Macrame Pendant Lamp Cord DIY

I’m sharing a super simple way to beef up plain or ugly pendant electrical cords today! I have and love this old wicker IKEA lamp, but the plain white cord was an eyesore and I finally, years later, had enough and decided to just something about it. The best solution seemed to be a 100 ft of string plus a bunch of hippie knots in the form of this chunky macrame rope. I am so happy with the little bit of warmth and texture it adds to our den!I used this string and watched this video, using the lamp cord in place of the middle two strands.I roughly halved my string and looped it around the light cage inside the shade.The knot is so easy to make. Use the left string to make a 4 shape over the cord, then take the right string and go over the left strand, under the intersection of the left and middle, and then up through the triangle of the 4.  The whole project took about 2 hours and 100 ft of string yielded approximately 10 ft of macrame. The only troubleshooting I had to do was take care that my string wasn’t twisting and warping my knots, and also that my knot tightness was consistent through the whole project for a uniform look. I did a snug, but not too tight knot.I want to macrame all the lights now!

On a personal note, our family was devastated to say goodbye to our beloved dog Jackson last week. It was unexpected and sudden and not at all what we had hoped this year would bring. His absence has been hugely felt in our home, like I could never imagine. I want to thank you all so much for the love on IG. You are such an uplifting and decent community and you truly add value to my life so THANK YOU. If you have a doggie, do their favorite things with them as much as you can because you never know when that last walk, wrestle, or eating out of the trash may be…

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Halloween Advent Calendar Ideas

Nerd alert! October 1st and I’m so on it! Halloween calendar hung up and filled, people. Ready to inhale the best time of year. I used to be a lot more crafty than I am now (current level: 0% craftiness) and this calendar is a relic from that era that still gets brought out every year because my, now older, kids still go bonkers for it. I know I’m in the small group of weirdos who has an advent calendar for Halloween, but I’m always curious to see what other weirdos pack into theirs, or at least how other families celebrate/soak up fall, so today I’m sharing exactly what’s in our 2017 calendar. I’ve talked about this before and shared more ideas, and still have the usual sentiments: keep it simple, keep it consumable. Don’t add useless busyness or physical junk to your life :)
In no particular order, October 2017:

  • costume planning
  • skeleton PJs (hidden under the couch for tomorrow)
  • family movie nights (Harry Potter and Spooky Buddies, by request)
  • devour a box of Halloween Jo-Jo’s
  • bike the Bob Jones Trail to the beach
  • take a drive up the coast to Cambria and Ragged Point
  • handprint bats
  • visit everyone’s fall favorite, Avila Barn
  • SLO farmer’s market
  • hiking
  • pumpkin patch
  • My Little Pony movie, hopefully at the drive-in
  • fall drive through the vineyards, hopefully in the Tbird
  • afterschool Starbucks and park date
  • bake pumpkin cookies
  • rent one of those goofy four person bikes in Pismo Beach
  • family game night with junk food (fam favorite: Sorry)
  • weekend camping trip (TBD…but may include a hotel and exclude a tent?)
  • carve pumpkins
  • fluff and fillers (reserved for especially busy days): pencils, erasers, and stickers

Sadly because I fiercely love crisp weather and changing leaves, but totally perfectly OK because I don’t want to live anywhere else, October is actually our hottest month here in San Luis Obispo…hence some regional ways to celebrate the season (our list embarrassingly reads like a Central Coast visitor must-do list). Obviously if you live in a place where there is major fall color, your calendar should revolve around chasing that peak!

You’ll notice an absence of baking and crafting in ours, activities that used to dominate our family’s calendar. A few reasons for that: 1.) again, my kids are older and not super into cutesy crafts these days 2.) one of my kids is back in school (other is still homeschooling with me, hearts) so cramming activities after a long day isn’t fun for anybody 3.) I prefer to bake the usual fall time stuff when we actually have time/want to eat it instead of having our calendar dictate our food and 4.) I’m in a HATE COOKING phase right now that honestly may be the new me, and I’m embracing the new me…If you aren’t that into Halloween (who are you and WHY???) but want to get a head start on Christmas, check out my Christmas Advent post here. Eeek, I’m excited! And such a dork. Too soon to start saying happy Halloween? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

DIY Mid Century Screen / Divider

Things are moving along in the front yard slow and steady. Our most recent project is an exterior decorative wood screen inspired by the pages of a 1961 Sunset book, Entryways and Front Gardens, a photo that has haunted me for years! Obviously adding non structural architectural details can completely change the feel of a facade, but the ease and impact surpassed all my expectations. The front of our house has a long, boring expanse that needed to be visually broken up. Plants are usually an easy answer, but a narrow plant bed sits below, preventing any substantial plant from successfully or safely growing here. While discussing ways to hide our poorly located breaker box, I suddenly remembered the Sunset book project – the perfect match to our issues.We followed the basics of the original frame design, but used 2×6 instead of 2×4 for the inside square blocks to expand the size and open it up a bit. I liked the original mix of squares and bars, but wanted more overall pattern consistency, so the whole family played around with the design for a while until we got something we liked. We used redwood for outdoor durability, but since we will be painting it, pine probably would have been fine and cheaper (we spent around $150 for everything). I’m tempted to paint it a crazy accent color, orange or turquoise being the obvious contenders, but I think a slightly darker shade of the house color will do the trick for now.The completed screen is really top-heavy so we made sure to dig deep. Digging was by far the worst part of the project, but this set-up really helped break up our clay: a 1.5″ drill bit with a 12″ extender. Our 9′ posts were sunk about 2′ deep. Forty minutes of leveling, three braces, and two bags of Quikrete later, our screen stands tall, straight and strong.The original plan was to use the screen to hide a poorly located breaker box. However, once we put it together it became clear that everything looked so much more balanced and better if we placed it one space over. This project doesn’t exactly lend itself to experimentation (once it’s in the ground), so I was a little nervous to switch up our plans on the fly, but I’m so glad I went with it. I’m (mostly) confident that everything will pull together once I paint the screen and get the landscaping done up here. I’m left looking for other solutions to hide that box, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. My best idea so far has been build a second screen – duh. Husband is not really feeling that one, so time will tell where this story goes. Here’s the two locations we considered: Lessons learned: Never underestimate the power of a (comparatively) tiny screen, or it’s bonus shadows! Next time I go down this road, I’m taking this idea and going HUGE, like cover my whole house huge because it is that good and that transformative:(A fun bonus to this project is that we are planning to build a wood divider in-between our family room and dining room so I took the opportunity to get a spacial feel of size and dimension with this screen inside before we fully assembled it. IN LOVE. All my fears about a divider being too busy, blocking too much light, making the dining room feel too cramped were shot down completely. Can’t even wait for this!)We took a break from the front yard this weekend to clean up our garage, repair a busted backyard fence, and to also address the MOUSE THAT I FOUND IN OUR HOUSE!!! Talk about feeling violated and consumed and conflicted because you love animals but also hate the plague, etc. Let’s just say we drove in our car with a trapped mouse in my lap to an open field and let it go because I’m that person. Until next time friends unless I’ve contracted a rodent borne disease or stress shingles from worrying about rodent borne diseases! xoxo

Wallpaper!

Mid Century Wallpaper DIY Norwall SH34552 gold white geometricI wallpapered our dressing room this week. I am so happy with the results but IT WAS THE WORST JOB EVER. Surprisingly, I can’t remember another home project, besides shoveling rocks, that I disliked so much. What I thought would take 2 hours, took ten. My back hurts. My brain hurts. Wallpaper hangers are now third on my list, after #1 roofers (<unsung heroes) and #2 landscapers, of jobs that I couldn’t do. Wallpapering is not the most physically demanding job, though more than I imagined, but one of the most mentally/emotionally taxing house projects I’ve ever undertaken. These walls beat me down and broke me.I previously had drawn bamboo all over the walls in here but was never happy with the wall I started with and never had the motivation to redo it. I thought wallpapering instead would be a fun opportunity to switch things up and take just as much effort as I’d use to repaint. HA. In hindsight, this room isn’t beginner wallpaper level and nothing is ever easier than paint. There isn’t a lot of wall square footage, so the work looked deceptively easy, but I neglected to account for the gazillion corners and cuts that were necessary and didn’t quite grasp the scope of matching and leveling geometric patterns.

My only other wallpapering experience is hanging grasscloth, which the internet says is not for beginners but was fairly easy for me, so it stood to reason that hanging beginner level pre-pasted wallpaper would be easier. Wrong. There are seams to hide! There are patterns to line up! There are crooked walls to make appear straight! Grasscloth, I’ve figured out, is easy to work with and covers a multitude of wall and installation sins. Oh, and it’s like twice as wide, so half the work. Don’t listen to the internet. I’m never hanging wallpaper again, except for grasscloth (…which is good because I just bought some black sisal for the black wall in our master bedroom!)The result is great, and if I didn’t have such lingering resentment at the job, I would say that I love it so much. Maybe in a few days or weeks? It was nice to wake up to a new room. Most of my bad feelings stem from the fact that I gave a strong effort and I still ended up with imperfections. I’m not a perfectionist and wasn’t looking for perfect, but I gave great effort here only to good results and I’m annoyed at the waste.

The biggest failure was believing I had way more than enough paper but running out and having to patch in my last run (can you spot it in the photo below?). I hid it well, but I know it’s there, mocking me. The paper, which I didn’t check before hanging like you are supposed to – my fault, had defects throughout roll number 3, opened late in the game. I decided to work around rather than wait weeks for an exchange, which would have been the right thing to do but at a high psychological cost that I couldn’t bear mid-install. Some minor defect, mostly dark spots, made it on the wall while the more major ones, black spots with tears (!?), had to be discarded. So annoying and defeating.My second biggest failure was not doing enough coats of primer. I don’t think anyone would notice without it being pointed out, but that bamboo drawing shows ever so slightly through in some spots. SO DUMB. And I almost primed with clear primer…what was I thinking?! At least I primed?

My third failure was measuring loosely or trimming too hastily and then coming up just short. Total amateur hour. I wasted a lot of time lining up sheets that ultimately weren’t big enough. Luckily, I was able to reuse most, but one that took a particularly long time and a lot of effort to get fitted ended up being 1/2″ too short at the baseboard…and it was end of the line where I knew paper was already running short. Baseboards replacement (with taller baseboards) is imminent so I left it, but I know it’s going to bug me until we get around to it. Otherwise, I have a few small bubbles and one tiny tear at a corner, but those were all to be expected, so they aren’t driving me crazy.The paper, by the way, is Norwall SH34552 and so adorable. Wallpaper is a big commitment, but I’m confident I’ll love this print for years. It is just what I wanted…geometric, a little glam, bold but in a subtle way. I love that is has a slightly mid century Polynesian/Hawaiiana feel too…it softens the goodbye to the bamboo print. The price can’t be beat, nor can the pattern, but the defects mentioned above left a bad taste in my mouth.

Sometimes extra hard jobs end up being the most satisfying ones and I hope my feelings towards this swing that way in the near future. One thing I know: no more! I’ve been toying with wallpapering our laundry room and maybe our hallway but that is a resounding HECK NO at this point. Over it.

Wondering if anybody has had similar (or exact opposite) experiences with DIY wallpapering jobs??? Was it the worst ever for you too? Will these dramatic feelings ever wear off?? Haha! xoxo

DIY Weaving + Fiber Artists to Follow

diy weaving pom pom fringe brown openHey! We made it back from Palm Springs and came home with so much inspiration and motivation. We’ll see how long it lasts, but this weekend was packed with organizing/selling/donating/hardwood flooring. I have so many photos to share from PS that I’ll be back soon with (lots are on IG), but in the meantime I wanted to pop in, say hello, and share this completely non-Palm Springs related crazy little weaving that I recently made.diy weaving lap loomI love weaving because not a lot of skill is involved and you get to go to town creatively. There isn’t right or wrong, in process or materials, and nothing is irreparable. As long as you somehow get your yarn (or whatever) to stay woven, you are a great success. I purchased this loom for my kiddos for a couple of bucks at a thrift store. I see them all the time and think every home should have at least one! We were out of warp so I went with twine and used the negative space to show of its texture. I wove in pieces of leftover yarn and pompoms in mostly random patterns. Everything goes…my kind of project! diy weaving children's loomdiy weaving pom pom fringediy weaving pom pom fringe brown openMy husband is not sold on the weaving’s great big balls, especially in conjunction with the great big balls on that lamp (double double!), but I’m feeling them all.mid century lamp hugeNot surprisingly, fiber artists are some of my favorite to follow on Instagram. Their work is as inspiring as their ability to hustle that fiber into a business. This sounds just like a reiteration of that recent ramble about metal sculptors, but it’s so lovely to see fiber art having a moment. It is good. Check these talented artists out:

Meghan Shimek – cool, large fiber installations

Jeannie Helzer  – chunky weavings

Lauren Williams – swinging dyed tapestries

Erin Barrett – colorful chunky weavings (and a pretty rad house too)

All Roads Studio – textiles WITH ceramics

Jen Hewett – printmaker on fabric

Morgan Satterfield – best house blogger ever (the-brick-house.com) turned weaving machine

Judit Just – weavings in fluorescents

I just might have majored in Fiber Art had I stumbled into a class earlier. The tactile nature of working with textiles is so much fun and incredibly satisfying. Oddly, sewing is one of the most frustrating things in the world to me and is only kept from last place in craft enjoyment by the existence of scrapbooking, the dead-last worst! But weaving = addicting. Textile printing = dream job. Embroidery = pass that needle. Felting = let’s get stabbing!
diy weaving pom pom fringe brown openHave you guys dipped your toes into the fiber pool? Aside from sewing/quilting, I think it often flies under the radar even for crafty types. But it’s not one to be missed! I, for one, have never tried macrame (I KNOW!?), so that is next on my fiber list. xo