Easter Details

My family had a lovely Easter gathering this year, and there were such pretty decorations for the table I just had to share. This is about the only time of year I’ll accept pastel colors (baby showers notwithstanding).
My mom made this sweet centerpiece from roses out of the garden (my dad’s pride and joy) and flowers from the snail vine:


Ellingsen Photography Easter Details Table Centerpiece Flowers

After seeing this lovely tutorial for watercolor egg name settings (or place eggs, for lack of a better title), I decided to jimmy some for our table. Just minus the watercoloring, and we substituted custard cups with Easter basket grass since that’s what we had on hand. I wrote the names, and then my cousin Jenny came to the rescue with her awesome art skills and free handed different illustrations for each person’s egg. I am in awe of her work – done only with markers!

Ellingsen Photography Easter Details Place Eggs Name Settings

Ellingsen Photography Easter Details Jen at Work

Ellingsen Photography Easter Details Place Eggs Name Settings

Ellingsen Photography Easter Details Table

No shots of the food, because once the food was on the table you couldn’t keep back the vultures, but we served salmon (baked in foil with brown sugar, lemon slices and a bit of peri-peri spice), roasted asparagus, mashed potatoes, beets, fresh rolls and salad. No ham this year, because it’s a major migraine trigger for my mom and I, as much as we hate to admit it.

Between dinner and the artichoke dip we all snacked on beforehand, no one had room for dessert! Poor mom got stuck with a whole angel food cake and boozey fruit. But I suppose if that’s the worst thing that happened, we’re doing okay.  ;)


A Sneak Peek!

While much of the new place is in a state of muted chaos (which, to neat freaks like us, means a few boxes unpacked, art not yet hung and curtains waiting to be put up),  there are a few spots that I’m already very happy with. :)

Such as the mantle, with super cute mini flags that I ordered and put in milk glass vases Nikki’s sister gave us, plus a memento from London (it originally held caramels, I think, and now is a coin bank).

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Mantel

Vintage crackle glass, mini flags from our respective homelands (Poland and Norway) and a Konge Tinn candlestick holder that once belonged to my grandparents.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Mantel 2

Carefully arranged bookshelves (we’re both major bookworms) and hilarious towels in the guest bath, from Etsy seller Cyanide Stitches.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Books and Towels

Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who can have almost nothing on her desk (or just pretend to for the sake of photos). I love my mementos and photos too much! :) Next to my computer sits a classic Office Space-style red stapler, a Norwegian flag mug that I bought the last time we were home, desktop calendars I make every year (template by Paislee Press), and a favorite troll made by an artist from my dad’s hometown of Stavanger. (Similar to the giant one on my parent’s porch, as seen here.)

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Desk

Isn’t my wall color gorgeous? I’m SO in love. It’s Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, which I chose after seeing this beautiful room makeover by AB Chao. It goes a little green, which works perfectly with my bedding (not to mention it’s my favorite color). :)

Both bedrooms came with amazing built-ins in the closets that span an entire wall, but I don’t really want to be looking at all my stuff all the time, so my brother helped me hang these adorable sheers from Ikea using their metal wire curtain rods. Total cost for the curtains and hanging supplies? $32.97 plus tax. Awesome.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Closet Curtains

What desk is complete without penguins and a Tardis USB hub, I ask you? :) I picked the penguins up as a set from Ikea years ago and they’ve traveled to many apartments, offices and homes with me.

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Desk 2

Once I find a bedskirt and reading lamps I don’t hate, I’ll be back to share photos of my lovely padded headboard that I made. It’s the best!


P.S. Dante approves of this message. And the gorgeous new carpet (which, incidentally, is insanely difficult to white balance for).

Ellingsen Photography New Home Sneak Peek-Dante and Carpet

Planning for a Real Home

{Also known as: In Which Nikki and I FREAK OUT About Becoming Adults}
So the big news of the week is that the bank finally approved Nikki’s paperwork, so she’s officially in escrow!! (For those of you just joining us, it’s been an epic adventure for my BFF trying to purchase her first home, a short sale condo. Dante and I will be renting a room.) The place is about as perfect as we could have asked for and we absolutely love the neighborhood.

Shout it with me now: Wooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Ellingsen Photography Trude and Nikki Freak Out

(Or aaaaaaaahhhhhhh run for your liiiiiiiiiiiiife!!)

If all goes well, we close escrow at the end of July. She already had the home inspection done last weekend, which found super minimal things that needed to be done to bring it up to code safety-wise, but other than that it’s looking good! So after a fresh coat of paint all around and new carpet upstairs, it looks like we’ll be moving in around mid-August or so. (You know I’ll be sharing photos then!)

Of course we couldn’t be more excited, but as this will be the first time for either of us actually owning instead of renting (well, she’ll be the owner, but you get what I mean), it’s now time for us to freak. out. about everything that needs to be done and all that we’ll need to stock up on. Even though we’ve both been reading up online and planning and researching since she officially started looking, I think everyone would get that feeling of “OhMyGodIHaveSoMuchToDo!” now that we’ve reached this point. And then, being late-twenty-somethings, we’re both constantly going “Good lord we’re discussing water heaters and sofa fabric. We’re adults!” :)

Between the two of us we’re doing well on some supplies, but others are definitely lacking. At least she found a couch and chair she likes, after we wandered into La-Z-Boy just to butt-test. We’ll also need a fridge, vacuum, new bed and mattress for Nikki, and a grass box for Dante, among other things.

I’ve been pinning and blog reading and reading through my parents’ Consumer Reports like nobody’s business, so here’s some things I’ve found especially helpful or inspiring for n00bs like us (read: newbies in gamer speak), in the hopes that my hours of research will maybe help someone else too. :)

Design Sponge Sneak Peek Alissa Walker

I think Nikki and I would both love to move in to this gorgeous 1940s Silver Lake home (a super cute neighborhood in LA)

Dewdrop & Dahlia Coffee Table Makeover

My New Zealand friend Kathryn did amazing things with this $12 coffee table she found

Live Creating Yourself Home Tour Living Room

Alaina, the blogger behind Live Creating Yourself, recently shared her own home tour and I especially loved how she layered textures and mixed patterns in her living room. The kitchen is gorgeous too!

Smile and Wave Home Tour Master Bedroom

You can’t go wrong with Rachel Denbow’s gorgeous vintage style that’s also budget-friendly. Seriously love her home! And I’m completely addicted to her blog.

Design Sponge Mantel Makeovers

We’ll have a fireplace with a mantle (not so common in sunny Southern California!), so these two mantle makeovers are making me drool

Filing Cabinet Planter Baldmanmod

I don’t know why but I’m dying to do this old-filing-cabinet-into-a-planter DIY

I also have about 496 blog posts from Young House Love saved (as I testified to on Twitter – and they responded!). Seriously, I cannot get enough of their blog because they’re so down-to-earth and self-deprecating and spare no details! Their true step-by-steps and rationale is pretty much exactly the way I think. The following are the ones I keep going back to:

Young House Love Drawer Lining DIY

Lining dresser drawers with pretty wrapping paper and Mod Podge. Lots of great less-permanent ideas in the comments too!

Young House Love Office Progress Getting Wired

Getting wired in the office. The surge protector they went with looks awesome. (Mom! Look at me all adult-y!)

Young House Love Bedroom Curtains

Their big window treatment Q&A post is helping me SO much. The bedrooms in the new place are wide but short, so I’ve been researching options on pretty ways to play those up without losing light. (Fellow photogs will empathize with me – we’re the opposite of vampires. Light! Give me liiiight!”)

Young House Love House Crashing Courtney Little Glass Box

This house walk through they did of the home of blogger Courtney of Little Glass Box, had me super inspired! Love when design doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Sorry for using “of” too many times in one sentence.)

Okay, I’m already exhausted. But still inspired and can’t wait to get this party started! And I have to say a super big thank you to my mom, whom we’ve already started abusing for her interior design training and may-jah skillz. We would be lost without her!

So, homeowners, any tips or insights for us?


Dreaming of Home

So my BFF and I are officially house hunting (for her, I’ll be renting a room), and I couldn’t be more excited! Not only because it means we’re entering a new stage in our lives, and I’m super proud of her for being able to buy a home before she’s 30 (an especially big deal when you live in Orange County), but also because we’re finally going to be roomies! :) We’ve only been dreaming about this for, oh, fifteen years.

While we’re working on finding just the right place for her and I (and Dante too!), I’ve been playing at interior designer and just had to share some of the prettier things and great DIY tutorials I’ve found around the interwebs.

I’m obsessed with the bright yellow and grey/neutrals combo right now, isn’t it so pretty? Relaxing yet sunny, and you can really play with pattern and texture. The center image is my main inspiration, from Angela Hardison’s home as featured on Design*Sponge (she’s a graphic designer – surprised much?).

Clockwise from top left:

We’ll be on a tight budget, so some of these are not on my actual shopping list, but you can do a whole lot with some paint, varnish and sandpaper! We’ll be doing some serious thrifting and Goodwill-hopping. We also have most of the essentials in terms of kitchen supplies and furniture, so I’ve been daydreaming about how we can play with what we have already. Here’s some DIY tutorials that I’m loving:

So link us up, friends! What DIY projects have you loved lately?