I founded the Mia Prima Casa (which means “my new house” in Italian) blog three years ago as a way to keep family and friends updated on everything I was up to post-college. This usually meant updates on how I was decorating my new (first!) apartment, what I was I was eating (usually plants), and what I was wearing.
Today, Mia Prima Casa has a whole new look. I like to think the blog now more closely represents the woman I am today: well traveled, well dressed (or at least trying to be!), and beginning a whole new chapter (business school).
Mia Prima Casa is far from gone, but she goes by a new name now. The Gibbson Girl, which is based off the 1910s fashion icon, evokes a sense of adventure, travel, and boldness. She has a vintage flare. Wears a crazy hat with confidence. Runs marathons. Travels to London. And most of all loves a night in with her cat, watching Downton Abbey and sneaking looks at her old travel diary pages.
I am so ready for this new chapter. And I hope you all are ready to meet the Gibbson Girl.
p.s. The Gibbson Girl has a vintage shop, too!
This post is #85 of the #The100DayProject. For more updates on my progress, be sure to follow me on Instagram and look for the hashtage, #100DaysofMiaPrima
Summer Styles at the Gibbson Girl
The Gibbson Girl European Photoshoot
Vintage (Scottish) Bangles and Beads
Hidden (Vintage) Treasures in Europe
Vintage Accessories at the Gibbson Girl
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?
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!):
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?
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!).
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?
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.”
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?
Yep, the title is correct; I found Baroque style coasters complete with ultra-realistic, chiaroscuro-filled mythological and Biblical paintings. Did I mention they were $4? I picked up these treasures at a barn sale in New Hampshire, and not only did I come in under budget on coasters (I was expecting to spend more like $8), I found a coaster set that trumps any inexpensive one I could find at Target. Now if only I could find a real Caravaggio at a barn sale…
Have you had any great finds at garage and yard sales this summer?
I knew I wanted a bulletin board over my vanity/desk. I liked the idea of fashionable images that will help inspire my morning wardrobe choices. I also knew that my jewelry didn’t belong on my vanity (that is way too cluttery for my taste!). My sister came up with the idea of hanging necklaces and bracelets from tacks at the base of the bulletin board. The idea is simple, but I think the result is striking (not to mention extremely cheap).
The cost for this project?
Bulletin board: $4 at GoodWill
Images: Free from fashion magazines
Tacks: $3 at Target
Total cost: $7
What are some good jewelry organizer ideas you’ve ran across?
I ran across this project on Pinterest, and I figured it was worth a try given 1) I currently don’t own a sewing machine and 2) even if I did, I’d probably never get around to actually sewing. The two pillows I covered took only about twenty minutes and look pretty gorgeous! See the original DIY post here.
The cost for this project?
Pillows: free (took them from my parents’ home)
Fabric: 5 Euros at a Florentine market
Total: about $6.50
Do you know of any other creative ways to cover pillows on a budget?