Monthly Archives: January 2012

Best. Find. Ever

This thing caught my eye from all the way on the other side of Goodwill. I saw it, I ran to it, and I sat on it. I was thrilled to find it quite sturdy. I stood around for a few minutes, holding it possessively while I decided for sure whether or not I wanted it. Then it seemed like everybody wanted it. People kept coming up and asking me what it was. And I wanted it even more.

As soon as I peel off the eighty-seven price tags I’m gonna paint it. I’m thinking navy. (in case your eyes are as bad as mine and you can’t see for yourself, it was $12.99. Quite a steal, I think.)

Here’s what it looks like upside down.

I have no idea what it was originally meant to be. Maybe it was an ottoman, which is what I plan on using it for. Or maybe some sort of crazy lantern? I’ve never seen anything quite like it. And those colors! Somebody was feeling feisty the day that palette was picked.

I’ve gotta admit, I’m not really looking forward to painting it. Covering those bright colors in all those nooks and crannies is gonna be a big pain. And I’m thinking I may have to actually use some sort of primer for the first time in probably three years. I despise primer with a deep and abiding hatred, but I suspect it’s a necessary evil in this case.

Like I said, I’m thinking of painting it navy, but I’m not completely sold just yet. Any suggestions?

The Peacock and the Rug

This is what my front room looked like before Christmas. A hot mess.

I snapped this picture a month later, at the beginning of January. Not much had changed. I was having a really hard time getting motivated to clean all that crap up.

Even with fresh paint on the walls, shop inventory still cluttered the mantle and empty cardboard boxes seemed to multiply on their own.

But finally, finally, I got off my lazy butt and did something about it. This is the first time in the history of our residence here that this mantle has been anything more than a dumping ground. Claude was hung with care, and I used some items I’ve got for sale in my shop to spruce things up a little.

The book is not for sale. I found it at an estate sale and I’m keeping it forever. I love the color and the content.

And, as promised, here’s a wider shot of the rug. I can’t wait to get a nice cushy pad under it, which I hope will help it stay in place and smooth out some of the creases.

I think it complements Claude the Peacock nicely. Still not so sure about those walls, though.

My next thing in here, besides the rug pad, is a throw or blanket of some sort for the back of the sofa and some shelving above the desk. Eventually I’d like to get a small flat-screen TV, as well. Nick’s video game activities have been moved in here to make way for the future nursery and right now we’ve got a giant old-school TV that I creatively avoid in photos. I’ve got a few other projects and tweaks up my sleeve to share soon, but nothing major. Before I go dropping tons of cash on cute stuff I need to put some serious effort into decluttering and organizing the “office” side of the room. When I took a day off of work a few weeks ago I got the top of my desk cleared off for probably the first time in six months, but there’s still a corner near the sewing machine piled high with random crap. Confession: most of it is upholstery paraphernalia, and an easy fix would be to actually get around to finishing the wing chairs, but what fun is that? I feel like you really have to be motivated to tackle something like a reupholstery project, and despite those ridiculous half-finished chairs staring me in the face every day when I come home from work I just cannot work up the nerve to get back in the saddle. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike!

Eat Your Vegetables

Consider me a girl on a mission. I’m setting out to eat more vegetables. Nick pretty much refuses to eat anything healthier than potatoes, and ever since we first moved in together it’s been way too easy for me to slip into a state of non-vegetable-consumption. I loved veggies as a kid and young adult and I want to inspire that same love of healthy stuff in my future kiddos. So off to flavor the amniotic fluid I go.

I set up a board on Pinterest exclusively for do-able looking veggie dishes, and my strategy is to pick two each week to cook just for me. This week I did mashed cauliflower and grilled zucchini rolls. To cut down the shopping list, I subbed the cream in the cauliflower recipe for milk and the Dubliner cheese for goat cheese (which I needed anyway for the zucchini rolls). If you’re shaking your head at me right now about the goat cheese, please rest assured that soft cheeses are fine for pregnant women as long as they’re pasteurized, which anything sold in a store is required to be (plus I double checked the label).

Pinterest | Original Source

The cauliflower was delicious but very, very rich. I guess it was the goat cheese. And ridiculously filling. I used one smallish head of cauliflower and had to spread it out over two sittings. I hope it was enough calories because it was the only thing I ate Sunday afternoon and evening. I don’t think I could have taken another bite of food if my life depended on it. I do have to say I was impressed, though, that after cooking the cauliflower in the microwave and running it through the food processor the consistency was surprisingly close to mashed potatoes. I dare say that maybe I could have fooled Nick into eating it if he hadn’t been already hip to my jive.

I tried the zucchini rolls last night, and they were scrumptious. I just used one smallish zucchini, cooked it up on a stovetop grill pan, and smeared each slice with a thin layer of goat cheese before rolling it up. The recipe called for olives, but they’re not really my thing so I nixed ‘em. I also was sure to keep the amount of goat cheese under control because I was worried things would go the way of the cauliflower (as in very very rich). The rolls were very delicious, very easy, and paired with a bowl of tomato soup made quite a delightful dinner.

Pinterest | Original Source

I’m already contemplating possibilities for next week…perhaps broccoli and tomatoes? Speaking of tomatoes, I’m planning to grow them again this year and I can’t wait to get started! The weather has been unseasonably warm this week and I am just itching to get outside and start digging. I’ve been talking for almost two years about building a square foot garden, maybe this will be the year that I actually do it?

I hope you each have a delightful and fun-filled weekend. I’m planning to hit up an estate sale with my friend Cassie tomorrow, maybe take the dog for a nice long walk to enjoy the nice weather, and hopefully knock out a few projects around the house. Maybe I’ll get really crazy and catch a Kardashians marathon.

A Sneak Peak of My New Favorite Thing

A week or two ago I was trolling vintage shops on etsy looking for a pretty quilt or blanket to throw over the back of my new white sofa. My cats are already pretty big fans of back-of-the-sofa lounging in general, but since this sofa backs up to a window that overlooks the driveway it’s a prime lounging position for all three animals to look out the window as they anxiously await our arrival home from a long day at work. Since I’d rather not take the slipcovers off to wash them every week I figured a pretty blanket could help protect that area of the sofa from becoming absolutely disgusting with pet hair. I didn’t find the perfect blanket (although I am contemplating a vintage army blanket-they’re plentiful, wool, and army green-thoughts?), I did find this item of interest:

A shag furniture throw. From Montgomery Ward and still in the original packaging. The seller (That70sShoppe) mentioned that it could also be used as an area rug. I measured out the dimensions in my front room, slept on it for the night, and the next morning purchased it for only $50. Shipping was $15, bringing it to a total of $65. Not bad for a big ‘ol area rug like that. It’s 70″ by 90″, which works out to about six feet by seven and a half feet. Perfect for my space. I haven’t gotten a picture of it in the context of the rest of the room yet, but check out Juliet and Pistachio’s reactions.

They love it. And Nick and I do, too. It is so soft and cozy and exactly the perfect size. I love the color, too. So cheerful and happy. It does slip around quite a bit, though, so for now I’ve got a smaller 4×6 rug underneath it to help hold it in place. Once February rolls around and I’ve got a new monthly home decor budget to play with my first order of business will be to get a proper rug pad. I find myself looking for excuses to walk across it ever since it got here, just to have the chance to squish my toes into that shaggy awesomeness. It might just be one of the top fifty things that have ever happened to me. Definitely one of my best purchases ever, I think. And I wasn’t even looking for a rug! I think it was looking for me. It was fate, I tell you. That rug and I were just meant to be together. Like two shaggy, star-crossed lovers.

3M Window Film: Three Months Later

Back in October I installed 3M film on the windows in my front room in the hopes of making the room, with it’s three exterior walls, five windows, and one inoperable fireplace a little bit warmer this winter.

The initial results were great. It was very inexpensive, practically invisible, and seemed to be helping the place stay warm. But in case you forgot, I’ve got two cats in my house. And it took maybe half a day for the little crazy one to discover that there was something different about these windows. Something different and awesome. I snapped these pictures almost three months later, when we cleared the room for painting.

As you can see, the film is no longer invisible or functional. Thanks, cats. I took the stuff down. So what now? It’s not so cold in there now as I remember, maybe because this has been a pretty mild winter even by Louisiana standards, or maybe because there’s more furniture to hold heat. I’m still a little worried about it though, especially since next winter we’ll have a baby in the house.

I still have a plan to insulate the fireplace, which I think will go a long way. And I’m convinced that the shade I made for the door helps just the teensiest bit. Add a rug in there the place might be downright cozy. If not, I’ve always got this ace in the hole: window film for crazy cat ladies.

How to Polish Silver

Vintage silver is one of my favorite things. I find it all the time at thrift stores and estate sales. It’s pretty much always silverplate, or at least if a real piece of sterling has ever made it into my thrifting bounty I wasn’t astute enough to realize. I don’t mind the lower quality of silverplate. In fact, I kinda like the warm patina it develops over time when the base metal is copper.

I bring home a lot of tarnished silver, but for some reason I have never actually obtained a bottle of silver polish. To be honest, I usually just use toothpaste. True story. Toothpaste does an excellent job of gently polishing silver and I don’t have to worry about the fumes. I didn’t take any “before” pictures for this post because I didn’t realize until I was well into plan B that it might be worth posting about. I bought this silver bowl with the intention of selling it in my shop, but it was badly tarnished. I figured some toothpaste, maybe some baking soda, and some elbow grease would do the trick, but after what seemed like quite a long time of working on it all I had to show was some sore muscles and a minty-fresh smelling bowl.

I turned to my old friend google and came up with this non-toxic solution: aluminum foil, salt, baking soda, and very hot water. So I lined the bottom of my sink with tin foil and sprinkled a generous amount of salt and baking powder into the bowl.

Then I filled up the biggest pot I own with water and waited a loooong time for it to come to a boil.

It barely filled the bottom of the sink. But what it lacked in volume it made up for in dramatic steam.

I filled the sink the rest of the way with the hottest water I could get from the tap and it was still pretty hot. Then I left it to sit for a while, using tongs to tilt it around periodically so I could check the progress.

It seemed like the inside and top edges were not really coming clean as quickly, so I wrapped them in extra tin foil. Seemed like a good idea at a time.

I started to worry about the silver on the outside bottom half coming off entirely, so I took it out of the water and sat it in the empty side of the sink with the water/salt/baking soda/tin foil mixture sitting inside. I left it like that for another several minutes, checking periodically. I was totally just winging it at this point.

And I guess it worked, because by the time I finally freed the bowl of its aluminum wrapping it was looking perfectly imperfect, just the way I like it.

Look how pretty it looks now, inside and out!

I totally want to try this now on some other pieces that I could never get polished as nicely as I wanted.

Four Months Pregnant

#@$# &#^% I’m huge!

I guess it’s mostly thanks to my 5′ stature that I started sporting a noticeable bump before I was even ready for the world to know, but I somehow assumed that showing early would not equal showing more and more as my pregnancy progressed. I keep feeling like my belly looks more “has been eating too many cheeseburgers,” and less, “growing a real life baby,” but this photographic evidence of how big and round it really is leaves me speechless. No wonder nothing fits. If I’m this big now, will I even be able to roll out of bed come summertime?

My mom has gotten a real big kick out of exclaiming gleefully, “Maybe it’s twins!” I rank twins up there with terrorist attacks on my scale of scary things, so I was relieved to see only one perfect little baby at our first ultrasound two weeks ago.

We’ll be going back around Valentine’s Day for another ultrasound and that’s when we’ll find out the sex. I’ve been feeling like it’s a boy lately, although I desperately want a little girl to dress up and share all my womanly wisdom with (I’m very wise about girl stuff, not so much about boy stuff, but maybe more of it is transferable than I think).

In actual blog-related news, I’ve got my groove back (mostly). I’m feeling much more like my old self and my weekends have gotten significantly more productive. Maybe you’ve noticed an increase in actual juicy content here on the blog? For a few rough months there I thought I was doing great just to maintain a minimum level of cleanliness around the house, show up to work every day, and churn out five blog posts per week. But in the past few weeks Nick and I have replaced a light fixture, painted the office, DIY’d a window shade, and restocked the etsy shop (as well as making some tweaks behind the scenes over there). And that’s just the stuff I’ve posted about! There are some little projects and purchases I’ve yet to share with you. So maybe I’m not whipping up my own rug from supplies found in the paint aisle or refreshing an entire space in one weekend (like I did with the porch and the laundry room), but I’m feeling pretty good about my new normal. I imagine this pace will also be much more sustainable with a little one around than my old one was. Also, although this may not be of much comfort to anyone who’s bitter about the decreased pace of projects here on the blog, I am majorly proud of my etsy shop. The sales keep rolling in and I am feeling great! My mailman delivered a bunch of boxes I ordered from the post office on Saturday and I proclaimed proudly to him, “I started a business!” I’m sure he had an inkling something was up since I’ve scheduled carrier pickups online several times now, but he is just the nicest guy and has been our mailman since before we even bought this house so I was excited to tell him. He was walking his route the day we moved from our old rental house around the corner to this one and still remembers nearly two years later to redirect the occasional card or letter addressed to us at our old place. When I went through my container-gardening phase last spring he took notice and offered me some cuttings from his aloe plant at home. It remains one of very few plants I’ve managed not to kill and has come in handy several times in the kitchen.

I’ve been rambling today. In summary:

  • I’m four months pregnant and shocked by the size of my belly
  • There’s only one in there!
  • I’ve been much more productive lately
  • I’m majorly patting myself on the back for my success so far in my etsy shop
  • my mailman is awesome

I hope you’re all having a lovely Monday, that your weekend was refreshing, and that you will not decide that my blog has become too boring and never come back.


I was totally inspired by the Nester’s recent move to paint her family room white. When she mentioned the ease of carrying the same color from wall to trim, my jaw about hit the floor. There are two things that have really been bugging me ever since Nick and I painted the laundry room blue last summer…

#1: The color may photograph well, but in real life it is just too much to live with day in, day out. I was looking for something a little more moody, like Lindsay’s dining room…

Living With Lindsay

But I missed it and ended up with more of a cotton candy feel. Plus, thing that’s been bugging me #2: I made a complete mess of it.

I’ve been meaning to go back and paint the trim for six months now. Obviously it ain’t happening. But if I painted the laundry room white, I could knock out walls and trim in one fell swoop. Then I could use art and accessories to add color, which is more my cup of tea anyway.

Centsational Girl

So I’m thinking on it. I’ve got a few concerns, mostly about it looking dingy over time OR making my very old washer and dryer look even older surrounded by all that bright, clean white. At the same time, I think it sill help the small room feel more expansive. I’ll let the idea bounce around in my brain for a few weeks before I break out a paintbrush, but today I’m feeling pretty excited about the idea. What do you think?

A Little Privacy, Please?

One of the big things that has kept Nick and I from spending much time in the front room of our house (I’ve got to come up with a smoother name for it than “the family room/office”) is the completely uncovered window that looks right out onto our porch.

It’s actually a door, but we don’t use it as such and haven’t been able to get it open in months. It wasn’t a huge priority when I was making window treatments for the rest of our house because the porch affords an illusion of privacy, but you can see that the houses in our very old neighborhood are so close together that our neighbors could look right out of their window and into ours. Plus, there were more than a few awkward occasions when I found myself working in the office makeup free and liberated from the awkward confines of a bra only to look up and lock eyes with the mailman, right there on my porch. There are some days I would just much rather hide from the mailman and this window was making that impossible. After an accidental encounter with the UPS man while I was working from home on Monday, I decided something needed to be done. I rifled through my fabric stash until I found something about the right size and tacked it up there to see if it would do the job.

Perfect. I measured the window, then took the fabric down and hauled it to the laundry room for a good iron. Pretty much the only time I ever iron anything is if I want to cut it. It’s hard to get nice cuts in wrinkled fabric.

Once flat, I laid it out on my handy-dandy cardboard helper. I know that this thing is not technically intended to be used for cutting fabric, but instead some much fancier and technical endeavor like drafting patterns or some such nonsense, but it has really been a lifesaver for me in the cutting department. I used to have such a hard time figuring out how to measure and cut straight lines in fabric, but the grid makes it so easy. The squares are 1″ each so I just lined up one edge of the fabric with a line on the grid, measured over 24″ which of course lined up perfectly with another line, then used that line to guide my cutting. Spoiler alert: I forgot to add extra width for the hem. Oops.

I cut cut cut. then slid the fabric down and cut cut cut some more.

Ta-da! A perfectly 24″ wide panel. I didn’t care at all about the length. You’ll see why in a moment.

Next I sewed a hem on all four edges. It was around the time I sat down at my sewing machine that I realized I’d forgotten all about the hem allowance, so I only folded the fabric over once and kept it pretty narrow.

Then, with all four edges looking nice and neat, I tacked the panel up at the top of the window with four brass-ish thumbtacks I found at the back of a junk drawer. The panes of the window made a good guide for spacing. The fabric was just barely wide enough to cover the glass. I told myself it gave the whole thing a refreshingly casual air.

See? Just thumbtacks. I used a hammer to gently tap them in.

And now, for the most exciting part! I folded the bottom of the fabric up for a roman-shade-esque effect. I secured the folds first with straight pins until I was happy with the look, then came back and switched each pin out for a couple of stitches sewn by hand. And why yes, that is a lot of random crap you can see hanging out on the other side of our door. A lawnmower and a Christmas tree stand, to be exact. The curse of a spacious porch is that it collects clutter.

And voila! The final result! A 100% free, completely casual shade that took me less than thirty minutes to whip up on a whim.

I showed it to Nick when he got home and he actually said out loud, “Wow, this room is really starting to come together!” I about died. He pretty much never comments on home decor beyond standard grunts of approval, but it turns out that bare window had really been bugging him. It’d been bugging me too. Now I can lounge on the new sofa in any state of dress without fear of mailmen or neighbors. It’s a brave new world.

Where Have You Been All My Life?

I’ve been searching for a battery-powered vintage radio since early last spring. I got jealous that my neighbors had an old stereo on their porch and could sit out there and bask in its ambiance. There are a few weeks every spring when the outside temperature here in Louisiana is quite delightful, right around the time that Nick starts sequestering himself in our bedroom to listen to LSU baseball games on his clock radio.

I seriously have searched high and low at thrift stores and estate sales with very little luck. I did actually spend $13 at an antiques shop a few months ago on a radio that I didn’t realize until I got home was actually AM only. Total bummer. But last week in my search for some new stock for my etsy shop I found this busted up beauty on the back shelf of a thrift store for only $2!

The cassette player has seen better days, but lucky for me I don’t own many cassette tapes. The FM radio works just fine.

It’s hanging out on the dresser in our dining room for now, a place of honor smack dab in the middle of the house. I can indulge my nerdy public radio habit whilst washing the dishes, lounging on the sofa, or generally puttering around. I like it so much right here that I may just keep my eye out for another one to put on the porch when the weather warms up.

Bonus: since our lawnmower makes pretty much no noise (we have and love this one for our modestly sized yard), Nick won’t have the excuse of waiting to mow the lawn until the game is over. That lucky, lucky man can just bring the little radio on outside and get down to mowing. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to kill two birds with one stone. Haha. Maybe.