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  • My friend/college buddy/savior who kept me singing [mostly] in key during many a Chorale performance*, Beth, emailed me this morning to talk about fabric for a pelmet.  Goody!  I think she’s going with this one, and I’m excited for her, and a little jealous, because it’s gorgeous and inexpensive, and I don’t have any rooms it would work in.  Except maybe this one…unpacked moving boxes are just the right shade of brown to coordinate with that natural background, don’t you think?  (Plus, hello, it’s fire retardant!  That’s one worry right off the list.  No flaming pelmet at Beth’s house, no ma’am.)
  • Thrifting find of the day: at the thrift store next door to the drug store where Kalen’s prescription was being filled (I know, dangerous, right?), I found a vintage Flower Fashioner™ for 99 cents.  (U.S. Pat. #2,651,422 – 1953 – how cool!)  I have grand hopes for beautious floral arrangements.  I’ll keep you posted.

Hasn’t it held up beautifully over the past 50-ish years?

  • Mom and Dad are coming to visit in a few weeks.  I’m so excited, mostly to see them, but also because it gives me a nice little kick in the pants to get some things accomplished around the house.
  • Speaking of which, I have to make a great big to do list!  I love lists.  How do you think I should organize it?  Order of importance, or room by room?  I’m leaning towards room by room, because I tend to think geographically, and it’s hard to prioritize a whole house at once.
  • I am thoroughly obsessed with this song right now.  I listen to it over and over in the car and sing it all day long in my head.  Love the piano in it.  Someone in the YouTube comments mentioned wanting it played at their funeral.  What a great idea.  (Take note, Honey.)

*I fully admit to having slouched dramatically several times during riser assignments to take off the three inches of height separating Beth and me.  Not only is she an excellent singer (which helps my pretty darned poor pitch), she’s a lot of fun, too – and a gem for having put up with standing next to someone with pretty darned poor pitch for several years.

Since posting the results of my first foray into pelmet-making last week, I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this.  I think too often we are paralyzed by decorating fear.  We wait to make changes to our homes, because we don’t want to invest a lot of time and money in a home we’re renting, or into one we’ll be selling in just a few years.  Here’s the thing, though: this is your home.  Wherever you live now is home; why wait for someday to make home feel special?  You can do little, inexpensive things that won’t upset your landlord or cost so much that you mind leaving it behind for the next owner, if they want it.

That pelmet is proof.  It took me half a day and about $24, with the cost spread over a couple of months.  (If I’d bought all the bits and pieces without coupons, it still would have come in around $40…tres inexpensive when you’re talking custom window treatments.)  We can take it with us when we move; it will fit over any double window and will look great in a kids’ room, craft room, game room, or guest room.

There are so many other things you can do with fabric to spruce up a room.  Recover a $2 garage sale chair.  (I’ll get to it one of these days.)  Make a throw pillow.  Use your hot glue gun and a few upholstery tacks to mistreat a window.  The trick, if you’re on a super-thrifty budget, is finding the fabric for the right price.

Before you start shopping, you need to prepare your mind; know what you’re looking for.  If you have a specific project in mind, know approximately how much fabric you’ll need.  Guesstimates are fine.  (Just add a 1/2 yard, in case you’re off!)  Have an idea what colors and patterns will work in the room.  Don’t get hung up on matching the fabric with other pieces in your room.  Coordinating ≠ matching.  You may be surprised at just how many different, unmatched, colors and textures will look good together.

For example, take Jenny’s daughters’ room, which I linked to in the pelmet post:

Photo: Little Green Notebook

This is a gorgeous room.  Look a little closer…at the throw pillow the doll is leaning against.  Would you have thought a brocade pillow in that yellowy-green shade would have “gone with” the busy, jewel-toned headboard and the turquoise nightstand?  Neither would I.  But it coordinates, and beautifully!  Think beyond what you “know” about colors.  Just like every piece of furniture or wood in a room does not need to be the same color (now there’s a myth I’m eager to stamp out!), every fabric doesn’t have to have the of same color scheme.

Okay, now that I’ve thrown you for a loop, it’s time to shop.  You could do what I did – fall in love with one fabric and keep checking on it until it goes on clearance.  However, I lucked out; you might be waiting years if you go with that plan…or miss out on it completely.  Instead, I suggest keeping your options open and shopping around.

Fabric and Upholstery Stores

Obvious answer!  Remnant bins at fabric and upholstery stores can be a goldmine.  You have to dig, but end-of-bolt savings can be the answer to that perfect, affordable bit of fabric you’re looking for.

Discount Stores

Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls…no, they don’t sell fabric, but they sell curtains, table cloths and shower curtains – cheap!  What are curtains, table cloths and shower curtains made of?

Fabric!  In the same vein, check out the clearance aisles at places like Target and Ikea.

Thrift Stores

Yep, you can find fabric and craft supplies at almost every thrift store.  Sometimes it will be actual cut fabric, straight off the bolt, and sometimes it will be in the form of curtains or sheets.  Again, this involves digging, but the deals are unbeatable.


There are several online fabric stores, and they all have clearance sections. is one I’ve heard good things about.  Craigslist and Freecycle are worth checking out, too.  I once got a huge bag of upholstery remnants on Freecycle.  I ended up re-Freecycling them to another member when I discovered that none of them were quite my style, but all I was out was the gas to go pick them up in the first place – a worthwhile gamble, I believe.

So what do you think?  Have I missed any great resources for inexpensive fabric?  Do you find yourself in the mood to spiff up a space you’ve been afraid to tackle?

(P.S. I’m linking up to DIY Day over at Kimba’s!)

The mint walls are driving me crazy.

We’re renting, and our landlord has given us permission to paint if we’d like to.  We’ll definitely be painting the master bedroom (we already bought the paint), but we don’t want to invest too much time and money in repainting the house.

Still, the mint walls in the living room aren’t really up my alley.  Solution?  See what we can do to work with the mint walls.  I pulled up Photoshop yesterday evening to create a decor board and see if I could make the mint walls work with the other elements we have in that room.  I think I got it.  Here’s what I came up with:


There are four elements in the room that won’t be changed:

1. The mint green paint.

2. The gold silk drapes (which belong to the homeowner).

3. The piano.

4. The brown upholstered furniture.  I’ve been designing around these two pieces for years.  Yes, I know we could slip cover them, but we’re working on a tight budget.

The remaining furniture can be painted:

5. The small media cabinet and the side table will be done over in French White.  This will give the room a much more modern and fresh feel.

6. This is the part I’m not sold on.  Our TV cabinet is a solid oak piece that’s a little dated.  I think a greyish tone on the body and a dark stain on the top like this would bring it more up to date.  Jason prefers the idea of looking for a free piece on Craigslist to customize.  I think I might agree with him on that.

7. This is my vision for The Four Pound Wonder, a piece my Dad found at the local tip when we lived in England.  He paid £4 for the old wardrobe, which has been outfitted with shelves for linens and silver and the like.  I’d like to do it over in a subtle metallic finish like this, and replace the [again, dated] stained glass with hammered metalwork.  The metal finish would coordinate with the gold curtains and with the frame around our Bayeux piece (seen here).

8. This guitar photo is by my friend Melissa; she took it on a trip to Mexico last year.  I gave it to Jason last Christmas, and we haven’t put it up yet.  It is printed on metallic photo paper, and that, combined with the colors, ties it in with this room beautifully.

9. The accessories are from ZGallerie (Love!) and will be supplemented with thrift store finds in white, green & [subtle] gold.  (I’ll probably put the florals together myself, too.)

And that’s about it.  The decor board looks crowded, I know, but so does the room; that’s not about to change.  We have too much furniture for the space, which I think is another reason it’s driving me nuts.  I believe tying it all together with a conscious design and giving it some style will help relieve the feeling of clutter and too-tightness, since moving pieces out isn’t an option just now.

So what do you think?  Have you ever had to work around something that just didn’t sit right with you & make it work?

One of my very favorite blogs, Young House Love, linked to this quick little style quiz at Ethan Allen today.

How surprised was I when I clicked through the series of photos that appealed to me and was presented with my results?


Metro?  I’m metro?  Uh, no, I’m a suburban girl, through and through.  Right?  But then, I started exploring their sample rooms for this style, and I quite liked three of them.


Yeah, I can do Metro.

1. Look at those white vases.  I know the whole “white grouping” thing is so popular as to be almost overdone these days, but I really am drawn to it.

2. The woven bench.

3. Lots of neutrals with splashes of color.

4. Geometric patterns.

The only thing missing is a certain measure of softness…something cozy.  I’m reminded of homes where I babysat as a teenager, when I was chilled after the kids had gone to bed and couldn’t for the life of me find an afghan or a quilt to cuddle under on the sofa.  Add a little coziness (and a personal touch or two) to these rooms, and I think they’d be close to perfect.

My boys

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