October 13, 2013

Upstairs Hall

When we bought our house the walls were painted peachy-mustard throughout. The first floor and basement were painted before we moved in but the upstairs hall remained. It barely took any time at all to paint, I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. Now, every time I walk upstairs I swoon, just a little bit. The new rug and light are just an added bonus.

old wall color, boob light, cheap-o rug from the last house, test swatch of a new paint color
wall color: Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter HC-172
ceiling color: Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace
new light from Lowes, I spray painted it "champaign" after seeing it done here
it was relatively inexpensive and it sparkles at night
our new rug!!! a tribal Kazak
my first real grown-up rug
Mollee puked on it the first week, le sigh….
 City Park illustration from Etsy, Ikea frame
restored brass switch plate, instructions here
First attempt at a rug from West Elm. This rug was hideous in person and too small.
Rug inspiration
I love it
we still have to paint all the trim and doors…someday

This Guy....

This guy is coming to live with us!!! 
Our new rug for the front entry. I'm smitten. Supposedly he is 1940's Heriz, Iran. 
But I got him on Ebay and he was relatively cheap so we'll see.
We don't have a big entry so that limited the options. 
I pulled a bunch that would work and Bernie made the final choice.

Tomatoes & Cucumbers, oh my!

This year I grew 12 tomato plants and 6 cucumber plants and we've had them coming out our ears all summer. I've spent many a weekend this year roasting and canning and pickling and now we have a freezer and fridge full of goodies. Pretty much we eat tomatoes with everything these days. Recipes at the end.
burrata salad - to die for

Follow my Pinterest board: Food I've Made for all the recipes

Roasted Tomato Pesto - OMGeeeeee - this is so good!!!
More Dill Pickles - these are my fav!

September 22, 2013

Don't Read This Post...

Don't read this post. It's sad, especially if you're a dog lover. I put this out there for my own closure. To try and let it go. I don't want to talk about it, I know you are there for me and understand how hard it is and I thank you for that.
A week ago we lost our baby...Cooper. It was a sad sad sad day...week…eventually...a month in our house. Most of you know Cooper had been having physical issues for the last year but his head and spirit were still in the game and he didn't seem to be in any pain and couldn't care less that he stumbled around. People would gasp and feel sorry for him but he would get up and go on his way, no shame. We got him a harness to help him around, I got blisters on my hand. We all managed the best we could.

Until the last two days of his life, when he couldn't walk and finally told us...it's time. I said to him and to Bernie, I can't do this anymore, it's not fair. Cooper looked back at me and said, it's time. That was the first time he ever showed his defeat. The next day I stayed home from my trip and spent the day with him. He sat by me all day, getting loved and petted but never moving off his bed. He was so happy to be there, it made me question our decision....he had an appointment at 3pm. But when I saw him unable to move I knew it was right. We spent the last couple of hours in the back yard, loving him as he laid in the grass. 

When we were at the vet he could barely walk in but once he was settled he was so alive. So interested in what was happening. We loved him and fed him lots of treats. The fact he was still so with-it made it all the harder. But trying  to help a 110lb dog move had gotten to be very very hard. When he was laying down, all that was forgotten. I know in my head we did what was right but my heart hasn't caught up to that decision. I sob to write this. Goodbye Cooper, we love you. Good dog.
good bye my baby

September 16, 2013

New Addition

Finally! My own personal space. I've been hunting for a vintage secretary since we moved into our house. I scoured Craigslist and each time I found one I liked it was snatched up in minutes. Finally I gave up...until I decided to look one last time, and then Bam! Mission accomplished!

I bought this piece last weekend from a technologically challenged but feisty older lady that played hard to get. I was persistent. I had to submit to two in-person interviews before she would part with it and I'm pretty sure if she didn't like what she heard she would have kindly sent me on my way. She told me lots of stories about how this was her parent's first "real" piece of furniture, bought in Chicago around 1925, how she did her homework here as a child, how we can't fill in the dent on the front because it holds sentimental value (for her!) although she can't remember why, and how she was going to give it to her brother when she downsized but he died so, you know, that didn't work out.

I did some quick research online, and while the piece is good quality, and old, it certainly isn't rare or all that valuable. This piece was considered a mass-produced reproduction back in the day. But it is mahogany, in great condition, original finish, and exactly what I was looking for. Having grown up with a Chris-Craft and having refinished the wood in my Boston Whaler every couple of years I have a soft spot for mahogany.

I hope it turns out to be a pretty space that I use and not a cluttered mess like the rest of my spots around the house. I'm sure Bernie would like that as well.

May 29, 2013

I swear it looks better in person

Remember all our house problems from last year? Not really problems, more like dilemmas. It started with one comment from my friend Danielle about the color of our back porch. I don't even remember what she said but from that point on It Was All Yellow (key Coldplay song). It's all good though because she stained my fence. Who does that when they come to visit???  The most awesome friends ever, that's who. Since then I painted the porch and all the trim, removed the red mulch and landscaped, replaced the light fixture, added a window box and a Beyoncé rooster (knock knock), and on a whim, Bernie rebuilt the porch. We put in an awful lot of work, for a very small difference - in the pictures any way. It looks way better in person, I swear.

yellow porch, red mulch, crappy light
to prove the porch is actually a different color
new color on the bottom half, old color on the top
my mini-Beyoncé
 new LED light fixture, thanks to a tip from Matthew and my Uncle Chuck
Costco, super cheap, around $30
red mulch be gone! new hose reel
a picture for my Dad, my new cart to replace the wheelbarrow I wrecked last fall
it's a dump truck!
and now he can see I really do have a 3' x 30' garden
as strange as that may sound
Bernie replaced a bad board on the porch...
and then one bad board turned into a total rebuild.
When he got to this point and wasn't sure how to move forward
I said I wished we could get Dave Batchelder on the phone.
He'd know what to do. Bernie figured it out pretty quick.
 he replaced the red treads with dark brown ones
they're super fancy
new plants, rubber tire mulch
the stupid lavender already died
you can hardly see the difference in the photos but I know it's better
not one damn bulb has sprouted in my windowbox

April 23, 2013

The Paris Wife

Once upon a time I used to be a book reader, until one day I wasn't. When I first started to travel for a living the trips were long and I read at dinner every night. Middlesex. Running With Scissors. Devil in the White City. Interpreter of Maladies. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. And a bunch more I can't recall. As the trips shortened it got to be such a pain to lug books around so I became a magazine reader. Many many many magazines. A few weeks ago I finally broke down and bought an ipad. And then an e-book. I started reading The Paris Wife on my trip to New York on Sunday.

I didn't want to put it down. Couldn't wait to get back to it. Read it until late in the night, just like when I was young. It felt like yesterday I was 15 and reading at the cottage late into the night, all summer long...Gone With the Wind was my favorite. I trudged through Moby Dick.

I can't remember reading a book so fast. I read 75% of The Paris Wife on Sunday (my Kindle reader told me that and my engineer's brain was happy to know it). I finished the book the next night. And then it was over. For me, a really good book ends with a death of sorts. The story is over and I'll never see it again. It is such a loss and then I'm sad that I read it at all. Weird right? But as much as I might love a book, I never read one twice.

I think historical fiction has become my favorite. You get a good story and learn something about the world in the process. This one was the story of Hemingway's first wife and I found their relationship so compelling, full of passion and betrayal. I couldn't get enough really. You could see the train wreck coming. It made me want to grab my husband and hold tight. It was a reminder of how much work marriage is.

Next up? His side of the story....A Moveable Feast. I hope it lives up to my expectations. From Hadley's perspective, he was a real cad and I found myself hating him for it. I can't recall reading Hemingway before so I'm looking forward to it. Stay tuned...

April 14, 2013

Pantry Makeover

We have zero storage in this house so what little we do have gets out of hand fast. This is our "pantry." In our last house we had a walk in pantry with floor to ceiling shelves and now we have a single corner cupboard with two lazy susans. It's always a mess and things fall off if you spin it too fast. I took a little inspiration from Pinterest, some Ball jars, and some chalk board labels from Martha Stewart and Poof! It looks a little better. Let's see if it lasts.
my gallon jars don't have a smooth spot so the labels look a little wrinkled

March 24, 2013

Kitchen Gallery Wall

I'm not the biggest fan of gallery walls but our kitchen had this huge empty wall just asking for….something. This first photo is from February 2012 so I have been thinking about this damn project for over a year. I've consulted everyone I know. I've put tape on the wall. Taken it down. Put more tape back up. I don't move fast people. But it's finally done. At least I hope so.

February 2012
a year later…
I painted over that odd little door in the upper left thanks to a great suggestion by Katie
why didn't I think of that?
I had been loving on the ödby frames since our Ikea first opened. When I started this project last year I had decided to only hang 4 frames in the kitchen so that was how many I had. In the end I decided to hang 6 (although I really wanted 9 but thought it would be odd to look up for the top row). No big deal right? Because I can just zip on over to Ikea to buy a couple more. But then, in an unforeseen plot twist, Ikea tried its best to screw me.  I ordered the 8x10's, framed the first four, and painstakingly hung them on french cleats. A couple of days later I skipped on over to Ikea and strolled happily through the kitchen wares and lighting only to stand stunned at the empty shelves where my frames should be. I almost fell over when one of the yellow shirt guys told me they were discontinued. Do you know how long it took me to hang those 4 mutherf*@$ing frames????? (FYI - Three days, two levels, a tape measure, a drill, and a screw driver). I must have 2 more, anything less is not an option! 
…and here we sit
I went home and started working on my contingency plan, checking stock at every Ikea I would be near in the next two weeks and every Ikea within 50 miles of any friends. Luckily, Bernie's cousin Jen swooped in and saved the day. The next day she sped on over to the Ikea in Canton, Michigan and grabbed me up two more frames. Crisis adverted!!! As it so happens, Jen was coming to visit us in a few weeks and she was able to bring the frames. Yeah! 
Even though I replaced the glass with anti-glare they still don't photograph well. Most of the pics were taken in Le Marais when Bernie and I went to Paris except for the photo of the wine and Croque Madame, that was taken when Shaboom and I went to Le Café Marly at the Louvre on my first trip to Paris. Best 12 hours in Paris ever!
So, is it finished? I think so. But Bernie said he wants 3 more frames on the top row. 3 more discontinued frames. 
le sigh. 
What do you think????

if you're interested, the wall color is BM's Bitter Chocolate 


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