Monthly Archives: September 2016

Live - Style

12 Luxe + Pumpkin-less Fall Pillows

September 29, 2016

fall pillows

This cold weather snap is making me itch to change up the apartment, especially in the cuddle domain that is the living room! When we were decorating in the summer it was easy to find pieces that screamed, well, summer. But with a few investment pieces (and some surprising finds in the H&M home department) our little home is ready for apple cider and giant sweater blankets.

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How are you getting your place ready for fall?

Create - Grow

The Dirt On: Drying Herbs & Building Shelves

September 22, 2016


Hello hello everyone! I feel like all my creative energy is being sucked away by wedding planning, but I haven’t forgotten about this series! So far we’ve learned how to start an apartment garden, maintaining it, and found beautiful planters. Time to shift gears with the seasons and turn all your hard work into a nice fall/winter dried herbs supply.

And if you’re in a small apartment this diy is especially for you! This drying shelf is a small space two-fer. Bump up your storage and increase your wall space’s functionality in one go.


When I first thought to add shelves to the kitchen, I wanted something simple & clean with some kind of extra function. Finding affordable shelving that matched what I wanted was not simple. So on went the DIY cap and out came the calculator. For 4 custom shelves, going the diy route only cost $50! Could you save even more? Yes! We chose to spend a bit more on wood to get the color & wood knots we wanted plus ‘fancier’ brackets for the entry way shelving.  We love how customizable they are and how perfectly they fit in each space.


wood (we chose 8″ width to match the bracket width)
shelf brackets
wall anchors + screws

1| Measure out your space before heading to Home Depot- they’ll cut your pieces there! Pick a piece that has enough thickness to support what you’ll grace it with. Our 1″ thick shelves don’t bend under anything 😀 (note: scrap wood is pictured because I forgot to take process pics along the way -.-‘)

2| Sand sand sand sand sand. Wipe down and sand again. No splinters in the kitchen please! I knew I wanted to keep as much as the visual texture as possible so I skipped straight to 600 grit, then 800. This technique keeps the rough wood look but feels silky to touch. #protip Consider sealing the wood in this step if you’re planning on storing liquids.

3| Attach the brackets to the wood and mark & drill where you want the hooks to go. (If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can countersink your screws for a perfectly flush look.) Before you attach the shelf to the wall, do you know what you’re drilling into? We had no clue (#apartmentliving) and didn’t want to risk ripping a giant hole. Enter the most magical piece of hardware- wall anchors.

4| If you’re a home improvement pro, skip ahead to styling your cozy kitchen vignette! Need to be convinced why this extra step is necessary or how to do it? This video is the clearest explanation.

5| Bundle your herbs and hang out for a few weeks.


Ok, maybe you just came by to see how to build shelves on the cheap and don’t want to learn how to dry herbs. But give me a chance to show you the brilliance of the herb shelf.

To air dry herbs you need 2 things:
1| a dry environment
2| moving air

This keeps the herbs from getting moldy before they ever dry out. With the herb shelf you have a built in area with plenty of air space around each bundle. Simply tie the bundles together, hang them up, and enjoy a few weeks later.


I am ridiculously proud of my first garden small haul. Look at those tiny bundles! I like air drying herbs the best because I’ve burned a few too many in the microwave…  And when the herbs have dried I can use the hooks for anything else.

What are some of your favorite uses for dried herbs and what do you display on your kitchen shelves?

herb shelf


The Miniest Mini Fridge Makeover

September 7, 2016

mini fridge makeover

I hinted at this makeover in last week’s dorm tips post, and am excited to finally reveal the Retro Mini Fridge Makeover! I saw retro style fridges from Urban Outfitters but knew I wanted a custom option. Sadly, I live in an adult apartment with an adult sized fridge and couldn’t justify buying a mini piece- that is until my sister needed one for college! Muahaha.

mini fridge makeover

She’s a good sport for letting me do this to her hehe. We decided to keep with the retro feel, so we went with a mint blue (Rustoleum’s Ocean Mist). Finding finishing touches became an extended treasure hunt through the city with everything coming together in a weekend. Unfortunately because of the tight timeline there aren’t any process pictures, so feel free to ask questions in the comments!

2 cans white primer
2 cans spray paint color of choice
2 cans enamel coating (we went with gloss)
1 metallic spray paint of choice
dust cloth
400 & 800 grit dry-to-wet sandpaper

cabinet handle
magnet strips
sticker letters

1| Remove any stickers, tags, magnets, etc. from your fridge. This lil Whirlpool just had a sticker logo that pried off easily with a knife! Do a preliminary rough sanding with your 400 grit and carefully wipe away dust. Tape off any accent pieces and the back of the fridge.

2| Prime the fridge following the can’s instructions. Between primer coats, wet sand with 800 grit. With the primer done, apply light coats of colors. Retape for the accent areas and repeat painting steps (skip sanding if you’re using metallic paint). Go slowly! Layers of light coats will cover uneven patches but not drips. Seal everything with the enamel spray.

3| One of my favorite parts is the metallic trim along the bottom! Spray paint magnetic strips with the metallic spray paint used on the fridge, and applied with E6000. Eyeball the sticker letters & attach the cabinet handle with more E6000.

Warning: the handle is not functional! Couldn’t find a good solution for making it work without destroying the fridge.

mini fridge makeover

The letters were the ultimate find. I was going to do custom acrylic letters using the Maker’s workshop at the Harold Washington Library (go check out their Maker Space!), but was luckily saved from self induced insanity by Joann Fabric’s scrapbook section. The stickers refuse to stay on the backing paper, but they seem to really like the fridge.

For funnsies, phrases that didn’t make the cut:
Chill Out
Ice Ice Baby
Cold Blooded Chiller

mini fridge makeover

The door handle is a cabinet handle from Home Depot we attached with E6000. It’s only for decorative purposes (it only had 8 hrs of the recommended 24 of curing time), but the added charm was worth it. Plus, it perfectly matched the chrome accents & letters!

mini fridge makeover

Create - Live - Style

Small Spaces Dorm Edition | Tips & Links

September 1, 2016


I was a bit lazy with last week’s post- I had an idea and just didn’t like how the project turned out. So instead of rushing & pushing through with a ‘meh’ post, I now bring you the clincher to this year’s Back to School series and the perfect Labor Day weekend project, The Ultimate Dorm Makeover!


So ‘ultimate’ is a bit of a stretch, but I do love how much my sister & I were able to accomplish in ONE DAY. Seriously. I helped my sister move back on campus for her last year of college and she was kind enough to lend me her dorm room. AKA I got to make strong design suggestions in exchange for the use of my car ;). Above is a before shot of the dorm, pre-curated. Not the worst by far, but with a few small space tips, we made this cinder block cube a verifiably cozy class retreat.


Tip 1 | Make An Entrance
A clean, organized entrance sets the tone for the rest of your room. Carving out a dedicated small niche can help you get out the door quickly. We used a bookshelf to give Cam a drop off surface to throw keys, middle shelves for bathroom items (her room has a sink! so lucky!), and bottom shelves for organizing shoes.

And ff course the space above can be useful too! We used Command Strips to tack up a clipboard where she can post daily memos or her class schedule.


Tip 2 | Look High, Look Low
To feel make the dorm feel less, well, like a dorm, we kept her bed un-lofted. This didn’t leave too much of a footprint for extra furniture besides a futon. The good thing about dorms though is the ceiling height!

The standard wardrobes always seem to have extra space on top, and even an un-lofted bed has space underneath for storage boxes. If you plan on living on campus for a while, invest in cute, durable storage so you won’t have to buy new every year & you’ll already know how they’ll fit next year!


Tip 3 | Add Storage Where You Can
My sister’s dorm came with only a small wardrobe- no dresser, no nothing in way for folded clothes. We picked up these durable woven baskets from Target (where most things in this post are from! Did I mention we did this in one day?) that can really take being hauled up & down from her wardrobe and used it for anything too bothersome to hang.

These adorable wood tags are a Target Spot find (my actual weakness). Maybe the tags will inspire her to be organized for more than just the beginning of the year ;).


Tip 4 | Hobbies As Art
There is nothing Command Strips can’t do- with a few well placed hooks, you can turn hobby pieces into interesting wall art! You’ll have a storage place for your most loved pieces & an easy conversation starter.

I just love how the ukulele adds texture to the otherwise very flat & boring desk!


Tip 5 | Make Pieces Work Double Time
We saw this a bit before with the entry way bookshelf, but non-dorm issued furniture is a great way to break up the visual sameness & make a room cozier. And if you can get those new pieces to work double time, even better!

We used a stool as a bedside table with the idea that if Cam needs extra seating, she can quickly clear the stool and be good to go.


Tip 6 | Outlet Outreach
Outlets always seem to have a knack for always being in the most inconvenient places… but that’s nothing a little Command Strip (true god send people) and a cheap extension cord can’t fix! Stick one to your best post or side table for your phone.

And no more falling out of lofted beds trying to plug in phones (just me?)

dorm room

Tip 7 | Spray Paint Is Your Friend
I promised a mini fridge makeover at the start of the post, and here is a sneak peek! Spray paint is a great way to get a cohesive color palette or theme going even if you can’t find exactly what you want.

This retro mini fridge was just a regular, off the shelf piece that now is a focal point of the dorm room. A quick tutorial is coming soon! But really, it was just spray paint & a few well found pieces 😉


Bonus Tips | Shower Curtain As Headboard & Dressed Up Pillows

There are a few other gems hidden around Cam’s room I forgot to photograph/ran out of daylight for (the one day deadline really rushed things..). As an alternative to a headboard, we hung up a cotton shower curtain behind her bed (it’s the white & gold thing in some of the pictures). By skipping the window curtain section, we were able to find a cheaper & longer solution! The curtain is a nice option that makes the cinderblock disappear.

Also not shown is her futon. Instead of throw pillows (which are kind of a waste of money in a dorm), we bought an extra sleeping pillow & a fun cover. This cheaper option still dresses up the futon but also is nice for dorm sleepovers!


This dorm makeover was a blast! I feel like stores have really upped their back to school offers since I graduated & it was fun to shop for another small space! Sidenote: this post really made me realize I need a wide angle lens for interior shots and to take a couple steps back from macro haha.

Are any of you guys headed back to the dorms or just stopping by for small space tips? Let me know what tips you have for dorm living in the comments!