Aug 30, 2012

Budget Bedroom Makeover

Howdy friends!  We finally got around to painting our master bedroom accent wall in the luscious "Smoked Oyster (2109-40)" shade from Benjamin Moore - first discussed {here}.  And, we totally dig it!  It makes the room look so much richer and sophisticated.  My husband said it makes it like a cozy "cocoon" - and he's totally right.

Here are a few more current bedroom detail shots before I take you on a multi-locale bedroom journey...

For those who have seen our previous rooms, you may notice just a few other new things.  We hung new curtains and curtain hardware, and also changed out our lamp shades this time around.  Total cost for the "decorating" of this room - curtains, hardware, paint, supplies, lamp shades, etc. - was $260.

Decorating our current master bedroom got me thinking about how the room had evolved through the years (by way of multiple houses).  We've kept the same furniture all along, but have chosen different wall colors, bedding, curtains, lamps, and have rearranged accessories to mix it up a bit in each house we've lived in.  Always on a strict budget, of course!  For us, it's all about maximizing impact with a minor investment.

Now for our Chronicles of Bedroom Decorating...

In our very first master bedroom (6 years ago!) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma every item was new to us.  It looked like this:

Lamp bases, bedding, and the accent wall color were changed when we moved to Baltimore, Maryland.  I never took shots of our first apartment there, but this is our itty bitty bedroom in the second place:

 (admittedly, I picked the wrong color of blue for the accent wall...lesson learned)

Then, when we moved to Portland, Oregon we kept most everything the same, since we were only there for 10 months:

 The sunburst mirror and new knobs on the dresser and nightstands were the only thing added there...

Now, another cross-country move later, we're sporting new curtains, wall color, and lamp shades in Boston, Massachusetts:

No drastic changes, but it's definitely a nice affordable bedroom update.  Which of our boudoirs is your favorite so far? Anyone else a frequent mover?  Apart from the burden of "moving", we love the new places, faces, and decorating challenges!

Aug 28, 2012

How to Make a Book Sling

I finally made it - a Book Sling!  After loving and pinning it on Pinterest forever ago...  I've seen them in several places, so I don't know who made the original "book sling", but I first saw it {here} on Erin's adorable blog, Domestic Adventure.  And, I believe the original DIY tutorial can be found {here} on Megan's inspired blog, Penny Carnival.  I totally winged it on my book sling, but it turned out great so I'll share my tutorial with you below...

Two 5/8" inch poplar dowels (from local hardware store)
Two double curtain rod holders (from local hardware store - around $5 each), screws and wall anchors included
1/2 yd fabric (my fabric was 37.5" wide, which worked swell for my desired width of a 35" sling, but gauge it on your measurements)
Thread to match your fabric
Sewing Machine

1. Measure how wide you want your book sling to be - keep in mind that it could sag in the middle if it's too long.  This will dictate the (horizontal) width of fabric you'll need.  Cut the fabric accordingly, leaving room for a 1.5" finished edge.

2. Grab a few books that will go in your finished book sling to help you measure out the desired depth of your sling. This will dictate the (vertical) height of fabric you'll need.

Make sure books all across the size spectrum will fit don't want it too shallow for your large books or too deep for your small books.

(Note: Make sure to allow for about 2.5" of fabric on both long edges to fold over and create a 1/2" finished edge and a 2" pocket that the dowel will slide through on each side.)

3. At this point, I pinned and sewed a small 1/2" edge along the long sides of the fabric, to create the finished edges to work with.

4. Next, fold over the ends of your fabric on the two short sides, then pin and sew finished edges.  This time I folded over about 1.5" of fabric, which will keep the inside of the fabric from showing on the edges of the finished sling.

5. Now it's time to create the pockets for the dowels to slide through.  I folded over about 2" of fabric on each long side, then sewed right along the line of my original 1/2" finished edge to create the pockets.

6. Now that the sewing portion is complete, measure your finished sling fabric and cut your dowel rods accordingly, allowing about 1.5" of dowel to stick out from both ends of the sling fabric. For example, I cut my dowels at 37" for an approximate 34" fabric sling, which left room for the hardware at the ends. I used a simple wood saw to do this, but if you have a table saw that would work wonders.

7. Next, slide your cut dowels on through the finished pockets.

8. Measure out and hang both of your double curtain rod holders.  If studs aren't available based on your sling length, then make sure to use the provided anchors.  (Remember, little people make try to hang from this cool new book-holding contraption!)

 9. Finally, slide your sling into the holders and tighten the screws to hold the dowels sturdily in place.  You're officially done with installation!

10. Fill with books (or stuffed animals) and ENJOY!

Almost as cute as it is practical, if I do say so myself!  What a creative and minimal way to use that vertical wall space!  Anything that keeps books (or stuffed animals) organized and easily accessible earns an A+ in my book.  An additional book sling may be working it's way into this picture in the near future...

Book slings would also work great to hold magazines in a lobby or waiting room at work.  Oh, a book sling also doubles as a doll stretcher or hammock... :)  Leave it to the kiddos to discover that one!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions, or if I can help you out with this project.  I'd also love to see pictures of your completed book slings - send them my way at

Aug 24, 2012

Lasagna Roll-Ups

This recipe is super yum and super easy, so add it to your list for this weekend or next week.  I promise, everyone will love it...and if they don't, well they must not be Italian.  Now get your taste buds revved up...

12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 lb ground sweet Italian sausage
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 cup dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil if you have it!)
1 large jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu Roasted Garlic and Parmesan)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cook sweet Italian sausage in large skillet on stove-top, until cooked through. Remove from heat and pour out on paper towels to help remove some grease.

3. Place noodles in bottom of glass 9"x13" baking dish, cover with tap water and place in microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Drain water, dry dish, and lay noodles out on large clean dish towel.

4. For the filling: Combine ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella, 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan, egg, basil, and cooked sausage in large bowl.  Stir well.

5. Pour 1/3 jar of spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9"x13" baking dish.

6. Drop large dollop of filling on short end of each noodle (about a 1/3 cup of filling for each noodle). Roll stuffed noodles up from the short end, then place seam-side down on top of the sauce in the baking dish. Continue stuffing, rolling, and placing lasagna rolls in the baking dish.

7. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over lasagna rolls. Sprinkle remaining cheese (1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan) on top of sauce.

8. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove foil and let bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand a few minutes before serving.  (Serves 6 hungry people.)

Enjoy with some garlic bread and a fresh salad.

Hope you and your family love this one as much as we did.  We even tested it out on a new friend - and he still talks to us. :)  Have a fabulous, inspired weekend!

Aug 22, 2012

Color Surge - Navy Walls

Lately I've been drawn to rich navy-hued walls.  Usually, I'm not a sucker for dark color on the walls (especially blue!), but my design appetite is changing...the saturated color is just so beautiful.  As Autumn approaches, deep jewel-toned colors become more and more popular in both design and fashion.  They're a great way to cozy things up a bit.  Even though blue is a "cool" color, when it's dark it seems to have a "warming effect".  Sapphire, indigo, cobalt, navy - I love the dark blue names too...

Here are a few of my favorite dark blue rooms:

via Shelter

via Shelter

The blue in these rooms has this quality of making everything look so collected - and the gold and white accents are so stunning with it.  I think I may have to give this deep hue a whirl in my downstairs powder bath.  Officially, putting it on the ol' project list...

What do you think?  Would you ever venture into these depths of color?

Aug 20, 2012

Cuckoo for Cuckoo Clocks

Friends, look what I found yesterday...

A cuckoo clock at Target (of all places)!  I've had a cuckoo clock on my list of must-haves for a while now, so I was ecstatic to check it off.  They're so cute, nostalgic, whimsical, and fun.  I'd, of course, love to have an original antique cuckoo clock but I must admit that this one fits the bill and it works...unlike so many of the antique cuckoos out there.

I'm not quite certain how my little gem of a cuckoo will work into our home decor, but it's yellow (love it!) and happily living on a narrow blank wall for now.

Here are a few photos of cuckoo clocks (some old and some modern) that I absolutely adore.  

via Houzz

via Houzz

via Houzz

Anyone else going cuckoo for cuckoo clocks with me?  Anyone have a vintage hand-me-down cuckoo clock, or have memories of seeing them in a grandparent's home perhaps?

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