Thursday, January 31, 2013

Letters for Noah - Letters for a Bullied Boy

My friend Summer posted a link on my Facebook page about a boy named Noah. He's 12, and he turns 13 on February 8. His mother started a Facebook page to tell his story; he's said he is going to take his life on his 13th birthday. Noah is getting treatment, and his mom is hoping that people will rally in support. She's asked that we write letters and tell Noah that it gets better, that he matters, that he is important.

If you feel as moved by this call for letters, please consider joining the Letters for Noah Facebook page, or stop by the Letters for Noah site. And please, drop Noah a letter with me :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our New Morocco Headboard From West Elm

Awhile back I'd mentioned that my parents bought us the Morocco Headboard for Christmas. It finally arrived on Saturday and it is beautiful!

Let's take a look back to see where this room started. Here's our room in August:

We added a rug from Rugs USA back when they were having a huge sale. We got a 9x11 for about $280. Here's the room with the new rug. And with Zoom drumming while wearing my hat.

littlehouse updates succulent, front door 005

And here is the room with the new Morocco headboard!


And the view from the foot of the bed:


The reflection from the mirror:


And here's Zoom, realizing Momma was in the closet taking pictures of the bed. He was very amused to see my feet sticking out of the closet, and found it quiet funny that I was sitting in there. Oh, the things one does for a blog. LOL!

We're really grateful for this pretty accent to our room as a gift, especially when it's something I have been pining for since I first saw the headboard in the West Elm catalog. After moving in to our new home, we've had to spend money on behind-the-scenes projects like replacing the roof. This little pretty adds so much to the room, and I know we'll enjoy it for a long time. Thanks, Mom and Dad! :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Goodwill Planter Filled with Succulents

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a little planter at Goodwill. After a quick inspection, I realized the bow was only glue gunned on, and that this little item was a real gem. And, at $1.99 (and on a buy 4 get one free day), I picked it up.

Goodwill Planter

Goodwill Planter

I grabbed a couple of the succulents I'd picked up at Walmart a year or so ago to see how they'd look for about $2 each. Cute as can be!
Goodwill Planter

Zoom and I planted them this weekend. We filled the bottom with sand. There's not a drain hole in the planter, but that will work out just fine since we don't need to water them much. Succulents only need a spritz of water of a tiny drink once and awhile. Here's how measured how deep the sand needed to be.

littlehouse updates succulent, front door 023 And then we placed the plants in, and surrounded them with dirt. Zoom was fond of this step. littlehouse updates succulent, front door 028
This one is Echeveria 'Tippy."  littlehouse updates succulent, front door 029 And this one is Tiger Jaws (Faucaria Tigrina).
littlehouse updates succulent, front door 030 Here they are in their new home! littlehouse updates succulent, front door 027

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meeting John and Sherry of Young House Love in Palo Alto

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Palo Alto book signing event for John and Sherry Petersik at West Elm. My sister and nephew Ralphie met me there. The line was long, but the youngsters did not disappoint, and it was a class act all the way.

Even before we got in the store, they had folks outside passing treats and drinks. Here I am with my mini chocolate milkshake and signature Young House Love cookie. So cute!

Young house love book signing

And, the treats on their own :)
Young house love book signing

My sister and Ralphie showed up just as I was entering the store, and Ralph was happy to get my cookie (#bummerImglutenfree):
Young house love book signing

We waited a long time, but West Elm and YHL did a great job with keeping the treats coming (I saw rice krispy treats, 7 layer bars, profiteroles, cookies, water, milkshakes), and the crowd was chatty. It was fun getting to check out the West Elm store, too, since we just got a headboard from them delivered on Saturday.

I think we might need this couch. But check out the other YHL fans!

Young house love book signing

So then it was my turn to meet them. I was really, really excited. I've been reading their blog since sometime in 2008 (best guess.) I mostly wanted to say "hi" and "thank you" and share my crazy stencil project with them. Because truth be told, I totally related to Sherry's post on stenciling, and laughed really hard when I re-read how she got "stencil hands." Knowing we'd lived through a similar project, I showed them this photo:

Hall After

And they were both very sweet and complimentary about it. I was really touched. And glad that they are as amazingly nice in person as you just know they'd be from reading their blog.

So, I asked Sherry if we could take a picture doing "stencil hands." And here it is folks, here it is. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stenciling the Hall and Dining Room

The stenciling job in the hall and dining room is complete! It took about 21 hours to do this, working over three days. You can read about the updates of each day here, here, and here.

Here's a picture from before we moved in, with the previous owner's furniture. Note the carpet (which we ripped out), and wall colors (that we painted over). The bookshelves on the left were super cute but not built-in.

Here's the dining room just after Christmas.
Dining Room Before

And looking down the hall way towards the master bedroom:
Hallway: Before

Here is the room once I'd finished stenciling!
Dining Room After

The hall way:
Hall After

The dining room:
Dining Room: After

I'm really happy with how the stencil turned out! It gives the room a lot more depth and character. I worked with an "all over" one from Cutting Edge Stencils, and found it fairly easy to use.

Here's the before and after again so you don't have to scroll back and forth:
Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

We also added a fireplace (it was our Christmas gift to each other). Next up for the dining room is likely adding a banquette, and moving the table over against the wall to the right. I'm thinking it will be a large built-in eating area with some storage and bookshelves, but we will see how it plays out.

Have you done any stenciling? How did it go?

Linking up with:
Social Hop Like Crazy Gingerly Made

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Trip to The Sea Ranch on the Northern California Coast

This last weekend we had a chance to get away, and so we headed up to The Sea Ranch. It is one of my favorite places in the world.

It's the kind of place where Zoom can run along a path next to the ocean.



That leads to a view like this one:

Where it's OK to cheer loudly when you see the ocean with all of its amazing majesty and vast waters.

And where you can spend the whole afternoon exploring the beach.

I can't wait to share the stenciling updates with you soon! I started a new job on Monday and need a few moments to get good photos for you :) and we might even have a new fireplace to share, as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Stenciling is Done!

No big "reveal" yet ... but, I'm done with the stenciling! Here's the dining room wall:

Maybe you've noticed ... this has been cracking us up... we have about 14 bottles of wine out on the dining room table.

I'll get everything back in place and share more of the before and after soon. At this point, I'm just excited to be "done."

Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stenciling the Hallway and Dining Room, Day 2

The stenciling continued today; I got through the hallway, and worked my way into the dining room. As of tonight, here's what's done:


I love the way the pattern looks on the hallway! What do you think?

Here's what I have left to do:

Oh, and we might have stopped painting for a few minutes this morning to take a few shots of Zoom. I love that little guy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stenciling the Hallway and Dining Room, Part One

On Monday, I started a big stencil project, using a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. I'll give more details in the next couple of days! As of about midnight, I've gotten nearly half way through the wall I'm working on. Here's a sneak peek...

Looking down the hallway towards the master bedroom:

And here's a detail shot:
I can't wait to show you more this week!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Three Ingredient Hot Chocolate

This weekend, Zoom and I made hot chocolate. It was easy :)

3 ingredient hot chocolate

1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup warmed milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir the milk and melted chocolate chips. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Split into two mugs, and add another 1/2 of milk to taste. Rewarm if needed.

3 ingredient hot chocolate

Perfect for a chilly weekend morning. Enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Spiritual Look Back on 2012

In addition to looking back at the fun projects I tackled in 2012, it's also satisfying looking back at the spiritual posts and reflections for the year.

In January, I was thinking a lot about happiness. I reflected on Anne Frank's quote of "Whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery."

Whoever is happy

My mind was blown when in February I spent some time considering the similarities in plot and life between Puccini's "Turandot" and the musical "Rent." Neither artist finished his own masterpiece, and both speak of the passing nature  of life and importance of dear friends.  I also found myself wondering a bit about living up to the spirit in me.

This is my commitment.
The Spirit in Me
I also co-led a Lenten Study Group on Facebook, which had me pondering on Lent in February and March. I was fascinated by the themes of journeys through the wilderness. And, little Zoom taught me a lesson about happiness with his golf costume.

March also brought a reflection on my time as a camp counselor, and the littlest tree huggers.


Lent closed, and with Easter, I always find myself thinking of Christ's journey. I'm especially drawn to the passage where he cries out "Father, Father, why have you foresaken me?" It echoes in my brain and heart. In April, I found myself considering God's promise to Moses that "The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still." Coupled with Jesus' cry, these two passages seem to be two interesting takes on the heartache and difficulties of this life.

We started our search for a new home in April, too.

In May, I reflected on losing weight. I lost 21 pounds. I shared a bit about how a very long labor (56 hours) that ended in a C-section left me feeling lost, and how I turned to food for solace. This was not an easy post to write.


We moved in June, but in July after working our butts off to move, I wrote about the busy-ness trap.


August left me questioning, once again, what it means to blog. I love my blog, but often feel like I have to conform to what others expect from a blogger. And I posted this image from my friend Katey.

Little Zoom, and our journey together, was once again my inspiration in October. I wrote about my  mantra to him that "I will always love him and keep him safe." This remains one of my favorite posts ever. And, I dealt with the sad news that a second retreat in a row was cancelled. This was hard news to take.

November left us with a broken water main, but a real reason to be thankful: our wonderful neighbors.

And in December, my sister's family mourned the loss of her husband's mother, Jean. And the nation mourned the loss of the innocent lives at Sandy Hook

Our hearts are broken