Friday, December 9, 2011


Finally got a few pictures of the Holiday decor around here, although there are a few more I want to take.  The I am semi-happy with the tree this year, I bought lots of new ornaments.  I'm calling it my silver tree, but it could really be named my Walmart tree because most of the ornaments came from there!  With 4 young kids, I don't travel far from home!!  And they are all shatterproof, rather than having the bottom 1/3 of the tree bare, like usual.
 I feel like I really overloaded the tree with ornaments, which is what I wanted, but it photographed looking kinda plain and are a few close-ups to prove the ornaments really are there!

Over to the mantel...It is a bit plain, I added a bunch of votives and some stuff, but then it just looked cluttered.  So it is this way, this year.  Next year I will try to switch it up.

Aaand, over to the kitchen-

The above tree is the kids tree that they decorated themselves. 

And last for today, the dining room...

My attempt at a vignette...I like it, it has potential.  I might still fuss with it, the bottom is tricky because my little ones will play break whatever is there. Again I was surprised at how much plainer things seem in a photo than in person.

OK, this has taken about 5 hours to put together with all the interruptions, going to get this up before the bus arrives and things get even more hectic.  I'll try to get the other shots/rooms in another post soon.  Although with my track record....I couldn't even remember my url to start this one!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Mantel

The fall mantel as it currently stands....

Styling is a challenge for me.  I can pick out ok things, getting it all together...not so much. I started with just the mercury glass pumpkins.  Found those at Marshalls mixed in with all the tacky Halloween decor.  $12.99.  Grabbed one and headed for the register and saw another tucked behind something.  So I bolted for the register and never looked back!  Then I added silver bar trays from the clearance section at Pier 1.  $4.98 each!  At that point things were looking pretty shiny up there, especially with the mirror.  I had seen the oval wood bowl at Target, so I went back to get it.  $19.99, full price, but it was my birthday present to myself!  Anyway, it was still pretty sparse, so I started browsing pictures for some ideas and added the rest.  The pumpkins were from Walmart a few years ago (the fall decor at Walmart is not so good this year, is it?)  The candlesticks were also from Walmart a few years back, a clearance find.  And the wooden box is a Chinese antique brought back from Shanghai.  I think it still needs some of those tall wheat bundles, but I don't know if it's getting too late in the season to find them....stay tuned!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A home tour promise

I am putting this up so that I can commit to figuring out how to put a home tour tab on my blog.  That is the first thing I look for when I look at any home blog, and I really want to get that set up.  I partially finished another room this weekend to add to it as well.  Of course I didn't remember to take before pics, but baby girl's room went from builder white white white, to Sweet Baby Girl pink ;)  I have to convince darling to put together a shelving unit tonight (ooh, it is getting late too) and organize her room tomorrow, then I can take pics, and hopefully upload the last 5 or 6 weeks of photos and get them over here!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kitchen plans

Did I really miss all of July?  Oops. 

So my new kitchen in my new house is all of 1 yr old, and I want to tear it out.  I have such regret about it.  Sigh.  I blame all the blogs I read.  At the time we were building I didn't know I would have liked to have wood floors in the kitchen, or white white cabinets, etc etc.  But the reality is we spent many many thousands of dollars on our tile floors and wood cabinets thinking that we would never want to change them.  Hmm.

Well, what I can change is the counters for sure.  That was the one place we skimped, so it is just laminate.  And when those are ripped off, I think the backsplash won't survive, maybe change that, and I am thinking maybe even the cabinets could be painted (but this makes me nervous b/c we have soooo many, and did I mention they were expensive?)

So basically I think the only thing that is more or less NOT changeable is the tile floors.  Ceramic in the color "mushroom"  which is a medium beige with some gray tones in them.  I have an extra cabinet door in the garage, so I think I might paint it white and bring it in to see how the cool white looks against the warm-toned tile.

I have been shopping for counters.  I am thinking quartz or concrete with a butcher block top on the island.  Haven't researched the concrete much yet.  Found some great gray quartz options though....

A few years down the line for sure, but it gives me hope :)  See the original kitchen here, shortly after we moved in.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Think-of-a-dinner Thursday

Thursdays mean groceries are running low and dinner needs some creative thinking. 

Result = Cold Nachos

Tortilla chips topped with leftover (ie cold) grilled chicken, sliced avacado and chunks of jalepeno jack cheese.

Really good, so I am blogging it in an attempt to remember it.

Except even I do not read my own blog.....

Split Personality

I know people often describe themselves as having an ADD design problem, but that isn't my issue.  I have a design split personality, and I can't figure out which one to settle with.

I went into Marshall's yesterday because I was so jealous of all the HomeGoods talk (which we don't have around here.)  I hadn't been in there in about 6 years and didn't have high expectations.  But, I found tons of stuff I loved!  Came home with 4 pillows and 2 mirror-y things (wall art).

But thy conflict with each other.  The pillows are Pottery Barn-looking.  Casual, rustic-y.  The mirrors are so cool (not in perfect shape, but so unique!)  They have a very cool graphic shape and definitely a more modern shape.  I will definitely take photos and add them....sometime.  Have to take the baby to the doctors first.

I don't know, things are feeling disjointed around here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Project Goals

Need a permanent copy of this so that I don't get distracted.
       a) get rid of junk
       b) paint walls
       c) clean floors/windows
       d) paint step
       e) organize what is left
       f) park at least 1 car inside the 3 car garage

Crossing #1 off the list would be good enough for me, but just for the heck of it, here is the rest of the list
.2. dig out the huge bed in front of the house to use up the huge pile of mulch left over
       a) gravel around all drain spouts

Inside projects that might have to be fall projects
3. kitchen lighting and bar
4. Painting bedrooms

Lots more, but that should keep us busy for a while

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A party and a sandwich discovery

I have a hard time eating healthy foods b/c I am so busy with the kids.   Darling hosted a party over the weekend, and of course i didn't get to eat any of the food he made b/c I was so busy getting the kids settled and general hosting duties (but i did find time to keep my wine glass filled!) So, as he was cleaning up the leftovers at 11 pm that night, I was trying to grab whatever I could to eat.  There was not much left, but I tossed together pita wedges, hummus and cucumbers and viola!  Yummy sandwich, pretty healthy!  I am particular about hummus because I don't like garlic (yuck!!) but there is a red pepper variety that Darling buys that I like.  So now it is just a matter of keeping the ingredients on hand...

On another note, I realized that I hate photography.  A key component of all the home blogs I like to read.  So I have no pictures of my yummy sandwich.  Because I didn't think of it til days later.  And then it would have taken me a week to upload them.  And then I would realize it was terrible quality.  Cuz I don't know how to use the camera.  And I don't care to learn.  So, that is a lot of the slowness on this blog, a lack of motivation to deal with the photos.  Hmm.  Something for me to think about....

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Family and Powder Room Updates

Finally uploaded some photos that have been sitting in the camera forever.

First, I know that I showed the process of adding the wainscoting to the 1st floor powder room.  I wasn't too sure about it, but I am happy that it is done.  And I really like my Ikea mirror-

The other small update is a new rug in the family room.  I had mentioned that I was trying to salvage the rugs from our previous home, but it just wasn't working.  So, we went to pick some new ones, and my 6-year old chose this one-

Cute, fun, and the colors work much better.  Hoping to replace that Fisher-Price side table soon :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

bedroom theme

I just deserted Darling out in the 90 something degree heat with all 4 kids.  He'll be ok....Anyway.  I need to run back out and take a few photos of our landscaping progress over the weekend, but my mind has been concentrating on the master bedroom.  I am very much a neutral gal, but i have been debating painting the bedroom  "barely jade" because i think it would be so much more fun than "natural linen," the paint I already bought. Hmmm.  I don't know, I was browsing for new bedding sets which would be a whole new wrench.  I've kinda liked that whole pale blue/green/gray shades for bedrooms for a few years now.  I was ready to purchase a JCP comforter on the spot online today, but it was "unavailable" so now i am rethinking.....

Friday, May 13, 2011

but, but, but....

but i actually posted.  and took the time to add lots of pics :(  why did blogger erase everyone's posts from the last 2 days?????

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Deck and patio progress

We left off here-

And it took a few (or 6) weeks because of the non stop rain, but we have made progress!

Fingers crossed that I will have the final pics soon!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A mantel accessorized

Even before I had 4 kids, I wasn't very into accessories, and it's only gotten worse in the last 6 years.  It has to be a special occasion for me to put on a necklace!  I realized that was true of my house as well.  I just don't have time to wander a store and find a little something here and there to decorate with.

I convinced Darling to build a mantle....

all in the name of Christmas decorations....

but once those came down, I didn't have anything to replace it with.  So I tossed a few things I had lying around up there to show that i had the intention of decorating it...someday.
Then one day, Darling made me mad, and I decided I would feel better if I went shopping and bought myself $100 worth of accessories.  Here is some of what I bought-
The little squares (that Darling says are weird, and maybe they are) are made from a fabric I loved and didn't know what to do with, so I covered 2 old canvas' with the damask.  The hammered silver vases are from Target.  The dark vases are from Michael's and are holding monkey grass from Walmart (BHG).  Those are test strands, I have since filled them in a bit more.  And the owl is a super cute Kindergarten art class project made by my super cute Kindergartener!  I need a tiny plate holder for it still, it is precariously perched there....
So, that is my before and after.  Sorry I don't have close-ups.  Maybe I can add those another day, I'm out of time today.  This was a thrown together at the last second post.  I wasn't sure how well I'd keep up with a blog, but I made myself promise to participate each month in...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Outside

In addition to having 101 projects left to do inside, we have about 99 to do outside as well.  First up was this very necessary addition.

Unfortunately, our brand new 3-car garage was a freaking disaster from day one.  And I blame you, Darling.  Sorry, but you could have cleaned 50 tons of garbage out of the old garage rather that moving it all to the new garage.  Anyway, the garage has a mouse issue now, so that is lighting a fire under the situation, and now that the shed has arrived, we might finally get control of what should be a reasonably spacious garage.  Hope to have some pictures of that soon.

Next up, this!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Two posts in one day...I may not be back for months after this!   An artist friend of ours came across this piece and asked if we wanted it her.  She came to be called Judy (funny story).  Judy is larger in person than she appeared in this photo that was snapped and emailed to me when I accepted her.

We have a large vaulted wall in our master bedroom that I thought would work for her.

But now that she is in the room (on the floor, not hung up) she is quite heavy looking.  Touring around blogland made me think to spray paint her and lighten up the heavy black frame.  So, I've been spending some time tonight thinking about what color.  The plan is to paint the room "natural linen" beige with white board and batten.  Sooo...white?  cream?  apple green??  If anyone stumbles by this, leave a comment.  I'll be so shocked I promise to take your color suggestion!

Little progress

I think I need to start using this blog to keep track of what I am doing.  Since no one reads it anyway, no need to wait for pictures and all to do a complete post!

Today I sanded down the edges of the hallway chair rail b/c they were dangerously sharp (the returns) and touched up the sanded spots while I had the paint out...

And I had the paint out because it was time to wrap up this little project that I will call the big mistake :(  We had discussed putting up beadboard in the powder room, but it wasn't necessarily high on the priority list.  Eventually I couldn't stand the white walls, and started painting.  It looked GREAT!!  I used Glidden Woodsmoke, and it looked fab with the ORB fixtures.  I did stop at chair level, incase we went ahead with the beadboard.  It stayed for a few months, and just when I was about to paint the bottom, Darling decided to proceed with the beadboard.  As he was loading the materials into the cart, I said "maybe we shouldn't...."  But he assured me that it would just be a few hours and it would be done.  And that this thicker (wider) beadboard that he was choosing was going to look great.

Unfortunately, wrong on all accounts.  1.  This started a month ago and still is not done.  2.  The wider board does not look good because 3.  IT IS NOT BEADBOARD.  Nope.  It is just planks. 
No bead...Just board.  If you have this in your house, I wouldn't hate it, but it is NOT what I wanted.  It is a casual farmhouse-y style, which is just not what I was going for.  Plus the bathroom already had the 2 piece (ie formal) crown molding that went up a few months ago.  Not a good style match.  Plus, any type of wainscoting is supposed to follow that rule of thirds- 1/3 or 2/3 of the wall.  This is at a random height of 4 feet (8 foot boards cut in half)

So Darling, thank you for your hard work and effort.  I'm sorry I dislike it.  But it is what it is, and the fact that it remains unfinished was starting to make me really HATE the room, so I thought I better get to it and finish up.  So, I filled the nail holes and slapped on a quick coat of semi-gloss.  Pictures to follow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Window Coverings b&a

What in the world is the PC name for them??  Curtains?  Drapes?  I think draperies are just heavy curtains.  Curtains sound so country....speaking of which- Our country curtains are gone!  As i was saying in the old house recap, I was trying hard to reuse the family room curtains, but it just wasn't the right look for the new house.  The old FR had a farmhouse country feel to it (see?), and it just wasn't working here.

So, I found some new "treatments" online that i thought had potential and debated forever, then finally bought one panel to see.  And I still wasn't sure.  But then I found a coupon code, so I ordered the rest.  And here they are.

I wasn't crazy about the rod-pocket style, but Darling cut a hole in them for me so that I could extend them all the way to the end of the rod (meaning over the rod holder piece) which did improve the look.  The fabric is a little thin, but it does hang ok, which may be due to the fact that I ordered 108" so the sheer weight of that length of fabric must help.  They are puddled now, and once we figure out what kind of trim will go around the ceiling we can adjust and hang higher if needed.  We are debating btwn a simple crown or a complex coffered :)

Now, I am jumping the gun on pictures of the room itself, b/c that has a ton of work left.  Currently I need to find accessories for the mantle with some height that will accentuate that lovely mirror!  Oh, and sorry I didn't clean the junk away in any of the photos.  I have to work fast around here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

(old) Living & Dining Room Tour

The living room of course started out as an empty room since this was our first house.  It took us a few months to get sofas and tables, and then the decorating began.  First, it was mustard my head i guess i was thinking Tuscan cafe or something, but it just turned out mustard yellow.  Darling insisted it had to go.  Immediately.  Bless him.  He chose this stone green color himself and painted right over the yellow (same weekend, i think)  It was good for a long time, but by the time we were leaving, I was very tired of it's darkness. You can't see in the photos, but we did add a simple one piece crown.
I had a lot of red accessories in there for a quite a while, but red and I ended our friendship abruptly when I woke up one day and no longer liked it.  At all.  But I didn't feel like replacing the curtains, and since they were more rust color anyway, i added in a few rust accents.  Then came the day when we ripped out the pristine white carpeting and added the hardwood.  We debated dark wood, but already had light oak railings and the idea of sanding and restaining them sounded horrible, so we went with the honey oak.  Beautiful 5" planks that we loved.  (And insisted on in the new house -different wood)   It was so nice to have a floor that felt solid since the builder had skipped over the process of screwing down the subfloor under the carpet.
 That carpet is another thing I have been trying to salvage in the new house.  This one in the dining room was purchased for the living room and i quickly realized it was much to small, so i moved it over and invested in the larger one as well.  They really are beautiful rugs, but again...they just seemed so much better at the old house.  Not the right style here....too bad rugs are soooo expensive!!
The bones of the dining room (once we constructed them) are great.  Love the floors, love the moldings, love the paint.  Darling added the (fake) 2 piece crown- well, I mean it really is 2 pieces, but not in the traditional way.  It is crown with ogee spaced a few inches below. He also added the chair and wainscoting-whatever-you-want-to-call-them boxes.  The paint is some green-gold color that i have long forgotten the name of, but I loved it!  I wanted to add it to the living room as well, but wasn't sure if the camel colored sofas worked with it. I was also happy with the curtains at the time.  brought them here to the new house as well, but they are too short (95") for this house.  The light fixture...well, the original brassy brass plastic guy had to go asap, so I was in a rush to get a fixture and chose something that was just better than the original, not necessarily what i liked best.  And i hadn't decided on a "style" for the room, so anyway.  The table was on loan, basically my dining room was a storage locker for it, and it stayed.  For years.  Until we moved and I got rid of it. 
hmmm, how do you put pictures side by side???

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

(old) Kitchen Tour

I am anxious to get a house tour together, but the house is just not ready for one!  So, I thought I'd condense the pictures of our previous home into a tour.  It's fun for me to look back anyway. Let's pick apart the kitchen/family room for today.
Here we go...
 So, this was our first house, we were just out of college and so happy with our new home, even though it was the ultimate definition of builder basic.  We put a ton of work into it to spruce it up.  Within weeks of moving in we tore out the brassy brass PLASTIC light fixtures, and put in new ones.  Nothing special (and remember this was many years ago!), but still such an improvement over the original.  Two builder basics that were never replaced are the counters and floors.  I was never quite sure about the black laminate, but it wasn't something that was feasible to replace.  And the vinyl floors actually never bothered me.  They were easy to keep clean, and looked decent.  Not that we were willing to live with them in the new place :)
 My darling husband put up the backsplash himself after we got a quote and found it crazy expensive.  We thought it turned out great for a very first attempt at tile.  The cabinet hardware was replaced a few times.  The original brassy brass handles were spray painted a hammered nickel, and that actually worked well for years, but then Darling wanted to replace them altogether, which was an expensive undertaking we probably shouldn't have bothered with.
 Ooh, here you can see the sink, which is nothing special BUT it was originally the smallest double bowl I'd ever seen.  You couldn't even wash a 9 x 13 cake pan in it!!  And it was about 2 inches deep too, with the most utilitarian standard faucet ever!  So Darling cut through what must have been bottles and bottles of silicone and liquid nails to get the old sink out and replace it, and the faucet as well.  I had him throw in those sink tilt-outs at that point too... Oh, and speaking of bottles of liquid nails...the builder put the island counter on backwards, so that the overhang was on the fridge side, and you couldn't open the fridge all the way :(  So we fixed that.  And yes, there were counter stools there at one point, before we had kids that climbed on them and tipped them over and almost cracked their heads open.
 The table was an old old hand-me-down that we spray painted in attempt to freshen it up.  It went with the kitchen pretty well, and it took a lot of abuse from the kids, so it did ok!  I had Darling add the trim around the knee wall, I think it adds some character.  Those curtains are currently hanging in my new family room because I LOVED them so much in that room.  Just not the same though...they definitely belonged more in that room.
I still love the crown on the cabinets.  We upgraded the cabinets (from oak to maple) and we were happy with them, but one day out of the blue I realized they didn't have crown molding and they looked soooo unfinished.  I was on a MISSION to get that done!  I tracked down a company that carried the right brand of cabinetry and ordered the thickest crown possible.  And paid many hundreds of dollars for it too....I wish we had the same type in the new house, we were so far over budget on the new kitchen that we had to get skinny crown...Miss you, chunky crown!  Hope your new owners appreciate you!