Oct 15, 2012

fall y'all

I had the best weekend at home in North Carolina. All of my siblings came home to surprise my dad for his 60th (what the what?!) birthday. It was so nice to be together and enjoy all that Fall has to offer NC. Walking and lounging by the pool in the perfect 60º weather, baking pumpkin bread, harvesting the last of the vegetables from our garden and cooking them up, and just celebrating our incredible dad. I guess I should stop talking about how Fall is coming - it is really, seriously here!

Oct 9, 2012

diy: book page decoupage

I've mentioned before that I live in a pretty sizable freakin' huge loft. It is a really incredible space and we are so lucky to be living here, but the amount of furniture required to fill this space up and make it look livable is kind of unreal. The same lovely lady who brought up our fireplace mantle also had two tri-fold screens created for us to help us break up our basketball court of a space into more reasonably sized individual living spaces. The screens were raw wood when we got them, so we immediately started spinning our wheels about what to do with them.

I remembered seeing a book page decoupaged wall in John Derian's NYC apartment in an old Elle Decor and, after finding this image, knew it was the perfect solve for our screens:

So I hit up the .50¢ rack at Housing Works and came away with some perfect finds. Tom Sawyer, The Beautiful and the Damned, The Grapes of Wrath and a few other classics got ripped to smithereens that night. 

My roommate was responsible for the trim color and picked Sherman Williams' "Neighborly Peach", a sweet light peach that looks perfect against the yellowing old books. I had originally been leaning towards a glossy black and I'm so glad she dissuaded me - the peach totally brightens up the room. I picked up the Mod Podge, brushes, and a high gloss varnish for the trim and we were off. 

We started by painting the trim - two coats. We covered the hardware with painter's tape first.

Then we moved on to the decoupaging. I applied the Mod Podge to the raw wood, placed a page, covered it with another coat and repeated. 

I am so happy with how it turned out! We've only completed one of the two screens so far, but plan to tackle the second one this weekend. 

Check out how much the new screen helps us break up our space. The first photo was taken from our main living space, and the second was taken from the small seating area (study?) by the window. These two spaces used to just mesh into one another, but now they really feel like two separate areas. 

So, there you have it! I am already scheming up my next decoupage project - I might be addicted.

Oct 8, 2012

s'more season

Despite the rambunctious weather (it was 77º on Saturday and 55º on Sunday), it was a beautiful weekend in NYC. Spent a lot of time with friends and got a lot of tasks accomplished that I put off all summer. My roommates and I completed an awesome project in our apartment that I'll share later this week. Several of us also took a day trip to Connecticut on Sunday for some r&r, a long walk, cooking and flopping around in front of a fire. There are about a million reasons why we are always escaping the city, but there are even more that pull us back. The weather report reads below 65º everyday this week, so I'm thinking it's going to be a good one. Happy Fall!

Oct 5, 2012

ten acts of kindness

Before 2012 ends, I've made a commitment to carry out at least ten acts of kindness. This article by Amy Looney, the wife of Brendan Looney, was published on the eve of the two year anniversary of his death. Amy is an admirable lady who has pushed through adversity with grace by honoring her late husband and encouraging others to understand and appreciate the daily sacrifices of our nation's military families.

Two years after her husband's death, she's made a simple request:

"To honor the memory of all our fallen heroes and show support for their families, I would like to challenge every American to perform 10 acts of kindness before 2012 concludes. By uniting during such divided times, we can show the world that America is still the world’s brightest light."

She's not asking a lot - just for us all to make a conscious effort to show kindness to one another in honor of our heroes. To "come together and be kind".

My first act was carried out on September 21st, the anniversary of Brendan's death. I dedicated the very big smiles a few extremely hard working yet under appreciated construction workers to Brendan and Amy that day.

So, I'm in. Are you?

Oct 4, 2012

urban fireplace

Living in the city rules 97% of the time, but there are some comforts of the home that us urban dwellers majorly miss out on. The biggest one is definitely a backyard (duh) but now that summer is ending and Fall is here, I'm already starting to miss the ability to have a big roaring fire on a chilly night. They are one of my favorite things about being home and remind me of happy times hanging with my family. SO, lucky us, one of my roommate's wonderful mothers brought up this old mantle and it is making our living space oh-so-cheery. Even though it isn't exactly capable of holding a big fire, it has definitely made our big open loft space feel a whole lot more cozy for the winter.

How to make an urban fireplace:

It might not contain a roaring fire, but this no-fire-fireplace definitely warms up our living room!

Oct 2, 2012

garlicky lime roasted brussel sprouts

I love, love, love brussel sprouts. Lucky for me, we are now entering my favorite time of the year: sweatshirt weather and brussel sprout season. Hooray! I cook brussel sprouts lots of different ways, but the easiest and sometimes tastiest way is just to roast them up. This recipe is pretty foolproof but oh so delicious.

 (yep, I made tacos again. at least i'm not blogging about it!)

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 pound brussel sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion (or vidalia)
3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest

Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. Remove (dirty) outer leaves. Throw on baking sheet. Chop onion into same size slices so everything cooks evenly. Add onion, garlic, olive oil, zest to baking sheet and toss. Make sure everything is coated in olive oil and spread flat on the pan. This is important - if the vegetables are touching they won't crisp up like you want.

Roast at 450° for about 25 minutes. Add lime juice and stir to coat evenly. Roast for 10 more minutes of until nice and crispy.

Oct 1, 2012

diy: striped lampshade

I loved this little lamp's drum shade. But, when I put it on my bedside table beside my all white bedding and against my white walls, it looked so washed out. I was going to add some chevron stripes to spice things up- but I got halfway there (taping wise) and decided I liked the way these stripes looked. I used a very light coat of silver metallic spray paint and about 25 minutes later had a fun new lampshade. It definitely isn't perfect - the lines bled and the stripes are definitely not even sized - but I still like how it turned out. I'm thinking next I may paint the lamp base a matte white, but I'm happy with it for now!

And of course #5: enjoy!