Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rast Hack - Ostrich Leather Upholstered Side Table

It all started with this image...

Can you imagine anything more extravagant??  To have a side table that is upholstered with ostrich leather??  And that brass hardware... stunning.  You all know how I feel about gold.  To die for...

A piece like this would cost the big bucks (can you hear the ca-ching sound in your head???)

But oh how amazing it would be to own a fabulous side table JUST. LIKE. THIS. Since I've been put on a budget, and I could never fathom spending thousands on a side table anyway, I had to get a bit creative in brainstorming up a little DIY for this end table...

Here's what I came up with...

So that means that with a little patience, and a bit of work that you could recreate one of these side tables for less than $115 -  and for just over $200 you could have a pair of them!  That's my kind of budget!

To recreate this side table, I imagine the steps going something like this...

STEP I: Piece together the Rast side table, prime and paint the top and sides of it gold (leave the drawers bare)

STEP II: Use Barge's multi-surface glue to secure the fabric to the drawer fronts.  Leave a half inch of space around the edges of each drawer for the trim (side note, if you ever have a question on what adhesive to use, use this site... it's AMAZING!!)

STEP III: Measure and cut the pieces for each drawer front (you'll need 8 pieces of trim total - two long for the top and bottom drawer, and six short for each drawer)
**Note: you could probably have the Home Depot cut the trim for you before you take it home to avoid the hassle of measuring the corners and sawing them yourself...

STEP IV: Prime and paint the trim gold
STEP V: Use finishing nails (or even liquid nails) to secure the trim to the drawers

5. Screw in the pulls to the drawer fronts

Ta-da! You're done!

The hardware is certainly the most pricey part of this endeavor, and I'm sure that with a bit of scouting around, you could find three plate brass pulls for less than $15 each.  

While I'm on a bit of a DIY hold until we find out if we are moving for sure (and when we are moving for sure) this is definitely a little project I'm itching to test out! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beautiful (and Delicious) Ice Cream Cake

Kris hates cake.  It kind of kills me since I LOVE cake.  I could eat yellow cake with chocoalte frosting every day and never get tired of it, but I can barely coerce him into a bite.  For years, I'd make him a cake for his birthday, and he'd pretend to be wowed by it, and push it around on his plate, and ultimately go get a bowl of ice cream.  This past year, I skipped the cake, and bought 4 different kinds of ice cream to make him an enormous banana split.  While he was happy as a clam, it wasn't the same... for me... birthdays need cake damn it!

My new solution?  

This cake.  This ICE CREAM cake that doesn't conjure up tacky images of Baskin-Robins' confections covered in power rangers, or ninja turtles, or whatever superhero show the kids are watching these days.

Not only would it look beautiful on a cake tray with candles to blow out (it's not a birthday if you're not blowing out candles) but it's 90% ice cream... so it's a win win!

I have been craving a yummy dessert lately, and maybe this is just the thing to try out this weekend!

Here's the recipe (a la Bon Appetite):

   Nonstick vegetable oil spray
   1 cup cake flour
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/2 cup sugar
   1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
   1 large egg
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
   1/3 cup whole milk
Ice cream
   11 large egg yolks
   3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
   3/4 cup malted milk powder
   6 tablespoons bourbon
   1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
   2 1/4 cups whipping cream
   2 1/4 cups whole milk
   1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
   1/2 cup water
   6 tablespoons sugar
   4 1/2-pint containers blackberries, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter springform pan with nonstick spray. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt 3 times into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat until thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk. Spread batter in pan (layer will be thin).

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Remove pan sides. Cut enough off top of cake to make 1/2-inch-thick layer. Reattach pan sides, leaving cake layer in pan.
ice cream

Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Stir cream, milk, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to simmer. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return to pan and cook over medium heat until custard thickens enough to coat spoon, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes (do not boil).
Strain custard into large bowl; set over pot of ice and water. Cool 1 hour, stirring often, then chill 1 hour. Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Spread ice cream over cake in pan.

(or for those of us without an ice cream maker, get reallllyyyyy good ice cream, let it soften, and then spread over the cake...)

Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

Stir 1/2 cup water and sugar in heavy large saucepan. Add half of berries and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until syrup thickens, mashing berries with back of fork, about 12 minutes. Pour into medium bowl; gently stir in remaining berries. 

Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Using hot knife, cut around pan sides to loosen ice cream cake. Remove pan sides. Transfer cake to platter. Spoon half of berry topping onto center of cake. Cut cake into wedges and serve, passing remaining topping separately.

Monday, June 24, 2013

X (bench) Marks the Spot

For anyone else out there that is a devout follower of the wedding blog, Style Me Pretty, you probably also follow their spin off blog, SMP Living.  Last week they had a FABULOUS feature on "how to makeover an x bench".

I have been a long-time lover of the x-bench, and had been on the hunt for a pair for a while, to fill the empty space below the large piece of art in our living room (well the space occupied with bags for donation in this photo...)

A few months back, when I first found our tripod lamp, I even created a mock of how I saw this wall looking... complete with x-benches.  Unfortunately, not much has changed in this space since I posted this back in January:

SMP's x-bench makeover gave me the inspiration to look into getting a pair of x-benches again, and so I hunted about for some additional inspiration...

X-Benches as a lovely accent under a console table...

X-benches are lovely at the foot of a bed...

X-benches are the perfect seat to tuck under a desk

X-benches are the perfect way to add seating in a living room...

Now the real trick is to find a pair of x-benches... they are apparently not available online, and so I suspect I'll be making some calls to a few stores today...

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Painted Curtains - Part Deux

Happy Friday friends!!  Are you as ready for the weekend as I am??

I'll  be heading down to Orange County this weekend for my beautiful friend's bridal shower, but before I hop on my flight, I wanted to share with you an idea I had for painted curtains...  I'm not sure if you remember the chevron painted curtains I made and posted about here, but after seeing the below image on Pinterest (unfortunately no source folks) I had a brilliant idea for another take on painted curtains.

Something about these curtains spoke to me - I have no idea if the curtain panels in this bedroom involved a DIY, or if the fabric just has a print with a "painted on" look... but either way, that's not really the point!  I think that an abstract painted curtain would be a fabulous, simple DIY!

Curtains can get really pricey - especially if you are looking for a longer length - but using the simple, white Merete curtain panels from Ikea (only $25 for two 98" panels) would save you A LOT of money, and I think it would be really fun to tap into your inner Pollock.  Right?? If I were to attempt this, I'd be sure to measure things out beforehand to ensure that each swirly row was roughly the same width, and that they went down the panel in straight rows, but to replicate something like these curtains would require hardly any artistic capabilities!  Right up my alley!

Now that I'm really looking at this photo, those coral striped pillows actually look as though a paintbrush was taken to them as well!  I can't imagine they would feel very good to lean against, but if you were going for pure aesthetics, these would be another fun DIY to test out with a bit of paint!

If you wanted to try out the pillow version, Ikea also sells two-packs of plain white 20x20 Pillow Covers for $6 - that is a price you cannot beat - and if you mess it all up... it was just $6 down the drain.  I've spent more at Starbucks before!

If you need a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing, check out the walls around Kelly Wearstler's staircase and entryway!  Phenomenal!

Jenny Komenda of the Little Green Notebook used a paint brush and mint green paint to overhaul the itty bitty powder bath in her Brooklyn apartment...

Or if the chain link swirls are too girly for you, take a more abstract route, and go to town - curtain panels with a large scale black and white abstract would be super edgy and bold, and would really compliment either very simple, or very feminine furnishings.  Best yet??  You wouldn't need (or probably want) a lot of art to compete!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spooky Decor??

What is something that sounds like it would be spooky but it's actually something you sit on...

Any guesses??

. . .

. . .

. . .

No... you give up???

. . .

A ghost chair!!

Oh man... who doesn't love an lame awesome riddle??

Ok getting serious again, these chairs are just so cool... I mean how could they not be when they have a name like "ghost chair".

These chairs have been featured in every decor publication from Elle Decor to Traditional Home, which means that pretty much everyone has jumped on the ghost chair bandwagon.  Super trendy?? Yes.  Are they classic pieces that your grandchildren will fight over??  Pretty sure the answer to that is "no", but considering you can find them for ~$150 each, it's not a huge investment for a statement piece that you'll absolutely love for at least a few years.

Let's be honest, I've spent more on shoes I've never worn because they pinch my feet... so in the scheme of things, one or two of these oh-so-pretty-chairs would be just a blip on the radar or at least that's the story I'm going to sell to Kris.

Some people have gone all out, and decked out entire dining rooms with them - traditional meets modern... me likey...

While others opt to integrate them in small understated doses... and the fur draped over this one??? OMG I'm dying!!

Used in a home office full of danish inspired pieces...

... Or in a glammed up breakfast room, complete with sputnik-ish light installation, glass pedestal table, and white galore.

I happen to love the juxtoposition of the rustic dining table, and natural decor with these lucite beauties...

And again here with the rustic unfinished wood of the desk.

So very cool!  I'm thinking that when we move, I may treat myself to one of these - either for our desk, or perhaps as a cool accent chair in the living room...

What do you think?  Would you ever own one?  Do you think they are awesome or awful?  How comfortable do you think they are??

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Rompers

I've never felt that I could successfully pull off a romper, but after seeing a few girls wear them last weekend in Napa, I really want one of my own.  There is just something about a girl who wears a romper that says "cool factor"... although I realize saying "cool factor" makes me sound like kind of the opposite... I never was too cool.

Anyways... how cute are these??


Rompers by beckyc1923 featuring a jump suit

Lanvin / MaxMara jump suit, $530 / RED Valentino , $355 / Dorothy Perkins / Forever 21 romper

I pulled together a few of my favorites here, and I think each has it's different purpose - clockwise from the far left there's the work appropriate pants version, the sexy cut out version perfect for Miami or Vegas, the relaxed aztec print version, the dressy black lace version, the floaty feminine version, and the pretty ladylike version.

The reason I've never seriously attempted one myself is because I have a long torso, and the last thing I want to do is look like I'm trying to squeeze into kids clothing, BUT what I've found is that by following a few rules, just about anyone can pull one off...

1.  Make sure that it's long enough
Not only do the shorts have to be long enough, but the body has to be long enough too otherwise it will ride up, and make for possibly the most unflattering outfit.  Ever.  EVER.

2.  Make sure they nip in at the waist
If you are wearing a romper that's too baggy, you'll look dumpy - for lack of a better word.  Belt it, cinch it, do whatever you have to, but be sure your waist is defined.

3.  Make sure the shorts (or pants) are loose and pull away from your legs
This rule also applies to wearing shorts, and there is nothing less flattering than shorts that are too tight around your legs.  Period.

Andddd, I'm off to do a little online shopping... I need to find me a romper!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Industrial Shelving

Industrial... rustic... found... restored... upcycled... these are all SUPER common words thrown around in design magazines, shows, and blogs... and a spreading trend supported by hugely popular retailers like West Elm and Restoration Hardware. I'm not a fan of everything "industrial", but used with restraint, these pieces add a lot of character, and help balance out a room, keeping it from looking to perfect and shiny.

As I think about our pending move, and as we get rid of our "early twenties single furniture" and fill our house with things that reflect BOTH of our tastes and personalities, I'd love to find a few ways to incorporate some pieces with a bit more of an industrial feeling to them.  These photos provide ample inspiration for the look I'm going for... clean and classic, with a bit of industrial chic...

As trends come and go, I think I'd most want to test this trend through a piece that isn't a staple to our house.  Some sort of shelving unit seems like a safe bet, because it will be large enough to make a statement, but we won't feel TOO tied to it the same way we would with an "investment piece" like a bed or dining room table.

I did a little digging to see what I could find online, and it turns out that there are a TON of cool shelving units that are very reasonable.  My best sources??  Home Depot, Lowes, and Ikea.  These aren't even all the shelving units I found either - just my favorites...

1  , 2
 3  ,  4
5  ,  6

These shelving units, range in price from $15 (yes... $15!!!!) to $130.

The most expensive was the wooden Ivar Unit (#4) from Ikea at $128 (luckily for me, this is my least favorite of the bunch), and the least expensive shelf was $6 from Ikea... and it cost just $15.

I literally cannot get over it!  I am dying to see what it looks like in person - is it rickity?  Does it look cheap or totally awesome?? It's only 10" deep, so it wouldn't stick out too far into a room, and I think it would look kind of cool to line up four of them along a wall for open storage.  I also like that there is A LOT of space between each shelf - nearly 20" if I'm doing my math correct, so things wouldn't feel cramped.

I mocked it up really quick... kind of awesome, right??

... and it would only be $60 for 4 of these shelving units!  I also like #3 a lot, and those are just $30 each from Home Depot!

Another mock up... more cramped, but also a lot more storage??  Also... it looks a more sturdy with the X's on the back for support... no?

#2 would look cool in a kitchen, holding colorful mixing bowls, pretty new pots, and cook books... along with large glass jars of flower, sugar, oatmeal, and other bulk foods.

#1 is also at the top of my favorites... and while the frame looks really sturdy, I think the black might be too dark considering I'm trying to stay away from too much more black in our house...

On the "less industrial end" I am IN LOVE with #5 - the Vittsjo shelving unit, and with a quick coat of gold spray paint, it could soon be just like one of these...

Not at all industrial, but still a shelving look that I'm obsessed with... ALTHOUGH I'm not hating the black at all... it might also look amazing with a rubbed bronze finish??

After tracking down some great industrial shelving options, and seeing how inexpensive they all are, the little wheels in my head have started turning...

Perhaps you'll be seeing more on this topic soon...

Monday, June 17, 2013

White Vanity - Inspiration to Reality

Perhaps it's the warm weather we've been having, or the fact that it stays light out until almost 9pm now (longest day of the year is this Friday!) but I have been finding myself drawn to light, bright, spaces that don't use much color.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of color - wearing it... decorating with it... but this vanity space is so pretty, I couldn't resist trying to find pieces to re-create it.

Places like Target, Overstock, and Ikea are great for simple pieces like these - I love that Ikea has come up with their own take on the Lucite chair (I also wrote about it here)... zGallerie is fabulous for large funky accessories, and RugsUSA is always a favorite source of mine.  This Jute rug is 65% off right now, and is just $79 for the 5'x8' size.  Can you seriously beat that price??

Actually this entire setup could be re-created for less than $500 - all together, this look costs $450, and the mirror alone is $200.  If you shopped HomeGoods, you could probably find a mirror of this size for ~$50, taking this look down to$350 or so...

Happy shopping!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Federal Style and a History Lesson

It started with this picture from Blue Label Bungalow...

This room is a bit more traditional and masculine then I would choose for my own home, but there is one piece in particular that caught my eye in this space... can you guess what it is??  (No not the lamps, although I DO love those too...)

Maybe these other pictures will give you a hint...

Still don't know??  Here's a few more hints...

No Source

Yeah, I know it's totally obvious... I was just totally indulging my obsession with the ornate, old time-y Federal Mirrors that I seem to keep noticing EVERYWHERE. In college I double majored in Sociology and History... BUT... I am a complete novice when it comes to spotting and identifying period pieces.  All I know is that these mirrors are cool, and I want to know more about them...

I dug up a little info on their origin - The Dumbarton House talks about where these mirrors originated:
Our nation’s early years, when the Federalist Party led the American government between 1790 and 1828, generally defines the Federal period. During this time, a strong sense of nationalism was born and many government leaders, like Thomas Jefferson, looked to the classical past of Greece and Italy for inspiration in forging the identity of the new American democratic Republic.

Thanks Thomas Jefferson... and I guess Greece... because these mirrors are FAB!!  What makes these mirrors "Federal" style are the concave mirror (which is cool on it's own), the eagle embellishment (so "Americana") and a brass frame (with an awesome antique patina).

What I do NOT love about these mirrors are the price tag on them... for a legitimate Federal mirror, you'll be paying in the thousands... easily.  Dang it!

However Google saves the day again, and after a few random searches, I learned that these were all the rage in the 1950's, and a company called Syroco became famous for their molding technique where they were able to churn out exact replicas of these "eagle mirrors".  I've also learned that they can be called "Bullseye Mirrors" as well... which helps when searching eBay and Etsy for replicas.

Seems like all the mirrors in the larger size I want will run between $60 and $150 which compared with thousands, is a steal!

I'm imagining this over our bed (like the first photo here) or even in an entry way - although a convex  mirror is not ideal for the last minute hair fixing before running out the door...

What do you think about these beauties?? Are you as into them as I am?