Recovering the Klobo

The IKEA Klobo loveseat is a great little piece of furniture. We've had ours for over 5 years, and despite being clean and tidy folks, the white fabric inevitably picks up stains and spots, especially since we now have a dog (muddy paws!!). It was getting to the point that we had to do something--very embarrassing!

Quickly I realized upgrading to a new sofa was out of the question. A good budget-friendly solution turned out to be recovering the Klobo, as structurally it was still in great shape, it just looked disgusting. So I set out on a mission to find nice fabric for a nice price. I scored at Joann.com with a half-off coupon code. I bought 9 yards (turned out I could have gotten by with 8 but it would have been very close) for a grand total of $45. The hardest part of this undertaking was finding a fabric and at a price we both could agree on. Finally we found a lovely dark grey with a subtle printed texture.

The beauty of IKEA furniture is that they can be easily disassembled. I sewed the more fitted areas (the arms and back) and stapled everything to the underside, then put it all back together. Also, because the Klobo didn't have a whole lot of soft padding to begin with, I added a layer of memory foam (from an old mattress pad we weren't using) to the seat and arms and now it is SUPER comfy!!

To finish the whole thing off, I got a can of 3M Scotchgard protector for fabric/upholstery to help keep it looking nice even longer.
Does this qualify as an IKEA hack? Either way, we just got at least another good 2 years from our $99 loveseat!

I think these two approve. 


Cuttin' a Rug

Happy news in the Matt&Bobbie family.....we are now puppy parents! Ok, we've had Zooey over 4 months now, but that's just how behind on this blog I am.
 She is a great dog--we love her so much!

In other news, I got restless with my current pillow collection and wanted to mix things up. In a momentary fit of insanity, I almost dropped $100 on three Turkish kilim pillow covers on Ebay. Not sure if Zooey is out of her chewing phase, I realized it would be crazy to spend that much.

 So, during one of my rare (wink) thrifting outtings, I came across a very large woven rug with some very interesting colors and shapes in it. The rug as a whole I did not like, but I could see at least a couple pillows being cut from it. So, for $5, I bought the beast and proceeded to chop it up.

I could not be happier. In the meantime, I have no idea what I am going to do with the other 90% of the rug, but that's what junk closets are for.


Summer Succulents

 I have my mom to thank for my green thumb and love of nature. While at her house yesterday, I saw (one of my favorite plants in the whole world) this Gasteria (which is massive--probably over a foot wide and leaves 2 inches thick) with a gorgeous bloom stalk emerging!
I've been considering getting a tattoo on my ankle and I think this is it!

 This is so beautiful now--I hope I can photograph it when the flowers are actually open!

you can see how thick and meaty the leaves are--
and check out that gorgeous blue color!!

I am a proud plant parent to my Euphorbia which has a special story behind it. The center pictures are how it looks after almost four years.


Beautiful Blooming Cacti

 I am getting some major cactus flower action! My Echinopsis subdenudata produces enormous beautiful ethereally white (they almost look like they are glowing even in the daylight) flowers. They open at night, and by morning's end they are closed and wilted. As if they aren't stunning enough, they have the most wonderful sweet, citrus-y scent. 

As a colorful contrast my gymnocalycium shows off pink blossoms. I have another gymno. variety which will be ready to bloom in a week or so.


Succulent Sea Garden

I got pretty artsy recently when Matt requested some plants for his new office.

 I chose pencil cactus, some cuttings of an elongated variegated Opuntia (which turn pink in the sun) and a small low-growing fan Crassula. White gravel, blue sea glass pebbles, and some shells complete the look. I think it is just gorgeous.


Jazz up that Hummus

Roasted red pepper hummus covered in parsley, pine nuts,
more red pepper, sumac and olive oil. 
Chances are you will be either hosting or attending at least one backyard bash this summer. So, you need ideas on what to make, right? Well take my advice and whip up a big batch of hummus--almost everyone loves it and there are endless flavor variations to get your taste buds a dancin'.

Basic Hummus Recipe: Combine 1-- 15oz. can drained CHICKPEAS in a food processor along with at least 1 clove of GARLIC, juice of 1 LEMON, big pinch of SALT, OLIVE OIL and 2 tablespoons TAHINI. Blend until really smooth and the thickness of peanut butter. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.

For the love of god do not stop here. Unless you want your guests to fall asleep, you had better add at least a few flavorful garnishes such as:

herb or lemon-infused olive oil
preserved lemon
lemon zest
roasted garlic
Fresh or dried oregano 
sundried tomatoes
roasted red peppers
Kalamata olives
chopped fresh parsley, chive and/or mint
pine nuts
Chipolte in adobo (very spicy) 
ground Sumac berries
smoked paprika 
toasted and freshly ground cumin seed
feta cheese 
plain Greek yogurt 
Maldon, black Hawaiian, Himalayan pink or flaky sea salt

Ok, so now that we're clear on adding awesomeness, we also need to consider the dipping apparatuses involved with hummus. Pita chips are great, but they aren't the only ones that get to have fun.  Try tossing your pita or other flatbread with some flavorful oil, any dried herbs and spicessalt and pepper before toasting in the oven or slapping on the grill. Any Crudites would also be a welcome change--think sugar snap peas, fresh baby carrots with the greens still on, jicama sticks, mini bell peppers, or endive scoops.  


Studio Tour

Decorating tip: don't overlook your doors for art-hanging opportunities. 
It was a long, hard road to get to this point, but I can now say that my studio is complete, and lovely, and just the way I want it. Why did it take so long, you ask? Well, when we moved into the house, this room served as the catch-all for all the junk we didn't know what to do with and continued as such for quite some time until I put my foot down and said, "This is MY room...I will only allow things in this room that I love and/or are useful to me." Now, that came with a lot of purging (why I had held onto a mountain of paper scraps and ugly fabric I would never use, I do not know) and thinking and re-thinking furniture layout in a small room.

For a long time I HATED this room--there was something seriously feng-shui wrong with it, combined with the junky clutter that I just couldn't handle. But now it is calming, beautiful and very conducive to creativity. Without further adieu, please enter my studio tour (a-la Apartment Therapy)....

I have my afternoon planned....

These wall-mounted shelves are inexpensive, fairly easy to
install and help utilize space all the way to the ceiling. 
My reading nook.

The Klobo loveseat from IKEA is invaluable in a small space.
 They have been well used and well loved in our apartments over the
last few years. 

This shelf is just a cool vintage wire basket I found for a couple bucks
and some wood cut to fit. It holds some of my work and other
 inspirational objects. 
My work table is simply four table legs painted a fantastic orange,
with MDF to top it off. It is the perfect size. 

what art studio is complete without an inspiration board? 

I found these shelves at Target for $20 each--they are the perfect
size for this spot. 

part of my collection of plant books
a few of my favorite pottery pieces


Moving outside

 Every summer, I move most of my houseplants outside to soak up the sunshine, be refreshed by the rain, and generally thrive in the fresh air. Each year, I like to experiment with different set-ups for all my plants. Last year and the year before I primarily utilized a rickety (albeit good-looking) wooden plant rack, the year before that was metal shelves on the balcony, and even farther in the past they hung out on little tables I got at Target. Now that I have a yard, I rigged up the biggest, best shelving unit yet.

For about $1 each, I bought six "1/2 size" cinder blocks and Matt rustled up some old wood from the garage. Voila! a great-looking outdoor plant shelf. I made a Buddha face from concrete and will probably hang it above the plants. Look for that project in an upcoming post.

In other news, my silver squill bulb succulent is blooming. The teeny-tiny blossoms are so pretty--they have bright purple stamens inside the light green and white flowers. 

The excitement over this plant spurred me to create this blog. In case you don't remember, check out my first post. 

Anyway, my precious little euphorbia has performed like a champ. He went from a tiny cutting to growing his first leaf bract, then doubling in size in his first year, growing like crazy in the last two years and now... my baby is a parent! You may remember I chopped the head off the top of the plant, and as a result, the base section is now growing pups. The top part has yet to root, but it's still early and I have hope. 

I decapitated him back in February 

The largest pup at the top of the plant is noticeably bigger everyday!
The lighter green cutting in the pot was a hitchhiker in a plant I bought at the greenhouse ;) 

Another update to one of my plant babies is the "Obama cactus" which has grown about a 1/2 inch after being rooted back in November. Yay for Spring!!