Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Parade: Sharpie Pumpkins

pumpkins5   Given the finished project that I just showed you here, you might be a little surprised by my inspiration picture: black pumpkin  
  Yeah, they don't look much alike. I really liked the idea of one big pumpkin sitting on a chair, but I wanted to do a big white one instead of black. Mostly because I wanted to write (a lot of) "The Raven" on there with a Sharpie paint pen, in keeping with my Raven themed Halloween (see: Raven planters, Halloween tree with Nevermore banner, Raven-themed vignette). So my plan was to acquire a giant white pumpkin and start writing. My plan was also that this would be really easy. Six stores later, the best I could come up with was three smallish white pumpkins. I was willing to accept either a real or a fake giant white pumpkin. What I was not willing to do, or at least what I was hoping not to have to do, was paint a pumpkin. I don't know why, really; it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I was just convinced I could find what I wanted without painting. Until I couldn't. Oh well. So I decided to go with 3 different designs on 3 different pumpkins instead. The first was still writing out the beginning of "The Raven." I used Sharpie oil based paint pens for all of these, by the way. I measured out and drew guidelines lightly in pencil, then just started writing. Writing on a pumpkin is a little tricky. They are bumpy. And my cursive is decent, but it's pretty no-frills; I think this would have looked better were I a more flowery handwriting kind of person. pumpkins2   I went with a web and spider for pumpkin #2, and I have to say that's the one I'm the least pleased with. I couldn't think of anything I was particularly excited about for the last pumpkin, but I remembered that I had a gold sharpie sitting around, and decided to bust it out and just do some simple stripes. I felt a little lame going with something so basic, but I really like the end result. I put them all in the chair and took pictures: pumpkins4 pumpkins3   Then Gable the dog started getting just a little bit too interested in the pumpkins, and I remembered losing a few last year to curious dog teeth, so I moved them all outside: pumpkins6 We're now at the midway point of our week full of Pumpkin-abulousness, in which I and ELVEN other bloggers are posting are projects all week and THEN having a giant link party on Friday so we can see everyone else's pumpkins, too. My Wednesday co-pumpkiners are: Wills Casa Cuckoo4Design And if you missed any of Monday or Tuesday's posts, you can find them at: Shift Ctrl Art Primitive & Proper Decor and the Dog A Little Bite of Everything A Swell Place to Dwell Newly Woodwards And then tomorrow you can go take a look at: Bliss at Home Go Haus Go Interiors by Kenz

Monday, October 7, 2013

Moving Day

Psst....check it out; I moved to a new URL:

easy to remember, no?

Please come on over and check it out, and update your bookmarks or subscriptions or whatever you have. I will be very appreciative if you do that. I'll probably post stuff in both places for a little while. For the people who adapt slowly ;).

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Big House List, Part 2: Upstairs

Back in June, I posted The Big House List, Part 1: Downstairs, and, while I didn't actually say it, I think I gave the impression that parts 2 and 3 (3 being the outside areas and basement) would be coming up fairly soon. Like before four months had elapsed. Oops.

I actually could legitimately do a post revisiting part 1 before long, I think; I was looking it over, and we've made decent progress on it, surprisingly. But I won't let myself do that until I've posted parts 2 and 3 at least.

Onward to Part 2! Featuring never before seen on this blog parts of my house (somehow I neglected to put them on the house tour page. Probably because they are sort of shameful). Fairly self explanatory, but this is a big list of all the projects we have in mind for the next thirty years or so for this house. It's possible it will change some over the course of those thirty years. Possible.

Upstairs Hallway

Never before seen part of the house the first! First picture is the view from the top of the stairs. Then a shot of our ceiling with brass boob light number one. Then the view looking out of Ari's room (to orient you, Ari and then Milo and Gus's rooms are at the end of the hall, opposite the stair landing. If you're walking from their rooms toward the stairs, you have the guest room on your right, the hall bath and laundry on your left, and the master bedroom/current nursery straight ahead).

This is a big wide hallway, and I kind of hate big, wide hallways in theory because they're such a waste of space. But I do like how open things feel up there. So I'd like to USE all that space, so that I can have efficiency + openness. Best of both worlds! As you can see right now we're "using" the space as a warehouse for every bookshelf we don't have a space for in some other room.

*The main thing I want do here is switch those bookshelves out with some simple but nice looking closed cabinets that can be used for books, kid toys, whatever else we need storage for. I'm thinking halfway up the walls or so (they can't really go floor to ceiling easily because there are a million light switches in there) and then pretty things can go on top.

Mine won't be just like these, but Katja at Shift Ctrl Art's amazing upstairs hallway cabinets are my inspiration:

*pretty pictures above said storage cabinets, of course!
*paint...not sure about will continue from the stairwell, so it has to flow with the Nantucket Fog downstairs. But probably not exactly the same color. I may go lighter and more neutral. Or I may get crazy and go darker.
*I have other ideas swirling maybe leaving some open space for a countertop type desk so a kid can work at a computer out there (esp. since Milo and Gus share a room) or for an interruption in the cabinets to put in a comfy chair for a little reading nook. But I might be overestimating the size of the hallway in my head with all these ideas.
*all the doorknobs are mismatched and need to be replaced eventually. Oh, especially since this happened:

There was an...incident involving locking the guest room door (which, for some reason, had a lock that needed a key to open. A key that we didn't have). Wow. Looks like "clean all the doors" needs to go on that list, too.
*Or maybe paint all the doors. Like dark gray or black. Depending on how I paint the hallway.

Ari's Room

This might be the shortest list in the whole house, because we're pretty well finished in here. I would like to get him a small rug for the end of his bed maybe.

Milo and Gus' Room:

This one's also fairly finished for the time being, although I'm not sure what the life expectancy on this particular incarnation of their room is. There are a few things I'd like to get to in here, though:

*We'd love for Dave to build them bunk beds to replace the cheap (kinda wobbly) Target ones
*They would like some chairs for reading, and I'd like to make that happen, although I'm not sure where to put them
*I have a few pictures that still need to be hung up in here

Kid Bathroom

Look at that. "Take better pictures of this room" should be one thing on the list. But, yeah, other than that, this room is closer to finished than it has any right to be. It's one of the rooms that had a lot of updating done before we moved in, so the lights, faucets, etc. are pretty nice.

*paint cabinets
*some kind of window something
*hang some pictures

Laundry Room

Our next never before seen space! This is a pretty big room, but kind of awkwardly shaped. Long and skinny. I really have no idea what to do with it at this point, honestly. I admire the attempt someone made to infuse it with character with that wacky tile. But I will still be taking that down at some point. 

*do something about floor. Like maybe something like this?

This is the only vinyl flooring in the house, and it's a small area. I think I could handle painting it.

*.....yeah, that's all I've got so far. Oh. A new light fixture, I guess, although I don't hate the one that's in there. It's pretty inoffensive. But I guess since I'm just making a someday kind of list, I might as well shoot for awesome.

Guest Room

Last of the never before seen areas! And a tricky one to photograph. This is our smallest bedroom (something like 9 by 11, I think). It was the guest room for awhile, but now it's more a spare room for Milo and Gus to hang out in. Which is why it's a big mess most of the time. Broken chair! Also, our current arrangement is that Ari sleeps in here (that's his old bed) when we have guests, and said guests sleep in his room (where there's the queen bed we originally bought FOR the guest room). Eventually, this will be Abe's room. So...

*move Abe in here
*probably his nursery will mostly be transported as is with plans to redecorate it as a big kid room in a few years. 
*There does need to be more toy storage, though, so something there
*This room has a small walk in closet that I'd like to do something fun for him with 

Master Bedroom/nursery

Right now Abe's nursery is in half of our master bedroom. If you'd asked me a few months ago, I'd have said he'd be moving in a few months, maybe around his first birthday. If you asked me now, I'd tell you that he stopped sleeping through the night as soon as he started teething and that I'd rather not talk about that painful subject anymore, thanks. Sigh. But. Eventually....

*Master bedroom side of things is annoyingly close to finished. I need pretty baskets for my bedside tables
*A few pictures still need to be hung
*I either need a different curtain rod or different curtains
*We have a super secret DIY project that we've been putting off forever, even though it's not that elaborate
*In the current nursery, we'd like to make a sort of multi purpose office/craft room/hanging out area. I'd like some comfy seating and a TV, so that we can sometimes cede the downstairs TV to the kids for the evening and hang out up here. A home office that Dave can use in the event that he ever has a job where he can work from home sometimes. Somewhere to set up my sewing machine. Ha. and then maybe I'll use it sometime, if it's staring me right in the face like that.

Master Bath

Ha! What do we NOT need to do in here? But we'll make a list, just for fun:

*rip up carpet
*replace all fixtures: light and plumbing
*take down shower door and replace with curtain
*do something about cruddy cabinet doors
*maybe some storage furniture on that long wall?
*nice stuff on walls

and then, SOMEDAY:
*expand shower
*replace old tub with freestanding tub
*replace sinks/counters with...something better

The Whole Upstairs
*floors, basically. Hardwoods eventually, but that's likely a few years away, so I'm toying with the idea of ripping up carpet and painting subfloors. We'd start with our bathroom and then maybe Abe's room before we move him in there. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another Installment of Thrift Finds, or Where Am I Going to Put All This Stuff?!

It's been awhile since I've done a post about all the crap I bring home from the thrift store. My basic rule when deciding whether to buy something at the thrift store is that I either have to really need it or really love it. Both is, of course, the ideal. Lately I seem to be running into a few too many things that I really love but don't really need, though. Anyway. Here are my things!

1. Cool old picnic basket. The top of this is cruddy fake wood pressboard stuff, but the rest of it is awesome. I don't what to do with it! (Soon you will appreciate a recurring theme here). Either paint the lid or take it off and then? keep some throws in it next to the couch? Book basket? I've actually been using it to haul stuff around for now. Functional AND pretty!

2. Ship! I'm pretty sure this is going in the sunroom somewhere. But maybe my den could be good, too, once I do something with my poor den.

3. I have the (perhaps utterly misguided) idea that I don't have enough collections in my life. Like, say, a collection of pretty blue glassware.

4. Antlers! I don't really leave ceramic or metal animals behind very often.

5. I meant to post these with my Thanksgiving dishes post. Nothing terribly special, but there are 10 of them, which is exactly how many I need, and they're kind of cool.

6. Glass hound. Oh. I don't leave glass animals behind, either.

7. I am totally in love with the little brass kitty. Right now she's hanging out being friends with the Fancy Lady in the sunroom. And then there's a brass crown! Fun! I hope no one is too attached to the blue thing in the middle, though, because Milo broke the lid the other day. "Milo! How did that happen?" I asked. "I was putting silly putty on the lid," he explained.

8. For Christmas! Or, you know, maybe for all the time.

9. Swan boats print. Needs new frame, but I think I like the mat that's there. Maybe a gold frame? Or paint that one?

10. The other collection I want? Ceramic dogs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Busy Weekend and an Announcement

I've never done my very own link party before! Well, this isn't my very own at all--as you can see, there are lots of other bloggers co-hosting it, which makes it less intimidating for me and more FUN for you (I feel like I say things are fun way too often lately. I feel like Lydia in Pride and Prejudice. But I can't help it if so many FUN things keep happening. Fun, fun, fun).

Throughout next week we'll be posting our pumpkin projects and then, on Friday, we want to see everyone's pumpkins. All manner of pumpkin-related projects are fair game: recipes, crafts, what have you. Link 'em up, and they'll show up on all TWELVE blogs. And then the next week we'll share some of our favorites.

I also have for you today some excuses about why I don't have a project to post about.

At some point this past weekend I asked Dave, "so, what house project are we going to do this weekend?"

And he said, "are you crazy? We're not getting a house project done this weekend."

And we didn't.

Over the weekend, among other things:
*I took the newest foster, Ginger, to adoption for much of the day Saturday
*Dave did 3 hour and a half tutoring sessions
*Gus had his dress rehearsal for Willy Wonka, his musical theater class, and an audition for Annie (they just posted the cast list: he's going to be the dog catcher :))
*We had people over for fires in the fire pit both Friday and Saturday nights

Looking over that list, it doesn't seem like Milo, Ari, or Abe were all that busy, comparatively. We probably should have set THEM to work on a project. Missed opportunity.

In between Gus' dress rehearsal and Dave's final tutoring session Sunday evening, we hung out in the yard and enjoyed the beautiful beginning of fall weather. And the kids were exceedingly goofy.

Well. Abe was mostly just cute.

But big kids? Very goofy. You can see Ginger the foster dog here, too.

And here she is again:

Ginger almost got adopted Saturday. Some people came specifically to see her, and they liked her a lot, but they wound up leaving with another dog whom they just fell in love with at first sight. We don't mind having her around a little longer, though. She's got some....quirks, but we're in love with her anyway.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"The Raven" Halloween Vignette + Fun with Printables

I showed off my Halloween tree the other day, but today I bring you....the rest of the top of the buffet! I've been having fun switching out the stuff on top of the buffet's such a big surface, and I never really knew what to do with it before; having permission to get all theme-y with it makes it easier.

I don't think I ever posted a picture of the whole summer display after I added Brass Hound, so let's revisit that first, shall we?

And now it's like this!

Left to right, we have my halloween tree with tiny banner and the first of several dollar store crows (we're pretending they're ravens, though). Then some candles that I bought and used in last year's Thanksgiving centerpiece.

The spooky books (bookended by Brass Hound) are Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Frankenstein, and a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories.

And next up we have the fun with printables parts.

(the black lacy thing is from the Dollar Tree, btw).

I've had these "apothecary-inspired" labels from Country Living in mind since Brooklyn Limestone linked to them last Halloween. So I knew I'd be printing some out this year and started looking for some bottles to go with them a little while back. The widest bottle is from some real life whisky that Dave bought at some point in the past. I told him to save the bottle, even though I didn't remember at the time why I wanted it. Go me. Then I found a little Anchor Hocking bottle for a dollar at the thrift store, and that's holding my curare now. Then I ran out of time for thrifting bottles and picked up the last one for $5 at Hobby Lobby.

The instructions on Country Living say to print the labels out on sticker painter, but I decided to try regular paper and spray adhesive instead to save some money. And it worked great!

The "poisons" are apple cider vinegar and water mixed with a little vanilla. I didn't put anything in the big one since I had neglected to save the lid for it. I guess someone already drank all the belladonna.

And then I printed out these two pictures:

Two gold thrift store frames. For the first one, I just googled images of Edgar Allan Poe and found one that was big enough to look good printed out as an 8 by 10. The raven is from The Biodiversity Heritage Library. They're my go to source for free printables, assuming it's a printable of an animal that I want, which it usually is.

Don't need a raven? Perhaps you could incorporate some spiders into your Halloween decor:

Maybe a terrifying bat?


The creepy lady is another Dollar Tree purchase. And then there's an old unabridged dictionary, because nothing says scary like a GIANT BOOK with lots of WORDS in it.

On top of said terrifying dictionary is a Target skull from last year and, uhh, a clock. Because, umm....mortality? Sure. And then a couple more candles for good measure. 

Oh, and in the top picture you can see that my anatomy flash cards from last year are back up, too. 

Okay, so THEN, just when I was writing this post, my friend Kristi stopped by out of nowhere (I mean, she lives right down the street, so it wasn't too startling) and.....gave me an awesome raven! I was all, "where did you get this raven?!" and she said, "the store" and then disappeared into the night. My dogs were barking, and I think her kids were waiting in the car? Anyway. That's all I know. I don't know where to put him yet. Because I just got him. But here he is:

(Bonus! I had to clean part of my kitchen, because I couldn't find a single space to set him for the picture where he wouldn't be surrounded by piles of crap)

Update: Kristi says he's from Ross. Go get one!

Linking with:
Link Party-Palooza
Monday Funday

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Planning Ahead Pays Off in the Form of Forest Themed Thanksgiving Dinnerware

*Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for a Home Depot or Amazon gift card. The winner is......The Cape on the Corner! congratulations, and check your e-mail if you haven't already :)

Every year, for the past several years, we've hosted Thanksgiving dinner for Dave's extended family (his parents and aunt and uncle, specifically). And last year, what with our new formal dining room and all, I finally got around to setting a pretty table for the occasion. Well, I thought it was pretty.

My big splurge was the Patch NYC dessert plates from Target. I love them. Then I picked up plain white dinner plates from TJ Maxx and those chargers from, I think, Hobby Lobby.

I'm planning on a very similar table this year....I may switch up the centerpiece some, because I feel like I should, but same plates, same black and white and gold theme.

But one thing that made my table a little less beautiful last year was my lack of coordinating serving dishes. I did have this bowl and platter that my mom picked up for me (again from TJ  Maxx, I believe)

And then I had these salt and pepper shakers from Target:

And when I ordered the plates, I couldn't resist adding in this clearanced serving bowl:

But there's a lot of food floating around at Thanksgiving, so we still had to use some serving dishes that......didn't go! Horrors.

So I've made it my mission to pick up more white serving dishes before this coming Thanksgiving. And I've made great progress. And an interesting trend has developed completely by accident: not only do I have a white/black/gold theme going on, I have a woodland creature/forest theme going on! Which pleases me greatly. Sometimes the universe tells you that you need forest themed fancy dishes by putting them in the thrift stores for you. Message received, universe!

Okay, actually, this first thing is the only thrift find so far:

But do you see what that is?! It's a mushroom sugar and butter dish set! Google has yielded many images of these exact same pieces painted in a startling variety of colors, so I'm gathering this was a popular paint-your-own-pottery set at some point. The ones on Etsy all claim to be from the 70's. Maybe? I don't know. I'm just glad mine is painted white instead of purple and yellow (true story).

Then one day I got a text from my friend Kristi letting me know that Tuesday Morning had octopus pillows on clearance. Of course I got an octopus pillow. But I also spotted these bowls:

Right? So I had to buy those. When one of those owls is wearing a heaping hat of mashed potatoes, I'm going to be very happy indeed.

And, finally, my elusive gravy boat! I've never had a real gravy boat before. We've always improvised, and it's never felt very....grown up. So I've been on the hunt for a white gravy boat all year. I was shocked when exactly what I needed turned up a couple of weeks the Dollar Spot at Target! It was one of the $3 things, not really a dollar, but that's okay. $3 for a perfectly serviceable and attractive ceramic gravy boat (I felt like I needed to make it clear that's it not plastic. But a plastic gravy boat would be really weird, wouldn't it?) is a good deal in my book:

I'll still be keeping my eye open for more between now and Thanksgiving, but I think we're in pretty decent shape now.