For now, here are some side projects that I did this summer/fall.
First, I knew I was going to have a lot more kitchen stuff to store after the wedding. I bought a dresser off of craigslist for $40, then sanded, repainted, patterned, and poly-ed it. The stencil came from a metal radiator cover from Home Depot. It was kind of tricky, and some areas have some blobby parts, but that's ok. Overall I love it!
In the kitchen, I got some frames from Ikea to fill the end wall where the table is. I got a desk calendar with vintage dessert illustrations on sale at Sam Flax, a local art store, when I was in buying stationery for the wedding. I cut the picture up and framed a few, and the other vintagey drawn things are from the back cover of Cook's Illustrated, a bi-monthly magazine I get.
I realized they were art when I got the crabs one, and I love crabs, having grown up eating them when we visited my dad's family in Baltimore. So, the crabs started it all. Now we have winter squash and pastries, too, and the Jan/Feb issue has limes on the back cover. I'll frame it as soon as I'm done reading.
In the laundry room, we rearranged the initial layout. The cabinet was so high I couldn't reach anything in it, and the shelf was too low to hang dresses or tights to dry. So, we angled the washer/dryer, then moved the cabinet to counter height. This adds the benefit of hiding the dryer vent pipe, and creates a nice surface for the detergents. The shelf is higher now, perfect for hanging things. The space in general is more open, and open-ness is critical in that cramped 5 by 4 foot room.
We also opened up the closet in the master bedroom. I wouldn't call this a "side project" technically, because it did take us several weeks to cut, repair, trim, paint, and install the closet system. But, it looks great, and just seems so much bigger than the closet in the bedroom we're currently using, which is technically larger. However, we won't be doing this in any of the other rooms because of the locations of the closets. We'd lose too much wall space and they'd be the first thing you saw when you walked in. Yuck. Here, when you walk in, the door covers half of the closet, and you're looking into the room, away from the closet. So it works. We haven't hung a curtain in front yet, or moved clothes in (except for my dressy clothes and off-season dresses).
We also rearranged the office when I brought my old dining table from Elise's house. It's now my craft desk. The layout is more open, and leaves room for Hula's cat tree and a bookshelf to store my crafty things on the left wall (not shown).
In the corner of the picture above (between the computer and the TV) you see a framed thingy. That's another two desk calendars from Sam Flax, maps and vintage travel posters, that I put in a big multi-picture frame from Ikea. Sorry the picture is blurry; I was trying to avoid glare from the plastic. It's cute, and has old airliner posters and one from Hawaii (which was awesome, btw).
Finally, I got around to dyeing the Henriksdaal chair covers for the dining room table. I wanted them a teal color, so I bought 3 Royal Blue and 2 Emerald iDye packets at JoAnn's. Each packet dyes 2 covers, and I bought 2 extra chair covers (in case Hula destroys the current ones... she's been good about using her cardboard scratcher, though). I also had a white ottoman cover for an old Ikea ottoman ($6 for the basic white Klippan cover; I couldn't resist). Note: without the covers on, the chairs are pinkish. The picture isn't off-color, I promise.
Anyway, I threw all of the covers into the washer, added the recommended amount of salt and the dye packets, and let 'er rip. There are tons of dyeing tutorials out there that I followed, and it worked great!placemat that was my inspiration.
Maybe I should have ironed them. Hm. Or maybe that marbling is just normal when you cram 6 chair covers and an ottoman cover into a washer. I should go home and check. I think they're smoother now, after being installed for a month.