February 8, 2012 at 7:00 am , by Beth Roehrig
If you saw Holly Burns’ kitchen transformation in our March issue, you’ll know that she and her husband pulled off an amazing feat of DIY derring-do. So we asked her to share what she learned about saving money on the process. Holly blogs at Nothing But Bonfires. And is still working up the courage to renovate her bathroom.
How to Remodel a Kitchen on a Budget (Without Losing Your Mind)
Three months after we bought our fixer-upper house in an uncool part of San Francisco, my husband Sean and I decided to remodel the kitchen. Actually, that’s not quite true; we decided to remodel the kitchen before we’d even signed the papers in the realtor’s office—if you’d seen that hideous flowered wallpaper, you would have too—but we needed a little time to save up. I like to joke that we also needed a little time to get our wills in order. You know, in case we murdered each other in the process.
Renovating your kitchen yourself isn’t easy. It isn’t even particularly fun. And it certainly isn’t always cheap. But when you approach the project with a little humor and a lot of knowledge, it’s definitely a whole lot more manageable. If you’re thinking of tackling a DIY remodel, here are a few ways to keep your budget bearable and your sanity intact. Mostly, anyway. (You may also need wine.)
January 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm , by Ron Kelly
Are you a cat lover who’s tired of the host of feline fashion faux paws … er, pas … that you see in the stores? Well, you’ve got a friend in country music’s Kellie Pickler, who recently teamed up with Fresh Step litter and the ASPCA for a great cause that’ll benefit both cats in need and your wardrobe.
Now through March 15, in honor of February being Cat Appreciation Month, Fresh Step litter will donate $1 (up to $100,000) to the ASPCA for every photo posted on their Facebook page of a pet owner wearing a cat-proud outfit. If your closet is currently cat-pride free, relax and don’t cough up a hairball. That’s why Pickler partnered with fashion designer and fellow cat lover Geren Ford, creating the limited-edition sweater you see Pickler wearing here. When you visit the ASPCA website to purchase the sweater ($35), 100% of the proceeds benefits the ASPCA. You can also virtually “try on” the sweater at Fresh Step’s Facebook page, post it, and make the $1 donation. It’s so easy, your cat can probably do it!
Pickler, who unfortunately had to relocate her beloved cat Pickles due to her husband’s severe allergies, is thrilled to be part of such a pro-cat program, brushing off any fear of being stamped with a “crazy cat lady stigma” as cooly as she’d brush cat hair off a couch. “I’m not ashamed of anything,” she says matter-of-factly. “I don’t really worry about what everybody else is doing and what they like. I kind of do my own thing. I love cats and I’m not going to not love cats just because somebody else doesn’t think it’s cool. I don’t think they’re cool if they don’t like cats.”
She was in a similar mindset while making her brand new CD, 100 Proof, which is out today and takes Pickler back to some more traditional country roots. “On my last album, I made a record based on what I thought radio would play and what I thought people would want to hear,” she explains. “I didn’t do that with this record. I’m not trying to get anybody to like me with this album. Nothing’s forced. I was me, I didn’t make this record for anyone but me and I think it’s okay to do things for yourself every now and then.” Her new approach has produced an album that is her strongest, most personal effort yet. In fact, by not worrying about what anyone wanted to hear, she just may have made the record everyone was waiting for after falling in love with her on American Idol in 2006.
Continue on after the jump for more dish about Pickler’s brand new CD …
December 28, 2011 at 8:00 am , by Beth Roehrig
I love New Year’s Eve! When I plan a party, I always make sure to create a welcoming setting where guests will feel comfortable. I also repurpose items I already have on hand to make the most of my budget, which totally makes it possible to throw a glamorous New Year’s party on a dime. Here’s how:
1. Accessorize affordably. New Year’s Eve supplies are easy to find at affordable stores. Look for small touches and metallic accessories that will bring the chic quotient up a few notches and complement your everyday décor.
2. Don’t forget the essentials. Every New Year’s party should have:
• A punch bowl to serve up a signature cocktail
• A beverage tub to keep the bubbly chilled all the night
• A mirrored tray to help present treats like finger foods
• A mirrored ball that sets the mood
3. Put out a buffet. A mix of hot-and-cold finger foods on tiered trays and cake stands will give your table some dimension. Bonus: When you’re not tied up in the kitchen, you’ll have time to work the room and welcome guests as they arrive. Read more
November 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm , by Beth Roehrig
Have you become a fan of ABC’s The Chew? I got to attend a trial run of the show before it started airing in September, and loved seeing co-host Evette Rios, the resident design expert, in action. She also has a channel over on eHow Food, where she posts videos with lots of great (and simple) entertaining ideas.
Thanksgiving is in just over a week—and if you’re hosting you have probably finalized the menu and are now looking for creative and easy ways to decorate the table. Place cards really make the holiday table. They are fun and festive, but also completely functional. Let’s face it, when we go to a dinner party, we have a tendency to stick to the folks we know, love and feel comfortable around. But sometimes as host or hostess, you want to arrange your guests so that they get maximum schmoozing, or maybe so that you can play matchmaker, or protect your shy, introverted friends from your chatty Uncle Louie. Place cards are your secret weapon! Here are bunch of ways that you can make them beautiful, fun and hassle-free. And you can also watch me make each one on my eHow video.
Put a Cork in It
October 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm , by Sue Erneta
I had the pleasure of visiting the brand new C. Wonder store in Soho this morning. The name is perfect because the entire store is filled to the brim with colorful and witty fashion and home items at remarkably reasonable prices. I’m talking $8 for a small lacquered box, $24 for a clutch, and $78 for a cabled sweater! It’s the brainchild of Chris Burch (Tory’s ex-) and lucky you, it opens to the public tomorrow. Make sure you stop by this weekend for lots of fun grand opening events including the Wheel of Wonder prize wheel and the C. Wonder Flower cart. Not in NYC? No worries! The full service ecommerce website will be up and running this weekend.
The store itself, designed by New York based architecture firm Pompei AD, is a marvel of interior decorating. I wanted to move right in! Gilded light fixtures and enormous tufted ottomans mix with greek key rugs and striped walls to create a space that you just can’t walk past without going in. If you’re on Pinterest, check out my iPhone pics here on my C. Wonder pin board.
Photo courtesy of C. Wonder
October 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm , by Catherine LeFebvre
Painted Botanical Mugs
1. Wash and dry your mugs thoroughly.
2. These are very easy patterns to freehand, but it doesn’t hurt to practice them a bit beforehand. Sketch the designs on tracing paper or printer paper, then cut around the shapes and tape onto mugs to eye the placement and composition.
3. Shake the paint pen and pump the tip onto a piece of scrap paper to start the flow of paint.
4. Begin drawing the design onto the first mug. If the paint pen begins to lose flow, simply pump a few more times on the scrap paper to renew the ink. If you make a mistake, you can either wipe off with a wet paper towel immediately, or wait 15 minutes for the paint to dry and scrape off with a straight razor blade or paint scraper. You may have to pause halfway and allow one mug to dry while you begin working on another mug, so that you don’t smudge your design. Note: Once this paint is set in the oven, it becomes safe to touch food or liquid, so if your design goes onto the rim or into the interior of the mug, that’s fine.
5. Once you have drawn all your designs on the mugs, let them sit for 24 hours to dry. Even after this point, you can scrap and wash a design off entirely an start again.
6. Once the mugs have sat for 24 hours, place them in a cold oven and set the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow the mugs to cool completely before removing. The paint is now set and is dishwasher safe.
1. Use your exacto knife and ruler to cut two sheets of your cardboard into 4″ wide strips.
2. Once you have all of your 4″ strips, begin the body of the fish by taking a strip and bending it along each of its corrugated ridges. You’ll see the strip start to curl as you soften each corrugated ridge. If you’re using the corrugated roll, you can skip this step.
3. Make a long oval/eye shape that is as small as possible and begin to wrap the cardboard tightly around the shape again and again. Apply a dab of hot glue between layers every few rounds to secure the shape and keep it tightly rolled. Also apply hot glue whenever you start or end a strip to keep the shape uniform. Once you have an oval that is about 16″ in diameter, stop wrapping and glue the outermost strip down to secure.
4. To make the fish tail shape, take a firm strip of cardboard and bend the strip three times near its end to create the smallest triangle possible. Then begin folding the strip around the inner triangle, only bending the cardboard each time it reaches the end points of the triangle. This will help maintain a clean shape. Periodically add a dab of glue between layers to keep the shape tightly formed. Stop when your triangle is about 10″ on each side and glue the outermost strip down to secure.
5. Now take the triangle shape and use your exacto to measure and cut 3″ off of each layer at one tip of the triangle. Once you’ve successfully cut the tip entirely off, re-glue the ends of the loose strips together to firm up the shape.
6. Run several lines of glue over the edge that you just cut and press the tail firmly onto the end of oval to attach the tail to the body of the fish.
7. Once you have the oval shape completed, cut three lengths of cardboard: 16″, 12″, and 8″. Fold each one in half and make a crease, then place at the front of your oval, pushed outward a but to create the shape of the fish’s mouth. Glue the edges of the three pieces in place and glue to the oval. Cut and fold smaller pieces of cardboard and place within the opening to fill in the mouth area.
8. Take several long strips of cardboard and glue them along the entire outside of the fish shape. Repeat again so that you have two layers of cardboard running around the body and the tail of the fish.
9. Place the fish on an uncut sheet of cardboard and trace the shape. Cut out the shape and glue to the underside of the fish shape. This adds stability to the form and will catch any loose catnip if you choose to sprinkle some on the pad (cats love this).
10. Measure the new height of your pad (should be around 4 1/8″ with the added base) and cut several strips of this width from your decorative paper.
11. Spray the backside of the decorative paper strips with spray adhesive, then carefully run the paper along the outside of the pad, covering the outermost layer of cardboard.
1. Remove the pages from your book by running your exacto knife along the outer edged where the book meets the cover.
2. Measure the dimensions of the interior of the book cover, and make sure it’s larger than the dimensions of your tablet by at least 1/4″ inch on all sides.
3. Measure and cut two rectangles out the mat board that are smaller than the dimensions of your book cover by 1/8″ on all sides.
4. Measure and cut rectangles out of your fabric that are 1/4″ larger on all sides than the mat board rectangles. Also cut a 3″ strip of fabric that is the same length as your boards.
5. Spread a thin even layer of archival glue on the backside of the 3″ strip of fabric and press down into the inside spine of your book cover. Clean off excess glue with a paper towel and smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles. Allow to dry completely.
6. Center your mat board on the backside of the fabric rectangle and cut out the corners of the fabric that extend beyond the mat board with your exacto knife.
7. Pick up the mat board and spread a thin layer of archival glue on one side. Place the glue side back down onto the backside of the fabric, making sure the board is centered and the corner cut-outs line up the corner of the board.
8. Run a thin line of archival glue along the edges of the fabric that overhang and pull them over the edges of the board to the back of the board. Smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles from the front of the board and tape the edges of the fabric down to the backside of the board with masking tape. Clean off excess glue with a paper towel. Repeat with the second board and allow both to dry completely.
9. Cut four 4″ lengths of elastic. Take your tablet—or, if you worry about dirtying your device, you can make a mock up with identical dimensions out of scrap cardboard or foam board— and center on top of one of the fabric covered boards. Place all four elastic strips around the corners of your device and tape to the backside of the board. Adjust the straps so they are symmetrical and snug against your device—they should have just a little bit of tension so that your device doesn’t wiggle around. Make sure they are all firmly taped in place on the back, and remove your device (if you’re using a mockup device you can leave it in).
10. Working on one elastic at a time, carefully lift the tape (while not allowing the elastic to move from its position) place a few dabs of superglue on the underside of the edge of the elastic, and press back down into place. Replace the tape firmly over the piece and press down to set. Repeat seven more times with each edge of the other elastic strips until all strips are glued and taped down. Allow glue to set for 30 minutes to an hour.
11. Remove the tape from your elastic strips and check that they are securely adhered. Flip both fabric covered boards over and spread a uniform layer of archival glue over the entire back of both boards. Take the board without the elastic and flip it over, carefully center it over the left interior side of the book cover, and press firmly down to adhere it. Repeat with the other board on the right side, centering it onto the right interior side of the book cover and pressing down. Clean off any excess glue and place the open book on a flat surface. Place a stack of heavy book over both sides of the book to apply pressure while the glue sets. Allow to dry completely.
12. Once the glue has dried, remove the books and inspect your new tablet case. If any of the edges of the boards seem loose, you can apply a tiny dab of superglue between the board and the book cover and place back under the heavy books to dry.
August 31, 2011 at 11:43 am , by Beth Roehrig
It sounds like sacrilege: taking an Oriental carpet or kilim rug, bleaching it, then dying the whole thing a bright, saturated hue. But surprisingly, it works, and totally transforms a traditional design into something new, fresh and modern. Of course, you wouldn’t do this with a pricey antique rug. But for old carpets that aren’t valuable or just plain worn-looking, this technique recycles them into something useful. Another technique takes pieces of multiple old rugs and sews them together before dyeing the resulting patchwork a single color, like the Patchwork Kilim from World Market at left. I first noticed this trend months back at ABC Carpet & Home, a high-end rug and home furnishings store, and am excited to see it finally showing up at more affordable prices. Check out a few more colorful options after the jump.