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lifestyle

The Living Room Saga – Part 2

If you’ve been visiting my blog for long enough you know I’ve been working to make our house more cute and cozy. I did a whole analysis of what was going wrong on this post and after putting on some though, I decided to take action.

In November I finally decided to buy a new table and chairs for our dining corner. The table was easy! Most tables from regular furniture stores are way too large for our space. We narrowed the search in just two stores, Structube and Ikea, the only ones that had smaller sizes. After a bit of consideration between a rectangular or round table, we opted by the Docksta from Ikea and we love it, it fits well in the space and it’s very neutral. I was not sure about the white at first but the table just disappears in the space. That’s exactly what I wanted.

Docksta Table from Ikea

But the chairs took a bit more effort… I wanted something delicate and modern at the same time. After getting to the conclusion that upholstery was the way to go, I visited many stores and check dozens of models. It had to be compact, light and allow me to create a fabric cover (I’m planning to sew them in the future). We finally opted by the model Polly from Structube in light grey.

Polly chair from Structube

Structube has amazing products but since the pandemic they’ve been facing some very slow deliveries. I was aware things could take longer but it was a lot… We ordered in November and received in March.

All the wait was worthy!

Notice below how our “dining corner” is so compact. The table and chairs fit perfectly and the set doesn’t look bulky. I can’t believe we finally have four chairs and it doesn’t feel it’s out of proportion. We definitely need to pull the table to use that chair in the corner but this just happens when we have visits, so no problem at all.

I’m specially happy about the metallic finish of the legs, the brass tone is very subtle and makes a nice contrast with the grey fabric. I also really like how the light grey goes well with the darker color of my sofa. Having a neutral base was really important and I like the contrast of the cool furniture with the warm tones of the house.

Spring is here and I’m happy to see the sun coming in through our new curtains. They made a huge difference and the room looks way bigger. The linen curtains made everything more cozy and since we are not allowed to make large holes in the walls, we used a pressure rod.

The wooden coffee table was a present from one of our friends and I love to keep it decorated and change the objects from time to time. It really helped organize the structure of the space. With more beautiful things to look up, there is less attention to the carpet. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore.

In the pictures above you can see the two pillow covers I knitted last winter (the gray and the graphite ones). After finishing, I simply stitched my work to some pre-made cover from Ikea and it looks awesome. The crochet napkin on the table is also my work.

I decided to always keep something over the accent chairs to help blending the orange color with the rest of the room. I crocheted this throw (it’s not ready yet!) and combined with a lumbar pillow, it makes a nice set.

The side table used to be green and I painted with white and brass spray, it looks way better and it’s not fighting with the rest of the furniture anymore. I noticed flowers and plants with round edges goes better with this decoration. Sharp and pointy ends fell more tropical and casual and it doesn’t give the cozy effect I’m aiming for. During the spring I’m using these hydrangeas from Pottery Barn, but I might change when the summer arrives.

My idea is to keep the neutral base and start changing the colorful pillow covers according to the seasons or events. Did I mentioned I started designing fabrics? I’m developing my very first pattern collection and it’s inspired by the movie Gosford Park. My idea is to print and sew covers for the cushions and also print some art for the walls above the sofa. I also thought about some textiles for the table, like a table runner or even a table cloth. Keep one eye on my portfolio for new illustrations and patterns.

Did you like the progress? Let me know in the comments!

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lifestyle

The basement make up: Part 2

Do you get upset at your house when you get back from vacations? I usually love coming back home, but I went to visit some relatives for a few days and when I got back, I found my house dark and sad. That can’t be good!

I feel house decoration is always an ongoing project. Especially if you are renting and have a tight budget. How can you make it cute and cozy without spending a ton?

I started moving some furniture in the living room. Then we decided to move some things in the kitchen as well. The basement got loaded with random things and I thought, enough is enough.

Here is my new studio / sewing room. I got this machine just before the pandemic but so far I just made face masks. I want to make a quilt for my bedroom and some clothes for me, so it will be good to be able to move around the table.

The white shelves behind the desk have been traveling around the house. They started at the studio, moved to the kitchen and now they are back to the studio. I think it looks good here. All my art supplies are now in boxes and the mess is finally hidden. The clothes rack will be used to dry projects or hang works in progress.

A few details to make everything neat. I added cute lamps to the clothes rack and re-use some baskets as storage for my yarn. The plant behind the sewing machine hides the electric cables. White cardboard boxes hide most of my art supplies and work as “vertical drawers”. And I finally got a place for my brushes and they are not spread all around anymore.

The gym is still there, on the opposite side. The main change was this white curtain to hide the furnace (it’s actually a large table cloth hanging from the ceiling). I’m still thinking what to do about the floors, but that’s ok for now.

Nowadays I rarely use this computer, so I decided to make a vertical station . It looks neat and we can watch Netflix from the treadmill. My old framed paintings and canvas are hidden behind the bamboo divider and some of our books are now on those shelves.

Here is a panoramic of the whole space. It was a battle but I think it’s done for now. If you don’t remember how it looked like before, please check The basement make up: Part 1

I still would like to cover some walls with wallpaper or fabric and hide the floors a bit more but the other parts of the house need some attention and I have my illustration projects to work on. I’m happy for now. What do you think? Leave me a message in the comments!

Like this post? Share it! 🙂

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lifestyle

Corona life

Hi! I’m sorry it’s been a while since last time I posted. How much things changed in just one month! Last post I was planning to sew a quilt, organizing things for my family visit and excited about new projects. In just few weeks I lost my job, all travel is suspended and I’m in saving mode now, trying to work on projects with materials I already have. No prospect of visits, not going out. Just waiting quietly at home for all this to pass and thinking I’m lucky because I have a great house, EI will cover me for a while and I have lots I can do.

I love my cozy house

I cannot avoid feeling a bit depressed about the whole pandemic situation, but let’s talk about fun stuff: what was done this last 4 weeks.

The basement upgrade – few updates

Before all corona crisis I was able to go to Ikea and buy a few boxes and other things to organize my basement. Take a look on these adorable boxes they had.

I love my new boxes, they are so cute!

I know I’m still hoarding so many art supplies but I’ll try to slowly use my art materials or give them away. We will see. I have extra time and I hope to feel inspired again.

Still there is too much information!

I thought about stapling some fabric behind the shelves to cover the computer cables, make some curtains for the base shelf and maybe add some linen to the drawers on the left, I don’t like how everything is exposed. I’m still thinking about solutions.

Speaking about hiding ugly stuff, I’m quite glad about the new visual behind the sofa. I used 3 blinds from Ikea and now you cannot see the laundry from the office. It feels more cozy and now I also have some space to hide extra shoes behind the couch. Take a look:

The laundry totally visible before
Ikea cheap blinds now hide the laundry
And I got some room to hide shoes and other stuff behind the sofa

The last upgrade I did in the basement was to find a box with some pieces of wood floor. I simply spread around an old rug and it looks like I have new floor!

I had just 12 pieces of wood, so that’s all I could do but it looks cool!

Later I’ll add more pictures to the walls, I have tons. So far so good! A bit at a time.

Small traditional crochet table runner

I got a fine thread the other day just for fun and I actually loved! I didn’t start too ambitious, I found a pattern online for a table runner made with squares so I tried a few squares just to see how the thread works

Kinda wonky beginning

I was not sure how this was going to turn out but I was persistent and decided to keep working. What a surprise! I loved it! I like the feeling of working small stitches and also the delicate result. After a few hours of work this is what I got:

I love it! Can’t wait to get more thread and make many new pieces. I want to add crochet on everything now, towels, dishcloths, make a cover for my bed, I’m obsessed with the tiny delicate patterns. Its fun and easy, it just requires a bit of patience. However I got a huge pain in my arm and I need to be careful with my posture when I’m working. But isn’t it worth it?

Cooking life

I also did a ton of cooking during the last weeks, some are not so photogenic but it’s been fun to cook with no pressure (I have lots of time now that I’m unemployed). My husband said he is very happy with this “pandemic food”. We need to find some reason to laugh, right? Here are some highlights.

A delicious trout with vegetables and butter/lemon sauce
This super cute home made burgers in a home made bun

There was lots of other food I did, like cakes, salads, stews and even a moussaka but there were not so pretty on the picture (although they were delicious). Food has been just fine!

The dance lounge

Before the whole corona crisis I was planning to create an Arabic lounge downstairs for some of my guests. It would be an extra guest bedroom but stylish and fun. Anyways those plans are over for now. But why leave the space totally empty? I found some old coloured lamps and some Christmas lights and voila, now we have a dance lounge to enjoy during the isolation time.

It’s still messy but it’s fun!

So that’s how is how things are here at home. I’m sad about our cancelled plans, worried about vulnerable people and not very optimistic about the near future. But life goes on. I’m working on a crochet blanket and if I get motivated again I’ll paint the pictures I’ve been planning for my kitchen and bedroom for a long time. Keep in touch and stay healthy and safe. Good luck for all of us!

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lifestyle

The basement make up: Part 1

This week I finally started to organize my basement. I couldn’t finish, it will take me several weeks. Here is some before and “during” the changes. I cannot call “before and after” since it’s still a huge mess!

Before
During (aka after)

I finally bought my sewing machine!! I’m so happy. It’s exactly the one I had back in Brazil and it’s just great and cute. Take a look:

I can’t wait to use it!

My goals were open some space in my desk for the sewing machine and transform one of my monitors in a “tv” for the treadmill. The monitor works amazing and now I can watch Netflix and hear the voices and music even with the noise of the treadmill running.

Yey!

So far I squeezed most of my art supplies in that wood crate but I couldn’t find a solution for my papers. I like the big crate to hide everything, I wish I had a cabinet with doors but that’s better than nothing. Look how was my office space before:

So many supplies

It was larger and brighter but my desk was taken with both monitors and notice so many supplies on the shelves. A bit overwhelming! Also my CPU was on the floor, what always bothered me. Anyways, the new solution might be a bit darker but so far I’m happy about having a monitor for the treadmill and having some space for my sewing machine. With time I’ll add some frames on the walls and hopefully things will look more happy.

So that’s it for today! Thanks for reading and I’ll keep posting.

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lifestyle

My grey hair journey

It’s been 1 year since I died my hair for the last time. It all started in December 2018, I decided new year = new hair and spent the whole 2019 far away from dying, except for some toner around May/June. I have tons of curly hair and it takes forever to grow. Patience has been my last name. Check my progress.

January 2019 (1 month)
February 2019 (2 months)
April 2019 (4 months)

Until the 3rd month it was relatively easy to hide the roots with sprays and styling. I used a ton of L’Oréal root cover up and the similar spray from Schwarzkopf. After that, the area I needed to spray started to be too large. The spray started to look very dull and opaque. To make it worse, oxidation made the dyed part of the hair looks orange, very dried and unruly. From April to July I used a toner from L’Oréal called Age Perfect but after 3 applications it started to stain my hair (a very weird purple undertone). I stopped and most of the toner was washed out but I hated myself with the 2 colors/texture hair.

August 2019 (8 months)
August – a radical cut

Cutting the hair was a tough decision but I couldn’t look at myself anymore. Although my hairdresser is fabulous, he definitely took much more than necessary here. I got shocked (as well as all my family) but there was nothing to do. Hair grows after all.

October 2019 (10 months)
December 2019 (12 months)
January 2020 (13 months)

I’m finally starting to feel feminine again and I totally miss my huge curly fluffy hair. I don’t miss the color so much and I’m happy my hair is much healthier. The grey is actually cool and goes well with my skin. Some days I feel I look pale and old, but most days are fine and I’m overall happy. I just miss the volume around my head. I believe the summer it will be very nice again.

I joined a support group on Facebook and check hundreds of pictures for grey journey on internet. Since the beginning I really wanted to go cold turkey and simply let grow. I got super jealous of all those girls with amazing grombre everywhere on Instagram. But I chopped. So today I was wondering why I had to chop. Then decided to take a look on my pictures, because I miss my hair so much. But seriously, look at these pictures:

Compare the texture of the new hair with the old damaged hair
Again check the frizz on the dyed part compared to the new hair

That was a nightmare of frizz! It was horrible damaged and I remember I was using lots of special creams and blue shampoo and purple shampoo and restoration máscaras and nothing could repair my hair. So I calm myself again. It had to be cut.

Lately I straightened a few times to avoid the look “curly grandma”. I like a lot but I don’t do it everyday.

Better grey than burned!

Anyways so this is my hair year so far. It’s not easy and most of the times it’s not fun at all. Many people compliment the color but I believe some people just notice because it’s very different. I still don’t think I can have a fair judgement since the length of the hair is still so different then when I started. I can’t wait to have long hair again.

Have you been to a major hair transition? Leave a comment! And thanks for reading!

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lifestyle

Updated decor and some recipes

Yesterday I put away all my Christmas decorations and since I was in the mood, I changed a few things around the house. Check it out.

During Christmas you come in and see our fun cute socks and I was using this cabinet as a sideboard. Here is another angle:

We never found the garland for the stairs as we wanted (I wanted some very fluffy ones). I also forgot to buy some red candles and didn’t find nice / affordable Christmas pillows. No problem! Our biggest challenge here is that our dining table was in the kitchen.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole table but there it is on the left of the picture. The good things about having the table there is that it’s wood floor and there are lots of space.

And there was space for the Christmas tree so it was all fine! We made some hand painted ornaments, like the cover of this post, it was fun! But I had to offer dinner for guests in the kitchen.

So yesterday I changed a bit. All Christmas is gone and this is the new deal:

The orange chairs are in the window and the sideboard became an extension of our tv rack. We are not using the balcony until the summer anyways, so I like the chairs there now. Definitely would love to put an area rug and curtains, also I’ll add a few things on the sideboard in the future.

Dining table is now squeezed a bit but it fits! Now I feel the chairs are way too mismatched, so maybe I’ll buy another one to match the 3 vintage ones and put the Ikea dark chair in another place. Maybe I’ll also paint all of them the same color, not sure yet. And now in the living room not sure if I’ll keep this green.

Dining room is a bit tight but at least it’s integrated in the living room. The worst aspect is the carpet, but this is a rented house and there’s not much to do about it.

Since that kitchen side was completely empty, I tried to fill it in, that’s what I got:

The white canvas will become paintings, I’ll do some botanical illustration. This table is not staying, I’m planning to get a small wood kitchen island in the future, if we get used to this layout. Those shelves were downstairs with my art supplies (that now are all over the basement!). I’ll think about the basement next week.

My simple hack for keeping the plates still: I used this thick double sided tape. If I like the new set up I’ll cut a small piece of wood and attach to the shelf to make it safer.

During Christmas season I didn’t cook a lot but I got a simple iron cast pan, look at this frittata, I loved it

I also found a ton of great Brazilian ingredients at Minas Steakhouse (their store is great!) so here is “dried meat in the pumpkin”. I even cook some home made requeijão (a Brazilian spread cheese). Both recipes were successful here at home.

And last but not least , one of our visits brought us flowers and in the last days I was keeping beside the oven and I loved, look how cute

Then I was checking kitchens I like in Pinterest and they all have an utensil holder with lots of nice wooden spoons exactly on that place, so I guess I’ll adopt a nice cute thing on the side of the oven always.

And that’s it for today! Tomorrow I’m back to work and our classes start this Saturday, so that means I’ll be busy again. I hope I can manage to still post from time to time. Thanks for reading!

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lifestyle

Happy New Decade

I’m sorry I disappeared in 2019.

Since last month I’ve been trying to take better care of myself. I’m taking vitamins everyday, bought some nice creams, order an anti wrinkle sticker (!), got a membership at the gym and I’m trying to cook more at home and eat good food.

2019 was an year of changes. I can highlight 3 major changes in my life:

  • I got married 🙂
  • I got a big promotion at work
  • I moved to a townhouse

There was also a ton of other things that happened (some not as fun as these three above). I got very very busy and the truth is, by November I was exhausted. So now I’m trying to go a bit slower.

From all things, I believe going from part time to full time had the biggest impact on my routine. The second semester simply disappeared in my struggle to get used to my new duties. I’m loving my job, I manage 3 art studios in the city and it’s great. But I think just now, about 6 months later, I’m starting to breathe and feel I can do more than just work and rest.

So here is this post. I’m not back to drawing and I’m not producing any art. I help other people produce art, I help other people teach art. So this is also cool. And for now I’m just taking care of myself.

I wish a 2020 calm, quiet and manageable. Happy New Year!

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lifestyle

Is it time for change?

It’s been a long time I don’t update my blog and social media. So much happened since the beginning of 2019. My personal life took over and there was so much to do and deal with. I feel this is a year of many changes for me, and I feel I want to write about it.

Many years ago, I had a personal blog where I was very open about everything. I spoke about my daily life, my ideas, how I was doing at university, what kind of movies I liked and about the books I was reading. The name was something like “Very Cool!”. I still remember the black background with light grey font. It was mostly text — lots of it! Very rarely I would post screenshots of movies, and just once I posted a few drawings I made during a trip in Brazil countryside.

As the years passed, I felt less comfortable speaking about my personal life and started focusing more in cultural themes. From 2005 to 2010 I wrote a cute little blog called “the skilled cat”, where I published books and movies reviews with a star rating system. I loved the discussions in the comment session and for a while I had lots of fun.

Slowly, social media took over and stop having my own online corner.

I started posting more in social media but I never completely abandoned the idea of having a blog. After “the skilled cat” I opened blogs about cooking, crafts and finally about art and creative process.

Lately I feel speaking about art is not enough. I miss writing about everything, being personal, and having an online space I can use as my cute little corner. Sometimes I want to speak about bread, plants, the neighbourhood, the weather, the stars… Or even make up, my house, and of course, books and movies, why not?

So I decided to have a personal blog again. An online space to be free, have a cup of coffee and simply speak about everything. No defined themes, no agenda, no goals. Just enjoy the space, write and draw.

So welcome and thank you for your visit, stop by anytime.

Jonara