Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The end of one era, the beginning of another

Today might just be another Wednesday for you, but for us, it's a big, big day. A special occasion, really. The end of something we're not sad to see go. The beginning of something else, even though we're not quite sure what that will look like...

Once again, I haven't been completely honest with my blog. For the last two years, actually!  August 15th, 2011, I wrote a post about Matthew starting up law school, and now here we are, almost August of 2013, and he is pretty much done. The guy crammed a three year program into two, because he's crazy like that, and while he won't graduate officially until December or take the bar until February, we are done with living apart.

See how I slipped that in there? Living apart! For the last two years, I only saw my husband on weekends and holidays, because he went to school in a different city. Sometimes he wouldn't come home a weekend at all, if he had too much work to do, or finals to study for. I've spent more time alone in the last two years than ever before in my life, and of course it was lonely and frustrating at times, for both of us. For safety reasons I never broadcasted that I was living alone all week, even though it was such a big part of my life the last two years. It's hard to keep that kind of thing quiet, you know? When all you want to do is scream, "I WANT A NORMAL LIFE! I WANT A HUSBAND! THIS ISN'T WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR!"

I say that with a smile on my face, really. We survived it. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say we thrived during this period, especially in our own separate endeavors. Matthew and I are both really independent individuals, we both had plenty of our own stuff going on to keep us busy, and I actually wonder if his living away during the week made the whole thing a little easier on both of us. Like, an out of sight, out of mind type of thing. Since we weren't living together, I couldn't focus on the fact that he was always studying and never had time for me. Instead, I just did my own thing. Kept up my blog, started my business, made lots of relationships here in Austin. It worked out, and now, tonight, he'll come home and this will be over. We'll have to acclimate to each other again, find a new routine. But I think we're both so excited for that... it's like letting out a breath you've been holding for a long time. A sigh of relief. "Real life" won't start until he gets a job after the bar, but wait, scratch that. THIS IS real life. It's our real life now. Being together again. Learning to put someone else at the same level of priority as yourself. Waiting for our new home to be finished. Enjoying time with my mom in the meantime. Dreaming about the future. Working hard to make that future happen. This is real life NOW. We always have to remind ourselves to stop waiting for it to begin, when it truly already has.

Anyway, PHEW. It feels good to get that off my chest. I'm so excited for what's to come, you guys! Matthew and I really want to have FUN this next year. He still has lots of work and studying for the bar to do, and he starts an internship this fall, but we want to try lots of new things (remember the Happy documentary?) and really work on our relationship before bringing little spawns into the picture. Wish us luck. ;)

*PS - I feel the need to apologize for the quality of that picture up top there. We snapped it on my phone at our new house last night, not thinking it would ever be shared, but it turns out I don't have many pictures of me and Matthew together... since you, know, I barely saw the guy the last couple years. ;)

*PPS - crazy how much progress there's been on our house in barely over a week, right?? They just started framing last Monday!

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Easy Ways to Lighten a Dark Kitchen

I recently had a reader email me asking for tips on lighting up her dark kitchen.  She loves the look of white kitchens but unfortunately any major changes are not in their budget right now. 

As you can see the kitchen isn't horrible it's just really dark. The cabinets are clean and modern and the floor is at least light. 

If you don't have the means to give your kitchen a complete overhaul there are still a lot of easy changes you can do. 
1. I love the idea of using a beautiful tea towel as art. Something white with a little color will really brighten up the kitchen. 
2. If any of my clients ever have windows in the kitchen I always recommend installing a roman shade. A window treatment is a great way to add some pattern and color to the space distracting the eye from all the brown going on. Since this kitchen has all warm tones I chose a blue fabric to add a cooler feel to the space. Roman shades can be pricey so if you want to save some money you can make a faux roman shade using this tutorial
3. The easiest thing to do to lighten up the space is to add as many white accessories as possible. White will help to break up the brown. White serving pieces could also be added to top the kitchen cabinets.
4. I think adding crystal knobs to all the cabinets would be amazing.  
5. These canisters are bright and cheery and would really help bring the kitchen to life. 
6. I have patterned bowls displayed in my kitchen and I love them!
7. Because the kitchen appliances are all dark it would be great to brighten the oven up with a fun dishtowel
8. Although the client doesn't want to do any painting I'm going to strongly recommend painting the tile backsplash. I love this tutorial. I really feel like transforming the backsplash will help break up the darkness of the cabinets and countertops. 

What would you do to lighten up this dark kitchen? 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Ruche & SOML (a match made in heaven)

This is my happy face. Do you know why my face is happy today? Because it just so happens that I somehow managed to find myself in cohoots with Ruche, one of my all time favorite brands, and it sort of feels like a really good dream I don't want to wake up from. The fine folks at Ruche are sponsoring Story of My Life for Texas Style Council this weekend, which means I get to work more closely with them and wear their gorgeous clothes (like this dress, which you'll see more of next week!). Yes, I am freaking out inside a little.  It also means that if you attend my workshop on Life Blogging Saturday morning, you may or may not get a little gift from Ruche! ;) Sweet, right?!

If you haven't visited the Ruche website yet, get on over there and swoon away. Classy, flattering, vintage-inspired clothing that is super affordable and diverse and lovely. I can't say enough good things about this brand! I am PUMPED to finally be working with them.  (Also check their blog for a post about our partnership later today!)

If you're attending Texas Style Council this weekend, look for Ruche at the Prom party (I'll be hanging out with them a while too!) and they'll have a floral backdrop and props for photos, free jewelry in exchange for a survey, and a touch-up station with hairspray, perfume, bandaids, bobby pins, etc. Oh, and Mara from M Loves M will be there! Cannot wait to meet her!


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Living Room under $500

I am really excited to be introducing a new contributor to the blog today! Kimberly Moore is a fabulous former intern of mine and she is now running a design business of her own. Her blog is one of my favorites and I love the post she's put together for us today! 

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It can be difficult to stay within a small budget when decorating, but it's certainly not impossible! I've put together this living room inspiration board that came in right at $498.48 Not only is this room affordable, it is pretty to look at! 

Keeping a list of a few basic resources will help when beginning the design process. Don't forget to include these on the list >>>

Sofa: $230 // Target 5'x7' Rug: $80 // Target
Coffee Table: $20 // Ikea Lamp: $45.48 // Target
Pink Dot Pillow: $20 // Society 6 Floral Pillow: $20 // Society 6
Yellow Scallops Pillow: $23 // Society 6 3 Mirrors: $60 // Target

Kimberly Moore here >>> My favorite color is mint, I have bangs, and love a good pair of glasses! There are few things that make me happier than designing a gorgeous room, creating art, or throwing a smashing party. My blog, Third Floor Design Studio, has become a place to learn, shop, and be inspired. On any given day you'll find great sources for decor, simple DIY projects, or party planning essentials. So be sure to stop by my blog and say hello! 

Monday, 29 July 2013

delicious roasted tomato soup... with feta and basil

This is my favourite soup at the moment, perfect for chilly days and cool nights.  Packed with vitamin C to fight off winter colds and easy to prepare, this is sure to be your family's favourite too.  

- 1 block feta
- 3kg fresh tomatoes
- 2 large onions
- a handful of thyme, marjoram & basil 
- bunch of Italian parsley
- olive oil & balsamic vinegar

To make:
1 - Peel & chop onions roughly, chop tomatoes into large chunks & place in large roasting dish
2 - Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar
3 - Add handful of fresh thyme, marjoram & basil, and season with salt and pepper
4 - Roast in a medium oven (175 C) for a few hours until tomatoes are well cooked and starting to caramelise
5 - Pour tomato mix into a large soup pot and blend with a hand mixer.  I used my All-in-One which was fab as usual.
6 - Season to taste

To serve:
1 - Chop a large bunch of Italian parsley
2 - Crumble a block of feta
3 - Serve feta and parsley in bowls so that people can add to taste.

I always loved tomato soup but the feta and parsley, something I learned from the lovely B (she knows who she is), takes this soup to a new level.

I recently made this soup for a casual dinner with friends and was amazed that all the ingredients, plus a lovely sourdough and a huge bowl of new season strawberries cost less than $30.  Amazing to be able to serve such a delicious meal to six people for $5 a head.  So no excuses, put the ingredients on your shopping list this week, cook and enjoy.  

Coast to coast styles: easy weekend attire

Today I'm participating in Meag's series called Coast to Coast Styles, and this week she's featuring ladies from different parts of the U.S. and how they'd dress for an easy weekend outing in their town. I wore this outfit to brunch with friends yesterday morning - nothing fancy, just cutoff jeans, a cute scalloped tank top, and a fedora to cover my unwashed hair. ;)  One thing I truly love about Austin is the lack of pretenses here. It's such an incredibly laid back city, and you are not expected to be dressed to the nines whenever you go out. Totally can't tell the bums from the millionaires half the time in this town. 

Hope you have a fabulous Monday!

Shirt: from my latest Stitch Fix! The only thing I think I'll keep. Wasn't a huge fan of my box this time around, but I'm happy as long as I get one really good item | Pants: cutoff Loft jeans | Hat: Target | Necklace: c/o Altar'd State | Sandals: Nordstrom Rack

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Visit the other ladies participating, too!

South - Me :)
Midwest - Kiley
Northwest - Jade  
California - Sara
Mountains - Meag
East Coast - Caitlin

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Last Week's Links

Last week was amazing! The highlight of the week was a giant slip n' slide that we went to in our neighborhood. I felt like a kid again! I feel like I'm soaking up every moment of this summer that I possibly can. 

You can keep up with all my latest happenings on instagram (@kirstenkrason)

1 || Snakes as art? I never thought I would love it so much! 
2 || I love this roundup of "non-hideous" ceiling fans. 
3 || This is the coolest website! You can use your favorite quote to create a totally "pin-worthy" image. 
4 || So excited to have discovered this amazing artist
5 || Right now Banana Republic is offering an additional 35% off everything with code BRSPLASH!

6 || I am super excited about the new Maxi - Cosi AP car-seat that's launching today! It will be available in 14 color combos and only weighs 8.6 lbs!  I've been eyeing it for awhile now.

8 || This tutorial on how to arrange grocery store flowers is going to change my life! 
9 || I get weepy every time I read an article like this
10 || This post on what not to do as a blogger was really interesting. 
11 || I LOVE this little gold table

top image - I Suwannee // bottom image - Third Floor Design Studio

disclosure: affiliate links used

The easiest & cheapest vintage grain sack pillow covers ever!

As part of my living room refresh project, I decided to update my throw pillows with something more in line with the vintage style I've been loving lately.


They're just so cozy and homey and lovely. I can't get enough.

I went to Pinterest first and saw a lot of DIY grain sack pillow covers, but I didn't want to deal with finding the perfect linen fabric, then painting/printing/stamping anything on and I don't own a sewing machine.

After looking everywhere online, I wasn't loving the prices of the real deal. I was finding a lot of knock-offs but they just didn't look and feel like the real thing. I knew there had to be a way to make my own without a sewing machine.

Then I started searching for just the grain sacks and found several styles in many different conditions. They started at around $10 on the lower end, all the way up to $50+, depending on the type and condition. I noticed that the width on many of them were the same width of my pillows, and the length was just over double. I figured I'd have the perfect amount of material to make two covers.

I didn't mind a little wear and tear (it just adds to the character!) so I scored a nice vintage 19x42" Bemis sack on Etsy for $22 shipped.

It was perfect.

See where I'm going with this?

The design was right in the center which means it would be split, but I didn't mind the mostly plain pillows at all. If you wanted to center the design you could always pick up two grain sacks or find one with a design at the bottom.

To split it evenly I measured the center and drew a line...

Then I made my cut.

I didn't want the rough cuts showing, so I turned to the one and only Stitch Witchery:

For the first cover that was open on both ends, I had to stitch the bottom shut. I flipped the cover inside out, made sure it was lined up, and ran my stitch witchery across the bottom:

The result:

The top of this cover already had a nice hem from the factory, so I put it aside and addressed the rough cut on the second cover.

For this one I just had to fold the edges onto the inside all the way around the opening.

And that was that! I ended up with two perfect pillows with one open end...

I didn't want to close the seam permanently because then I could never wash the covers or swap them out down the road. I couldn't sew a zipper on either, so I thought about sewing buttons on it and almost went for it, but then I remembered these pillows I purchased from Ikea because I loved the little bows:

So I went through my leftover fabric stash and found some linen:

I cut it into six strips, then made little notches about 1" down with my Xacto knife:

Then I threaded each tie through and made knots:

And in less than one hour, I had my very own vintage grain sack pillows:

Ahhh... I love them. They're the perfect addition to our home, and specifically our updated couch... more on that next week!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Laundry overheads are in at last!

2pac overhead cabinets are in at last! Still need to finalise the design for the floor to ceiling cabinet on the other side, but at least there has been SOME progress. Yay!

Oh, and still need to find the materials for the hanging rail underneath the overheads and a new pull down mixer tap...

Any styling tips would be greatly appreciated as always :)


Friday, 26 July 2013

I've never been more excited to see wood.

Hey look, there's been progress on our house! We're just a wee bit excited. Been living with mom nearly three months now (is this summer flying by for anyone else??), and they JUST poured our foundation and started framing in the last week. I knew building would be tedious and frustrating, but it's hard to really fathom until you experience it yourself. Anyway, things are going fine and we are so grateful. It's pretty darn exciting, though, to see our little space in the world starting to take shape.  If you're new here or need to catch up, check out this post about why we made the decision to leave our old home and build a new one!

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful, restful weekend. Here's a couple featured SOML sponsors to entertain you the next few days. Check 'em out.

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Meet the ever-lovely miss Chelsea from a blog called Lost In Travels. As you may suspect based on the title, Chelsea and her husband are ex-pats and currently living on a tiny island in Korea (teaching English!)... head right over here for a great introduction to their story, or maybe here and here where Chelsea answers some really fun questions! This girl also has some great travel tips laid out for you, so if you're in the market, don't miss those. Go on over and say hello!

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Next up is pretty Jenn from a blog called Quirky Pickings. Doesn't her smile make you want to smile? ;) Jenn is an aspiring novelist and fellow Texan, and you can head right over here for a great introduction to her blog. She also has a tab called The Griffin Inquisition with links to 32 other fabulous posts inspired by prompt-type questions, many of which you might like to steal from her for topics for your own blog!   Check out day one for a little more info about the inquisition, and don't forget to let Jenn know you stopped in today!


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Feature Friday: The Nesting Game

Today I am featuring the home of Molly from the blog The Nesting Game. Her home is full of great DIY projects and fantastic style. Here is what she says she loves most her home.

"Our home is a mix of old and new, high(ish) and low, inherited and thrifted, color and calm. Just like life! I love the challenge of pulling together a space and hunting for just the right elements to finish a room---even if it takes years. Most of all, I love that our home is a place our family and friends like to hang out in."


vignette with bust botanical photobooth

l i v i n g   r o o m 

LR Sofa and End Tables

LR Iron end tables

LR antiqued mirror tabletop

LR wide shot_sisal rug

LR sheepskin vignette

LR corner white table

LR china cabinet

Read more about this room here

k i t c h en

Read more about this room here.

d i n i n g   r o o m

Read more about this room here

g u e s t   r o o m   /   n u r s e r y


Full Room

Navy Nursery Rocker Crib

Santa Maria Desert Pillow

Bed and sconces

Side table Full

Red Side Table

Dresser and Mirror

Bookshelf McDowell Print

Rocker and ottoman
Crib and Skirt

Read more about this room here

b o y ' s   r o o m 

Read more about this room here

Thanks so much to Molly for letting me feature her home. Check out her blog here

Go here to check out past Feature Fridays.