Friday, August 22, 2014

The (Messy) Making of a DIY Post

Today I'm trying out something new for fun - I'm pulling back the curtains and giving you a behind-the-scenes view of the craziness that is Design Improvised! 

The (Messy!) Makings of a DIY Tutorial || Design Improvised blog

While I love coming up with simple DIY projects for you guys - the journey from the initial idea to final step-by-step tutorial is anything but straightforward. Throw a 3 and 4 year old into the mix and the process is often downright comical. ;)

So today I'm sharing the inspiration, trial and error, and messy process that went into a recent DIY - my neon sticker back-to-school balloons!

The Inspiration


You know I love balloon DIYs so I'm constantly thinking of new things I can slap on a balloon! I always keep couple packs of bright office supply labels on hand - they are handy for kids' crafts, decorating packages, etc. I first tried them out on balloons months ago for a photo shoot for the girls' outdoor playroom, but it was too windy that day so we had to scrap them.

I had initially tried the large rectangle labels (they reminded me of giant sprinkles on the balloon!). Once I saw that they worked well I picked up a couple different sized neon dots at the office supply store. I kept this idea on the back burner for a couple months until I realized they would be perfect for the back-to-school season.

DIY Neon balloons using office supply stickers!

The Process


One of the hardest parts for me isn't coming up with an idea, but getting a great shot of the final product (my photography is a constant area of improvement). For balloons in particular, I have a hard time finding a good background. I thought a chalkboard backdrop would be fun for these back-to-school balloons, so I decided to try the only chalkboard surface in my house - the side of my file cabinet:

The (Messy!) Makings of a DIY Tutorial || Design Improvised blog

Unfortunately this required tearing apart my whole office in order to pull out the file cabinet to get enough light and have enough room to shoot the photo! 

The (Messy!) Makings of a DIY Tutorial || Design Improvised blog

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Confetti-Filled Office Design

I have a new client room design for you today and this one is special - not only was it my first office design, but I also have shots of the completed space to share. Check it out! 

A Confetti-Filled Office Design! || The Flair Exchange Office

I partnered with The Flair Exchange - a company that sells super cute and trendy party supplies - for this project. Carmen, the owner and Creative Director, reached out to me for help designing their new office space. After seeing their awesome products - like these balloons and tassel garlands - I couldn't be more thrilled to help them create an office as fun as the stuff they make!

A Confetti-Filled Office Design! || The Flair Exchange Office

Carmen wanted a modern space with lots of clean white furnishings. To balance the white, I encouraged her to bring some of the bold color that represents the Flair Exchange brand into the room, by choosing her favorite palette from one of their tassel garlands. I couldn't have been happier when she chose this one with bright pinks and oranges to serve as inspiration for the office. You know I love a good pink room!

After a couple of iterations we landed on this design. Carmen needed a desk for herself to work at on her computer, a small table for client meetings, a sharable calendar for her team, and a small amount of storage. I thought it would be fun to turn some of the Flair Exchange's product images, like this colorful confetti, into inexpensive artwork:

A Confetti-Filled Office Design! || The Flair Exchange Office

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Balloons

Neon Sticker Balloons

Ready or not, it's back to school season! This momentous occasion is worthy of its own set of celebratory balloons don't you think? Since stores are filled to the brim with school supplies at this time of year, I decided to use a few for them to create these balloons bursting with color (they're dotted in neon office supply labels)!

DIY Neon Sticker Balloons!

Why not surprise your teacher on the first day with a bunch of these? Since they are peel and stick you can make several of them in a matter of minutes and they are the perfect project for kids to help with!

DIY Neon Sticker Balloons!

Supplies for Back to School Balloons


  • White helium grade balloons
  • Neon office supply labels
  • Neon variegated yarn
  • Scissors

DIY Neon Sticker Balloons

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Finds: World Market

Happy Friday everyone! I can't believe it is the last weekend before school starts for us. Stella and Hazel will be starting back at preschool three mornings a week. It has been such a fun summer, but as always flew by too fast. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the school routine (i.e., more kid-free time!) and the girls are looking forward to new teachers and friends.

It's been awhile since I've shared a Friday Finds, but I was perusing World Market the other day. Do you ever shop there? It is one of my favorite stores for finding inexpensive accents to complete a room. A lot of their pieces come in bright colors and patterns (no wonder I like them so much) and have a little international flair. The best part, the price tag!

Here are a few things that caught my eye:


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DIY Basket Wall Art

DIY Wall Art

Did you ever use those woven rattan paper plate holders back in the day? I bet your mom still has a stack in the back of a kitchen cabinet somewhere. I remember them from when I was young but had forgotten they existed until a recent visit to my local Goodwill. That is one place you can be sure to find them!

When I saw a bundle of 20 of them for $3, I knew I could find a cool use for them - even if it wouldn't be for holding paper plates. I transformed a couple by embroidering them with yarn, and the remainder I turned into this geometric wall art grouping for our family room. What do you think?

DIY Wall Art

I love finding ways to repurpose old items in completely different ways and was excited that these turned out. The plates turned wall art add a nice dose of color and texture to a previously boring corner of our family room and remind me of some of the woven wall art I've been seeing in stores recently, like this intricate circle art from Crate and Barrel (albeit much cheaper!).

DIY Wall Art

This project is about as inexpensive as it gets, especially if you already have the supplies on hand. Here's what you'll need:

Supplies for Basket Wall Art


  • Rattan paper plate holders
  • Spray paint (any spray paint will work - I used outdoor paint because that is what I had on hand)
  • Painters tape

DIY Wall Art

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Yarn Embroidered Pillows

DIY Yarn Embroidered Pillows

I'm back with another yarn embroidery project for you today. Once I find a technique I like, I can't stop! This time instead of embroidering baskets, I'm embroidering pillows.

DIY Yarn Embroidered Pillows

I got this idea when I came across these gorgeous Eliza Gran pillows in my latest issue of House Beautiful magazine. I immediately loved them - they had pom-poms so how could I not?! The embroidery on them looked achievable enough for me to attempt my own DIY version using supplies I already had on hand.

DIY Yarn Embroidered Pillows

I ended up embroidering one of the matching pillows that came with our couch. I bet you have some of these at home too! This was stored away in my closet as I always prefer to swap these matchy-matchy pillows out for accent pillows with more color and pattern. However, adding a little colorful embroidery is the perfect way to give them a new life! Any plain pillow cover would work for this project. Here's what you need:

Supplies for Embroidered Pillows


  • Plain pillow cover
  • Yarn in your favorite colors (I used a combination of variegated, white, and turquoise yarns)
  • Darning needle
  • Disappearing fabric marker or pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • (Optional) Stencils (I used these Martha Stewart stencils for the x's and v's on my design)

DIY Yarn Embroidered Pillows

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our Home - One Year Later

Hello guys! I'm back from my summer break and I'm excited to get things rolling on the blog again. There are lots of new posts in the works for this month, but first I wanted to start by taking a look back. July marked our one year anniversary in San Antonio and I thought it would be fun to see how our home has changed over that time. It's hard to believe it has been a full year already.


The first few weeks after moving in were filled with the hustle and bustle of contractors in our house - we replaced the carpet upstairs with hardwood floors, updated the kitchen by painting the wood cabinets and installing a new backsplash, and updated lighting fixtures throughout the house.

Kitchen


The kitchen was probably the room that took on the most dramatic change. You can see the before here. I love how the painting the cabinets a gray-green color helped them blend in more with our crazy stone floors.



We also updated this little kitchen desk area which I frequently use for blogging or the girls use for computer games.



This little coffee station was a simple addition, but now one of my favorite parts of the kitchen.



It took me awhile to get motivated to organize this pantry, but once I found a system that worked it has been really easy to maintain. My post on pantry organization has been one of my most popular posts this year!



Family Room


The family room came together slowly over time. You can see some of its initial stages here. We went months without a rug or a coffee table. Adding those two items and some finishing touches like new lamps and accent pillows made the space feel complete.



I also created this gallery wall of family photos and the girls' artwork and carved out a corner of the room for their play table and toy storage. I'm so glad we have this space for the girls - it is the most used area of our whole house!



Outdoor Patio


The patio was one of the first areas that we outfitted with new furniture because we were so excited to take advantage of our new outdoor space! This comfy outdoor couch has seen a lot of use this past year.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yarn Embroidered Baskets

Yarn embroidered baskets

I'm excited to be back with a new DIY for you today! This month I've stepped back from blogging a bit to savor summer with my kiddos, and have some free time to play around in my craft room and see what I come up with. These yarn embroidered baskets are a result of some of my experimenting!

Yarn embroidered baskets

The baskets remind me of a modern take on a summer camp craft. It's a simple project that anyone can do but the addition of the yarn takes these plain jane baskets to a whole new level. The pretty sunburst one above was actually a paper plate holder in its previous life!

Yarn embroidered baskets

You probably already have a few of these baskets lying around your house, but if not, you can find tons of them for $1 a piece at a Goodwill or Salvation Army. All it takes is a little bit of yarn and some creativity and you have a stylish new accessory!

Yarn embroidered baskets

In addition to serving as pretty catch-alls for all kinds of things, I think these baskets would make for cool wall art!

Yarn embroidered baskets

This rectangular basket is the perfect size for corralling my phone, sunglasses, and keys.

 Yarn embroidered baskets

This is a fun summer craft - so start hunting around our house for some baskets. Here's all you'll need:

Supplies for Yarn Embroidered Baskets


  • Woven baskets
    • Look for ones with a circular or grid weave with spaces large enough for a darning needle to fit through. Some baskets may be too rigid to work well.
    • Head to your local thrift store for some great options for $1 a piece.
  • Yarn (I love using variegated yarn, but any color will work)
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors

Yarn embroidered baskets

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