Thursday, April 10, 2014


I recently responded to a friend, 'when i get things back to normal after vacation, i'll be able to meet up'.  After hitting send, I chuckled at the idea of what normal currently is for me.

Along with the unpacking of 5 suitcases, loads of laundry, and the empty fridge grocery shopping trip that comes with returning home, we put up ceiling trim in the great room.  As in, we woke up after flying home at midnight, and started working again.  I should clarify, the we here is my husband.  I help with design, do the prep work, hand him tools like the level and the nail gun while trying to come up with conversation topics and honestly just remain upright after traveling home for a day.  

Oh, and I clean up the dark wood floors.  I have cleaned these beautiful, striking, dust magnet dark wood floors several times after each step in finishing these 2 rooms where they are laid. 

I am starting to have a love hate relationship starting with these floors.  They are so beautiful and make me so happy...when they are clean.  I think I could literally vacuum them 3 times a day. I know there have been days when I have vacuumed and mopped them 3 times a day.  I'm hoping once all the construction is over, my obsessive vacuuming will abate. 

I digress.....

You can also see here we got the doors put on the bookcases. :) 

The trim is a subtle, but a nice finishing touch to the ceiling treatment in this room.  

It's just 4 pieces of MDF.  Starting from the top; one rounded, thin piece, one square in shape and one with the crown molding detail, and finally one filler piece you can't see, that's placed behind the square piece to bump it out from the wall and make it flush with the ceiling planking.  

We chose to add the crown piece to the bottom rather than the top, easing into all the ceiling detail from the vertical of the wall. 

Vacation was good.  It had all the ingredients of a perfect time away from home.  Lots of family and good food, duration - not too long or too short, with time to reflect, sunshine and sand (gotta get the vitamin D).  

There were even some valuable life lessons.  Sadly we were witness to a tragic event that reminded us of the fragility of life.  

Thankfulness?  Blessed?  Grateful?  Is that something that you often feel coming back to your home from vacation?  Even when living in my less than perfect house, a house that literally made me cry due to its lack of authenticity, and it's downright ugliness.  A house that caused a party attendee to proclaim it was too bad I couldn't live in our garden shed -- as it was that much better than the house we were inhabiting.  A brutal remark for sure, but honest.  It's not as if I hadn't thought the same thing as my husband was installing the shake siding.    

But always, always when driving up our street, I was never sorry to return to this spot.  Even now that it's raining and my brain is in a travel fog, and my tan is fading, it's a good place to be.

I hope your current normal is a good place to be.  I hope that you can count your blessings wherever they may lie.  Life's too short not too. 

Whether you hate your house, but love your yard.  Whether your 3- year-old ruined your bath towels, but made you a thoughtful mud pie.  Whether you hate your hips, but love your sassy hair. Whether you love your dark wood floors, but are seriously considering feeding your family only brown foods from now on...Or possibly returning to spoon feeding, including the cat, to cut back floor care.  
Blessings are blessings, no matter how deep.

I hope you can find a moment in your normal to breathe and focus on the good in now.  

Now you'll have to excuse me -- in the time I've been typing this, some of my blessings have come appeared and I need to vacuum again. 

Sharing with: Imparting GraceNancherrowAKA DesignThrifty Decor ChickShabby NestCommon Ground

Friday, March 21, 2014

Some Progress and Some Packing

The view is slowly improving around here. 


Is it wrong that I am so liking these unpainted?

The decorating is happening slowly too...

And that's okay with me.  And yes, I will have to move it all in a few months to paint.

When it's a space where there was nothing before, it's nice to have things slowly evolve.  It gives you and the room a chance to breathe -- to sit with something and feel if it's right.  

It gives you a chance to place things with intent and meaning, not to just to fill the void.

And now on to my shallow side --- some vacation outfits. :)  

Got this at JCP last September, with fingers-crossed that I'd have a vacation night out with my husband sometime to wear it.  Not my normal go to style -- this says vacation-date night!

This is closer to my normal style except for the Maxi skirt.  When I was out shopping at Kohl's this week for tank tops, I tried this skirt on.  Being short, I have to be careful about maxi skirts -- but this is so comfy, it fit like a dream, and with the fold over waste band, I can adjust the length so I can wear it with flats.

Another Maxi?  After just typing I don't wear maxi's?!  What is it about vacations that makes me want to take chances and dress outside my "fashion box"?  What I love about this skirt, that you can kind-of see from the picture, is that it's shear.  There is a short lining inside that hits me about mid-low thigh.  I also love the embellishment on the grey tank, so much so that I took a second picture.

I was loving all the different tank tops they had at Kohl's.  These 2 are perfect for layering.  I'm excited to wear this out to dinner!

This -- this is more my typical fashion box.

Hoping to get some more pics posted before I head out!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vacation Packing

We are getting ready to go away for Spring Break.  

Vacation money is not easily found when you're building a house.  And it goes against my nature to pay $25 getting a suitcase to our destination. 

I am going to pack for 11 days using only my carry on and my personal item. 

I am?

This bag doesn't look as big as I remember.  There isn't room for any I might wear this.

We're going some place warm so most days will be spent in bathing suits and flip-flops at the beach.  And there is a laundry facility where we're staying so there will be an opportunity to do a load or two.  But there will be a few outings and nice dinners out.  Short of wearing several layers to the airport, or abducting one of my other family member's suitcases, my only option is to plan and edit.  And then probably edit again.  And then probably try and convince my 9 and 12-year-olds they can share a suitcase.

I did this for our last vacation, 2 years ago, and it worked pretty well.  I did end up having a couple items I didn't wear, so I think, I hope, I can do better this time.  

I thought I'd spend some time sharing my packing process.  Like all other things I do, it happens over the course of a few days.  A little here, a little there.

I pick out all the items I think I might wear,

and over the course of a few days, put outfits together, even trying them on so there are no surprises. This is what I'll be working on and sharing this next week.

Now off to do a million jumping jacks in preparation for that bathing suit. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Inspiration Overload

There are so many things competing for my attention now a days.  Sometimes it's hard to know what to focus on, or even how to focus on it all.  I did get some things started during my organizational journey.

#1. A cleaner closet.  Not 'cleaned' as in done.  Just cleaner.

#2. Stair treads.  Stained and installed.  Check and check.  

#3. Mudroom light bulb replaced.  That was a big one.  Oh, and mirror hung.  

#4. And this is a big one....Pretty is coming back.  

Things are coming together.  When I look around I see so many possibilities, so much inspiration it makes my head spin.  Of course, so much work as well, but let's focus on the positive.

These days the ideas and inspiration seem endless. I must have caught a case of spring fever. 

Sharing with: Thrifty Decor ChickNancherrowImparting GraceAKA DesignShabby NestCommon Ground

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Organizational Journey -- A Challenge

Whew.  That was a mouthful.

Every surface in my house is covered in chaos right now.  True.   Every....Surface.....

As I take you on this disorganized house tour, you will see baskets awaiting emptying and cleaners waiting to be sprayed.  The carnage.  You've been warned.

Along with the burnt out light bulbs waiting to be replaced,

the stair treads awaiting stain, flooring awaiting installation, the light fixtures waiting to be hung is all the daily life debris, that hasn't been able to find a permanent home, and is a floating pile of stuff screaming for attention.....   

I think one of the biggest obstacles to organizing is that you usually have to make an even bigger mess before you can call yourself done.  It's daunting, right?  
It's inconvenient.  
It's crazy.
I mean why in the world with all the daily piles of laundry would you voluntarily pull everything that's put away and make it harder for you or your spouse to find your car keys?  It's overwhelming to make such a mess -- especially when there's some pressure, at least I feel some, to keep things tidy.  While I don't care too much about what friends who drop by during the daily house-storm think, I like to have things a little organized and tidy when my husband walks in from work.  Some calm in life.  Roommate etiquette I guess.  

Luckily for me, I have a unique opportunity and get the chance to organize our household and not worry about getting things put away or inconveniencing anyone but myself with car key location for days....days...

So I have started emptying those drawers and cabinets and creating even more piles.  

While my husband is away on business, I have the chance to free myself of the demand that the house be tidy, or at least in respectable disorder, by dinner-time.  I can let my natural, night owl, 'creative by moonlight', Design ADD, freak flag fly.  

It's a chance to try everything I've been waiting to try, for, like, ever -- all at the same time. 

So between all the impulsive dark floor sweeping, and dish/clothes washing/carpooling/homework time, I will try all the recipe organizing, furniture updating, basket painting, sweater stacking, household file organizing projects I've wanted to try, and then take a break and try to do this new fishtail braid hairstyle that has caught my eye.  Putter here for 15 minutes and then putter here for 15 minutes.

There will be more and more piles.  The madness.  I think I may 
decide to start in my closet.

...or maybe I'll start downstairs.  Even the garage beckons me.  This free time -- it's like my chance to make a cardboard box & blanket fort and not have to put it away before bedtime.  

Plus I get the chance to start bringing out pretty again when I'm done.

Let the games begin.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dark Wood Floors

When it came time to talk about flooring for the main part of the house, it was a no-brainer for me to decide on hardwood floors.  The warmth that they bring to a room is what feels like home to me.

In our first house, we had hardwood flooring installed, and we went with oak wood with a lighter finish.  But pre-engineered flooring has come a long way in the last 15 years, and after shopping around we choose a dark, 5" plank, pre-finished, solid wood floor with an antiqued finish. 

I knew that the dark floors would mean more maintenance, but the other floors we liked: whitewashed or grey stained, didn't speak to the space.

So we rented a flooring hammer and went to work.  After my man did the math of the layout, I was design girl.  I laid out the flooring a few rows at a time and he nailed it down.  We've spent 2 weekends on this project now, and are 85% done.

It looks great -- so warm and polished, especially compared to the sub-floors. 

Sorry about the glare.  It's raining.

I love the depth this floor has.  One of the best things (other than the way they look) is they are so forgiving.  This was apparent only a few minutes into the project.   

These little chips happened every now an then, especially as my hubs was getting used to using the hammer.

This is what they look like after I touched them up with a black sharpie.

Like it never happened!  So awesome!

This dark color does show every.little.thing.  And due to the number of times I've mopped these floors since installation, we must be especially dirty people.  I haven't quite determined how I am going to deal with this.  I currently don't have a vacuum that I can use on these floors but I went out and bought a large floor micro-fiber mop to use, and it's great.  It doesn't take long to go around these rooms, and it's kind-of fun right now(even the boys enjoy it), but on the flip side I don't want to be a slave to my house and have to do this several times a day for the next 20 years.  So that being said, when it comes time to buy a vacuum (hopefully soon!) I am very tempted to try a robot one. 

Makes me giddy to even imagine I might have a robot vacuum someday.

I noticed too how much brown furniture we have.  I'm still feeling this out because there are still so many permanent layers to add.   

So much more work to do here.....but it's coming along.

Sharing with: AKA DesignFinding FabulousJennifer RizzoCommon GroundImparting GraceShabby NestNancherrowHome Stories AtoZ

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Putting pretty away....

I've tried to keep things decorated and pretty throughout the process.  I mean, I can't put life on hold just because we've undertaken this huge project.  Who wants to do that?! We've had to live and entertain in this space while at the same time, working to create and finish the space. 

But when projects are underway, all the pretty has to be moved, one, so you have an open work area, and two so the pretty doesn't break during.  Who wants to break a pretty?  

So things are a little more stark right now and all the pretty is packed in my bedroom and in my 1 finished upstairs closet (yes! a finished closet!  Celebrate the small things!).

It's just for a little while.  So floor, cabinet and plumbing fixture installation can happen.

And that way in a couple weeks, when the big projects are mostly finished (fingers crossed) the spaces will be fresh and ready to tell me what they want to be.