Monday, December 31, 2012

Beautiful & Functional- Just like me!

Back to the studio- let us remember the ugly, non-functional, but secretive beginnings of this project.

Read the full thought process here for our studio project. I've even had the opportunity to play in the new space! I am completely infatuated with it. Since we did the whole decorating schpeal last week, without further adieu, here she is!

And the side by side:

Granted, this beautiful image is before I added all my cool toys, so it is looking slightly more cluttered now.

It's beautiful, and organized, and it makes me happy.

We threw up a coat of white over the beige in the hallway to give it a crisp, clean look- though since I'm not a big fan of white...especially since I have 3 dirty, wall rubbing dogs- but it will do for now. We also need to cover the wallpaper, but that is out of the budget right now, but it will look even better then.

I've been having fun looking through my old stuff and reopening my etsy shop. It is truly amazing what a clean, new, space does to your creativity.

What do you guys do to unwind?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Playing with My Studio

I have been spending the last few days playing in my studio and I wanted to share what I've been up to! I'm way too excited for my own good, and I can't wait until Monday to share! Please let me know what you think :) If anyone is interested, everything is already up for sale on the Etsy site. Have a fun weekend everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Amazing Christmas Present

I was given something truly extraordinary from Nate this year. As many of you remember, we were having quite the problem with my Jewelry Studio.

We had purchased a secretary desk from our local Habitat for Humanity, which seemed great in theory as it wouldn't look like a jewelry studio from a glance. But in practice, I've found that when I sat down to make a piece with the desk out, I couldn't get to the drawers full of beads underneath.

It quickly turned into a dumping zone, as I couldn't make anything, it was a forgotten corner in our house- which also happened to be at the top of our stairs and was a terrible eye sore when you came up the stairs.

We also had a terrible lack of lighting- so we were saving up for an electrician to come in and put a ceiling box in to install a light. As it was, I could only work until 5 or 6 at night with the amount of light available. Since I work, that left very little time to make anything.

I had been thinking very hard about what I wanted in my studio space this time around. I'd had various other layouts before, but none really with such a space constraint as this. The landing on the stairs is only 52 inches.

My favorite layout up until now was an Expedit set from IKEA. I had 16 cubbie holes filled with crafty goodness and a very deep desk (almost too deep- that back of it just turned into a crap pile)

But, when we moved into Blue, it did not fit into any corner of our house. It was either too deep, or too tall.

Heartbroken, I sold it, and that was how we landed at the secretary desk.

So, when on Saturday, Nate woke me up hearing the magical words, "Do you want your Christmas present?" I replied, "No, it's not Christmas." He then said, "'s at IKEA and I'd rather not pick it out myself..."

Needless to say, pants were on, the hair was in a pony tail, and we were out the door faster than you could say Rhinoceros.

We waltzed through IKEA like it was freaking Disneyland (I personally think there are two happiest places on earth) and stared at every desk, ever configuration, and every measurement until we came up with the solution that one of the customizable build a desks was probably the best solution.

While we were there we also discovered something magical. For $5, you can buy a lighting kit that turns any lampshade into a chandelier.

Honey Boo Boo say what?

I am absolutely in love with the concept. Any area can now have overhead lighting. I'm tempted to put them everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

We left IKEA $240 poorer and 2 pieces of chocolate cake fatter. Overall, it was a glorious day. The lampshade we picked set the tone for the whole new studio.

We picked this awesome Malin Trad shade that was full of bright colors.

Before we even got home, we swung by Home Depot to grab a quart of paint to liven the place up a bit. We picked out the blue from the shade, which was almost identical to Beach Towel by Behr (which is what we bought).

We did the furniture hokey pokey as soon as we got home and I started the now infamous popcorn painting process. Roll, roll, dab, dab, dab. AKA: My life slowly drifting away from me. Though, as always, I persevered since if something needs to get painted it's my job- Nate will only paint under extenuating circumstances.

Sorry, phone picture...
Nate totally almost died painting along the stripes by climbing over the railing (hovering above the open stairs with a hell of a fall below him- aka extenuating circumstances for a short little Emma) and profusely apologized for getting paint on the wallpaper. I told him that it was coming down anyway so he could have painted his name on it for all I care- so excuse the crappy lines on this paint.

We're still nesting it- so come back next week to see what she looks like all done! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jewelry Storage, Like a Boss

As a jewelry designer, I have so much jewelry floating around my house. Along with my personal collection, I also have all of my inventory as well as vintage finds that I buy in bulk to either recreate into something new, or to sell/wear. If I wasn't able to keep up storage wise, my house would look like a bead store threw up in it. Because of this, I thought I would share some organizational tricks I've implemented over the years. 

Did you know you can store earrings on a decorative bird cage?

Or necklaces on a curtain rod? (Even a cheap one?)

You can even store smaller items (or in my case, loose beads) in old cassette tape holders- which you can find at garage sales or resale shops. Baseball card holders work well too.

I've also been known to store earrings in embroidery thread cases, which you can buy at any craft store.
Photo from

There are also the obvious ways of storing jewelry, like on earring or necklace trees, or in your traditional jewelry boxes (I just know, I have wayyyy too much jewelry for that!)

Here are some of my tips and tricks to keeping your jewelry looking nice, and being able to wear what you thought you couldn't:

  • If at all possible, keep your necklaces hanging off center. It is important to keep your necklaces hanging up if for nothing else than to keep them untangled. But, if you hang them slightly off center (especially the heavier ones) your clasps will keep their tightness longer.
  • Take your fine jewelry to get cleaned every six months (I'm usually in the mall around June and December between birthdays and Christmas, so I take all mine in when I'm doing my regular shopping)
  • If you know someone that works with jewelry, have them tighten your beaded necklaces about once a year. The wire will stretch and potentially break.
  • Ever had that necklace fall off right by the clasp? Check the base of it. Usually it is a simple problem that putting the chain back in the loop and tightening the loop with a pair of pliers can fix. Along with this, if you have a lobster claw clasp that breaks, undo the loop, and add a new lobster clasp on. You can buy hole bags of them very reasonably at craft stores.
  • Have sensitive ears? You can buy any pair of earring you want, as long as you go to a craft store and purchase platinum or gold earring hooks. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, open the loop and slip the charm off. Follow the same process to put it on the better quality earring.
  • Also, for a random project, if you have necklaces that have broken, save the beads and put them in a clear glass vase. Down the road, you will have a beautiful almost sand-art type piece full of those memories that you aren't ready to part with yet. I have been working on one with beads that I don't use (you know, the random hot pink bead that didn't match a pattern or something).

Do you guys have any jewelry storage tips/advice? I've been using my week off to get back into the spirit of jewelry and would love to hear what colors you're all wearing or things you'd like to see in the PleasanTrees shop. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Up to my Elbows

I have been up to my elbows in paint recently- though I suppose the biggest (and most expected) is that we finally have the living room completely painted. I batted around a lot of colors for this room- I even debated about some serious tape-ege after being inspired by Kenz's master bedroom.

Last you saw the room, it was a couple paint samples up on the wall and some curtains.

We also had already done the seal against the fireplace.

The two paint samples that were on the wall already were Ice by Behr and Mermaid Song by Behr. I loved the mermaid song because it perfectly matched the leaves in my recliner, which has been a serious pain in the ass to decorate for (apparently I love the colors, but normal stores don't carry much in the way of Mermaid Song accessories...)

But at the end of the day, I thought about how much wear and tear has already been put on our poor Karlstad sectional and thought that given the opportunity to get a cover that was not dry clean only (which they have now, but they didn't when we purchased it) , I would hate to have to redecorate/paint over a crazy paint scheme, if said cover wasn't a color that went with the Mermaid (like, let's get crazy, kelly green or something)

So, I threw up a splotch of some left over Nimbus Cloud that we had in the basement. We love how Nimbus looks in our dining room and since the rooms flow together, we thought it might be nice. After staring at it for awhile though, it seemed a lot darker than it does in the dining room. So, we did a 50/50 ratio of Nimbus cloud and White to see how we liked it.

The living room faces North, and the front covered porch/is 5 feet away from our neighbor's house, so not a lot of light comes in. Plus, the little light that does come in is usually blocked by the blinds because Bridget get's rambunctious and attacks the window if she can see the street.

So, long story short, we went with the lighter shade.

Remember in our Q&A video, someone asked us how we do projects with the dogs in the house? This room was a prime example of how much a pain in the ass dogs can be sometimes.

This room has no doors, so it's quite difficult to keep them out. I was only able to paint when Nate was home so he could keep them occupied and away from me. I also hate painting rooms that already have furniture in them, the rearranging is irritating to me.

After several nights of painting, and putting the room back together, we finally have a fully painted and warm living room. I'm slowly getting rid of all this builder beige (who painted builder beige in a 107 year old house, I don't know...), and it makes me happy.

May I present, the living room.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Did Santa bring you anything fantastic?

Monday, December 24, 2012

WIshing you a Merry Merry.

Nate and I have had the busiest weekend on the planet. All good- just busy. Since he and I both have the week off work, we are going to take some time to get projects done and be together. But, I can tell you that we have finished TWO ROOMS in the three days we've been off.

Something about sleep- I tell ya, it lets you do things.

So there will be plenty to see when we come back.

We love you guys and wish you and yours a Merry Merry (Don't know how that started...just something Nate and I say)

What are your holiday traditions?

This is our first Holiday completely, and 100% alone. So far, we spent Christmas Eve putting together my Christmas present (and 1 room makeover! BAM!) and cought snowflakes in the yard with the puppies. We're going to curl up with a Christmas movie and put some candles in the fireplace (as we haven't had it inspected yet and don't know if it will burn the house down)

Love you guys!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tips from the Lazy Painter

If you read the DIY blog realm like I do, you see post after post of "I love painting! Cutting in is so easy anyone can do it!"

Screw that!

I'm here to say right here, and right now, I SUCK at painting.

Yep, there we go.

It may not be so much that I suck at painting as much as I may be the queen of lazy painting. In my family we joke that everyone is masters of guerrilla warfare. My mom can sew anything- the insides look like crap, but the job is done.

My sister is the worlds worst organizer. She looks organized, but everything is crammed in pretty boxes so on the outside it looks lovely, but you still can't find anything.

I am a guerrilla painter. If you really look at my paint jobs, they suck, but the color is on the wall and if I hang up enough art- you can't tell how much I suck. (Photo editing software helps too...)

Here are some tips from the guerrilla painter.

1.) Make it fun

Turn on your pandora, take off your pants, get a large diet coke and rock out.


I don't understand why more bloggers don't recognize the amazing-ness that is an edger. I do not cut in. I don't. I suck at it, it looks like a toddler with a paintbrush tried to make something I quit doing it, and I rock my edger.

It is like $3 at Home Depot and you can buy the pads at Wal-Mart for like $1 a piece. The doodad has wheels on it that glide smoothly along trim and moldings and gives you a nice 3 inch block of paint.  Having that three inches makes it really easy to roll into and you're not spending hours cutting in a room. The trick with an edger though is to only edge a small section at a time, then roll it, or the edge will dry and you won't get a smooth finish. When Brenna and I paint together, she rocks the edger, I rock the roller.

Got a small space above a window or something? Edge the whole freaking thing. No point climbing up and down the ladder a thousand times. Just rub your edger all over the place- easy peasy.

Using this bad boy has also eliminated a lot of my tape consumption. If I use tape, I use frog tape, because the seal is a lot better than scotch blue, in my opinion, and I know my crappy paint job won't damage my wood. I only really tape places where there isn't enough of a lip for my edger (like around my fireplace) but even then, I taped it, and then edged over the tape.

3.) Get the stick thingy.

For some reason I never bought the stick thing before we bought this house, but I finally caved because our ceilings are so tall, even on our 6 foot ladder I couldn't paint all the way up. Now I use it almost all the time- it will cut your paint time in half and your legs will thank you the next day when you're not climbing up and down the ladder 47 times.

4.) Not gunna see it? Don't paint it.

Now, I'm not saying paint like 2 inches below where your couch hits and leave the rest- that's just silly, but say you have 1 inch between your woodwork and your floor boards. If a piece of furniture is for sure ALWAYS going to be in front of it, don't risk damaging your woodwork by painting it. Yes, I could tape it and get in there with my foamy brush and meticulously paint the whole thing, but for what end? Example; I'm painting the living room right now. We have a giant ass sectional that can not fit anywhere else in our house. It is ALWAYS going to be in front of that 1 inch gap, so no- I'm not going to paint it. By the time I get rid of the couch I'll want to re-paint anyway.

5.) Prime.

I know that doesn't sound lazy, because why paint 2 coats of primer only to paint color. Uhhh, because it makes your color stick better- obviously. Plus with primer, you just get your roller on the long stick, slap a couple coats on in less than an hour and you'll make it so you're not edging your new color on for the next three days to get a level coloring.

6.) Do it with someone else home to corral your dogs so you're not worried Seamus is gunna rub is fat ass in the paint and then scurry all over the house rubbing paint on everything. 

Or maybe that's just at my house.

7.) Do it all in one night.

I don't care how tired I am, I'd rather stay up until two in the morning and get it done than to wrap all that shit up and seal everything and start over the next day. No. Do it once.

8.) Buy your supplies at Wal-Mart (but not your paint!)

Wal-Mart's paint is terrible...but their supplies are the same as everywhere else and they are so cheap you can stock pile rollers and edger pads (example, a foam brush at HD is $0.67-$2.00, WM has a pack of 12 for $1.50)

9.) Throw that crap out.

Because you stock pile everything at Wal-Mart you don't have to spend 2 hours scrubbing brushes and roller pads in your stinky utility sink. Yeah it's not the most environmentally friendly thing, but I'd rather buy it cheap and throw it out than deal with cleaning it only to have it probably be stupid and crusty anyway the next time I went to use it.

10.) If your walls suck Paint sassy, but Neutral, accessorize boldly.

In our first apartment, I painted the walls really fantastic colors. I loved them. I'm not kidding, our living room was pumpkin orange and peacock. It was awesome.  I loved it. It only worked because all of our furniture was light and neutral, but now, after the 8 hour fiasco of painting the popcorn wall the Seal color (dark charcoal), from now all, all popcorn walls will be painted relatively calm. If a wall is flat and you paint it sassy, then you hate it, 2 hours later and it's gone. On a popcorn wall, you'll never get that part of your life back. So, to make it so I don't waste away with my foamy paint brush, all popcorn walls will be painted a sassy neutral and then be accessorized with the obnoxious colors that I love so very much.

So those are some of my lazy painters tricks. I'm sure I'll think of more the deeper into this house we get.

Do you guys have any lazy painting tips? Or lazy house tips in general?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

100 Posts, 6 Months, 2.5 Years!

Today is a hell of a post. (Helluvah?) Not only is today our 100th post, it marks us living in Blue for six months (to the date!) and Nate and I have been married for 2.5 Years.

Hot Damn!

Anyone else excited?

I wanted to use this post as a mile marker for us and show what we've done. One day, Nate and I hope to send our blog posts over to shutterfly (or something like that...I don't remember the exacts) to have it bound as a memory book for us- so have a 6 month mark is a super fun thing for us.

Please enjoy these before and afters for where we're at only six months in!

First, we'll start with the entryway (obvs) Which, I was surprised to discover in the millions of pictures on my computer, that I don't have a real picture of the stairs or anything- so we'll have to get on that.

Next we will make our way into the fireplace room. Which is currently drying so I don't have an after picture. What? Whoops. I don't know if you were supposed to hear that yet...

Then we'll go to our first baby and big project- the family room.

And the attached dining room.

Then we have the in-progress downstairs bathroom:

And our kitchen- which luckily for us we didn't have to do anything to but personalize.

Then we'll peek into the garage...

And out to the back yard!

We'll go to the upstairs, where there's the landing (which amazingly I have ZERO pictures of right now) so, we'll move on. And, we'll go into the love room the master bedroom.

And the room-of-doom turned guest room/future nursery (someday- not pregnant!)

And the Upstairs Bath

And the guest room!

I love our home.  I look at it and I still see all the work that needs to be done, but I have to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed these last six months- getting my hands dirty, and creating a special place for Nate and I. While this blog is mostly for us to look back on and go "EW LOOK AT THOSE WOOD COUNTER TOPS" I love that you guys are here every day to squeal at cool things with us.

Happy 100th Post!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Itty Bitty

After hemming my beautiful new curtains, I used some of the remnants to create a little curtain for the bench nook-thing in the living room.

First, I measured the window, the I measured the remnants and cut it to size (+1 inch) Luckily since the curtain already was...a curtain so I didn't have to worry about making a pocket or anything like that.

Since the curtain was prone to fraying I decided to do a french seam. Then I decided I should probably tell you what a french seam is.

A french seam is a completely enclosed seam.


First, using the presser foot, create a seam with the WRONG SIDES TOGETHER (I know, weird, do it anyway) so you'll be stitching on the right sides.

Then, trim your seam down to about a 1/4 inch.

Then flip over to the wrong side of your fabric and pinch your seam to make it flat. Pin.

Now this is usually where I say to Iron your material so it's easier to capture the little seam.

Memo to self, don't iron these curtains, and don't light the house on fire.

Don't curtains are just a little shorter than I originally anticipated. WompWomp...

After you pin your seam flat- it will look like your project is folded wrong.

Following the presser foot, stitch next to your original seam. You will be sewing on the wrong side of your fabric. When you open your fabric, you'll have this cute little closed seam!

Yay! No Fraying.

 Then put it up!

Why did I need a little curtain?

Well, this window is right by our front door. And yes, you could totally peek in through it standing on our front porch and see everything in our house. It needed dressing. Bad.

Is it the spring yet? I want to paint the porch so bad!

Example of how you can peek into our house. You never know what you'll see!

Here it is on the inside, all dolled up!

I love the way it plays off the seal.

No more creepers bein' creepy!

YES! Another thing off the to-do list. I love when that happens.

In the mean time, All the energy I have is going to these little quick projects. But, never fear- I have ALL NEXT WEEK OFF.

With slave labor.

That's right. My college girlies are coming to be my slaves.

So, if I'm lame until then, please humor me :)