Tag Archives: Crafts

Flowers?! For Me?!!

Yesterday was Day 7 of Apartment Therapy’s 20/20 Home Cure. For Day 7, Maxwell revisits our assignment from Day 2 – Buy Flowers. While I absolutely love flowers and have a minor obsession with sunflowers in particular, I don’t typically use them in my home. My number one reason would be my Lola’s (my cat) attraction to water. Anything with water in it is intriguing to her and on her mission to get to it she usually knocks over the container and makes a huge mess. Since cleaning up messes frequently will take away from the joy of having fresh flowers, I have chosen to forgo this pleasure until I find a solution to my cat problem.

She may look like an adorable angel...

...but don't let her fool you. She can be a real troublemaker.

Keeping with the topic of flowers…don’t forget to enter to win a free arrangement, of your choosing, of coffee filter flowers. I’ve recently made a bouquet for a coworker as a thank you and she loved it. Here is another bouquet I have been working on.

This giveaway has up to three chances to win, so be sure to check it out.

Another giveaway opportunity for my readers in the Washington, DC metro area is a 1 hour consultation with The Artist’s Eye! Entry information can be found HERE.

The deadline for both giveaways is Friday, October 29th.

By the way – this is my 99th POST!


Pretty Pretty Flowers

Yesterday’s (Tuesday) Home Cure was to buy fresh flowers. I would have to agree with Maxwell that this is a great thing to do to add a little extra to your home.

Thanks to my cat’s fascination with water, I typically do not have fresh flowers. This is the number one reason I am such a fan of Aunt Peaches’ coffee filter flowers. I know I’ve mentioned these a lot lately but I am just so impressed!

In keeping with the 20/20 Home Cure, I will be offering my 2nd giveaway in celebration of nearing my 100th post! The winner of this giveaway will receive an arrangement of coffee filter flowers of their choosing (color and flower type). Here are the details:

  • There are three ways to enter
    1. Comment on this post
    2. Join the Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet Facebook page (if you already follow my Facebook page, Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
    3. Follow me on Twitter (if you already follow my Facebook page,Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
  • You can do one or all three for a better chance to win.
  • Deadline is Friday, October 29th

This is open to anyone in the U.S. (as I will be paying for shipping). Here is a look at some of the flower how tos available on Aunt Peaches blog:

Good Luck!

Best Artificial and Affordable Flowers

In August, one of my favorite blogs – Design*Sponge – posted one of my favorite DIY projects.

These resourceful coffee filter flowers are the idea of Aunt Peaches. Recently I tried a relatively simple version of her coffee filter flowers to add some color and fun to my dining area.

Lola was in a very friendly mood so it was nearly impossible to get a photo without her being in it.

You can find a link to the Design*Sponge instructions via my Projects page.

To take this great idea a little further, I decided to make some flowers to use at my Halloween party. I’m pleased with how they turned out.

I would really encourage you to visit Aunt Peaches website for more amazing ways to make beautiful flowers from coffee filters.

Fashionable, Frugal and Fabulous!

While reading my many favorite design blogs, I ran across this amazing decorating ideas at loving.living.small.

Using the dust bags that come with you favorite designer bags, this creative blogger made affordable and fashionable decor.

By simply framing some handbag dustbags, you can create unique and budget-friendly art.

I’m always looking for ways to create affordable and unique art – what have you done?

[Photos and ideas from loving.living.small]

Wishful Wednesday

I wish…

…I was in Germany this fall and had enjoyed Oktoberfest!

While I can’t be traveling the globe right now, Apartment Therapy offers some great ideas for decorating with maps. I really enjoy decorating with found objects from travels. While studying in Brussels, Belgium, I saved maps from the various cities I visited. Using some empty cans (from almonds, coffee, etc.), I made functional art with my own maps.

For a while, I also had some of these maps as a framed collage.

Lastly, I’m sure I have already shown you all my wall of art that I have collected on my travels. Each piece is unique and from a local artisan (not a gallery).

How do you incorporate your travels, domestic or international, into your own decor?

Fall into the weekend

I’ve been seeing and reading so many articles about getting ready for fall, making your home feel like fall, fall decor etc. I’ve never really changed up much around my home for the seasons in the past but am considering taking a look at it this year. Here are some of my favorite ideas for fall:

  • Of course Martha Stewart changes up her decor for fall. Here she share some crafty ideas for fall and Halloween.
  • Family Circle has some great, and super simple, ways to add a touch of fall to your home.
  • Better Homes & Gardens does a before and after autumn-inspired living room.
  • Nesting Place blog had a Fall Mantel Party with some beautiful fall inspired decorating ideas.
  • Thrifty Decor Chick has some great ideas for giving your home a warm fall glow with candles.
  • I absolutely love the turquoise and red color palette used by Room Remix’s.
  • A great idea to approaching fall inspired decor is to break it down into various elements. belle maison looks at some affordable fall elements you can add to your space.

What are your plans for fall? Do you typically decorate for the seasons? Will you be incorporating fall into your home this season and if so, how?

Most importantly, have a wonderful weekend!

Wishful Wednesday

My first new decorating and organizing project during my time off is my desk. If I’m going to take decorating seriously, I need a very workable and accessible space. Mine is still in progress, but here are some workspaces I love.

I'm not sure I would be able to have anything like this in my real life (I don't like lots of 'stuff') but I just think this is an inspiring workspace. Photo Courtesy of Country Living.

I love how this workspace blends in with the living space. Photo Courtesy of Country Living.

In a perfect world, this would be my workspace (but just for 1). Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

See why it's so great!!! Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Elegantly hidden! LOVE! Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Happy Hump Day! I know I sound like a broken record, but for free decorating advice, or if you want to share your great projects and ideas, e-mail me!

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 4: Budgeting and Shopping

The end is in sight and it just keeps getting more enjoyable and rewarding from here on out. I told you the hard work would pay off!

Much of what I am going to say here is similar, if not identical, to some of the advice from 5 Steps to a More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen. The basics of planning your budget, shopping and sticking to your budget are as follows:

  • Know the space: It is important that you take thorough measurements of the spaces you are reorganizing. This includes, but is not limited to, cabinets, closets, floor space, etc. Make sure to measure every dimension (length – width – depth). I find it helpful to draw the space on graph paper so that I can better visualize how to use different organizational tools.
  • Solve problems: Remember the words that you brainstorms earlier in Step 2. Think of what elements you could add or existing things you could modify in order to make the space all that you want it to be. Try to think outside of the box as much as possible – just because you have used a particular piece of furniture or an item for one purpose doesn’t mean that is the only purpose it can serve.
  • Know your budget: If you end the project having the most amazing space with fabulous furniture, but are stressed out because you have overspent, the project really hasn’t achieved its full potential. Have a budget and stick to it. Make sure your budget is reasonable – for your finances and for what you think you will need to purchase. Remember that you may have things already that you can re-purpose. Also remember your position in life – is this a place you plan on settling in for a while, or is it more of a short-term home. This can effect how much you want to budget for items such as furniture. If you plan on moving in the near future, it may not be a bad idea to look for less expensive or even second-hand items.
  • Research: This is vital to staying on budget. I am a fan of using Microsoft Excel. I typically set up a spreadsheet to keep track of items that I think I want to purchase. This way I can get an idea for what the end cost will be before making any purchases. This helps to prioritize purchases when you near the end of your budget and helps you find the best deal for your purchase. You can find an example of the spreadsheet layout I have used as part of Step 4 of A More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen.

Aside from the nitty-gritty of planning your purchases and budget there are other elements of style and design you will want to consider. Remember your style! This can be incorporated into your space on any budget. If you’re style is like mine and you would love an amazing accent chair, but are also on a budget like mine, no worries! Just because you can’t purchase a new chair doesn’t mean you can’t make a current chair look new. Think of using slip-covers, throw pillows and the like. You can also refurbish a piece of furniture or an inexpensive second-hand piece. If you are crafty, you may be able to save even more money by sewing an accent pillow that will really bring out your style or making a slip cover like I did for my futon.

When shopping, I would recommend bringing swatches of the colors or fabrics that you are working with to make sure you are getting pieces that will work together. Aside from color, don’t forget texture. This is especially important in monochromatic spaces. Without texture it may all look a bit bland.

Happy Shopping! If you find any great deals to share with fellow decorators – please do!

My next project

I have successfully conquered my kitchen/entryway both in my decor and organization. In fact, I was looking in my kitchen closet for something last night and just had to remark on how much I love love loved my new organization! Just a little insight into my theory on organization – anyone can organize. The key that most people overlook is functional organization. It can’t be organization that will last for a week or until you get busy. Everything must have a ‘home’ and it needs to be easy to put things where they belong.

Now that I have barely dipped my toes into this whole interior decorating/designing passion I’m very excited to claim my next project. The dining area of my apartment is right after you enter through my kitchen. I have thought about redecorating this space next, but (1) I have not had any great ideas on what to do and (2) being that it isn’t a large space, I’m half tempted to just skip it.

Here is a photo of my dining space. What are your thoughts?

My dining area. This space is to the right of you after you pass through my kitchen.

Welcoming the World to Your Unique Style

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

Your home is a great place to make others feel welcome, wanted and warm. As such, I think that the best place to first display your design style is in the entryway – set the tone for the rest of your home.

Having realized this I’ve been thinking about how I might give my own entryway a splash of my style. My entryway, however, poses a particularly challenging situation; the entryway is also my kitchen. With limited wall space, and a need to maintain functionality I’m having a difficult time coming up with ideas to add style and color to my kitchen/entryway.

Here’s what I’m working with:

Not much space to work with. This is to the right as you enter my apartment.

This is the "above cabinet storage". Really its just space above the cabinets that I've used to store larger items.

As you can see, there is a closet to the left of the front door. I use this closet for coats and as a pantry.

That's all there is to it. Very small.

So there you have it. There is a lot going on in a very little space.

When first looking at redecorating this space I got very overwhelmed and so I stopped. My beginning efforts were to give it a theme of beer/wine (real classy, I know). Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • The wine rack has been there for a while
  • I made the “cork” board
  • I purchased the tin Yuengling advertisement replica
  • I made magnets from various beer bottle tops for the refrigerator

Not much but it’s a start. What I think is missing is some color and character. Some ideas that I have:

  • I like the ‘vintage’ feel of the tin advertisement and want to do something more with that. I have collected some interesting beer bottle labels from around the world and am thinking of framing them in small square frames to put on the wall above the cat food.
  • Color: I can’t paint (yay for renting) so I need to look for some other ways to add color. Artwork is one way – which I hope to do with the project above. Another way is with a rug. While my entryway mat is functional for keeping dirt from the rest of my apartment, it is also dull and very small (the cat food mat is bigger – pretty pathetic). I’m thinking I can pick up the blue in the Yuengling sign in a rug and/or maybe the colors from the labels I will be framing.
  • That big closet door takes up a lot of the space in the entryway/kitchen and I’d love to do something with it. I think this could be a good place for storage and/or more artwork.

So that is what I have thus far. A much better start than before, and when I’ve broken it down it is much less overwhelming. I think that by the end of this weekend I will be able to make a big change in this small space and on a small budget.

I’m still trying to think of more ideas and options so what are your thoughts….

My laundry list of ideas (and it keeps growing).

When this whole project started I knew I needed to decide what it was I wanted to change and what my budget was. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the best way for me to get ideas for what to do with my apartment was looking online for ideas and inspiration. My problem, however, is that I am constantly seeing new things that I like. Here is my list of projects thus far:

  • Futon Slip-cover – DONE
  • Overall purge of clutter – DONE
  • Finishing my art wall – DONE
  • Covering the back of my bookshelf – DONE
  • Sheer draping around my bed – DONE
  • Make my bathroom more presentable
  • Bed skirt to hide the storage under my bed
  • Give more warmth/color to my living space
  • Find a way to make my small cluttered closet feel uncluttered
  • Look for a way to give some sort of design/style to my kitchen

As for my completed projects, I already showed you the fabulous work I did with my futon slip-cover (my first sewing project ever). Here are the details for the other completed projects:

  • Overall purge of clutter: Not much to explain here. I finally let go of my clothes that were two sizes, or more, too big and I haven’t worn in years. I got rid of ‘things’ I was holding onto for some unknown reason.
  • Finishing my art wall: I studied for a semester in Brussels, Belgium. While there I was lucky enough to travel to about 13 different countries. Whenever possible, I purchased art from a local artist. Most of my art were odd sizes (thanks Europe) and so they needed custom frames and/or matting. After having blank walls for about a year and a half I finally decided to spend the money. More importantly, perhaps, I figured out a way to unify all of my very different pieces of art. I chose all black frames of different styles. To make the unique pieces stand-out, I had custom mats made in colors according to the artwork. I saved BIG on the frames (thanks IKEA) and custom mats are very reasonable. Here is the finished product:

  • Covering the back of my bookshelf: I originally bought my large bookshelf to help divide my living space from my bedroom space. It has worked wonderfully for that. My only problem is that the back of the bookshelf, facing the bed, is unfinished press-board. Being that this is a part of my apartment few people see or ever notice I found an extremely low-budget solution. I covered the back of the bookshelf with black contact paper and then, using clear contact paper, posted black and white photos. You can find more details on the Projects page.

  • Sheer draping around my bed: This project required a trip to home depot – and a very helpful boyfriend. I used the instructions I found through Apartment Therapy’s website on “How To: Hang Curtains Across Any Space”. The curtains have made the space more separated from the rest of my apartment and have given the bedroom space a much warmer feeling.

And now on to attack the rest of my list….

Why does this still feel like a dorm?

I’m pretty sure my dorm room was smaller than 450 sq ft yet I often feel I’m still living like a college kid. For example – my futon (courtesy of Ikea) has wheels. Not only is it a mobile, convertible piece of furniture, but its denim! OY! I think that has to be challenge #1.


  1. Buy new sofa (needs to be a sleeper sofa so that I can still have people over).
  2. Find a slipcover for my uniquely shaped IKEA futon
  3. Have a slipcover custom made
  4. Make my own custom slipcover

Option 1: NO. I’m a bit too cheap to seriously consider this. My imagination has no budget so I have certainly done some online window shopping and have come across some fabulous options but in the real world this isn’t gonna happen.

Option 2: HAHAHA! While IKEA furniture is wonderfully priced and my futon is surprisingly sturdy unless IKEA makes a slipcover I’m not gonna find one anywhere else (thank you my Swedish friends).

Option 3: If only I made more money this would be ideal. I’ve looked online and it seems a custom made slipcover will run me about $500 or so – out of my budget.

Option 4: By process of elimination this will have to be the one I figure out. Granted I have never ever sewn anything in my entire life (except for maybe a pillow in home economics). This will certainly be an interesting endeavor.

And “Option 4” it was. I acquired a refurbished sewing machine via overstock.com, did some online research and Viola! I made a surprisingly impressive slipcover. What a difference it has made!

For more detailed information about how I made the futon slipcover, go to the Projects page.