Category Archives: Home Decor

Updated House Tour

I’ve had several people recently asking where they could see more pics of our home. I’ve always redirected them to the “House Tour” tab at the top of the page. But the thing is, that tab had not been updated in…ages.

Well, I finally sat down last week and took a few minutes to add the rest (more or less) of the room reveals that I’ve done here on the blog.

So, if you’ve just been dying to take a gander at all of the spaces (both the way they were decorated originally and in their updated states), then be sure to click on the House Tour tab at the top of the page. Here’s a peek at what you’ll see.

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Color! Pattern! Accessories! What can I say? Neutral is not my middle name. :)

P.S. I know that the last two days have been blog posts of the announcement variety, but I’ve got something super-fun for you tomorrow, so don’t give up on me yet!

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Della’s Big Girl Room {Questions Answered}

I had quite a few repeat questions from Della’s Big Girl Room Reveal, (yes, I’m slow to answer. Sorry! There were all the kids tugging on me that wanted food and stuff).

So, I thought I would answer them all here, in case some of you folks that didn’t speak up were still hankering to know the answers too.
1. Where is that light from??! (Far and away the most common question).

light
I got it at a Pottery Barn outlet ages ago, before I even had a room to use it in. I paid–get this–$30. (It’s currently selling on the Pottery Barn site for–get this–$199. ON SALE). How did I pull that one off? Read this post to find out.
2. How did you make the framed butterfly art?

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I’ve never done an official tutorial on this one, but it really doesn’t need one. Basically, I used a butterfly-shaped craft punch (use a 50% coupon at Michael’s, and you can get even the big ones for something like $10…I’ve used mine for multiple projects like this butterfly mobile in Della’s old room and the twins’ butterfly wall) on various sheets of cute scrapbook paper until I had a pretty good pile. I bent the wings of each butterfly slightly so that it would have a bit of dimension, then hot-glued them in rows against a piece of white card stock. I was inserting them into old Goodwill frames with existing matting, and I added a layer of textured white wallpaper to the matting to make it stand out a little more. That step is completely optional, though. After I replaced the matting (I secured it to the card stock backing with a bit of tape), I popped my new easy “art” back in the frames and called it done!

3. How in the world do you keep her bedspread and chair so white?

Honestly, I don’t do anything special, although the ruffly “bedspread” is rarely actually on her bed, since it’s a bit slippery and tends to slide off. So, that stays out of harm’s way (i.e. sticky fingers and markers) most of the time. As for the chair…well, thanks to a painting snafu a few years back, it actually has a haze of oil-based coral paint on parts of it. It’s not super-noticeable unless you look closely, but it’s definitely not in as pristine of condition as it apparently appears in the pictures.

4. About that bedspread, how did you make it again?

I totally didn’t “make” anything about the bedspread. I had plans of actually sewing the ruffles onto the quilt, but laziness/busyness got the better of me, which means it really, truly is just a shower curtain laid over top of a white quilt. Works for me!

5. What is this ginormous bed you speak of?

I realize it was probably hard to picture a bed big enough for all three little girls that makes sense in a room this small. Shaun was planning to make a custom bed for the space, but then we found this twin over full bunk bed with a trundle.

It was a pretty big splurge, but considering that it’s essentially 3 beds in one, works really well in the space, has great reviews (which, hopefully, means that it will last a long time), was at least $1,000 cheaper than any comparable name-brand options, and saves my husband a lot of work (not to mention the fact that the materials for making/painting the bed we had in mind weren’t exactly going to be cheap), and had FREE shipping, we decided to bite the bullet and invest in something all of the girls could use for a long time. (We also got it for about $100 cheaper than the listed price, thanks to some discounts, so that was nice).

6. WHERE are all the toys/little girl clutter?

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First up, I have to emphasize that Della’s room is never super-tidy when I haven’t just pulled a full-on Mary Poppins on it. Still, the truth is that she doesn’t have tons of toys in her room. We have two bins full of random toys downstairs in the living room and tons of toy storage in our “big room”/schoolroom upstairs, so my kids’ rooms are (somewhat) toy-free (not that you would guess that from the Lego graveyard that usually litters the boys’ floor). She does have a dress-up basket in her closet and a bin full of stuffed animals in her room (not to mention the constant collection of random bits and bobs that end up stuffed in the top part of the secretary desk that holds her non-hanging clothes).

7. How in the world did you have time to do all of this?

Honestly, considering that I pointed out that it took me almost 3 years to get this room finished, I’m surprised that anyone was still wondering this. Because the short answer is that I get it done, one project at a time, veeeeeerrrrry slooooooowly.

But then again, on the day that I finally got everything finished up, I spray-painted four different things, hung multiple pieces of art (with Shaun’s help…AKA, he did almost all of it), rearranged, cleaned, fluffed, and shot pictures. And all of that within the space of about 4 hours.

How did I manage it? Well, my kids were all at my mom’s, so I wasn’t trying to do 41 different things at once. I was a little amazed at how much I could accomplish without constant distractions. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t trade my sweet little “distractions” for an infinite number of finished rooms. But having that dedicated time definitely made a difference in my productivity levels.

So, if you’re feeling like you should be doing “room reveals” or finishing things up more often with kids around, please be assured that I don’t. Not really. I plug along getting some things done, but without that dedicated kid-free time, I don’t know if you would have ever seen Della’s room.

And that’s the straight-up truth, folks.

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I think that mostly answers the big questions. Feel free to add to the list if you have any more, though. Oh, and thanks for the encouragement to keep her chair! I’m going to try to find a place for it (that bed really does kind of swallow the room whole, though).

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A little house sprucing…

So, I realize that I’m supposed to be showing you pictures of my house all decorated for Christmas.

Thing is, it’s not there yet. And, depending on when Baby #6 comes (a 38 week update is coming soon), it may never get there.

We did put up the tree on Sunday, and it was, as I described it on Instagram, “chaotically awesome.” (See: broken ornaments courtesy of a certain twin twosome).

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But as far as any other Christmassy touches, we’re not there yet.

I did, however, trade out a few of my accessories  a while back for some slightly more seasonally appropriate options, along with a bit more fluffing, and thought I’d show you the updates, since a) they happened and b) I took pictures of them. (Both of which pretty much scream blog post in my world).

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This is what you’d see looking from the kitchen into our living room. I love the openness of it so that I can still be at least a small part of the epic tickle fights that happen on that (increasingly stained) rug while I’m in the kitchen making dinner.  living room1

I wasn’t interested in buying much of anything new for fall, but I did score that fun, multicolored throw and that mustard dip-dyed pillow at Ross for $25 (for both!). living room2

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Another new score (though hardly “seasonal”) is that HELLO sign from Tarjay. It started out a blah cardboard brown, and I spruced it up a little with some white spray paint and gold shimmer polka dots.  living room5

Another quick (and CHEAP) project was this little Dollar Store pumpkin, which got a similar makeover with white spray paint, gold craft paint, and our family monogram.living room6 living room7

I also decluttered my shelves a bit and am loving how much more streamlined everything looks.

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I’ve had the same accessories above the TV for at least a year, so I shopped around the house and ended up putting together a surprisingly neutral-for-me collection of mostly black/white knickknacks.

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Most everything you see is old, but I did get that wooden ampersand for something like $2 from Hobby Lobby recently and just decoupaged a layer of patterned craft paper from Target on top to make it a little more interesting.

Oh, and my favorite part?

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That painted acorn garland that I made after a Friday afternoon crafting session with the kids (otherwise known as smearing paint all over acorns while listening to Christmas music).

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Ezra, my oldest, kept saying, “Mama! They look like little Christmas lights!” I think he’s onto something.acorn garland

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I also (rather sloppily) wrapped a clearance Hobby Lobby fabric score around my bench cushion to give it a bit of an update.

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Oh! And I can’t tell you how much happier I am with the toys in our living room after I bought those pretty $15 bins from Marshall’s about a year ago. There’s absolutely nothing organized about their contents, but it sure does make the evening pickup process so much easier. Just grab, dump, shove ‘em under the bench, and–voila!–we can all pretend that the floor stays this clutter-free all the time.

A look towards our front door from the living room gives you this view.

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This is one of my favorite little nooks to fiddle with. I never really plan it out. I just grab what’s leftover from something else that I’ve moved and fuss with it until I’m happy.

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Back in the living room, if you turn around toward the kitchen, this is what you’ll see.

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I painted that “Give Thanks” canvas a year ago (and blogged about it). Oh, and I made that sweet kid you see getting snacks ready for his sisters about 8 1/2 years ago. The painting’s only so-so, but him? Yeah, he’s pretty great.    living room15

Y’ALL. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love the flow from our living room into the our made-over kitchen now that the wall colors are the same, and the kitchen shares the same pops of black motif going on in the living room. It’s like a mental sigh of relief every time I step back and take it in.

So, do you feel sufficiently bombarded with pictures of my house? I may or may not do it again when/if we get some Christmas touches up. But no promises. In fact, let’s just assume it won’t happen. And then we can all be pleasantly surprised if I pull it off, m’kay?

Have you guys put up your tree yet? And what about fake vs. real? I love the idea of real (not to mention the heavenly SMELL!), but I’ll be honest–I love the convenience of fake so much more these days. It’s up in 5 minutes. The lights are already on. And there’s no shedding!

What about decorating for Christmas? Do you go all out? Throw up a wreath and call it good? I’m happy with little touches here and there, but this year, I think I’m most excited about the (tiiiiiiiiny) trees I got for my kids last year, but only because they are. Hopefully, we’ll get them decorated this weekend.

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Meet Jo-Jo, the Unexpected Buffet

I mentioned last week in my solo Dallas trip recap that I’d been on the lookout for specific house items (which I didn’t find) but found something I really hadn’t been looking for and couldn’t be happier. And I promised to show it to you in full this week. Welp. I just barely squeaked in under my own self-imposed deadline, but I did it!

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Meet Jo-Jo (yes, in honor of Joanna Gaines from yesterday’s post…I’m sure she would be honored. Or she might take out a restraining order. You know, whichever).

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I happened upon Jo-Jo when I did an impulsive Craigslist search for “buffet” in the Dallas area while lying in my friend, Lisa’s, super-comfy guestbed. I already had buffet, which I loved and had scored an incredible deal on (you can see it here), but it just wasn’t quite meshing with my style anymore, so I had decided to sell it–oh–a whopping two days before.

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I didn’t expect to find a replacement quickly, and I did expect anything I found in my price range to be a major project. But all that changed as soon as this beauty popped up. It just so happened to be in the same area I was heading in the morning, and I just so happened to be able to talk them down $50 from their original asking price.

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Done and done!

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Of course, there was that moment of feeling like a complete moron when I texted, “I’m here, but I don’t see the place,” only to realize that I had selected World Market instead of my actual destination from “recently found addresses.” Fortunately, the actual meeting place was close by, but trying to explain to a complete stranger that you aren’t actually “here” because you’re at World Market instead is a little awkward.

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But scoring a gorgeous, completely done (no project for me, what?!) piece that was even more perfect for the space (did you see the rug I already had?) than I had dared to dream, complete with Anthro knobs? (Cuz you know I love me some great knobs). Totally worth looking like a total spaz to someone I will never see again.

Also, can we talk about finding pine cones in your driveway on your way back from taking pictures of your offspring holding a giant six and actually having the presence of mind to bring them inside and then remember to decorate with them before said offspring find them and scatter them all over the house?? I tell you what, if you were less than impressed with my GPS skills, you should be totally in awe of my decorating-from-nature skills right now.

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Oh, and in case you were wondering about sources (not that most of these will be very helpful since most are old or were on major clearance to begin with).

Table runner: Target (clearance, a few months ago)

Lamps: Goodwill

Chalkboard: Barn Sale

Number 6: Marshall’s

White bowl: Anthro (major clearance from several months back)

“Home” print: Urban Outfitters (sold out)

Rug: Urban Outifitters (It’s already a great price for an 8X10 rug, and I got mine for 20% off, so you might watch for a sale; just be aware it’s pretty thin and will need a rug pad underneath)

Pine Cones: my driveway (if you live in E. Texas, you’ll have NO trouble rustling up some of your own)

Ever just “stumbled” on an unexpected treasure when you were least expecting it? This seems to be my “m.o.” as I rarely find exactly what I’m looking for if I have it on a list.

Any suggestions for cheap rug pad sources? I haven’t looked too hard yet, but I’m fast discovering that they can cost practically as much as a rug.

Are you bad at GPS too? I’m even fairly incompetent when it comes to typing in the address on the little screen. My husband can do it in a snap, but heaven forbid that type something in wrong because I can’t get the darn backspace button to work for the life of me!

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Must Watch: HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”

I’ve talked about shows/movies that I like here on the blog before, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone so far as to devote an entire post to promoting a specific show.

Well, that’s about to change because Shaun and I discovered HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” on our Lake Livingston vacation and proceeded to inhale the rest of the series in a few short weeks after we got home.

Now, we don’t have HGTV. We don’t really have much of anything (just a couple of fuzzy network channels), and what we have, we don’t watch. However, we are big fans of Amazon’s Unbox for the few shows we find ourselves drawn to, and the entire first season of Fixer Upper (there’s only one, but they’re already filming a second) was only $10 to buy and then stream.

So…what is it?

Well, it’s essentially a home makeover show, which sounds pretty blah and unoriginal, but the premise is made fresh and engaging by the charm and talent of the family it centers around.

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Meet Chip and Joanna (he affectionately calls her Jo-Jo) Gaines, the Waco-based owners of Magnolia Homes. They’ve been married about 11 years and have 4 kids, 9 and under. And in their family interactions lies the show’s biggest draw.

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It doesn’t hurt that they’re all ridiculously cute. But the real surprise is how much they all seem to genuinely like each other. Sure, it’s an HGTV show, so there are aspects of it that are obviously scripted, but watching one of their children hurry to help another tamp down the dirt around a newly inserted plant in their farmhouse garden or seeing one brother unselfconsciously drape an arm around the other’s shoulders in the background of a shot that has nothing to do with them…It’s hard to fake that. Their kids are polite, well-mannered, and exude a sweetness and innocence that is rare and beautiful to behold, and while I have no doubt that they do their fair share of squabbling, it’s clear that the family is invested in each others’ well-beings. As Joanna points out in one episode, they make it a point to gather around a table for dinner every night, no matter how hectic their schedules get (and, with a new hit show, a realty business, a brick and mortar + online decor store, and a blog, it’s hard to imagine a family with more going on). Now, that may mean gulping down pizza around a coffee table while Joanna hustles to style the last minute details of a house before the big reveal the next day, but it’s a priority nonetheless.

joanna + kids

A lot of all the family togetherness and sweetness can be traced to the Gaines’s Christian faith (you can see a glimpse of Joanna here in their adorable country farmhouse, decorated with all things meaningful to their family, including chalkboard scripture verses). They make no effort to hide their love for the Lord, but it’s woven naturally throughout the show rather than showcased or clunkily hammed-up.

In addition to the family dynamic, it’s just fun to watch Chip and Joanna be Chip and Joanna. He’s a lovable, self-deprecating goofball, while she’s admittedly more high-strung but still manages to maintain an admirable level of dry wit in the face of his antics. Their comfortable, flirtatious camaraderie works really well in a show that’s technically about beams and French doors but really wouldn’t be anything so very special without their chemistry.

Of course, I haven’t even gotten to the main business of Fixer Upper, which is the fixer uppers themselves.

The basic premise of the show is that Chip and Joanna show a couple three prospective homes at varying levels of disrepair in desirable neighborhoods in the couples’ price range, and then they choose which one they want to buy and to what extent they want to renovate it.

Not too surprisingly, given the show’s tagline of “we take the worst houses in the best neighborhoods and transform them…” it’s almost always the saddest, most neglected option (with the biggest budget margin for renovations) that the couples choose. Again, there are aspects of the show that are highly formulaic (like the inevitable call for more money when they run into an “unexpected” foundation problem or whatnot), and I honestly think the show would be much smarter to do away with those, and just let it flow.

Even so, the proceedings, if predictable (especially when you’re watching it at a rate of 1-2 episodes a night, several nights in a row) are still highly enjoyable, and the big reveal at the end (after all the fun banter and progress footage in between) is always gasp-worthy.

I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but I did want to share a few of the before and afters as well as a peek at my favorite rooms from this season’s episodes.

First up, check out this amazing transformation:

harp collageThe Gaines’s custom furniture-maker, Clint Harp, and his family were featured on an episode and ended up buying the house on the left for only $10,000 and then getting the house on the right (yes, the same one, but it sure doesn’t look like it) for approximately $115,000 when all the renovations were done.

Which is another thing I love about the show. Since, it’s based in Waco, where realty is crazy-cheap, the all-in prices are really reasonable and make some of these feats seem actually possible to pull off.

Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone like Joanna Gains to decorate for you.

harp house living room

Other than the staggering exterior before + afters, the best part about the houses is by far Joanna’s styling prowess.

There are recurring themes: white kitchen cabinets + furniture-style islands, chippy farmhouse tables, huge Roman numeral clocks, French doors, exposed beams, an open floor plan flow, and lots of unusual wall decor (she hangs everything from wooden chairs to metal washboards to antique bikes).

And if your style is ultra-modern or minimalist, you probably won’t appreciate her work as much as I do. But for a lover of vintage with a funky and traditional twist, her designs are a feast for the eyes.

Another extreme change was this French Country makeover…

french collage

I was honestly skeptical of their ability to take a traditional red-brick ranch-style home and transform it into the French country style that the owners were looking for, but they totally did it.

And, in perhaps my favorite exterior transformation of all, the Gaines took what the buyers fearfully referred to as “the haunted house” and turned it into something classic and beautiful and still totally fresh.

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Want a few more interior shots? Okey dokey.

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Love everything in here from the colorful rug to that World Market table + stool combo (I’ve seen it in person, and it’s super cute) to that amazing coffee bar (and I don’t even drink coffee!)

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The bench. The miniature farm table. The hanging washboards used as magnet boards for pictures. The toolbox-turned-Crayon-holder. It’s all great!

craft room Gorman- yum

As I mentioned before (and as you’re probably seeing), there are lots of repeated elements in Joanna’s decorating style, but one of my favorites is her use of old neon letters that have been stripped of their lights and then hung on the wall. The “yum” above is just one example of many.outdoor space

Believe it or not, this is actually an indoor space, which at one point was a creepy atrium (the buyers joked about all the snakes that were probably hiding in it) that Joanna transformed into super-chic herb garden. play room

There aren’t very many kid spaces, but this one with the windmill + locker storage + b/w map is really fun.

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And I’m totally in love with that chandelier, which can be bought from Joanna’s online store.

I know it probably sounds like HGTV called me up to plug this show, but I promise they didn’t. I just so rarely run across something that showcases such impressive talent combined with such consistent likeability, all while being positive and drama-free. So, yeah. I just had to share. If you’re looking for something fun, uplifting, and–let’s face it–pretty darn inspiring to watch, I highly recommend Fixer Upper. In case you can’t already tell. :)

Do you watch Fixer Upper? I don’t use the word “girl crush” often, but I think I might have one on Joanna. That girl has mad skillz!

Any good, clean shows to recommend? I’m always open for suggestions!

{All images are from magnoliahomes.net}

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New Kitchen Lights (and a quandary)

I mentioned last week in my lighting roundup post that you guys might be surprised by the pendants that I chose for our kitchen island.

I said that because, after all of my openly professed love of color, it only seemed natural that I would go for one of the loud options. But the thing is, even though I do prefer vibrant looks to neutrals (at least for my own home; get me in a neutral-lover’s house done well, and I always adore the layers of texture and calming colors), and I have been known to layer color upon color,  I don’t like to take it too far.

And I knew that, for our kitchen, as much as we’ve already got going on, I wanted something that would provide a bit of sparkle and contrast over something too attention-drawing.

Which is why, after a ridiculous amount of deliberation and many consultations with Shaun that went something like: Me – “What do you think of this one.” Shaun – (cocks head and squints) “It’s ooookay, I guess”…I finally showed him this picture…

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…and his answer was an immediate, “THAT. I like that.”

Which is awesome, since I’d already been leaning toward one of these designs.

We liked the look of the three grouped together so much that we bought one of each.

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I’m super excited about the wow factor they’re going to bring to the kitchen. We’re going to try them with old-fashioned Edison bulbs for a bit of added funk (hopefully, since there are three, and we also have recessed lighting, it won’t be too dim).

The best part is that three of these cost what just two (or, in some far out just dreaming scenario, one) of some of the others I liked cost. They are $69, $79, and $89 respectively (from left to right) from Grandin Road, and they are BIG. So you get some serious bang for your buck.

Other than the fun, curvy shapes, the thing that sold me was the unique white-washed wood caps.

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Other than color, my other decorating love is mixing textures. Like wood and glass. Or shiny gold against rough burlap. It just adds so much interest, no?

There’s just one teensy, tinsy little problem. Can you see it?

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Yeah, I couldn’t at first either. But Shaun immediately spotted that little dark spot at the bottom of the plain dome.

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Grrrrrr!

Y’all. I can look and look (for weeks–heck–MONTHS), patiently biding my time until I find just the perfect something for my house at the perfect price. But once it’s here, that’s it. I’m done. I have zero interest in sending it back and then waiting for them to process the return, make the exchange, and send me a new one. I want that baby HUNG!

So, tell me. What would you do? Yes, it’s a very small imperfection (I would say that in person it is both less and more noticeable depending on the angle). But it’s a light I paid for that’s not perfect, and I am perfectly capable of getting a good replacement (assuming it doesn’t arrive damaged again, I guess). On the other hand, it’s so very small that maybe no one would ever notice.

Hm. It’s hardly one of life’s most important or pressing questions, but I’d still love to get your feedback on what you think I should do.

 

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A Pendant for Your Thoughts…

I mentioned a while back when we were talking kitchen that one thing on my to-do list was to find the right lighting for over our kitchen island. Well, life (read: summer and traveling) has gotten in the way of that little job (no complaints here), but I finally got around to doing some hunting.

And this is what I discovered: one could easily spend the rest of one’s life looking at pendant lighting options and never exhaust all of them.

Seriously, people. It’s a dangerous, suck-you-in kind of search. But one that ended in victory! (I hope. I haven’t actually received the ones I ordered yet). And so, I thought I’d share some of my findings with you, just in case you too are in the market for some new lighting and don’t want to get sucked into the vortex of oblivion that is finding the just.the.right.one.for.just.the.right.price.

Oh, and just so you know, since I don’t do expensive (although, holy wow, pretty lighting gets up there fast), there are only 3 options $200 and over (most are $40-150), and all of these are substantially-sized. No mini-pendants here.

First up, let’s take a gander at the light and bright variety.

light and bright

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I think all of these would look ah-mazing in a neutral kitchen and add a ton of personality without being too LOOK-AT-ME. (That Ikea pendant at the bottom right, for example, has subtle details like a brass collar and black/white patterned cording).

Next up, we have the exact opposite end of the spectrum with a group of lights whose entire purpose in life is to draw attention to themselves. (Oh, and maybe help light up a room too).

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We came thisclose to buying an Addie Pendant (bottom left) from Ballard Designs (they’re on sale today and tomorrow for 15% off, which doesn’t happen that often), but once I’d read all the reviews and realized that the colors were considerably more saturated than they appear in the photos, we passed (anybody else shocked that I passed on something because it was too colorful? :) ).

And last up, we have the grungiest of the bunch—the industrial gang.

 

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I absolutely love that funky gold caged one on the top left (which is why I included it even though it’s one of the most expensive). But, in general, I find the strong lines, scuffed metal, and intricate details of the industrial look really appealing. I think any of these would look just as awesome in a pristine white traditional kitchen as a funky, eclectic one.

So, which one(s) do you think we chose for our kitchen? Hint:  you might be surprised.

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A Hallway Update. Plus, what color should I paint Annabelle?

It occurred to me a little while ago that I had never shown you our updated entry hallway. We definitely talked it out when it comes to what you see when you walk into the entryway. But as far as you guys know, this is still what it looks like when you turn and look down our hallway.

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As much as I love all the warm colors going on in there, it was all just a bit too crowded and dark, so when I found a small piano perfectly sized for the space for a steal on Craigslist, I booted the buffet to another room, scooted the piano in, and here is what we have at the moment.

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So, what changed besides the piano/buffet swap? Well, we changed the wall color from Benjamin Moore’s Quietude to Sherwin William’s Dover White.

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I love how much the white opens up the narrow space.

I also stole the Anthro rug from the breakfast nook. It’s a much better fit in terms of size and shape here.

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Plus I replaced the wall art.

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Kim Parker is one of my favorite artists, and it’s possible to score reasonably priced reproductions of her work at places like Ross and Marshall’s. I have a couple of small prints, but I’d been on the hunt for something bigger for, literally, years when I stumbled across these two huge ziclee prints of her Garden Fantasie piece at Garden Ridge for a great price. You better believe I did a great big ol’ happy dance, complete with squealing (on the inside, of course) and proceeded to do my best to shove both of them in the tiny basket while casting furtive glances around for any competition.

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If you look closely, you’ll see that they’re actually the exact same painting, just hung in opposite directions.  Works for me!

In case you’re wondering, both the lamp bases and shades are from Target, but I repainted the bases with white and gold (they were black).

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Also, in case you’re wondering, sunflowers are pretty much an instant pick-me-up.

Of course, the biggest change is that cute little parlor piano that I scored, bench and all, for $60 on Craigslist. My boys have been taking piano since the fall, and they both really enjoy it . So, the piano’s staying.

However.

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I’m not as thrilled about the wood finish (pretty worn) or color (a bit too cherry for my tastes) or the stained and dated bench seat fabric.

Which is why I plan to change both.

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Which is where YOU GUYS come in!

I have less than zero interest in attempting to restore the piano’s finish to its original stained glory. That would involve stripping and sanding and all other manner of unpleasant sounding “s” words. (HA! I just realized how that sounded, but I was not thinking that).

Nope. I’m definitely leaning toward slapping a coat of paint on this little girl and then recovering the bench in something cheerful.

So, the question is what color should I paint Annabelle?  (Yup, just decided that right this second).

I have a few options in mind, starting with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Florence.

florence

Mandy painted a mirror in this shade, and nobody around here should be surprised to know that I love the deep teal-y turquoiseness of it.

mandy's mirror

Another fave is French Pale Gold by Behr.

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The Pleated Poppy used it on a dresser in her entryway, and I really like the mustard tones in it.

french pale gold

With all the color options in the paintings, I also think a really true emerald would be pretty great.

Something like this milk paint in Tavern Green, perhaps?

tavern green

If that color doesn’t look too emerald to you (me either), here’s a gorgeous dresser in the shade from Natty by Design.

green dresser

OBVIOUSLY, these are not my only color choices, but they are three I love.

What I would also love is to hear what color YOU think I should paint ol’ Annabelle.

So, would you choose:

A) Florence by Annie Sloan

florence

B) French Pale Gold by Behr

french pale gold behr

C) Tavern Green by Woodcraft

tavern green

or

D) None of the above (preferably with a suggestion on your own).

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Project Elephant Update: The Family Command Center

Remember that Family Command Center I was contemplating?

Well, I did it.

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And I think I like it! In fact, I think I like it enough to actually use it, which is kind of the point, I suppose.

To start, I hauled that big yellow chalkboard I mentioned downstairs and wrote out a simple chore list for the boys (and Della too, when the task applies), plus an appropriately inspiring verse to help encourage good attitudes while they work.

Most of the items on the list are daily, but a few will only happen a twice a week or so(trash, toilets, etc).

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If it’s a rotating chore (like who empties the dishwasher as opposed to who loads it), each week, the person in charge of it will write his initial beside the check he writes in the box next to the task (the boxes are written in chalk pen, but they write their checks with regular chalk, which wipes off easily with a dry rag without disturbing the chalk pen, which requires a moist rag for removal. All of which means that I don’t have to rewrite my boxes every day).

To replace the ugly whiteboard fridge calendar, I bought a large (pretty!) paper version on clearance ($4) from Target, which I adhered to the side of the tall cabinet with sticky tack.
Ditto for the corkboard, which came from Wal-mart (2-pack for $8) and to which I added a border of burlap polka dot ribbon because…why not?

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{CONFESSION: that sticky tack business was a big fat FAIL It started out okay, but after a while, it simply would not hold either the calendar or the corkboard to the side of the cabinet, even after I applied approximately 78 pieces to a 1 square foot area; I’m going to have to regroup there}

I hung a pen for writing notes on the calendar from a coordinating ribbon and a  couple of tacks stuck in the corkboard…

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…and then I added a basket full of  “essentials” (washi tape is an essential, right?) to the console table to make it easier for the boys to check off their chore lists and for me to keep up with important calendar info.

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Last, but certainly not least,  I found a spot for an IKEA clock that I bought because of the color (sea foam green and aqua are pretty much BFF’s, after all) even though I wasn’t sure where it would go. Now I am!

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Maybe it’ll help the boys stay on task (never mind that there’s already a digital oven clock approximately 3 feet away).

All in all, this corner feels so much more fun and cheerful and—best of all—useful than it did before. The boys are already loving using it to remind themselves of their chores and—the best part—to check them off.

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Of course, with a new calendar system currently sitting on the table because it won’t adhere to the wall in place,  you might assume that I did something different with the cluttered fridge situation. (Which you can see here).

And you would be right! But you’ll have to wait until later on this week to see it.

Anybody want to take bets on how much use our new set up will get? I’m feeling hopeful, simply because I kept things so very simple and straightforward. If I’d made it more complex, I can guarantee you we would  have failed miserably.

Anybody want to help a girl out and suggest a brilliant non-paint-damaging solution for getting the calendar + corkboard to stay put? I’d rather not use nails or tacks of any kind.

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Breakfast Nook Updates and Plans

I’ve had several of you ask me if I’ve made any progress on the breakfast nook questions that I posed to you a while ago.

And the answer is yes.

And no.

I don’t have much to show you yet, although I hope to soon.

But I have made some decisions. In case you’re lost or need a refresher, here’s what my breakfast nook looks like now.

breakfast nook 

And here’s what I’ve decided so far, in great part due to your awesome input and ideas.

1. The shades are staying, if for no other reason than it took me, like, 6 hours to make them, dang it. No, but really. I love them. And, as I suspected and you confirmed, the scale was just all wrong for transferring them to the chairs.

2. Speaking of the chairs, they are being 86-ed. For this room anyway. They’re just too formal and dark, and I don’t really feel like painting AND recovering them. At first, that was as far as I’d gotten, but then I remembered a reader comment about mismatched chairs adding to the whimsical look I’ve got going on in here. And I thought, yes! If any room in my house can handle mismatched chairs, it’s this one.

So, I took a trip back to junking Mecca, hoping to come away with 3 funky, mismatched but complementary chairs.

And guess what?

mismatched chairs

I struck mismatched chair gold! I got all 3 for $55. I would have loved to have scored them for $5-10 a piece. But that would have required multiple trips and gas money to Goodwill or garage sales, so I was happy to shell out a little more for chairs I really loved all from one place in one trip. Holla!

Plus, honestly, $18 a piece is better than Goodwill prices, which have shot up recently, especially when all 3 chairs are super-sturdy and just need a good cleaning, a little paint, and some fun fabric.

3. SPEAKING of fun fabric, I think I’m going with the Duralee Stockholm Sungold that I already have in my possession and have been saving for just the perfect project (perfect project, meet awesome fabric).

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I don’t know if this picture fully conveys the scale of those ginormous flowers, but they will definitely cover the entire seat of the chairs, which I think is fun.

4. Did you notice my other new addition in that picture? I found a 5X7 jute rug at Ross for $50 on my night off and snapped it up. I shuffled the floral Anthro rug to the entryway (which I’ll show you soon). One small problem, though: although the rug’s the perfect size for the space, it’s just a little too tall for the bench legs, so hubby’s going to have to do a bit of trimming there before I can shove it (I already tried) up underneath the table.

5. I have one more update involving paint that I’m planning for the space, but I’m going to keep it a secret until the big reveal. Hey! A girl can’t spill ALL her secrets at once!

So, what do you think of the direction I’m going so far? Am I on the right track? I sure hope so because I am ready for this room to be done already.

Wanna guess what I’m painting? :)

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