Category Archives: home decor

d.i.y. “corkboard” frame

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i’ve had this project up my sleeve now since last summer. i dilly-dallied, procrastinated, forgot about it, didn’t have the right tools, etc etc etc. aka i made up a bunch of excuses. glad i got that off my chest.

i found this glorious huge vintage-y empty picture frame at the old luckett’s fair in august for a hefty $10 and decided i wanted to transform it into a cork board for the blank wall by jesse’s side of the bed so he could pin up all the cards i’ve gotten for him (i love buying cards even more than i love making them, ha) over the past few years. in addition to lining the frame with cork, i wanted to cover the cork in burlap and make a crisscrossing pattern in lace so he could just slide the cards into place. jesse loved the idea, i loved the idea, everyone loved the idea.

my first order of business was to procure some cork. i measured the frame and then checked out amazon. turns out they had a cork roll that was the exact same width as the frame: what luck! it would be too long but i figured that was good in case i made any errors (which i was bound to do of course). once the cork arrived i realized i’d have to get some burlap and some lace, and this is where i ran into problems. i’ve had burlap sitting in my cart on etsy for about 3 months and i just never pulled the trigger. other things kept taking precedence over this project and i kept saying “oh i don’t have any burlap yet. i don’t have enough lace.” more excuses.

cut to one chilly january morning while jesse was out of town. i decided i would finally make the frame into a big bulletin board and have it hanging up by the time jesse got home. so i hauled my butt off to joann fabrics and bought up some supplies: burlap, craft glue, wood glue and lace trim. once i got home i unrolled the cork and thought “hmm.. i probably should have unrolled this months ago so that it could flatten out” but i pressed on. i started to trim the cork to the size of the frame and it started ripping. turns out the cork was so thin that every time i put a little bit of pressure onto it, it would rip. ugh. 

i finally got the cork to approximately the right size (with only one small tear) and got started cutting the burlap so that i could essentially wrap the cork with it like a present. however, when i went to glue the burlap to the cork, it wouldn’t stick! after a few more failed attempts, i threw up my hands in frustration, left a giant mess on the living room floor, and sat on the couch and pouted.

later that day i cleaned up the mess, threw away the cork, and brainstormed different ways to make my vision come to life. i decided to staple the lace to the frame and then staple the burlap behind the lace, and then use clothespins to hold the cards to the lace. once i bought a staple gun, i got right to work and the project only took about 20 minutes from start to finish, thank god.

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i played around with how i wanted the lace to lay on the frame, and decided on two corners of lace and then two stripes of lace across the frame.

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it’s very important that the lace be really taut across the frame so that it doesn’t sag once you pin the cards to it.

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measuring, as it always seems to be, was a bit of trial and error.frame4

watch your fingers! this is real life people, i can’t avoid a goofy picture.frame5

not pictured: a quick ironing of the burlap to help it lay flat. (turns out it gets a little wrinkled and lumpy if you ball it up in frustration and shove it under your desk.) make sure to pull the burlap as tight as possible, staple away, and then trim the excess.
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admire your handiwork. ignore the thought in the back of your mind that you should have ironed the lace as well. no one has time for that. tell yourself that the clothespins and cards will cover that up.frame7

have your cute boyfriend hang up his cards!frame8the finished product! pardon the iphone photo.

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i also covered the clothespins with a red and white patterned washi tape to add just a little extra pizazz (yes, pizazz).

so there you have it, the finally finished cork board that i’ve been talking about for 6 months.

lessons learned: when in doubt, use a staple gun. and always iron your burlap.

wish list: coffee

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hi, my name is k-lee, and i’m a coffee addict. actually, that’s not even true. i’m an espresso addict. which is probably worse, considering it’s more concentrated caffeine and i need about 3 shots to get my day started.

anyway, it’s an addiction that i am happily at terms with. i love waking up in the morning thinking about the delicious latte i’m about to sip. i love sipping an iced latte in the summertime reading my favorite blogs from the couch. i love reading a book or catching up with an old friend while drinking a latte at starbucks (i know, i know, but it’s on every corner in dc and the best coffee shops are not conveniently located to my caffeine addiction- also, have you ever had their pumpkin spice latte? divine.) i really love coffee ice cream (coffee coffee buzz buzz buzz from ben & jerry’s is the ultimate.) quite simply, lattes are my daily indulgence and i am very content with that.

recently i’ve been working on making a little workspace nook in my apartment. above my desk i have a corkboard with a big chunk of white space next to it where i was hoping to hang up a couple prints. since i like to work at my desk in the morning, i’m usually kept company by a big ol’ iced latte. i think that a coffee print (or two!) would be the perfect visual accessory for this blank space.

here are a couple prints that i really like.

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this print is by textured ink, an etsy shop. they have a bunch of really fun prints (kitchen related and otherwise) but i personally love this print because i use that type of espresso maker in my home and the colors are perfect for my space as well.

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kellie over at le zoe musings has created some lovely coffee prints for her etsy shop. this one is my favorite but she has lots of cute ones perfect for your kitchen or office. i can’t wait to hang this one up!

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pure perfection by madebygirl. lots of covet-worthy things over there including prints, jewelry, and clutches, but this is my favorite print. i’ve had this image pinned for six months now and can’t wait to hang it.

keeping with the coffee theme, i’ve also included a couple other coffee inspired pieces that have caught my eye. 

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i believe this mug is by marks & spencer but i can’t find it on their website. perhaps it’s a seasonal thing? it is, after all, only august (sigh).

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sweet anthropologie mug, you’re adorable. you never can have too many coffee mugs in my opinion.

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last but not least, i stumbled upon this cute coffee cup ring on pinterest and thought it would be a fun way to show  allegiance to a favorite morning stimulant. definitely a sweet little accessory.

do you have a favorite art print that hangs in your home? are you partial to espresso or can you get by on regular coffee? french press? whether it’s coffee, a latte, or something else, i hope you have many reasons to wake up and smile.

 

Spotlight on Story People

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i have a habit of collecting cards. i buy them all the time, from stores, stands, flea markets, everywhere!  my sister even got me a card organizing box for my birthday one year (which probably increased my card problem because i started buying them to fit into the specific categories of the card box).

one of the very first cards i ever bought without any intention of sending (i just wanted to keep it because it was so pretty!) was from a little gift shop in stowe, vt, by a small card company called story people. the whimsical artwork by brian andreas is paired with words that speak straight to your heart. i have since picked up their cards wherever i see them and have a whole bookmarks folder of links to their many wonderful prints that i would like to collect for my home. i have gotten them as wedding gifts, christmas gifts, and anniversary gifts and they are always so well received and appreciated. they also range from being wacky and funny to heartfelt and tear-jerking. 

my favorites are their prints and cards but they also have a bunch of other fun gifts — you can get your favorite story on a mug, tote, frame, or even an apron.

here are some of my favorites from their collection.

no words

side by side

one of my all time favorite cards, no more secret

this is the very first card i bought from them about 10 years ago

it now sits on my desk and reminds me to see the beauty all around me

bittersweet

this print hangs right near our door

and it makes me smile every time i walk by

single mind

 

i hope you’ll stop by story people and see what beautiful and inspirational gifts/cards/prints speak to you!

entryway inspiration

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jesse and i have cohabitated splendidly now for 7 months and i am still totally enamored with our apartment (and jesse, of course). at least four times a week one of us grins at the other and says “can you believe we live here?” or “can you believe this is our apartment?” it’s pretty cute, i’ll be honest. our bedroom is huge with a walk in closet, our bathroom and kitchen are decently sized, and our living/dining room is cozy and wonderful while still being functional. 

there is one area that is a little bit lacking though… our entryway. now, we don’t have a lot of space to begin with, but we certainly need something to hold the space together a little bit more. we have a small hanging shelf that we picked up from a thrift store in bethesda and that i painted that holds our keys and laundry card, but it just isn’t enough. i’m craving a piece that will be a resting spot for mail, keys, and where we can corral the clutter that we bring in on a daily basis– because let’s face it, right now it’s ending up on our coffee table– and that drives me c r a z y (especially after i styled it so nicely a few months ago!)

so this is what we’re working with. pardon the heinous iphone photo, but it should give you an idea of what kind of space we have, and how little we’ve done with it.

as of right now, our mail/clutter/tennis racquets/sunscreen/overdue library books kind of all pile up around this wall unit (that is not installed into a wall, obviously). i would love to actually use that wall unit somewhere else in our apartment, but for now it has been stuck here to collect dust and debris.

so sunday i have decided to bribe jesse by taking him to brunch at ted’s bulletin in capitol hill so that afterwards we can peruse the eastern market stands (artwork! jewelry! knick knacks!) and the flea market in hopes of finding ourselves a functional, stylish, perfectly rustic and shabby chic entryway table. i’ve been collecting some inspiring images on pinterest (of course) so here are a few that i think would be great in our little space.

this one is probably my fave. even though it’s way bigger

than any space we have, i adore the color and the

giant mirror. imagine all the fun stuff

i could hide away in those drawers!

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this piece is so me it’s not even funny. until recently, i only

bought white furniture. and again with the drawers– drooling! i

love the little shelf on the bottom for various knick knacks or

a basket that could house jesse’s various soccer gear.

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this color is so fun don’t you think? i love

all the wonderful details about this piece and 

think it’s a pretty perfect size for the space we have. wouldn’t

mind finding that fabulous mirror as well!

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so cute and perfect for a tiny space like ours. i love the 

look of refinished/reclaimed wood and love how this

table has been styled with herbs and found objects.

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do you have a favorite from my inspired pictures above? 

wish me luck in my treasure hunt on sunday! i hope you have a wonderful weekend.

anatomy of a coffee table

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over the last few days my beloved sister has been visiting from nantucket and we have been doing lots of shopping and crafting (and my favorite new hobby- shopping for crafting). i’ve had on my wish list a few things for our apartment, including a decorative tray and a coffee table book. since the sis and i are such expert (read: fanatic) shoppers, i found both over the past few days and have restyled my coffee table. 

“who in the heck “styles” their coffee table?” you may be wondering… well, i’ve noticed a trend as i’ve been blog-stalking (blalking?) recently– all of the amazing women behind the stylish and pretty blogs that i read regularly have very lovely and put-together coffee tables sitting front and center in their lovely and put-together living rooms (in their lovely and put-together homes, where they live their lovely and put-together lives– this could go on and on!) they have stacks of big photo books focused on fashion and home decor, pretty candles, fresh-cut flowers, and no matter how hard i look, i can never spot a speck of dust. how do they do it? my coffee table is usually a mess of pens, notebooks, a computer (or two), some remotes, nail polish, and inevitably crumbs. lots and lots of crumbs.

not anymore, my friends! here is my newly-blossomed coffee table. 

 it’s just what i envisioned in my head! i really wanted to incorporate a little bit of all my favorite pieces from coffee tables i’d admired on other blogs and pinterest- a plant or flowers, a candle, a tray, etc.

my nose was so exhausted yesterday afternoon because i was determined to get a candle while i was shopping. i picked out this little beauty from Trohv (my favorite home decor store in DC, located in takoma in upper northwest) and love that it’s bright pink and was only $13.


i’ve had these coasters for awhile now, but i still get compliments on them all the time. they’re from anthropologie and i bought them in a set of four. brilliantly enough you can buy them separately, which was very handy when someone accidentally dropped one (i won’t name any names…) they also come in a bunch of different colors and aren’t too heinously priced. 

i bought this marimekko tray at another favorite dc decor spot- tabletop located in dupont circle. i obviously LOVE that it has birch trees on it, but it’s also a nice sturdy plastic (without looking cheap) and is the perfect place to corral pens, sunglasses, remotes, and of course those inescapable crumbs. you can even buy the tray online from tabletop.

i aways envy the beautiful flowers on other blogs, and have even tried my hand at growing my own. unfortunately the only plants i can’t seem to kill are my trio of succulents (including one cactus!) and even with that said, my aloe plant is looking a bit worse for wear. i bought the plants from ikea and the metal trough from a thrift store in bethesda.

finally, the pièce de resistance. i couldn’t tear my eyes from this book when i saw it at trohv, but was a little dismayed at the price. i walked away and kept perusing the store, but kept coming back to it. finally i just couldn’t help myself, the huge glossy images spoke to me. the life & love of trees. could it be any more perfect? here are two of my favorite pages.

of course, you can purchase the book on amazon – you’ll even get it cheaper than i did! isn’t it gorgeous?
 
so there you have it, the coffee table is now complete!
 
 
do you have any other suggestions for great coffee table books? 
 
 

why birch and lace?

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welcome to my messy little corner of the blogosphere! 

i decided [yesterday] to start a blog because i was getting knee deep in a craft explosion and thought– wouldn’t that be kind of cool and interesting to start a blog to document my trials and tribulations, successes and woes, glitter messes and glue mishaps as a beginner crafter? plus, i love to write and have kept a journal off and on over the years, so it just seems natural to air my dirty laundry over the internet… i mean share my stories!

of course, i won’t be sticking to just crafts. i’m hoping that this blog will evolve to encompass all sorts of fun little things that delight and inspire me- hence the tagline “curator of lovely.”

in talking with one of my dearest friends a few months ago about my career path (which is less a “path” and more of a starting line that i have yet to cross) i remember saying “i just want to do something that involves pretty things.” well folks, here you have it- a foray into blogging. i hope to write about all manner of things– from things i’m coveting at anthropologie, fun outfits i’m daring to pull off, why i just can’t seem to keep a plant alive, home decor projects at apartment #802, and the craft projects i’m trying out.

but wait a second– the name of this post is “why birch and lace?” ahh yes my dear fans (aka my mom and boyfriend)- the title of this blog. one afternoon as i was daydreaming about my dream job, i came up with the little phrase “birch and lace.” i know it’s not a phrase but actually just a pairing of words, but in my mind it took shape as a symbol of everything i love- elegance, natural beauty, dewy morning light, wispy sheer dresses- you get the idea. birch trees are my (and my boyfriend’s) favorite trees, and lace is by far my favorite fabric- i literally cannot get enough. the phrase has stayed with me over the past few months and when i decided that i wanted to start keeping a blog, it seemed to be the natural fit. 

so with that said, please pardon me as i take over our dining room table in a fit of crafty goodness.

i hope you’ll keep me company along the way!