When I say there aren't enough hours in the day, what I really mean is that I have way too many interests and I can never quite fit everything in during a normal 16 hr day (this is assuming I get 8 hrs of sleep, but let's be real, it's more like 6 after I watch two episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix...ok after I watch one episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix and fall asleep halfway through the second one).

But, here's a pretty easy DIY craft that takes literally an hour to make. I saw it a few months ago on this blog and I loved it so much that I wanted to make one for our front door.

It's pretty easy and there are a million ways to style your yarn tapestry since basically any type of yarn will work, but I tried to go for several textures and one or two thicker yarns to give it that bulkier look. Supplies: Scissors, Yarn, wooden dowl, leather cord (found in jewely section at Joann's), plastic canvas and a little bit of creativity.

To make the lengths, I just wrapped the yarn around my elbow (for the longer sections) and around my hand (for the shorter sections). I tied them with a string at both ends and then cut them on either side to make two sections.

Eventually ou'll have a bunch of sections, short and long and you'll need to attach them to the plastic. Here's a horrible visual of mine showing where I tied them. It's not really an exact science...but 'm not gonna lie, I made several counting errors the first time I tried to attach them to the plastic. But, the end product is just as weird as I'd like it to be and it looks pretty awesome hanging on the front door.



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A few weeks ago we went to New Buffalo to celebrate our 5 year anniversary...and mostly to get some fresh air. It seems like fall is really here now, but at the end of Septmber we were blessed with one last beach-weather weekend. It's so nice to be able to hop in the car and within 2 hours be in the most beautiful place ever. I'm one of those big-water people. I don't have to be in it to enjoy it, but the bigger the body of water, the better. And, for all the traveling we've done in the past few years, (and all the seas, oceans, and lakes we've vacationed near), there is nothing like Lake Michigan.


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Oh fall. You're so great with your swirly clouds, cool breezes, & your pretty flowers. We're taking a few days off from the internets to work on other projects and enjoy being outdoors, picking apples, eating a lot of good food, and celebrating our anniversary--5 years, y'all. We'll be back next week with a sweet DIY yarn tapestry and a new way to decorate your front door for fall.

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Finally, some light. I got this super heavy-duty lamp back in February from the Brown Elephant and while I knew it needed some love, I was pretty unprepared for how much time it would take to just replace the cord...and then the threaded light socket...and then the switch..and then the bulb.

Here's the lamp in its totally attractive before state. The shade is clearly an afterthought and while the lamp actually worked, the cord and plug were definitely janky and the last thing we need is a house fire. I thought this would be an easy fix. New cord, remove the shade altogether, and just toss on an edison bulb. And while that's exactly what we did, it took way (way, way) too long.


I thought I'd go all out and pick up a sweet cloth-covered cord, but the hole in the lamp arm was so tiny that I was nervous it wouldn't fit. Luckily that part at least worked out. I also picked up an edison bulb at the local Menards.










But, as with retrofitting anything, we had to pick up a few extra washers and tweak a few things along the way. I kinda love the way it turned out, though. A little old, a little new, and a lot of new that looks like it's old. Win-win.

Here's one last before-and-after shot to appreciate how far a few bucks can go into turning something meh into something awesome.

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I'm anxiously awaiting fall here, or at least some kind of weather void of humidity. I have several spray-painting projects that I want to accomplish but I'm worried that I won't have the perfect weather/time/patience trifecta. In the meantime, several of our deck flowers reached their overgrown state / expiration, so I spent some time on the deck earlier this week cleaning things up and cutting back the vines that had grown so long they were wrapping themselves around the deck boards. Whoopsch. Nothing says fall like the Bears losing their first game and mums, so after a short trip to Cali for business, I picked up some fall foliage to get in the mood. 



I'm also working on a new wreath for the front door because the last one fell and cracked (yes, the styrofoam actually separated) and made a super sorry yarn mess in the hallway. My plan is to create something similiar but slightly modified. 

We're also working on a lamp project that was supposed to be a super simple quick fix but has turned into a project where I sit online searching for threaded light sockets and double-gauged wire. Hopefully the parts show up soon so we can check that guy off the list. 

Other than that, it's almost time to start designing holiday cards to get up on Etsy. Hopefully we Chicagoans actually have a nice fall before the arctic tundra sets in and we are housebound for 5 months. Hopefully...


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Above: City maps of a few of the places we've visited along the years...Copenhagen, Paris, Athens, Munich, Stockholm.

It's a celebration! We've been in the loft for 5 years now and I can't believe how much this place has changed. Well, I can, because looking at these "before" shots is kind of shocking to me. I clearly forgot about all the work we did around here. And, if we're being honest (I think we're at that point in the relationship now) I'm shocked that as soon as I walked into this place that I was sold instantly. Maybe I knew what it could become with a lot of paint...and I'm so glad that I was willing to overlook so many things...you'll see what what I mean when we get to the photos. So, without further ado, here are the "before" shots of our "Italian Villa Loft" that were taken by my father-in-law during our inspection back in '09. 

The Dining Room/Entry, before. Note our awesome realtor pondering the existence of extreme faux finishes (sponge painting, stripes, sponge painting over stripes, an all-over sand wash, and the ultimate winner--faux leather!) while Kevin and I are having a serious conversation on whether or not to hold our next Knights of the Roundtable meeting under that 200lb chandelier. Fun fact: I tried to sell that chandelier for two months. The retail price was over $1400. Shockingly, no one wanted it so it ended up at the Brown Elephant. Adorable Fun Fact: Kevin and I are both wearing boat shoes.

Now. Less clutter, more storage, and without the sponge-painted walls. Our dining room is virtually all CB2--the table, the chairs, and the black light. The three 8 ft cabients are from IKEA and are amazing. Our entryway nook has a small tufted linen and brass bench by Threshold for Target below a framed copy of the HOLSTEE Manifesto. Horns are everywhere in this house, so just get used to it.


The Living Room, before. Definitely not our style, but stil cozy and inviting. I totally miss those 12 ft long metallic silver blinds though, not.


Now. The wood floor is the same and we've added an 8x10 FLOR rug and turned the back wall into a giant stripe gallery. The main color in the room is gray (spoiler alert: every wall in the house is some shade of gray). Gone are the metallic blinds, surround sound speakers, and garish red wall. The furniture is a mix of old and new. The couch is from Room and Board and the sideboard is a vintage piece from Modern Cooperative in Pilsen.


The Bedroom, before. This room still makes me gag a little bit. I mean the leathery faux finish, the wicker, the carpet...

Now. No more carpet or faux leather walls. We've gone minimalist with all of our furniture and replaced the blinds. The bed is from Room and Board and the dresser is from CB2. The stools are from Roost in Andersonville and the brass MCM lamps were a gift. Bedding is from IKEA.


The Bathroom, before. The sinks are in the hallway between both of the bedrooms and the flooring was...carpet. So gross. The toliet and shower are in a separate room.


Now. The first thing we did when we got the keys to this place was gut the bathroom. We were able to do most of the demo ourselves (cue long nights of me sitting on the bathroom floor scraping carpet glue off the concrete) and we were able to buy all of our bathroom pieces locally from Community Home Supply. The bathroom was originally all white, but as soon as the painters left, I put that gray stripe in there. I couldn't help myself.



The Second Bedroom, before. Here it is, the culmination of bad faux finishes. We've got sponge patining and stripes...and some UFO sconces. 

Now. We've turned this room into an office because that seemed like the adult thing to do. Plus, we needed a space to store all of our computer equipment and everything that comes along with the letterpress business. We've also got my digital piano in there and our washer/dryer (which is hidden in one of the closets). This room has gone through a lot of phases in the last 5 years, but it finally feels finished now.

The Kitchen, before. Not much has changed in here except for the wall color. I'm not a super huge fan of the backsplash but the idea of changing anything scares me at this point because I imagine I'll start with something small and it will turn into a gut job. The previous owner had just finished re-doing this space before he listed it and he made some smart decisions regarding the layout/appliances. If we were doing it over, I would have gone with a lighter scheme because there isn't a lot of natural light in here.

Now. So similiar but so different. More gray and we added some white stools to the counter. What a difference a coat of paint makes, right? I really do love the kitchen, especially in the fall/winter when I can hide in there and bake and cook. It may not be huge (said in a Donald Trump voice) but it's definitely laid out well (except for that giant concrete support) and very efficient. 


The Deck, before. Other than the furniture/flower boxes the deck is pretty much the same. So, I guess it's all different then?

Now. New flower boxes and different styling. We spend a lot of time on the deck in the spring-fall months and being able to have an outdoor space that's all our own is really awesome.

I'm glad I finally put this post together just so I can map the evolution of this place over the last five years. I guess it's true what they say about design, it's never really finished. It's so easy to change up a space with color or accessories. Maybe if I had more time I'd start a third business...just kidding.


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On Saturday we took an impromptu trip to Cedarbug and Port Washington (Wisconsin). We wanted to hit up some of the smaller antique/consignment shops, swing by the lake, and eat some ice cream...aka a perfect summer day. 








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I know it's been a while (ok, it's been a long time) but there's been a bit of craziness happening around here and I have no idea where all that time went...except that it's gone. Having two businesses (well, one is more hobby than business, but they are both equally time consuming) makes for hectic times. Hopefully things will slow down a bit because I have a lengthy craft to-do list that's been staring me in the face for 3 months. Wanna see the list? Boom:

  • I found this awesome metal IKEA open shelving unit in our garage next (key word is next) to the dumpsters so I picked it up immediately and without missing a beat, bought some gold spray paint to spruce it up. I had caviar dreams of setting it up on the deck and loading it full of small herb pots and tiny flowers, and you know, showcasing my fancy, non-existent garden tools. Where is it now, you ask? It's being used as a laundry rack...
  • I picked up this incredible little lamp at the Brown Elephant back in...April? It needs some TLC and a wiring job which I have all the tools/supplies for...just haven't had the time. 
  • Antiquing has taken a back seat these last 2 months but I'm ready to shop. Not sure what I'm looking for at the moment, but I'm sure something will catch my eye. 
  • I picked up these awesome circular wood knobs from CB2 about a year ago and am just now trying to figure out where to hang them...other than everywhere.
  • And the boring stuff: I need to fall clean the house and organize all the closets and drawers that are overflowing. Granted, I do find that fun but it's still something that I've had to put off. 

Hopefully I'll be able to start crossing these tasks off the list pretty soon because I'm feeling pretty ambitious right now and I'm thinking I should take advantage of that feeling before I remember that there's TV and Netflix and a comfortable couch and that naps can also make one feel successful...

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A few weeks ago during a run on the lake path I snapped a quick photo of the view. Fourteen years ago (yikes) when I semi-permanently moved to Chicago to go to college, I was extremely lucky enough to live right on the water, with even a few of those years having a sandy beach for my backyard. I vividly remember going to my first college class ever--Early European History--and being told by the teacher that despite living right on the lake, I would end up taking it for granted. That I would walk by it everyday and forget that it's there and forget that it's beautiful. And I said, "No way, not gonna happen." And you know what, it didn't. I spent 7 years living on the lake--first in Roger's Park and then in Edgewater--and I spent 5  of those years roadbiking that lake path every morning, mosty alone during the quite 6am hour, breathing in the fresh air and listening to whatever mixes I had made for that week. Then I'd get home, quickly get ready and hop on the train to get downtown for work. At 5pm I'd rush home to get back on my bike again to log another 15 miles, riding toward downtown, circling Oak Street beach, and finally heading north to make it home just as the sun set.

It's my very own place that just happens to be a place for everyone else. I had an extremely scary bike accident on this path at the Belmont Harbor entrance. I've lived off the Ardmore entrace and the Berwyn entrace. Kevin and I got engaged right off the Fullerton entrance... Funny how a stretch of concrete is responsible for so many years of memories. I think everyone should have a place like this. 

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We recently desgined & created these adorable invites for a 1st birthday party. There's a lot going on, but all of the different elements--from the chevron to the stripes to the buttons--all seem to compliment each other. The birthday girl loves buttons and the colors pink and gray. I think these invites would also pop in ombré blues as well!

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PaperPlanePress is a husband/wife collaboration based out of an old pencil factory loft in chicago. Who would think that when you put together a computer engineer and a world coin numismatist you'd get creative gold.


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