Thank you for your birthday wishes!
The dining room has been on my mind all week… it’s making such progress! We have the new light fixture installed, the buffet was made over and now it’s time to tackle the bookshelves on the opposite wall.
Looking at the buffet the bookshelves are actually behind you, leaning up against either side of the arches facing into the living room.
Here’s a ‘before we moved in’ to give you a really clear idea of the wall space available there (that second door is now sealed up and a part of the new bathroom, and that older kitchen you see in the first door is now here):
This was a hard spot to figure out how to utilize. Big clunky bookcases would stick out like a sore thumb but I knew the wall space could be so much more than room for hanging photos. This was also right about that time when the leaning bookshelf craze was in full effect, and I really liked that they were backless, the depth narrowed from the base to the top, and that they were much less obtrusive than your usual variety.
When I found a set of leaning C&B bookshelves on Craigslist I knew they would fit perrrrfectly. Here’s a slightly awkward, coming in to the dining room from the guest room shot to show how these bookcases fit:
The leaning bookcases hold just enough storage – I keep wine and beer glasses, cookbooks and extra dining dishes on these guys – plus they’re lean enough to allow plenty of walk around room.
I had first styled them like this:
We didn’t repaint, those are just grainy, washed out pictures from last year. Darn camera settings that I must conquer.
And after yesterday they look more like this:
One day I will master the focus on the camera. One day.
A few of my new goodies include pictures and prints that I’ve collected over the past year.
It was hard to get this shot without a horrible glare, but this black and white is a photo that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas – she had taken it in college as an art major and had framed it for me for Christmas. The juxtaposition is amazing (the ‘Beware of Dog’ sign in the foreground and the kind looking observer just a few feet behind) and I can just picture Eileen at 20, stopping to see this ironic pose and kneeling down to get closer to the dog’s eye level, hair flipped back in some feathered 70′s do.
The next shelf up holds a picture of Bodie when he was just a couple of months old by my mom with his big sweet nose close against the camera lens, and next to that a Mother’s Day print that I picked out when we were at Balboa Park. The arboretum there is one of my very favorite buildings and I was thrilled to find a local artist in the park selling his paintings and prints.
I chose a warm wood frame that compliments a handmade cup from our wedding from Kevin’s best man. My little silver bird is attempting to hide a candle wax stain that discolored the bookshelf! Bummer. Ha, in this particular shot it kind of looks like something else…
The other bookshelf is home to my new favorite vignette which includes a cloche (a thrift store find and a gift from a friend who knew I was dying to find one) and a water color by the etsy Honolulu artist behind Pineapple Bay Studio.
The colors provide just the pop of contrast this space needs!
The cake platter and pitcher are Target finds from way back, and I’m pretty sure the white ceramic water lily is from West Elm. The galvanized metal letters at top are from Anthropologie and that picture on the same shelf as my square basket (to hold votive holders and what not) is a poster of giant magnolias that I cut apart and framed – sometimes framed art is as easy as taking apart packaging or gift cards!
There’s something about filling in a backless bookcase with sporadic art and height that keeps the shelves feeling airy, but brings in enough content so that it doesn’t feel sparse and lonely.
My favorite suggestions are to work in odd numbers, keep a variation of height on each shelf (with at one least one over-sized or tall piece) and mix up the colors while keeping some sort of consistent theme throughout (in this example I’d say it’s my white ceramic dishware and vases that show up frequently throughout both bookshelves, and maybe a basket or two).
One more item checked off of that list. Next up is a new rug, new curtains, reupholstered chairs? or maybe cushions? plus some huge piece of art or a mirror for that big blank wall where that extra door used to be. But in no particular order, it’s all part of the adventure .
Tags: Decorating, Dining Room, DIY, Home
Posted in DIY, Home, Organizing, Our Dining Room, Renovating Adventures | 19 Comments »
Hope you had a lovely weekend! We celebrated my birthday on Saturday night (so fun) which made it an extra special weekend for me. My actual bday is tomorrow and I’m looking forward to celebrating again with Kevin and Liv. There’s nothing like a little family time to make for a great day.
During a bit of my spring cleaning around here, I came across a camera card full of photos from this time last year, including this adorable Dr. Seuss baby shower thrown for our good friend Grace and her baby boy Cyrus! I had made Dr. Seuss-themed cupcakes for the special day and I forgot how much I had loved using the creative children’s books as inspiration
The shower was absolutely adorable with lots of Dr. Seuss inspired decorations and food. Great job Cassie and Denise! As for my part, I put together four different cupcake designs based off the One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 & Thing 2 books.
I’m pretty sure I used a standard boxed cake mix for the actual cake part of these guys, but when it came to the neck up I had the chance to get a little creative. I had fun creating four unusual looks and used inspiration from plenty of images found ’round the web, two designs that I especially loved were this one and this one.
The base for each of the four different cupcakes was a flat round icing disk that I made out of a pliable homemade fondant. I must have spent an hour yesterday looking for the recipe I used 11 months ago to share here – but I can’t find it anywhere… argh. You can actually purchase pre-made fondant and marzipan from craft stores or there are a ton of great DIY recipes out there (the marshmallow ones look especially intriguing). Now I need a new go to!
My one suggestion for creating your own is to watch how much you mix your icing. You want the fondant to be stiff enough to mold but you also want to avoid any cracking when it begins to dry. Aim for playdough consistency. (This is for small projects – if you were covering a cake with this stuff I would say that playdough consistency is far too soft and will lead to several lumps and bumps).
First up in assembly were the Cat in the Hat cupcakes. I dipped marshmallows halfway up in a small bowl of water and then in a dish of red sugar (or red sprinkles) to create the illusion of a striped hat. I stacked two marshmallows onto a skewer (that has been cut in half to size) and used the pointed end of the skewer to hold the flipped over hats into place on top of the cupcakes.
The One Fish, Two Fish cupcakes were as simple as a bit of blue sugar, a couple of Swedish fish and a small black icing dot to accentuate the eye facing up. A small dot of icing will also hold the fish in place.
My Green Eggs and Ham cupcakes were actually just green eggs without the ham… but I used a green M&M to serve as the egg yolk and reshaped the flat round icing disk into more of an over easy egg shape. Black icing (bought pre-made in a squeezable tube) helped to outline the cracked egg.
Tracking down blue cotton candy for the Thing 1, Thing 2 cupcakes was a bit more challenging… luckily we had visited Sea World the day before the shower and I snagged a cotton candy on my way out for 1/2 price! A glob of semi-shaped stringy cotton candy helps form the hair for Thing 1 and Thing 2, and a simple ’1′ or ’2′ in black icing finished the look off.
Cotton candy has a tendency to melt when in direct sunlight! Lesson learned. Best to bring out the dessert just before everyone gets ready to eat it lest you have a melted, sugary, globby mess on your hands:
All in all a success though! And so much fun to put together. I think my favorites were probably the Cat in the Hat cupcakes and next time I might try and cover that fondant base in a red sugar too for a little extra pop.
More from the shower!
That’s the guest of honor and the host there in the center above, and several of the cute ideas, labels, food and decor from the rest of the day.
Dr. Suess is a classic that I cannot wait to share with Liv when she’s a little older. And the books – amazing. I think my favorite is probably ‘Are You My Mother?’, do you remember that one?
Tags: Baby Shower, Birthday, Blue, Desserts, DIY, Kids Party, Parties & Entertaining, Recipes, Red, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Family & Friends, Parties & Entertaining | 5 Comments »
Last I left you, we were starting on the dining room from almost scratch.
This is so fun! This room is in need of almost everything less most large furniture items.
Let’s talk a moment about that new light because she was quite the adventure. The original chandelier was beautiful, ornate and most likely original to the house (meaning it was 77 years old).
She was clearly showing her wear though. Everything from missing pieces to really, really bad wiring.
My favorite accent has got to be the faux dripping gold candle wax .
Despite it all though I still think it is such a cool piece and that it should stay with the house. Maybe I can fix it up and make it more of an accent light in Liv’s big girl room (whenever we decide to take that on), or perhaps keep it neatly wrapped up in storage so that we can pass the original lighting on to future owners.
What I did know though, was that a new light would be an instant, updated impact to the entire space.
After much pendant hunting, I had narrowed my ideas down to:
I love the big round Eden pendant that we installed in Liv’s room – this has to be my favorite go-to in terms of price and look, and I thought that this version with a natural linen shade would fit the dining room even better. I was also drawn to something a bit more rectangular, like this West Elm shade pendant or this beautiful capiz pendant (so stunning! but Kev was not on board). Finally, I thought a light with multiple drum shades might just fill up the space well, like this one.
After much searching and much envisioning and much research, I finally fell for the West Elm short drum natural linen pendant shade. It didn’t hurt that on one of my random visits to the store, I found it marked down a third of the price! I haven’t seen that discount since but it was clearly a sign that she was the right modern pendant for the space.
I was very keen on the light, but not so keen on the white cable and silver wire/canopy that suspended the light from the ceiling (a little too modern for the space) – not sure why the above shows black because it’s definitely white! The pendant had to be converted to a wired version rather than a plugin, so in that process I opted to nix the West Elm mounting and added the shade to the oil rubbed bronze rods (just two rather than the three stacked 12″ rods it came with) and canopy of this Lowe’s pendant:
A pricey upgrade but definitely worth it. The new bronze mounting fits the Spanish-style space (with those rounded walls and inset ceilings) but the size and shape of the shade makes a huge modern difference.
Using a kitchen pendant light to update another ceiling fixture is an easy and affordable tip, though I must warn that we got this one wrong on the first try. I originally bought a candelabra mini pendant light that emitted about 30W – aka not enough to eat your dinner by! This monster shade needed a real deal light base (like the size of a usual light bulb) and we reinstalled the pendant again with the right sized light mount (thanks Andrew!). Now something like this option or this option, while not as big as I wanted for the space, would have provided three or four light bulbs for the large shade and would have cut down on this problem all together.
Another reason it doesn’t emit as much light as a usual chandelier?
The bottom of the shade is covered with a see-through insert that diffuses any light that comes out of the chandelier. You need as much watts or lumens (the LED version) as possible!
This all wraps up with my love for drum pendant lights, whether you hang them high in the center of a room like the Eden in Liv’s nursery:
Or low over a table, like the new linen short drum in the dining room!
Though I do wish it could be a half a rod lower – just need to learn how to rethread rod iron rods .
Read the full dining room story by starting here: the before!
Tags: Accessories, Before & After, Decorating, Dining Room, DIY, Home, Lighting
Posted in DIY, Home, Our Dining Room, Renovating Adventures | 3 Comments »