Friday, October 14, 2011

Dog House

I really wanted to build a dog house for my pups. I thought it would be good practice for that tree house I am dreaming up for the pumpkin monkey. However, it boiled down to needing additional space for all the items that got moved in last month. The dogs currently "live" in our sun room, but with all of my crafty endeavors, I really need a studio as supplies are in every room and closet of the house. With all the additional furniture and miscellaneous items, there is no longer a work space I can use. I hate to kick the pups out, but it needs to be done. Their new home is pretty nice. I worked the numbers and it was much more economical to buy versus build and this is what we bought:

They can still come in on especially hot or cold nights and they will have a cooling cot for Summer and a heated doggie pad for the winter. 

Though the extra storage and space will be greatly appreciated- getting there will NOT be fun. The room is covered from floor too ceiling with three years of hair and dander, to which I am allergic.No one else will be cleaning the room, so I am currently searching for hazmat suits on eBay. Okay, maybe not, but I probably should.

Updates to follow.

P.S. I know I haven't posted lately, but all the moving and organizing is pretty tough. I will make it up to you with before and after pics ;-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011


My boyfriend is moving in some of his furniture that has been in storage for two years. That means it is time to re-shuffle, rearrange, dispose and de-clutter.

One area that will likely change the most is the formal living room.

He wants to set up the room similarly to how he had it at his house. The room shapes in both of our houses are similar in that they were longer than wide. However, his place had windows along the wall where I have a fireplace, no fireplace and no French doors. I am willing to try it, but the set-up looks a little crowded to me. Another concern is that I don't have cable hook-ups on the wall where he wants to move the tv, nor can I because I am on a slab. He would like to designate this as the "movie room". Regardless of the configuration, I am certain it will be better than the hodge-podge I have in the room today! Pictures to come in a few weeks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tiny House 2

Another concept for the Pumpkin-monkey. I think this one is a little more fun and we could call it a "tree house"...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tiny House

My son is now over a year old and a few months ago, he out grew his old baby carrier type car seat. So we bought him a big-boy seat that he can use until he is 100 pounds. Such a seat comes in a very big box. Like every other kid I've ever met, my son apparently likes boxes very much. So, although the purchase was months ago, the box is still in my living room because I can't bear to take his "toy" from him.

Instead, I think I'd like to replace it. I have a project in mind... a play house! I am still assessing my skill level and my dedication to the project because although I want them, I don't have too many woodworking power tools. I think I could build something pretty nice if I had a few key things like a table saw and a compound mitre saw (yes- I actually know what these things are AND what they are used for!).

This is my first, not-so-sophisticated design:  

I know, not much more than a box. Again, assessing my skill level. I am also thinking he may not be able to use a playhouse effectively for about a year until he can play somewhat unsupervised (i.e. farther than 10 feet away from mommy) at least some of the time. So, by then, I could have built my tool collection and maybe practice a little bit.

Have you ever considered a play house for your child or did you have a dream house in your younger years? Tell me about it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I had fun with last week's Decorating with Pounce feature, so here we go a again!

Again, I cycled through pounce until I found a decorative item:

Find it here
 I am excited because this was a seller that is local to my area, how cool! I also like the fact that it is summery. My first thought was lakeside cottage, so I am running with that.

1. You have got to have kitch. It is a lake house afterall. And what are lake houses for? Entertaining of course! This item has the perfect balance. The classic boat shelf, reimagined for entertaining.  Find it here

2. What is a lake house without a dock? I love this coffee table. It reminds me of a well-worn dock. I just want to sit on the end and stick my feet in the water. Find it here

3. Entertaining is important, as I mentioned above. So you need a nice serving tray for all the goodies. When it is not being used to dish out appetizers, you can always use it to keep your remotes nice and tidy. It gives the room a little pop of red to tie into the statement art piece. Find it here

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Week

On Saturday I picked up some supplies for sprucing up the homefront while my guy is in San Francisco this week. My power bill was a whopping $300 last month, so I decided one really good investment would be programmable thermostats. I also wanted to address the kitchen floor that is drawing my ire, so I also bought a scrub brush and some grout stain.

Everything started out just fine. I got about 1/4 of my floor done thanks to naptime for the Pumpkin-Monkey and help in the evening from my mom. I have to do the staining in stages and it is a multi-step process.

When I got home from work last night, my kitchen was unusually hot. I chalked it up to the 97 degree+ day we were experiencing in the Atlanta area. I made dinner for Pumpkin-Monkey and I, then it was bath time. Last week, the thermostat needed batteries, so the AC stopped pumping. It was really hot in the upstairs bathroom so I checked the thermostat and it said the batteries were low (I replaced them last week!) so I opened it up, took the batteries out and put them back in and turned the temp down again. The fan was blowing so I though it would cool down in time for bed time. Oh no.

It was still sweltering when I put the Pumpkin-Monkey to bed. This just can't do. I looked outside and although the fan was blowing upstairs, the actual AC unit was doing nothing at all. Great.

All I could do was strip the tot down to his diaper and turn on all the fans upstairs and leave his door open. Even then I felt guilty, so I tried bringing him into my room where I have a fan. That didn't work at all. He just wanted to play. After an hour or two of that, I thought it had cooled down enough since after dark the inside temp went down by 5 degrees, so he went back to his own bed. Instantly went to sleep (c'mon, REALLY??). Ugh.

So today I called the service company and they are yet to return my call. We may have to resort to sleeping on the couch tonight.

With that- the adjustable thermostats are kind of moot, for the time being anyway. So much for my plans!

Friday, July 8, 2011

What Next?

Next might be a strong word in this case. I guess "next big project" might be more accurate. I have several big projects that I would like to tackle, but like most people these days, I have a very limited budget for them. Not to mention, a home that has seriously depreciated since I bought it. So what would have a grand impact with minimal fundage? Maybe what would have the greatest value for resale?

Let's see...

  • I have a nice "looking" kitchen that is not entirely (or remotely even) functional. I have six cabinets and four drawers. Seriously, that is it! I like to cook and bake and buy small specialty appliances. Where do you put all that in a kitchen with SIX cabinets?? The garage. So item one on my kitchen wish list is more cabinet space.

  • In my first walk through of my house, I thought I had granite counter tops. I am not so naive that I don't know what granite looks like- I guess I just focused more on the cabinets (not enough to realize there were so few apparently). Not only are they laminate, yeah, the lowest of the low as far as counter tops go, but they are trimmed in wood stained to match the cabinets. However, the stain is just a gel stain or something of the like and it looks like this (and did after only two months of being in the house). I have to re-stain it a few times a year:
  • My floors are GROSS. So pretty when you first see them, but utimately GROSS. The grout is stained, the tials are chipped and the coloring just looks like dirty tial no matter how clean they may be:

So I would love to re-do my kitchen and make it to my liking, but that would be cost prohibitive at this point in time. So maybe counter tops would be a good first step? Since I don't have much counter space, I could replace them for less than $1,500. These are some samples I was looking at:

Something that would go with the cabinets and black accents I already have:
 Go dark:
 Go light and match the backspash with hints of the cabinet color and black accents:

In the end though, is it worth it to go quartz or stone? Maybe I should just do a solid surface composit. I know it doesn't make sense for me to considerate when I'm not a fan, but it is about 1/2 the cost and I am not sure how long I want to stay put. Hmmm...

Friday, July 1, 2011


I decided to try something new. I am an Etsy merchant and from time to time, I like to play with the gadgets they have on their site. One of those is the "Pounce" feature which allows users to see recently posted or sold items. I used pounce until I found a decorative item and I thought I would build a design plan around that:

The item:
Find it here
Check out this pillow- super cool, no?
Okay so a pillow would be used for a living room or bedroom, most likely. Let's flip a coin... living room it is.

So we need art. I want it to be contemporary, but not TOO abstract or geometric like the pillow. How's this?

Find it here
A little girly, perhaps, but girly can be great and I think it will work. So next up, a little jewelry for the room.

Find it here
Want to see it in a room? Well here you go!

By the way, this is much harder than it looks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inspired By

I ended up not having a bit of pain after my wisdom tooth was pulled. I was pleasantly surprised. With that being said, my Clean-a-Thon went okay. It was cut short by a visit from my mom and sister who wanted to see the Pumpkin-Monkey after they came back from a New York vacation. I didn't make it much past general catch-up stuff like washing dishes, cleaning up the toy-splosion and laundry, though I won't complain because they needed to be done and they got done.

Time for some inspiration/wish listing...

I was perusing a catalog recenly and got some ideas and wish-list items:

I would have SO much less stress if I had an office like this (I will keep telling myself that at least) and a room to put said office in. I am a little short on extra space these days.

Though I think this arrangement is a little bland (think they want you to buy multiples of their product(s)?), I have planned for years to create some art arrangements. I need to get on that!

They had another FABULOUS organizational product. What girl wouldn't love this? What girl doesn't NEED this? Room for boots... it has room for booooots! Yeah- again, another thing I don't have enough wall space for or closet large enough for, but if I did- I would so get this.

I guess that's enough dreaming for the day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Clean-a-Thon No More

Grr... a call from my dentist reminded me that I scheduled a wisdom tooth extraction tomorrow. So what, you may ask? Well, that means my clean-a-thon on Friday will more likely be a recoup-a-thon. Neither is espcially fun, but at least one would leave me with a sense of gratification over... pain.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Clean-a-Thon Twenty-Eleven

I have decided to take this Friday off and clean, clean, clean, till I can clean no more! I haven't really taken any time off for anything OTHER than cleaning this year (that being the for the Pumpkin-monkey's first birthday party) but it seems to be the only way I can catch up. That was back in April, so a couple months of grime and cobwebs have already built up.

So, when does this all stop? I hope I am more able to do what I need to do before the kiddo is 10.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Clutterbug- Does it have you?

Photo Credit

The clutterbug is an increasingly common affliction. Really-check your cable stations sometime. There are no fewer than four or five that I can think of off the top of my head right now. Some are helpful (this is what you could do to fix your problem), some are for profit (we will help you sell your masses of clutter!) and others are exposè or intervention style (this mess is your addiction).

Regardless of the way it is presented, it is a problem. I have a touch of it myself (no, that is not one of my rooms pictured) and with each generation it seems to be better. My mom is worse than I, her mother was worse than she and so on. I hope that this is due to lessons-learned and not age or I will be in some serious trouble later on down the road. Or not. Because I really am aware of it and I don't have an emotional attachment to most of the stuff that is occupying the corners of my garage and closets. It is more not wanting to dedicate my precious time to the issues.

I mentioned the issue with my garage and dining room in an early post and I have worked to rectify the problems, they have been reduced but not conquered. Now that I have a break between birthdays and holiday entertaining, I know I need to attack these issues again before they rebound.

You see, that is the nature of the clutterbug. You may think you cured it, or you have fought it back into remission, but once you start to ignore it, it comes back with a vengeance.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pura Vida!

I am back! Oh... you didn't know I was missing?

Well, I made a semi-regular visit to Costa Rica on business. I was gone for a week and the visit got me thinking and inspired. Costa Rica is an amazingly lush and dare I say charming country. I would say the people are my favorite part because I have made many a lasting friendship, but it is closely followed by the atmosphere. Color abounds whether it is in the flowers, vegetation or in the decor.

Just look at this contrast. A simple design that makes you take notice because of the mix of colbolt blue, white and deep yellow:

Then there is the wood and iron work which abounds due to the colonial influence (there were many more examples of rustic furniture, doors, mouldings, etc.):

Then are also reminders of the tropical paradise that it is. I love the idea of tiered landscapes and this may be a hotel designed arounds turists and not local asthetic- but don't you just want to pick a spot and lounge on one of these grassy landings, regardless?:

My trip was productive. I missed my boys. Yet, I was still able to appreciate the beauty around me.

I hope you have a "Pura Vida" day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Design Realization

*Hopping in the Way-Back machine*

Some time ago, I posted some organizational inspiration. This is where I ended up...

Is it design genius? Meh. Probably not even close. Will it help our organizational woes, yes indeed!

I actually scaled down this project quite a bit because I moved it to a smaller wall space. I planned on having a calendar and some art on a broad wall- but it turned into a mail and message station in a tight area (there is a door on the left that swings towards this wall). The mail is no longer on the table and that suits me just fine.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bed Head

Keeping in the bedroom theme of the last post , is my bedroom design conundrum. About two years ago, I bought a very nice bedroom set. I was really excited to be buying "big girl" furniture. I shopped for months and finally found something I loved because of the design and quality.

However, it kind of stopped there. I found out I was going to be a mommy and then there has been the whole raising a new baby thing for the last year. I love my furniture, but my room design is lacking (har har).

This is my bed (not my bedding though). My wall color in my bedroom is a soft green and since green is my favorite color, I think I will leave it that way.

My bedding is cream colored with stylized ocean items like seaweed and shells embroidered in the same color making it monochromatic but with some texture.

I have a matching dresser, gentleman's chest and end tables. There were several options for the endtables in the furniture collection. I chose this one because it was functional yet airy with open space for the wall color to show through:

Oh- those end tables. I have been searching for lamps to grace their surface for just about as long as I have had the furniture. I know I want an off white or cream shade in a clean style like a barrel or modern taper. I think a brushed nickel base would work with the furniture's hardware and would be neutral. Here's the sticking point- I would prefer my lamps to be unique and have some weight and substance. The only decorative items I have in the room are these oceanic totum things like this:

I may actually have too many. I got them before the furniture. I have two or three then some coordinating candlesticks. Along with my bedding, I guess you could say I have a minimalist ocean/sea theme. So why not go with something like this?:

Though it fits the requirements, I am not entirely sure I want to be so married to a theme with a big-ticket item. My boyfriend would prefer something more traditional:

I am not sure this style has the right amount of "uniqueness" for me. So, my hunt is still on.

... to be continued

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come on in!

In the week or so after the party, things have been blissfully relaxed. No obligations, projects or issues to attend to. My boyfriend and I decided to use some of this free time and "window shop" some local home building sites. We are not in the market but we can get ideas and dream till our hearts are content.

One thing we note when looking around are that we like houses with a nice entryway. After all, we DO live in the South (a big porch is practically mandatory) and it is the first thing a person sees when they approach your home. Our current house has a small front porch, but it it pretty lacking in character:

I think we would both like something that has more texture and substance. Personally, I like stone and timber like this but with an actual "porch" with enough room for some chairs:

Another style we like is what is billed as Craftsman in this area, but could be Arts and Crafts style. Either way, a modern interpretation which could be inspired by either movements. Note the substantial tapered columns and stone work:

Granted, we could apply either of these styles to our current home, but there is something about the window shopping that makes it fun and dreamy. I can feel the balmy Summer breeze against my cheek right now... ahh, pass the iced tea please.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just Visiting...

I was recently invited to be a guest blogger on my fun, fashionable and crafty friend's blog.

House of April is a great read and always inspirational! Please take a look around and please share some love and leave a comment.

J'aime la manière que vous écrivez!
Courtesy of Bable Fish ;-)

Weekend Progress Report

Well party time finally came- and went. We had a really good time and I thought it was a great success!

The decorations and food came together well. Everyone appeared to have a good time and the rooms held all 30 or so people comfortably.

Most importantly, the Pumpkin-Monkey had a great time seeing all his friends and family on his special day.
Love you bunches today and always!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where to Put it All?

Though I I haven't asked for much on the Pumpkin-Monkey's behalf, I am sure that he is going to get loaded down with goodies for his birthday. Granted, he doesn't need much and he's only just recently discovered his existing toys, but it is inevitable, they will come. People love buying toys, it is a fact.

So this has me thinking of storage solutions for all this baby booty (hee hee, had to).

While browsing the aisles of my local mega-retailer in search of goodie bag stuffers for the party, I came across something I thought would work well for his growing collection. The idea is not new or novel, but I think it will work well for his space.


He has a woodland theme in his room and I think these colors would work really well, as well as contain his kiddo clutter for a while.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Progress Report

Another busy week and weekend. My boyfriend and I really kicked-butt and took names when it came to yard work. We cleaned all the yard furniture, cleaned windows, I mulched, fixed a misassembled umbrella and did some plantings. T-minus (less than) one week till the party and we really only have the interior and prep left. Go us ;-)


Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Progress Report

Another busy weekend. T-minus two weeks till the pumkin-monkey's first birthday.

In the Atlanta area, we had a lot of rain over the weekend. It was "supposed" to be in and out on Saturday. Instead, it was off and on all weekend making it's presence known with loud thunder and bright flashes of lighting. Despite Mother Nature's attempts to foil my weekend progress, there were some accomplishments:

  • I weeded the plant beds a bit more
  • I laid the rest of the path from the patio to the pool
  • I leveled everything and secured the pavers
  • I cleaned and treated the pool -again-
  • My brother helped bag the leaves and pinestraw from the yard and cleared the pool deck

What else? I made two trips to the home improvement store. One stop to a big box store to find a better deal. Showed the boyfriend's house to a potential renter. Went to a hockey game and had dinner with some friends.

We did get some quality time in with the pumpkin-monkey too. I either work during naps or Daddy keeps an eye on him while Mommy plays in the dirt.

This week/weekend I have to complete the following because it is the LAST full weekend. Thankfully the party is on a Sunday, so I will have one additional weekend day to work before show time:

1. Mulch the plant beds next to the patio
2. Clean the dogquarium AKA the sun room
3. Clean the patio furniture
4. Clean the house (yeah- just lumping it all together)
5. Clean the carpets (guess technically I hired a company to clean them for me)

In other news, with all the rain, I found my leak is still a problem dispite my caulking efforts. Next step is to check the gutters and maybe call a roofer. This sort of thing always happens when I have my hands full *sigh*

Have a good week everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What is my Aesthetic?

What is my Aesthetic? This is something we all ask any time we are choosing a design. Whether it is our first place and we are debating whether that poster screams "punk rock" or "poser" or while keeping up with the Joneses "Will Mrs. Jones know I bought that at Walmart?" *GASP* (side note: it isn't Wally World but I just saw a showcase of one of Sarah Jessica Parker's homes and she had a simple IKEA table in the living room. Love that!).

I have been asking myself that question over and over. Something I have realized is aesthetic doesn't always draw all of its influences from a person. Often it comes from the home or the surroundings. What does that mean? Well- it may be hard to take your shabby-chic French Cottage decor and move it into an ultra-modern home filled with glass walls and steel. Sure. You could do it- but you have to be brave and resolute in your decision. Just because you live on or by the beach doesn't mean you HAVE to have white-washed wicker furniture and coral and shells in every nook and cranny.

As for my own, over the years, I have painted, tiled, stripped (no, not that kind!), plumbed, sanded, purchased and filled many a room with furniture and decorative do-dads. I have a varied and expansive collection of... stuff.

In my early 20's I thought themes were the way to go- I wanted an Asian room,

a modern room, a game room and so on. Themes are an easy go-to and can be fun. Now that I am in my 30's, I no longer want that. I want quality and longevity.

I know what I don't generally like- I am not into fussy or frou-frou. I don't buy by the room. I don't like clutter (my boyfriend would laugh if he read that last part. Hey- like and do are two different things. Recall, I mentioned, I have a lot of suff!).

I know I like a few things a lot- I really like glass. Glass of all colors and types (well most).

I like original art. I paint- but I am not always happy with my own art, but I am not afraid to use it. I like copper, metal
and I like solid wood objects and furniture.

Does all of this add up to my aesthetic? Well, I am not sure. In ways, I think I am still discovering it and I can also recognize that it may be a moving target as my tastes and moods change- as they do for us all. Perhaps that is why many of us are always asking that question.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Progress Report


The weekend is over, right? Wow, what a whirlwind.

My yard looks somewhat disastrous, but I consider that progress. "Why?"You may ask? Because it takes a little destruction and deconstruction to make big changes- right?

I have a bit of a photo fail on my "before" pictures, so we will have to make due with the in-progress pictures.

As you can see, my dogs also like to be part of the picture. I figured I would let them be since they are a major part of why the back yard is such a mess.

As you may ALSO see, the pool is actually a normal pool color! YAY! You may also note the pool equipment in the photo because I figured I would also leave it to illustrate my many hours of hard work transforming the pond to something that looks more like an oasis. We aren't quite there yet, but -so- close.

This weekend, I cleaned the pool (again), bought supplies, removed the old thin and brittle flagstone from the path (minus the tiny stragglers you can see on the patio in the photo), dry fit some new stones in a basket weave pattern, weeded the planting beds on either side and pruned, pruned, pruned. If I had taken a "before" photo, you would notice the rose bushes were about two feet taller and wider.

It wasn't all me, my guy raked up about 15 BAGS of leaves and pine straw in the front yard. What a difference out there as well.

All of this and I managed to wrangle an 11 month old, get an oil change, go to a birthday party and do some laundry.

And to wrap-up, may I introduce my beautiful Cherry tree in full bloom? So pretty. The blossoms will be long gone before it is party time, but I always like to capture it in its glory before the petals blow away on the wind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Design Inspiration - Dreaming Green

My outdoor spaces have MUCH room for improvement. I often dream about what my spaces could be. Over the next few weeks, I plan to make some real progress, at least in the back yard.

Here is my design inspiration:

In the area between the patio and the pool, there are two large, square planting areas. These are currently dominated by lots of weeds and pitiful planters from years past. I would like to add some low-maintenance plants to this area so that it is more naturalized and less mulch-ized. I love Lavendar, so that might be an addition I'd make.

Then I have the ivy covered retaining wall of doom. I want to take the upper area and make it more accessable. I think I would have a lovely, meandering stairway with a stucco retaining wall:

I would like to clear out some trees on the upper level and build a patio area with a fireplace:

Doesn't that seem great? For now, everything but the plantings are what the title suggests- a dream.

All photos in this post are from