Sunday, August 21, 2016

That One Time I Met a Bachelor....

Summer summer summer.

While it's still here in season, it's gone really.  School started two weeks ago, so it's back to being a weekend warrior.  But that's okay, because this summer was a good one.  The longest one in years.  We clocked just shy of three months off.  I had lots on my "to-do" list, but one of my main goals was to get to the beach.......and we did.......

We went to Naples, Florida!  We did a lot of exploring this time (versus the last time where we hit up lots of tourist spots). Meaning, we took some road trips!  We drove to Sanibel Island..........

And we drove to the Keys..........

We chased sunsets at our favorite spot.......

And at our favorite beach, this happened..........

I met Chris Soules, a former Bachelor.

As a forever fan of the show, this was monumental.  So monumental I couldn't form a string of words to say to him.

All thanks to the mister.  Because I wasn't going to approach him.  The mister made it happen.  And I'm not mad about it.

I mean, look at my ridiculous face!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Revival of Macrame

Macrame.  A lost art?

Think again!  Macrame is back in a big way!  In fact, it's back and hanging in the room I'm staging as an office!  I told you I was changing up the vibe in this house.

I love how this piece adds depth and texture to my office wall.  I also love how you just don't see macrame's different, maybe unexpected, and definitely one of a kind!  Not to mention, it's the work of a fiber artist, my friend Layne.  She made that beautiful piece.

But let's back up a little bit.

Not too long ago, my friend Layne asked to interview me about my favorite hobby!  She wanted to know a little bit more about my thrifting skills.  Funny thing is, I wanted to know a little bit more about her favorite hobby too.........macrame!  So we traded interviews!  You can check out my interview at her blog The Room Journal.  And you can stay put to hear more about Layne's favorite hobby.......

How did you get into macrame?
My dad got me interested in macrame.  He made a lot of plant hangers, etc, back in the 70's, and he taught me a few knots. But then I became obsessed with it a few years ago when I discovered the work of Sally England.  Seeing her work made me start getting serious about learning more advanced knots.  I am self-taught, using vintage macrame books and YouTube videos.

Tell me about your Etsy shop name Viola Maye....
When I first started my Etsy shop, I called it "Eck Art."  I just couldn't think of a anything pretty, so I went with something silly. But I really wanted to find a name that had a nice sound to it.  Then one day I was digging through a drawer and came across something that had my grandma's first and middle name on it, and realized how much I liked the sound of her name, so I went with that.

What different items can you make? 
I offer pre-made and made-to-order macrame items, including wall hangings and plant hangers.  I also take custom orders.

What materials do you use?
I use cotton rope.  I also use driftwood I find along the coast of Puget Sound.

What gave you the idea of finding driftwood along Puget Sound to use?
I've noticed so many macrame artists using lots of different things to tie knots from ~ dowels, copper rods, lucite, driftwood, etc.  I've always loved the driftwood the best, so I was pretty thrilled when I discovered my new home in the Pacific Northwest had plenty of interesting pieces of driftwood everywhere I look.

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I have driftwood from Puget Sound hanging in my house?!?!?!  That is pretty darn cool!!!  AND YOU COULD TOO!  Layne is offering 20% off orders over $50!  Use the code VINTAGEGROVE20 to receive the discount!  Hop on over to Viola Maye to snag a beautiful piece of your own!  Or you can buy the piece named Evelyn for ME.  I have lots more wall space to fill, and I've had my eye on Evelyn since she added it to her shop!

We can call it an early Christmas present!

*   *   *   *

You can find Layne on the internets at.....
*her blog:
*on Instagram: @layneeckhardt

Linking up with Two Thirty-Five Designs

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ceiling Medallions and Chandeliers

DIY projects are not foreign to us.  We've done plenty, most in our previous home.  There are a few things we've tackled that were pretty intimidating.  But this one?  This one takes the cake.

It all started back at our old house when I told the mister that the dining room chandelier was going to be a reserve item.  I was taking that baby with me.  I had grand hang it in our new dining room along with a certain ceiling medallion.  The fixture in our new dining room was dinky, and I felt like our chandelier would fill the space better.  Not to mention, chandeliers are $$$$, so taking it with us was thrifty!

Taking it down and packing it was no small feat.

But hanging it annnnd a ceiling medallion goes down as our hardest DIY to date.  Maybe because chandeliers are heavy. Probably because our 95 year old ceiling isn't 100% level.  But most likely because both of us are perfectionists.

When it was all said and done though, we were both very happy with the results....

And now if anyone needs a tutorial on how to hang a ceiling medallion, I'm your girl.  Or you could get the gist from this short Flipagram......

I swear I helped!  Somebody had to stop and take pictures every once in awhile.........

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Crazy Plant Lady

I've become a little obsessed with plants lately (even though my track record isn't the best).

I blame Instagram and Pinterest.

Images of eclectic, bohemian-esque rooms with greenery everywhere are suddenly speaking to me. It's probably because I'm changing up the vibe in this house.  It might be because this house has such great natural light.

I could also use the excuse that I have a difficult-to-style living room.

This room is huge.  It really has two different sitting areas in one large rectangular space.  It's tricky.  Soooo plants to the rescue.

My first purchase......a fiddle leaf fig from a local nursery.........

Not a cheap plant.  Especially if you're good at killing them.

Anyway, as you walk into this monstrous room, straight ahead is a large wall.  That large wall is home to our TV stand.  The only outlet is about three feet away from where the TV has to be (because of the configuration of this room).  Two huge cords hang from that outlet to the TV.

I was dying to cover those cords. But another piece of furniture just didn't make sense there.

That's when I decided I would try a plant grouping next to the entertainment center!  This would cover the cords and help fill that open space.  I bought two more plants and thought putting them in baskets would add texture.  I thrifted the outer baskets and found the middle basket at Target......

Mission accomplished!?

When I open my front door now, I'm greeted with greenery instead of a blank wall with a string of cords.  It makes me happy.

What would make me even happier?

Keeping my fiddle leaf alive.....

Give me alllll the advice you've got, people.

My fiddle leaf is begging you.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Vintage Rug Dreams

Have you ever scared a FedEx driver by doing a little jig on the porch as he walked up your steps with an extra exciting delivery? It's possible that happened here a few months ago when my vintage Turkish rug was delivered.

Yes.  Months ago.  And I'm just now showing it off?  Yep.  For a great reason.  I could not find a rug pad in this town that I deemed good enough for this antique baby of mine.  And without a rug pad, the rug was bunching and shifting a lot.  So I rolled it up and put it away until recently......

More on the rug......when we got our new furniture, I knew I wanted a rug to anchor the space.  I knew I wanted a vintage kilim. And after lots of online searching, I found the perfect one via the Turkish Rug Man!  I loved the design and colors, and of course, it was just the right size!

But, like I said, it wasn't staying in place on slick hardwood floors without a rug pad, since vintage kilims are thinner than rugs tend to be nowadays.  So the day it was delivered, I went to - no joke - FIVE STORES in town to look for a rug pad.  All I found in each store was a pressed plastic pad, which I'd had no luck with in the past.  Which tend to smell a little chemical-esque. Which I feared would damage the rug and possibly, the hardwoods too, which are original to our house!

There was no way I was putting a plastic pad under this vintage dream of mine.

Enter the Rug Pad Corner who completely saved the day!  They make pads that are 100% chemical and glue free.  This meant, no strange smell coming from the pad.  It also meant that my rug and floors would not be damaged.  Annnnd they are made in the USA!

They had a few to choose from that would work with hardwoods floors.  I decided to go with one called the Ultra Premium. The Ultra Premium rug pad is everything I'd hoped for.  First of all, when I opened the package, there was no scent to the pad at all!  No chemical smell whatsoever.  Next, the pad flattened out immediately!  I didn't have to wait to throw the rug on top! The felt side went against the rug and held it in place.......

Since vintage rugs tend to have odd dimensions, another feature I love, is that they are made and cut to be custom to your rug! They cut mine to be just a tad smaller than my rug, meaning no pad peeks out!

During the short time I actually left the rug out - pre-pad - my rug would shift a lot, especially with my rambunctious pups. Once the pad was underneath, my rug has not budged an inch.  It would also bunch up under the coffee table before.  Now there is no bunching, since the felt seems to adhere to the rug, and the rubber side grips to my hardwoods nicely......

The pad also adds a little depth to my pretty thin rug!  It's about 1/3" thick, which is the perfect amount of cushion underfoot!

To say I'm happy with this pad is an understatement.  For any future rugs I purchase, vintage or not, I will definitely be using a pad from the Rug Pad Corner.  And you should too!  Use the code REVIEW15 for 15% off your purchase!

Good thing I wasn't home when the rug pad was delivered.  I would have scared the UPS driver too!  I was so excited about finally getting put the rug down for good, I might have tackled him!

*I received this rug pad in exchange for an honest review via the Rug Pad Corner!*

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Backyard

With summer only NINE school days away, the backyard has been getting all of our attention!  I wish I'd taken before photos! We've done so much that I didn't think to document......

  • A huge brush pile had been left behind, so we took a trip to the yard waste center.  
  • We've also gotten familiar with the city dump, since we had to take a huge trash pile that was left behind.  
  • Then there's the pea gravel that covers about half the green space.  We are slowly hauling that off.  
  • Lastly, two raised garden beds took up a huge portion of yard near the house, so we removed that in order to eventually add a patio area.

It's starting to feel like a blank canvas!  

We did stage a sitting area up by our sun porch.  I've always dreamed of hanging string lights, so that was my first addition to the backyard......

My second addition was for our sun porch!  We found a vintage table and chair set on Craigslist for that space......

Nothing a fresh coat of paint can't fix.

So finished or not, I'm ready to have some backyard gatherings!  Some lazy summer nights under the string lights.  A little fire in the chiminea.

And, of course, food!  Always food.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Blogging for Books

Recently I discovered the site Blogging For Books via a local friend's blog.  She received a popular book for free in exchange for an honest review on her blog!  Uhhhh, SIGN ME UP!

When you sign up, you get to select one book, which they send you, free of charge.  Your job is to read it and write up a post!

I selected Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.

The title spoke to me.  Not only because of the feng shui part, but the "clear your clutter" part too.  It IS the year of the purge around here.  So I thought it would bring my curiosity of the art of feng shui and my decluttering game together.  Feng shui has always interested me.  I really didn't know much about it, but was ready to learn more.

I'll be honest.  I didn't learn much about feng shui the way I was hoping to.  I was hoping I'd learn the art of staging a home based on the principles of FS while keeping it clutter-free, but instead it focused on figuring out the "why" behind clutter in many areas of life (even emotional clutter) and the negative way clutter can impact your life.

I knew feng shui was sort of out-there.  Based on energies and spirituality.  Some of that I can get behind.  Some I cannot.  The notion that a home has "imprints" of previous tenants that can negatively or positively effect your home life is one I am not sure I can subscribe to.

Another area that the book really focused on was identifying clutter areas.  I guess people can really struggle with that.  To me, clutter is obvious.  So the large section devoted to that topic was, for me, unnecessary.

Overall, I felt like out of the three parts this book is divided into, Part 1 was the only part I really enjoyed.  Chapter 8 included diagrams of the part of feng shui I was interested in, how a home is divided into zones and how those zones can impact different aspects of your life.  It just didn't go deep enough.  I was left wanting more out of this section of the book.

In the end, I couldn't go into a room and stage it, clutter-free, using feng shui.  Which is what I'd been expecting to learn.

Nonetheless, it was an easy read.  It did make me think about "why" I hang on to things.  And it did make me eye roll more than once.

Now I can look forward to selecting another book though!  Maybe I'll shoot for fiction.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.