spring living room

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this really may be the prettiest spring here on the central coast, at least for the 14 years that we’ve been living here!  because of our massively wet winter, our hills are ALIVE and so very green.  i’m a big fan.

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with the change of season, i thought it might be fun to share our main living space with you, and you can see a few small changes we’ve made here.  while we do have a playroom/game room/guest room/laundry/catch-all room downstairs that is huge, none of us really gravitate that direction because it feels really basement-y – dark and chilly.  and dark.  but this upstairs space with our living room, kitchen and dining room, this is where we do all our daily living.  we tend to do school mostly at the dining room table, but migrate to the couch and coffee table, too.  basically, at the end of a school day, you can’t see the top of any surface because its covered in books and paper.

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so while the kids were away at school (they go 2 days a week), i scrambled to clean and straighten the living room and snap some pics to share what i’d love for the house to look like if no one ever lived here.  but we do and we’re a messy bunch, so these pictures are all lies, LIES!  just kidding, we just can’t keep it clear of clutter for long because we really do spend our time living here, not so much cleaning. (blanket above from nine space and pillow from target {similar})

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our couches are from ikea and for the price are holding up great.  we’ve had them for years and i’m kind of done with them.  i still love the brightness they lend to any room, but i am on the hunt for something new for our new house.  i’m leaning towards a caramel leather but am not willing to make such a huge decision until we live in the space for a bit and see how much space i need to fill.

we’ve only had white slipcovered couches and they are so easy to maintain.  i won’t say they always look amazing, but i love that i can take them off and bleach them clean.  yes, we even had them through babies and toddlers.  they survived just fine.

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the pink pillow is from target and i want to find a couple more in that color.  lily has currently stolen that one for her bed, so i’m missing that soft springy color in here.  the sequin pillow was made from a tank top.

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i’ve now got 3 fiddle leaf figs under my supervision (i’m long-term plant sitting the big one for my mom until their loft is built with our new house).  they aren’t dying or dead, so i’ll call that a win!  i found that round basket (what are they called again?) at a local shop called letter & grain, and it fit the plant’s pot perfectly.  the vintage fruit crate was a gift from a friend years ago.  it has served many purposes over the years, mostly as some sort of a book shelf.

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i splurged on this little stool from serena & lily, and its just so pretty!  its perfect for a plant stand, but i’d love to use it in a bathroom next to a tub or shower (our current bathrooms are way too tight for that).

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my dad and i made that coffee table from reclaimed wood and facia board from the deck of my childhood home (with the pretty green flakey paint).  its on casters so it rolls easily out of the way for vacuuming or wrestling sessions.  i’m thinking it might look great on our next front porch, next to the outdoor fireplace (you heard that right.  eek!).  the stump side table was from my parents’ house as well (thousands of trees have been cut down due to the drought & pine beetles).  we’ve got several of these throughout our house, like in our bedroom and on our porch.

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such a weird fireplace.  why off centered?  i totally get it if it went with the style of the house to be off kilter, or if there was wood storage on one side, but no.    oh well, i try to ignore it and pretend the fireplace is usable and that sean and i snuggle up in front of it every winter night.  but again, no.  but, i am super thankful for a mantle and centerpiece for the room.

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the mirror was a christmas present to myself from urban outfitters.  it is exactly what i’ve been wanting and it has a designated home in the new house already.  in my mind, my entryway will look like this and the mirror will live there.  i’m trying to only buy new things that i know will work in the new house.

the gold and glass container is actually from target’s outdoor section.  when i was looking at other vases and lanterns in the home decor area, they were so much more expensive.  but this one was pretty affordable and so i justified it.

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i have a really hard time walking away from a vintage blue glass mason jar when i see one, but my collection is pretty much done, i think.

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this galvanized tub is another item that has lived many lives in our homes, from a drink container at parties to a blanket container here.

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that big oversized pillow (from target) against the fireplace is perfect for sitting on around the coffee table when we have our growth group over or are playing games.

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this giant slice of wood was from a tree by my parents’ house.

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the strand of wooden beads were from leftovers from gracie’s craft camp party.  i would love to have a strand of varying sizes or really big ones.

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rocks from my kiddos

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the succulents are doing better than i expected inside.  i can keep them alive outside, but not as well inside.  they are covered with beach glass from our trip last summer to seaglass beach.

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here’s a pulled back shot to give you a better idea of the layout of the room.  we never put the shades down on those windows – i should just tae them down and tuck them away until we move…

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this is one of my favorite new pieces of art from minted.  its so simple and i love the colors!  i haven’t decided what to do for framing any of the pieces i got, so for now this giant bulldog clip works!

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this shot gives you an even better idea of the split level layout, with the front door halfway down the stairs (behind the chairs in the upper left of the pic).

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speaking of those chairs… gah i love them!  i spotted them at anthropologie awhile back on sale then had to wait for a few months on them since they were backordered.

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they are really pretty comfortable and their price was better than most of the other rattan chairs i found.

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the view from the dining room, with a blanket we got in greece draped over the back of the couch.

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there you have it!  if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section!

macrame wall hanging

diy macrame wall hanging several months ago i shared our master bedroom update in our rental house.  one of my favorite additions was the macrame wall hanging i made.  i tried to copy this one (image below) from urban outfitters (its so pretty!) but realized i would have to either a) wait for my mom to visit and teach me to macrame, or b) google how to macrame, and both options weren’t fast enough for me.  i prefer instant gratification ;)

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i started looking into thin rope for macrame, but it was much more expensive than i wanted to spend (anyone know of a cheap link for me?) so i went to my good ol’ standby: yarn.  i love to use yarn for a variety of projects, never involving knitting or crocheting because i don’t have those skills.  plus there is so much variety in the different yarn you can get, and its fairly inexpensive.

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i chose 3 different yarns because i started this project with very little idea of what i was actually doing, and only figured it out as i went along.  those are often my favorite types of projects!  in hindsight, i may have just chosen 1 type of yarn for more consistency, but i also love everything imperfect, so the 3 types look pretty good to me!

since i didn’t really know what i was doing, i faked it.  i pulled out my best friendship-bracelet-making-skills from 3rd grade and started tying and untying knots until i landed on a pattern i liked.

let’s back up a bit.  i actually started by cutting tons of strips of yarn, all roughly the same length (about 1 1/2  yards long).

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then i tied my main strand, longer than i wanted to end up with, to the backs of 2 chairs and stretched it across the room.

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when i made my actual banner (?) i didn’t photograph the steps because i was figuring it out along the way, so i recreated it in the photos below, but used slightly shorter yarn (so you’ll see at the end that its shorter).

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start with a strand folded in half.

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fold the loop over the stretched strand, from the back over to the front.

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pull the ends of the strands through the loop.

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pull until tightened, but not too snug.

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repeat those steps with all your cut lengths of yarn.  each section that creates a “v” will be made of 10 of the loops just made, like above.

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diy macrame wall hanging

next step, leave the far left strand alone, take the next 2 strands

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and tie them in a simple knot, not too tight, but not too loose.

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then knot those same 2 strands again to make a square knot.  you’ll know its a square knot when the strands lay to the side like the picture above rather than one sticking up and the other down.

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take the next 2 strands and do the same, making a square knot.

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continue across, making square knots, leaving the far right strand alone.

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now take the 3rd and 4th strand over from the left, and make a square knot, leaving the first 2 strands alone.

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diy macrame wall hanging

continue square knots across, leaving the last 2 strands alone.  you can just start to see the beginning of the “v” forming.

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leaving now the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strands alone, take the 4th and 5th.

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again make another square knot, and continue the same pattern through the next rows until you complete the “v”.

diy macrame wall hanging

diy macrame wall hanging

as you can see, in this sample i cut my initial strands a little too short to start with – oops!  to finish, keep adding “v’s” until you get to the desired length and then you’re done!

diy macrame wall hanging

diy macrame wall hanging