My Favorite Things

It’s time for my second installment of ” My Favorite things under $50!” this time I decided to go with a theme. I have been gathering some ideas for a super secret project, and in doing so I rediscovered my love for that lovable woodland creature The Owl ! Now, I know Owls have become quite trendy over the last couple years, but I am going to set the record straight…..I loved Owl decor and fashion loooong before any of you. I had the original Owl necklace like 8 years ago! So, here are a few choice selections of Owl paraphernalia that come in under $50!! 

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1. Hoot, Hoot Double Switch plate from Anthropologie  $24

2. Urban Owl Eco Throw Pillow cover, Etsy $24

3. Owl Wall Decal, Etsy $39.99

4. Bronze Owl Lamp, Target $41.99

5. Mr. & Mrs. Owl Sugar & Creamer, Anthropologie $38

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Design from my head

Been working on a Project in which I have to design as many Room Vignettes as I can, from scratch. No actual room or client to draw inspiration from, just a whole bunch of random thoughts swimming around in my head. Some of them didn’t come out half bad. Here is a sampling…what do you think?

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My Favorite Things

It has been Waaaay to long since I posted!!! I committed myself to posting once a week…..i guess I kinda failed on that in the last month, been uber busy with all sorts of fun projects. I plan on doing an update this weekend on the Master Bedroom project….but in the meantime I thought I would get back in the rhythm of blogging with something new I have been thinking about doing. A weekly ” My Favorite things under $50″. So here we go: 

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Natural weave Basket: $9.99- World Market

Metal Compost Bucket with Vintage Label: $29.99 – World market

Carnaval Stripe Pillow: $13.99- World Market

Kimono Sleeve Dress: $24.99 – Target

Gold and Agate Necklace: $34.99- Target

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Clean Green

We are SO CLOSE to being finished with the new Master Bedroom Project. I have wanted to update on all the things being done….but it’s all about 90% done, nothing is 100%. J is working 7 days a week right now ( spring in the landscaping business) so we are a bit behind where we wanted to be….but we are close. So I am going to wait and do the big reveal with everything finished. Stay Tuned!

In the meantime…….. I recently had a conversation with some work colleagues about Basic “Green” home products.  These 2 women are new to the whole Environmentally friendly movement and were wondering what household products are really worth the extra cost, and do they really make an impact?

J and I have been on the Green train for a long time, So I thought I would give a List of some of my favorite things. These products and reviews are solely my Opinion based on years of use….no one has asked me to do this. This list contains Cleaning products and paper goods. I plan to do another post on Bath and personal products, and then another on Food items.

Here it is:

1. Seventh Generation is Awesome! I am a firm believer in their products, they do the job just as well as the “Non- Green” products and I can feel good about the fact that I am cleaning my home with CLEAN products. On their website They state “We believe our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within your home–and for the community and environment outside of it.”

Here are the SG products I currently have in my pantry:

 Dishwasher Gel

Laundry Detergent

All Purpose Cleaner

Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

2. Costco is not typically known for being Eco Friendly, the whole buying in excess thing is kind of contradictory to Green….but there are some great ways to save money and they have recently added a few more products that I can stand behind. The one that we use regularly is the Dish Soap- we go thru a lot of it, washing all our pots & pans and the wooden cutting boards & spoons that can’t go in the dishwasher….When Kirkland came out with the Dish Soap I was thrilled! Check out the linked article- like it says this dish soap costs 5 cents and ounce VS. the average 20 cents++ for SG or method versions.

Costco’s Kirkland Dish Soap

3. Method Cleaning Products. They have awesome branding, and a really really good product behind that cool Package design and marketing. What they say about being Green “We’re in business to change business. At method, we see our work as an amazing opportunity to redesign how cleaning products are made and used, and how businesses can integrate sustainability. Our challenge is to make sure that every product we send out into the world is a little agent of environmental change, using safe and sustainable materials and manufactured responsibly” How cool is that? I interchange some of the products with Seventh generation stuff- sometimes based on price…other times because the package is cool. Here’s what I have right now….. (ps- check out the awesome sponge holder on the Le Scrub!)

Glass and Surface Cleaner

Le Scrub Bathroom Cleaner

Wood for Good Surface Cleaner

Gel Hand Wash

4. If You Care products are a lifesaver for those paper products that you need- but you feel guilty about using the plastic/aluminum/etc. versions. They state “IF YOU CARE® is committed to providing the consumer with responsible high-quality alternatives to conventional products that are safe for both the environment and human beings by using 100% unbleached or 100% recycled resources.” Did you know that making recycled aluminum only uses 5% of the energy that making new aluminum takes?

Aluminum Foil

Parchment Paper 

Cupcake Liners (Baking cups)

Snack/Sandwich Bags

Coffee Filters

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Window Coverings

So on wednesday evening I returned from Chicago where I attended the Window Coverings show. My boss wanted me to go to attend some trend/market research seminars, and to scout some new vendors for window coverings. The seminars were pretty good- nothing super new, but I gained some insight into how others are running their design businesses. The Window coverings expo itself was a complete waste of time. There were so few vendors there- the only ones worth looking at, I already knew about! The rest were cheap knock-offs of Hunter Douglas.

One thing that I was supposed to be on the lookout for was a decent ready-made drapery panel vendor. Something we could sell to the more budget minded client. Of course, I didn’t find what I was looking for. Right now, most of our drapery sales are custom and in the $800-2000 range PER WINDOW!!!!!! Insane, right?We are looking to test some programs geared towards first time homeowners that would allow us to be in a more reasonable $250- 500 per window range. But thats still to rich for my blood….and the blood of most of my first time homeowner friends. But whatever….those of us with a more realistic budget can stick to DIY and discount retail for our drapery panels.

Like I have said in previous posts, I don’t particularly like Window Coverings.  I would NEVER put a Roller shade, honeycomb or wood blind on my windows. Well, I might if I lived in a city or suburb where I had neighbors- but, I don’t. I live in the woods, I only have 1 neighbor whose house we can see, and they really can’t see in any of our windows.

In the right circumstances, I do really like drapery panels. They are not good everywhere- but can be  fantastic decorative element in room. They can soften walls, add color and pattern as well as create height.

Currently, I only have drapery panels in 2 rooms right now. Our Living/Dining room and our Master Bedroom. The panels in the LR/DR are really only for decoration and softening – they are never closed. The panels in the bedroom are only there to block out the light when we want to sleep in on sunday mornings.

I only recently added the panels in the LR/DR. They are ready made rod pocket panels that are hung by Ring clips off a wood rod:

The Room is partially open concept- but there is a distinct LR area and a distinct DR area. We have the LR and adjoining hallway painted BM Sandlot Grey, and the DR area Pops with BM Raspberry Truffle ( The colors look much brighter in the pics) To pull the 2 areas together, I used the same drapery in both areas.  The only window in the LR is a set of French Doors, and in the DR we have 1 set of double hung windows.

The 84″  long rod pocket panels are from Cost Plus Wold Market. Here. They are 100% cotton and have a nice lining on the back. The are currently listed for $34.99, but I got them during a sale for $29.99. The wood hardware was purchased as un-finished components from Home Depot. Rings and clips, Brackets, Finials, Rod. You can purchase pre-stained versions, but I sanded and stained the hardware myself to match other wood the room. I took me all of 1 afternoon.

Total Cost for 2 Large Windows:

4 drapery Panels (48×84)= $119.96

4 sets of 7 Rings with brass clips= $31.88

4 finials= $39.98

6 brackets ( we added a center bracket for added support)= 47.82

2 – 12 foot dowels= $20

TOTAL= $259.54!

Estimated Cost from one of my “Budget” vendors at work= $900. Total savings $640!!!!!

We had a wide expanse to cover, and ready made metal rods are not easy to find in the width we needed. They can typically be found up to 108″ for under $40.  So this is why we used extremely long (12′) wooden dowels as the rods. For the LR we kept it at 12′ so the panels could be completely out of the way of the doors, but still hang with a 2.5′ width when pushed back. The DR rod we cut to 10′- but it is basically the same concept- out of the way of the window.

I went super cheap with Christmas tree shop treatments in our current Master Bedroom ( the NEW master bedroom will have treatments like the LR). Sure they don’t look great- but they were a functional Placeholder option for us when we knew that we would eventually be remodeling the new Bedroom. We have 2 standard double hung windows. Each window only has 1 panel that when closed, covers the window, but can be pushed to one side when not in use. The $9.99 each panels are a heavy Velour fabric, so they are great for keeping the light out. They are tab top for easy install, since I take them off regularly to clean so I can keep the dust mites out of the bedroom. The metal adjustable rods are a steal at $14 each! Total for the Room= Under $50!!!

Here are some of my favorite Sources if you want to get started on Budget DIY window treatments:

Cost Plus world Market

Ikea

Home Depot

West Elm

Overstock

Some last words to keep in mind:

  • The height to hang the Rod, so that the Drapery panels just skim the floor
  • The width of your rod- take into account where the panels will sit when open vs. Closed
  • Do you need a lining? They hang straighter when there is a lining.
  • Wood or metal Hardware. Can you use an adjustable rod?
  • Grommets, rings, tab top, rod packet.
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Dill or moss?

We have moved along in the room and will be painting soon…..final touches to the drywall being done as I write this post.

While I head to chicago to meet Candace Olson, I will leave you pondering our paint color choice. J wanted a green room. Luckily, he doesn’t care what green. Here are some of the final contenders, all from Benjamin Moore.

From left to right: Dill Pickle, Castleton Mist, Brookside Moss, Dill Weed.

Which one do you think I chose?

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Deck chairs and Spray paint.

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had too much time to sit down and write…..and now I am packing for a business trip to Chicago. I am going to the Vision ’12 Expo. Two whole days full of nothing but Window treatments! Blegh!

The funny thing is that I hate window treatments. I only have a few drapery panels in my house, and I NEVER close them, I would never get blinds or shades. I like natural light, I like looking out into my backyard.  Regardless…. it’s my job to go to Vision and search out a few new Window treatment vendors for the company. One cool thing is that I get to see Candace Olson from HGTV give the Keynote speech on Tuesday morning….LOVE HER!  So I guess the trip is worth it.

I have a stockpile of projects to update on, Lots of progress in the bedroom.  But for right now, I am going to tell you what I did last weekend while J worked in the Bedroom.

It was beautiful outside, so I got inspired to work on our Deck Furniture. Most of it has been handed down to us from my parents and grandmother. It’s all solid wood, good quality furniture….but it all needed a bit of TLC. I still have a lot more work ahead of me, but I began with 2 small deck chairs.

This is what they looked like before in all their dirty, peeling, white paint glory:

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So I began my process of scrapping, sanding, and prepping for paint. This was tedious, and my hand was vibrating for hours after I used the sander…..

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After everything was scraped off and sanded smooth, I used some Grey Primer Spray Paint to prep the chairs, placing the chairs on top of a drop cloth, first upside down, then right side up to dry overnight.

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I left the chairs to dry overnight and then Sprayed them again with the Color J and I choose to coordinate with the Exterior House Paint we have in mind for an eventual project. It’s a dark brown Espresso Color. BTW, this rust-oleum paint is pretty awesome, it only took one coat to completely cover the chairs.

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So, the chairs are done.You may be thinking that Dark brown is kinda boring. My plan is to find some awesome Sunbrella Fabric and make a few outdoor pillows to make the wood a bit more comfortable. Maybe something like this. A fun, Red and orange stripe would POP against the Espresso brown wood, and stand out in the sea of green in my back yard. I will only need 6-8 yards to make some pillows, and @ $18/yard on ebay it’s a steal ( considering Sunbrella can run $50 and up at retail)

I still have 2 Lounge chairs, a Picnic table w/ benches, and 2 large adirondack chairs to sand and paint, but I’ll get there…..Maybe I should set a date for a BBQ, and invite 30 people…. then I will have to get them done!  Who wants to come?

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