Showing posts with label Decorating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Decorating. Show all posts

March 12, 2024


Things are looking up around here.  There's something to be said about a tropical 60 degree day after weeks and weeks of arctic air to lift one's spirits.
It's nice to break out the chalk, even if we are still in coats and the snow still decorates our yard.  It's only going to get warmer from this point on, right?

It's starting, this dance of ours going from outside to inside and back again.  I'm ready for it!

Speaking of inside, I've still been knitting, and finally finished the Color Affection shawl, which is so hard to photograph.
I've been puttering around the house, changing things around for spring.  It's what I do when I get antsy and bored.
I bought an unfinished pine wood shelf from Ikea and stained it with black/brown paint, then waxed it with finishing paste wax.  The brackets are from Ikea too (total cost was under $10).  I like displaying my baskets and thrift shop plates, as well as my embroidery.
There's something about circles that always appeals to my aesthetic.
So far the boys haven't pulled it down, or even messed with it.  It's bolted to the wall pretty securely though, a process which generated plenty of curse words from me (I was racing against the finish-this-by-the-end-of-naptime clock.

The boys were happy that I had pulled out the plastic Easter eggs.  Man, do I hate those things.
I'm continually stepping on them, but they both love them so much.  S even set up an egg hunt just for me, with smaller eggs stuffed inside the larger ones.
Even my winter wreath has become bunny-fied.
On the kitchen front, I'm finally trying my hand at sauerkraut, thanks to Erin's inspiration.
It's a bit too carrot-y (hence the orange color) I think I got the brine too salty, but so far it hasn't gotten moldy.  We'll see how it is in a few more days.  I'm hoping that this project gives me the confidence to try making kombucha.  That's next on my list of kitchen science experiments.

That's that for life around these parts.  I'm looking forward to warm, sunny days spent outdoors.  I hope you are too.

February 7, 2024

Winter Boredom Buster: Unfinished Basement Playroom

Chris and I have spent some time, effort and a bit of money transforming our mostly unused basement into a functional and fun area for the boys to burn off some energy this winter.  I neglected to take "before" photos because 1.) the space was a bit frightening and 2.) I had my doubts whether we'd be able to transform it into something photographable anyway.
But we did our best, starting with relocating two large wheeled shelving units to the other end of the basement.  We focused on moving all of the tools to one end, where our furnace is, so that the largest area of the basement could be utilized.  It's an odd layout, with our furnace placed in the middle of the floor, rather than against a wall, so it was challenging to work around. 

And while these photos may not look like much, to us, this space is a great addition to our little old house. It's fostered a lot of physical and imaginative play in our kids, as well as their friends.
The concrete floor got some puzzle mats, the kind used in gyms.  That was probably the most expensive part of the makeover, but we're confident that they'll be used in some manner beyond the childhood years, especially that we went with a neutral color.
The steps got a fresh coat of paint. I really regret not taking a before shot of these hideous things; they were brown, dirty, with missing tread mats.
They are SO much more inviting now, painted white with teal and green accents.  And the new tread mats are so much nicer, and safer.  We still need to add a second handrail below the one that's already there, just for peace of mind that no kids will fall or purposefully jump under the railing.

Most of the items in the play space were things I had in storage; the swings (from IKEA) were birthday gifts from a few years back that never were installed, the cardboard rocket was stored in the attic (with an occasional appearance in our small living room) the ticket booth, and the ticket booth was a cast-off from the days when I worked at an art museum.  It had been stored in our garage since I was pregnant with Soren, but finally got screwed back together to be played with.
The paper lantern lights were also in storage; I had saved them from my wedding and use them at birthday parties and other festivities. 

Under the steps, I set up a pretend area with the play kitchen, puppet theater, cash register and a table and chairs.
Christmas lights brighten up the space a little, but we could use some more substantial lighting under there.
It's hard to believe, but many of these items were either found in the trash, thrifted, or hand made by me.  The wall hangings were things I acquired throughout my 20s (hippie chick, that was me) so it's nice seeing these funky things displayed again.
We brought in two lawn chairs that spend their summers outside; they make great seating for adults.  I've been known to knit and drink coffee while the boys play.
I added one of my old paintings too, which was just in storage in our attic.  Can you guess which nursery rhyme I was referencing?
This space will certainly evolve as the seasons change, and as the boys grow.  But for now, it is being enjoyed just as it is.  It's a great way to burn off energy after dinner and before bed, especially that the icy, snowy conditions outside have kept us indoors more than we'd like to be this year.
I encourage you to look again at any unused areas of your home; you just might find a playful refuge hiding within it!

November 29, 2023

Welcoming Winter at Your Front Door

When it comes to decorating at Christmas, I have a fondness for all things natural or handmade.  Since the door is the star of our front porch, I like to dress it up a bit for the winter.

If you choose to go with a natural wreath, it will often take you from November through February, especially if you change it up a bit with a different bow or swag.
This fresh wreath, the 18" Magnolia Pomegranate Wreath from Creekside Farms will be gracing our door all season long.
The rust/salmon colored bow (it changes depending on the light) and the tan undersides of the magnolia leaves looked beautiful throughout November. The best thing about this wreath is how great it smells whenever I open the door; that evergreen scent permeates the space between the storm door and front door.
The cedar, pinecones, juniper, echinops and pomegranates really add to the texture and interest of the wreath.  It's been a few weeks now and the wreath is still in good shape and ready for a more festive Christmas bow. 
I'll probably change at the bow at the end of the holiday season, to something white and wintery. 

Creekside Farms sells so many more beautiful wreaths, like this Apple Berry Wreath
Creekside Farms also carries wreaths and garlands beyond Christmas, like for Fall and for weddings and even herbal ones for the kitchen.  The herbs and flowers in the wreaths are pesticide-free and harvested by hand in California.

Their wreaths have been seen in top home décor retailers and catalogues, including Williams-Sonoma for over 18 years, Pottery Barn, Sur LaTable, Restoration Hardware, Front Gate, Pro Flowers, Orvis and Harry and David. 
Creekside Farms' artisan-made wreaths would make a great gift for anyone.  I would be thrilled to have one of these gorgeous wreaths show up at my door (and I was when mine did).  I like that the purchase of a Creekside Farms' wreath supports a family business and contributes to the continuation of a family-run farm.  It's a beautiful way to greet the holiday season at your doorstep.
Disclosure: I received a sample wreath from Creekside Farms for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

October 21, 2023

Table Talk

The piece of furniture most used in my house has finally gotten a makeover.
What was once a plain, peeling hand-me-down is now the highlight of my kitchen.
This project was first on my to-do list after Soren started school.  This poor table and chairs were badly in need of some love.  It took a lot of sanding to get rid of all that peeling poly.
While it's not an amazing transformation, I'm pretty happy with the results.  I wanted to bring some color into the space, so I chose a bright green (Ball Game from allen + roth) but kept the top of the table and chairs unpainted.
I followed up the paint with a few layers of Matte wipe-on Poly so that the finish has a bit of a chance when faced with two rough-and-tumble boys.

These chairs were cast-offs from an elementary school that my Pap Pap had picked up back in the 70s or 80s when they were closing it down.  At least one or two of them have been with me since my college days in Philadelphia, and I'm glad that I dressed them up but still kept the look of their butt-worn seats.
I got a little paint happy and ended up painting a cute bookshelf I had found in our alley a few years back.
It was a dingy white, but in good condition.  Now it's holding all my jars of applesauce. And extra toilet paper (it's in the weird nook of our bathroom off of the kitchen).

I still have one more chair to redo, but it requires some carpentry and wood glue to get it back into shape.  Finally, I can cross off one project from my long list.
I know this table is going to get tons of use over the next few months from indoor meals, cups of coffee, and indoor activities like play dough and coloring.  Lets hope my work holds up!

August 5, 2023

A Room of His Own

Compared to his brother's room, Soren's bedroom was pretty drab.  What had first been a guest room, then a playroom/sewing room (man, I wish I still had that space!)
then a make-way-for-the-new-baby bedroom, which was a fast and furious attempt at moving Soren out of the crib and into a twin bed.
Then it became a place of mismatched furniture, holes in the walls (I had to move that cute shelf, because it was being used as a monkey bar), bad paint color, and chipped baseboards.
Oh, this poor room.  It's seen a lot of changes, but never something lasting and complete.  But its time has come.
The paint color is Perfect Storm from Valspar. (I used the primer+paint, low VOC, which worked great in just two coats to cover up that grurple color that was there before.
The boys' rooms adjoin (and they have their own entrances too), so you can see Jude's room in this photo through the door to the left, just in case you were wondering what that was.  Old houses and their loveable quirks.
This color is a dark teal/navy blue, which is perfect for a room that will grow with my son.
Unless he requests it, I don't have any intention of painting it again for many years.
The focal point of the room is the map wall, which set the room's global theme.
A lot of the room's accessories were ones that I've collected over the years, like this bolga basket found on clearance because its handle was missing.
The mirror below is from NOVICA, the hex sign is from an artisan at a local festival, and the wooden Austrian pull-up doll was a gift to Soren as a baby.
(Side note: my photos here are not so hot, especially when the windows are in the picture. A lens filter is stuck on the lens, and it's not flush with the lens. I need to take it to the local camera shop to help me get it off. )
Many of his Legos are stored in the fabric bins above, which helps to corral them from their inevitable turn as objects-of-stabbing-foot-pain on the floor.
I kept the artwork pretty spare, dedicating one entire wall to this woodblock print from a local art student.
My attitude toward buying art work is that if you love it, it will fit into your home in any way and make you happy looking at it.
I sewed some simple valances out of some Robert Kaufmann Metro Living fabric. 
My intention was to make Roman shades from it, but I was worried I wouldn't have enough.  I'm planning to install some kind of shades or wooden plantation blinds when our budget allows it.
I truly hope this room inspires in Soren a love of worldly things and travel.  So far, he loves his room, and I hope that he has many happy memories of it.
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