Let there be light

Turn a dark corner into a radiant and unique place to plop down and read or sip or chat.

Since renting out our spare room, we are short one lamp and haven’t found a suitable cute (and affordable) replacement. Rather than hiding on the dark side of the living room, we opted to fill a vintage gallon jar with christmas lights to create a luminous object lamp, an objet d’art, if you will. 

Other great vessels for this kind of lighting arrangement include glass water pitchers, large glass pickle jars (if not full of fermenting carrots), or colored glass vases or jars.

DIY knife block

This hip trick comes to us courtesy of Paula over at Springdale Farm, not too far from my house in East Austin. I was recently in Paula’s kitchen for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s cookbook photo shoot and this little gem came to my attention.

Paula told me about how their lovely knife block was an idea she saw in a magazine. They personalized the idea with a box that’s made from shiplap wood from their home’s renovation. Your box can be something personalized like this, or even a repurposed vintage container/jar you love filled with wood skewers. If your proposed knife block container is shorter than the skewers, just snip the skewers with a wire cutter and place them cut-side down in the container so they’re flush with the top.

Put a pull on it

You may recall a hip trick from a few months back telling you to be on the look-out for roadside find pulls. Here’s an idea for using a drawer pull as a creative hook alternative. 

You’ll want to be sure to find a beam and drill directly into it in order for the pull to remain sturdy and useful. Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the base of your pull and drill about 1” deep. Screw the pull into the drilled hole. If a beam doesn’t line up with where you want to place hooks, then use a cute piece of wood as a base to drill then screw in your pull(s). (You can use long drywall screws or a hollow wall anchor to affix the wood piece to the wall.)

Voila, instant cute and creative pegs!

Localize it: DIY lighting

This hip trick was inspired during my week in Indianapolis by Earth House Collective, the wonderful host of Indy Food Swap and other fine arts and community-building events.

Great overhead lighting is hard to come by (or can be expensive to install, a common woe for renters). Take charge of your dark corner lighting needs with a pendant light cord, a store-bought or DIY lamp shade and some fishing wire to help deflect attention from the cord. Hang the fishing wire from the ceiling to help you create the perfect hover, lifting the cord up and away from your light. Visit this post for a how-to make your own mason jar chandelier tutorial.

Spruce up your holiday table without breaking the bank

Turkey day and the season of holiday gatherings is fast upon us and it’s easy to lose track of our expenses when hosting (and sometimes even just attending).

Give your holiday table and entire house a bit of low-cost pizazz by selecting one or two inexpensive bouquets and placing individual or pairs of flowers in cute soda bottles or mason jars. Bring color and unique style to lots of areas of the house for under $10. Check out this video to see Kate in action demonstrating this hip trick!