Are You Feeling Craftsy?

October 17, 2017 by Melissa | 0 Comments

I recently heard about Craftsy.com and I was intrigued.   It is a site that is dedicated to providing on-line instruction (for a fee) related to a variety of arts and crafts.  As someone who loves a project, Craftsy.com appeared to be right up my alley.

The site bills itself as a place to find “endless inspiration to keep your hands happy.”  Based on the breadth of topics included on the site, I don’t think they have oversold their scope.  The topics include: Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, Photography, Art, Cake, Cooking, Baking, Jewelry-Making, and many more.  All of Craftsy’s classes are on-line; they are offered at a variety of levels and include many specialized fields of study.  One thing I have been particularly interested in lately is photography as I have been trying to improve the images for this site.  So, I decided to explore the photography classes on Craftsy a bit more thoroughly.  The photography section has free and paid classes at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.  Topics range from food photography, to landscapes, to portraits, to night photography.  There are also classes in processing and publishing – for example using Photoshop and Lightroom – as well as classes about building a photography business.  In addition to a variety of classes on each Craftsy topic, each topics also includes a blog as well as links to student projects, resources and materials.

What I think is great about Craftsy is there is something for everyone.  If you are a beginner who is simply interested in enjoying an art class, there is a class for you.  But, if you are a professional looking for ways to grow and expand your business, Craftsy has something for you as well.  I know I’ll be looking for some photography/photoshop classes to improve my skills.  In the process, who knows, maybe I’ll decide to take up knitting?


Who doesn’t love a good sale?

October 16, 2017 by Ariana | 0 Comments

One of our favorite sites, Lulu & Georgia, is celebrating their anniversary by offering 25% off sitewide.  We love sourcing here for rugs, accessories and furniture for projects for clients and ourselves.  They have a tightly curated selection of unique items that you won’t find everywhere.  So whether you’re an early holiday shopper or looking for new items to spruce up your own home, head on over to their website to take advantage of this sale.

Check out what’s in our “tote bag”:

shopping list:


Break It Down: Julianne Moore’s West Village Townhouse

October 12, 2017 by Melissa | 0 Comments

Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

I have always been a fan of Julianne Moore, so I was excited to see her West Village townhouse profiled in Architectural Digest.  I was even more excited when they described her home as “normal” in a good way.  In fact, she got what I consider high praise when the writer described her space as having “engaging homeyness, that emerges seemingly without effort. . . .”  I am always striving to create spaces that make people feel comfortable without sacrificing style.  And, I couldn’t agree more that the townhouse strikes a wonderful balance here.  The velvet sofa creates an air of glamour, but the mixture of the piece with wood tones and leather, and a high pile rug makes the space warm and inviting. It looks like a room that would transition well from cocktail party to casual afternoon lounging with your feet up.

Of course, Architectural Digest is good at letting its readers shop their stories and this one is no exception. If money is no object, head over to the website and you’ll be able to recreate the room with a few clicks.

For those of us on a budget, however, using the Architectural Digest sources is probably not a viable option.  So we decided to try to create a similar look less and, viola, we were able to do it without breaking the bank.  Take a look at what we found.

It goes to show, if you are willing to hunt around a bit you can find some stylish, affordable pieces out there.  If you like the look, you can shop the links below.

Sources (clockwise from top left):

Smith Cabinet
Nelson Ball Pendant
Oliver Apartment Sofa
Caldwell Pouf Ottoman
Donatello Stool
Kasbah Rug 9×12
Flavio Lounge Chair
Free Edge Slab Coffee Table
Brass Tray
Ball Boxwood
Cylinder Task Floor Lamp


Bringing the Outdoors Inside With Indoor Plants

October 9, 2017 by Melissa | 0 Comments

It is finally starting to feel like fall in Chicago.  The weather has been unseasonably warm until now, so even though the leaves are changing colors and starting to pile up, it hasn’t really felt like fall yet.  Last week, there were a couple of days that did not top 70 degrees and I finally started to think about the winter that lay ahead of us.

Chicagoans have all sorts of advice about enduring the winter.  While everyone recommends embracing the season, most people have a few tricks up their sleeve.  For example, some are proponents of vitamin D supplements, while others recommend strategically-timed vacations.   One trick that I have started thinking about is bringing the outdoors – and more specifically green plants – inside.  I have never been much of a houseplant person.  Rationally, I know they are a great decorating tool.  They fill an empty space, add a bit of color, and improve the mood (and oxygen) of a room.  But, given that I was a San Francisco resident until a few months ago, I never felt the need to add plants to my own indoor space; the plants right outside my windows stayed green and bloomed all year.  This year-round greenery combined with my brown thumb, made houseplants feel like an unnecessary expense.  As I watch the Chicago landscape begin to turn brown around me, however, I think this may be the year I give it a shot.

Image courtesy of Laurenconrad.com 

After a little searching I found what appears to be the perfect resource, a guide to the “Easiest Indoor Plants to Keep Alive.”  Here are a few of my favorites from the list.

Image courtesy of ChrisLovesJulia.com

The fiddle leaf fig tree has been having a moment for the past several years.  From a decor perspective, the tree checks all the boxes.  Great green leaves, volume at the top and height.  They also seem to thrive indoors.  Check, check and check.  They are definitely a bit of an investment so I would be worried about keeping the tree alive.  Thankfully, someone created a handy guide to the best faux fiddle leaf fig trees.  This might be the perfect solution to my brown thumb issues.

Image courtesy of GardeningKnowHow.com

The rubber tree plant offers the same high impact look of the fiddle leaf, but takes up a bit less real estate.  I think these are a great option in a room where you are looking for a bit less drama.

Image courtesy of suburbanbitches.com 

The snake plant is a great choice for high impact in areas with low light.  I love the contemporary fee of the leaves; the plant does a great job of adding color and texture while maintaining the clean lines of a minimalist space.

Image courtesy of Lily.com

In a smaller space a jade plant can be a nice addition.  I think they work really well in a bathroom or in a small nook where you need a pop of color.  The shape of the leaves is a good combination of contemporary and classic and it could work well with almost any decor.

Image courtesy of GoodHousekeeping.com.

I am not sure the english ivy look (above) is totally me.  But, it is apparently very difficult to kill.  So, if all else fails, it may be worth a go.

Bottom line?  There are many good choices for hearty houseplants that will allow me to bring the outdoors inside this winter.  Now, it is just a matter of choosing.

Displaying Kids’ Art

October 6, 2017 by Melissa | 0 Comments

Image courtesy of ApartmentTherapy.com

With the kids back at school we are faced with a flood of art projects that are being sent home already.  When I was a kid, the routine was pretty simple.  We brought home a piece of art or, as we got older, 100% on a spelling test, and it was proudly displayed on the refrigerator.  There was a natural rotation of art and papers because as we brought home more papers the old ones were taken down to make space for the latest and greatest.  It was pretty simple.  Now, with stainless steel refrigerators and other non-magnetic surfaces, the ritual of putting special work on the refrigerator has been forced to evolve.  The question for us has been, “where do we put it?”

Because my kids like to display their work proudly for all to see, I did not want to relegate it to their rooms.  For us, it makes the most sense to have a space set aside in our basement.  It currently serves as the kids playroom but is also used for movie and game nights with family and friends.

As I started to look, I realized their are some great ideas out there.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Image courtesy of younghouselove.com

The giant cork board above was the first idea to catch my eye.  It is simple and, best of all, I could make this myself relatively easily.  But, the more I thought I about it, I worried that the set up could lead to fighting.  With two kids who demand equal space, I could see a line of blue painter’s tape down the middle of the board.  So, I decided to look for options that would allow both kids to have their own spot.

Image courtesy of SimplyOrganized.me

The image above is an easy solution to potential fighting.  If everyone has their own board, there is nothing to fight about.  While I think this is perfectly adequate (and may well be what we end up with), I pressed on in search of more creative options.

Image courtesy of Bellini.com

While not particularly creative, the art wall above is simply beautiful.  I think it would be relatively easy to do something like this with frames from IKEA and a few extra hours on a Saturday.  Let’s face it, though, once the art went into those frames I would never change the artwork.  So, it would not really accomplish the purpose of a refrigerator replacement.

Image courtesy of Craftionary.net

Now we’re getting somewhere.  In the image above, empty frames are painted high gloss yellow and fitted with a piece of fishing line and a couple of mini clothes pins.  The frames create a finished, playful look and the fishing line allows you to easily switch out the artwork as new masterpieces are created.  My only concern is whether there would be enough space for ALL of the artwork that comes home from school.  But, for a more curated look this is top notch.

Image courtesy of Houzz.com 

The use of curtain rods and rings with clips make a perfect display for artwork.  I also love that this can double as an art supply station by simply hanging buckets on the lowest rung.  My only hesitation is that it seems like it would be a bit more work to remove the whole set up once the kids outgrew it.  Then again, maybe that is a problem for another day.

There are clearly pros and cons to all of the examples above.  It is going to be hard to settle on one idea.  But, I feel a DIY in my future.  Stay tuned.