It’s that time of the year

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the year. Maybe it’s just me, but 2014 kind of whizzed by. Since we’re not quite in lets-talk-about-resolutions territory yet, I’ve been trying to add festive touches around the house for the holidays. Matt and I celebrate Christmas with his family and I’ve never decorated for the holidays in my life, so it’s been kind of fun being in entirely new territory.

The first thing I did was make a wreath, mainly because our roommate asked for one, and well, they’re just so pretty. I decided to make a burlap wreath that I might just keep on our door year round, switching up the accessories for the seasons. I found various tutorials online, but my favorite one was over at Try On A Homemade Life. It’s really detailed and has step-by-step photos (which, by the way, I tried to do for my own project but the sheer amount of glitter I was shaking off the burlap put a stop to that really quickly).

Wreath fullI also picked up some pine cones and other decorations to add to the wreath, and I love how it turned out. I just stuck them in the folds of the burlap, which has worked surprisingly well so far.

Wreath close upIf you notice, I also used two kinds of burlap, one with a tighter weave. I picked up the two kinds on a whim and my instincts definitely paid off – I love the variation in texture and slight change in color.

So far that’s been the most obviously holiday-themed project I’ve done. I used a leftover scrap of burlap to line the top of the bookcase, since we don’t exactly have a mantel, and put my trusty Crate & Barrel LED string lights in a red vase for an easy update. I also have approximately eleventy billion pine cones from when I went shopping for fall decor, so those are scattered around too.

Bookcase decorOh I also got a bunch of tinsel, because you can’t do holiday decor without tinsel. Hey I like glittery shiny things, okay? It made our incredibly regular and boring stairwell look a lot nicer.

Staircase tinselAnd added some punch to the mail holder/coat rack.

RAV_4842Seriously, look how shiny.

close up staircase tinselThere’s definitely more to come (like a tree!) and possibly an overhaul of our current living room arrangement. The holidays are definitely a time for crafting and I’ll post more in the next couple of weeks with projects and updates.

Also really quickly – if any of you dear readers bought my Etched Holiday Votives kit over at Darby Smart, a big thank you! The kit is now sold out, and if you guys like it but didn’t get a chance to pick one up, you can vote it back! Here’s what the votives look like:

etched holiday votives darby smartMeanwhile, I’m working on more designs as we speak.

For now, hope everyone’s warm and cozy – and those in the Bay Area getting walloped by rain, stay safe!

xo Rucha

 

Happy halloween 2014 wood burned sign

Halloween 2014: Party Edition

I hope everyone had a great time celebrating Halloween this weekend – whether you went out or stayed in with your favorite horror movies.

I don’t do horror movies (and when I do it’s always a terrible idea), and we had a party to throw in any case. I had a busy week, not least because of the World Series (go SF Giants!) and prepping the decorations.

The wood-burning pen that I mentioned I ordered from Darby Smart arrived on Thursday, and I had some fun playing around with it. It takes some practice, especially when trying the different pen tips in the kit I bought – fine point, calligraphy, shading and angled. I decided to make a “Happy Halloween” sign on a scrap piece of wood as a test run.

happy halloween sign wood burningI traced the stencil I found on the wood base with an X-Acto knife – which took forever. In hindsight, I should have done a pencil transfer.

I went over the outline with the calligraphy tip, as it had a thicker point that didn’t get stuck in the grooves like the fine point tip would have. The shading and burning took no time at all – I just had to adjust the pressure and length of time I held the pen to the wood according to how dark I wanted the burn, as well as how soft that portion of the wood was.

Happy halloween 2014 wood burned signI added a little bat outline for fun, and stuck a silicone pumpkin sticker I found at Daiso.

I had a couple other Halloween themed stencils that I found online, and this time I used a pencil transfer. I simply traced and colored in the images on the other side of the paper, pressed that side to the wood, and ran an eraser over the printed image. The pressure from the eraser transferred the charcoal from the pencil onto the wood, which I then ran my wood-burning pen over.

halloween decoration wood burned imagesMy favorite is definitely the adorable Grim Reaper.

I also bought some decorative gourds and pinecones, some of which I painted white and others got the gilding treatment with some handy Rub N’ Buff. I wanted some decorations to transfer over to the holiday season rather than packing them up for a year, so I didn’t go for any spooky touches.

halloween tablescape decor Since this was going to be a late-night party with no kids, I kept the decorations to a minimum. A large part of the coffee table was dedicated to none other than Witches’ Brew:

dry ice in punch witches' brew halloween 2014We used up six pounds of dry ice over the course of the night in order to keep the punch bubbling. It was definitely the attraction of the night.

RAV_2168I took these pictures before the lights were lowered and people started arrive, so bear with the very non-Halloween-like atmosphere. There was definitely fog juice and a greenish glow involved later on.

I did add some fake cobwebs and additional stickers around random corners of the apartment.

halloween fake spiderwebs yarn I made them out of yarn and skewers, and they were inspired by a tutorial over on Small for Big.

Oh and let’s not forget my favorite DIY of the night, shot glass mummies:

shot glass mummies halloweenThey were an amusing little touch.

We also have porthole windows in the living room that needed some love.

etched glass window decoration halloweenI used some etching cream to frost a witch atop a broomstick onto the jar – it kind of came out a little lumpy because I wasn’t very careful with my stencil, but still had a cool effect with the lit candle.

All it took to decorate for our party was some leftover paint, Rub N’ Buff (you could use liquid lead or metal leaf too), etching cream, some skewers and yarn. Well and the stickers and wood-burning pen, but I already had everything else on hand. You have to love simple ideas! It’s always fun to make some changes around the house, and the holidays are definitely prime time for that. We decided to have a Christmas tree this year, and I’ve never actually had a Christmas tree or decorated one in my own place, so I’m excited.

In other news, I’m so happy to say that I’ve been accepted as a designer at Darby Smart. I’m really looking forward to coming up with ideas for projects, this time for others.

xo Rucha

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Things

I’m back!

Okay, so I never intended to go anywhere. After stressing over the headboard project, I took a little breather that snowballed. And since I’m not renovating or redoing a house that I own, it was easy to not feel any urgency.

There were a couple of tweaks along the way, and some days, the small things are the ones that make you the happiest.

When I last posted about the living room, one thing was nagging at me – how much red was in the room.

stikwood reclaimed weathered woodThe copper candle holders, the red coaster, the five bright pillows and the red blanket – they really amped up the red in the room. The size of the pillows wasn’t really making me happy either, they were too small by themselves. So I used two of them pillow forms for decorative bed pillows to complement the new headboard, and bought a couple of larger pillow inserts for the living room.

I knew I wanted something neutral for those – between the slate blue of the rug, the remaining pillows and the decorative accents, there’s a fair bit of color going on around the seating area that I wanted to tone down. Luckily, I had leftover fabric from the (rather poor) upholstery job on my desk chair, and it was perfect.

Neutral pillow script fabricI love the script, and I think the style complements the weathered wood on the coffee table.

Pillow updateSo much better.

The downstairs nook also got a bit of a refresh, with two new photos – fireworks that I captured on the 4th of July.

4th of July Bay Bridge photographyYou can get a better look at one of them here if you like. See the Bay Bridge photo (taken by Matt!) here.

My favorite update of the last two months only happened a couple of weeks ago. My friend and stylist Teagan Squires (if any of you live in the Bay Area, go to him, he works magic with hair) also has a knack for painting, and I made him an offer on this beauty:

Teagan Squires art painting red lips ladyShe’s beautifully painted on canvas and I just had to have her. Plus, our once sad and lonely hallway now has some punch.

I said before that we needed more art around the house. But I want to take my time to collect pieces that are unique and that Matt and I both love.

This painting really what spurred me to blog again after my inadvertent hiatus. It’s been a bit of a balancing act between work, my social life, the projects, and keeping myself healthy and happy. But the little things are as worthy of a place on this blog, as the larger projects – something I should keep in mind.

 

xo Rucha

Coral Headboard bedroom mint wall

Bedroom Evolution: Headboard

I’ve had project ADD the past few weeks. I started a few different things, which was really the perfect excuse to procrastinate on the one thing I wanted to complete – our headboard. A DIY/decor blogger’s staple project, really.

After we painted the room, the previous purple/gray/lemon scheme wasn’t working. I realize I don’t even have a picture of the old headboard against the painted walls, but here’s what the headboard used to be like:

Re-framed mirror after

The purple could even have worked, but that lemon/lime color had to go. Plus, our room is already really small, and the low Malm bed and short headboard were just making everything feel squat and cramped. I knew I wanted a bright combination, and I went back and forth over a bold orange (like this inspiration), and more subtle tan-yellow. I also already had this coral rug that leaned towards the orange spectrum, so I was definitely biased towards orange.

Matt was the one who suggested that a more traditional coral color would look a little more polished while still being bright. The guy has excellent timing, because I’d been eyeing this fabric for accent pillows:

Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Maxime Redwood paisley fabric.com

I’d written it off at first because the coral wasn’t quite orange, but with the new plan, it worked perfectly.

I got to work removing the old fabric and batting, using a flathead screwdriver to get the staples out.

Old headboard removal-1

I also removed my failed attempt at using Ply-Grip.

Old headboard removal-2

If someone can tell me how to use the wretched thing, I’ll be eternally grateful. For some reason, I could never get the staples through the holes in the Ply-Grip – my staple gun’s recoil always messed up the placement.

Anyway, once the old fabric and batting were removed, I attached two pieces of plywood with straight brackets to the headboard. I used two pieces because I wasn’t about to try and attach a 5.5′ long piece of plywood – it would literally be longer that I’m tall. I cut the pieces down so they would extend 18″ above the existing headboard. Before I attached them, I used spray adhesive to attach foam mattress toppers (if you decide to make an upholstered headboard, seriously, go get mattress toppers instead of dropping more than a 100 bucks on upholstery foam). The mattress toppers are 1.5″ thick, and I used half inch thick plywood, which worked perfectly for the Malm’s built-in 2″ thick headboard.

After that came batting, to even out the bumps and patterns on the mattress topper. I was able to reuse the old batting, but I also added a new layer. The trick is to pull tight and staple – same goes for the fabric.

I used a deep coral linen fabric from Premier Prints. I originally wanted to cut a pattern into my plywood, but ultimately decided to leave it rectangular so that the paisley pillows and coral headboard didn’t end up looking overly feminine.

I also liked the idea of  buttons, but didn’t want to tuft the headboard. I guess I wanted to break up the expanse of coral but didn’t want something formal. So I covered buttons in the paisley fabric while marathoning Witches of East End.

Cover buttons

Can’t forget the wine.

You’ll notice from the buttons in the background that I left the threads long – my plan was to sew the buttons onto the headboard surface. The idea was a bit of a quirky take on the traditional tufted headboard, because this way, the buttons wouldn’t be flush with, or sunken into, the headboard surface. I had no clue if this would work out well but I wanted to give it a shot.

It worked pretty decently.

And then I came home to find half the buttons had been taken off by one of the cats. Probably Catniss. That little devil.

I kind of wanted to cry – sewing those buttons on had been a bit of a task. Hell, covering them had been a bit of a task. After some debating I decided I liked the headboard without buttons as well. It’s simple and uncluttered, and the accent pillows add enough of a pattern for it to look good.

So, here goes.

Coral Headboard bedroom mint wall

The height really makes the space shine. It also prevents that painting from looking utterly stupid.

mint bedroom coral headboard

I adore the pillows. I specifically looked for paisley patterns because they’re pretty common in Indian designs, so it felt like a more personal touch, and a nod to my roots. Since the buttons didn’t work out, I may find another way to incorporate that fabric in this room.

Paisley accent pillow bedroom coral

The room is starting to feel more cohesive now, although the new headboard is making our desk area look particularly sad:

The chair's upholstery is one of my first attempts - as you can tell from the bottom.

The chair’s upholstery is one of my first attempts – as you can tell from the bottom.

The cats chasing each other also resulted in my mirror coming apart, so that needs to be fixed.

mirror wood frame diy

At least the reflection is pretty.

But overall, I’m pretty happy with how the room is coming together, and how warm the coral makes everything.

mint coral gray bedroom headboard diy

 

xo Rucha

Stikwood coffee table update reclaim weathered wood

Coffee Table Reveal

We officially have a coffee table I don’t flinch from. This project might be the most time-sensitive and nerve-wracking one I’ve done so far. I didn’t want to deprive Matt and our roommate of a coffee table for too long, and I also needed to be really careful. With other projects that have involved wood, I had some wiggle room, because lumber isn’t terribly expensive and I could just run out and by more if I needed. Stikwood, however, is a little pricier, especially the option I picked – reclaimed weathered wood.

I initially had a couple of issues with ordering Stikwood, but their customer service is awesome, and I managed to place an order right before the 4th of July weekend. Finally a couple of days ago, I opened it up.

This is what our coffee table used to be like:

Tvilum Samuel Coffee Table

Gross, huh? It took about five cleanings a day to make it look presentable and I was sick of it.

Oh yeah and these lovely dings and scratches existed when we first got it.

Tvilum coffee table scratched

Tvilum Samuel Coffee Table

I got to work filling in the gouges with wood filler, before sanding the entire thing down and priming it. One thing I learned: wait a few seconds for the wood filler to dry the slightest bit; it makes it so much easier to work with. I used both my fingers and a putty knife to shape the edges that had been scraped off. I quickly painted the table the same Sherwin Williams Westhighland White as the accent table (it took about three coats since I only used one coat of primer), took a deep breath, and started tackling the Stikwood.

I had about 10 square feet of the product, and my coffee table surface is 130cm by 60cm. Yeah, it’s in centimeters, you can blame Amazon. (Or thank them, if you’re a product of the metric system – which I am.) So anyway, my initial plan was to do a staggered brick pattern, starting with four planks of 32.5cm each. Unfortunately, the Stikwood comes in various lengths, and with this plan, I would have ended up with a bunch of smaller leftover pieces that were the wrong size. I went with five planks of 26cm each, instead. Another issue: each piece was 5 inches, or just over 12cm wide, and the width of my table works out to 5 x 12cm. I decided to trim the top and bottom rows, but keep the middle ones intact. This was a good plan because as it turns out, taking a jig saw to an incredibly thin plank of wood, to cut off less than a centimeter? Bad idea. As in, splinters-everywhere, mangled-wood bad. Tip two: try everything out on a sample piece when you’re new to a method, or new to a product. Keep in mind this is reclaimed wood, so it’s inherently delicate. Something like engineered wood may not have had this problem.

I used a box cutter to trim the pieces, which was relatively easy because I was going with the wood grain.

Box  cutter Stikwood-2

That large piece is an old project remnant I used to protect the table. The incredibly thin piece I’m holding is a piece of Stikwood

The rest were easy enough to cut down with the jig saw. I realized that the bottom of my sample piece was cleaner than the top when I first tried out a cut. I’d faced the splintering problem with my clothes rack too, but hadn’t realized that the bottom was better. So, tip three: to avoid splintering and chipping on the top of your wood surface (aka the part that will show), cut with the planks face down. Worked like a charm for the rest of my pieces.

Stikwood planks-2

After I had all the right sized planks (since it was a  staggered design, two rows had a 13cm-26cmx4-13cm configuration), it was amazingly easy. The adhesive strips at the back of the planks are really strong, and held on really well. Once that was done, I sealed it with a coat of water-based polycrylic. I don’t want anything happening to this table!

The weathered wood has gray and wood tones, and I love how it looks against the white table. It’s brightened up the seating area without being sterile, and I couldn’t be happier. Let’s do a comparison for fun, shall we?

Tvilum Samuel Coffee Table

Bleh

And after:

stikwood reclaimed weathered wood

I love the texture and grain.

Stikwood coffee table update reclaim weathered wood

One more quick thing – as you can see, I’m working on changing the blog design. More things may be tweaked in the next week, so don’t be surprised if something changes!

xo Rucha

Nooks and Crannies

Ever notice how there are parts of your home that usually go unnoticed, or are ignored? For us, that would be a little space across from both bedrooms. It’s a random corner outside our roommate’s bathroom that exists because of the storage closet built out from the wall. For the longest time, it was empty, and then I got that overlarge decorative table, which caused this:

Storage Corner

Yeah, it became a catch-all space for whatever was going on (in this case, I was boxing up some stuff to put away).

When I got the table I mentioned that I’d use it in our closet, but the clothes rack takes up a bunch of space while this would have no real function. So I figured this empty corner was the perfect blank canvas for a decorative space. A lot of the time, incorporating function into decor and design is key, so it was fun to not have to worry about that.  Since it’s a high traffic area, I wanted something simple and non-disruptive.

I would have loved to save the wood tones of the table and stain it, but there was some damage to the top.

Damaged Top

I learned after starting to paint that I could have scraped the entire top down to the bare wood, but I’m not exactly the most experienced woodworker. I decided to go ahead with the paint instead of sanding it down again. My primer coat wasn’t very thick, and the table needed 3 coats of paint – Sherwin Williams Westhighland White – before it was done. I also wanted to add a metallic touch (I’m obsessed – more on that later), so I had some fun with the feet.

Gold feet

I heart Rub n Buff.

I initially also planned to paint the carved pattern gold but it turned out to be impossible to get the gold paint in there, so I left it as it was.

Between the carving and the various curves in the legs, painting this piece was less than straightforward. So many nooks and crannies. Mainly the crannies.

But the end result was worth it.

Downstairs nook

Matt decided to hang up that photo there – it’s one he took of the Bay Bridge, that I had printed and mounted for his birthday. It’s been sitting around for more than a month while we debated where to hang it up, so it finally has a spot! I opted for LED lights instead of flowers because the cats are always hanging out on that table, and I hate keeping track of which plants are toxic to them (feels like they all are).

I think I’ll add a photo on the second wall soon, but right now seeing this makes me smile.

Bay Bridge photo and updated table

 

xo Rucha

Coffee Table Updates: The Final Plan

Stikwood reclaimed weathered wood planked wall

Source: Stikwood

Technological developments are a beautiful thing. I don’t just mean gadgets (although somehow I’m quite a bit more gadget-crazy than my tech-industry husband), but developments and innovation that make old school tasks that much simpler.

Enter Stikwood, the answer to my coffee table dilemma. I found it earlier this week while clicking around on Fancy.com, which is a black hole of pretty things I often can’t afford. Never let it be said that spending time on the internet is a waste – I wouldn’t find half the stuff I do if my 3rd hobby weren’t online browsing. On Fancy it said that Stikwood was $200, but when I went over to their site I realized it was priced per square foot. Glory glory hallelujah, I think I can make that work for my tiny coffee table.

So what is Stikwood? They have a collection of reclaimed and non-reclaimed wood planks that come with an adhesive backing. Goodbye liquid nails and nail guns – you can use these on pretty much any clean, primed surface. I love that the material is real wood, sustainable, eco-friendly and low-voc. I’m not the most careful when it comes to being environmentally friendly but I do try, and when something like this is staring me in the face, I can’t hate!

Their boards are thin (which is actually part of what makes them more sustainable than your average plank), but their customer service rep assured me that I could rip or cut one down to my liking, and seal it with water-based poly. They also give you the option of buying pre-sealed planks at an added $1/sqft which is awesome. I showed Matt their site today and he’s on board (pun unintended), so I’ll be placing an order soon. We just have to narrow down the color we want – we both really like the reclaimed weathered wood:

Stikwood reclaimed weathered wood

 

Source: Stikwood

Isn’t it gorgeous? I think it has enough gray in it to look fine against our charcoal Karlstad (or even against white covers, if I ever convince Matt to get them), but still look good against the white/ivory that I plan on painting the coffee table. This picture actually shows more gray in it; the planked wall above is a better representation of what it looks like.

There’s also a reclaimed weathered gray option but it has too little actual gray in it to be a practical choice for a table top that I’m pretty set on painting white or off-white:

Reclaimed weathered gray stikwood

 

Source: Stikwood

If we decide against the weathered options, my favorite is the black cherry:

Stikwood black cherry

 

Source: Stikwood

The red tones are beautiful, but they might be too much against the mostly-red and orange cushion fabric and copper accents we currently have going on in the living room.

I hope Stikwood is around in a few years when we buy a place because I can bet I’ll want to get a few different styles. I never realized I might like a planked kitchen island until I saw this:

Stikwood weathered white kitchen island

Source: Stikwood

I think the thinness of the planks allows the look to stay light and seamless rather than overly rustic. Seriously, they can have my money.

I’ll be placing an order tomorrow so keep an eye out for that project to (finally!) reach its conclusion.

xo Rucha

 

Bedroom Evolution: Shelf Life

Decorative hanging shelf

In my clothes rack post I mentioned that I had to remove one of the planks from the top shelf of the rack in order to create a balance. Well that meant that I had a gray stained plank lying around just waiting for me to do something with it. The planks are scrap wood that I got off Craigslist, so I didn’t want to create something too time-consuming or complicated.

I’ve been wanting to put a decorative shelf up in our bedroom for a while. I say decorative because our books are upstairs in our living room, and I wanted a more personal place to keep some decor items/gifts that have meaning to us. Plus it would be pretty. The leftover plank was perfect for a simple, rustic shelf.

Ideally I would attach shelves with brackets but since we’re in a rental, I didn’t want to make too many giant holes we’d regret later. I got a pack of picture hangers and threaded white rope through 4 drilled holes in the plank. It was pretty simple, so I didn’t take photos of the process – you just make sure you measure so that the holes are evenly spaced from the corners, and use a drill bit large enough for the rope you’ll be using. I figured white rope would go well against the mint walls while complementing the gray stain.

Then it was just a matter of hanging it up. The photo above makes it look wonky, and frankly I think our floors are uneven or something. I kept thinking that things looked crooked, but the level told me otherwise so I went with it.

I also had another mini-DIY project that contributed to the shelf – a Metal Earth 3D model of the Black Pearl.

Black Pearl Metal Earth model

I damn near went blind putting it together, but it was fun. Side note: my nightstand top is holding up pretty well, though the cats run around on it all day!

_DSC0430

I love that little ship. The gold and crystal pieces were both gifts from family when Matt and I visited India. Turtles are symbols of good luck and the swans are a symbol of love. I actually really like the metal accents together.

The hand-hammered copper pieces in this post have a larger counterpart, which I put a couple of fresh white carnations in. I love having a place to put flowers, and the cats can’t get to them up here which is a great bonus. I don’t even bother with flowers in the living areas any more.

I like how a simple update refreshes an entire room, and I’ll wait a couple of weeks before deciding if I want to tweak anything about the current set up on this wall. For now, I love how cheery this looks.

Hand hammered copper flowers

xo Rucha

Bedroom Evolution: Storage solutions

Every time a long weekend comes up I tell myself I should get ahead on multiple projects. What generally ends up happening instead is that I make plans with people and go out to enjoy the weather or occasionally just veg out at home and relax. Tough life.

This past weekend I managed to carve out a little bit of time though, because the sheer irritation of climbing up a step stool to get my clothes finally caught up with me.

A few months back, when I first toyed with the idea of this blog, I bought some scrap wood off Craigslist on a whim. I didn’t use it for my mirror or nightstand projects, but it finally came in handy. The planks I had on hand were knotty and generally not in the best shape, but they were right for what I needed. This afternoon, after getting back from my first (and possibly last) spin class, I got to work staining the wood. I wanted something different from the Provincial shade, because our bedroom also has a Hemnes desk in gray-brown, and I didn’t want it to be the odd man out. Instead of buying a new stain, I mixed up a paint wash with one part water and one part Sherwin Williams Grays Harbor.

sneak peek-2

I used white hardware (spray painted white) to contrast against the gray wash, and added brass screws to keep with the warm tones.

Also, spray painting pipe is horrible and I might not ever do it again in my life.

I faced a problem at this point (of course!) The piece was somehow slightly top heavy and kept swaying. I just removed one of the planks from the top board to remedy that. I won’t really be needing that space for a ton of storage, and adding a top plank was mainly an aesthetic choice anyway. It was easy to remove one plank because they were simply held together by the metal brackets.

top view-2

I do love how the brass screws look, and I’m considering filling the rest of the holes with more.

assembled rack-2

Don’t mind the Catniss-bomb, she always gets in the way when I’m doing these things. She especially loves tiny screws, which is a lovely source of panic on my end.

I’ve yet to add casters to the bottom but those will go on when I move this into the closet. I’m also not the biggest fan of how the pipe tees look, so this project will probably be tweaked in the future. But for now, I’m just happy I have a space for my clothes that isn’t ten feet in the air.

xo Rucha

Age-Old DIY: Handicrafts

It’s been a while since my last post, and I owe that to jet-lag. Matt and I visited India and London a couple weeks ago. Rather, I flew off right after my conference ended and he joined me a week later. It’s been a crazy three weeks – I recovered from my jet-lag in India just in time to fly to London for a couple of days (for our anniversary, and to visit a dear friend), and then I spent the last week trying to keep my eyes open at work before coming home and collapsing in bed.

So here I am, freshly adjusted to the Pacific time zone, in time to share some of our haul from India. I hadn’t been back in a few years, and it was our first time there together after getting married, so we definitely got a lot of attention – and gifts. And the best thing about India is, you get a lot of lovely stuff that’s locally sourced and handcrafted. Basically, the kind of stuff everyone here swoons over, but anyone back East merely blinks at. Hand-crafting is an old art in India, and in some places, a tradition.

Hammered Copper handcrafted

We received this gorgeous set of hammered copper tea light holders, bought from Coppre in Pune, India. There’s a third, larger one that I haven’t figured out a placement for yet, but right now I’m happy with these two. The detail on them is stunning, and I probably want to retain the shine on them rather than letting them develop a patina.

hammered copper tea light holder

The globe in the center is carved bone, and we bought it from a small handicrafts store. It’s also a tea light holder, and the carved pattern yields pretty shadows when a candle is lit. Another score was from the same shop, but it’s an essential oil burner:

bone carved essential oil burner

 

I love the detail in the carvings; the leaves are veined and the curves are skillfully done. Mind you, these are all hand made.

bone carved tea light holder detail carving

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Adding these pieces to the living room/dining room table really spruced up the living area. I think it’s important to remember that the so-called DIY trend was preceded by people who made a living, or even just spent their private lives, making things with their bare hands. Even here in the U.S., there are plenty of craftsmen whose work should not be forgotten. The wooden trunk we have, for example, was made for us by Matt’s grandfather, and I’d be hard-pressed to find something like that in the market (well, unless it was handcrafted, perhaps!)

Incidentally, the only reason the coffee table has room for decor (or frankly, any room at all) is because I finally installed the mail/coat holder above said trunk. It only took me forever.

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Matt also spotted a pair of gorgeous coasters while we were shopping in India, that I snapped up because of the metallic finish and the fact that the pattern tied it to our rug (oh yeah, I switched out the rug). I don’t believe these are handcrafted, but I like the touch all the same.

lattice pattern coasters and woven rug

It feels good to have a room slowly come together. It takes time, but finds like these always remind me that hasty purchases are usually less worth it in the long run. I like interesting finds that mesh with my taste (and Matt’s), and and it’s always satisfying to bring them home and really make a space.

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xo Rucha