Pillows & Our Mid-Century Living Room

pillows in living room

Although our house was built in 1920 and is true to the craftsman style on the outside, it has undergone a bunch of remodels that have dramatically changed the inside. One of the things that we love about it is the wide open living room with tons of windows. The living room was at one point mostly a covered front porch that was the entrance to the house. It was closed in and the front door was moved to the side at some point in our house’s history. At some point in the 1970’s (which may or may not have been when the front door was moved), a built-in couch was added to the living room. I wasn’t totally sold on the built-in when we bought the house, although it’s true to the mid-century modern style that we decorate, but I must say that now that we have lived here …


Spaghetti Lace Crochet Runner

tshirt yarn crochet rug

Little by little, I continue to add handmade touches to our home. My pace of decorating has dramatically slowed through this challenging pregnancy, but I am pretty delighted to have finished a crocheted rug to go at the foot of our bed. I think it strikes a pretty good balance between visually interesting and calming, which is what I have been trying to achieve in the bedroom. And it breaks up the vast expanse of beige rug… The runner is my own pattern – a modification of my Spaghetti Lace Rug pattern. (I detailed the changes I made to the pattern to turn it from a small rug to a runner on Ravelry.) I used Hoooked Zpagetti yarn (which is an extra-bulky yarn made from leftover textiles from ready-to-wear fashion) and a size 10mm crochet hook. For more photos and details on the project, check out my post on the Minerva Crafts blogger network.


How to Sew a Pillow with Piping and an Invisible Zipper

finished pillow with piping and invisible zipper

Part of getting settled into our new home has been sewing a seemingly endless parade of pillows. I’ve been keeping them pretty simple since a) I needed to make a ton of them and b) I can still go back and add fancy pillows later. However, I couldn’t quite content myself with just sewing squares, so my pillows all have piping around the edge and an invisible zipper so that the covers can easily be removed for washing. Since I instagrammed a finished pillow, folks asked how I sewed the piping, so here’s the answer! Start by cutting squares of fabric for your pillows. I’m using a luscious cotton I bought in Thailand, but it’s a pretty loose weave so I serged the edges. If your fabric doesn’t ravel much, finishing the edges isn’t necessary since they will be well hidden inside the pillow. Tip: cut the fabric 1-2″ smaller than …


New Art from Jeremy Novy and Mark Lifvendahl

Jeremy Novy Koi on Glass

Before Adam and I moved in together, I lived in a studio apartment above the Orbit Room, and beautiful stenciled koi were painted all over the sidewalk below my window. In fact, these beautiful painted fish are on sidewalks all over San Francisco and their simple and elegant images, to me, will always be a striking reminder of my time in this vibrant city. Imagine my surprise when walking through the cute town of Guernville, CA (where I first wore and photographed my new paisley Anna dress) when I saw a series of the koi stenciled on the sidewalks. I didn’t know much about Guernville or the elusive koi artist at the time, but have since learned that it’s not as incongruous as my initial thoughts. Guernville is actually something of a vacation mecca for queer Bay Area folks and Jeremy Novy is himself an openly queer artist (with a mission …


Thrift Store Score

dancing pair embroidery

I had to share this sweet thrift store score that my stepmom just made. She picked up these needlepoint ballet dancers initially thinking she would just use the frames. However, by the time she finished painting the bathroom, they had grown on her to the point that she decided to hang them on the wall. It turns out that they are the perfect colors for the new bathroom!


Cranberries and Coffee Beans

Lit Candles and Cranberry Centerpiece

I like to change little bits of our decorating to reflect the season. This year I put together a simple centerpiece for our dining table with lots of differently sized candles. I filled a large vase with cranberries and floated them with water.


Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

Sweaters blanket on railing

This is one of my favorite projects. I have one of these blankets in my living room, my mom has one in her television room, and I gave one to my cousin for her wedding this summer. It’s certainly a bit more involved than the last several days of tutorial projects that I have shared, but it makes for such a lovely finished project and is so easy to customize for anyone on your gift list (or yourself!).

There’s a T-Rex in My Living Room, or How to Paint a Plastic Toy Tutorial

White Dinosaur on Coffee Table

This is a tutorial for painting a plastic dinosaur  to make it an item of decor. While this is a tutorial for painting a dinosaur, I suppose that you could use it to paint other plastic toys. It doesn’t have to be used on dinosaurs. Additionally, it doesn’t have to be white. If you think another solid color would go better with your décor, go for it! This is a great gift for anyone who likes kitsch and a perfect decorating compromise for me and Adam – subtle and classic yet kitschy at the same time!

Handmade Souvenirs from Baja

Handmade Mango Wood Bowl from Baja

When we travel, I like to come home with a souvenir or two that was handmade in the place we just visited. I brought home three things from our trip to Baja last week.

Mom Made Household Dec

Red White and Blue Quilt

Welcome to my mom’s house! This is just a tiny glimpse of some of the lovely handmade touches she has added to her house to make it a home. Here is a shelf in her TV room. The folded quilt is all made of fall fabrics and is displayed seasonally. The red white and blue quilt and begonia applique (design by Primitive Gatherings by Lisa Bongean), while designed to be overtly Fourth of July, become more subtle and year-round when part of a broader decorating scheme that includes other colors (yellow) and lots of pattern.


My Hexagon Quilt is Finished!

grey purple green cat couch quilt

I’m so excited to be able to say that I’ve finished my hexagon quilt! The first step was piecing the top. Then I sent it to my mom to quilt it. Then I had to sew all the binding along the edges. Mr. T decided to “help”, which made the process cuddlier, but not any faster. It took several movies worth (how I measure units of time for hand-sewing) to make my way all along the edge to hand sew the binding down. It was helped by being sick a while ago which left me bored, stuck on the couch, and needed something mindless to do with my hands. Here you see the backing fabric and an external point. I’m proud of these as they (almost) all came out sharp and looking quite good, if I do say so myself. The pattern included instructions on how to turn the corners …

DIY Mini Bulletin Board Tutorial

Mini Denim Bulletin Boards

This is a quick and easy tutorial for DIY mini bulletin board. It uses a square of styrofoam, a hot glue gun, fabric shears, and some fabric. I found my styrofoam lining the inside of a box as packing material. It’s 3/4″ thick and roughly 10″x10″, but thickness and dimensions don’t really matter here. For fabric, I used the legs from an old pair of jeans, cut open. You can use just about any fabric, thick or thin, just make sure that a pin will go through it easily. It doesn’t matter how wide around your styrofoam you cut your piece of fabric, just make sure that it will fold up and over the side and reach the back of the styrofoam piece. Once you have the fabric glued on, flip it over and nail it into the wall. You can hammer straight through the front of the board as …