photo Whaling-City-Cottage-8-2015_zpsoygeotsf.jpg

DIY stencil curtains

Happy 2016!  I hope you all had a peaceful and relaxing holiday.  We had a straight up great Christmas.  Food, friends, family, kicking it by the fire, hiking, movies, sushi.  It was awesome.  But it wasn’t all sipping Pinotage and listening to Bing Crosby.  (Seriously run, do not walk, and get THIS wine.  Eno in Providence has it).  We also tackled some major projects at the house, thanks to my workaholic aunt who was visiting.

Try to pretend you don’t still see paint-stained green carpet…I literally used it as a drop cloth.


Namely we tackled the dining room.  You can read more about our saga from mural to navy to peeling paint to white HERE.

One project I also had on my list – even when I was planning to go navy in the dining room – was to DIY curtains with a pattern similar to this by Lauren Liess.

lauren liess textiles antique beige POPLET2 (1)

I’ve only done one other stenciling project (in our old foyer) and it made me want to gouge my eyes out, so I was nervous to stencil white fabric.  Me and precision aren’t exactly sympatico.

But $120 a yard isn’t falling in my lap anytime soon, so I grabbed a pair of Merete curtains from Ikea and the Jaipur paisley stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils (size small).

The Merete has grommets at the top, which I didn’t want, so I sewed 4″ wide buckram from Joann’s to the bottom of the curtain to firm that up and make it the top.  The grommets got cut off when I hemmed the curtain.

For the paint, I custom mixed a warm gray color with acrylic craft paint from Michaels, along with fabric medium, which I’m not entirely sure you need but better safe than sorry.


And no I didn’t iron these before stenciling.  Because I’m lazy.

I used a small foam roller to apply the paint after lightly taping the stencil, on only 2 of its sides, to the curtain with green painters tape.  I swiped the foam roller on a paper towel before starting each stencil to make sure there wasn’t excess paint on it.


I didn’t measure for placement, just eye balled an off-set pattern.  (This is the worst tutorial ever, right?).  In hindsight I should have made the paisley closer together and done more of them but oh well.

Still, it was way easier and turned out far better than I expected.


I snagged this gorgeous and sturdy brass curtain rod off Craiglist for $10.  Rich people throw the craziest shit away.  It’s a fixed length and was perfect for this window #highfivingmyself


Ideally there’d be banging euro pinch pleats at the top but for now the drapery pins are just randomly stuck in there.

I need to hang Aunt Mary on the wall and of course rip up the awful carpet.  That dust storm will be fun.


As for the ceiling color, thank you all for weighing in on the cantaloupe!  I really appreciate your input and hemmed and hawed over a decision, but I finally made one and feel really happy with it.  The color won’t go up until we cover the chipped mess ceiling in tongue and groove panels.  Hopefully I’ll have more to show you next week.  And maybe the sun will come out so I can take some decent pics.

What do you guys think about the curtains?  Do they look cheap?  Squint, then tell me what you think.




updating an 80’s console table

There’s a furniture deficit around here.  The new house is much bigger than our old house and not as jam packed with doorways, radiators and windows, so I’ve been hunting Craigslist and antiques/junk stores for key pieces we need.  A vintage sideboard for the dining room (check).  Rattan porch furniture (ongoing).  Bamboo…anything (always).  Vintage hutch with fretwork glass doors (check).  Antique pine armoire for the upstairs hall (ongoing).

I’ve also been on a serious vision quest for a console table for the foyer.  For a while we were using the cardboard box from our new toilet as the foyer table.  Okay, fine the toilet was still in the box at the time.  Class as the way, baby.  Real Housewives of New Bedford.  (shudder) Christ that would be a scary show.

Here is some hall table inspiration.  Painted black wood with classic/chinoiserie lines.  Brass hardware.  No lower shelf.  48 inches wide.  Not too deep though, our foyer isn’t that grand.  Of course I can’t find this shit for less than $1,500 and we all know that’s not happening.

db761a05306bdecor pad

black-console-table_thumbthe always stylish emily a. clark

Time to look with fresh eyes at that old 80’s stand-by…..the Queen Anne style console table.  Craigslist is lousy with ’em.  Normally the curvy legs make me wanna hurl but I was desperate, so after spotting a barely-curvy one for 50 bucks, I snatched it up.  This is similar to the what ours looked like.  I’m a bad blogger and didn’t take good before photos.


And the AFTER….


This is my first time using chalk paint (Annie Sloan in Graphite) and while I love the depth of color created by the graphite + the dark wax, the durability of the finish worried me.  Just scratching it by accident with my fingernail was leaving white marks.  This was not going to hold up to my two lunatic kids plus the rest of the neighborhood kids running through the house.  So I slapped a few coats of matte polyurethane on to protect it.


I swapped out the Colonial bail pull hardware for this beauties from House of Antique Hardware.  I wish they were more of a gold-ish brass but oh well.


And papered the inside of the drawer with Rifle Paper Co gift wrap in emerald peonies.  Please ignore all the bubbles in the paper that I was too stupid to smooth out.  We’re gonna pretend that didn’t happen.

The drawer sides are painted Benjamin Moore’s North Shore Green, which I had laying around from another project.


Much better than shiny orange oak.

*So much needs to be done with the staircase, I can’t deal.  Getting there….baby steps*




diy pinch pleat curtains

I love pinch pleat curtains.  Nothing says fancy (or custom) like a French pleat.

IMG_9972design indulgence


Little did I know how easy it was to DIY a similar look.  If you have a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, you can totally do this.  There’s also a little bit of algebra involved but nothing crazy.Read More


removing oodles of wallpaper

Hi guys!  I hope you had a relaxing, cozy, food-and-wine-filled holiday!  I’m sooo ready for 2015.  We capped off 2014 with the move to the new house, which needs every update you can think of, and after going through the usual mourning/fear/paralysis phase, I’ve emerged on the other side, ready to face things head-on.  This house is now my bitch.

We spent a lot of time over the Christmas holiday removing wallpaper, in part because my aunt (who’s visiting) is an insane worker bee.

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Slightly spooky and New England-y Halloween decor

Since our house is on the market, I didn’t want to go crazy with Halloween or fall decorations this year.  But September – December is our favorite time of year around here and obviously the kids love Halloween, so we pulled the decorations bin out of the attic. I moved some of this stuff around just for the photos because the kids have their own ideas about how this stuff should be arranged.  I’m teaching brainwashing them well.

We don’t have a fireplace so the shelf above the radiator in our dining room serves as a mantel.


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painting our kitchen cabinets

Huh?  You may be saying to yourself.  I thought you guys decided to go with Ikea cabinets.  Well….there are HUGE potential changes afoot around here.

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{reveal} open shelving in kitchen

This is a slightly bizarre unveiling because everything in this room will change during our kitchen renovation this fall….except the shelves and brackets.  Nothing like adding finishing touches before we even get started but this little project couldn’t wait.


The former orange behemoth housed our everyday dishes and I’d reached my limit with opening the doors a bazillion times a day.

IMG_8451(this picture is a few years old)

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update on the back deck

This project has been…oh…3 months in the making.  My husband got a wild hair this spring and started scraping our painted back deck, which just hemorrhages paint chips every year.  Not surprisingly, this turned out to be quite a PITA.  Although definitely the right move in the long run.


This is still an in-progress shot

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DIY reclaimed wood

Nestled between two windows in our kitchen is a cabinet.  That is my nemesis.  It houses all our everyday dishes and there is no freaking reason I should have to open those cupboard doors 50 times a day.  Clearly this area is screaming for open shelving.  That’s the plan when we renovate our kitchen this fall….but I can’t wait that long.  Before I Hulk out and rip that cabinet off the wall, I’m pulling the trigger early on the shelves.

I wanted thick shelves with the look of rustic reclaimed wood and iron brackets.  Like these.


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{DIY} felt ball and tassel garland

After years of living like a gypsy, I’m finally styling our home.  This is unprecedented because we moved every 18 months for about a decade and then had toddlers careening around and frankly we just don’t own a lot of stuff.  I tend to purge, not hoard.  But God bless it (read in Illinois accent), I’m a grown up and deserve pretty tchotchke.   Come to think of it, we don’t even have a coffee table anymore.

Sheepishly, our house is also missing a classic styling element.  Books.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m an obsessive reader but our weekly cache comes from the library.  If you go to a library in the New Bedford area and they are cleaned out of mystery novels, home decor magazines and books about how Mark Twain was a food nerd….you’ll know I’ve been there.  For styling purposes, a garage sale raid of old books is likely in my future.

I’m kind of obsessed with Heather’s bookcase.  Love the color-coordinated books.

bookshelf styling 3

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