Celebrate Summer (Finally!)

By Thursday, May 21, 2015 11 No tags Permalink 0

This post is sponsored by the Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit and Blueprint Social. All opinions are my own.

tie dye summer party

Apparently my blog is magic, because right after I wrote about wanting to throw a party on the deck, Mother Nature let up on the rain for a second and we were able to host another couple for drinks and nibbles on Monday night. Yay, fresh air! The timing was perfect because I had to tell you about my awesome tie-dye experience anyway, so BOOM! It turned into a little party.

tie dye summer party

Why can’t we eat outside everyday?

Can we talk about how great it is that the sun doesn’t set until, like, 8:15 now? It makes socializing after work so much easier. This was kind of a, “Quick, it’s not raining! Let’s drink wine!” scenario, so I didn’t have a chance to do anything too fancy (and by fancy I mean Giant Jenga), but I had just DIY’d the coolest tea towel ever and knew it should make an appearance:

tie dye summer party

Gratuitous shot of the cheddar cheese with bacon, too.

I used the Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit and as I started working, it occurred to me that I was a rookie and it was my first time using tie-dye ever. (I’m not sure how one gets to be almost 30 and never ties and dyes, but there you go.) The kit was super easy to use, though, and comes with a giant plastic tarp and several pairs of gloves, so there’s no risk of accidentally dying your hands gray. It also has a breakdown of several techniques to use, depending on the kind of design you’re into.

As for the process itself, I used a variation of the folding technique. I took the tea towel and folded it in half 4 times, then used the included dye to color the edges. One cool thing you can do with this kit is dilute the dye to get various shades, so I took the black and kept adding water until I got a medium gray. It felt very custom. The process for making the pillows was a little more loosey-goosey. I used the sunburst technique, in which I grabbed random sections of fabric and tied them off with rubber bands before applying more gray dye. After cutting the bands off–because you want them REALLY TIGHT–I was left with a cool starburst pattern for both.

tie dye summer party

Observation: the dappled sunlight is like nature’s tie-dye.

Over in the food zone, we had the aforementioned cheddar with bacon, some fresh strawberries, and little tuna “sandwiches” with a cucumber slice on the bottom and a radish on top. I invented those on the fly because I didn’t want to go back to the grocery store, but that worked in my favor this time because those were delicious. For an extra healthy kick, make the tuna salad with hummus or avocado instead of mayonnaise.

tie die summer party

I love how everything turned out. Tie-dye in da house! Well, in the yard, but you know what I mean. It was cool to bust these out for an all-adult wine night, because I think sometimes people assume tie-dye is only for the kiddos, but not so. Even if your style is pretty minimal like mine, it can be awesome when you use gray stick to one color. Have you had a chance to host outside yet? Have you ever invented a new appetizer out of laziness? What tie-dye projects have you made in the past?

To get the latest info about products and projects from Tulip, including all the ways you can Tie-Dye Your Summer, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Catalog Challenge: Crate & Barrel

By Monday, May 18, 2015 14 No tags Permalink 0

It’s time for another installment of the Catalog Challenge! (The fifth one, if you’re keeping track. See the others over here.) Each month my friend Kristen and I pick a store and design a room for our respective houses using only those products. This time we got to clap our hands gleefully at Crate & Barrel:
crate and barrel office

rug  //  desk  //  chair  //  lamp  //  mirror  //  sofa  //  shelf  //  coffee table
ivory pillow  //  mod pillow  //  art

I guess mine isn’t TECHNICALLY for Casa Ronchetti, but rather my hypothetical future studio in which I graduate from using our third bedroom and have a “real” office somewhere. Still fits my life, though, so I’ll count it. Like with Restoration Hardware last month, this room came together so easily. I can’t decide if I’m just better at sourcing everything from one place now that I’ve had some practice, or if we’ve been spoiled by two great stores in a row. Today I was aiming for a clear midcentury inspiration without going full Mad Men–SIDE NOTE: the series finale was last night, feel free to dish in the comments. I have thoughts.

>> Anyhoodle, the first thing you may notice here is the general lack of storage. My local design biz is almost entirely paperless, so I don’t need a ton of space dedicated to files. (I do still have my Etsy shop open but if I’m being totally honest, everything except the color palettes will eventually go back to Hobby Town. I’d have my fabric at home in this scenario.) This meant I could choose whatever awesome desk I wanted–hello legs!–and I could pick the delicate brass shelf that’s all open storage.

>> After I had the desk and shelf, I needed a big blob of grey in there somewhere, lest the warm shades get out of control. Enter: sofa. I’ve always wanted an office with a more casual meeting area because interior design is supposed to be a fun, personal thing, so this is perfect. The other grey piece is the rug, which has the benefit of being MULTIPLE shades of grey and therefore easy to toss down with just about anything. I actually would’ve preferred a darker rug to anchor the room, but that was C&B’s one weak area. Everything dark was a shag, so I had to change my game plan a little.

>> Since my heart knows what it wants, and it wants neutrals, I decided to bring in more of the brass as an accent throughout the space instead of picking a color. I love the glass top on the coffee table because you can really see how pretty the legs are. (I’m all about furniture legs today, aren’t I?) The sunflower mirror is a great statement piece, too, as I’m a sucker for any kind of retro-inspired starburst. The pointy petals are kind of badass.

>> Let’s talk about the accessories. The official reason for choosing the art is because I liked it and I wanted something in a black frame, but I ALSO thought it was titled “Snacks” and I couldn’t just leave it there. (It’s actually “Stacks.” Lame.) I brought in more black with the desk chair and shelf inserts, since a neutral-heavy space really needs contrast for visual interest and I got shut down in the rug department. If even one of those was white or wood, I think the whole design would feel flat.

As for the outpouring of cash, you’ll need $7,097 for everything above. Not pocket change, but also not totally ridiculous for a brand new workspace that is TOTALLY an investment in your future.

Who else has an easy time shopping at Crate & Barrel? What would your dream workspace be like? Who else likes a casual meeting area? (Thoughts about the last episode ever of Mad Men?) Don’t forget to check out Kristen’s office, too!

I’d Like to Have an Outdoor Party

By Wednesday, May 13, 2015 11 No tags Permalink 0

For as much as I complain about having a yard and all of my accidental plant killing, I really like to entertain outside. Maybe it’s the allure of not having to clean my entire house when company comes? (The downfall of DIY is never knowing what room people will want to see on that particular visit, so I have to clean them ALL.) But a yard party? Everybody hangs outside! We were going to have an al fresco meal on Mother’s Day but got rained out, so here are some outdoor party ideas I’m considering for next time.

outdoor entertaining

christmas lights  //  fancy lemonade  //  silverware bundles  //  giant Jenga  //  streamers  //  s’mores kits

First of all, have you ever played giant Jenga? It’s exactly what it sounds like: your childhood favorite made out of 2×4’s. We first played it at a bar a couple of summers ago and now I think MEGA versions of games are exponentially more fun. Some Christmas lights wrapped around tree trunks will be so easy, but so pretty. We have seven mature trees in our yard, which, yes, makes for gnarly ground cover when all of the leaves fall off at once, but man would they be cool with some twinkle lights. As for the food, I love the idea of several fancy lemonades for guests to choose from. The personal s’mores baskets are a nice touch, too, both for lowering the risk of squabbles over the last marshmallow and also because you don’t need to keep them on ice. Finally, the silverware wrapped in vintage hankies is something I never thought of, but it’s brilliant. Why use a ton of paper napkins when hankies are at every thrift store for a quarter? Just toss them in the wash at the end of the party and use them again.

So. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we get to use the deck before the 4th of July. Have you been able to get out in the yard? What outdoor party tricks are up your sleeve? Who wants to come over for a giant Jenga showdown?