art

Cactus Tablecloth and fabric

2:45:00 PM

Southwest, Aztec, Cactus, Table, Party, Fun, Retro, Vintage

I recently designed a custom tablecloth for my sister. She wanted something that fit her table perfectly- with a border and everything. You know, those awesome vintage tablecloths from the 50's? She also specifically requested some cactus pillows that she could embellish with sequins. What a fun project!

Southwest, Aztec, Cactus, Table, Party, Fun, Retro, Vintage


Southwest, Aztec, Cactus, Table, Party, Fun, Retro, Vintage, Guacamole

I printed the tablecloth and pillows through Spoonflower and was super excited about the results! Doesn't it look like just the perfect party tablecloth? New Years Eve? Cinco de Mayo? Southwest Christmas? It fits so perfectly!
 
I have a connection to more bulk printing that would be cheaper than Spoonflower, but only if I get 10 orders. If you're interested, shoot me an email!


Southwest, Aztec, Cactus, Party, Fun, Retro, Vintage, Cacti, Fabric


Otherwise, check out the whole line at Spoonflower.

dress up

Sew a Maui Leaf Skirt Tutorial

1:51:00 PM



Abe wants to be Maui for Halloween this year, so we've been working on getting his costume ready! This quick tutorial shows how to make a durable, washable and easy Maui skirt. It can be doubled as a fairy skirt as well! If you use this tutorial to create a skirt of your own, I'd love to see it!

Also, I have a kit for the Maui skirt supplies over at my shop if you're interested. :)

animal series

Firefly Series

9:00:00 AM


Firefly page from David Kirk's, "Little Miss Spider."

Isn't there something magically wonderful about fireflies? Twinkle lights glowing in the night? Yes! Catching bugs that fly low and slowly? Perfect for children! Summer weather at twilight? Beautiful. My husband says he thinks God made fireflies just for children.

I decided to do an animal series this year with a firefly theme. Get ready for lots of firefly fun!

Happy Summer!

decorating

Home Living: Rental Series #5 Focal Points

9:24:00 PM

decorating with TV, TV and paintings


A focal point in each room not only helps the design factor, but also helps your room feel more comfortable and "homey."

" L O O K   A T   M E ! "


One of the best things I learned in my design classes in college was about how the eye moves. Before, I had never noticed what my eyes did when I looked around a room unless it landed on something that didn't quite seem right.

One way the eye moves around the room is through repetition. We've talked a bit about the importance of repetition (through color, size, and texture). A room can feel disjointed without repetition. This is an important concept to understand when decorating each room.

Another thing the eye needs is a place to land. A focal point. A resting spot. If there is no focal point, the room will feel unfinished, not a comfy, cozy spot to be. If the room has too many "look at me" areas, it will feel cluttered and busy.


H O W  C A N  I  K N O W

W H E R E   T H E   F O CA L   

P O I N T   S H O U L D   B E ?


  • Architectural Features- Do you have a fireplace? A very large window (or group of windows)? Built in bookshelves? Exposed brick wall? These are architectural features that are usually meant to be the focal point of a room. They are easy to dress up and/or sometimes even leave alone!
    • Note about large windows: in most rentals, you'd be hard pressed to find giant window installations. A "large window" may be 7 feet wide and 5 feet tall. These windows may or may not be used as a focal point.
  • Large Blank Walls- If you don't have anything particularly interesting to work with, you can dress up large blank walls to make a statement.

Story

We lived in a condo with a living room that had a "large window," a bay window, a closet that jutted out, a staircase, and it was partially open (enter awkward columns) to the dining room. It had A LOT going on. After sitting in the room for a while, I tried to imagine where and what the best focal point would be. I came to the conclusion that the large window was the best option for our circumstances. We put our couch in front of it, added bright pillows and dressed the window with curtains and sheers. This solution was simple and didn't add to the busyness of the room.


H O W   C A N   I   C R E A T E   A   

F O C A L   P O I N T ?

  • A large piece of art (or two pieces paired together)- You can use canvases, framed art, tapestry, or woven wall hangings.
  • Gallery wall- These are great ways to display lots of different items and make a statement. However, beware of putting a gallery wall in every room. It's too much.
  • Dress up existing feature- Windows need drapes and/or good view, fireplace could use a mantel display, bookshelves need books and/or other items of interest.
  • Collection- You can use plants, books, items from foreign countries, items of personal interest, really there are a lot of neat collections you can use!
  • Large Mirror- This is especially effective when placed opposite of natural light.
  • Light Fixture/ceiling- Modern, elegant, or rustic, light fixtures can totally be the focal point in a room. Just be sure to go large (bigger than you think). You may want to dress the ceiling up as well- chandelier medallions, beams, ceiling painted a different color.

T H E   T V

We need to talk about the elephant in the room before deciding on what and where your focal point will be. The TV. TV's are tricky because they aren't the most beautiful thing to look at, yet, TVs are big, and furniture placement is decided based on TV location. They can't help but be a focal point.

So, you need to make a decision. Do you even put a TV in a living room? Too many focal points are going to make the room busy. Is there a reasonable way to combine focal point features with a TV?

Each place we have lived has had a different answer. Sometimes the decisions were based on the space, and sometimes decisions were based more on lifestyle/desired lifestyle.

We have most often had our TV out in the living room with attempts to blend the TV with the focal point/focal wall. In the early years of renting, this included a cabinet to cover the even uglier and bulkier TV we owned. Another time, we have put the TV in an extra closet (what?!) in our bedroom. We've had a place where we've been lucky enough to have a family room/den to put the TV in. Currently, our TV is placed in front of two large pieces of art on a long bookshelf. This creates more of a focal WALL.

Now that TVs are slimmer, it's not quite such a hurdle to jump, but here are some ideas:
  • Create a focal wall with art, shelving and a TV included. It would be like a simplified gallery wall.
  • Place TV above fireplace so that seating is not only focused on the TV, but also the fireplace.
  • Mask it. There are really great inventions that make a TV look more like a mirror or a piece of art. You could also mask the TV by hanging sliding wooden panels or fabric. Just pull back when using the TV.
  • Use a projector instead. When not it use, a wall will look more blank, but it will allow for more attention to be given to a different focal point.
  • Consider keeping the TV in a different room.
  • Downplay the TV by placing it in a slightly more discreet spot and centralizing furniture around the intended focal point. This will not make for the best of seating options when TV watching is actually going on, but the TV can be temporarily moved if a big game/party is going on.
This may take some trial and error to get a good fit for your situation. Be patient, thoughtfully imagine options in your room, and keep your eyes peeled for ideas.

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

Now that you have some basics on the importance of creating a focal point and some ideas on how to do it, hopefully this will spring-board you into making your space even better! And if renting is still in your future you will have more opportunities to problem-solve and figure out what you like!

Happy Decorating!

-Rachel

baby stuff

Introducing

9:15:00 PM


Baby Ruby joined our family in May and we are so happy she's here and healthy! She looks just like her siblings and we are smitten with her. She's just a little piece of heaven and we feel so blessed to have her.




decorating

Home Living: Rental Series #4 Make it Do

9:12:00 PM

peach walls, bathroom artwork, peach and mint, small bathroom
 Our bathroom is a peachy-tan color. I prefer more neutral walls, but the finishes were so clean in this bathroom, keeping the peachy-tan color seemed like the best option. How to brighten it up? Add large scale art that includes the peachy color. The art also has lots of fun and bright colors, so the bathroom feel lighter and happier now. 

I T ' S   W H A T   Y O U   D O   W I T H   W H A T   

Y O U ' V E   G O T .


There will be no perfect home. There are quirks or things that you would ideally want to be different. It doesn't make sense to fix everything. Time and money have to be factored in as well as how long you may be in your place.

With creativity, you can often improve what you don't love with just a little effort.

 

E M B R A C E

I've found that once I've reached a comfortable level of clean and brightness, I have to EMBRACE a lot of the things I'd still like to change. Once I decide to EMBRACE (the trim, paint color, carpet color, weird column, etc.), I make so much more progress!

Story #1

Our current home is trimmed with basic dark wood. I definitely prefer white trim all the way! I can't change the trim because there it soooo much of it! I finally came to the realization that embracing it would be the best thing to do. So, I got some stain and touched up the dings and cleaned it up. "Hey, that's not so bad!" I choose dark wood for framing and decor shelf options. Now everything blends, looks intentional, and feels much better!

Story #2
In our second apartment, we had a lot of mismatched carpet. Our living room featured a "lovely" blue-gray 1980's color. I had big plans for our living room to have lots of enlivening reds and golds. I tried to decorate the room accordingly and just became more and more frustrated with the carpet I couldn't change. I finally decided to switch to a cool blue, green and gold color palette and what do you know? The carpet didn't bother me any more.


M A K E   I T   I N T E N T I O N A L

That's another key word. Once I embraced the blue carpet and decided to include the blue in the color scheme, I wasn't fighting it anymore!


B E   C R E A T I V E

So how do we deal with those really tricky things? Here is the process I use to come up with an idea. Hopefully this will help you, as each place has its own different quirks.

First, I set up a situation in which I can be inspired-- for me I just need to be alone and I need it to be quiet. I sit in front of the spot or in the room that has the problem. I study this spot (often times this includes reminding myself of the reasons I don't like it).

After a period of study, I ask myself, "What am I fighting against? Color? Texture? Age? Awkwardness?"

I then try to think if there is a way to FIX it (or cover it up) that makes sense. If there is, I try that solution first. Sometimes that is all that is needed, but other times you may still want to move on to the next step.

If there isn't a possibility for a fix (for example, if something is unchangeable--like carpet color), I move on and think, "How can I EMBRACE this?"  and "What can I add to other parts of the room to make it seem like this is intentional?"


R E P E A T

So how to EMBRACE the thing you don't like? How to make it seem INTENTIONAL? REPETITION. What?! Repeat the color/texture/size/look of the that very thing through out the room.

It's choosing picture frames and shelving that match the trim.
It's adding blue to the color scheme.

Simply adding multiple things that match the problem (but in modern, updated, tasteful ways of course), makes it seem like you totally meant to have the groovy textured 70's carpet. It automatically blends and eases the eye as it moves around the room.

Repetition is important when decorating any room. For example, if you really like bright and light-colored spaces, sticking a black TV against a wall is definitely not going to blend. You may need to go against your initial desire for white and light, and implement darker bookshelves and/or accessories to help the eye move around the room more smoothly.

 

P R A C T I C A L   T I P S

  • Wall paint color that you can't change? Go with it. Look up color schemes that include the wall color and choose a few favorites. See if you can accessorize or add wall art that will make it better.
  • Awkward column? Add some artwork, photos, a sconce or maybe even a flag! Attach shelves to make a floor to ceiling bookshelf. If you're handy, you could add DIY seating around the bottom. If the column is in a small space, highlighting the column might make the space feel too busy. Maybe keeping it simple and trying to make it blend is the best option.
  • 70's carpet? Play the game I played with the blue-grey, but also, layer rugs! An extra large jute rug on the bottom with a happy rug on top will add more texture. The jute will help tone down the brown/orange. This also works with worn-out carpet.
  • Washer and dryer in kitchen? Aside from keeping the laundry baskets out of the kitchen, you could add a door or curtain to cover the area. You could add more industrial accessories to make it seem more intentional. Examples include a metal back splash that matches the washer/dryer, or a metal cornice box above the window. 

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

Hopefully this has helped you think about ways you can make things work. If you have any specific questions about a particular problem you're facing, please email me-- brightappleblossom@gmail.com. I love a good challenging brainstorm.

Good luck!

-Rachel

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