Did you know…You can get all the PELOTON classes WITHOUT buying their equipment? And it’s Awesome (and Cheap)!

Photo from onepeloton.com

NOTE: I am NOT affiliated with Peloton nor have I received anything from the company, I just love the service).

I’ve been wanting to do a shout-out to Peloton for awhile now. I’ve been using the Peloton app for a couple years and I LOVE it! I prefer to workout at home (I always have, it’s not just a Covid thing 🙂 I do NOT own any of the Peloton equipment (though honestly I really do wish I owned their bike, more on that later*) and you don’t need to! I have my own stationary spin bike (a Keiser) that I use and pretty much any stationary bike will work to participate in the classes (or treadmill for running classes, etc.) The only thing I can’t do is compete with other people on the leader board. I get all the classes, both live and recorded, including the cycling classes, as well as strength training, yoga, cardio, meditation, stretching, walking, boot camps, pilates, running and more for just $12.99 a month (and the app works on your phone, smart tv, ipad, etc.). Worth every penny! (And they usually have a 1-2 month free trial so you can check it out for yourself).

The main reason I love Peloton is the incredible variety. There are loads of new classes EVERY DAY, you can take them live or pre-recorded, and many different instructors to choose from (my favorite on the bike is Cody Rigsby but they are all good) and you can choose by class length, difficulty, even type of music in the class with ease. Every workout is new! If you’re like me then you’ve tried Beach Body, Shaun T, and a myriad of other online workouts. Doing the same recorded classes over and over again is BORING, and you get tired of them and stop. Not with Peloton, I’ve never done the same class twice. It keeps me interested and motivated. The $12.99 price tag is a serious bargain and I’m very happy with the service.

*All that being said, I do actually wish I had the Peloton bike. It’s not in the financial cards for me unfortunately (the bike is spendy, and the monthly fee more to be connected for the live classes) but I’d love to have the interactivity and connection the Peloton bike provides as well as the extra motivation of the leader board competitiveness. BUT the app is great and very affordable. In fact I’m going to go jump on my bike right now 🙂

Designer Bag Makeover…New Paint, New Life for a Worn Purse.

I’ve had this beloved Marc Jacobs bag (originally purchased at Neiman Marcus Last Call about 12 years ago) and used it as my main bag for many years. It is still in decent shape (a testament to how very well made it is) though the beautiful magenta color had rubbed off the high traffic areas such as the handle and corners. Because it was looking so worn I’ve had it in storage for a few years, thinking about what to do with it. I knew matching the exact color of leather dye was going to be near impossible, so the idea hit me to just have fun and paint it. Over the holidays I gave myself a gift and did just that. I love how it turned out, as not only have I given my beloved bag new life but it is now an original piece of art as well.

I free-handed the image with a sharpie pen and painted it in acrylic paint. (You could certainly use a stencil or transfer to start your image if you are uncomfortable with that). I also painted ombre’ pinks on the lower part of the worn handles (echoing the peony shades) and matched up the bag’s original color as best I could and rubbed that paint on the other worn areas of the bag that the design did not cover, which turned out quite well. Acrylic paint does great on leather, though if it’s very stiff leather you may need to go over the area with a very fine grit sandpaper first. Darker color leather requires a few layers of paint, and even then the leather color may bleed through light color paint (a bit of pink bled through on some of the white areas on the tiger but I don’t mind it). I really enjoyed this project, it was a nice departure from my very time-consuming oil paintings. I am already planning another project with one of my old leather jackets. Recycling at it’s best! I love the idea of giving new life to well-loved designer bags, and am on the lookout for good candidates for more fun painted bags that I may sell in the future (but this one is just for me :-).

BEFORE (You can see the worn corners)

IN PROGRESS (at the Sharpie drawing stage)

Thanks for looking, I hope you’ve enjoyed this project. FOLLOW this blog and see what’s coming next.

Turning Halloween into Thanksgiving: Getting Double-Duty out of those Pumpkins

A healthy pumpkin or gourd can last MONTHS! I love decorating with pumpkins every Fall. They look great from October 1st through November 26th. I just rearrange them after packing up the Halloween decorations. After Thanksgiving what doesn’t get turned into pies and breads can be composted or fed to goats and piggys. Biodegradable eco-friendly decor!

This year I’m being really lazy (well lazy for me, the unapologetic maximalist). I rearranged the pumpkins and added my old artificial magnolia leaf garlands and wreath as well as pheasant feathers, which I’ve been reusing for about a decade. On the table I added a few of the feathers and my fall ceramics. The only cost was the fresh flowers.

I had fun with the front door. The Fall mums in my pots were looking pretty sad (see below) so instead of tossing them out I used them as a base for cut amaranth, Mohave pyrocanthis, olive branches, and a few other things growing in my yard. I grew lots of amaranth this year as it is easy to grow here in the desert and I love the way it looks, especially when planted with sunflowers (and the birds love it!). It also dries very well, as do the other things I put in the pots. When “shopping” your yard for greenery, WEAR GLOVES and long sleeves! The Mohave pyrocanthis has sharp thorns, and something I cut (not sure what) gave me a thankfully short-lived rash. Next time, long sleeves! I’m pleased with the way the pots turned out, and it cost nothing!

Hope you all have a delightful Fall Season! Thanks for looking 🙂

Happy Halloween 2021! Decorations at the New House + Stylish Black Skeleton Torso DIY

,Happy Halloween! Yes I am Waaay late this year, but here it is All Hallow’s Eve and I finally have a minute to get this post up 🙂 Things are still in progress at the new house and with the state of things we are not entertaining this year so our Halloween decor is a bit simpler than in years past but I LOVE HALLOWEEN, so even if it’s just for the 2 of us I had to do it. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile you’ll recognize many of the same decorations from our last 2 houses just used in new ways. The one new thing I added this year is the pair of black skeleton torsos with golden hearts (DIY below) inspired by similar pieces spied on Tik Tok. But first, this year’s house decor!

The Front Courtyard Entry.

Lots of mums and pumpkins! Mostly from Trader Joe’s and Home Depot. The dogs we’ve had for a few years now (a post-Halloween sale find). I put strings of orange lights in the rib cages. The best part is I can easily transition to Fall by taking away the dogs, black fabric and skeletons.

And lastly, the Stylish Black Skeleton DIY

These were very easy. I bought 2 very cheap plastic skeletons, removed the limbs (I painted the arms black and used them on the mantle, the unpainted legs are tucked among the plants lining the driveway with other assorted old skeleton parts), spray painted them black using a gloss plastic spray paint (Home Depot). I bought 2 plastic anatomical hearts on Amazon and spray painted them shiny gold. These hearts I hot glued inside the rib cages. I then added a twist of wire on the back and hung them on the doors on removable sticky hooks.

Until next year! Planning to go really big 🙂 Please follow this blog for more decorating inspiration!

Before & After – the Catwalk

The new house is coming along nicely. While I think it will always be a work in progress, spaces are starting to come together enough to start showing full before and after tasty goodness 😄. Today it’s the Catwalk! Yes this crazy house has a freaking catwalk, yet another one of the strange delights this house has to offer. The catwalk was a fun space to design. I wanted to make it as functional as possible for our needs (as cheaply as possible) and think I succeeded. I wanted to have lots of seating, extra sleeping spaces for overnight guests, and a reading/meditation area. We are eventually hoping to have art and music events at the house and this will be a prime spot to watch performances in the great room below.

As you can see on the Before pics, the catwalk was largely unusable, full of nasty old carpet with no structure.

The first thing we did was rip out the nasty old carpet. The wood was in good shape so we did a simple whitewash on it to blend it into the whitewash wood on the walls. I had our awesome handyman build platforms for the black French mattresses (Pottery Barn Teen), build shelves against the east wall and paint the old bookshelves and all the new build outs Sherwin Williams Tricorn black. The desk was moved to my art studio and painted white. I saved a ton sewing all my own pillows. I’m not much of a seamstress but they are certainly good enough. I scored the beautiful designer tiger fabric as a remnant on fabricguru.com, the velvet pink on fabric.com. Most of the art and chotchkies we had, a couple pieces (including the tribal black pieces behind the seating area) we found at the local swap meet.

The area is much more useable now, and I love the way it came out. We go up there to just hang out and watch the sunset out the west windows. We had a couple guests sleep up there recently and got a big thumbs up :-).

Much more to come! Follow this blog and don’t miss a thing.

Before & After Sneak Peak #2! Four More Previews of the New House Makeover

Step by step things are progressing at our new Yucca Valley home. While no one room is completely finished, I’d say we are 83% of the way there indoors, 40% outdoors. Below is a little Before & After Sneak Peak of 4 of the rooms In Progress…(see the first 3 Sneak Peaks HERE) Full room reveals coming soon! SUBSCRIBE to see it all.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE…The vaulted ceilings in this room are about 24′ tall at the apex, with 20′ walls on the low sides, which were visually cut in half by the old red paint and (hello 1980’s!) wallpaper border. The borders were removed and the space was painted in Sherwin William’s Ultra White. It instantly opened the space up and now shows off all the beautiful wood beams (which you’ll see in a future post) and makes the ceilings soar high just as they should.

LIVING ROOM AFTER (IN PROGRESS)

I’m going for an artsy rock n’ roll sort of vibe in here with a Timothy Oulton influence. Eventually the art on the gallery wall will reach all the way to the ceiling. The sofa is new (thanks to a Wayfair “open box” deal) as is the magenta chair (also Wayfair). Everything else we brought with us from the old house. Except Gozer the Gozarian, whom we adopted about 3 months ago. This sweet little frug (part Frenchie, part pug) has claimed the chair for his throne, and we don’t blame him one bit. (Art: The “Black Heart” painting and the little drawing in the red frame are by Sandi Calistro, the Lucian Freud study painting I did in college, the “Satire Lounge” piece is by Kym Bloom, the red Yumiko Kayukowa print came out of a book, and the rest of the art are thrift store finds.

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ENTRY BEFORE

I know it’s hard to see it in the before pic, as there was a huge stair unit there that we had removed and replaced it with a simple loft ladder (there is a sleeping loft over the entry which you’ll see on a future post). The only real changes here was the removal of the odd stair unit and painting the main wall white.

ENTRY AFTER

The red acrylic box was an alley find we brought with us, and the beautiful raku pot I found at Collector’s Corner in Palm Desert for $20. The jack rabbit coat hooks are from Etsy. (And Jiva’s ratty old hat adds the perfect desert touch 🙂

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THE GREAT ROOM BEFORE

This crazy house is made for entertaining (which we hope to be doing a lot of post-covid) and has a very large great room in addition to the living room. We hope to host art events and small concerts in here eventually. Before, the green color was well, rather awful, and like in the living room cut the tall walls visually in half. We had the green painted over in the white, all the doors and windows black (Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black), and ripped out and replaced the ratty old carpet (Home Depot). (I apologize for the crappy before image, it’s all I have).

THE GREAT ROOM AFTER (IN PROGRESS)

Being that we want to host events in this room, I wanted a lot of open, low seating. I opted for sectional seating so it can be moved around easily. I looked for months for good-looking sectional seating and finally settled on Pottery Barn Teen Cushy Lounge Sectional Set as an affordable option. In a perfect world I’d have the Roche Bobois Mah Jong sectionals, but until someone hands me an extra $30,000 this is a great option at a tenth the price. The vase pair was a local thrift store score ($10 for the pair), all the leopard print pillows are from Etsy. Art: The “Space Whale” photo print I had printed on metal by Costco (it came out great!) with permission from the photographer. (We were married in front of the Space Whale at Burning Man in 2016 so it is a very special piece to us). Everything else we brought with us from the old house. Carousel painting is by Lonnie Hanzon, cat paintings are by me, crow and skull piece by MadTatters.com, and the resin pieces installation by Lauri Lynnxe Murphy. The other piece is a Goodwill find (I do not know the artist’s name).

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The MASTER BATH BEFORE

All we did in here was paint out the dark oppressive walls and ceiling white, which opened up the space beautifully, and replace the faucets on the sink and tub (which needed to be replaced due to leaking) and added new cabinet knobs. We left the beautiful old vertical wood posts untouched. It has a wonderful spa-like feel now. The light coming through the glass block during the day is marvelous. I did add lots of plants, some brought with us, some new.

The MASTER BATH AFTER (IN PROGRESS)

There is so much more to come! Please subscribe to see it all.

A Before & After Sneak Peak of What’s Happening at the New House

Things are really moving along at the new house! With all the Covid down-time we’re getting a ton done. While no one room is completely finished, I’d say we are 80% of the way there indoors, 25% outdoors. Below is a little Before & After Sneak Peak of 3 of the rooms In Progress…

DINING ROOM BEFORE…this is how it looked when we bought the place. We had the carpet removed, old wallpaper border removed, and the room painted a rich deep Navy Blue. (We splurged on having the full interior painted (all Sherwin Williams, I’m very happy with the outcome) before we moved in and it was worth every penny. I did it all myself in the old house and it was too hard on my body :-). This house is much larger and has very high ceilings, no way I could have done it all myself). I took down the old broken ceiling fan and put up a lovely large green glass chandelier ($235 on Amazon) and added spring green curtains around the entire room (also from Amazon. It was about the same price as buying the fabric myself so a total no-brainer). I’m going for an over-the-top Tony Duquette Maximalism look in here. It still has a ways to go (we need to refinish the wood floor, add a console table on the west wall and do something fun where the sticks are in the ceiling panels and add more art.) The rug, table, chairs and art were all brought with us from the old house.

AFTER (In Progress) Just a sneak peak, much more to come…

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MUSIC ROOM BEFORE…this room was a plain white box, originally a garage bay converted into a bedroom with a terrible 3/4 bathroom that we did’nt need. We had the shower stall and toilet removed (leaving the plumbing hook ups (all capped) for future possibilities), had the opening enlarged (you’ll see this on a future post) to let in more light from the only window in the room and provide more storage for music gear and clothes (the room also functions as my husband’s closet, he has more clothes than I do!). Since it’s a music room it has to be at least partially sound-proofed/deadened so we are adding acoustic panels and fabric to most of the walls. My man is nuts for India so I’m going for a sort of Modern Rajasthan Musician vibe in here. There are 32 yards of black velvet and 12 full saris. So glad I invested in a sewing machine! It took me 2 days to get all the curtains sewn. I bought the velvet in bulk from Fabric.com and the sari’s in bulk on Etsy. The teal chair was a thrift store find (Collector’s Corner in Palm Desert, a MUST for great home finds!), the blue stools from Wayfair.com (on sale! Just $45 each), and the vintage wood stool from a local Yucca Valley thrift store for just $12! The rugs were all brought over from the old house. This room is about 70% finished, much more to come!

AFTER (In Progress)

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Last but not least, the Master Bedroom.

BEFORE…This room was originally a patio that was enclosed. We had the nasty old carpet removed and the room totally painted out in Ultra White, except the 3 beams which were painted black. We also had new carpeting installed (Home Depot). I wanted things to be very serene in this room with a Leanne Ford vibe so am sticking with a simple color palette, black and white with a touch of color, in this case our trusty old magenta dresser (an alley find I painted years ago) and some fun pink/lavender pillows. The sheepskin rug is from Costco, a GREAT source for sheepskin! This quad rug was just $135 (and the dogs LOVE it :-). The 1″ black cotton robe (meant to emulate a canopy) is from Ravenox. It’s beautiful robe, I highly recommend the company. The vintage hanging lamps on either side of the bed were an Ebay find, $105 for the pair, which I rewired myself. The Roman shades had to be custom ordered because of the odd window size, I found a company through Amazon that did the pair in white linen (to match the curtains I already owned) for $220 shipped. I’m leaving the old fan in place for now, but will likely replace it with a new black one in the future. We did splurge on a new king-size bed but kept our old nightstands which work well in the room. All the pots, pillows and accessories were brought with us from the old house. We did have to install a modular closet unit which you will see on a future post. This room is about 85% finished. More to come!

AFTER (In Progress)…

So much more to come soon! There are 8 more spaces I haven’t shown at all yet, as well as the courtyard front entry and the yard…I’ll post full room reveals as each space is finished, as well as more sneak peaks of the other rooms and DIYs. Please Follow this blog so you don’t miss a thing!

Bar Makeover at the New House. It’s Cocktail Time!

Work on the new house is progressing nicely. So many projects, but heck, I have a bit more time to do them with the COVID shut-down 🙂

With our very limited budget we are working with the house as is as much as possible. No room for big reno so time to get creative. The goal is to upgrade and modernize what is here while spending as little as possible. With that in mind, a funky bar redo was in order.

As you can see, the style was in need of an upgrade, a bit too “log cabin” for my taste. Everything was painted a flat white to give us a neutral palate. From there, I changed out the hardware for simple gold pulls About $1.50 each on Amazon), painted the horizontal supports a glittering gold to match the hardware (Krylon ultra cover metallic gold), removed the stained glass pieces (we’ll use them elsewhere) and added backdrops inside the glass cabinets with leftover wallpaper.

AFTER

The leftover wallpaper is from the bathroom redo in the old house. I loved it so much I kept the extra, knowing I’d use it. I kept it very simple. I cut a piece of heavy cardboard to fit the inside, and used spray adhesive to attach the wallpaper and just tucked it in. That way if I change my mind in the future it will be very easy to remove. I love the way it tuned out!

Thanks for looking! I’m going to go enjoy a cocktail 🙂 Happy Holidays!

Couldn’t find the wreath I wanted, so I made it. A Shiny Pink Wreath DIY.

I’ve been wanting to do some fresh holiday decor for our new house, and knew I wanted to go with something a bit more modern as our new house has a more modern architectural feel. And it had to be magenta. I wanted a pair of shiny ornament wreaths and looked for ones in magenta, and couldn’t find them anywhere. So what’s a creative girl to do? Make my own of course!

The “ingredients” were pretty inexpensive. I bought everything on Amazon. The plastic ornaments come in large quantities, 60 count for the larger ones and 90 count for the smaller ones. The wreath forms are simple wire ( I used 18” ones), and the ribbon is a 1” wired satin. And of course, lots of good ol’ hot glue.

Putting it all together took about 1 1/2 hours and was pretty simple. I started by wrapping the wreath form with the satin ribbon and attaching it to itself with a bead of hot glue on the back (flat) side, tying it off with a long loop at the top for hanging. Next step was attaching the plastic ornaments with hot glue. For the first layer I spaced the larger balls somewhat randomly about 1-2” apart around the ribbon covered form, then started filling in with both the larger and smaller balls. Be generous with the hot glue and attach the ornaments to each other as well as the wreath form. Be sure and do this on a flat surface so the wreath will hang flat on your door.

I had a few extra ornaments and a lot of extra ribbon left. I used the ornaments, along with a couple really big ones and some fake greenery (well, “pinkery” ) to fill the pots that flank the entryway. I’ll be adding a lot more next year, but at least we have a little holiday cheer for this strange season 🙂 Happy Holidays!

Big changes! We Moved…

So much has happened since my last post. We moved! We were not planning for this move to happen for a few years yet, but everything fell into place so perfectly that we jumped. After less than 2 days on the market, our lovely Salt Lake City home sold, and on October 1st we closed on our Desert Dream Home in beautiful Yucca Valley, California. (Near Joshua Tree National Park). The home is so very unique and quirky, just like us :-), and finally, we’ll have the room to explore our creative endeavors. This house is just for US. None of the upcoming house projects will be geared towards resale like the last house, but for own fun and enjoyment. In the upcoming months and years you will see many unusual DIYs and funky decorating blogs.

A little background on the house…

The house was built in 1991 by a local builder for his very eclectic mother. Among other things she was a collector of odd materials, including huge timbers from an old train bridge in Montana, a high school gym floor, and tons of beautiful scavenged rocks, all of which were incorporated into the home. The ceilings soar (to 20 feet in some places!) and nearly every room has skylights. There is a very large entry courtyard with the beginnings of a running stream with a bridge (which I will be finishing). The backyard has a koi pond, grape arbor and 4 large concrete block gardening raised beds, custom stepping stones, and a gazebo. To say the house is odd is an understatement. It sat empty for over 3 years after the owner passed, and is in need of much love and updating. Already we have done some light demo and completely painted the interior, added new carpet and lighting, heating and cooling, a new roof and much more. The infrastructure updates are finished, now it’s time for the fun stuff: decorating and art projects! Stay tuned, and Subscribe to this blog! There is so much fun to come….