Tag Archives: apartment decorating

poor, lazy and desperate for a craving

Some people never change their style. Those are the people who wear the same hair color and cut for decades or brag about still using the same floral duvet that was popular in the 80’s (you know, the motel collection). Jennifer Anniston looks exactly the same as she did around the third season of Friends (we get it you’re so easy-going you can wear the same Lucky Brand jeans you did in the 90’s…I was 10 …I will still always be younger). Then there are the people who change their look more often than they change their underwear. My friend Annika has had more hair colors than the “Queen of Versailles” Jackie Siegel had  tacky crap faberge eggs.

How someone dresses themselves isn’t always indicative of how they keep their home….but if watching season after season of “Hoarders” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” has taught me anything it is that 9 times out of 10 it does. There’s the occasional hoarder who doesn’t smell of rotten pumpkins, cat urine and a hint of asbestos…but they’re usually in the very early stages of their hoarding and still have a fully functioning bathroom that has a mirror not covered in dust and cob webs. Comparatively there is the occasional Kardashian wearing something that isn’t black and white and 3 sizes too small (we all know there is nothing small about this family, except maybe the talent level. I meeeeean, Khloe couldn’t even stand their and look pretty long enough to host a show about talent before being replaced…).

Although I am neither as hairy nor rich as the Dash klan, I do have something more in common with them than my obsession with looking at myself in every mirror that comes my way, and that’s my obsession with black and white. I have the dynamic duo of colors..or hues…or shades? whatever they are I have the duo in almost everything I could find: striped throw, eye cat pillows, bowls, paper napkins, tank tops, chiffon tops, maxi skirts, mini skirts, eye make-up brushes, even a chevron basket. But it’s not enough, to quote Ariel the Little Mermaid “I want more”.

Why are there no black and white striped bath towels??  Are they so rare that they’re only sold on the black market? And if so, how much time will I do if I get caught? And even more importantly, will I be allowed to use them once my time is served. There would be nothing more annoying to me than if I went through all that trouble of commingling with all those grimy people shoving and pushing their way around for fake Fendi  just to get thrown in the slammer with a bunch of women shoving their gang tats and corn rows at me. And all of for a set of towels that I would not ever get the chance to stare happily at every time I walked into my bathroom. I’ll admit, it seems like a crazy irrational plan for a set of towels…

Literally the only black and white striped towels I can find that don’t have a mustache or Eiffel Tower on the front of them are either beach towels or come from a European website. There seems to be some type of agreement or peace treaty between the US and Europe that decided chevron print belongs to the states and the stripe to those lucky Euros. If I didn’t have a boyfriend I would have had chevron walls, towels, carpet and tile…but I don’t need to live in Casa de Chevron to get my fix, it is ev-er-y-where. If you looked hard enough you can probably find chevron printed tampons.

Is it so much to ask Walmart to make a simple stripe in black and white? They do in every other color and pattern. The only thing Walmart has that comes close to what I am looking for is the jerseyliciousversion of a black and white stripe, zebra print.

There is LITERALLY nothing tackier to me than a zebra print, and I watch “Don’t be Tardy…“. My mom says hate is a strong word that she thinks I say it all too often (especially when referencing certain pop stars or co-workers)…but I HATE zebra print. It will never be a good look for anyone, or anything.

While dwelling on the hatred I had acquired for zebra print, my search for the anomaly that is the black and white striped towel continued. Nearly giving up on this quest I made a quick trip to the cluster you know what, IKEA. Where Europe gave me $40 for shipping, IKEA kindly and cheaply gave me  Sofia…a black and white striped material. It took me forever to figure out what I could do with her. I thought about using it for napkins or as a table-cloth. But then it hit me that the dining set my parents had passed down to us from 1970 was in desperate need of  my classic  home decor facelift.2013-04-24_12-32-37_65

My mom had this fancy fabric hand-made. So when she handed it down to my sister, 10 years ago, it was all the rage. When she handed it down to me, 10 months ago, I immediately wanted to pull out my paint brush and fabric scissors. My mom cherished this set, the hoarder in her came out when she was nearly brought to tears when I told her about my big plans to paint the wood and change the cushions. If it weren’t in our dining room, it would be in a storage unit for all the spiders and rats to enjoy as a meal. So she slowly began to open up to the idea of letting it go. But because my heart is not completely made of stone, (especially after realizing how frustrating and expensive reupholstering sounded) I decided I would let the old cherry set keep its charm and musty smell. The best solution for this project was the lazy one. No plans, no research, I would just channel my inner Summer Sanders and figure it out.

I didn’t make any measurements, mostly because I came up with this project while aimlessly wandering around in search for towels when this fabric caught my eye and perked up my mood. I used the best technique I have as a DIYnerd, the eyeballing method. So I bought 1 yard, thinking that would be enough…but shockingly it was not. For 4 chairs I needed exactly 2 yards…give or take.

So here was the lazy, but still do it yourself ,reupholstering job I used on this cherry-ished family heirloom.

1. First I had to find the screws holding the cushion down. As you can see, when my mom had originally reupholstered the cushions she had them made about 2 inches larger in diameter than the original seat. Apparently people of the 70’s had smaller behinds than the people of today.


2. The screws were ancient, rusted and in there real tight. So I could only unscrew the 2 furthest from the back rest of the chair. Partly because they were screwed in tight and partly because my weak delicate hands were starting to form calluses…and I was not going to let that happen.


3. Once the screws were loose (the ones in my head weren’t far behind) I took 1 yard of fabric and draped it over the cushion, wedging the fabric between the cushion and the back of the chair, fully covering the existing fabric.


4. I smoothed it out over the cushion and made sure the stripes were running perfectly horizontal, checking that none of the cherry patches of the existing fabric were showing through the white stripes. Then I measured how much fabric would need to be firmly tucked under the cushion, and I cut the remaining fabric. This ends up being about 1/2 a yard per cushion.


5. Unscrewing the 2 outer screws allowed me to lift the cushion just enough  to tuck the fabric completely under the cushion, perfectly wedged between the cushion and the frame of the chair…



the fabric is then evenly covering the cushion and is tucked far enough between the frame and cushion it won’t pop out when someone sits in it.


6. I took a screw driver and poked and pushed the fabric as far back as I could. It was as easy as tucking sheets into a bed frame.


Because the back 2 screws weren’t loose it was tight enough to perfectly wedge the fabric in between the frame and under the cushion.2013-04-24_12-40-26_456 (1)

7. I screwed the 2 screws I originally took out back in as tight as they were before. Using the screw driver I tightened, wedged and poked the fabric in between the frame and cushion one last time…

8.and VOILA!


Now I just had 3 more to do, but by the second chair I had it all figured out and I knocked out 3 chairs in 30 minutes.





This project, thanks to Sofia, satisfied my black and white stripe craving…temporarily. I am still on a mad hunt for those hand towels in my beloved stripe. But until then I will just preoccupy my mind and time with more projects, rearrangements and obsessions. My newest one… stencils! Oh the places you can go with a little stenciling.

Until then, Happy Decorenting!


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Apartment botox

I know I joke how I change my mind all too often, and the botox my apartment gets every few weeks is evidence enough to prove that. But it’s not that I am consistently unhappy or displeased. It is just that I dont’t know what I want until I see what I don’t want. When we first moved into our apartment, it was a lot like Josh and my first date. I didn’t know what it was going to be like. Would it be grown up and sophisticated or fun and silly. I had moved back home and was living with my parents in a world of beige, while Josh was living in a house of penis and beer pong. Five years ago, even two years ago, all I would have cared about was making sure I had a handle of vodka in my fridge at all times; sophistication was taking shots out of a wine glass. So this apartment was my chance to temporarily step out of my alcohol induced fog and make our apartment more than just a roof over our head… through painted furniture and colorful candles! Much like our first date, our apartment started out a little uncomfortable and just like our relationship, through trial and error, it progressively has only gotten better.

On one of my latest Walmart, Target, Homegoods, or Michaels excursions, I found myself wander right into the arts and crafts aisle…fancy that. I said when Josh and I moved into our love shack that I wanted it to be a young, fun, bright and colorful place to live. I wanted nothing to do with black furniture. I had all these big kid ideas of what I would do to brighten up the plain black and boring bookshelves we had.

I think the idea was bigger than my stomach and I feared it would start look like a Lizzie McGuire original movie set. So I stuck to the basic frat boy pieces of Ikea furniture…aaand this is what our living room looked like.


I was so concerned with getting rid of boxes within boxes within a box (or our apartment) that anything to get our prized possessions crap out of cardboard and up onto the bookshelves so I could walk from the kitchen to the bathroom in 30 seconds rather than 30 minutes was all I really cared about. Much to my dismay, the colorful and fun apartment I had envisioned was a black and white blob with gold accents. When I wandered into that paint aisle it opened up my eyes. I remembered the young fun do it yourself kind of girl I was and that I had 25 more years until gold would be a good look for me. I was able to embrace my quarter life crisis and bought as much paint that $20 would get me, which is actually a lot.

I started out with my usual craft; painting a picture frame here and adding a colorful candle stick thereIMG_9451. I bought colorful rugs and other accent piecesIMG_9449

I finally shooshed up my gallery wall from this

IMG_8170 to this IMG_9197

And remember this


and how I changed it to thisIMG_8301(picture credit: Josh Branham),

and then thisIMG_9199

and now it’s thisIMG_9438


So there’s no pink and there’s a bar, that’s manly…. right?

And those candle sticks finally found a permanent home.

IMG_9454    IMG_9444

Everything is fitting into the right place, finally. Whats next you may not be asking? I am actually going to paint those bookshelves and bar area rather than just fantasize about doing it. Color makes the world go round, everything looks better when its painted a nice glossy yellow or bright green. Maybe its just the Spring season and all the pastel Easter bunnies that make black seem so boring to me and in a few months everything must be black. But that is why paint is my best friend, you can have an all new piece of furniture with just a simple stroke of the brush.

This past week my family lost someone very special, my Uncle Eric. He was taken too young and too fast by lung cancer. He was an amazing man and he will be missed by more people than he ever imagined. Cancer is scary, but it is real and it can happen to anyone. My uncle was a smoker, like a lot of people, but we need more awareness in the dangers of smoking and as always the search for THE CURE.

As always Happy Decorenting and hug a loved one …. and then flush all of their cigarettes!

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I’m baaaaaaack…

It’s been a long few weeks catching up on the new season of FTS (or Full Throttle Saloon for those of you Google-ing this), forgetting a friends day of birth (sorry girl) and living in the stone age with a broken cell phone…but I’m back bitches! I am all caught up on my DVR, the card is in the mail and my phone is refurbished. I had several weeks of bitching and complaining about my boyfriends serious lack of cleanliness or my 19 year old co-worker thinking of herself as my superior and I couldn’t wait to flush it all out of my system and onto your computer screens, but it’s been so damn long I can’t remember why I was annoyed to begin with! There are plenty of things that annoy me….cars that are pink, 15 year olds, pinatas…but forgetting why I was annoyed in the first place has got to be #1. Josh likes to say that I bitch just to bitch, that I do it because I like to get my way….I like to respond to this with a long confused stare.  It wouldn’t be called bitching if it were welcomed with open arms by the bitchee. And of course I do it because I like to get my way. I wouldn’t nag somebody to do something that wasn’t in my best interest. Nagging Josh to play a video game while the trash can is literally overflowing with red goo is the exact definition of an oxymoron. But at least he takes out the trash, the red goo literally makes me vomit.

But enough about the annoying nagging girlfriend in me and more about my mansion apartment. I have neglected writing about it, but the never ending and always changing Barbie Dream Home of mine has not been neglected. The changes are minor, so minor actually that only I know or even care about them but still major enough for me to stare at and  brag write about. By now you know I change my mind anywhere between 2 and 30 times a day about anything and everything. So when I was over things that were once gold and changed them to a bright green or shiny blue, I knew major changes were coming to our humble abode. Which reminds me, about my gold obsession… What was I thinking, that we lived in Dubais? At our apartment, the paint is cracking off of the walls, the neighbors speak Spanish (and spanish only) and every screen door has broken off of the track and is leaning against the patio walls. There are no marble pillars or mother of pearl bathroom tile, just pink carpet and plastic wooden frames. Gold was made to drape across my neck, poke through my ears and jingle on my wrists, not greet me at every inch of my apartment.

Anyways, it all started with the infamous dresser we had longed for so long. It sat in our room without knobs longer than we waited for it to arrive on our doorstep, which just gave me more time to need, ok want something different. I obviously couldn’t have the knobs be left plain (the DIY-nerd would not allow it) but I also didn’t want a Kindergarten cubby with a hodge podge of different colors (Josh would not allow it). But then I remembered that I was bored with our old (6 months) and gold living room dresser. And I had recently found all of my brightly colored acrylic paints….bazinga! I busted out my paint brush, channeled my inner Van Gogh and  let the magic happen (and yes I just compared my amateur furniture painting to that of The Starry Night as if it were a MindFreak Vegas magic show).

Lime green knobs and I had a brand new chest that didn’t look like it belonged in my Grandmother’s Egyptian inspired condo. (I would like to say that wasn’t true, but she had tiger statues, monkey chandeliers and might as well have had mother of pearl tile. She wore Channel everything all day every day and had an all white room no one was allowed in…she would’v been proud of my Dubais inspired apartment).




And all I did was a good ol’ wife swap (with knobs not wives, obviously) and I got a brand new dresser out of it too!



Yes, to answer the question you are asking yourself right now….that is a 42” TV strategically placed in front of my mirror displays. I treated myself to some new knobs and Josh got himself a new TV the size of our “master” bedroom. That’s ok though, because the TV we had before was the size of our dinner plates. And I have plenty of other white walls that can be styled with mirrors.

I have lots of other projects on the horizon at the Hayham residence, giving the patio some colorful love and maybe get some use other than the lazy dog owner bathroom is definitely a high priority. But in the mean time I have an art store’s worth of paint products, a gallery wall that is in desperate need of the faces of our friends and family (only the attractive ones) and I keep busy by saving every glass jar I come across. Right now they’re decorating my counters


and housing my tulips


I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I’m going to do something and it’s not going to be baking rainbow cupcakes.

Anyways, I’ll try not to let my love of reality TV shows about biker bars and rich women fighting over who has more plastic surgery get in the way of sharing my decor-journey with you all ever again…all 13 of you. That is of course until the new season of The Real Housewives of Orange County comes around (nope, still not ashamed).

So until then, as always…Happy Decorenting!

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Glitter with a side of Turkey…

Josh and I took on Thanksgiving at my old roommates house last year which wasn’t necessarily a mistake, it just wasn’t that great. Josh left the sack of crap inside the turkey resulting in only about a quarter of edible turkey, I was just barely out of surgery and my arm was more bummy than the guy that sits outside of the mall begging for my spare change. You would think my right arm (or “the good one”) would be ready to arm wrestle Lou Ferrigno with all the slack and heavy lifting it had taken on since my surgery….but it was weaker than it was before my accident. It was begging for a break, as if it were jealous of the lack of work my left arm was doing.

But not this year! I had so much to do in so little time. This Thanksgiving it is just going to be a couples night, the Haynie’s and the Hayham’s, so the decorations and booze were more for my personal pleasure than for anyone else, cause we all know Josh would eat Thanksgiving dinner on the couch playing Call of Duty and be a happy man. This year Josh knows how to properly cook a turkey (maybe), my arm can bend 2-3 inches more (which means I can move a pot of boiling water without making everybody nervous),  I’ve made more than my fair share of gourmet grilled cheeses (without the use of a microwave) and my mother won’t be following me around the kitchen with a towel and sponge (partly because there isn’t much room for more than about 1 and 1/2 people). It’s not that she’s cleaning up after me, because cleaning up after yourself is the worst part of good home cooking, it’s more that she is kind of like a little dog that gets caught under foot. Every time I turn around I’m stepping on her toes or guiding her away with my feet. It’s better to just give her a bottle of wine and keep her out of the kitchen.

The best part about Josh and I throwing Thanksgiving at our new pad, besides being able to drink to get drunk, is the decorating. When I was 16, hell when I was 22, the best part about any party was knowing there was going to be Vodka and boys. Only 4 years later and I’m more excited about what candles to use or what color scheme is best.  I recently turned my gaudy black picture frame with the pink center into a chalkboard. Josh hated it and probably would have preferred a picture of my ex-boyfriend over the bright pink background. I took the cardboard backing and spray painted (of course) it with chalkboard paint from Michaels . It’s genius, how do they do it?! Anyways then I reversed the natural order of the frame and replaced the glass with the cardboard and used the glass as the backing of the frame. Then I simply bought chalk, an eraser and got busy. Or should I say, my 6 year old boyfriend got busy.

I had planned on writing our Thanksgiving menu on our new chalkboard, but Josh clearly had other ideas. I was just going to erase it Thanksgiving day, but then he looked up at me from his Indian style seated position, with those big baby blues and told me, “You can draw one for Christmas!”. It was so sweet, I couldn’t erase it after that. I added a few pine cones that I stole from our local library’s lawn, and suddenly I was on my way to having somewhat of a Thanksgiving “mantle”.

As far as table settings go, I have bowls, plates and wine glasses ( shout out to my sister’s mother-in-law for getting these adorable fall wine glasses, they’re perfect). Other than that, I’m borrowing 90% from Mama Bear (whom I am most thankful for, for too many reasons to list in parenthesis). I wanted my theme to be one that included candles and glitter, without it looking like a stripper planning a romantic Valentine’s day dinner for her pimp (A.K.A tacky). When I went to Michael’s to find my chalkboard paint, I first found myself wandering around the fake floral section, one which I usually have no interest in being that I am not a 90 year old woman or gay man. But there were rows and rows of  glitter leaves in all different shapes and colors, for 50% off! I obviously could not resist so I bundled up as many as I could find that didn’t look like they belonged in “The Little Mermaid” ride at Disneyland, and this is the center piece I came up.

It started to look more like an Advent wreath and less like a magazine worthy Thanksgiving center piece, but a few pine cones later and it’s almost there. I then realized I didn’t have any napkin rings, and what is a Thanksgiving dinner without napkin rings?! Luckily I have a craft drawer (nerd alert) that houses some left over pipe cleaners I kept for this very situation. I also had a few of those glittery leaves left over from my advent wreath center piece. All of the appropriate ingredients for some homemade, and much needed, napkin rings.

First I folded my napkin,  then I wrapped the pipe cleaner around the napkin , and tied the very natural looking green leaf to the pipe cleaner 

and this is what I came up with. It’ll all come together once wine glasses and turkeys are involved (the cooked kind not the plush kind). Since were on the topic of the plush kind…I said earlier that I was borrowing 90% of my decor from Mama Bear, I mostly meant table cloths, cooking utensils and serving bowls. Boy was I lucky when amongst the mixture of beige linens and a silver cookware collection was a felt turkey bowl. This, well this just happened to be an added bonus…

Apparently it was something I loved from my childhood, something from my childhood I clearly had blocked. When I brought it home Josh was less than pleased. He asked if we could put it away until my parents came over on Thanksgiving day, fearing it would come to life and attack me while he was at work. I giggled and didn’t think about it again. Later, when I was searching for a pen and paper to make another one of my daily lists, this is where “it” was hiding…

The hair is the worst part….

Anyways I’ll post aftermath pictures of  the Hayham/Haynie Thanksgiving partay next time, and until then Happy Thanksgiving!

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IKEA Was A Bad Choice

With our move in date just around the corner and boxes beginning to stack on top of each other in the hallway, my list of “must have’s” and “to do’s” keeps growing and growing and growing! It never ends, and neither do the arguments about color schemes and fabric choices I am having with myself, and surprisingly the BF. He wants to stain our dresser a dark brown…I know, I couldn’t believe it either. The last thing we need in a small dark apartment, is big dark furniture! When we first agreed to move in together, I assumed he knew that he forfeited all decorating rights to me…as long as he could have a man cave or, more realistically, that the couch was comfortable. That was a deal I was willing to make. I wasn’t about to hand over all decorating rights to a man who is refusing to give away a monkey lamp and Sasquatch painting he bought at a yard sale. But again, I didn’t want this apartment to be too girly or too manly…it needed to be a little bit of both, a tranny of an apartment if you will.

I had just begun to get into the groove of things putting the finishing touches in my bedroom at my old roomies (my parents) house, it was hard not to take all of my inspiration and decorating ideas from that room and incorporate them into our apartment. I liked my colors, fabrics, pillows, picture frames…everything! It was like I was giving up my bachelorette pad for something more brown and boyfriend friendly.

Reminding myself that I couldn’t keep my leopard print everything or pink picture frames, we decided to do a walk through at IKEA. Bad…BAD idea. IKEA on a Saturday, much like how Ron Burgandy felt about milk on a hot day, was a bad choice. Not only was Josh hungry and therefor grumpy, but the people! No boundaries, these people. I was convinced IKEA had to be giving anything and everything away for free. Why did all of these people decide to go to Ikea at the same time on the same day! Realizing how appealing the insanely cheap prices and cheesy advertising were, I quickly moved on and did what I had to do to survive,  join the herd. Other than people aimlessly wandering from department to department with no concept of personal space, as if they were shuffling onto Space Mountain, I noticed they were all choosing the same products in one of 3 different colors (usually black, red or white). I too began to feel myself being drawn to the black and white dish towels and red picture frames. I couldn’t be a part of this. But the prices! The prices are so affordable, especially on the poor people budget I was on. I knew I couldn’t pass up the .99 dinnerware collections or basic wooden furniture pieces begging to be DIY’d, but I had to come up with a way to break from the herd and individualize my soon to be generic collection.

Josh and I desperately need a dresser because, well, I need the closet to myself. We needed something big, cheap and (of course) unique. Apparently my yellow chevron bed spread was too “girly” for the man’s man, so we have to find (and agree on) a new bedspread we both like because obviously the faded and torn gray one he had been forcing me to sleep with was NOT hanging around.

Not to mention, the weenies have used the gray hunk o’junk as their own blanket, toilet and grooming station (it has got ta go)

The cookware, pots and pans Josh already has, have been used for 3 years by 5 guys…’nuff said. I mean we really need it all. We have a bed, an old dining table with cherry fabric, and a huge TV. Our budget doesn’t really allow us to be picky, but the designer in me does. I wouldn’t (couldn’t) settle for generic.

Like a kid in a candy store, I was drawn to everything. I could’ve spent the entire day in there. My creative juices were a flowin’ and my hands couldn’t write anything down fast enough (that could have something to do with the doll friendly pencils the give you to write with). Josh of course wanted to power through and eat meatballs. Everything he liked was brown, and everything I liked wasn’t. I just dont like brown. I can tolerate different shades of brown, like cognac, beige and tan…but dark chocolate brown is better left on my brownies. We did find a couple of things we both agreed on though (as if it really matters): a lazy susan and a begging to be DIY’d dresser. It’s a start. Luckily the rainy season is on its way, because it looks like I’m going to be in a DIYers dream.

On the list:

-an IKEA wooden dresser (in need of some DIY lovin’)

-2 black hand me down bookshelves

-1 black hand me down cabinet

-1 hand me down, cherry covered dinning set

-1 gallery wall (minus any girly colors/prints/frames)

– 1 apartment in desperate need of some homey touches and unique pieces ..and much much more.

I have my work cut out for me…making black bookshelves not so generically black won’t be so hard, but transforming black bookshelves into trendy more man friendly ones might be a bit of challenge for me (deep breath). Trendy, man friendly and sophisticated…I’m sure I’ll have it all figured out and set up perfectly by the time our 1 year lease is up!

Wish me luck and happy renting!

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