Sunday, October 21, 2012

IKEA Party

Hi!  Happy October!  Almost November!  Yikes!

It has been very busy here this fall... Unfortunately, that hasn't meant busy with the house, it has been more just plain busy!  The school year is off to a great start (the first quarter ended this past week, can you believe it??)...

About three weeks ago, I decided to finally paint the powder room!  In two evenings after work, I slapped on a couple coats of Bay Waves (Valspar, same as in the master bedroom).  It's not decorated, though, so no pictures.  Who wants to see a toilet, anyway?  Related: I'm in the process of painting the kitchen the same color whenever I get a spare moment.  Aka it might be done by February.  :)

This past Saturday, I took off to IKEA with a few friends (Summer from my Eurovision Party, and her roomie Celeste).  Since the nearest one is about 3 hours away, this couldn't be the recon trip I would have preferred... so I jumped in with a budget and came out on top!

Among other things...

I picked up two sets of (2 panels each) the Ferle curtains.  I also grabbed ring clips, although I've decided not to use them...  This is just one set of the curtains.  They actually cover the giiiiiiant window!  I didn't expect that, hence I purchased two sets ($15/each).  I may double up for a fuller look, although I'm tempted to keep the spare set for fabric.

Next, I finally found a suitable rug for the living room... and a coffee table!!  Did I mention I was $20 under my self-imposed budget?  

Yay!  That green rug is delicious, no?  It's not high-quality, yet it will do for awhile... and that color is perfect.  It matches the netbook.  

Also in the aforementioned budget, I managed to get a new bed for the master bedroom, so (soon) there will finally be a bed in the baby's/spare bedroom.  Yay!  It's from IKEA's Malm series.  Once it is together, picture will follow... and then we will have to get a new mattress.  Exciting, no?

Until then, since it's been so long since I updated, here's a parting shot of Poly and her best friend, Stick.  They are relaxing on the old curtains.  

How did you spend your last six weeks?

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Happy September!  Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Wow, is it Fall yet?  Growing up in Pennsylvania, this weekend always signaled the end of summer and the beginning of crunchy leaves, long pants, and football games.  Living in the south... it was 90 degrees last night while we watched Alabama beat Michigan.  Roll tide.

It has been a busy last few weeks - ten days of school are already under our belts!  Wow!  So far, the year is going well.  Nothing very little bloggable has happened, unless you would like to hear about how this year we have enough seats in the cafeteria for all the sixth-graders *and* the teachers, so I can actually eat lunch now.  I guess I could talk about how I kind of went Pinterest!crazy and neon!nuts in my classroom.  It's bright and fun.

Here on the homefront, the only projects since the dining- and living-room wall art has been a new duvet set (thanks Target + Tax Free Weekend) and lampshades in the bedroom.  Woo!  I've been eyeing this duvet set for awhile - the mustard color goes well with the art and the dresser... and the cover reverses to a grey that is sooo close to the wall color.  Amazing!  To keep it lightweight for now, I put the purple and white quilt inside instead of the down comforter.  To balance out the look, I picked up two grey king-pillow cases, too.

The grey lampshades were on sale for $4 each at Lowe's.  I love Lowe's.  For those of you with eagle-eyesight, don't hate on the books on the nightstand.  Yes, the top two are Twilight and Harry Potter.  They are in French, though, so it's okay...  Below is a close-up of an identical shade hanging out with my perfume collection.  Accent art: paint chips in a Goodwill frame.  Classy.

Speaking of my bff Lowe's, I got an email yesterday that they are having a rebate special for $5 off a gallon of Valspar Signature paint, which is pretty much my favorite paint ever.  Seriously, it covers ridiculously well.  Anyway, one of the walls in the bedroom needs some touching up and I made an executive decision to paint the downstairs powder room in the same shade (Bay Waves), so I stopped by Lowe's yesterday to get a third gallon of this delicious grey.  While I don't like rebates (coupons = instant savings), I was able to submit the info online so hopefully it will process without a hitch and then I can stare dumbly at the $5 check I get in the mail.

The neat part is I think the gallon is going to be more than enough for a small wall in the bedroom and the powder room... so at 1am, I started eyeing up the paint for the kitchen.  Hmm.  Subtle yet anything is better than the flat, dusty contractor beige the kitchen still has.  Note: someone really needs to hot glue the laminate strip back onto the face of that counter.

Apple cider, pumpkins, what are your fall dreams?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Doc, I think it's Francophilia!

Hi!  :)
Now that the downstairs walls are all painted, I've been wracking my brain about how to decorate the otherwise bare walls.  I put up a metal giraffe family on a nail the old owner left for me... The best part of this picture is that Usain Bolt brought a little yellow-and-green cheer to the yellow-and-green great room.  As usual, this was not planned.  

When my dad was here a few weeks ago, I asked his advice about how to decorate around the television.  His reply was, "Well I'd at least hang some pictures."  And that's just what I did.  Over the years, I've collected a few Parisian calendars full of black and white photography (landmarks as well as other off-the-beaten-path scenes).  

I bought 18 frames at Dollar General for about $35.  I cleaned them out of their 11"x14", 8"x10" and even the weird 8.5"x 11" ones.  I wanted the clean lines of the skiiiiiiiiiinny black frames, although I may mix others in later.  The people at DG think I'm crazy because I always bring my own bags.  

Once I had everybody framed, I set the 11"x14"s in the dining room for hanging in there (more on that in a sec) and then trimmed computer paper to match each of the twelve other pictures.  With painter's tape to stick 'em to the wall, I plotted out where I wanted each picture...while I watched the Olympics...  Here was one idea:

Once I was satisfied with the placements, I laid out the pictures on the floor to decide exactly which would go where... and then went back to the wall!  I folded each piece of paper in half to find the exact center, then pounded a small nail in about 3/4" from the top of the paper (matching the nail hole location on the back of the frame).  

Then it was just a matter of tearing down the papers and hanging up the pictures!

I like that this is a random smattering to which I may add in the future, because I also have a boatload of pictures I took myself on two trips to Paris.  Soon I will be enlarging/b&w-ing/framing those, too! 

Next, I turned to the dining room, where I had the six 11"x14" framed photographs... I wanted something a bit more organized (I like to keep it neat in the dining room, manners and all).  I laid out the pictures on the table...

And put them on the wall!  Here's the cat's eye view.  They do look a bit small here and they are not.  Hmm.  However, I feel the photographs do a great job continuing the never-ending Francophilia right up to the walls!  Love it!!

What is/are your decorating themes?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Textiles and Glass

Remember the heavy curtains we put up in the Perkins living room?  A brown set layered with a steel-grey set?  So dark... so heavy... remember those?

Well, my bff World Market went and had a sale and lo and behold, the shower curtain I have in the dining room was on for $17.  So, I picked up another!  Just one because I knew I'd never actually close the giant living room window curtains...

I carefully cut the curtain in half.  Check out my scrumptious Fiskars sewing shears.  Did you know Fiskars have been around since 1649?  I have no idea if this is true.  I just read it in their wiki.

I own an iron yet we are notoriously wrinkly because...I don't iron.  Except my hair.  Fun fact - my flat iron makes a FAB hemming iron, because you can press both sides at once.

Lalala I pinned and hemmed the unfinished side of Panel 2.  The fabric is wrong-side-up here, btw.  

As the French say... voila!  Looks soooooooooooo much better... bright and airy... 

Wait!  What's that you say?  Where did I get the lamp on the left?  Here's a hint: the shade used to be in the bedroom on the one nightstand's lamp, and the lamp itself... was the old red base!!  I took off the red beads and strung about 8 zillion green beads onto green thread (tied to green bias tape).  Let's just say I have a lot of sewing/beading/crafting supplies.  Only one cat, though.

The extra dangles at the top (and also on the bottom of each strand) are from a bracelet I made yeeeears ago.  I didn't like it.  Beady beady...10 hours later (no joke):

Got out my trusty hot glue gun...

And made myself a little hula skirt:

Isn't that special?

Don't worry, the bedroom isn't too upset I stole the lampshade.  I mean, the lamp IS naked right now.  However, last weekend was tax-free weekend here in SC, so... :)

Shower curtains in the great room, flat irons for sewing... how do you think outside the box?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Daddy Do List

After I flew home for my delightful visit to Pennsylvanialand, my dad and I drove back down to the South C.   That was fun. :D Actually, the drive was long (13+ hours) yet a pretty good time!  Did you know the driver is allowed to sing as long as it's not Van Halen?  :D  The drive was also a good time for us to catch up about things.  For instance, I had no idea my dad was once in an elevator with JACKIE CHAN.

Anyway, my dad was here for about a week (my mom flew down Thursday and spent the weekend with us) and I kept the poor guy very, very busy.  I did not take pictures of everything because no one wants to see the two toilets he fixed... however, he also put in a peephole in the front door and pegboard/baskets/hooks in the garage:

My pop also helped me install a new-to-me washer and dryer - my friend Eileen moved and I got some of her appliances, including these darlings and a giant French door refrigerator:

We also put on a new seal on the patio door... Yay!  However, I think my favorite projects were when we replaced the clunky, giant old white ceiling-fans-with-boob-lights in the living room and master bedroom with sleek modern nickel fans.  They are identical, except we chose to put the light wood out in the bedroom and the dark wood out downstairs.  I'll share a picture of the downstairs fan later - I'm in the process of sewing new curtains and will share all at once.

Do you notice anything else going on in the bedroom?  The walls are painted!!!  When my bestie was here two weeks ago, she kindly agreed to help paint the room!  I chose Bay Waves by Valspar.  The room gets the afternoon sun so the color is juuuuuuust light enough and juuuuuuust dark enough.  Gorg.  <3

Speaking of my bestie, today is Alison's Birthday!  Happy Birthday, Ali!  

Who are your celebrity run-ins?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pennsylvania Party

My extended family held our first annual Family Reunion on July 14th, and it was a good time!  I had so much fun that I forgot to get out my camera and take pictures.  Whoops.  Those who attended were awesome and beautiful, of course!

The reunion was my mom's side of the family - all of my Nana's kids' kids...with kids.  :)  There were about 35 of us in attendance!  It was the first time I've met my cousin Julie's littlest guy and I haven't seen Craig's 3-year-old twin sons since they were brand-spanking-newborns ("freshly baked").  All the little ones got along very well, and the adults were on best behavior, too!  Although it did get a bit rowdy during a riveting game of Apples to Apples.  :) 

While I was in PA, my mom and I did our own annual tradition - our yearly trip to Knoebel's.  I drive there, she drives back, and we spend the day riding rides and laughing (or crying) like loons.  A huge perk of this park is that it's free admission - you just pay for the rides you want to ride.  The park itself is around a sometimes-small creek... which often floods like a massive river.  They whimsically mark the water lines and it is neat to see how the park keeps on chuggin' like its two trains despite being inundated with water that gets deeper than I am tall.

I didn't take many pictures here, either, because my mom and I were having such a good time.  Still, when we stopped to gather our steam on a bench and were greeted by two geese, I snapped a photo:

After that, we were back on our feet!  Funnily, I've always thought that once I grew up, I'd be the mom on the sidelines with the stroller.  Yet as I get older, I get a huge thrill out of the barf-worthy Galleon (a giant boat that swings back and forth like a pendulum) and I will never pass up a chance to spin like the dickens on a Tilt-a-Whirl.  

And yet, my favorite ride is the Skyride (a ski lift).  One year while I was in college, my mom and I brought along Ali and my Nana on our Knoebel's trip.  The Knoebel's folks were amazing and actually stopped the Skyride so Nana could get on it.  I can still remember Nana waving at me as we rode.  Nana passed away on Thanksgiving in 2005, and now this ride holds a deeply special meaning for my mom and me.  In tribute, we always ride the Skyride first and then proceed to cry for and wave to Nana, dedicating the day to her.  <3  

How do you make your memories?  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Baby You're a Firework

My best friend, Alison, came to visit for the Fourth of July.  What fun!!  We've been friends since the first week of college, where we met while brushing our teeth.  She lives in Ohio, so our visits are few and far between.  Thanks to the miracles of science, though, we are able to talk, chat, or text daily.  

Still, time in the same zip code is precious so we literally cram a year's worth of activities into a tiny little window.  Some of the things we did in the week she was here include: painting, playing Trivial Pursuit, cooking recipes from Pinterest, going to the beach, seeing Magic Mike (ahem...twice...), and lighting stuff on fire.  

Haha!  Really!  We got together with Deanna and Tom for some fireworks on Independence Day.  Nothing says freedom like bottle rockets.  True story - this was the first time I've really done anything fireworky since I almost burned off my hand with a sparkler when I was a kid.  As a teen, my pyrotechnics were more confined to campfire rings.  Anyway, my camera actually has a firework setting, so here are some highlights!

I think the next two were bottle rockets.  I've no idea why they are called bottle rockets.  They didn't look like bottles OR rockets.  Wait.  

That one kind of does look like a rocket, if you squint.  This next one is my favorite... so gorg:  

Aww, what a fun week!  Here we are just being goobers for the camera.  I like the way my eyes match my dress in addition to Ali's headband.  We did not plan this. 

What a fun week! 

How often do you get to see your bestie?  What do you do for fun?  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Vacation

Last month, my parents and my brother and sister-in-law (Justin and Ruth) drove from Pennsylvania to Myrtle Beach for a well-deserved vacation.  So close to my neck of the woods!!!  In fact, they came down to my house for an afternoon.  My parents saw the house while it was still in limbo (and my mom helped during the move-in) and  so it was very rewarding to show off the painting update and everything else that's been done on the road to decorating mi casa.

Anyway, I ended up driving to MB to spend a couple more days at their condo with them.  It was pretty fun to get out of the house for a bit!  One highlight was going deep-sea fishing with Justin and Ruth.  Here's Justin and me on the boat!

It took an hour for us to get from the boat place to the open water.  The ride was pleasant, though, and the view was great.... you know I love me some lighthouses!  I've long thought that if I could be any inanimate object, I'd be a lighthouse.  I like the water and I like helping people.  Also, I really liked Pete's Dragon

Finally, we got to the open water and I took a moment to squint in the sun enjoy it.  I love the water! 

We had to move locations a few times because no one was catching anything... eventually, however, there was some success!  Two guys even caught sharks!  What?!  I even caught a couple fish!!  I released them back, though.  Here's one the guy beside me helped take off the hook.  And by 'helped' I mean the kind gentleman did everything for me.  I did pet the fish hello, though, and I baited my own hooks with *squid*. 

That evening, my mom and I went over the Barefoot Landing in MB.  It was all fun and games until this bad pirate got put in the stocks.  

Sadly, I soon had to get home and so did the rest of my family, so we parted ways after breakfasting at Bob Evan's.  By the way, check out my hot mama:

All in all, it was a fun mini-vacation! 

If you could be any inanimate object, what would you be? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Ahh, nothing makes me happier than an organized space.

Last June, I organized the catch-all drawer in the apartment (a mess that was building for 2 years) and even tweeted about a discovery I made... This year's model-of-doom is only two months in the making and is already threatening a hostile takeover (something catches and the drawer won't open).  

Pretend it's like an I-Spy... can you find a Harry Potter pencil sharpener?  Two packets of flower seeds?  a Concerta stapler?  a Bert from Sesame Street magnet?  two bottles of ink from China?  a rubber ducky?  50 different customer loyalty cards from places like Lowe's, Game Stop, and CVS?  a monogrammed tape measure?  a plastic school calculator, circa 1994?

Ahh, much better. 

I reused the Malley's chocolate boxes again (1 for tablets and extra magnets, 1 for tape/pencil sharpeners), and a silverware drawer liner from the auction house (sections for extra keys, mini tools, eye glass cleaner, The Plague, and all those loyalty cards.  Between the boxes are the ink bottles and extra markers.  Of course, I delighted in throwing out unusable items.  

Also from the auction house, you may recall this little number, the plywood magazine box (one of two):

I covered those babies in contact paper and made myself some awesome magazine racks to hold some of the magazines I receive for free: Martha Stewart, Afar, Elle Decor, Coastal Living, and Health.  I also get Real Simple (thanks, Mom!) and it is kept on the tv stand.  Coincidence?

Also a questionable coincidence is that the green goes super well with the dining room green and thus continues my quest to tie together the great room and dining area.  

What makes you happy?  Organization?  Chaos?  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dining Room Update

Welcome back!

As my last post said, I felt the dining room needed a little softening to make it flow into the open space of the great room.  So, after toiling for a day or two, I made a few changes.  I think they do wonders for the area!

First, I've been hating on the awwwful brass chandelier since I first saw this house back in September of 2011, so I was more than willing to shut off the power and rewire in a new pendant light ($18 at Lowe's) plus a paper lantern (Pier 1, $10).  

Then, I put the bamboo placemats back on the table.  I also decided the window needed curtains - both for some soft texture and also for privacy.  This is a townhouse and my elderly neighbor sits on her back porch and I get antsy about that after awhile.  I could not find any curtains I liked (I wanted greens and yellows to pull together the two rooms) at Target, Kohl's, IKEA online, or Ross... and then I wandered into World Market and found a $30 shower curtain that is absolutely perfect.  

I hung the curtain with little shower clips from Target.

Currently, the curtain's clips are half on one side of the rod's center-bracket, half on the other, which is why it is bunchy on the left.  Eventually I may cut the curtain and hem the cut, then add a band of coordinating fabric to the bottom.  I rather like the casual look right now, though, so I am going to laissez-faire it for awhile.  

And now... the two rooms together, as viewed from the loveseat.  By the way, the temporary new "rug" is a quilt and the green pillows are the old green Pier 1 ones covered with fabric a la this Pin.  Thanks, Mom, for the idea!  

What are your favorite ways to repurpose items?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eat Your Veggies!

Most of you who know me know that when I get started on a project, I don't like to stop until it's done.  So with the great room finished and looking mighty fine, I was anxious to repaint the dining room because once again, it looked like Perkin's restaurant.  Once again, sorry Perkin's.  Let's have a moment of silence for the awful carcass colors of the dining room before:

I once read a blog where the girl painted five different shades of the same color on her bedroom walls and it took them seven months to decide which one they wanted.  I'm too impatient and too economical for that, so once I chose a green I liked on the card (Valspar's Spring Meadow), I bought it and slapped it on the walls that day.  No arguments.  I chose green because 1) it's my favorite color and 2) it reminds everyone to eat their veggies.  Subliminal messages now in your very own house!

Fun fact - the old owner's left these two giant pieces of plastic in the garage.  Thanks!  So, before painting, I put down plastic on the floors and over the table.  Always make sure you protect your pets from paint, too?! Haha!  All joking aside, Poly crawled in there on her own and I removed her twice... she kept going back.  You can't fight with a cat and I will point out she didn't get a single drop on her.  

It took a full day to paint two coats in the dining area (one real wall, one half-wall, one wall with windows, one half wall with a door), with small breaks for necessities including a game of Mario Cart.  

Ahh that's nice!  It is deceiving, though, because the color is a bit more radioactive lettuce in person, so I spent the next two days letting it mellow to the eyes (aka get used to it) and figure out how to smooth the room together, since it spills into the great room.  I added the mirrors (auction house finds) first... Stay tuned for more... 

Do the rooms of your home flow together, or do you prefer to decorate each area on its own?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coming Soon: Dinner on the Patio

In between painting the Great Room and the Dining Room (upcoming post), I worked on getting the garage back to a state where Gus (the car) could fit in.  One thing that needed to be done was something with this table: 

The side was found in Tom's car!  I pounded it on with a nail salvaged from the living room wall before I painted.  While I would have preferred to use a wood stain on the bare wood, I'm nothing if not resourceful, so I just used white paint from a can of flat (ew) paint the old owner left in the garage (big surprise).  It works for now.  I may seal it later... or paint it a different color and consider the white to be primer.  I literally just slapped two coats on in about 30 minutes and I like the rough look it has.  Plus, the price ($0) was amazing.

Why not?  The original goal was to use it a prep table or something for when we grill.  However, I'm currently thinking the driveway is a better place for grilling... because the above picture shows the backyard.  It's a postage stamp.  The good news is... we got a grill!  Tom dropped one off last night.  It's pretty rusty, yet I think it will clean up.  I hope... :/ I'll show it later when it's not so nasty looking.  

...what are your tricks for cleaning rust?