Valentine’s Day Craft Ideas

Despite the fact that Valentine’s day is cheesy we both have some love for it.  Maybe it’s because it comes in the dark months when winter lingers too long, and we like having an occasion to celebrate.  It’s almost certainly not because of the notoriously tacky traditional Valentine’s day gifts — covered in hearts but pretty much heartless.  While putting this post together we were looking at Valentine’s day crafts on Pinterest–Mera was horrified by the pervasive candy + printable pun combination (“Will You Chews To Be My Valentine” attached to a pack of gum) but Katie secretly, and ardently, dreams of receiving just such a thing.

From Mera:

I love a good heart motif, but it’s not easy to find simple and beautiful heart-shaped crafts that I would really want to make or receive.  This sweet little woven basket ornament would stay out past Valentine’s day for Easter, and would reappear on the Christmas tree.

If it’s stable enough, this pretty paper heart would be beautiful hung on a door, or even as a center piece for a special dinner.

This version of a heart wreath looks easier to make, but just as pretty:

From Katie:

In my mind, there’s no better gift than a mixtape. The first one I ever received was from a boy (whose name I forget, but whose tape I remember) in middle school. It included music by Ween and the Sundays, as well as Peter Gabriel’s seminal – and oozing with cheese – mixtape favorite ‘In Your Eyes.’

Digital playlists are undoubtedly convenient, but nothing beats the tangible joy of a mixtape replete with an arty cover and handwritten track list.  The best of both worlds?  Enter the DIY usb mixtape (Youtube tutorial here):

So cute!  Here are three songs that would definitely make it onto a Valentine’s mix:

My version of Valentine’s Day is at least as much about my dear friends as about my dear husband, and I just love the idea of using this cute tutorial on the blog HonestlyWTF to embroider a vintage hanky for my sweet Mera (so she can dry the tears she sheds from missing me?):

Red House West || Valentine's Day DIYs

Red House West || Valentine's Day DIYs

Alas, since Valentine’s Day is imminent – and I’m afraid couch upholstery trumps embroidered hankies –  Mera might have to settle for something a little punny, but totally heartfelt.  I mean, c’mon, this is pure gold – amirite?:

Are you getting crafty for Valentine’s Day?  Have an excellent week!

Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

We’ve noticed the term “wabi-sabi” popping up on Instagram and Pinterest recently and, because we couldn’t suss it out based on context, we decided to do some investigating into what it means.  Most definitions we found include reference to imperfection and age, but we think this explanation from the Utne Reader says it best:

“Broadly, wabi-sabi is everything that today’s sleek, mass-produced, technology-saturated culture isn’t. It’s flea markets, not shopping malls; aged wood, not swank floor coverings; one single morning glory, not a dozen red roses. Wabi-sabi understands the tender, raw beauty of a gray December landscape and the aching elegance of an abandoned building or shed. It celebrates cracks and crevices and rot and all the other marks that time and weather and use leave behind. To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly.”

So how does that definition translate to decor?  We think this Ibiza home, with its raw, imperfect sink and rough-hewn wood, captures the wabi-sabi aesthetic to a T.

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

The wavy edges of Michele Michael‘s ceramics would put a little wabi-sabi on your table (and we’d certainly like to put them on ours).

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi SabiRecognize this next image?  Its ubiquity on Pinterest must speak to the widespread appeal of a wabi-sabi aesthetic.

This next image is a little wabi-sabi vignette, each piece having its own patina and story to tell.

If a key component of wabi-sabi is that things are worn, loved, and aged, then these two images are wabi-sabi to perfection.

Are you familiar with this term and, if so, did we understand it the same way you do?  Anything to add to the definition?  Have a great rest of the week!

An Updated Bedroom Design Plan & A Thank You Note To My House

We’ve hired pros for our new master bedroom remodel, so it is rapidly zooming into focus. The room is going to be done soon, but my decorating “plan” is still just a loosey-goosey collection of ideas.

As a reminder, here is what the room looked like in the raw “before” state:
Red House West || Bedroom Decisions
Red House West || Bedroom Decisions It’s hard to get a clear sense of scale, but just know that the room is tiny. The bed in these photos is a full, and it takes up pretty much the whole room. How to fit a queen bed and a closet for two was the challenge, and after taping out the size of a queen size bed on the floor, going through a whole pad of graph paper, and meeting with our awesome contractor, we’ve got a plan that’s going to work.
The closet is going in this long skinny eave that was housing Chester’s bitty closet and my sewing area:
Red House West || Master Bedroom
I had thought that we would each have a side of the eave as our designated closet, with a mix of drawers and hanging space (see my original closet plan here).  But after monkeying with the design I decided that the simplest solution is best.   The entire left side (where the dresser is in the photo above) will be built in drawers, and the entire right side will be hanging space with sliding doors.  This plan works better because the knee wall on the right side is actually higher than the one on the left (which slopes like a funhouse) so there’s more height for hanging clothes.  Will it be a long closet tube?  Yep.  Will it house both of our wardrobes? I desperately hope so.  Will it be a big improvement on our current closet sitch?  Most definitely.

Here’s a peek (in terribly lit iPhone photos) at what it looks like currently:

IMG_3538 IMG_3539Back to the decorating plan.  You might remember that I was debating between a spool bed and an upholstered bed.   I love spool beds, and I think they look especially sweet in small attic-y rooms, so when I found this I convinced myself it was the one (not in this color though):

The company’s website doesn’t include dimensions, but here’s the description: “The Farmhouse Spool Bed enjoys a vintage look that makes one nostalgic for the relaxed pace of a summer cottage. With its smaller scale, this bed will fit the coziest of bedrooms.”  Perfect!  My bedroom is cozy, I’m nostalgic for a relaxed pace, I enjoy a vintage look!  But when I got the dimensions I learned that what they bill as basically a dollhouse bed is TOO BIG for our bedroom.

Next I found this petite and simple bed at Serena and Lily:

Red House West || Master Bedroom

A totally different look, but I think it’s versatile and simple and, most importantly, it will fit in the room.  I thought I wanted a patterned fabric like the one I shared here, but after ordering fabric swatches I decided on a solid indigo linen.  With the sloped ceilings, paneled walls, and newly revealed wood floors, there’s a lot of pattern and texture in the room already.  I want the room to feel like a cozy and serene retreat for grown ups, so I figured solid was the way to go.  I bought the bed while it was on sale and got an email a few weeks later saying it was going into production, then nothing. For months. Finally in December I called customer service, and after talking to several people learned that my bed hadn’t gone into production because they didn’t actually have enough of the fabric to upholster it. They say they’ll get more in February, and to make it up to me they gave me an additional 40% off, and free shipping! Free furniture shipping to Alaska makes me feel like they’re paying me to buy this thing! I’m not counting my bed chickens before they hatch, but fingers crossed they’ll have enough fabric soon.

Assuming it all works out, I think it will look something like this (click here if you want to see previous plans):

Bedroom Plan Round 3

Finally, you might have heard about (or experienced) the big 7.1 earthquake we had here last weekend.  Nothing was damaged at our house, but the kitchen drawers and cabinets swung open, everything on the walls was akimbo, and a few things fell off the bookshelves.  To my dear darling house, house that survived the 1964 earthquake too, I say thank you.   You’ve earned those janky angles and sloping floors, and I am very grateful that you are strong and solid and keep my family safe.