Researching A Curtain DIY

I’m in the mood to DIY some curtains.  My family room has not had curtains or any other type of window covering for months.  We are planning to get new windows at some point soon, so I have been telling myself that I should just wait until that’s done, but come on.  We need something, right??

So, how do you DIY curtains?  Well, you google a tutorial on how to actually fabricate the curtains, but before that, you have to do some research.  Here’s what I do.

Where to Start When DIYing Curtains

1.  Figure out what color, pattern, size curtain you want.

I love saturated, primary-ish colors, so I know I want that reflected in my color scheme somewhere. Look at the different colors in your room and decide what you want to pull out with those curtains.  Here are some of the colors that I want to see somewhere in the curtains (except those crazy yellow flowers):

ecozier chaiseClose Up Upcycled Mirror

Pattern is important.  Think about the patterns that are already in the room and the patterns that are in the rooms that are adjacent to that room as well.  For instance, I have these curtains in my living room:

rokuroom

When I’m sitting in the family room, I can see those curtains and vice versa.  So I want something that will not look too much like those and also not completely clash with them.  The scale of the pattern is a personal choice.  I definitely lean toward big bold pattern.  Whatever your preference, I think it’s important to have a balance of patterns.  In the pic of the living room above, there’s the geometric (actually I think there’s another name for that pattern, but I’m not sure what it is…) panels, stripes on the pillows and a floral on the chairs.

The size of the curtains is obviously super important.  The last thing I want to do is get the wrong size panels or not have enough fabric.  Before I make an actual purchase, I’ll measure twice, but at the research stage, you need to at least know if you want something floor length or shorter.  In the familyroom, I’m leaning toward shorter, like a touch longer than the sill of the window.  It’s a gamble, I know.  The way the furniture is set up right now, long curtains won’t work and I really like the furniture placement.  I’ve found some inspiration on Pinterest that is giving me the guts to try it:

Short window panels due to a built in bench seat. Love the yellow trim with the black and white

Floral curtain, short and small window just like bonus room.

2.  Start researching fabric and other “creative” options.

My first stop is on-line fabric stores.  I pin a bunch of things that appeal to me and mull them over for a while.  Here’s what I’m currently mulling:

fabric samples

1. Ikea Frederik  - This one has all of the right colors, but it might be a little too juvenile?  I’ve loved this fabric for a very long time, though.

2.  Premier Prints Magna Timberwolf Macon Fabric - I like that this bold and retroi-ish.  It’s missing the little bit of green that I would like, but that’s not a deal breaker.

3.  Suvi Primary - This one is scaring me a little. This might be too much for a curtain.  Maybe a pillow.  Maybe.

4.  Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Crosby Confetti - I like these colors, but this might be a little too literal 70′s instead of a modern update.

So those are some of the fabrics I looked at.  But I looked a few more creative options, too.

creative fabric finds

1.  Japanese Cotton Kimono Fabric – Oh, this is so enticing.  I’m not sure exactly how to buy this, but this one needs further research.

2.  Raindrop Shower Curtain – This one is pretty cool.  Maybe a little too much white, but all the colors are right.  Interesting option.

3.  Colorful Stripe Fabric – I love the texture of these ethnic inspired fabrics.  I haven’t found exactly the right color combo yet, but I’m happy to keep looking!

4.  Room Essentials Circle Tablecloth – I really like this one, too.  I wish it had just even one more color in it.  Just a speck of something else.  Still a maybe.

The next step in researching curtains is too hurry up and make a decision.  This, friends,  is the hard part!

What I Made this Week – Parmesan Zucchini Snacks

First, an update from last week’s post with the Low Carb, Paleo-ish Menu Plan.  I lost 4 lbs! And then I gained one because I cheated and ate some fried dough at the Drive In and some  ice cream cake for my father-in-laws birthday.  Oh, and I had fried clams.  Oops.  But, hey I still lost 3, right?

Tonight, I tried a recipe I pinned a while back and have been wanting to try.  When I was gifted this zucchini, I knew it was time:

ingredients

You can find the recipe here on a great blog called  The Dinner-Mom.  I still have tons of zucchini left over and she’s got some other interesting recipes that call for it.  Including zucchini brownies.

So here’s what mine looked like fresh out of the oven:

Out of the Oven

Mmm, yummy, right??  But, let them chill for a few minutes before you put them on a plate.  Then they will be cooled a little and a bit crispy:

Low Carb Parmesan Zuchini Snacks

These were very tasty.  I would like to try this again with cheddar cheese.  The parmesan cheese is a rich flavor and you can have one or two and get a savory, salty fix.

Buy It, Spy It or DIY It – Urban Outfitters Edition

Urban Outfitters is nostalgic to me because there was (maybe still is?) a big one in the city I went to college in.  Somehow I remember it being far less expensive then, however.  But their stuff is so quirky and, well, let’s face it “cool” (I hate cool, except, really no one hates cool) that you might not mind paying a premium for the kitsch.  Here’s what I thought was cool*puke a little*.

Buy It Spy It DIY It Urban Outfitters Edition

Tufted Corduroy Floor Pillow

Buy It – This floor pillow comes in a number of punchy colors and at 2 for $60 dollars, it’s a great dorm room buy.  I would have loved a couple of these for Melrose Place night when 12 young women were squashed in  3 square feet of available dorm room space.

Pop Desk Lamp

Spy It – Yes, I like this lamp as much as you do.  It’s cute in lavender and there are a bunch of other cute colors.  It’s $89.  Still super cute or can you take your butt to Target or Walmart or Ikea for something nearly as cute?  I thought so. Me too.

Plum & Bow Annette Sofa

Buy It – I’m totally crushing on this sofa.  I love the arms and the fabric (and it comes in blue, too!).  Under $800 is a great deal for something this classy.  If only a mysterious accident would befall one of the two sofas I already own…

Oh My Wood! Pyramid Headboard

DIY It – I love this headboard.  It’s pretty, it’s colorful, it’s unique AND it screams DIY.

Coming And Going Coat Rack

DIY It – Every third yard sale and/or thrift store you go to will have a coat rack.  Don’t you dare pay $78 for this (and that’s a sale price!).  Get thee to the Goodwill, blast it with same spray paint.  Done.

Acid Etched Letter

Buy It – I like these metal letters, especially at the sale price of 2 for $20.

Assembly Home Sweet Scandinavian Planter

DIY It – Aww, I love this little dude.  It’s $19, but so DIY-able.  It would be hard to find something with those cute feet, but even just a little round bowl with Sharpied eyes and mouth would be adorable.

Jewel Glass- Pack Of 4

Buy It – I love to have every day things have a little touch of special.  These are $14 for the set of 4 and definitely have that special touch.  I would love to drink my lemon cucumber water out of one these.

 

 

Big Girl Blog – I’m Self Hosted

I did it.  I made the plunge. I guess plunge isn’t really the right word for it since it’s taken me weeks to go from purchasing a self hosted domain (I don’t even know if that’s how you phrase that) to actually writing my first post on my very own site.  No more .wordpress.com for this girl.  I literally have, like, butterflies, really.  It’s quite exciting.

You should know that I’m not super technical.  I was in college in the late nineties when almost no one had a computer of their own in their dorm room or apartment.  I would go to the computer lab to write a paper, but I was not very great at it.  I knew about the internet and I thought it sounded pretty cool, but I did’t really *get it*.  I had a vague understanding of what “MIS” meant, but html and all of the rest of the acronyms, were way beyond me.  And, for the most part, still are.  It was definitely a vastly different technical world as compared to the one my kids are growing up in with laptops and tablets and our phones (which are really just super mini computers) at their fingertips at all times.

So making this switch for me was scary.  I kept reading things about how awesome it would be to have creative control and to be able to customize and it just made me think that it didn’t sound awesome at all.  I wanted to stay in my safe wordpress.com cocoon and let the scary stuff be taken care of by them.  BUT… I also really wanted to try to monetize and that’s just not possible it seems with that wordpress.com stuck after your cute blog name.  Which brings me here.  To undercoverdiyer.com, which was by some miracle available to me.

It all began with this post on Pro Blog School.  Please hop on over there and check it out.  It is an amazing source of information and I love the story of the wifes blog taking off and the husband digging in and figuring out this whole background blog world.  I took Jason’s advice and chose Media Temple to host my domain (seriously, is that even what you call it?  Yes, I think it is).  It’s not the least expensive, but I read a couple of cautionary tales of crashing sites on that glorious day when a post went viral and I thought I would put out some good vibes and assume that day IS going to happen for me and I would be ready for it.

I am not going to sugar coat this.  There were many times after I purchased the hosting that I thought I  would cancel and quit and stick with wordpress.com.  Looking back,  the things that were tripping me up were small and fixed easily.  For instance:

  • It is super simple to export all of your information from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  It’s basically a few clicks and done. Except! there is a limit to the size of the file you can successfully export and I think this is where I got tripped up.  I ended doing three separate exports, sort of.  The first export I chose “All” and it took all of my media (A LOT) to the new site, but not, any of my posts.  Weird. So I exported again, this time just posts (that’s an option you can click on) and I got the posts over to the new site.  Finally, I did one more export of “All” and this time, because it recognized that I had already added the media and the posts, it brought over things like categories, pages and comments.  I’m sure this is not the best way to do this, but it worked for non-techie me. This took me several hours over several days to figure out.  I read LOTS of how to’s, but they all kind of scared me and suggested making phone calls and I have an aversion to the phone, so I wanted to figure it out on my own.  And, so I did!
  • So, somewhere in between figuring out how to get all of my stuff on the new domain, I got stuck on something else.  For some reason, (well not *some* reason, I know the reason now, but at the time I was thinking it was a curse that had been placed on me.  There was no other explanation).  My hosting place was telling me my blog was blog.undercoverdiyer.com.  Dude, no, it’s not.  That’s so not what I wanted!  I struggled with this for days, I emailed the hosting company for help on how to change (there are directions that would have worked, had they actually applied to my dumb problem), I asked techie people at work for help.  No one could figure it out.  Until.  I downloaded wordpress.org for the third time from the easy 1 click process on Media Temple and realized that the address (blog.undercoverdiyer.com) that they autopopulated during the process was just a “suggestion” and that I had to change it to what I wanted.  Days, people.  Days I spent trying to fix this.
  • Then there’s finding a theme. Oh. My. God.  That also took me several hours over several days and I didn’t want anything fancy. I wanted plain and simple and everything I saw was fancy pants.  I would have totally stuck with Adelle, except for the pink polka dots.  Technically, this part was easy, it was just going through the masses of different options that is time consuming. I’m like, 99% happy with what I chose, Galaxie.  I have a scary feeling though that I will be a serial theme changer.

Those were my struggles.  But, I also want to share something that was SO easy.  The social media icons.  I had no idea how to get those cute social media icons.  I vaguely understood that it was going to require the dreaded html.  But, I found the greatest tutorial on how to add them to your site AND this magical blogger who wrote the tutorial also provided FREE cute icons.  You can find the tutorial and the free download here on the amazing blog, I Gotta Create.

So, welcome to my new little corner of the blog world.  I would truly LOVE any feedback/constructive criticism on the new site.

My Journey from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

What I Hate About Back to School

We still have almost 3 full weeks of summer before school starts for our kiddos.  Public Enemy #1 when it comes to back to school is the Evil Paper Monster.  I need a plan and I have one percolating.

Three Steps to Tame The Paper Monster

Step 1: Corral It

The first step to taming the Evil Paper Monster is corral it.  Picture me on horseback, with a whip, herding the papers into a barn.  Ok, except in this case, the barn is going to be my pantry and the stalls of the barn are going to be these:

KASSETT Box with lid IKEA Perfect for newspapers, photos or other memorabilia.

That’s the Kassett set of 2 boxes from Ikea.  They are $6.99.  I’ve used these in the past, but more as an archiving system than an active filing (I use the term filing loosely) system.  I’m going to get 4 of the boxes, one for each member of the family.  The kids boxes will be used to house the stuff that the kids want to keep like special projects/papers.  My husbands will collect his work related stuff and mine will house the stuff that needs attention: reminders about important dates, projects, field trips, etc.  I know what you’re thinking.  Dude, you’re never going to remember what’s in that box.  You are correct.  That’s where step two of the system comes in to play.

Step 2:  Snap It

Sony Xperia E1

Why am I showing you a picture of my cell phone?  Well, first of all, I ADORE my cell phone. It’s a Sony Xperia and it is the best phone on the planet.  But that has nothing to do with this post.  Maybe someday I will extol it’s virtues in a full post.  But for now, the phone is important for two reasons.  1.  It has a camera.  2.  It is never apart from me.  It is basically an appendage at this point.  I’m not going to claim that I came up with this idea, because I’m sure other people do it, but I will say that the idea came to me without researching it.  You know those important papers, with important dates and information you might need at a moments notice?  Take a picture of those papers with your phone.  You instantly have a copy of that paper with you AT ALL TIMES.  Are you at Michael’s and and poster board is on sale but you can’t remember if you need it for your daughters project?  Check the pic on your phone.  Did your kids teacher send home a list of things the classroom needs but you’re having sensory overload at Target and can’t think straight?  Check the pic on your phone.  I’ve read about and admire the idea of scanning important documents and going paperless, but was totally overwhelmed at the thought of buying a scanner and actually scanning stuff.  Snapping a picture is basically the same thing and totally not overwhelming.  And now you’re thinking, Dude you’re going to spend forever looking for the right pic on your phone!  And, bam, step three.

Step Three: Evernote It

Cover art

Evernote is an awesome app.  First of all, kudos to the logo designer.  Elephant, get it?  They never forget anything.  If you download the app to your phone, you can super quickly zap the pics to Evernote , give them a tag that will make them easy to find and, if needed, set a due date. This is the one step in the process that I’ll be working on making a habit over the next few weeks.  My goal is going to be to do a quick review of anything that is in or should be in Evernote at the end of each day.  I’m talking 5 minutes tops.

And that’s it.  My three steps to taming the Evil Paper Monster.  What’s your plan??

Linking up to:  The DIY-ers and Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party and Plucky’s Second Thought and Frugal Crafty Blog Hop and Merry Monday Link Party

What I Made this Week – A Low Carb, Paleo-ish Menu Plan

So, I’ve been having a hard time sticking to the low carb, wheat free, low sugar lifestyle.  It’s definitely something that requires some planning ahead.  I thought it would be fun to pull together a compilation of some of the things I’ve made before as a menu plan that I can try to stick to.  I try to make one new recipe a week, but then, I somehow never end up making the one’s I like more than once.  This will be a good experiment to see if a) I can follow a menu plan and b) if sticking to this will help me lose some lbs.  Wait, and c) see if I really do feel better without that stuff in my body.  I notice on the days that I really do eliminate the wheat I have more energy and less aches and pains.  So here’s my plan:

My No Excuses Paleo Friendly Meal Plan

Breakfast Options

Egg Casserole – I love egg casseroles.  I do add cheese to mine, which is technically not Paleo, so leave it out if you want true Paleo. For me, the egg casserole lasts a while, it’s enough for about 4 breakfasts.

Wheat Free Egg Casserole

 

Granola – I completely forgot how much I loved this granola I made a few months ago.  It’s great for breakfast, but it’s kind of dessert-ish too.

 

granola

 

Lunch Options:

Cold Cut Roll Ups – I like this lunch because it’s got a lot flavor and it’s easy to switch it up without too much thought.  You can do turkey, ham or roast beef and fill it with spinach, cole slaw or lettuce.  I usually just bring the ingredients with me to work and assemble it all there, so I don’t have to worry about prepping anything in the morning.

 finishedwrap

Chicken Salad – Here’s another I forgot about!  This chicken salad is so delicious.  The cranberries are what I make it, I think.

chixsaladtext

The rest of my lunches, I usually do a takeout salad or leftovers from the night before.  My favorite take out salad is the Signature Salad with chicken from Cosi.

Dinner Options:

Turkey Soup:  I just made this last week and it was sooo delicious.  Disclaimer, beans aren’t paleo, so leave them out if you want to stay true to the Paleo diet.

Greek Chicken Legs:  Chicken legs are my favorite kind of chicken.  This Greek yogurt marinade is good, but you can do lots of other variations.  Soy sauce and Italian dressing marinade is another favorite.

Salmon Packet:  Salmon is possibly my favorite dinner on earth.  It’s so healthy and flavorful and there are a million ways to prepare.

I have more go to low carb dinners, variations usually of what the rest of the family is eating, that I haven’t documented before.  For instance, if we’re having burgers for dinner, I’ll have a burger with a fried egg on top.  I  know that sounds crazy, but it’s so good.  We also do stir fry.  Spaghetti squash is delicious, but not something the whole family is on board with yet.  One thing I always miss is pizza, so I’ll try one of the many Paleo pizza recipes I’ve pinned this week, too.

              Turkey, Bean and Spinach SoupMarinated Chicken Legs - Greek Yogurt

Lemony Buttery Salmon Steaks

Snacks & Desserts:

 

cucwtext

Deviled Eggs

 

Paleo ChocoNutBerry Clusters

appleslicetext

So, no excuses, I have a lot of options that I already know I enjoy.  I will report back in next week’s edition of What I Made.

 

 

 

 

 

My Faves This Week

Houzz - Home Design, Decorating and Remodeling Ideas and Inspiration, Kitchen and Bathroom Design

 

Houzz - Home Design, Decorating and Remodeling Ideas and Inspiration, Kitchen and Bathroom Design

 

Houzz - Home Design, Decorating and Remodeling Ideas and Inspiration, Kitchen and Bathroom Design

 

Product Detail | H&M US

 

Product Detail | H&M US

 

 

white felt elephant The Little Market

 

Little Market Baskets and Scarves17985

 

 

Buy It, Spy It, or DIY It – Pottery Barn Edition

Buy It Spy It DIY It Pottery Barn Edition

I’m not a frequent Pottery Barn browser, I have to admit.  I was a bit surprised at the prices, so I didn’t have many “Buy Its” this week, but I did find some inspiration for DIY’s.  And let’s face it, DIY’s are more fun anyway!

Penelope Organic Duvet Cover & Sham - Twilight Blue | Pottery Barn

 

Buy It – I adore this duvet set.  I think it would be super cute in a tween’s room, but I would use it in my bedroom. I love the pop of navy.  The king duvet is $129 and it doesn’t include the shams, but I’m ok with that.  I think white pillow cases and a mix of solid and patterned shams would look great and pull out some of the other colors, like that warm yellow color.

Colorful Painterly Ikats White Framed Prints | Pottery Barn

DIY It – These are painted ikat patterns and the colors are gorgeous. I think for some with some painting skills this is a definite DIY, but this could also be achieved with fabric scraps or even good wrapping paper.  The price is completely out of reach for me at a staggering $755 for the set of six.

Beachcomber Extra-Large Round Basket | Pottery Barn

Spy It – I love a woven basket, but I just wrote about one that is not very different than this one at Ikea for $7.99.  This one is $103 and that’s a sale price.  I don’t think the one at Ikea is as big and the quality may not be the same, but you could spend a quarter of that price at Home Goods for something similar.

Geo Wire Wall Art | Pottery Barn

 

DIY It – I love this so much that if you told me I was forbidden to DIY it, I would consider shelling out the $254 it is on sale for right now.  But, come on, this is string art (well, technically wire art) on recycled wood!  I’ve tried it and you will come up with scores of DIY tutorials on Pinterest for this.  You can do this people!   And, as an aside, if you make this, don’t muck it up with notes jammed into it!

Bird Clock | Pottery Barn

 

Buy It – I mustn’t be the only crazy person in the world with a bird fetish when it comes to home decor because I seem to find little birdies everywhere.  I think this little clock is so cute.  It’s $39.  It’s form and function, so I say it’s worth that price.

Decoupage Typography Tray | Pottery Barn

DIY It – This is decoupaged!  Woo hoo!  Grab the Mod Podge and get to work.  It’s actually only $29.50, so it wouldn’t be a bad buy either.

Driftwood Garland Vase Filler | Pottery Barn

 

Buy It – This drift wood garland is on sale for $12.99.  It’s marketed as a vase filler, but I can imagine this draped on a summer mantel, or, how cute would it be on a beach themed Christmas tree?  I think this is a pretty versatile piece to have in your decorating tool box.  One strand is 42″ long, so I would pick up a few at the sale price.

Stephanie Sterjovski Framed Print: Oh, You | Pottery Barn

 

DIY It – I love this cheeky print!  The color is so pretty and the “Oh, you” makes me smile.  You will never guess how much this costs though.  $84!  WHAT??? Printable, people, printable.

What do you love from Pottery Barn?

e.l.f. Favorites

There is a makeup line available at Target that I love.  It’s called e.l.f (eyes,lips,face).  I love it because it’s inexpensive, but not *cheap*, if you know what I mean.  Here are my favorites:

4 elf Products I Love

#1 e.l.f All Over Color Stick – This thing is a life saver.  I use it as a creamy blush and a smoosh it in with the elf Kabuki brush.  It gives your cheeks a dewy tinge of pink.  But, it can also be used on your lips as a gloss! I love double duty products.  And you will never guess how much it costs!  $1.02!  Insane.

#2 e.l.f Kabuki brush - This little brush is a gem.  I use it three separate times during the make up routine.   I smoosh in my highlighter around my eyes, my concealer and my blush with it.  It’s nice and soft and blends everything really well.  This one is $6 and seems expensive compared to the All Over Color Stick, but it’s worth every penny and it’s something you can clean and keep in your makeup bag for a long time.

#3 e.l.f Studio Duo Concealer – This concealer is another double duty item.  The white side is what I use around my eyes to banish dark circles.  You can use it anywhere you want to add a bit of a highlight.  And then the other side is great for dabbing on any blemishes.  $3.  Can’t beat it!

#4 e.l.f Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick - I love this lip gloss.  I like a colorful lip, but I don’t love the texture of lipstick.  This gloss gives you a punch of color and the silky feel of a gloss.  And it’s $2.  No joke.

Top 4 elf Products Under $13 Total

How to Fail at String Art and Still Win!

String Art 2

I’ve seen string art all over the place.  I think it looks really cool and colorful and dimensional.  My favorite is this one from Bigger Than the Three of Us:

String Art Completed

 

I wanted to give it a try, but on a smaller scale.  I still have a ton of pieces of parquet flooring, so I thought I would use that as my canvas.  This is my first pass:

String Art 1

Ok, so I like the color and the concept.  But the execution is off.  Here’s what’s not to do:

  1. Don’t use dressmaker pins.  I chose those because they were at Michael’s and I thought that I would like the look of them better than a regular nail.  The problem is they were a little too long and they weren’t strong enough.  They kept bending as I was nailing them in.
  2. Don’t use a meat tenderizer to hammer the nails in.  Does anyone else do this?  Sometimes I’m too lazy to look for my hammer.  Give me a break.
  3. Don’t get your embroidery floss is in a knot.  It will frustrate you, I promise.
  4. Don’t use the single toned embroidery floss.  Ok, you can if you want, but the ombre version looks really cool!

My goal for this string art project is to make a whole bunch of them and make sort of a collage of them, so this a work in progress that I will be updating periodically.

Any string art inspiration to share??