Fabric Lined Bookcase

The first time I walked into this house, I saw exactly what the little area at the top of the stairs was destined to be: a cute little reading nook. Faux built-ins, a comfy chair and fun lamp were all I needed for hours of reading fun.

It was one of the first spaces I “finished,” meaning put in some cheap Big Lots shelves, styled them to the best of my ability, added a flea market comfy chair and pretty lamp and really enjoyed it.

For awhile. Then I started to crave more. Those wow details that were missing. While my shelves were styled ok these were still plain old Big Lots shelves that needed some love. I made lofty plans to cover the backs. I bought (and returned) gift wrap, searched fabric after fabric, and even decided to paint it the same color as my office hutch. I changed my mind every single time. It was paralysis. Nothing was “the one” so it remained plain.

Until I found this lovely fabric at Joann.

You might remember that from my little casual Fall tablescape and while orange was not what I was thinking, it just so happens they had it in black. You know what is even better? This was quilting fabric that was on sale and I had a coupon taking it down to just over $2.50 a yard. Yep, you read that right just over $2.50 per yard. Nothing better than cheap graphic fabric.

So I recovered it. I actually did it! I made up my mind and I made it happen. This takes some time, but it’s a really easy process.The result: it was worth the wait and paralysis. 

Seriously, this cost less than $20, took a couple of hours and it is one my most favorite results ever. A few things about the details…

  • I heart graphic black and white- always have and always will. I have phased it out in some areas of the house in favor of more muted geometrics and greys, but when in doubt that’s where I need to go. All those fabrics and papers considered, returned or doubted were florals, too colorful or too “much.  They were not me. This is me.
  • But it’s not too bold. The small scale of the pattern keeps if from being too much. It doesn’t get too crazy with all the books and goodies on the shelves. Graphic and dramatic up close, muted and calm from a distance- perfect!
  • Bonus points for anyone who noticed I haven’t finished the middle shelf yet. It took a trip to two Joanns to get enough fabric and I haven’t finished it yet.
  • Double bonus points for anyone who is super crazy observant and noticed the shelves are NOT in the same place. I got crazy a rearranged the entire room, but that’s a story for another day.

Once I pulled the trigger, this was an easy project. I could not get to Joann fast enough to use that coupon; however, the process was long and taught me a lot:

  1. If you don’t feel it- wait it out. It really is ok. Look around, test your options and the waters but if you don’t love it, don’t do it.
  2. When you finally make up your mind- just do it! Go all Nike on it.
  3. Go back to what feels like you. For me it’s black and white graphics, for you it may be pastel florals but that’s what makes style so personal.
  4. If you love it, walk by it daily and tell it. This means people, pets and fabric lined bookshelves.

Baby, It’s Chili Weather Outside {Casual Fall Tablescape}

Happy Monday to you! I realize that I run the risk of sounding like a broken record but I am sooooo ready for Christmas decorating! The trees, the lights, the candles, the candy canes. I.cannot.wait.

But, I kind of have to. That process takes time and we just haven’t had a chance to get the stuff out of the attic and make the pumpkins turn into a coach tree. So how about we make some pumpkin spice lemonade out of this?

By hosting a little Autumn inspired mid-week dinner party. There is no better time than now for chili and what’s better than chili? Chili x2- chicken and traditional. And what is better than 2 types of chili? A really fun, super casual table.

It all started with some dishtowels from Ikea that were really meant to be so much more: Napkins! While it’s not traditional, the mixed blue patterns were the perfect jumping off point for fall festivities. (West Elm also had some napkins in similar patterns for a not similar price- I saw them AFTER purchasing the Ikea cheapies- I’ll take that pat on the back now, thank you :)) 

Throw in a piece of fun zig-zag fabric in a burnt orange, a centerpiece of chili fixins…

teeny treats at each place setting…

Add plain white bowls, light a few candles and you got yourself a casual chili feast- perfect for a cool fall night (while we countdown the days till Christmas)

Girl’s Night In: Pizzeria Style

I live with a boy now. It’s one of the consequences of getting married. While that’s a very good thing, it does tend to limit the Girl’s Only nights so I like to try to take advantage of the few times that Robb leaves for the weekend and host a fun night with my BFF. (BTdubs, she can come over when there is a boy here, I’m just talking about those real girl’s only nights. And this way I don’t have to kick anyone out. Thats rude :))

What was I saying? Girl’s Night In-Fun! While Robb was away playing (boring) golf all weekend, I made sure I planned a night where it would be just me and my BFF.

And that meant there had to be a theme. And girl friendly food. When Sarah and I think girl friendly food- that usually means cheese, not cucumber sandwiches. We went with Margherita so that means Pizzeria theme!

I grabbed a little gingham fabric at Joann, topped it with some craft paper and picked plain white dishes and napkins. Pizzeria=simple!

A simple salad with lettuce fresh from my garden and homemade vinaigrette we can count and coloring on the table until the wee hours make for a pizza perfect evening!

Summer Pinterest Challenge: Wipe Your Mouth

It’s that time again…

This time it’s being hosted by four of my absolute favorite blogs: Young House Love, Bower Power, Centsational Girl and Ten June. Hello, all star cast!

I heart Pinterest. Maybe too much. Maybe I’ve even lost interest in Facebook because Pinterest is soooo much more fun. I love pinning, repining and sometimes re-repinning. It happens.

I have a bajillion more pins than I will ever make, but I do occasionally follow through with some and those tend to be the ones that I pin from my favorite blogs or sites so that’s what I’m going to do for today’s challenge.

I LOVE Mini-Manor Blog! Ashli is just the kind of housewife Martha wishes she was and she totally inspired me to try to make my own napkins. She made it look super easy and beautiful (as she does everything in her house. Can I move in? Pretty please?) Her instructions were so easy to follow for even an imperfect sewer, er, seamstress such as myself.

I made a trip to Joann, got quilting fabric, washed it, ironed it and cut a yard into quarters. Because Ashli said so. I actually ironed it in quarters to make a crisp line that was very easy to cut.

I learned the instructions were perfect, my execution was not. “Perfect” is not my middle name. It may be closer to “Eh, that’s not too bad. I like it” but that’s kind of a long middle name. Let’s get back to napkins.

I sewed and sewed. I even made a fun little stripe on one set.

Did you notice that I even used the same fabric as my Pinspiration? That was a total accident. After staring at all the choices at Joann for longer than socially acceptable, this is the one that jumped out at me. It’s just a great print.

And now I have my very own set of pretty napkins.

I loved them so much I made another set. This could get addictive. It was a lenghty process, but just as easy as the original post suggested. The biggest time consumer is ironing but that’s what makes the sewing go so fast so it’s completely worth it. I even timed the full floral set and they took me right at 42 minutes start to finish. Not the speediest of projects, but faster than you could search 52 stores for napkins this cute and still come up empty handed. #iwin

They are no where near as perfect as the original pin, but I got better with every one and I love that I can have my own napkins way cheaper and prettier than anything I could get in a store. Thanks, Ashli for the pinspiration and instruction!