Project Life Halloween Freebies 2014

Happy Halloween! I hope everybody has a fun and safe weekend. I love that Halloween fell on a Friday this year!

It has been a loooong time since I’ve posted a Project Life freebie, so I figured this day of tricks and treats was the perfect opportunity to leave you all a little freebie treat, and, being the literature nerd that I am, I took my inspiration from some particularly creepy lines from Macbeth! Spook on!

Click the link below the picture to download! I hope you all enjoy these spooky cards!

Project Life Halloween 2014 Freebies | clarkuscat.wordpress.comDownload Here!

Click the “Freebies” button in the header to see all my other downloadable goodies!

Halloween Bookshelves

I know I mentioned before that I’m not a major Halloween fan, but over the years I have accumulated a few fun little decorations that I like to spread around my apartment when October arrives. This year I decided to focus on the bookshelves in my living room.

This is the room I spend the most time in (while I’m awake :)), so I thought injecting a little holiday spirit would make my apartment feel perfectly festive. All I did was swap out a few of my regular knick-knacks and photos for some Halloween-themed ones.Halloween Bookshelves | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Halloween Bookshelves | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Halloween Bookshelves | clarkuscat.wordpress.comI’m pretty happy with the way they turned out. (And, yes. That is Gilmore Girls on the TV.)Halloween Bookshelves | clarkuscat.wordpress.com

I Have a Headboard!

That’s right folks! I finally found a headboard that I like. Can I get “WAHOO!”?

No? Maybe next time. ;)

Anyway, I found this headboard on Amazon thanks to my little brother who actually just purchased the same one for his bedroom. How crazy is that?! Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.comI’m incredibly excited about the statement it makes in my room! For one, it grounds my bed and makes it a much more polished and substantial center piece on that wall. Secondly, it provides a tiny bit of a break between the geometric pattern on the wall and the floral pattern on my bed, allowing them to play even more nicely together. I’m still loving the mix of those two patterns in this room.

Anyway, for the process. My brother told me about this fantastic headboard (product link) he had ordered and suggested I check it out on Amazon. I had very little hope, but then I opened the page and actually cheered. I loved the curved line across the top, the simple design, and the price tag of only $54! Fifty-four dollars! I couldn’t believe it.

I actually ended up getting mine for $40 because it was on sale when I ordered it! What what?? Amazing.

I’d had my heart set on something a bit more traditional, likely a rescue from a thrift store that would involve stripping and painting and a whole process. Something along these lines:Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.comSide note: Please excuse the terrible Photoshop. Also, throwback to that crazy lace curtain. I’m not sure why I ever thought that worked well after painting my wall. I blame that one entirely on project euphoria brain… Sheesh.

Anyway, I was more than happy to accept the clean lines of this headboard in place of the mythical dream headboard shown above, and seeing those two pictures side by side, I think I actually like the more modern styling of the one I bought more than the traditional lines of that Photoshopped one. It’s a very different feel, but I like the addition of a few more clean-lined modern elements in my bedroom.

After I ordered it, I waited two days (isn’t Prime shipping the best?) then picked up a giant box from the UPS guy.Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.com

Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.comClarkus was immediately smitten, and the setup was incredibly easy. I just followed the instructions that came in the package, and about 30 minutes later, I had a fully-formed headboard in my living room.Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.com

Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.com

Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.comNext, all I had to do was convince Clarkuscat that sleeping on the now-empty box was more fun than sleeping on the headboard itself before I could move it to its final spot of honor in my bedroom.Headboard | clarkuscat.wordpress.comI’m loving it! And I have so many new ideas spinning in my head now that I see the room with headboard in place! There will definitely be more updates to come in this room. I’m looking at you circa-1999 paper lantern!

A headboard really makes a difference in a bedroom, doesn’t it? Anyone else out there working on some bedroom updates? Anybody else make one update in a room only to realize how many more you want to make!?

Curtain Call

UPDATE: This post coming at you on a Saturday night is precisely why I should never attempt to get ahead. Ever. I will inevitably type up a whole post the day before I want it to post, feel amazing about how on top of things I am, and then choose the wrong date for scheduled posting. Wah wah…

Remember two weeks ago when I promised you pictures of all the curtain options I tried in my bedroom? Well, get ready for more pictures of curtains than you probably want. I’m terrible at making decisions. Terrible. Choices usually paralyze me more than excite me, and I stress out about making the right decision.

Knowing that about myself and knowing that my last curtain purchases were less than stellar, I went ahead and ordered several options from Target to try out in my space. I knew I would need to actually see and feel my options in the real space to make any kind of choice at all.

All of my curtains arrived in one big box, one really big box. Clarkus had a blast. I was pretty excited too!

I had a few gut feelings when I initially opened the packages, but here’s the blow-by-blow:

Option 1 (apparently no longer available online)

Curtain Call | clarkuscat@wordpress.comI liked the idea of trying a few yellow options to tie into my striped sheets (these from West Elm), but these curtains were just not going to cut it in my bedroom. They barely blocked any light, and I knew I would hate that at night. I also wasn’t completely sold on a pop color against a very busy wall.

Option 2Curtain Call | clarkuscat@wordpress.comI really loved this curtain when I saw it online. Isn’t that pattern just amazing! I also really wanted it to work in my space, but as soon as I brought this package into the room, I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t even bother taking this one out of the package because it became glaringly obvious that my thought of simplifying the curtain to blend with the wall was definitely the right way to go. This curtain – no matter how adorable – was never going to work with that busy pattern.

Option 3Curtain Call | clarkuscat@wordpress.comOnce I put these curtains up, I knew I was sold on some form of gray for this wall. They just played so much more nicely with my statement wall. I loved that these curtains came in a two pack, but they were barely better than the first pair at blocking light. Also, the silver rings looked a little cheap when I saw them in my room – too shiny, too attention-grabby, not my style.

Option 4Curtain Call | clarkuscat@wordpress.comAnd we have a winner! I was incredibly happy to find this curtain was a light-blocking curtain, and I’m even more happy to realize that it will definitely help with heating and cooling costs because it’s insulating as well as light blocking. It doesn’t look very light-blocking in this photo, but I swear my room is like a cave all day now! It makes it 1000000 times harder to wake up in the morning, but not being woken up by the sun at ridiculous hours on the weekends totally makes it worth it. I also love how substantial this curtain feels while still blending nicely with the pattern on my duvet and my wall. Happy dance!

I’m entirely happy with the choice I made although I’m thinking when I have a bit of extra money sometime down the road, I might buy a second panel to give it a bit more fullness.

Curtain Call | clarkuscat@wordpress.comWhat are your thoughts on curtains? Are the light-blocking ones worth the higher price tag? Have you ever struggled to find the right balance on an awkward window?

Be sure to check back next week to see another (exciting) bedroom addition!

First Friday Faves: Halloween Edition

I don’t really like Halloween. I know, I’m terrible, right? But, it was always so much pressure as a kid to dress up, and I was so shy that I didn’t like that my costume would draw attention to me. Then, once I hit middle school, there was that awkward phase when I was trying to figure if it was still cool to dress up or not… That coupled with the increase in horror film trailers on TV that gave me nightmares… Just not my thing.

But, I do enjoy decorating my apartment for the holidays, so I’m always a bit torn when it comes to Halloween. Do I go generic harvest? Cutesy Halloween? I can never decide, so I usually end up doing very little to decorate this time of the year.

But, this week I found two amazing Halloween-inspired DIY tutorials floating around the Interwebs and I have to share!

The first is from Ginger Snaps, and I’m so in love with this project. It’s super simple and extremely cost effective!

Ginger Snaps blog skull planter DIYHow adorable are these skull planters? I love that she even thought to add a plant in the eye socket! Amazing! I can’t wait to make a few of my own.

The second project I’m dying to try are these candles from Apartment Therapy!Apartment Therapy Halloween Candle DIYI love how simple they are and that they can be personalized to match any Halloween style and decor. I think I’m going to try some black and white ones. I especially love that tall skinny skeleton candle!

I only have two favorites this month, but I’d love to hear your suggestions for simple, understated Halloween decor! Spill in the comments!

All the Colors of the Wind

Sometimes I feel like past me really did try to include ALL THE COLORS in my design decisions, but as I’m starting to pay more attention to overall room aesthetics and to be more purposeful in my design choices, I’ve found myself really trying to narrow down and focus my color palette.

All the Colors of the Wind | clarkuscat.wordpress.comWhen I first moved into this apartment, I was so excited by the prospect of paint and space that I went a little crazy buying ALL THE THINGS! I had a basic plan in mind, but I hadn’t really lived in the space and I didn’t stop to think about how various elements might play together in a space or as a cohesive whole. The color plan I began with was relatively successful, I think, but it certainly wasn’t (and still isn’t) the scheme I would have chosen today. Because of this, I’ve been working to refine and adjust a few of the choices I made the summer before last when planning for my apartment.

Here’s the basic color scheme I started with:All the Colors of the Wind | clarkuscat.wordpress.comPretty neutral, nothing too egregious. But, not great either. While I was shopping for things, I fell in love with these white curtains at Target. I had to have at least one in my apartment no matter what. So, I ended up buying one panel and a bright green panel to go behind (to help the pretty lace stand out and to provide a bit more privacy since I planned to hang the curtain in my bedroom window). Overall, not a horrible decision, but after spicing up my bedroom wall, I realized that curtain just wasn’t working anymore. The lace was too much pattern with the duvet and the wall, and the green just seemed wrong somehow – It used to be a nice pop on that wall, but after the wall became the pop, the green just seemed out of place. It was too much, too busy, and it needed to go. So, I ordered several curtains from Target (with some birthday money from a friend of mine) and settled on a nice woven gray one (check back next week for a peek at all the curtains I tried).

This curtain decision left my color palette mostly the same, but a tiny bit different.All the Colors of the Wind | clarkuscat.wordpress.comI’m thinking the next color to go might be that rust color. I loved my living room curtains (you can see a peek of them in this post about halfway down) when I first put them up, and I do still love the curtains on their own. Yet, after living with them for a year, something about the floral panels isn’t playing nicely with the chair I have, and the rust is an accent pulled from those floral panels. I’m thinking a change may be in order, and I’m thinking this may be a great place to include the discarded lace bedroom curtain that I love so much. It’ll be airy and brighter in the living room, and the subtlety of the lace should play more cooperatively with the pattern on my chair.

So, while this post is devoid of any major updates or changes, it is full of baby steps in the right direction for my home. Sometimes, I get overly excited about pieces that just don’t work in my space, and sometimes my tastes and preferences change over time. I used to feel like changing out elements of my decor was a waste of money and that I needed to get it perfectly right the first time, but I’m starting to realize that trial and error and living with options for a few days really ensures that I’m happy with the design decisions I make in the long run. I’m trying to take some of the pressure off as I work to make my apartment my favorite place to be.

Have any of you struggled with past design decisions you’ve made? How do you work to stay motivated in the face of past decisions you no longer love?

If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits

As I was thinking through my specific needs for my hall entryway after last week’s post, I realized that one of the biggest problems I have is my shoes. I mentioned that I wanted some storage in this area as well as a designated place to leave my wet/dirty shoes when I come in from outside, and I decided that some kind of closed-off shoe cabinet was the way to go. If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.comNot exactly a pretty sight.

The good news is: a shoe cabinet will not only give me a place to store those dirty shoes and to get them out of sight, but it can also serve as a small console table. Two birds: one stone.

So I headed to the Interwebs again – it’s one of my favorite places – and located two great options (both from IKEA).

The first is the IKEA Trones Shoe Storage Cabinet (for $39.99). I liked this option because it’s so slender. One of my biggest worries is that because this hall is so narrow already, adding any furniture pieces might make it feel overly cluttered or congested or, heaven forbid, smaller. This cabinet also clearly has plenty of space for lots of shoes and it’s re-arrangeable which is a fun feature. Each of those three compartments is separate and can be moved around however you want. Unfortunately for me, I’d have to hang this cabinet vertical as it’s shown and I wasn’t thrilled about how tall it was or about losing some of the storage if I only hung two units. I also didn’t particularly like the plastic look of this cabinet. I’m sure it would be easy to clean, but the material said more “garage” than “pleasant entry hall” to me.If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Next, I came across the IKEA Bissa Shoe Cabinet which for only $24.99 seemed like a great option! I love the brown-black finish of the cabinet which ties in nicely with the brown-black IKEA bookshelves I have in my living room, and the amount of storage this little guy provides is amazing considering how short it is. The only thing that has stopped me from jumping forward with the purchase is that this guy is significantly deeper than I was planning on. In order to have so much storage, there’s space for two rows of shoes inside each of those compartment, but that almost doubles the depth of the Bissa compared to the Trones cabinet. Bummer.If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.comWhile mulling over these options, I decided that I needed to see the spacing of a cabinet like this in the hallway to decide if this is really what I want. So, I grabbed my handy dandy blue tape and took to measuring. The Bissa cabinet that I love is 11 inches deep and 19 inches wide, so I measured out those lengths and made a little blue tape box.

If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.comIf the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.comThe other major concern I had with the depth of this cabinet was that it would interfere with my ability to open the closet door that would be immediately across from it. To make sure it wouldn’t be an annoying problem, I opened the closet door after taping to get a sense of the clearance I’d have. This is a closet I use all the time - it’s my pantry – so I definitely don’t want anything at all obstructive of the door or my ability to stand in front of the closet while pondering the merits of eating cheerios for dinner for the third night in a row.If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.comIt looked like plenty of space, but, just to be sure, I found this little set of plastic drawers that just happened to be 11in wide to test the theory more concretely.If the Shoe (Cabinet) Fits | clarkuscat.wordpress.comThankfully the door opens perfectly, and there remains plenty of space for my contemplation of poor health choices. I think I’m going to live with the tape and the drawers for a few days before making a final decision to purchase the Bissa, but it’s looking pretty good right about now.3-TapeAnyone else have tight spaces in your home that make it difficult to arrange furniture without hindering daily activities? Anybody else working on overhauling an entryway? Tell me all about it.

The Room That Isn’t a Room At All

Now that my bedroom updates have come to a halt (thank you, elusive headboard…), I’ve decided to turn my attention to my front hallway. This area isn’t necessarily a room, but it’s (obviously) the most trafficked area of my apartment. Here’s where it started when I moved in:

Kitchen and Hall | clarkuscat.wordpress.comUnfortunately, I don’t have a picture of just the hall from move in, but that space with the door is pretty much the whole thing. Awesome, no? Basically, the area has one front door, one opening to the kitchen, two closet doors (they’re on the wall on the very left of this photo, but you can’t see them because of the angle), one light switch, a beautiful gray electrical panel, and some seriously amazing laminate tile. The space has pretty much looked like this for the past year aside from the addition of a few wall hooks, but I have some big plans for it.

Because I’m renting, there’s nothing I can do about the electrical panel, the laminate, or the look of the front door, yet my plans for this small space are to make it: 1. more functional and 2. more beautiful.

I hopped around the Interwebs and Pinterest for a little while, and found these four wonderful entryways that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about!

Hallway Inspiration 2 |clarkuscat.wordpress.com

Photo Sources: decorpad.com (L) & apartmenttherapy.com (R)

Hallway Inspiration 1 |clarkuscat.wordpress.com

Photo Sources: thatcutesortofsouthern.tumblr.com (L) & littleemmaenglishhome.blogspot.com (R)

My specific goals for my hallway are to:

1. add some storage (for shoes, keys, umbrellas, etc.) – I’d love a designated space to drop mail, my big computer bag (that I carry every day), wet/dirty shoes (so I don’t track things on my very light carpet), my keys, headphones, etc. I’m also hoping to try my hand at styling a vignette, so I’m thinking a console table of some sort might be a good option for this space. I’m envisioning using the wall space to my advantage as much as possible since that really is the only kind of space this area has.

2. add some personality (because right now the whole space is rocking rental bland) – I’m thinking something is going to happen to those walls. I’m not sure if it will be paint (maybe in gray to help hide that ugly electrical panel) or another Sharpie adventure. I love the idea of adding a graphic wall pattern to the main living space of my apartment (aka any room but the bedroom), but I’m also a little worried something bold and graphic might be too overwhelming for this tiny hallway.

3. (potentially) add a rug to eliminate the slippery floor danger (when it’s rainy/snowy) – I’m pretty prone to slipping and sliding everywhere in the winter. I blame it on the Florida in me, so I’d love to minimize the danger of falling in my home by having something with some texture to grip my shoes when I come in from rain, snow, sleet, or whatever the heck else the Midwest decides to throw at us in the future. I originally thought something fun and punchy on the floor might be a good way to inject some much needed personality into this space, but the tile is actually a bit busy in and of itself (especially if I do decide to go punchy on the walls), so I think I’ll be better off with something a little more subdued on the floor. Maybe a jute indoor/outdoor rug?

4. dress up my rental front door a bit – I’m thinking some kind of frame, etc. over the peephole ala Friends – You know, like this:

source: amazon.com

source: amazon.com

What do you think? Should I go bold on the walls or bold on the floor? Anyone know of a source for a great durable hallway rug or an awesome yellow picture frame?

Still Runnin’ Runnin’

Eventually I’ll run (ha) out of song lyrics for the titles of these posts. Maybe.

I’m still working on my Beginning Running Routine. I had to delay starting the actual plan I set up for myself until this week because of travel, coming back home, the start of a new semester, and my parents’ visit, so I’m just working on Week 1 now.

Runnin | clarkuscat.wordpress.comFor those of you who are more visual learners, here’s the plan I’m following:

4-WEEK BEGINNER’S PROGRAM

http://shape.com

DAY

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

MONDAY

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 5 minutes

TUESDAY

Off

Off

Off

Off

WEDNESDAY

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 5 minutes

THURSDAY

Off

Off

Off

Off

FRIDAY

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 1 minute

Jog 30 seconds

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 5 minutes

Walk 5 minutes

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 30 seconds

Jog 1 minute

Walk 5 minutes

SATURDAY

Off

Off

Off

Off

SUNDAY

Off

Off

Off

Off

It’s adapted from a plan I found on shape.com, but it stays pretty faithful to their guidelines. I felt that was important so I did this the right way and didn’t end up hurting myself in the process of attempting to be healthy.

Runnin |clarkuscat.wordpress.comSo far, I’m feeling pretty good about the Week 1 cycles. I don’t feel overwhelmed, and the exercises actually seem pretty manageable. I do break a sweat, but I think that’s more from the Midwest heat than the strenuous exercise. I’ll be excited to move up to a bit longer session come Week 3.

I’m also thinking about doing a post on various iPhone interval timers I’ve tried. I’m still looking for the perfect one, but I’ve tested quite a few. Anybody out there have suggestions for interval timer apps? Ideally, I’d like to find one that lets me add my own series of timed exercises and lets me save various sets as separate sessions, but I have yet to find one that lets me do both of those. The hunt shall continue.

 

Happy (Belated) Labor Day!

I’m just dropping in to apologize for skipping out on my usual Friday post this week. My bad, you guys, totally my bad.

Thursday happened to be my birthday, and my parents were in town all weekend to celebrate with me! Yay parents! That’s when you know you’re getting old, right? When your parents coming to visit for a whole weekend is legitimately the best way you can think of to spend your birthday weekend. With three brothers, I never really had a lot of time with just my parents and me growing up, so a whole weekend with just the three of us was pretty much perfect.

They also brought the Clarkuscat back from his summer vacation! And, to top it all off, Timehop (Do you all timehop – yes, I just used that as a verb? I’m trying to decide if I like it or if it just annoys me….) alerted me to the fact that precisely three years ago on this very weekend that just past, I brought the tiny, tiny 5-week-old Clarkuscat home with me for the first time!

3-Year Anniversary | clarkuscat.wordpress.comWasn’t he just adorable?

In other words, this weekend was wonderful for several reasons, and in all the commotion, I had absolutely zero time for blogging. But, never fear, I’ll have a real post for you all on Friday!