Thursday, February 5, 2015

dining room decorating



I’ve been meaning to post about our updates to the dining room, and finally got around to getting the pictures off the camera card.

We stripped the wallpaper in here (you can see it in my last post,) and painted the upper third of the walls Amazing Gray by Sherwin Williams, leaving the bottom Tavern Taupe. Now the dining room walls are painted the same colors as the kitchen.  That wallpaper had been up for about 10 years, and it was time for a change. Plus, we stripped the popcorn texture off the ceiling in here, which required spraying it with water, and I didn’t think the wallpaper would survive that anyway. So now, we have nice smooth ceilings and some updated colors in here. I love it!




This ceiling had to have a little repair due to an overfilled sink upstairs in one Little Girl’s bathroom. But a little primer worked wonders.  I know this sounds like an ad for Sherwin Williams, but their ceiling primer is really good stuff.

You might notice we’re missing a chair, and that I haven’t put a rug down yet. The chair is upstairs being used during guitar practice, and I’m not sure what type of rug I’m going to get. It’s really practical not having one, as it’s much easier to get the chairs in and out, but I do think it feels a little bare without it.




I was happy that we were able to keep the same curtains. I got these balloon curtains from Country Curtains several years ago, and they fit right in with the other colors in here. I was concerned that they wouldn’t work with the new paint color, but I like how it turned out.




Are you pro-antler, opposed, or antler-neutral? I like them. I’ve read comments for and against on blogs, and in here I went with a happy medium and chose antlers from Joss and Main that were obviously fake, along with the deer mount from Kirkland's that can’t be found anywhere in nature.  Little Girl is creeped out by taxidermy, and even she is ok with these.




This was a shoe-string budget makeover, so I stole pieces from other rooms to use in here.  The table was already in here as my desk, we were storing the chairs in the basement, and we moved the buffet and lamps in from the living room. The light fixture was existing. Husband wants to replace it, and we might go that route at some point. We bought the paint, the antlers, and the deer head was my Christmas present, so overall it was a very affordable fix.  I can’t wait to get some folks around this table and put it all to good use!

Friday, September 19, 2014

the state of this union



homeland security

This is a live-action shot of what my table/desk looks like right now. The sunlight is pouring in, and I’m in my happy place, cords, and rolled up rugs, messy desk and all.  If my window was clean, I’d show you my view out of it, but right now, it’s not, and you’d be hard pressed to see what I see.

I’ve been cleaning a few windows lately, but I haven’t made it to these yet. I’ve managed to somehow turn my year on its head this year- I’m spring cleaning in the fall, so you might as well get a state of the union address in September. Yesterday I vacuumed the walls, trim, and baseboard in my bedroom and closets. And today, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, so I’m taking a little break. 

The blog got a little shining, too, did you notice? I decided I wanted a little less jazz hands and top hat action with my blog title. The big pink “ME” was starting to bug me, so I dialed it back.

I never gave 40 much thought before I turned it. But it lives up to the hype, in good and bad ways. In my thirties, I could put in a day of manual labor without feeling like road kill. And in my 40th year, I don’t need to feel the need to scream “Hey, look at me! Notice me! Affirm me!,” with my blog or otherwise. It’s a trade-off I’ll gladly take.

foreign affairs

We got a letter and a new picture from Amos this week. He sent us a picture of the things he bought with his birthday money.  I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say it wasn’t an xbox or even new shoes. Think livestock and food.  And the happiness on his face in the picture was palpable. This was a real teachable moment for us.  If you don’t sponsor a Compassion child, please think about it. His letters bring more joy to our house than you could imagine.





Who is this young lady, and where did my Little Girl go? Fifth Grade. Loves language arts, social studies, and science, hates math. (Her mama hated math, too. And then she minored in it in college. There’s still hope.) Musical, joyful, and funny. I’ll keep her.


budget, employment, and the department of the interior


Due to slight under-employment on my part, (still PRN but working regularly and happy about it) the budget for updating our interiors is reduced. But that didn’t stop me entirely from doing some Fall decorating. Those pumpkins? We grew ‘em!  We didn’t exactly mean to, but we did. After we discarded old pumpkins from years past into a small sinkhole on our property, these took root! There were 15 perfect small pumpkins in all, I think.


I finally got a start on the gallery wall up the stairs. This is how it still looks, a couple weeks after we hung things.  I’m going to call it a modern art installment until I get pictures in the frames. It’s my statement on empty materialism.

in summary,



The state of our union is strong. We had a chance to catch up with some family for a fun lunch and laughs recently, and they sent us this picture, which looks very much like us, I think. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, June 30, 2014

A little time by the sea


We just got back from a really relaxing week in Hilton Head, SC.  There’s something about travel that clears my head. I don’t know if it’s just that it gets me out of the rut my mind wears in while I’m looking at the same surroundings for too long, or the change in the air, but even before we get where we’re going, I feel my mental gears loosening.


(That went right back in the water.)

Not a bad view from our condo.


I devoured a couple books while we were there. This one, which I liked, and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, which I loved. The premise for What Alice Forgot really spoke to me, I guess because the main character was turning 40 like I just did, but due to an accident, she couldn’t remember the last 10 years of her life.  It was a funny book and an easy read, but it really made me think about the choices I’ve made over the last decade, too.

Oh and btw, if you have a chance to pick up one of these beach chairs, I highly recommend it. They’re made by Nautica, we found ours at Sams, and they’re great. They’re light but sturdy, fold flat, and have a carrying strap, a cup holder, and a waterproof zipper pouch.


Many holes seem to be dug on our beach trips, but I’m not exactly sure what they’re for.  When they start appearing in our back yard, I’ll worry about it.

I took my big camera out one evening, but just as I got to the water, the sun went behind a storm cloud, and all my pictures turned out dark, even with exposure compensation. Boo. I have yet to figure out how to make the best use of my big camera at the beach. There’s the issue with it fogging over when it moves from inside the cool condo to outside where it’s hot, which requires some planning ahead, and also it’s not exactly beach-friendly.  Most of these were taken with my iPhone, except for the first pic and the last one. One more tip for the day: generic snack-sized sandwich bags work as iPhone protection. We’ve done that on a few trips now, and they’ve held up well and kept the sand and water out of our phones.



I’m sad to leave that view, but it’s good to be home.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It takes Courage. It takes Brains. It takes Heart. (And coffee. Lots.)


Little Girl’s birthday was a few weeks back, and this was the year she broke into double digits. She wanted to have a few friends over for a sleepover party, and it took me a little while to decide just how much fuss to make over the party. Knowing that she’s a “tween,” I didn’t want to be too over the top, but I did want to make sure she and her friends had a good time, and that they weren’t bored.

Inspiration struck when I saw an advertisement from our local Barter Theatre - they were going to open a production of the Wizard of Oz close to her birthday. Our town has really joined in on the fun, and several of our restaurants and stores have Oz themed specials this summer. Opening day was going to be a few days after her party, so tickets there were out, but there was also a movie on at the movies that was Oz themed, too, so I though we might get tickets to that. Little Girl (Can I still call her that? I’m going with it.) nixed that idea, as the movie looked “way too young” for them. Turns out she was probably right. But she was still on board with the idea, so we got creative.


I thought if I was going to pull this off, and not in a way that made her friends roll their eyes at her out of touch old Mom, I was going to have to take it easy on the theme. So I found some sparkly paper at Hobby Lobby and made signs for a few stations around the house. This one was by the front door.


I found the Witch’s legs at Amazon.  We lined the driveway fence with yellow balloons for our yellow brick road, instead of painting anything yellow.

I wanted to let the girls be free to play as they liked as much as possible, but still have a loose schedule so they stayed entertained. Our first “activity” was to eat. Because we like to eat, and it was dinner time. I took Little Girl’s American Girl balloon that she got for Christmas, and used that as the table decoration.


A few goodies for the table (blow horns were a big hit but are not a good idea for your sanity)



And a close-up of the sign


A couple of pizzas, some chips and dip, a veggie tray, and some ice cream cake, some present opening, and we were all set. 

I had thought that the girls might want to shoot Little Girl’s bow and arrow- with supervision, of course- so we borrowed a couple of bales of straw from our neighbor, and I pulled this guy out of storage from my fall decorations, and gave him his own sign. Where would Dorothy be without a scarecrow, right?


The fine print reads “Because Brains Are Overrated. (No Refunds.)”

But the girls got busy playing and we just let the archery slide, which was better for my blood pressure anyway. I had this sign hanging on Little Girl’s bedroom door, and I think they really did have pillow fights, which may have been the thing she was most excited about in the planning stages.


When it started to get dark, it was time to get to the scavenger hunt. This bag had a few small flashlights, and the first clue. Husband and I printed off clues on cardstock, and hid them around the house outside. The girls were quick to guess where to go next, so the hunt only lasted a few minutes, but they loved it. 


They were hunting the Wicked Witch’s broom, so the last clue led them to where the broom was hiding, next to the fire pit, where we had our Wicked Witch (Marshmallow) roast- aka s’mores. Then inside to watch Return to Oz, that we streamed from Amazon.

After that, they moved on to Little Girl’s room for the night, and the real business of sleepovers, talking and playing, and we collapsed on the couch.  I’m not really sure what time they went to sleep. I think I fainted immediately after they closed the door.

The next morning, they had breakfast, painted for a little while on canvas, and took home a goody bag, that had Smarties for the Scarecrow’s brains, a bracelet Little Girl made for them out of red stones and a heart pendant for the Tin Man’s heart, Some China Glaze nail polish called C-C-Courage, because the Cowardly Lion obviously needs courage and a good manicure, some red ruby slipper socks I found on Amazon, too, (I love Prime, can you tell?), a Lollipop pen, a little Glenda wand, and a picture from the night I printed out on cardstock really quickly before they left.  I didn’t get a good shot of the bag, which I decorated with stickers I found at Hobby Lobby, and it said “There’s No Place Like Home.”

I think I had as much fun as the girls. You’re breaking my heart, not-so-Little Girl, but it sure is fun watching you grow!