Nothing But the Useful & Beautiful

Home Sweet Home miaprimacasa.com

As of this week, I’ve been in Pittsburgh six months. I’ve fallen in love with the bridges, the coffee shops, and the parks. I even own a Steelers hat. But most of all, I’m crazy about my apartment. At first, I thought I wanted a space that felt mature, like a real house, and not a collection of furniture that relatives gave me. But then I realized two things, 1) I don’t want to spend money on new furniture and

2) a youthful, eclectic look really suits me better anyway. What my apartment turned into was a cozy hodgepodge of my favorite furniture and art (I try to stick to the mantra, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”), which I think so beautifully compliments the cathedral ceiling, wrought iron details, and even the mint-colored 60s tile in the bathroom.

My favorite elements are: my bike (the most expensive piece of wall art I own), the ugliest orange chair you’ve ever seen, my record player complete with my dad’s record collection (Ella Fitzgerald is currently serenading me as I write this), my 1960s Singer sewing machine, a vintage lamp, a Native American blanket, my aunt’s 70s shag rug (thanks, Aunt Jeanine!), and my coffee nook.

What are the favorite elements of your home?

Apartment Inspiration on miaprimacasa.com Apartment Inspiration on miaprimacasa.comApartment Inspiration on miaprimacasa.comCoffee Bar on miaprimcasa.comApartment Inspiration on miaprimacasa.com Apartment Inspiration on miaprimacasa.comEclectic Sewing Space on miaprimacasa.com

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My Sewing Space, Reimagined

With my coffee bar nearly complete, I’ve moved on to decorating my sewing space. I moved it out of my second bedroom and into my living room; I was feeling cramped and isolated sewing in that small room! Now, my sewing table takes space near a wide window at the entrance of my apartment. For some (much needed) inspiration, I’ve put up a bulletin board and hung up my Venetian masks and some of my favorite hats nearby. My apartment is starting to look a lot like I first imagined it would: colorful, eclectic, and a bit like a hodge-podge of all the things I consider practical and beautiful.

Eclectic Sewing Space miaprimacasa.com

Eclectic Sewing Space on miaprimacasa.com

By the way, Pinterest photos print out surprisingly well. I printed my most inspirational fashion/running/cycling images to create an inspiring collage for my sewing space. Beautiful imagery for less than $5? Yes, please!

Take My Hand and Run Fashion Inspiration miaprimcasa.com

Cheers!

Sarah

Coffee, Anyone?

In September, I drew up these plans to turn an empty nook in my dining room into an coffee bar (naturally). I was looking for cute hooks, shelving, a “coffee” sign, and a set of matching mugs. What I ended up creating was a chalkboard from an old picture (tutorial to follow soon!) that I will soon paint with an adorable coffee saying of my choosing. I added some red hooks and monogram mugs from Antrhopologie to bring the look together- not to mention Ball jars to hold my coffee grounds and sugar, a vintage-inspired cow cream holder, and a floral serving tray. Can’t wait for the coffee bar to come together completely! Next project…the bar cart. Now that’s going to be fun.

Coffee Bar PlansCoffee Bar on miaprimcasa.com

Cheers!

Sarah

The Living Room

…or the beginning of it, anyway!

Living Room Decor Living Room Decor

Worth noting: vintage Mexican blanket, my handmade sorority T-shirt blanket, authentic 70s shag sheepskin rug, antique lamp made fresh with a new shade.

Great Finds: Espresso Cups

My sister studied in Austria, and as she travelled Europe, she collected espresso cups. Though they weren’t the easiest things to take back to the States (miraculously she only broke one), they do make great decoration pieces in our apartment. Here are a few of my favorites.

Ciao!

Sarah

Salzburg, Austria

London, England

Florence, Italy

Munich, GermanyNice, France; Lake Forest, Illinois; Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Florence, Italy

Before & After: “Open” Dresser

My aunt and uncle were kind enough to provide a whole bunch of used furniture for my new apartment. Most of it fit well into the place, but this piece below was a little trickier. We didn’t have enough space in the living room and certainly not in our tiny kitchen. As a result, it ended up as shelving in the garage. I also happened to be missing a dresser and considered thrifting around for one until I realized that this piece could be the perfect dresser. I painted it a mauve-lavendar and bought cloth containers to act as drawers. The result is a versatile “open” dresser that matches my intended room decor and cost me far less than anything else I was considering to buy.

Before

After

Total cost of this project?

Shelving unit: Free

Paint: $12

Total Cost: $12

Ciao!

Sarah

College or Sorority T-Shirt Blanket Quilt

After graduating college, I was left with more college and sorority t-shirts that I could ever want to wear. I didn’t want to throw them out, however. Afterall, they reminded me of some great memories that I hoped never to forget. But I didn’t really want to drag my twenty-some t-shirts to my new apartment, so instead, I chose to create a quilt from the old shirts. As a novice sewer, it took me longer than excepted to finish, but the work was worth it! Now I have a comfy blanket that holds so many memories from my college days, livens up my new apartment, and is much more useful than a stack of worn out shirts. Below are steps to creating your own t-shirt blanket.

What you need:

18+ T-shirts

Sewing Machine

Thread

Cardboard (cut into 9″ by 9″ square)

Rotary cutter

Cutting mat

Straight edge

Scissors (one pair for fabric, one pair for the cardboard)

Pins

Cut the cardboard into a 9 inch by 9 inch square. This will serve as your template for the fabric squares.

Cut down the sides of your t-shirt and lay flat on the cutting board.

Place cardboard square over t-shirt and carefully use rotary cutter to cut fabric. Use the straight edge to guide your cutting.

Continue for all your t-shirts. I first cut out the graphic on the shirt and then cut as many squares of the solid color from the t-shirts as I could. I wanted as many squares to work with so that I could put together the most desired combination.

I then laid out the squares on the floor in order to get clear picture of what my blanket would look like. I chose to use 36 squares total (6 squares by 6 squares). However, I recommend laying out your quilt 6 squares across and five squares high. With 36 squares, I had trouble finding fabric that was wide enough to be a backing piece. I ended up having to cut off half of the top row of squares in order to back my quilt with two panels of solid fabric.

Next, pin one row of squares together to begin sewing. Once you have sewn all your row, you can sew your columns. Make sure that you line up your seams as perfectly as possible, so that your squares are even and tight.

I then sewed on my back panel fabric. I found inexpensive fabric at Savers, so I had to cut it into two panels in order to fit my quilt properly. I recommend using a cotton or cotton blend for the backing. I considered fleece, which is a good option if you want a very warm blanket, but I opted out because I want my blanket to function as more of an everyday throw.

Finally, I pinned every other corner then sewed a few stitches. Doing this will keep the squares from shifting in the wash.

Voila! Your t-shirt quilt is done and ready to serve as a memorable and functional piece for many years. Beats keeping a stack of old shirts around!

Some final recommendations:

If your machine has zig-zag stitch, use this as the t-shirts are knits and will tend to stretch. I used a very old Singer that did not have zig-zag, so I may be faced with some shifting in the future.

Any extra squares would make great, soft pillows.

Good luck!

Sarah