Nerd Cave: Harry Potter-Inspired Living Room

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In this month’s Nerd Cave series, I’m showing you guys my Harry Potter-inspired Living Room ideas. I love having non-discrete elements in my home that remind me of geeky things without necessarily being from the specific franchises. It’s like having a little secret for me. Especially with a lot of pieces like these, because it makes me feel far more immersed in the Potterverse than I might with something that blanantly says “Harry Potter”.

Harry Potter will always have a strong hold on my heart. Still having a fairly blank slate of a living room to work with, my mind has been stewing and brewing with ideas of how to incorporate little elements into to make it feel a little more Diagon Alley and a little less real Muggle World struggles.

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Though a lot of this can’t be done in my current living space due to the fact that it’s a rented apartment, I’m keeping these ideas close to my heart for the day I can walk into my own owned space and decorate the hell out of it. I love the exploded skulls and articulated skeletons so much. I originally became fascinated with them after watching a few episodes of Oddities on SyFy. I’m very much a black and white interior design kind of gal, loving how small pieces of color stand out so much more. You can most definitely create these looks with more woodsy, country, and brass design styles.

You can check out these ideas and more that I’ve Pinned on my Home Sweet Home board on Pinterest. If you see a number on here that you’d like a little more information of, or where you can find that item or similar, let me know in the comments below and I’ll help you out!

Sometimes, I like to think that Snape and I could have been decent roomies. Just sayin’.

Crafting Days of November

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Crafting Days of November, otherwise known as The Week My ADHD Got Really Out of Hand and I Made a Bunch of Stuff as a Result and Burnt Myself At One Point.

It started out innocently enough. I wanted a fun banner in the dining room space to give our little mirror a little added something until I could figure out Christmas decor and more permanent design for that space. I went over to Memories for the Making here in little ol’ Lodi which is a scrapbook store my friend, Chelsea works at, and loaded up on some Bunting 101 and Ink Shading 101 for this sweet little banner. She hooked me up with cutting the banner pieces, letters, pumpkins and leaves for the piece. After we went to town on the shading (I did 2 letters in the time it took her to do all of the other ones), we had a fun little gluing party. The banner is actually two pieces because I couldn’t decide actually how I was going to hang this.

After getting ready to hang the banner, I accepted that I would have to do more to that wall because hanging the banner alone was not enough. INSERT OBLIGATORY TRIP TO JOANN’S HERE! Honestly, I went for flowers. I came out with flowers, floral wire, fabric, zippers, thread and biased tape. >_> Don’t judge me. Especially because I pulled together such a fun little garland using a few sets of the cheapest, and also on clearance, fall flowers they offered! I probably had this done in about 5-10 minutes and spent about $10 total on it. It’s an easy project and doesn’t require a lot of effort to show you applied effort at all into decorating. I’m planning on doing a bunch of craft tutorials soon for Christmas and Winter season prepping that I’ll be sharing with you all soon!

Once these two quick projects were done and out of the way, I set forth to washing and ironing the fabric for my pillow covers (a project I’ve been trying to accomplish for, seriously, the last 4-5 years). I’ve been seeing a lot of tutorials on Pinterest popping up lately on how to easily sew zippers onto pieces of fabric that were way easier than my sewing instructor and Grandma ever taught me. In the past, I was lucky enough to have had sewing machines that came with a zipper foot, but the one I was borrowing from my friend didn’t leave me so lucky. There are a lot of dress and skirt projects I want to work on in the future and figured that starting out with a pillow case is the best way to get back into the swing of things. Please note that you should not watch an intriguing movie and/or show whilst ironing. It is a good way to get burned. Also, measure your pillows before purchasing fabric. And make sure you’re working with 60″ wide fabric. I didn’t not do these things and ended up with a burn mark on my arm that looks like I tried to killed myself, black ombre pillows that barely had enough material to cover, and scrambling around my craft supplies area trying to find a spare 1/4 yard of black cotton to create a black center stripe for the muslin pillowcases.  Sad face is sad. The pillows came out great, though! You’ll see those in the future home tour I have planned!

Once I had the banner and floral garland hung and the pillows covered in their new cases, the next project I had lined up was my burlap stamped placemats based of this pinspiration and this pinspiration. I made great timing with starting this project because my Darby Smart Spoon Stamp Kit came in the same day I started working on the placemats! I’ve only made two placemats so far because I really want to do a quick tutorial on them. They ended up being a little bit harder than I expected, only because burlap material is difficult to deal with when cutting. Fibers get everywhere, it’s a mess. Unfortunately, I had no patience for cutting it the proper way. Here’s a link to those tutorials for those with the patience.

I don’t know if it was just my box/experience, but I ended up having to turn to Pinterest to figure out the best way to deal with stamping. I left a comment on Darby Smart regarding my missing instructions, but haven’t received a reply yet. I’m a little peeved off about that. I get that it’s pretty self explanatory, but I still would have liked the instructions in my box just in case. For those of you looking to move into the hobby of metal stamping, I would like to warn you that: 1. it’s a lot louder than you might expect it to be, so don’t do it late at night if you live in an apartment or your neighbors might complain; 2. you have to use your muscles extra here and pound the letters/numbers/symbols 3 or 4 times to get the indent; 3. you can move your letters a lot closer to each other than it might seem like you can; and lastly 4. the spoons in this set are the dinky little spoons used at tea time so keep that in mind when ordering. There’s nothing wrong with them being tiny because it gives you great practice material whether you’ll be using the tools for jewelry or serving ware. I was thinking they’d be normal-sized spoons.

I have to say that I’ve been having a blast with these projects. It’s been years since I’ve gotten to do hands-on crafts like this and I forgot how much I loved doing them. I’m really looking forward to the winter season and upcoming holidays for making more pieces.

What crafts have you been working on lately? Have they been season-related, or just general stuff you love to work on? Send me links to your blog posts or Instagram photos! I’d really love to see them!

6 Tips for a Successful Move

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I’ve moved four times within my hometown in the last six years. My first move was out of my parents into a studio apartment across the street. Two years later, I moved downstairs from my place into a 2-bedroom with a friend. Several months after that, I moved into a 2-bedroom across town and a friend moved in with me for a bit. Less than a year after that, I moved back to my old complex into a 1-bedroom where I have lived for the past 2+ years. In a couple of days, I will officially be a resident of Lodi, CA. I’m really excited about this move. The apartment is spacious and adorable, and happens to be in a happy medium place between my folks’ place and my 8-to-5.

I have to say, though, that moving has it’s wonderful up and epic downfalls. There are a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned these last few moves that I think are very important to keep in mind when moving.

1. Keep in mind how much crap you have. The more you have, the earlier you should start packing. If you’re moving from one rental unit to another, chances are you won’t have a whole lot of time to get your shit from Point A to Point B. Start off with packing the things you can live with out the longest first, and end with a handful of things you’ll need to get by until you can start unpacking. I only really have the weekends to pack up my place, so I started packing during the first few days of my 30-day notice with my books, photos and winter shoes. The last few items I have left to pack will all be going into a reusable bag and hauled over first to the new place. Same with clothes; keep on hand what you can make do with. The less you have to worry at the last minute, the better.

Good items to keep on hand unpacked:

  • Paper plates, plastic cutlery, and plastic cups
  • One mug per person
  • Frying pan
  • Spatula
  • Knife for cutting

2. Trash and Donation piles are very important, because you don’t need all of your crap. Think of moving as if it were Spring Cleaning Day. As you go through junk drawers and cabinets and your closet, think really hard if you need those pairs of jeans that haven’t fit in 3 years or that chopping mat that has seen better days. Are they easily replaceable? Have you already replaced and forgotten about them? Keep in mind that most things are recyclable and there are people out there who could use or want the items collecting dust in your home.

3. Clear out usable space(s) for your boxed up stuff. Your things will disappear fast, but your boxes will pile up faster than you will realize. The problem with small places also means limited space for boxes. When cabinets and closets start being empty, look into shoving boxes back in to save floor space. This is especially good if these items happen to be fragile and need to be kept out of harms way.

4. Label and organize the items in your box properly. Most people moving will end up with an odd variety of sizes and shapes for moving their things. Work with it rather than against it. Boxes that aren’t very deep can be perfect for plates, frames and documents. Exceptionally large boxes can be perfect for holding pillows or other light-weighted items (thinking about your back’s safety here, people). Keep items that are from the same room together in the same box so you’re not running from room to room when unpacking. May seem logical, but sometimes logic escapes us when we’re rushing around trying to make sure a hundred different plans all go accordingly. Many people have stated that color coding your boxes helps as well. Assign different colored tape or ink to specific rooms.

5. Lock down your help ahead of time. Don’t assume you’ll have vehicles or help; lock that shit down. Have backup plans for your backup plans. Seriously. I once had to move and had a few friends agree to help when I asked. All but one bailed and I was left scrambling to figure out how I was going to get all my stuff moved. If you have it available in your budget, I highly suggest using a moving van from Uhaul or equivilant. Moving vans help with cutting down the number of trips and the amount of time getting your stuff around. If you think it’ll be more, consider how much it’ll cost in gas to get multiple vehicles around versus one.

6. Personal safety is a thing: protect yo self. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t make your boxes heavier than you can carry or use larger boxes that will tempt you to over pack and weigh down even more. You will hurt yourself and being out of commission during a move with a tight schedule doesn’t help anyone. If you know you’re going to putting your body through more than it can handle, consider a back brace, schedule ahead of time a visit with a chiropractor or masseuse, and have the pain reliever on hand.

Nerd Cave: Inspiration – Storybook Home

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Who says you can’t live in your favorite storybook? You know, other than the limitations of reality? You can always find ways to incorporate the things you love in life into your home. Take these homes for example. Each dweller found a way to place little to major aspects of the storybook life into their home.

Simple elements can mean a big difference when creating your storybook home. Swap your bed frame for a wrought iron bed. You can find wonderful and sturdy vintage ones at large antique stores, or cheat a bit for a lower out-of-pocket cost by getting a newer one. String fairy lights outside on a tree, bush, potted plant or railing will add a spot of whimsy that might not have been there before. Display that giant book collection for the world to see, even if they aren’t all super old, cloth hardcover novels. Branches on the wall are great for hanging jewelry, scarves, ties, and hanging ornament collectibles that aren’t limited to Christmas time usage.

Practice that speech in front of an ornate mirror in the hallway or bedroom instead of that cheap, simple framed one you have from an antique store, home goods store or street faire. Display all of your teacups in open shelving in your kitchen. Other dwellers chose to place in character elements to really make their theme stand out. A silhouette of Peter Pan’s shadow through a lamp shade. Bring the outdoors in with moss terrariums, silk vines wrapped around things, or single red roses placed near books.

A mouse hole cut out with an actually mouse collectable and house design in the crown moulding that also doubles as a night light. A knocker on a door with a hand holding an apple that closely resembles Snow White’s hand right before the apple falls from her cold, limp hand. Introducing these elements to start with will make you feel like you stepped into a magical land in no time.

Struggling to think of what could be bought and where it could be placed? I’ll be coming back soon with everything you’ll want on your starting wishlist to help you live happily ever after!