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DIY Functional Art for Teenager

A 16-year-old was in desperate need of storage and organization for her collection of oversized earrings that are so popular right now. Not only are they too big for traditional jewelry boxes, but delicate materials such as feathers mean they are especially fragile.

The solution? An easy craft project to not only store the earrings, but put them on display and ensure they’re accessible.

Here is the breakdown:

1) We started with three inexpensive frames from Ikea (less than $10 per frame) to create a grouping.

2) Next, we purchased some decorative paper and mesh. We chose purple scrapbooking paper, but really any paper will do, including basic white.  The paper and mesh are from Michaels, but a small amount of mesh, like window screen material, from the hardware store would work as well.  Our mesh hailed from the wedding supplies aisle, so it is a little bit more decorative and features some shimmering strands.

3) With all of the materials on hand, the assembly began. We placed the mesh on top of the paper, followed by the mat, and then the picture frame as shown here.

4) The only messy step was the process of gluing the mesh to the back of the mat. We used a combination of tape and craft glue. A hot glue gun probably would have been easier, but it wasn’t available at the moment. I also wondered, but did not try, if the mesh could be sewn to the paper as opposed to being attached to the mat? I will have to try that in the future. Once the glue was dry, the mesh was trimmed and the frame was assembled. The finished product:



What’s hot, what’s not?

Here are some of my favorite design trends, and yes, some not so favorite ones as well.

So what’s hot?  Still loving “chevron?” It’s been trending for some time and I am sure you have all seen the abundance of chevron pillows and chevron rugs online and in stores. You really can’t go wrong with a chevron pillow or this adorable chevron purse from Etsy. Wouldn’t this be cute paired with a white t-shirt and black capris for the spring? Although I’m not sure it could replace my standard giant bag that fits all of my “stuff.”

Luna Clutch grey chevron and purple

For the home, this slipcovered Ikea chair is one of my favorites (also from Etsy). I can just picture it in a baby’s room for either a boy or a girl!

IKEA Jennylund Custom Slipcover in Yellow Chevron

Warm gray walls would be a great backdrop for the colorful chair. Yes, gray has become the new beige and the “right” gray can certainly make a design statement while still being neutral. One of my favorite grays is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. I’ve used this warm gray in bathrooms and bedrooms. It always looks best when paired with hardwood floors or tile and white trim.

Lastly, wallpaper is one of the hot trends right now. The latest designs are a far cry from the overwhelming florals and primary colored stripes you may remember from your youth. Check out these beautiful wallpapers by and


So, what are my least favorites on the design front?

Excessive matching is not a good look. There is a huge difference between matching and complementing. Complementary pieces or colors coordinate and pull a room together but add interest. No color, no architectural feature, nothing interesting for the eye to see will be bland, while a pattern that spills from the furniture to the walls to the accessories is overwhelming. This room is certainly an extreme, but all the same it is a dizzying example of matching overkill.

Courtesy of Ugly House Photos.

Unless you live in a luxurious castle, swag curtains are a home decor don’t in my chapter. Windows in any regular home will be swallowed up with swag curtains. On that note, I’m not partial to any type of curtains that block too much of the window. Let in some light!

Swag Curtains

Jersey Shore style with loud colors and clashing animal prints is anything but classy. A zebra rug or other animal print accessory is stylish when done tastefully. The same goes for bold colors. But unless you want to be mistaken for a poacher, this style should be avoided.

Some spaces give beige a bad name. A warm beige that pops against a white trim is classic. However, when the walls and trim are painted in the same pale beige color with a flat finish without even a hint of semi-gloss on the trim, it becomes the dreaded builder’s beige. It will make any room sterile and uninviting. The example below, is thankfully a “before” photo.

So there you have it, my design favorites, along with the trends that make me cringe. What are some of the trends you either love or hate?

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Parisian Style Meets Country Farmhouse

Wherever I travel, I make a point of noticing and appreciating different design styles. I just returned from a visit with friends who are renovating and furnishing a beautiful old Farmhouse exactly 100 kilometers from Paris, in the town of Chevannes. This house completely amazed me with its many old architectural details, timeless construction & charm, and with the simplicity of the interior design.

The owners have taken a “less is more” attitude in renovating and furnishing this house – with a focus on complementing and highlighting the many architectural details, such as:

the simple, solid farmhouse aesthetic, while adding a contemporary flair
beamed and sloped ceilings
elegant curved fireplace mantels
classic tall outside shutters framing multiple long multi-paned windows and doors
simple but elegant panels and moldings on doors
beautiful wrought-iron detailing throughout the house, including curved bars on the outside of some windows, iron brackets on shutters, and elegant door-latch plates
iron brackets on shutters
window panes with circular glass insets
unusual triangular door headings that accommodate the 2nd floor sloped ceilings
My friends Noë and Hervé bought the house only eight months ago, and have been hard at work painting the doors, ceilings, beams, and stairway railings white, which makes the soft beiges and muted tones of the walls “pop,” the ceilings look higher, and the whole house appears bright and uncluttered. On the main floor the owners chose poured and stained concrete floor in most areas, an increasingly popular look in the United States, that effortlessly complements wood and tile floors elsewhere in the house, yet fits the simple, solid farmhouse aesthetic, while adding a contemporary flair.

The Parisian elegance of curved, detailed wood chairs, traditional oil paintings and a black-shaded & glass-based lamp, blends seamlessly with French-blue upholstery on rectangular wood-framed modern, yet comfortable couches. What makes everything work well together is the unpretentious combining of white slip covered chairs, contemporary bed-frames and crisp white bedding with red cross stitch accents (all from Ikea) – with an eclectic mix of mostly traditional furniture in different finishes and a few sophisticated, yet classic, accessories. The house looks like it was lovingly furnished over time with different pieces, but with the anchoring underlying theme of clean, classic, simple and elegant. “Simple et de bon goût” as my friend Noë would say. In the end, it feels like home to family and guests alike!