DIY ~ Ruffly Flower Belt

Inspired by wedding trends once again, I wanted, nay, NEEDED a pretty, ruffly, flowery, tulle-laden belt.  Only I didn't want to pay the $60 J.Crew price tag.  I decided to take matters into my own hands after seeing this  ruffly headband tutorial on Heart of Light.

I followed the steps (almost) exactly.  Looking back on it now, I realize that I didn't layer 2 petals together before tacking them down.  This may have helped with the fullness, as I ended up adding in quite a few extra petals at the end because it looked a little skimpy.  That said, here is my picture tutorial:

All photos by me 

I bought a half yard of each of the fabrics - a clearance, Golden Girls pink; grey & ivory silk; pink, ivory & pale shimmer blue.  I also purchased a 1" spool of grey and 1 1/2" spool of ivory grosgrain ribbon.  *Please Note!  The 1 1/2" ribbon is very hard to tie into an even bow in the back - it is just too thick.  The 1" ribbon works perfectly for this project. 

Tone on tone grey - my favorite!


Have you attempted a DIY project that you found on the web?


New Use for Ball Canning Jars!

click on image for sourceVintage Ball canning jars seem to be all the rage in wedding table decor lately.  I've read many, many, many stories of brides scouring the internet & antique markets in order to have these lovlies grace their tables. 

I thought of all of you when I came acorss this the other day.

I have always been partial to the blue variety, which are harder to come by, but are oh-so perfectly vintage  (side note: I considered using these for our Ohio home reception, but the $30/each price tag at the Chicago Antique Market changed my mind FAST).  I can picture a grouping of three of these pendants in a number of different styles of kitchens, from Quirky/Modern to Beachy Whitewash. 

Conant Lighting has an entire section of Repurposed lighting, but at $185 each, these aren't for all budgets.  I've now seen similar listings for these elsewhere, but I love this one because the bottom has been removed.  The whole jar doesn't do it for's almost too crafty...but I imagine that this could be a relatively simple DIY project for someone with knowledge of how to put a light together (that person is not me, unfortunately).  My friend Mrs. D'orsay posted tips on removing the tops of wine bottles, so have at it!

So brides & fellow Ball jar lovers, is this something you'd be willing to try?  Could you see these hanging over your kitchen island?  If so, and you decide to do it, send me pictures & I'll post them here!




Happy Birthday, Bubble Wrap!

Bubble Wrap turns 50 today - Happy Birthday!  A little known fact:  this sealed-air that protects our valuables  & offers hours of endless entertainment was actually a failed attempt at creating plastic wallpaper!  How ridiculously 1960's, no?  Imagine it paired with wall to wall shag carpeting - groovy, baby! 

We'll stick to grass cloth & large scale graphic prints, thank you. My google image search yielded only one (poorly executed) , thereby solidifying the notion that this isn't a trend likely to catch on anytime soon...

Aside from packaging, I found one other genius use - a pop-a-day calendar!  I can imagine this uber-trendy, fun calendar in both a graphic design office and a kids room.  What do you think?

Start of your day with a bang, err, pop!~kristin 


Welcome to Bien Living

Let me start by saying how excited I am to be blogging again!  My first plunge into the blogging world focused on wedding planning & started at the end of 2008 - you can find me as Mrs. Quiche on Weddingbee.  That was an ridiculously incredible experience & I hope that Bien Living proves to be the same.

Now, allow me to introduce myself:

As an interior design maven and someone with a love for all things design, Bien Living will be a blog primarily focused on design.  Whether it's a rockin' interior (I love inspiration!), new product or general design babble, I love to talk design & can't wait to share my finds with all of you!  I know so many people who are in the process of purchasing/moving into/decorating new homes and I hope I can help you out :)  I'll also post on other topics such as travel, books, musings in general. 

I believe quality interior design is something that is attainable for everyone, regardless of their budget.  Design can be intimidating, so I like to present it in a non-fussy way.  A few years ago, I started a design company - Mention Bien Design.  I haven't focused on maintaining it in a LONG time due to my "real" job, going back to school & life in general, but it is my goal to get it back up and running.  What is holding me back?  Me.  & I need to get over that.

I can't tell you how many times, after spelling out my email address for someone, I've heard the question "What is mention bien?".  Well, my friends, let me let you in on a delectable little secret ;)  Mention Bien's are quite possibly the most perfect cookie every created.  Yes, that's right - I've branded myself with a cookie.  I'm sure most of you have heard of LU Petit Ecoliers, non?  Mention Bien's are the Casino (regular old grocery store chain in France)  Dominicks/Kroger/Jewel/Albertsons/ InsertGroceryStoreBrandNameHere version of the snotty Petit Ecolier (little school kid).  And they ROCK my socks.  I discovered them while studying in Lyon, France 10 years ago (holy moly, 10 YEARS?!  What?!).  In the study abroad information packet, it was noted that there was "a Casino across the street" from the dorm when listing area amenities.  Sweet! the group of 20-year olds shouted!  We can gamble everyday!  Lo & behold, we arrive in Lyon and discover that Casino is in fact a grocery store.  Which ended up being much better than a casino-casino. 

 source (I can't believe I googled & found it!) 

My mom & I are obsessed.  Each time we've been to France since then, we stock up.  I'm talking dozens of boxes of cookies.  Milk Chocolate.  Dark Chocolate (my personal fav).  White Chocolate.  Chocolate with Hazelnut.  Enough boxes that I'm sure we're flagged somewhere in the TSA as certifiable crazy women.  My greatest fear is that they'll be discovered and taken from me...I'm always slightly confused about the food portion of the customs form.

So, there you have it- Mention Bien Design.  Bien Living.  Living Well.  Isn't that something we all want to do?



Gold Coast Condo

Here are the pictures of a recently completed living room for a client in the Gold Coast.  They wished to keep their existing couches and rug, so I used those as the jumping off point for the rest of the room.  Dark, maroon chairs were instantly transformed by reupholstering in a lighter, fresh Duralee fabric.  Artwork in large, dated oak frames became more modern with resized mats and black frames.  New lighting was brought in all over the room & a mirror added to reflect more light and to make the space feel larger.  Finally, outdated end tables were replaced with tables that echo the materials in the window frames to bring everything together.

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