looked awesome. Boring Thermostat? not any more. It received an awesome facelift, thanks to Lauren. I am your latest fan Lauren.

Its off center on the wall. I am trying to figure out a way to make it more strategic, than just something hung on the wall with no vision. May be another empty Frame like this? May be in a different color? I don't know, any ideas?

UPDATE: I have added more frames to this wall. Check it out here & here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Master Bedroom: Work in Progress

In the 2 years we have been in this house, our Master bedroom has undergone decor changes few times, but after new mattress, bed, dresser and a baby later this is how it looks now.

The dresser had a slight facelift with different knobs than it came with. I have put a sheet of clear plastic closet liner on top of the dresser just to keep out any possible stains. Blue was always my dream accent color when it came to Master Bedroom and incidentally we got a tall vase as house-warming gift from a friend that had the perfect shade of blue (turquoise I should say). That's where my color inspiration for this room came from. I added another smaller vase that matches with it, along with a baby blanket and small rugs as doormats.

On the other side of the room I have made an easy fabric wall art and bought a throw pillow from Target that had the same shades of blue turquoise.

Now you know why I said "baby". She sleeps with us so its a lot more convenient to keep her changing station in our room.

The curtain panels are from Ikea. I had Chris Madden Draperies, Mystique Interlined in Seaside Blue from JC Penny in their place, but they were 84" and I needed 96". So I switched them out. These have the metallic shade that kind of mimics brushed nickel knobs in dresser and they were $50 a pair. I still have the old pair of drapes, I have to figure out what needs to be done with them. There is a wall of window and doors combo that I need to cover, so I may re-purpose them later.

The picture doesn't show our whole bedding, but the pattern on our comforter set also has lighter shade of blue turquoise. I am OK with the way this room looks right now, but not satisfied with it yet. Still have lot of things planned out. But it may take a few more years before its finished.

Here is what I want to do, in no particular order:
  • Try a different furniture layout (especially bed)
  • Paint atleast one wall in blue turquoise
  • Get another dresser
  • Decorate the bare wall opposite to big window
  • Move out baby furniture (definitely gonna take few years for that)
  • Add a mirror in the room
  • Paint the gold trim in ceiling fan to match with other metal accents in the room (better yet change the fan)
  • Add Window treatments (with decorative curtain rods)
  • Buy nightstands
  • Add some sort of seating, other than bed

I would love some ideas to make this room beautiful. If you have done any similar bedroom makeovers, especially in light turquoise, please feel free to drop a word.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grandma's Love

When I married the love of my life four and a half years ago, his grandmother gave me a cloth doily she handmade herself. My mother-in-law told me she gave one of these to every lady in the family. I thought its so sweet of her to make something for us with such love and affection, especially at this age (she is in her 80s). So I wanted to display it in our house. I bought a big oval shaped frame. Since the doily is white, I thought a bright orange background will make it pop and also add a punch of color in the room. I couldn't find orange wrapping paper so grabbed some plain orange fabric and used it as background. I initially wanted to put it as part of my picture collage, but the frame is bigger and also I thought it should be a piece of art on its own. So I hung it on the other wall opposite to my orange framed fabric wall art.

I try not to use nails to hang pictures just because I am not very perfect with leveling my frames and I hate to drill too many holes in wall. Plus, I like moving things around. So I use Command picture hanging strips. They are awesome. Easy to put on and easier to pull down. No mess, no fuss. Not as cheap as nails, but definitely worth for me.

I like how it turned out. Seriously, a store bought wall art can't compare to something like this that is beautiful and has sentimental value.

If any of you have preserved sentimental pieces and used it in your decor, please share. I would love to read about them. 

DIY Baby Mobile: Pinterest Challenge - Fall Edition

I am linking up this post to Pinterest Challenge: Fall Edition hosted by Katie and Sherry. If you hopped from one of their blogs, please have a look around. I don't have a ton of posts yet and the blog template is still in works. I am new to blog-universe, bare with me and I appreciate any suggestions/comments.

Coming to the challenge, I have seen these easy pom poms while browsing through blogland and suddenly thought they can work well as a mobile. I didn't buy/make one for my lollipop.

Though I had her room ready before she was born, she conquered our bedroom 7 months ago and not plan to move to her own kingdom anytime soon. With her portable crib and changing station in our bedroom, I thought I should make a mobile for her that is not too girly/babyish. So this pompom mobile would be perfect. I headed to Michaels and bought felt sheets in 3 colors, blue (matching our Bedroom accents), pink and green (matching peanut's room accents). While I was walking in the store for more ideas, I stumbled upon pipe cleaners, in 3 shades of blue. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them, but $1 with 40% off coupon, bought it anyway.

Then for the ring to hang the pom poms, I have looked at several options, but a laundry hanger came in handy.
I just twisted to make a ring and covered it with a $1 clearance ribbon from Michaels (also at 40% off) I actually bought blue and green ribbons, but one was enough and I used blue. Bonus, the ribbon had thin wire on both sides to keep it stiff, so I dint have to glue the ribbon to my ring, just twisted around the wire of the ring.

Now for pom poms, I have cut the felt sheets into circles and followed instructions from pinterest inspiration post. I actually cheated it a bit, I only used 8 circles and ditched the center circle. They still came out ok.

Can you see in the background what I have done with my pipe cleaners? Yes, I made flowers out of those, using 2 different shades of them per flower.

I made 6 flowers and 4 pom poms and attached them to the wire ring using fishing line and finally hung the whole thing from ceiling using a c-hook. This is how it looks finished. Ignore the shades in the back, I am still working on drapes for those windows.

And this is the baby's view, from changing station.

It looks ok, but it may look better if it was a little fuller. I have seen many mobiles with paint chips, so I am thinking of gluing some round paint chips along each fishing line. I will update when I do it. For now, lollipop is loving the new interest while being cleaned up/changed. 

How much did it cost?
3 felt sheets - 90 cents
pipe cleaners - 60 cents
Wire ring - free
Ribbon - 60 cents
Fishing line - $2.75
Total Cost - bit less than $5

Update: I added some circles to this mobile to make it look fuller. Check it out here