March 19, 2018

Late Winter Reading (& A Few Changes to Cozy Up Our Cozy Family Room)

Hello! Today I am finally sharing some pictures of our updated family room. Winter has definitely overstayed its welcome here in NJ and we are expecting even more snow this week despite the official start of Spring on the calendar. I have been trying to combat that by embracing the cozy and making use of this quieter season to read and slow down.
We did a complete a couple of small projects in the family room recently. The walls were in desperate need of an update so we painted them, using Behr paint in the color Sculpted Clay. It's a beautiful fresh and neutral color and makes the space feel cleaner and brighter.
We also added the new sectional that I talked about in this post. The seat is the perfect depth for nap taking, tv binging and reading. Speaking of television, I finally watched The Handmaid's Tale this winter and it was definitely worthy of all the hype. I am currently in the middle of an older TV series - Everwood - and enjoying it.
I have a stack of fiction waiting for me on my bedside table, but it seems I kept reaching for non-fiction this winter. I guess you could I say I am digging deeper for more meaning this season. Just a few months into 2018, we have witnessed close friends deal with death too soon and devastating illness. Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan, a sort of manual for maintaining meaningful relationships in our lives, was thought-provoking and funny. I can totally relate to her struggles and pure joy at raising teenagers. Have you seen this video of hers? Which lead me back to Glitter and Glue,  one of her previous works that I somehow missed. The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs was a more difficult read because of the subject matter - death and living. 38 years old and a mother of 2 young boys, Nina writes about the end of her life in such a relatable and profound way. It's a reminder to enjoy the everyday like no other. That this it - this is the great adventure. Can't we all use that? That book will certainly stay with me for a long time and I highly recommend it.
So now I hope you tell me more about how you are doing this season? I would love to hear what about what you are reading and watching. :)

February 7, 2018

A New Sectional for Our Family Room (Ikea Farlov Sectional review)

Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
Hello! It is a snowy day here in NJ, just the sort of day to spend by the fire in our family room. We added a new piece of furniture to our family room in early January and we have been so busy enjoying it that I forgot to blog about it! Our old Ikea sofa was 14 years old and was looking tired after serving our family well for many years.
Ikea farlov sectional review
We decided that, this time around, a big sectional would be the best choice for our family of 5 (plus 2 goldens). We shopped around at the usual spots - Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Ikea. We narrowed the selections to only those with slipcovers because those have worked so well for us in the past. For the price and value, we just couldn't pass up the Farlov sectional from Ikea. It is a generous size for our family room - which is about 24x24. We brought our kids with us to Ikea to get opinions on the Ektorp vs. Farlov sectional and as it turns out, the Ektorp wasn't an option for us. My guys dwarfed that thing. But the Farlov was the perfect fit for us.
Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
Because we have 2 spoiled pups who are welcome on the furniture, we decided to go with the beige colored cover. Ikea calls it Flodafors beige and it just so happens to be a perfect shade to camouflage the dog hair that covers every surface in our home. I have found that any shade of off white or beige is MUCH more forgiving than white when dealing with slipcovers in a busy household. I didn't even consider the white slipcover for our family. I haven't washed these yet but I will update when I do. These covers are machine washable and I have lots of experience with Ikea slipcovers so I don't anticipate running into any trouble with these. I shared more about the other Ikea furniture we live with in this post.
I did a bunch of research on this sofa before we bought it and most of the cons were things we felt we could live with. The main complaint I read is that the fabric feels a bit rough, which is true - but I have to say it still feels comfy enough for us and seems durable. I will be curious to see if Ikea comes out with a new fabric next year. The great thing with Ikea is a new slipcover is just a 15 minute drive away. Also, with online vendors like Comfort Works (I got a slipcover for our last Ikea sofa from them), it leaves so many options open for the future. I love that - because I obviously I change things up quite frequently.
Ikea farlov sectional review
Another thing reviewers mentioned was that the cushions felt hard but we haven't found that to be true. In fact, it just seems to be getting more comfortable with use. The corner is hands down the favorite spot for adults, kids and dogs alike.
Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
This sectional now anchors the television watching section of our family room. The sectional came with a bunch of matching throw pillows and then I added a few more neutral pillows in a variety of textures from my collection.
Ikea Farlov sectional review with beige slipcover
In my next post, I will share more about how it fits in with the rest of our Winter Family Room.
Pottery Barn console table in neutral living room
 Thanks for stopping by today! See you soon. :)

Looking for more Ikea inspiration? Here are a few more of our favorite finds & hacks from Ikea:

January 31, 2018

DIY Fire Starters for Valentine's Day

Hello! Today I am back with an idea for an easy Valentine's Day project. I'm excited to be participating in a Heartfelt and Handmade Valentine's Day blog hop hosted by Jennifer at Town and Country Living to bring you lots of great ideas for a thoughtful and creative day.
When I think of Valentine's Day, I think of a quiet night at home. A rushed dinner in a crowded restaurant is not our idea of fun so we will save dining out for a different night. A home cooked meal by the fire is our activity of choice at this time of year.
These little fire starters were a fun and quick activity that we have been using in our home this winter. When the weather outside is cold, there is nothing like a wood burning fire to cozy up a home. There is almost always a fire burning in our house in the winter. These little fire starters make starting a fire a breeze and they also add some great fragrance too!
So let's get started. To make these, you will need a few items that can easily be purchased at your nearest craft store. I used:

  1. Soy Wax
  2. Baking Cups (burnable)
  3. Candle wick
  4. Fragrance (I used pine scent)
  5. Burnable Items that also smell good (I used pinecones from my yard, cinnamon sticks and rosemary)

I melted the soy wax in our microwave in a disposable container to save time on clean-up.
Then I simply poured the wax into the baking cups in an old cupcake pan. Once the wax begins to set up after a couple of minutes, I added the cut wicks (2 per cup) and the rest of the kindling items.
They look great and smell even better.  
The perfect item for a night in with my favorite guy to celebrate Valentine's Day.
Be sure to check out the other homemade ideas to make your Valentine's Day special!

Valentine DIY Projects. Heartfelt and Handmade

Valentine DIY Projects. Heartfelt and Handmade

Heartfelt and Handmade Valentine Projects

Heartfelt and Handmade Valentine Projects

Heartfelt and Handmade Valentine Projects

Heartfelt and Handmade Valentine Projects

January 29, 2018

Winter Living Room & Kitchen

After all of the color and clutter of the holidays, I always find myself enjoying keeping things neutral for the winter months. Everything feels fresh and cozy for hibernating season.
I decided to flip flop our living and dining rooms. Again. I get bored with furniture arrangements and sometimes it isn't necessarily about what works better, but just changing things up! I also got out my wide angle lens for the photos in this post so I could share more of what the space looks like as a whole.
We installed the DIY pot rack shortly before decorating for the holidays, so it is fun having that new item to style. I have some gift cards from Christmas that I plan to use on copper pots to add to the pot rack.
I am considering a new location for our DIY baking company sign. The lantern chandelier in this location blocks it a bit here.
The pot rack started as a more decorative item, but I have to say it has proven to be very useful. I keep items like our colander, grater and measuring spoons just above the island and I don't have to dig through any drawers to find what I need.
Somehow, this fiddle leaf fig is still alive and growing. When I decorated for fall, I relegated it to my son's room because he was away at college. I *think* he may have watered it a time or two when he came home. And other than a few brown edges on the leaves, it is going strong. So if you're like me and don't gave much of a green thumb, you might want to try your hand at one of these.
Thanks for stopping by today! We have been enjoying some warmer temperatures and I am getting very excited for spring, even though it is still pretty far out. In the meantime, I will try to embrace the comforts of this quieter season.