Weekend Reading 9.19.21

Hello friends, how is your September so far? I’m a bit sad having had to postpone my trip to Spain but I’ve been enjoying our California fall weather so no complaints! My birthday is next week and a group of my girlfriends are planning a special outing and I’m not allowed to know the details. 🙂

Today I’m prepping the walls to install the wallpaper in the bathroom at our flip property, it’s so close to being done.  I’ll be featuring that transformed space very soon!

Cozy textiles and the most beautiful paint colors fill this country cottage. (Before pictures here).

Tour the 2021 Real Simple home (loving that green painted home office).

Find calm coastal vibes in this family home on Seabrook Island.

Cool DIY project: how to make a concrete lookalike coffee table top.

Pretty interior plant styling ideas.

11 cities in danger from rising sea levels.

The creation behind the wrapped Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

22 grocery store marinara sauces ranked.

Vacation spot of the week: Es Bec D’Aguila in Menorca, Spain.

Reexamining the impact of our phones and who we follow.

DIY Recipe Tea Towels

‘Tis the season when we’re all cooking and baking and giving gifts! Why not combine them? I thought it was finally time I rounded up some of the family’s famous recipes to commemorate them in the form of keepsake tea towels.

Every Thanksgiving we make Grandma Carole’s key lime pie (in addition to pumpkin), and Aunt Emily’s dolma recipe is the #1 most recommend food for all gatherings on Matt’s side of the family.

I typed the two recipes on templates I created and uploaded them to Spoonflower for printing on fabric. Once they arrived, I sewed them into keepsake tea towels to give as gifts.

This project has been around forever, and it’s such a great idea! Spoonflower wrote up an article about turning recipes into tea towels many years ago. That tutorial includes photocopies of handwritten recipes (also very charming) but for these versions I added text to .jpg templates I created. If you’re interested in more ways, this article offers variations on this idea, using Gimp or Canva and other programs.

I didn’t have the handwritten recipes and I wanted to get creative with photos and illustrations instead. For the key lime pie recipe, I turned to Canva where you can find royalty free illustrations, graphics, and photos for all your creative projects. I used this lime and leaves image for the key lime pie, and with Photoshop I eliminated a few images to create space for the recipe text. This watercolor lemon is a good image for personal use if you’re making something with lemons.


To recreate this project, you need .jpg file in the 18×27” size, which is the size of a fat quarter in the linen/cotton canvas fabric on Spoonflower, its texture and thickness work really well for tea towels.

The 18×27” is the fat quarter size but if you select a full yard, you’ll get four tea towels per yard.

For those unfamiliar with Spoonflower, don’t worry, this project is easy to upload and print. First set up a basic account with your name and email then upload your design. For this project, a 18×27” image at 150 dpi (dots per inch) and 1 ½ inch border for seam allowance works best. (I’ve included some free templates below for your use!)


You’ll need to upload the image rotated 90 degrees.

This is how it looks on Spoonflower as a fat quarter…


…and as a full yard.

Basic shipping with Spoonflower takes about a week to arrive.

I’m a big fan of iron-on adhesive tape for various no sew projects, but because this is a tea towel that will need to go through the wash, hemming the edges with a sewing machine is recommended. But good news, it’s a straight stitch with white thread, that’s all you need to do!

For clean edges, I found folding over and ironing the rough edge 1/2 inch helped create a clean straight line, then I folded it over once more and sewed a straight line on my sewing machine.

Finish corners by folding one over the other. It helps to cut away the fabric underneath.


Or if you’ve got a sewing machine that does fancy stiches then add one of those!

I bought the Singer 9960 model about ten years ago and it’s still going strong and has never given me any problems. I use it for all my sewing projects. I used one of the many built in computerized embroidery stitches to add a decorative edge with lime green thread.

For the dolma recipe tea towel, I created a watercolor leaf motif template. I’ve linked to it below for your use!

For your personal use, below are four tea towel templates you can use for this project! Each one has an approximate 1½” white border to allow for hemming the edges.

Click on the text links (not the template images) to download the full resolution templates to your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.

Happy creating!

18×27” tea towel templates (with white border/seam allowance)

Holiday Berries 18×27” template

Winter Plaid 18×27” template


Simple Gray Stripe 18×27” template

Watercolor Leaves 18×27” template

I added the recipe text to my tea towel templates with Photoshop, but if you’re not familiar with Photoshop, there are a few other ways to add font to a .jpg online.

Try these three online programs for typing your recipe on .jpg on a desktop or laptop:

1. Picfont


2. Sign up for a free trial with PicMonkey

(skip the billing page)



3. Text2Photo online editor

Have fun being creative with your tea towels this season! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!


Did you miss our previous article…

Cane Accent Chairs

I was feeling the need for change in the living room so I bought myself some new accent chairs. I’d been searching for a few months having grown tired of my teal upholstered versions. I couldn’t find anything I really liked in an affordable price range until these caned armchairs popped up in my search, so I bought them for their casual style, versatility, and price.


They won’t live in the living room forever. I’ll probably move them to a bedroom in the future, but for now I like how light and natural they feel in this space.

caned armchairs / textured pillows

Cane and rattan have been trending for a few years, but cane furniture has been around for centuries! Because of the resurgence in popularity, we have more stylish choices than ever.

The style is lovely as a dining chair, office chair, or accent chair!

caned rectanglecane dining

rattan diningcushioned armchair



rounded back chairdining chair

black side chairjeannerete



patricia round backvelvet & cane

lula chairlandon chair

Did you miss our previous article…

How to Find the Perfect Iron Door for your Home or Garage

Not all doors are the same, and the quality of the door will make a difference in durability and appearance. Iron doors have been around for ages; however, modern iron doors are trendy in most parts of the world. Iron doors are heavy, sturdy, and with attractive decorations. There are many iron doors to choose from depending on your taste, budget, and intended use.

Consider The Style and Design You Want

The type of door you choose is essential for your home. Doors are like clothing in that they can send a message. Iron doors have beautiful patterns that speak style and sophistication. With the variety of options in iron doors, you can create different effects with unique looks.

The style of door you choose will be the first step to creating the image you want for your home. The type of iron doors you choose can indicate what you want your home to say about itself, whether it’s Classic, Colonial, or Contemporary. You can contact Universal Iron Doors for quality and customized iron doors for your home or garage.

Iron doors are very customizable, and they can be plain, etched, or fancy. In recent years, ornate iron designs have come into style again. You can customize iron doors to match any theme or style you might want to fit with the house.

For example, exterior bi-fold iron door designs will easily fit any space and are elegant and versatile. They allow easy movement in and outside your home. You can customize the steel bi-fold doors to rhyme with your home style and taste.

The key is to think about what style would suit your home best, and at the same time, make the best first impression on visitors. Cast iron doors are also available in various colors, including bronze, Verde Gris, antique grey, and white.

Also, remember that you can have hundreds of designs to choose from and further customize these designs to meet your goals.

Choose Iron Material: Wrought Iron or Steel Iron

A wide range of door styles, sizes, and designs are available in wrought iron or steel. Both steel doors or wrought iron doors are suitable for decorative and security purposes. However, you can choose the essential material that will provide the best fit for your home’s architecture, design, durability, and ease of maintenance.

Both wrought iron and steel offer a luxurious look that can enhance the beauty of a home. And depending on your personality and the area you live in, either one can be a choice for your new front door. However, Wrought iron doors may offer a unique texture and design that few other materials can match.

The shape of The Iron Door

You will find Iron doors come in different shapes and sizes, from arches to half-rounds. The door shape you choose for your home is fundamental when planning the functionality of your home.

For example, an arched door might not fit well in a tight hallway. However, if you have a large house and want an arched doorway to pull out and surprise your guests, an iron accent will give your home aesthetics and history.

There are different types of shapes to choose from;

The semicircleThe fan-shapedThe Roman archThe paneled doorThe arched or curved shapeThe gothic-style pointed archThe wedge-shaped pointed Roman arch.

You can consult with your doorman to determine the best iron door shape for your home.

Iron Door Handles

The handle refers to the mechanism you use to pull open the door; generally, this will be a finger grip or finger hole with a trigger latch. You can select your iron door handles from the antique, traditional, chunky, craftsman, ornate or modern.

The hinges and handles on doors act as functional as well as decorative features of the door. It is essential to understand how they work and what options are available before making your choice. Aesthetics may come into play here, but also consider the difficulty of repair and long-term durability.

Two common types of handle styles are single turned and center turned. Single-turned handles are attached to the doorway with screws, while center-turned (or drop) handles are attached to the door with hinges.


The popularity of iron doors is growing as it is a very functional door for any home or business. Iron doors provide security and value to your commercial or residential property, but choosing the right door for your home is the most important thing. With proper care and maintenance, iron doors can last for centuries. An iron door combines the most important aspects of your home: aesthetics, security, and durability. Each entry has its unique characteristics, so it is essential to have iron doors that indicate your home’s unique charm, safety, beauty and are ready to welcome your guests.

Did you miss our previous article…

Thermal Expansion and Why You Should Weatherize Your Home

It’s been said that life has two certainties: death and taxes. But there’s actually a third thing: thermal expansion. Here’s what you should know about it.

The post Thermal Expansion and Why You Should Weatherize Your Home appeared first on Today’s Homeowner.

Did you miss our previous article…

Weekend Reading 9.12.21

Yesterday was a somber one, I remember September 11, 2001 so clearly. My teenagers asked me what it was like so I told them my story.

I was on east coast time, vacationing with Matt in Puerto Rico when I went to the hotel gym to work out in the morning. In the distance on the television I saw a burning building and thought it was the latest Hollywood action movie. It never occurred to me that it was real. Then I watched a second plane hit the World Trade Center. Then I watched the twin towers fall in real time.

Those who lived it remember planes were grounded for days. We were stuck on the island, glued to the television. We were unable to get a return flight for five days and finally flew through JFK on our way back to San Francisco. I’ll never forget the mood at JFK, everyone was cooperative but collectively so very sad.

Two months later we were in New York City visiting Ground Zero where the embers were still burning. I’ll never forget the somber feeling in the city yet also the solidarity among the people. I visited the memorial plaza ten years later and it was heartbreaking to stand in that place. It always will be.

Favorite links found this week:

A very cool mottled tile backsplash in this redesigned condo.

Old world meets new plus so many arches in this Spanish style home.

I’m on board with this look: stained wood paneling.

Martha’s visual guide to all the pumpkin varieties.

20 apple recipes for fall cooking.

I’ve got a list of pandemic purchases, good and bad. What were yours?

Plan your trip with the 2021 USA Fall Foliage Map (by date).

Four ways to prioritize rest.

Did you miss our previous article…

Leaf Embellished Pumpkins

I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday and they had just brought out their gourds and cinderella pumpkins. They are always a good price there so I brought a few home and embellished them with preserved leaves and a few fresh eucalyptus stems.


I purchased these skeleton rubber plant leaves a few weeks ago on Amazon, they are so delicate and great for so many fall crafts.

green leaves / natural color / brown leaves

I like these skeleton leaves so much I started creating a simple wreath too, attaching the leaves with hot glue to a gold wire circle.

These transparent leaves are great for so many fall projects: garlands, wreaths, bookmarks, art projects, even headbands.



This pumpkin project is simple, quick, and easy. Gather whatever gourds or pumpkins you like, real or fake, and dried botanicals or long lasting fresh stems like eucalyptus.


I used the skeleton leaves to decorate a few of the pumpkins, using Mod Podge to attach them. I used both fake and real pumpkins for this project, the leaves look fab with either!


I used a few extra dried ferns from last week’s roundup of preserved botanicals for fall to cover the top of a white cinderella pumpkin.

For these flat ferns, I used spray adhesive to attach them to the pumpkin.


I used hot glue to attach the eucalyptus stems to this green gourd.


I used three different adhesives during this project: Mod Podge for thin skeleton leaves, spray adhesive for flat leaves, and hot glue for stems.


These make great little seasonal objects for shelves or indoor vignettes.



Or use them in outdoor displays too!


So easy and so pretty!

Did you miss our previous article…

Landscape Murals: Inspiration & Sources

I was walking through the Presidio in San Francisco and on my route was The Lodge, a hotel in the middle of the historic property. When I entered, I spied a giant ocean wall mural of the Pacific Ocean in the hotel dining room.

Landscape murals make a fantastic focal point that tell a story or create a mood. They bring a destination or travel vibe to any space.

Tropical or botanical murals started trending a few years ago, recently the landscape mural are resurging in popularity, especially the trompe l’oeil style (French for “fools the eye”) with old world pastoral scenes and panoramas.

The landscape mural has its history in centuries old painted murals from Europe. These murals always suit traditional interiors and hotels.

chateau de saulon


papiers de paris


Landscape murals are popping up in modern interiors paired with contemporary furnishings as an alternative to art or decorative wall displays. These create an instant focal point on wide walls. Consider them for dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, or home offices. Inspirational examples below!

wooded forest

eden mural  | mural source here


japanese ink wall mural



foggy hills – pacific northwest

vintage scene

ships mural

scandinavian fall

forest mural – installation & link here

french landscape

english landscape

country landscape

bathroom niche

tropical black and white


mirage view

gray chinoiserie

neutral forest

tuft & trim nursery – susan harter murals

If you’re looking for sources for a landscape mural in your home, office, or commercial space, visit these sources below!

Sources for Landscape Murals

Papiers de Paris

Jazz London

Susan Harter


Walls Need Love

York Wallcoverings

Designer Wall Coverings



Did you miss our previous article…

Weekend Reading 9.4.21

Happy holiday weekend! I’m headed to San Francisco for the weekend, the weather is always so good in September. I’ll be having dinner downtown to celebrate our wedding anniversary and taking a long hike through the Presidio tomorrow.

Things are progressing fast on our flip project. The kitchen cabinets are installed, now we’re waiting for countertops. The bathrooms are nearing completion too! I’m looking forward to sharing those transformed spaces very soon! Wishing you all a lovely weekend, I’m sure we could all benefit from a few relaxing days.

Favorite links found this week:

Modern meets farmhouse style in this family friendly country property.

So pretty: the sand dune tile in this bathroom reno.

Styling perfection using wood and natural textures.

So in love with this kitchen backsplash.

This budget kitchen makeover shows the power of paint and new countertops.

The interior of a crumbling Italian structure transformed into a contemporary retreat.

DIY crepe paper flowers with Halloween flair.

Low cal dinner recipes filled with fall flavors.

Venice is implementing new restrictions and fees to combat overtourism.

Vacation rental of the week: these boutique apartments on the Gold Coast.

Did you miss our previous article…