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Tag Archives: Decor

How to Make Your Own Menorah!

How to Make Your Own Menorah!

OK, I doubt I am the only Jew who is seriously disappointed by the Hanukah decor market.  I mean, TJ Maxx has had Christmas stuff since before Halloween, and has NOT ONE HANUKAH thing. Never mind that Hanukah is like a whole month earlier than Christmas. But I couldn’t even find some ugly blue and white cupcake liners, let alone a cool menorah (or any menorah for that matter).  Even on the interwebz, the selection of good, modern, interesting Hanukah stuff is really limited. With the exception of Jonathan Adler, who is making some rockin’ menorahs that I seriously cannot afford, the selection of stylish Jew-holiday decor is seriously lacking.

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Whining over.  I made my own menorahs. I found some inspiration on the internets and came up with a pretty cool idea. Some of you may remember Dinosaur Christmas from last year (I’m half Jewish, half Episcopalian). This is along those lines.

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I bought a set of jumbo plastic jungle animals on Amazon. Then, I drilled 9 holes in them, in the places where I would want the candles to go. I used Sculpy to make the little candle-cuppy things. I tried to buy the ones for birthday cakes, but I could not find them. My cuppies  are not very uniform, but they work well-enough and I didn’t have to spend any money because I already had the sculpy.

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Here’s a close up of the little cuppy things stuck into the holes that I drilled. I used some gorilla glue to help the cuppies stay in place.

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Then I spray painted these bad boys. Silver elephant. Gold giraffe. Awesome.

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I am so happy with how these turned out.  But, the candle wax pulls off the paint, so these may only be useful for one year. That’s OK though, because I am sure next year I will have another idea for making some DIY menorahs (and there are three more plastic animals that I haven’t spray painted yet. Gorilla menorah, anybody?).

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There is still time to whip up one of these bad boys before Hanukah this year.  So go get yourself from plastic animals. Do it.

Happy Hanukah!

Love,

Rachel

 

 

Out of my comfort zone: Tomato Red

Out of my comfort zone: Tomato Red

In my decorating, I’ve been sticking to blue, white and yellow. I know my boyfriend likes them, I know they look good together, and they are safe.  I would throw in more pink as often as possible, but that makes the man a little uncomfortable.

Here she is with nothing in her. Next to my insect poster.

Here she is with nothing in her. Next to my insect poster.

So when I started painting this cabinet for the kitchen a light teal color, I thought it would be fine because it was blue-ish and we generally agree on blue. I had rolled on one coat, and was starting on the second coat when he came out. He saw what I was doing and goes, “We’re painting it that color? I thought we were done with that color.”

And with that, we were on the way to the hardware to pick out a new color that we could both agree on. The deal was that I would buy the paint, and if I didn’t like it, he would buy replacement paint and the paint for the next thing that I wanted paint. I could live with that.

I wanted to go with a fuschia. I figured the kitchen was my space and so I would do what I wanted and get away with bright pink. But that apparently was not in the cards. After a lukewarm discussion in the paint aisle (I won’t say it was heated, but it was definitely not room temperature), I selected a bright red – bordering on pink and orange.  As the paint was being mixed, I was getting more and more apprehensive.

Doesn't she look nice with my aqua bowls?

Doesn’t she look nice with my aqua bowls?

I left the hardware store in a sour mood – really questioning this decision. There is nothing red in the apartment. It is not going to go with anything. I pouted the whole way home. But, boyfriend reminded me of the deal, and I sucked it up and tried to get excited.

Then, I thought about the great bedroom makeover from Kristin on the Hunted Interior – the one with the Kate Spade pallet of red, pink, aqua, teal and black.  I loved that room and it had both tomato red and lots of cooler blue tones.  I also thought about the bright red secretary and red drawers from Jenny at Little Green Notebook.  I swallowed my fear and started painting.

FIVE coats of paint later (ladies and gentlemen, buy the best quality paint you can when going dark. I didn’t even buy the cheapest and it still took FIVE coats to get the coverage I wanted), and I was in L-O-V-E. The color was soooo good. And sooooo bright. And so unlike things I’ve done before. Breaking my mold felt so good. I was finally liberated from my self built prison of white, blue and yellow. Finally, I was free to mix colors with reckless abandon (OK, maybe with just *more* abandon than I previously had done).

It’s funny, because in college and even when I was younger, I used to decorate with whatever pleased me. Things were usually super saturated bright colors and jewel tones, and everything generally went well together, even if it wasn’t exactly stylish. Somewhere along the line, I stopped just buying and selecting things I liked, but started selecting the things that I thought I should use. The result: I was fairly unsatisfied with my apartment – it felt pretty, but not very me.

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This kitchen cabinet is the start of something new. While I will still have to compromise to get the boyfriend to go along with whatever I am feeling, I have learned that following my gut instinct has the best results. While I was busy trying to please others, I wasn’t pleasing my boyfriend’s design tastes nor my own. Go figure.

We love the red. It’s fun and different and the start of a new era.

What do you think? What have you done decorating-wise that made you uncomfortable but turned out great?

Love,

Rachel

Newly Painted Patio Furniture

Newly Painted Patio Furniture

I’ve done SO many projects since moving in, but am not yet at the point where I can stage things and they will look pretty. And let’s be honest, I am not one of those incredible design bloggers who have fabulous photographer friends anyways, so maybe it’s for the best. So you get to look at my pictures like this, which just show you how I actually live, not how I want you to think that I live. Le sigh.

Moving on. I got this awesome patio set on craigslist for $130, which I felt was maybe not a steal, but definitely a good price. And the set is SUPER comfy.  The chairs rock a little, but are stable. So very relaxing.

It was a little rusty and definitely needed a coat of paint to clean it up.

Rusty table

Rusty table

Rusty chairs

Rusty chairs

A little wire brush action, and some Rustoleum spray paint in “Lagoon,” and now I have this lovely set.

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Lagoon patio furniture is better than rusty white.

Lagoon patio furniture is better than rusty white.

I didn’t stage it.  I just took some pictures when I was out there enjoying the morning sunshine and looking through cookbooks as I planned menus for the week.

Anyway, quick and dirty post just to show you guys that I am not a total deadbeat and have been doing stuff. I need to get more plants and pretty outdoor accessories, but it’s quickly getting colder so we spend less time outdoors. This will wait until the spring.

Love,

Rachel

PS. My finger hurt SOOOO badly after using that Rustoleum for so long. I like the Krylon easy touch spray.

New Blue Velvet Sofa

Remember that time when I was obsessed with blue velvet? Oh wait. That time never ended.

But now that itch has been scratched so good. Because I bought a blue velvet sofa from West Elm and I couldn’t be happier.

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This is the first piece of furniture that I have EVER bought retail, so that was a big investment for me. It was a little treat from me to me for finishing graduate school and getting a real job with benefits and a 401K and all that good stuff for the first time ever.

I lucked out because West Elm was having a sale on sofas that included CUSTOM ORDER SOFAS! Usually, their sales are just for the colors that they have in ready stock, but this sale was 25% off of even custom orders. So I got a great deal on the special blue ink velvet sofa that I wanted. I ordered the sofa over the summer when I studying for the bar, and then it was ready to deliver by the time we moved in. Yay!!

Anyway, just wanted to share. More stuff is to come, but between getting everything settled and adjusting to my new work schedule, I’ve found that doesn’t leave much time for blogging. And leaves very little time for staging and taking beautiful pictures. Let’s face it: patience is not my strong suit.

Love,

Rachel

PS. My boyfriend thinks the sofa looks great, but he thinks the seat part is too narrow and says he feels like the back cushions are pushing him off the sofa. I think it’s pretty comfy. Just an FYI for those who are interested so that they really give this sofa a test drive in the West Elm show room.

PPS. This post is not sponsored by West Elm. But, West Elm, if you are reading this and want me to review any of your other goodies, I am a willing guinea pig! 😉

New Obsession: Bedrooms with Dark Walls

New Obsession: Bedrooms with Dark Walls

If you repeat this, I will deny it… but I have spent countless hours (maybe seven or eight, maybe more) googling and pinteresting for bedrooms with dark, sultry walls. Navy, charcoal, black, inky deep walls. So incredible. A few of my favorites are below. For more, and believe me, there are more, feel free to check out my pinterest board of dark walls.

I don’t know when I will get to decorate another bedroom… since I don’t know where I will be living come August. Or for how long. Or you know…

But a girl can dream.

Here are a few things that I learned about dark walls (like, when I think they work and when I think they don’t):

1. Dark walls must be paired with lots of white. White bedding, white trim, white curtains. Maybe a flokati rug or two.

This vignette is great. Deep blue walls, white bedding, turquoise night stand with gold accents.

This vignette is great. Deep blue walls, white bedding, turquoise night stand with gold accents.

2. I don’t like them super shiny or enameled. I get the idea, but I don’t like walls to be reflective. I don’t know if it should be matte, eggshell or satin yet (does anyone have guesses on this front?).

3. They need LOTS of cool art. Preferably BIG art, or at least a gallery wall. Frames should be white or gold, with large white mats. I don’t like dark walls that are left too blank. It freaks me out or something.

The walls are a little shiny for my taste, but the gallery  is awesome!

The walls are a little shiny for my taste, but the gallery is awesome!

4. Dark walls look awesome with gold shelving units.

I see those shelves even when I close my eyes.

I see those shelves even when I close my eyes. Oh yeah, and can we talk about this rug? And those camel leather chairs? And this lucite table? I mean, can we just talk?

5. Dark walls are a neutral – so they can be paired with almost any other colors. Some of favorites with dark walls are turquoise, coral/tomato red, chartreuse.

More lucite and turquoise. This time, add some yellow and reds.

More lucite and turquoise. This time, add some yellow and reds.

6. Natural wood looks great with dark walls too.

The art on the right needs to be bigger, or there needs to be more of it. But this table is to die for, as is the rug.

The art on the right needs to be bigger, or there needs to be more of it. But this table is to die for. And the rug is good.

I cannot wait to get a bedroom that I can paint. It’s going to be glorious.

Love,

Rachel

PS. The original links to the pictures are contained on my pinterest board.

Gold Leaf Lamp (How to Gold Leaf Awesome)

Gold Leaf Lamp (How to Gold Leaf Awesome)

I have been wanting to gold leaf something for a while. It just always seemed so awesome.

I really love the idea of mixing gold leaf with matte finishes.

This old lamp was FREE because some guy was just cleaning out his garage. I thought it was a garage sale, so I made my boyfriend pull over (he LOVES it when I do that).

This is what the free lamp looked like.

This is what the free lamp looked like.

First, I sprayed it yellow. I always meant to change the lampshade, but never got around to it.

That is, until I decide to gold leaf this thing! Then, I went to Walmart and got this lamp shade for just $13.

This is the lamp after I first sprayed it yellow. Ugly lamp shade, but it was free... so yeah...

This is the lamp after I first sprayed it yellow. Ugly lamp shade, but it was free… so yeah…

I bought the gold leaf kit for around $10 on Amazon. It includes the gold leaf, the adhesive, and also the sealer.

First, I sprayed the lamp a matte white (after taping off the cord and the electrical socket). I love the look of matte finishes with metallics. The contrast is great.

Second, I taped off the stripes that I wanted. I used two different widths of painter’s tape (which is why some stripes are beige and some stripes are blue).

Use tape to mark off the parts you don't want painted.

Use tape to mark off the parts you don’t want painted.

Then, I applied the adhesive lightly with a sponge applicator. Let it dry for about 15 minutes, and start applying the gold leaf. If you miss any spots, it’s OK. You can come back and fill it in by adding more adhesive and more gold leaf.  You basically just put the gold leaf directly on the adhesive and rub it with a brush or your finger to make sure it’s stuck down well.

The lines aren't perfect, but that's OK.

The lines aren’t perfect, but that’s OK.

Finished! The light isn't great, but the lamp came out awesome.

Finished! The light in the photo isn’t great, but the lamp came out awesome.

The stripes are not perfect. Gold leaf is not really a tidy adventure, but from a far, you cannot really see the less-than-perfect parts.

The gold leaf instructions say that you should seal it, but I figure the lamp won’t get man-handled too much, so I skipped that step. If I was doing something that would get more touching, I would definitely seal it.

I love how it all turned out. It only cost me a lamp shade and a gold leaf kit (I have most of the kit left too, so I am like Midas – constantly looking for more things to turn gold).

Gold stripes and matte white finish.

Gold stripes and matte white finish.

What else can I gold leaf?

What else can I gold leaf?

What do you think? Do you guys freaking love gold as much as this girl?

Golden love,

Rachel

A Dinosaur Christmas

A Dinosaur Christmas

I don’t have much time to write a long post now, but just decorated my first* Christmas tree and wanted to share. (*I am Jewish – on occasion we would decorate the ficus, but it was never the real deal…)

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Happy Dinosaur-Holidays!

Love,

Rachel