Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Spring Look in the Dining Room

I love my deep, dark, velvet curtains. This was my Pottery Barn inspiration photo.

Here's a glimpse of my dining room last week.

A few of my bloggy friends got me thinking that I really need to lighten up for Spring and Summer. As much as I love my warm and cozy dinging room, it does feel a little dark on an eighty degree day in August. Kim, over at Savvy Southern Style,lightened up her living room. The Thrifty Decor Chick, thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com has been lightening up. Enter the Lowe's paint drop cloths again...

Remember how much I loved my drop cloth curtain in the laundry room?

Well, here's the lightening up version of my dining room.

I used the paint drop cloths from Lowes. The first time I saw this idea was on Layla's blog, theletteredcottage.net. She uses them in her dining room and they look perfect. I love the way they have a natural linen/burlapish feel. I'm so excited about the way they turned out. I'm not loving the tie backs. I'd rather not have tie backs at all, but I like the way the light comes in when the drapes are pulled back.

I have a lot more springifying to do in the dining room, but right now I'm glad I've lightened up a bit.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Organizing the Art Cubby

Ok, that's not the "after" organized art cubby. That's what my kids' art cubby looks like MOST of the time. Every few weeks I need to go through everything and find homes for markers, pencils, crayons, and papers. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place, but then my kids get to it. No amount of labels, bins, and pictures can keep the art cubby safe from disaster.

First I pulled everything out, just to see what's there.

Then it all goes back to its proper home.

It will look like this until the kids wake up.

Now, if anyone has any ideas about what to do with Pixos, please share! I'd like my kitchen table back!

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reorganizing the Pantry

Oh, the pantry! I have a love/hate relationship with my pantry. I LOVE the size. I LOVE the shelves we had installed. I LOVE my new floor. I LOVE the labeled bins. But, oh, how I hate cleaning it out every week or two.

Today I tackled the mess in the pantry. I think my kids mess up the spices and then time me to see how long it takes until I have them alphabetized again. There were a few science experiments in there. You know... the last piece of pita bread that no one knew was there.

On the plus side, my project of the day was completely free and it's so nice to be organized.

Let the Spring Break projects begin!!!!

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Master Bath - In Progress

Once again, I start by saying that I have absolutely no decorating sense. There were a few classes in my Family and Consumer Science major on textiles and design, but I really have no formal training. I love to read decorating and design books and magazines. I know what I like: warm and cozy, contrast in colors, texture, natural materials, and FABRIC! Oh, how I love fabric! When I'm starting a new room I have no vision of my own. I could not create a space, of my own design, if my life depended on it. I'll admit it... I'm a copycat. I look through books, magazines, and catalogs until I find an inspiration room. I love to watch Rate My Space because it validates stealing ideas from other people.

Our master bath screams 1991! Here's the picture from real estate brochure, from when we bought our house. It's a nice size bathroom, with lots of counter space, but that's about all it has going for it.

I ran across this picture in a magazine and fell in love. It has everything I love; natural materials, texture, contrast in color, and a warm and cozy color on the wall.

So, here are the first updates in our master bath redo. I'm trying my best to copy the picture.

Painted cabinets (painted but not glazed yet):

Spicy orange walls:

Texture and contrast:
I need to learn to roll towels so they look spa-like, not shoved onto the shelf.)

We're well on our way. Tile and flooring is on the to do list next!

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Saturday was an unusually warm and sunny day in the Pacific Northwest. My little girl and I took a walk up to the school, where my son was participating in his Pinewood Derby race for Cub Scouts. Along the way, we just couldn't resist taking a few pictures of the beautiful flowers in bloom.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Formal Dining Room - Craigslist Style

The finished room

When we moved into our house, almost 5 years ago, the dining room had cream walls, cream carpet, the original pink vertical blinds, and a brass light fixture. We didn't own any dining room furniture, except the antique hutch that we found in my mother in law's garage (waiting to be refinished).

The picture of the dining room from the real estate brochure.
(Water spots and all!)

The room sat empty for about a month and then my partner in crime (my sister this time) came up with a plan. First, we sat at her kitchen table thumbing through every Pottery Barn Catalog we could find for inspiration. At the time I was thinking, "Who keeps all of their Pottery Barn catalogs?" I know better now, thanks to my older and wiser sister. We found a beautiful dining room that I just loved, a light fixture that was simple, and velvet drapes. The wall color was a gorgeous wheat color. This was it, inspiration found!

Pottery Barn Catalog

Pottery Barn Catalog

Now for the second step of the plan. Keep in mind that this was five years ago... She had heard of this little website called "Craigslist" that I might be able to find some furniture on. I had never heard of it before, so this was all new to me. We found a listing for a buffet for $50 and it wasn't too far from our neighborhood. I piled six kids into my car, which left her car open for furniture. Oh, the things we'll do for a deal. I ended up paying only $40 for the buffet. I got it home and immediately started priming it and painting it black, like my Pottery Barn inspiration pictures.

The next day we found a dining table and chairs on that same little old website. I paid $80 for the table and the six lovely leopard print chairs. The table and chairs were in really bad shape. I knew sanding and refinishing would not be a great option, so out came the paint cans again. I painted the chairs and base of the table black, to match the buffet. I was hoping for a nice dark wood color for the top of the table, to match the antique hutch. Since that wasn't going to happen, I opted for a crackled paint finish with a brown glaze over the top. I don't think crackle would be my first choice now, but five years ago it was the thing to do.

The walls got a coat of Applesauce Cake paint from Lowes. The chairs got new fabric in the same wheat tone. Velvet drapes from Lowes and a $79 light fixture make it look almost as good as my inspiration pictures. Five years ago this was going to be my temporary dining furniture, until I could afford to buy a real set.

I still can't believe how similar the chairs are to the inspiration picture!

Lessons learned:
Black paint is a good thing.
Save your Pottery Barn Catalogs.
That little old website called "Craigslist" is now my BFF!
Listen to your older and wiser sister.

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Clam Chowder and a Pretty Table

I love clam chowder and I've passed this love down to my kids. My daughter is a picky eater, but one food she loves is clam chowder. I think it's a odd thing for a picky eater to like. Clams are an acquired taste. Since it's something I know we'll all eat, Sunday afternoon I decided to try a new recipe. I found a recipe that looked pretty good on the Food Network website. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mikes-clam-chowder-recipe/index.html
The kids were in a good mood so I convinced them to help me make the chowder.

They peeled and cut the potatoes (with my help).

This is my absolute favorite kitchen tool. It's a little mini chopper from Pampered Chef. I use almost daily to chop herbs, garlic, or onions. I don't think I could live without it. We used it to chop the thyme and parsley for the chowder.

They stirred and added ingredients. Then they lost interest. My son took the puppy to the dog park and my daughter drew pictures. I decided to get ready for Tablescape Thursday on Between Naps on the Porch.

It may not be anything fancy, but my kids thought they were royalty. I don't usually set a table quite like this when it's just the four of us. My youngest was so excited that her cup wasn't plastic! I love taking a simple soup dinner and making it into a special night for my family. Seeing their smiles gives me a joyful heart.

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in:


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