11.06.2014

A Fall Garland

Hello lovely friends!  I hope you are having a fabulous fall!  I don't know about you, but starting about October 1st, I get all geeked out for this season.  As far as I'm concerned, October, November and December are the best months of the year.  (Let's not talk about the crash and burn that happens around January 2nd.  It's not so pretty!  You can read about my feelings on that here.)

I recently did a quick little project that I thought I'd share with you.  I love this because it can be used year after year, and frankly those are the only ones I'm interested in!  I hate spending my hard-earned free time on something that will only last for a few weeks, like seasonal wreaths or other decorations that will die and then I have to do them all again next year.  Blah.

But this one is easy, and, better yet, has held up with the rain and still looks good after over a month outside.  So I consider that a win!  


See that garland?  Here, let me zoom in a bit.


Super simple!  I started with a tutorial I had saved from years ago from A Soft Place to Land.  You can see her easy instructions here.  My gourds and pumpkins came from Hobby Lobby.  The pine cones came from my yard.  (Want to come over?)

A few notes about how to make this: The gourds on the link above are hollow (read: easier to work with!), but mine ended up having some kind of styrofoam inside.  So I used a screwdriver to poke from one side to the other, and then grabbed my daughter's oversized plastic sewing needle to thread the twine through.  Once the twine was strung, I was very generous with the hot glue gun at the entry points!  Lastly I sprayed them with a clear varnish because I was worried that rain would cause the gourds to streak or fade (they are fake, after all!) and so far they still look new.


You may remember my numbered pumpkins from years ago too!  Last fall I only had four of them (because that's how many I could dig up at the Goodwill).  A friend came over and said "Oh, are these supposed to represent your family?  One for each of you?"  Well...No.  But then, all of a sudden, Yes!  And oh-my-gosh, we don't have a pumpkin for baby Vivi and isn't that the most horrible thing in all the world and it is absolutely unacceptable that my poor little girl isn't included in this super-meaningful brand-new family tradition!  So I tore out and bought a sweet little itty-bitty pumpkin so that a number five could be stenciled and all our people are represented.  Crazy much? :)


I love how warm and welcoming our hallway looks this time of year.  Too bad most of my visitors come through the back door, which is decidedly less glamorous. (But better somehow that way too, I agree!)


My local Trader Joe's had all these little gourds and pumpkins (and yes, these are real but it didn't require any hot glue or crafty business so I was willing to splurge!).  I love to put these out at the beginning of October and let it ride until the day after Thanksgiving.  If they get a little moldy, oh well.  They're outside!


And just in keeping with the porch theme of this post, here's our little family about to go trick-or-treating.  The pirate fairy, shadow ninja and baby ladybug wish you a Happy Fall!






9.13.2014

My Little White Picket Fence

 Hello all!

I've been meaning to pop in and share one of our recent projects with you...three kids are keeping me pretty busy but I finally found an hour to sit down at my computer!

So, you may remember that two years ago we moved into our house.  Here it was in 2012:


Last spring, we gave it a pretty big face lift by painting the brick and changing out the shutters and door.  You can read more about that transformation here.


We've made some changes to the landscaping, too, and replaced all those tiny rocks for plain black mulch.


But this summer!  Oh, this summer we totally indulged my love of cottages and country houses by adding a little white picket fence!  Just two panels of fencing with some very basic posts.  It serves absolutely no practical purpose.  But it looks so cute!


I just adore how it completes the front of the house.


This shot just makes me smile because it looks so cozy!  And you can my favorite plants, the "Little Lime" hydrangea bushes (which have really taken off and can handle full sun, if you're in love with them like I am but are afraid they'll wilt in the heat. Check into them!)  Frankie our dog likes them too.


The fence only cost around $200 from a local fence company who custom built it to our specifications (unpainted wood, and we did the install ourselves).  I love how much it adds to the house, though, for a pretty small price tag.  I'm already plotting what other decorations I can hang on it for the different seasons!  :)


I hope you are all doing well.  Thank you so much for stopping by!  :)


5.13.2014

Anyone Want Buffalo Check Fabric?

Don't get around much anymore...

Those are the words in one of my favorite songs by Nat King Cole (and many others!) and boy is it true in my life!  Having a baby who naps twice a day and still needs her mama for most of her meals has left me on lockdown in my house.  I sneak out to Henry's preschool or to the grocery store, but it feels like a timer starts ticking as soon as I leave the house with baby Vivi, and I'm trying to beat the clock before the next meal or nap.  So, once again, I must ask for grace that I am not around as much as I used to be!

Since I've been home so much, I've been going through all my "stuff" in preparation for a huge garage sale this Saturday! Now, I promise you...what I'm about to say is not meant to "use" you guys to buy all my old stuff!  But...

I have buffalo check fabric!


A little over 16 yards, to be exact.  It's that gorgeous creamy bisque and warm golden color combo.  I am planning on just including it in my garage sale, but it occurred to me that there might be someone still searching for this fabric (as I was a few years ago!).  Perhaps I could make your day!  It just seemed like a waste to dump it in with all the other garage sale items.

The fabric is from Hobby Lobby, and is 54 inches wide.  The material is kind of like a silk shantung, not a traditional cotton, and lighter weight than traditional cotton too.  I have not washed it, so I don't know how it will behave if you do, but I have been storing it in my plastic fabric box since I bought it, so it's clean and non-smelly.

And just to be clear...this is the fabric only!  Not the actual curtains I have in my house.  Its just extra material that I've been holding onto in case I need it...but I don't think I do!  I would hate for someone to be disappointed, thinking they were getting finished curtains!

Here's the breakdown of the lengths I have:
Piece #1: 216 inches, or 6 yards **SOLD!!
Piece #2: 138 inches, or about 3 1/2 yards **SOLD!!
Piece #3: 192 inches, or about 5 1/3 yards **SOLD!!
Piece #4: 62 inches, or about 1 2/3 yard **SOLD!!

I won't cut the pieces any smaller (it seems like it would get pretty chaotic that way if there are multiple buyers), but I can certainly sell you more than once piece if you're interested.

I've never really done this before, so I don't know exactly how to "sell" it, but I'm thinking $10 a yard plus shipping.  I do have a Pay Pal account, so I can just send you an invoice to your email address if/when you are ready to buy.  My husband claims that that part is easy!  :)

Just leave me a comment with the piece(s) you're interested in, and a way to get in touch with you, and we'll go from there.  It will be first come, first served!

And, if I'm just loony and no one cares about this fabric in the decorating world any longer, that's OK too!  Some lucky garage sale shopper will hit the jackpot this weekend!  :)


3.13.2014

House-y Dreams

The other day I had a realization.  Bear with me!  But I'm wondering if any of you have come to the same conclusion?  For most of my twenties and early thirties I held an image in my mind, a picture of what my "future life" would look like.  It included (in the very early days) dreams of my husband and our future kids, and the kind of life we would lead.

Thankfully, my husband and three kiddos are the center of my life, and they are the fulfillment of my most precious dreams!  But I also dreamed of our house, because, well, that's just what I do.  Usually I imagined we'd live here:



Or here:


Or certainly here (who are those people in the photo and why are they in my imaginary house?):


The future was always unknown and hazy, and there was always the sense that something new and exciting was just around the bend, something that would tell me we'd "arrived" at our life.  Someday we'd live in a big, white, rambling country farmhouse.  Someday I'd have the perfect hydrangeas in my side yard and six fireplaces to choose from when wondering where to sip my coffee or wine.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  Looking back on where our path has taken us, that white cottage farmhouse has yet to materialize!  As newlyweds we started with a charming little bungalow in Mt. Lookout, a fun, hip (or was it only hip ten years ago when I was hip?) suburb of Cincinnati:



We moved to Colorado in 2007 and took on a little more rustic, almost Craftsman-style house:


Then we went way off my usual grid in 2010 with a 1930s Spanish Colonial in San Francisco, CA:


Followed by a 1950s ranch, also in San Francisco, which gave me a big lesson in decorating a rental house that was seriously in need of help!


And now, finally, to our home here in Cincinnati, where we plan to stay for as long as life allows:


It's funny, isn't it? Now that I'm 37 (and not 25!), I know that perfect white cottage on the 5 acre farmland with white picket fences is never coming my way.  And you know what?  I am SO OK with that!  Instead, we have a home built in 1979, surrounded by great neighbors and sidewalks, in a community I love.  We have one fireplace, not six, and though I try to make the house look like it was plucked from a charming English countryside, it was not, and I love it anyway because it is ours.  

Do you get me?  Do you find a joy (and even relief!) in being content with what your life holds, even though it doesn't match your younger self's dreams?  Don't get me wrong, I'll always be tweaking and trying to convince my husband to add a picket fence (hopefully this spring!) and a cupola with a weather vane on top of the house and more hydrangeas and a stone walkway and...and...and...

But we're here for the long haul, and I couldn't be happier.  Does that sound familiar to any of you? I'd love to hear!  :)    



2.27.2014

One of My Favorite Blogs

Y'all.

(I'm not from the South but I am allowed to say that today due to my subject matter.)

I can't believe I've never introduced you to my cousin Jenny.  She lives in Atlanta (hence the y'all) and is a real interior designer.  Like, one that actually went to school for it.  Unlike me, who went to the Ballard-Designs-Pottery-Barn-Craig's-List-Country-Living-Magazine-Garage-Sale School of Design. 

Here she is, with her adorable son, Ward.


A few years ago, Jenny started a blog called Long & Found.  She is so talented, I can't even tell you.  Just look at this pumpkin she created for her son's preschool fundraiser.


Or these gorgeous chairs that she re-did. (Garage sale find! Love that.)


She has lots of DIY posts, which are my favorite kind.  You have to check out her son's room and the growth chart she made from a 1x10, white paint and a steel wool and vinegar concoction to oxidize the wood.


Now, I should warn you that Jenny just released some very exciting news...she's due with identical twin boys this summer!  She's going to be one very busy mama of three pretty soon!  I follow her on Pinterest and I know she's plotting a big boy room for her soon-to-be two year old, and a nursery for her little guys too.  I'm so excited to see what she does next!

In advance, you're welcome.  You'll love her!  :)




2.03.2014

Baby Vivi is Here!

I have a confession to make.  

I've been holding out on you!

There was a new little person in our Christmas card photo this year.


And a new nursery to decorate in pink and green.


Vivian Frances was born August 9, 2013.  We couldn't be happier.  It's been a long road, but she was worth the wait.  :)


We've had lots of rocking and cuddling.


Lots of diaper changes.


(Some) sleeping.


And lots of fun times creating another little girl bedroom.  (When we could muster the time and energy!  Guess that's why it took me almost 6 months to update you!)


Life with three kids is such a blessing and was what we always hoped for.  I'm so glad to finally share the news with you all!  

If you'd like to know any of the details/sources about Vivi's room, see my handy little list below:

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore "Love and Happiness"
Crib Bumper: Carousel Designs "Shabby Chenille" 
Ruffled Crib Skirt: Pottery Barn Kids
Gingham Curtains: Pottery Barn Kids
Rug: Joss & Main
Monogram Above Crib: The Girly Twirly Gift Company



10.22.2013

Our Forever House

Hello again friends!

Last but not least I am SO excited to show you what we've done to the outside of our house!  Looking at these photos, I can hardly believe how many changes we've made since last June.  Here's a photo of the house from the day we toured with the home inspector (and bug guy, apparently):


And...here it is today!


So, we've made some pretty big changes on the outside!  First up, obviously, was painting the lower half of the house.  We may have scared some neighbors in our traditional little neighborhood, being weird enough to cover over red brick!  But I'd always dreamed of having a white house with black shutters!  I've cut out picture after picture of them for years.  And, since we were only painting half the house (to match the existing siding), it wasn't terribly expensive!


We also replaced the front door and sidelight, as well as the exterior lighting fixture.  A big cost savings was that my ever-handy husband took on the job of making the new shutters himself.  I love that man.  The shutter style is called board and batten, and it took many weekends of cutting, sanding, priming, painting, and nail gunning, but the effect is worth it!  We added faux shutter dogs to the bottoms, just because we like them. (So I've learned, shutter dogs are those little hook-y things at the bottom of the shutters, to hold them in place.  Ours have no function except looking cute, because everything is bolted into the brick.)  :)


Here's a before photo of the back of the house.  You can see that all the flower beds, in the front and back yard, had teeny tiny rocks in them, instead of mulch.  I can't tell you how much these rocks stressed me out, especially when they started showing up in my kids' pockets, all over the floors, in between my dog's paws, you name it.  Those things just scattered everywhere!


Though it was a monumental pain (and rather heartbreaking when we considered how much the previous owners must have spent on installing them!), we gave all those rocks away for free on Craig's List.  It took my husband weeks to dig them all out of the beds, dump them on our driveway, reline the beds with weed barrier, and then shovel in loads and loads...and loads...of black mulch.  Thank goodness that was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of project!


A big selling point for us was always this large brick patio on the back of the house.  Here's a before shot:


...and the after.  Envisioning lots of great summer parties out here!


Our wood furniture fits perfectly around the outdoor rug I picked up from Ballard Designs last summer.  I spend lots of hours here watching the kiddos play on the play set, and it's nice and shady in the hot afternoon sun.

So there you have it!  Our renovation is mostly complete, and now you know why I haven't been hanging around my blog as much as I used to!  We found our forever house, and I am so thankful for it.  I hope you've enjoyed the tour!  :)