...because home doesn't happen overnight.

wood bead strand 13

Wood bead garlands have been popping up in interiors for years. I think I first noticed them styled in Scandinavian vignettes. Then they became pretty popular as holiday garland on trees and mantels. More recently I’ve spotted them casually gracing tabletops in interiors with a natural, organic vibe. (Lauren Liess’s coffee table and Anissa’s dining room table come to mind.) I love how effortless they look. Oh, this ol’ thing I just tossed on my table?

A few weeks ago when cabin fever hit hard, I was itching to make something. Putting my spin on the famed wood bead garland sounded fun so I gave it a whirl. Obviously, I’m not reinventing the wheel here but it was nice busying my hands and tweaking little details to my liking. Here’s what I did…

wood bead strand 1

I knew I wanted a pretty substantial strand with a longer length and chunkier profile (no measly little necklace of wood “pearls”) but when I started gathering my supplies I quickly discovered that pre-drilled wood beads are expensive! And I needed quite a few. To save money, I ended up buying wood balls in various sizes and drilling the holes myself. I bought three bags of 1″, two bags of 1¼” and one bag of 1½” wood balls along with four yards of leather cording. I raided the garage and found some heavy duty grip pliers to stabilize the balls during drilling.

wood bead strand 2

One by one, I placed each ball on top of a scrap piece of wood, secured the ball with the pliers in one hand and drilled a hole through the center with my other hand using a 3/16″ drill bit. (I’m a lefty so if you’re a righty flop the image above for a better visual.) You can drill whatever size hole you want. The key is to drill a hole at least slightly larger than your preferred stringing material: rope, string, jute, yarn, etc. Keep a firm grip on the pliers!

wood bead strand 3

Drilling through the ball into the wood scrap below prevents splintering and produces a clean cut. Ideally, this would be an outdoor project but below-zero temps kept me indoors. I kept the vacuum nearby and swept up sawdust as I went along.

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After all the holes were drilled, I wasn’t digging the cool grayish tones of the unfinished maple. I busted out my trusty beeswax + orange oil wood conditioner (previously seen here) and applied it with a soft cloth.

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This was about halfway through the waxing process. The beads on the left are unfinished. The beads on the right are waxed. I love how the beeswax warms up the wood tone and emphasizes the graining. Instant patina!

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Once waxing was complete, I strung the beads onto the leather cording.

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I decided to string the largest beads near the center of the garland and the smallest beads near the ends for a graduated effect.

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After all the beads were strung, I went back through and spaced them out a little so the garland wasn’t too stiff and had some play in it. I wanted the garland to drape easily. I knotted the ends and cut the excess cording. Done! (You could also tie the ends together to create a circular garland.)

wood bead strand 9

The end result is so pretty in a natural, unfussy way. I love that you can see little indentations from the pliers. Living proof that they were touched by hands – not just a machine. There’s really no wrong way to style them. They kinda just do their own thing and go with everything. They’re the J. Crew of home accessories. I’ve already had a heyday trying them out all over the house.

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As a cat-friendly centerpiece on the dining room table.

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Spilling out of a thrifted bowl on the media cabinet.

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Curled up in a large bowl on the coffee table.

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Dangling from a hook on a sliver of wall.

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Draped over a pile of books on my dresser.

They’re so versatile. I keep moving them around. Who knows where they’ll end up. I’m going to start a new blogger game called Where Are the Wood Beads? Should be a good time.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

ikea 2016 2

The kids and I were in Florida last week visiting my grandparents. There was a stack of mail waiting for me when we returned home. I was happy to find a copy of Ikea’s newest catalog among the stack of envelopes and shelter glossies. I had thought the catalog’s official release date was August 15th. I was surprised to see it show up in my mailbox so early. At any rate, I devoured it in one sitting. I made a list of the items and ideas that caught my eye. I thought I would share them with you today. In an effort to avoid ruining the novelty for others, I won’t be sharing photos of each item. I’d love for you to experience the catalog on your own then refer to my list if you feel inclined to do so. UPDATE: If you aren’t able to get a catalog in your hands, you can view it online here. Let’s get started!

*pg. 6, 61, 198 With its minimal design and small footprint, the LISABO dining table is ideal for small spaces.

*pg. 7, 63, 197 I actually spied the MÖCKELBY dining table several weeks ago at my local Ikea. It was love at first sight. The piece is a modern take on the trestle table. I predict it will become a best seller. FYI: I originally read the description as solid oak, meaning this was a solid oak table through and through. After further clarification, it appears the table is particleboard with a solid oak top layer.

*pg. 8-9 I have been (im)patiently waiting for the highly anticipated line from Ilse Crawford. It looks like I will have to wait a bit longer. The SINNERLIG collection debuts this fall but I’m already in love with the natural materials and textures. The cork furniture (dining table, bench, stools) and bamboo pendant lamp ($60!) are my favorite pieces.

*pg. 15 Metallic gold tape turns a basic white fridge into a fun statement. Easy and inexpensive!

*pg. 25, 60, 179 The RISATORP wire basket is pretty, practical and versatile. I can see it being utilized in almost any room to corral food, toys, linens, art supplies, toiletries, mail, books, etc. Also, the pantry on page 25 is dreamy.

*pg. 33 The affordable HINDÖ shelving unit with cabinets has an industrial vibe. I would use it in a kitchen, dining room or creative studio for combined open and hidden storage.

*pg. 81 The SITTNING tea light holders (made of natural stone) and small chopping boards (made of oiled acacia) are less than $5 a pop! I’ll definitely be grabbing a few of each.

*pg. 85 An interactive, kid-friendly wall features chalkboard paint halfway up the wall topped with shelving and knob hooks. A unique idea for a playroom or basement family room.

ikea 2016

pg. 141 (Probably my favorite page of the entire catalog.) I love everything about this bathroom! I’m so happy the GODMORGON cabinet is still available. (We love ours!) The bamboo countertop option warms things up and the TÖRNVIKEN vessel sink finally solves the problem of standard water traps crowding drawer space.

pg. 167 Yay for a dark nursery!

pg. 176 The INGEFÄRA pot combines a traditional material (terracota) with a modern design (deep saucer) at a ridiculously cheap price point of $2-$4 depending on size.

pg. 187 Ikea has been keeping kitchens organized for a long time with various containers. Add the KORKEN jar to that list.

pg. 198 The simple design of the IDOLF chair works with nearly any table style. I’m especially fond of the added support detail just under the seat. It reminds me of a Thonet.

pg. 208 Good-looking yet affordable ceiling lights are few and far between. The new VARV ceiling lamp checks both boxes.

pg. 237 The HILVER table boasts warm wood tones with white accents and clean lines. I like the idea of using it as a desk in the corner of a living room or home office.

pg. 272 I’m diggin’ the hardware-less 2-drawer OPPLAND chest for less than $100.

pg. 286 I always fall for Ikea’s cheap, flatwoven rugs. The TÅNUM and SIGNE do not disappoint.

pg. 292 I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the NORDRANA baskets before. They’re constructed of polypropylene (the same material used for outdoor rugs) and washable. They’d be perfect hanging in a bathroom for easy and accessible storage.

pg. 304 Your kids want brightly colored plastic toys. You prefer wooden ones. The LILLABO cars are the perfect compromise.

pg. 305 I think Mabrey needs the DUKTIG cash register ;)

That’s my list! Overall, I really enjoyed browsing the new catalog. I like how Ikea shows many of their products in different settings on more than one page so you get a feel for how they might look in real life. I also thought the styling felt layered and lived-in…always a good thing in my book. One area that I thought was lacking this year was the bedding category which surprised me because I usually love their inexpensive bedding options. Have you flipped through the catalog yet? I’d love to know what caught your eye!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Dear etsy,

I like you. Especially your art, handmade treasures, and vintage textiles & knick knacks. I just want you to know that you’re appreciated.

xo,
Dana

And now for some stuff I recently bought on etsy…

etsy stuff

 

1 – vintage indigo jar ($20) I store garlic bulbs in this lil’ cutie and keep it next to the stove.

2 – red sliced wood garland ($30) This crazy cool garland is going in the boys’ room. (An update on their room is coming next…) I probably could have made one for less but who has time to paint a wood dowel, cut it into a million pieces, then string and knot each slice? Apparently, not me.

3 – hanging planter ($57) The boys requested more plants in their room. To optimize floor space, I thought a hanging planter would be the way to go. Again, I decided to leave the tedious task of knot-tying to someone else. WHO AM I?

4 – vintage Hmong fabric ($35) I bought two Hmong pillow covers a while back for the mudroom and ever since I dream of covering my house in Hmong fabric. It has the best patterns and patina in a denim-like indigo color. I’m going to sew more pillow covers and fill my house with them. Because I do have time for sewing but not for knot-tying??

5 – vintage kilim pillow ($55) I put this beauty in ‘my favorites’ weeks ago and would stop in daily to gaze longingly at it. Then I decided life was too short to love a pillow virtually when I could love it in real life.

6 – New Zealand panoramic photography print ($145) I’ve slowly been adding black and white photography prints to our home. (I spy three from my desk right now.) I guess I’m into them. The scale and orientation of this panoramic should be perfect for what I have in mind.

I go through phases of browsing etsy and curating ‘my favorites.’ Then every once in a while I pull the trigger on items I’m especially drawn to. I have to have a clear purpose or spot for each item. That’s the one caveat. There’s no room here for buying first, thinking later.

What about you? Any recent etsy purchases? Any etsy shops I should know about?

images: polyvore collage by Dana Miller