Friday, January 31, 2014

The Snowstorms of 2014!

We live on a pretty big hill.  It's nice because it gives us a great view, but in weather like we have had this week, I don't like to go out because I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it back up.  The snow plows aren't exactly in abundance here in Tennessee, so the ones we do have are in demand on main roads.  We stayed in Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'm so glad we did.  Tuesday morning I watched a van trying very hard to make it up our hill, only to get as far as our house before sliding slowly back down to the bottom.  It was incredibly mesmerizing to watch.  I almost made popcorn and drew up a chair as car after car attempted the great hill.  The kids and I would cheer them on, which I'm sure helped a lot.

The kids loved playing in our snow that was not deep enough to cover the grass.

Either we didn't get much, or we really need to mow.

Having a sunroom is great.  All of these pictures are taken through the window as I sat cozily tucked in with a cup of coffee.

Apparently the play set is fun even with snow all over it.

It was a little piece of Heaven for them.  They sucked down their breakfast as fast as possible in order to get out into the snow. 

 I think they spent around three hours out in the snow over the two days.

It was really cute watching them play together.  I don't think they argued once.

Snow, the great unifier.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A post about slippers and carpet cleaning

Last night, I made homemade pizza.  We ate it in front of The Rescuers, which is the gold standard when it comes to movie night with kids.  Ella needed help getting the movie to the right place {we're still in the age of VHS}, so I came over.  What I didn't know was that she had placed her pizza on the floor while she worked on the movie.  I didn't even know I had stepped in it until after I'd walked all over the carpet in my brand new Christmas slippers.

I cleaned up the mess, put my dirty slippers in the laundry room, and we watched the movie and had a lovely evening.

This morning, I was enjoying the coziness of sitting by the fire, sipping my delicious coffee, while the snowy world around me went on.  The kids came in, and within 1.3 seconds, Nate had knocked my very full, very hot, very yummy coffee off the table and all over the rug. 

And my back-up slippers. 

I cleaned up the mess, moving couches so that I could get under the rug to make sure the coffee hadn't seeped through to the hardwood underneath.  And I put my slippers in the laundry room.  I sent the older kids outside to play in the snow so I could get the job done faster.  In a very short time, Ella came back in for booboo kissing.  Jack followed.  I have a rubber-backed mat sitting right by the door for easy snow suit clean-up, but while I was dealing with Ella's booboo Jack was stomping all over the room, trying his hardest to knock all of the snow and mud off of his snowsuit and onto the carpet like it was the coolest game ever.

I ask you.  Every kid.  Individually.  Within a day of each other.  My house smells like carpet cleaner.

The moral of this story?  I need a back-up for my back-up slippers.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A new entry light

So far in this week of entry updates, I've focused on things that cost next to nothing.  I love cheap updates and sharing how much they cost for two reasons.  First, because I think everyone can do something to make their home more beautiful, no matter the budget.  Second, because those projects make me look good and thrifty.  #keepingitreal

But here's the thing.  Not every update is going to be cheap, nor should it.  We plan on staying in this home, so many of our choices have been colored by that.  While we love a good deal and will shop around for one, quality is more important than getting something cheaply that will either look bad or need to be replaced soon. 

All of that to say, we updated our entry light!

It's a lot larger than the old lantern, and has five lights instead of three, so it actually helps to light the living room and hallway, too.  And I LOVE the shadows it casts.

It is the Honeycomb chandelier from World Market.  I saw it last year and waited nine months for it to go on sale.  Now, it wasn't cheap at $169, but it was way less than anything else I was finding that I liked as well.

It finally went on sale {with free shipping - bonus!}, and here she is!

She was a beast to put up.  It took two of us.  Look at the shadows!

I think it suits the space really well.  I worried that it was too big at first, but I think I just needed to get used to it.

It compliments the pendant down the hall, also, which is nice.  They're the same shade of brown, and their shapes work well together.

I wouldn't categorize this as cheap, especially in light of the other changes in here {pun intended}, but because the rest of the entry/hall {excluding wall paint and trim, of course} cost a total of less than twenty dollars, a splurge was okay.  We felt confident in purchasing it because I had done my research and this chandelier was less than half of the next best option {even before it went on sale}.

I'm really happy with the light, and I'm so glad we went for it.  Originally, I had planned on painting the lantern that was here, but Handsome Hero nixed that.  He said I was in danger of becoming a one trick pony with the red chandelier in the living room and the yellow one in the stairway!

{I still might paint the lantern and put it in the laundry room.  No one goes in there but us so it doesn't limit my pony to just one trick.} :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My 3 funny faces

For day three of entry update week, I am moving ever so slightly into the hallway.  The front hallway is attached to entry - in fact, I'm standing in the entry and turned to my left for this picture.  This was taken when we first moved in.  The walls are covered in dirty grass cloth wallpaper, and the mouldings are all tan.
The wallpaper was taken down, and the true beauty of the walls emerged {joke}.  Just to continue the glory of this stage, you can see straight ahead into the master bedroom.  That's our window, covered in a navy fitted sheet.  Breathtaking, isn't it?

And finally done, down to the baseboards and up to the pendant light.  The master is in no way done, but at least it has a curtain.

I've had these large black frames from Michael's for a long time, and I wanted to put the kids' pictures in them, but I didn't want the normal cute kid pictures.  Those are everywhere around the house.  I wanted these to be humorous in some way.

They make me happy every time I look at them.  We're a goofy family and I love having pictures that show that.  And here's my own, personal, unsubstantiated belief:  having items in your home that show that you don't take yourself too seriously will make your guests feel more at home with you. 

I mean, who wouldn't want to hang with these funny faces?

Now, before we take a short pop quiz, the frames are ones we already had, and getting three 8x10s printed at Costco cost less than four dollars.  Easy and cheap, unless you have to spring for the frames.

Now for the quiz. To get these pictures:

A.  I took regular pictures and Photoshopped them.

B.  I took regular pictures and left them as is because my kids are early bloomers and already have large noses and facial hair.

C.  I just looked through my pictures, because there was a plethora of weird photos to choose from. 

And the answer is:

C {wild audience applause}!!!!!!!!  I guess they come by it honestly, though, because I stuck the mustache on Nate and took a picture.  He didn't mind, though, so I guess he fits right in!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A fairy tale to rival all others

Okay.  If yesterday's post about the gold mirror in the entry was subtle, this is ninja subtle.  Most people have no idea of the change I am about to share with you.  Those who notice share a special place in my heart.  In my fairy tale, they are the heros.
Once upon a time, there was a wall.  It felt that it was an important wall because it stood on the right of the front door for all who entered to admire.  Only it felt there was nothing admirable about it.  The wall felt a sense of duty to observe all who entered the house and search out whether there was wisdom to be found in them.  But, after all, it was just a wall.  It could not talk, because that would be silly.

It decided to try an experiment.  What it needed was a test.  A test of acute observation.  So this is what that little wall did. 

First it was covered with a beautiful muted creamy-gray color called Wind Fresh.  Then, borrowing a stencil from a certain kitchen-turned-sunroom table, it mixed the same gold craft paint used on the mirror and added it, a couple of drops at a time, to a small puddle of the wall color until there was a subtle difference. 

After randomly stenciling flowers all over itself, the wall saw that there was no fruit for its labor.  No one, not even the wisest person in the world, would be able to see the difference.

So more gold was added and the stenciling began again.  The wall was very pleased.  Only the most observant and wise visitors would notice this.  It was a wonderful test. 

Not even a camera could capture the stencil unless it was just inches away, though it was more obvious to the eyes of men.  Apparently the camera was not very wise.

And the wall was content, feeling that it had done its part for the good of the home.

And it lived happily ever after.

The End

Note from the author:  The stencil was actually applied by me.  This is a fictional story and we do not discriminate against those who have not observed the stencil.  If we did, my dad would not be allowed in our home.  

Below is a picture of the wall with the completed stencil.  The only one I can readily see is peeking out from the top right corner of the dresser.  Other than that, if you see any dirty spots, those are probably stencils.  Because my walls would never be dirty.


As to how you can incorporate this in your home, stenciling something simple like this is SO EASY!  You can make a measured grid and be very precise and it would be beautiful, too, but this is just a random placement of flowers and probably took two hours at the outside to accomplish.  You can make this as bold or simple as you want.  Stencils like these are really cheap at any craft store, but if you are thinking of doing a whole room, I would recommend investing in a higher quality stencil because these aren't meant for such large projects, though they might work just fine. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gilding the Mirror

When I was being very consistent with this blog, meaning, when we only had two kids who both took naps and no one was school age yet, I would document a project and then write about it immediately.  Now, Handsome Hero will sometimes remind me, "Don't you want to take pictures of this for the blog?"  and I'll say, "Oh, yeah!"  Then I forget to actually write a post about the project.  It's sad.  It's a sickness.  Maybe it's old age.  Maybe it's my bunion. 

Over the weekend, I was downloading some photos and came across many projects that I have never written about.  This week, if I can be as organized as I'm aspiring to be, I'm going to post about four of them that we've done in our entry.  All are easy and cheap things you can do to update any area of your home.  Hopefully they will be helpful and kick start those creative juices.

Number 1:  Updating a Frame

In this case, a mirror.  This is a really good mirror, heavy with a beveled edge.  I actually really like the style of the frame and it's real wood, but it's red hue was not working with my green dresser.  Too Christmassy.  I am into metallics right now, so I decided to paint it gold.

I laid the mirror on a flat surface and started working on it.  First I tried a putty-consistency rub-n-buff.

It was a pretty color but a pain to work with.

I hadn't done half of it when I had to stop because of a huge blister.  See?  Oh.  Well, it was there! And it hurt!

I ended up pulling out a jar of gold craft paint and using a foam brush to apply it.  On the scrolly parts I lightly dragged the brush over so that the raised sections got highlighted but that the recessed portions were still dark.  If you're doing this, make sure your foam brush doesn't have much paint on it.  It's easier to add more than to undo in the ornate areas.  Having the different shades gives the frame more dimension and keeps it from looking plastic. 

You can see the difference below.  The section on the left has been fully painted, but the scrolly section on the right hasn't been painted yet.

It's not a huge, life changing difference and gold isn't for everyone, but I think it is pretty here.  I may go back at some point with another color of gold so that it has a bit more of a gilded look and less of an I've-been-painted-with-craft-paint look.  I also would like to try gold leafing at some point soon.  I have a project in mind....

This project was free because I had the supplies on hand, but if you had to buy craft paint and a foam brush it would cost around two dollars.  For another type of frame I might have used spray paint for even coverage.  You can always get a cool frame or bunch of frames from Goodwill and change up the color.  A grouping of frames in one color unifies them even if they're all different in style.  It would make for a beautiful gallery wall.

p.s.  If you are painting a mirror in it's frame like I did, and you get paint on it, it is super easy to get it off.  If it's still wet, you can obviously just wipe it up, but if you let it dry, simply take a straight edge {like the blade of an exacto knife or box cutter} and scrape it off.  If you keep even pressure and are careful, you won't scratch the surface.  Ditto on windows.

p.p.s.  Would you alter the appearance of something valuable so that it better suits your style/needs/decor?  This mirror isn't special to me.  It isn't an heirloom, isn't gifted from someone who would care if I changed it, isn't antique, and Handsome Hero didn't care, so I had no qualms changing it.  It's just a mirror.  But if it had more significance, well, I just don't know.  I guess it would depend on the circumstance.

p.p.p.s.  See those gorgeous flowers?  Read about them on yesterday's post.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A simple bouquet of flowers

This week, Ella went outside to play after a storm.  There were lots of branches scattered around.  She came in after awhile, disappeared for a bit, and then came running into the kitchen, very excited to show me her new creation.

"Mom, I made something for you!"

That phrase.

It scares me.

Is it going to be a barn made out of construction paper and two roles of tape?  Where am I going to keep another one of those?

Did she try to sew through cardboard again?  There were a lot of Barbie bandaids used in that incident.

Is she cutting up fabric and making more bookmarks?  I don't have any more books to put them all in.

Did she make another paper toilet?  Not toilet paper.  An actual paper toilet.  She made one for Handsome Hero and one for me as a welcome home gift after we had a night away a couple of weeks ago.


But it wasn't any of those things.  It was this.

A bouquet of blue flowers on some of those sticks from the yard.

Yes, construction paper.  Yes, lots of tape.

But perfect.  Absolutely perfect.

I think the entry was just calling for a little, uh, nature.  Don't you?