Retro Inspired Patio Space

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that I am into my fourth year of blogging.  Where did the time go?  Looking back at the archives it is interesting to see the evolution of the spaces that I've featured since January of 2012.

One example is my backyard which I've written about on several occasions.  (You can find those posts HERE and HERE.)

It's pretty obvious that I love my backyard—always have—so when Wayfair asked me to write about my dream patio, I almost passed.  I mean, I kind of already have my dream patio, and, as evidenced above, I've already written about it.

But then I began to wonder... what if I could start over?  What if I could create an entirely different space?  What if I had a blank canvas and cost wasn't an issue?  What would I do under those circumstances?

It was then that I realized I should absolutely write this post.

You see, my current outdoor spaces are very homey/comfortable: big cushiony chairs, lots of faux wicker, warm tones, etc.  Clearly that's a look that I love but it's not the only look to which I am attracted.

More and more I find myself being drawn to fun, colorful spaces, both indoors and out.   In addition, I love furniture and accessories that have a funky retro vibe.

With this in mind I created the mood board you see below:

7.   Crosley Griffith 4 Piece Seating Group

Doesn't this just make you want to throw a pool party so you can invite Gidget and all of her friends to hang out, drink root beer floats, and play lawn games in the backyard??  

(No?  Just me?  Okay then...)

I'm not going to go through each item since the links above contain all of the important details.   I do want to say that the entire look started with the blue seating group in the center (#7).  Once I found that I just kept building around it.  Some of my other favorite pieces include the cheerful Crosley Radios (which I loved so much that I couldn't choose between them) and the Carmel Stripe Beach Towel (which I am going to purchase as soon as I hit publish on this post).    

And then of course there are the pink flamingos—because you can't have a colorful, retro backyard without pink flamingos...

If this has whet your appetite for more colorful backyard wares, check out my newest Wayfair Idea Board entitled, "Dreamy Retro Patio" for additional items not pictured above. 


Mid Century Modern Mash-Up (Compliments of Chairish)

A few weeks ago while my sister-in-law and I were sitting around discussing decorating (as we are wont to do), she turned and asked me, "Have you ever heard of Chairish?!"  When I told her that hadn't she quickly exclaimed, "Oh, you have to check it out!  It's like some great little antique shop met Craig's List and had a really cute baby!"  Needless to say, with an endorsement like that—not to mention the clever name—I had to log on right away.  I quickly agreed with her assessment, and in addition to bookmarking their site, I also began following them on Instagram.

You know that thing that happens when you hear about something for the first time, and then suddenly you begin seeing (or hearing about) it elsewhere?  Well, about two weeks after that conversation, I received an email from the good people at Chairish.  They asked if I would like to curate a mood board highlighting some of the Mid Century Modern pieces from their site.  (You can find those HERE.)

Little did they know that I am currently in the middle of transitioning my daughters' playroom into a den and that I've been envisioning a sort of Mid-Century-Modern-mash-up for the space.

The whole thing was so serendipitous that I just had to say yes.  (And for the record, there is no compensation involved; I just felt compelled to do it given the circumstances.)

What you see below is one of many mood boards that I could have created.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless and I just know I will going back for more.

1. Jensen Modernist Art California Artist Yellow
2. Original Contemporary Abstract Green Painting 
3. Framed Haha Ink Drawing
4. Truncated Isocahedron Pendant Light
5. Navy Velvet Mid-Century Sofa
6. Tony Paul Attributed XO Wire Frame Table
7. 1950s Allan Gould String Chairs - A Pair
8. Premium Flokati Rug in White
9. Worlds Away Hudson White Lacquer Gold Leaf Chest
10. Suzani Gulkurpa Accent Pillow

Let me tell you about what I did choose.  I designed this room around the couch.  I'm sure you've noticed that blue tufted velvet sofas are all the rage right now.  While I love blue velvet, I'm not so fond of the tufting.  So when I saw the gorgeous Navy Velvet Mid-Century Sofa pictured above—with its beautiful blue velvet, but without the formal tufting—I knew it had to be my focal point.  

I thought the Suzani Gulkurpa Accent Pillow would add a fun and unexpected pop of green, which is my favorite color.  There were so many neat pillows to choose from that I'm sure I could go back and pick ten more if I were so inclined.  

There was also a fantastic selection of art.  Pictured above are three pieces that I thought would go well in the room, though, much like with the pillows, the choices were endless.  I especially love the Original Contemporary Abstract Green Painting which I thought went nicely with the couch and pillows.  The Framed Haha Ink Drawing was just funny and I thought my kids and their friends would enjoy that touch of whimsy while hanging out in the room.  

I went back and forth about whether or not to add a coffee table to the design.  Again, there were some great ones to choose from.  In the end, however, I decided to leave the space in front of the couch clear so the kids could sit on the  Premium Flokati Rug (not from Chairish, though I found out later that they do have one).  Across from the couch there will be a televsion on the wall.  I wanted a piece to put underneath it which could serve as storage for remotes, video games, etc. and I thought the Worlds Away Hudson White Lacquer Gold Leaf Chest would do that nicely.  I also thought the gold leaf went well with the pair of 1950s Allan Gould String Chairs.  (To say I am obsessed with them would be an understatement; I don't know how comfortable they would be but they sure look cool.)  

When I saw the  Truncated Isocahedron Pendant Light I just had to add it to the design.  I love the shape and I thought it paired nicely with the Tony Paul Attributed XO Wire Frame Side Table.  

Though I am by no means a professional decorator, I sure had fun playing one on the internet! If you happen to check out Chairish after reading this post, let me know.  I would love to see some of your favorite pieces.  


DIY Color Block Art

Today I want to share my solution to a common decorating problem.  I call it, "large wall, small budget" syndrome.  

You see, here in San Diego (and in many other places too, I imagine) builders have a penchant for building homes with vaulted ceilings.  Along with those vaulted ceilings come some pretty impressive walls and up until today the one in my dining room was looking mighty empty.  

I took this problem to my decorating guru (the sister-in-law whose house was highlighted in this post) and she recommended a series of color block prints.  She even gave me this inspiration picture:

Given that the inspiration shot originally came from Elle Decor, I suspected that those color blocks cost a pretty penny.  In fact, that was the case with most of the ideas I had for this space:  big walls require big art (which tends to cost big money).  

So what's a girl to do?

Make an inexpensive knock-off, of course!  (Those are my specialty, you know)

All it took was one trip to Michael's and I had everything necessary to cover my wall.  And the best part? It only cost about $130. 

I started by getting eight of the frames pictured below.  They were only $13.00 a pop (and of course I used my 50% off coupon for one of them).

Then I picked up a bunch of card stock in colors that I thought complemented my room.  

After that it was just a matter of arranging the card stock in the frames and hanging them on the formerly empty wall.  

What a difference!

I love the fact that I can switch them around, change out the paper, add or subtract more, etc.  I especially love the price tag and the fact that I don't need to feel guilty if I want to upgrade to some of that pricey art sometime down the road.  

If you have any creative ideas for filling a large blank wall I would love to hear about them in the comments.  Please feel free to link to any relevant blog posts as well.  

Sharing at:



Tattoo Your Easter Eggs

So I know that this is a post about decorating Easter eggs...

(And I'm writing it at 8:30 (PM) on Easter Sunday.)

But it's such a cute idea that I just have to publish it anyway.

Did you know that you can tattoo your Easter eggs?

Well you can! 

Just follow the directions on the package of tattoos. (Buy some HERE.)

And you can even dye them afterwards!

So go ahead and pin this for next year.  (Because there are only 365 days until Easter 2016.)

(And in the event that you don't want to wait until next year, you can always tattoo your bananas!)



Pi Day Mini Pies

So guess what today is?

Yup.  It's Pi Day.

You know: Pi Day!  3/14 (and in this case 3/14/15).  It's the day we eat pie to celebrate the number Pi (3.1415 etc., etc.)

Oh you forgot too?

I'm so glad I'm not alone.

Too bad everyone else in this house remembered.

(Because now they all want pie.)

Good thing I can think outside the box in a crisis.  

(Yes, a lack of pie on Pi Day does in fact constitute a crisis. )

But a boxed pie crust, a jar of jam, and a round cookie cutter saved the day.

Because now everyone is feasting on mini-jam pies.
And I'm off the hook until 3/14/16.

(Hopefully then I will be more prepared.)


Lightening the Background on Your Craft Photos

Today I'm trying something a little bit different.  Typically when I do tutorials I do them in a written, step-by-step format.  This time, since my tutorial is computer-related, I thought I would do a video. If you happen to watch it, I would love to get your feedback. 




Ballerina Topped Jars

Almost two-and-a-half years after debuting these alligator topped jars, I am here with a follow up.  

In a few weeks the little boy who received those jars is going to be a big brother.  

To a little sister.  

Naturally I wanted to make something for the nursery and her mom, my former nanny Lauren, suggested ballerinas.  This was great because—as you may or may not know—I happen to have a stash of ballerinas here at the house:

(Don't tell me I'm the only person with a jar full of ballerinas on a shelf in the garage.  If you need your own you can buy them HERE.)

In the past I used them to make these ring dishes.  Learn more about those HERE.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to pull them out for another project.  All it took was plastic jars + extra strong adhesive + gold spray paint and, voila: a sweet accessory for baby's nursery.  

I can't wait to see what she has me do for number three!

Too soon, Lauren?  ;)



DIY Oversized Coloring Mural

Last month while buying Hanukkah gifts for my niece and nephew I happened upon the item below.

What you're looking at is a "coloring mural" from our friends at Anthropologie.  It was marked down to $29.95 from $48.  

Now my niece and nephew love to color, and when I realized that the gift could be for both of them, I was able to justify the price.  And I'm really glad I did, too, because as you can see from the text below, the mural was a "big hit!!"

Though I was thrilled with the response, I couldn't help thinking that one could probably have a similar experience for far less money.

Then I remembered one of my favorite crafting secrets:  The engineering print from Staples!  For between $2.00 and $8.00 Staples will print huge black and white prints of almost anything.  

So I hopped on Google to look for free coloring pages that might appeal to my daughters.  

I decided on this cool Mandala print from coloringcastle.com.  

I taped it up on the wall with some Washi tape and my younger daughter went to town.

As you can see, she really enjoyed herself!

In fact, I didn't expect her to like it this much...

Even her thirteen year old sister got lured into the action.

I'm actually thinking about whipping up some more.

The best part is that you can send Staples your file electronically and they'll email you when it's ready for pick up.  (Just follow THIS LINK.)  I made a few so I have them on hand in case of a boredom emergency.  

I can think of so many great uses for these.  Rainy day?  Color a giant mural!  Stalled playdate?  Bring out the giant mural!  Birthday party?  Have the kids color a giant mural!  Last minute gift?  Make a coloring mural, pair it with some markers or crayons, and you have a great custom gift for under $10.

Want to add a suggestion?  Feel free to leave it in the comments below.  

Happy coloring!



Happy Blogiversary To Me!

This past Monday my blog turned three years old (making it the only New Year's Resolution I've ever kept).

And while loyal readers may have noticed that there were fewer posts last year than in years prior, I hope the ones I did write struck a chord.

Blogging in 2014 brought numerous opportunities.  I got to work with some really great companies including Shutterfly, Wayfair, Minted, and Handybook.  I know that people don't always like to read sponsored posts so it's important that you know how many companies I didn't agree to work with.  (Okay, I don't actually have those numbers, but honestly, there were quite a few.)  Although I appreciate being compensated for the work I do here, I will never (ever) write about a company or product that I myself don't love and/or use.

Even more exciting was the opportunity to work with some Southern California creatives including photographer Alyssa Brule (who took the beautiful picture of my daughters below) and Urban Craft Camp Founder Jen Byard, who gave me the opportunity to teach a session on Mason Jar Snow Globes at her holiday workshop.

When I look at my stats to see which posts are pinned, visited, and commented on the most it is clear what people really want to see on this site: small projects (crafts, organization, decorating, etc.) that others can easily emulate.  Fortunately, those are my favorite posts as well and last year there was no shortage of them.  Here are a few of my favorites:

In January, I finally got a room of my own.  (Well, sort of...) If you click on the image below you can read about how I turned an unused corner into a corner office.

One of my favorite mediums (if you can call it a medium) to work with last year was Shrinky Dinks!  In addition to making Shrinky Dink charms for Rainbow Loom bracelets, I also made Silhouette necklaces.

I absolutely loved making these ballerina ring dishes and, based on your feedback,  it looks like you guys enjoyed them as much as I did.

Clearly my gold spray paint got a work out in 2014.  Inspired by Anthropologie I turned ordinary nuts into festive holiday decor.

Speaking of the holidays, I had a lot of fun with bottle brush trees this past Christmas, including the dyed ones you see below.

One of my most popular projects ever was the Mason Jar Wedding Emergency Kit which found new life over at The Knot in 2014.  Although Etsy is no longer allowing me to sell them there (because the contents of the jar are not handmade) you can still order one from me by sending an email to: elena@acasarella.net.

Speaking of weddings, my favorite post of the year was about the wedding reception I hosted in my very own backyard!

A few months later I was back there again hosting a very different kind of event: a candy themed birthday party for my ten year old daughter:

Another special occasion for me last year was the day that my blog hit the one million page view mark.  

I had hoped it would happen before January 12th and it did.  One million page views is child's play to most of the bigger blogs out there, but for a stay-at-home mom who thought the only person who was ever going to read the blog was her mother, it was an exciting milestone.  

Thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of it!

© 'A Casarella | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig