Wake and Whimsy


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Dream Workspace Inspiration

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Today I’m taking a moment to blog about work-spaces and workspace inspiration. First of all, let me tell you about WeWork. WeWork is a really cool co-working company that helps to build amazing work-spaces, communities, and services to those wanting to create their own business. Right now, they are running a new project called “Show Me Your Work Space”. They contacted me to ask if I would blog about my own space, and also write about the additional items I would add to create my dream office environment.

Right now, my “workspace” is a little out of the ordinary. I’m in the process of moving into my first house (exciting!!), so for now my workspace is just wherever is convenient. While sometimes this can be annoying and chaotic, there is one place I can go that always feels peaceful and continuously inspires: the great outdoors. So for this post, I’ll show you what I think some of my office essentials are, why I absolutely love working outside, and what I hope to incorporate into my new workspace once I make the big move.

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Obviously the first essential item is a computer, but I love to make lists and write things down as well. Having a portable laptop is really helpful, even though I do most of my blogging on a desktop. (Which is currently sitting in the corner of my dining room!) I usually don’t try to get any work done without my coffee or some hot herbal tea, and having fresh flowers nearby is always a great mood booster for me. I also like to have some combination of bright colors within eye sight. This can spark creativity and just make the space more enjoyable. Although I find most of my resources on the internet, it doesn’t hurt to hit the books once in a while. There’s just something about books that seems to make my thought process go a little deeper than when I’m staring at a computer screen for hours.

While I cannot wait to have a beautiful workspace indoors, I absolutely love working outside and will probably continue to do so on occasion. When you are outdoors, surrounded by nature, there is inspiration everywhere you look. I feel like my creativity comes to life, and things tend to come together very organically. There are so many colors, sounds, and textures that it’s hard not to be inspired and come up with totally new ideas.

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My Dream Workspace

WS012As far as design goes, I would prefer to have a space that is light and bright. A room flooded in natural light would be amazing. I would pair that with a dreamy color scheme, lots of eclectic furniture, interesting artwork, plantlife, a touch of vintage/industrial decor, and various pops of colors and patterns. If I got to work in a space like that every day, I would be extremely motivated to get things going! Other than that, I would hope to have a sitting area to think and write besides my desk, lots of organizational supplies to keep things in order, and maybe a small snack bar to keep the energy flowing.

Maybe one day!

Be sure to visit www.wework.com for more information on this innovative company.

 

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Easy Chicken Enchilada Soup

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So last night, I really wanted to try something different for dinner. Because of our cooler temperatures outside lately, I have been in the mood for a good soup. I’ve always wanted to try a chicken enchilada type recipe, but have never found one that I like. Not wanting to give up on this soup, I decided to invent my own. I usually tweak the recipes I find, but have never totally just made one up myself. Luckily, it was a big hit. I was so pleased with the way it turned out that I think it will definitely become one of our regular meals. Besides tasting great, this dinner was very inexpensive. Everything besides the chicken cost me less than two dollars, and a lot of it I already had in my pantry. You can’t beat that!

Here is my recipe for Easy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients:
*three large cans of tomato soup
*one green pepper, chopped
*one can of corn
*one 10 oz. can of enchilada sauce
*one 4.5 oz. can of green chiles
*one small onion, chopped
*2.5 cups of brown rice
*one lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
*salt and pepper
*water

 Instructions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Put all chicken in a glass baking dish, cover with tin foil, and put in the oven for at least an hour or until chicken is cooked through
As the chicken is cooking, turn your stove burner on medium heat
Empty all 3 cans of tomato soup into a large pot. I added water to mine to thin the soup out some. Just add one cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. I think I added about 2.5-3 cups water. Stir really well.
Now add your can of corn, chopped onion, chopped green pepper, can of enchilada sauce, and can of green chiles to your tomato soup. Season with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Stir well.
Cover your pot and turn heat down to low, stirring occasionally.
While your soup is simmering and your chicken is still cooking, go ahead and cook your rice.
Once the rice is tender, add it to the soup and stir. Cover soup until chicken is done.
When your chicken has cooked all the way through, remove it from the oven and gently shred it. Add it to the soup, and give it a good stir.
Cover your soup letting the chicken marinate in it for about 30 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally and season a little more if needed.
When you’re ready to serve your dish, top it with some shredded cheese, and serve with tortilla chips.

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I love this soup because it is extremely filling, and has just a little spice to it.
With this recipe, I was able to feed the whole family and still have leftovers for later in the week.

Enjoy!


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Man Cave Makeover

Quick! What’s the first thing that pops into your head when I say the words “man cave”? Let me guess…you immediately thought of a big screen TV, beer cans, and neon signs. Well the up and coming company, Man Crates, is out to change the man cave stereo type with their “Man Cave Makeover Campaign”. If you’ve never heard of Man Crates, they are a new company that specializes in gifts for men which they ship in wooden crates. Not only are these gifts awesome, but the wooden crate cannot be opened without using a crow bar! I don’t know any man who wouldn’t love something like that.

As part of their campaign, they contacted bloggers like me to put together a list of things we would give a man to decorate his man cave with…you know, aside from all the big tv’s and gaming systems that will naturally be in the room already. So,  I decided to put together a list that includes rustic decor, with a touch of modern elegance and cozy charm.

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Leather Furniture Pieces
Obviously, the first thing on my list is some antique, leather furniture. I feel like this should be a staple in any man cave. These pieces are durable, extremely comfortable, and add a ton of character to any space. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the smell of real leather?

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Woven Wool Area Rug
Next on my list is this geometric print, woven wool area rug. I love the cool vintage look, and the pops of color.

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Wooden Tables and Storage Spaces
I think it’s always important to add a natural element, like wood, to any design. For example, this wooden trunk would be a great substitute for your regular ole coffee table. On top of it being a unique, rustic piece in the middle of the room, you also get great storage space. We know that every guy needs functionality in his decor.

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Comfy + Cozy
It’s true: pillows and candles are not just for women! We have to add at least some of these soft touches among all of this rustic, industrial design. I love this Bourbon & Brown Sugar candle that can double as a glass once the candle is burned down. The tweed pillows are the perfect match when it comes to comfort and masculine style. Once again, those small pops of color can make a big difference.

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Fun Pieces
We can’t forget those fun, little things that really make a man cave special. Of course, your guy will want to just relax and have a drink every now and then. When he has his friends over, this wall mounted bottle opener not only makes clean up a breeze, but also just looks like cool wall art. And mason jar shot glasses? Enough said.

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Modern Bar Stools
Whether you line them up at the bar, or sit them around a table, these reclaimed teak handcrafted bar stools are a great addition to any room. They still give a nod to the rustic look, while maintaining a sleek and modern design.

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Industrial Lighting + Decor
In my opinion, the industrial look is awesome whether we are talking man cave or any other room in the house. I just love it. It literally makes any room interesting, and definitely ups the coolness factor.

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Well, that concludes my list. If this man cave was in my house, my girl friends and I would definitely be crashing it when the husband isn’t around!
Make sure to visit Man Crates to see what they are all about, and find the perfect man gift for the awesome guy in your life.


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At Home: DIY Round-Up

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As this month comes to a close, I have been reflecting on all the fun projects I’ve been working on for our very old, new house. With it being our first home, we can’t help but put so much energy and work into it to make it feel like ours. Since we are on a tight budget, and just because I love making things, almost all of the decorative items in our house are/will be handmade, DIY projects. Sometimes, yes, it would be nice to go shopping and buy a lot of shiny, new things. But my love for handmade pieces has grown exponentially in the past few years, and I know how meaningful and unique they are. Since this house is so very special to us already, it only makes sense to fill it up with the things that are most special to us. Obviously, that would be the things we make with our own hands; the things we make with love.

Here is a quick round-up of some of my favorite projects from September.

DIY Pillowcases

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Making these is so fun, and incredibly easy. I bought 4 pillows at the thrift store that were very close in size. These were only around $2 a pillow–insane! Then I went to the craft store and chose the fabric. (I made sure to put them in the washing machine before adding fabric) Custom made pillows are not something you see in every home, and these are actually less expensive than any you would buy already made. Here is the awesome tutorial that will blow your mind and make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

 

Wooden Initial

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Once again, adding those personal touches really makes a big difference. Our last name starts with a “K”, so I knew I wanted one in our house somewhere. I bought this plain, wooden letter at the craft store for around $4. I spruced it up using some acrylic paint that I already had on hand. I painted it black first, then added some soft yellow for a worn, vintage look. Another way is to paint it yellow first, or whatever color you choose, then paint over it. Once it dries, you can scuff it up with some sand paper so that the bottom color comes through.

Embroidery Hoop Art

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I love the homemade, vintage feel that embroidery hoops offer. These are pretty self-explanatory. There are a variety of sizes you can choose from, and I have found that a quarter of a yard of fabric will work for any size. Between the hoop and fabric, I paid less than $4! You can add felt or buttons, like I did, to personalize it and make it a little more special.

Old Windows

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I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but I really love anything old/vintage/antique. Old windows are definitely a favorite of mine. You can usually find them for around $7-$10 at thrift stores, flea markets, or consignment shops. There are so many possibilities! Obviously, I turned this one into a beautiful picture frame using twine and mini clothespins. It serves as a beautiful focal point in our living room.

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Here is another option that I love. This is an old window, turned chalkboard, that we are using as a message board in our kitchen.  I did not use chalkboard paint for this. I actually used chalkboard contact paper! The contact paper cost me a whopping $3 as opposed to the $15-$20 I would have spent on paint and primer. It works just as great as a normal chalkboard, it erases easily, you can gently wash it with warm water if needed, and if you decide you don’t want it anymore or want to replace it….just peel it off! So easy, quick, cheap, useful, and beautiful. Not to mention it adds a ton of character to any room.

Fall Wreath

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I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of these already, but I still love them. Although it’s not a new idea, the design can always be new and fresh. The Styrofoam ring was around $5, and I already had the other supplies on hand. I just wrapped it with yarn, and embellished it with ribbon and felt flowers.

There you go: 5 quick, cheap, easy projects that anyone can do. I hope you feel inspired, and are ready to accomplish some DIY’s of your own!


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Pattern: Knitted Beret

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With fall coming up right around the corner, I have been inspired to start knitting lots of hats. Hats are just the perfect accessory for when it’s freezing outside, you’re having a bad hair day, or when you just want to add a little something special to your outfit.

I just finished knitting this gorgeous beret, and I absolutely love the way it fits and feels. It’s extremely comfortable, very soft, and thick enough to provide a lot of warmth. The best part is that it took hardly any time at all to complete. Who doesn’t love a quick project that ends with great results? I hope you enjoy knitting this piece as much as I did!

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What You’ll Need:

  • Any chunky weight will due, but I used Lion Brand’s Hometown USA in “Phoenix Azalea”. One skein measures 64 yards, and I ended up using just a little over one of them.
  • size US13 and size US15 needles (I used straight needles for this pattern)
  • Scissors
  • Darning needle
  • Some good music, hot tea, or a movie 🙂

Pattern:

  • With the size 13 needles, cast on 38 stitches. This will fit a normal sized adult head, but you can adjust accordingly.
  • K1 P1 continuously, for every row,  until you have ribbing about two inches long.
  • Now it is time to increase your stitches and your needle size. Switch your working needle to a size 15. This means your stitches will still be on a size 13, while you’ll be working with a size 15. Start increasing your stitches, just using a knit stitch, until you have a total of 72 stitches. So, you will not increase every stitch, because then you would end up with 76 and that will make it harder when it’s time to decrease. So only increase to 72 stitches.
  • You should now have all your stitches on a size 15 needle, so now you’ll begin working with the other size 15. You have completed the switch from size 13 to size 15, while simultaneously increasing your stitches.
  • Purl the next row, then alternate K and P for every row until your entire hat measures 4 1/2 to 5 inches long.
  • Starting on the wrong side of your work, (the knit side), begin decreasing. You’ll start out with *K6, k2tog* to end of row.
  • Purl the next row
  • *K5, k2tog* to end of row
  • Purl the next row
  • *K4, K2tog* to end of row
  • Purl the next row
  • *K3, k2tog* to end of row
  • Purl the next row
  • *K2, k2tof* to end of row
  • Purl the next row
  • *K1, k2tog* to end of row
  • Purl the next row
  • Continue this pattern until you have 12 stitches left on your needle. (You’ll end up doing *K1, k2tog* for a couple of rows.) Just make sure you are only decreasing on the wrong side of your work.
  • Once you have 12 stitches left, decrease every stitch–this will leave you with 6 stitches.
  • Now, making sure you have enough yarn to sew up the back, cut the yarn from the skein, and put it through your darning needle. Thread the yarn through the last 6 stitches, slip your knitting needle out, and cinch the hat together.
  • Turn the hat inside out, and sew together, creating a seam. Weave the ends back through to secure it.
  • Turn the hat right side out, and you’re finished!

If you prefer your beret to be a little less “slouchy”, follow the same pattern exactly except:

  • Cast on 36 stitches instead of 38, still on size 13 needles
  • When it’s time to increase stitches, increase to 66 stitches instead of 72, and do not increase needle size
  • When it’s time to decrease stitches, start with K4, k2tog instead of starting with K6, k2tog
  • Follow same pattern to the end as written above to complete the hat

I did this with another beret (the yellow one) and here is the size difference:

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It still fits great, just slightly more snug, and it is not quite as slouchy.

Enjoy!


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Knitting With Circular Needles: A Guide For Beginners

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If you have been following my blog, you know that I have only been knitting for a little over a year. I have come a long way in a short time, but have avoided things like circular needles, cable knitting, double pointed needles, and the magic loop (whatever that is!) Straight needles and seams have been my best friends in this journey so far! A lot of people think seams look messy, but I personally have no problem with them. Seams are in everything we wear, so I feel like it’s not a big deal to have them in my knitted items as well. Besides, they are hardly noticeable from the outside.

Well a few nights ago, I was feeling ambitious and decided to try circular needles. I bought a pair of them several months ago in hopes that I would be brave enough to try them one day. Knitting with circulars was a very enlightening experience. I watched several YouTube videos, but only one proved to be helpful. With that being said, I’m going to share with you what I learned my first time around. (get it? ;)) Or in other words, the things that I wish the videos had told me! So if you are still a beginner like I am, and have been putting off knitting in the round with circular needles, here are some things you may want to know when you decide to start.

Let’s start with the good news: Casting on and casting off are the same as with straight needles. Hurray! I was worried it would somehow be more complicated, but it was exactly the same as using straight needles. It doesn’t start to get “weird” until after you cast on. I only saw one video where they told me that the needle you would normally hold in your left hand with straight needles, you hold in your right hand with circular needles. In the picture below is what it looks like working with straight needles. Although your right needle is your working needle, mostly everything is connected to your left needle.

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When knitting with circular needles you will actually switch your needle (that you used to cast on) to your right hand instead of leaving it in your left hand, and begin working from there. Like I said, only one video told me this, so it makes me wonder if it is absolutely necessary or just a preference. It seems like it would have to be that way for it to work, so that’s what I did and it worked great. You can see in the picture below how everything is connected to the right side.

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One thing I found to be important are stitch markers. I never really understood the purpose of these before, and I actually didn’t use them for my first circular needle project. I didn’t use them mainly because I do not have any! But, for the project I’m working on now, I am just using a bobby pin. When using these needles, you are working in rounds instead of rows, so it is really easy to lose your place in terms of where the next round begins. This can be a really big issue when you’re trying to follow a pattern, and also knowing where to start binding off. You put the stitch marker on the beginning stitch of each round. When you’re done knitting the round, your marker will be on your left needle. So you just take it off, switch it to the right, and begin again. I got lucky with my first project, and just happened to count it perfectly. It was really confusing though without a stitch marker.

Now, here is something funny about these needles: Knitting = purling. What? I know right? I sat down and just started knitting with my circular needles only to find out that one side of my work ended up looking purled. Apparently, if you want a garter stitch, you have to alternate between knit and purl for every round. If you want a purl stitch, you knit every round. So basically, it is the exact opposite of straight needles! That was a surprise for sure.

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Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I turned my first project into a little cowl. I have to say…no seams does look nice.

So although that seems really backwards, some more good news is that ribbing is the same as straight needles. For the project I’m doing now, I wanted ribbing on the bottom. Luckily, you just alternate stitches, knit and purl, continuously — just like straight needles!

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Lastly, make sure you really pay attention to what size needles you’re buying, because it is a lot more important than straight needles. With straight needles, you can cast on as little or as many stitches as you want, but with circular needles you have to cast on enough stitches to fit all the way around or it isn’t workable. Straight needles come in a large variety of lengths and widths, so just pay attention to what your pattern calls for.

To sum it up, what I have noticed so far is that straight and circular needles are more similar than I realized. There are only a few slight differences, but nothing too crazy. I’m sure I’ll discover more, the more I use them, and the more complicated my projects get. I’ll be sure to keep you updated with everything I learn along the way!

In other news, I just started making these little guys!
Made with Repix (http://repix.it)Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Aren’t they just adorable? They are quick and easy to knit up, they’re functional, and have lots of personality. I can’t wait to gift them out this coming holiday season.

Happy Knitting!


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DIY: Bathroom Window Privacy Screen

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Buying your first house is such an exciting process. When my husband and I saw this adorable 1930’s farm house, sitting all by itself on top of a hill, we fell in love and made it our first home. Right now we are in the process of getting it move-in ready, and with it being an old house built in 1932, you can imagine the work we have to do. Honestly though, for the most part we got really lucky. The previous owners updated so many necessary things, while keeping all the charm and character in tact. So while my husband is working hard on making our house livable, I get to do all the fun stuff.
Our “new” house has a really nice sized bathroom. It’s very spacious, has tons of storage, and has a lovely little window to let in some natural light. I love having a window in the bathroom, but privacy is naturally a concern. Luckily, we don’t really have neighbors on that side of the house. There’s just a very small church that meets once, maybe twice a week. Still, everyone has already voiced that they would feel more comfortable if the window wasn’t just wide open. So of course, one of my first projects was to make a privacy screen. We are on a strict budget, but this little project only cost me about 6 bucks, and didn’t take long at all.

              Materials:

  • CLEAR (yes, clear) contact paper
  • Scissors
  • Razor or X-acto knife
  • Poster board
  • Marker

You can make this screen in any pattern you’d like. There are a lot of stencils you can print out online, you can use a store bought stencil, or you don’t have to even use a pattern at all. My husband and I looked at some different pictures and chose this pattern that looks like scales or scallops. It was very easy to make!

The first thing I did was grab something that I could trace to make a perfect circle. I used the lid of a medium sized mason jar, and drew three different circles onto a piece of poster board:

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You can space them out as much as you want to get your desired size. Just remember, the smaller you make your stencil, the more you are going to need. I shaded the part I wanted to cut out, and very carefully cut around the lines.

Here is my stencil!

Here is my stencil!

Next, I used my stencil to trace out the pattern onto the back of the contact paper. Just keep placing and tracing until you think you have enough. (It’s probably going to take more than you think) Once you are finished tracing, very carefully cut them out. Make sure you are making them as similar as you can, because they need to fit perfectly into each other. This part takes a long time, but it will be worth it!

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Once you have all of your pieces cut out, it’s time to apply them! First, make sure the window is clean and completely dry. Next, carefully peel off the backing, and place your first piece in the very center at the very bottom of the window. When applying these, make sure you smooth them out so that there are no bubbles. A credit card will help you do this, but don’t be too rough or it will tear. Now you will be tempted to just start putting the pieces together like a puzzle, but trust me, you don’t want to do that. After you place your first piece, you need to place them side by side, and complete the first row along the bottom of the window. This will ensure that everything is going to be even. I love this stencil, but the only downside is that there are no straight edges…everything is round or pointy, so you must be really careful lining them up. When you get to the edge of the window where the entire piece won’t fit, just stick it on, firmly pressing down around the edges, and use your razor or X-acto knife to trim the excess. Do every row the same way as you did the first one.

Just keep sticking…just keep sticking…just keep sticking, sticking, sticking…

Now you’re done! Step back and admire your work, and enjoy some privacy!

Before

Before

After

After

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.  There is no need to go to a home improvement store and buy pricey material for window privacy when you can just use a roll of inexpensive contact paper. Who knew?!

Thanks for stopping by!