Gross, but Effective

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Back in July I wrote about a banana trap I created to eliminate a fruit fly problem at my house. The trap was modestly successful. A few days ago I noticed dozens and dozens of fruit flies had nested in my teeny tiny houseplants. I have no idea why and am even more confused about what they are eating (there is no fruit outside of the refrigerator and most of our pantry items are either unopened or stored in airtight OXO containers). Anyway, the point is that there are more fruit flies to be caught. I decided to try a friend’s suggestion and mix a splash of rum with a squirt of dishwashing soap. What a difference! Within minutes I had caught my first victim. After less than 24 hours I had 2 dozen flies and now, two days later, there are more dead flies than I can count. I made it to 50-something and then couldn’t distinguish the tiny carcasses from one another. We have a winner!

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Inspiration Board – Tropical Wedding Shower

weddingshowerinspboard2It seems like everyone with a wedding, design, decor, or fashion blog these days features inspiration boards. Guess who is jumping on the bandwagon! I love this concept for its ability to help focus the tone of an event. In this case, the event is a casual couples wedding shower for two of my friends.

They are getting married October 10, 2009 back in their home state of Vermont so most of us Kansans are going to have to miss the fun. In lieu of actually attending their nuptials, my husband and I are throwing them a little party home home on the range. The theme is tropical and I want to keep things fresh and fun while avoiding the usual cliches that come with an island themed party. I think this inspiration board gives me enough clarity to go ahead and get busy designing the invitations!

Making this inspiration board was tons of fun (I love any excuse to play with InDesign). Any suggestions on what inspiration board to do next?

Image featured above  from Instyle Weddings.

Finishing vs. Starting

It seems like people belong to one of two camps when it comes to projects. There are the finishers and there are the starters. I am one of the later. Starting a new project gives me far more joy and creative satisfaction than finishing one, which leads to obvious clutter problems in my craft closet. There are literally baskets with half-started projects stacked neatly (and sometimes not-so-neatly) on the shelves. A few months ago I made the determination that I could not buy any new projects (this means I have not been to any thrift stores or garage sales all summer! Too much potential fodder for my addiction!) or new project accoutrements (like new papers, ribbons, stamps, etc.). If I buy something, it is supposed to be intended for a specific item and not just as stock for my future files. Anyway, as with other things we don’t like, it is difficult for me to find the motivation to finish these things.

Finish (this week [?]):

  • Trays (blogged about here) that needed sanding and a final coat of polyurethane
  • Paint touchups on trim in living room (from blinds that we removed last week… or was it already two weeks ago?!)
  • Office projects: decorative treatment on my desk lights, sew slipcover for office chair, charging station
  • Sort and put away TONS of stuff (I am finally moving all my stuff out of my parents house and have to do something with it!)
  • Sort through pictures from the 50th Anniversary Party and make a scrapbook for my grandparents

Once I finish these things (and a few others…) I can start on some new projects! These are a few of the ideas bouncing around inside my head, but who knows what will be unleashed when I give myself greater creative latitude!

Starting!

  • sconces for dining room
  • lantern chandelier for dining room (like this one)
  • reupholster vintage slipper chair
  • shadowbox project for one of my childhood toys
  • pretty office supplies (like these!)
  • design a special recipe booklet for family favorites (we recently stole some from my grandma’s kitchen!)
  • design the invitations for a wedding shower for my friends Rich & Steph (yay! I love invitations…)

What is on your list? What do you need to plow through before you can get to the good stuff? Or do you get more satisfaction from a job well done than from starting something new?

Trend to Watch: Lace

It seems like lace has been popping up everywhere lately. Lace, and its grandmotherly sister, the doily, have been gracing the design blog world for months now. Yesterday I stumbled across a gorgeous etsy site featuring jewelry made from vintage lace and for the first time I started considering lace as a viable, non-elderly design option. Not only are these inspiring, they would make gorgeous pieces for a bride (and/or bridesmaids), especially if you are striving for a modern spin on a vintage, romantic feel.

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lace3Above from the shop of White Owl at Etsy.com

These pieces have a soft, sculptural quality that is very provoking. As alluring as they would look accenting the line of a woman’s collarbone or the curve of her neck, they may be equally interesting as inspiration for home decor.

I find myself pondering the topic of appliques and wondering if it is time for a revival of that decorating technique. Appliques in other forms (wool felt flowers, for instance) have been popping up on pillows and the like for a while now. I wonder if a simple, clean-lined chair upholstered in a quiet grey wool would look good accented with a lacy decoration, contrasting soul-pleasing simplicity with a bit of filigree to excite the eye. Although not an applique, this project utilizes a doily as the seat of a piece of industrial/modern furniture.

If I’ve already sold you on the idea of lace as decoration, here are a few lace-related craft projects to put to the test:

Have any other ideas? Is lace a rising trend or an unfortunate side-effect of the “granny-chic” movement?

Post-Party Evaluation

The anniversary party I have been helping with is over and it was a great success. This Saturday my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary surrounded by friends, family, and lots of good food and drinks. I will be posting pictures from the party soon, but my camera is outside in the car. It happens to be raining outside, so I will not be posting pics today. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the party theme was a variation on the “golden” standard, as I reinvented the traditional celebration in shades of yellow accented with crisp white, hints of blue, and lots of fun polka dots and prints. Check below for my color palette as well as a freebie!

We did have the crucial ingredients for a good party – excellent guests and plenty of delicious refreshments (not to mention a wee bit of alcohol), but I think the real reason the event was so wonderful was the fact that it was so selfless. Each of us who helped throw the soiree together was doing it for no other reason than to make grandma and granddad happy and to recognize their significant achievement. It’s not always easy for even one person to commit to a selfless act for another person, let alone a group of people. It was really special and I am glad I got to help honor my grandparents in this way.

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yellowstripedpaperAnd now Рfor a freebie!! Free patterned scrapbooking  paper! I designed the image to the left to use for a lot of the party decorations. If you click the thumbnail to the left, you will be able to access a high-quality (300 pixels/inch) version of this file, weighing in at 2550 x 3300 pixels. This was designed as a letter-sized piece of paper. I designed this file and am giving it to you, my wonderful readers, just for being wonderful. If you like this, I will continue posting some free downloads now and then, so show your love by leaving a comment. Enjoy!

Because I Know you are DYING of Curiosity…

Party decorations for my Grandparents’ 50th Anniversary Party in progress:

Manning the battle stations

Manning the battle stations

Festive, fun, but what are they?

Festive, fun, but what are they?

Curiouser and curiouser

Curiouser and curiouser

Garlandy goodness

Garlandy goodness

Good ol' Martha Stewart never lets us down - the ubiquitous party poof

Good ol' Martha Stewart never lets us down - the ubiquitous party poof

The party is on Saturday and there are still a few things I am hoping to squeeze in. I will post pictures post-party along with instructions if any of you desire to imitate our crafty ventures. We’re not doing anything all that crazy but maybe there’s still some inspiration to be found!

Media Console Has a Baby Brother!

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He did not arrive carried by the wings of a stork, but last weekend our household was blessed with a wee little one, albeit outfitted in metal and wood and not a tiny terry cloth outfit. Tyler constructed a petite version of the media console I wrote about here to form a super-awesome L-shaped media storage extravaganza. The materials used and the process followed are identical, so refer to the original post for instructions. I wanted to maximize our storage space and the new “leg” utilizes empty space from behind the front door. It also forms an L shape that will mimic the shape of our new sectional. I plan to purchase either vintage wire baskets or galvanized metal planters to store outdoor accessories (gloves, umbrellas) as well as some of our Wii toys.

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I was in too much of a hurry to share my new baby with you to get many good pictures. If you need or want to see more detail, let me know and I will get something up that is in better focus.

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The finished length is 32″, exactly 1/3 as long as our main unit. You could build a unit like this with one 8′ board cut into 3 equal-sized pieces, 4 threaded rods, 24 washers, 24 nuts, and 4 casters. We liked the flexibility of building two pieces – we felt we would be able to use these storage units in many configurations for many different purposes when we move.