Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Light for the Kitchen

I love to hunt. Not for animals, but for things. Sometimes I will have something particular in mind but more often than not it's for just whatever. I don't buy a lot, but every now and then something great will come along. That's what happened a few weeks ago when I came across this at one of my favorite local places:

Though I didn't buy it that day, I knew right away it would look great in the new breakfast nook. Of course, anything would look better than this:

When I went back last week, my light was still there! That's a sign that it was meant to be! The only hang up is that the current airplane exhaust fixture is in a very random spot and not centered in the nook. I am hoping Mr. T can cut a new hole and figure out how to put up our new light. The best part about our new was only $10! Let's hope it works!

Rachel :)

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Airplanes and Boobs

Now that I have your attention, I have a very serious questions to ask...

What do airplanes and boobs have in common?

Seriously. I might be the only person who knows the answer to this crazy question. Apparently, they were both loved by the previous owners of our old house. Why? do you ask...because every light fixture they installed during their tenure here strongly resembles either parts of an airplane or parts of a woman's anatomy...a.k.a...the breasts. Here's the tour (all pictures are appropriate for young children):

airplane nose and propeller

airplane rear exhaust

nose of a plane or breast? decide

different angle

the hallway has a matching set...lucky us!

in the bathroom
The parts...a.k.a. the hallway and bathroom don't bother me as much as the ones in the kitchen. They are so random and oddly placed that I never really knew what to do with them. Imagine my delight when Young House Love blogged recently about a really odd light in their house. When it died, they took it down and bought a $2 white cap to close off the box and are going to leave it for a while. Here is their after picture:

Young House Love
I never knew such a thing existed! I am super excited!! Guess what Mr. T is going to do this weekend...he is taking down the airplane propeller that hangs over my head when I am washing dishes! While it will be semi temporary (meaning it will not be there permanently but for a while), I am looking forward to decluttering the ceiling in there!

Rachel :) Pin It

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Design Dilemma...

While I have wonderful visions for my living room and what the furniture and built-in shelves should look like, I forgot a key piece of the puzzle.  The flooring.  Right now, we have oatmeal colored Berber carpet.  To be nice, it's REALLY not one of my favorite parts of the house.  I'm sure when the house was new (17 years ago) the carpet was lovely.  Our house has changed owners 4 or 5 times and I think the carpet has remained the same.  Also, I like to roll around on the floor, stretch, and hang out.  Berber isn't exactly conducive to that kind of behavior.  If you read the blog last week, you are aware of my long list of things that require money right now.  Carpet isn't on the list.

Here are two ideas.  I really need some feedback on the second one.

Idea #1- The room is small.  I'm sure I could find a store that sells carpet remnants and get a pretty good deal.  There is still the expense of ripping up the old and installing the new, though.  I am  probably looking at a project that will require patience and money saving.  Not really interested in that. I want instant gratification (by now I'm sure you have read between the lines and seen that I am ALL about that!)

Idea #2- If I offend any design junkies, I apologize in advance. I'm just throwing this out there to see where it lands...What about an area rug over my existing carpet?  Did you just throw up on your keyboard? Please don't hate me.  I got the idea from House*Tweaking

Photo courtesy of House*Tweaking

Although Dana Miller used this rug as an accent, I would buy a rug big enough to cover the majority of the carpet.  I'm also thinking of using an indoor/outdoor rug...please don't click over to Facebook, yet!  

I found this Dash & Albert Rug that I think I like a lot.

The dogs seem happy lying on it.  Surely I would be, too. 

The problem with this rug is that the 8'5" x 11' is $514.  Also, I have never actually felt an indoor/outdoor rug so it could feel awful to my alligator-like delicate skin.  My thinking is that how nice would it be to be able to take the rug outside and squirt it off and let it dry in the sun???

An example of why this is so important to me:

He fell asleep while watching t.v.  Just slumped right over and conked out.  He was apparently in the middle of eating or storing something brown in his mouth (in addition to his ever-present pacifier).  When I picked him and his monkey up, there was something really gross, wet, and sticky on the carpet.  This was on his father's watch, not mine!

Ok...give me your opinions!  I can take it, I'm a big girl!


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Blank Canvas

The old washer and dryer are gone...the hoses and cords are gone...the holes have been patched...and here's what I have...

I am super excited! After looking and thinking and thinking and looking...I am using this as my inspiration:

Aubrey + Lindsay

I LOVE's makes me happy! While I don't know the details yet, I do know a few things:

1. I am going to make my aunt proud and tackle this project by myself. That's right. Just me. I haven't taken the beloved miter saw out in a while, so it's time to put my thinking cap on.
2. It will be 76" wide (wall to wall), but not be built in.
3. It will have legs.
5. It will be 15" tall with a 4" upholstered cushion on top. Yep...I'm going to do that too! I want it to be sofa like so the Smurfs can stretch out on it.
6. It will be 24" deep.
7. It will either have a pull up top with a piano hinge, front cabinets, or open storage. Like I said...I don't know the details yet.

I've got a kitchen banquette to design...see you in a few weeks!

Rachel :) Pin It

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Has Sprung...

Ahhhh...I love spring! There is nothing better that spending a Saturday working outside, only stopping at the end of the day to enjoy the hard work that was put forth. I committed to waiting until after Spring Break for outside projects, so we began this week. The Smurfs and I spent a few days painting pots for a few herbs and veggies. We had fun using left over chalkboard paint so we would be able to personalize our pots. I keep reminding myself that this is just the beginning. I am looking forward to the next few weeks before the summer southern heat begins...

the other side says mom and dad's mint...
but mom's mint had a better ring to it :)

smurfette's peace out cumcumbers

brainy smurf's cabbage

the gang

I bought the awesome herb markers from Etsy, one of my favorite sites for handmade unique goodies. Sarah at Simple Pretty Prints creates really cute personalized items at a great price. You will find the garden markers there. I hope everyone had a wonderful Earth Day...go plant something!

Rachel :)

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Stuck in the Mud...Update!

In true Marlene and J form, since this post published, our New Zealand plans have changed.  Apparently once J got cracking on the plans 2.5 years wasn't enough to save up what money we needed-it was more like 25 years!  That trip has been shelved for another 5 years.  Instead, he is now going to hunt out west and then meet me in Napa!  Same trip, a little more local, and definitely less money!  Whew-glad to cross one item off of the wants list!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Everything!  

and off-color funny for you...

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Stuck in the Mud

Do you ever feel like you are just stalled?  I have pretty much become guest blogger because I have nothing to contribute right now!  Rachel is doing all sorts of cool and creative things to her house and I'm so excited about them, that, believe it or not, I'm not even reading ahead.  Meaning, I don't cheat and look at the posts before they publish.  How 'bout that for integrity?

Basically, right now, I need to get my priorities straight.  There are so many things that I want and not enough money to go around (why am I humming 'Material Girl' by Madonna?).  If I'm honest with you-I've already been honest with myself- they are just that, wants.

Without further ado, here is my list of wants.  I will follow it with my short list of needs.

1. Slip cover for my sofa

2. Fun pillows to change up the look.  You can see what I'm going for here

3. New camera (this could fall under the "need" category since I have two extremely cute and photogenic children.  My flash is broken and J's solution was to just take pictures outside during the day.  I told him they still do cute and funny things at night in the dark. Stalemate.)

4. iPhone.  I have a Droid but I'm tired of putting people on mute with my chin.  I also just did something that gave me the bug for an iPhone, but it's a secret for now.

5. Housekeeper twice a month.  I had a housekeeper twice a month from the day we got married until I took my new job last May (8 years for those counting).  We had to make some big lifestyle changes in order for me to start my new career and Cleo got sacrificed.  We are finally in a place to have her back but twice a month will be a stretch unless I can negotiate her price with her.  Is it appropriate to do this?  I'd welcome feedback.

6. Trip to New Zealand.  J and I both want to go but it's going to be wicked expensive.  We're planning on March 2013 which should give us plenty of time to save.  He's going to hunt in WINE COUNTRY for 2 days while I wobble my way through the wineries!  Then, together, we'll see what else NZ has to offer.

7. A few more tops for spring and summer.

Here is my short list of needs.

1.  Pay off our new mattress.  (this is truly a blog in itself, but I'm so tired of talking about it.  Short version-we are awaiting mattress number 3. With toppers and pillows we've tried, it will be version 6.  I feel like Goldilocks, "this one's too hard, this one's too soft!"  The one coming next week better be just right because they won't let us exchange again!)

1. New brakes on my car

2. New tires on my car

3. Repair the hole in the side of the house.  It's small, maybe 6 inches in diameter, but J and I have visions of that entire side falling off into the driveway.  Actually, this may not be a bad thing...I would extend the basement and enclose the garage.  Then, I would add on a garage with a bonus suite above it!  See how my "wants" list grows?

4. Grill.  This is a need because I'm tired of eating burnt food.

For a while, J has been taking the "saving" burden on alone.  It's time for me to start helping out, now which means the "wants" list will take some time.  Luckily, we stumbled our way into some good decisions when we bought our house.  We didn't buy more than we could afford and truly, we aren't extravagant people.  We Groupon and Scout Mob our meals out most of the time.  I have an app on my phone for locating the nearest restaurant where kids eat free.  It takes us FOREVER to decide to make a big purchase.  Mainly because I'm all over the internet reading reviews and trying to find the best deal while J is grappling with parting with money.  Crazy fact:  I logged into his bank account and he went an entire pay period (15 days) and only spent $14.  We do have his, mine, and ours, but still, that's bizarre, right?  I had 19 transactions in the same period. Mostly lunch and allergy medicine.

After 11 months in our new life, I'm still adjusting to having to plan and wait for the things I want.  When commercial real estate was good, it was GOOD, baby!  I will say that taking the job at Ascot Diamonds was the best thing I ever did.  I'm happy, the kids are happy, and Jamie is happy. cute!

I guess the next step in tackling both of these lists is to figure out what is most important and make a spreadsheet of costs and a time line.  I adore making budget spreadsheets.  I like being able to look back and see if we were under budget.  Even if I can't locate the overage, I still feel like I won.  Crazy logic, I know.

All in all, we are in a good place.  It just happens that there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of in a short period of time! How do you plan for big purchases?  Or even small ones?

Marlene Pin It

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We Can All Dream

In having my new found freedom from having a washer and dryer in my kitchen, I have become obssesed with breakfast nooks. I have poured over a ton of pictures of tables, chairs, furniture, fixtures...everything!

i am drooling over this wing back settee sofa
image from: Decor Pad

Southern Living
Coastal Living

Aubrey + Lindsay's DIY Banquette
I could look over pictures for days...I love it! But time after time I keep coming back to Aubrey + Lindsay's DIY Banquette. I love everything about it. It's simple, clean, and something like this would add the perfect element to our kitchen. This picture makes me smile!

Rachel :) Pin It

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It All Comes Together

If you are still reading this saga, you are either super patient or super bored! If you haven't read the past two days, I'll take a minute and catch you up to speed...Our old house has no laundry room. It does however have a super great sewing closet which slowly turned into a junk closet. What it lacks in the laundry room department, it makes up for in having two small coat closets. We purged and merged our coats into one closet and turned the other into a cloffice. This left us with an empty closet and still no laundry room...

Empty Closet + No Laundry Room =
Laundry Closet
lauset is the technical french name

Today it's making its big debut! With further ado, I would like to introduce the best thing we have done to our old house...

I keep the things I use daily within easy reach

the Smurfs lunchboxes

two shelves of cleaning supplies
I L.O.V.E. this new area we created! We purchased a new washer and dryer and stacked them. I had enough room for a small (but big enough) shelving unit to put beside them. We didn't want anything permanent to make maintenance to the machines easier. The shelves are on felt pads and they are super easy to slide in and out. Behind them I mounted the iron and ironing board to the back wall. This has been a wonderful use of space! Mr. T and I are beyond thrilled...and I can't say that enough!

If you are up to might wonder where this leaves our kitchen/laundry room/breakfast nook? Once again...stay tuned...

Rachel :)
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

As the House Turns

I've been rambling for a few weeks now about changes and switches we've been doing in our old house. Remember this post about the wonderful sewing closet Mr. T built for me last summer? At some point it went from looking wonderful to looking like this:

real life is not always pretty!
My wonderful sewing closet had turned into a...gasp...junk closet! Truth be told, I wasn't sewing too much and when I was it was bigger projects that required the use of the dining room table. I would take everything I needed out...and then shove it back in. Since it looked like this for a while we decided to "downsize." I went through all of everything in the closet and made some decisions. We had two coat closets we merged into one and turned our other coat closet into this:

With all of the switcheroos going on, we now had an empty closet. Here is what it looked like:

not entirely empty, but you get the point.
this wood was given a coat of stain and a new life in the cloffice!
It was the perfect size and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it! Stay tuned...

Rachel :) Pin It

Monday, April 18, 2011

Laundry Blues

Like most old houses, our old house has no laundry room...that's right, NO laundry room. Unless you count the one outside, which I don't. But maybe I should., I guess there is a laundry room, but it's outside. The previous owners didn't use it as a laundry room either. They went through the wall and "pullled" all the hoses and other stuff into the breakfast nook. At 6' x 7' it could be a really, really cute nook, but instead there sit my circa 2003 washer and my wanna be really cute breakfast nook. At least at 2 am when one of the Smurfs throws up I am thankful it is inside and not outside!

When Mr. T and I moved into this house I was obsessed with hiding my washer and dryer. We talked about all of our options: walls, doors, curtains, even moving it back outside. We were never happy with anything we talked about, so there they sat. I think its better to do nothing than do the wrong thing. These days, I am so glad we waited. Here is what the laundry nook looked liked in relationship to the rest of the kitchen:

looking good! nice and neat!
normally there is not a bike in my kitchen...still trying to figure this one out!
Unfortunatly not everyday can be an organized day. So on a lot most days, the laundry nook ended up looking like this:

and the kitchen ended up looking like this:

Stayed tuned...

Rachel :)
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