DesignLively http://www.designlively.com A Creative Lifestyle Blog Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:47:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://i2.wp.com/www.designlively.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-DesignLively.jpg?fit=32%2C32 DesignLively http://www.designlively.com 32 32 The One with the 90s Theme Party http://www.designlively.com/2017/06/the-one-with-the-90s-theme-party/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/06/the-one-with-the-90s-theme-party/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:45:24 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=7042 90s Theme Party

It’s no secret that I love, no, LOVE theme parties. I’ve been wanting to have a 90s theme party for quite some time so when the opportunity arose I jumped on it.

My husband turned 30 this spring and decided he didn’t want a big party. We decided to just have a few college friends over to the house, and I threw out the idea of a MarioKart tournament on the old N64 we bust out once or twice a year. Then my brain immediately started thinking all things 90s.

(Truly, I can’t help it.)

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party Food & Drink

90s theme food and drink was a throwback to some of our childhood favorites. You definitely won’t find any green juice or quinoa on this menu. I kept things simple, but if you were having a big gang over I’d add Pizza Rolls or homemade Hot Pockets! Unfortunately a lot of classic 90s food can be hard to find or discontinued (Squeez-its, Crystal Pepsi, Dunkaroos, etc).

We had:

  • Bagel Bites
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • “Lunchables” – cheese, pepperoni, and cracker platter
  • Veggies and Sour Cream and Onion Dip
  • Dunkaroo Dip
  • Cool Ranch Doritos & Pringles
  • Sweets: Gushers, Nerds, Reese’s Pieces, Sour Patch Kids
  • Carvel Ice Cream Cake

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

For drinks we had YooHoo, CapriSun, and Vanilla Coke (which actually came out in 2002, oops). I also made a pitcher of Cosmos – the cocktail of the 90s thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, and added little Swedish Fish garnishes for added 90s flair. And then we had an assortment of beer.

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

I always like to make labels for the different food items. I made these with some old scrapbook sticker letters I had on hand. (Probably literally from the 90s. Use what ya got, right?)

90s Theme Party Decorations

The decorations were really fun and easy to put together. I like to create one or two “focus areas”, usually loading up decor on the mantle and around the food table. When decor is grouped together there is higher impact than scattered around the room.

For the mantle I took some white craft paper and splattered some craft paint by flicking my wrist while holding the paint bottle. (Kinda messy!) Next I grabbed a bunch of construction paper. I cut out the letters to say “30 is All That” and glued them to the craft paper after the paint dried. I used the remaining paper to make a bunch of cootie catchers.

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

I cut the scraps into squares and triangles. I sewed some fishing line through the paper to make a Saved By The Bell style bunting and scattered the rest on the table as oversized confetti.

Our printer is out of ink so I decided to take advantage of the amazing deal Staples has for an $8 30×48″ Engineer Print. I grabbed a ton of 90s inspired images and turned on the Stamp filter in Photoshop. Note – Staples says their engineering prints are only for line drawings. I put a few photos on mine and they came out pretty streaky. For my purposes it didn’t really matter, but just a warning!

All in all, I only ended up spending $15 on balloons, streamers, and the Staples print

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

The best part was displaying 90s paraphernalia that we happened to already have in our house. I went through both of our memory boxes and grabbed a few things. Everyone was laughing that I had all this random 90s stuff. Hoarder much? Some of these things included: Goosebumps and Babysitter’s Club books, a real Home Alone style TalkBoy (!), N64 cartridges, Matchbox cars, Lipsmackers chapstick, etc. The average person probably doesn’t have too many of these sitting around, but I would think a quick trip to Goodwill or Savers would help you score some sweet 90s loot. I was really wishing I could go through our old toybox in my moms basement.

90s Theme Party

90s Theme Party

As for the rest of the party? We had a great time battling it out in MarioKart, and I made an epically sized 90s trivia jeopardy which had everyone laughing. The 90s alternative Pandora station was crooning all night long, and at the end of the party I busted out our spectacularly 90s iTunes library – Dave Matthews band, Hootie & the Blowfish, the Wallflowers, Blues Traveler, Alanis Morissette… what’s not to love?

Everyone was sporting some hilarious 90s inspired attire. I, for one, had a little too much fun sporting my old mini backpack, body glitter and puka shells. While I was aiming for the Delia’s catalog look, others there channeled the grunge, Saved by the Bell, or the boy band looks.

We had a great time celebrating my husband’s birthday. Proof that all you need for a great party is a few good friends – especially if they’re willing to put up with your crazy ideas.

I’m outie! 😉

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6 Years at Home http://www.designlively.com/2017/06/6-years-at-home/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/06/6-years-at-home/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 18:12:48 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=7012 Six years ago we closed on our house! I can still close my eyes and see our house exactly as it was on that day.

Oy.

Since we purchased a foreclosure, there were some issues that arose that delayed our closing for a few months and, at the time, it felt like ages! Then we drove from our closing right to the house and walked into the house and found that a huge chunk of the hallway ceiling had suddenly crumbled onto the floor from a leaking pipe. This house was a messy adventure from the very start.

But today I’m not going to talk about the mess or the chaos or projects. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about this house.

The way the morning light streams into the dining room.

Finally having a grassy backyard to play yard games, hammock laying, BBQing in. (In case you are new here, for the first four years we lived here our yard was just dirt and rocks.) I also love all our trees. Even though we’ve cut down around 50 trees, we still have many!

And I love it in the winter too!

We spent so many weekends rocking out to country music while we were finishing our deck. Now it’s a happy place to sit and eat meals with friends and family.

When I was pregnant and the upstairs of our house was, literally, piles of crumble, I had a hard time visualizing it ever becoming our nursery. Now I’ve logged more hours staring at this happy rainbow bunting now than I could count.

Picking a favorite renovation is tough. But I can confidently say I would spend every penny all over again to get rid of our old bathroom for this one again. Unlike a lot of other rooms in the house, I immediately knew exactly what I wanted this room to look like. It was fun to see my vision come to fruition!

It’s so easy to focus on all the little (and a few big) things we still have to finish. It’s important to reflecting on the parts that I love and that were worth the sweat / money / pain.

When we bought the house we estimated we’d be done in three years (oh sweet little naive children we were).

Here is to year seven and beyond!

 

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An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt – Part 3 http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/an-amateurs-guide-to-a-patchwork-quilt-part-3/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/an-amateurs-guide-to-a-patchwork-quilt-part-3/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 16:52:06 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=7100 An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

If you haven’t been following my adventures in quilting, I am blogging the process of making a twin-size patchwork quilt. Today I am sharing Part 3, where I actually start sewing! (Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.)  In this post I’ll talk about how I sew my squares together into a block.

But First, Workstation Set up

You will want to set up a sewing area for yourself. I like to set my machine up on a big work surface with good lighting. I kept our old kitchen table as my sewing table and it’s up in one of our guestrooms. I like to put a rubber mat underneath my machine so make sure it doesn’t scratch the wood underneath. Nearby you’ll want to have a garbage can, sharp scissors for snipping thread ends, and a ironing board and iron.

Sewing your First Block

I set up my cut out fabric squares on the table in the order I want them to be in the block. (See photo above.)

I want all of my blocks to be identical. So I checked my fabrics to see if there were any patterns that were directional. I had three that were directional and and chose to have them all point upwards.

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

To begin sewing I grabbed the three squares that make up the top row. I sew them right sides (pretty pattern side) together. I use the foot of my sewing machine as a guide to ensure that all my seams are equal to each other.

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

After I sew together my first row of three squares I iron down the seams and leave it on the ironing board.

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

Next I repeat those steps for the second row of three squares, and again for the third row of three squares. When I have the seams of all three rows ironed down and thread tails clipped, I can sew them together to make my first block.

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

Next I take the top and middle rows and sew them right sides together. To help make sure my blocks are lining up correctly I like to double check where the seams are. If it’s a little off you can tweak it a little bit by pulling it to help the seams line up better.

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

Then I repeat the process for the third row, and iron down all the seams again.

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt

And then you celebrate because your first block is done! Only 47 more to go!

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Beadboard Wallpaper – Five Years Later http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/beadboard-wallpaper-five-years-later/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/beadboard-wallpaper-five-years-later/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=7014 Beadboard Wallpaper - a review 5 years later

The trouble I see with a lot of DIY and home renovation projects on the internet is that when things are new things look good. The real question is, how does it stand the test of time? Today I’m talking about the beadboard wallpaper by Graham & Brown that I put up over five years ago.

Well, I’ve been so happy with it that over the years I’ve added it in a few more spots, like the Dining Room sideboard, my kitchen backsplash, and a kitchen wall.

All of these pictures are from the last month so you can see exactly how it’s holding up.

Beadboard Wallpaper - a review 5 years later

Beadboard Wallpaper - a review 5 years later

Beadboard Wallpaper - a review 5 years later

The Good News:

I haven’t had any issues with the wallpaper peeling or coming off the wall at all. It still looks the same as the day I put it up.

Since I painted over the wallpaper, it is easily wipeable. Even in messier areas like around my kitchen sink and where I do all my food prep. It has withstood a number of spatters and has never been an issue wiping it down.

This one is obviously from the fall, not this month! My pumpkins are not still out in May!

The Bad News:

The ONLY problem I’ve had with the wallpaper is indentations and a bit of snagging. Because the wallpaper is slightly puffy, which allows it to retain the beadboard look, it can be prone to marks. For instance, if I pushed my thumbnail into the wallpaper, or leaned something with an edge on it, it would leave a mark. Most of the time the puffiness comes back to life and the mark disappears.

The main issue is snagging. If something with an edge (such as a toddler fingernail, in my case) drags along the wall it can snag the paper. This has only happened to me in 2-3 spots and they are HARDLY noticeable, but there’s no way to fix it.  Because of this I wouldn’t recommend this product for high traffic areas, such as a mudroom or a playroom, as there would be a greater risk for damage.

Beadboard Wallpaper - a review 5 years later

Beadboard Wallpaper - a review 5 years later

Would I put this paper up again?

Well, yes and no.

Unlike when I installed the wallpaper, we now own all the tools (compressor, nailgun, various saws, etc.) to make installing traditional beadboard easy. So I would always pick real wooden beadboard for the quality.

However, if you don’t have the tools or the knowledge to install wooden beadboard, or if you are looking for a budget DIY option, I would DEFINITELY put this wallpaper up again. It would also be a great solution if you wanted to add interest to the back of a bookshelf or curio cabinet. Five years later and it still looks really great, even with the few small snags.

For some other posts I’ve written on my beadboard wallpaper check out:

 

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An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt – Part 2 http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/an-amateurs-guide-to-a-patchwork-quilt-part-2/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/an-amateurs-guide-to-a-patchwork-quilt-part-2/#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 11:00:06 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=6979

^ this is a digital mockup of my quilt design!

I shared before that I am documenting the process of my ongoing quilting project. Earlier I wrote about the how I chose fabrics. Today I will share the quick and easy way I used an app to design my quilt, and how I cut out my pieces.


This will be the first quilt where I have a specific end size in mind so it requires more planning than I have done before. But if you search “what is the standard size of a twin bed quilt” you will get a variety of answers. I decided on a design that is 72×96″. To compare, I measured a twin bed quilt I currently own and it was not too far from those measurements so I know it will fit the way I want it to. I also chose 72″x96″ because both of those numbers evenly divide by 3 and 4. This is important for two reasons:

1. I am planning on sewing in 3×3 block squares. So my pattern will be symmetrical and even.

2. I want to have 4″ squares for my quilt, so again, the blocks will add up perfectly.

So I drew myself a graph. I will end up with 48 blocks of 3×3 squares – six blocks wide and eight blocks tall. Each block is is made of 9 squares – each a different one of my fabrics.

To begin I washed and dried my fabrics (a must! If you are new to sewing you always want to wash and dry your fabric first. You want any shrinking to happen BEFORE you sew it into something lovely, not after). Then I iron with a water spray bottle and use my rotary cutter and measuring square to cut them out.

I cut out each square as a 4.5″x4.5″ square, taking into account that I will have a .25″ seam on each side which will leave me with my 4″x4″ square. So I set out camp in front of the television for a few nights as I cut out 432 squares of fabric. I personally like to work on the floor, not on a table surface.

It was kismet – I bought THE PERFECT AMOUNT of fabric (3/4 yard each) to get 52 squares of each pattern. (I think will use the extras to make a matching pillow sham.)

Now that I had my pieces cut, I next needed to figure out my block lock-up – how did I want to arrange the fabrics within each square of 3×3? I quickly figured out that the only way to avoid putting any 2 pinks or 2 greens directly next to each other was to go on a diagonal. There are lots of ways you could sketch this out to try different layouts – or you could take advantage of modern technology and use the Instagram Layout app on your phone!

I took a quick pic of each fabric on my phone and then opened the Instagram Layout app. Using the grid of 9 images (turn off the borders) I was instantly able to see how each 3×3 square would look. I played around with different layouts and saved the image when I found a layout I liked.

To see how the squares would look when they were sewed together I used the Instagram Layout app again. This time I selected one of my saved images of a 3×3 lockup (the ones I just made) and put the exactly same photo side by side in a grid of 9.

I was able to play around with how simply turning every other square 180 degrees would change the whole look of the quilt. (See how such a small tweak can change the whole design? If I rotated every other square by 90 degrees this is what it would look like.)

I also played around with the idea of adding alternate fabric patterns instead of keeping it the same 9 in every block. This is what it would look like if I alternated a few:

The best part is that I only spent about 15 minutes in Instagram Layout to see all of these options. Technology for the win.

I decided to keep things consistent and simple. 9 fabrics, identical square lockups. Now that my pieces are cut and I have my design set, the next step is to start sewing. GULP.

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Life Lately http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/life-lately/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/05/life-lately/#respond Mon, 08 May 2017 11:00:58 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=6524

I have always, always been a camera girl. I went through many a disposable wind-up camera back in my day, and now with the iPhone camera always in my hand I’m always snapping photos throughout the day.

Every spring I love to go cheer on the runners at the Boston Marathon. I’m not exactly why the whole event makes me so motivated and slightly emotional, but it’s just such an awesome experience. Maybe it’s the thousands and thousands of strangers cheering on and encouraging the other thousands and thousands of strangers who are running and doing something really difficult. The whole thing brings tears to my eyes every year. A few days before the race we went over check out the start line in Hopkinton.

Easter was a low-key affair for us this year! Usually we are visiting or hosting family, but this year it was just the three of us. I made Raspberry Baked French Toast (recipe by Ina Gardner) for breakfast. At the last minute I ended up getting out some of my Granna’s eyelet doilies and her old patchwork plates to make things feel a bit more festive. These plates – *heart eyes*. I “picked out” these plates from my Granna’s collection of china when I was little and now they are mine. This is actually the first time I have used them and I don’t know what took me so long! I have tried to do a bit more research into them, from what I’ve found so far they are from the 1970s and made in Japan.

We celebrated Easter with our church family and then did an Egg Hunt in the yard, visited the playground, and had a great dinner outside on the deck while enjoying the beautiful weather. Spring is really here! (For dinner we had pork tenderloin, roasted brussel sprouts and this other amazing Ina Gardner recipe – Baked Farro and Butternut Squash).

Last week I had a few ladies over to make paper flower centerpieces for an event at our church. My friend organized the whole project and it was my first time making paper flowers out of crepe paper. It was super fun and something I’d love to try to do some more of! I was responsible for making the Icelandic Poppies and they came out great! I enjoyed having them in my house until I had to pass them on. Maybe I should make some for myself!

This spring I’ve been making my way through the Great British Bake-Off on Netflix, and it inspired me to finally attempt to bake bread. I’ve been meaning to try for ages and it was SO EASY. I used this popular New York Times recipe and I’ll definitely do it again soon.

Happy Spring!

What is your favorite thing about spring?

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Wicked Tulips Flower Farm http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/wicked-tulips-flower-farm/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/wicked-tulips-flower-farm/#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 00:23:37 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=6606 Located on the historic Snake Den Farm in Johnston, RI, Wicked Tulips Flower Farm has only been open for two seasons but is already so wildly popular that their tickets sell out regularly. The farm just opened up for the season last week and their smaller field is in full bloom.

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

I wanted to make sure I posted about my trip right away since their season is so short. Hopefully some of you local readers can make the trip.

Prepare for tulip photo overload (it’s so beautiful, I couldn’t help but take a million pictures) and some tips if you plan to visit.

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Admission is $5.00 for adults, kids over age three are $3.00, kids under age three are free, and then tulips are $1/each. It is strongly recommended you purchase your tickets online in advance to ensure you can get in. The fields open at 10am – when we arrived at 10:30am on a Thursday morning there were already a few hundred people there! Despite the numbers it didn’t feel crowded and there was plenty of room for all to pick and take photos.

If you want to take photos before everyone arrives, they sell sunrise admission as well. Strollers are welcome as long as they stay along the perimeter of the farm and not in the rows of tulips.

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

The flowers are gorgeous and come in every color you can imagine. There is a “show garden” that identifies all the different types if you want to make a picking plan. Or you can throw caution to to the wind and mix them all together like me. 🙂 Picking the tulips was super easy, just a gentle tug and no clippers necessary. Wicked Tulips provides buckets for picking, but they recommend having a bucket with water in your car for the drive home. There is a wrapping station (free) to bundle up your flowers in paper before you leave.

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

We stayed for about three hours and honestly could have stayed for even longer (darn you naptime). There are picnic tables scattered all around the farm and you are invited to BYOP – bring your own picnic. I’d recommend bringing wet wipes if you have a little one with you.

Everyone we met on staff at Wicked Tulips Flower Farm was SO nice and friendly – facilitating parking, directions, flower wrapping, etc. They also do a great job of providing info on their website, and daily updates on their Facebook page.

According to their website their blooms typically last 5-6 weeks. Since they just opened last week they should be open until the end of May. Make sure to check their website before you visit though!

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

As it had been raining for several days I wore my rainboots but the fields weren’t too muddy. My toddler did manage to find the mud though! And of course I had to pull out her tulip jeans! When in Rome.

I have a sentimental attachment to tulips. My Mom grew up in Pella, Iowa, one of the sister cities to Holland, Amsterdam, and they host an enormous Tulip Time festival every spring. When I was little we used to visit my grandparents during it and we would dress up it historical Dutch costumes, wash the streets with brooms in the parade, and admire the thousands and thousands of tulips all over town.

If you can swing it I highly recommend visiting Wicked Tulips Flower Farm. 🙂

Sidenote: I’ve followed quite a number of bloggers throughout the years and bumped into Carly of The College Prepster, Sarah Vickers of Classy Girls Wear Pearls, and Kiel and team from Kiel James Patrick while I was at the farm. They always share the best photos and it was really fun to watch their photo shoot in action. After awkwardly introducing myself, they were very friendly too! I’ve met a few bloggers “in the wild” over the years and it’s always fun to actually meet them. I can never decide if it’s creepier to walk up and just introduce yourself, or know who they are and NOT say hi and tell them that you follow them. But then, if any of you came up to say “hello” I’d definitely love to meet you!

Now I’m off to enjoy these beauties at home!

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

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An Amateur’s Guide to a Patchwork Quilt – Part 1 http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/an-amateurs-guide-to-a-patchwork-quilt-part-1/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/an-amateurs-guide-to-a-patchwork-quilt-part-1/#comments Mon, 17 Apr 2017 19:26:58 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=6513 In recent years I have dabbled in quilting (I’ve made 5) and find the process to be very fun and relaxing. I am embarking on my next quilt and thought it would be fun to blog the process this time instead of just the end result!

A long time ago my mom was going through her linen closet and asked if I wanted my old Muppets bedsheets from when I was little. The answer was yes! I love the Muppets and loved my Kermit and Miss Piggy sheets. I knew immediately I wanted to use them as a quilt backing. That was about five years ago and they have been waiting in my fabric bin. But now their time has come!

I plan to make a square patchwork style quilt topper in pinks and greens and use the sheets as the backing. This quilt will prove more difficult than my others for two reasons:

1. This is the first time I have any sort of pattern I want to follow – granted it is simple one. But all my other projects were designed to easily hide my mistakes! This time my pieces actually need to line up in a specific way.

2. This is the first quilt where I have a specific end size in mind. My other quilts have all been oversized lap quilts and I just figured it out along the way. I want this one to fit a twin size bed.

While I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to quilts I’d love to try making, I am sticking to a basic square patchwork style for this one. I am still a beginner, so no tricky shapes yet for me! Plus I think they look classic, warm, and cozy.

Picking Fabrics

Choosing fabrics was the hardest part. I looked for almost a year but every time I went I wasn’t ready commit. Finally one day I decided to go to Joann’s and pull the trigger. A long time back I bought a gorgeous kermit green and pink batik polka dot fabric. I wanted to find 8 more fabrics to go with it. (9 fabrics so I could make 3×3 blocked squares.)

I came home with this assortment:

As for the color family I was aiming for springy greens that weren’t too yellow, and berry mid tone pinks (not pastel or hot pink). And the fabrics had to blend with the existing colors on the Muppets sheets. I aimed for a mix of background colors, styles, and color combos.

I needed to make sure there was a nice balance of green based,  pink based, and white based. By using an even balance of background colors the squares will pop more.

I also wanted to make sure things didn’t get too busy. I made sure I had a nice balance of green/white and pink/white fabrics versus multi-color.

To help with continuity I also made sure that some of the patterns were duplicated. I have 2 batik style polka dot fabrics, and 2 triangle fabrics. Notice how both are a soft stamp-style pattern? I thought that would blend better with the vintage looking sheets on the back than all sharp crisp patterns.

This may sound too overwhelming to you or maybe you prefer more of a matching look. If so there are MANY places you can purchase fabric sets that were designed and printed to go with each other. Although many of these are very cute, I prefer to match the fabrics myself and think it looks less manufactured. If I am going through the trouble of making a quilt I don’t want it to look like I could have bought it at the store.

Next up is washing, ironing and cutting my fabric!

Now for the real question? Who is your favorite Muppet? As a kid I loved Animal, but now I would say the Swedish Chef makes me laugh the most. 

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Books I’ve Enjoyed Lately http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/books-ive-enjoyed-lately/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/books-ive-enjoyed-lately/#respond Thu, 06 Apr 2017 18:55:11 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=6507 I have read a lot of good books recently, and if you know me at all then you know I am always recommending books to my friends! I thought I would share a few here.

The Lakehouse by Kate Morton

Sometimes books follow me around. Do you know the feeling? A certain book will keep popping up everywhere I look until I finally bring it home. The Lakehouse was one of those books. I thought this was the book version of the Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock movie (which is why I kept ignoring it) – but it’s not! This is the story about a wealthy British society family who had a summer home in the bucolic English countryside. One night their baby boy mysteriously disappears. Is it an accident? A kidnapping? Something more sinister? The book bounces back and forth between the past and modern times. The stories are narrated by both the little boy’s big sister and a modern day detective who wants to solve the mystery. I can honestly say this book kept me engaged and surprised until the very end! And if anyone is throwing a Midsummer’s Night Ball in a country estate, I’m down.

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

If you’re missing Downton Abbey this book is for you! Written by Julian Fellowes, the Producer and Writer of Downton Abbey, this book hit all the notes of sumptuous period details, society drama, family dynamics, and surprise endings. This is the story of two young lovers that both died at a young age, and how their relationship changed both of their families forever. I don’t want to give too much away, but let me just say it’s all the delight of Downtown Abbey without the annoying presence of Lady Edith (whom I personally don’t care for).

Hands-Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

“I want to make memories, not to do lists… I am letting go of distraction and perfection to live a more simple life consisting of what really matters. I’m living hands-free.”

This was one of the most convicting books I’ve ever read, in a good way. While this book is decidedly pointed to parents of small children, the lessons would apply to anyone wanting to wring more meaning out of their life. An easy read, this book focuses on ways to limit the intrusiveness of “busy life stuff” and the ever present technology to help you get the most of of your life. Is it groundbreaking? No. But this book is written in such a way that I was both inspired and happy to make some major life changes.

 

Other books I’ve read lately:

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines – I’m a huge Fixer Upper fan and loved hearing all about their life and faith journey to where they are today.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner – I love reading memoirs. This one is about a young girl who was raised in and escaped a polygamous cult in Mexico. This is a story about human resilience. If you liked The Glass Castle you’ll like this book.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I love children’s literature. In another life I’ll be a children’s book editor. Although I hadn’t read the Wilder books in probably 20 years, for some reason I pulled this out while I was sick with the flu and loved re-reading it.

And as always, I keep track of everything I”m reading on GoodReads. Follow me or check out all my reads here.

And the only thing better than giving book recommendations is getting them! Please share any of your favorites recent reads in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for my next read!

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A Review of RugPadUSA http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/a-review-of-rugpadusa/ http://www.designlively.com/2017/04/a-review-of-rugpadusa/#respond Tue, 04 Apr 2017 12:53:54 +0000 http://www.designlively.com/?p=6420 There is a full-fledged toddler living in this house. Now that our little one is running around and the toy pile is growing, I knew it was time to get a playroom set up. I’m hoping to share a full reveal post on that soon, but not until we get all the finishing touches wrapped up! So today you’ll get a sneak peek of our new playroom.

In the middle of working on the playroom RugPadUSA contacted me about testing out one of their eco-friendly rug pads. The timing was perfect.

Honestly, I didn’t know there was more than one kind of rug pad. Our other rug pads are the standard thin grippy pad meant to prevent the rug from sliding around more than an actual “pad”. Once I visited their website, I was excited to see RugPadUSA offers all sorts of rug pads and you can pick and choose what is most important to you: gripping power in high traffic areas, soft cushion for living and playroom areas, and even pads that help with spills.

Why RugPadUSA

Bringing environmentally friendly products into our home is always important to us, but especially now that we have kids running around. I love that RugPadUSA offers an eco-friendly product that doesn’t have the toxic chemicals that come with traditional pads that are made from PVC and plastic padding. I’ve had bad experiences before with cheap pads disintegrating and leaving tons of residue behind. (Like the image below.) Especially with this being a kid-centric space I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that yucky residue ending up in the mouth. (Why does everything end up in the mouth with toddlers?)

Also, the chemicals in other rug pads can harm your floors. Flooring is expensive, so I’m happy to spend a little extra money on the rug pad to ensure no damage will be done.

RugPadUSA also provides maximum customization. Not only can you chose from different materials like rubber, felt, vinyl, or memory foam, but you can order the rug pad to a custom size for no extra charge. This came in quite handy for us as our rug was not a true 8×10 but a 7’10″x10.

Choosing a Pad

RugPadUSA.com makes it really easy to figure out which product will work best for your home and needs. You can sort the products by flooring type (laminate in our case) to ensure optimum protection for your floors. I decided to try the Superior Lock pad in the 1/3″ thickness for optimum comfort. I spend a lot of time on the floor these days playing with blocks and books, so an extra cushion-y rug pad sounded like what we needed. Plus, it’s extra soft for little baby knees and all the little ones that come over to play these days.

 A RugPadUSA Review

 

 A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

A RugPadUSA Review

My Experience

The Superior Lock pad offers maximum cushion with a recycled punched felt surface and maximum stabilization with a high performance checkered natural rubber backing. The recycled felt surface grips your rug to help prevent bunching and rug corners from curling up. The rubber backing prevents the rug from moving around. The Superior Lock pad is soundproof, eco-friendly, odor-free, and even has a 20 year warranty.

I’ve spent the last six weeks testing it out and I’m very happy with it!

The Superior Lock rug pad does indeed offer a lot of cushion. The pad comes in 1/4″, 1/3″ and 7/16″ thicknesses. We chose the 1/3″ thickness to make sure that the closet doors would open easily over the carpet. While I’m sure the 7/16″ pad is even cushier, the 1/3″ is plenty thick. Although we currently have it paired it with a thicker rug, I’m sure that if we ever changed to a flat-weave rug that it would provide plenty of comfort by itself.

The other great part about this pad is that it hasn’t budged an inch! Between little feet running back and forth pushing a toy grocery cart, and dragging chairs all over the room, I feel like we’ve really pushed it to the max. This rug has stayed put. Once we get the television mounted I also plan to do some of my exercise DVDs in here (need to take advantage of the open space!) and I’m sure that even a Jillian Michaels routine won’t be able to shift this baby.

 A RugPadUSA Review

 A RugPadUSA Review

 

When I first opened up the plastic wrapping there was a distinct rubber smell, but it dissipated very quickly (in just a few minutes) and I didn’t notice any smell at all after that. That is honestly the only critical remark I can make.

The product selection and ordering process was intuitive and easy. Our custom ordered size came perfectly cut and the shipping was very quick! I also love that these products are made in the USA (Georgia).

Overall I can confidently say that I’m thrilled with the rug pad we chose and we’re already planning on ordering additional ones for our living and family rooms.

Check out RugPadUSA and all their products here.

Happy Monday to you all!

Disclaimer: This is an honest review of a rug pad sent to me for free by RugPadUSA.com to test out in my own home. All thoughts are opinions are my own.

 

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