I moved! Check me out at circa1932.com

Quick PSA for y’all – Thanks to fantastic Black friday pricing, I made the leap and bought my own domain name.  I won’t be posting here anymore, but I hope you’ll make the jump with me over to my new home at circa1932.com. Also, if you subscribed via e-mail before, you’ll need to re-subscribe at the new site as well if you want notification of new posts and such.  Thanks so much, and hope to see you over on the new site!


Layered Fall Hurricanes

Out of all the DIY projects I did for the fall mantle, I think these may be my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a gilded pumpkin and a book wreath as much as the next gal, but I can’t get over how much impact these have and how easy they were to do.  I am pretty sure y’all could figure these out just by taking a peek at the pictures, but I thought I would go ahead and whip up a tutorial for you anyway.  What can I say?  I’m a giver.

Now for those of you who may have missed the original peek at these beauties, here is a glamour shot so you can see what I am talking about.  If you want to read more about the mantle as a whole, feel free to check out the original post here).

fall mantle angle

Want to make some of your own?  Let’s get started.  First up, supplies!

DCF 1.0

Not pictured: white rice and ribbon for bow Also, pretend the curly branches are actually the straight ones I ended up using – it was a last minute substitution and I had already taken the supplies photo! #gametimedecision #keepinitreal


You’ll need:

-glass containers at least 10″ tall: mine came from the Homegoods clearance aisle – 8 bucks apiece!
-various fall colored fillers: I used uncooked brown rice, white rice, green lentils, and red pinto beans from the grocery store (Tip: check the international aisles for the best prices!).
-branches or twigs: mine were from Walmart many many moons ago.
-accent greenery: I have had these gold curly-q branches for so long I don’t remember where I got them specifically, but I have seen them all over – craft stores, big lots, even Dollar Tree!
-small glass or plastic container large enough to accomodate a LED tealight
LED tealight (much safer and more convenient than an open flame!)
-ribbon for a bow (optional)

Step 1: Clean your glass!  I know this isn’t the most glamorous step, but nothing is worse than getting all finished with your hurricane and seeing a smudge that you can’t get to because your layered filler is in the way.  Go ahead and remove any stickers and gunk and make those containers sparkle!

Step 2: Fill each container  with at least 3″ of filler (4 or 5 inches is even better).  I like rice for this, because its shape and density allow it to sort of “lock” together, forming a stable base to hold your branches in position.  If you are using shorter branches, you can get away with less than 3 inches, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a general rule.  I used both brown and white rice to form my 3″ base, because I didn’t have enough brown rice on its own.

Step 3: Add your branches.  Try to place them in a sort of ring on the outside edges, so that the center is clear.  The open space is only important at the top, since we’re going to bury our votive holder there and it will need some room.  The branches can go into the center towards the bottom (under the votive) if that makes sense.  Hopefully my picture will explain this better than I seem to be able to in words!

I placed my foundation (non-glitter) branches first, and then filled in with the gold curly-q accents.  If you are making a pair, to flank a mantle let’s say, try and keep them visually balanced.  They don’t have to match 100% (in fact it’s better if they don’t), but they should look related.  Think sisters, not twins ;).

DCF 1.0

Step 4: Add your next layer of fill, using your hands or a small instrument (I used a dinner fork) to make sure it lays evenly around the branches.  Repeat this with your final layer of fill, reserving a small amount for step 6.

DCF 1.0

Step 5: Grab your votive holder (I used a small tupperware meant for salad dressing) and place it in the middle of the glass container, inside the branches.  Now gently push down and wiggle it around, nesting it as much as you can into the top layer of fill without messing up the layers.  Most likely, you will have a small rim showing – that’s okay!

Step 6: Take the fill you reserved in step 4, and add it carefully, hiding any rim you might have left showing previously.

DCF 1.0


DCF 1.0

Step 7: Add your LED tealight to the votive holder, tie a bow on the hurricane, and step back to admire your work – you’re done!

pardon the poor lighting - it's a glum rainy day!

pardon the poor lighting – it’s a glum rainy day!


See?  Super easy.  All in all, these took me about 15 minutes apiece, and cost me less than $10 each.  All I had to do was raid my pantry for uncooked legumes and grain!  Other options for filler would be black beans, popcorn, or even fresh cranberries.  There are so many options, so you can change this up for virtually any season or color scheme.  Think fake snow, glitter, and jingle bells for winter, or colored sand for summer.  The possibilities are only limited by the size of your vase and your imagination.

A note on the LED tealights: these are the ones I use, and I really do like them.  First of all, they have a timer, people.  Once you flip them on, they stay on for 6 hours, and then they turn themselves off for the next 18.  I can’t tell you how convenient that is – no fishing the tealight out of the hurricane, no forgetting to turn them on or off, just pretty glowing light that comes on like magic.  Second, they flicker, so the light is pretty realistic looking.  Third, they give off a really bright white light.  So many of the LED flameless candles on the market are incredibly fake looking and orange, but these glow a very clean white.  If I want a slightly warmer tone, I just color the silicone bulb in a bit with a pale gold permanent marker (this one is my favorite – I use the burnt ochre color, but a yellow sharpie also works well).  For a more detailed post on that, click HERE.

So that’s it!  Be sure to comment if you have any questions, and come back later this week for tutorials on the book wreath, the luminaries, and the gold pumpkins.

Till next time,


FYI: this post contains affiliate links – this means that if you buy something through one of the links included here, I might make a (teeny tiny) commission. This commission has absolutely NO IMPACT on the price you pay (it would be the same price if you found it on your own) – it merely is a thank-you from the seller to me for directing you to their product!


Meet Larry, a DIY fail

Hey there!  Remember me, the girl who hasn’t posted in, oh, forever?  Sorry about that, y’all.  Yes, life had been crazy.  No, that’s not really a good excuse.  I really am sorry for all three of you who have missed me (ha).

Moving on, let’s talk walls. The craft studio walls, specifically. Apparently, I’m on an accent wall kick at the moment (see here), so I couldn’t possibly just paint the craft room walls a single color and leave it (oh, the horror of making my life simple, right?)  No, I knew – I just KNEW – I wanted the far wall of the craft room to be an accent wall.  So, I decided to paint it navy.  This of course meant taping off trim, since such a dark color shows every friggin’ wavy line.  Have I mentioned how much I LOATHE taping?  If not, it’s alot – as in “I’d rather be cleaning my toilet – with a toothbrush” alot.  Yeah.

Anyway, I painted the wall, and it looked like this:

please pardon the mess...just keepin' it real people

please pardon the mess…just keepin’ it real people

Oooohhh….AAAhhhh….shiny, pristine, gorgeous navy wall – Bra-VO, past Sarah.  We’re done right?

Darn that past Sarah, she’s never content.  Apparently I drank the crazy Kool-aid that day, because I decided it needed more.  I wanted something with movement, something quirky, something modern, something GOLD, dangit!  So I turned where we all turn for inspiration, the internet.  That’s where I found this:

"Origami Crane" by DIYstencils

“Origami Crane” by DIYstencils


It was quirky, it had movement, it was modern, it (could be)  gold, and…it was cranes.  Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with cranes, I just have no real desire to put them all over my walls.  So I decided to design my own stencil (no problem, past Sarah said), cut out said stencil with my Silhouette Cameo (easy peasy, she said), and stencil it – perfectly aligned – on my very old, very cattywampus walls (I am beginning to lose faith in past Sarah’s judgment at this point).  Did I mention that there’s a window on this wall?  And that it isn’t completely level?  Yeah – sometimes I amaze myself with how brilliant I am.  Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though.  Once I get an idea in my head, I’m kinda like a dog with a bone.  I just can’t let it go.  So I decided to try.  Now, I have a particular love of elephants, so I decided to sub that in for the crane.  I found an origami line drawing of an elephant online, and used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to turn it into something my Silhouette could cut.  Here is the finished stencil (I used quilter’s plastic from Jo-Ann fabrics to cut it from).  Y’all, at this point I was SO EXCITED.  I couldn’t wait to try it on the wall.  Like this.  Ta-da!!!

DCF 1.0

And a close-up, because I’m nice that way…

elephants on parade!

elephants on parade!

It was right about this moment that I realized four important things:

1) it was going to take a LOT of math to make everything line up visually given the crooked walls and window – I am NOT a math person.
2) almost every remaining elephant on the wall was somehow going to be cut off by either the walls, ceiling, floor, or window frame.
3) My stencil didn’t want to bend around corners.
4) I didn’t want to cry.

So I decided to admit defeat, and go with something I can freehand (which is actually already done, so look for another post sometime around Tuesday – really, I promise).

So why am I even posting this?  Why put my failure out on the internet for all to see?  Well,  to demonstrate that we all make mistakes, and sometimes DIY fails happen.  But you know what?  That’s okay because we learn from it.  Plus, now I have a super cute elephant stencil that I already have great plans for.  I think I’ll name him “Larry.”

Till next time,


Mood boards make me happy (a craft studio update)

Hey Y’all!  Hope your weekend was great – mine was wonderfully family-filled and I am sad to see it go.

I thought I’d start the week off by sharing my mood board for the craft studio.  After a floor plan, this is my next major step in planning out a space.  It may seem a little silly, or even tedious, but it is a really easy way to make sure that your colors and key pieces are heading in the direction you want.  Sometimes I will shoot pictures of the walls and do a full Photoshop rendering (I did with the master bedroom – to be featured at a later date), but that is not always necessary.  Especially if the room you are doing happens to be a disaster zone and shooting pictures of blank walls is pretty much a pipe dream.

I think of mood boards as an ultra-focused pinterest board – a place where you put all your ideas together so you can look at them as a whole and make sure they all work together.  In fact, if you don’t want to muck around with photoshop, you can do just that – make a pinterest board just for your room, and pin away!  The only catch is that it helps to be very selective in your pins if you take this approach.  For example, if you were doing a bedroom, only pin one bed.  Make sure that bed is one you a) love and b) can actually find (or at least get close) and put in the space.  Pinning 8 beds doesn’t really help – it is better to pin one bed, one dresser, one wall color, etc. so you can see the room at a glance as close to its final form as possible.

That being said, I generally stick to Photoshop, because it is familiar to me and because I can make the background my wall color and/or rug.  Doing this really helps me make sure every accessory and piece of furniture works with those two anchoring factors, which helps assure me that the final product will be harmonious.

For the craft studio, I decided to go with a neutral light gray-blue on the walls.  Specifically, Valspar’s “Seashore Fog.”  I originally planned to paint the walls a deep navy, but have since moved that idea to the master bedroom.  Frankly, this makes more sense since the master is ginormous and the craft studio is the size of a shoebox.  Additionally, I am a big enough girl to admit that I chickened out – what can I say, I was nervous about defying the old rule of small space = light walls.  Sometimes (usually) taking a risk is worth it, but I think the light walls will really make the room feel bigger, and I will just use the navy in smaller doses.  I am still toying with doing a navy accent wall or ceiling…you’ll just have to wait for the reveal to see what I choose!

I also chose to go neutral for the rug in the studio – gray and ivory.  One, because it was on sale (and y’all know the Doctor and I love saving money), and two, because this way I can change the accent colors in the room without being bound by the flooring color.  I tend to get bored with things after a year or so, so rather than fight that I try to make sure the foundation (ie, bigger or more expensive pieces) of the room are something I know will work with a variety of colors and design styles.  The Doctor doesn’t mind me changing up the pillows or picture frames in a space every once in awhile, but if I tried to replace all the rugs and furniture in our house on an annual basis he might not be so happy!

Other things to consider placing on the board are major pieces of furniture (the dresser and the desk in this case), as well as a few accents to represent the entirety of you planned color scheme.  Note that I said “a few” – it is super rare that I will put everything that is ultimately going in the room on the mood board.  It is just too visually confusing!  Imagine if your favorite restaurant put all the ingredients and recipes under every item on the menu – it would be too much to slog through.  In my experience, the mood board works best as a tool if you limit it to major, key pieces of information.  Of course, you don’t have to be as narrow-minded focused as me –  anything that evokes the feel you are going for is a candidate to be added.  I know some bloggers who add song lyrics or fashion spreads to their home decor mood boards – it’s all up to you and what will help you envision the space.  I am pretty literal and focused when it comes to mine, so I tend to stick to the actual things going in the room.

In this space I knew I wanted navy and gray with gold elements and one additional color for “pop.”  I considered yellow, green, aqua, and red, but ultimately settled on pink.  I love the preppy, feminine feel that navy, gold, and pink create when used together, and the reality is the Doctor would be less than thrilled if I tried to put pink as a major player in the main parts of the house.  Since this is my office, and the spousal veto exception applies, I decided to dive headfirst into preppy, girly, and glam.  Of course, I will be sure to throw in some warm wood as well to keep it in balance with the rest of the house, and I will try to avoid glitter overload.

So here it is…

mood board

…my mood board for the craft studio – feel free to let me know what you think by commenting below!



Till next time,



A public service announcement

So the other night I was talking about this little blog with my husband, and he indicated that he would prefer to be known as “the doctor” rather than the somewhat less impressive “mister.”  I told him I was happy to do so provided he would let me design an emoji/avatar featuring him peeking out from behind the Tardis that I can use on the blog. #yesiamserious #itshallbedone  (Also, for all those who know what I am talking about, bonus points for you!)

So this is just a little heads up to tell y’all that the doctor and the mister are indeed one and the same amazing man I married 🙂

Craft Studio floor plan

One of the very first things I do when I decide to tackle a room redo is a floor plan.  It’s not nearly as fun as, say, shopping for accessories, but it is a foundation for the whole room and thus a necessary evil.  Now this isn’t always a formal thing – sometimes I can just stand in a room and mentally place the furniture (that was what I did with my living room and it worked out fine).  Some spaces need a more in-depth approach though, especially if they are overly large (master bedroom) or small (craft studio).  This room in particular presented a challenge because:

1) there is an awkward jut out for the closet that makes the entrance feel cramped even with nothing in the room
2) there are two huge windows (yay!) on two very small walls (boo!) that I really wanted to leave as unblocked as possible.
3) I have alot of craft/art stuff, so I need to squeeze lots of storage and work space into a very small room.

Now when I say small, I am not kidding – the room is nine feet long and ranges from ten feet at its widest point to just under seven at its narrowest.  It’s smaller than my walk-in closet!  Couple that with the door and window placement, and it’s a challenge to say the least.

My first step was to sketch everything out to scale on my computer – there are a bunch of ways to do this online, but I used my old standby, Adobe Illustrator.  I just happen to be really comfortable with that particular software (yay for graphic design backgrounds), but it doesn’t matter what method you use.  Even pen and paper is fine (that’s what I used to take down the measurements) – the important part is to get it into a form you can play with. Here is my illustrator plan, sans furniture:

floorplan base

Next up was to create furniture blocks to represent any large items (furniture, shelves, rugs, etc. ) that are going in the space.  Remember that you don’t have to get the overhead silhouette perfect.  Plain old squares are fine, as long as the square represents the maximum dimensions of the piece.  In my case this was especially important since I was using furniture that I already had (read more about my $100 budget here), so I couldn’t feasibly buy smaller scale furniture specifically for the room. If you are using paper, just cut your furniture blocks out of another piece of paper so you can literally move them around.  If you are going the digital route, just create a new layer for your furniture. In the craft studio, I had two desk options, a chair, and a shelf unit that I knew were staying.

After that, it’s all about moving things around and filling in the holes with new pieces if necessary.  Have fun and play around with placements you might otherwise not do.  Because it’s digital (or paper), there is no heavy lifting involved, so it makes sense to figure out the best layout, even if you have to move things around a bunch of times.

Here are some of the plans I came up with – the pieces I own are in blue, and the new additions are in yellow.  You will see I also kept a running total to the bottom of what I would need to buy so I could see at a glance where each plan would put me in my budget.  I also added some notes at the bottom for my reference so I could remember what I was thinking – my ‘lil pea brain only has so much room!


option 1


option 2


option 3


option 4

After looking them over, hemming and hawing, and sleeping on it, I am down to options 2 or 3.  As much as I love the idea of having one long, glorious expanse of counterspace at my disposal (option 4), it would involve alot more buying, which would eat into my budget for cute accessories (for shame!).  Plus, options 2 and three give me both room to leave an easel out and a standing desk for my computer – something I have been wanting to do for awhile to get away from being so sedentary.

Stay tuned for a post on the colors/mood board for the craft studio later this week, as well as a closer look at the light fixture I talked about here.

Till next time,


A corner to dream…

Have I mentioned that I am lucky?  Like – WHOA kinda lucky y’all.  Despite all the tough stuff that life throws my way, I have a roof over my head, a family that loves me, an AMAZING mister – it’s a pretty sweet deal.

And under that roof is a tiny little room (emphasis on tiny) that is all mine – my very own corner to dream in.  When we moved into the house, the mister and I decided that we would each get a room of our own – one that we could use however we wanted, and decorate to our own tastes – no spousal vetoes allowed.  Unsurprisingly, the mister converted his into a gym (soon to be decorated as a shrine tribute to his favorite college sports team).  I decided to make mine a craft room/art studio.  So I loaded all my crafty stuff in there, and there it sat – for a YEAR.  To be honest, I just didn’t feel inspired in the space.  It just felt small…and cramped…and, well, boring.

*As a sidenote, I also don’t feel inspired in the mister’s room, but hey, it’s a GYM, so that’s to be expected, lol.

So, I decided to change that.  I am overhauling that space, and it is gonna be beautiful, inspiring, and girly-as-all-get-out.  Think pink…and gold…and glitter.  It should go without saying that I am totally rocking that “no spousal vetoes” thing. There is, however, a catch.  Money.  #guessishouldnixtheliveinunicorn #no24ktgolddeskforme

My budget for this entire room is – are you ready – $100 bucks.  For everything.  New furniture, paint, accessories – it’s all fine as long as the total doesn’t top the century mark.  Gulp.

So the theme of this room will be re-purpose, re-use, re-cycle, and re-think.  Which is fine by me, because it’s a challenge – and I love me a good challenge.  Plus, it’s sure to yield a bunch of DIY projects for you guys.  Win-win, right?

I have been working on floor plans, as well as a mood board and a DIY light fixture which I am pretty darn excited about.  I can’t wait to share (so here’s a sneak peek of said light fixture in-progress because I am a child and have zero willpower, lol)

DCF 1.0

Till next time,


P.S. – That’s the thoroughly boring (and messy!) craft room in the background – you can see the need for an intervention, lol!