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

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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

5 Images to Inspire

Because I could use some inspiration on this rainy evening.

Giving credit where credit is due. Where I found these photos (most come from some pretty interesting blogs and are worth checking out!):

Image 1

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Image 5

Creating Beautiful Framed Art on a Budget


You would be suprised how much something is elevated by framing it. A mat and a simple frame can make a piece of art  (or something else entirely) into a beautiful and affordable way to decorate a space. There are three main objects that make beautiful wall decor when framed:

1. Artwork. I am artist so this one is pretty easy for me. For one project, I found a matted poster frame at Ikea and framed a conte crayon drawing I drew in Florence. Matting it really transformed and elevated the work. I also collect artwork from street and art fairs around the world. When I travelled to Europe, I bought a painting (usually quite cheap from a local artist on the street) in every city I stayed in for more than three days. I did the same upon returning to the States but chose to purchase prints instead of originals as originals tend to be more expensive here. It was a fun way to collect memories and also a fun way to decorate my home.

2. Postcards. I also collected postcards from Europe, particularly postcards of my favorite artwork from galleries and museums. The postcards were usually less than a dollar and I found cheap matted and unmatted frames at GoodWill to frame them with. Framing the postcards, especially the art postcards, was an easy and affordable way to introduce some beautiful art to my space.

3. Sheet music books. My mom found a few old sheet music books from a garage sale, and they manged to fall into my hands and end up in my apartment. They were so easy to frame because they came in a standard frame size. I chose to use a matted frame because the edges of the sheets were worn slightly. The mat hid the wear and made the sheet (and the stunning art on it) really stand out. The results were fun, retro art pieces that added interest and needed ivory coloring to my living room.

What is your favorite decorating idea?

Ciao!

Sarah

My Living Room: Before & After

One Month Ago

I’ve been putting most of my decorating efforts into my living room. I spend much of my time there or in the kitchen, and (given my lack of dining room) I plan on using the space for most of my entertaining. As a result, after only a month and a half, my living room has already gone through a transformation.

I framed a whole lot of art, bought new curtains, add splashes of much needed ivories through cushions and flowers, and finally bought light bulbs for my lamps (you’d be surprised how much that changes the atmosphere of a place!).

Today

My future plans include painting my coffee table neon green (seriously, trust me on this), creating some more art for the space, and adding more bright colors through painted jars (DIY project courtesy of Pinterest, of course).

Any suggestions on the space?

Ciao!

Sarah

Great Finds: Affordable Art (Seriously!)

I recently attended the Art Fair on the Square in Madison, WI, and, since I am now making an income, I decided to purchase a piece of art for my bedroom. I gave myself a budget of $50, which is pretty modest considering the price of much of the work. As expected, the most striking pieces were large…and expensive. I was nearly out of hope until I found collage artist Chelsea Hrynick’s booth. She creates amazingly intricate and symmetrical patterns out of origami paper and painted wood. The medium is perfectly simple, letting the details of her designs stand out.

(Photo from artist’s website. Visit it here!) 

To me, they reminded me of Venetian lace and Native American textiles. “I incorporate design patterns seen in different cultures throughout history such as Celtic jewelry, Islamic rugs, Modern architecture, and Ancient Greek pottery,” writes the artist on her website. “I feel a passionate connection when I work with patterns; decoration somehow transcends distance, time, and beliefs.”

Cool, right?

I bought two small square pieces for $30, which I think is a great deal given the quality of the work.

Have you had any luck with art fairs this summer?

Ciao!

Sarah

Visualizing my (Home) Vision

I think the worse mistake I can make when trying to decorate my new place is attempt to do it blindly. I like to think that I have some vision for a perfect house in my head, but until I have some way of truly visualizing it, there’s not much hope that my vision will become reality. So, as well as finding inspirational images to  get my house vision on track, I also utilized Polyvore to create my color pallet and pull  some key images to create the mood for my bedroom. I’m going to introduce pops of bright colors through a couple Venetian masks, a vase of fake flowers, and my bulletin board/jewelry organizer. I suppose I’m going for a vintage, feminine, peaceful space.

What do you think?

MiaPrimaCasa: My First Place on a Budget