The Friendship Table

A couple of years ago we moved from our “starter” home into our “forever” home and we didn’t have enough furniture to fill it. Our new home looked pretty empty so I had to be creative about how I made it feel cozy (read: Craigslist, thrift stores, clearance, etc.)

The thing I loved most about my new house was the entryway. The second I walked in, I pictured my daughters coming down the stairs in their prom dresses and wedding gowns. I thought to myself, this is the perfect spot for a movie-worthy pedestal table…something I’d never needed in our old house with it’s modest entryway.

I became a lil’ bit obsessed and found that pedestal tables are surprisingly small or surprisingly expensive. So imagine my surprise when one day I walked into my local Goodwill and saw an ugly, broken, battered, but PERFECTLY sized pedestal table for…wait for it…$12.

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Home for Christmas – Part I

Today I’m showing you a little bit of what I’ve been up to around my house. There is still a lot to be done, but with two little ones and a dog I have to work when I can and be ready to break up a toy dispute or clean up a spill at a moments notice. I do NOT spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations. Most of mine are actually second hand from relatives or thrifted. I see things I want all the time like, practically everything at Target every year, but I can’t justify spending the money on something I’m going to have out for a month or two.

We’ll start with the front door. One of the things I love most about my house is the double doors. There’s just something about them that feels very welcoming to me and they were begging for matching wreaths.

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Look closely and you can see a little face peeking out like, Mommy, stop being a creeper. My entry rug is actually two. I bought one from Home Goods and it looked kind of small and sad so I went back and luckily there was one more left so I snagged it. I think it’s better than trying to find an outdoor runner in a pattern you actually like.

The topiary trees and black urns are a new purchase and they will be living there year round. My wreaths are the skimpy $3 ones from Home Depot but when fluffed I think they look just right. I hung them using 3M shower hooks and added the bows with some burlap scraps I had. The garland is actually four of the basic el-cheapo ones twisted together so they would look full enough to be seen from the street.

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I continued the simple green theme in the foyer. I’m not really one for a lot of STUFF hanging all over the place. I actually purchased this extra wide garland last year at Goodwill (brand new still in the package!) and magically it was the perfect length. I think the grand total was $4 or something like that.

My entry table is all silver, which is new for me this year because I tend to mix silver and gold but I thought this would look nice with my new paint and wall sconce.

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My girls added the little snowflake tea lights and the Eucalyptus is left over from a centerpiece I did for a dinner party over the weekend. You can get large bunches of it at Trader Joe’s for $2.99 and it smells fresh and lasts for weeks. The little lamp on the floor is actually another Goodwill find that I turned into a little DIY project. I’ll probably do a separate post for that.

Also, here’s a reminder of the paint color before. It’s the quintessential tuscan goldish Johnson County beige:

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This is how it looks now, repainted in Behr’s Poetic Light:

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So fresh and so clean, clean. We saved money by doing the bulk of it ourselves and then hiring a professional to come in and finish up what we couldn’t. We also updated a sconce, getting rid of what my husband and I refered to as the Boob light.

Before:

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After:

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Last year I really didn’t change anything in our main sitting room, but if I’ve learned one thing from looking at all the fabulous blogger home tours I follow, it’s that small changes add up to a whole new feel.

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Only the Nativity scene here is really a “Christmas” decoration, but when you put it all together it feels very understated but festive to me.

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On this shelf, all I did was add the little nativity scene, the stocking and switch out my normal candles for red.

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Since it TIS the season to entertain, I moved this pedestal table from our dining room into our sitting room and added the tray to make it into a makeshift bar cart.

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As you can see, the tree (also a thrift store find!) has nothing but lights on it so far. Hopefully that will get done this week and I can show you the hearth room, kitchen and dining room.

Moral of the story is, before you pay full price for decorations, check out Goodwill and ask your Mom or Mother-In-Law. They probably have some gems stashed away!

If anyone is looking to get me some new decor, I desperately want these pillows:

Vacation Pillows

 

Naptime Project: Painting Tile Backsplash

Since we moved into our “forever home” last summer, we’ve slowly but surely been compiling a huge list of remodels when the time comes. Not surprising, at the top of our list is our kitchen, followed by the master bathroom.

I myself, love an all white kitchen. In our old house I insisted we have the oak cabinets painted white (against the advice of the painter) and it was everything I dreamed it would be. One look at my Kitchen Board on Pinterest and you can see I have a “type.” Since the cabinets are custom and were newly refinished when we bought the house, we are not going to be making color changes anytime soon and the countertops will have to wait as well.

The backsplash is another story. The tile used for the kitchen backsplash is the same tile used in the Master bath, so it’s no wonder we want to change both. Yesterday morning I came across a blog of someone who actually painted the tile in their shower using outdoor floor paint, and I thought, Aha! I could do that to the backsplash!

Painting Tile Backsplash

2 coats later, I have a clean, bright white backsplash. It’s not the counter-to-ceiling subway tile of the future, but for a quick fix using paint I already had, I’m thrilled with the result!

Here is the before:

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Here is the after!

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The paint I used was Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover in Semi-Gloss White.

You can follow me on Pinterest here 🙂

Happy Home: Recent Thrifting and Target Finds

Ever since I discovered the GoodWill by my new house, I am pretty much there every week. Yes, I have become THAT stay-at-home mom who buys stuff specifically to spray paint it. However, once in a while I find something that is perfect as it is. I can’t imagine why anyone would part with these things but I’m glad they did.

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This vase was hidden away on a bottom shelf and as soon as I saw it I snatched it up and bought it immediately. I paid a whopping $9. It sits on the pedestal table in our entryway and everytime I pass it the colors make me so happy. Avery and I collected the sticks from our yard and sprayed them with a white lacquer. It was actually a really fun project for us to do together.

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The second I saw this I just fell in love with it. For one thing, I haven’t seen anything like it before. Right now it’s holding apples in my kitchen but I think it would be pretty in any room of the house.

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This was a Target find and at $2 I bought several of them with a few girlfriends in mind. There were other really cute ones too so next time you are there, take a look!

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I’ve been using Caldrea dishsoap for years, but I came across this cande the other day at Target and now it’s my favorite thing. The scent is Herbs of Provence and it’s crisp and clean without being flowery or soapy. I light this and turn on my classic french pop iTunes radio station (think oldies you know like “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, but in french) and I am half way to Europe in my mind.

Tomorrow is an exciting day as I will announce the winner of the #MKMReal Hashtag game drawing (so you can still enter!) and a couple new product obsessions.

Sometimes Confessions Hashtag Game

Happy Entertaining: Grandmom’s Birthday Dinner

A couple weekends ago I hosted a birthday dinner for my Grandmom. She’s in her 90s so I wanted to do something fun but more formal than what we would normally do for a birthday (stand around in the kitchen and eat bbq). We made Curry Chicken Salad which is our version of the kind from Dean and Deluca. I’m assuming, based on the price, that Dean and Deluca makes theirs with some sort of diamond dust, but flavorwise, they are the same. (I put the recipe at the bottom of this post if you are interested!

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I’m still head over heels in love with this giant original oil painting we bought at an auction and it makes the perfect backdrop. The matching lamps are a recent Goodwill find and the colored candlesticks are from Ikea.

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I always think adding framed pictures is a great way to make the guest of honor feel special.

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We decorated her seat with a pink pashmina tied to the chair as a cover.

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She loved the headband made of lace and rhinestones! (I think once you hit 90 you are a little past prime party hat time. Maybe it’s my crown obsession from my pageant days but I can’t resist a festive head piece!)

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I used a Costco Bouquet to create several mini-arrangements and put them in colorful mis-matched vases for a shabby chic feel with my layered burlap and canvas table runners. Avery made a card for her table setting that reflects their mutual love of cats.

Here are some close-ups of my mini arrangements. These all came from one $14 bouquet from Costco.

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Here’s the recipe: All of these amounts are approximate. The best way to do it is to taste it as you go along and just experiment until you get it right! You can eat it as a main dish with a fork or serve it on sandwich-sliced croissants.

curry chicken salad

Don’t forget about the hashtag game! The ones you guys have posted so far are hilarious, so keep them coming!

Sometimes Confessions Hashtag Game

Happy Home: Dining Room Makeover

When we moved into our home a few months ago, I instantly had a plan for almost every room in the house…except the dining room. I had a vague idea in my head of blue walls and gold frames, but no real vision. Everything recently came together when my husband found me some gorgeous original oil paintings at an auction. They screamed formal dining room at me and I knew I had to have them, particularly one very large parlor scene. Let me tell you, buying through an auction is not for the faint of heart! I could feel myself get more and more attached to the painting as the bids went up. In the end, we would have paid much more for it so we feel like we got a steal!

As we found with our basement bar project, Behr paint is so good you only need one coat…no primer. That is a major plus for me because by the time everything is taped and we are half way through painting I am always so over it. I’m actually not that into home improvement, I just suck it up and try do get things done as quickly as possible. To make our dining room feel cozy and define it as a separate space, we chose the color Starless Night by Behr.

Here are the various BEFORE pictures:

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Here is our Dining room NOW:

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In time, I’d love to collect even more art to fill up the salon wall, take out the carpet, upgrade the chandelier and hang some long, heavy drapes. Call me crazy, but I’m thinking leopard print. For now we are going to enjoy our holidays filling our dining room with candlelight, family, friends, and of course food.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the look!

Playroom Makeover + DIY Fireplace for Kids

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Playroom BEFORE: It really had no focal point and the plastic storage bins always annoyed me. They are a necessary evil until I find a permanent storage solution I like.

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Playroom NOW:

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This outlet in the middle of the focal wall was a real eyesore not to mention safety hazard so I decided to use it as a starting point for my fireplace measurements.

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I used one of Avery’s preschool collages for the “fire” and backed it with thick paper and a velcro strip that I attached to the plastic over the outlet. This way if it gets ripped off it won’t tear and the outlet is still covered with the velcro strip so we can stick it right back on.

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I bought these sconces at a thrift shop for 25 cents each. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them but I just kind of liked the shapes. Turns out when spray painted white they made the perfect addition to my playroom fireplace mantel.photo 1 (2)

 I like the irony of using classic masterpieces to decorate a children’s playroom so I did a good old fashioned google search and picked a few of my favorites. My girls have a Degas over their fireplace and a Van Gogh in their dining room. I’ve been reading this book about art history and I would eventually like to create a Salon Wall of classics in their playroom.

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The project took me three hours from start to finish (including cleaning the playroom) and cost less than $10 if you include the sconces and velcro strips I used to hang everything. The paint was just leftover from our bar.

Hope you like our cozy little playroom.

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Housewarming (candles, candles, candles)

    First of all, something amazing happened last night. I posted this picture to Twitter and then almost choked on my Pinot Grigio when I checked my email and got a notification that THE Kristin Chenoweth favorited my tweet! What?! I feel so “Popular”! (wink) Do you guys think she reads my blog now? Kristin (Ms. Chenoweth?) if you’re reading this, I along with every other girl my age, adore you. P.S. WHY did they cancel GCB?! That show was my jam!photo 1

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 On to a little entertaining decor from the weekend. By now, you know that I’m a fan of a lot of mini flower arrangements around the house rather than one big showy bouquet. To me, having fresh flowers in little vignettes all around the house feels like a bigger impact and it’s much more cost effective. I find the best strategy is just to head over to Trader Joe’s and buy several random $3.99 or $5.99 bouquets, then dump them all out on a work space and start putting things together. I’m normally not a big fan of Gerbera daisies (or daisies in general) but I could not pass up this cranberry color. Avery and I had a fun walk collecting those pine cones the other day for my apothecary jar. Free fall decor!photo 3 (2)

I’ve switched up the entry table since I last posted. I found this larger pedestal table at Tuesday morning and I think it’s a much better size for the space.

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Here’s a close up of my entry table arrangement.

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Sunflowers and eucalyptus feel so fresh.

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I always love to include a little tiny flower arrangement in the guest bathroom to make it feel bright and beautiful. I decided to use my roses all in one little group and add a few fillers for a little height. It was just the right size for a small guest bathroom.

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Here is my main set up in the kitchen. It’s more eucalyptus, sunflowers, mini pumpkins and gourds from Trader Joe’s, and lots and lots of white/off white candles from Michael’s. It was so simple and yet so warm and welcoming, especially when it got darker outside and the kitchen was glowing. Fun tip for flower arranging that I recently learned: remove ALL foliage that will be below the water level to make it stay fresh longer and avoid that yucky smell. You shouldn’t see ANY leaves through the glass, only stems.

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Here are the basic tools I used for my tablescape which were purchased mainly at Michael’s:

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Happy Home: My Office Makeover

 

When I first started creating my Pinterest boards to get ideas for my new house (doesn’t everyone do this nowadays?) I envisioned our home office in the style of Ron Burgundy with many leather-bound books and smelling of rich mahogany. Then I realized that I am the one who works from home so why not make my office space a reflection of the things I love to do with my non-mommy time like writing for my blog and Stella and Dot (and Pinterest and Facebook).

 

I regret not taking more detailed BEFORE pictures of the house, because sadly this is the only one I got of the office. This was taken when we first toured the home. They actually had it staged with two full-size desks which gives you an idea how large the room is. Making a room this size feel cozy without using a lot of furniture was a bit of a challenge but I resorted to filling the walls with art in order to make the space feel lively.

 

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NOW:

 

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The Keane print of the Girl in the Yellow Dress was purchased by my Mom’s mother on a trip to New York City back in the day, I’m assuming the 60’s. She bought one for herself and one for her mother, my Mema. Mema lived until one week before her 99th birthday and toward the end she insisted it was a portrait of her when she was a little girl. I always think of Mema when I see it.

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I have had this Parasol since I was a child. I can’t believe it has held up through so many years and so many moves!

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In My Office

The collage on the wall here was originally  made for Savannah’s nursery in our old house. It includes strong, inspiring women from Jackie O to Eloise to my mom’s passport picture from the ’70s. The ‘portrait’ of me was done by a street artist in Paris when I was 15, on a school show choir trip (jazz hands). Funny story, on the way back to the hotel I ended up getting lost with two other students and we landed smack in the middle of the Paris Red Light District at night. The walk to the Pigalle train station was probably the longest, most educational walk of my 15 year old life up to that point. The portrait looks nothing like me but it reminds me of that trip, which makes it priceless.

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This pink fabric is from one of the first shirts Kevin ever bought me. The shirt would be totally out of style now but I always loved the print so I stapled it to a canvas I had and now it’s a bright spot in the room and reminds me of my hubby.

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So that’s the quirky little space where I sit and write to you all. Thanks for reading and commenting. I never planned to have a blog like this, but it’s been such a creative outlet and bright spot in my days to hear from you guys. As one of my high school besties and I always say: Love you, love your show!