Pattern Mixing

Mixing patterns can feel daunting so, here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to create that perfect mix in your home or in your wardrobe.

Opposites really do attract:

Try mixing a floral/curved pattern with a geometric/straight line pattern. Or a really large print with a very small print. Find colors that can tie the whole look together.

Mixing both large and small patterns plus geometric and organic shapes in our stairwell.

Mixing both large and small patterns plus geometric and organic shapes in our stairwell.

My pants are a very small curvy pattern and my top has straight lines. The pants are black and white but the insides of the flowers have a soft blushy pink orange color which I pulled into my top.

My pants are a very small curvy pattern and my top has straight lines. The pants are black and white but the insides of the flowers have a soft blushy pink orange color which I pulled into my top.

Neutral stripes paired with an organic shaped blue kimono.

Neutral stripes paired with an organic shaped blue kimono.

Florals and checkers, match made in heaven.

Florals and checkers, match made in heaven.

Two large patterns, one neutral and one colorful.

Two large patterns, one neutral and one colorful.

Choose one color:

If you’re intimidated by mixing color and pattern just stick to one color and find a variety of patterns to mix.

Erin Williamson from  @sterinwilliamson  has created a perfect blend of patterns using only blue.

Erin Williamson from @sterinwilliamson has created a perfect blend of patterns using only blue.

Choosing the same color palette or neutrals almost guarantees what you pair together will work.

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Large and small neutral prints.

Two large patterns, both neutral.

Two large patterns, both neutral.

Our RV in particular is a huge blend of patterns. For the most part I consider each of these neutrals and because they are all different sized patterns it works. A small intricate pattern for the wall, a large organic pattern for the bench fabric and ceiling plus a pop of blue fabric in a medium sized print.

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Try these tips and see if it helps you create that wild look you’ve been dreaming of. Over time mixing and matching gets easier, just have fun!

Life with Trichotillomania

I can't remember the actual first time I pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows. The only way I can figure out the general year is the difference between my 5th & 6th grade photos: hair vs little to no hair. I do remember feeling like a crazy person at the time. Crying and standing in my parents walk in closet (I don't know why I chose that spot) and praying for help to stop (also strange because I wasn't religious but I must have felt like that's what you do when you feel like you have no one who could understand what you're going through and completely helpless in a situation)

At that time, 1996, there was no Google around to tell my why I was doing this to myself. Why I was pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows that I desperately wanted to keep and yet compulsively could NOT stop pulling out. I didn't feel like I could confide in anyone because who could make sense of this strange behavior?

A shirt I embroidered representing Trich

A shirt I embroidered representing Trich

I spent countless hours bent over the counter in my bathroom, inches from the mirror examining each and every hair. Removing all the wrong ones, too long, too short, too blunt, bent the wrong way or slightly loose. In those moments the gratification of removing a hair outweighed every logical thought. They have to be pulled. And it feels good. There's such satisfaction in removing that hair, looking at it in your fingers then letting it fall to the ground followed by almost immediate regret. Yet I'll continue to pull more.

This has been my life now for 23 years. Some days, some months even, are better than others but inevitably I pull. It's heartbreaking and exhausting. You do so well and resist for so long, you see progress and then it's all gone in a matter of minutes. So discouraging.

An old photo I took to document my pulling.

An old photo I took to document my pulling.

I remember being asked as a young teen if I was getting chemo treatments, being forced to let a girl count my eyelashes because she thought I was so weird, not to mention all the activities I felt unable to participate in for fear of my makeup washing off and revealing I had no eyebrows. Sleepovers were so uncomfortable, swimming underwater was not an option. My self esteem was crushed.

Once I started attending college I began researching my condition and discovered it had a name: Trichotillomania. I felt a wave of relief somehow knowing I was not alone and finding it so intriguing that all of us who pull have such similar thoughts about the process. How interesting the brain is! How could we all be feeling the same way? Almost everything I read could have come straight from my mouth. The unfortunate thing I discovered is that there appears to be no cure, no proven treatment. Lot's of supposed success stories who overcame it and all you have to do is take their course or buy their book for $500. I can't believe it. Coming from someone who pulls and knows the emotional and physical strain this has caused in my life you can bet that if I figured out a way to cure this I'd be shouting it from the rooftops and helping anyone I could for free. No one should have to struggle with it and I find those supposed cures very suspicious.

In saying that I have spent a lot of time and money trying to find my own way to overcome it. Cognitive behavioral therapy, daily journals, cutting my nails painfully short to prevent pulling, getting acrylic nails when that didn't work. Removing or covering all the mirrors in my home even medication. All to no avail. I'm still experimenting with natural supplements but have yet to see any results.

At one point a few years ago I came to an unsettling realization that maybe there was a part of me that didn't want to stop. After all these years I had identified myself as a hair puller. I spent all of my developing years feeling insecure and unhappy with the way I looked. Hating what I saw in the mirror. What if someday I did stop pulling, all my hair grew back, and I still felt terrible about myself? Right now when I feel bad I can blame the fact that I've pulled out most of my eyelashes and eyebrows and tell myself if they were there I would feel better. But what if I didn't? I felt upset and mostly ashamed of how vain I could be. I had to stop letting the amount of hair dictate my value. To look at myself differently regardless of physical appearance. I've never judged anyone based on their appearance so why was I being so hard on myself? And honestly most people don't even notice the lack of hair until I point it out. Even then the reactions are not as they were from my childhood, people are generally understanding and above all interested and supportive.

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Now, at 34 years old, I may still be pulling but I'm not so hard on myself. I've also had my eyebrows microbladed multiple times and my eyeliner tattooed. It makes me feel more comfortable and relieves some of the stress when I pull too many hairs. I talk openly about trichotillomania to anyone who is interested or struggling with it as well because although I have no answers sometimes just supporting each other is enough.

A before and immediately after having my eyebrows microbladed. They are covered in a serum in this photo.

A before and immediately after having my eyebrows microbladed. They are covered in a serum in this photo.

If you are in Portland, Oregon I recommend Permanent Cosmetics NW. If you are in New Orleans I recommend Beso Makeup.

A closeup of my tattooed eyeliner done in Portland. I asked him to tattoo as close as possible to the lash line.

A closeup of my tattooed eyeliner done in Portland. I asked him to tattoo as close as possible to the lash line.

The power of paint

I’ve been using paint to transform spaces for many years now. It’s an affordable option when it comes to design and can be the most impactful part of any room.

Below are some examples of what can be done with a few sample paints.

Painting around the exterior of the door created an interesting focal point and made the entrance feel larger.

Painting around the exterior of the door created an interesting focal point and made the entrance feel larger.

By painting the trim around the door it made it feel wider and taller. The color blocking added some extra visual interest.

By painting the trim around the door it made it feel wider and taller. The color blocking added some extra visual interest.

A fun and colorful mural with the addition of plywood shapes and palm leaves made of yarn wrapped around nails.

A fun and colorful mural with the addition of plywood shapes and palm leaves made of yarn wrapped around nails.

Before the pink shapes and yarn leaves this wall was a jungle mural. That’s another perk of paint. Change your mind? Paint over it!

Before the pink shapes and yarn leaves this wall was a jungle mural. That’s another perk of paint. Change your mind? Paint over it!

The stripes on this wall were drawn with a paint pen. Just a few simple lines of different widths.

The stripes on this wall were drawn with a paint pen. Just a few simple lines of different widths.

Another design done with a paint marker, all you need is patience.

Another design done with a paint marker, all you need is patience.

To get perfect circles hammer a nail into the wall where you want the center of the circle to be. Next take a string and tie it around the nail and cut it to the length of how big you would like to circle to be. Pull the string taut from the nail and trace the circle with a pencil at the end of the string.

To get perfect circles hammer a nail into the wall where you want the center of the circle to be. Next take a string and tie it around the nail and cut it to the length of how big you would like to circle to be. Pull the string taut from the nail and trace the circle with a pencil at the end of the string.

More circles and shapes.

More circles and shapes.

Simple color blocking with a strip of paint across the mirror. Little details that can make a space unique.

Simple color blocking with a strip of paint across the mirror. Little details that can make a space unique.

More color blocking.

More color blocking.

It doesn’t get easier than this, these simple triangles really added a lot to this space.

It doesn’t get easier than this, these simple triangles really added a lot to this space.

One of my favorites, the flamingo wall. Outlined with a gold paint pen and filled in with several shades of pink sample paint.

One of my favorites, the flamingo wall. Outlined with a gold paint pen and filled in with several shades of pink sample paint.

I painted some miniature flamingos in the RV but they only lasted a day before they were painted over.

I painted some miniature flamingos in the RV but they only lasted a day before they were painted over.

This wall painting was inspired by the art hanging to the right and extended on to the wall.

This wall painting was inspired by the art hanging to the right and extended on to the wall.

Big palm leaves, big impact, little cost.

Big palm leaves, big impact, little cost.

Lastly, a floor mural. This room is very low traffic so I used regular wall sample paint but if it were a high traffic area I would seal with clear coat or use floor paint.

Lastly, a floor mural. This room is very low traffic so I used regular wall sample paint but if it were a high traffic area I would seal with clear coat or use floor paint.

Australia

We visit Australia every year from the states to see Tim’s family and I figured it was about time I start documenting what we do while we’re there. This guide will not cover all of Australia and all it has to offer, it’s simply showcasing the highlights of our trip in Canberra, Coledale and Melbourne.

Each trip includes time in Canberra since that’s where his family is located. I know that the capitol city may not be your first choice to visit but it has some really nice things to do and see. Give it a chance!

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Here’s what I recommend:

Visit the National Gallery of Australia.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone there and usually a great exhibition. You could spend hours exploring this museum and you should!

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Take a walk around Lake Burley Griffin. You can spend several hours walking the paths along the lake, go on a cruise or have a picnic in the grass.

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Go have a drink or eat at Kokomos. This place is extremely photographable and the foods pretty good too! It’s right downtown and next to a ton of shopping, bars, and other restaurants.

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My FAVORITE restaurant is Marvie and Wolfe. Yes, the owners happen to be our very good friends but I promise you the food is exceptional!!

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Another yummy spot to try is Baby Su. Unique food and delicious!

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The last spot I’ll recommend is Hotel Hotel Nishi. More great photo opportunities to be found here, good food, a movie theater and it’s a hotel if you need a place to stay.

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After Canberra we drove to a town just north of Wollongong called Coledale. It’s amongst several small towns along the coast and a perfect quiet getaway.

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Here’s what I recommend:

Enjoy the many many beaches. Very few people around, lots of sunshine.

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We stayed at the perfect Airbnb. Secluded, views of the ocean and decorated nicely. Perfect.

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We ate a several places but this one stood out because of it’s sustainable menu and decor, Earth Walker.

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Enjoy the good hiking trails. We opted for an easy one, the Gibson Track which branches off of Sublime Lookout, it offered a lush and beautiful experience of the plants and trees of Australia.

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Next we flew to Melbourne for the last few days of our trip. The city is known for great shopping, food and graffiti.

MELBOURNE

Here’s what I recommend:

If you’ve never been to Melbourne before I would recommend a walking tour. I know it may seem like a touristy thing to do but it can be a fun way to learn more about the city while on a stroll. Plus I know of a great one: Walk This Way. One of the tour guides, Shanan, is our friend and he offers such a fun and unique experience of the city.

Visit Dejour Jeans. It is such a cool concept. You enter the store which has shelves and shelves of jeans in different sizes, styles and colors. You choose a pair that is close to what you want and then they custom tailor the pants to fit you in 1 hour, all for $50. Great deal and I’m going back for more next time!

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Thrift shopping is also high on my list of recommendations. They are actually called Op Shops and are all over the city. My friend Meg offers a guided thrift tour that offers meals and transportation. I thrifted with her while we were there and found some major scores!

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Visit the The Espy in St. Kilda. It’s a hotel, restaurant, bar and music venue. Endless amounts of photo opportunities await here.

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So, that covers everything that we did on this trip. My last recommendation and possibly the MOST important:

Eat a sausage roll accompanied with chocolate milk.

Enjoy.

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Laundry room before and after

Here’s a quick transformation of my parents laundry room. Total cost less than $60.

Before

Before

Before

Before

The one requirement my mom had was that she wanted the room to be light and bright… So the first thing I did was paint a dark blue wall, I love to make her nervous and also to show how dark walls don’t always mean a room will feel small and dark!

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Next, I hand painted the palm leaf ‘wallpaper’ with regular wall paint we had on hand and switched out the curtain for macrame.

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Behind the washer and dryer I hung up cedar planks and switched out the cupboard hardware.

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A few affordable changes that made a huge impact.

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Flamingo Dining Room

I often reminisce about the homes we used to live in and realized that one of the best transformations we’ve worked on was never documented on here!

So here it is:

Our old home in Portland, Oregon had a small room in the back of the house that was meant to be a laundry room. It was dark, dingy and a complete waste of space. We decided to turn it into a combo laundry and dining nook. Tim and I (with the help of a few friends) did all the work ourselves.

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The first thing we did was replace the solid door with glass french doors to let in more light.

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We moved the washer/dryer to one side of the room, stacked it, and installed sound muffling doors. Lastly, we laid down new bamboo flooring.

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I painted the whole room dark green, hand painted the flamingo wall and voila, a whole new room.

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HGTV Dream Home with Delta Faucet

This post is sponsored by the Delta brand.

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Whitefish, Montana to tour the 2019 HGTV Dream Home, a beautiful house tucked away in the mountains which you can enter to WIN! There are photos all over the internet of this gorgeous space but I’m excited to share the home from my perspective and talk about what I found inspiring and unique.

Starting from the outside in right off the bat I was wowed by the picturesque landscape. Winter is not my favorite season but suddenly standing here it felt like complete bliss. The way the snow clung to every branch of the trees and the sunlight casting a magical glow. I was ready to snuggle down for a long winters nap.

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My first impression to the home really wowed. The bold colors created such a beautiful contrast to the white snow outside.

I love the combination of the moose head and fabric from Faraway Lovely. It was a nice spin on the traditional mountain home decor.

There were also some modern and sculptural touches like these head vases.

The master bedroom was incredibly vibrant and cozy. I loved the unique chandelier which reminds me of a birds nest. My favorite thing of course was the sansevieria print.

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Another favorite item in the master was this gorgeous chair.

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The wood ceilings in the master bath were also stunning and I loved the cross handles of the Cassidy™ Widespread Bathroom faucet.

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My favorite area of the home was the bonus room. The dark blue walls and ceilings were such a great choice and the use of vintage art and skis added to the charm without feeling tacky.

Shadow box details below.

Another guest room in the home with bold paint, perfect patterns and a great alternative to actual animal heads.

I was immediately drawn to the shower pictured below and love how it ties in to the bedding pictured above. Gorgeous and sleek Emerge™ Shower Column and H2Okinetic® Raincan shower head from Delta.

My last favorite moment in the home was this adorable pet nook. They utilized that funny space under the stairs that only kids, or in this case pets, could stand in.

You can read more about the home and see the whole space on the HGTV Dream Home website.

DIY Wall Hanging

I found an amazing vintage wall hanging at the thrift store and was shattered when I found out it was already sold. Not only that but it sold for $80! Come to find out in the world of vintage wall hangings this was a steal of a deal, they usually retail for anywhere from $300 to $1500. I knew my odds of finding another one while thrifting were slim and I definitely didn’t have the budget to buy one form a shop so I decided to make one myself with items I already had at home plus about $30 worth of yarn.

Not pictured is the large stick I collected from my neighborhood walk which everything is attached to in order to hang on the wall. You could also use a wooden dowel or a curtain rod.

Not pictured is the large stick I collected from my neighborhood walk which everything is attached to in order to hang on the wall. You could also use a wooden dowel or a curtain rod.

I found a rug with interesting texture and fringe on the end as the base for the whole thing. I chose this pillow to incorporate because it has a great shape. A blanket (originally from target) that was made of long strands of yarn (huge bonus because it cut down on cost of yarn and time cutting all the long strands), about 8 rolls of yarn and a grass skirt to add some different texture.

You can easily thrift most of these items or may have things laying around your house. I suggest looking for items that already have lots of yarn, tassels, pre-existing woven shapes and using a rug that has fringe on the end makes it easy to tie on the stick.

That takes us to the first step. I attached the rug by tying the fringe around the stick and then wrapped the stick with yarn to hide the fringe.

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I used a needle and thread to hand sew the pillow onto the rug. The fringe on the sides was taken from the blanket that I deconstructed and tied around the stick using a larks head knot.

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The next step was creating these tassels with the rust orange yarn which I attached with a needle and thread. I wrapped the yarn about 25 times around a book that measures 10” and there are 15 tassels.

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I knotted up small bunches of yarn and sewed them on by hand around the rest of the circle to really accentuate the shape.

Detail of knots.

Detail of knots.

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At this point I adjusted the fringe on the sides and added some longer pieces to make it wider. The grass skirt was directly sewn on with needle and thread. The mustard yarn on the side is more tassels sewn onto the rug. I wrapped the yarn 25 times around our pink coffee table which measures 3’ and there are 6 tassels.

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The last thing I added was, yep, more tassels made from the dark brown yarn. I wrapped the yarn about 40 times around a book that measures 12” to make these big tassels and there are 14 of them.

Layers and more layers make it interesting.

Layers and more layers make it interesting.

Here’s how it’s attached to the wall. In a normal home your walls won’t be crumbling away like ours. You should be able to put a plug or  wall anchor  in the wall for additional support.

Here’s how it’s attached to the wall. In a normal home your walls won’t be crumbling away like ours. You should be able to put a plug or wall anchor in the wall for additional support.

That’s it! The whole process took about two days and cost around $30 since I had a lot of the items on hand. Well worth it and now I have an original piece with meaning. Good luck!