Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

I’m back. It’s been a strange season – wrapping up our first school year experience, finding our summer rhythm, tying up lots of loose ends. I don’t think I have used my sewing machine in over a month, and I haven’t made jewelry either. But this week, I made time for a little of both, and it brought me so much joy.

What have we been up to? It’s hard to really say why we have been so busy. We’ve been immersed in house stuff – finishing up the outdoor projects (reveal coming soon!), painting walls and doors, rearranging furniture, and cleaning out.

Remember I was reading this book? (I talked more about it here.) I thought I would need to reread it monthly, but it seems that it took a few months to fully sink in. I am now completely entrenched in decluttering our house. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no pack rat, but something in the last few weeks really clicked, and I’ve committed to getting rid of ALL the excess. I have never been more enthusiastic about cleaning in my life.

Here are some other things that have been on my mind lately:

citrus fruit

1. Instagram. I finally jumped on the bandwagon. Just like blogging, I followed other people for a while before posting myself. And I’m loving it! (I’m @beautifulobjs if you want to follow along.) I think it is making me a little more mindful and attentive to what’s going on around me during the moment. (And my obsession with rainbow color order lives on!)

2. This made me surprisingly emotional. I have thought of it often over the last few weeks. Beautiful.

the forest feast book

3. The Forest Feast. I have seen reviews of this book on various blogs, so when I stumbled on it at my library, I added it to my overflowing bag. (Do you do this, too? I probably check out 10 books at a time. I know I will never read all of them, but in the moment, I just can’t choose. It still makes me giddy that I get to take them home with me. FOR FREE!) After reading only a handful of pages of this book, I knew I needed a copy for my own bookshelf. I want to live in its pages. Erin Gleeson’s photography and hand lettering are beautiful, and every recipe looks simple and wonderful. (Her blog, The Forest Feast, is lovely as well.) Reading it made me long for fall (even though we’ve just dived into summer) and to throw a party. It’s definitely time to throw a party.

4. This was fun. I saw this months ago, and put in Nicole (the name I have always gone by but which is actually my middle name – I’m from the South, we do that a lot), and the description that came up was not super accurate. It came across my path again, and this time I tried my actual first name. WHOA! Ridiculously accurate. Have you tried this? If you do, I’m curious about your results. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

5. Speaking of parties, this made me laugh. (I’m an ENFP. You?)

What are you up to this weekend? It’s going to be hot, so there will be trips to the pool, afternoon movies and popcorn, and house painting. Always more painting. I’m also in the middle of three books right now, so I’m hoping to finish one of them. So I can take it back to the library and get some more books, of course. Hope you have a great one!

It Does a Body Good

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I made jewelry this weekend! It’s been a few weeks, and it felt wonderful to create something with my hands.

I also did a little sewing this weekend. I’ve been in purging mode the last few weeks (thanks to this book – more about that here and here), so I’ve been piling clothes and sorting them for consigning, giving away, and mending.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

This gray dress was in the mending pile. When I found it at the thrift store, I was short on time, so I just held it up to my body and thought, “Close enough!”

When I got home, I realized it was a little too big, and too big in a strapless dress doesn’t work, so I came up with this quick fix for a strapless dress.

Side note – while I was trying it on, figuring out how to fix it, I kept thinking of this commercial from the 80s – do you remember it?

I LOVED that dress. I was sure that this would be exactly the kind of dress I would wear to the prom.

Of course, I was 9 years old when that commercial came out, so by the time I went to my first prom, my dress was a little different:

sequin dress

Alas, this is not my dress. I searched high and low for a photo from my first prom but came up short. My dress was very similar to this, except it was turquoise. The style in 1994 (at least in East Tennessee) was head-to-toe (or head-to-knee) sequins and beads. (You know I love me some sequins – see another almost prom dress here.)

It’s currently prom dress season, and thanks to the glory of Facebook, I can see what my friends’ daughters are wearing this year (both in Tennessee and California). I love seeing how styles have changed – lots of beautiful dresses, elegant fabrics, and MUCH fewer sequins.

photo (52)-001I would like to note – my senior prom dress (photo above, from my scrapbook in which I rubber cemented sequins to the page and wrote with bubble letters) didn’t have a single sequin. I was also 2 weeks post-op from an ACL replacement, and I was supposed to still be using crutches, so that it why I was not wearing heels, much to my dismay.

Okay, my project dress.

gray lace dress

I love the color and the lace, and while it’s a relatively recent dress from H&M, it’s got a vintage feel that I love, too.

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In order to keep the front of the bodice intact, I decided to add elastic to the back of the bodice to make it fit better.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

My plan was to use two pieces of elastic, one on each side of the zipper, which falls is the middle of the back.

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I measured the length of one of the back pieces from the side seam to the zipper (here, 8 inches). I subtracted 3 inches (it was just a guess, and it worked well) and cut two pieces of elastic, 5 inches each.

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I pinned the elastic along the top of the bodice in the back, one end at the side seam and one end just before the zipper.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

I then sewed the elastic along the top of the bodice, pulling the elastic as I went to make sure it stretched the length of the bodice. After it was sewn in place, it pulled the top of the bodice in, making it fit better. I repeated this on the other side.

Quick Fix for a Strapless Dress

Here’s the back of the dress with the elastic sewn into the top.

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It fits so much better this way. And because this dress feels like a 50s prom dress, a pink satin ribbon seemed necessary, along with pink heels and a pink necklace.

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Here’s my new necklace! I used vintage rose-shaped beads and sterling silver chain to create a pretty yet simple necklace.

pink rose bead necklace

I love how sweet and innocent it is.

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pink rose bead necklace

Sewing and making jewelry – I don’t know about “Does a Body Good”, but it sure does wonders for the soul.

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Dress: thrifted (H&M)

Necklace: my Etsy shop

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 I’m off to go look for more prom photos! So, did you go to prom? What did you wear? I’d love to hear. And thanks for reading!

Back Porch Living + A Secret for Hanging Curtains

Look what we did this weekend:Back Porch Curtains

We finally got around to hanging curtains on our back porch. I’ve been wanting to do this since the moment we moved in a year and a half ago. I’ve gone back and forth on what I wanted. When I unearthed these light, billowy curtains from their (ahem) moving box, I decided to give it a go. What’s better than free (as in, we already own them) curtains?

Back Porch Curtains

We started with Husband installing the IKEA DIGNITET curtain wire.We used 3 sets, along with 3 additional support pieces. Installation was quick and easy. Next was my turn to hang the curtains. We had 10 of these panels from Cost Plus that we used on all the windows in our old house. (Luckily, they are still available as I need to buy two more panels to make everything symmetrical.)

So here’s my curtain secret:

I remember when I used these at the old house how much it would bug me to not be able to tie each of the knots at exactly the same length, so this time, I attempted to hold a ruler while I tied the knots onto the wire. While standing on a ladder. It took a long time, and it didn’t really work, so I got creative.

Back Porch Curtains

I used a permanent laundry marker and ruler to mark 6 inches on the back tie of each pair on every curtain. (For you folks keeping track at home, that’s 7 ties times 10 panels.)

Back Porch Curtains

I could have used a washable marker used for sewing, but the mark doesn’t really show at all once it’s tied, and while I don’t know how often I’ll be washing these, I don’t want to have to remeasure every time.

Back Porch Curtains

Sneaky sneaky!

Back Porch Curtains

Since I marked the back tie only, any mark that could be seen is hidden when the ties are tied.

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I now have perfectly even ties – so good for those OCD tendencies.

Back Porch Curtains

My dreamy new porch curtains – and a peek at the next outdoor project – the dining chairs. New paint and new fabric for those are on the agenda for next weekend.

back porch curtains

Even though the daybed is still a work-in-progress, the back porch is already our new favorite place. Over the course of the weekend, it was home to a nap (me), working on the laptop (Husband), blowing bubbles (BB & BG), sipping wine (grown-ups, obviously), and reading (all). There is something about watching a breeze blow through soft curtains that brings on a deep sense of relaxation. Bring on Summer – I know where we’ll be spending it.

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