Real wool rugs... 12 of them, huge ones, under $400!

9.29.2016

Well, I've moved on from designing tile and grout color combinations for our new house (that's so two weeks ago), then to dining room and kitchen lighting, and now to rugs. It will still be a while till we're ready to lay a rug down, but I'll THREE big spaces on the first floor plus our bedroom to finish with area rugs, and right now all we have are small ones. One thing I've learned since jumping back into home decor is a too-small rug is a decorating sin. Apparently.

So I've been looking for BIG rugs. But all of the decor inspirations I've been pinning have high quality design elements including natural fibers and really nice investment pieces like wool rugs, not the cheap polypropylene imitations that pop up in a lot of my online searches (since our budget is not huge).

But I'm nothing if not dedicated (and obsessed with the new house right now!). I've spent probably hours searching affordable online sources and I've found a few faves that are 100% wool, nice and big (most of them are 8'x10'), and under $400! Some even under $300! Some are on sale right now, so check it out ASAP if you're also in the market--or pin for later if you're still in the idea stage!


First, here's some statement rug inspiration for you. A small rug would just not work in this space! And a plastic-ey one would totally clash with the natural wood pieces and rustic indigo-dyed pillows I love so much.
Source

Here's another. I love the traditional, muted tones with the modern light fixture.
Source

Less traditional but still neutral, the fluffy patterned flokati. Dresses up or down!
Source

And here are the results of my internet-combing for rugs that might work for us! And you!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

I'm really into the blues, and of course the neutrals as always. And some bright, warmer colors! It will be a tough decision when we start buying rugs for our spaces!

Which are your faves?
Do you have any rug-buying tips?!

You can also shop these rugs below! Some of the Target ones are on sale this week, check them out! (Hover over the images to see price & source.)


Trend & DIY: high neck tiny ruffle tops (with tutorial)

9.27.2016

This was such a fun project!! It's been ages since I did a sewing tutorial but this tiny bias-cut ruffle neck and armhole edge trim look is new to me this season and I've never seen anything like it as a DIY... so here you go!

So early this season I went to Gap.com and saw in their list of early fall must-haves, among the jeans and sweaters: "5. The Printed Blouse (with a ruffled neckline that's oh-so-pretty." It was a boxy, loose top but indeed the neckline was interesting! I then saw a couple similar ones in other places. See??


The Gap top has elastic at the neckline, while the others have different shapes including yokes. The tiny ruffle detail looks good on a lot of tank shapes! I figured I could give it a shot.

Tiny bias-cut ruffle trim tutorial


You will need:


  • Top pattern of choice (I used McCall's M7095)
  • Fabric yardage needed for pattern plus 0.5-1 yards for bias strips
  • Coordinating color single-fold bias tape

Instructions:


1. Cut out the pattern as desired. I cut the armholes and neck opening a little narrower than the pattern called for since this trim method uses a 1/2" seam allowance on them rather than the 5/8" most patterns call for.

2. Cut 2" wide strips of bias. I cut about 140" and used all but about 20" of it.

3. Sew the bias strips together at the ends and press seams open, creating one very long strip.

4. Press the bias strips in half and pin in place.

5. Run a long stitch and gather the bias strip, using a 3/8" seam allowance.

6. Sew the ruffled bias strip into the arm or neck opening, using a 1/2" seam allowance. At the side seam of the armholes, cut the corner so the bias strip curves and no raw edges are exposed.

7. Open your coordinating single-fold bias tape and sew on top of the inside crease, also leaving a 1/2" seam allowance on the top side. (I didn't have any single-fold so I cut apart some double-fold I had, hence the extra width.)

8. Snip into the main bodice side seam allowance in the curves of the armholes.

9. Top stitch the bias tape trim edge, concealing the seam allowance. (I did this from the outside to make sure everything stayed flat. You could do it from the underside if you're concerned about the seam allowance staying in position and being concealed.)

See the center seam point I was talking about above? The bias strip ends curve down so the raw edges are absorbed.

Ta-da!

This could work on all kinds of top or dress styles! Pin it to save for later!

A little more about the top I made... as I said, I used McCall's M7095 but I modified it a ton. I didn't do the front opening; instead I added the shank button closure at the back. I also really liked the look of the Anthro top with the tiny pleats across the yoke! So I cut my yoke piece extra long and added some 1/4" pleats evenly spaced.

I didn't realize it would have a 70's vibe, but turns out it does!

The pattern is not printed straight on the fabric, which I corrected on the yoke when I made the pleats but I couldn't really correct across the whole bodice. So it looks sort of slanty. Less noticeable on me than on the mannequin, I hope!

Pattern: McCall's M7095
Modifications:

  • Did the bias ruffle trim rather than the neck facing and bias armhole treatment called for
  • Added four tucks in the front yoke
  • Did not do the neck opening at the front; instead added a placket and button with bias tape loop

I actually really like this pattern with all those modifications! The bodice is SO loose, I might try cutting it way narrower if I do this again. I recently saw a cute top at Gap Factory made of a plum knit in a similar shape with embroidery on the yoke but they didn't have my size... would be a fun DIY! (Here it is!)

If you aren't up for sewing your own but like this look, shop some of the inspirations here!


Our kitchen redesign mood board

9.23.2016

You guys, I just have so many ideas spinning around in my head (and on my dream kitchens pinboard) that I had to make this mood board for myself!

I couldn't even settle on an overall style, or a word to describe the style we wanted, until I put all my ideas in one place. Despite loving so many of those dream kitchens, not a single one has every element we've decided we want. But now I think I've got it almost figured out!


Part of the problem was, husband doesn't love all my absolute favorites, the all-white kitchens. They're too stark or too girly for him. But he does like a lot of the things I want in a kitchen, so we've found a blend of things that work for both of us.

Key elements: white subway tile, darker grout, open shelving, black cabinet hardware, white farmhouse sink, industrial/barn lighting rather than something fancier/more glam, this very cool affordable vent hood, and a bamboo window blind. I've decided the look is sort of clean, sort of modern, sort of industrial... that's what I'm calling it.

By the way that photo of those lovely shelves is from Jen Loves Kev's kitchen reveal

It is so totally exciting that it's almost time to start actually purchasing these things. (In fact, I already bought the hood because there was a great price from a seller. We'll store it somewhere till we move... :/ .)

What do you think?


Compiling all these ideas visually was really helpful, and I think I may need to do it for the rest of the rooms, too! Have you ever made a mood board? Any tips for me in decorating our spaces from scratch? Anyone know of any kitchen remodels I should look at?

All of these pieces are affordable! Shop them here. 


(Grain-free, Paleo-friendly) rustic fig tart

9.20.2016

It's fig season! I'm pumped. As I shared the other day on Instagram, my parents have a big fig tree and every year around this time I'm excited to go over there and pick ripe figs before the birds get them. When I was a kid I didn't know what to do with them, but now I know how amazing they are when they're really ripe (they seriously taste like pure HONEY) and quite a few things to do with them!

This time around I wanted to bake them. I pictured a rustic, slightly crumbly open-faced tart. I've made a couple other fall-ey grain-free tarts, and I've found some ingredients that really work well (without being too almond flour-heavy, as a lot of Paleo baking recipes are). (See also my grain-free apple/pear crumble recipe and cranberry-apple tart recipe.)


(You will notice a trend--I am all about low maintenance baking. This recipe was so easy!)

And it turned out just like I wanted!

Grain-Free Rustic Fig Tart


Ingredients:


Crust:

  • 1/3 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut palm sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted grassfed butter (cold) (or palm shortening if dairy-free)

Fruit:

  • 6-8 fresh figs

Instructions:


  1. Pulse sunflower seeds in a small food processor, until finely ground. Add other dry ingredients and pulse until combined.
  2. Chop butter into small chunks and add to processor; pulse until combined. Mixture should be thick and chunky. 
  3. Spread crust mixture onto parchment paper on a baking sheet. Flatten with spatula or fingers to get an even layer.
  4. Chop figs into eigths. 
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Optional extras:


If your figs aren't super ripe and honey-sweet, you could go for a more savory flavor, or add a glaze! Here are some options:
  • Make a glaze of honey and water; add right after tart comes out of the oven
  • Add goat cheese and sliced almonds; reduce balsamic vinegar on the stovetop to make a rich, tangy glaze
Or enjoy with some vanilla ice cream of choice!

If you don't have figs in your parents' backyard... save this recipe for next time you run into some!

My new home dec obsession!! (It's fun! You'll love it!)

9.15.2016

Well, as you might imagine, my head is just swimming with home decor and remodeling ideas for our new house!! It seems like I spend every spare moment thinking about grout colors, dining room lighting, and other essential considerations. I really need to organize my thoughts and pinned ideas onto some mood boards or something...

So while I wait for closing on the house so the projects and purchases can begin, I've found a fabulous new hobby that encourages my enthusiasm and teaches me things, too!


I've talked before about how I'm a podcast listener. (Balanced Bites, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Pop Culture Happy Hour from NPR, and recently The Birth Hour are favorites.) But recently, with perfect timing for my all-my-spare-time (including commutes to work when I can listen to podcasts) home decor/renovating obsession, I stumbled across Young House Love Has A Podcast. I've been aware of Young House Love for years and years, and am so impressed by their DIYs and tutorials! I listened to a couple episodes and now want to be friends with John and Sherry as well as read their cabinet-painting posts. I've listened to every episode now and really enjoyed them! Some very useful information (like about rugs--oh, rugs are so hard!) as well as helpful anecdotes about what's going on with them, like trying out an electric lawnmower.

They mentioned they were on another DIY/home decor/family podcast, the Chris Loves Julia Podcast. In my recent surge of pinning and decor idea-collecting, I'd run across Chris Loves Julia's stuff before and liked their classic-yet-modern, clean style. When I ran out of Young House Love podcasts, I listened to all the Chris Loves Julia ones, too! I now love them, too. Also some useful information, like about color undertones when picking paint (another scary choice!), plus just interesting descriptions of what they've done to their homes. 
Chris Loves Julia

It's really fun, too, when you can follow along with the podcasters by looking at their blogs and Instagram pages for photos of what they're talking about, and the podcasts are all pretty new so the updates they talk about are almost in real time. 

I tried listening to an HGTV podcast a while back when I was desperate for more home decor content in my brain, but it was kind of stale and I didn't recognize any of the guests. With bloggers' podcasts, I've heard interviews with other bloggers I've followed for years, AND heard from DIYers doing what I'll be doing in a few weeks!

I'm sure there are other DIY-related podcasts out there that I haven't found yet. Do you know of any? Where do you soak up ideas for home projects??

Beach getaway and inspiration from the cabin in the woods

9.13.2016

As I shared on Instagram throughout the weekend... I had the loveliest birthday weekend featuring family, visiting sister-in-law from the Bay Area, a trip to the most peaceful cabin at the coast (with a hike and visit to Hug Point, our new favorite), and a day to rest up at home before the week started. It was so perfect! (I also spent some good chunks of time perusing kitchen hardware online. And pinned lots of house ideas.)

I stayed at this amazing cabin at my bachelorette party more than 5 years ago now, with sister-in-law's connection, and it was so cool to go there with husband now since he LOVED it, too. And, we've been talking a lot about the style we want for our new house but husband has a hard time picturing things until he sees them in context--so it was good to look at how the range hood, black doorknobs, black ceiling fans, and other elements I've told him about look in a home.

I really wanted to capture the magic of this gorgeous beach house for our memories this time!


First, possibly my favorite part:

Now imagine that lovely tub in this rustic setting!

 I love the big porches on three sides. And lots of cross-ventilation with double doors on two of them.

The sauna is a new addition since I was there last. Sauna or steam room if you pour water on the coals.

Inside there's a main room and loft, like any cabin should have.

The main room has some great vintage pieces and this wood stove, which is the main source of heat in the home.

The kitchen is possibly the first place I saw open shelving in real life, back in 2011 when I first visited!

The bathroom is under the loft and is quite roomy. There's no indoor shower (just a charming outdoor shower, which I used and which was exhilarating!) but this incredible tub.

The bedroom is decorated simply but, like the rest of the house, with style and fabulous lighting.

Oh--and it's a couple blocks down a quiet gravel road from this:

And you can watch sunsets like this!

This place is owned by sister-in-law's cousins, and she thought they might rent it out but I checked and didn't find it on Airbnb or VRBO. Sorry. But, hope you're a little calmed and inspired by these photos like we were staying there! We're so lucky to have a connection to this amazing place!

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