Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Worthy Cause (and my first giveaway!)

Hi everyone!  So 10 months later, I'm back!  Every few months or so I've thought about getting back on the blog but I just have been sort of stuck in doubting myself ("Does anyone really want to read what I have to say?" and other great self talk).

But then something happened.  I've been a blog reader for a long time, and I have found so many great writers, so many sources of comfort and guidance as a mother, and fantastic inspiration as I learn to make my home what I want it to be for my family.  One of my favorite bloggers from the beginning has been Jessica from Balancing Everything (through all of her blog iterations). Recently, Jessica was hit with a health problem, and while she is thankfully on the mend she is now facing resulting financial struggles.

Enter Jessica's friends, Tracy and Kat. I honestly marvel every single day at my incredible good fortune with the friends I have in my life. In more ways than I can count I could not get by without all of them. I want every woman to be as lucky as I am, and Jessica clearly is. Against her objections, and initially unbeknownst to her, Tracy and Kat are organizing a few ways that people can help defray some of the costs that Jessica and her family are facing.  Read this post to learn more.

I feel moved to help by offering an item for the online auction. One of the very first DIY projects that I saw on a blog and thought "I might be able to do that!" was this book page wreath by Lindsay at Makely School For Girls.  It sort of sat in the back of my mind for the longest time, until recently when I had a group of friends over to make one. I finally finished one after many, many glue gun burns and I. Love. It. It is hanging in my living room now and I have wasted so much time gazing lovingly at it. My negative inner voice has hushed up enough to let me to think that maybe other people would want one of my wreaths too! Mine is a little different from Lindsay's, I just chose to roll my pages a little differently.

(For some reason these pics are showing some wonkiness in the colors of the pages, it is much more uniform than it looks.)

The auction should go up sometime next week, so stay tuned here and I will keep you posted. And thanks to Jessica and her friends, I am excited to be back in the blog saddle yet again!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Room Evolution

I am a very, very bad blogger. I don't even want to look at the date of my last post...I know it was a stupid long time ago. ESPECIALLY because so much has been going on around here!  We've made so many changes with paint on both walls and furniture, rotated furniture through the house and back again (and back again), put together some gallery walls...it's really non-stop!

My friend Kim has started an amazing new blog, Colors Mixed Together, and homegirl has got it goin' on. Amazing ideas, gorgeous projects (board and batten, swoon!), AND regular updating! How does she do it!? She has given me a kick in the pants to get my act together, so here I am...thanks Kim!

There are a lot of things I need to update you all on, as well as some super dee duper exciting things planned for the near future (painting my kitchen cabinets yo!). But, mostly since this is the room I am sitting in now, let's start with the family room.  Here is where we started a year ago:

When we first moved in, we really liked the barn board panelling and huge (4 ft tall by 5 feet wide) fireplace. Over time though, we realized those two elements were making the room feel more than a little cave-like, especially with the lack of natural light in there (because of the deep screened-in porch, which we love).

When it came to the fireplace, we kicked around the idea of painting the stone (people lost their minds over that one). I went around and around with different mantel stylings trying to lighten things up, and eventually we moved our tv to the mantel (it had been in the lower left built in, but we felt like that sort of pulled the whole room into that corner). Then I got annoyed because the big beam over the fireplace is very rough and uneven...I'd try to put a vase up there and it would be all wonky and I would throw things and it was bad. Enter my awesome husband. He built what he calls a "slipcover" for the mantel...basically just wrapped the whole mantel in flat pine 1 x 8s with some very simple trim. We painted it white, and then painted the built ins on either side in the same shade (they had been a sort of muddy cream color and the difference with the new paint was CRAZY!).  So then, with the TV up there with the dark-ish stone wall behind it, I felt like something needed to be behind the TV to break up all the darkness. I had some old shutters I found a while ago, and my husband mounted one on L brackets and stood it on the mantel behind the TV. Again, amazing difference. Here is where we are now:

I feel like the pictures aren't doing it justice (not easy to get good pics at 9:00pm!), but I am loving it. I think the white "slipcover" over the mantel beam really helps to break up the wall and inject some brightness. Over Christmas I had a great glittery banner hung there and it was amazing. I plan to do one for Valentine's Day soon, so watch for that.  (Oh good Lord, please ignore how dirty the inside of the upper cabinets behind the tv components are...except now you can't because I made you look at them when you probably hadn't noticed.)

The shutter is one of my fave things. I just loved the way we pulled it from something we already had and my sweetie came up with a simple way to put it up without drilling into the stone. I can even take it down and paint it different colors pretty easily (already picturing in ASCP Provence).

OK, so now you can see that I haven't gotten around to painting the top of the mantle...woops!  We normally don't see it at all unless we're standing right up in front of the fireplace, so you know...it may not ever get painted. I am totally ok with that. I got these glass hurricanes for $15 at Target...pretty much the same as the Pottery Barn version for $60!  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Pottery Barn, but if I can find a look-alike bargain I'll take it. The owl I got at Home Goods (aka Heaven). I'm loving decorating with books, I feel like they add such a cool, personal element.  The little bottles in the wire basket are from Wuslu...man they bring the good stuff! If you haven't signed up over there yet, you should, but be warned...it is addictive! They offer one item per day, and it's all awesome.

Almost forgot to mention, we finally found a fireplace screen and it has made such a difference! You wouldn't think putting a big black screen in front of a big black hole would be much help, but it really works! I think the screen just gives the eye a place to rest. And, if you look over on the left side you'll see that the barnboard panellng is no more...we took it down and drywalled and holy smokes...what an impact. I'll show more of that later this week.

This room has been a challenge in terms of furniture placement too, mostly because there is not one full wall to be found. I think I have finally found the solution though, with a new sectional that I am getting Wednesday. This was my dream piece...


...but with three kids the $2500 price tag was tough to swallow. Lucky me I found a close copy on closeout at a local store for $888!  That's right, a third of the price. Now I just have to sit and stare out the window until it gets here, and then I can get serious in here.  I did splurge for some PB throw pillows, and they are giving me a jumping off point to finally have a cohesive color scheme in here.


I'm so excited to be so close to having this room DONE! And excited to be back here...thanks Kim!

See you all soon!