cedar-label

Cedar Chest|Repaired & Renewed

Hi Friends,

I’m not even going to go into how long it’s been since I’ve written.  I’ll just jump right in and say, “My apologies for being a neglectful blogger!”  Sometimes life on life’s terms gets messy busy and we need to just ride the wave.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was able to spend some time with family and friends this weekend, which is exactly what I needed.  I didn’t run around shopping like crazy.  I didn’t pull all my decorations down from the attic and get busy.  I just spent time being.  In between being, I worked on a project for my son, D.  Here’s the back story on this project…

About two months ago D & D stopped by with a well-used, but solid cedar chest that he had inherited from a  friend.  D thought it would be a good storage piece for his home office, and was wondering if I would fix it  wanted a project to work on.  Into the garage it went and there it stayed until this weekend when I had enough down time to tackle it.

The chest is made of Red Tennessee Cedar.  Red cedar is easily recognized by its color, variations and knots, even when it’s no longer fragrant.  I also found this label inside the chest and learned that it was red cedar from Tennessee.  Apparently there are various types of cedar wood and red cedar comes from various places.  Who knew?

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The top of the chest had a corner missing and the left side panel was completely broken off.  The hinge in the back  was also bent, so I’m assuming it lacked the proper support to hold the lid up without it falling backward and overextending the hinge.  The photos below show the missing side panel and the remnants of masking tape that someone…somehow… thought would work to put Humpty Dumpty back together again secure the broken panel.

After removing the hinges and lid, I broke out the power tools and got busy sanding…and sanding…and sanding.  I sanded the exterior three times with our DeWalt Orbital Sander, moving from course to fine grade sandpaper. I also lightly sanded the interior to release the cedar fragrance.  Then I got SuperHouls on board for repairs and had him re-attach and reinforce the broken panel with brackets, after applying  wood glue.  We also added three brackets to the right panel as reinforcement and because I like symmetry.

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Then we turned the lid over to apply wood filler for the side panel.  In the right photo below you can see the line of wood filler that runs vertically.  We also added lots of wood filler to build the missing corner.

This wood filler dries in about 30 minutes.  We had to give the corner a few applications to build it up.  Then we broke out another power tool, our Dremel Multi-Max 30.  This was my first time using this tool.  It was perfect for getting into the corners, and for sanding away the extra hardened wood filler.

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After sanding and repairs, I gave the outside a coat of my favorite stain – and then a coat of wax to seal it.

Once the stain and wax were dried, SuperHouls added some new wheels to the bottom and re-attached the top lid.  Finally, we added lid hinges to ensure the top stayed open on its own and didn’t extend back and bend the hinges.

I’m also envisioning this chest being used as my future grandchild’s toy chest one day, so I wouldn’t want the lid to fall forward and hit anyone in the head or cause bruised fingers.

Finally, I used glue and mod-podge to secure the label to the inside lid and called it done!

I wheeled it outside and took some final photos in the daylight before it got picked up and moved to its new home.

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Then I went for a manicure.

All in all, not a favorite project of mine and definitely too much sanding for my liking.  But…when you bring me an old piece of furniture that is constructed to last, and can be restored to its original workhorse status, I’m in.  And…if you also happen to be my son bringing me the old piece of furniture that I envision may be used by my future grandchild… you know…down the road.   I’m. All. In.

Hey, if you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and then share it with a friend.

#sharingiscaring

Be well,

Eileen

romeoinacloud

Wait…I thought I was the grandchild.

 

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Living Room/Dining Room Update|The After Part II

Hi Friends,

Fall is here.  We’ve had cooler temperatures and fleeting daylight.  I love Fall.  I love sweater weather, boots and colorful mums.  I love the smell of fires burning and comfort food cooking.  Today I’m going to get some mums for our flower boxes and porch, but before I do, I’m sharing another update from my “Before the After Series.”  Come on in.

Continue reading

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Fall Wreath|Summer to Autumn Style

Hi Friends,

Happy almost fall!  Did you see the harvest moon earlier this week?  It was breathtakingly beautiful.  SuperHouls and I decided to go for a walk the other night and happened to catch a glimpse of it.  Now if the weather would just cooperate.  Not that I’m complaining, but fall is my favorite season. Continue reading

Open Shelving - Styled

The Laundry Room Reveal|After The Before

Hi Friends,

Happy August!  A teacher friend of mine compared the summer months to a weekend in the following way: June is Friday, July is Saturday and August is Sunday.   Anyway you look at it, summer is flying by and we have arrived at the “sunday of the summer.”

Today I have another “after” to share with you,  but before I do I’m taking you waaaaaay back to the beginning.  Remember the series of blog posts entitled “Before The After” where I showed you what our abode looked like when we bought it?  Well, in Before the After: Part 4, I introduced you to our scary basement.  I mean…would you want to walk down these stairs?  SuperHouls tried to tell me it wasn’t so bad.  Ha!  I’m the one who does the laundry, so easy for him to say!

ooooooo...a scary basement

Basement Stairs Before

And here’s that same view today…

Basement Stairs After

Not so scary stairs, after.

These stairs lead to the Man Cave and the laundry room.  Now, let me jog your memory on how the laundry room space started and be sure to click on the pics for a larger view ’cause I really want you to get the whole experience of the space before we tackled it:

What a messy, raw, unfinished space…with water issues everywhere.  Think old-school cellar.  Again I ask,  “Wait, why did we buy this house?” ” Oh, right, we had no idea what we were getting into!”  How far we’ve been dragged come.

Thankfully, two years into this fixer-upper, I got SuperHouls on board with finishing this space because he really needed his own place for his office and music…wink, wink.   And, of course, we needed to add a bathroom while we’re at it because…that’s a no-brainer.   So we hired out to a carpenter, plumber and electrician to finish the scary basement. It. Was. Quite. The. Project.  It took a few months and unexpectedly included adding a french drain and sump-pump on the perimeter of the house. Yeah, we were lucky enough to buy on the side of the street that is on a downward slope.  And while we’re at it, why not add a patio out back and rear entrance.  See how that happens?

But back to the laundry room.  After moving the heating pipes, updating the electrical, adding plumbing, framing and sheet rocking the walls, and adding new windows, SuperHouls and I painted.   Then he installed laminate wood flooring in the  Man Cave and tile in the bathroom/laundry room.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  Can I get an Amen, sista!

A few months later, it was clean…and functional…and beautiful compared to how it started. BUT.  I knew it needed some additional storage solutions before we could officially call it finished.  I mean, do we really need two windows in a small space?  Um, no.  I needed storage cabinets!  SuperHouls was ready to tackle it this summer – while I was away – and began working on covering up a window to add storage on the back wall.  Sorry for the dark iPhone photos:

We are now calling this room done!  We’ve got storage, we’ve got a hanging area, we’ve got open shelving, and of course plenty of room for decorative touches.  Ready?  Come on in…

Looking in from hallway.

Looking in from hallway.

Notice the mirror on the right in the hallway from my mirror makeover post?  How about the toilet bowl right in front of you?  If I had to do it again, I’d lay it out differently, but hindsight is 20/20, right?  Remember this is a bathroom/laundry room two-fer…’cause why not?  It’s also the bathroom off the patio that we send friends and family to when entertaining.  OK, lets take a closer look at what SuperHouls accomplished…

Laundry Room Organization

Laundry Room Organization

In the above photo, the sink and the shower stall come into view, giving you a better idea of the space. The cabinet is where the window was.  I wanted open shelving on its left and a hanging rod on the right.  What I really wanted was a cabinet on each side and the hanging rod in the center,  but we had to keep the right side accessible for the vent pipe.  So, this is essentially a workaround design.   I’m quite happy with how it all turned out: beauty meets function.  Down the road…wait, did I say that?…I might want to add a shelf across the top of the machines, but for now…its all good…and laundry day is much more pleasant here at the abode.

Laundry Room Shelving

Laundry Room Back Wall

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Laundry Room – Open Shelving

Laundry Rom - Hanging Rod

Laundry Rom – Hanging Rod

We did keep the window above the toilet.  I hung a cafe curtain and kept the upper part of the window uncovered so the light can still shine through.  Having it recessed and boxed in provides me with another shelf to accessorize.  If you accessorize these spaces they are less likely to become catchall places…which, don’t even get me started!

And one last before and after…

What a transformation!  Right?

Hey, if you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and then share it with a friend.

#sharingiscaring

Be well,

Eileen

Romeo & Floyd - The Inspectors

Romeo & Floyd – The Inspectors

Benjamine Moore Wrought Iron

Shelf Lamp Makeover| A Benjamin Moore/Rustoleum Paint Collaboration

Hi there friends,

As promised, I’m back with another project this week.  This old shelf lamp has been living in my garage waiting for my attention…

Lamp Before

Lamp Makeover – Before

What you’ll notice (besides the fact that the garage is truly a project and storage space and not used for parking our cars) is that there are three distinct areas on this lamp that needed redoing: the wood base, the gold metal parts and the white metal part.  I decided that a gray and white color scheme would work well since this is probably going to end up in D’s home office.   I used Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron Paint on the wood base (after lightly sanding)…

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BM Wrought Iron – two coats

I also sanded between coats to get a smooth finish.  This may be the new paint color for my dining room walls…luv luv!

After the base was good and dry, I covered it in plastic to work on the white metal part and sprayed on two coats of Rust-oleum Dark Bronze…

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Rust-oleum Dark Bronze

Once that was dry, I used this high-tech method to spray paint the gold metal with Rust-oleum Titanium Silver…

Finally, when all the painted areas were dry, I added a simple white lampshade with a gray ribbon that I found at HomeGoods as a final touch…

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Shelf Lamp Makeover: After

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Shelf Lamp Makeover: After

And here’s one more of the before and after, side by side…

This was a straight forward project but it  took a few days because of paint drying time.  Of course the hot and humid days we’ve had this summer didn’t help…not that I’m complaining.

I wish I had a place in the abode for this lamp because I love how it turned out and it’s well-made and sturdy.  Hopefully it will be well utilized in its new home.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and then share it with a friend.

#sharingiscaring

Be well,

Eileen

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Romeo the Yard Guard

Mirror Makeover 6

A MIRROR MAKEOVER

Hi Friends,

I’ve been busy working on several projects here at the Abode that I will be sharing in the next few weeks…promise.  Today I’m sharing a quick mirror makeover that I finally completed.  Sometimes the simplest projects take the longest to get through…why is that?

OK, so I had this boring plain mirror frame that was just screaming for a makeover.  I didn’t take a before picture but just imagine an old, tired, brown wood frame, like this one…but not as nice…

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So I painted it white, but it still needed a little sumpin, sumpin.  Then I added gold spray painted corner brackets, but it still needed some more sumpin, sumpin.  Finally I got out my rope twine and added some texture.  Then I was satisfied with the makeover.

Ready for the pics?  Here you go…

Mirror Makeover 1

Taking pictures of mirrors is not easy.  This is hanging in the mancave as you come in from the patio.  Light streams in from the windowed external door that leads outside.  You can see the door reflected in the mirror in this photo…

Mirror Makeover 2

And here’s some close-ups of the corner brackets and rope twine…

Mirror Makeover 3

mirror makeover 4

Mirror Makeover 5

It’s certainly better than how it started and it’s a good way to DIY a basic mirror frame to customize it to your space.  And I had all the materials on hand: paint, corner brackets, and rope twine.  Easy peasy!

Despite the heat wave we are having in the Northeast, I’m working on projects and pieces that have been sitting in my garage…for a while.  So I’ll be sharing them in the next few weeks…promise.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and then share it with a friend.

#sharingiscaring

Be well,

Eileen

Floyd in a tree.

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Apartment Reno Update – Modern Corner Shelves

Hey Friends,

Just seven school days left before I have some time off for reflection, relaxation, recuperating and…projects.  Yes, I have been seriously slacking when it comes to my project to-do list and as a result, the list keeps getting longer.  I’m so looking forward to getting my hands dirty and being creative this summer.

I did manage to complete some shelving for the apartment reno that I shared about last year.  See here, herehere and here to revisit that project.   Once D & D moved in, they needed a break and wanted to spend some time living in the space before taking on additional projects.

After living with boxes cluttering his home office for too long a year, D was ready to commit to some additional updates.  He asked me for my help with some shelving solutions.  Ladies, what mother could say no to her son?

#notthismama

D’s design aesthetic is very different from mine.  I love historic homes with cottage design elements, and D likes modern homes with every technological update imaginable.  He has an affinity for mid-century furniture and design and the more wood, the better!

Looking to Pinterest for inspiration, I was inspired by this shelving system that Shannon from Burlap and Lace created…

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How cool is that?

What I most like about Shannon’s system is that the shelves are very low to the floor. This not only maximizes the vertical space and adds functionally, it leans modern.  I knew that D would like the design and the fact that it would incorporate more wood into his space.

I was working with a corner space in his office and I wanted my version to wrap the shelving around the corner to increase functionality.  I started by outlining the walls with painter’s tape to determine the number of shelves I needed and the best spacing options to accommodate his books…

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Then I headed to Home Depot to buy some cabinet grade plywood and brackets, and I got to work cutting and staining.

Of course I ran into a little problem during the install when one of the bracket screws wouldn’t screw into the wall.  The harder I tried, the more red clay I hit.  Yup – behind that plaster wall was brick.  Nicole Curtis may have been thrilled, but this mama wasn’t looking for brick!

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SuperHouls came to the rescue with his masonry drill bit and we were back in business…

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I quickly placed some items on the finished shelves and snapped the above picture with my Iphone before I left.  Since then, D emptied the boxes of books and got some help from his girlfriend, D, with the styling.  Here’s the finished product all styled and prettied up…

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And here’s some photos of the rest of the space…like this desk from West Elm…LOVE!

Of course, in addition to having three monitors, you also need a whiteboard.  A HUGE whiteboard…

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D brought in a professional to install the whiteboard.  It’s enormous, made of glass and heavy, so securing it to the brick wall was best left to the professionals.  Now more touch-up paint is needed and the empty  corner will eventually have a reading chair and floor lamp to finish off the space.  The painting is an original by his girlfriend.

I’m really happy with how this turned out but more importantly, my boy is happy.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment below and then share it with a friend.

#sharingiscaring

Be well,

Eileen

Romeo & Floyd

Romeo & Floyd in the garden at the abode.

 

 

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The Man Cave Makeovercation Featuring Billy

Hi there friends,

It’s been a busy few weeks for SuperHouls.  Every other year we share the same Spring Break vacation time.  This is one of the years that our vacation time does not coincide so SuperHouls has been busy with a project all his own.               The.  Man.  Cave.

 According to Urban Dictionary, the man cave is described as

“A room, space, corner or area of a dwelling that is specifically reserved for a male person to be in a solitary condition, away from the rest of the household in order to work, play, involve himself in certain hobbies, activities without interruption. This area is usually decorated by the male that uses it without interference from any female influence.”

All true except for that last sentence.  Let’s be honest, it’s still part of the house.

So SuperHoul’s man cave is getting a makeover and Billy…who’s that?… is on board.  SuperHouls is a man of many talents so his man cave will need office space for him to work and write, creative space for him to play guitar and compose music, and of course relaxing space in front of the big screen.

Currently, the man cave is in process…

Man Cave Before

…which, if we are keeping it real, means messy.

We have some painting to finish up this weekend and should be ready for a full reveal next week.  In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek…

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Hey, if you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments below and then share it with a friend, because #sharingiscaring.

Be well,

Eileen

romeo&floyd

Being that we are males, we won’t wait for an invitation to the man cave. See you there.

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Chalk Painted Cabinet Makeover

Hi Friends,

I’m sooooooo excited to share my lasted DIY project with you. Three reasons: it’s my first time sharing a refinished piece of furniture on the blog; this piece exemplifies the saying, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure;” it’s a DIY furniture redo that required no sanding.

#winning

I introduced this piece quite some time ago…um…okay, it’s been about a year. So, please bear with me while I go off on a tangent provide some insight into my creative process.

Last February I shared how I came across this little cabinet in the post, Nicole Curtis Ain’t Got Nothing on Me.   If you missed it, go ahead and read it first, or reread it because, after all, a year without an update is a long time and yes, I still want to be this woman’s bestie.

Nicole Curtis

#badass

If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page, you might have seen a picture while I was working on this cabinet.  Here is what it looked like when I found it…

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She’s got legs…

Rehab Cabinet

and paint splatters…

Rehab Cabinet

and lots of potential!

Originally I envisioned her painted black with gold trim.

Total fail.               Wipe out.               No bueno.

Yup, that happens sometimes.  You have a picture in mind, you implement the plan and you hate the result.  This is when I step away and leave it alone for a while…sometimes months…until a new idea emerges.   I’ve learned that waiting is part of the creative process.  It’s the hard part for me.  It requires patience and totally abandoning the original idea.  Then, when I least expect it, a new vision emerges and the process starts again.

This time I got some light grey chalk paint (no sanding required) and started painting again.  Then I used a clear wax to protect the finish.

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Then I decided that a pattern on the back panel of the cabinet would add some unexpected interest, so I started measuring and cutting fabric.

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The next thing I knew, I was spray painting the original gold door knobs a metallic silver.

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And the cabinet that I found on the curb waiting for the trash…the cabinet with the wobbly legs, and the dings and scratches, and the paint splatters…became a functioning, adorable piece of furniture in the abode…

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…that sits at the landing at the top of the stairs beneath the window.  Love when that happens.

#winning

Hey, if you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments below and then share it with a friend, because #sharingiscaring

Be well,

Eileen

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Painted Hinges

How To Remove Paint From Hinges: Part Two

Hi Friends,

We survived yesterday’s blizzard with no trees down and no loss of electricity!

#success

I had the opportunity to finish removing paint and polishing up the set of hinges I discussed in my previous post, which you can read all about here.  This is part two of the process.

After soaking the paint off, the hardware gets a lemon juice bath…

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Before Lemon Juice Soaking

I usually let it soak overnight and then take it out, rinse it off and polish it with some 3-In-One oil.  The two on the left have been polished and you can see the difference in comparison to the one on the right…

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3-In-One Oil

And let’s remember what we started with….

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Painted Hinges

And here’s a side by side of the before and after…

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Painted Hinge No More

It’s a process, for sure, but like I said in part one of this post, why throw it in a landfill and spend money on new hardware when a little time and effort can bring it back to life.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it, like it, or leave a comment below.

Be well,

Eileen

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What snow storm?

Eileen Toast 1

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 12: Family, Food & Fun Part Two

Hi Friends,

So this is it.  The last post in this series.  Yes, it’s officially after Christmas but when we are blessed with large families time is needed to get everyone together.  We hosted SuperHouls’ family Christmas celebration yesterday.  Here’s my second blog video highlighting more fun times at our abode.

Houlihan Christmas Extravaganza 2015

I am ready to take down all my decorations!

I am ready to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016!

I am ready to start a cleanse!

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this and watching the video, why not share it, or follow me, or both?

Peace,

Eileen

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Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Nine: Vertical Card Display

Merry-Merry Friends,

It’s Christmas Eve and I am only on Day 9 of my series.  I’ve been behind on this holiday since Thanksgiving but I am pushing through despite the fact that either SuperHouls or I have been sick for the past six weeks.  We just keep passing it back and forth to each other.  He gets well; I get sick.  I get well; he gets sick.  Right now it is my turn again.  This cough just lingers and lingers and lingers.  All I want for Christmas is to be cold free! Continue reading

Swans

Twelve Days of Christmas -Day Four: From Decorated Trees to Decorated Neighborhoods

Hi there,

The other night, I grabbed my camera and took a ride to photograph the homes in my neighborhood.  Of course it started raining soon after I ventured out so my apologies for any water drops you may glimpse on these photos.  They may also be a bit dark since I decided to take some night shots to capture the lights on the houses.

Let me give you some background on my neighborhood.  Colonial Heights is an established neighborhood that encapsulates an architecturally diverse collection of homes.  This is what I love most about it.  It is also located close enough to NYC to enjoy all the Big Apple has to offer, but far enough away that chirping birds, crickets and greenery give a reprise from the noise, crowds and hard scapes of city life.

To give you a sense of when the neighborhood was first established, this church was built in 1789.   The structure’s simplicity is reminiscent of that time period.  The white lights and green wreaths hanging on the classic red doors highlight its beauty.

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Colonial Heights Church

This next home is massive in comparison to my humble abode and the decor is stunning.  The home itself is shrouded by hedges and difficult to see from the road but here’s some of the highlights of the wonderland they create every year.

All the urns and the tree bases surrounding the property get dressed up too.

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And just to give you an idea of the sheer size, this is the guest house on the property, complete with rooftop trees and window bows.

This home has a wide front yard display.

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But my favorite decoration is the full-sized moving santa sitting in his…armchair.

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I found two candy cane lanes in yards decorated for little ones.

And this home with just a lighted wreath and deer with matching red bows.

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I’m hoping to get out there again soon to capture some daytime photos…when it’s not raining.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me or both?

Merry, Merry!

Eileen

LJ Studios_0040

Romeo & Floyd

 

 

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Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Three: The Trees

Hi Friends,

My home is finally decked out for the holidays!  I added the ribbon to our Christmas tree today.  I went with something different this year so you’ll have to let me know what you think.  I also finished up the mini-trees in the guest room and the master.  I found the sweetest heart ornaments for our master bedroom tree.  LOVE!  In keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas series, I thought I’d give a little history on how the Christmas tree came to be symbolic and a tradition of the season.

It was the Germans who first adorned fir trees with fruit, flowers, candles and colored paper as a symbol the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden.  The tradition was brought to England during the mid 1800s by Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert.  You may recognize this well-known sketch of their family around the Christmas tree…

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From there, it was brought to America by the German settlers in Pennsylvania and became popular here by the late 19th century.  During the early 20th century Americans decorated their trees with homemade ornaments and garland made of popcorn, berries and nuts.  Finally, electricity made it possible for trees to glow with twinkling lights.  Trees adorned with lights appeared in towns across America, and having a tree in your home became an American tradition.

Most homes have a single Christmas tree but if you’ve met me, you know that I love decorating and a single tree just simply wouldn’t satisfy my need to do so.  OK, on to the photos I promised.

This year I went with an animal print ribbon on my main tree…

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The guest room tree is next to the Christmas Village.  I went with white, red and green berries and ribbon, and topped it off with a single poinsettia.

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The bedroom tree is my favorite this year.  SuperHouls just finished painting the bedroom a blue-gray to go with our  gray-greige color scheme.  The master bedroom was the last room to be done on the second floor.   Here’s the heart tree with a big ‘ole ribbon on top…

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Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it, or follow me, or both?

Be well,

Eileen

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Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Two: The Wreath

Hi there,

Today’s post is the second in the Twelve Days of Christmas series.  If you missed my first post, you can read it here.

I’m feeling a bit conflicted this year about the holiday season.  On the one hand, I love Christmas.  I love decorating.  I love giving and receiving gifts and I love having a break between Christmas and New Year’s Day to recharge my batteries, reflect and set goals for the year ahead.

BUT…the recent shooting and bombings have caused me to take pause and think about the real meaning of Christmas and the traditions we embrace during this time of year.  This morning as I was rinsing my coffee cup, I looked up at the wreath that hangs in my kitchen window and thought, “Why do we decorate with wreaths at Christmas?

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After some research, I discovered that historically wreaths have symbolic meaning that dates back to Pre-Christian cultures and the festivals during the winter solstice, which represented a time of death and rebirth.  It was a celebration of the end of shorter days and the promise of longer days ahead.  During the winter solstice, evergreens were collected and formed into wreaths.  Candles were often added to symbolize the approaching spring light.  I thought about adding lights to my kitchen wreath but opted to keep it simple and add only one ornament.

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Today, wreaths have come to symbolize many of the traditions we value during the holiday season.  The circle shape of the wreath symbolizes eternal rebirth, and the wreath itself has become a welcome sign that adorns our entryways and signals a warm greeting to guests as they come to gather in our homes and share in the spirit of giving.

I kept my kitchen window wreath simple this year.  The white feather wreath sits inside the natural wood form with a sole decoration.  It seemed to work well with my neutral theme for the kitchen.  As I was decorating my tree and unpacking ornaments, I came across the Peace on Earth sign and added it to the wreath as an afterthought. 

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Just three, simple, monosyllabic words conveying an idea that lately, is becoming deeply complicated.  Peace. On. Earth.  This is what the world really needs this Christmas season.  More Peace on Earth so that our children, and their children, and generations to come can continue to celebrate this season of rebirth, continue to give and continue to gather with loved ones.

wreath5

Peace,

Eileen

 

 

 

Sleigh 2015

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day One


Hiya,

Here we are once again. It’s December 1st and the Christmas season is in full swing. I feel so behind this year because, um…I am.  I’m at the tail end of the worst cold I ever had in my life!  Seriously, I’m into week 3 and still coughing. But I think the worst is over so I’m gearing up to get this home decorated and ready for some holiday celebrations.

Today is Day One of The Twelve Days Of Christmas series.   When I first thought of doing this series, I wondered, “Wait…do I have 12  things to write about?”  I guess we’ll see.

Today, it’s all about the mantle…

Christmas Mantle 2015

I’m pairing down a bit this year. Yes, you read that correctly. Using just two colors and layering creates an understated, beautiful aesthetic.

The sleigh is the centerpiece of the mantle. I layered by filling it  with various size pine cones and a few gold and white ornaments. I also added some ribbon to dress it up a bit.

Sleigh 2015

Once the sleigh was in place I started to arrange trees, pinecones, ornaments and deer to each side in varying heights until I was happy with the overall look.

mantle 2015

Mantle 2015

And then the last piece is the swag.  The swag is also layered. First I started with  string of pinecones and then I weaved some gold glitter garland and then finally some beaded garland with very small berries and pearls.

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And of course, the stockings finish it off.  Here’s one last look at how it all ties together

Mantle 2015

Please excuse that random plant branch that somehow jumped into the picture. Other than that,what do you think?    I’m really loving the simplicity of the two color scheme.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or  follow me, or both!

Be well friends,

Eileen

Floyd 2015

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas In The Village

Hi there,

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I posted.  A lot can happen in three months.  Things like apartment renovations and kitchen renovations.  That’s what I was knee-deep in last Spring and Summer.  Then after a few weeks vacation time at the beach, it was time to head back to full-time work.  Now here we are late into Thanksgiving night and I’m thinking I need to get my village set up before I head full swing into Christmas decor season.  So here we go…

I decided to put the Christmas Village in the guest room this year.  The last post I wrote was about the transformation of Dylan’s room into the guest room after he moved out last Spring (and the reason for the apartment reno mentioned above).  Somehow I did manage to get his room redone and if you haven’t seen it, you can read all about it here.

So where do you think I set up the village?

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The Guest Room

The Guest Room

The Guest Room

And here are some close-ups…

And a few last touches in the room…for now…

I hope you all had a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving spent with loved ones.

And hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it, follow me, or both.  And I’d love to hear your comments below.

Be well,

Eileen

I had too much turkey.

I had too much turkey.

 

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Be Our Guest…The Guest Room Reveal

Hi there,

I. Am. Calling. It. Done.

Finally, the guest room/office is complete!  Make yourself comfortable, grab a beverage and settle in for a photo heavy post, my friends.  But…before I pull back the curtain on this one, let me remind you of my vision board for the room…

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I’m transitioning from earth tones to a more grey and greige color pallet in my home so I chose BM Barren Plains for the wall color.  If you missed my previous posts about this room, you can read them here and here.  So let’s begin…

After I finished painting the room, SuperHouls performed his magic and added some architectural interest for a feature wall…

I’ve had my eye on this chandy for a while and it fits with my belief that all rooms need a little bling because…

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All that glitters…

I wanted this room to function as both a guest room and a home office space for me. I think I was able to utilize the space in a way that makes it feel cozy and welcoming for guests to stay, but is functional and spacious to work in, or just relax and read a book.

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The feature wall as seen looking into the room from the hallway.

I love the way the animal print chair and rug compliment each other.

When you enter the room, the daybed fits perfectly on the right wall.

When you enter the room, the day bed fits perfectly on the right wall.

This day bed pulls out to a king size bed when needed, and offers tons of storage in the bottom drawers.  I consider that a major score.  Moving along to the other end of the day bed…

The opposite end of the day bed is the plant corner.

At the opposite end of the day bed is the plant corner.

And here’s a close-up of the wall decor above the plants…

The arrow signs are a nod to my heritage.

The arrow signs are the names of the counties in Ireland that my parents are from. A little nod to my heritage.

At the other corner of the room, directly across from the plant corner is the closet door.  I dressed it up with a wreath hanging from a ribbon.  I then added some wall prints that I love…

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Now we are at the home office side of the room.  This space is almost finished.  I have to add a large bulletin board to the massive wall above the desk.  I have a plan in mind but I’m going to give myself a little time to use the room and see if the plan feels right, and if it is the best solution for the space.

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And we can’t forget the faux taxidermy with the gold antlers in the vision board.  Yup, I found him…

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All that glitters...

Those gold antlers!

And here’s one more photo of the room at night with the chandelier dimmed…

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This room took a lot longer to put together than I expected.  The painting and furniture arrangement were pretty straightforward but the decorating took a while to get just right.

Finally, here’s a few close-ups of how I accessorized (my favorite part) the space…

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So, what do you think of my new guest room/office?  Does it make you want to visit and stay a while?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Oh, and, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it?  And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Be well,

Eileen

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This rug matches my fur purrfectly. Coincidence? Doubtful!

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Apartment Reno: A Final Update (Kinda)

Hi there,

Here we are midway through the summer and I’m finally getting to my final post on the Apartment Reno series.  If you missed my previous posts, you can view them here, here, here and here.

I’m sorry to disappoint, dear readers, but I have no final “after” photos to share on this project, as D & D have decided that they do not want their “private” space shared.

If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that I am near completion of the guest room makeover.  I have a few more minor touches and then I promise to post a photo-heavy reveal.

Be well,

Eileen

Floyd

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The Guest Room…an update

Hi there,

We’ve made progress on the guest room and I wanted to share a quick update. In my previous post about this room, I shared the design board (or maybe it’s called a mood board) showing my vision for the room. This project is moving slower than I thought (isn’t that always the way) but we have managed to paint, create a feature wall and shop for some of the large and small pieces for the space. If you missed my previous post and want to catch up, you can read it here.

After I finished painting the room, SuperHouls stepped in with his power tools to add some character.

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Since then the rug has arrived and I found some throw pillows and other accessories for the room.image

I also brought my desk chair in to see how it would coordinate.

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And…I found the perfect curtains (that I still need to hang) and I’m working on the chandy that will replace the ceiling fan.

I’ll have more updates soon, but in the meantime please tell me what you think in the comments below.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not share it, or follow me, or both.

Be well,

Eileen

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Tiny Flower Pot Containers

Hey Hey,

We had a beautiful day here in New York after a week of rain. Today was the perfect day to get outside and do some gardening. After planting flowers in our window boxes, we had a few flowers left over and inspiration struck when I noticed these in my kitchen…

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Tolenti is my favorite ice cream these days. If your haven’t tried it, you must. It’s delicious. The containers are great for organizing and storing all our different screws and nails, so I always keep them when we finish the ice cream. I needed two very small containers for the left over flowers so I decided to give them a little sprucing up with some twine and spray paint that I had on hand.  These were so easy and took only an hour start to finish.

With my hot glue gun I added the twine from the bottom up…

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Then I decided I didn’t want to cover the entire container in twine so I used white spray paint for the top half of the containers…

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And then to finish the top and hide the ridges where the lid screws on, I added two more rows of twine.  Then I drilled drainage holes in the bottom…

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…added some potting soil and flowers and voila…

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They are perfect on their new home on the porch…

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Cute right?  I love them!  How did you spend this beautiful day?  Let me know in the comments below.

Be well,

Eileen

I’m linking up with http://www.stonegableblog.com/the-scoop-174/

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Beware of the kitties of the jungle.

 

 

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Apartment Reno: A Ray of Light

Hi Everyone,

WOW!  This project has been quite a bit of work for D and D. The good news is…the end is in sight!  Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel and after this weekend, the corner will be rounded.

This project has been anything but linear. Start cabinets…stop!  Start floors…stop!  Start painting….stop!  Back to floors…wait, let’s replace the bottom cabinets.

Even though I’m just watching from the side lines and offering help and suggestions when I have the opportunity, it’s overwhelming peeps!  Like all home improvement projects, the list started to grow and mama looked around and decided it was time to get some help.

Painters were hired last weekend to prime the whole apartment and the floors have been sanded, stained and just need one more coat of poly.  The kitchen cabinets and countertop are ordered and the sink and faucets have been delivered.  Here’s a peek at one of the painted rooms…

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Ahhhh…the power of paint to transform.

Meanwhile, at the abode, Spring has sprung…finally!

If you enjoyed reading this, why not share it, or follow me, or both!

Be well my friends.

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Apartment Reno: Painting Cabinets and Prepping Walls

Hey there,

SuperHouls and I took a break from the Woodlawn apartment renovation this weekend to knock off projects on our own never-ending “To-Do” list.  I’ll tell you all about that in a future post.  Today I’m sharing a quick update on the apartment progress. D & D have been working harder than they ever imagined.  The cabinet doors have been removed from the cabinets…

cabinets before 1

sanded…

and primed…

doors 2

…on one side.  The paint sprayer worked for about a millisecond and then started clogging.  Yes, we cleaned it…over and over.  After much frustration, D threw in the towel and went back to the tried and true paint brush.  Slow and steady.

Meanwhile, back at the apartment, the other D, my son, was busy spackling and sanding walls in preparation for paint.  It’s that point in the project where everyone is feeling a bit overwhelmed.   Despite checking items off the “to-do” list, the corner still hasn’t been rounded. The best remedy for this?  Make something pretty!  So D & D spent time getting one room primed and painted.  Progress is a beautiful thing.  Here’s a sneak peek at one of the gray painted bedrooms with a vibrant feature wall…

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The floors are being sanded and polyurethaned this week.  Hopefully we will have more “pretty” after photos to share next week.  Stay tuned!

Oh, and hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me, or both!

Be well,

Eileen

While you’re waiting for the “pretty” after photos…how cute am I?

EH Sanding 2

Apartment Reno: Diamonds & Dust

Hey Hey,

I know.  It has been way too long since my last post and I’m not happy about it.  But…I’m still here and if I have any readers left after my long absence, thank you!  Sometimes, life on life’s terms means being pulled in different directions and that has certainly been the case for me these past few months.  OK, enough about that.  I have news!

My son, D, is moving out in about 5 weeks.  He and his girlfriend, D, are working on an apartment renovation in the two family home where my mom lives.   The upstairs apartment is quite large and there are lots of renovations happening.  I will have all the details for you here on the blog.

They have quite an extensive list of projects to get through, but being new to the world of DIY, they are learning…slowly but surely.  On their list…

  • Pull up carpets and linoleum floor in kitchen
  • Open up wall between dining room and kitchen
  • Remove kitchen countertop, tile and cabinet doors
  • Update electrical
  • Hang sheet rock in kitchen
  • Sand cabinet doors

 

Yesterday, while SuperHouls was working on the sheet rock in the kitchen, D & D were busy sanding the kitchen cabinet doors in preparation for painting.  I really want them to do this on their own but sometimes it is hard not to jump in there to move the project along.

EH Sanding 3

Getting dust on my diamonds.

Yup…jumped right in there – jewelry and all – just couldn’t help myself.  Oh, and D & D were fine with it because they have all this left on their list:

  • Paint cabinet doors and cabinet facing
  • Sand and poly wood floors
  • Regrout bathroom tile
  • Paint entire apartment

I have lots of demo and before pictures to share.  They have a beautiful vision for the apartment that includes warm shades of gray (maybe as many as 50).

Oh, and hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me, or both!

Be well,

Eileen

Floyd

The humans exhaust me. I need a nap.

 

 

 

Bathtub

Before the After: Part 4

Hi Friends,

In one more week it will be March!  Have we had enough?  Enough snow?  Enough cold?  Enough slush?  I think so!  The sun is shining today, which is certainly helping me to make the transition back from a week vacation in Puerto Rico.  I’m feeling grateful, relaxed and excited for Spring.  A week of sun and sand will do that for you…trust me.

Today I’m sharing my last post in my Before the After series about our fixer upper.  If you missed the previous three posts, you can view them here, here and here.

Let’s head upstairs today fo some more wall paper.  The previous owner, the daughter of the man who built the house, loved her wallpaper, for sure.  Take a look at how our walls looked after hours and hours of wallpaper removal…

Not so smooth and unless we were going for the textured look, something had to be done.  So SuperHouls sanded.  EVERY WALL.

After sanding and priming we had this…

And you might be wondering where I was during this sweat equity project.  In the bathroom, of course…

removing the wallpaper in there.  The bathroom was truly vintage.  Nicole Curtis would have had a field day with the original cast iron bathtub,  subway tile, medicine cabinet and light fixture…

…sorry Nicole, all gone now.  I wish I had met you before.  We could have had some serious fun together but at the time, I didn’t know.   I could have saved a lot of money too.  SuperHouls would have liked that.  #toolatenow

The final area left to see is the scary basement.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of before photos.  No need really.  What I do have is quite enough to give you a full picture of this cellar.  Ready?  Come on down…

ooooooo...a scary basement

Stairs down to the basement.

And there you have it.  The end of the Before the After series of our fixer upper.  I’m amazed at how much work we’ve put into our home.  Stay tuned for the after story which will be featured in my next series.

Hope you enjoyed the sunshine today and let’s all keep our fingers crossed that March, while known for coming in like a lion, will be more bearable than February was.

Oh, and hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me, or both!

Be Well,

Eileen

Wake us up when Spring arrives.

                                                                         Wake us up when Spring arrives.

DIY: Board & Batten

DIY Board & Batten

Hi Friends,

SuperHouls has outdone himself this time.  God, I love that man and his DIY skills.  Today I’m showing you a board and batten project that we did in our upstairs hallway.  I’ve had this project in mind ever since I saw this image on Pinterest over a year ago…

…and I knew it would look awesome in our upstairs hallway.  I immediately added it to my running list of projects and waited for the right time to present it.  Over the holidays we had some time off and we were going to work on a more challenging project that we decided should wait until Spring. Then I remembered this and SuperHouls, seeing that it was much easier than the originally planned project, agreed to take it on. See what I did there, ladies?  It’s all in the timing.

I researched tutorials and the best one I found was this one by Kim over at Sand & Sisal.  Kim’s tutorial provides a simple, step by step procedure.  We followed it almost exactly, except we changed the measurements of the boxes to fit the height and length of our walls.  So here’s what we started with…

Sorry for the crooked pics but I almost forgot to take the before pictures and then quickly snapped these with my iPhone.   Using blue painters tape to visual the placement of the wood slats was helpful for me to envision the completed project.  The photo on the left shows where SuperHouls placed the first board and made sure it was level.  Once that was done, it was all cutting and nailing, cutting and nailing…

Did you notice the ledge on top?  That’s my favorite part and you’ll see why in a moment.  But before I continue, there is one thing we will do differently for phase 2 (down the stairs).  We will definitely prime and paint the wall below the ledge before installing the boards.  That mistake cost us a lot of painting time that could definitely be avoided.  But that’s what DIYing is all about right?  You learn as you go, and mistakes are simply an opportunity for learning.  We did manage to get pre-primed boards because we’ve already learned that lesson from past projects.🙂

Now, you could just go with the vertical boards and make the installation less difficult.  I’ve seen lots of beautiful photos on Pinterest with just the vertical boards and ledge on top.  Of course, I say why stop at good when you can have great?  So we kept going and added the boxes after priming the walls…

B&B3

We also had to work around a window so we took this into consideration while planning our measurements.

Once this step is completed, you could call it done, but I love moldings and adding them makes such a difference…

And 3 days later after a lot of caulking and painting, we were ready to pull up the brown paper on the floor, rinse the paint brushes and put the nail gun away.  Ready for the results?

Look at all that character!  Awesome, right?  And you may notice in the before pics that the hallway light in the second picture above did not exist.  SuperHouls decided we needed more light on that end so he wired it in.  I’ll be replacing those ceiling lights down the road, but for now I’m enjoying all the light.

Remember I said the ledge is my favorite part?  It’s perfect for artwork that can be switched out easily.  No nail holes necessary.

Luv. Luv. Luv.

Never underestimate the power of paint and wood to transform a space.  My hallway feels twice as spacious and I can’t wait to take this down the stairs in phase 2.  Did SuperHouls rock it out or what?

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me, or both!

Be well,

Eileen

Linking to Sand and Sisal

the blue kitchen

Before the After…Part 3

Hello Friends,

It’s February.  This makes me happy because it means: we’ve made it through January in the Northeast; February is a short month and we can do this; Spring is a comin’.

#readytoputmysweatersandbootsaway  #cravingtheoutdoors  #bringonthelongerdays  #getmeinthegarageDIYing

Meanwhile, there’s another storm coming tonight and you may need a little reading material so let me show you my blue kitchen.

The kitchen in our home had its own unique style that…well…I had never seen before.  It was painted light blue.  It had two (no, that’s not a typo) upper cabinets.  The (again, not a typo) lower cabinet had  a red linoleum countertop.  And…the floors were orange linoleum.  As far as appliances go, it did come with a stove.  Dying to see?  Feast your eyes on this beauty…

I mean…really?  Baby blue in a kitchen?  Who does that?  But more importantly, it’s too bad you can see the full effect the floor had on this ensemble.  But, if you have a good imagination, I found one that closely resembles it…

I know.   You’re scratching your head right now and wondering whether SuperHouls and I are dealing with a full deck, but you’ll understand when we get to the “after” photos, which won’t include the red linoleum countertop or old stove.

There’s SuperHouls and Al (our handyman who knew how to fix everything) kicking it to the curb.

And then we were left with this…

It always gets worse before it gets better.  But there were some good discoveries too.  After removing the lower, red linoleum topped cabinet, we discovered that there were original pine floors under that orange lineoleum…Bhooya!  Oh, and since we are all about “character” in a home, we also kept this original built-in cabinet…

original kitchen cabinets restoration

Those two upper cabinets were also kept and reused.  They found a home in the garage.

And ladies, let me share a photo of me (can’t believe I was still smiling) in a sample of my wardrobe for the six weeks we worked on the house…

kitchen demolition

Pretty Times

If you missed my first two post in this series you can find them here and here.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me, or both!

Be well,

Eileen

Ragdolls

 

and lots of potential!

Nicole Curtis Ain’t Got Nothing On Me…

Hi Friends,

I love a good find, especially when it’s free. This weekend I was out running errands with D & D and we temporarily got lost while driving from one side of town to the other.  Sometimes getting lost turns out to be beneficial.

As we drove through the streets we started noticing all the fancy houses around us.

“Oh, I like that one.”

“Wow, did you see that one?”

“How adorbs is that porch?”

Continue reading

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Boot Camp: Not A New Year’s Resolution

Hi Everyone,

I thought I’d update everyone on how my Boot Camp classes are going.  I’ve spent the last few years running and just running.  I trained for three half marathons and ran several races in between.  This year I wasn’t selected in the lottery for the half but SuperHouls was.  Therefore he’s running without me.  I’m OK with it and I will certainly be there to cheer him on, but for now I’m enjoying boot camp.

I’m not a slave to the scale and knowing that muscle weighs more than fat, I pay more attention to how my clothes fit and how I feel. Running is a great cardiovascular activity but it’s not a full body workout.  As a result, my upper body was pretty weak in comparison to my lower body, but boot camp is slowly changing that.  I am a size smaller and just had some of my clothes tailored…love that!

Motivational-Fitness-Quotes1

The workouts are no joke.  I’ve experienced three instructors and they are all good, but very different.  The word “burpee” no longer strikes fear in my heart and I am constantly challenged with new exercises.  While running is a much more solitary activity, I find I really enjoy working out with a group of women who embrace challenges and empowerment.

A clean diet is essential when you are looking for results.   Now that the holidays are over, I am getting back to eating a more healthy, clean diet and drinking lots of water.  I’m looking forward to continuing to challenge my body to see what it can do, and in the Spring, when the weather gets a bit warmer, I’ll probably incorporate running back into my routine too.

What I’m most happy about is that exercise and healthy eating is not a New Year’s resolution but a lifestyle that I’m embracing.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not leave a comment, follow me or share this post.

Stay strong,

Eileen

Plank

 

window seat in living & dining area

Before The After…Part 2

Hi there,

On my way home from boot camp this morning,  I noticed an open house in our neighborhood.  I love open houses because I get to see the inside of homes I regularly pass by.  Today I saw a center hall colonial home with 6 bedrooms and 4 baths and it brought me back to when we bought our home 8 years ago.  If you missed my first post in this series, you can read it here.

The home I toured had wall paper and carpeting EVERYWHERE.  As I walked through, room by room, I knew…the large kitchen and four bathrooms were gut jobs.  The wall between the kitchen and dining room needed to come down, the basement told the tale of original wiring and plumbing, and the stairs to the second and third floors needed carpet removal and resanding.  Did I mention all the banisters were wobbly?

The bedrooms were spacious but also carpeted.  More sanding.  The 3rd floor bedrooms probably didn’t have hardwood under the carpet since it was a redone attic, so new floors would need to be added there.  And that’s what I could see!  The house was spacious and had a great layout, but it needed a lot of work…just like ours did.

Today I’m going to take you inside to our living/family room and dining room to see what our home looked like when we bought it.  Let’s get started…

living room from stairs

Isn’t she lovely with all the pink flowered wallpaper?  Did you notice the old metal radiator cover?  All the radiators had them.  If you’d like to see the wallpaper pattern up close, take a look at this…

window seat in living & dining area

Trust me there is a beautiful yard outside those windows hidden behind the overgrown bushes that I showed you in my previous post.  But…it gets better.  There was old pink carpet running up the staircase and 2nd floor hallway, and they brought the wallpaper up the stairs too!

up the stairs

You can see how the decor worked together in this photo of the fireplace…

Fire Place

The room did have a few features we loved and we saw the potential.  The hardwood floors would be beautiful when they were redone, the ceiling (notice it in the mirror in the picture above) was coffered and beautiful, the fireplace was wood burning and structurally in great shape.

I don’t have before pics of the dining room, but I do have some of us working on it.  As I mentioned it was baby blue and the walls needed repairs before we primed and painted.  Below you can see me and SuperHouls working on spackeling the walls.

The ceiling in the dining room had a strange brown grid pattern.  We painted it all white but we knew those brown grid lines were going to take some extra coats.  A friend came to visit during the renovation period to help us out and she got to work too…

doesn't the paint go on your face too

We spent six weeks working on the house between July & August.  Mostly it was me and SuperHouls, but family and friends also helped out with different projects, which you’ll see in many of the pictures in this series.  Wallpaper removal was a big theme but still only part of the cosmetic work.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not let me know in the comments, then share it and follow me.

Be well,

Eileen

front of house

Before the After…Part 1

Did I ever mention we bought a fixer-upper?  Yup…we did.  I recently found our original home photos.  The pictures are from my pre-blogging days.  In fact, I had no idea what a blog was at the time.  Our humble abode has come so far in the past eight years, so what better way to start the New Year than with a series of “before” posts?

After going back through these original photos, SuperHouls and I found ourselves shaking our heads and wondering why we bought this house.  SuperHouls says it was the neighborhood, the backyard and the fireplace that sold him.  For me, it was the charm, the character and the potential.

Our home was constructed in 1923.  It was listed as a colonial  cottage and the first time we laid eyes on it, it looked like this…

front of house

As you can see, the shrubs were overgrown and hiding much of the first floor.  The same in the back of the house…

back of house

There was no door leading to our yard except for the one in the scary basement so we had to walk all the way around the house to get to the back yard.  The window on the left in the above photo eventually became a door to our patio.  We made the patio by pulling up the old slate that was originally our driveway…

down to garage

And we loved the storage space of the detached garage.  

These photos are dated May 27, 2007.  It was Springtime and the azalea bush was in full bloom…

back yard

We saw the charm.  We saw the character.  We had no idea what we were getting into.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it, follow me, or both?

Be well,

Eileen

Romeo & Floyd

I got a playmate for Christmas. Meet Floyd.

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One door closes. Another opens. And so begins 2015.

door-open[1]Hi there,

As we sit on the cusp of a new beginning, I find myself reflecting on the blessings, the sorrows, the surprises, and the disappointments of this past year. They all took their turns. They all brought their lessons. They all played a role in making me more…authentically…me.

Beginnings are filled with possibilities, hope, the unknown, excitement.
Beginnings give us an opportunity to effect change; to decide to do things differently; to be better versions of ourselves.

Sweeping in on the heels of endings, beginnings thrust us forward and force us to continue to embrace our flaws…to grow…to evolve.

As we sit on the cusp of 2015, I find myself wondering what experiences this year will bring that will make me more…authentically…me.  Here’s to new beginnings.

Happy New Year!

Eileen

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Holiday Decor…A Recap

Hi Everyone,

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  I also know this can be a difficult time of year for some who are remembering the loved ones who have passed.  There are a few families and loved ones that I have been keeping in my thoughts and prayers during these past few weeks.  I like to believe that they are always with us in spirit.

For us, the last two weeks have been filled with festivities and I’m feeling blessed and grateful…truly.  I am also feeling exhausted and…I’m happy that Christmas is over!  There I said it.  Now we can move on to the fact that I never got my holiday decor post done before the holidays so I’m recapping here and now.  Nothing like the Here and Now, right?  It’s really all we have.

This post will have few words and many photos of my home tour…before I take all the decorations down.  Trust me, I’m ready.

The kitchen…

The Mantel…

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The Dining Room…

The Family Room…

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And finally…the wrapings…

And that, my friends, is a recap of Christmas 2014!  Done!

Be well,

Eileen

And hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not follow me, share this post, and/or leave a comment below?

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I Die!

This Holiday Season, #obeytheminiature

Hi Everyone,

This past weekend I went to a dear friend’s opening for the launch of his new business.  Ladies, if you had doll houses when you were little girls, you will be swooning!

Darren of D. Thomas Fine Miniatures is an Artisan and Miniaturist with a passion for all things mini.  I’ll have a future feature blog post for you, promise, but in the meantime, you can check out his blog here .  And his FB page here.

Here’s a sneak peek at what a miniaturist artisan creates..

I Die!

I Die!

Be well,

Eileen

Outtake 2013

Holiday Cards

Merry Merry Everyone,

I am so behind on getting my Christmas decorating posts up this year.  BUT, fear not.  I am moving along and will share all the awesomeness soon.  Meanwhile, click here, herehere, here and here for Christmas 2013 posts.

This weekend we managed to get our Christmas card photo taken and I’m so thrilled with the results.  On Sunday I informed the family that we were going to shoot the picture, edit it and send it for printing.  Yup…got it all done.  Today I’m sharing some of the moments we captured while posing (aka the outtakes) and my crazy thought process.

I tend to over think things.  My brain likes to analyze, strategize and understand how things work.  Over time I’ve learned to work with my brain, but sometimes it just takes over and the perfectionist in me is off and running.  The creation of this picture began right after Thanksgiving when I started thinking about our holiday card for 2014.  After last year’s card went out, it was suggested by a few that I may have too much time on my hands…

I can certainly see how one might come to that conclusion, but I assure you I do not.

Besides, more time on my hands would mean more posts for all of you wonderful readers.  And who doesn’t want that?  Right?

The cats were not thrilled with the photo shoot last year.  It was rather involved for them.  Al (RIP), the one in the sleigh, was 16 at the time and…well…he was tired.  I put him in the sleigh and he promptly curled up and took a nap.  Romeo (right) was 6 months young, very busy, and curious as to what to do with the large, gold, sparkly balls.  Neither of them appreciated their festive attire.  Between their nonplussed attitudes, the props, the lighting, etc, it’s a miracle I didn’t scrap the whole idea and go old school with a hand written card.

But I get Christmas card pictures of kids and families and etchings of homes and dogs.

I can take a hint.

Holiday photo cards are in vogue.  I want to be hip and trendy too.  So I sent pictures.  Of my cats.

For 2014 we decided on a family portrait (and when I say “we”, I mean “I”).  I had lots of ideas:

We’ll all lay down on the floor in a circle and have Daria stand over us and take a picture of our smiling faces.

oh, or

We’ll go down to the running path by the bridge with a big flowing ribbon.

But what will we wear?

Everyone in blue shirts?  Not Christmassy enough.

Do we all have red or green shirts?  Nope, not really our colors.

Forget them…focus on me…I have that beautiful new dress.

Jeans?…YES!  Black jeans?…YES!  Off-white sweater?…YES!  Lots of pearls and gold jewelry?…YES!  And for Super Houls and Dylan, black jeans and gray shirts!  Romeo’s coloring will fit right in…PERFECT!  We need pops of red…lipstick, shoes, bow for Romeo.

EVERYONE GET DRESSED BEFORE IT GETS DARK!  Daria, grab the camera!

I received my Christmas card order today and I love how they turned out.  I’ll post it on Christmas Eve, promise.  For now, a few outtakes…

D, D & Romeo

D, D & Romeo

How cute are they?

E and T

Me, Super Houls & Romeo

Did you notice the bow on the mantle?  Romeo was much more cooperative this year.  What a difference a year makes.

God Bless my family for putting up with me and my busy brain.

Hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it?…follow me?…or both?

Be well,

Eileen

Outtake 2013

Outtake 2013

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Bow Makers, Signs and Faux Taxidermy

Hiya,

I got some interesting responses to my last post, among them, …”a place to hang your wet hat” and “mitten holders.”  As a result, my creative juices are flowing.  BUT, the simple gift from Super Houls is…wait for it….wait for it…

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…a bow maker.

Yup, I’m going to be a bow making fiend this Christmas.  If you’re completely lost right now, read my last post here.  Did you notice the little red dots on the bottom piece of wood along the edge?  Those are inch markers.  I see a bow tutorial in the near future.

Thanksgiving is here and I am so looking forward to a loooooooong weekend.  And although I’m already missing summer, I know the only way to get back to it is to cycle back through fall, winter, and spring.  Winter is not my favorite season but the holidays certainly help and they give me yet another reason to decorate.  The Friday after Thanksgiving the tree gets trimmed and the decorating madness begins.  Super Houls is accustomed to the frenzy.  God love him!

While Friday is the official day to begin…if you’ve met me, you know the wheels have been turning, the ideas stewing and the visions of grandeur flowing.  In fact, I may have already started…just a little.  I couldn’t resist this fur collar for my buck…

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How cute are those bells?  And the keys are the actual keys to the doors in my home.

I also added this white buck to my dining room gallery wall

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And last weekend I made this little sign with some gold glitter craft paper and black glitter letters…

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Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you all have a day filled with good eats, good company and lasting memories.

Be well,

Eileen

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Wonderwoman Barbie

Burpees Anyone?

Hi there,

I am loving boot camp ladies!  It’s been a few weeks since I started and I gotta tell ya, I’m seeing results already!  Yup, my body is getting smaller, my energy level has increased and I’ve become accustomed to feeling hungry most of the time.  I’m maintaining a 1500 calories-a-day with most calories coming from protein and fats.  Carbs are the lowest percentage of my macronutrients and there’s no white flour, pasta or rice to be seen in my diet.   I’ve been doing 3 classes a week consistently and I’m ready to add one more this week.   The only exercise I’m not loving is the dreaded burpee…

Batman Burpee

Burpees are beyond challenging.  They are downright HARD!  And just in case you’re thinking, What the heck is a burpee?


how-to-do-a-burpee

I hate them.  There, I said it.  Let’s move on…

I’m hungry.  A Lot.  I used to be able to go all morning on a cup of coffee or two.  Now I have to eat in the morning, but not as much.  I find I am hungry more often but need less food to feel satisfied.  Exercising like this and changing my diet has naturally led me to eat smaller portions more frequently.  I think my metabolism is starting to rev up ladies…

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So if you’re looking to change a sedentary lifestyle or maybe just change a routine that has become a bit boring, I highly recommend boot camp classes.  If nothing else, it will help with the holidays coming up.  You’ll have more energy to shop, cook and decorate and you can eat without putting on an extra 10 pounds.  I mean, do you really want to be making another New Year’s resolution carrying an extra 10 lbs or do you want to arrive at New Year’s looking fit and fab?  Just remember…five pounds of fat and five pounds of muscle look different on your body…

fat vs muscle

Enough said?

That’s it from me today.  I’ll check back in after Thanksgiving and let you know if I still hate burpees.

And hey, if you enjoyed reading this, share it, follow me, or both.

Be well,

Eileen

Wonderwoman Barbie

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Thinking Outside The Box

Hi Everyone,

Between college application season, boot camp classes, and life on life’s terms, finding time to post regularly has proven to be challenging, but onward I push.  Today I have a small project I want to share.

I have beautiful Lenox silver that I received as a wedding gift, but I didn’t have a silver chest to store it in.  Several years ago my sister-in-law brought me an extra chest that she didn’t need (thanks Joann).  When she saw I was excited, she warned that it was very plain.

Um…hello…have you met me?  I can work with plain.

I’ve used it for several years – but kept it hidden in a drawer – knowing one day I would spruce it up.  Here’s how it looked when I started…

After a light sanding, I gave it two coats of  Home Decor Chalk Paint in Ebony…

Better, but dark brown was not the look I was going for.  Once it was dry, I applied Home Decor White Wax and Super Houls added some gold nail head trim to the four corners…

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I’m not ashamed to admit that Super Houls may be better at hammering than I am.

The white wax application gave the wood a beautiful weathered gray look and the gold trim gave it some dimension and contrast.  But it still needed something in the center.  I found a letter “H” at the craft store and spray painted it gold to match the trim and secured it to the center of the lid.  Are you ready for this transformation?

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Now the outside is as beautiful as the silver it holds inside.

Now, instead of being hidden in the drawer, it is displayed on our buffet…

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Lovin’ it!

This was such an easy update.  You know, the kind that makes you wonder why you waited so long to do it.  The only thing I may add is a small handle above the lip.

Maybe.

But for now, I’m calling it done!

Thanks for stopping by and hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not share it or follow me or both?

What do you think?  Handle or no handle?  What would you do?

What do you think?  Handle or no handle? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

Be well,

Eileen

 

 

Wonder Woman over Barbie…Bring It!

Hi there,

We all browse Pinterest for inspirational photos to help us get our arses in gear.  I’ve been known to do this on occasion and find myself drawn to specific types of photos, like these…

Run 1

Source: Pinterest

To me this says, “women” “power” “active” “endurance” “speed”.

 

And here’s another type that I look for when I start to lose momentum…

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

If she can do it…so can I!

 

And I have, as evidenced here.  Running keeps me sane, centered, fit, and…allows me to cheat eat.  But winter is on the horizon and I hear it’s going to be another tough one for us in the northeast.  Did I mention I hate running indoors on a treadmill?  Yup, I’m spoiled like that…rather be out in the fresh air.

So back to Pinterest I go, browsing away like I have nothing else to do.  All the while thinking about “another tough one” and I spot this…

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

 

…and this…

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

 

and finally, this…

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Is she for real?

And then I see this advertisement online for a boot camp class offered for a reduced fee.  Hmmm.  There were two locations (one 10 mins. away), multiple class time offerings, a forum for extra support, a daily calorie tracker and women only (not that there’s anything wrong with men).

So what do I do?  I decide to go for it…and sign up.

Uh huh…I did.

I’m committed to 3 times a week, maybe 4 depending on my schedule and if I survive week one (this week).  Last night was my first class.  I sweated, snorted and groaned my way through and was ever so relieved to get to my favorite part of the class…

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

I might have been was a bit more sweaty and red-faced.

And since you’re all mesmerized by this point, you’ll be happy to know I’ll be providing weekly updates.  In the meantime, as I take my Advil and revel in the soreness of muscles I forgot existed, this will keep me going…

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Just sayin’.

How have you challenged yourself lately?

And hey, if you enjoyed reading this, feel free to share it, leave a comment and follow me.

Be well,

Eileen

My human exhausts me.

My human exhausts me.

 

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White Pumpkins and Plaid Blankets

Hey Everyone,

The temperatures are  s l o w l y  getting cooler here in New York and there’s a hint of fall foliage in the air.  I love to welcome fall by changing my home decor to reflect the coziness and colors of the season.  Today’s post is all about how I accessorize my home for fall.

Sometimes I switch out accessories, but if I love them I’ll keep them displayed and just dress them for the season.  Here I added a simple garland strand around this guy’s neck…


IMG_0546  And this guy got some acorn bells…

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And I love the garland against the white background for this beauty…

IMG_0551I keep my decor pretty simple for fall because I tend to do my most elaborate decorating during the Christmas season.  My coffee table tray display got a few small changes…

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I just added a Yankee Candle (Autumn Wreath) with a few pinecones and miniature apples.  You may have also noticed the striped sherpa throw in the picture above.  Throw blankets are a necessity at this time of year for cozying up on the couch.

On fall weekends, Super Houls and I start our days sipping coffee in front of a fire, with iPads in hand, catching up on emails and social media.  This year I added some plaid (a fashion must have!) blankets…

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And one by the back door to grab on the way out in the evening for smores by the fire pit…

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Yes, that’s the tip of my Ugg slipper on the lower left of this pic. Another fall must have!

The mantle is always the show stopper, whatever the season…

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with lots of white and striped mini-pumpkins…

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And filled a vase with some fall flowers for drama…

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The wreath that hangs on the mirror transitioned from summer to fall with a single red hydrangea blossom.  I literally just popped in there with the white ones…

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Moving on to the dining room…more striped pumpkins and a touch of animal print add texture to the table…and spice scented potpourri makes the room smell deliciously fall.

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Finally, in the kitchen I added some small touches to the window sill to usher in the season…

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And with a nod to Halloween, the inside of the front door got some whimsy…

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I am love, love, loving my black door!

In a previous post I shared a tutorial on the fall wreath I made for the outside of my front door.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.  Stay tuned for a post on our outdoor fall decorations…coming soon.

In the meantime, do you love decorating for fall?  What’s your favorite decor season?

Be well,

Eileen

Romeo Fall 2014

Happy Fall!

And…hey, if you enjoyed reading this, why not follow me?