Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winter Mantle Update and Metal Ladder Upcycle

Although this weekend was busy and hectic, I was able to change some of our fall decorations over to winter ones.  The first part of the decor that I changed was the metal gutter than we put on the mantle.  Remember how we decorated it for fall?

Here is the updated winter version!

To update this I was able to use a lot of the same materials.  I kept the moss (I actually added a little more,) the twigs, the brown wicker balls, the burlap, pinecones, and deer sheds.  Basically, I took out anything orange, red, or yellow, tossed out the squash and mini pumpkins that were in there and replaced it with extra moss.  I also added berry sprigs found at Hobby Lobby.  It was actually cheaper to purchase a strand of garland - only about $10 with the 50% off sale they had running - and use VERY sharp kitchen shears to cut the sprigs off the wire garland.  The letters spelling "Merry" are just 99 cent chip board letters found in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.  I didn't even paint them because I liked their original color!

Here's a little bit more of a close-up so you can see what's going on in the gutter. 
This weekend Patrick and I also scored a pretty amazing find at the Lucky Star Craft Market in Ames - an old metal farm ladder that had been cut down to be about 4 feet tall.  $28 later and we have a rustic little place to hang our blankets - a nice way to cozy up the living room for winter. 

Hope you're staying warm and cozy!  It's been snowing all day in Iowa!  Looks like we'll have some shoveling to do this evening! 

Balayage on Short Hair? What You Should Know.

So, as my last post explained, I've been growing my hair out from a pixie cut for the last year.  I've spent a TON of time on Pinterest drooling over the cute balayage/ombre color styles, but thought my hair was far too short to try the style - UNTIL I went with a friend to an Aveda open house in Des Moines and met a colorist that with chin length hair and gorgeous balayage highlights.  I decided to take the jump and I'm pretty excited that I did.

First, here are some things I learned and you might want to consider -

If your hair is curly or you plan on wearing it curly, the balayage will be a little more broken up and you can likely get away with more drastic balayage without getting that weird spotty or chunky look.

Ask your colorist to make sure the highlights are on the bottom layers, almost a peek-a-boo kind of highlight.  The color should also be "melted," meaning lighter on the ends then blending into your natural color at the top.  You can also get away with more dramatic highlights framing your face than in the back. 

Ask for the color to start at about eye level.  You want a sun-kissed look, not two inches of root grow-out look. 

The lightest color will need to be AT LEAST two shades darker than your base color, otherwise your balayage will not be very noticeable. 

Expect for the color to cost more than average highlights and take a little more time.  Balayage can be more labor intensive than regular foils.  Without dying my hair a base color first, my highlights ended up taking about three hours. 

Here's the end results!  Let me know what you think! 

Growing Out a Pixie Cut

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair, as I'm pretty sure all women do.  Over the past, five years I've bounced around between pixie cuts, inverted bobs, chin-length bobs, and shoulder length cuts - growing it out, chopping it off, and thus repeating the cycle.

Here's a year in review for my hair.  This might serve as a helpful guide for those of you that are trying to grow out a pixie or looking for ideas to style those in-between awkward styles.

I started off with shoulder length hair.  (Long enough to put in a pony tail.)  

At that point I was tired of the daily pull it back in a pony tail routine, so I opted for a long pixie.  The long bangs and hair around the ears ended up driving me nuts because my hair is naturally sort of wavy/curly and needed to be straightened daily.  What I thought would be less work ended up being more work.  

So instead of being patient and letting my hair grow out, I decided to opt for a quick fix and cut it even shorter.  (This is a picture of P and I on the way to a Blackhawks game if you're wondering about the hair accessory.)

Here's a picture of me pouting because I was frustrated with styling my hair.  Now - let me give my disclaimer here.  There have been times that I have had pixie cuts and LOVED them.  I just continually struck out with hair stylists giving me pixies in Tucson.  My hair had grown out slightly here that I could rock a kind of messy, semi-curly look. 
After that we grew into about this lovely awkward stage.  It was REALLY hard to get a straightener to work on hair that short. 

From there I was able to grow my hair over my ears and work toward a bob-esque do. 
Still working toward a bob - finally got my hair over my ears just as we moved back to Iowa. 
Once my hair grew over my ears I was able to start wearing it curly again. 
Finally getting into more of a style!  I was able to have some cute layers put in.  
Long enough to straighten and rock a half-back style with a bit of a french braid. 

... Annnnddd here we are now.  A chin length bob with slightly stacked back and recently added blonde balayage highlights. 
Here's the curly picture of the grown out pixie. 

Hope this gives you a guide to help you grow out your pixie!   Good luck! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Trash to Decor - Metal Gutter Fall Mantle Decor

Remember how I was going to blog before Thanksgiving?  Well, clearly that didn't happen, but hey!  At least I was close! 

Even though it's a little late, I couldn't resist sharing some cute fall decorating inspiration. 

Before the Thanksgiving, about that time when pumpkin flavored everything is on the market and shades of burnt orange, mustard yellow, and cranberry are everywhere, I was looking for something to dress up the top of our fireplace.  WHY was dressing up the fireplace so important?  If you're interested, then read below, if not, skip the next paragraph.... 

Somehow, before, during, or after P and I moved from Tucson to Des Moines, we lost the stand for our TV.  Don't ask me how, but we did.  Since we have a strange little corner fireplace, mounting the TV like we had before just wasn't going to work, plus buying a new stand proved to be expensive and not that easy.  Long story short, we ended up having to mount the TV on one wall with a swivel mount and the arm on the mount just isn't QUITE long enough to allow the TV to sit flush with the front of the fireplace.  Although it will likely annoy me forever, what is a girl to do?  Decorate to detract from the mismatched angles and cover up all of the ugly cords and boxes.  

... Anyway... while searching for a way to decorate the top of our fireplace, I found some inspiration at an adorable little store in Valley Junction called Vintage No. 35.  They simply have the BEST vintage/found
object/reworked junk pieces you can find.  While I was browsing for a few other items there, I noticed that one of their display tables had a gorgeous Thanksgiving set up that used an old metal gutter filled with pumpkins, gourds, and other fall items.  I purchased the gutter and started the quest to find items to fill the gutter to decorate our mantle. 

After some searching, finagling, and fluffing, here is the end product:

I must say that I love the end product.  I can't wait to decorate it for the other seasons.

Some of the items I used to decorate the gutter for fall included -
-a long burlap strip to decorate the front
 -large pinecones
-various gourds and small pumpkins
-small wicker and yarn covered decorative balls
-potpourri from World Market (the Mexican pumpkin had great leaves and berry-like elements)   
-decorative moss from World Market and Hobby Lobby
-various sized sticks and twigs
-deer sheds 

For the banner in front I used 1/4" yellow satin ribbon, small clothespins (can be found at Archiver's or Hobby Lobby - generally in the scrapbooking section), laminated burlap cut into triangles, and a black fabric pen. 

Here are a few more pictures of the finished product:

After adding the deer sheds. 

A close-up of some of the items...

Leaves and gourds galore!

Have some metal gutters laying around that you're inspired to use or do you have some good ideas for the winter decor?  Send your ideas!!! 

Happy Decorating!