Monday, January 31, 2011


So, hopefully if you have been reading my blog, you will remember this little guy:

There he is, my best helper, showing off his snacks during the bathroom painting project. He actually is a good helper and also has tons of enthusiasm for all of the projects we do around the house. Hardware store? "Let's go, Mama!" Garden store? "Can bring my big truck?" IKEA? Check. Fabric store? Of course....although I think my husband is suspect about that. We do buy crafts, too!

I snapped a picture I thought it'd be fun to share. The first pic shows the paint colors in Charlie's room. I am planning to take some pictures of his room and post about it...since it is one of the fully-done rooms in the house!

Well, we recently went the paint store to pick out paint chips of paint for the dining room. Charlie picked out some that he liked. I didn't really know what happened to them until I saw this:

Hilarious....cracked me UP! I really need to ask what the numbers are for! They do seem to be the same colors as the Bengals. A little man after my own heart...

Friday, January 28, 2011

A walk on the wild side

Well, sort of....I have to admit to myself that the paint color I chose for the hall bathroom upstairs is a bit of a departure for me! I tend to choose rich colors, so this color fits that description. However, the warmest color I have used to date has been a warm goldenrod.

Our upstairs bath has tile that is so-so for has a bit of a peach undertone to it. I don't love it, but it's workable. I was pondering paint colors and I noticed that the shower curtain I have is a warmer beige and cream stripe. It got me thinking....terra cotta!

Without further ado, here are some pics. Before....maybe you feel like you are living in a mental institution...?

Check out the mirror-next-to-mirror action.

Getting prepped. The truck helped transport things.

Our new light fixture! The old one was one of the chrome-with-three-round-bulb jobbies. I especially like how this one warms up the CFL bulbs in there.

You will notice we took down the builder's mirror and there is no mirror! I am on the lookout for one and am weighing my options.

I like this new hook rail. One of my big pet peeves is messy hanging towels. This fixes that problem and my son can hang his own towel now.

We also have a plum colored rug on the floor. I do have a few other small enhancements to consider, but I am pleased with the progress so far! At first, I felt like the color was almost fluorescent....! Now that all of the things put back in the bathroom, it has tempered a bit and now it reminds me a little of a terra cotta flowerpot...which is nice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jewelry Box Redo

Several years ago, my mom gave me an old jewelry box of hers. I used to keep it on a tall dresser.  Here it is...

My mom and dad were high school sweethearts and my dad gave it to my mom when they were dating. Awww....: )

Since our bedroom furniture is white, I decided to give it a face lift. I was also inspired by the scratch you see on the front of the box, along with the price of pretty jewelry boxes in catalogs. Yikes!

I roughed it up with sandpaper.

Then we painted it. The smallish hand you see is Charlie's. Such a good helper.

I used a teeny-tiny brush to get around the handles.

After all of the white paint went on, I used the same brush to paint the handles a silvery color. All of the paint was acrylic paint I got at the craft store. The white is Antique White and the silvery color is called Silver Sage.

And here she is....

Not only does it look great, but I am really excited about a plethora of new jewelry storage space! I have been working on some more jewelry organization methods and this is helping A LOT. I'll share my other items here soon. Bathroom paint pics also on the way. It sure is hard to keep up with a blog when you don't have all of those snow days to while away...; )

Monday, January 24, 2011

Paint sample tryout

Last week on our second snow day, Charlie and I painted the hall bathroom upstairs. I am trying to make a dent in our "all off-white with a peach" undertone house. I do appreciate that it was neutral when we bought this house, but it does give me the feeling that I might be living in a mental institution.

I think we've come a long way with color in the years since Freddie and I have married. In our condo, everything was painted a warm beige.  It was an improvement over builder paint white. Quote from that era, "Why can't we have just white walls?"  See above.

In our last house, I used much more color. I also took my painting skills to the next level, since I painted the whole condo and 90% of our old house.  The only room unpainted was the laundry room....I had a color picked out, but then we moved.

So, that brings us to our current residence. I like to try to get the downstairs finished first, then take my time with the upstairs. I will soon share pics of our bathroom, but in the meantime, I tried out these new paint samples from Home Depot. I can't post a pic of the actual container....since I can't find the digital camera right now! 

These are the samples on the wall:

As you can see, I am thinking of lighter grey on top of the chair rail with a darker grey on the bottom...and might add a stencil from this site:
My one reservation is that the grey and the dark wood furniture go together....?

Do you ever get that feeling, while painting, of, "Maybe this color isn't going to turn out how I wanted....?" I think these samples help a lot with this problem! For a serious project, buying a quart of paint is not a bad idea....but I am not about to buy a quart plus a whole gallon to paint the bathroom!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Encore, encore!

We ended up with two more snow days this week...needless to say, I have not sqaundered them this time around. LOTS of projects going on in the last few days, so I will have tons to share! 

However, I was so happy to see that my Christmas cactus plant is making a bit of an encore with some unexpected late blooms!

You can see a tiny bit of the stamen at the lower right-hand side of the flower.  So interesting that it is fuschia (which by the way, is a fancy way of saying "purple," according to Fancy Nancy)!

When a plant blooms only once a year, you'd better enjoy it when it does! It reminds me of lilacs and peonies, which are like that. Some would say it's not worth it, but I think it makes it all the more special. This growing season, I am planning to start landscaping the backyard a bit to add some color and interest, as well as to screen out some of our neighbors' decks! I would love one of the big lilacs and about 5-6 peonies--enough so I can cut a bouquet and not have it show from the plants.  : ) 

Last...just so you know, you are supposed to put ONLY one space between sentences, not two (as I was taught in HS). I have been working on this to appease my grammar Nazi husband. He should also note that I used "only" properly twice in this post. Xox to you, Freddie.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My very first one

Recently, I tried my hand at making a valance. This was new to me, so I had been apprehensive about it, but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out!

I did have a few challenges with which to contend. Our bookshelves stick out in front of the window a few inches, so whatever I made was going to have to be THIN. 

It was a process to choose the right fabric. I brought some choices home and Freddie didn't like them, so I had to go back. After narrowing down my next round of choices, we decided on a striped fabric that picks up the paint on the wall quite well.

I bought some really thin wood at the hardware store and it was inexpensive. The nice man there cut it right to size for me--I do feel I get better service at this particular store since the men there probably think I don't know what I'm doing or talking about! My helper and I also bought two packs of hangers to attach to the back.

I also had bought 2.5 yards of fabric and some thin quilt batting. My biggest fear was that the wood would be too thin and the staple gun would go through the fabric on the other side.

On to the pictures....I laid out the batting and my helpers began rolling around and playing on it.

I cut the batting first (not sure why), but then I laid the fabric underneath and cut it about 2-3 inches from the edges. Then, Charlie and I used a staple gun to attach the fabric. I tried to keep the staples from going all the way through by holding the staple gun up a little bit before pulling the handle. I also tried to be careful to keep the stripes even on the sides.

Charlie and Annie adding the hangers on the back. This was Annie's first time helping!

Here is the finished product on the window.

You can see from this picture where the shelves stick out and I had to slide the valance in there.  There is another one on the other window! 

Not bad for the first time!  Today is another snow day here, so we start another window project today.  It reminds me of this time last year--we assembled all of those shelves you see in the pic above on SNOW DAYS.  : )

The DIY Show Off

Monday, January 17, 2011


We had a very successful 2nd birthday party yesterday for Sweetie. Here are some pics! Our theme was pink and two.

And here is the birthday girl with her cupcake:

No school today for MLK....I am going to the hardware store to pick up some paint samples!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Come on in!

Anyone else out there feel like the house is so bare and naked after Christmas is over? This is one of my least favorite things about the month of January. One redeeming factor is we now have a birthday in the family in this month....but also I do enjoy revving up for some home projects in these dark winter months!

I made this door deco last winter and liked it so much, I decided to keep it and use it again. I got the idea from Country Living magazine. It was really easy to make.  Unfortunately, i have no pics of the process, but here is a pic of the finished product:

And up close....

I chose a bright green ribbon for a shot of color. Then I used my hot glue gun to glue the ends of the ribbon into the hollow at the top of the pinecones. After that, I had to arrange them by length, cut the ribbons even at the top and tie a knot. I like that the shape is different than a traditional wreath, but also wintery without being Christmasy.

Here are my porch pots dressed for the winter until spring:

I used leftover pine boughs to attach them to twigs, using cable ties. Adding some pinecones covers the soil! A little snow looks nice, too.

I am thinking about painting this door come spring.  Something a little more eye-catching...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Layin' low with the snow....

You would think that having two snow days in a row would produce a flurry of home projects, but I don't have much to show for it! I did have productive visits last weekend to the hardware store, fabric store and also IKEA (where kids still eat free--score!) the materials are there, but the mojo ain't!

We celebrated Annie's 2nd birthday is hard to believe it has been two years since she was born!  There she is, trying to catch a snowflake on her tongue:

We did get Annie a big girl table for her birthday at IKEA, along with an easel for the kids.  Here are a few pics of the assembly and finished product:

Eventually, they will have homes other than our living room, but the kids are really enjoying having them there right now....and I am happy since it keeps them busy...: )

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Many bottles consumed for this project...

Today is a snow day for me, so more time to post than usual!  We have been sick around here, so it has been a struggle to get much more than housework done and kids bathed.

I did a project over winter break using old corks.  I have been keeping them in a big basket in our living room....but as of late, I have a bit of a surplus.  I had seen pics of people who had used them to make a wreath.  So, I decided to give it a try.

I bought a 12 inch foam wreath at the craft store for $3, along with a box of toothpicks for $0.79 (I think!).  It started like this:

I began on the outer edge and then started filling in towards the center.  Some of the corks did not have a hole from the corkscrew that was defined enough to put the toothpick in....I also had to cut a few toothpicks down to size.

Once I finished, I had to replace a few corks with longer toothpicks to keep them from falling out.  Here is the finished product:

I used a grass-green printed ribbon for a shot of color.  This took me about a half-hour to do...I could see how it would be a more time-intensive project if you had a BIG wreath form!

I do like how there is a purplish tint to the wreath overall from the ends of the cork that are inside the wine bottle...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year, New Mantel

Well, sort of new.....maybe "update" would be a better word? 

I remember putting together my first "visually pleasing" mantel.  It was in our condo--my first home purchase.  My mom helped me!  We had an assortment of different textures, shapes, colors and sizes.  Mom has always had a good eye for design and this has helped me...not only in my home, but also in my garden, too!  That mantel stayed with me for a long time.  Why mess with a good thing?

Since then I have incorporated other elements, but still remember the "textures, shapes, colors and sizes idea."  Here is the latest:

In this pic, you can see the lighted wine bottles I have.  My sister found these at a tiny bar near her old apartment.  I liked them so much, I started making my own, using a drill bit designed for glass.

This one shows pussy willows in a vase.  I used these in my first mantel and have loved them ever since.  I decided to introduce a winter feeling by cutting up an old sweater and putting pieces around vases and a jar.  I bought the sweater at Goodwill for about $3.

Here is a closer pic of the sweater glass:

I cut these seed heads from an ornamental grass in my front yard.  Behind it is an antique butter mold that my mom lent to me...and happy for me, she has not asked for it back yet!  I also placed some off-white yarn balls in a glass dish.  I think I might add a few more--they look a little puny in there!

I am definitely enjoying the update and the lighted bottles are filling the void left by the absences of masses of Christmas lights.  Well, maybe just a little.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Houseplants 2

Whew!  We have been back to school this week and it has been an adjustment to get all of us back into the routine.  I was headed to the gym today after school but stopped in at Jo-Ann Fabrics and got sucked in....looking at home decor fabrics!  Fun!  I found some good options for cornices for our living room and also some nice possible black prints for the office.  When I get to go there without kids, I spend WAY longer than I mean to!

On to the rest of my houseplants....

This plant was a cutting from one of the plants I had in a pot on our front step last summer.  I cannot remember what kind it is....but I had cut off a bit to put in some water in the house and it sprouted roots.  So, I potted it up and it has been thriving!

This is one of my favorites....Christmas cactus.  VERY easy houseplant.  At our old house, it was in a west-facing window and it bloomed in January.  Now I have it in an east-facing window and it bloomed right around Thanksgiving time into December.  It's really pretty!  I water this one only when I remember to and it has been in this pot forever.

This is my other favorite plant.  I potted this ivy into an old pot that came from the farm where my grandfather grew up in SoDak--South Dakota!  I added a small tuteur for the ivy to climb.  It gets a haircut when it gets out of bounds....

One Christmas, I added white lights and left them on....and they have been there now for years.  I like to have some kind of white lights in the house.  A timer turns them on and off each night.

I most recently started some paperwhites in my kitchen to have something green sprouting out during these long winter days.