Right now, the kitchen looks a little something like this.

 

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The base cabinets you see aren’t actually installed.  They’re just holding the spots.  The cabinet above the fridge needs to be adjusted, as does the panel between it and the pantry. 

BUT, it’s progress.

With the baby “due” in 2 weeks, every little bit of progress is a celebration.

As we set the base cabinets around the room, we discovered a few issues:

1. The plumbing for the sink was in the wrong spot.  $$$

2. The outlet for the dishwasher was in the wrong spot (and was a live wire instead of an outlet.)  $$$

3. The outlet for the range was in the wrong spot.  $$$

4. The gas line for the range is too far from the wall.  $$$

Are you seeing a pattern?  Oh, if I could only have ten minutes alone with our former contractor.  I have some things to settle! 

We had a lovely electrician out yesterday to correct some of the issues, and BeachBoy has been trying his hand at the plumbing for the last two weeks.

My one request:  can I please, please, please have a functioning sink before the baby is born?  That’s really all I ask.

 

Today is an exciting day at our cottage, not that I’m currently there to experience it.  For now, I’m stranded at a local hotel.  Why?  Today, BeachBoy is putting the finish on the floors!

Here is what they looked like when I left this morning.  I escaped just before he broke out the fumes. (He looked adorable in his mask, by the way, and I’m certain he was playing DarthVader.)

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(It’s worth noting that this is the first time the breakfast room window has ever (no, really….ever) been opened.  BeachBoy broke out the crow bar because he was so desperate for ventilation.  I’m pretty sure it’s ruined, but it’s as old as the house, so…..)

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(This isn’t where the fridge will stay, but it’s the best he could move it on his own.  (I’m of no help at the moment.)  For now, he’ll finish all around it.  Once the floors cure, he’ll move it and finish that area.  Classy.  But, we’re in a pinch.  The fridge actually goes on the left hand wall.)

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For me, this has been the most exciting step so far.  I think it’s because I know that once the floors have cured, we can start putting in CABINETS.  Oh, happy day!

I’ve braced myself for the fact that the details themselves won’t be done.  For now, I’ll just be thrilled to have doorless cabinets in the room.  That’s so much more than this momma could ever have imagined.

34+ weeks….time is running short, and there’s a house to reclaim and a nursery to start!  Really, who needs cabinet doors and trim?? Not me!

Since I’m not allowed in the kitchen area while BeachBoy works, I’m basically confined to the guest bedroom.  It’s the only space in the house to sit…if you call lounging in bed “sitting.”

After 10 minutes a while, it gets a bit boring, and that’s when the graph paper comes out.  I have mounds and mounds of sketches.  There’s everything from kitchen mock-ups and garden designs to living room furniture layouts and floorplans for our next home.  Today, I sketched– yet again– some ideas for the nursery.

When you enter the nursery, there is a lovely double-wide window directly ahead.

Here is the space, pictured with the previous owners’ furnishings. 

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The room gets the most beautiful morning light, which I’m sure won’t seem so enchanting after the baby comes. Ha!  It practically begs you to curl up with a book.

This next photo, taken 4 years ago, gives you a better idea of the window layout within the 13×13 space.  The wall with the entryway is also the wall with the closet door, thought neither are pictured here.  The fourth wall is the only one that is uninterrupted, and the entry door swings into it.

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My challenge will be to fit a dresser, XL twin bed, crib, and glider into this space.  That’s a tall order.

But, I can’t seem to leave it at that.  I’m dreaming up lovely built ins around the focal window.  A little something like this:

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Why bother when we’re already quite crunched for time?  1. I’m a hopeless romantic.   2. The room needs more storage.  The closet is quite small and not super-functional.  3. Books!  As a former teacher, I have lots of books to put into the nursery.  4. I’ve always wanted our kids to have a reading spot.  (Yes, I know, I know….we’re moving. But still….)

At 33 wks pregnant, you could say it’s pie in the sky, especially considering that we have no kitchen/master bedroom/bathroom/laundry room/functional space in the house can’t even order a crib yet.  Starting now isn’t much of an option due to space contstraints.  The room currently houses a TON of overflow, including an additional bedroom suite, a coffee table, the ironing board, you name it.  Can you picture the space with 2 large beds plus more? Yeah. 

But, here’s the thing.  If your house looked like this

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 and you were pushing 8 months pregnant and 10 months of renos, you’d be dreaming too.  :) 

It’s all in the details….my sanity, that is.

If there’s one thing I’ve found to be true throughout this process it’s that details keep me going.  When progress stops, contractors fail, and all hope seems lost, I can easily lose myself in revisiting the details that will *someday* fill the kitchen…the nursery…the house.

Somehow, that calms my nerves, eases the tension, and leaves me ready to face the next day.

Give me a pencil and a sheet of graph paper, and I’m set.

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Here’s a look at where we are now.  Beachboy has about 4 feet to go until all three spaces have flooring.  Alas, work won’t resume again until Monday.  This weekend brings with it out of town guests.  That leaves us just a few fleeting weekends to go.  8 weeks until we’re “due.”  I’m hoping for a late baby.  How often do you hear a momma say THAT?

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We have His and Hers projects underway, and they are keeping us hopping! (and away from the laptop)

His: Painting the new drywall in the kitchen, breakfast room, and laundry studio.  (We’re lovin’ Olympics’ VOC free paint! I had it color matched to a Martha color from Home Depot.)

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primer up!

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first coat up in laundry studio

Hers: Growing BeachBaby. (Just under 3 months left to go!)

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That’s right, it’s a race against the clock in our cottage. If BeachBaby holds out for a full 40 weeks, we have just 12 left to pull this place together so that it resembles a home.  (With a home birth in our future, I’d say that’s pretty important!)

BUT….That’s asking a lot since the master bath is still gutted, the kitchen/laundry studio clearly aren’t done, the whole house is still boxed up and displaced, the “nursery” is currently holding overflow and hasn’t even been started, there is no lighting in the kitchen, the electrical in the kitchen and laundry studio need fixed, and the floors still aren’t finished in any of the bedrooms.

And, all this is going on while our contractor is MIA!

I’d call that stress.

BeachBoy has been working his cute little booty off, trying to pull everything together so I don’t have a meltdown in time to order furniture and prep the baby’s room.  Maybe I should call him Superman instead.

my hero

and I can’t get out!!

After 6 months, it certainly feels that way.  The contractor’s portion of the work was supposed to wrap up Monday. (Ha!)  We spent Monday walking him through the project with a list of 20 issues that needed to be correct.  Yes, that’s right, he made 20 can’t-deal-with-that mistakes.  Add to that the things we decided we could deal with.  It was a bit overwhelming.

Here’s a look at where we stand.

You may notice that the stained glass window is missing from the right hand wall.  That’s the window that is to go between the studio and the master bedroom.  After some (ok, MANY) issues with the contractor, we’ve put the installation on hold.  The windows are sitting in my living room, but I hope they will make it into the wall before long.  What a difference that will make for our bedroom since it has no exterior walls.

The wiring for the lighting is not done, and this room is missing several key outlets.  But, after weeks without, I have access to a washer and dryer again, even if it only has cold water.  That, my friend, is a blessing.

Just imagine a desk under the window, ready to go with my sewing machine.  I’m looking forward to sewing with a view of the potager.

It’s amazing what a difference raising the ceiling in this room made.  It feels bigger and brighter.  In fact, BeachBoy proclaimed it his favorite room in the house.  I think it’s all because of the new french door.

I’d love to say the men are finishing things up this week, but the truth is our contractor “doesn’t know when the electrician can come back.”

Oh me, oh my!

No kitchen since November….no problem?  Well, maybe it’s a bit of a challenge.  ;)

 

Here is the current state of the laundry space.  The kitchen looks about like this, but it still retains half of the subfloor.  That stuff is a BEAST to take out since it’s a few layers thick.

 

I’ve escaped this

for fun in the kitchen,

helping write last minute letters to Santa

and kissing babies!

It was a great trade! 

Who knew a laundry room could be so exciting!?

I think it’s fair to say that I’m as excited about the new laundry/mud/craft room as I am about the kitchen.  For nearly 5 years, the laundry has been a chore: storing it on the kitchen floor (YUCK), folding it in the bedroom, hanging it to dry on the breakfast room chairs….chaos, in short.  When BeachBoy suggested working a true home management room into the plan, I was all ears!

The most underutilized room in our house is the room we’ve been planning to turn into a library.  However, with a little craftiness, we have devised a plan that will let us have a library AND a work room. Can I get a WOOHOO, ya’ll?!

The room measures 14’9″ x 7’6″.  Awkward, to say the least.  But, I’m willing to make it work.

Here’s a sneak peek.

View #1: Looking into the room from the office-to-be.   From far to near on the right wall, there will be: washer/dryer, cabinet, sink, cabinet, freezer, broom cabinet.  On the opposite wall, the counter will stretch between the cabinets, allowing me a space for crafting and sewing! (Pinch me; I must be dreaming!!!) Walking into the room, the space on your left will have a shoe drop and coat hooks.  We’ll start using the exterior door in this room as our main entry point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View #2 Looking through the exterior wall from the back yard.  You’ll notice that the cabinet over the washer/dryer is the wrong size.  That will be a combination of cabinetry and open shelves.  A hanging rack will be incorporated on that wall, as well.  The window over the sink will be a leaded or stained glass window to the master bedroom (which is composed of all interior walls, as you may remember) The office/kitchen is through the doorway on the right side of the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, for the fun part!

Picture this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep our home very neutral, so the project room seemed like the perfect place to bring a little playfulness into our home.  I was smitten when I found this reproduction tile online.  (Let’s see what happens when I request a quote though!)

I’m thinking of going with an aged brass for the hardware (gasp!) and a fun color for the cabinets.  I have decided, however, not to decide on the cabinet color until everything is in the space.  It’s a very small room, and I want to keep the option of leaving them white if need be.  There’s no need to make the room feel even smaller, right!?

 

BeachBoy doesn’t want the space closed off with a door, but I have concerns since guests will walk past the room when we entertain (to get to the back yard).  I’m thinking a fun pocket door might be just the compromise we need.  Perhaps frosted or reeded glass?  Maybe a cute etched phrase?  We’ll see! (I have just the magazine clipping in mind….now, where is my inspiration folder?)

 

So, what do you think?

 

Yesterday, BeachBoy started tearing out the walls.  (Apparently, it’s not a good idea for me to have a sledgehammer, too. Hmmm.)  I think it was good for him because his mood was certainly improved after three hours of slugging away at the walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re dealing with three kinds of walls: plaster, drywall, and those which were doubled up with both.  It’s going to be a long process.  But, it will be worth the mess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, we’ve been refining our plans.  Once we were told that we had to take the space down to the joists and studs, we decided to carry our work into the small, nameless room that’s off the breakfast room.  It has water damage and is certainly in need.  So, it seemed like now was the time. Why weather this storm twice?

We’ve long planned to make that our library, but BeachBoy suggested we use it for a large laundry and mud room instead. What a luxury for a gal who’s been doing laundry out of a closet and folding it on the bed for nearly 5 years!  I’ll be posting plans and the design board ASAP.  :)

 

Yes, that’s right….total gut job.

Here is a photographic summary of our day.

 

First:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you catch that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, yeah.

So, we’re now at “total gut job” status.  As you probably already know, projects have a tendency to spiral out of control.  Ours always do!

 

 

 

It took a full 12 hours, but we bought, loaded, and unloaded the cabinets.  The house now looks like an Ikea warehouse.

Let the building begin!

 

The bad news?

We have a monster leak in the kitchen….and it’s U.G.L.Y.

 

The good news?

The plan for the new kitchen (since we have to gut) is ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a quick look at the current plan.

-Ramsjo Cabinets

-Open shelving for my cookbooks (yay!)

-Wood counters (a nod to our cottage)

- Marble Backsplash

-Farm Sink

-Mixed Hardware Styles

-Sconces to brighten the place up

 

Really, what makes me smile?

1. Getting rid of the water problem, rotten cabinets and all

2. Putting the dishwasher in a location where you can use it and the range (or it and a drawer) at the same time

3. Cabinets that don’t have attack drawers that fall out on your feet!!

4. Hiding the seldom-used microwave

5. FOOD STORAGE (we have none, presently)…oh, let’s just say storage in general while we’re at it  ;)

 

Let the work begin!  Next week will be spent working on the kitchen, if things go as planned (around here, they never do…)

While BeachBoy runs to Lowe’s for an emergency supply, I thought I’d check in.  I’ve been busy, busy, busy sealing the floors in the living room and dining room.

I still need to hang the blinds and curtains back up, replace the floor grates, and purchase the new rug (this one is from our bedroom).   Plus, we’re STILL trying to sell the furniture (no bites yet).  But, the floors are done in here and in the dining room.

As for the master bedroom, well…I haven’t coated those floors yet because it looks like this today:

In OTHER news, we also have THIS surprise project to tend to right away.  What’s new at your house?

This is life.

Oh, admit it. You know you’re totally jealous that my whole house is crammed into two rooms.  I mean, really, why wouldn’t you be?  ;)

I’ll be back soon with the fun house photos I promised.  Until then, I’ll be sweeping and dusting, and dusting and sweeping, and…

BeachBoy and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on September 30th!  What a blessed woman I am.  While I’m quickly outliving my “newlywed” status, I feel just as tickled and glowy as I did on day one.  He’s a keeper for sure!

We’re saving up BeachBoy’s vacation time for Christmas, so we decided to stick close to home instead of taking the “Big Trip” we’d originally been planning for this year.  I planned a last minute surprise getaway weekend instead.

Rather than throw a bunch of words at you, I’ll give you what you really want….PICTURES!!  You are going to drool all over the cottage we rented.  I sure did!  Go grab a towel before you scroll down, sugar.

We started our weekend with a zipline canopy tour and ropes course in South Carolina, which you can read more about here.    The rest of the weekend was spent roaming through the mountains, visiting farms, and exploring the vineyard where our cottage was located.

The Cottage

I decided they designed the garden especially for me.

The first thing BB did was throw open all of the doors. Can you blame him?

The dining room made my heart sing. I loved it that much.

The kitchen was small but mighty. It boasted a copper sink, subzero fridge/freezer drawers, a hidden microwave, a dishwasher drawer, and a viking range. Not bad for a tiny little space, huh!?

Take one more look before we move to the master suite.

That california king bed was quite a treat for us since we're used to a queen.

OK, brace yourself for the bathroom, girls.  No, really.

Why is he smiling? Because at home, we only have one sink. Here, he has his own. Haha!

We stepped this shower off to be at least 6x8. It was incredible, to say the least.

Having 2 sinks made getting ready such a breeze. It's the little things...

This was the crowning jewel. The view from the tub was amazing!

a few more, just for fun…

Breakfast outside...perfection

We didn't want to leave....ever.

The setting was perfect.

Here are a few of the relaxing adventures we shared.

I HIGHLY recommend The Farmhouse at Persimmon Creek. It was incredible.

Those are boiled peanuts….a delicacy I’d never heard of before moving to the south.

Now, I have to tell you something.  Our cottage was not the only one at the vineyard.  In fact, it was the smallest of three stunning cottages.  And, I just so happen to have pictures of the other two.  They are lighter and brighter than our woodsy cottage.  I promise to post them soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.  You DON’T want to miss seeing them.  For me, it was love at first sight.

Well, it’s official.  I have the bug.  I am itching for cooler weather, fleece pull overs, and cute fall shoes.  I *might* have done a little too much fall shopping yesterday.  You can justify it when you’re wearing a new (smaller, yes!!) size, right?  Riiight.

Because I just couldn’t’ wait any longer, I made some small adjustments to the living room for fall.  I just love the way my new-to-me sampler pulls in fall colors so quietly.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait for October!  Our street goes ALL OUT for Halloween, so I’ll get to switch up the mantle again with some Halloween goodies.  Holidays are so helpful for an ADD decorator like me.

In other Fix-Up news, I’ve started in on the master bedroom project.  It looks a little something like this around here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice, right?

Add to that a touch of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s okay though. Everything is totally under control.  I think.  Well, maybe not.  I’m a one woman show here, so it could get hairy.

BUT…. I have a vision, so it will be fine.

Speaking of my vision.  I just might post that for you.

What’s new at your place for fall?

Do you remember this room?

OH, the cords!!!

Last year, things got crazy when a roofer stepped through the ceiling.  And, life has been messy ever since.

This room had already been on our “to do” list.  However, when the roofer came crashing through it, we were in the middle of remodeling the bathroom.  It was not a time to drop everything and remodel the space as we’d intended.  So, it has been turned into a storage space for tools and construction supplies since that fateful day last June.

Now that the bathroom is finished (well, with the exception of having the tub reglazed), it’s time to get to work on this space.  I couldn’t be more excited!

This space will be doubling as a library and my home office.  I know it will get lots of use in the evenings too, since BeachBoy often puts in extra hours in the evening.

The long interior wall in this space adjoins the master bedroom.  Yes, that’s right, the master bedroom is made up entirely of INTERIOR wall.  We’ve spent 4 years trying to solve that puzzle.

So, we’ll be making a large openin in the wall. Along the short back wall, we’ll be adding shelving.  The small doorway to the ktichen will be enlarged, and the windows will be traded for french doors.

The Plan

What I’m most excited about is the ceiling.  The contractor has assured me that it can be raised.  Which makes me just a little thankful that the roofer came crashing through.  Had he not ruined my ceiling, I never would’ve known it had a double set of rafters.

So, the lower (unnecessary) ones will be coming out, giving this small space another foot of height.  I, for one, can’t wait.

For now, I’m on the prowl for the perfect doors to use in the opening between the library and the master bedroom and a beautiful old window to set above them as a transom.

As for BeachBoy, he’s still trying to recover from the sticker shock over the cost of the remodel.  Boy, life is so much better when you’re just a woman picking out lovely sconces.

Boy, oh boy have we been busy over here!

This week, I met with the contractor for a final estimate on the library (which has morphed into a master bedroom redo as well…but more on that later).  We also had a great camping trip and finished up repainting the guest room in the midst of my deciding to refinish 6 pieces of furniture.  (Yes, 6.) And the garden?  Well, it has kept me hopping! Let’s just say it was a crazy mess around here for a few days.

MONTHS ago, I started purchasing things for our guest room.  Then, progress stopped when work grew busy and zapped my creative energy.  Now that summer is in full swing, I’m back to my scheming.

So, guest room is nearly done, and I thought I’d show you the progress we’ve made.  It’s not grand, but it is much better than its orange-walled former self.  (Really, who picked the colors in this house?)

Come on in, ya'll!



The nightstands are waiting on me to swap out the top knobs again. I don't like the small ones and plan to fit them with oversized ones like I put on the dresser.

My favorite thing in the new room is the dresser.  I picked up the dresser/mirror set at Goodwill for $40 last year.  One drawer front had fallen off  and the others were loose.  But, after some quick repairs and my beloved chalk paint (love you, Annie Sloan!) it’s as good as new.  I adore it, and I love that it was so cheap.

Annie Sloan's chalk paint: old white and old ochre with clear wax.  I painted the nightstands the same way, and the paint was a dream to work with!

I'm planning to put a leaning mirror to the left of the closet, but I just haven't been able to find one I love. Wouldn't it be nice to have a full view of yourself before leaving your guest room in the morning?

So, what’s on my to do list? Well, I’ll be messing with arranging the shelves from now until forever.  But, besides that and putting the larger knobs on the nightstands, I also need to find my dream leaning mirror and build doors for the bottom portion of the cabinets.  I want closed storage down there, for sure.  I have most of my supplies gathered for that project and can’t wait to start!  Really, though, what I most long for is to refinish the floors.  But that’s certainly a project for later.

A few nights ago, we had dinner straight from the garden.  What a treat that was!

When BeachBoy got home from work, I snagged my harvesting basket and we headed to the backyard to decide what to have for dinner.  It was like ordering take-out, only better!

(Of course, SOME people couldn’t wait and dug right in before we finished making our selections.)

We settled on squash and beans, and I picked some herbs for our meal plus some extras to make a bit of salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was something amazingly satisfying about creating a meal from the backyard.  It was comforting to know exactly how and where it was grown and that it was safe and chemical free.  It just felt good.

We cooked up the veggies, and I tossed in some leftover pasta and homemade pesto to help clear out the fridge.  Fast. Easy. Satisfying.

It’s amazing, really, how growing your own food transforms the entire cooking and eating experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found that the more I let go in life, the more I grow.  The more I grow, the more alive I feel.

Today was a big day for me.  It was my final day as a teacher.

My whole life, I longed to teach.  And, for 6 years, I loved my job.  But, I found that it was time for me to let go and grow.  It was time for me to reconcile my priorities.  And, right under “1. God” on my priority list is “2. Family.”  It’s a funny thing though, how being a devoted teacher can push things out of whack.

You see, I am the type of teacher who cares for every child like my own.  I’m the teacher who is in the classroom 12 months a year, often as many as 12 hours a day.  I am the teacher who can’t fall asleep at night because I’m thinking about a struggling student.  I’m the type of teacher who takes every grumpy parent’s comments to heart because I just want what’s best for “my” child.  I’m the type of teacher who can’t say, “Well, I’ve tried hard enough.  There’s nothing else I can do.” Imagine, then, how that emotional roller coaster adds up when you have not a house filled with kids but a whole classroom full!

Yes, it was certainly time for me to reconcile my priorities with my energy and emotional expenditures.  So, today, I held my chin up and said goodbye to a classroom of students for the last time.  In so doing, I closed the door on my life-long dream and prepared for a fresh start.

I thought I would be sad today, but instead I found myself excited. It was a pleasant surprise.

You see, these past months, I’ve been studying and preparing to begin a new career.  I will be working from my favorite place (home!) as a holistic health counselor.  I am so excited about my new adventure and the prospect of devoting my energy toward my loving husband that I didn’t even think to be sad today.  And, I think that’s a good sign.  It reminds me that I’m on the right path. So, I’ll continue praying and walking.

I cherish my years of teaching and the ways in which they have prepared me for this new journey.  Now, I look forward to beginning my work with growing families and to helping them discover their own best health and happiness.

In just a few more days, my business website will be up and running, and I can’t wait to share it with you!  I’ve been so busy growing that I haven’t had much time to write lately, and now I will be helping others grow, too!

One of my life goals is to feed my family from a backyard garden.  I spent the winter months dreaming and scheming, ordering books and flipping through magazines.  I am thrilled to announce that this is the year I’m taking my first (baby) step in that direction by starting Phase 1 of my potager.

I haven’t finished the project yet, but we’re off to a running start. In an effort to get everything into the ground on schedule, we did some of this project out of order.

First, I built myself a set of raised boxes using 2×12 pine boards cut to length.  (Lowes and HomeDepot will cut them for you, which is great if you don’t have a truck.) Then, I predrilled holes into each board for easy assembly.  A screw in each predrilled hole quickly transformed them into boxes.  For added support, I put a brace in each inner corner.

For a step-by-step look at building raised beds, check out All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It has great photos.  The boxes were then filled with Mel’s Mix.

Then, I filled my boxes with seeds and seedlings based on what we like to eat.  Fast forward a month or so, and we have a backyard that looks like this:

phase 1 of the potager

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My work is not complete, but we’ve been enjoying a steady harvest of goodies.  The next step is replacing the grass between the boxes with rock walkways.  Now THAT is going to be a hot job!

Boxes. For four and a half years, I’ve been trying to out run and out smart our boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every time we move (we’ve been in three places in four and a half years), I sort through everything we have and purge.  I cart things to Goodwill by the carload. I throw things in the trash.

How is it then, that we still have a storage room full of boxes?

This weekend, while most people enjoyed picnics and parades in honor of the holiday, BeachBoy and I packed boxes.  You see, the building I teach in is being remodeled this summer, and we are required to pack up everything, down to the stubbiest pencil, and move it out in boxes.  What a daunting task that is for a teacher who has spent years building an expansive classroom library.  It’s worse still when you are told the very limited time frame in which you have to complete this great task. We had two choices: give up the next two weekends or miss the deadline.

After day two of packing in the classroom, we took our first load to storage.  What a site it was when we opened the door to the storage room!  As I squeezed the new boxes into the space and sifted through the old ones in search of our summer clothes (they don’t fit in our TINY closet), I came to a decision.  After all the work I’ve put into cleaning up my health and my habits, shouldn’t I also clean up my boxes? YES! How else can I really lighten up my life?

I’m going to commit to selling no less than 90% of what is in boxes.  The remaining portion will be books (awaiting shelves in our library-in-progress) and a few seasonal items.

This summer will be the Great Clean Out of 2011. We will be done with boxes once and for all.  Won’t you join me and kick your boxes for good, too?

 

 

Last weekend, Beachboy and I enjoyed an impromptu trip to California.  It was a refreshing getaway from work and a wonderful chance to give each other our undivided attention.

Now, I know most people go to the coast to see the ocean.  But this girl goes to the beach to see the COTTAGES! I simply adore beach cottages, no matter the size or style.  I’d inhabit one if I could, but the “tear down” cottage we saw while there was listed at $7.8 million. So, there won’t be a waterfront cottage in my future anytime soon!

What really struck me about the California coast was the lack of salty air.  You couldn’t smell the ocean.  Instead, you smelled the roses.  Everyone there had roses, and the scent drifted all around you.  It was absolutely divine. 

This is a street of dreams!

One thing is for sure, these cottages are begging me to return when I have time to explore with more leisure.

Spring is here, and it’s raining love! 

 Last weekend, I traveled to West Virginia to throw a bridal shower for my little brother and my sister-in-law-to-be.  It was a lovely day filled with even lovelier people, and I wanted to share a few pictures with you. 

Clearly, the bride is the glowing woman second from the left.

The two love birds are to be wed on a WV ranch this June, so we designed the shower with their wedding concept in mind.

As an extra gift to the bride, we had each guest address an envelop for personalized thank you notes we’d purchased for our bride. When you’re planning a wedding, there’s nothing like the gift of time!

It was a casual come-and-go-freely shower, so we kept food handy at the tables.  We were pleased to find that guests actually ate more this way.  Since threats of rain forced us indoors, it also helped with space.

Wreaths at the base of each cake plate held moss, river rocks, daffodils, daisies, button mums, hydrangeas, carnations, and alstromeria.  Each had a little star fish tucked in to represent the honeymoon to the Virgin Islands, as well.

I caught my parents watching happily from the kitchen.   Let’s just say they are thrilled with their son’s choice.

The lucky groom is the man in blue. He made us all very proud when he asked this wonderful young woman to be his wife.

I know their lifelong marriage will be a happy one.

Our first Spring in our cottage brought us a lovely surprise.  Our shady back yard had plagued us with weeds and dead patches all year long.  And, then, one day we woke up to this:

Spring at Squirrel Cottage

Every year since we’ve looked forward to these most welcomed Sprinbg guests.

This  year, I cut some to carry inside.  I simply couldn’t resist.

Today was a gorgeous day, so I enjoyed a walk through our neighborhood.  Here are a few details I captured along the way. 

This cottage warms my small-home-loving heart.

The home above/below has been completely transformed since we moved to town four years ago.  I remember when it looked as if it would soon be condemned.  THe roof had fallen in in places, and the home was in a state of total disprepair.  I’m so glad a loving owner have taken it into her heart.

Since moving to town, I”ve dreamed of restoring this little white cottage.

This darling home was for sale when we bought our cottage, and everytime I walk past it, my heart still hurts a little bit.

The owners of this blue cedar cottagae invited us to tour their yard one night when we were out walking.  The back is a lovely, enchanted garden.

This stately white cottage is BeachBoy’s favorite.

It’s hard to look good when you live next door to a house this cute!

My nextdoor neighbor has a stunning hard.  Here’s a little peek through the fence.

Living just off the square is both charming and convenient.  There were more houses to photograph than I had the battery power for today.  I’m sure I’ll be making another round in a few weeks when the gardens begin to bloom.

Since we moved into our cottage, I’ve poured through countless books, magazines, and websites, looking for the one kitchen that embodies my vision. 

This week, I found it.

May I introduce you to Joan’s kitchen at “For the Love of a House.” 

 

Thank you, Joan, for making my dreams come true!

Southerners.

They say it when someone has had a rough day.

They say it when they’d love to say something rude instead.

They say it when talking about someone who’s just a plain mess.

They say it when they don’t know what else to say.

Down here, they just say it.  And, boy, does it catch on!  I found myself letting a “Well, bless her heart” slip all too soon after my arrival in the South. 

Let’s just say that “Well, bless her heart” was NOT what Beachboy said when he walked into our living room today and found me with a nail gun in my hand. 

Maybe he just doesn’t know that’s what people say down here, bless his heart. 

Nevertheless, he’s going to love it.  AND, I can’t wait to share the finished product.

I have the kitchen on my brain, and I just can’t shake it.  For a few years now, I’ve been dreaming of this range:

I visit it online often.  So, imagine my dismay when I realized today that the ivory version now comes with chrome accents instead of brass. It threw my whole plan for a loop.  To make matters worse, the lovely clock is now an ugly digital version.  Really, what WERE they thinking?

Apparently, the hammered black version still comes with brass accents, but it’s not my first true love.  Nevertheless, I built a little dream board around it tonight.  Someday soon, I hope to have a real kitchen to go with my collection of pictures.

Well, I’m finally taking time to post the painted headboard and the new night stands in our not-so-guest room.  The headboard was a breeze to paint.  Goodbye fake speckled brass, hello coziness!

Committing with the bed color was a no brainer.  The night stands, however, are still in need of paint and hardware.  Badly in need, that is.  However, I just can’t decide which way to go.  I want something neutral enough that it will work when the bedding changes (which is frequent around here), but I also want the surface to be safe for daily use.  (BeachBoy WILL put a coasterless cup on his stand.)I’ve even considered painting the base and leaving the wood finish on the top, for practicality.  But…I’m more inclined to form over function.  ;)  So, I’m stuck.

As you can tell, I also haven't hung the overhead light yet. I won't tell you how long it's been in the box. Ahem.

This room also happens to be the only room in the house which doesn’t have freshly painted walls and trim.  I’ve tackled every other room since we moved in, but because this room has a wall of built in bookshelves, I kept pushing it down on the to do list.  Oh, the hassle! 

Are they in need of a facelift or what?

Soon, the walls will be Nantucket Dune (Sherwain WIlliams).

What to do, what to do….

It’s only February, and already I’m dreaming of this year’s herb garden.  When we moved into our cottage, the very first thing I planted was a small herb garden.  But, over the last few years, I’ve outgrown it.  Between cuttings for the house and for cooking, I need more than it’s producing.  With the food changes we are making this year (more on that later), I know I’m going to need much more space for my garden.  So, I’ve been hunting for inspiration!

I LOVE the baskets in this photo from Dotcomwomen!

 

I dream of a large, lush garden like this one from Eden's Path.

 

I'm a huge fan of garden "rooms," but that's probably not in this year's forecast.

 

I have two large containers like this that I picked up from the paint department last year. Maybe they'll make their way into the herb garden this spring.

 

Herb Garden Passion

 

Herbs make me smile.  Nothing beats the scent they leave around your house or the taste fresh cuttings add to your dishes.  But, equally important to me is how cute the garden is as I sit and enjoy it from the window.  I can’t wait to plan a new marking system for this year’s crop!  It’s a great way to add a touch of whimsy to the space each year. 

 For fun markers for your herb garden, look here, here, and here.

I have a very difficult time walking out of a bookstore without a cookbook.  Just yesterday, I had to leave two at the store, and it nearly broke my heart.  I was without a pen to jot down the names of them, and I was certain I’d never locate them a second time.  But, three new books have found their way into my kitchen in the last week, so I’m all smiles tonight.

I’ve fallen in love with the earthiness of Harvest. Sure, many of the recipes are ones I’d list as “common sense,” but others are a fun combination of flavors.  Besides, for me, the draw of a book is as much the inspiration it creates as it is the actual recipes.  And, this book is full of inspiration.  The photography is gorgeous, and as soon as I opened the cover, I felt at home in this family’s kitchen.  My favorite line of the book is “Give the bird a good whacking.”  How can I resist someone so charming? 

Tonight, I tried out the tomato and brie tart recipe in order to use up some overripe friends in my fridge.  And, I promise you, if you can mash butter with your hands

and slice a few tomatoes, you can cook from this book. 

It’s charming, really.  You should look it up the next time you’re in the bookstore.  For me, it was just the dose of pickmeup I needed to start the new year.

 

Much to my dismay, BeachBoy was very excited, and exclaimed he need the same bumper sticker. 

You see, we have this little problem when we travel…

I’m pretty sure I was left with whiplash due to the quick turn this little stand caused during our recent trip to Alabama.

 

Thanks to Sugar and Spice for the Stylish Blogger Award! What a surprise that was!

Once the award is given, the recipient shares their favorite recently discovered blogs and 7 personal facts…so….here goes!

1. Just this evening, I posted about 1/2 of our furniture on Craigslist. NO KIDDING!

2.I only get my hair cut once a year.  After years of searching, I finally found a stylist skilled at cutting my curly hair, but she’s expensive!  Yeah, I’m cheap.  I tell BeachBoy I cut it infrequently for him.  He likes it long, and I like it short.

3. BeachBoy and I became engaged a month after we started dating, and we married 4 months after that. He was worth keeping, for sure!

4. I recently ordered The Bread Bible and Beard on Bread and plan to learn to make breads that I can someday sell at our local market.

5. At the end of April, BeachBoy and I are running a 10 mile race in Big Sur, and I haven’t started training yet.  OK, to be fair, I probably never will start training.  I’m really in it for the cute cottages.

6. We live life without TV, and I LOVE it!

7.  We’ve gone local! BeachBoy and I have signed up to purchase all of our Spring and Summer produce from local farmers. (More news on that later)

Now, for the interesting part! Here are some of my recent finds.  (I’m slow, so they may not be new to you.)

House and Home Blogs

1. Nesting Place

2. Jones Design Company

3. The Tuckers Take Tennessee

4.  The Inspired Room

5. Converting an 1825 Federal

6. The Impatient Gardener

7. Gus + Lula

Enjoy!

A year or two ago, BeachBoy and I toured Southern Living’s Georgia Idea House.  We were both quite surprised to find that we liked the designer’s subtle use of wallpaper. 

Southern Living

So, fast forward to the call I made to my mother following the trip.

ST: Oh, the house was lovely.  Beachboy wants to use the same blue woven wallpaper in our bedroom some day. It reminded us of our trip to Savannah.

Mom: Are you crazy?! NEVER put wallpaper in your house! You will live to regret it.

 

These, of course, were words of wisdom spoken by the same woman I watched hang and tear down 4 different of patterns of wallpaper in one kitchen during my childhood.  She hated every one of them, ducks, flowers, and all.  And, I must admit, I hated them too.

 

HOWEVER, I do have an interest  in subtler, woven papers.  So, imagine my curiosity when I noticed One Kings Lane’s latest email in my inbox, tempting me with Kenneth James’ wallpaper.  I had to open it.

I then HAD to buy a roll…

or 2.

I’ve been hard at work on a design for the library (which I’ll get around to posting soon), and this paper seemed like the perfect fit.  It actually begged me to buy it.  I heard it.

Now, don’t panic.  I’m not planning to paper the entire room….but I’ll let you in on the paper plan later.  For now, I just need to basque in the excitement of my first purchase for the space.  *sigh*

Due to its age, our house has a choppy layout.  The rooms are separated not with large casings but with narrow doorways, complete with doors that no longer fit closed.  We suspect the master bedroom was once a den, and we know that the library was once a back porch. 

I recently threw some lines on the tax record sketch our county has on file, a poor attempt to help myself find other ways to make our home work more efficiently for us.  Perhaps it will also help you have a sense of what’s what when looking at the photos I post from time to time. 

Will seeing it on paper again suddently solve the many problems we face?  Absolutely not.  However, tonight, I’m arming myself with my sketchpad and the words of Melanie over at Humble Pie. 

“My sister taught me something that has helped me with making this 60s split a beautiful, inviting home for my family. She taught me that you can live in the most meager of houses but if it’s decorated cute then no one will notice.  So I’ve worked to decorate it really cute. :)

I also read on a blog recently (I have no idea where but it stuck with me) about a girl who wanted to simplify her life, pare down her belongings and move. But she found that as she simplified and pared down she didn’t have to move after all. That she could make her house exactly how she wanted.”

Perhaps I should also dig out my copy of The Little Engine that Could. 

Here is a space which inspired me today. I’ve been dreaming of a double desk in the library.

What an exciting weekend it was at our little cottage! 

On Saturday, we met with a contractor in order to obtain estimates for the many to-do’s on our list. For once, it looks as if our dollars will stretch farther than we had anticipated.  What a lovely feeling that is!  As a result, we’re now considering a kitchen remodel. 

I’ve been playing around with Ikea’s wonderful kitchen design program.  We are considering using their cabinets as a starting place for the kitchen and having a few custom sizes made to match, in order to best utilize our space. 

 Here is an overview of one of the plans I’m considering.

Also on the project list?

  • Finishing work in the main bathroom
  • Remodling the petite master bath (I have my eyes set on honed marble.)
  • New walls, floors, and a raised ceiling in the library (bookshelves, too!)
  • Adding a set of interior french doors between the master bedroom and the library
  • Closing off an existing doorway between the master bedroom and kitchen
  • Refinishing all of the hardwood floors

Here are a few inspiration pictures.

AJC- Heinz Properties

Doors between the master bedroom and library

 

Kitchen Sink Cabinetry. I’d also like to mimic this detail on the shelving in the library. I hope to find some old windows to incorportate into the bookcases, as well.

Ikea Fans (brickmanhouse)

Ikea Cabinetry

GardenWeb

Blogspot

Full wall of tile around the kitchen window

Newlyweddiaries

Hutch-styled cabinetry in the kitchen

This weekend, I found a great table on Craigslist.  It’s actually a coffee table, but the size is just right for a kitchen island.  I’ll be taking it off of the low base and putting it on a new one, turning it into an island.  What a steal this will be!

Craigslist Find: This $85 coffee table is about to become my new kitchen island.

Why is it than when you are waist deep in a project, you suddenly start to think perhaps you should just quit?

My sewing machine is finally up and running again, so yesterday I started to actually work on the slipcovers for our living room chairs.  The first one isn’t done yet, but I look at it and think, “How ugly. I should quit.”  And, then I think, “No, I should have done THIS instead.  Then again, do I hate it because it’s in that unfinished ugly-duckling stage, because I’m not in the mood to finish today, because my house is covered in scraps and lint, because I haven’t tidied up the seams yet, or because I could really just use some lunch.  Who knows?

mess in progress

Regardless, I stopped for a break.

Of course, first I tossed some pillows on it to try to convince myself that I only hate it because it’s not finished. 

 

That didn’t work.

 One thing is for certain, though.  I’ve never liked these round chairs, and now I hate their curves even more.

When all else fails: go hang some curtains.

Since I stumbled upon these dish towels at TJ Maxx, I’ve been dying to get started on a sewing project they inspired. 

For now, I’ll keep a lid on what I’m making since it’s a gift, but here’s a preview of what’s happening at my house.

And while we’re talking about stitches, here’s a look at a project I did today.  My sewing travel basket was in need of some personality.  Plus, I grew tired of chasing pieces around the car when they snuck out the bottom of the basket.  Solution: basket liner.

The basket was a cheapie ($3) from Walmart, and  I picked up the fabric from the remnant section (2 dollars for 1 and 3/4 yd). The bow is a stand in until I decide what I really want on the side.  I’m thinking something metal… perhaps some sort of tag…

I’ve been craving cranberry bread for weeks, so when I came across this orange-cranberry cookie from Technicolor Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. 

Let’s just say that it’s pretty foolproof.  For instance, if you are talking on the phone to your husband while cooking, and you happen to…I don’t know…say…leave out the vanilla until the dough is already mixed and add a whole egg instead of a yolk, it will still come out great.  That’s just a wild guess, of course.

Orange-Cranberry Slice and Bake Cookies

 

So, as the holiday nears, if you find your focus wearing thin, try this recipe.  It will cover your mistakes.  I love that the longer they sit, the better they taste.

BeachBoy has the flu, so I have spent the last three days of vacation stuck in the house.  And, everytime I’m stuck in the house, I start sketching ideas for how I’d rather it look.

Today’s victim? The dining room.

For several years, I’ve longed for a dining room with big, cozy seating.  I love the look of a table with a settee or two big wing chairs.

Home and Harmony

 

Taken during KB-Martha Stewart Home tour

 

We’ve never had real dining room furniture.  Our current table was picked up at a flea market.  After months of scraping off layers and layers of sticky white paint, we were left with a decent–yet wobbly–table for four.

BeachBoy helped whenever my frustration set in.

 There is no reason for the chairs other than the fact that, at the time, they were the cheapest thing I could find to get us by.

Our dining room has two, and only two, things going for it.  First, it has two corner built in units.  They aren’t fancy, but they are something.   Second, it has windows on two walls.  The other two walls are completely enclosed, except for two standard sized doors, making the windows very important.

Because of the location of the shelves, I’d like to put a settee under this window. It is also the window you see when entering the room, from the living room/front of the house. 

(Have I mentioned that you must walk through the dining room to get to the kitchen in our cottage?)

Today, I found this one online at a reasonable price.  I also learned that settees are hard to find!

It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it looks very workable. Plus, the low arms will allow it to slide under the table if needed.

Here is one of my inspiration pictures, from the very talented Miss Mustard Seed.

Miss Mustard Seed's Settee

 

The one I found lacks the solid back I was hoping for.  But the ability to cover and wash the pillows should make up for it.  The colors of the settee I found will have to go.  I’m tempted to rub some paint over the wood frame, too. For now, I’ll padd and cover our existing chairs to match the settee’s slip. Oh for new chairs!

As much as I’d like to hang sconces on either side of the window, there is no electical outlet on that wall.  So, I’ll probably go with lanterns. Hopefully, I can find some to match the ones in the living room.

As you can see in the background, the dining room doubles as my sewing space and triples as BeachBoy’s office.  So, a little comfortable seating should go a long way.  Having the set moved to a wall will free up some work space in the room, too.

Tis the season to be asked to “bring a finger food.”  I have a love-hate relationship with these types of parties. I love the concept of sharing in the preparation. I love to cook.  I hate that I stress over it. 

BeachBoy’s favorite carry-to-a-party item is bacon chicken wraps, but I’m not a fan of taking the same thing to every party.  I’ve tried to explain it to him, but he insisted they’re too good not to take. 

Long story short, I actually found myself buying a magazine called, of all things, “Southern Lady.”  Yes, you heard me right.  I was standing in line at THE grocery store of the south (Publix), when I noticed a magazine featuring appetizers.   As I flipped through and saw a few that looked good, I caved and paid the ridiculous price charged by the grocery store. 

This weekend, we have to parties requiring a finger food, so tonight I’m getting everything ready. 

The first recipe I tried was good, cheap, and couldn’t be faster, so I thought I’d pass it along. 

Cranberry Cheese Log with Rosemary and Toasted Walnuts

  • 1 pack softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
  •  2 cups chopped dried cranberries (This came out to be just shy of a 6 oz pack. You could make it even easier and just round up.)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (My bush recently died, so I used dried.  Sorry, I didn’t measure.  I just eyeballed it as usual.)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Mix all bu the nuts.  Chill the mixture.  Form a log and roll in the nuts.

 

This made me wonder:  What if I used fresh cranberries and candied walnuts?  Hmmm….

    (more…)

    Some guests just never leave.

    You know the type.  It’s why you just looked over your shoulder to see if your spouse heard your “Amen!”

    Well, at our house, we have two particularly pesky guests who just refuse to move out of the guest room.  And, I must admit, I like them too much to ask them to leave.

    Yes, we moved into our very own guest room.  When guests come to stay, we move out.  Sure, it sounds crazy, but I can explain.  In our cottage, the master bedroom is composed entirely of interior walls.  Yup, that’s right, it has NO natural light.  It’s a great size with an attached 3/4 bath, but BeachBoy just couldn’t take another day of a windowless room.  So, a few years ago, we moved into the guest room.

    Shortly after we moved into our cottage, my parents drove down (10 hours) to visit.  BeachBoy INSISTED that we buy a bed.  I should note that he and I still don’t have a bed.  Of course, how could I say no to his request to buy a bed specifically for my parents’ first visit?

    Now, when I tell you this next part, I need you to remember one thing: When we bought the bed, we’d been married only a matter of months.

    I let him pick out the bed alone.  I smiled when he picked one I didn’t like. Then, I helped him load it in the car, not mentioning the fact that finding bedding for an olive green bed was going to be nearly impossible.  In fact, finding bedding for an olive green bed in less than a week was going to push me to the brink.

    I cheerfully helped him set it up and spent days visiting every store in our town.  In the end, I bought the ONLY bedding I could find.  It sort of matched. 

    Of course, when my parents came, they promptly reprimanded me for buying a bed/mattress/bedding just for a visit. 

    Since that week, and even since these photos were taken a year ago, the room has evolved. I stitched curtains to hide the poorly designed shelving unit that lines one wall of the room, and we’ve collected, purged, and repeated numerous times in regard to the room’s content.

    When we decided we were nearing time to list the house for sale, I moved the massive guest bed into the still-bedless master bedroom.  Our guest room now houses just a box spring and mattress set.

    Well, let me clarify.  It houses a box spring and mattress set behind which stands a huge piece of leftover MDF that kept falling down when I stored it in other places.  With its odd collection of cast-offs and a Goodwill dresser that I’ve yet to paint, It’s a sorry excuse for a bedroom. 

    So, of course I found myself in the market for a makeover.

    Here is an idea BeachBoy nixed.

    When at first he turns you down, try, try again. 

    When you still don’t succeed, stop asking for input, and just get it done.

    This weekend, I will pick up the following items (ordered through JCPenney):

     As much as I’d like to have a complete “bed,” I decided to be frugal and buy just the headboard.  It’s a horrible brushed brass color, so I’ll be painting it this color:

    (I should stop looking at this picture. It makes me want a footboard.)

    I also purchased to pine (yes, I just said pine) night stands.

    Why? The price was right and the shape is tolerable.  They’ll be painted, as well.  Once everything (bed, night stands, dresser) is painted, BeachBoy will see it as a set, which he likes.  Plus, I’ll know it’s not, which I like.

    So, I’m dreaming up a room. Country Living is always ready with pictures of iron beds.

    Meanwhile, I’m in the market for some cute pulls for the night stands and the dresser.  January will have to include a trip to Scott’s antique market!

    I’ve complained mentioned once or twice many times before that most of our home is currently in storage.  If you visit our storage unit and take everything out, youwill find our Christmas decorations in the very back.  Poor planning? Welll….you see, BeachBoy insisted we’d only be using the unit for the summer.  *Ahem* Summer, fall, winter…maybe he meant until the next summer.  Anyway,all of our Christmas supplies are in storage. 

    So, this year, we decided to make (yes, make) all of our ornaments for the tree. 

    Our inspiration came in the form of a pre-Thanksgiving trip to the lovely Sanibel Island in Florida. 

    Apparently, when BeachBoy is at the beach, he’ll agree to anything, no matter how crazy it is.  So, when I told him I thought we should make all of our ornaments from shells, he pronounced it a great idea and began collecting bags of shells.  It was rather adorable, actually.

    Three bags of shells, some bleach, and several bottles of glitter later, we had a tree.  Guess who did most of the glittering? My sweet Beachboy.  I’d share a picture, but I’ll save his pride as thanks for his hard work.

     

    Now, I must confess something (southernistas, close your ears).  I wanted to use the drop cloths I’ve been bleaching to make rag garland for the tree, but I just didn’t have time.  So, to save BeachBoy from having to make quite so many shells, we put ribbon on the tree.  It’s not my thing, but I’ll survive.  Meanwhile, there is a  drop cloth skirt at the base which does not match the ribbon.  Oh, the social outcast of the south I am!

    You’re right.  I didn’t make the birds.  They were a find from Michaels earlier this week.  Since they were the exact color of one of the glitters BeachBoy used on the shells, I couldn’t walk out without them. (excuses, excuses!)

    In a recent post, sweet, sweet Suzanne of Our Southern Nest shared her tip for gathering free greenery.  I must say, I was skeptical.  You see, Suzanne is a true southern cutie and also quite charming.  You just can’t help but love her. I was convinced the Home Depot guys just couldn’t resist giving her the clippings.  But, as it turns out, they’ll apparently give them to windswept teachers covered in paint, too, or at least the ones at Lowe’s will! 

    So, I went to work.

    I have always had an aversion to fake flowers and greenery, so free Christmas tree clippings make me very happy.  It’s a chance to fill my home with things which would never be there otherwise.

    I’ve been eyeing these baskets at TJMaxx for a while now.  What a lovely excuse the little red clearance sticker makes! I bought two.  Someday maybe they’ll grace a lovely front porch.

    It’s a shame, for this purpose, that the mirrors are kept off-center.  But, an unbalanced garland will have to do for now.  The lovely smell makes up for it quite a bit. 

    Tomorrow, I’m stopping by Home Depot so I can pick up more greens and do the outside of the house.  It’s amazing, really, how excited free greens can make me!

    Ho, ho, ho, ya’ll!

    I’m in the mood for all things cozy and holiday.  Here are a few pictures I enjoyed while browsing Google images last night.

    Southerners' concepts of "snow days" always make me smile.

    This weekend, I enjoyed a relaxing trip to the north Georgia mountains with several other ladies from church.  We were blessed with a dusting of snow flakes on Saturday morning which left me longing for a cozy home and my sewing machine.  So, tonight I saddled up to it and got to work on the slipcovers.

     After much debate and several trips to the fabric store, I settled on canvas drop cloths for the slipcovers.  To achieve the color and texture I desire, I’m bleaching the fabric. I think the fabric will achieve the lived-in, relaxed feeling I’m looking for in our home.  Plus, it reminds me a bit of my grandpa’s old canvas tent.
     
     
    Imagine my delight when I happened upon a sale, snagging packs of 2 for $9.97 each!
     

     

    To maximize my time and energy, IO’m utilizing the hems of the cloth for my slip covers.  Tonight, I started making the pleats.  Two full lengths of the cloth nearly covers the base of one chair.  All in all, I estimate it will take 1.5- 2 dropcloths per chair.  That’s a great price for a “new” chair!

    The current debate: how high off the floor do I want the herm.  Currently, our chairs are open underneath, and it makes the room feel more spacious.  However, I don’t want the skirt to have a high-water look.  I’m torn.

    As we prepare to list the house for sale, BeachBoy and I are considering a remodel of the master bathroom.  A previous owner updated it very poorly.  With it being such a tiny space, it seems important that it shine. I’d like it to be consistent with the bathroom we’re currently working on, yet a step above it in terms of polish. 

    My inspiration is a long-time favorite of mine from Brooke at Velvet and Linen.  The layout is very similar to our own bathroom, and the materials are in line with what I’ve been considering. You can see her gorgeous creation here.

    I love the look of marble wainscoting.  Here are a few more inspiration shots.

    from GardenWeb

    from Decor Pad

    I would like to wrap the room, shower included, with marble subway tile.  The walls above that would be painted white to match the white tile I’d use for the top portion of the shower.  I’d love to use this tile from Mission Stone and Tile.

    Perhaps arabesque seems like an unlikely selection.  My reasoning is twofold.  First, I fell in love with this tile a year or so ago and have been dreaming of using it somewhere. Secondly, when we demolished the main bathroom, we discovered that the original floor tile was arabesque (yellow and white speckled, damaged beyond salvaging). I’d like to pay tribute to that somehow.

    Where I’m torn is the floor.  I think the shower and floor should have the same tile because the space is so small.  However, I’m worried that the small tile necessary for a nonslip shower would make our tiny bathroom appear even smaller.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.

    Last summer, I spent some time planning our soon-to-be library.  I’ve always dreamed of having a home library, nothing big, just a little nook carved out as a cozy place to relish a good book. 

    Then, a roofer stepped through the ceiling, and we got a bit of a reality check.  The budget shifted from shelves to new drywall and flooring for the room. 

    Then, we got another surprise.  Someone started smuggling lawn equipment out of our (doorless) out building. 

    Brace yourself. This…well, this is my dream-in-waiting today:

    The closest thing  to a book in my now future library turned garden shed is a set of directions that came with our new vessel sink.

    Ah, but someday…

    Someday there will be room to read, a cozy chair, a writing desk.  Someday there will be a wall of books, standing ready.  And, until then, I will continue planning the dream.

    (Coastal Living)

    While browsing Ballard Designs a few weeks ago, their new shoe storage units caught my eye.  I have officially found the design inspiration for the book cases in the library!  How fabulous!

    (BeachBoy called it a “shoe shrine” when I shared the picture with him.  But, I know he would be secretly thrilled if our shoes were organized in something so lovely.  I don’t have to wonder.  I know.  I know because our house was built in 1940 and is nearly closetless. As for our books, well, a shelf is a shelf to him.)

    Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ve been working on.  As you can see, we have a long way to go!

    Wait! That’s doesn’t look like WORK! 

    You know how they always say, “slow and steady wins the race?”  Well, let’s be honest.  Many of us are slow and unsteady.  Above are two such turtles. Let’s just say that our breaks and our work sessions are somewhat unbalanced.  Sure, we could’ve finished the bathroom over my fall break, but the beach was much more fun!

    (I should dig up a before picture.  Perhaps then my excitement over an unfinished bathroom would make sense.)

    The window box sat in my living room for quite some time before I convinced BeachBoy to help me hang it, along with the shutters I painted over the summer.  (Note how late at night we finished the project….as I said before, we are SLOW….to start, that is.)

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