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Light, Bright, and Airy

March 21, 2011

You might remember a little post back in January saying that I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, because, instead, I believe in goals.  I then proceeded to give you a list of goals that we hoped to accomplish this year.

I’m pleased to say we have officially crossed something else off the list!

1)      Install new windows.  (Okay: so technically this is more like making a to-do list.  I like to cheat and have one item to check off so that I know I can accomplish it. The truth comes out.  Good for me!).

2)      Get a quote for bathroom renovation. (Do I think we can actually re-do the bathroom this year?  Heck-to-the-naw!)

3)      Develop a plan for sprinkler installation.  (Might they get installed?  Perhaps.  But it’s a lot more likely to happen if we actually have a plan for getting it done).

4)      Window coverings for the front windows.

For those of you wondering why window coverings for the front windows are such a big deal, let’s put it this way: our neighbors could wave to us from their front window when we were sitting in the dining room.  For those of you that know our floorplan, you know that’s saying a lot.  And while we’re close to our neighbors (though not as close as the ones that have “walked in on each other”—true story!), my dream was to be able to walk by the front window wearing absolutely nothing if my little heart desired it.  Mostly that’s a function of the fact that you have to walk by our front window to access the laundry room.  But you get the point.

This was not an easy process—which is complicated by the fact that it is two windows sit on a 90 degree angle.  Like so:

Let me start by saying that I envisioned these beautiful, custom made curtains with solid brown silk and orange damask pattern.  I even went so far as to buy some brown (faux) silk for said curtain sewing process.  It was on sale for about 60% off at JoAnn’s.  Of course, I was also adamant that I wanted double curtains: sheers + orange/brown panels.  So when I found the sheer curtains on sale at Target for $10 for 4 panels, I was sold.  Total investment so far?  Not too bad, but more than I’d like to admit since in the next sentence, I’m going to tell you that we scrapped the entire plan.  So I scrapped the entire plan.  I realized a couple of things: 1) Not owning your own sewing machine = no custom curtains. 2) Corner windows require corner connector pieces = Very hard to find for double curtain rods 3) Orange and Brown Curtains = EXPENSIVE!

But for the record, we did find orange and brown curtains we loved.  Apparently it’s a new trend; one that I would like to humbly point out that I was on the leading edge of.  We considered options like this (and considered only briefly at $49.99/panel from Bed Bath and Beyond):

And then, one day, I stumbled across this room suggestion which inspired me to rethink my curtain ideas.  Technically, it was more like an intentional search than a stumble.

…This is where you should imagine me carefully explaining to the husband that the orange and brown curtains are sooooooooo out, and then light, airy curtains would be so amazing in our space.

So let’s go ahead and contemplate that for a little bit.  What would cause me to change my mind?  One day, looking around the house, I started thinking, “Hmm…it could start feeling heavy with all this dark wood.”  I was also worried “heavy” (literally and figuratively) curtains would weigh down the small room which is already overloaded with furniture, and could make the room look dated, whereas light and airy curtains would really modernize it.

We visited Penny’s to see the curtains that I saw in the room suggestion board.

They didn’t have them in stock but we were able to see and touch the sample in the book, which was enough to convince us that the texture was more similar to the texture for those old school folding chairs than of a modern and airy family room.

So we continued the hunt for bright and airy curtains, and found quite a few we liked.  Prices were prohibitive (since we needed 4 panels).

In the end, we were in complete agreement on some beautiful WHITE (yes, mom, I hear you gasping out loud!) curtains from Cost Plus World Market.  And at $25/panel, it screamed “I’M AFFORDABLE!!!  TAKE ME HOME!!!”  I say “it” not “they” because we had to drive to several stores to find enough panels.  So technically, to begin with, it was just that one panel screaming at us.

I’m so proud that we chose white.  It’s so completely not “us” and so completely impractical—that it makes absolutely sense.

Now that they’re installed, let me tell you what I love: they completely cut the glare on the tv, they still allow enough light through so that the room isn’t depressing if you close the curtains during the day, and the white is oh-so-perfect.


Another reason for choosing white?  The paint color we’ve selected for the rest of the house.  But that, my friends and family, is another story you’ll have to wait to see unfold.

Have you ever made a decorating decision that seemed out of character for you, and then you fell in love with it?  We’d love to hear about it!


Let ‘er Rip

February 1, 2011

If you’ve ever been to our house, even one time, you’ve probably encountered this disaster.  So…a quick guessing game–guess which object in our house has been the subject of these comments:

“I was waiting for you to get home.  How do you work this thing?” (Visiting friend from Colorado)

“Is there a trick to this?” (Friends on girls’ night)

“Can you show me how to use this?” (family)

“I almost bought you a new one of these for Christmas.” (neighbor)


If you guessed our paper towel holder, you guessed correctly.  Seriously, we registered for this beautiful brushed steel holder for our wedding.  And it was beautiful.  Regrettably, that was about it.  NOBODY, and I do mean NOBODY, could ever successfully pull a paper towel off this thing without it ripping into little shreds.  Sad, sad, excuse for a paper towel holder.  See that handy “holder” arm on the left?  Yeah?  You see it. NOT so handy!

So when one of my girlfriends sent me a text message with a picture of the Costco coupon book, conveniently zoomed in on the coupon for the paper towel holder, I took the hint.  It only took five years. So I sent her this text message photo back:

Yep.  I really did.  And here it is in our house, in all its glory:

Don’t lie.  You can’t wait to get to my house and try it out now.

And for those of you that read all the way to the end, thanks for humoring me.  Little things are sometimes big deals around this place, especially when it is a nuisance you have been putting up with for five years.

And, in case you’re dying to try out that old paper towel holder, it could be YOURS at our next garage sale!

Worse Than a Sore Thumb?

January 23, 2011

It was sticking out like a sore thumb—only kind of worse—because at least a sore thumb is the same shape and made of the same materials as the rest of the fingers on the hand.  And in our case, this was worse, yes, definitely worse, than a sore thumb.

I’m talking about our entertainment stand, a term that I use very loosely.  Remember those oh-so-fun college years where you covered sofas with sheets, hung curtains from 3M hooks, and used furniture made of cardboard?  For some of us, those years extended a little beyond college—at least when it came to cardboard furniture.  Yep—we had been living with this beauty of an entertainment stand and shelf since Chris graduated from college.

Of course, we were pretty proud of it then.  I think in all we spent about $50 between the box and the bookshelf, purchased at Target and Wal-Mart respectively.  We even upgraded the little box stand thing for the TV with the “optional silver feet” that made it look so decorative.  Bah!

In any event, as with most things, it was a matter of money.  While it didn’t really match the rest of the family room, we were waiting for the right price.  We’d seen several pieces that we liked at Cost Plus World Market, and when I received a 20% off coupon (good on sale items!), we moseyed into World Market, and found this amazing media stand already on sale.

We managed to nab the last one, and put it in the car to bring it home.  Of course, we didn’t go straight home as we had to swing by the Home Depot to pick up some new knobs to replace the “Asian décor” look that they had going on.  We assembled it that night, and for now, our TV sits on a towel so that it won’t scratch it.

Of course, we ran into one problem: those decorative doors don’t hide our media stuff very well.

I concluded that perhaps the best solution was to cover the doors with some fabric.

Below, you’ll find the quick down and dirty of how we did it.  We made sure to buy thin fabric that would still fully mask what was being hidden, but that would also still let the sound from our speakers get through.  We adhered the fabric using Velcro; though we had originally thought about using a staple gun, I figured velco would make it easy to change out the fabric should the décor in our family room change.

1)      We cut the fabric to the right size.

2)      We cut the Velcro and placed it on the cabinet doors themselves.  We stuck the two pieces together, rather than sticking one piece to the fabric first, so that we could be sure the pieces lined up.

3)      We placed the fabric on the back of the door, pressing it to the Velcro’s sticky back (facing out) to adhere.  No pictures of this step, as it took four hands, and since our puppy can only pose for pictures and hasn’t yet mastered taking them, we were left with no one to hold the camera a snap a shot for you!

Here’s the finished look!  I think it’s quite a transformation from the cardboard furniture we were using previously.  I love that we managed to hide everything in the cabinet for under $5.00, and that we can easily change out the fabric, or remove it entirely if we choose to go that route in the future.  What about you?  Any tricks for hiding things around your house?

* Media cabinet picture copyright of Cost Plus World Market.

Be It Therefore Resolved…I Mean Achievable…

January 5, 2011

How do we get things done around this place?  Sometimes with all the hustle and bustle of church, work, school, and friends, I wonder how we do it.  Let the following provide just a little insight…and let me preface it by saying, “I’m not perfect.  Just ask my husband.” 🙂 In fact, I can be kind of a stinker (like when I don’t want my picture taken).

But the point is, even though I’m not perfect, I found what works for me:

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions.  I really don’t.  I know.  I seem like the type of person that would.  I tried it a couple of times.  And I failed miserably.

There are a lot of definitions for a “resolution” none of which lead me to believe that I should begin anew with making a list of such resolutions.  Really?  “Firm determination”—“A formal expression or intention made.”  Really?  That’s going to help me be a better person this year? And to me, that was really all it was: I was firmly determined to do something like eat less fast food, or read more books, or spend more time with friends.

Now?  At the beginning of each year I have goals.  That’s right.  Goals.  I am not “resolved” to be more healthy this year.  Instead, I have a goal of running a ½ marathon this year (see #4 and #5 below—now I’m in big trouble if I don’t do this!). Big shout-out to my sister-in-law, Jen (pictured at right below), who is on board–Long Beach–October–here we come!

But back to the matter at hand.  Below you’ll see the how and the why for me–why I choose goals rather than resolutions.

1)      I categorize my goals into specific groups: Spiritual, Health, Personal, Craft, Home, and Financial.

2)      I create a plan.  It’s not enough to have a goal without a plan to achieve it.

3)      I make my goals measurable.  How was I ever going to measure that I was “more healthy?”  That’s right, I wasn’t.  I was setting myself up for failure.

4)      I write them down.  Yep—there’s no saying, “That’s not what I really meant” when I wrote it down.

5)      I tell someone about them.  Accountability, anyone?

6)      Set a time limit.  When will I achieve it by?

7)      I’m realistic.  There’s no way I’m going to achieve 10 goals in each little category I create, so why bother?  I choose two or three for each category.

So, I won’t be sharing all of my goals here, because the point of this little “Housetory” is the “history” and “story” of our house, along with the memories and stories that happen inside it.

But, I will share our GOALS for our home this year:

1)      Install new windows.  (Okay: so technically this is more like making a to-do list.  I like to cheat and have one item to check off so that I know I can accomplish it. The truth comes out.  Good for me!).

2)      Get a quote for bathroom renovation. (Do I think we can actually re-do the bathroom this year?  Heck-to-the-naw!)

3)      Develop a plan for sprinkler installation.  (Might they get installed?  Perhaps.  But it’s a lot more likely to happen if we actually have a plan for getting it done).

4)      Window coverings for the front windows.

And as for the rest of our home GOALS?  Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!  I have to leave a little bit to the imagination, right?

What about you?  Any new goals or (gasp!) resolutions that you have for 2011?  I’d love to hear what you’re up to!


To Add to the Holiday Madness

December 24, 2010

To add to the absolute holiday madness, it seemed only appropriate that with company coming over on the evening of the 23rd, that our house looked like this on the evening of the 22nd.

Seriously!  Not even kidding!  Ahhh…of course, the best laid plans never quite work out the way you expect.  We were supposed to have brand spanking new windows last week Saturday, but the 6 days or torrential down pour kind of ruined those plans.  So, needless to say, on the morning of 12/23, the first time our eyes have seen the sunshine in nearly a week, we had a group of guys come over to install the windows, and we had to move all of our furniture out of the way that could potentially block the installation process.

It has been a less than pleasant experience to say the least, but I’ll spare you the boring details.  Let’s just say, I was ready to get the old suckers out of my house (see below), and enjoy a 30% tax rebate as long as the new ones were in by the end of the year.

Now, you can’t tell from looking at that picture, but you could literally FEEL the draft coming through these windows.  The windows on one side of the house had been replaced (Home Depot, new construction style), and we were shivering (LITERALLY!) with excitement to get the new, custom built windows with E3 glass in on the “bedroom half” of the house!  (LoE3 is the most energy efficient, I’m told.  It’s also what makes you eligible for the tax credit–though I’m not a tax person, so you should really check with a real expert if you’re looking for tax and window advice.)

ANY hoo, our family and friends have been very gracious about not complaining about the windows in the guest bedroom, but our puppy was pretty chilly when we got him out of his crate one morning.  That was “mommy and daddy” wake-up time.  The tax credit didn’t hurt either–but it’s great to check another big to-do off of our list.

[Insert gratuitous photo of cute child puppy that was previously seen shivering under the cold window in his crate].

Alas, what you have all been waiting for:

I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that we can already tell the difference!  Our house is significantly warmer, and we no longer need to run the thermostat at 74 degrees to keep the house a comfortable temperature when it is 50 degrees out.  So far, we’ve been able to lower it 3 degrees.  And if you know me at all, you know that’s saying alot…right, Grandmom? 😉 [Grandmom and I like to wear sweaters and run the heater if it’s under 70 degrees.  We’re kindred spirits that way].

And for those of you wondering–yep!  Our house was entirely put back together by the time we had company over this evening.


Holiday Cheer

December 22, 2010

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Christmas is nearly here.  And our house has celebrated each passing holiday with great cheer!

I quickly realized that if I don’t soon post some pictures of our “holiday house” adorned in its festive glory, you might all miss out.

So, just for a refresher, here’s what the dining room normally looks like:

And when we got ready for Thanksgiving, here’s what it looked like:

And now we’ve switched it up for Christmas.  It’s only fair that I share that it was Chris’ idea to add the gold jingle bells to the table.  Love them!

Yep—we even switched out the curtains for the holidays!  It’s not as beautiful as many of the tables you’ll see, but it’s something that I’m getting better at as the holidays go by.

In addition to the idea for the gold bells, Chris’ other major contribution (okay–not just a contribution since he did it himself) was decorating the outside of our house.  He likes the classic look…all 7 watts that each C9 bulb deliver…I’m very excited for the upcoming power bill.  But seriously, the look he achieves is amazing!  If you look hard, you can see the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree, and the wreath on our front door.

Chris and I have continued each of our family’s tradition of adding a new Christmas ornament each year.  Since we didn’t put up a Christmas tree last year (since we were moving into our new house and in Cancun), this year was the first time that we added our ornament from our trip to Maui in 2008 and our trip to Cancun in 2009.  Of course, we were also thrilled to be able to add the “Our First Home” ornament that Chris’ mom had given us.  My family’s tradition is that the ornament that you buy commemorates a special event or occasion during the year.  So—what would that be for 2010?  Great question!  It SHOULD have been an ornament from Santa Barbara or the Santa Ynez valley for our 5th anniversary—alas, I failed to buy one there so have been desperately looking online to find a solution.  Nothing so far…

The Christmas tree keeps our front windows festive in the family room:

This year Chris also told me that his mom used to have cinnamon pinecones, and asked if we could add some to our holiday décor this year.  My response, “Babe—it’s taken 5 years for you to tell me that you want a $2.50 bag of cinnamon pinecones?”  Obviously, we added our own twist to this one as well, which you can see here:

I love the holiday scent that they bring to the house.

This year we also added a show tree in our bedroom.  It’s covered in white lights and silver ribbon, and has pearl white, silver, and red tiny Christmas balls that all glimmer with joy.  It’s hard to believe that this little 3’ tree, now sitting atop our chest of drawers, was our very first Christmas tree together.  It serves as a sweet reminder of where we have been together, and all the great things that God has in store for us.  If you would have told me in 2005 when we put up this 3’ tree on our end table that by 2010 we would own our own home that could house a 6’ Christmas tree, I never would have believed it.

And speaking of the great things God has in store for us, my Christmas wouldn’t be complete without my beautiful nativity.  Chris’ mom started purchasing this nativity for me in 2005, and purchased a new piece each year. It’s a gift that I really cherish, and I’m so glad to have this as a reminder of what God had in store for us in that tiny baby.

So, as you celebrate Christmas this year, with decorated holiday tables, with lights filling Christmas trees, and with beautiful presents, may you remember:

– The final table Christ sat at before He gave His life for us

-The light that lit the Bethlehem sky to show us where the Light of the World had been born so that we might become lights before men

– That a Christmas present is a small reminder of the greatest present we’ve ever received—salvation

From our home to yours–wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by this little corner of the blog world that we call home, and for your ongoing support and encouragement.  We’re looking forward to a fantastic 2011 filled with great new projects…and we may still have a couple projects left to share before 2010 is over!

Nearly Picasso

November 10, 2010

It was to the point I was going to have to make another attempt at painting.  I was successful with the first one as well as the second one, and I was about to have to paint my own painting a third time—in which case you could have called me Picasso.

Speaking of Picasso—how about this Picasso quote? “When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”  Makes you think, right?  [P.S.  It was on the back of my Dilbert calendar a couple of weeks ago.  Look at Dilbert going all deep].

I digress. The point is, I was nearly forced to become Picasso.  We had been looking for a piece of art to hang above our bed ever since we had moved in.

The longer we looked, the pickier we became.

“No, not a photograph.  A painting.”  (Katie)

“No, not just black and white.  It needs to have red in it.” (Chris)

“No, not people.  Just flowers or landscape.” (Chris & Katie)

“No, not a landscape.  Just flowers.”  (Katie)

“No, it can’t be taller than it is wide.  It needs to be square, or wider than it is tall.” (Chris)

“No, it can’t be realistic, it needs to be abstract or impressionist.”  (Chris)

And I’m NOT even exaggerating.  Those are seriously all conversations that we had.  On trip #2,583 to Home Goods, we found the perfect fit.  Here it is, in all its glory.  (Well, except for the fact that the flash on my camera distorts the colors a little bit).

I think the wait was worth it.  What do you think?