Category Archives: decor

Holiday Decorations, Part 1

Since it was just the two if us, we kept our Thanksgiving celebration pretty minimal: chicken, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, kale, and wine. It was a bit heavy on the sweet side (our preferred kale recipe uses dried cherries and apple cider, among other things) but the whole dinner was easy to make and we finished off all of the leftovers in the next two days.

(Wooo macro shot.)

Anyway, I’ve been way too excited to get some xmas decorations up. Last year we bought a few decorations and, feeling feisty, we decided to go with a blue and silver theme instead of the traditional red and green. It wasn’t until later that we realized that those were pretty much Hanukkah colors, which is just fine with us. 🙂 We had gotten some blue and white outdoor LED light strands and had haphazardly strung them up last year. This year I wanted to frame our house oh-so-nicely, so we got some gutter clips and I started obsessively switching out LEDs so the strands would alternate blue and white:

(A glass of wine makes the work go faster.)

Dave had never hung xmas lights from gutters before, so while he didn’t really need any help, I went up and directed him. And when we got to the end we didn’t have quite as much lights left as I wanted for the appropriate hanging effect I wanted, so I went all the way back and shifted everything over a few feet. Dave just sat back and let me do that part, he can tell when I’m getting obsessive. 🙂

(I look pretty precarious in the shot, but I'm a big wimp so trust that I'm actually pretty far from the edge...)

We also bought a nifty light-up decoration for our front patio, but I didn’t get a picture, so too bad. Well, I’ll do a separate post for it, and you’ll just have to wait in suspense until then.

The last thing we did was hang the stockings. Actually, first we hung a mirror over the fireplace, because the lack of mantle made the stockings look pretty weird. Having a mirror there balances things out a bit.

(Dave, me, Loki, Callie, Pollux, Castor. Good thing the little stockings were super cheap.)

We’ve had that mirror forever, and now I have the strong urge to either paint it white or stain it really dark. We’ll be replacing the faux-brick… someday… so I guess I should wait until then before deciding on the mirror. Anyway, there are more decorations in the works, so i guess I’ll take more pictures and post them soon.


Stencil Art

A month or so ago I saw a picture of a TV show quote that Dave and I both love that someone had turned into a large artsy print. I thought it was super cool and decided I really wanted to make my own. I guess I was more in the mood for arts and crafts rather than digital art and high-resolution printing, so I bustled off to the store and procured some super-cheap canvasses, stencils, sponges, and acrylic paint. Here’s the finished “art”:

You know, I don’t think that’s even correct grammar. Whatever, it’s a direct quote, and it’s pretty much my mantra, so too bad. Anyway, here are some action shots:

I totally guessed on the stencil size, but it ended up being perfect.

My stenciling technique was pretty bad to start with, but it was pretty easy to go back over it afterwards with a detail brush, so no harm done. 🙂 Here it is as seen from the living room:

It may end up moving if we ever decide what to do with this wall. I kinda want some extra-big art behind the dining table and a modern bookcase of some sort against the wall on the right side of the picture. We’ll see. Here it is from the dining room. With the dining room light in the foreground just because it’s so cool:

I had originally planned to paint over the words so they wouldn’t have the stencil lines in them, but I really just loved how it turned out. I free-handed the “True story” at the bottom because I wanted it to look different. At first I thought it was pretty crappy in comparison to the stenciled letters, but I suppose it’s grown on me.

Last Minute Decorating

We weren’t really feeling inspired for most of the month, but yesterday in a fit of motivation we decided to go out and buy a few Halloween decorations, since what was left on the shelves was on sale anyway.

Dave insisted on the giant spider. It’s pretty cute and fluffy actually.

I really wanted to hang some ghosts, but all we could find were giant ghouls (or were they ghasts?) and plushy ghosts. So instead I decided to use the mad skills I learned in preschool arts and crafts, and make ghosts out of some rags:

Oh yeah. Scraps of an old t-shirt, some yarn, and a black sharpie equals cheap-o hanging ghosts. I’m sure they’ll look cooler in the dark. Or possibly they won’t even be noticed. 🙂

Entertainment Center Upgrade

With our media computer finally functional, we decided it was past time to ditch our “temporary” media storage solution that we’ve lived with for the past four years. It’s an old dresser that we pulled the drawers out of. The horizontal supports were flimsy at best, but we just never got around to shoring them up. This thing was just not wide enough to balance the TV and unnecessarily deep to boot.

When we started looking for lower/longer solutions, they were all surprisingly expensive, and mostly dark wood. We ideally were looking for something with with some sort of doors we could use to hide stuff behind. We spent a day looking around goodwills and yard sales for something we could refinish, but we didn’t find anything, and since we had finally decided it was time for a change we really just wanted to get it over and done with. So we went for that old stand-by for inexpensive storage, Ikea:

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to get something with cube-shaped cubbies anyway. As a bonus, it was easy to just not install one of the partitions to leave enough room for our media computer on the upper right. I had bought the black fabric cubes a while ago and up until now they had been holding our socks. They could still be holding our socks for all you know. 🙂 Here’s a wider view of our living room, as seen from the front door:

We may eventually cut little legs out of 4×4’s to get it up off the floor a bit, but I think it looks fine for now. And I guess we’ll eventually do something to hide the cables coming down from the TV. Here’s a close-up of the organizational mayhem:

We’ve got board games, the PS3, computer, and Wii across the top, and cubbies, (which actually contain wiimotes and such) movies, and video games across the bottom. Mokona (the white stuffed animal) plays the critical role of keeping the cats from climbing on the PS3.

And now that we have our computer set up, maybe I’ll finally take the time to figure out how to upload pictures from our SLR. I currently mostly just take pictures with my iPhone, otherwise I’d never end up posting anything.


Pretty much every place we’ve rented has had the standard cheap blinds in every window, and I’ve never felt any inspiration to dress them up. Even now, curtains fall into the “things I’m barely willing to spend money on” category. But we managed to grab a set of curtains made out of a kind of mesh-like material on clearance a few months back, and we bought two sets of the cheapest cotton curtains we could find at Ikea last month.

And now, finally we put them up. The curtain rods were left to us by the prior owners, so they were free. 🙂 As a bonus, they match our style pretty well. We took them down when we painted, and we re-hung them a bit higher and wider than they were originally. The cotton curtains went in the living room:

Tada! Oh, and as a bonus you can see that we got a new rug. The natural material of the sisal rug did not stand up to our pet mess cleaner, and ended up with silly-looking light splotches. (The sisal rug can be seen at the bottom of this post.) And continuing with the theme of not spending much money, we went and found the cheapest new 8×10 rug in existence. We’re so proud. I’m sad to say that it looks better in photos than in person, but it is undeniably practical, and certainly not boring.

Anyway, back to the curtains. Here’s the big window from another angle:

Just last week I finally got around to hanging that picture up by the front door, but I wasn’t thinking about how much space curtains take, so I had to take down the cool-looking iron candle holders that I had hung next to it. Boo. They will probably find a new home along the stretch of wall shared by the living room and the dining room. Or something.

Getting back to the curtains once more, the bottoms are unhemmed, so now we need to decide how short we want them. We’re leaning towards not-quite-floor length… But first I had to wash them. And find a place to dry them. Stringing up a line between the mulberry tree and the patio covering supports worked perfectly. I’m thinking of maybe rigging some carabiners so I can take the line up and down whenever I want. maybe.

The curtains dried really quickly, and I immediately hung them back up even though they really need to be ironed. And hemmed. Really though I’m dying to know if our thrill-seeking kitties are going to try climbing them, and I’d rather know before I put any more effort into them. 🙂

The mesh curtains in the dining room were a bit less effort since they’re already hemmed. Though if we ever get around to building a banquette in that corner I’ll probably have to re-hem them anyway. Considering out list of things that we want to build is about a mile long and we aren’t planning to host a formal dinner party any time soon, I’m just not going to worry about it for now.

And you can see from the picture that Dave has finally replaced the hard drive on our media computer, whose old hard drive died at the beginning of the year. (Here’s a shot of the dining room minus the curtains, and minus all the computer junk too.) And on one more awkward note, the dining room curtains are cream while the living room curtains are crisp white. Ummm. I think it looks okay? The windows aren’t all that close, and the wall color is different, and the lighting is completely different between the two rooms. Ah well, if it annoys me too much the mesh curtains will probably end up in the guest room. In the meantime, our windows having dressings! hurray!

And with that I’ll close a very rambly post. Thanks for reading!