Friday, August 26, 2011

Fall Is In The Air . . .

Ok, so it might still be 90 outside but I have set the air down real low (don't tell Al Gore!), have my fall candle burning, and have pulled out the fake leaves, fake acorns and all the accoutrements! Now, you need to know I live in Florida and love it from November through June. July and August are so hot we don't see the outdoors much and are busy praying our A/C doesn't break. September and October, I PINE, and I really mean PINE, away for the fall colors happening in those Northern states.

Above is my mantle. Our living room has really high ceilings which I don't really like but it did allow me room to make some changes (and so did my hubby!). When we moved into the house, the fireplace had a generic tile around it and the all over the hearth. It had a large mirror that went all the way to the ceiling and was trimmed by a light oak frame - yes, so '80s. Didn't make me yearn for my big hair and neon colors though. Made me want to redo it - so I did! We pulled off the tile and replaced it with a nice white tile with a braided tile trim. Since I am so seasonal, I wanted a place to hang wreaths, mirrors and other seasonal decor. Then I found this beautiful antique stained glass. It was from the turn of the century (the last one) and is from a church (all I need to do is pass around an offering plate to help make money to pay off my high A/C bill!). The contractor and I went through several different ways to figure out how to light it from behind, light boxes, build out a frame, you name it. Finally, wanting to JUST GET IT DONE, I said just cut a hole in the drywall and stick in the light boxes, so that's what we did. I love it, I will let you know it looks great at night! But now I have gone on a tangent so back to fall!

Love my Pottery Barn ledges. Use them for all kinds of decorating ideas!

I love to put photos on those shelves. The couch for the family room is opposite them so I can very easily look at all those smiling faces looking out at me!

My sweet babies!

I love the look of this copper-trimmed frame. I wanted to put both these sweet faces in it. I didn't like the look of the two photos next to each other so I added a ribbon between to the two.

Last year, my girls put on an art show for the family. They did color drawings, pencil sketches, and some clay artwork. I loved the leaf and tree so I felt the need to use them somewhere in my house. I found a dark wood shadowbox, printed a picture from one of our fall trips, labeled the picture (I do this on a lot of the pictures with mats) and attached the art with a few drops of glue. Faboosh!

Not so fab!
Many years ago, I splurged on a beautiful wreath shown above. About 8 years ago it cost be around $80 - lots of moola then! It was so gorgeous, it had beautiful leaves, berries and apples, pomegranates and pears - until THEY entered the picture - roaches. Over the course of the years, they have eaten my berries, apples, pomegranates and pears! So I chopped off the sad remains of the remnants and then realized it looked even sadder. It needed some major love. Now I may shock you with this but there is not a Hobby Lobby near me. So now, every time I go to see my parents in Ocala, I need my HL fix. Last time I was there, I came across these papier mache, mercury glassesque (not a real word but I like the sound of it!) pumpkins. So I decided to add them to my wreath and here's the new and improved wreath:

Much better thank you!

This still needs some tweaking. We actually use the plates, bowls and platters in here a
lot so I wanted to keep them accessible.
That's all to show for now. I have some more work to do so stay posted!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Sounds of Silence . . .

Ok, I live in Florida and this year, August 22nd brings "the most wonderful time of the year" - back to school and back to the car line!! My girls both started school this morning. My oldest is starting 8th grade and is so excited about being BWOC (big woman on campus)! My youngest is in 4th grade and has 2 teachers (one for math and science, one for reading and English) which will be a big adjustment for her. School for our oldest (Caitlin) used to start at 7:20 but changed this year to 9:30. Many parents protested the time change and appealed to the School Board time after time, but to no avail. In our house, we all feel a little bit guilty because we are a family of sleepers and are all happy to have that extra time to sleep-in in the morning!! Now mama likes her sleep but I was wide awake at 6:00 a.m., so what did I do with my time you ask, I played like Martha Freakin' Stewart! I made a breakfast casserole (if you want a great recipe, go to my Pinterest site, under Looks Delish, it's the Amish Breakfast Casserole and is a family fave! Those Amish sure can whip up a mean casserole!) with fresh cut fruit and milk and OJ. Now don't be fooled by this. There will come a day (probably sooner than later) when we are running out of the house late, throwing stale goldfish in a plastic cup and grabbing a "past it's prime" banana but today was one of those perfect mornings. Everyone got up when asked the first time. Big sis helped 'lil sis straighten her hair. Backpacks were filled with new school supplies and sitting by their new desks last night. Fantastic lunches were packed last night topped off by a napkin note from all the other members of the family. It's a little dream world and if we can continue like this for the next 2 days, I will be totally amazed! Both girls were so excited about going to school and looked great!

Caitlin ready for the first day of 8th grade.

Olivia can't wait for school to start and has a new feather hair accessory!

Now my daughter's elementary school is the best! It's small, only 350 students, it's old, been there since 1925, and I just love it! Every year, we have taken a picture of the girls in front of the school sign. It's tradition and the girls know better than to argue with me! Just smile for the birdie and it will be over before you know it!

First day of school 2006.
First day of school 2007.

So I am currently sitting on my sofa with a large Coke Zero (I am not a coffee drinker but still love me some caffeine!) and hear nothing but silence. This summer has been packed for us, dance rehearsals and dance recital, week-long vacation to South Beach and then to Curacao for some R&R, Eckerd College Watersports camp, Warren Willis camp, Tampa Bay Watch camp, visits with cousins, grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, making a quilt, sleepovers with friends, meeting Selena Gomez and attending her concert, 4th of July party, heading to the beach with family to watch the last Space Shuttle launch, Back-to-School party with a live band in our backyard, completely redoing two rooms, celebrating several birthdays, attending Rays games, getting a new hamster and 5 days later realizing that hamster now is a family of 10. No wonder I am so tired!

My entire family loves the seasons as much as I do, so they convinced me to start decorating for Fall (it didn't take a lot of begging!). It usually takes me about 2-3 days to pull it all together (I started yesterday) so as I look out and see "Fall" sitting on every surface in my house (Martha would now be cringing), I realize it is time to get off the couch, grab another Coke Zero, light my Autumn Yankee Candle and pull this house back together. Maybe if I can clean off the breakfast dishes from this morning (I knew there was a reason I didn't usually cook in the mornings!), I can bake some cookies for when the girls come home from school (back to Martha smiling at me)! But that will be for another post!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Want Zebra Fur Where?

Ok, so I think I mentioned that my youngest daughter was getting her room redone for her 10th birthday. She decided she wanted lime green, black and zebra fur! Yes, she wanted it on the wall but I talked her out of that! Love her vision and out-of-the-box thinking (may get her farther on Design Star than I would get), didn't want to have to deal with fur on the walls - oh vay! So paint was going to be our friend. For a refresher, here's the before:

So we went with a lime green below the chair rail, high gloss black on the all the trim and white above.

I splurged on the Behr with Primer but it still took 2 coats, plus you were suppose to wait 24 hours in between coats, so sorry Home Depot but not gonna happen!! This impatient mom did not have that much time on her hands (please look away from the pink carpet on the ground. It's being changed next week!!)

The colors work nicely together. My husband was sad because of the pink leaving our house. Both girls rooms were pink at one time and now those little girls walls are covered up with other colors (but NO fur!).

The other thing we were trying to do to save some money is reuse furniture around the house or in the garage. Right now, we have about 12 pieces of furniture not in use. I plan to sell some of it one of these days (in my spare time!)! My daughter's room is small, with an even smaller closet, so we decided to give her as much storage in the room. I am a firm believer in "a place for everything and everything in it's place!" Wish my kids (and hubby) followed that! So we added a large dresser, that used to hold our TV in the family room (so much for saving money because now we will need a new TV stand - yeah, shopping!). So we took the old stand/dresser, painted it with the high gloss black and it looks great!

We also found a mirror in the garage that we had never used but came with the dresser. I pulled it out, cleaned it up and will paint it the lime green color. This will help her room to look bigger.

So that's where we stand right now. We are going to go shopping for some accessories and storage boxes that will complement the colors. I also have to assemble the 2, yes not 1 but 2, bookcases we ordered from Target on-line (again, the not spending money thing is just a concept to us!!).

It's starting to come together and our goal is to have it done before school starts on August 22!! Keep you posted!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Popcorn is Better with Butter . . .

Not on the ceiling! I HATE popcorn ceilings! My hubby says hate is a strong word but that is how I really feel about those hideous ceilings. Lazy contractors put them up, they don't look good and will eventually collect dust and dirt (no, I am not a clean freak but I prefer to keep my dirt on the ground where I could easily clean it if the urge ever struck me! It doesn't strike often!) Ok, so with new carpet on it's way, I decided to start tackling my daughter's bedroom ceiling. My hubby grabbed the big ladders (her ceiling is sloped and starts at 8 feet and goes up to 12 feet!!) and I grabbed the spray bottle and scraper. That's all you need (plus, determination and old clothes!)

So I started spraying and scrapping, scrapping and spraying, spraying and scrapping. That's it - just like lather, rinse and repeat. It's not hard, it just takes grit (going with old school terminology!). Here's a tip, cover the ceiling fan so popcorn doesn't fall in the motor. I learned that lesson the expensive way in another room!

Some normal people might also use goggles but I don't like wearing them because they fog up and I can't see well with them, so I have gotten good at staying out of the way of falling down popcorn. Look down when you are just overhead!

All in all, it went well and smoothly - ha, ha - that was the goal wasn't it?

A couple coats of fresh paint (I was out of primer and too lazy to leave the house to buy it, don't recommend that as the paint pulled up in a couple of places and I had to work my magic to sand it back down and repaint!).

But now it's as good as smooth! Makes all the difference in the world! It really only took me one day's work. I have done all the ceilings in the house except for the living room but that has 16 (or higher, I have never measured) foot ceilings so mama's not gonna do it! I will leave that to the professionals!

So if you are going to try it, have fun and plan on getting dirty! There will be popcorn in body places you didn't know existed but the finished look will be clean and smooth and give you a feeling of a job well done!

Now it's time to pick paint colors, but that's for another post!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Things We Do For Our Kids . . .

My youngest daughter, Olivia, is turning 10 in a month. She has been wanting to redo her room for about a year but since our house was on the market, we said wait until we move because, seriously, what was the point!

Needless to say, as I had previously mentioned, our house hadn't sold and there weren't any houses we just "had to have" so we decided to stay put for the time being. Minutes after that decision was made, two things happened. One, our house became trashed (having to keep your house clean for showings at any time is exhausting, especially with two kids, one husband, and a black Lab!)! And two, a little, blonde girl climbed on my lap and asked if I could redo her room. What's a mom to do? So here's pics of Olivia in her current room.

Her room is cute but just feels cluttered (maybe because it is!). There is also something you need to know. My oldest daughter, Caitlin, has a large room. In fact, it's actually two rooms in one.

Caitlin's room was featured in a makeover article in the St Petersburg Times in August 2009. Caitlin is on the bed, little sis Liv, on the chair.

So when we decided to redo Liv's room, the goal was organization. She is a clutterbug and hangs onto all kinds of items that invoke wonderful memories (I call it crap!). So we sat down with our new best friend, Pinterest, and started posting items she liked to her folder.

This is the bed she loves. It is from Rooms to Go Kids and cost $800. It has storage above and a trundle below (the trundle costs extra but we already have one we can use). The funny part is that the bed is called The Olivia!! I think it was meant to be. There are two problems, one the design Olivia wants is to center the bed on the wall and put a bookcase on each side. That is a great idea but it will block 1/3 of the window, which we are both kind of ok with. Two, the bed costs $800 and we currently have two perfectly fine beds (one in the garage and one in her room) that would work just as well. This decision is still currently pending!!!

Others have already been made. Olivia has expensive taste and in the spirit of finding storage, found these:

I love them too! They are from Pottery Barn Teen but at $599 and $699 (respectively), I couldn't bring myself to get them plus, we needed two and S&H had a $75 surcharge per bookcase - EGADS!!

So I was able to convince her to go with these:

They aren't as fun since they don't rotate but will look nice and are from Target. We had to order them on-line. They were $280 each, had an additional 15%-off sale and free S&H so a mommy is not going to complain (until they arrive and that will be another post, just as a teaser, they look great IN THE END!)

As for the colors, Olivia knew she wanted zebra so she wanted zebra "fur" under her chair rail and lime green above. Now, a lot of times, I let my kids just go with it. However, I had visions of me trying to vacuum the walls, and since I barely vacuum the carpets, that was not gonna happen! The color palette we decided on was lime green below the chair rail, high gloss black on all the trim, white above the rail and zebra as accent. It will actually look great and quite sophisticated for such a young lady but it is what we were able to compromise on.

So that's the room makeover in a nutshell. The process has begun, starting with stripping the popcorn off the ceiling! But that's for another post!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And 'Lo and Behold, a Miracle Has Happened . . .

Ok, so a miracle occurred this weekend. Now mind you, it wasn't a walking on water or turning water into wine (except that would be AAWWEESSOOMMEE!) miracle, but a miracle nonetheless! It all started early Saturday morning.

We had to wake up early (6:00 a.m. on a non-school morning is way TOOOO early) to pick daughter #1 up at camp. She had spent the week at Warren Willis United Methodist camp. The kids were singing songs they had learned and they had a little service before everyone went home that morning. After the service, we loaded up the car and headed back home. Along the way, daughter #1 had to stop to use the restroom. We were on a stretch of interstate where there are not a lot of exits and the rest stops were closed while being rebuilt (not nice!). So at the next exit, we saw the normal McDonalds, Burger King, signs and got off. They were about 3 miles down the road (groan!) but when nature calls. We started seeing signs of civilization and then my heart started racing!! I knew where we were - we were in my Mother Land! The Shops @ Wiregrass!! I had heard about it. I had read about it. But I had never made the 1.5 hour trip there to shop.

NOTE: I am a rookie blogger and yes, this shakes me to my core, but I will have to ask my mother how to get my photos bigger so please me patient with me!!

So, after breathing into a brown paper bag for a few minutes, we found this big, beautiful Barnes and Noble. All personal business was taken care of, Sunshine State Reading books and a travel book were purchased, and then we decided to walk around and then eat. Now, mind you, this is an outside mall and it is 90+ humidity. Something to know about me, I HATE the heat and have lived in Florida pretty much my entire life. I was hot but was determined to shop so we forged on. My girls are old enough to go into a shop or two on their own so we split while they went into their favorite clothing stores and my husband and I hit Pottery Barn to look. I HONESTLY did no go in with an agenda (and I am appalled you could have thought that!!). We have recently decided to not sell our house, make the most of what we have, and make the house work for us. Therefore, I have started a list (currently 12 pages long!!) of "things" that we need to do. Some huge, replace the dock and boat lift, and some minor, have the carpets clean. So I am "redoing" (air quotes) each room in the house one at a time. I am addicted to Pinterest and reading other blogs, so I have 1,000s of ideas and am excited to implement them, but I digress. Back to PB, that store can take my breath away. I love the displays. Now, please bear in mind. I have a fantastic husband. He is a fantastic husband and father, everyone loves him, and he likes to entertain however, he will protest my plans (until he screams uncle), will always roll his eyes, but always helps me clean up!! He is very patient with me and does in the end, appreciate a nice home. It just usually takes a lot of mulling and contemplation on his behalf before we can pull the trigger. Luckily, he usually climbs on board. As we are walking around, I am looking for comfy chairs to go with the PB couch we have (currently using Smith & Hawken outdoor chairs from Target for $25 each/regularly over $200, but the cushions are shot and are not nice to the butt!), he spies a coffee table.

So here's the miracle in actual time:

Hubby: I really like this.
Me: Me too. I would love to decorate it.
Hubby: Would it go in our family room?
Me: Sure, between the couch and the new TV stand we are getting, there is a lot of brown but you could add colorful pillows, throws and lots of fun stuff to all the cubbies.
Hubby: How much is it?
Me: (I look at the price tag) $500.
Hubby: Let's get it.
Me: (Takes a few minutes to respond since I am on the floor) Seriously?
Hubby: Yeah. I really like it. (And goes off to find the salesman).

(Even though I live on the water in Florida, I only like shells on the beach or in moderation in a jar in my bathroom!)

We ended up getting the floor model (at a 10% discount) and we walked out the door with it (not literally though!). We also bought some new fry pans at Williams-Sonoma. We REALLY needed some new fry pans. We had received All-Clad for our wedding (over 15 years ago) and desperately needed new ones (I think we should be able to hold showers every 10 years to replace items!!). I went looking for more All-Clad but got talked into buying Calahalon Non-Stick. It was a great deal and they have worked great so far;

OOHHH! Itty-bitty photo but so was the price. An 8" and 10" pan for $59.95 - sweet!

So here's my pretty new table in my home.

NOTE: Don't look too hard in the background. We have moved some furniture around and have several temporary pieces in place until we get our new ones.

So, that is the end of this posting. I LOVE my new coffee table. I LOVE my husband's spontaneity! And I am off to figure out how to decorate it. I see many, many more posts featuring this table in the future!!