One Fabric - 5 WAYS!

I'm always more inclined to do a project around the house when I have the proper supplies already in place. Having scrap fabric is one of my staple supplies. But not just any fabric. IKEA fabric :) This to be exact -

I have a longtime love of IKEA and many of there products. It started 20 years ago on family road trips from Dallas to Houston. I remember begging my parents for one of those loft beds staged in one of the 750 square foot mock apartments. Who would have thought this would have been foreshadowing of my 7 years in New York. Never needed the IKEA loft bed, but the Brooklyn store sure became a staple for me while I lived there! I also had the unique opportunity to produce a handful of IKEA photo shoots, as they were one of the clients I worked on while I was at Ogilvy. Needless to say - I love IKEA, but REALLY love this fabric they carry!

It's heavy and hearty and looks way more expensive then $7.99 a yard. I originally bought it to use as a table cloth for a baby shower. The stripes where sharp and striking. I wrote about that shower here. But since then I have used it in countless other ways. This fabric can do wonders! 

From the top left moving clockwise: Simple Sink Skirt (materials: hot glue gun and pinking shears) // Table runner // DIY Bunting // Table Cloth // Beer Box Liner

And just for kicks, I'll throw in a 6th way to use this great fabric - as a photo booth backdrop!

This was taken about a week before I had Rosie! 

This was taken about a week before I had Rosie! 

Go getchyourself some of that fabric! 

Q Women + A DIY Part 2

Why Do We Love DIY?

---Part 1 can be read here---

Prepping (as in puff painting glass vases) for the Q Ideas Women's Event gave me time to reflect on why I love DIY.  I realized that DIY has become really accessible over the years. There are tons of blogs, sites, magazines and shows out there that help make us all capable of doing something ourselves. On one hand this is AMAZING. You don't have to be a professional to make something great! Anyone can try their hand at DIY - just tap into the loads of How-To content on the web and you're set! 

On the other hand, though, because of this accessibility, suddenly EVERYONE's an expert. What was aspirational and approachable has now become really noisy. Maybe it's just me, but even as a DIY'er, I think it's easy to get overwhelmed by the loads of inspiration online and even easier to compare ourselves to all the unbelievable projects and crafters out there - don't even get me started on everyones ridiculous photography skills. All this noise takes away from from the sweet and simple reality of what DIY is. It's making something with our hands. Learning by doing. Being inspired to create our own version of something. When we push the noise aside, there are actually wonderfully simple sensibilities to be learned from Doing it Yourself. 

Rather then focusing on beautiful before & after photos, our favorite Etsy shops or even our own crafting skills, we should reframe our perspective to see through the lens of potential. The lens of potential opens us up to a world of creative possibilities and even life lessons! Whether you have lots of DIY experience or not much at all, I have three insights I've learned over the years that I want to share with you:

DIY challenges us to use what we have. 

The start on any good DIY project begins with taking inventory. What do you have? What needs changing? What's the end goal? Starting with evaluation rather then action taps the brakes on impulsive buying. Growing up, my mom developed a serious habit of rearranging furniture. I remember coming home from school on numerous occasions to a living room that looked completely different. It wasn’t until becoming an adult, that I really understood and appreciated what she was doing. She was making the best of right then. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff, she changed the way she looked at her home, spruced it up using pieces she already had, and chose to be content. Challenging ourselves to use what we have pauses the “buy new, buy more, buy now” mentality that our culture encourages.  Lets simplify, organize and take care of what we do have and we might be surprised by what happens.

DIY guarantees a perfectly imperfect result. 

There is no such thing as flawless in the world of DIY, and you know what, that is OK. We were created to be creative, not perfect. Listen, I know how great it feels when a project turns out JUST as you had planned. But more often than not, we have to roll with the punches, and embrace our happy mistakes. Thankfully, there is lots to be learned in the process of making and it doesn’t just depend on our final product. Process is good for our soul.   I was a painting major in college and one of my drawing professors would never let us erase our work when we felt we had made a mistake. Instead, she wanted us to layer over our beginning sketch as the drawing developed. So I’d have layers and layers of charcoal as I continued working on the piece. Initially, I didn’t really get it, but overtime I grew to love the imperfections left on the white of the page and the remnants of where the artwork started. It was a reminder of the process, not the imperfections.

DIY projects give us the opportunity to try something new. 

I know that sounds overly simple, but I think it’s important that we take time to try new things. If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s really easy to only do what we’ve done before. Lucky for us, though, the world of DIY provides a safe little landscape to escape the monotony and try something new. I know this from very experience. In the past 5 months, I’ve transitioned from being a married girl working in New York City, to a new mom, who stays at home with a baby and lives in Franklin, Tennessee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful and such a blessing, but it is QUITE a change! As I’ve slowly gained confidence as a new mom, I’ve realized how important small successes are. For me, trying a new project during naptime has helped me feel like I’ve done more with my day then empty the dishwasher and change the laundry over. I’m sure you all know what I mean - it’s that feeling of being busy all day but never really accomplishing anything. I really believe, that sometimes we need to start a new project JUST so we can finish it! We need small wins! Learning a new skill or trying a new project could be just the shift your normalcy needs.

All this to say, We don’t love DIY because we like keeping up with the trendy crafts on Pinterest. “Doing It Yourself” has more relevance to your life then you think. It’s a practice of choosing to be content with what we have, celebrating imperfection and boldly trying new things.

Stay tuned for the DIY that accompanied this talk! 

Q Women + A DIY // Part 1

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A little over a week ago, I had the total honor of speaking at Q Ideas annual women's event. Brooklyn Boy (aka Lance) took a job with Q earlier this year and we have recently moved to Nashville as part of that job. To say he loves working there would be an understatement!

Brooklyn Boy (do you think I need to change his name since we don't live in Brooklyn any more?) and his team thought (for some crazy reason) that I'd be a good DIY addition to their lineup of women speaking. I was tasked with coming up with DIY centerpieces + a simple variation for all the women in attendance to complete as well as talking about Why We Love DIY. 

Coming out of maternity hibernation, this project / assignment was a welcomed challenge! Right out of the gate, I thought the DIY for the event would be a synch. But after some initial brainstorming I realized that I had no power source for hot glue guns at each table (Hello almost ALL DIY projects), there little drying time available for any paint/glue, and we needed to keep this CHEAP, as there were over 300 women attending. After lots of thinking and troubleshooting with Brooklyn Boy, we came up with a project that uses supplies most of you have around your house :: A puff paint + Spray painted vase! I would have laughed had you told me this would be the project we landed on, but you know what, it turned out to be a super easy project that looked great once it was finished! Sneak peek right here -->

While I was prepping and creating the centerpieces, I had time to really think about Why I Love DIY. It was a great exercise to remember why we love the craft of DIY. In hopes of not getting to lengthy here, I'm splitting this into 3 posts. Tomorrow, I will share the 3 reasons we love DIY and Friday, I'll follow up with the easy How To instructions as well as before and after photos for the DIY. Hope you stick around!

How to host a simple, lovely and stress free party!

Hello there! Trying to jump back into my extracurriculars these days (so Rosie has a sane mama!) We've had some big changes over the past few weeks - we just moved from Brooklyn to Nashville, Tennessee (I still can't believe it even as I'm typing). We'll dive into that later, but for now, lets talk baby showers! 

The month before we had Rosie, I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend in Brooklyn.  Early on I decided on an Alice in Wonderland garden party theme - I wanted the feel of the party to match my friends colorful and imaginative personality. The plan was to host the seated lunch in our Brooklyn backyard, weather permitting. 

Besides being very pregnant, Brooklyn Boy and I were flying in (I had a dr.'s note to fly!) from Nashville the night before the party. Good planning, hu? We had NO room for bad weather, flight delays or early labor. I needed to plan ahead and simplify as much as possible without comprising intentionality and quality. 

The weather and the babe in my tummy held off and we had a marvelous time. Thanks to a handful of go-to-tricks, the party was simple and stress free. Here's how we did it - 

Let a bold pattern to do the heavy lifting.     With the seated lunch happening in my Brooklyn backyard,  the dining table became the main focus for all the decor. For our Alice in Wonderland Garden Party look & feel, I used 5 yards of  black and white fabric from IKEA  to ground our table scape. The fabric was dramatic, fun and affordable!   It also camouflaged my mismatched tables that were different widths and lengths! 

Let a bold pattern to do the heavy lifting. With the seated lunch happening in my Brooklyn backyard,  the dining table became the main focus for all the decor. For our Alice in Wonderland Garden Party look & feel, I used 5 yards of black and white fabric from IKEA to ground our table scape. The fabric was dramatic, fun and affordable!  It also camouflaged my mismatched tables that were different widths and lengths! 

Lean on talented friends!      My first priority of the shower was for my soon-to-be-mom friend to feel loved. Second priority was to lighten the load for myself and 'out source' some of the tasks. As someone who loves doing projects, I've learned there is a time to DIY and a time to hand off! I called upon   fabulously talented friend,  Anna Watson Carl, of the Yellow Table . She graciously took care of everything edible. She conjured up the most delicious Rhubarb Lemon Fizz cocktails & mo  cktails,   Crostini with Fresh Ricotta and Pea-Mint Pesto, Strawberry Shortcakes (made with Orange Zest Scones) + Fresh Whipped Cream and Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel, Watermelon Radish, and Green Apple. Not only was the food outstanding, but it took so much pressure of me! Win Win! 

Lean on talented friends!  My first priority of the shower was for my soon-to-be-mom friend to feel loved. Second priority was to lighten the load for myself and 'out source' some of the tasks. As someone who loves doing projects, I've learned there is a time to DIY and a time to hand off! I called upon fabulously talented friend, Anna Watson Carl, of the Yellow Table. She graciously took care of everything edible. She conjured up the most delicious Rhubarb Lemon Fizz cocktails & mocktails, Crostini with Fresh Ricotta and Pea-Mint Pesto, Strawberry Shortcakes (made with Orange Zest Scones) + Fresh Whipped Cream and Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel, Watermelon Radish, and Green Apple. Not only was the food outstanding, but it took so much pressure of me! Win Win! 

Know what you're good at. And what you aren't!   Printed pieces are not my gifting! I reached out to two dear friends to help with printed details for the shower.      My go to designer for, well . . . almost everything, is  LeighAnn , who I've  mentioned  lots before. LeighAnn took on the printed pieces for the party. We asked both soon-to-be-grandmothers questions about what their kids were like as babies - weight, length, first words, funny stories. LeighAnn took their answers and designed centerpieces around them. She also made name cards and "Jack's Stat's" notecards for each place setting. At the end of the shower, we collected all the stats and put them into a keepsake book for mom & dad. 

Know what you're good at. And what you aren't! Printed pieces are not my gifting! I reached out to two dear friends to help with printed details for the shower.  My go to designer for, well . . . almost everything, is LeighAnn, who I've mentioned lots before. LeighAnn took on the printed pieces for the party. We asked both soon-to-be-grandmothers questions about what their kids were like as babies - weight, length, first words, funny stories. LeighAnn took their answers and designed centerpieces around them. She also made name cards and "Jack's Stat's" notecards for each place setting. At the end of the shower, we collected all the stats and put them into a keepsake book for mom & dad. 

Another darling friend, Jessi Evans of  Orchard Made ,  created watercolor + calligraphy invitations for the shower. This was our jumping off point for the shower as far as look and feel went. I just loved these hand made invites, they perfectly captured the mom-to-be and the vibe of the shower!

Another darling friend, Jessi Evans of Orchard Made, created watercolor + calligraphy invitations for the shower. This was our jumping off point for the shower as far as look and feel went. I just loved these hand made invites, they perfectly captured the mom-to-be and the vibe of the shower!

Use what you have!   Rather then placing all of the shower gifts on the ground, or buying a table for them to sit on, I rolled the bakers rack from our kitchen (the piece that normally held some of our dishes) outside and arranged the gifts. This made for a festive gift display that added to the outdoor party vibe. 

Use what you have! Rather then placing all of the shower gifts on the ground, or buying a table for them to sit on, I rolled the bakers rack from our kitchen (the piece that normally held some of our dishes) outside and arranged the gifts. This made for a festive gift display that added to the outdoor party vibe. 

Choose when to invest  .   I love hosting parties and showers. Years ago, I splurged (yea right, we're talking $20 or so) on two dozen IKEA glass tumblers, like  these . For me, the splurge wasn't money related, it was SPACE related. Could I fit them in my petite kitchen? I figured, at such a great price and guaranteed use over time, I'd make them fit! The glass tumblers (rather then paper or plastic party cups) made the event feel a little more sparkly. 

Choose when to investI love hosting parties and showers. Years ago, I splurged (yea right, we're talking $20 or so) on two dozen IKEA glass tumblers, like these. For me, the splurge wasn't money related, it was SPACE related. Could I fit them in my petite kitchen? I figured, at such a great price and guaranteed use over time, I'd make them fit! The glass tumblers (rather then paper or plastic party cups) made the event feel a little more sparkly. 

DIY Potted Herbs = Centerpieces & Party Favors   I took my centerpiece cue's from the backyard and decided to use herbs as table decor. We picked up a variety of herbs from the hardware store down the street, quickly potted them in colorful containers (minutes before the guests arrived) and placed them in front of each table setting. Then we used skewers and some of the baby Q & A's LeighAnn designed and printed and stuck them in each pot. Once the party was over, we encouraged each party goer to take one as a party favor. Viola, dual purposed table decor! 

DIY Potted Herbs = Centerpieces & Party Favors I took my centerpiece cue's from the backyard and decided to use herbs as table decor. We picked up a variety of herbs from the hardware store down the street, quickly potted them in colorful containers (minutes before the guests arrived) and placed them in front of each table setting. Then we used skewers and some of the baby Q & A's LeighAnn designed and printed and stuck them in each pot. Once the party was over, we encouraged each party goer to take one as a party favor. Viola, dual purposed table decor! 

Moral of the story - you can throw a party that's beautiful AND stress free. Hope these tips help you plan your next soiree! 

PS - If you're looking for a great gift for yourself or a friend, pick up a copy of Anna Watson Carl's The Yellow Table Cookbook! You'll thank me later :)

Queen Latifah Behind the Scenes

FINALLY. I'm getting to this blog post. About a month ago I had the VERY fun opportunity to be a DIY / Interior expert on Queen Latifah's new daytime show. I was in LA for a week shooting field pieces, redoing thrift store finds and filming the on-air portion of the segment.  I thought I'd loop you into all the behind the scenes goodness. (That's always fascinating to me!) So I'm finally here (could it have taken me any longer?) with pretty sick iphone pictures and details of what the week looked like! 

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Let's start with the field piece! I flew in on Saturday and we spent all day Sunday shopping our way through a Thrift Store, Yard Sale and Flea Market.  

 My assignment was to find pieces who's identity I could totally transform. We're not talking a simple coat of paint here. Our goal was to really change the intent of the piece. Plus, I had to find two of each item I planned to transform. You know for TV magic. Ultimately, we needed one piece completed to reveal on stage and one piece to diy with Queen Latifah. Finding two of every potential interesting piece wasn't a challenge at all. NOT.

Here are all the purchases! See, two of everything. Boo ya! 

Here are all the purchases! See, two of everything. Boo ya! 

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The next day, the wonderful team brought all of our purchases to a big tent set up in the back of the Sony parking lot. There wasn't much planning for what I would do to all these pieces since we were buying them on the fly. Of course, I hit up Pinterest for some quick inspiration. The biggest piece I bought was a large antique desk with a leather top. It was really beautiful and I didn't want to totally mess with it's integrity.  So, I decided on a simple greek key pattern, let me show you.

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Materials: Painters tape + primer + paint + hardware + gold spray paint

Steps 1 - 3 involved painstaking taping. I didn't use a level, just my eyeballs, to create this simple iteration of a greek key pattern. 

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Step 4 - 5 continues the tape up to the top 3 drawers and starts with a coat of primer followed by a coat of white paint. A helper picked up a bunch of hardware from the store. We ended up with two different pulls, so to sync them up, we sprayed ALL the hardware with the same gold spray paint. 

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And here's the finished desk, complete with mismatched hardware! I loved the way it turned out actually, it was a really simple and quick way to update the desk.

We finished all the pieces outside in the beautiful LA weather and the art department whisked them away to the stage. A few days later, it was time for the actual show! Now this part is always pretty hilarious and fun. First, you're taken to your green room (sounds so shi shi, doesn't it.) (Sound guys hate those big clunky necklaces I always wear. Whoops.) 

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Now, you've got to look around and see who's in the neighboring green rooms. The day I was filming, I saw Avril Lavigne's name next door and Valerie Harper in the hair and make up room. GEEZ! And here I am doing crafts . . . anyways! My favorite part is up next . . .

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Once is time, you're lead to the set and get to watch from back stage for a bit while they prep the next segment. Which means I get to see everything on stage! What a feeling of accomplishment. To give you a better idea of the before and afters, here are some handy little side-by-sides found on the QL site with a handful of DIY tips from yours truly.  

Materials: Gold Spray Paint + Fabric (curtain) + Staple Gun

Materials: Gold Spray Paint + Fabric (curtain) + Staple Gun

Materials: Gold Fringe Upholstery Trim + Hot Glue Gun + White Paint

Materials: Gold Fringe Upholstery Trim + Hot Glue Gun + White Paint

Materials: Gold spray paint + Foam + Quilting Batting + Fabric (curtain) + Spray Adhesive

Materials: Gold spray paint + Foam + Quilting Batting + Fabric (curtain) + Spray Adhesive

Materials: Pourable gold paint + Funnel

Materials: Pourable gold paint + Funnel

Materials: Pale Blue Spray Paint + 3 Lights with cords

Materials: Pale Blue Spray Paint + 3 Lights with cords

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Boy, finished projects are the best! After I revealed the finished pieces to the LOVELY Queen Latifah, I got to show her how to make the pieces herself. Now I have to pause right now and say that Queen Latifah was one of the NICEST people. She was warm and delightful and so fun to meet / diy with. She. Is. Awesome.   You can watch the diy segment here! 

The whole experience was such a blast! Then I had to go and break my d*mn ankle and put everything on hold for the moment. But pending a dr. appointment tomorrow, I hope to be back at it very soon! Hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes look. Happy Halloween!!

Thank you to the fabulous producers at the show - you make everyone look good!