Kitchen Envy (again)

This post might look a little familiar to some of you…surprise it is a repeat!  2014 was quite a year for HSE so we wanted to look back and review some of our favorites!

Now we do have a wonderful new kitchen in our new house that I am loving, but there are always beautiful things out there worth looking at for further inspiration!

{From the lovely Martha}

I love love love the wood beams, the butcher block counter with the metal legs, the amazing pendant fixtures and all of the natural light!!

{Image found at Lavender & Lilies}

So much to love about this one…mildly obsessed with the white subway tile, painted bead board walls, large white farmhouse sink, cabinet color and the hanging baskets.

{From Elle Decor}

The built in L-shaped bench behind the counter is a MUST for my next kitchen…how brilliant is that!!  such a great casual dining layout right in the middle of the action…NEED IT!

I think everyone needs at least one chandelier in their house, why not two…over the kitchen island…YES please!!  Also love the detail over the sink window and the different cabinet colors.

{From Better Homes & Gardens}

I’ve shown you this one before…but i just love it.  Such a funky cabinet color, love the lead glass cabinet fronts, the painted bead board back splash is amazing and the copper pot open storage is the perfect touch of metal loveliness!

{Found at Young House Love}

The lit open glass shelving in this one is A-Maz-Ing.  and with all those cabinets…i bet her dishes stay nice and organized!!

{From Better Homes & Gardens}

The color combo in this kitchen makes me smile!  I enjoy the rug, the touches of turquoise & yellow, the texture from the woven chairs and the X detail in the glass cabinets!

Have i given you a case of Kitchen Envy?!  What are the things you love most about your current kitchen?  What do you day dream about for your future kitchen loveliness?

~ Jillian


Weekend Inspirations

Ahhhh the weekend (almost).  A time to relax, spend time with those you love and maybe even get your craft on?!?  For me the weekends are a time when life can slow down just a little bit (sometimes) and allows me to tap into some of my creativity!  So if you are looking for a little weekend inspiration to satisfy all of your artistic DIY urges?  Here are a few beauties that have inspired me lately!

love pring(source)

watercolor tree(source)

cloth deer(source)

metal calender(source)

bird watercolor(source)

peace wreath(source)

ruler table

dog head print(source)

paper garland(source)

Check out my “With My own Two hands” pinterest board for more fabulous inspirations!

Happy Crafting!!
~ Jillian

Design School: Mixing Patterns (again)

News flash: This is a repeat post from last year that was a favorite with HSE readers!  You can never have too many design tips as you freshen up your home for the new year, right!?!

One of the best ways to pull together a high end looking interior that doesn’t give off that “room in a bag” kind of vibe is to mix patterns; but to many that can be super intimidating!

Pattern is one of those things that when blended together right looks amazing but it is possible to have too much of a good thing or to get overwhelmed in the process!  My general rule of thumb for interiors is if you love it then go for it!!  But for those that are a-scared to jump off the pattern ledge here is the first ever HSE addition of Design School.

A little disclaimer first, these are just “guidelines” to follow, these aren’t hard and fast rules.  Most important is that you give it a shot…some attempts might be more successful then others but in the end I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the effect a little pattern can have in your life!

– Work with the same color “intensity” {pastels with pastels or jewel tones with jewel tones}  Now this doesn’t mean that every single color has to be in the same tone {a pop is always encouraged!!} but if you are struggling to find a combo that works this can help you pull it all together.

– Combine different types of patterns.  Mix large scale floral patterns with linear stripes or plaids.  Ikats with textured fabrics.  Just don’t combine patterns that are too similar {ex. two different types of polkdots = big no-no}

– Find balance in your space.  Don’t put all of the patterns in one spot in the room, locate them around the room.  For instance in the picture below there is a large scale pattern on the window treatments, a texture on the fireplace  {the stone}, small linear patterned chairs with large scale pattern pillows and a patterned rug.  The patterns are balanced throughout the room using large scale patterns in combination with smaller scale and textured pattern.

{Image found here}

– Use a mix of scales of patterns as well as types.  In other words include large scale, medium scale and small scale patterns that are a combination of linear, organic and textured patterns

– Start with one pattern with lots of color and base scheme around that {a colorful stripe, floral or organic would be a good place to start}

– Don’t forget about those textures too!  Mixing up textures {velvety smooth with chunky knit or soft cotton} is another great way to add depth to your space.

Homework Assignment: Choose three or more patterns {odds are always better then evens}

  • Pattern #1 sets the tone for the other patterns.  For this pattern go big and bold.  Make sure there are more then 2 colors and look at patterns like ikat, floral or plaid.
  • Pattern #2 should  be about 1/2 the scale of the first pattern.  For this pattern try a geometric, animal print or stripe.  Try to use less colors then #1 {but at least 2}
  • Pattern #3 should be a small scale pattern or a texture that pulls from either #1 or #2.  Try a tone on tone pattern or a very strong textured fabric.  {remember pattern doesn’t have to only be bold and out there!}

Still nervous about the whole pattern mixing thing?  A great way to play with pattern without getting overwhelmed is by picking one color combo {in this case black and white} that way all you have to focus on is the scale and pattern type!

So get out there and get creative!  Start by looking around your house {or even in your closet} to see what kinds of patterns you might already have!  Push the limits of what you think “goes” together and try something a bit more unexpected!

Class Dismissed

~ Jillian

DIY: Closet Tags

Prepare yourself people…the nesting has officially set in and I’m in “time to get this house organized and lovely” mode!  Now this has a bit of a baby theme to it today but could easily be adapted for any closet in your house!  Think winter vs summer or different sizes in the master closet, dryclean vs hand wash in the laundry room.  So many options!  The best thing about this project is that I had all the supplies on hand so it came with a giant ZERO price tag and was quick and easy to accomplish. (those are the most satisfying of all jobs…wouldn’t you say!)

closet tagsSupplies:

  • Card Stock (approx. 4 x 6 / use precut sheets or cut your own if you have full sheets)
  • Decorative labels (or print something pretty right from your computer)
  • Decorative Punches, Decorative Scissors, Washi tape or even your favorite ribbon
  • Double sided tape or glue
  • Marker

**Now the above list is really just a suggestion.  Use what you have in the house!  If you don’t have any of the decorative labels or punches, simply use regular scissors and markers to dress these up!

IMG_0059Step One:

  • Using a circle punch (or just a plain old pair of scissors) cut a circle approximately 1/2″ from the top of the sheet of card stock.
  • Cut a slit from the outside edge to the circle (this allows you to hang it over the closet rod).

IMG_0060Step Two:

  • Using a decorative punch; add a little detail to the bottom edge of the tag.
  • If you don’t have a punch, you can cut freehand, add a decorative piece of washi tape, glue on some cute ribbon or simply draw on a few stripes or polka dots with a marker.

IMG_0061Step Three:

  • Create the labels for each tag.  For the nursery closet I did Newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc.
  • If you don’t have labels or don’t trust your freehand skills, simply print out cute text on your computer and cut them out to adhere to the tags.

** I did 2 labels of each kind to make the tags double-sided

IMG_0062Step Four:

  • Using double stick tape (or even a glue stick), apply to the back of the label and adhere to the precut cardstock tag.
  • If creating double-sided tags, simply flip over the tag and apply the second label in approximately the same location on the back.

IMG_0063Step Five:

  • Your DONE!  Now hang them in your closet, organize your little heart out and enjoy what you have created!!



IMG_0068Any other fabulous nursery closet organization tips you might have for me?  I’m in full unpacking and setting up mode so I can use those tips from you experienced moms out there!!

Cheers & Happy Organizing
~ Jillian

Thrifty Finds: Random Number box

You all know we LOVE a good thrift store find here at HSE.  There is something so exciting about the “hunt” and then the “what if” when you find an item that needs a good home and a little love.  Sometimes you find things that you have the perfect place for, sometimes you find things that just need a little cleaning and are good to go.  Other times you find things that you are unsure of their function…but they are just too cool to pass up.


Enter random number box…I was purusing  the aisles of my local Goodwill when I stumbled on a very cool looking, beat up wooden box with these random number dials.  I had NO clue what its original function was…but I just knew i needed to have it!!  What i loved about it is that it happened to have 4 number dials…just the right amount to display a special date perhaps?!?
number box combo

This was a SUPER simple update that gave this cool found object a new life!!  CLEAN IT / SAND IT / PAINT IT.  Seriously does not get easier than that!!  Once he was showing off his pretty new color, I turned the number dials to our wedding date (10.04.2008) as a little nod to a very special day!!  Right now he has the perfect home adding a little pop of color to my white framed collage wall (i promise i’ll get around to some pictures of that wall someday soon…promise!) and I must admit I smile a little extra when i catch a glimpse!!

081What kind of thrift store finds have you scored lately??  Any fun and easy DIY projects?? SHARE your projects here on HSE, we might just highlight them on the next episode of Thrifty Finds!!  Oh an P.s. Anyone know what this random find was originally used for?

Happy Crafting
~ Jillian

Thrifty Finds: Curvy End Table

I’m excited to share the latest of my Thrifty Finds!  There has not been much time to get out and hunt for bargains, between the end of year holiday season and then back-to-back weeks of atypical wintry weather in Atlanta.   But, I finally had the opportunity to go to a local antique market.

Atlanta locals, have you been to the Lakewood 400 Antique Market?  In my opinion, it is a smaller and much closer (for those on the northside) version of Scott’s Antique Market.  The venue has both outdoor and indoor areas, with vendors ranging from antique dealers to those offloading garage sale wares.  It is open only one weekend per month, so you’ll need to check the online calendar before heading over.  I have been to Lakewood 400 a couple of times in the past, but scored a major find on my last visit…

I spotted this gorgeous curvy table and nearly knocked my mother down to get to it!  I adore the ornate base and little caster wheels!  When the seller asked $50, I knew it had to come home with me.  After a thorough cleaning, I decided to use it as a bedside table.  Although I have not altered it yet, I would like to do something with the tabletop.  The painted finish is chipped in a few places.

What do you think I should do?  Sand it down and try to stain the tabletop, or paint it another color?

– Brittany

Think Outside the Curtain Section

I’ve had the hardest time finding pre-made curtains for my home.  By now, it should be fairly obvious that I love a good bargain.   I’m more than willing to pay for quality, but I think it is absurd to drop hundreds of dollars on curtains.   I have been looking at several ideas for DIY curtains over the last year, including stenciled drop cloth curtains, buying fabric online and sewing curtains (which I’ve done before) and even using sheets for curtains.  While browsing Target recently, I wandered through the bedding section, looking for some fun patterned sheets for potential curtains.  I happened to spot this duvet cover on clearance for $25.


Jackpot!  I loved the pattern and colors and the price was too good to pass up.  A perk to using a duvet is that the curtains will be lined with no additional sewing.  Luckily, the pattern of this duvet was only on one side and a light cream/beige on the other side.  I snagged the duvet and brought it home to turn into curtains.

Using a duvet eliminated the stressful parts of making my own curtain panels – multiple fabric measurements and cuts, seam allowances, pinning, cursing frustration, etc. A duvet is like a giant pillowcase, with buttons along one side.  Most of the sewing has already been done for you!  Turning the duvet into a pair of curtains took just a few simple steps and required very little sewing.  

Step 1: Iron all of the wrinkles out of your duvet cover.  I laid the cover on the floor and ran the iron directly over it.

Step 2: Measure the width of the duvet and find the center point.  Do NOT trust the measurements on the duvet packaging!  These things are mass-produced and the measurements are typically off by at least an inch and as much as 3-4 inches.  Once you find the center point of the duvet, draw a straight line with a washable fabric pencil or lightly mark with a ball point pen.


{Ignore the fact that my fabric is NOT ironed in this picture.  I was a little too excited and forgot to take one after I finished ironing.}

Step 3: Using scissors or a rotary cutter {over a mat}, cut the duvet cover in half along the line.  At this point, you will have two pieces of fabric that are sewn on all but the one side that you just cut.

Step 4: Turn the two halves inside out and smooth, aligning the two edges of the opening.  Sew along the cut edge of each half.


NOTE: One of the halves will have the duvet button-closure opening.  For this half, simply sew a straight line along the entire length of the cut edge.  Once sewn, open the buttons to turn the fabric right side out.  For the other half of the duvet, you will sew about 3/4 of the length of the cut edge and stop.  By leaving an opening, you will be able to turn the fabric right side out.  Once turned right side out, close the hole by hand sewing a slip stitch.  Or, you could skip the sewing altogether and use heat bonding tape (Stitch Witchery or Heat N Bond) to close the openings on both panels.  I used the heat bonding tape, since this method is faster and my iron was already out.

Step 5:  Smooth fabric and iron again, if necessary.

Voila!  A pair of curtain panels in less than 30 minutes!


Simple, right?!  Do you think you will try this easy curtain tutorial?  Have you made curtains for your home?

– Brittany

Turn Your Photos Into Art

Have you heard of Foto Flexer?  Hopefully, I am not the last person to find out about this great (FREE) online photo editing tool.  Foto Flexer allows users to edit photos in a number of ways, including basic cropping and red-eye reduction, or more advanced features including animations, layering and color adjustments.  I discovered and spent entirely too much time playing with the Color Sketch feature.  It is a simplified (and free) version of a similar feature in Photoshop.  Color Sketch, found under the Effects tab, allows users to turn photographs into ink and colored pencil “drawings.”  I didn’t care too much for the Color Sketch images of people, but ended up with great results with flowers, landscapes and architecture.

I have often wished I had a printed image of my gorgeous wedding bouquet, but felt silly framing a photo of flowers.  I think the Color Sketch version is more likely to be displayed.  Photo by Alea Moore Photography.

Wedding Bouquet

Another favorite floral photograph, taken on one of our vacations.  I love how this one turned out!


After success with flowers, I tried a canopy photograph from one of our Fall hikes.  While I will probably not frame this one, I think the end result is pretty cool.

Fall Canopy

I then ventured into architectural subjects, selecting this photo of a chapel doorway from another recent vacation.  I loved how the diagonal lines in the door and the bricks in the arch were emphasized in the Color Sketch version of the photo.White Door

Next, I searched Pinterest and found a photo of a cute craftsman bungalow.  How much fun would it be to frame a sketch of your first home?!  This could also make a great gift!   Photo source.

After playing around with Foto Flexer, I searched and found other web applications that offer a similar colored pencil effect for photos.  Have you used any of these free photo editing services?  Any recommendations?

– Brittany

Unique Art Sources

Today, I’m sharing a few unique and affordable art sources.   These pieces of art are not only unusual, but a couple of them also tell a story…which I LOVE.

Litographs are pieces of art, taken right from the text of classic books.  Each illustration is formed using the text of the book.  From a distance, the posters illustrate a theme, character, or setting from each book.  As you move closer, the entire text of the book becomes fully legible.   Starting at $24 for an 18″x24″ print, this artwork is very affordable.  Larger sizes and canvas are also available.  Below are illustrations of Moby Dick and Around the World in 80 Days.

Litographs is a family-owned business, committed to promoting literacy.  For each print sold, Litographs sends a new book to a community in need.  So, as an added bonus, you can spread your love of a good book to others!



Voice Art Gallery turns the sound of your voice (or any other sounds) into a piece of art.  How cool is that?!  The company uses the frequency and vibrations unique to the sound of your voice to create a visual illustration on canvas.  Choose from a variety of sizes and color combinations.  Prices start at $75 for an 8″ x 10″ and go up to $455 for a 24″ x 72″ canvas.  The voice art would be a great gift for a birthday, anniversary or even a proposal.  My favorite idea was making a piece of art using the heartbeat from a baby’s ultrasound.


The HubbleSite Gallery is an free online gallery of more 1,300 images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Images include stars clusters, individual planets, nebulae or entire galaxies.  The site provides both low and high-resolution images.  Simply download the preferred size and print the images at home or by a photo imaging store.

HubbleSite Pics

So, which one are you ordering?  I would love to have this print of text from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.  And, how great are those galaxy and star cluster images from the Hubble Telescope?!

– Brittany

Thrifty Finds: Barrel-Back Chair

Hello and Happy Tuesday!  I hope everyone has recovered from Thanksgiving and the whirlwind extended weekend of holiday shopping, both in-store and online.  We hosted our fourth Thanksgiving and it was a smashing success, albeit exhausting.  We did manage to squeeze in a quick hike {and work off some of that turkey and stuffing} at Sawnee Mountain, on Sunday.  The long break was exactly what I needed to recharge and get cracking on some projects!    I’m here today to share a quick fix to a thrifty find, which resulted in a practically brand new chair for our home….

Lenox chair before

A friend found this barrel-back chair wrapped in plastic, while cleaning out a foreclosure.  The chair was in great condition, just not his style and missing the seat cushion.  When he mentioned that he would put it on Craigslist for $50, I jumped at the opportunity and bought it from him.  This style of barrel-back chair typically retails for $400 and up.

Given that I have no experience with complex sewing projects (piping, curved shape and thick dimensions), I decided to hire out the task of making a custom cushion for my chair.  I needed to provide measurements and a template of the chair shape to the upholsterer, rather than haul the piece of furniture to the shop.  To make the template, I taped a few paper grocery bags together and shoved the paper into the curved recess of the chair.  Next, I traced a rough outline of the shape of the chair with a pencil.  After trimming off the excess and fine-tuning the template, I wrote the widest dimensions on my template.

Chair Template

With the measurements, template and photos of the piece, the upholsterer was able to quote the price and tell me how much fabric was required for the job.  I bought the fabric from JoAnn during a 60% off fabric sale.  Because the fabric would be used for a seat cushion, I ended up using a more durable, tonal fabric with a similar sheen as the satin back of the chair.

Lenox Chair After

This is great example of how spending a little extra effort and money can produce a like-new piece for a lot less money.  In total, I spent $200 on the chair – $50 for the chair itself, $110 for upholstery and $40 for the fabric.  A savings of $200!  I LOVE the curvy shape of the chair and the custom look of the cushion/back fabric combination.

Have you found any great thrifty furniture pieces on Craigslist?  Or, inherited any pieces from friends/family that you customized for your own home?

– Brittany