Monday, September 29, 2008

paint the kitchen - check!

Okay, remind me not to paint again while pregnant. Not ever again. For some reason, it's just so much harder. (If nothing else, it makes me want to whine more.) Thank goodness for my mom - she's a Painting Machine. If it wasn't for her, I never would have gotten the project done. In all honesty, it's not actually done. There's still woodwork that needs a coat of glossy white paint - we primed it but haven't done the paint yet. Thankfully, it was white to begin with, so I can get away with primed woodwork for a little while yet. And I still have to scrape the paint off the windows. Oh, and put the outlet covers and switchplates back on. OKAY so it's not DONE done, but close enough! So, behold a kitchen in primary colors:

BEFORE...Now I feel I must say something to justify the horrific tablecloth in this picture. I'm well aware of the fact that it totally clashed with the walls. What's even worse - and if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't even know, so watch me open my mouth and insert my foot - it's vinyl. I know, I know. But I have little ones, and someone long ago painted this table in such a poor manner that food sticks to it like crazy. So it's much easier to clean if I keep a vinyl tablecloth on it as much as possible. Horrible, I know. But I'm a firm believer in having a house that is livable and realistic. And until we can get a new table, this is how we have to live. Scary.

Ah. That's better. It's now a very restful sagey-green color. It's got a tinge of gray in it which makes it almost a neutral - but a little more interesting than a complete neutral.


Another reason it doesn't feel finished yet is that I have yet to accessorize it at all. I'm a little undecided if I want to keep the accessories to a simple white or throw in a few touches of orange to liven things up. (I'm talking just a few touches of orange.) I have seen several things on Etsy that I would love to buy for the walls, but alas, I'm afraid my recent spending sprees are over. I don't know, something about the complete financial ruin our country seems to be in, and my husband says I can't shop anymore. The nerve! Ah well, I suppose I'll have to be creative and use what I already own. Hmmm, if only I knew someone who was an expert at that sort of thing...

This is obviously the little dining area in our kitchen. I couldn't show you the rest of the kitchen yet, because it's too messy. I'm not kidding.

But for now - Auf Wiedersehn to the crazy navy blue and red scheme, HELLO to restful green. I choose this color because it coordinated nicely with our floor tiles (sorry, I didn't think to take a picture of those) and it's neutral enough that I shouldn't have to re-do it if we put our house on the market in a couple of years. And it's just plain lighter than what I had before. Apparently five years is my limit on how long I can live with the same paint color in a room. Unfortunately, since we painted every room of our house as soon as we bought it five years ago, I'm now ready for new colors in every single room. Ouch! Baby steps, Courtney, baby steps.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

accessorizing walls and built-ins

Hello, friends. Crazy week. I mean crazy! Painting day on Monday was a success, although more work than I anticipated, so we only got the primer up. Tomorrow is actual paint day. Very exciting! Will definitely show pics once it's done. I decided at the last minue to repaint all the moldings, too, so that added a lot of work. It's an old house so we are blessed with lots of thick moldings around the windows and doors (everywhere, I guess) so it really added a lot more time than I thought it would. But, it will be worth it in the end!

For now, I thought I'd show you some little bits of small redesigns I did recently. These are not all the same client, just a few fun snapshots from smaller jobs I've done in the last couple of weeks. At the bottom, I get a little wordy about things quite unrelated to redesign, so feel free to stop reading when you get there. ;-)


There's nothing inherently bad about this arrangement. It's just always troublesome to try to hang pictures in a straight line. They are usually not going to end up level (or if they are, you've driven yourself insane trying to get them that way). It's also a fairly random assortment of wallhangings, which means the gorgeous artwork gets a little lost. I recommended that the framed degrees went to their office area, the photo of the tree went to it's own wall in the living room, and the rest of this wall (in their dining room) became a family gallery.

AFTER...Now, the "family gallery" look is really complete, with this sign that we moved from the living room. Now it anchors this photo wall and brings unity. Can you find the frame that doesn't belong? This client was headed out as soon as I left to buy one to replace it! (Plus, you'll notice that some of these pics aren't hanging straight/level, due to their own hangers on the back being crooked. The best way to fix it? Find that sticky-tac stuff in the section where they sell hooks and wall's especially made for putting on the corner of a frame and sticking it to the wall - so you never have to straighten the picture when you walk past again! This would be ideal for pics in a hallway or staircase too - anywhere you're constantly having to straighten them.)


A crowded bookshelf with a very odd assortment of books, stuffed animals, valuable silver plates, and random memorabilia.

Books and random-ness are stored in the basket, and only "pretty" things are on display on the shelf. This client has a fair amount of storage space in her house, and most things that were out and on display, didn't really need to be. Less is definitely more in this case.

That same bookshelf from a wider angle. The brick wall is an interesting feature but really breaks up the room.

Hanging artwork next to the brick wall helps it not stick out like such a sore thumb. (Also, you'll notice that the stuffed animals that the client really wanted in the room are now more discreetly displayed in a basked on the longer the first thing you see when you walk in.)

I'll share more pics of this room later as it progresses. The client has a small list of items to purchase - some new bedding and curtains (which we'll use as a headboard...I'll explain later).
***The Glitter Incident***
By the way, I know I still haven't answered your guesses as to what I was using the craft supplies for! Well, there are a few reasons for that. One, none of it's totally done and I just don't want to post pics of something that's half done. Two, there was a Glitter Incident. It went something like this: I was waiting for my in-laws to show up so I could race off to music practice. Just as they pulled up (and I was already late), I noticed my daughters were being very quiet over behind the dining room table. I looked over, and my older daughter said, "Don't come over here, Mommy!" Um, I've only been a mom for 3 1/2 years, but I'm pretty sure that means I'd better get over there right away. So I raced over to find that my youngest had discovered my huge, brand-new bottle of Martha Stewart glitter, had managed to get it open, and had dumped all of it - ALL of it - all over her, her sister, their toy shopping cart, and of course, the floor. So when I should have been racing out the door, instead, I was racing to get the dustbuster (sweating profusely) and trying to get it cleaned up. I'll admit, I was a little stressed out. (Okay, a lot.) My in-laws kindly offered to finish cleaning up the mess for me, though, so I could get out the door. That was only Day 2 (of 8) of my husband being out of town, and there may have been a few dark thoughts running through my head at that moment.
I could go on. That was not a good day. But, needless to say, there is still glitter on nearly every surface in the house. Turns out you don't need glue to make glitter stick! It sticks to your shoes and your clothes, until you sit down, at which point it sticks to your couch. Let's just say my house now subtly resembles a Vegas showhouse.
Okay, so I might as well tell you I was planning to use the glitter on white pumpkins. Nothing ground-breaking, but, alas, there will be no glittery pumpkins. Only one of them got the treatment before my glitter stash was annihilated.
The silver paint...well, you'll just have to wait a little longer on that one. :-)
Thanks for putting up with my wordiness today. :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

it's painting day

just a quick note again, my friends...I have some fabulous things to post about this week, but for now I only have a moment to check in. My husband left Sunday for eight days out of town (gulp!) and I'm choosing to work on some major projects around the house as a way to cope with his absence. My wonderful mom is coming over first thing this morning and we will be painting the kitchen! (I've had the paint for months now, which is a little embarrassing.) Wish us luck! We'll be covering up some very dark colors with something much lighter...that's all I will say for now...and hope to bring you some before/after pics soon. In the meantime, I have another little redesign to show you, a review of a FAB book, and several other fun tidbits this week (including the answers to my mysterious crafting guys are such good sports, taking guesses...and some very good ones!).

I am basically coping with my hubby's absence by staying as busy as is humanly possible - therefore am planning to paint the bathroom too. Too aggressive? Almost certainly! Overly optimistic? Absolutely. But hey, a woman's gotta have goals, you know. :-)

PS - Am definitely feeling like a Bad Blogger for not posting a photo with my prose TWO DAYS IN A ROW. Can you ever forgive me? How I wish that I could juggle all my balls in the air successfully all the time. >sigh<

Thursday, September 18, 2008

my craftiness (in more ways than one!)

Just a quick post...checking in with nothing to say, really...but I went to Michael's yesterday and bought just a few things. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to buy crafty things, but how difficult to actually DO something with them? For me that's the case, anyway. I find if I don't follow my vision right away for the things I purchase, they just get tossed in a closet to possibly never get used...or at least not for what I originally intended them, anyway. So I'll give you a little list, and you can try to guess what I'm going to use them for:

silver craft paint
rounded tip paint brush (about 1/2 inch)
white Martha Stewart coarse glitter w/ glittering glue

Here's another hint: there are two different projects represented here. Oh, I also selected some paint colors for my bathroom...and a new light fixture...and am going to schedule painting for next week. My husband will be out of town. Isn't that the best time to work on projects? Especially those that he might complain about the money spent on them. He'll just come home, and - voila! - I'm just sure the bathroom will look like it's from the pages of a magazine! (wink) At which point he will be so overcome by its beauty he will neglect to ask how much it cost. Hmm. If you know my husband at all, you will know this is a bit of a pipedream...but hey! A woman can dream, right??

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

follow me on Twitter

Hey idea what I'm doing...but I'm on Twitter now! So you're invited to follow me and all the little mundane details of my day! (Not sure why you'd want to...but you never know...I could be simply fascinating.) Click the button above to see what it's about.
(blog button designed by Amy of Living Locurto)
(Edited to add: as if to prove that I didn't know what I was doing...I didn't have the link going to my Twitter home page...but I THINK I've got it fixed now...let me know!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

my living room tour

I've disovered that it's a whole lot more nerve-wracking to share pictures of my own abode than it is to share pics of someone else's. I post photos on here all the time from my client redesigns, but never has my pulse raced quite so much as when posting my own pictures. I guess when it's your own home, you tend to be hyper-aware of all the little imperfections - all the projects still on the to-do list - all the areas that need improvement. But at the same time, our homes are so personal...they're a reflection of who we are, how we live, and what we perceive to be beautiful.

So I don't take it lightly when a client lets me into their home to make changes left and right. I know how personal HOME is. Above is a photo of what you see when you first walk in my front door. My house was built in 1927, and the front room is a rectangle that I've divided into dining room on the left, living room on the right. (Here are some pics of my dining room on Design*sponge.) This piano is right smack in the middle of the two, directly opposite the front door. Ever since I repainted this room back in the spring, I've yet to hang something over the piano! Crazy, I know...but it's painful to mess up those walls that are beautiful and unblemished once again. I'm considering my big crazy gold garage-sale mirror (after I paint it white...I think). But it definitely needs something hanging there again.

On the same wall, to the right of the hallway, is our "entertainment center". It's actually a cool old mid-century buffet that we got for free from Chad's grandma. She was going to take it to Goodwill...brought it instead to a garage sale we were having...and our poor customers never got to see it. It came home with me instead. I always intended to paint it, but now I'm sort of partial to it's original darker-wood finish. I'm not super happy with the DVD player, receiver, speakers, and cable box just sitting on top, out in the open - but I don't have any other ideas for them at the moment. Allegedly, they have to have room to "breathe" so I can't stack them all on top of each other. Any ideas, anyone?

On the wall directly opposite of the TV is our lovely couch. I say "lovely" but what I really mean is "it's the only one I've got and it's functional". We bought it almost 8 years ago, before we got married, back when I was into olive green and dark purple. I've painted the walls since then (they used to be pale yellow) and have removed all the purple, and now I just treat the couch as if it were neutral. Pretending it's neutral and decorating accordingly almost makes me believe it. Anyway, this end of the couch is where all the blogging magic happens. See the laptop hidden down on the lower shelf of the end table? (The table was my grandma's, by the way. It's a bit rickety but I'll use it till it falls apart.)

Here's a close-up that's really a "before" - I'm planning to switch this up and add some fall stuff, but it hasn't happened yet. It's 91 degrees in Portland today, people! Yikes. I keep thinking fall's here, but it turns out to be a false alarm. Perhaps Fall is waiting for me to decorate before showing up?

Here's the full view of the couch and my two Ikea tables that are currently being used as my coffee table. I had another one, but I got tired of it. So it's in the basement.

And here's the wall perpendicular to the couch and TV. Sorry about the lame photo. It's always hard to take pics of windows, isn't it? That AC unit in the window - how can one object be both a lifesaver and a bane to my existence, all at the same time? It's so necessary in the summer - we don't have central air and can't install it (old house, long story). But yet it's so UGLY. And, of course, my two Ikea chairs with slipcovers from Ebay. How I adore white slipcovers! Seriously. My daughters colored on these with markers and smeared jelly on them. I simply put them in the wash and started over. Voila! Love them.

I'm hoping to show you more as I get a little farther into seasonal decorating. I'll do a little for fall - but Christmas - well, that's my thing! I'm getting excited just thinking about it. :-) Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my humble abode!

Monday, September 15, 2008

monkeyin' around...a baby shower

Well, I rowsed myself from my sickbed (no one ever accused me of not being dramatic) in order to do some quick decorations for my friend Sarah's baby shower. She's expecting a boy in a couple of weeks, and a few of us girlfriends celebrated Saturday evening with a little baby shower. It's her third baby, but we believe that every baby is worth celebrating (not to mention it's an excuse for a party and presents!) matter if they're the first or the fifth babe in the family!

So, I threw together a monkey theme that was loosely inspired by Curious George. One would have expected me to decorate with bananas instead of lemons and limes. Actually, even I would have expected that! But I was at Costco, and the prices were reasonable for these huge bags of lemons and limes, and they were the colors I wanted, so I went for it.

The centerpiece was a large vase/hurricane filled with lemons and limes. You can't see much of it in this photo, but they are sitting on top of a folder from Target that had my colors and a monkey on it - and it was on clearance - so I used it. :-) Then, I used three small drinking glasses which I filled with some azalea branches from my friend's yard, and one lemon in each (on toothpics to keep them from sinking into the glass too far). I added some cute little stuffed monkeys (after wrenching them out of my children's hands - sorry guys!) and a few votives for good measure.
In the car on the way to the party, I decided I would just unfold the paper napkins and use them as placemats (can you tell this was much more last-minute than I normally operate?). I layered the plates over a second napkin - this one's actually meant to be used as a napkin - and threw the favor on top. They're individually wrapped biscotti, tied simply with some cute ribbon I already had that sort of matched.

All in all, it was simple, sweet and fun. It just so happens that Sarah's two kids already love monkeys (as do mine) so she could fully appreciate the theme. And she got to take home one of the stuffed monkeys from the centerpiece for her third monkey on the way.

Thanks for your sweet inquiries about my health. I am finally (after 8 days) feeling much better, although still stuffy and tired. I am a very sharing and generous person, though, as evidenced by the fact that my husband now has whatever I had. I can't help it. I just give, give, give.

Anyway - stick around - tomorrow I'm going to let you see my living room. Never before seen online. Shocking, I know. Anyway, we'll take an "exclusive" tour (don't worry, it'll only take 30 seconds - I don't exactly have a mansion!).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Hi guys, thanks for putting up with my whining at the end of my last post. Unfortunately, I'm not done whining yet, as I'm still pretty miserable. (If you prefer non-whining posts, you might just skip this one.) It's 3 a.m. and I can't sleep due to the feeling (and very real possibility) that my head might explode. From snot. Sorry, that's probably too much information.

Just Poking Around teacup and saucer by thepaintinglibra

What I really need right now is a cup of hot TheraFlu. But, since I'm not supposed to take that in my condition, the next best thing would just be some nice peppermint or chamomile tea. I searched and searched on Etsy for a teacup worthy of this task, and I couldn't believe how hard it was to find a cute teacup. Not a large, handmade pottery mug, and not an old teacup made into a candle (there's lots of those), but a cute, whimsical, "today"-sort of teacup. I finally found the teacup above. It's full message says this: "Laugh More, Gripe Less, Ignore Critics, Say Yes, Order Dessert, Love Life". So while it's soothing your monstrous cold, it's also giving you a pep talk! What more could you ask for in a teacup? Not to mention the fact that seeing white polka dots on a red background has got to cheer you up a little.

Artist thepaintinglibra also makes this super-chic latte mug:

Ah, now if only this one came as a teacup and saucer. Perfection! (Unless of course you drink lattes regularly, in which case, this is perfect...but I don't...and this is about me, right?) Sorry. I get a little cranky when I'm sick.


Check out thepaintinglibra's Etsy'll be glad you did!

Monday, September 8, 2008

family room redesigned

This was one of those projects that was more about fixing furniture placement than anything else. The client had some beautiful artwork - and a lot of furniture! But it was all necessary since this family frequently hosts their large extended family and needed plenty of seating. I always view these things as not impossible, by any means, but simply a puzzle that I have yet to put together. This was one of those cases. But man, I'm starting to wonder how much longer I'll be able to do this while preggo? Anyone wanna be my assistant? I'll make you cookies?!



thinking outside the box...we actually swapped a chair from the formal dining room (like the one on the left, above) with a recliner from the family room. Why? Simply because the formal chair was smaller and would not cut off the walkway in the family room quite as much as the recliner did. But they were all in complimentary colors, so it worked just fine.

...(picture several little things on the mantel, too...I forgot to take a picture before I started clearing things off!)...
now the couch takes up the longest wall, rather than cutting off access between the family room and kitchen (it's an open floor plan).


... just taking a few toys and books out of the bookcase enabled me to place the baskets and toys more neatly.

you guys...I'm sick AGAIN! What kind of cruel punishment is it to be sick in ADDITION to being preggo? haven't gone to the doc yet, but it resembles strep throat. good times. good times.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday's Fab Finds

It's late in the day...and I'm a little pooped from a (fun) redesign this morning...but I figure better to post late than never! I'll share the redesign pics with you next week, and for are a few things I'm loving on Etsy recently:

Seedheads silk-lined clutch bag by redrubyrose

animal damask coasters by theseawithin

nettle pillow by enhabiten

custom cupcake toppers by maryhadalittleparty

Venice Light by KACompson

Alexander's Delightful Day (original painting) by paigetwelve

Enjoy these finds, and support these artists by checking out their super-cool shops this weekend. See you back here on Monday!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a slow beginning to Fall Nesting

Here's my one attempt at fall decor so far: the wreath on my front door. I picked this up on sale at JoAnn Fabrics the other day, and my favorite part about it is that it looks so real. The base of it is made of real branches, and the only fake part is the little blossoms with berries. I'm kind of picky about my wreaths that way - I don't want anything that looks blatantly fake. I'd like it to at least appear like I could possibly have crafted it by hand myself. (raucous laughter!) The less plastic stuff, the better.

It still feels a little early to do much fall decorating, but I can't ignore the chill in the air in the mornings. It's sunny here in Portland, Oregon, but the light is starting to look different, and even my 3 1/2 year old daughter has been commenting on how the leaves are starting to change colors. So, today I have a rare day at home...I plan to do housework (the H-word) and as my reward, will through in some redecorating and fall nesting when I've got things cleaned up a bit. I'm hoping to have some pics for you soon. Maybe tomorrow? Recently I've been lax on my Friday's Fabulous Finds posts, and I can't decide if I should bring the post back tomorrow or wait till next week. I guess it depends on whether I have any Fall Decor Fabulousness to show you or not!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

a different sort of nesting

"bluebird Adeline" by toosmalltocount

So, some of my faithful readers may have noticed that I haven't been posting with quite the same frequency (and quality?!) recently as I have in the past. Well, do you remember when I talked about the long-term project I was working on? I'm ready to reveal the nature of it to you now...although I'm guessing it's not what you thought. Actually, it has to do with nesting - adding a little chick to my nest, in fact. That's right, I'm expecting Baby #3 next March! So I've been sick and tired and pathetic and the poor blog has suffered a bit (not to mention the laundry...and the cleaning...and correspondence...and other commitments...but then again, when doesn't my housework suffer?). I'm finally hitting the point where things are supposed to start looking up physically. For now, feast your eyes on this cuteness:

baby onesie with appliqued striped tie by veryKIKI

baby onesie with pumpkin applique by veryKIKI

Anyway, I'm excited about this fall...I've got several redesigns lined up that should be fun to share with you all. Plus, we'll chat about seasonal decorating, autumn entertaining, and of course continue to chat about shopping and handmade art. So stay with me, people!

To kick off the fall decorating season, go check out the Fall Nesting Week blog party hosted by The Inspired Room. We'll be touring various blogger's homes as they are all decked out for the upcoming season. I able to get my act together later in the week to partcipate with photos of my own fall decor. But in the meantime, it's always fun to peak into other people's homes and see how they decorate!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Last-Minute Labor Day Ideas

Yummm....check out this Labor Day menu from Hostess With the Mostess...turkey burgers with oven fries. My mouth is watering!

Today feels like fall already in the Pacific Northwest...I made hot apple cider and biscuits this's just one of those kinds of days. I'll be back with regular posts tomorrow as we start thinking about and celebrating the coming of autumn. For today - try not to "labor" too much - have fun with family and friends! Happy Labor Day!