Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Visions of Christmas…A Holiday Mantel

In Design, Family Room, Mantel on November 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Nothing says Christmas/Holidays/Noel/Etc. to me like baked goods. They remind me of my Gram. Growing up Gram and I always made Christmas cookies together. I remember making Refrigerator Cookies, Gingersnaps, Choco Chip, Peanut Butter, Butterscotch and more. It was a huge mess of a great time. It’s one of my fondest memories of childhood and I only wish she was still with us to continue the tradition with our kids. But alas, I will have to make the big fat mess with them instead. Thank goodness it’s a strength of mine. The mess. Not the cookies. But also the cookies. :)

So, I gathered all our cookie-makin’ gear and put it all together. I love this stuff. Seeing it all gathered up evokes all kinds of great memories of baking through the holidays. But not just that. The smell of the spices takes it over the top.

It’s impossible not to smile when you smell cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves, all the usual suspects. Mmmmm!

This year we’re truly gettin’ Down-Home for the holidays.  I’m sure some bows, pine sprays and jingle bells would evoke even more Christmas feeling but this time around we’ll just keep it real baked goods style. How ’bout you?

I am linking this post:

The Lettered Cottage

And     Between Naps On The Porch


Painted Bookcases – Containing the Wild Within

In Design, Dining Room on November 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

Bookcases are not just for storage. Yes, of course in part for storage. But also as a showcase for things you love. And like it or not they attract attention. People are curious about books you read, stuff you love.

I’ve been thinking about painting our twin dining room bookcases. Currently one is stained ginger and the other (which was previously living in our son’s room) is painted navy with a tan interior.

Any ideas out there? I’m thinking something fun. Bright. Crazy.

Here are some ideas… Painted Bookcases – Containing the Wild Within

Minimalist Holiday Tablescape

In Design, Dining Table, Food, Holidays on November 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm

The holidays are all about family, tradition and foooood. It’s all about fitting as many friendly bodies as possible around the table with room for Tom and the fixings on the periphery.

We like to keep it simple. Harvest colors. Mix n’ match plates and napkins.

Individual salt and peppers shakers. A bit of nature to add some texture; we like pinecones, branches, maybe a bit of twine tied around the napkins.

Because this is a simple setting remember the obvious. Keep it simple. No nameplates necessary. There is a time and place for them, yes. But this isn’t it. No candles or crystal for us. We have kids after all. And the little one likes to climb to the middle of the dining table to play ‘queen of the mountain’. Nope, we’re saving the nice stuff for another day.

Forgive the blurry pics. Too much caffeine. :)

I am linking this to BNOTP.

Major Renovation – A Historical Perspective

In Before and After, Demo, Design, Dining Room, Entry, Kitchen, Living Room on November 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm

When we first found our “cottage wannabe” almost three long years ago, it had a lot going for it.

Great Location: good neighborhood, quiet street, close to the good grocery store.


You can expect more from an employee owned store. It’s true. Hy-Vee is an all-around great store. And they have those expectant mother/mother-with-young-child parking spots. You know, Rock Star Parking. I may or may not have use those a few more times than necessary. I just didn’t want myself the little darlings to catch a snowflake on their brow.

What? Tell me you honestly didn’t consider that when you bought your home. Any self-respecting foodie would make it a top priority. You just never know when you might run right out of goat cheese or heaven forbid butter, or milk for the wee ones, or…or…or booze. The alcohol always burns off during cooking, except maybe for the stuff that hits your lips before.  It is important to taste test as you go. That’s all I’m sayin’. I’m channeling Martha here.

I digress…back to the house.

Great Bones: A beautifully landscaped yard (notice I use the past-tense here, our thumbs are black, black I tell you. It has plenty of space for our young growing family, lots of school bus yellow paint sponge-painted in geometric patterns – everywhere. Wait, that is not a selling point. Who knew it was legal to buy vats of the stuff. Hmm, a question for the ages.

The Entry, before… promise, it gets better

As all good little wifies are inclined to be a tad insistent at times, I suggested (okay, maybe demanded is more appropriate) that we break some of those great bones and tear out not one but two walls in the kitchen/dining/living rooms immediately after we signed on the dotted line. Egads. We had not a clue what we were doing. Renaissance Man begged his law school buddies, an architect friend and a builder friend to help do the demo. I really missed out on this part, but the testosterone was too dang thick and I couldn’t fit through the front door with my pretty pink sledgehammer.

Kitchen (standing at the top of the steps, looking toward the dining room)

Dining Room facing Kitchen

Don’t even get me started on the linoleum. It was from the clearance rack of an entirely different decade. Yikes. But, on the up-side, it didn’t show dirt. It was the shade of every type of dirt already so anything we would drop on it would just blend right on into the background.

Living Room (facing front windows and half-wall above entry steps)

Our sweet, sweet realtor holding Master P (backs to the kitchen) This wall is a goner!

The guys huffed and they puffed and they ripped those superfluous walls right down. Sponge-paint and all. They capped the wiring. They carried a 1200 pound I-beam up the stairs and installed it themselves.

I shouldn’t have worried. After two and a half years, the roof hasn’t budged. But we did stare at the ceiling for a good six months after the install just in case we noticed a shift and thought we could run fast enough to single-handedly hoist the sucker back in place. Hehe, silly rabbits.

Stay tuned for an after pic. Ah, the difference is simply amazing.

HyVee image from here.

Grocery bag image from here.

Mom Cave Contest!

In Design, Family Room on October 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I immediately thought of our family room when I read about Home Good’s Mom Cave Contest featured at Centsational Girl and Between Naps on the Porch. Because I run a daycare out of almost-every-other-room-in-the-house… this is the one and only room kids don’t “charm” on a daily basis. Our kids, yes. But the outsiders (a.k.a. sweet little loves who spend their days with me) don’t grace the family room. This is where I/we retire for the evening after the darlings are asleep. Those few sacred hours minutes each day are AHHH, time-to-finally-relax-and-beg-hubby-to-rub-my-feet moments. And it is here that I would love love love to build my Mom Cave.

I started painting the brick wall but lack vision cold hard cash to push the room to the next level. I’d love to see a graphic touch, kind of a cottage-urban style. Good bye fringe curtains, farewell bare mantel, ta-ta yellow paint (why won’t you just leave me alone?) Is that too much to ask for? I say not! Please help a mama in need! (p.s. This mama couldn’t find her camera between naps so had to use her cell. I love you technology :)