Bemz- more fun for your Ikea furniture!

I was visiting House of Smith's over the weekend, (I just love Shelley's blog- she's so adorable and funny) and she was mentioning shopping for a new couch.  Ikea couches came up, and it sparked my memory on a GREAT website that you may not even know about!

Bemz is a website that offers all kinds of fun slipcovers for Ikea's furniture!

Ikea offers a great selection of slipcovers in their stores, but what if you want something really unique?
Take a look at some of the options they offer:

 Yep, this is the popular Ektorp sofa (I have the same one in my living room....) in a loose fit, soft white linen.

And my love for all things turquoise- I adore this Goteborg sofa in New Baroque pale turquoise!
How could you not be happy walking into a room with this cheery and sophisticated look?
 They also offer slipcovers for Ikea's dining chairs:

The site is super easy to use- you click on the furniture you have or are interested in from Ikea on Bemz's site- you can select all of their seating options (2 seater, 3 seater, sectional, etc.) and then click on the swatch you'd like to see your selected piece in!
These are more than your basic slipcovers- many have piping, fitted or loose cover, and quality fabrics.

Angby armchair in Fandango Red by Marimekko
I could just see this in a Modern /Country living room in a loft!
Or maybe I could just put this in a fabulous dressing room/ sitting area with a Flokati white pillow
( my 6,000 sf home!)
hee hee!

Here's a couple more ideas to show you:

Karlstad sofa in Fandango light gray

Angby armchair in Eggshell blue bolster stripe

If you're ready for something totally unique for your Ikea furniture, check out Bemz!

the year in retrospect

Well, since I haven't been blogging for the entire year of 2010, I'm not sure I can say the "year" in review....maybe the last 6 months in review?

As I mentioned in one of the very first posts for this blog, I started doing this as a way to get the creative juices flowing- partly as a way to connect with other creative folk, and as a hope to start a home based creative business.  I love decorating, and also hoped I could share a few projects along the way.

We've been in our house since May of 2008.  It's been a slow build of adding in furniture, painting, decorating, projects, and the like.  We did our projects probably like most of America- here and there along the way, and then before a major holiday, hit the gas on getting that room done.

But since I've started blogging, it's kinda like having company always coming over to see your projects, and the new things I've been up to! 
I can honestly say that I've gotten more done in the last six months at a steady pace than the first two months we lived here (when you're in that honeymoon phase of no mortgage payment!)

All that to say, I am feeling very accomplished when I look around at all of the things that have gotten done this year!

One of the most anticipated projects for me this year was the transformation of our mantel:
From this:

to this:

The other project that I could hardly wait to get done was finishing the major painting project for our main living area downstairs.  As you can see from this picture, part of the Pistachio Tint was done, and the higher, harder to reach areas were not.  Hiring the work out was high on my list of things to get done in 2010!
Before (and the beginning of the gallery wall of photos):

Today- a fresher, brighter color and more pictures to be added over the coming months!

Those were the two major projects for this year. 
Since then, we've added a porch swing out front, a bird feeder to our backyard, built a nook bench (the Amish way!), added curtains to the family room, a master bedroom makeover, started the tween bedroom transformation (more to come there), repainted our nook table, replaced our family room coffee table, and slowly added in little accessories and rearrangement of furniture in various rooms.

I'm so excited for the projects for 2011- my list is long, and the reality is that everything I hope to get done won't- but we plan on being here for awhile, so we'll take it in stride.
There are already more projects in the works, some that I've already hinted at in previous posts, others that are in the planning stages, and other that have yet to be dreamed up.
I really feel like this has just been the warm up stage, and the best is yet to come!
I'm excited to get down to business- literally- with some fun projects that I hope will afford me the money to keep doing creative projects on my own dime.

And let's not forget the transformation of my blog / business logo!

From this:
 To the current look!  SOOOO much better!
Thanks again to Megan at Red Pearl Designs!!

A big thank you to so many of you who have inspired, encouraged and become friends along the way.
I got my Pottery Barn gift card today from the giveaway that Val hosted over at ValSoCal a couple weeks ago- yippee!
Can't wait to spend it on somethin' fun!

 I'm looking forward to connecting and meeting more of you over the coming year!

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a creative companion- inspiration

Several years ago I was in one of my creative funks.  It seems like creativity sometimes has it's ebbs and flows with me.  Does it ever feel that way to you?

I was still a newly wed, a college dropout (at that point) and visiting my Alma mater where my brother was now attending school.  I'd been an art major, and to shorten a very long story, got married, worked for a bit and was getting ready to head back to school- but not for art.

I felt like a dud.

While visiting the school bookstore, I saw this book.

I picked it up and started reading.  Pretty soon I was a sniffling, blubbery mess.
It hit me right in my creative deficit.

Sark is a very free spirit, and most of what she writes just makes me smile.

I keep this book in my craft room for inspiration.
When I'm feeling boxed in and uncreative, I will read a couple pages and realize that it's ok to mess up, to live each day to it's fullest, to smile and laugh and live life as innocently as a child.

Too often I feel like I have to do things "the right way" (maybe because I'm an eldest child?)
I don't want to mess up. 
 I don't want to embarrass myself.
I'm trying to let go of those feelings and just let myself be exactly how God designed me.

If you feel like I do sometimes, let me end this short post with a few words from the book:

Your desire to feel creatively free is very important-
the rest is easy

You are always on your way to a miracle

Carpe Diem!

Magic at the Mill

Well, now that Christmas Eve is here, and I have a minute to write, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  Or as they say in the UK, Happy Christmas!

The other night we were able to enjoy one of our annual traditions of going to the
Thomas Kay Woolen Mills
Magic at the Mill!
(It's the same place that I had the start of some of my holiday goodies for sale at the Holiday Heritage Faire)

This wonderful event is at one of my city's historical landmarks.  It sits next to the train depot, Willamette University, the state capital, and Tokyo International University!

It begins after dark, and all of the buildings are lit up with Christmas lights.
Since I couldn't take you all with me on the tour, I'll give you my own here.
This is a view of the mill, turned museum.  Mill Creek runs through the grounds.  The mill was water powered, and they run all of the Christmas lights on the power generated by the creek.

This building is the first one that you see as you drive into the mill.  It now houses an awesome gift shop, Danner & Soli, a bistro, and local offices.

The home of Oregon pioneer, Jason Lee.  A missionary and prominent figure in Oregon history and settlement.

Another view of the grounds next to the Jason Lee home.  The Methodist parsonage is at the top right of the photo.  I wasn't able to get a good picture, but to the left of the home, and up a small hill, is a really cute little chapel. I've been to a wedding there several years ago.  It is adorable, and looks exactly like the church/schoolhouse on Little House on the Prairie.  Including wood burning stove!

One of the buildings always has model trains set up in a Christmas scene.  Some of the local hobbyists set it up, and are more than happy to talk to you about it!

On the backside of the mill grounds is a live blacksmith demonstration.  We always love to go see it.  You can watch them making something and look around the wooden structure that houses some of the old machinery used at the mill.

Next, we headed back inside to the mill building where they have crafts and activities for the kids.  They had a rockin blues band playing- The Ty Curtis Band- they were incredible!

One of the stations was wool carding and hand spinning. This volunteer was so sweet, and Hannah got to go through the process with her.
First combing....

And then taking the wool and spinning it into a long thread.  It was very relaxing to watch!

I thought this pay stub was fascinating- from 1944.  I loved the Federal Old Age tax!  :)
They took quite a bit out for the war bonds!!

Some of the machinery still works and is demonstrated on the tours.

A large canvas crate full of old spindles.

On the top floor of the mill building, are classrooms that are still used for local craftspeople.  I loved this grouping of samples from the weaving. 

I couldn't resist snapping a picture of these cute volunteers.  They were laughing and enjoying the cold evening on the swing.

And finally, a couple more shots of the lights on the grounds. 
This narrow walking bridge takes you over Mill Creek.

The "ducks" on the pond spun around in a circle on the water.

Such a fun evening!  We ran into several friends during the evening, enjoyed some hot cider, and got a kick out of the special sparkle glasses they were selling- when you had them on and looked at the Christmas lights, there was a halo of either reindeer or angels (depending on which glasses you wore!)
So fun and magical!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful, magical, peace filled Christmas!


fantastic five dollar mirror

Do you ever have that one thrift shop that always produces gold- the one you just can't pass up when you're in the vicinity?

I went to my favorite last Friday, and was so happy to see a mirror that I'd liked on a previous visit.
It was attached to a dresser, but the dresser, as cute as it was, was beyond rehab.
The drawers were so warped and missing many of the rails- I didn't want both. 
This time, I asked if they'd be willing to sell me just the mirror.

They said, yes, how about $4.99? 

You get a lovely view of our garage door.

I just love the detail on the top of the mirror.
It's pretty big.
It measures 44"x27" - just under four feet by three feet!

Our powder room bathroom has the standard plate glass mirror.
The dimensions of the mirror would fit in the space perfectly!

I've been wanting to put something more interesting in here, so I was pretty excited about this!
Now the question is what color to make over the mirror?
All of my painting projects are on hold until after the weather warms up and it's not so humid, but it's nice to have some fun stuff on the horizon!

Here's the powder room in it's present state:

Notice the lovely golden-y beige glow.....
Anyway, I'm loving the Indian White Benjamin Moore color we have in our bedroom,
and I'm thinking this might be a good color re-do in here as well. It needs to be brightened up.

So, like I said, trying to decide on a color for the mirror is in my thoughts.
Maybe a rich dark bronze/brown color with some copper highlights?
A vintage turquoise?
Classic shabby white?

What's your vote?

I hope you all are done with your Christmas shopping- I for one am not!!  Not even close!
So tomorrow will be my do or die shopping trip (let's hope it's not the latter....)
Merry Christmas!

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My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

these spaces TBE

These spaces to be edited.

For a few months now as I've been hitting the thrift shops, I have come across some beautiful vintage pianos.
One in particular that I admired was a matte black upright with some beautiful German Crosses carved into the face. (I'm probably not labeling it right, but you know- where the sheet music goes)

It sold.

Another one a couple weeks ago was a gorgeous upright marked 75% off and the price was already low to begin with.  I could have walked out with it for around $25.  No joke.

We have a budding musician in our family, and currently, she has a keyboard she's been using to practice on at home.  It's been great since we didn't know the level of commitment she would give to it.
(a year? 6 months?  two years?)
She's shown us that she really enjoys it, and it's really starting to take off with her.

Currently, her keyboard sits on her playroom windowsill and she practices there. 
She has a lovely view, but let's face it- not so great for long term use.

But recently, I saw a piano and it's a great deal. 

I couldn't have wished for something more!
I had a spot all picked out in our house, but of course when I looked at the piano, I didn't take any measurements.
????  I don't know either.  Silly.
Well, today I got the measurements, and it couldn't be more perfect.
It's like it was meant to be!

So, in the near future, you may see this space looking different:

Well, obviously, the Christmas decorations will only be there a couple more weeks!
But the buffet may have a new home over here:

Remember a couple days ago when I was saying I wanted to put something here for our kitchen makeover?
The buffet holds a lot of our serve ware, so it's not out of the question to put it here.  And, like the measurements for the piano in the buffet space, the buffet's measurements fit perfectly in the new space!
Meant to be!

So now the real fun begins. 
Piano moving. 
I'll let ya know how that goes since I will be the one supervising and cringing as an 800 lb piece gets moved around some tight corners to the front door!

Hannah will have to say goodbye to her view out the window for practice time, but I will get to enjoy hearing her more.

Stay tuned!
(no pun intended.)

my favorite gifts to give and to get

As Christmas is rapidly approaching at lightning fast speed, I thought I would share with you a few of my very favorite gifts I enjoy giving as well as receiving!

My mother in law gave one of these to each of us girls a couple of years ago, and it has been one of my most favorite gifts in my stocking!
It has gotten me out of a jam on several occasions.
(that same year, I'd looked at getting these for my MIL and SIL's- good thing I didn't, or we would have doubled up!)

Ms. and Mrs. Minimergency Kit

this is all I have left in my kit!  I need to head over to their site for some refills!

You can see how small the whole kit is- great to fit in any size bag (or stocking!)

This fantastic little pouch packs a lot!  You can choose from seven different colors on their website.  I've also seen these locally at boutiques and specialty shops, so check there as well if you're worried about shipping costs or time.
The Minimergency Kit has all of these items:

Hairspray, Clear Nail Polish, Nail Polish Remover, Emery Board, Lip Balm, Earring Backs, Clear Elastics, Sewing Kit, Double-Sided Tape, Stain Remover, Deodorant Towelette, Pain Reliever, Tampon, Breath Freshener, Dental Floss, and Adhesive Bandages!

Wow!  These kits are only $12- and worth their weight in gold (or silver, in my case!)
You can even purchase refills from their site when you use up an item.
Check out their kits for guys as well!
You can find them on the web here.

Tyler Candle Co. is another favorite.  The packaging and candle jars are so adorable and fun to give.
I even love the names of the scents- High Maintenance, Diva, Vignette, French Market, Twenty
FourSevenGlam...and my very favorite for this time of year, Snickerdoodle! 
 If you want the scent of fresh baked cookies in your home without the work, this is the one for you!

These candles burn evenly, so you don't end up with half of the candle still in the jar by the time the wicks have burned, which I also love.

For the kiddos, I am a huge fan of  Playmobil toys. 
They have won numerous awards, including this year's
2010 Toys R Us Hot Toy of the Holiday Season for their
Large Zoo and Small School;
the award for 2010 Exceptional Entertainment and Educational Value.

They are such high quality and imaginative toys.  The detail that the manufacturer puts into them always is so intriguing and fun.

You can get little starter packs that start under $6 or go with one of the larger sets which generally are around $100; either way you won't be disappointed.
We have several pieces, each one is truly amazing.  From the Spy Set that has an alarm on the jewel case to alert the security guards, or the Wedding Set with a white grand piano that plays three songs, the medieval cannons that shoot plastic will love playing with your kids and these toys!

You can find Playmobil products at Target, Toys R Us, specialty toy shops (larger selections there) or go to the Playmobil USA site.

Last but not least,
Body Shop Coconut Body Butter

  How can you not get in the teensiest bit of vacation mode when you smell this?

I will say it again, YUM! 
(not to eat-let's not get confused by the 'butter' part....)
A rich body butter that is great in the middle of winter or the middle of summer.
I have this on my night stand and use it every night on my hands. 
It's a permanent fixture!
In the summer, I like to use it on my legs and shoulders for a little bit of glow- and the light coconut scent makes me feel like I've been to the beach even if I just got back from the grocery store.

The large tub lasts a long time and is $20. 
You can find it at your local Body Shop or online.

There you have it!  My four favorite gifts to give and to get!
Hope your Christmas shopping ideas just got a boost!