Are You In For The ORC?

Well it's that time of year again.....time for the fall One Room Challenge 
hosted by Linda at Calling It Home!
October 7 is the kick off of the 6 week adventure, with 20 design bloggers sharing a room transformation week by week on Wednesdays.  Thursdays anyone can link up a room they want to work on, with a deadline to finish it up by Thursday, November 12.  
I've done a few ORCs and they are GREAT motivation to get a room finished entirely (or even partly like my built in bookcase wall)!

I have a special gift for starting projects and never finishing them, just ask my poor husband about my attention span and how many "in process" projects and rooms we have around this house.  Since I started working with clients on design projects, I have completely neglected my own half-done house.  
(Paint samples all over our living room walls since MAY.  
Paint cans are a nice accessory for a room don't you think?)

SO....next week I am signing on to participate in this round, because I need to finish what I've started.

I'm making a little progress as of late!!
Hannah's room refresh is almost done....
here is her bulletin board/statement art collage of photos I shared on IG yesterday:

(I say that so I will actually finish her room and move on.....)

For the ORC I am going to tackle, once and for all, the most thrown together wreckage of a space in our house, my older son Peter's room.  I talked about it last FEBRUARY and now it is October and I haven't done a single thing except make the worst and junkiest headboard in the world, the absolute bane of my design loving existence, thrown together hours before guests arrived.  It's so bad I can't even show it to you but trust me, it's DIY gone so very wrong.

I have mused about what to do with this room for so long.......
and who knows where it will end up, 
but truly the goal of working on this space is to improve functionality for Peter.
And maybe make it look a teeny bit less like a frat house.
That's not asking a lot of myself right?

So how about you - will you join me in the challenge so we can madly pull together embarrassing and neglected parts of our homes and finish what we started?  Come on....it will be fun!  

Early happy weekend my dears!  
I'm off to this conference for the next few days and will see you next week!


QTT:: When You Run Out Of Dishwasher Detergent

Hello friends and welcome to another edition of....
Have you ever gone grocery shopping and managed to come home without the #1 thing you needed??  
Right before you are having a big Sunday dinner? Yeah.  It happens to the best of us.
DIY Dishwasher Detergent in a pinch,
using what you already have in your kitchen.....
it actually works!!
All you need are a few drops of dishwashing liquid, baking soda and regular table salt.
Add a few drops of your liquid soap to the dishwashing cup, fill about 2/3 of the cup with baking soda, then fill the rest of the cup with salt, close the cup door and run your dishwasher as usual.  

I was skeptical that my glassware would be shiny, but was pleasantly surprised at how clear everything came out.  I would say the glasses are ALMOST as good as if you use a dishwasher detergent that has an additive to make them sparkly.  

The only thing that seemed to have a bit of a filmy residue on it was a black silicone spatula, but otherwise the glasses and dishes were completely clean!  

There you go......a quick tip for your Tuesday!  Enjoy the day!


Project Design: How To Make A Beautiful Bed

Welcome to Project Design, the series created by the talented

I'm so glad to join a wonderful group of bloggers to talk about
  How To Make A Beautiful Bed!
My version of  How To Make A Beautiful Bed is the Everywoman's guide......
how to make an unfussy bed that not only feels wonderful
but is also so attractive that you want to crawl back into it as soon as it's made, 
and can't wait to slide under the sheets when you are dead tired at the end of the day.  
Ahhhhh, heavenly comfy bed!

Over the years I have relaxed my bedding style and even how I make the bed.....
I would say it takes me no longer than one minute to straighten the fitted sheet, pull up the top sheet and coverlet, and straighten up the pillows to make it all look tidy and comfy. 
Taking this one minute makes such a difference when I walk into my room at the end of the day!!

To combat allergies, I always buy bedding that can be thrown in the washing machine, 
so no memory foam anything for us.

An upholstered headboard provides an extra layer of comfort if you like to read or watch tv in bed.
Upholstered headboards can be vacuumed with a HEPA filter occasionally 
to pick up pollen and dust mites.

We have a pillow top mattress that is several years old.  To give it a new lease on life, I added a mattress pad that has a thick layer on top.  So yes - a pillow top on top of a pillow top!
I've been slowly buying them for my kids' beds too when I see them on sale.  So comfy!
Keep in mind that if you have a pillow top mattress pad you will need deeper fitted sheets, or you can use a flat sheet on the bottom with folded and tucked corners.

Speaking of sheets....
Don't be fooled by high thread counts - they don't always ensure sheets will super soft!
Often high thread count sheets are blends such as polyester and cotton.
For durability and softness, look for 100% cotton or linen.
100% cotton sheets will soften with every wash and if you can find Pima or Egyptian cotton in your price range, snatch them up!  They are superior in strength and feel.

While you may imagine linen sheets would be stiff and super wrinkly all the time, like cotton, linen fibers soften considerably over the years and are incredibly durable. They are also very pricey but a worthwhile investment that you will likely have for many years.

If high quality sheets are not in your budget,
treat yourself to nice pillowcases where you lay your head to rest each night.  

Our favorite sheets right now are NOT Egyptian cotton, pima cotton or linen - they are 300 thread count regular old 100% cotton - but they have such a lovely feel to them!  I bought them at Homegoods to have as a second set, and we actually prefer them to our supposedly higher end, 800 thread count set.  If you know what to look for, Homegoods is a great resource high quality bedding.

In addition to lovely sheets I like to layer our bed with a coverlet and a medium-density down comforter in a duvet. I bought our duvet at a Bloomindales bedding sale when we first got a king bed, probably 15 years ago, and it is a great example of how investing in fine linens is worth it.  
This duvet has endured the baby and toddler years straight on through to my Dorito-eating teenagers who I occasionally find lounging on my bed watching tv.  :)  It's been scrubbed and washed countless times and still looks new!

The down comforter stays on our bed all year long; in the summer I keep it folded at the bottom of the bed for when the AC kicks in, and in the fall and winter I pull it up and make a cozy warm cocoon for Game Of Thrones nights and deep winter slumbering.
 If you have a duvet, this video on how to quickly put on a duvet cover.

I launder our bedding once a week or so with Mrs. Meyers Lavender detergent -  
the scent is so subtle and clean!
It's a splurge for me because as far as laundry detergent goes, it's super expensive, so I only use it on our sheets and towels, and then I hide it from my teenagers (they do their own laundry and would think nothing of using up all my liquid gold!)

I don't use bleach on bedding because it's so hard on fine fibers.  OxiClean is my go-to for pre-treating and soaking any stains, and I occasionally throw in a half cup of baking soda to keep my whites white and soft.

When I do my one-minute bed making in the mornings, putting even the littlest effort to making it look nice is so gratifying.   Some days, this is the only part of my house that is remotely put together and I appreciate coming up to bed even more!

Ironing your pillow cases and the edge of the flat sheet make a bed feel so luxurious and finished!
However, if you're like me there is about a 0% chance that you are going to find the time to put on mascara, forget about ironing the sheets.  

You could just cover up your rumpled sheets with your comforter, coverlet or duvet,
or you can do this little trick that takes no time and makes your bed look polished and inviting -
take this wrinkled mess....

fold it under and smooth it all down. 

Straighten up the pillows with all the open ends facing either in or out, with your pillows either propped up.....

or stacked, hotel style.
Pillow openings both facing out or in.

A few squishy throw pillows that also offer a little extra propping when reading in bed.

Fabrics that are soft and supple beckon you to relax and rejuvenate.

Super comfortable, fresh, and inviting.....

that is what a beautiful bed is to me!

Many thanks to Mary Ann and Cindy for inviting me to participate in this edition of Project Design!
Now let's see how these amazing ladies make a beautiful bed!!

Thank you as always for visiting and
I wish you a restful, lovely slumber this weekend!  

Wall color -  Benjamin Moore Gentlemen's Grey #2062-20
Mattress pad - Similar
Sheets -  Tahari  (I found mine at Marshalls but these are the same ones)
Duvet -  Bloomingdales (many years ago)
Quilt - Homegoods
White throw pillows - Homegoods
Throw - Homegoods
Upholstered headboard - DIY
No Sew Bedskirt - DIY
Fabric for headboard and bedskirt - Fabric Place Basement
Wall lights - DIY
Curtains - Ikea (no longer available)
Bamboo rollup shades - Lowes
Wood mounted photo over bed - DIY


Quick Tip Tuesday:: Cracked Spray Paint

Isn't this the worst?......

.......You prep a piece and spray it, but when you come back to give it another coat you discover the paint has cracked??  

Today's tip.....

 • one •
Use a fine grit sandpaper to very gently sand the cracked areas, feathering them into the rest of the piece, until the lines of the cracks are no longer visible.  

• two •
Wipe the piece with a damp paper towel or rag and dry.

• three •
Spray primer over the sanded area.  I find that just using spray paint on the sanded area does not fill it in enough - the primer is a thicker coat and will even out the finish.

• four •
When the primer is completely dry, VERY lightly sand the primer coat (which doesn't always go on super smooth), wipe down with a wet rag and dry, and give your piece a finish coat of spray paint.

And done!  It's like your spray painting woes never even happened!

A few quick tips to avoid cracks:
• don't spray in really hot or cold conditions •
Ideal temperature to spray paint is between 50°-90°F with humidity below 85%

• make sure your piece is clean and dry • 
and my biggest problem....

• don't overspray •
Several light coats are preferable to one or two heavy coats.  
Sometimes it's hard to avoid overspraying when you are hitting a piece with lots of curves like my lights.  Just spray what you can from the angle you are at, let dry thoroughly, then come back and change the position of the piece to get other spots rather than trying to cover the entire piece at once.
Now go have fun, spray paint lovers!!


Designing A Girl's Room Refresh

Hey friends! Hope you had a chance to relax and enjoy this weekend a bit.
I am LOVING our New England September.  
Blue skies, easy breezy 70s by day, cool and crisp nights,  it is a gorgeous time of year here!

While I'm finishing up Hannah's room refresh I am reminded of some other teen rooms I've worked on.  Even if you are not starting from scratch with a room design, it's SO helpful to have a general plan in mind.  Creating a design board can help you decide on the direction you want to go and visualize the end result, so you aren't chasing your tail trying to find pieces that work and making 7000 returns  in the process!

These are a couple of quick design boards I made for a teenage girl
that incorporated her bed, mirrored dresser and side table, and a grey and white comforter her mom found at TJMaxx that they loved (very similar to this Dwell Studios fabric below).  

They were thinking of using a light blue on the walls or in the room somehow but weren't sure how that combination would look, so I played with a couple options for her.

Benjamin Moore #806 Breath Of Fresh Air

Then I showed them how the room would look using a robin's egg blue as an accent color. 

Benjamin Moore #1458 Silver Bells 

(I love the Sanela curtains and pillow....they are a more muted shade of the famous Tiffany blue.)

In the end they decided on the first design using Breath Of Fresh Air as the wall color - the blue is strong enough to contrast the grey bedding and the end result was very serene and lovely, the perfect respite for a busy teenager!

I create design boards using the collage element of the free photo editing program Picasa.
I'll show you how I do it in the near future - it's so easy and creating a design board really is helpful to thinking through how you want your room to look!

Coming up this Friday is the newest edition of Project Design,
the series created by the fabulous Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home and Cindy of Rough Luxe Lifestyle.

I'll be joining these wonderful bloggers to chat about
how to make a beautiful bed
(a subject near and dear to my heart - I love my comfy bed!)

Vintage Contessa  

Hope you will join us!
Have a wonderful day!


(Another) Ikea Arstid Wall Light Hack!

First there was this....
 and now there's this.....
I can't get enough of these little lights!
Two of the bedrooms in our house came with huge framed homasote bulletin boards. 

Hannah's board is almost the same length as her new bed and we both love the idea of photos grouped en masse to serve as large scale art for her room.
{source unknown}

It just got a fresh coat of white paint and Hannah uploaded and ordered tons of her cell phone photos to add to these ones.

I wanted to give her some lights for reading in bed.  I love how our master bedroom customized wall lights from Ikea came out, how they function for reading in bed, and with a $14.99 price tag they were the perfect choice for this budget makeover.   Hannah's bulletin board provided a great way to hide the cords from plug in wall lights (but you could also hide the cord in these self-adhesive cord covers like I did in my bedroom).

Using the metal Skurar planters for shades was an idea I got from Ikea Hacker Robert van Piggelen and I love these paired with the Arstid wall light.  

The doily affect is so pretty and feminine for a girl's room.

So here is how I made my own version of Robert's light by marrying the Arstid and the Skurar.

 First up, taping off the socket and spray painting the light.  
It took several light coats to cover the silver.

Then onto drilling a hole in the metal planters - this was the daunting part to me.

I needed a special tool that attaches to a drill called a HOLE SAW to cut through the galvanized metal.  I took the shade with me to the hardware store to make sure I got the right size.  The guy working in the tools department was awesome - he found the right attachment for me ($13 by the way, ouch).  He also told me that cutting into metal can create sparks so he recommended doing it outside, making sure to wear goggles and even having a fire extinguisher handy (safety first!)  The cut metal produces lots of fine metal shrapnel so be aware of that too if you do this project.

So here we go.....my goggles and shiny new hole saw.

First I inverted the lampshade that came with the light onto the bottom of the metal planter and traced a circle in the center, 
then placed the planters in styrofoam to keep them steady and prevent the lacy edges from getting bent, and cut the holes out. 
(I recommend removing the sticker first because it gets all over the hole saw.)
 Easy as pie!

 To hang the light - 
Up in Hannah's room, I measured and marked where the light fixture would be hung - it hangs from the wall from two screws. Placing the head of the screw as close to the wall as possible will keep the light fixture in place really well, but you can also put a bit of double sided 3M tape on the back of the light before hanging.

To hide the cord....
You can use stick-on cord covers that are either painted the color of the light or the color of the wall to give a plug in wall light a more finished look.  I did this in our master bedroom.

If you want to hang the light on a bulletin board and hide the cord, this is how I did it:
(Scroll down for more pretty pictures if you could care less about this part!)

I held the light up to the board where it was going to hang, and marked the bottom of it.  The cord comes out of the bottom of this light, so a hole under the light was necessary.  I used the same drill attachment to make a hole in Hannah's bulletin board so that the light plug could fit through it, making sure the bottom of the hole would be UNDER where the light fixture will hang. 
(Am I making any sense?)
 The plug was fed down behind the bulletin board....
 ....and pushed all the way down.

Then I drilled screws into the marked spots, hung the lights and voila!

To attach the shades.....
the light has a little ring that twists off....
then the shade is placed over the threaded part of the socket, and the ring goes back on to hold the shade in place.  

See that little hole on either side of the cord?  I just filled that in with a little bit of caulking and you can barely see it.
I love the lacy doily girliness of these "shades"!

 But the real magic happens with the lightbulb goes in 
(make sure you get the coordinating lightbulbs - E12 - at Ikea!)....

One more time....

Project cost breakdown:
(2) Ikea Arstid Wall Lamp - $14.99 each
(2) E12 LED light bulbs - $6.99 each
(2) Ikea Skurar Plant Pot - $3.99 each
Hole Saw (similar and cheaper than mine!) - $10.21
Spray paint (I had on hand but if you need to buy it...) - $5

$67.15 (+ tax)

Functional and pretty lights, the satisfaction of creating something cool, and working on this room for and with my beautiful funny joyful messy love bug of a daughter:

Thank you to Ikea Hacker Robert van Piggelen for the great idea of using the metal planters for shades.  

Check out my other Ikea Arstid Hack for an antique brass version.

More tween-to-teen room ideas soon! 

Thanks for stopping by and best wishes for a wonderful weekend!