Mood Board for a Loft-Inspired Teen Boy’s Room – One Room Challenge Week 1

I’m really excited to be a Guest Participant again in the One Room Challenge! This is a great way to get inspiration and motivation for your home. This spring, I re-decorated our boys’ bathroom. For this fall’s challenge, I’m transforming our teen’s bedroom. His new space is inspired by an industrial loft, with an exposed brick wall and other great features! Thanks for following along!

Kai is a quiet kid who doesn’t share much or ask for much. When the boys wanted their own rooms last fall, he ended up in my former craft room, and I made very few changes when I moved him in, other than adding a bed. Although he does not ask for much, he does show his appreciation, and I was excited to do something special for him, before he goes off to college in a few more years – sniff, wah!

I know how fast they grow, so I wanted an adult space, where we could add a few personal touches. I also imagine that some day, I’ll gain this room back as a craft studio, so I kept all that in mind in choosing a simple loft-inspired design scheme. There are vintage, industrial, and hand-made touches that will allow this space to endure and adapt to our family in the years to come.

ORC Mood Board

Image sources:

Are you as excited as I am?!

I created my design plan the way I usually do, looking for inspiration spaces and then identifying the elements and themes that I want to incorporate into our home. The Design Cookbook has more details on how you can use this approach to create spaces you love!

Here are two of my inspiration spaces for this project. I could not find an original source for the first picture, so please let me know if you find it, so I can give credit!

This second room was featured on the Street Easy blog.

bedroom image

The features I loved in both of these spaces – and that I knew I wanted to recreate – are:

  • exposed brick!
  • light, neutral walls
  • warm natural wood
  • grey bedding and Roman shades

I’ve done a little bit of sourcing and preparation already, but there is a lot of work left to do in the next five weeks! I can’t wait to share all the projects and see the final space!

A huge thank you to Linda for creating the One Room Challenge community, and high fives to all my fellow bloggers whose hard work and creativity were great inspirations! Be sure to go back to the One Room Challenge blog and check out all the other projects!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Dyeing to DIY… Shibori!

I love the look of shibori – which is hardly surprising, since I love all things blue and white, and fabric. I finally overcame my skittishness about dye and tried this technique… now, I am 100% addicted! I’ve got lots … Continue reading

Some Things Never Get Old – Vintage Superhero Wall Art 

Superheroes have been capturing our imagination for decades, and the recent revival of superhero movies shows they are truly timeless. And since everything else with kids changes way too fast, superheroes make a great and enduring theme for their decor. I really enjoyed making these art projects for our kids and our friends’ boys.

My materials for the vintage superhero art were:

The calendar pages look great framed on their own. For our friends’ boys, I made these framed initials:

Looking for more superhero ideas? You may remember the covered mirrors and pencil tins I made a while back!

To infinity and beyond,


That Spells DNA – Nerdy and Beautiful Stacked Coins Baby Quilts

“DNA, you’re in my heart
DNA, in fact you’re in every part of my body
Each cell has a nucleus, each nucleus has chromosomes
And DNA, baby, that spells DNA”

-That Spells DNA by Jonathan Coulton

I can thank Steve, who is at the forefront of all things nerdy, for introducing me to Jonathan Coulton over a decade ago. Of course, as a genetic counselor, I have a particular soft spot for “That Spells DNA.” If you’re as nerdy as we are, and you don’t already know and love this song, you will want to check it out!

So, when we found out we were having a mini baby boom in our work family, with two babies due within two months, it wasn’t too hard for me to decide on DNA-themed baby quilts as gifts.

I found the DNA-themed fabric, Color DNA stripe by Melissa McCulloch, on Spoonflower. The fabric in the quilts is actually left over from a few Halloweens ago when our group dressed up as (if terrible puns cause you pain, skip this next part!) Gene-gnomes. The colors were a perfect jumping off point for this colorful gender-neutral patchwork of yellow, blues, greens and coral-red.

This pattern is called Stacked Coins and is easy to adapt to scraps of all kinds.

Here are some close-ups of the beautiful fabrics. I wanted to use every last scrap of the DNA fabric, so there is one patch in each of the quilts that I like to call “CRISPRed.” Can you spot one?

And here are a few more pictures of the quilts during their photo shoot, before they went off to their new homes!

All the colors and patterns together make me so happy! I am excited to meet the newest babies of our work family and give them their quilts, so they can start their genetics lessons early!


Custom Scrapbook Luggage Tags

These little luggage tags make wonderful gifts that are quick to make and practical!

Every kids loves having something with their name on it, and every adult fears taking the wrong bag at the airport. I’ve actually done this – and it was a huge pain, because I had to spend hours and $$ going back to LAX to exchange the bag, but I was relieved that at least the woman whose bag I accidentally took was really nice about it.

I love all the ways you can customize these luggage tags. I am showing these with scrapbook paper, but I’ve also made some out of wedding invitations to give as a gift to the couple, and you could use photos or lots of other ideas!

I’ve made tags with two different types of lamination:


There’s really nothing better than a beautiful combination of scrapbook paper and stickers, is there? … Well, maybe dark chocolate and red wine… or world peace… okay, but these are really fun and pretty, so go and make some, because world peace may take a while to achieve.


The Neutral Pillow Project

Whether you lean towards Scandinavian-inspired, Modern Farmhouse, or California Casual, everything light, white, and wood is in right now – and I love it!

While I’m always excited to incorporate new looks into my home, it takes some creativity to do this – we’ve had most of our major furniture pieces for a decade or more.

One strategy that’s easy on the budget and environment is to change out accessories like pillows. Here are some light and bright ideas that you can use to give your room a new look!

Admittedly, my “things I have in the house already” is rather extensive, but I’m still proud that I managed to make all these pillows with them.

Here are the links to a tutorial on making simple throw pillows and tutorials for the window seat pillows, including bolster and flanged pillows.

Starting with: Ribbon-embellished geometric pillows:

  • I started by sewing lengths of ivory ribbon onto a linen-like fabric in diagonal stripes
  • I then cut out panels to create a chevron or herringbone pattern for two bolster pillows to add a neutral accent to my teal armchairs
  • With the leftover sections of ribbon-embellished fabric, I created one more throw pillow for our living room loveseat

Mudcloth-inspired contrast stitching:

Neutral doesn’t have to mean boring! I took some plain canvas fabric I had and, inspired by the oh-so-popular mudcloth trend, cut it into panels and sewed it together with contrasting navy thread:

There are a million more ideas for sewing simple pillows to change the look of your space – and when I try them all, you’ll see it here!


Crushing On: Contemporary Chinoiserie Prints

Before I share all the beautiful prints I scouted out for you, I’m going to go on a small tangent. The Crazy Rich Asians book series by Kevin Kwan started years ago, but I caught the bug this summer, just before the movie came out. I’m currently obsessed with everything related to this world – I love the fun romp of the stories; I’m excited by the significance of their popularity for cultural representation; and I’m moved by the idea that while people in the books – and in the real world – spend a lot of time judging cultural authenticity and superiority, the message of the books is that cultural identities are individual, dynamic, blended, and beautiful.

I promise, this is all related, because incorporating Chinoiserie elements into my home is one my favorite decorating themes. Chinoiserie is “the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture.” I recently made a beautiful bolster for our bed, upcycled from a baby sling I held on to for the past seven years. (See my Instagram post for a picture of the original sling!) After making it, I was inspired to source some other Chinoiserie prints with a contemporary feel. Here’s what I found. I hope you’ll share your favorites, too!


The archetype of Chinoiserie prints is Schumacher’s Exuberant Prints Collection. The origin of many of these prints are in fact vintage, but they still feel completely contemporary, which is a true sign of good design. They are pricey, but a worthwhile splurge, if you can swing it.

I’m particularly in love with Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon:

A similar and more accessibly-priced option is the beautiful Robert Allen Ming Dragon:

And of course, when you are looking for a distinctive print, you’ve got to browse Spoonflower! I browsed tons of ideas there, and here are my favorites:

Cranes Garden by lorloves_design on Spoonflower:

KOI by tornpaperpaintings on Spoonflower:

Jenny Cherry Blossoms by Domesticate on Spoonflower:

Japanese Garden by Judit Gueth on Spoonflower:

(Yes I understand the irony/ inappropriateness of including this in a post on Chinoiserie… but it is pretty!)

In addition to accent pillows, you could frame a swatch of these prints or use one to line a tray. How would you use these prints?


Macrame Plant Hangers- Now in Color!

I’ve decided to call my crafting style “serial crafting monogamy.” I definitely go on streaks where I fall in love with a new technique and can’t get enough of it. Right now, I’m sure you have noticed, I am addicted to macrame. Once I got the hang of it, I have so many ideas to try!

Today’s post is about adding color to your plant hangers – I did this with dyeing an ombre pattern as well as with adding colorful embroidery floss.

If you want to go back and see other posts on macrame, here are the links:

First, check out these beautiful ombré plant hangers. I made them with cotton clothesline and created the ombre pattern with navy fabric dye.

To get the ombré effect, I dipped the plant hanger in a container of dye solution and then pulled it out and hung it with just the bottom sitting in the dye for 20-30 minutes.

The other way I added color to the plant hangers was by adding gathering knots in different colors of embroidery floss.

And I just recently discovered Bobbiny cotton rope from Poland. It’s so soft, recycled, and beautiful, so I’m definitely scheming to add more color to my macrame projects that way!


Bright Ideas – Making the Most of Your Windows – Part Two – Furniture Placement

People often comment on the great light we get in our house. A lot of that has to do with the good fortune of having big windows and a bright western exposure. But wherever you live, there are some tricks … Continue reading