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Be My Boucherouite

February 21, 2017   //  Posted in: Decor, Flooring   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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We took a week-long vacation in Casablanca, Morocco for a wedding – that was more than 4 years ago – and ever since I’ve been searching for my own moroccan area rug inspired directly by the ones we had adorning our hotel room.

The Moroccan influence was just kicking off in the states at the time, but prices on quality vintage products quickly climbed, climbed, climbed as the demand increased. Rugs priced out of my range quickly on ebay, and were priced much too high by US/Canadian/Australian resellers trying to make a quick buck off the boucherouites, beni ouarain, and azilal rugs and other vintage home textiles. Sourcing the larger sized rugs, which are hard enough to find in good condition, became like hunting for the golden ticket. Mass production seemed to take over, with manufacturers like West Elm and NuLoom producing designs intended to mimic the patterns and colors the design community was demanding, but I’ve looked at many of those, read reviews, and decided against in hopes that I’d eventually find something authentic.

When our friends returned to Morocco last year I asked them to search, sending them off with general size guidelines and promises to PayPal them cash as fast as could be, but even within local souks and with their plethora of connections, these friends had a hard time finding exactly what we were looking for – a few cool options, but not quite the coloring or scale I wanted. I continued my search online.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon Bazaarliving.com by chance–I think via Instagram–and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical about buying overseas from a website that wasn’t mainstream, but I took a chance. The shop, which is based in Marrakech, London and Barcelona, has a limited inventory of unique, authentic rugs available for sale, but the products listed were well-photographed, well-described, and priced affordably compared to all other sources I’ve been monitoring. This was exciting! Many of the rugs were larger in scale too, which is what I wanted – here’s the listing for one I chose. Shortly after I placed my order I received an email directly from a guy named Marc confirming that they received my order, and he sent me the tracking info for my package – totally at ease.

Good things come in small packages; my wedding dress (j.crew via ebay) arrived in a box that was smaller than a toaster (yes, really), and I was just as surprised when the 4.5′ x 7.5′ vintage rug showed up on our porch wrapped into a bundle the size of my torso.

A vintage moroccan rug bundled in the mail.

Good packing job, Marc.

A vintage moroccan rug bundled in the mail.

The price of the rug was £310.00 or ~$375 USD + shipping, and… total heart-eyes. Perfectly imperfect, which is what you expect with a “rag rug” made of scrap fibers hand-woven into an intricate, free flowing and casually asymmetrical pattern.

Our new-to-us vintage moroccan boucherouite rug from bazaarliving.com

I’ve rotated it around into different spots in our house to see where it works best; it’s definitely at home in the bedroom, in a low-traffic spot that I still intend to accessorize with new dressers and a killer floor lamp, but until I get that space adorned it lives in front of our fireplace, serving as a soft little play area for the kids.

Our new-to-us vintage moroccan boucherouite rug from bazaarliving.com

The hunt is real, but if you’re also looking for a moroccan rug I definitely recommend looking at bazaarliving.com, as well as ebay (worth noting that US-based and well-respected sfgirlbybay has her own ebay storefront of boucherouites too). The Etsy shop BOUCHEROUITE was also one I kept a close eye on.

P.S. Here’s a quick centimeter to inches conversion tool.

Lots of Reads

February 16, 2017   //  Posted in: DIY Network Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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For awhile now I’ve been meaning to assemble a list of links so you can check out the articles I’ve been writing for other publications. A few thousand new visitors still find their way to this blog every day, to which I say “hey dudes, I write a lot over on DIY Network which is why there are fewer and fewer posts here.” I’m still all kinds of busy in the blogosphere, I promise.

Busy as I was, I took a few months hiatus from writing late last year to regroup, focus on family and the holidays, and to give myself a chance to get excited about writing again. It worked. I’m rested and rejuvenated and was ready to dive back in right after New Years. Here are a handful of articles and galleries that you can check out:

For when you’re trying to keep the kids entertained:

How to host a painting party for a group of kids. This was lots of fun, and yes we actually hosted the party as a way to validate the concept and entertain our troops. We’re totally planning another shindig.

Kid-friendly stamps made using cut branches and things like brad nails and push pins.

Hosting an indoor movie night. (Daring varieties of popcorn, big screens, comfy seating.)

Easy appetizers (5 ingredients or less!). This was originally a football inspired post, but easy snacks are a must every weekend if you’re an entertaining household.

For when you’ve caught the spring cleaning bug:

If your tool area/shed/garage is a mess, I think you’ll find this post on garage organization pretty handy.

How to clean a fabric headboard. Because be honest – when there are 5,000 things that need to be cleaned in your home, the headboard is probably not high on your list. This is a cold + flu season must-read!

The best knife rack I ever made for $0 using a chunk of scrap 1×3, plus a lazy refrigerator and other ideas bundled as organizational tips for the kitchen.

Rainbow knifes in a DIY knife rack using a piece of scrap wood.

How to clean your coffee maker. Our Keurig was so gross.

Natural ways to keep pests out of your home.

Get those rolls of gift wrap, and stack of gift bags stored away. (One of two photo galleries I prepared for HGTV.)

For those eager to get your garden started:

Herbs, herbs, herbs. (I wore myself out on pesto this year, we just finished our last freezer baggie of it last week. I am officially ready to pause until we can make it fresh again mid-summer.)

Stone garden makers. Ours have held up great, BTW.

For those interested in remodeling and decorating:

How you too can have The Smartest Door On the Block.

What you actually need to consider if you want a gas fireplace. (I overviewed our experience upgrading to one right here, for related reads.)

I can’t even tell you how many frames I’ve made myself in the last few years. Here’s how you can make your own rustic picture frame.

Decorating using postcards (namely, using the awesome WPA-inspired National Park postcard series).

WPA-inspired postcards layered under glass as desktop decor.

10 uses for icicle lights after the holiday season! (Another HGTV gallery!)

When the weather is lame… yarn bomb all of the things.

For your kitchen makeover, when to hire out, and when to consider DIY.

Where to shop for table legs! A seriously good round-up that looks beyond some of the ordinary go-to shops.

And a few other posts that I think you’d like, and might want to pin/bookmark:

How to create a baby photo series. Several of you have asked me directly if I’m doing a photo series with Sam. I may not be monitoring the milestones as closely this time around, but have been diligent enough so far to snap our weekly photos! He was born on a Sunday, so I aim for every Sunday. Below are a few… August, October, January, February. The similar series I created for his sister was my most worthwhile effort of all time. (I even made it into a hand-bound book.)

How to make your own baby photo series.

YES, you can make your own coffee creamer. Go wild.

BIG GAME BINGO. Seriously, a good, free game of Bingo can turn any non-football fan into an enthusiast. Marketed to appeal during “the big game” but honestly, good for every single football game you’ll watch all season.

A DIY Swedish Torch. Chainsaw required, but man, does that make campfires easy.

You’re Getting Very, Very Sleepy.

January 09, 2017   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, DIY, For the Kids   //  By: Emily   //  one response
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Much to my own surprise, I’ve done very little in the way of making my kid’s bedrooms photo-worthy, despite purchasing pretty nice furnishings and pinning inspiration images to my heart’s maternal desire.

Wallpapering the kids’ rooms is still a project on the table, but for now they are white-walled (with some framed art, cool lighting [including vintage treasures], plenty of toys, giant chalkboards). I had the best intentions of making Hattie’s nursery “the homiest” when she arrived home 3 years ago, when we knew whether to buy up stereotypical pink or blue accents. I vied for cushy area rugs and adorable handmade decor, whatever it took to amateurishly mimic a magazine-ready environment in which I could relax and rock and nurse and snuggle and blog happily while she napped. But then life hit, and she screamed a *lot* which was neither relaxing nor creativity-inducing, and my design desires were squashed/muted/forgotten about as I worked my hardest to survive the baby era. To this, I recommend you do all of the baby prep before the baby arrives! There was never even a mobile over her sweet crib! Poor kid, I’m making up for it now with loads of books and all of the Doc McStuffins paraphernalia I can find.

That’s why this little mobile came to be.

A colorful handmade beaded mobile for the baby's nursery.

I always meant to make a mobile for Hattie, and I had a second chance at making the room awesome when Sam arrived. The little man is ~6 months and is having a hell of a time adjusting to this bedtime thing, which is the other reason I made the mobile. We’ve pulled out all the stops including the white noise turtle, extra light jammies, extra warm sleep sack, etc., I won’t bore you with the trials surrounding the nocturnal baby, I’ll just show you this, which is maybe just distracting and colorful and gratifying enough to make him think happy and sleepy thoughts:

A colorful handmade beaded mobile for the baby's nursery.

Here’s what I used:

  • Needle + thread
  • Felted wool balls (~$6 for a bag of assorted sizes at our local big box craft shop)
  • Wooden beads (mostly natural wood, but because I’m resourceful I also snagged some painted beads, leftover from when I made a children’s abacus)
  • A long piece of white string (I had an excess of white candle wick rope, which is strong and heavier weight than embroidery thread; that’s an affiliate link but the only one in this post)
  • A 20″ piece of thin wood (what you see there isn’t a dowel, but a piece of oak spline leftover from when we installed our floors)
  • Drill with 1/16″ bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Ceiling hook

Assembly is a pinch: knot the thread, and string a strand of beads and balls over the needle. Assemble each colorful length through holes predrilled 2″ apart through the wooden crosspiece, and attach another felt ball to the top. Knot the string in place, and enjoy it dangling and spinning with the slightest tap.

A colorful handmade beaded mobile for the baby's nursery.

Ours hangs a safe distance above the mattress, and the white string that hoists it up to a hook on the ceiling can be shortened as the kid grows and grows.

After the crib is gone, it’ll make for a nice wall decoration. (Side note: Sheets are from Charley Harper for Land of Nodobsessed!)

A colorful handmade beaded mobile for the baby's nursery.

Sleepy time. Stay tuned for success rating.