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To be honest, it was satisfying to hear some of you tell us that you’d totally spend the $25 Row Boat Press moolah on yourselves (and not on others, you know, because it’s the right thing to do). If we were given the choice, it’d be a tough call too. But because our home is already adequately Row-Boat-ed (and we’ve already given a slew of their prints as gifts for new mommas, housewarmings and the like), we’re just relieved to know we don’t have to make that decision.

However, this is not the case for Leslie, the lucky dog winner of $25 to spend as she wishes in the Row Boat Press shop! She’d like to use the credit for her brother and his new wife – but, Leslie, (shhh) we won’t hold you to that.

Don’t forget, you can get our same limited edition I’ve Always Known It Was You print in grey + white right here, and get free shipping on all orders through this Friday, October 5th using the code YBHSHIPPING. Now, go get stuff!

Congrats again to Leslie, and mucho love to our pals Rick and Amber at Row Boat Press for hosting!

Above, Printsult via RBP.

  • leslie - October 3, 2012 - 8:36 AM

    YAY!!! I’m totally using this as an excuse to buy something for myself too though I also have several prints donning the walls from RBP.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 3, 2012 - 10:30 AM

    Congrats, Leslie! Happy shopping!ReplyCancel

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Remember when we picked out fabric swatches for our to-be-tweaked living room? We successfully used the white vinyl on that $2 chair, we’ve yet to make new pillows, and we waffled on the grey we chose for the reupholstering of the lovely chair. (But hey, we got 1 out of 3, and that ain’t bad.) The lovely chair is okay from afar, but up close, the brown nubby fabric was worn, pilled and outdated. And not in the cool, retro way; rather, in an old-timey, musty way:

We’re no longer sold on the pillow fabric (it’s a maybe), and since we shared the thick, grey canvas for the lovely chair, we ping ponged back and forth over neutral (for us, grey) or color (teal! green! yellow!). Because Scott needed a visual to decide – and because my indecision was enough to keep me awake at night – we took to our Pinterest boards. And (not so) funny enough, I’d been pinning color, color, color. Velvet color, too.

We wouldn’t be going as bold as I’d been pinning, but for the sake of making this difficult, I loaded a basket full of new swatches from Fabric.com in neutrals and colors. Then, we went to the Textile Discount Outlet (be still my heart!) and picked up a few more swatches. Again, in neutral blues and greys and colors. Then I grabbed 3 more swatches from West Elm while perusing the rugs – how I went from rugs to upholstery fabric, I’m still not sure. But after a handful of weeks collecting swatch after swatch, we had this:

You can see that we were leaning towards teals and yellows when it came to color (because Scott nixed my hot hot pink suggestion, ha!), and by now, we had a mix of durable canvas, vinyl and velvet. While we liked the idea of tough canvas, we didn’t like the idea of 100% cotton (it would stain too easily), and while the vinyl worked on our $2 chair, we thought it might be too hot/sticky on a whole chair.

This easily eliminated half of our choices, and we both warmed to the idea of velvet for several reasons: 1) it’s self healing to potential kitty claws (although they’re not much of furniture scratchers, so we should be okay), 2) it’s soft and cozy, 3) it’s a durable polyester, more resistant to spills and such, and 4) to be honest, it came in the most perfect shade of neutral-y, color-y yellow:

The winner? Dandelion from West Elm. Which, by the way, we never knew you could actually purchase fabric by the yard from West Elm (and we can only assume a slew of other big names, too, right?). It’s color, but it’s subtle. It’s also slightly mustard-y, an ode to the mid-century piece it is. We’d also like to sand down the wood frame – it’s pocked with worn patches and drink rings – and buff it with oil (if the wood is nice enough) or stain it a warm, dark walnut.

But the toughest part of this process is the wait. Yup, you can pick up fabric by the yard from West Elm, but it’s going to take a while. Because it’s a special order item shipped directly from the manufacturer, it could take up to 10 weeks. But good gracious, we’d already taken 2 months to settle on a color, so what’s a few more (we say with trepidation)?

How do you lean? Color or neutral?

Pins via Emily Henderson, Frankly Esoteric and The Handmade Home.

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 2, 2012 - 7:12 AM

    Ooo, I think that is just so sweet. I love it! I never knew you could order fabric from West Elm either! That’s something new to chew on. But 10 weeks? Yowza. Although we waited 12 for a couch once and while during the wait I was maybe complaining here and there. Maybe. (haha) Once it arrived, the wait was totally worth it and I realized how short 12 weeks, or 10 weeks for that matter, really is. As for leaning toward color or neutrals…oh dear, this comment is getting lengthy…I just discovered that although I shot “Color!” from the rooftops, I really do prefer it in small bouts. This chair. I can’t wait to see it!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - October 2, 2012 - 8:44 AM

    I can’t wait to see the finished product! I like a happy medium of color done in a soft shade. That yellow is perfection =)ReplyCancel

  • Sam - October 2, 2012 - 10:05 AM

    I’m headed to Chicago next weekend and Textile Discount Outlet is now on my agenda! My boyfriend thanks you in advance :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 2, 2012 - 10:07 AM

      Julia, we shout color from the rooftops too – but lately, we’ve been toning things down and allowing our art to be the standouts! In this case, we think the yellow really hits the nail on the head though.

      Carrie, us either! Ugh, just a few more weeks (er, months)…

      Sam, you will LOVE it. It’s awesome, just give yourself enough time! It’s madness in there, but in a good way.ReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci - October 2, 2012 - 12:30 PM

    West Elm fabric! No kidding?! I’m going to have to grab some swatches from them next time my couch is due for an upgrade (we got a cheap upholstery job and I’m envisioning needing new cushions in just a couple years–ouch!)
    But that’s so fantastic! I can see it being useful for hoarding a couple designs too, if you’re worried about them discontinuing a pattern ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - October 2, 2012 - 2:40 PM

    Love a nice velvety chair or couch. The yellow is pretty, it’s soft, like a baby chick color, maybe a bit darker. Good choice!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - October 3, 2012 - 1:11 PM

    oooh, I have a very similar chair I salvaged from my Grandma’s basement! I’ve chosen a very modern pattern for mine but still have yet to make the cushions. I can’t wait to see how the yellow turns out though!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 3, 2012 - 1:19 PM

    Chairs inherited from grandmas are the BEST.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy R - October 3, 2012 - 4:09 PM

    While I’m usually reading because of the doggy posts, this one was a great bonus! Went to the Textile Outlet today and found the perfect fabric for my dining chairs.Thanks so much for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 3, 2012 - 5:22 PM

    Wahoo! That’s awesome, Kathy!ReplyCancel

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We had so much fun globe trotting this past summer, that not only do we have a dusty badge of honor around this home, but we also lost a good, long battle with our dinos, Leonard and Mabel. See that empty plot of terrain?

We had some wonderful home-sitters during our travels, but while going over our checklist of things such as feed the cats and water the patio plants, we left out the memo for our dear terrarium, v.3. As our Instagram follower @sohappyhome said, perhaps the dinosaurs were an omen for its inevitable fate. Ah, touché.

In our defense, v.3 went strong for a full year. On the other hand, it was our third version of a similar plant + dino combo, so for v.4, we switched it up.

With the help of a few air plants and a cheery penguin from our patio planters, we started over yet again. This time, we went with something we hope can handle a bit more neglect than the usual houseplant – succulents! We picked up a trio of buds from our local florist Fleur, and re-potted our vase from scratch. (And to be honest, our current set up needed a good scrub down, as minerals from our watering was making it a bit hard to see inside.)

The very patient lady at Fleur told us to water just once a week; this we can handle. Kiwi the shop pup – and easily the tiniest, sweetest angel of a pooch – helped us pick out our bundle of succulents, which we likely couldn’t have done without her. Already, we’re off to a good start.

If you’re brave enough to follow our advice (although to be fair, we know how to make a decent terrarium by now, it’s simply the black thumb issue that’s getting in the way) here’s what you’ll need:

You only need about 1-2″ of drainage rocks, but we pushed ours (it’s actually aquarium gravel!) up along the side of the vase so it only appears deeper. It’s followed with a thin layer of charcoal and a good 4″ of cactus soil (again, it doesn’t look like 4″, due to the way we pushed up the rocks – our succulents are situated in the center of the vase at the deepest point). Remember to have fun and complete your look with dried billy buttons, toys and dried moss! Here’s a great step-by-step tutorial for building, care and maintenance.

Fingers crossed for round 4. Our penguin pal is surely better luck than a duo of battling dinos, right? And now that we’re up to v.4, we wonder, has anyone else kept a terrarium alive for a good, long run? What’s your secret?

PS: On another note, The Pet Shop is excited to announce our newest partnership with One Tail at a Time for October through December! See the details right here.

  • Kati from sohappyhome - October 1, 2012 - 10:08 AM

    Hey, thanks for the honorable mention. Here’s to hoping that the penguin isn’t a harbinger of a similar fate. Go Team Succulents!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 1, 2012 - 10:14 AM

    Kati, we can’t imagine a sweet little penguin being one to stir things up… famous last words, perhaps?ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - October 1, 2012 - 12:01 PM

    I collect milk glass and plant succulents in them along with building terrariums. For watering a spray bottle is key, though I strongly believe that some succulents I buy aren’t meant to live past a month.
    I’d also recommend African Violets for planting, I have one that is huge and thriving in a fish bowl. Also Ferns, they seem able to handle a little over watering.
    Good luck!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 2, 2012 - 10:05 AM

      Alexis, thank you for the tips! We haven’t tried African Violets, but you never know if we may have a v.5…ReplyCancel

  • krissy - October 1, 2012 - 12:08 PM

    I really appreciate these posts about the failed terrariums, I can’t seem to keep one alive either. It crushes my green-thumb soul a little every time I have to rebuild, so I just stopped, but these posts give me hope and inspiration not to give up. Thanks for the updates!ReplyCancel

  • Emma - October 1, 2012 - 1:07 PM

    Good luck! This is a great looking terrarium. I’ve had the same abysmal luck with terrariums (have lost two so far). I don’t understand why they are so much harder to sustain than regular potted plants. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the penguin.ReplyCancel

  • Amelia @ House Pretty - October 1, 2012 - 10:57 PM

    Love the penguin! I’ve had the hardest time keeping any plant alive, even succulents, since we moved into our house (nearly two years ago). I can’t seem to figure out where plants are happy, so I don’t dare try a terrarium. I’m happy to live vicariously through your photos :)ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 2, 2012 - 12:06 PM

    I’ve always wanted to do a terrarium, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I might just have to copy yours entirely, because I love everything about it! You can’t go wrong with succulents and billy balls, and penguins are my favorite. :) Thanks for the tips!ReplyCancel

  • [...] Three. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - March 15, 2013 - 1:22 PM

    This is my favorite terrarium, no joke! I’ve featured it on my blog (www.jadeandfern.com). I see the pingback already got here. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2013 - 1:45 PM

      Marlene, aw, thank you! And thanks for including us in your round-up!ReplyCancel

  • Inspired By: DIY Terrariums Jade and Fern - September 21, 2013 - 10:19 AM

    [...]  Three || Four || Five [...]ReplyCancel

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