You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2013.

I found the greatest runner and matching throw rug at Target for the kitchen/dining room.  They are mostly cotton with a bit of sisal as well, and they have a diamond pattern weave.  I know my house and the boots that tromp through it from the backyard, so I’m thrilled that they’re already dirt colored!  The runner goes in front of the french doors, and the 2×3 rug goes at the other end of the room in front of the kitchen sink.  I love how this adds cohesion across the space.  It took a while to find something that looked good, would hide dirt tracked in through the french doors, AND was machine washable.  These three things do not often go together.  I paid a bit more than I usually would ($35 for the runner, maybe $12 for the throw rug?) because they were Just Right, and sometimes that is worth loosening the frugal wallet for.

However, it ended up that I had a problem with the runner.

IMG_0379 (800x600) (2)

Actually it’s not Ana-Banana there who is the problem cat (that would be Ophelia) but she happened to be the kitty on the rug at the time I was taking pictures.  Ophelia plays soccer all night long with that little red ball you can see in the upper left, and she leaves the runner like this or worse.  Aargh!  Perpetually straightening the runner is not my idea of fun.

I tried non-slip rug pads already, but that did not help very much.

IMG_0381 (800x600)

So I needed some sort of solution that would cause the runner to lie flat, while still allowing it to be washed when needed.  I googled my situation but the internet failed me for once.  Instead I was forced to brainstorm.  Rhino tape – basically permanent on both the rug and the floor, not an option. Thumbtacks won’t work with linoleum over cement.  I considered sewing some sort of flat metal or stiff plastic strip along the long edges of the runner , maybe threading it through loops on the underside with little pockets for the ends to go into so that it would be removable for washing, but that just seemed too fussy and labor intensive.

Finally I figured out a solution.  I wanted this runner to lie flat and heavy like one of those indoor/outdoor mats with rubber backing, you know, these guys:

sisal rubber mat

So I figured out that if I got rubber matting at Home Depot and velcroed the runner to the matting, I would have my heavy, flat runner that was still removable from the matting for washing!  Genius!

They had rolls of various runner material that you could purchase in any length and I chose some medium-weight clear vinyl in a length a few inches shorter than the runner.

It was too wide (I didn’t want it to show underneath) so I marked my desired width at a few intervals down the length of the matting.

IMG_0389 (800x515)

Then I grabbed the nearest straight edge and drew a line for cutting.

IMG_0392 (600x800)

Kitchen scissors were sufficient to cut through the medium weight vinyl.

Next, I grabbed my velcro.  I had some big velcro dots on hand with sticky adhesive backing, which turned out perfectly.  There were 4 dot-sets per package, so I put one at each corner.  I may come back with another package and add some in the middle if it seems like it needs it.

IMG_0394 (597x800)

First I stuck the stiffer side of the velcro dot to the vinyl mat. 

IMG_0398 (576x800)

Then I placed the runner over the matting where I wanted it, making sure it was centered, and carefully folded back the ends of the runner to reveal the velcro on the matting.  Next I actually velcroed the second velcro dot to the first one so that the adhesive was pointing to the ceiling and I had a double dot stuck to the matting.  This way I didn’t have to worry about trying to line up the dots on two faces of material. 

IMG_0399 (800x577)

Lastly, I folded the runner back down over the matting and stood on the corners to get the adhesive from the soft & fuzzy velcro to stick well to the runner.  The softer side of the velcro seems more washable so that’s why I put that one on the washable runner.  I peeled it back to make sure it took, and voila!

IMG_0400 (800x600)

Perfect, just like I wanted.

I may take some heavy-duty thread and sew that upper dot onto the runner in a couple spots just to make sure it holds fast over time and in the wash.  But basically this has worked soooo well to keep the runner flat despite boots and cats and boots and cats messing with it.  Plus, I can still wash it!

IMG_0401 (800x579)

I am happy.

Hope this helps someone solve their problem with a runner on a slippery floor!  PS.  You may want to wash and dry your runner first before doing this, as you could get some shrinkage.


Can I just say that working with burgundy carpet is hard?!  I was planning to post about our repainted bedroom this week, but that didn’t work out like I thought.  Instead, I decided I’d share some of the inspiration images I’ve been using to try to get enthusiastic about our future room with all its challenges.

As far as wall color, it looks like we are going with some shade of goldy-beige.  I hope to get that settled this weekend so I can paint!  Now burgundy and gold traditionally makes for a heavy, opulent look, and opulence… I do not haz it.  You see the difficulty?  Our current bedroom is light and bright with pale squirrel gray walls and a white, navy, and seaglass color scheme with hits of espresso and brass.   I love it.  I’m a morning person and need lightness in my bedroom, whereas the Chief would be very happy sleeping in a dark, cavelike room and was hoping I’d paint our future bedroom chocolate brown.  I like dark, cavelike rooms for reading and sipping tea with a cat at night, but it is not something I want to wake up in.

In case you didn’t pick that up, this room is DARK in terms of natural light, and the carpet adds to that, so for the bedding I”m planning on a white, cream, and golden-brown ensemble.  I want to keep an element of lightness going on the biggest piece of furniture in the room.  Also I better add lots of lamps.

Ready for the inspiration shots?  These all have the feel I’m going for in our little dark room.  I’m hoping I can pull off a simplified-traditional vibe and keep things from looking too heavy.


Wish me luck, and if you have any tips for working with carpet that you don’t like (other than covering it with a rug – no door clearance & cost prohibitive, unfortunately), please comment!


The Great Room Switch-A-Roo has begun.  We’re converting our bedroom into a separate entry granny flat to rent out, which means we are losing a room as we are about to add a person to the family.  Woohoo!  You know it’s traditional to tear your house apart before the birth of the first child, and we love traditional ;-)

This past weekend we had piles all over every floor as we exploded three rooms.  Not that we’re done, but the process is like this: clear stored items out of the music room, move the TV room into the music room so that they are combined, and move our bedroom into what used to be the TV room.

Our house looked like this over the weekend.

IMG_0339 (800x600)

That is our brand-new memory foam cal king mattress in the middle of the living room!  We’ve been sleeping on an old full sized bed for the last two years and have been promising ourselves an upgrade in terms of both size and comfort for a while.  I think my third trimester is the perfect time to get a mattress that doesn’t give me hip pain – it’s like this super fancy pregnancy present.  <– me attempting dry humor.

Yes, the house is looking like an explosion hit it.  Today is day 5 of relocating half our house and the Chief is completely sick of moving stuff around.  We made an unexpected decision to get our carpets cleaned a day ago (I tracked something gross all over the house for the second time in several months – sorry, babe!) and that involved moving all the piles of stuff out of the areas to be cleaned, then putting it back.  The upshot is that we’re having a small garage sale this weekend, and our worldly possessions will be much better organized, just as soon as we finish organizing them.

Here is the new music/media room, after moving out some of the stored items and moving in the TV and couch.


It is surprisingly cozy!  This room has no windows since the back patio was enclosed years ago, but it works out just fine if you want to watch movies or play the drums.  The Chief gets his massive  redwood coffee table back from banishment and will be mounting some longhorns over the TV.  I like it.

Here is our future bedroom, the previous TV room, which we will shortly be sharing with our newborn.  We’re moving from a full sized bed in a backyard-facing room with southern exposure to a cal king bed in a north-facing room on the street side of the house.   You can bet I’ll have more details on this one as I face its decorating challenges.

IMG_0342 (593x800)

And just for fun, here is our pretty new dining room filled with stuff.  There’s a big industrial storage rack on the right that, sadly, is going to have to live there for a while.  Any ideas on how to make it prettier?

IMG_0332 (800x595)

Now that you have seen all our piles of stuff, do you still want to be friends?  Seriously though, I am excited about all these changes.  I love that we are going ahead with doing a granny flat.  I don’t mind sharing a room with our baby for a while – it will make nighttime feedings a ton easier, and if we have sleep issues we will deal with them as they happen.   The back patio room (it’s the open door on the right in the above picture) will eventually get insulated and we’ll have a master bedroom again.

Did you do major house changes before the arrival of your first kid, or get a new bed?  Any fun nesting stories?  Have you ever rearranged all your clutter and lived in a rat’s nest for weeks while you sorted things?  I’d love to hear about it.

I thought it would be fun to share one of those things that could have turned out awesome but, um, didn’t.  In the land of DIY, not all projects turn out exactly the way you envisioned, and that’s totally fine because that’s real life.

Our kitchen window looks out onto the street so of course it has nice thick curtains to keep us from being the neighborhood entertainment at night.  They’re plain white cotton canvas (washable is imperative!) tab top cafe curtains from Wal-Mart, I believe.

I thought I had a better “before” picture but I cannot find it.  Hm.  Sorry about that.  This is a photo from when we were painting the dining area, and the pantry (on the right) is not normally one foot away from the fridge in the middle of the room.

IMG_0206 (2)

We recently repainted the kitchen from beige to off white (Behr Swiss Coffee) when we remodeled the dining area, and the white cafe curtains against the white walls were getting to me.  In a recent post, I shared how I put up huge green and white curtains on the french doors.  That went so well I decided to do something colorful to the cafe curtains at the other end of the room.  I recalled the various bloggers I’d seen who painted stripes on plain curtains and rugs and thought I’d invest $5 in craft paints to paint me some stripes too.  Hey, it worked when I put chevrons on our living room rug two years ago.

So I took my coupon and got a few bottles of craft paint and fabric medium from Michael’s, came home, mixed my custom color, and taped off some 4″ stripes on the first curtain.  Here, the tape has been removed from the first three stripes.


It was looking good but I had one little problem.


I was out of paint.

And I still had the other curtain to do.

Well, it was late and I had other things to do for the next few days so I just let the one striped curtain dry overnight and hung it up the next morning.  That’s when I discovered that those stripes were not so pretty when they were backlit.  In fact they looked radically unattractive.  “So this is why the bloggers say you might need to do two coats,” I mused, looking at my empty cup of custom mixed paint.  “I wonder if using a small foam roller might have applied the paint more evenly than my good brush.”  (The world may never know.)


I just left the lonely single curtain hanging there while I thought about what to do.  Because it turned out so stiff and patchy, I didn’t want to continue with the other curtain.

And that, my friends, is how things stayed for three or four weeks…


Then I had a brainwave.

An awning!  This thing had awning stripes on it, and I had a roommate once with an awesome indoor burlap awning in her breakfast nook, so maybe I could do an indoor awning.

I was inspired.  I took my ugly striped curtain down, re-taped the stripes, painted a second coat of non-custom green, and took to cutting and sewing and lining until I had a nice looking rectangle to use.  Did I take any pictures?  I did not.  I did this project on a weekend the Chief was gone and my goal was to blast through as many projects as I could from stuff I already had on hand.  I didn’t even think about grabbing my camera, I was working so hard.  Basically I followed the tutorial that I found here, and I also invented some parts as I went along (like only stitching the lining onto the white stripes and not across the green painted stripes, to avoid white stitches on green stripes, and using hot glue in the places my sewing machine couldn’t go).

….Are you ready to see the awning?

Wait, first I have to make an excuse for the kitchen.

You haven’t seen much of the kitchen because it’s dated and we’re not doing any remodels at this point.  The cabinets are (I believe original) knotty pine that has seen better days, with a few additional pressboard uppers in the same color; there is one cabinet door that has been stripped but not refinished; the window needs an overhaul; and the counters are indestructible wood grain print formica.  Yummm ;-)  You know what though, the layout works GREAT for practical use.   So there.

Before:  Just to remind you of the first shot, we started with plain curtains, an old window, and a vacant space to the ceiling.

IMG_0206 (2)

After: cheery awning on two tension rods makes this side of the kitchen/dining area look MUCH more finished and ties it in to the green curtains on the other side of the room!

IMG_0320 - Copy




What do you think of this small change – does it have the impact I think it does?  Have you ever considered an indoor awning? What are some other ways you’ve tried to enliven the dead area over a sink?