Farewell Wood Paneling

Finally after 3 weeks of work, our den is looking a million times better than before. After 3 coats of primer and 1 coat of green paint, my husband came home from work and exclaimed, “man! Why was I so hesitant to let you paint over the wood paneling?” So without further ado (because I know my mom is dying to see these pictures) here’s a before and after look of our den:

The Before Photo: (ugh!)

The Primer Stage: I used a gallon and a half of Kilz 2 Latex with Stain blocker.


The Color Picking Stage: my favorite part! Here we have from top to bottom: Spring Morning (430C-2), Water Sprout (420C-2), Celery Bunch (420C-3), and Peridot (430C-3), of all which are Behr Ultra Paint & Primer in One.

At first I was going to go with a creamy white, but after a week or so of living with the white primer on the walls, I wasn’t in love with the vision I had in my head of our completed den with white wood paneling, so I knew I needed some sort of color. With the bold blue living room and our slightly more subdued Kate Spade green kitchen and dining room, I wanted something that would tie these rooms together with the den, especially since there’s a large archway connecting the den and living room. I also wanted to pick something that would match with the animals curtains I just made for the living room. I envisioned a celery green and chose the four samples above. The top two were too light, and the third choice was too neon. I went with the bottom choice, the Peridot, because it was a twinge darker and it just felt right.


4-9-6These pictures are not doing the color justice (thanks a lot iPhone…). It really is beautiful. It’s similar to the the color of Yoplait’s Key Lime Pie yogurt (you might just have to buy some to see what I mean).

In addition to the walls, I also spruced up our side table, a crate for our photo albums, and the selves in our book case with a quart of high gloss Mosaic Blue paint, which is the same color as the living room. I wish I had taken a before picture of our side table. It was a disaster of red, white, blue, and green that was intentionally scuffed to give the piece an arts and crafty look. It’s amazing what a little high gloss paint and gold spray paint can do!


4-9-8Side note: that darling little lamp was the first purchase I made for my first apartment after graduating college. If you live in Maryland, I bought it from a most fantastic little shop called Sunnyfields. I’m pretty sure those bunny coasters came from there too.

The den is still a work in progress, but with the new green paint, I am a thousand times happier being in this room. I still want to refinish the floors, and I’m still debating whether or not to paint over the fireplace because I really don’t like pale and/or yellow brick.  But for now, those things can wait as I sit back and relax in our beautiful green den.

POSTED ON: April 9, 2014

DIY Critter Pillows

diy critter pillowsWith the left over fabric from my curtains, I made two throw pillows. They were a smidge harder to make than my curtains, but that’s because I’ve never tackled a pillow sham with flanges. With help from a Sew4Home tutorial and a little patience, I made these two 17 x 17 inch critter pillows in a day or so. And now you can too with my tutorial. I’d still recommend reading over the instructions from Sew4Home, but my pillows and tutorial are a little more basic than what you’ll see over there. I’ll start my tutorial with the elephant pillow because it’s simpler than the camel pillow.

Elephant Pillow:

Step One:  Gather your supplies

  • 2 – 18 x 12 inch pieces for the back
  • 1 – 18 x 18 inch piece for the front. If you’re making a pillow with a critter on it, double and triple check before cutting your fabric to make sure your critter is centered..this part will test your patience. But remember: patience is a virtue!

Step Two:  Prepare the hem of the back panels. For each back piece, fold down the longer side by 1/2 inches and iron. Fold down again by another 1/2 inch, iron and sew across.

3-4-2Step Three:  After you finish sewing the hems for both back pieces, lay one piece right side down and lay the other piece right side down on top. Using a ruler, arrange the pieces so they’re exactly 18 inches apart

3-4-6Pin and sew from one edge of the hem to the other edge on either side:

3-4-7Sewing along here helps to keep the two pieces in place to ensure a straight hem and back opening for your pillow.

Step Four:  Place your back piece right side facing up on your working surface (mine happens to be the floor). Arrange your front piece right side down on top of the back piece. Pin and place and sew 1/2 inch seam all the way around.

3-4-3 Step Five:  Before turning your work inside out, snip the four corners being careful not to snip off what you just sewed:

3-4-4 Step Six:  Turn your work inside out and iron flat.

Step Seven:  I don’t have a picture of this step, but now is the time to make your flange. Sew a 1 and 1/2 inch seam all the way around your pillow, and you’re finished!

3-4-5Now it’s time to make the second pillow. I would have made the camel pillow the same way as my elephant one, but I didn’t have enough fabric, so I solved that problem by adding a separate flange. It’s a little trickier, but it was worth the extra time and possible frustration.

Camel Pillow:

Step One: Gather your supplies

  • 2 – 16 x 10 inch pieces for the back
  • 1 – 16 x 16 inch piece for the front. Again, f you’re making a pillow with a critter on it, double and triple check before cutting your fabric to make sure your critter is centered.
  • 4 – 18.5 x 4 inch pieces for the flange

Step Two: Repeat steps two and three from the elephant pillow tutorial

Step Three: Prepare your flange by ironing each piece in half lengthwise

3-4-8Open each piece up and fold each corner down towards the middle crease and iron to create a 45 degree angle:

3-4-9Open each piece up again and cut along the angled crease:

3-4-10Step Four: Arrange the flange pieces in a square like so:

3-4-11Step Five:  Now you’re going to sew the corners together. Starting with the top right corners, arrange the corners with right sides facing and mark a dot a 1/2 inch from each point:

3-4-12Here’s another photo just in case:

3-4-13Step Six: Starting with the dot closed to my red pin, sew from point to point.

Step Seven: Repeat steps five and six for the other three corners. Make sure you don’t twist your work up. I would recommend sewing the corners clockwise from top right to bottom right to bottom left to top left.

Step Eight: Snip the four corners being careful not to snip off what you just sewed:3-4-14Step Nine: Before turning your work right side out, pull apart the corners so that the seam you just sewed is centered:

3-4-15Step Ten: Now turn your work right side out and gently push the corners to form a point. Iron flat:

3-4-16Step Eleven: Here comes the tricky part. I would definitely recommend reading over Sew4Home’s tutorial because it may be a littler easier to see. Place your flange on top of your front piece:

3-4-18Step Twelve: Starting with the corners, pin the flange to the front piece with right sides together. This means you’ll have to flip the flange over towards the center of your pillow. You want each corner seam of the flange to align with each corresponding corner of the front piece. The goal is to create a pleat in each corner to make sewing around the corners easier. After you’ve pinned the corners in place, pin the sides of the flange to the front piece:

3-4-19Step Thirteen: Sew around your pillow with a 1/2 inch seam. For the corners, sew along until you get to the seam of the flange corner, stop, put your needle down, pivot your work and continue sewing along the next edge. The goal here is to create a right angle.

Step Fourteen: The hard part is over! Remove all the pins except for the pins keeping the flange corners in place. You want to make sure the flange corners are out of the way while you put together your pillow sham.

Step Fifteen: Place your back piece, right side facing you, on your work space. Place your front piece, wrong side facing you, on top of the back piece so that right sides are facing each other. Sew along the same seam you just sewed to attach your flange to the front:

3-4-20 My back piece looks too large because I didn’t cut it to the right size when I started. I just trimmed the excess off and sewed around the edges.

Step Sixteen: Turn your work right side out and stuff!

3-4-21The second pillow wasn’t a terrible experience, but it was definitely more complicated than my first one. I’m just pleased as punch with my results, and now it’s your turn!


POSTED ON: March 4, 2014

New Living Room Curtains

Ever since my husband moved into our home three years ago, we’ve kept the terribly ugly lace curtain sheers that the previous owners hung in living room. I’ve managed to take down the rest of these lace curtains in the other rooms, but since our living room window is so large and faces the road, I kept them up for privacy. I like having a well designed home, but I’m a very slow interior decorator. I’m not an expert in the field, and so it takes me a while to make any decisions. After reading View Along the Way’s tutorial on lined back-tab curtains, I knew I’d be able to make them for myself once I found the perfect fabric for our living room.

The first thing we did to the house after Cole moved in (I was still living in Raleigh) was paint the kitchen and dining room green, his bedroom red velvet cake red and the living room this gorgeous deep shade of blue. The living room paint color is my favorite because I love rich colors and how they contrast against glossy white trim. (Please excuse this awful before photo of the living room. My real camera has stopped working, and so I have to use my iPhone to take my pictures until I get a replacement.)

2-17-2Finding fabric patterns and colors to go in this room has been quite a search. I’ve had the desire to find the perfect fabric in the back of my head for a long time, and I finally found it about a week ago:

2-17-1I saw this print on Fabric.com and just knew this was the fabric for our living room. It’s called Groveland in Starlight by Swavelle/Mill Creek, and in my opinion, it is absolutely perfect. The dark blues match the walls. The white background brightens the darkness of the room. And the pops of yellow and green add future opportunities for the rest of the room design. I love it. All the animals bring to the room a whimsical playfulness that I just can’t get enough of. After hanging these curtains up, I couldn’t stop smiling. But before we get to the after photo, I’ll give you a little run down of my process.

Step One: Figure out what you’d like your finished curtain measurements to be. I wanted my curtains to hang close to the top of the ceiling down to the floor, which for me, measured to be 96 inches. I wasn’t planning on having my curtains close because I was going to add a plain white sheer behind them, so I planned on the finished width of each curtain panel to be 50 inches.  My finished curtain measurements are 96 x 50 inches. To reach that goal, add 10 inches to the length and use the given width of the fabric. With a fabric width of 54 inches, I would cut my fabric length to 106 inches for each panel.

After cutting the fabric for each curtain panel, it’s time to figure out your lining. To find the measurements of the lining: add 2.5 inches to the length of your finished curtain panel measurements and subtract 6 inches from the width of your finished curtain panel measurements. My lining measurements were 98.5 x 44 inches. Cut your lining for each curtain panel.

Step Two: Fold the bottom of the curtain panel down by 4 inches and iron.

2-17-3Fold the curtain panel down by another 4 inches, iron and pin in place.

2-17-4Sew the hem and repeat for the other curtain panel.

Step Three: Fold the lining fabric down by 2 inches and iron. Fold the lining down again by 2 inches, iron, pin and sew the hem. Repeat for the other lining panel.

2-17-5Step Four: Lay your curtain panel right side up on the floor. Place your lining panel right side down on top. Arrange the bottom of the lining to be 1.5 inches from the bottom of the curtain. Match up one edge of the curtain and lining and pin along that edge to keep in place.

2-17-7Here’s another photo of how the two pieces should be:

2-17-6Sew that edge with a 1 inch seam.

After you finish that side, you’ll want to sew the other side together. But as you can see in the previous photo, they don’t exactly line up. Lay your curtain and lining flat on the floor and carefully pull just the lining fabric towards the other edge of the curtain fabric until they match up. Pin in place and sew along the other edge. Repeat for the other panel.

2-17-8Step Five: Turn your fabric right side out and iron flat. Your curtain panels are now starting to take shape!

2-17-9Step Six: Fold the bottom corners of the curtain fabric underneath itself at an angle. Iron and blind stitch the fabric to keep in place. Repeat for other side and then for the other panel.

2-17-10Step Seven: I used left over navy satin ribbon from my wedding. The ribbon width was 1.5 inch and perfect for back tabs. Cut 3 inch pieces of ribbon and lay them along the top of your curtain panel about 3 inches apart. I ended up needing 11 back tabs for each curtain panel.

2-17-11Step Eight: Place the back tabs aside while you prepare the top edge of your curtain panels. Fold the top edge down by an inch and iron. Fold down again by an inch and iron.

2-17-12Step Nine: Starting an inch from one side, place a back tab about an inch underneath the folded top edge and pin in place. Repeat for the rest of the back tabs keeping them about 3 inches apart.

2-17-13Step Ten: Sew along the folded top edge to hem the top of the curtain and keep the back tabs in place. I’ve drawn a pink line in the photo below to show you where to sew:

2-17-14Step Eleven: Measure 3 inches from the top of the curtain and draw a line on either side of each tab so you know where to sew the bottom edge. You’ll want to sew from one mark across the ribbon to the other mark. I used a long piece of cardboard to help me ensure that bottom edge of every back tab was even. I’ve also drawn pink lines to help illustrate this step in the photo below:

2-17-15Step Twelve: Repeat steps eight through eleven for the other panel. Iron both and hang!

2-17-16The curtains took me about a day to make, and I hung them up using a double curtain rod so I could still keep our privacy and let light in with a simpler curtain sheer. I’m just crazy about my new curtains…now I have to figure out the rest of the room.


POSTED ON: February 26, 2014

A Belated Wedding Post

640-1I thought I’d write a quick post on my wedding! On January 18th, Cole and I got married at the Pier House in Key West, Florida. From the beginning of our engagement, we knew we wanted a small wedding, so our guest list included parents, siblings, and close friends. With a small guest list, I was able to design and print our invitations exactly how I wanted them myself. I ran over to Paper Source to look for ideas and was inspired by Rifle Paper Company’s Happy Stripes. The different colored stripes reminded me of the beautiful sunsets and colorful houses of Key West. I paired the stripes with navy envelopes and decided my colors would be mint with navy, gold and pink accents.

640-12With my colors decided, I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear mint dresses, but finding the perfect shade of mint dresses at a reasonable price proved to be a bit difficult. I finally found Patricia Valerie on Etsy who custom makes bridesmaids dresses in a variety of colors and styles. She mailed me a few different swatches, and I instantly picked out mint 101 by Robert Kaufman. I let my bridesmaids pick out whatever style they liked, and Patricia went to work! The dresses turned out to be perfectly beautiful, and I am so glad I chose her to make them. She was fun to work with, reasonably priced, and everyone looked fabulous in their dress.

640-2I asked my bridesmaids to also wear Steve Madden’s P-Heaven flats in gold glitter. I loved the look of these shoes so much that I bought them myself to wear on my wedding day. I found them to run large, but when I got my correct size, they were comfortable and great for dancing. My mother-in-law and I made my bridesmaids necklaces, and my mom gave them silver Key West hook bracelets to wear.

640-9I had so much fun picking out and making gifts for my bridesmaids! In addition to making all of my bridesmaids a monogramed winnsome in mint and lined with gold polka dots, I gave them Pinch Provisions minimergencies in gold and white stripes. I also spray painted hangers gold, added their monogram with a decal from Blue Times Two and a navy ribbon for them to hang their dresses. I decided to go with faux flowers for my bridesmaids from AFloral because I didn’t want to fuss over their flowers that weekend. To compensate for using faux, I wrapped each bouquet in a mint and gold polka dot handkerchief that I made and ordered mint julep cups engraved with their monogram and my wedding date. I’m glad I used faux because they looked really good for being fake and now everyone has a little memento to put on their desk and remind them of that weekend in Key West.

I wrapped all of my presents in white paper tied with a navy ribbon and tucked everything in the welcome bags. Everyone got a Key West welcome bag that I made using an iron on transfer. Inside I included a welcome note and the schedule along with trail mix and our signature cocktail: vodka and ginger ale.

640-11The groomsmen were not entirely left out in the present department. I made each of them a tie in the same mint fabric as the dresses and winnsomes. On the underside of the tie, I embroidered our married monogram and the wedding date in gold thread. Cole gave them their light grey summer suits from Jos. A. Banks, and I requested they all wear a white shirt and Bass Weejuns, although some of them did not honor my request about the shoes…

640-10And here is a photo of the groom and groomsmen all looking dashing:

640-3We were married at sunset on the pier, and it was so windy and chilly that we moved the reception indoors. I wore a dress from J. Crew that I actually bought off eBay a week before we left for Key West. I was planning to wear my debutante dress that is a gorgeous ball gown with extravagant embroidery and beading on the bodice, but it’s been nearly 10 years since I was a deb, and that dress just wasn’t going to fit. That turned out to be a good thing because the dress I wore was perfect for the occasion. I also wore the veil that’s been in my father’s family since 1810. I did soak it in OxiClean to brighten it up, and you could smell the old ladies smoking their cigarettes throughout the entire house. I don’t think the veil had ever been cleaned since 1810, and now it looks absolutely beautiful.

640-13Here we are getting married at sunset:

640-4I designed the ceremony programs to match our invitations:

640-8And for favors, I made boxes using my new Silhouette Cameo machine and hot glued mint ribbon around the lid and bottom so the boxes would open without untying any ribbon. I glued an azalea on top to represent Cole and his family’s nursery business, and inside I placed a Berger cookie to represent myself and my hometown of Baltimore.

640-7I ordered those festive napkins from For Your Party, and I loved how they turned out! I did a lot of the small details myself, but I couldn’t have had such a wonderful wedding without the support of Cole, our parents and our friends. My event coordinator at the Pier House, Jessica, did an amazing job tying up loose ends and making sure everything and everyone was in place and ready to go. Robin from Studio Marie-Pierre did an awesome job on my make up, and Jimmy of Soundwave did a wonderful job with the music at our ceremony and reception. Rachel Ligon, who gets the credit for the majority of the photos in this post, was a fantastic photographer. She knew exactly what I wanted and how to capture it before the sun went down. Everyone we hired was so much fun to work with and made our wedding day stress-free and memorable.

I am so happy to be married and to be Cole’s wife. He has supported me since day one with my business, and he continues to encourage and motivate me to improve and grow winnsome. We make a great team, and I’m excited to spend the rest of our lives together.

POSTED ON: February 11, 2014

New Beginnings and New Arrivals

foldover clutches

I just got married three weeks ago, and now that I don’t have a wedding to plan, I’m returning all of my focus to winnsome. I’m going to work harder to write actual posts instead of sending my instagram photos directly here. My posts will also be a bit varied as I have many interests outside of my business such as baking, gardening, knitting and making things for my home. This year has already brought me so much happiness, and I’m excited to continue my journey as a business owner and wife.

While I was wedding planning, I did manage to make several new winnsomes. In addition to the bow tie and plain clutches, I am now offering fold over clutches. I love them, especially the three shown above that I made with faux brown leather and fabrics from Treena Travis’ Bekko collection. Treena Travis has beautiful prints and her fabrics have a luxurious feel to them that I love. I’ve also used her fabrics for both a large and small clutch that are available in the shop!

POSTED ON: February 6, 2014

Out and About: a posting from instagram

Out and About: a posting from instagram
I just finished monograming my Lilly glasses to use at my wedding with my new Silhouette! 12 more days!!

POSTED ON: January 6, 2014

Out and About: a posting from instagram

Out and About: a posting from instagram
This is the felt advent calendar I grew up with, and the inspiration for my own calendar. #advent2013

POSTED ON: December 24, 2013

Out and About: a posting from instagram

Out and About: a posting from instagram
The star for the top of the tree #advent2013


Out and About: a posting from instagram

Out and About: a posting from instagram
A poinsettia #advent2013

POSTED ON: December 23, 2013

Out and About: a posting from instagram

Out and About: a posting from instagram
Opps! I forgot yesterday's snowflake! #advent2013