My Updated Throw Pillow- No Sewing Makes Me Happy

I've been meaning to update some of the decor in my house, starting with an idea I had for one of my throw pillows.  I even bought all the necessary supplies, which have been sitting in a bag on our living room floor since the day I bought them 2 weeks ago.  Every time I looked at the bag on the floor, the ghost of my New Year's Resolution reared its well-meaning if extremely annoying head, and the guilt would set in.  Being a professional procrastinator has equipped me to ignore such feelings, but even I can withstand only so much shame and guilt before I cave to the pressure.  In fact, the whole process was so easy, I can't believe I waited so long to work on it.  People should just do things right at the time that they think of them, dontchathink?  :)

All you need to add a little interest to plain throw pillows is some ribbon and a little miracle called Steam-A-Seam.  You use this like tape, placing it on the fabric of the pillow and adhering the ribbon to it before finally ironing using the steam setting.


Here is my throw pillow before, practically begging for an update.


Since this was my first attempt with Steam-A-Seam, I wanted to choose something simple so I couldn't really mess it up!  I decided to create a box around the perimeter of the pillow with my ribbon.  To do so, I first measured where I wanted to put the ribbon, and placed painter's tape as a guideline right on the outside of where I wanted my ribbon to be.  I also folded the edges of my ribbon under to prevent fraying, and used a small bit of the Steam-A-Seam adhesive to keep it in place.


I did one straight line of ribbon at a time, ironing as I went until all four pieces of ribbon connected and formed my box.   It's very important that the steam setting is ON for the Steam-A-Seam to adhere to the fabrics.


And finally, my updated pillow, basking in its beauty:)



I admit, my box pattern design is probably still a little bit boring!  In my defense though, this was my first attempt, and I still think it's better than the plain pillow it started out as.  The good thing is that you can use any fabric or ribbon you want, placed in any pattern you want, so the combinations are endless and you're bound to come away with a pillow that you really like.  I can't wait to try something more complex next time, maybe a chevron pattern?  A whole new world is opening up for this non-sewer!

Put Honey on Your Face!

I love organic products for my skin, mostly because they don't contain the harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals found in many store products.  I also love the fact that I usually already have many home remedy ingredients on hand (and the fact that they are cheap is an added bonus!).


Honey has always been a popular beauty agent, and it's no wonder considering that it is naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, and is also full of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids (raw honey is best for preserving all the good stuff!).  It's also a great moisturizer!  Since using a honey mask several times a week, my skin has felt a lot more balanced and less dry than it usually feels in the middle of winter.

To Use:
After cleansing, I apply a thin layer of raw honey to my face.  That's it:)  The hardest part is trying not to eat it, because it smells SO good.  I leave it on for between 5-10 minutes, but you can leave it on for longer if you'd like.  Then I simply rinse with water and pat dry.  So easy!  Hello nicer skin:)

Let me know if you've tried this!


Super Cute Desk Chairs- Not Boring I Promise!

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been thinking a lot about what to do to my home office.  And while I'm not entirely sure at this point, I do know that I love well placed pops of color and pattern.  There are so many possible areas in which to infuse interest into a room, and I really like doing that with curtains and rugs.  But how about an office chair?  When I think of desk chairs, I usually think of the unattractive black mesh or big leather board room chairs of times past.  Thankfully, we no longer have to settle for boring!  Check out my round-up of gorgeous possibilities below. 

Neutral with loads of personality, this chair from Urban Outfitters would liven up any office.




Peacock blue just might be one of the best colors known to man...from World Market.




Who wouldn't want to work from this ridiculously fluffy desk chair from PBteen?



Pretty in pink polka dots (PBteen).


Again from PBteen (what, they have cute stuff!), I love the robin's egg blue color of this egg desk chair....robin's egg blue egg chair...get it?  get it?? :)  



See, I told you they were super cute.  Almost makes you want to work, right?  I hadn't intended to include so many contenders from PBteen (side note, continuously visiting a site with "teen" in the title is making me feel old!) but they just have so. many. cute. chairs!  So many.  

Do you know of other sites to find pretty office chairs?  Or perhaps you're crafty and plan on reupholstering a chair?  Either way, I would love to hear about it!

My Home Office- Pink & Gold Accents

I've been meaning to update my office area in our new home ever since we moved last year.  I love the fact that there's a room in the house that I can do absolutely whatever I want to, without any regulations from my husband (yay for pink!).   Since I'm only limited by my imagination (and budget), knowing what to do with this space has been a little challenging for me.  I did come up with a few ideas as a jumping off point for the room, and now I'm getting really exited about all the possibilities!


1.  Curtains are from World Market
2.  Desk lamps are unfortunately no longer available, but I found them at One King's Lane
3.  Painted wall stripes
4.  Pink chair from World Market
5.  Desk from PB Teen
6.  Dot rug from PB Teen
7.  Pillow from World Market

I don't know that my office will exactly mirror this inspiration board, but it's really helping me to clarify my vision for the room.  I'm loving the different patterns and the pops of pink, and I can't wait to get started decorating!

How would you decorate your home office area (even if you don't have one, you can still dream!)?
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Vitamin E for Under Eye Circles- It's Awesome!

Recently I've turned into something of a health nut.  And until now, I've never been the annoying "do you know what's in that!?" kind...but seriously...do you know what's being used in cosmetics products?  A lot of chemicals, that's what, and a range of side effects to go with them: hormone disruption, negative effects on the reproductive system, and many other potentially dangerous consequences for the body (you can read more about this at EWG's Skin Deep).

While I don't use all organic products, all the time, I do like to find alternatives where I can.  My latest find is using Vitamin E as a moisturizer and under eye brightener.  I've only been using it for about a week, but I have to say, I love it!  The Vitamin E does a wonderful job of moisturizing the delicate skin under the eye without clogging pores, and I swear the dark circles under my eyes are getting lighter.  I tried to take a before and after picture but I couldn't get the lighting right, so you'll just have to take my word for it:)

To use, I just poke a small hole in the vitamin capsule, and squeeze out the amount I want.  The capsule should last for a few days depending on how much oil is used (mine lasted about four days).  You can always buy Vitamin E oil in a larger container if you don't want to mess with the capsules, but for me, it just makes sense to use them since I take them internally as a vitamin too.

If nothing else, Vitamin E is a great natural moisturizer (under eye makeup will go on so smoothly!), and at about $10 for a 60 count jar, it's pretty economical too.  Just make sure you're using natural Vitamin E and not a synthetic form, as the natural form is much better for you.  To ensure you're buying natural, look for d-alpha-tocopherol, and stay away from dl-alpha-tocopherol.  Just remember,  dl= does less...easy, right?

Have you tried Vitamin E as an under eye moisturizer?  I'd love to know your thoughts.

P.S. If you like what you see, please take a second to follow me via google friend connect or RSS.  Thanks! 






Easy Iced Coffee

Iced coffee is one of my favorite things in the world, so when I saw the Pioneer Woman's recipe for perfect iced coffee awhile back, I had to try it.  I was scared off for awhile by the fact that the recipe seemed pretty involved and called for cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer, (neither of which I owned) but my desire for an economical iced coffee got the best of me and I headed to the store in search of cheesecloth.  Unfortunately I forgot the strainer, which, as it turns out, is probably a key component if you don't want grounds in your coffee...note for next time.  


Ingredients:
1 lb. bag of good quality coffee of choice
8 quarts water
Creamer of choice

Other items you'll need:
Cheesecloth
Large container to store coffee in while it steeps

Steps:
Pour the coffee into a large container and add 8 quarts water (I actually halved this recipe)


 Give your mixture a stir so that all grounds have been covered with water.  Cover, and let sit for at least 8 hours (I let mine sit overnight). 


After you've let the coffee sit, place a fine mesh strainer over a large container, and put several layers of cheesecloth in the strainer (enough to cover the inside). 


Pour the coffee through the cheesecloth lined strainer. 


Transfer the strained coffee into a container or two. 


And finally


 Pretty easy really, and definitely worth the effort.  Let me know if you try it! 


Painted Black and White Staircase Reveal

I'm not a huge fan of oak in a house.  There, I said it.  And although my parents and a few other people tried to talk me out of it, I knew when we moved into our house that I was going to replace all the oak wood, starting with the staircase.  It's just not my thing...you know what is?  Yep, black and white.  I love a nice black banister, the straight sweeping line of black is so dramatic and just makes me happy to look at.

This is what our banister looked like before we painted it...not terrible, but kinda "meh":



The actual process of painting took a few days and several coats of paint.  Before painting we taped everything, and covered the floors and parts of the wall with plastic wrap.  After that we primed the wood (we used Zinsser 123 primer).  Once that dried, we painted the spindles with two coats of white paint, and followed up with the black paint on the banister and posts (which also took two coats of paint).


Amazing what a little paint can do for the look of a room, isn't it?  In fact, that wall is looking like it is in desperate need of some color...I feel a new project coming on:)

Happy painting!




Curtain Painting How-to Review (Only for the Brave!)

UPDATE!  I just re-read the title of this post and confused myself (it happens).  I realized that instead of making it clear that painting a curtain is only for the brave, it implies that reading my review is only for the brave- it is not.  Unless of course you hate to read... (but then why are looking at blogs?) Confusion cleared up, on to the original post :) 

I don't know about you, but when I have an idea of how I want something to look, I can't rest until I find just the thing I want.  Finding curtains for my front sitting room was no exception, and although there are thousands of curtains online, I just couldn't find that one perfect curtain- until I stumbled upon the diy curtain painting tutorials in blogland.  How perfect for my sewing challenged, instant gratification self.  I would love to end here, but in the interest of honesty: painting a curtain is hard work!  My main issue with the whole process has to do with the fact that it took me 4 (count em, 4!) coats of paint.  And full disclosure, this is not a painting tutorial, but a review of my thoughts on the whole painting curtains process.

I think the trouble began with the curtains I chose- a very thin cotton curtain from Ikea.  I was looking for a thick canvas curtain, but wasn't able to find what I wanted and settled for the Ikea curtains instead.  Because of this, every coat of paint soaked through the thin fabric, and it took four coats of paint over the course of three days before I had a solid covering.  Even after four coats of paint, when the sun shines through the windows the painted sections still look a bit mottled.  

Here is what the curtains looked like before:


After choosing my curtain, I determined how thick I wanted my stripes, and then figured out the measurements based on the curtain length and my desired stripe width.  It's easiest to do this by laying the curtain out flat on the ground, like so:


My dog thinks that anything I put on the floor is an invitation for him to lay down :)


Next, I took a measuring tape, and in pencil marked along the vertical side of the curtain where the stripes would go.  I then measured horizontally where the stripe would be, and marked in pencil every few inches so that I had a guide to place my tape.  This took about 45 minutes per curtain.


Finally, after taping, I painted with a latex paint from Lowe's mixed with Martha Stewart Fabric Medium to make it machine washable (I found it at Michael's).  I also painted on a plastic tarp so the paint wouldn't soak through the curtain and get on the floor.  As you can see in the picture above, I was actually painting on our new carpet-  I later came to my senses and moved my operation to a tarp in the basement.  (Please ignore the clunky office furniture in the background. I'm planning on doing a before and after on that sometime soon).

Here's how the curtains look now:


Final thoughts: while I love how they turned out, if I ever feel the urge to paint curtains again, I will be sure to pick a really thick fabric that paint won't soak through.  Otherwise, I would rather learn to sew before attempting this again!

Live and learn:)

xo Dee

Life is




 

Yummy Low-Carb Quiche

Delicious cheesy quiche with lots of bacon?  Don't mind if I do.  You probably thought that the low-carb trend was over, but for those of us with blood sugar or insulin issues, it remains a diet necessity.  Low-carb eating has definitely gotten a bad rap for its supposed meat-centric dependence, and I'm going to do nothing to dispel that notion with this recipe:)  But I will have you know that eating natural foods (yes, even fat!) is a lot better for you than eating the low-fat, low-calorie, insulin spiking processed foods lining the grocery store aisles of America.  But enough of that and on to my quiche:) 

Is there any food better than bacon?  I submit that there is not.  And so without further ado, I give you Cheesy Bacon Quiche Lorraine. 


Ingredients you'll need for the flourless low-carb crust (I adapted this from The LowCarbist):

2 cups almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour)
3 egg yolks
2 Tbs. softened butter
2 Tbs. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt

I was really impressed with this flourless crust.  It stayed together well, and added a nice base for the quiche.  It is a little denser than a traditional flakey crust, but pretty darn good nonetheless.

Crust directions:
Toss all ingredients into a big bowl and mash together with a fork, like so:


When ingredients are sufficiently blended, transfer to a glass pie baking dish, and press the dough out evenly.


Your finished crust should look like this:


Set aside the crust and move on to the filling (based on a recipe in this low-carb cookbook).

Filling ingredients:
1 cup cheese of your choice, shredded (I used Gruyere)
8-10 pieces bacon, fried and ready to crumble
5 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  You should probably have this going while you're working on the crust:)

Next, layer the cheese and crumbled bacon in the bottom of the pie crust.


Whisk up the remaining ingredients and pour over the cheesy bacon goodness.


Place the dish in the oven and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven.  Keep an eye on the quiche during the last 10 minutes of baking, and when the top looks like it has set, remove it from the oven to cool.

Take a bite and enjoy!


Not bad for low-carb eh? 

xo Dee

My Painted Front Door Reveal

A looonnnnggg time ago, I posted about my newfound love of painted interior doors.  This was quite a novel concept to me!  Of course, since then I've seen about a thousand painted interior doors online, effectively shaming me for my ignorance.  Fortunately, I'm now caught up with the rest of the interior design world, at least when it comes to doors! 

The white builder grade doors throughout our house are definitely a little bit blah, so I knew I would need something bold to counteract the boringness (not a word, you say? you haven't seen my doors!).  I decided to go with a classic black paint (Martha Stewart "Silhouette") for our interior front door.  While it's not as bold as say, hot pink, it's still enough of a change to add a lot of interest.

I started by taping everything off with standard painter's tape.  To ensure even coverage, I painted the indented decorative box thingys (is there a word for those??) first.


Hmm, I kinda like the black box effect that's going on in this pic...might have to try that!  Too weird?

Next, I painted the rest of the white areas and waited for everything to dry.



And finally, my favorite part, standing back to admire my handiwork:)



All in all, from start to finish it only took me a few hours, and the results are well worth it.  I love the painted look so much, I'm planning to paint the rest of our doors eventually too. 

For tips on painting a door the right way, check out this handy dandy tutorial I found on Pinterest:



xo Dee