Monday, March 31, 2014

Making Progress and an Impulse Buy

So today there were strange men in my house. I don't know who and I don't know when, but when I came home, there was drywall tape all over the place downstairs. It's exciting times, folks.

Ok, not really. Taping and mudding drywall is about as exciting as watching a snail slinch itself ever. so. slowly. down. the. sidewalk. (Yes, I did, I just made that word up.) 

But it's ,/progress,/,/ Here are a few snapshots of what progress looks like. 


Just think, in three days (give or take) I will have new walls to paint! And then the exciting stuff happens, like new floors and a new bathroom with a second toilet back in the house! And then, for the really exciting part--decorating it!  

In other news, today I stopped at a consignment store over lunch and did some browsing. I might have been naughty. Ok, yes, I was naughty. 

I spied these babies: 

And even though they weren't in the best of shape, I kind of just had to have them.  I had sugarplums images like these scrolling through my head: 

Image found on Pinterest here
Image found on Pinterest here

Image found on Pinterest here

Bamboo is very popular in interior design right now. Purchasing new, however, can be very costly. And since Bamboo is not the most uh, comfortable, type of seating, I thought it made sense to keep the trendy spending thrifty.   So one of these puppies came home with me, since I could only get one in my car at a time; and tomorrow over lunch I will have to pick up the second. So exciting! (On a side note, every time someone says "So exciting!" I hear the song from Moulin Rouge in my head and it automatically completes that sentence with ",/it will run for fifty years...,/")

So, to wrap this post up, here is a sneak peek of one of the chairs in its new (less than permanent) home: 

Any votes on color? Emerald? Coral? Teal? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Top 5 Favorites from Birchbox

I thought I would do a quick post today about my favorite items I've discovered through Birchbox.   I've been with Birchbox for around 10 or 11 months now, and as I have shared in the past, Peyton and I get a kick out of the small samples we get each month. It's always fun getting something in the mail, even if it ends up being a product you don't use or love. (Hey, I never claimed to be rational.)

But I thought I would share the top 5 (well, ok, six) that I loved. I say 5 because I consider the Shampoo and Conditioner a set. (I'm logical like that. Sometimes.)
Favorites from Birchbox

  1. Whish Three Wishes Body Butter in Pomegranate.  I loved this lotion. Besides a nifty name that fits right up my alley (Three wishes? Genies? Anyone have one I can borrow?), the pomegranate scent was yummy. As a lotion, it did pretty well with absorbing into my skin and fighting the dryness. I drink a lot of coffee and keep my house super warm, so my skin is always dry.  (You think I'm joking. Hint. I'm not.) It does come in several other scents, which I've not tried, if pomegranate is not your thing. 
  2. Eyeko Black Magic Mascara. I have thin, but slightly longish, lashes, so having mascara to define the lashes is always a good thing. I have tried a lot of mascara brands and this one has kicked all of the others out of my very cute Vera Bradley bag.  For interested parties, this is the cosmetic bag I keep all my stuff in. Isn't she cute?! 
    Vera Bradley Large Cosmetic Bag in Plum Crazy
  3. 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment. I used to use It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product, and that stuff is also amazing.  When Peyton's hair was longer, we would use it almost daily and it helped get her tangles out and reduce the tears. But then I got a sample of 12 Benefits and the scent is ahhhmazing and it seemed to make my hair SO silky and smooth. Same detangling benefits as we had with the It's a 10 product, but a yummier smell, so I am now a fan of 12 Benefits. 
  4. Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle. This is another detangler that I ended up liking--it had a fabulous fruity smell that lingered for a very long time. It was a bit heavier on my fine hair than the 12 Benefits, and my hair wasn't as silky as with the 12 Benefits, but the scent definitely puts it in my top two for hair detanglers. 
  5. The last (two) items are Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner.  I think this is another case where the gorgeous fig smell pulls these two items into my favorites. Technically, this shampoo and conditioner set is designed to reduce frizz and detangle hair into smoother strands, and since I have fine, straight hair, I don't really need this type of shampoo/conditioner line. But the Indian Fig scent is amazing-definitely worth the investment. Oh, yeah, and my hair was pretty smooth when using it. It just reduced the body and volume that I normally strive to inject into my hair. Some days, my nose wins the battle over good hair days.
So there you have it-my top favorites from Birchbox.  What about you? Do you subscribe to any makeup sample mailing services? I've heard there are several good options out there. And of course, Peyton is always looking for more perfume and nail polish samples!  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Turtle on the Wall

It's the little things sometimes. For over a year I've had Nate Berkus's huge white lacquer turtle shell boxed up. I bought it from Target when the turtle craze exploded onto the scene (the scene being Nate Berkus + Target = mad dash to Target) and had to have one. On a side note-how insane-I just Googled Ebay for the shell and one recently sold for $132.50! I think I paid $19.99 (and it might have even been on clearance when I finally got it!).

I tried it on the entry wall. And it looked odd and not at all inspiring. I immediately took it down and didn't even bother to snap a picture.

Then, I tried to include it in the initial stages of my gallery wall.  And while it did add that extra touch of non-art that every gallery wall needs, I couldn't find a layout that really worked with it.  The layout below was the closest I found to a happy path with Mr. Berkus's turtle and it just wasn't happening for me.

Fast-forward one year to today. I stubbed my toe on the turtle box again and I hauled it out, determined to find a home for it.  I finally landed in the loo-dark navy walls and white lacquer just seemed to be fated. 

Now he's a happy shell. And truly, every time I'm in the loo now I get a ridiculous smile on my face. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blogger Inspired Project: Lacquer Boxes

I missed yesterday's post because Peyton was sick and it seemed I was hit with the same bug she got. Over the weekend I started in on my kitchen wall--I sanded down the stripes and primed over them. Then I did one coat of paint (Sherwin William's Harmony paint, color-matched to Glidden's Silver Birch, which is the same color in the adjacent dining and living room). After the first coat went on, I had to sand down some areas where the stripes were still visible. (Painting over stripes is. a. pain.)  Then Peyton got sick. So my kitchen is currently a disaster zone and still needs one, maybe two more coats of Silver Birch before I can stick a pin in it.

So, in lieu of an actual planned post, I thought I would share another blogger-inspired project that I started last week and finished over the weekend.  I was inspired by Jen of the IHeart Organizing blog.  Jen's blog has quickly become my favorite blog lately--her posts sharing tips on organizing, cleaning and projects have inspired me on several occasions to get up and clean or organize something.

With my love of color and anything lacquered, one of her projects really inspired me- her take on Stacking Boxes. Check her full post out here-I promise, you won't stop with just one post!!!

In any case, I followed her suggestion and stopped by Michael's and grabbed a couple of wooden photo boxes (actually, I'm not sure she used wood--but these were all I could find at my Michael's!). I got lucky because the day I stumbled into Michael's happened to be a BOGO sale. Which worked out very nicely since I bought two photo boxes, two tubes of Martha Stewart High Gloss Acrylic Craft Paint in Beach Glass and Scottish Highlands, and the Martha Stewart Crafts roller and tray kit.

On a side note-ever since I read this blog post  about Martha Stewart talking trash about bloggers, I haven't been a huge fan of hers. And I absolutely hate contributing to her bottom line when she talks bad about the people she uses to promote her products.  But my absolute favorite paint color is her Beach Glass. Such a conundrum. 

But I digress. Back to the project. I primed the boxes before I slicked on two coats of paint, followed by two coats of Poly. I ended with sticking on self-adhesive clear rubber bumpers to the base of the boxes, so the painted finish didn't stick to anything (I learned that the hard way from setting my painted tray on a painted table... ouch. Let's just say the table needs repainted now.) I also didn't add the gold tape that Jen used in hers, so I may still order a roll and add that down the line. For now, the boxes add the pop of color I wanted.  

Here is where I tell you two tubes (not four) are all that is needed to cover both boxes. Here is also where I tell you the roller and tray kit did not work for me at all. I followed the kit instructions and lightly spritzed the roller with water, dried it ever so slightly with a towel and then loaded it up with the paint. And the paint just created bubbles all over the surface. Fail. So I switched to paint brush. What I was hoping to avoid with the paint brush were brush lines. So the end result is not a perfect finish, but it will do.  If I were doing the project again I would go out and buy one of the small foam rollers from Home Depot since Martha's roller just created bubbles.  (Which, actually, I might, because I am really crushing on coral and pink together right now....ooh, and white lacquer with gold polka dots may be in the near future...) 

Still, for the first take, the end result isn't bad at all.  I snapped a few shots of the completed boxes on the completely unstyled shelves in my dining room.  I have a lot of space to fill.  I also still need to figure out how to turn the flash off on my camera. ,/,DA-da-dum,/,/ So much to do, so little time. I'll shut up now and let you look. 

You can also see the beginnings of my Jadeite collection... but that is a story for another time.  So what about you, are you inspired by other bloggers and bringing their look into your home? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Plans for the Weekend

This weekend I will be working on my kitchen. I need to erase this.

Ah, Chevron Wall, you will be missed. It was my first blogger-inspired project and it was incredibly frustrating trying to figure out the measurements (math dunce) and took hours of taping it out. It's been up since October of 2012 (check out the first post I ever wrote!), which for me, is like dog years in paint age. I'm actually surprised I kept it up so long, but I think one of the features that made it stick so long is I am rarely ever in my kitchen and you only see the wall if you are in the dining room or kitchen. Since I don't entertain a lot, it was one of those "oh, hello" moments every time I walked in.  And I truly do love it.

I'll be sad to see it go, but it doesn't fit in with my new vision of rustic modern. It's a smidge louder than what my vision is seeking.

The other week, in the interests of seeing if I would like a gray island, I grabbed the remaining Sherwin Williams Ire Ore paint I had on hand and tried it out on the island. I also went ahead and installed the new brass pulls and knobs I bought for the island. (Sorry for the terribly overexposed iPhone photo-this was before I bought the new camera!)

Notice one pull is missing. For some reason, even though the old pull fit perfectly in that third drawer, none of the new pulls would fit. The holes must be off... just a smidge.   I am hoping my dad can teach me how to use a drill to fix it.  (Kelci with power tools... that's kind of a scary image. Like this one..) 

Yes, that is me, using a nail gun, on a scaffold, putting on siding for Habitat for Humanity. Only one of my friends was brave enough to be near me with that puppy.

I'm not sure I'm in love with the Iron Ore color--just as it was on the wall, in some lights it appears more brown than gray to me, so I may just go with my initial color preference and grab a small quart of Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal. I have seen this in so many rooms and have always loved the color.  So that may be in the agenda for this weekend as well.

So here is the plan for this Phase 1 Redecoration:

  1. Sand, prime and paint Chevron wall. 
  2. Decide if I'm not cuckoo for Iron Ore and paint island in Kendall Charcoal
  3. Fix island drawer so new pull will fit (STAT!)
  4. Fix drawers on kitchen cabinets that are crooked
  5. Close up the hole/space over the microwave
  6. Paint kitchen cabinets
  7. Replace counters (island and perimeter)
  8. Replace window (it has a crack in the glass)
  9. Replace window roman shades (they are old, food splattered and falling apart)
  10. Install Wall Paper
  11. Do happy dance. 

I would love, if the budget allows, to replace my refrigerator because it is old and tired, and my dishwasher because it won't open easily; but I want stainless steel appliances and I am slightly obsessive about fixtures and finishes being consistent with appliances, so I'm not sure I can handle  some white and some silver. If I were patient and could wait and upgrade over time, sure no problem. But let's be honest. That's not me. 

But I really want to finish the basement media room, which still requires mudding the drywall, replacing the floors and getting a new couch in down there (there's nothing down there now!) So I feel that takes priority over the kitchen appliances for now. 

So that's where I'm headed this weekend. How about you? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Command Center (not overly commanding at this time.)

So in this picture you get a peek of my new "Command Center," (the white desk/hutch combo on the far right) which has a long ways to go before I can stick a pin in it.

I found this desk/hutch combo at a furniture consignment store and had to have it. It was a beast getting it home. The desk just barely fit into my dad's van and we were able to haul it back to my place. My legs are still lightly dotted with some colorful cheetah spots. This puppy is one heavy piece of work.  The hutch, on the other hand, would not fit into my dad's van. So there was some discussion about renting a u-haul or having my dad go out to his brother's farm to grab the trailer. But then the weather conspired and a potential snowstorm had us re-thinking the option of an open trailer. So we asked for delivery, but the furniture delivery man wanted an exorbitant price, so we went back to the open trailer and prayed. Finally, after much ado, the hutch came home.

She needs a good coat of paint as the paint is scratched off in some areas and there are crayon marks all over the desk (it appears it used to be a girl's desk and there is much suspicion her crayons marched to a different drummer...). But until it is warmer out, I am not inspired to slap a paint of coat on yet. So in the interim, I loaded up a few shelves with books and some knick-knacks. The books bother me a little bit, as it makes it feel more office/desk-like. And, seeing as it's in my dining room, it is really intended to be more of a display hutch/Command Center.  But I am not overly much a knick-knack (paddy whack...) girl, so I find myself suddenly in need of a collection. Other than books.

Enter inspiration. From Pinterest. Of course. Where else. 

Image found here
I am LOVING the mix of Jadeite and Opaline dishes (and while I'm at it, someone needs to get me those super-high ceilings and that ahhhmazing pendant light). And while the image above does slant towards a countryish-french look, I am thinking I may have found something to dress up my hutch with. The trick will be to keep it somewhat more rustic-modern. Not sure if I can pull that off. Because honestly, that display above is gorgeous!!!

Now, does anyone have an insta-Jadeite collection for sale, since you know.. I'm kind of fickle. Who knows what bent I'll be on next week.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Someone has a Case of the Mondays...

So I did not have a good day today. Just call me Ms. Crankypants. Today I am wondering why the heck I am not in Hawaii and glaring at my pantry for the audaciousness of not having a bottle of Moscato in it for my crankypants consumption.

So I know I promised a house tour and unfortunately, my weekend consisted of watching my two nephews on Saturday, followed by a day of what was either a mild migraine or a very bad headache. So I did not get much done, which includes picking up the massive mess that somehow magically appeared on both levels of my house. We did watch the Cat in the Hat... I wonder if I can blame the mess on him...

I finally caved this past weekend and purchased my first ever digital camera-the EOS Rebel SL1. I opened the box with much trepidation. Digital + "SL1" makes me think of that movie with Will Smith and the robots. Yeah. This camera can probably kick my tush.   It came with a gigantic lens, 3 discs (software, a software instruction manual and a camera instruction manual), two manuals (to be fair, one's in a foreign language. See, I told you this camera could kick my tush--it's bilingual!) and a computer cable.  I unpacked all of that stuff and wondered what I'd gotten into. For now, until I get some cojones, I am sticking to the dummy auto feature. Yes, yes, baby steps.

In the meantime, while it is not a full house tour, or very professional images (obviously I have quite a bit to learn about lighting and flash...), I thought I would share some of the snapshots I was able to take of my living room after a very quick pickup of the mess caused by the tornado--err, boys (and girl).

You'll have to forgive me... absolutely nothing is styled. Just keeping it real, right? I guess I'm signing off with a promise of "more to come..." 

Friday, March 14, 2014

In the Works

Just a quick post today with the promise that this weekend I'll be taking pictures to post a full house tour on Monday-finally!  A couple of exciting things in the works right now that I thought I would share.

Remember this hugely expensive designer fabric that my heart just went pitty-pat over?

Welll, after stalking several vendors on Etsy for a few weeks, I finally saw a price that (while it still made me gulp) was affordable, so I bit the bullet and ordered one.  When I got it, I literally squealed--it was beautiful and exactly what I wanted.  I heard angels singing an aria all around me. 

Then my record scratched. There was a very heavily noticeable tear in one side of the fabric. I almost cried. I reached out to the vendor with a picture and asked her if she would send me a new one in replacement. She was kind enough to say she would, though I had to pay for the shipping to send it back. I told her I wanted to order a second one since it was exactly what I wanted. So I shipped it back and placed the second order.  A month later, I am still waiting. Apparently the vendor she ordered the replacement fabric from went unresponsive, so she had to finally place the order with another vendor.  So now it's another two weeks of agony--I mean, waiting. 

Also in the works is what I'm calling my new "Command Center." I wandered into a consignment shop one day and a huge custom built desk and hutch and immediately I could see it being a decorative and efficient storage hutch and command center in my dining room/kitchen. So I bought it. It was very heavy and carrying the bottom desk piece gave me cheetah legs (covered in bruises!) but it was oh-so-worth it.  I am working with another Etsy vendor on some custom vases to fill my new shelves. As we get further along with the collaboration I'll be sharing. It's very exciting and she does gorgeous work--I pretty much want everything of hers and I've already bought a few pieces. I am impatiently waiting to get them! 

And for my final piece of news, the kitchen is moving (baby steps) towards my vision I shared the other day. I painted the kitchen island a dark gray and ordered some new brass pulls to glam them up. Next up is a new counter-top for the island and then it's on to painting the cabinets! 

I promise--pictures coming soon!! Check back Monday for a new house tour!  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Taking the Kitchen in a New Direction

Since my basement is on "pause" until we get a professional in to mud the new drywall, I've been eyeballing my kitchen most recently. Less than one week ago, my plan was to paint the lower cabinets emerald, and the upper cabinets cream, and I was going to do this gorgeous wallpaper over the current chevron wall. Cuz you know, Chevron is everywhere now so that makes it kinda boring. 

Hygee & West Petal Pusher wallpaper
So I ordered a sample of the wallpaper, fell in love, and thought I had committed to my plan of a fancy emerald and gold kitchen. But even though I love emerald, I couldn't see how I could make it play nice with the other colors I had going on with my art wall (pink, yellow, teal). I kept thinking my house would look like the color wheel threw up.  So I stalked images on Pinterest looking for colorful kitchens and while emerald is not heavily used in kitchens, the few images I did find were very... country. And with the old dated finishes in my kitchen, I worried about it looking more country than glam. 

All of the images of kitchens that I truly liked included white and gray cabinets, rustic wood, marble counter-tops and gold hardware. Like this one. 

Image found here

So that's what I'm doing. Since I haven't made a mood board in ages, I whipped one up below to show what I'm thinking. 
Rustic Glam Kitchen
At least it won't look like the color wheel threw up in my kitchen.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hello, Again

Would you believe my dog ate my mouse.. keyboard.. computer? Considering he is only ten pounds we had to take him to the vet to have his stomach pumped and if you're buying that, I have some swampland in Florida you can buy.

Yeah, there really is no way to avoid a faux pas and say, hello, oops I forgot I had a blog and what was my password again? Yeah, moving on. Life happens.

Quite a lot has happened since I was last on. So, like snapshots, in no random order: my dad finished the drywall in the basement and we're just waiting for a professional to come in and mud the basement; I got rid of my old sofa and several other pieces of miscellaneous furniture and cleaned house (not literally, there are still some dust bunnies making friends with the dog); Peyton got her ears pierced; we had Christmas, Peyton's birthday and my birthday. And in February, I lost my grandpa to cancer.  Sometimes the months go by so quickly and you don't notice the days because you're so caught up in the nonsense. That's where I feel I've been, in the nonsense, and I just want to hit "pause" and forget about everything for awhile.

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace. 1 Chronicles 29:15 

We are only passing through.

And like that one scene, I have felt like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole upside down and then flipping over to slowly float down.

So on that note, hello, I'm back, moving on.