Monday, November 29, 2010

Problem (possibly) Solved

Perhaps it says something about me that I don't even move for another four days yet I have spent hours online looking at rugs to buy, rugs to make, rugs to alter...I even tried to find a place to rent a loom. Seriously. I've made it my mission to have a not-boring rug that doesn't drain my bank account and I will stop at nothing.

Originally I posted about the possibility of dying or screenprinting a rug. And those were options that were definitely in the running. Eventually though I decided that although I had confidence I could successfully lighten a rug and dye it somehow I wasn't sure I could do it in a way that would keep the dye from wearing off on people's feet/socks/shoes. I still contemplated the screenprinting idea but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about how little I liked the idea of using a flat woven rug.

Then I saw this entry on Apartment Therapy about using smaller (and thereby less expensive) rugs to create a larger one by sewing them together. I didn't much care for it at the time and I thought it looked sort of cheap. I knew I could do it but I didn't have much interest. Not too far after that though this was posted and I realized this idea could be done in a cool way. Like so:

So I now my focus became finding a small rug I could get multiple of and sew together.

My first thought was in regards to size. Usually the smallest size rug is around 2'x3'. I decided if I used nine rugs I could create a 6'x9' rug which would be a pretty good size. Then I started thinking about pattern. I knew solid rugs were out because if I wanted a solid rug I would have just bought one at IKEA and I also didn't really like the look of the visible stitching. For me the idea was to create something that looked like one large rug rather than a bunch put together although I can understand how some people might actively try to achieve a patchwork look.

I've bought some small rugs from Urban Outfitters in the past and they've exceeded my expectations. They have a lot of really fun patterns and colors and the prices are extremely reasonable. Also, they have a really great policy of taking anything bought online back in store so I figured if I ordered nine rugs that turned out to be awful I could easily return them without having to ship them back. And I would have to buy online because no store was going to have nine of the same rug for me. So that's where I began my search.

Since the whole point of this adventure was to not spend a ton of money and still get something awesome out of it I started off by sorting the rugs available by price, knowing I would need to be sticking near the top of that list. These are some of the rugs I liked best:

The first rug I realized wouldn't work because of the tufted edges. No matter how I did it there would be these weird random puffs. There will be more from that rug later though.

The next rug is adorable and I love the colors but I don't think this project is really meant to be done with this kind of print. There's just no way to make it work and not look stupid.

The last rug though was perfect. There are tufts on the edges but there are also tufts in the rug itself so I'm fairly certain when stitched together this won't look crazy. The pattern is a little Arizona motel for me but since the rest of my furniture is a lot more modern and I love the colors in the rug I think it will be okay.

That first rug that obviously wouldn't have worked for an area rug is really pretty. If you look at the close up there are some great colors in there. I wanted to do something with it but I don't really need anymore 2'x3' rugs. Then I remembered that I am acquiring an awesome hallway that's actually big enough to be an entry way of sorts and I'm pretty sure that hallway could use a runner.

It may take me awhile but expect pictures of these projects both in progress and when finished. Also photos of the new place will be here Wednesday!

What I'm Wearing Today

I'm in love with these boots. I had already bought some ankle boots for the season when I found these and, although they were more than I should have spent, I had to have them. Since I bought them this Fall I've worn them dozens of times. I especially like how whatever color sock I wear peeks through the cutouts. Lucky for you they're now on sale.

Belle Starr Boots by Corso Como

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My least favorite thing ever.

I hate packing. A lot. This will be the 12th time I've moved and I know to some that's rookie territory but it's about 10 times too many for me. I've decided to make things somewhat easier on myself by hiring a moving company. Which means all I have to do is pack and then tell people what to do (which happens to be one of my favorite things). But I still have to pack. And that makes me whiny.

Luckily, one of us seems to be quite relaxed about the whole thing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Reason to Love the Internet

I really like internet shopping. There are always way more things to choose from, all sizes and colors are generally available, you can easily find the best price, there are reviews, and you get the fun of opening a package when it arrives. I've bought everything from clothes to shoes to furniture to kitchen appliances to bedding online. Today though, I conquered new internet shopping ground.

I bought my groceries online.

Trust me, I realize it sounds crazy. I almost didn't do it just on the basis of what kind of person buying my groceries online would make me. But then I thought of how it was the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving and how little I wanted to go to the store then. And how little I would want to go the next day. And how everything I needed would be gone and there would be no parking and crowds and I would be grumpy. So I went for it.

My most favorite grocery store ever is New Seasons. We have Whole Foods but sometimes the extremity of the health consciousness going on there takes all the fun out of grocery shopping. We also have Zupans but their aim is gourmet and while I don't want the Whole foods end of the health spectrum I do care about where most of my food comes from and how it was grown. At New Seasons I can buy locally grown organic veggies as well as real, bad for you ice cream.

So I hopped online and decided to grocery shop. The New Seasons site is laid out really well and it's super easy to specify how much of something you want. There's also a really comprehensive search feature if you aren't sure what category something would fall under and there are very handy pictures of everything so if you know you like a certain brand of something but aren't sure exactly the name you can recognize it by photo. You also get the option to allow them to pick a similar item if they're out of something or check a box for that item (or all items) saying you want no substitutions. For example, I picked some dried cranberries that were infused with unsweetened apple juice. I mostly just picked them because they sounded fun so I was cool with a substitution of another dried cranberry. I also needed focaccia bread though and I wasn't willing to substitute that. You can even add special instructions for any item you like. I picked everything I needed, selected a pick up time, and paid. When I got to the store it was insane. There was no parking. Luckily I cannot verify the store was packed because I got my very own parking place and the option to either dial a posted number or push the button on the wall in order to have someone bring out my groceries. Which were then loaded into my car for me, I signed a slip saying I'd picked everything up, and was on my way. It was the simplest thing I've ever done. Plus, they gave me free ice cream which is pretty much my favorite thing ever.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Technicolor Love

Miss Lana and I went out to breakfast and manicures the other day. While getting our nails done we were talking about decorating my apartment. While we were talking I confessed that I had realized while looking at furniture online that I am willing to pay way more for a purse than I am say, an armchair. And, luckily, she agreed. Which kept me from feeling like a crazy person. But this brings me to the topic of rugs.

Rugs are expensive. It's as simple as that. I don't think there's really any getting around it. And when you are looking for something other than a traditional Persian looking rug things get even more expensive.

After looking around a lot I had found one rug I liked. I figure I'll need something at least 5'x7' so spending less than $500 was looking less and less possible. Until I stumbled upon these.

These rugs are by a company called ABC Carpet and Home. As far as I understand, these rugs are worn vintage rugs that are somewhat bleached out then over dyed. I think they're gorgeous and would love to have one in my home. Here's the problem, the least expensive of these rugs is 3'x4'7", orange with a house (?) drawn on it, and $900. So in other words, buying one of these is not going to happen. But I mean, how hard could bleaching a rug and dying it be?

Apparently really ridiculously difficult. Check out comment number two.

Now I know I'm stubborn but I still feel compelled to try it. I figure I can buy a rug at IKEA for under $100, bleach/oxyclean/something it to lighten the color, then figure out a way to redeposit color. Perfection is not the goal here so it doesn't really matter if there are flaws. I know dye needs heat to set so maybe I can hand apply dye diluted in hot water? Use a blow dryer to set it? Ideas? Advice? Warnings that I may or may not head?

My other idea which is significantly more simple yet also less awesome is to get a low pile rug from IKEA and use silkscreen ink to basically just paint a design onto it. Silkscreen ink doesn't move unless it's washed without being heat set first. With most fabrics you can just throw whatever was silkscreened into the dryer after the ink dries to set it. With a rug I'm pretty sure sitting on the floor and blow drying the rug would work well enough. If I went this route I'd basically have two options, free hand paint a design with a brush or create a stencil and use a brush or roller to apply the ink. I think this idea would look best on a neutral rug, I'm thinking a darker gray, with a design in multiple colors. For that reason I don't want to use an actual silkscreen. The process just becomes too difficult when using too many colors.

If I went this route I'd likely end up with something along these lines.

What do you think? Take on the crazy difficult project with a hopefully amazing outcome or go the safe route?


...Or more accurately, icy roads day!! Yesterday it rained all day and then got to snowing a bit and now we're at 24 degrees. And it's not going to get much warmer than that today. Which means all our roads are icy and our whole city shuts down.

People are always balking at how Portlanders can't drive in the snow and how we "freak out" if we get even the tiniest bit of frozen precipitation but our city is not meant for snow. It's a giant winding pile of hills. Plus, I secretly believe that we all just love the idea of grown up snow days and an excuse to not go anywhere and just hide away and be cozy for a day so much that none of us are willing to admit we possibly could pull off driving. Which is just another reason I love this city so much.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Guess who has a new home...

And by "home" I mean place to live, not an actual house. I signed my lease papers this weekend and will get keys on December 1st. I cannot wait to have an actual separated bedroom and living room and a kitchen where more than one person can cook without being crowded. I'm also pretty excited about hardwood floors, the most giant closet ever (with the exception of one, Miss Mariah Carey's), two whole walls of windows, and a view to die for. Not to mention the incredible location.

I've never really decorated a home, another thing I'm way excited for. My current place was sort of a victim of circumstance in that I originally didn't have the money to be putting into decorating and then, once I did, I didn't want to put too much into what I knew was really temporary. I mean, there are some things I did and love that will definitely carry on to this new place. Now though, I can't wait to pick rugs and furniture that I'll plan to have for awhile. Things that have character. And I'm so looking forward to both creating and buying artwork for the walls and going fabric shopping for curtains and just really making this place a home. My home. I want someone to walk in and feel like the place I live is me and that somehow they're experiencing something intimate in being there. Like learning someone's secrets but feeling so endeared to that person you don't have any desire to reveal them.

A New 'Do

Once upon a time I was blonde. I mean really blonde. After awhile though I got tired of the upkeep and how I felt I needed to wear serious clothing to be taken seriously and the kind of boys who are attracted to blondes specifically. I went brunette and swore I would never be blonde again.

Then I started craving red hair. And I've done it a few times, usually a very dark red or a brunette with some red in it. I've never just gone full fledged red head. The other day I was looking for sweaters online and I found a picture of a strawberry blonde haired model and I knew I couldn't resist any longer. I had to try it.

I already had a hair appointment set up so I decided instead of my regular root touch up I would request a hair makeover. Luckily my hair stylist thought this would be really fun rather than annoying. After three hours of bleaching out my hair, correcting roots, adding highlights, and then all over coloring and having my hair washed and blow dried three times, I ended up with this:

I think any time you make a drastic hair color change the first reaction is to not like it, and true to form, that was mine. I spent Saturday and Sunday stressing about how I could pull off this hair color and worrying I looked ridiculous. This morning though, I woke up and decided I may just be okay with this.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

En Vogue

So, Lana challenged me to beat her find for most ridiculous item of clothing ever. She did pretty well with a $5,000 fur vest/headdress but I bring you the real winners.

If you're a dominatrix who is cold and having a bad hair day have I got the outfit for you!

By Jean Charles Castelbajac

If you enjoy not moving your arms here's a pretty fierce look. Up to you if you think you can pull off the electrical tape across your face.

By Gareth Pugh

Well, this isn't frightening at all.

By Michael Lau

You Spin Me Right Round

When I was growing up I loved Thanksgiving. Maybe just because it meant it was getting close to Christmas, but now that I'm an adult and I don't have any family I guess the holiday just holds no meaning for me. I had a friend I used to make vegetarian Thanksgiving with but she moved far away. Last year I made green bean casserole, my most favorite Thanksgiving dish, and spent the day having a long distance movie marathon on the phone with a friend. This year I've nearly forgotten that Thanksgiving is even happening. I have not forgotten Christmas though and I cannot wait until next Thursday passes so my enthusiasm will be socially acceptable.

One Christmas thing I am very excited about is making a wreath. I've never done this before with the exception of a very minor role in helping my mom make one one year. Her's had bells and little fake presents and was in general a little on the...kitschy side. And while I am all about a holiday where you bring a tree in your house and attack it with lights, glitter, and shine, I think I want my wreath to be slightly more tasteful.

I'm no gardener so I'm aware I am not using official terminology here but I really like the look of a leafy plant with a more pine-y plant. And I love the sophistication that something monochromatic yet possessing various textures has.

I don't think I'm into how minimalistic this is, plus it'd be a challenge to do by hand, but I love the idea of incorporating some mirrored tiles into a wreath. Maybe just hidden a bit to create some surprise sparkle.

I like the idea behind this but I'm not sure I like this exact execution. If I were to do this I'd be sure to leave the center empty and I may lean towards a slightly more traditional color scheme. Not necessarily red and green but maybe some variations of burgundy and some metallics. Also there needs to be a bow.

Feathers are one of those things that can go from gorgeous to gross pretty quickly. I don't know if I could handle an entire wreath of feathers but I'd be down for some peacock feathers tucked in there somewhere.

This would be a strictly indoor wreath but I live in an apartment so that would work for me. All that's going on here is loops of paper. I'm pretty sure the hardest part for me would be not buying every piece of paper in the store.

I know I dissed tiny presents earlier but my mom's wreath didn't look like this. I think if you ditched the unintentional Tiffany's theme and worked with some bold colors this could be adorable with out being too adorable.

This wreath is made of herbs! I'll just give you a minute to process how awesome that would smell.

This wreath was made by cutting out holly leaf shapes from old Christmas cards. I don't think I have enough friends to go that route but I'm liking the idea with another medium. I'm also wondering if another shape would be cool. I've got a lot of cookie cutters I could trace...

I'll let you know how mine turns out!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Wish List

Winter is coming! While often times Fall and Winter wardrobes get combined into one group of things to wear that falls under "warm and dark" I think there's a real difference in feel to the two seasons. Winter is celebratory and you see it in the fabrics available and the influx of sparkle. And while Autumn is about feeling crisp and cool Winter is about being cozy.

These are the things I'm craving this season.

This dress is whimsical and sweet without coming off as young. I love the neckline, the detail at the waist, the hem...but most of all, I love that deep, rich, purple.

Goddess Dress by Free People in Aubergine

I'm not a person who takes weekend trips. My weekends are usually spent doing all the things I'm too busy or lazy to do during the week. If I owned this bag though, I may find some places to go.

Bear Creek Weekender by McFadin in tan, sold by Free People

I don't care how unflattering this may turn out to be in real life. I want to live in this sweater.

Waffle Knit Cardigan by Hinge in Stonehenge

This is pretty. And I want it. It also comes in about ten other colors so you could wear it alone, with other bangles, ooooor even with the same bracelet in other colors as well.

Grete Filigree Bangle by Rachel Leigh in Palm, sold by Free People

This just looks so soft and comfortable and perfect for a snow day spent inside.

Velvet Trim Slouchy Tee by Ella Moss in Mushroom

Nails in Winter are always dark. You've got all those colors with "noir" tacked onto the end, why not mix it up with some gold?

The Full Monty by Butter London

The lovely Miss Lana was on a mission earlier this season to find crushed velvet leggings in a color other than black. While crushed velvet reminds me of the bad Christmas dresses of my childhood spent in the late 80s/early 90s, actual velvet makes me fall in love. There's something about a fabric that begs to be touched that's so fitting for the cold months. And I love black.

Velvet Leggings by Gap in black

I'm all about this dress. It's perfect for a party or you could take a worn brown leather belt, belt it, throw on a denim jacket, and wear some boots with bare legs. I'd probably be wearing it with a cardigan, tights, and flats to work.

Beaded Jersey Trapeze Dress by Suzy Chin Maggy Boutique in Taupe

Melissa Joy Manning is my most favorite jewelry designer. This woman is just incredible. If you're looking for perfection this isn't it. And that's what makes it wonderful.

Champagne Diamond Slice Ring by Melissa Joy Manning

I'm pretty proud of myself for this pick. They're weather practical, cute, easy to pull on, and versatile.

Pull On Duck Boot by Bass in tan, sold by Free People

Also I'll take this haircut. With or without the sparkles.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I see London, I see France

I'm aware these baskets are hideous. Originally they were for art supplies then those got organized and I was ready to throw these out but before I could bare to part with them I put them in my closet to organize my unmentionables. I'm not really sure how all twelve pounds of him managed to get into this basket without toppling over the whole thing but apparently Javier has found himself a new little nest.

Deck the Walls

I know some people think wallpaper is sort of old fashioned or outdated but I love it. The problem is when you're renting you can't just go wallpapering other people's walls. To solve this I have decided to wallpaper a large canvas and have it framed, since I don't have any qualms about putting a small hole in other people's walls.

Did you know there are about 50 billion wallpaper designs out there? And 90% of them are ugly. These are a few of the not ugly ones I am considering. It's no secret I love sparkle so most of these have some kind of metallic element to them.

I'm so excited!