February 2014 - The Surznick Common Room

Friday, February 28, 2014

Surznick Reads: February 2014

We're back for another edition of Surznick Reads! It was a short month, but I'm pretty pleased with the amount of reading I squeezed in. If you missed our January post, you can read it here. So without further ado, here are the February books!

Sarah's Reads!

A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman
From Amazon.com: "Whether it’s of your sister’s smile, your morning coffee, or your new puppy, photos are a way to connect on Facebook and Instagram, keep a visual diary of our lives, and create momentos for future generations. Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, creators of the mega-popular DIY style blog A Beautiful Mess, are in love with photographing everyday life. Here, they share that love with 95 all-new tips and photo challenges that will inspire you to style and snap better photos and then transform them into simple yet stunning projects and gifts. Packed with Elsie and Emma’s happy spirit and unique style, A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book will inspire you to capture your days, your friends, and your dreams in beautiful photos!"

I'm sure you've seen us mention A Beautiful Mess over and over again on here. It's one of my favorite blogs to read, and as a new blogger (with a new camera!), I've been really interested in trying to improve the photos we share on here. I mentioned to Nick a few months ago that I'd really like to read ABM's photo idea book. Then one day I came home from work and he surprised me with it! So this wasn't intially on my list of books to read this year, nor is it really a book book, but I'm still including it. This book definitely taught me a lot and gave me great ideas for improving our photography. They don't go into camera specifics, it's more about what you can do outside of your camera to better your photos. There were some chapters that I can't really see myself taking advantage of, but overall this is definitely worth reading if you're looking for fun, new ideas for photographing your life.

My Rating: 4 Stars

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
From Amazon.com: "The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature."

I loved this book. To be honest, I only put it on my want-to-read list because I felt like it is one of those books that I should read. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. In the past when I've read a "classic" it has been tough to get through or understand (... check my Frankenstein review from last month for example). But this book was so readable and captivating. I genuinely wanted to know where the story was going and how it would end. I highly recommend reading this if you haven't already!

(Funny side note: The entire time I was reading this book, I was picturing Scout as Amanda Thripp, the little girl who gets swung around by her pigtails in Matilda, ha!)

My Rating: 5 Stars

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
From Amazon.com: "A mysterious island.

 An abandoned orphanage.

 A strange collection of very curious photographs.

 It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

First of all, how cool is the name Ransom Riggs? This is another book that wasn't on my want-to-read list for this year. The next book in the series was my February book club selection (more on that below), so I had to read this one first. I'm definitely glad that this series was introduced to me because it. is. awesome. I had seen this book cover before (It's a #1 New York Times bestseller), but it kind of freaked me out and I never had an interest in reading it. But I was definitely wrong to judge a book by it's cover. This is a great story and the book is full of awesome, crazy, and sometimes scary photographs that Riggs collected/borrowed that really make this book come to life. (By the way, these are REAL photos, which makes the whole thing creepier). If you're interested in young adult series (i.e. The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.) you should definitely check this out. Word on the street is that the movie version is in the works with Tim Burton directing!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
I'm going to leave out the Amazon.com review on this one as it kind of has spoilers if you haven't read the first book. As I mentioned, this was my February book club selection and it is just as awesome as the first book. It picks up right where the first book left off and is full of more interesting (or shall I say peculiar?) photos. The plot is exciting and adventurous and you'll definitely want to know what's going to happen next. This book ended on kind of a cliff hanger so I can't wait until the third book comes out, but it's going to be a long wait (Hollow City only came out at the end of January). Luckily for me I have plenty to read in the mean time.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Nineteen Eighty-Four
by George Orwell
From Amazon.com: "Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time."

So this was another book that I felt like I should probably read at some point in my life. I was a little hesitant because I've read Animal Farm (also by Orwell) and Brave New World (by Aldous Huxley but with a similar theme) and I didn't really like either of them. 1984 surprised me. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The story is interesting, easy to follow, and you can connect to the characters. I probably won't read it again, but I'm definitely glad I did.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Nick's Read! (Singular. That's right, just one.)

Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie
From Amazon.com:  "The original road novel--even though it takes the form of autobiography. If Guthrie didn't actually invent the footloose, no-strings-attached American hero (remember this guy Twain who wrote something about lighting out for the territory?), he certainly solidified the 20th-century version. Guitar slung over the shoulder as he sprinted to boost himself aboard freight trains, a man of the people equally at home with urban intellectuals, Guthrie incarnated for generations of Americans the artist as free spirit. This is the book that created the legend."

I was first inspired to read this book after reading about it in Bob Dylan's book "Chronicles Volume One." I have to admit that I was a little disappointed to learn that Guthrie's book didn't really center around his music, as I thought it might. Instead, it was a vivid account of his upbringing, tragic family life (and I mean tragic), and his travels across America. Some of the reading got a bit dry, and it was difficult to read certain chapters, as he wrote the dialogue in "early 20th century hobo vernacular." (I think that's the proper term for it.) Overall, I found the book to be pretty inspiring. Guthrie's expeditions across the land were exhilarating to the point where I would get excited reading about what city he would end up in next, where his next meal would come from, where he would sleep each night, etc. The book was full of interesting characters and thought provoking passages such as:

"All of this talking about what's up in the sky, or down in hell, for that matter, isn't half as important as what's right here, right now, right in front of your eyes. Things are tough. Folks broke. Kids hungry. Sick. Everything. And people has just got to have more faith in one another, believe in each other. There's a spirit of some kind we've all got. That's got to draw us all together."

I absolutely would recommend this book to anyone, especially those with an interest in American history... or those who enjoy eating beans and rice while barreling along in a boxcar. 

My Rating: 4 Stars

We hope you all have a great weekend. We're off to pour beers at the Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest! Bottoms up!

Sarah & Nick

Monday, February 24, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Beer Bread Pizza

So there is an obvious trifecta present here that has been mentioned in several posts in the past: buffalo chicken, beer, and PIZZA. (See? we're obsessed: here, here, here, here, here...) Anyway, this homemade pizza has got to be one of my absolute favorite meals to make here at our apartment. Not only is it the holy trinity of food, but the ingredients are fairly cheap and common. (Chances are pretty good you have all or most of them on hand right now!)

Here's what you need for the crust:
- 2 c. flour (white or wheat. we've used both, but used white for this particular pizza)
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 pkg. yeast
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 oz. beer warmed to 105 degrees (we used an IPA this time, though we've used a lager in the past)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil

Here's what you need for the toppings:
- 1/4 c. wing sauce (or hot sauce)
- 2 tbsp. beer
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken (chopped or shredded into small pieces)
- 1 c. mozzarella
- 1/3 c. blue cheese crumbles
- Chopped green onions

First we're going to get the crust ready:
- Mix 1 c. flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir in beer and oil. Beat with mixer on low 30 seconds, then high 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 c. flour.
- On floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, prepare your chicken:
- Chop chicken into bite sized chunks and cook on the stove top. (You could use canned chicken, or just shred cooked chicken as well.)

*Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare the toppings!
- Mix together wing sauce, butter, and 2 tbsp. beer. Add Chicken and toss to coat.

Assemble the Pizza!
- Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
- Press crust onto cookie sheet and prick with a fork.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Remove crust from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella.
- Top with chicken, more mozzarella and blue cheese.
- Bake 8 - 10 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
- Sprinkle with green onion.

Even though this recipe is a bit more involved than some of our other posts, I actually have a lot of fun making this dish. I enjoy investing a bit of time in the kitchen when I know the result is going to be this close to a perfect food.

I hope you all get a chance to make and enjoy this pizza. Be sure to let us know how you like it!

Sarah & Nick

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ping Pong Ball Lights

Christmas lights are the best. I used to have colored lights all around my bedroom when I was younger. Those same lights hung all around Nick's apartment in college and then in our apartment this past Christmas. I just think they make a room feel warm, cozy, and inviting. We've incorporated Christmas lights in our apartment with our wine bottle lights, but I am always happy to welcome more!

A few months ago I saw this pin about covering Christmas lights with ping pong balls (genius, right?) I thought the colored lights they used were fun, but then I saw this photo from Arroway blog where they used white lights and I'm pretty sure I fell in love. The white lights are just so pretty. We decided to make a set of our own, and let me tell you... this is probably the quickest and easiest project we've ever done. 

Want to make a set for your home? Here's what you need!
- String of Christmas lights
- Ping pong balls
- Xacto knife

Here's what you do!
- Using your Xacto knife, carefully cut a small X in a ping pong ball.

- Push a light through the X as far as it will go.

- Repeat with your remaining lights and you're done!

We had an extra set of white Christmas lights already on hand, so no money spent there. We bought a gross (144 pack) of ping pong balls on Amazon for $12. That's all we spent. Pretty good, if you ask me. And we still have 44 balls left over for our next match of Quidditch pong. Now that's what I call a win-win.

Hope you're having an unseasonably warm Saturday like we are :)

Sarah & Nick

EDIT 5/25/17: This post was originally published in February 2014. We no longer have these lights, as we cleaned out our apartment extensively when we moved and didn't see a need for them anymore. We've received a few comments saying that ping pong balls are extremely flammable, but we had no issues with these lights whatsoever when we were using them. I would recommend using LED lights (which generate less heat) if overheating is of concern to you. We are not experts or DIY professionals, but wanted to share that we had no issues with this project. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Knitted Swiffer Cloths

Nick and I are pretty big Swiffer-ers. We always had a Swiffer to clean our kitchen and bathroom, but now that we live in an apartment with only two carpeted rooms, we're getting a lot more use out of the Swiffer than we used to.

We've already purchased replacement cloths several times since we've moved to Pittsburgh and even though they aren't terribly expensive, in an effort to save some moolah and stop buying wasteful, single-use items, I've decided to knit washable, reusable Swiffer cloths to use instead!

So far I've only knitted one to use as our test subject and I am happy to report that it totally works! I used white yarn so that we could easily see how well the cloth worked at picking up dust and dirt. It definitely did it's job and I would say it cleans and picks up just as well as store-bought cloths, so I'm pretty excited.

Here's what you need!
- Cotton yarn in your choice of color (I used white Sugar 'n Cream brand yarn. It's 100% cotton and inexpensive)
- Knitting needles (I used size 8, 5.0 mm needles)
- Sewing Needle (The eye should be be large enough for your yarn)
- Scissors

Here's what you do! (Disclaimer: I am by no means a master knitter, nor can I read/write fancy knitting lingo, so this is what I did in the most basic terms)
- Cast on 22 stitches.
- Knit 1, purl 1 for your entire row (AKA ribbing). Repeat this until your ribbing is about 2.5-3" long. This ribbing will later be folded over to make the pockets that hold the cloth onto the Swiffer base.

- Knit an entire row. Repeat until the knitted portion of your cloth (not including the ribbing) is the length of your Swiffer base. This part will be the actual cloth that touches the floor.

- Knit 1, purl 1 (ribbing) again for an entire row. Repeat this until your ribbing is about 2.5-3" long. This is the other pocket that will hold the cloth onto the Swiffer.
- Cast off and tightly knot your yarn through a stitch.

- Fold the ribbed portion of your cloth over onto the knitted portion. Using your sewing needle and yarn, sew the sides together to make a pocket. Make sure you tightly knot your ends. Repeat with the other ribbed portion.
- Slip onto your Swiffer base and you're ready to clean! (... yay?!)

We've used and washed our cloth a few times now and it seems to be holding up pretty well. We've been washing it in cold water and letting it hang to dry. Another great thing about these knitted cloths is that you can use them as dry or wet cloths! For wet cleaning, just soak them in the cleaner of your choice, wring them out, and attach to your Swiffer!

I feel really great about having a reusable cloth and I definitely need to knit more ASAP. Sometimes on a heavy cleaning weekend we can go through multiple disposable cloths, so I'm happy to eliminate this wastefulness. Not to mention, a skein of yarn is only about $2-3 dollars, which isn't too shabby considering you can make a bunch of cloths with just one skein.

I realize that not everyone knows how to knit, so this isn't exactly a DIY project for anyone, but I've made this pattern super, super simple by only using a knit and a purl. Let's be real, cleaning is a total drag, so you really don't need to showcase your awesome knitting skills to make something that is going to end up getting disgusting anyway, right?

I'm sure this pattern could probably be translated for crocheting as well (but I don't know a single thing about crocheting so don't take my word for it)! If you don't know how to knit or crochet but would really enjoy having your own knitted Swiffer cloths, let me know and I'm sure we can strike up some sort of deal! :)

Happy cleaning!

xo, Sarah

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tater Tot Hash Browns

Happy Sunday, friends! We hope that you all had a great Valentine's Day weekend. Friday night we got "heart shaped" pizzas (so completely not heart shaped), Shamrock Shakes (the holy grail), and watched 10 Things I Hate About You. It was the perfect V-Day.

If you recall, we loooove brunch. I'd eat eggs any time of any day, but there's nothing better than waking up and making a delicious spread to start your day. This morning we had a totally awesome addition to our standard brunch... we made tater tot hash browns!

Several months ago, I saw this pin about making hash browns using tater tots and a waffle iron. So we decided to try it, and yes, it was a total success. It's so much easier than cutting and frying potatoes, or even just frying frozen hash browns on the stove. Tater tots are already kind of like little hash browns on their own, so basically all you're doing is smooshing them into hash brown patties, but it's still a genius idea.

All you need is tater tots and a waffle iron! By the way, if you don't have a waffle iron, you definitely should. My mom made me homemade waffles every weekend growing up and she still makes Nick and I waffles every time we go home to visit. I love being able to make waffles any time we want (and they're so much better than store bought... or pancakes!)

Here's what you do!
- Spray your waffle iron with non-stick spray and let it warm up on the waffle setting, or a high setting. Our waffle iron has low, medium, high, and waffle settings (waffle is in between medium and high). We just used the waffle setting.
- Place your frozen tater tots closely together in your waffle iron. We made 4 hash browns with 2x4 tater tots. Yours will depend on the size and shape of your waffle plates.

- Close your waffle iron lid to begin cooking. At first it probably won't close very far because the tater tots are still frozen. Cook them for 15-20 minutes, occasionally pressing down on the lid of your waffle iron to flatten the tater tots and squish them together.
 - Note, if you thaw your tater tots, you may have to adjust your cooking time accordingly. We've never let ours thaw because I don't want them to crumble or be too messy to handle or anything.
- While your hash browns are cooking you can make your bacon, eggs, coffee, etc.! Once they're golden brown and crispy, you're done! Carefully remove them with two forks and serve!

We like to eat ours with a little cheddar cheese sprinkled on them and then topped with a dippy egg. So delicious. And so super easy. If you prefer not to use tater tots, you could just buy frozen hash browns and cook them in the waffle iron instead of on the stove. Pretty much the exact same thing, but I like the ease of handling tater tots.

Do you guys have any great waffle iron recipes to share? We've made cinnamon rolls in our waffle iron before... they were heavenly. I'd really like to try these... anyone want to come over for dessert?

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Strawberry & Red Velvet Cake Cookies

Last year for Valentine's Day, I decided to make strawberry cake cookies for Nick. Upon telling him, this was the reaction I received.

I'm not exactly sure if it was the cookies, the casserole, or the Emma Watson that sparked this reaction, but for the sake of this post I'm going to say the cookies (even though it was probably the Emma Watson).

These strawberry cookies are absolutely delicious. We made a chocolate version at Christmas which was awesome as well, but since Valentine's Day is this week, we decided to make strawberry and red velvet (gotta have that pink and red, you know).

To be honest, I'm not a big cookie eater unless it's oatmeal raisin. Yes, I'm the crazy person that is like, "Ew, chocolate chips... where are the raisins?!?!" Also, cookies tend to be hard and crunchy and that is not my thing. But these cookies are light and fluffy and so, so yummy.

Here's what you need! (Please note, these amounts are for one batch/cake mix. We made two different flavors, so if you plan to make two, you will need to double your ingredients)
- Boxed cake mix
- 8 oz. containers of whipped topping
- 1 egg
- Powdered sugar

Here's what you do!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your cookie sheets.
- In a large bowl mix together your cake mix, whipped topping, and egg. The consistency should be pretty thick and sticky.
- In a separate bowl, pour a small amount of powdered sugar for rolling.
- Using two spoons form a small ball (glob) of your batter and drop it into the bowl of powdered sugar. Roll it around until the outside is completely covered.

- Move the ball to your greased cookie sheet. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart. Repeat until you are out of batter. You should have approximately 24 cookies.
- Bake 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the cookies probably won't look done, but take them out of the oven anyway and move them to a cooling rack. They'll continue to bake once removed.

I'm pretty partial to the strawberry cake cookies, but dang... the red velvet are so good too. They're so flavorful, so fluffy, and so easy to make. Nick took a batch to work the other day and they were gone by 10:30, if that's any indication of how wonderful these are.

It's not too late to make these for Valentine's Day. We'll probably have to make another batch; I don't think ours will make it to Friday!

Sarah & Nick

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dip Dyed Pillows

We recently got a futon for our apartment and we wanted to decorate it with some throw pillows so it's a little more inviting to sit on. After digging around online for some we liked, it became apparent that throw pillows are pretty expensive. Our first thought was to make our own, but as we don't own a sewing machine, this option was quickly eliminated. So the search was on for a budget friendly middle ground.

In case you didn't know, H&M now sells products online (which is Sarah's new favorite thing...) and in addition to clothing, they also sell home furnishings. We found 16" X 16" pillow covers that were $4.95, but with an online promo code, we got them for $3.46 each! Instead of buying their pillow inserts ($6.95 for this size), we decided to see how cheap we could buy stuffing and fill the pillows ourselves. We scored a 5 lb. box of stuffing from Walmart for $11 that will easily stuff 7 or more pillows.

We purchased white pillow covers, because we wanted to try a dip dyeing technique that we've seen recently on pillows, curtains, etc.

So, to make and dip dye your own pillows, here's what you need:
- Dye of your choice
- Plain pillow covers (purchased or homemade)
- Stuffing (we used polyester fiberfill)
- Bucket
- Rubber gloves
- Shower curtain or some sort of drop cloth
- Drying rack

Here's what you do:
Read the instructions on your dye. Some fabrics have different instructions. Our pillow covers are 100% cotton. For this project, we modified our dye directions to accommodate for only dying 2 small pillow covers. We filled our bucket with 1.5 gallons of the hottest water we could get from our tap. Then, we mixed in about 1/4 of the bottle of dye. We used liquid dye, so we don't know exactly how this would translate for powder dyes.

We wanted an ombre effect on our pillows, so in order to achieve that look, we divided our pillow into 4 sections. We left the top section un-dyed, and kept the other 3 sections in the dye for different times.

We put 3/4 of the pillow in the dye. After 4 minutes we pulled out 1/4, leaving the bottom half of the case in the dye for 12 more minutes (16 minutes total now). After those 12 minutes, we pulled out another 1/4 of the case and left the remaining 1/4 in the dye for 20 more minutes (36 minutes total). You can change your times to achieve whatever darkness you're looking for in your fabric. We didn't have any times in mind, so we just checked our color every 4 minutes and either decided to move on to the next section, or put it back in to soak for 4 more minutes.

You may notice we don't have on rubber gloves, even though we put that on our list of things you need. We were super careful that no part of either of our hands touched the dye during this process. Using dye like this is no joke though, so I really recommend using gloves.

After taking the pillow cases out of the dye completely, we rinsed them thoroughly with cold water, being very careful to rinse downward, so our dye wouldn't bleed up into our lighter or un-dyed sections. We then hung them on a drying rack to dry over night, and ran them for 1 cycle in the dryer the next morning before stuffing them.

Once they're stuffed, you're good to go! We're both pretty impressed with how these turned out. Considering that we're first time dyers, we didn't really know whether or not this would be a total disaster. There were several times during the dyeing process where I said, "Are we doing this right?!"

Overall though, I think the pillows look great for only costing us $5 ish apiece, if you're including the small portions of stuffing and dye we used. We have some more throw pillow ideas in the works, so it's nice knowing that a) we already have more stuffing on hand, and b) the H&M pillow covers were an excellent choice.

How do you guys think we did? Have you tried any dyeing projects that worked out well? Share with us in the comments!

Sarah & Nick

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Orange you glad it's the weekend?

Yay, Saturday! I love Saturday mornings because Nick and I have started a little ritual of waking up and going to get breakfast, coffee, and read for an hour or so. It's my favorite part of the weekend. (See what we've recently read here!)

Since we haven't done an outfit post in a loooong time due to the super cold weather (it's 16 degrees here!), we decided that today we would just suck it up and let the coffee keep us warm. So we're not really showing an outfit outfit, but what better to share than what I've worn almost everyday this winter... boots and my bright orange coat.

I snagged this coat from ModCloth when Nick was still working there (employee discount, oh yeah, oh yeah!) I've always had black or gray winter coats, so I love wearing a bright, fun color to make winter a little less dreary. Plus, the belt is adorable.

I've never had any article of clothing that gets more compliments than this coat. It's definitely a keeper. My boots were a Christmas gift from Nick 3 or 4 years ago. They've been my go-to all winter and have kept my toesies warm and dry for several years now.

Coat\Modcloth,  Jeans\American Eagle,  Boots\Target,  Bag\H&M,  Scarf\Charlotte Russe,  Headband\Knitted by me!

Do you guys have any fun weekend traditions? I'm getting pretty anxious for our weekend tradition to involve sunglasses and sandals. Stay warm!

xo, Sarah

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Scrapbook Paper Bunting

A few weeks ago we shared with you a little tour of our living room, but there is actually one wall of the living room that we didn't show in our post. At the time we decided there really wasn't anything worth sharing, considering 80% of the wall is the huge pocket doors that open into our dining room. But lately we've been thinking that the wall really needs something. This is the wall that we face when we're sitting on the couch and frankly it's pretty boring to look at.

As you can see, there's some space on both sides of the pocket doors where we considered hanging some sort of art, but both of the adjacent walls have art on them and we didn't want the corners of the room to be too crowded. Over the holidays we hung some paper star garland in the archway that we really liked, so we decided to take a similar approach to this project. A couple of months ago we made scrapbook paper bunting for our bedroom that we absolutely love (you'll see more of that soon!), so bunting for the living room it is!

Here's what you need!
- Various sheets of scrapbook paper (or any paper you'd like to use)
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Ruler
- Hole punch
- Tape
- String

Here's what you do!
- First determine how big you want your triangles to be. We decided to makes ours with a base of 4" and a height of 6". With these measurements, we can get about 10 triangles out of 1 sheet of paper.
- Determine how many triangles you need to fill your wall. Remember to take into consideration whether your bunting will be tight across your wall or if it will hang loosely. Also consider whether or not you will want space between the triangles or have them touching. (Or if you don't feel like measuring any of these things, just make plenty of triangles and hope you have enough!)

- Draw your triangles on your scrapbook paper and cut them out. We just took our time and carefully cut them with scissors, but you could use an Xacto knife if you prefer.
- Once your triangles are cut out, punch two holes along the base of the triangle. We punched ours close to the corners.

- Lay out your triangles in your desired pattern and thread your string through the holes. We decided to have the string enter and exit the front of the triangles so that the least amount of string showed on the front when they were hanging.

- Once all of the triangles are on the string, measure out the desired space between each triangle and use a piece of tape to attach the string to the back of the triangle, holding it in place. We left about a foot of string before we taped our first triangle, giving us extra room for hanging adjustments. Our triangles are spaced 1" apart.

- After your triangles are spaced out and taped, hang it up! We tied the end of our string around a push pin that we just pushed into the corner of our wall.

I think this was a great addition to our living room. We like to keep our decor fun and a little whimsical, so the bunting fits right in. I really think it helps to bring the room together, but the wall is still feeling a little plain to me... maybe I'll have to reconsider the crowded corners thought... guess we'll see!

We love this project because really, you can make it however you want and it's super cheap! We use scrapbook paper because it's sturdier than regular printer paper and it comes in a ton of pretty colors and patterns. We've just been sticking with solid colors, but they have a spaghetti pattern that was reeeallly tempting (can you say kitchen bunting?! Just kidding). Scrapbook paper is typically about 70 cents a sheet (we got ours 3/$1.00!), but you can use any paper you want and any shape that you want! Completely customizable (and renter friendly!)

Okay, NOW you've seen the whole living room as it currently is. We still have a couple things we'd like to work on, but I like the direction we're heading...

Sarah & Nick