Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: A Matter of "Bravery" or a Love of Driving?

This week I've been out on business in Missouri. I like Missouri. My parents live here, although I never have. They moved after I was out of grad school.

I'm traveling with three coworkers. Instead of heading home with them today, I got a flight "home" on Sunday so I could head north to spend time with my parents. So this morning I picked up a rental car, and drove myself to my vendor's site.

The two other ladies that I am traveling with marveled at my decision to drive the three hours by myself to Kansas City. I, on the other hand, think nothing of this. I drove five hours by myself to get to college, back in those days. I've driven across the country three times. I think nothing at all of driving alone.

In fact, back when I was pregnant, one of the women leading a birth class asked what we would miss most when we had a newborn.

My answer?

"Driving... driving fast, with the windows open and the sunroof open and the music blaring. I will miss driving."

I love the open road. I love the freedom. I love being on my own. I simply can not imagine being afraid of that freedom.

And here I am, just two years later, ready to drive. With loud music, on my way to see my amazing parents. These next three hours in a conference room will feel like an eternity.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kitchen Curtains and Desk Revealed

Last week you guys saw the new wall color in the kitchen and repainted hutch. Now lets take a look to the right of the hutch!

We made a 29 inch wide desk to fit the space in between the hutch and the window. I'd been hoping for a place to store my things, and this seemed like a great place for the phone, calendar, and all the little "admin" stuff that it takes to run a household.


The desk is 2 stained boards; we bought the wood at Home Depot and cut it to fit the space. We fastened the boards together with two other smaller pieces of wood below the desk, and then used four Ikea desk legs at $3 each. The desk cost less than $20!

The chair is from St. Vincent de Paul in Oakland, and we picked it up for about $8. I spied it there one day and new it was just what I wanted for the kitchen. And the rug is from Target. I bought it before we moved in; there's an odd stain on the linoleum by the sliding glass door. The previous owner had placed a rubber outdoor mat on the linoleum and it left an ugly brown stain.


You've likely noticed the curtains, too.I ordered this fabric back in July, and first mentioned it this post. I got the fabric, which is Gazebo Cloud by Braemore from Mary Jo's, which had the best price.

I sewed the curtains by following this tutorial at House of Hepworths;  I am so excited that they are lined! I broke out my sewing machine and it took one evening to finish them. The previous owners left an old set of Pottery Barn curtains that were too short, but when I ripped the hem along the bottom, they were the perfect length. It was funny to take apart expensive curtains to reuse the fabric, but I felt good about "up cycling them.


It was also a treat to see that John and Sherry at Young House Love had used this fabric for curtains in their recent book, and then again to cover their headboard. It's such a lovely, water color-looking pattern, and I could not be happier to have it in the kitchen! :)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY Thanksgiving Turkey Hats

This year I decided to make some turkey hats for my family to wear at Thanksgiving. They were easy to make and everyone had fun wearing them :)

I bought 8 pre-made party hats at Target, along with some construction paper and glue sticks. I also used scissors and tape that we had on hand.


I was using the party hat as the base, so first I covered them with the brown construction paper. I lined up the short (8.5 inch) side with the seam in the hat, and taped the paper at that mark.

thanksgiving 008

After rolling the hat along the paper, and then pasted the corner so that it would stick down and cover the whole party hat. I taped the seam, as well, to make sure the glue would hold. With the paper attached to the hats, I trimmed the bottom.

thanksgiving 011

Next, I worked on the tail feathers. I cut a template for the first feather, and then traced it along the rest of the paper. I cut through three layers of the construction paper at a time to make the work go quicker.

thanksgiving 013

With the feathers all cut out, I stapled 5 together at once: two brown, a yellow, a red, and an orange.

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Then I made a tear dropped template for the turkey's head. I traced these out on the scraps that I had left over from covering the party hats. To make the beak and "gobbler" I cut a triangle out of orange and free-handed the squiggly design on the red paper.

thanksgiving 016

To make the heads fit on the body, I had to cut a slit in the top of the hat, and then fit the head in to that slit.

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I drew some eyes on each head, and set out the turkeys for the family to wear!


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Burst Water Pipe and a Reason to be Thankful

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my photos of a rusty old pipe last week. Ugh. On Tuesday night, we were sitting in the living room and heard a loud gush of water, and then a commotion outside. No, really, a commotion!

I ran out the front door and was surprised; our neighbor was hiding behind her gate, and there was water spraying everywhere. I really couldn't figure out what had happened, and so I yelled, "Lisette, are you OK?" She told me she was drenched, but OK.

Sean came out, as well, and we tried to turn the water off, but with no luck. We figured out that we needed to call the city (at 11pm) and get them to turn off the water. And then we'd deal with the issue in the morning. Yes, the day before Thanksgiving. Again, ugh.

I called and the city sent out the emergency-water-turn-off guy, and we were in bed by 2am, without any water in the house. We'd called our home warranty company, and our insurance company, and discovered that because the pipe was outside the four walls of our home, any expenses incured would be out of our own pockets. No good.

We got a hold of a great plumber, who we found on Yelp, and he had the water situation fixed by about 10:30am. He just had to replace the old galvanized pipe with copper, and turn the water back on. Nice.

I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to go over and chat with our neighbor, though. I wanted to make sure she was OK, and that the water hadn't caused any damage to her house. So on Thanksgiving I called around and found a store that was open and had flowers, and I went next door.

Lisette answered, and she immediately asked if she could help pay for the plumber. I was dumbfounded. I said, "Well, no, thank you, but why?"

And she admitted that she bumped in to the pipe and thought that she'd caused it to burst. And I said," Oh, Lisette, it was so rusted that if it hadn't broken that night, it would have literally been a matter of time. Please don't worry about it!"

To which, she put out her arms, and leaned in to hug me. She told me she'd been up nearly all night worried about it, and I admitted that I had been as well, worried that she was hurt or that her house or yard was damaged.

And then we laughed, we laughed so hard. She recounted how the water had gone straight up her skirt, and how she was confused and upset, and didn't understand what was going on at first. I laughed at how I'd fruitlessly tried to turn the lever on the pipe to turn the water off.

Lisette asked if I'd like some fig jam she'd made, from the fig tree in her yard that hangs over our fence. She smiled and said, "It's really your tree, too, isn't it?"

And as she reached for the jam, and I looked at the mums I'd brought over, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude that a small plant and home made jam could help smooth over worried minds. That we have such good neighbors, that when two people can just be honest, and approach something with good intentions, that any possible hard feelings can be mended. That we have friends next door, that our home feels like home. Here on Thanksgiving morning,  I was full of thanks. So very full of thanks. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kitchen Wall Colors & Blog Hop #16

This page has been moved to my new website. You can find it by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Repainting a Hutch for the Kitchen

I've had a wooden Ikea hutch for the past twelve years. It was a gift from my parents, and it's functional, stores a ton of stuff, but it was outdated. The pine color felt very "Holly Hobby" to me, and seemed a bit more "country" than my current decorating style.

But I was determined to make it work. It had good lines, and it's a nice gift. Here's the old girl, in her naked (ahem, I mean unpainted) glory:

Unpainted: kitchen and hutch

I decided painting was the way to go, and I came across a couple of inspiration photos to help with direction. I like this white kitchen hutch specifically because of the cute bright yellow interior:

And, then I realized I'd pinned this particular hutch not once, but twice on my Kitchen board. (There are a bunch of other great hutches there, too if you are looking for alternate inspiration!)

I had my ideas straightened out, and then I started looking for paint colors that would match the fabric for our curtains. I chose a teal, a white, and a yellow.

Next, I decided I loved the super matte look of Chalk Paint. Annie Sloan makes lovely, awesome chalk paint, but it's pricey. So I searched around and found a recipe for do it yourself chalk paint, and decided to give it a go. I found that this recipe worked GREAT!

It was funny going in to Lowe's and asking for plaster of paris. First, they didn't know what it was. Then, when they were trying to figure out WHERE it was, they asked what I was using it for. I told them very seriously "Painting, but it's really for walls. I'm just super unconventional." And with that Sean just bust up laughing and the guys thought I was nuts. I mean really, like I know what I'm doing?!?

The other thing I wanted to do was leave the top of the console portion of the hutch a wood tone, but I decided to stain it. So that I did that first.

Then I started painting.
Sea Ranch Sept 2012 039

Here's the top of the hutch at one coat, I used the little brush to get in to the grooves and corners:
Sea Ranch Sept 2012 040

Here's a detail of the stained portion:


And, the finished hutch! I'm super excited about how well this turned out!

Here's the before and after, side by side :)

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Monday, November 19, 2012

We Have A New Roof!!

There were a few "big things" that our little casita needed when we bought it (as is) back in June. The biggest? The one that gave me the most indigestion? One of the things you don't want to see when the inspector hands you his/her report? That you need a new roof. Oy vey.

We triple bid the work on the roof before we even bought the place, mostly because we wanted to know how much it would cost us before we decided to buy the house. Even with the roof costs, the house remained in our budget. The good part is that we didn't need to replace the Spanish tiles, just the flat tar section in the back of the house. That was a relief.

Then, in order to give us a bit more time, and honestly, to save up a little more moolah, we decided to wait to get the roof done before the rains hit (which is what happens in "winter time" in Northern California).

The roofers came on Thursday and worked and worked. And they got the roof on, and the work done. And then God showed up on Friday and rained and rained. Good timing for both!

I'm excited to have this project done, it was literally "hanging over my head" for months in more ways than one. Getting a new roof is one of those projects that's necessary, but completely un-sexy, so I really happy that we can now save up for something more exciting like a kitchen reno. Or a master bath overhaul. :)

Here's the big old truck that showed up on Thursday morning. Zoom loved watching them unload all of the roofing materials.


You can see one of the roofers, throwing some of the debris off our roof.


Zoom was alternately curious and terrified of the work that was going on.

And he was super interested in the truck that the crew came in! He wanted to stay and check out the truck.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Pinterest Quotes: Affirmations That You Are Powerful and Loved

Every once and awhile, you just need the affirmation that things are good, you are OK, and you are loved, and that you are the key to unlocking the future you deserve and will love. Here are a few quotes from Pinterest for this Friday :)

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

Source: via Paula on Pinterest

"She is clothes with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future" - Proverbs 31:25

"If you stumble, make it part of the dance."

Source: via Paula on Pinterest

"Wake up and Be Awesome."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gardening: Cleaning up the Palm Trees in Our Front Yard

Last night, I decided to tackle some of the palm trees in our front yard. They had years' worth of dead fronds on them. You can see them hanging near the top of the fence here:


So I got out my ladder and went to work. It took about twenty minutes to pull them all down, and another few minutes to load them into the composting bin.

tree and corners 013 

Afterwards, the palms looked much better! And, now we won't have to clean up a big old mess the next time we have a storm.

Here is the front of the house again. I'm going to have to get those "sucker" vines off of the pink crapemyrtle in front of the wall sometime soon.:


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Welcoming Spirit Blog Hop #16: Fall Link Up

Hello friends! It finally feels like fall here in California. Perhaps it's because I have put up a few of our fall decorations, have a pumpkin scented candle burning, and am sporting candy corn socks. (Thanks, Mom!)  What makes this season feel like fall to you?

via a blog with a view
If you share a link, I'll be sure to stop by and say hi  :) I can't wait to see what you all have been up to!

It's time to link up and get hopping! If you'd like to support the hop and grab the code for your blog, that would make me smile, too :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our House: A Few Favorite Spaces

It's funny, watching a house become a home. We bought this little place as is, with a lot of dreams, and a lot of hopes of how it might turn out. Over the last five months, we've put in a lot of work. I love doing it. It feels like this place had been ignored for years before we bought it. Closet doors that didn't work, a strange unpainted patch around the thermostat; the previous owners had updated the thermostat but never really finished the job. Layers of dirt everywhere. But now we're here, it's our home, and we work hard every day, literally, to make it better.

I find that there are a few little corners that have started to radiate with cozy style. Little glimpses of what the whole house could be, will be. Warm, welcoming spots.

Here are four that I love right now:

Our front door - I made the wreath, we added a hook,  and we cleaned up the door and the mail box. Isn't it a cute mailbox?

The console in our living room - I painted this console and redid the bins below it in our previous house. Now it sits near the window in our living room. The plants have gone crazy, they love the light. The painting reminds me of Italy, and yet it's something I bought in Kansas, at Nell Hill's, a special shop that I like to visit with my Mom.


Our kitchen - this last weekend I put a print by Jessica Swift into a frame, and placed it in the corner of the kitchen. We painted the walls a dark gray, and we'll paint the cabinets white some day. The funny chicken is from Marshall's, a few years ago. I love the whimsy of this corner.


Zoom's room - there is something about this little space next to his changing table; a funny pair of coat hooks, and a small basket for his shoes. It says "home" to me. The alligator (or crocodile? when I was in third grade there was a little boy named Alex who could have told us the difference...) in a race car cracks me up; it's from Ikea and was on sale for $3.99. The basket was not in use, just stored in our garage. Now it's the perfect place to store Zoom's little things.