Friday, February 15, 2013

New Dwell Studio Peacock Bedding

One of the duvet sets that I ordered from Layla Grace has arrived.  And I have to admit it, I love it.  It's really changed the look and feel of the room.  I do feel a bit disloyal, because I loved my old duvet so much and it did help me win a design competition.  But the new duvet is so fresh and clean looking.

I decided to see what it would look like with the old throw pillows that went so well with the old duvet.

Guess what?  They don't work.  Even though there's a teeny bit of orange in the pattern of the duvet, it just wasn't enough to tie them together.  Another thing that the throw pillows had in common with the old duvet was a similar pattern.

Here it is with layered with the quilt on top.  Nope, definitely not working.  Before it created a cozy bohemian vibe, this just looks disjointed and messy.

Let's try some different throw pillows.  These are the same design as the other duvet that I ordered by dwell studio.

Much better!  The pillows share lots of design elements with the duvet without it looking matchy matchy.

Spot the difference in the two pictures above.  The one on the right uses my old sheeting which is a light blue moroccan tile design.  The one on the left is much more graphic and punchy.

Here's a picture taken from the same angle with the old bedding, and old bed (obviously).

See what I mean about the patterns of the old duvet matching both patterns in the throw pillows.  Even the shade shares something in common with the flowers on the pillow.

Yep, that confirms it.  I really do like the new bedding better!  It's definitely a lot more sophisticated.  Like I said earlier, I do feel a little sad.  What I had before was definitely more bohemian, and that's what I truly aspire to, but the after is far more serene and sophisticated.  Am I being true to myself, I wonder?  I even removed the blue zigzag rug.

I did manage to recycle the orange bolster, which looks remarkably good on the love seat.  That zig zag is too much though.  Might have to have another go at reupholstering it.  Stay tuned!

What doesn't work as well with the new bedding are the lamp shades.  Their tone is definitely darker than the colors in the duvet.  The darker birds on the throw pillows help somewhat, but not quite.

I ordered this pillow from Anthropologie.  Maybe it will do the trick of tying the shades to the rest of the scheme.  Sometimes you've just got to try things out to see.

What do you think?  (I know the love seat is a little silly there, but I don't have anywhere else to put it.  Maybe I should sell it.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope you're having a wonderfully romantic day with all your special loved-ones.  I woke up to the smell of freshly baked almond and chocolate croissants, courtesy of Trader Joes.  Later, Damian and I have a date at the accountants office, don't you just love taxes?!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My "favorite nook" featured on Brooklyn Limestone

Today I'm so honoured to be featured on Brooklyn Limestone blog.

Brooklyn Limestone was one of the first blogs I ever read and it's still inspiring me all these years later.  For the next week or so Mrs. Limestone is doing a guest series called "my favorite nook".  I'm so thrilled to have my space included and excited to see the other "nooks".

Look, there's my room, second from the left. 
Check out the feature here.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Blog Template

I hope you like the new blog look.  It really was about time.  It had become increasingly obvious to me that my blog, which I started 3 years ago, was looking terribly dated.  Everyone and their mother (literally) had better and more professional looking blogs than me.

Yep, that's bad.  I hate those sides.  And the page tabs.....just don't get me started.  So I thought I'd try and add some social contact buttons to the right hand side to make it look a bit more professional.  Let me tell you, it was like putting lipstick on a pig.  The buttons I found (free because I'm cheap) were the wrong size and color.  I added them, but the blog was starting to look like a Frankenstein blog.  There was only one thing I could do and that was to start afresh.

Now that's a totally scary thing to do.  After all blogger isn't exactly user friendly sometimes.  You click on the wrong thing accidentally and bam, it's a whole different look.  Good job I did my research and decided to back-up my old template just in case the new one didn't work out.  Umm, well even though there's a lovely back-up button right there on blogger, could I get it to work for me?  Nope, came back with a bunch of errors which might as well have been written in Chinese.  So I cautiously decided to try a different method of back-up where I went in and copied all of the HTML code for the template and pasted it into a word document.  Luckily that did the trick.

But I still wasn't about to let loose on my old blog just yet.  Blogger doesn't let you keep the old blog template so any changes you make go live right away.  I didn't want to risk doing "open heart surgery" on my blog without having a clear plan as to how it was going to look in the end.  So I created a dummy or trial blog to work on.  Now you're probably wondering why I didn't just pay someone with a lot more experience with design and with blogger.  Well, for one thing, timing.  I always want something done like yesterday, and I knew I'd be getting a lot more traffic tomorrow because my blog is being featured on Brooklyn Limestone.  So excited.  If you're visiting from there, welcome!  Another reason, money.  I know it only costs a few hundred for a nice design, but I don't make any money from my blog so the least amount of money I throw at it the better.  And finally the main reason is that I love a good challenge and am not frightened of a bit of DIY whether it's tiling a fireplace, reupholstering a chair, building furniture or indeed redesigning a blog.  And with so many resources available online, how hard can it be?

Well, it is quite hard.  Blogger makes it hard.  Why isn't there a center button for headers or titles?  Seems pretty obvious to me.  So you have to go in and add code.  Sometimes this works and sometimes this doesn't.  If you want those fancy social media buttons you have to add them yourself.

To center the blog title:
Go to Design - Template - Advanced - Add CSS
Then type in the following

#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important;}
#header-inner {text-align: Center ;}

To center page tabs:
Go to Design - Template - Advanced - Add CSS
Then type in the following

.PageList {text-align:center !important;}
.PageList li {display:inline !important; float:none !important;}

To add social media buttons:
Go to Design - Layout - Add a gadget - HTML/Javascript
In the content box type

<a href="URL Goes Here"><img src="Image Direct Link Goes Here" /></a>

Copy & paste the URL that you want the button to link to, e.g. your Pinterest account.
Go to Photobucket and find social media icons that you want to use (or I believe you can upload them in there yourself).  Click on the icon and a pop-up should appear that gives the Image Direct Link, select and copy this link and paste it in the code above.  Do this for each button.

If you want a button to link to your email type "mailto:youremailaddress" in the URL Goes Here part.

When I was somewhat satisfied with how the new blog was looking I copied the HTML and posted it over the old blog.  Scary moment!  But thankfully it worked.  It didn't save everything and I had to go in and put the social media buttons and a couple of other things in there again, but apart from that it was looking pretty good.  There are a few things I'll probably change.  I'd like the Blog Title to be larger, but the default only goes up to that size.  I also don't like the box going around the tabs.  When I tried to go in and change the size of the Post Title it wouldn't let me, so I guess I'm stuck with the size it is (it needs to be bigger).  I'm also sure that professional blog designers would be horrified with the amount of different colors I have used in the blog.  I think I'll keep on tinkering with it as the weeks go on, but for now it's a huge improvement.

I'd love to know what you think.

Oh I just realized I need a fancy signature at the bottom of each post.  I'll have to add that later.  But for now TTFN.

So this is what the blog looked like after I implemented the changes above.

I was frustrated that the preset tools in blogger only allowed me to have a Blog Title of 80px.  As I had been playing around with the HTML all day, it didn't seem so scary to me after all.  I knew that I could always revert back to the old template as long as I was careful.  I realized that because of the method I used to upload the new blog template I was unable to change any of the font sizes or colors.  I'd have to go in to the HTML code and manually change them.

It's a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but I managed to locate the code that I needed to change.  What I was most excited about was being able to get rid of the boxes around the tabs.  I'd seen a lot of other blogs that simply had a line at the top and bottom; far cleaner looking than the odd size boxes.  My husband who is a software engineer couldn't believe that I was manually searching for the code insisting that they have tools for that, but I'm impatient and I just wanted to get it done.

And here's how it looks as of now.  I'm sure I'll be changing or tweaking it again.  I'd like to make my photo round to offset all of the boxy lines.  I think I'll have to use photoshop or some other photo editing tool.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Bedding

I'm super sad.  My favourite duvet cover is developing holes and tears!  I've had it about 4 years and it is my only one, so it's understandable, but still.  I wish I'd bought 2 of them, but it's really hard to fork out a few hundred dollars for what is essentially a few yards of fabric sewn together.  And of course they don't make it any more.  And to make matters worse, I still love it and think that it's goes perfectly in the space (a rare thing thing for someone so fickle).

It's the Tatum Bedding ensemble from Pottery Barn.  It was love at first sight when I first spied it in the store. 

Here it is with a super colorful quilt that I layer on top for the winter.

Yes, I know that's a lot of patterns.  I could be accused of being an over-patterner, but I love it.  And I think it looks extra cozy.

Here's what the room looks like from the other side.  I had to move the dresser from underneath the arched window to make room for the sofa that used to be in the front room.  It kind of works.  The mirror stayed there because there's no place for that either.  My house is small, and full!

Here's the chevron sofa in the place that the dresser used to be.

Yes, lots of chevrons, and florals, and of course a few birds here and there.

So what to do about the duvet situation?  I know West Elm has lots of cool ones, but they just don't have that impact or wow factor that I'm looking for.  I love Anthropologie, but their quilts are a little too florally or girly or bohemian.  Pottery Barn is way too conservative for the look I want; that's why I was so surprised when I found the bedding above in there.

See that pillow above.  That's almost the look I'm going for.  Yes, birds have been done to death (and so have chevrons!)  but we'll see.  The pillow is Chinoiserie by Dwell Studio.

Here's some pictures of the duvet sets.


I don't like it as much as my old duvet but it is what it is.  The only thing really troubling me about it is the lack of pattern in the middle;  seems a little off to me.  I also think it might get a little dingy after a while with it being white.  Doesn't matter if I wash my whites separately, they always seem to go grey.

Here's another option from Dwell Studio.  It's the peacock duvet.

Now that almost looks like my bed, but a lot more sophisticated.  I don't think I'm ready (or will ever be) for that level of sophistication.  But I think it looks lovely here.

What I love most about my old duvet are the colours and the repetitive pattern; it looks more graphic and less organic than the bird ones.

However, I decided to purchase the two above and give them a try.  Not sure yet if I'll keep one, both or even none, but I'll post an update when they arrive.  Luckily I managed to use a coupon for 20% off on Layla Grace which brought the cost down significantly.  It's interesting though, I just noticed that the price has gone up $42 since I ordered, so I guess I was lucky twice!

Oh, and I've got a little bit of news.  On Tuesday you'll see my music room/library featured on Mrs. Limestones' Blog.  She's doing a short series on other bloggers favorite nooks.  I submitted mine, she liked it and there we are.  I'll post the link on Tuesday and hope that you'll hop on over there and take a look (and write a sweet comment).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Pillows

Thanks so much for all of you advice regarding what was missing in my living room. You were right that the pillows didn't match. So I thought I might try some green ones to bring in the color from the curtains and lamps. As of now I'm still undecided on them. I think they might be too splodgy (spell check doesn't like that word). Anyway, here's a piccy.