make this: bleach pen design curtains (+ office sneak peeks)

The office is nearing completion. Finally!! I’ve still got a few final touches to make but in the mean time I want to share, what I think, is a pretty dang cool project. You see, our office needed curtains. And bad! During the afternoon, the sun is blinding in there. It makes the room hotter and it is in the prime position of creating a glare all over Josh’s workspace.

The criteria for the curtain search was as follows: not girly, dark in color, not expensive. I checked out a few options at Target but ultimately I knew this was going to be a DIY challenge from the get-go. I already had a black queen size sheet that I had used as a table cloth for an event a while back. It was just gathering dust, not being used, so “bingo”! There is my material. But I didn’t want just plain black. That’s not how we roll.

So, how do you dress up black? Well, here’s how I did it! Bleach pens!!

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Yes, people, I used bleach pens to create a design on this fabric and then turned it into curtains. It’s probably one of my proudest DIY moments because I actually thought up this one (of course, that’s not to say that it might not have existed somewhere else before this, but I didn’t see it on Pinterest and recreate, I just did it!). And the best part is, this project was pretty easy.

So, if you’re interested in whipping up some of these bad boys, here’s what you’ll need: dark fabric (yardage will depend on the size of panels you’re trying to create. Like I mentioned, I just used a queen size flat sheet), bleach pens (two should do the trick), iron-on hem tape, iron, & ironing board. Yes, we went the no-sew route, which we have successfully used several times throughout our home decorating careers. You can find a great tutorial for that method here from Young House Love!

bleach-pen-design-curtains

The process basically boils down into four steps.

  1. Create your design. Layout your fabric on the largest flat surface you have (I just used our dining room table) and go at it. It is important to note that you’re dealing with a gel so you’ll need to work in sections. Let each section dry for a while (until you can see the bleach working and it starts to look a little crusty), then just slide your fabric to the next empty space.
  2. Wash, dry, and iron your fabric.
  3. Follow the no-sew tutorial steps. (Or, if you’re a bad-a, feel free to whip out your sewing machine and get all fancy).
  4. Hang and enjoy. I picked up two packs of those curtain rings that just clip  on the top and it was all good.

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Seriously, I love the way they turned out. I’d even go so far as to call them hip. But you know what’s not hip? Having to censor your photos because the mess could make your lovely readers run away in terror! Thank goodness for big black circles, right? You’re welcome! (And don’t worry, that mess is gone now!!)

In the finished office reveal, I’ll give you the full, head-on shot, but it’s hard to photograph windows well in the early afternoon, so now you have something to look forward to (right???). Oh, and if you’re feeling funky and you want to keep on the curtain train, you can check out this post on our DIY bold striped living room curtains!

Have you ever made DIY curtains? Do you have any cool tips or tutorials on awesome techniques? I’d love to see them!

get organized: craft storage solutions!!

I think craft organization is tricky for a lot of people. If you take your crafting seriously, chances are you have a lot of supplies with lots of little pieces and it can be hard to keep it all together and neat. Plus, I don’t know about you, but after I painstakingly finish a project, I hardly feel like cleaning up at all, let alone mess with some intense organizing system. I just want it to be easy and accessible.

And because part of getting the office cleaned up and into shape was getting my crafting accoutrements under control, I thought it’d be fun to share my organizing systems for the products that I have. I spent zero money doing it this past weekend and I feel like I know where everything is and it’s in system that makes sense but isn’t uber demanding. Win win!

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Paper: When I buy colored/patterned paper, I usually go for the 12×12 sheets. It makes big cuts easier, but I often end up with scraps that are not small enough to just trash but not big enough to store with my full sheets. So, I cut off all the straggling pieces and put them together in a magazine filer to store. We bought these bright green ones from a Crate & Barrel outlet a while back and it works perfectly. I also use this filer to store any 8.5×11 sheets of paper. My big 12×12 sheets are kept in a large folder to keep them nice and flat.

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Fabric: Fabric is another tricky one. Most times I end up with big cuts (1 yard+) and smaller scraps that I want to keep. I used to keep them all in a tote bag together, but it was bulky and impossible to see what all I had. So, I decided to separate them by size and use two different storing methods.

For larger cuts of fabric, I fold it nicely and use pants hangers to store them in the closet. You end up with less wrinkles and it’s much easier just to flip through and see what you’ve got.Craft-Organization-2-copy

For smaller pieces, I found this awesome cassette tape holder from Goodwill for just 99 cents!  I just fold up the fabric scraps, put them in the slots, and I can easily see every piece! Almost every time I go to Goodwill I find a cassette holder similar to this so it’s definitely a viable option for anyone interested! This could easily be hung to the wall, which I might do down the road, but for now, just the having the organized storage is enough.

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Ribbon: It’s kind of in the same vein as fabric. I store my rolls of ribbon in these boxes from Hobby Lobby. They’ve got a removable dowel inside to hang your rolls on and a window with a slit so you can just pull and cut. I bought them about a year ago, purchasing them one at a time with a 40% coupon on each one to bring the price down from $7.99 to less than $5.00.

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For scraps of ribbon, I use a glass jar for storage. It’s pretty easy to see what’s in there, and even though it’s not perfectly stored, I’ve never really had a problem getting anything out.Craft-Organization-15-copyPaint: I love me some craft paint! These little tubes of color get me every time I’m at the craft store! To make it easy, I just stored them in a plastic shoebox bin. They fit perfectly and it’s easy to grab the whole box and go.

I keep my paint brushed in an old coffee can that I covered with some bright orange paper. They’re always in the same spot and it’s easy to grab whatever brush I need. (Another totally free project!)Craft-Organization-(5)-copyRandom crafting: I also used the plastic shoebox method to store some miscellaneous craft supplies such as stamps and ink pads, crayons, map pencils, and glitter. They are things that I use but don’t have a lot of so storing them together makes the most sense.

Stationary: Some people might not consider stationary to be a craft but I’m a big proponent of hand-written letters and a funny card on your birthday so I thought I’d throw it in as well. I used these labeled cardboard boxes that I got from Wal-Mart over four years ago! They’re still in great shape and are perfect for storing cards and envelopes.Craft-Organization-(4)-copyI also keep any user manuals or product information for things we buy a third labeled box. I always know exactly where it is which makes finding information quickly a lot easier. Craft-Organization-(10)-copyAnd that wraps it up. Craft organization doesn’t have to be super rigid and extensive (unless that how you roll!). I find that easy groupings and using what you’ve got is more than enough to keep your crafting heart happy!

How do you store you hobby supplies?

make this: diy embroidery hoop mobiles

Good morning and happy Monday! We’re another week into the new year, and for real, I am blowing through my to-do lists and resolutions. The office is coming along quite swimmingly and we’ll get the details and reveal up towards the end of the week! But today I’m sharing another super easy project that plays up my new true blue obsession! Last weekend, I decided it was time to take down the falling leaves installation we put up before Thanksgiving and replace it with something fresh and new.

And thus, these embroidery hoop mobiles were born! Ya’ll these are so easy to make but they look insanely cool. They’ve got a hint of mid-century cool mixed with a modern, fun color! They play up our big canvas art perfectly and I’m in love with them! So, I imagine you’re now asking yourself how one would go about creating the awesome-ness that is these mobiles. Well, have no fear because I’m going to tell you and in about 30 minutes you’ll have your own!

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All you need are embroidery hoops in 3 different sizes. You actually get two pieces from one embroidery hoop, so these are super inexpensive to make. I think the whole project cost me about $5.00.

So, I bought 6 embroidery hoops total from my local craft store to make four orbs and everything else, I already had at home. But, to complete the project, you’ll also need a hot glue gun, ribbon (for hanging), and craft paint and a paint brush

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First up, I took the embroidery hoops apart, removed the little screw that keeps the two hoops together, and hot glued the split hoop so it was one complete circle.

Next, I painted one of each size in a bright blue. I wanted to leave the majority of the hoops with the natural wood finish and go with just one pop of color for each orb but you could easily paint all of the hoops one or several colors depending on the look you’re going for!Embroidery-Hoop-Mobile-(9)-copy

Then just hot glue your hoops together. I tried to make sure the brackets were at the very top of the orbs so you wouldn’t be able to see them jutting out while they hang. Start with your biggest hoop and hot glue the next size down to the very top at a perpendicular angle. Go down to your smallest hoop and turn it in a different direction so you get the orb effect.

Then just string them up! Keeping the brackets on the tops of the orbs makes this super easy! Just string ribbon of your choice through and attach to a dowel or shapely stick!

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Now, you’re ready to hang and admire! Another easy-peasy, inexpensive project in the books!

Since we’ve moved into our new apartment, 816, I think I’ve swapped out the hanging decorations in our dining room more than any other décor! It’s just so fun to think up new things to hang! First we had our no-sew paper strip mobiles, then the falling leaves, and now these fun embroidery hoop orbs!

What kind of hanging décor do you have in your house? Mostly light fixtures or do you get creative? I’d love more ideas and inspiration so share below!

apartment progress

An alternative title for this post would be “Unedited photos of our apartment that will make the finished product look even more awesome.”

I thought it would be fun to start off 2013 with a quick snap-fest of our not-so-new-anymore apartment, 816. They are unedited and mostly a representation of how our apartment looks on a daily basis. Except for the few junk piles that I photographed around, but who hasn’t done that, right? Right?!

First up, the living room. The view hasn’t changed too much. We’ve still got our awesome Ikea bookcase and the bold striped curtains I whipped up out of bed sheets. The biggest change is the addition of my hot pink desk and the gorgeous computer that now sits on top of it. This area doubles as my blogging headquarters and our Netflix theatre!

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The dining room looks a little less put together now that our Christmas cards and the hanging leaves have been taken down. But we’re still loving the big, bright canvas art that I made last year. This area is also getting a little makeover, so have no fear! It will be returned to its former glory.

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There is definitely nothing super exciting going on in the kitchen. In fact it looks pretty lame. The only difference between this current photo and the one on our (largely outdated) home tour page is that it has all of our kitchen supplies in it (and a pineapple!)2013 Home Tour (7)

I’m hoping to add some style to this space this year with art and some creative customizing solution0s for apartment dwellers like us.

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Still empty hallway. Super boring. Soon to be fixed.

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After the living room, the bedroom has made the most progress. We hung our graphic IKEA curtains and tackled a DIY upholstered headboard. I also added a pop of purple to our white lamps with ribbon borders on the tops and bottoms. The best part? It’s 100% removable. I just hot glued the ribbon to itself so nothing is actually attached to the lamps. It makes a nice difference but can be altered down the road.

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We really want to spice up this room with some big colorful art. We’ve got a lot of neutrals in the room and it’s just begging for color!

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And, lastly, we arrive in the office. I shared these photos earlier this month to explain exactly what we’re working with. This room has been getting the majority of our attention for the past two weeks and we’re hoping to finish it up soon. Details and photos are on the way!2013 Home Tour (11)

2013 Home Tour (13) And that’s how our apartment looked on the first day of 2013. We’ve made progress but there’s a long way to go and with any luck, that will be wrapped up nicely before the summer! (Well, that’s the goal anyway.)

Do you kick off the year with a photo home tour to see how far you’ve come? What are you home goals for 2013? We’re still in January so it’s not too late to make them!!

color pop: true blue!

I know that emerald (the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year) is getting a lot of attention right now, but what can I say, I’m a rebel.

A quick trip to target on Saturday has created a new obsession. Of course, it’s not like that situation is unheard of, but this one was special. It made me fall completely in love with a color that I usually glance over! Bright, true blue! Just by stepping one foot into our apartment, you’d know that my typical preference for the blue hue is navy, but I am really digging this bright, cheery alternative!

True Blue Color Board copyblue mod teardrop lamp/blue ikat print lampshade/blue accent table/STRANDMON wing chair/hitch peacock stool/tivoli model one radio

The thing that started it off was that modern little accent table. I saw it at Target, stopped in my tracks, and immediately broke out my iPhone for an impromptu photo shoot. (If it adds to your reading experience, you can imagine me telling the table to ‘work it’. Your choice!)

Because, color trends come and go so fast, it’s hard to know the best way to incorporate those new styles (at least the ones you actually love!) on top of your existing decor. If you’ve got a good mix going on already, a little accessory like the radio or lamp would make a perfect addition. But, if you’re thinking this trend just might be true love, then feel free to splurge on something a little bigger like the accent table or that to-die-for arm chair! It’s all about what you’re digging!!

So, feel free to peruse this fun collection of cool blue-ness and stay tuned because next week I’ve got a really cool project coming up that pays homage to my new little obsession.

What colors are you loving right now? What’s your favorite way to add a new hue to your existing decor? 

easy paint projects to add some color!

In the midst of tackling all those big new years resolutions, I felt like it would be nice to share something easy. Just a simple, quick thing that can be easily accomplished without all the planning and stress of a big project (like our office!!). So, here are four effortless paint projects that can bring a little color into your home on the cheap!!

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1. Remember these easy wood disc ornaments I made for our Christmas tree last year? Well, swap out the hook for an adhesive magnet and you’ve got something cheery to add to your refrigerator! (We accidentally discovered that our door is also metal, so we started putting reminders and inspirational snippets there too!)

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2. My mom bought us this knife set when Josh and I moved into our very first apartment in 2009. It has definitely seen better days but new, fancy knives aren’t a priority right now, so I grabbed our basic untreated wood knife block and painted it a bright cheery blue! (Tip: I used a more glossy craft paint for this to keep it looking polished and keep any kitchen messes from staining!)

Easy Paint Projects (11) - Painted Cans copy 3. Recycling cans as storage is no new concept, but I think that giving them a ‘dipped’ affect by painting the bottom portion is an easy way to spruce them up. You could easily match your kitchen colors and make them a decoration, too! We use ours to store plastic utensils which we take with our lunches. (Tip: Stick your cans in the dishwasher before painting to make sure they don’t smell like last night’s dinner!)

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4. Truth be told, this little Eskimo couple is not a thrift store find. It was actually a little gift from my Grandma. Originally it was a dark gray stone, but I thought an icy blue would be just as appropriate and fit in a little better on our bookshelf.  So, the next time you’re at the thrift store and you see some funny, oddly colored figurines, ask yourself if you would like it in a different color? Just add a couple coats of spray paint in whatever hue you desire and you’ve got something inexpensive and customized to adorn your shelves!

Ah! The satisfaction of an easy and cheap project!

How are your new years resolutions going? Are you feeling the mid-January motivation slump? Or are you still going strong??

so what makes an office awesome?

I figured that the before shots of the office we’re working with don’t really give a good idea of the aesthetic we’re going for.  Sometimes it’s hard to look past the disaster and see the end goal. So, I thought it would be fun to share a little glimpse into what we’re hoping will be the end result.

Office Inspiration copypainted bulletin circles/washi tape frames/confetti wall/stormwalking print

1. Painted bulletin circles – Perfect for organizing pending tasks or doing some real life ‘pinning’. I love them grouped together, but I also think it would be really cool to have a few spread throughout the room on different walls.

2. Washi tape frames – This is such a fantastic idea. Because, if you’ve ever put together a gallery wall of frames, you know that it can get a bit pricey if you’re buying new ones. And since I’m picturing the office walls full of fun art and posters, this is a cost effective way to make that happen! Not to mention, it spares the walls, it’s easy to remove, and there are so many cute options.

3. Giant confetti – Simple, basically free, super festive. That’s explanation enough right?

4. Quirky art – I already shared our nerd-tastic Lego Darth Vadar print on Monday but I think we need more awesomeness. This “Stormwalking” print just cracks me up and it would certainly brighten my day to walk into the office and see it. (Now I’m imaging what a Michael Jackson storm trooper would sound like on those high notes!! It’s a real shame that you can’t hear me trying to vocalize that right now!)

And that’s it. We’re not looking to add any new-fangled fancy organizational system or anything because we don’t plan on being in this apartment for more than another year or two. So, the goal is to make the space livable and enjoyable without adding a lot of stuff or spending a lot of money. I know you guys feel me on that!

Stay tuned next week to so some fun progress from the office and by the end of the month, we should wrap this thang up! (Yes, I did just use ‘thang’. I’m hip dammit!)

What makes your office/workspace awesome??

make this: faux cork vase

I signed up for a blogging course. To be more specific I signed up for the super awesome Business of Blogging course taught by A Subtle Revelry’s Victoria Hudgens. Today ends week one and just having the opportunity to really dig deep into TLC and focus on doing this thing right is really amazing. January was the perfect time to sign up, too. I’ve got all this momentum from the new year and I am ready to tackle those projects that have been loitering around on my to-do list and dream up new ones to share!

One of the assignments from this first week was to spend one hour doing something inspirational. While I would normally be tempted to run out and buy some new craft supplies or materials for a project, I decided to take a different approach this time. I spent this hour (plus a few more) organizing my craft closet and making something using only what I already have.

At first it was a little intimidating trying to pull a project out of thin air, but the deeper I dug into my closet the more I found and the more stuff kept popping into my head. (You’ve seen these office photos right? The mess is outstanding! I should get a medal of bravery for diving in!)We’re at the stage where mostly everything that our apartment needs to be “complete” is décor and style. So I’ve got lots of room for the fun stuff!

And to commemorate an hour of inspirational activity, today I’m sharing an easy, free five minute project made from only things I already had on hand. Make this faux cork vase!
Make This Faux Cork Vase copy

1.       All I need was a leftover piece of cork (from this jewelry frame project), a hot glue gun, and a vase. I also pulled out a silk flower bouquet that I made last spring to top off the project but you could easily go with real flowers or even leave it empty. Whatever works for you!

2.       Wrap the cork snuggly around your vase and hot glue to seal! I actually used a square vase (because I had it on hand!) and the cork is sturdy enough to keep a round shape, so you can really use anything! Maybe even recycled cans leftover from dinner!

3.       And to finish it, I just added an extra line of hot glue on the seam to make sure it was snug against the vase.

Done! Gorgeous! And 100% free!Cork Vase Cover Up (8) copy

I think I might also wrap a little length of twine around it too! To hang a small photo or maybe even a nice quote. It’d be something lovely to wake up to in the morning!

So here’s to spending less and creating more! I challenge you to make something with only the materials you have available at home! Feel free to share links and details below!!

take cover! we’re tackling the office!

It’s the same no matter what apartment we’ve lived in. The office area is always a disaster and it’s never felt done. My biggest home related goal is to get our apartment, 816, whipped into shape and 100% complete before the summer. That way we have at least one solid year of living in a finished space before we have to pack up and move again. But before we start diving into the depths of paper stacks and craft supplies that currently fill our office, we should really reveal the damage… whatever. The worse the before pictures the better the after ones will look, right? Right?!

The primary function of this room is to store all of my craft supplies and holiday decorations and it serves as the primary workspace for Josh. All those papers on the random table in the middle of the room? Yup, that’s his students’ work, so you can imagine that we have a lot of papers going in and out of this space.

The Office - Before 1

Also, you’ll notice there is basically no design to this room. It is a beige box with no art, color, or even curtains. (Don’t worry, though. All of those are on the list!)

The Office - Before 2

If you can remember our “keeping it real post” from last summer, you’d know that the box in the corner below hasn’t moved an inch! It’s full of the art and frames that I wanted to fill the walls with.

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On the bright side, we did get our family calendar up, and a new addition is our House Savings Goal tracker! That’s right! We’re saving up to buy a house in a couple of years and this is just a fun way to keep us motivated to save! I also couldn’t resist snatching up that adorable Lego Darth Vadar print from iHEARTbricks on Etsy. It’s titled “Everyone’s a lover sometime” and it’s Vadar on a bicycle with some flowers! We’re Star Wars nerds in this house, so I just had to have it!The Office - Before 4

So, as you can very plainly see, we’ve got our work cut out for us. And it is my goal to get this room done before February! There, I said it. It’s out there. Now, I’ve got to make it happen!

Here’s our Office To-Do List!

  • Go through and organize all of my craft supplies in a logical/sane order.
  • Whip up some DIY curtains for the lone window
  • Literally fill the walls with all of our fun art/posters/nerdiness
  • Sort through and determine the necessity of everything in this room!
  • Implement some systems to make Josh’s work easier in this room
  • Add a fun and bright backing to the little book case

Just six “simple” tasks standing in the way of an awesome office. Here we go!

Is there a room in your home that always feels undone? Let’s tackle it this year!!

why i diy

I thought I’d end this week with one more reflective post before jumping into the projects and posts for this year. My big focus right now is turning Two Live Colorfully into something awesome and in order to get in the right mindset for that I wanted to really tackle the question “Why do I DIY?” (Wow, that’s a mouthful).

Why I DIY 1Bright & Flowery Art from the 2012 Summer Pinterest Challenge

Going the DIY route give you more control. Maybe that pillow/art/whatever is awesome, but you’re not digging the color scheme. Or maybe you’re in love with a headboard or even some shelving that doesn’t fit the space you have. Doing it yourself allows you to get a custom look. If I DIY a project, even if it turns out as a stinker, I know that there is nothing 100% like it out there. It’s unique to me. And that’s a seriously satisfying sensation. (Obviously, I’m on alliterations today!)

Why I DIY 2Josh’s Colorful Classroom Makeover!

DIYing parts of my home also helps me to develop a more focused style. I feel like a lot of people have a hard time finding a cohesive style of their own (even though Emily Henderson is certainly doing her part to help us out! I cannot describe how much I love Secrets of a Stylist!), and not having a direction can be overwhelming when you’re trying to create an entire living space that works for you and reflects who you are. I know that I can go into a store and fall in love traditional, modern, and shabby chic styles but I know that throwing together store bought items from such varying styles can look a little crazy in my actual apartment. Getting hands on and making color and style combinations on your own is a really great way to find your distinct style for yourself.  Why I DIY 3

Easy Painted Wood Christmas Ornaments

And, lastly, DIYing is a productive, creative outlet. It’s like creativity with purpose. I know that I can take on a project and (if all goes well, which it mostly does) it can serve a purpose in my home. There’s a distinct ‘heck yeah’ feeling that comes with seeing the product of your hard work in action. Even the little projects. We’ve got some really fun (and budget friendly) projects coming up this month and all year and I can’t wait to get crackin’!

So, that is why I DIY. Why do you?