Monday, July 30, 2012

A Summer Breakfast On The Patio

On Saturday morning, five lovely ladies came over for breakfast.  It was a beautiful summer morning and we enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the patio sans kiddos!  The Mr. was our cook and served up German pancakes dusted with powdered sugar and a touch of lemon juice (basic recipe from The 36th Avenue) and crispy bacon.  The ladies brought some delicious breads and fresh fruit to share, making it quite the meal! 

I grabbed these pictures before we put out the silverware and some other serving dishes, but you get the idea....and cheerful table for a relaxing summer brunch.  The plates and cups were scored on a Target clearance rack, and they inspired this little shin dig to begin with.

When it comes to dressing a table, quality white linens are a great investment.  They're beautiful on their own or a perfect backdrop for building a fantastic table scape.  Add a colorful/seasonal runner over the top of a white table cloth to immediately change the feel....invest in white napkins instead of different napkins for each holiday, and swap out napkin rings or creative holders to fit your can easily bleach out any stains.....and maybe I'm just a little obsessed with white :)

On Thursday we picked up some food and flowers from Costco.  I let Mia pick the flowers and the girl could not resist her natural inclination (more like an intense magnetic pull) toward pink. Which ended up working out just fine.  I had a little helper setting out flowers in another area of our yard too.

We have a small bricked patio in a corner of our yard just across from the covered patio.  I set up a couple of chairs and covered a small round table from our garage with a colorful piece of fabric from my stash. 

Our patio table seats 6 and we were supposed to have 7, so  I wanted to be sure we had another cozy area to eat and chat. 

These two were happy to test it out

We hung paper lanterns in pink, green and yellow across the top of the awning.  This is the only pic I have of them - bad, bad blogger.

We had a table set up for easy access to drinks...this is just a colorful scarf thrown over a white table. 

I do have a cream set of coffee mugs, but I love when people set out their unique mugs for guests to choose.  The white ceramic jar here holds sugar.

And next to it was a container of sweeteners (Splenda and Pure Via).  It's always a good idea to have something like spoons or stir stick for people to stir their coffee...and more importantly, someplace to lay those drippy spoons when they are done.  This is a small crystal dish from my aunt that we use to make Greek cookies during the holidays.  I keep it next to my coffee maker and it's my daily spot to keep my spoon for my morning coffee.

We also had a glass pitcher full of ice water and the "tub" of ice (a large bowl) held bottles of Mimosa.  I was going to grab a few bottles of orange juice and champagne but spotted these premixed bottles at Costco and decided to give them a try.  Delish! 

It really was a lovely morning...delicious food, good company, and a chance to relax after a really long week. 

James gets the husband of the year award for corralling 3 kids while cooking up fresh food for a bunch of Mama's.  Thanks, Babe.

*Linked up at My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaA Bowl Full Of Lemons, A Glimpse Inside, The Shabby Creek Cottage & The Dedicated House
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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Friday Treat

A couple of fabric goodies arrived in the mail today!  I was tossing around a few color ideas for the kitchen and these lovelies sealed the deal!

 This one is not as bold or psychedelic in's actually a really soft palette. 

This one is really vibrant and I am in LOVE with the colors.  So is my pink obsessed daughter.
They are just the right compliment to the fabrics I already have on hand.  Now to convince James that it's more coral than pink ;)  And to get started on that breakfast nook!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ceramic Owls!

Yet another score from the Target dollar bins!!

I'm probably way behind the ceramic-white-owl curve here but I spotted these guys in the dollar section at Target today, and at $2.50 each, I just couldn't resist!

The tops are open, so the possibilities for these fellas are endless.....a cute pencil holder on a desk...a vase for some colorful peonies or full white flowers...a spot to corral makeup brushes or cotton balls...a handy serving piece for colorful straws or stir sticks for coffee.....a touch of whimsy to whatever dishes/ceramics you have on display....

Wherever they end up in the house, they're sure to bring in boatloads of charm!  In case you couldn't tell, I have a serious little owl crush on them....

Such a super sweet find! 

After Target, we stopped by Costco to pick up some food and flowers for a summer brunch we're having here on Saturday.  I let Mia pick the flowers and she went with roses.  Lots and lots of roses, with lots and lots of pink.
 Is anyone surprised?  I think she's having as much fun as I am getting ready for this ladies only morning!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Buffet Turned Dresser: Part 1

Last week I introduced you to the latest addition to our master bedroom:  this huge but very handsome buffet.

This piece of furniture is the best of both worlds - beautiful and totally functional.  Between all the storage she offers and the spacious linen closet in our master bathroom, we were able to sell our old dresser in a recent quickie garage sale.

Originally I thought we would use this to store James' miscellaneous clothes (socks, underwear, etc), our bed linens and my jewelry.  But since my jewelry/accessories were going to take up all of the top drawers, and my clothes were scattered throughout our closet, linen closet and old dresser, I figured it was easier to have all of my things in one place.  So, James' extra clothes went to the linen closet, along with the..uh, linens (don't ask why they weren't there before, because your guess is as good as mine)...and my things would move on over to the buffet!

I started with the bottom shelves and found these baskets on sale at Joann's that fit perfectly inside the deep side cabinets. 

One side has a basket with my pj's and the other has a basket with my workout/painting clothes and 2 swimsuits.  I folded them fairly small and stacked them horizontally, instead of piled on top of each other.  This way I can easily see everything I have without digging through and destroying a neatly folded pile.

The long center drawer is quite deep, so I was able to fit two medium fabric itso bins from Target.  I will swap the one on the right out for a green one to match the bin on the left.  The left bin holds bras/underwear, the one on the right holds tights/socks/undergarments for more formal wear (you know, the gut-sucker-iners), and my leggings are rolled and lined up in between the bins. 

The top set of drawers has two of these lovely velvet lined drawers and one long shallow drawer.  They'll help me organize my jewelry, belts, scarves and other accessories. 

I knew I wanted to pull out the velvet from the two side drawers and had in mind to cut a few pieces of cardboard the size of each section to cover with an updated fabric. Wouldn't you know tha'st exactly what already existed!  So, I just pulled them out and removed the old velvet fabric. 
 I scraped off the balls of velvet fabric left behind here and then went digging through my stash of fabric for a replacement.  I loved the natural feel of the unbleached osnaburg fabric (very similar to linen) we used on our lettered pillow covers, and I had more than enough for this project.

I simply placed each cardboard strip on top of the osnaburg and cut out a piece of fabric about 1.5" larger on each side.  I wrapped the fabric around the sides (cutting off the excess fabric in the corners) and glued down the edges.

So much better!

I popped them right back in once the glue was dry and they immediately freshened up the drawers. 
I really wanted to use a colorful patterned fabric in these but since I have a lot of different colors and patterns coming in through the jewelry and accessories, a neutral fabric with some texture is going to be a perfect backdrop.

Now to deal with the long center draw and get all those goodies in!    I also need to address this issue on the top:
This piece must have been in a sunny spot in it's old home because you can see the shadow of a table runner on top.  I really don't want to attempt restaining the top, so I'll have to figure out another solution. 

All coming up in the "Buffet Turned Dresser: Part Deux"  ;)

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Painted Kitchen Cabinets: Phase 1

We are officially pot committed over here!  The upper set of kitchen cabinet doors are down, cleaned, sanded, primed and are drying with the first couple coats of paint! 

We jumped in bright and early Sat morning.  The Mr. started removing all the hardware and taking the doors down, while I set up a work area in the garage.

I searched all sorts of blogs and google links on how to paint cabinets and primarily followed this one.  I started with the inside of the cabinet doors so that any early mistakes wouldn't be seen from the outside once they were back in the kitchen.

The first step was to give the doors what I thought would be a quick cleaning/wipe down.  Uh no.  Apparently, the former home owners had an affinity for fried food...the grease was so caked on the cabinets surrounding the oven that my cleanser wasn't making a dent.  I eventually used goo-gone to loosen it up and then had to scrape off years of sticky gunk with a small spatula. 

Cleaning ended up being the most time consuming step this first day.  After cleaning the cabinets, I gave them all a light sanding, using 180 grit paper.  I used a Swiffer Duster to remove all the loose dust and then wiped them down with a damp cloth.

Once they were dry, I gave them all a thin, even coat of primer.   Followed by 2 coats of paint.  I lightly sanded and wiped clean between each coat. 

I also experimented between a brush/foam roller combo and just a paintbrush.  On the first few cabinets I cut in all the edges with a brush and then used a small foam roller specifically for cabinets and doors on the larger surface areas.  This left a  fairly smooth surface and minimal lines.  (Hard to see here)

I used only a paintbrush on the last few cabinets and found that I had minimal lines with that method long as I used thin coats and continued to do a light sanding in between each coat of primer and paint.   If you keep those things in mind, either method will work just fine.

What wasn't fine, was my sanding job.  We started with very grainy oak cabinets and the light sanding I gave them after the cleaning was enough to give the paint a good gripping surface but not enough to smooth those lines.

I'm giving these a couple more days to harden and cure before I flip them over to do the other side.  Once I start on the front side, I'll give them a better sanding to avoid those obvious grain lines.  We were also able to clean, sand and prime the upper cabinets inside but after seeing how noticeable the wood grains lines were, I think I may need to go back and sand again.  Sigh.....we're learning as we go here! 

Even though I may need to go back over a few areas, the paint is already making a HUGE difference in the space!  We also narrowed down paint color for the walls and I'm so giddy excited about the wall treatment we have planned for the breakfast nook!  So more painting and sanding in store for us this week.

So who else has tackled their kitchen cabinets?  What tricks and tips did you find helpful?

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Kitchen Cabinet Spectacular!

The other day James and I sat down with our calendar to figure out a realistic timeline for some of my our bigger projects.  Football season is almost here and that means my handyman won't be available for a few months (at least for the big stuff).  Some projects will go on hold and others we'll push to finish over the next few weeks. 

The kitchen is the priority for the summer, and the biggest job in that space is absolutely the cabinets.  Our weekends tend to fill up quickly, so we picked an open one and penciled (or dry erased) it in.

James was actually writing and I didn't notice what he wrote until the next morning....

So, let the Kitchen Cabinet Spectacular begin!!!  We obviously won't get through it in a weekend but it starts tomorrow!  

You can check out our Kitchen Reno Inspiration  board on Pinterest to see where we're headed on this kitchen adventure....and have a great weekend!
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where Old Meets New

Last week, I shared yet another "changed my mind" moment in our home improvement endeavors.  This time it was the color scheme for the master bedroom.   I talked all about the beautiful piece that forced the old plan out the window...and never even showed you a picture.  For shame!

So please excuse me and let me introduce you to our tall, dark, and handsome buffet...
 Ok, so he's not all that dark but is quite tall and exceptionally wide at 6ft.  I believe 'ginormous' sums it up.

And a closer look at the details actually make it feel more like a 'she' than a 'he'. She has a beautiful fire blown mahogany finish and rosette wood work throughout.

Besides being a striking piece, it also has boatloads of storage.  Enough so that we were able to sell our dresser.....which actually opened up a space for another DIY feature (James is thrilled).  These side cupboards and the deep center drawer will house some clothing items (socks, undergarments, etc) and bed linens.

There are 3 shallow drawers along the top that will help solve my current jewelry jumble.   The two top side drawers are divided and have a lovely maroon velvet lining.  The wheels are turning for an update.....

The long center drawer is quite spacious and unlined.  More wheels turning....

This baby obviously has a traditional vibe about her, and even though I plan to mix old and new/modern and traditional in this space, the modern print and colors of the old inspiration fabric were clashing with this piece.

Our new inspiration fabric is a much better complement.  It will still allow us to play with some fun accent colors and mix in some modern prints.

So how did she end up in our master anyway?  Well, we found this dining room set on craigslist and the buffet was part of the deal.  We already have a huge built-in cabinet in dining room and no space for a piece this large.  We needed something to fill this wall in the master and also had some storage needs to why not a buffet? 

I'm convinced we can make it work and she already feels like she know, among the shelves and diaper boxes full of frames waiting to be hung.  We'll get there ;)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Pretty Cover Up

A couple of months ago I found a bomb of dress-up clothes, books and toys exploded in my daughter's room.  It prompted a huge overhaul in her sweet space and we've been plugging away one area of the room at a time!  So far, we've given her a whimsical butterfly focal wall, a unique place to hold all her hair clips, and given her vanity a complete makeover.  Next on the list is her closet and you make have caught a sneak peak of today's project in the vanity post...

But let's start at the beginning.  This is what the closet looked like when we began this girly overhaul:

We have plowed through some deep piles of pink frills, pared down/purged, and have brought in some much better storage solutions.  We're still putting the finishing touches on this little girl's closet, but in the meantime I wanted to address the doors...or lack of!

I have a slight obsession with removing closet doors.  It drives me crazy when I can only access half the closet at a time and since Mia's dresser needed to go in the closet, being able to access the entire closet (particularly the center) was a must.

We considered bi-fold doors, but with all the other feminine touches happening in this space, I couldn't resist this beautiful fabric in a soft pink and green damask.  I started with 6 yards of fabric that I found for a great price on  I actually took all the measurements and cut my fabric several weeks ago, so I don't have the specifics, but here's a quick run down of what I did...

Instead of cutting one panel at a time, I folded the fabric in half, measured the length I would need for one panel (plus my hem allotments) from the bottom (raw ends) up and lined up that mark with my area rug.

I cut off the excess using the straight edge of the rug as my guide.

The fabric on the hard floor was excess and on the rug I had two equal panels.

I ironed down a 1 inch hem for the bottom of each panel.

I made sure that my seam was straight according to the pattern as well, then took it over to the sewing machine to stitch it down (you could easily do this with hem tape too).
If you don't want a raw edge you can fold this over one more time and sew it down for a clean hem.

*We used a curtain rod (mounted on the inside of the closet) and clip rings to hang these, so I simply did another 1" hem for the top.  If you plan to use a pocket rod, just add 2 " to your initial measurements, fold down the top edge 2" and sew right along the seam from your 1" hem.  It will help you sew a straight line and leave plenty of room for the rod.  

At the last minute, I grabbed some wide ribbon in a deep pink to use as a closure for the panels.  I cut two strips and sewed one end of each strip in the center of the inside edge of each panel.  Then it was time to hang them!

From the mixed patterns on the bed quilt, to the different colored butterflies across the focal wall, there is a lot going on in this room.  I was concerned that the fabric might be a little too busy for the space, but now that it's finally up, I L.O.V.E.!   The pattern is symmetrical and doesn't have a lot of contrast, so the effect is soft color that actually calms the space.

Not to mention that they hide all the disarray going on behind them.  It's kind of like making your bed - it can instantly make a room feel less messy and cluttered.  The bed takes up a lot of real estate in a room and the closet takes up a lot of real estate on the walls. 

I love how they pool a bit at the bottom and that bright pink bow just ties her up like a sweet present.

 Now, hopefully we can make the inside live up to the wrapping!

That leaves our to-do list for this room looking like this:

-Feature for dark pink focal wall
-Black out shades
-Organize and accessorize vanity
-Replace closet doors
-Window treatment
-Paint and organize the closet
-Rearrange bookcase
-Art for walls
-Photo board
-small cabinet update

And we're saving all those for the final room reveal!  Hopefully by the end of the month - fingers crossed!

*I'm linked up at The Shabby Creek CottageThe Shabby Nest, A Glimpse Inside, Organize and Decorate Everything,  Tatertots And Jello & The 36th Avenue
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