May
28
2016
The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

We are a community of Makers here at TDC... wouldn't you say? Of course by 'we', I truly mean all of you - in addition to me! As it happens, a great many of you - hundreds and hundreds to be exact - contact me on a regular basis to ask where you can purchase ready made pieces of furniture or custom furniture because you aren't able to build, or simply don't prefer to. I know you will flip your lid and jump for joy when I share all of the juicy details about the exciting launch of RAW by AVE Home. Created specifically for the DIY'er and Designer who want high quality pieces for your own custom finishes.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

I have had the pleasure of getting to know a few of their pieces, on an intimate level, and the craftsmanship is nothing short of amazing. I have often complained of the difficulty of staining pine, and that is no joke - it is tough, especially if you are a beginner. But through the process of finishing this gorgeous table for outdoor use, I stumbled across a new technique that I will be sharing with you shortly and reaffirmed my belief that 90 percent of your staining success, involves sanding. The Jax Pedestal Table you see here, sitting so pretty, arrived in a state of flawless sanded bliss. It was so perfect in fact, that I didn't dare sand it any further and contemplated leaving it be entirely...

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

Alas... the weather and climate in Northern California don't really allow for that, so I chose the next best thing - a clear, waterproofing sealer with UV protection, and a light varnish suitable for marine use. The original state of this table made for the easiest most seamless finishing process I have ever experienced. The. End. Inclement weather not included of course, and that alone made for prolonged drying times and tricky timing in between sporadic spring rain and humidity.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

Delivery was fast, like lightning speed and the price points are marvelous. As you enjoy Memorial Day weekend here in the US, take a moment to check out their goods - shipping is free for the newest member of your household through June 3rd, so get clicking and start browsing. Based in beautiful New Orleans, all of the AVE Raw pieces are available for purchase online and it is a mighty fine collection of pieces at that.

May
24
2016
When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

Got pests and weeds? Ortho has you covered. Trust the Ortho® family of products to provide solutions to pest and weed problems in and around your home. Visit Ortho.com to learn more

Spring is truly the only season of the year when it is possible to enjoy our outdoor living space here in Northern California. The days are numbered and summer comes fast and hard before we have even had a chance to stop and smell the roses. Naturally, with weather that is only beginning to warm and intermittent rain, nature can spiral out of control around here and start to take over in some less than enjoyable ways.

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

There is nothing I like less than having an unexpected visitor of the biting or stinging variety show up to my party uninvited… And when they bring enough plus 1’s to start a party of their own – well that doesn’t make anyone feel much liking dancing or laughing and a restful afternoon is utterly out of the question.

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

If the parties of my youth were any indication, things can get ugly faster than you know what hit you… and despite what anyone tells you, nobody likes to cry at their own party. So what is a gal to do when your outdoor living space goes from 0 to no fun in a minute flat?

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

Lucky for us, we don’t have to suffer pesky bugs, prickly weeds or teenage broken hearts for very long… Ortho’s party crasher fighting duo - Home Defense MAX Insect Killer and Weed B Gon are the perfect pair to help create a bug free perimeter around your home and a weed free zone for your lawn and garden. One simple application of Home Defense MAX Insect Killer can even end your worries about those sneaky pests that make their way inside. You know the ones I mean- the quintessential worst guests ever…

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

To be continued… who will prevail on this showdown between Ortho and my unwanted guests?

May
16
2016
The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

This post is brought to you by TargetStyleShop the new Home collection in stores and online.

When I have entertaining on the horizon and the event isn’t related to a specific holiday, I love to create an experience that draws inspiration from a faraway place. For me a party is like a vacation, a place you can go for a brief period of time where you don’t have to focus on meals or cleaning and where you can and should get swept up in the moment and enjoy your time.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

The Louvre in Neon - Paris

As the host, creating this experience for other people can be stressful and tedious. Rather than a vacation, it has the potential to feel more like a chore, especially for those of us who are tasked with thinking of the details and implementing them. Most of the time, this stress doesn’t end until the party itself has ended. After a recent trip to Europe, my entertaining frame of mind has forever been changed. I now view simple and indulgent as being far more chic than any elaborate spread might be.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Gold Decorative Vase / Bottle Opener

Choose a Theme or Pick a Locale

On my recent trip overseas, I had the distinct pleasure of spending time in Paris and London. It was magical and unforgettable in every possible way. Both cities had such an extreme mix of old and new, opulent and rich in history, right alongside and mingling marvelously with minimal and modern. I was smitten and it was glorious. Since both countries were heavily invested in many of the tropical nations we know and love today, a celebration of the exotic can be seen everywhere you turn. From décor to cuisine, the wonder of the West Indies and a love of all things from the Far East, it was spectacular to see how these things have been incorporated in every aspect of life for both cultures.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Le Bon Marche, Paper Koi + Crane Installation - Paris

For this event, I hoped to incorporate a bit of inspiration from both the places I visited along with some of the more exotic places that have inspired them throughout the ages. Luckily, an eclectic mix of design styles is always amazing, don’t you think? With the vast amount of super stylish goods available at Target, I was able to bring this wild and varied look to the table (literally) in a far more inspired way than I could have imagined and with so much less stress from beginning to end.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Black Plates / Striped Napkins

Simplify and Focus on the Few

Having the opportunity to travel always leaves me full of inspiration and a completely new outlook on the type of lifestyle I would like to lead. It certainly brings light to all the ways I might enjoy the everyday moments so much more. Vacations are amazing like that, aren’t they? In London, they celebrate a way of life that is steeped in tradition. Meals are often elaborate and indulgent with a great many options on the menu. It’s beautiful and delicious, and such a big focus of the day. 

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Modern Gold Chainmail Ceiling Installation – Palace of Versailles

In contrast, the Parisian way of life is simplified and indulgent with far fewer options and much less fuss. While meals are also a large focus of the day in Paris, it is less about the process and more about the experience and enjoying the people you are with. The latter of these ideas is something that truly stuck with me and for this event I sought to recreate the ambiance I adored from both places with the more simplified sentiment of Parisian dining. The simple and chic sensibility that permeates every aspect of Parisian life was definitely contagious and I think in replicating a bit of it here, it made for a more relaxing setup and likely a more pleasant experience for my guests. I kept the food easy and paired down, yet sumptuous and delicious, with a few baked goods that work beautifully with either cheese or dark chocolate. An overabundance of fresh fruits was scattered about, to celebrate a bit of the exotic and of course bring that vacation-esque feel to the table that we all long for come spring.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Gold Decorative Vase / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon

Throw Caution to the Wind and Have Fun

I am a firm believer in the fact that if you love it, it will work – as long as you ground it within your design and repeat it more than once. The same goes for entertaining. Mastering the Mix is often more about letting your guard down and taking risks than a set guideline for pairing patterns and colors. When done right, I often end up with elements that I wouldn’t otherwise choose to put together but in the end I am typically so very glad I did. This is precisely how the style direction for this spring event happened for me and the challenge of trying to create a feeling and an experience rather than directly placing the focus on the design elements themselves, gave me a whole new freedom in setting the table and choosing the menu.  It was glorious.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Modern Stairway Model – Victoria & Albert Museum - London

I walked the aisles at Target and chose individual items that reminded me of London and Paris. Rustic cheeseboards, global patterns, handcrafted ceramics, pineapples (a constant motif in London architecture), modern neon acrylic trays and a wide array of colors all reminiscent of the tropics and all grounded in a healthy dose of white, black and gold – just like these ancient cities themselves. It was so easy to find no less than one million items that would have been perfect and so chic, and oh so hard to narrow it down to what might actually fit on the table.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

My table is a melting pot of eras, materials and styles and somehow that made choosing the pieces carefree, fun and fabulous. With a theme that was based in variety and more about the ambiance, I had more options for décor and entertaining than I could actually cart home with me and a very low stress experience in the process of choosing the pieces to use. There were no rules to consider or strict choices to be adhered to – I just went for it and let the vacation vibe and carefree state of mind I was hoping to create, take the lead.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Target knocks it out of the park every single season and this spring is no exception. If you have entertaining on the calendar in the near future, you can be sure that you will find everything you need (and more – always more) to create an experience for your guests that you can enjoy right along with them. Let them do the heavy lifting and simply mix and mingle styles from their collections as you please.

DIY 
Apr
29
2016
The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

This post is brought to you by TargetStyle. Shop the new Home collection in stores and online.

Having young kiddos in the house often means that when my boys have play dates, I do as well. It is such a wonderful way to get to know other moms, and build that village we want to raise our babes in. But, knowing a seemingly simple play date will likely turn into more of an event can easily derail even the best laid plans and often feels a more like a chore, than something laid back and relaxing. Since I want my boys to be fully socialized, skipping this isn’t precisely an option, so naturally I have attempted to find some shortcuts that help me pull something together quickly and easily, but still set the stage for an enjoyable afternoon for kids and adults alike. Luckily there is a Target store less than two miles from my house – this is my number one trick of the trade.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Brass Handled VaseStoneware Tray / Wooden Planter Stand / Pineapple Candle / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Stainless Steel Glass / Gold Plasticware / Striped Napkin / Dining Chair / Plastic Beverage Dispenser / Blue Chambray Tablecloth / Horn Bowl

STOCKPILE + SAVE

My first life hack for easy impromptu entertaining is to buy kid and outdoor friendly entertaining pieces whenever possible, and have a stockpile of chic disposables on hand and in bulk, at any given time. If you don’t need to stress about what everyone will eat with or whether something precious will get broken, you are already way ahead of the game in my book. I now keep my shelves stocked with gold striped paper napkins, chic melamine dinnerware and a stylish collection of serving platters and other various pieces to fill with snacks or utensils.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Brass Handled Vase / Stoneware Tray / Wooden Planter Stand / Pineapple Candle / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Stainless Steel Glass / Gold Plasticware / Striped Napkin / Dining Chair / Blue Chambray Tablecloth / Horn Bowl

GATHER + REPURPOSE

I am on a kick to declutter and streamline all areas of my life right now, a major spring cleaning if you will, and décor tends to be the major culprit in all of my chaos.  So for an item to come into my home, it needs to be both beautiful and functional, not simply one or the other. If it can serve more than one purpose then all the better to enjoy it with. Which leads to my next newly discovered life hack of repurposing items I use in my everyday life, for special purposes when I am entertaining. The amazing plant stands I bought the other day, look amazing as is, or as a center piece that simply screams spring and as it turns out the larger plant stand base is the perfect size for my drink dispenser. A great way to quickly whip together some lemonade (which I also keep on hand for exactly this sort of thing) or maybe a lemonade inspired adult beverage that sits out of reach from prying hands… 

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Jelly LoungerGarden Stool / Pineapple Candle / Round Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware

REINVENT + REINVIGORATE

Chances are, if you are heading to my house for a playdate, you definitely have kids and you are probably exhausted as a general rule of thumb. Kiddos are not for the faint of heart, but they certainly keep you young at heart… when you aren’t sound asleep before it’s even dark outside. So, what could be better than a short little getaway and a bit of rest and relaxation – without actually leaving your kids behind and all of the planning and prep that comes along with it? Not a lot…

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Jelly Lounger / Garden Stool / Pineapple Candle / Round Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware

In the spring, it starts to heat up around here and the sun can be intense for anyone older than the age of 12. And yet, the kids always want to play outside regardless, so I like the idea of reinventing my outdoor space to bring in a little of that  quiet enjoyment I experience on vacation. By simply adding a few creature comforts and some relaxing entertainment, I can set the mood for a carefree afternoon all within direct sight of the little ones who aren’t old enough to run wild just yet.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Jelly Lounger / Garden Stool / Pineapple Candle / Round Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware

Chaise lounges, good reading material, and easy to handle refreshments all under a gorgeous umbrella, to shield me from the heat… It is just so simple and lovely, requiring only the effort of filling a pitcher and grabbing a tray with something easy to snack on.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Garden Stool / Rectangular Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Marimekko Kubb Set / Marimekko Beach Towel / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Outdoor Pouf

PERFECT THE GROCERY RATIO

When I shop for groceries, I try to buy a mix of things that are fresh and things that will keep. Some of my absolute favorites for outdoor entertaining also happen to be things I buy on a regular basis, so I don’t have to go far to find some fabulous and simple options to feed a crazy crew with a lot of different age groups. When I am entertaining in the hot, hot sun, frozen or chilled fruit is the perfect way to cool down and hydrate a bit. Buying fruit as I normally would and leaving everything unpeeled means there is little waste for what isn’t eaten and a more importantly, no need to worry about prep or leaving things out in the sun with the bugs.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Garden Stool / Rectangular Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Marimekko Kubb Set / Marimekko Beach Towel / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Outdoor Pouf

TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF

Since these mom dates are often much like first dates, it helps to have open ended activities for both kids and adults, that will keep the small talk at bay. We are huge fans of outdoor games here at Casa de TDC, and pulling out the macrame net, over sized badminton rackets and gorgeous Kubb set, makes for quite the icebreaker. Whether merely an instant conversation starter or a fun ongoing activity to get everyone moving and having fun, outdoor games are always well paired with a chic refreshment area to help beat the heat and stay hydrated. Having a front row seat also makes for great people watching - or kid watching, in my case.

If there is one thing I love, it’s a no hassle solution to food and décor, that doesn’t involve skimping or skipping the things I love. Target is always my first stop and I can always count on them to have the perfect things to add to my arsenal that let me enjoy an afternoon with my guests instead of slaving away and stressing out.

SEE SOMETHING YOU LOVE? SHOP THIS POST...

DIY 
Kiddos 
Jul
27
2015
The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home

I have something of a major obsession happening with small but chic rectangular pools. Naturally, I have spent a fair share of time dreaming about how to make this happen in real life. I'm not entirely sure this is even a remote possibility, but for now, I am attempting to figure out how it might be...

Many of these pools are very small and that suits me well. Regardless of size, every single pool here is visually stunning and perfectly designed. It just goes to show that good things come in small packages sometimes... I might even love a rectangular wading pool, just deep enough for me to float. If you have a thing for small but chic pools too, I have an entire pinterest board filled with gorgeous poolside inspiration! Go crazy...

The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home
The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home
The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home
The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home
The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home
The Design Confidential Poolside in my Dream Home

IMAGES // 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

Sep
17
2014
DIY Macrame Badminton Net // Easy Macrame Knots

A few of you might remember when I shared my Outdoor Oasis and Outdoor Games Project back in July. I thought I would share a bit more about the Making of the DIY Macrame Badminton Net - that was surprisingly easy to make - and instructions and images for how to tie each of the macrame knots I used in the project!. This is not our first rodeo, when it comes to macrame (see our DIY macrame hanging planter project), so it might be obvious at this point that we like a bit of the fringe over here at the House of TDC.

This also happens to be one of the very first projects for the site that I worked on with Beth, my fab Gal Friday (you will be getting to know her a bit more now that we can come up for air from all of the projects going on), so let us just say she got a dose of the crazy that happens around here, right off the bat! Trial by Fire, eh?

The full step by step for the DIY Macrame Badminton Net can be found over on the Home Depot blog with detailed pictures and instructions for making your own masterpiece! Below are the complete steps for creating the specific macrame knots I used and also the knots that you will most often find in a macrame patterns. Go forth my friends, and tie yourself something gorgeous!

How to Tie a Larks Head Knot for Free Macrame Pattern and Project

The Lark's Head Knot is probably your most common tie-on knot. It is not precisely a knot, but still, it happens to be a great way to get your cord onto your rod, dowel, or ring.

// The steps above are fairly straightforward and this baby involves nothing more than doubling up your rope by folding it in half, then folding that loop in your mid-section over your rod or ring by bringing it up from behind.

// Once you fold it over you simply pull the loose ends up and through your loop. Easy Peasy, no?

Once you have all of your material looped onto your rod or ring, you will likely begin with one or more of the knots below! For those of you who like to work with your hands in some way, macrame is simply divine. Just so completely gratifying if you know what I mean. Plus you can pull up a folding table in front of the tv and watch The Knick or one of the meellions of Housewives franchises while you loop and tie your way to perfection!

How to Tie a Left Facing Half Square Knot

The other knot you will run across, often, along your macrame journey is the square knot. You might need to tie a series of alternating square knots or even a half square knot, but it is very likely you will do something involving this fabulous basic at some point. Since a square knot is actually made up of two halves (duh, right?), the image above shows you how to tie one of these possible halves or a left facing half square knot. To tie a right facing, you will simply do the opposite of these steps and work from the right outside cord, or cord 4, and tie the knot as you see in the next step. And since a half square knot is the first portion of a whole square knot, which I cover down below, you will need to complete these steps here before moving on to the next set below.

Something fabulous about a half square knot is that if you continue tying it over and over again it will actually make a gorgeous twist and looks absolutely amazing!

While the image above is fairly easy to follow, I will just skim over a few quick verbal instructions to help you understand what you are seeing.

// You will need to separate out your lark's head knots into groups of two. By this I mean for you group them up in pairs so there are 4 cords per group to work with.

// With your group of 4 cords, you will take the left outside cord - cord 1 and the black cord you see above - and bring it over the two cords in the center - cords 2 and 3 (white and yellow) - then under the cord on the right outside - cord 4 (beige).

// Then bring the right outside cord - beige cord 4 - under the two center cords - cords 2 and 3 (white and yellow) - and up behind and under the curved edge of your first cord or cord 1 (black) - like you see in step 3 above. Once you bring it up behind like this, you will pull it up through your opening (made by cord 1) and out to the side. This will look like a pretzel and will be a bit like the first part of tying your shoe laces. When you pull this tight a bit, it should look like the last image.

Now you can repeat this to get that twisty bit you see at the top of the image above, or move on to the step below for something that requires a whole square knot!

How to Tie a Right Half Square Knot and a Square Knot

If you need to tie a right half square knot, this is where you will begin. It essentially mirrors the process in the previous step only it reverses it, and will be the second half of your square knot if you are continuing on from the former series of steps! What you see in the image above is a continuation from a left half square knot and does in fact form a complete square knot.

If beginning here // You will need to separate out your lark's head knots into groups of two. This means you will group them up in pairs so there are 4 cords per group to work with. If continuing on from the left half square above, simply work with the 4 cords from your previous step from their new positions (black cord 4 is now on the right and beige cord 1 is now on the left).

// With your group of 4 cords, you will take the right outside cord - cord 4 and the black cord you see above - and bring it over the two cords in the center - cords 2 and 3 (white and yellow) - then under the cord on the left outside - cord 1 (beige).

// Then bring the left outside cord - beige cord 1 - under the two center cords - cords 2 and 3 (white and yellow) - and up behind and under the curved edge of your right hand cord or cord 4 (black) - like you see in step 3 above. Once you bring it up behind like this, you will pull it up through your opening (made by cord 4) and out to the side (on the right). This will look like a pretzel and will be a bit like the first part of tying your shoe laces. When you pull this tight a bit, it should look like the last image above if you are completing a square knot!

How to Tie Alternating Square Knots in Free Macrame Pattern DIY Project

Alternating Square Knots are a great way to create a net like pattern. The image for this shows the process from the beginning, but for the specific steps for tying a square knot, refer to the previous two steps. This image will give you an overview of how to alternate and create the pattern you see above.

// Begin with your groups of 4 cords and tie a Square Knot in each group. Do this all the way across your row until every group is tied.

// For your next row, skip the first 2 cords and set them aside,then regroup your cords into new groups of 4 from there forward. You will pair your 3rd and 4th cords together with your 5th and 6th cords (7-10 for your next group) and once again tie a complete square knot.

// For your third row you will go back to the groups as they were in your first row and include those first 2 cords once again! Continue on in this manner for as many rows as you like, alternating your groups and leaving out the first 2 cords for every other even numbered row.

How to Tie a Wrap Knot or Gathering Knot for Macrame Pattern Project

The Wrap Knot or Gathering Knot is used to group your cords when you finish off a pattern and occasionally at the beginning or in the middle of a pattern like you see in my Macrame Hanging Planter. This was the trickiest knot for me somehow since the instructions I was working from left out a critical section, so I will try not to leave you hanging like that!

To work this knot you will need to have a separate cord set aside that is not part of your group of cords and is not connected to anything else. The cord you will use to wrap your group is this separate cord (the white cord running underneath my group in the 1st step above) and is the Working Cord.

// Run your Working Cord under and alongside your group.

// Create a slight loop by bringing your Working Cord around, down, then up and over your group.

// Bring it down and back behind your group, making sure to leave your loop in place from the previous step as well as your loose end as you see in the image above (steps 3 through 7).

// Bring your Working Cord (now hanging down)back up in front of your group and over the top again, then around behind and down. Continue wrapping like this until your wrap is the size you want for your particular project. The more cords you have, the more you may want to wrap your group.

// Take the end of your Working Cord and thread it through your loop.

// Pull your loose end from the beginning of this knot in steps 1 and 2 and pull it tight until your loop is pulled up into your wrap and is hidden. Now you can cut off any excess or tuck it away and into your wrap as well and secure with glue.

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Outdoor 
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