Paper Garland DIY

My kind of DIY project is equal parts great design and elementary school throwback. While I’m certainly a fan of good styling and clever ideas, I also rely on a do-it-yourself to get me back in touch with the good old days of glue sticks and construction paper.

Along those lines, I really loved this giant paper bead garland project featured on Oh Happy Day. It’s simple and clever, and I love the idea of a bunch of these at a celebration. Plus, unlike so many projects that you have to buy lots of supplies you’ll likely never use again, this is a great use of materials you’ve probably got lying around anyway.

via Oh Happy Day.

Color Me Happy

I get crushes on certain colors. At various points in my life, there have been colors or color combo that became my touchstone. I wear it, paint it on my walls, gravitate toward anything to show it off. Once my tastes changes I’m often a little embarrassed about being so obsessed, but in the moment I’m pretty much helpless to that color’s charms. At 16 I insisted on painting my bedroom a sage green which was, looking back, probably better suited to someone middle-age and not a teenager listening to Ben Folds Five over and over. At 18 I was all about fuchsia and bright green together and shortly after, turquoise and leaf green combined.

More recently mustard yellow had my heart (this one’s not quite over yet), but lately I’ve found a new pairing taking over– shades of aqua, from bright turquoise to soft and minty, with pops of red, from fire engine to berry to neon pink. This combo has crept into nearly every room of my house, my Pinterest feed, and my brain. It’s versatile and unexpected, slightly more subtle than the combo of truly complementary colors, and totally my new obsession. Here are a few bits of eye-candy that may get you feeling it, too–

Michelle Armas via Design Milk.

Via Mor til Mernee

 Via Pinterest

 Miranda Skoczek via The Design Files

  Summer plums by Anek

 Paper lantern update from The House that Lars Built

 Marjorie Helen Thomas

Tropical Punch by Alejandra Hernandez

 Album cover via Let’s Look Up and Smile

Pineapple Love

When I moved to New England back in 2005, there were plenty of new things to get used to– galley kitchens, new vocabulary (“You call them ‘jimmies‘?”), the lack of any straight roads. I eventually figured those out, but one thing continued to stump me– what was with all the pineapples? Pineapple signs, pineapple prints, pineapple decorations, they were everywhere, and it wasn’t like the fruit was native to the area.

Finally a friend enlightened me to the history of the pineapple in New England. The story goes that Colonial sailors would often return from voyages to the tropics with fruits, animals and other exotic treasures. When a sailor came home, families began placing a pineapple outside their home as a signal to the neighborhood that their loved one had returned safely and visitors were welcome. Thus the pineapple become a symbol of hospitality and fortune, and continues to be a popular motif in seaside locations to this day. (More on the history here.) 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I lived in Providence, I loved the giant pineapple that welcomed visitors to Federal Hill, the Italian neighborhood near my apartment. When we visited for a wedding about a year after moving back to the Midwest, my best friend and I decided to get tattoos to commemorate our time out East. For me, there are no better symbol for my time in Providence than the pineapple; it represented my adventure to a new and unfamiliar place, and returning safely back home in the end.

All that to say, I’ve definitely got a soft spot for pineapples, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see them show up as the motif du jour around the blogosphere and Pinterest lately. Here are a few of my faves–

Holes in the Walls

We’ve been in our house over two and a half years now, and it took until this weekend to finally put anything up on the walls of the studio. Mind you, that room has needed probably the biggest makeover of the whole place. I’ve written before about the walls in this room– we first thought they were paneling, only to discover the “interesting” choice to cover the walls in faux wood contact paper.

301689_10150889285135077_1701876624_nAfter removing the paper (basically just a gigantic sticker), we painted the room a bright minty turquoise which, to be honest, took me a bit to get used. Though it’s nearly the exact same color I painted the kitchen area, it’s crazy how different light will change how a color appears. Eventually it grew on me (or not wanting to buy more paint and redo the room grew on me : ) ) and over the weekend weekend, almost a year later on the dot since the paint job, I finally got around to hanging things up on the wall. There’s still plenty to do to “finish” the room, but it’s nice to finally have some inspiring things to look at.

Of the hundreds of Martha Stewart tricks that are out there, this is probably the only one I’ve ever actually adopted– tracing the pictures you want to hang in paper first to adjust the layout before you start hammering any nails. So obvious, so smart.

Real talk: this is my mess of a workspace. I painted old metal thrift store frame white to frame a new picture in a more flattering way.

A couple of things on display on some of the smaller walls in the studio– the calendar sample was on of many treasures discovered in Uncle Fun‘s basement during their closing sale. The Anne Benjamin print I spotted at Earwax (also now closed. Why do all my favorite places close?) shortly after moving to Chicago and loved so much I very nearly stole it off the announcement board that night. When I saw her selling one at Renegade a year or so later I was so thrilled I snapped it up on the spot and it lived in our bedroom for a number of years. The colors work perfectly in the studio (and Henry enjoys saying “Arrrgh” the the pirate every time he sees it).

 The final (for now) gallery wall including a vintage pennant I found on Ebay, my new Earth Cadets screenprint (which was the impetus to finally hang things up), a bird print by Memo Helen, Amos Paul Kennedy broadside I got at DUCF last winter, and a vintage needlepoint owl thrifted by my sister-in-law a few years back.

Now, how’s that for eye candy the next time I’m looking for inspiration, eh? I don’t think I’ll have an excuse for an artistic slump ever again looking at all these beauties!