Friday, May 30, 2014


Sometimes things around this house just need a "well, that's better!" moment. 
I'm all about adding a little quirky and fun into whatever real grown-up living is supposed to be about.  This isn't rocket science or creative brilliance, necessarily.  It's just taking a fun idea and actually doing it.  Or displaying Nanoblox on the piano.  Or decorating with flying pigs.  We'll get to some of those things later, I promise.
Today, we're just working with a typical doormat.  A two dollar plain grass-woven doormat from IKEA.  In five minutes, you can personalize it however you want. I just wanted something very understated, small, and sweet.  Grab a permanent marker; it's all you'll need!

I will say that writing on these mats is not totally easy.  First of all, it's permanent.  That's what has kept me from pulling the trigger on this quick project.  Sure, I can go get another $2 doormat, but IKEA is an hour and a half from here, and I can't find the same type mat locally (mostly due to my inner agoraphobia, aka I don't like to shop.  I'm sure a similar mat is out there somewhere in my town...).
After getting over the "I might mess up!" anxiety, I just grabbed the marker and gave Homey the camera.  I had a quick plan for "I might mess up!" and decided I'd just create some sort of border with the marker to cover up a mistake. Having an "I might mess up!" plan might just light the fire to actually try a project you're hesitant about.  Trust me.
Here's the quick and simple info:
Decide what to write.  I decided on something genius like "hello".  That's awesome, right?
Space it out on the mat.  I used the "air writing" method, very similar to air guitar to those that are familiar.  If a stencil feels easier, then by all means, give it a try.

Ok, just do it.  Write the word already.  Like I said, it's not super easy to just flow over the grass matting, but go slow and steady.  Go back and fill in.  Sink the marker down as needed to get low spots.  That's all!

Photo creds to my homey Homey.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Front Porchin' It

The porch.

 To me, both of my porches are more of a living room than my actual living room ever will be.  I don't sit on my own couch very often.  Usually I am on one of my porches. I've even actually managed to turn the word porch into a verb somehow.  I do weird things like that sometimes.

It's why we ended up here, in our perfectly weird house.  Upon driving up to see yet another house with our realtor, I remember saying enthusiastically "Can we buy it?!  Can I have it?!" before even walking inside.  The front porch just spoke to me.

This brings us to right this second, seven years later, when I'm still sitting on the front porch, typing.  Because it's just my favorite place here. 

Here's why I need to be on the porch. It gives me sunshine and fresh air. I can therapeutically sweat out the cares of the day in the late afternoon sun here.  It affords me both the ability to be at home and interact with the outside world.  New neighbors, old neighbors.  If it's not between November and February here, we're all out for one reason or another.  Yards to weed, bikes to ride, cartwheels to turn, neighborhood blocks to be run (do I really have to run today??).  There's a chance to catch up with someone a few doors down, return a dish from a recipe someone shared, or just throw a hand up to wave at someone passing by.

Since I spend so much time here, on my trusty porch, I finally felt like it really needed to be treated like a room instead of an afterthought.
The bare bones version is this:  my awesome porch swing and my vintage bouncy chair.

It's okay like this.  The swing itself is freakin' fantastic.  It has cup holders!  But the space as a whole was just deserving a little more love considering how much we use it.
Like the rest of this house...the front porch is wonky.  It's not symmetrical, nothing quite fits where you want it to.  But regardless...we'll just figure it out!  Ready? Let's go.

So much better!  I anchored the sitting area with a $30 outdoor rug from Target.  It defines the space, and adds the first layer of softness and texture to the hard brick and wood of the porch.  I also added some pillows, almost for free!  The middle pillow is an Etsy find, and I made the other two out of a $7 drop cloth (with tons of fabric to spare).  I hand painted our house number and a graphic ginko leaf to add a little personality.  They actually wash pretty well!

For form and function purposes, I added an existing white melamine tray to the end table.  It adds contrast in texture and color, plus it adds a great sturdy surface for drinks and snacks.

Also "free-ish" is the throw on the back on the swing.  It's actually a swim suit cover from Old Navy.  I'll just grab it when I need it but leave it here in the meantime.  Makes a great picnic or play blanket for all the time we spend in the yard!

The other end of the looks way more alive and lovely with some container plants and a vintage plant stand.  I'm not allowed to touch the plants, as they'll die upon contact.  But I really do enjoy them as long as someone else is taking care of them.  Thanks JMom!  I love that we planted out the old mailbox.  Since they discontinued mail delivery to the door a few years ago, I figured it would make a great repurposed planter.

Now, it's time to go porch it and see what's going on in the Vortex.