Lifestyle | Kitchen Tile Blah

I need some help and advice from all of you lovely folk. My new landlord for the new house we will be renting has told me that we could pick out the new tile for the kitchen. You see, there is a huge hole in the current kitchen tiling which is not a surprise given that it was last laid down in the 70’s! The problem with picking out new tiling is that 1) I’ve never done this before and have no idea what I’m doing and 2) if I owned the home I would paint those ugly cabinets white and get new fixtures thus allowing for more flexibility in selecting new tile. However, I dont own this home so I dont plan on painting those cabinets and need to find something that will compliment what is already there.

As a reminder, here is the current (and only picture) that I have of the house’s kitchen:

The current renters suggested choosing gray tiling to go with the gray in all the other rooms that they had had painted in the house – literally every room is gray. While the gray is much improved from the creamy white that was there before, it is a rather dark color and I dont necessarily want to further permeate the house with it.
Today, I had lunch with my extended family and they suggested I select a lighter cream/beige tile to match the counters and to offset the dark wood of the cabinets. I absolutely do not want white tile as they are a #$%@ to keep clean. But I’ve found a few options on Home Depot’s website that I think could work given the circumstances. Any favorites?? Any other suggestions?? It seems that almost all kitchen vinyl is fairly unattractive in general.

 

Lifestyle | We’re Moving!

It’s officially official! Wes and I just returned from signing a new 1 year lease in Irvington … and are currently cracking open a bottle of wine to celebrate! We couldn’t be more excited to leave our cozy (too cozy) apartment on the West side, to a much more spacious house on the East side! It’s a 4 bedroom home with a fireplace, built in bookshelves, window seats, porch, sunroom, upstairs loft master bedroom, basement, and perfect sized backyard. And the best part? It’s only $200 more a month in rent! Whaaatt?? Ok so I can’t wait to show you more pictures, but all I have is what was listed on craigslist below by two guys with modern, sparse decorating taste. I can’t wait to get in there and add my touches to it! Wes and I move in July 1st with a 1 year lease that rolls into month to month after that (couldn’t have asked for a better set up).

This move coincides perfectly with my desire to move nearer to my Mom. In case you hadn’t heard she has been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and has been given anywhere between 6-12 months to live (all dependent upon how she responds to treatments). You can read more about her story here. The 25 minute drive we currently experience is less than ideal, and in this house we are less than a 5 minute drive away!

God has been so evident in our lives recently that all the pieces are beginning to come together. When we first signed the lease for our current apartment, I had originally wanted a 12 month lease. At signing, they convinced us into a 14 month lease with the first 4 months half off. They require a 60 day notice of either resigning or leaving … and if we had originally signed the 12 month lease we would have resigned for another year 2 months ago … we didnt even find out Mom had cancer until a month ago! I cant imagine having to live 25 minutes away from Mom locked into a lease during this next year – thank you, Lord, for your foresight!

Anyone want to help us move in July?? 🙂

Design | Porch Makeover in Progress

This weekend, Wes and I were able to spend some quality time together. Something we don’t get to do often given our different work schedules and the busyness that is our lives. I was telling Wes that I don’t know how we are supposed to be able to fit kids into our lives someday when we are already so busy! I guess that is when you start prioritizing and cutting other stuff out.

So we made some home-made pizza, cracked open some wine and discussed our thoughts on our future, God, and our friends. What could be better?

Another thing I’ve been able to accomplish recently is an update to the porch! Here’s where we were before and where we are today:

It’s amazing how much of a difference flowers can make! I added Heather bushes to the barrels and Ranunculus to a metal flower box I had laying around. I had purchased it a couple year ago when it was on clearance from CB2 and had been using it to hold magazines and matches for the living room. When making plans to update the porch I knew I’d have to include it. The one thing I didnt love about the metal flower box was how silver it was. I wanted something a little rustier looking. So I spritzed the flower box with some black metallic spray paint to give it the look I was going for.
See the difference? I’m planning to do the same to the porch chairs as well to remove the super new shiny look from them.
I also created the same affect on these two metal wall art that I also had stored in a closet because I had no idea what to do with them. So I’ve brought them outside on the porch to match my metal planter. They were originally an ugly green color, so I coated them with silver spray paint and then again spritzed black metallic spray paint to give it the rougher look.
I still have a few more things I’d like to do to the porch, but in the meantime – it’s an improved happier spot to sit in than it was a couple weeks ago.

Lifestyle | Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace

One of my new favorite summer activities is the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace monthly shows. I started going last summer and this past weekend they hosted an event at the State Fairgrounds. Vendors from all over Indiana come together to sell their vintage, rustic, and art wares. Booths upon booths of vintage goodness for pretty fair prices with hundreds of shoppers with the same interests as me – could there be anything better?

At last summer’s event I purchased multiple wood file drawers (you can see here hanging above the upcycled buffet table) and vintage bar stools that I upcycled (see here). This weekend I was perusing the aisles when I happened across a rug for my kitchen! It matches the colors in my kitchen perfectly – score!

 

DIY | Twinkle Light Porch Canopy

Cost – $25

I am so excited to share today’s porch facelift that I’ve been working on!  A few months ago an idea came to me to add a little “sparkle” to the porch. I’m proud to say that this idea is not a replica from did  pinterest or any other blogs. As you know, I’ve been more into building things lately (here and here) which has really bolstered my confidence to keep trying to build more things. I’m even hoping to get a power drill for my birthday .. maybe even a nail gun?? Until then, I’ll continue to borrow tools from my neighbors.

I do get funny looks about working with tools … the other day I walked into Sears with my mom to help her remodel her bathroom and an older gentleman opens the door for us (oh why thank you!) and says “Now, what are two pretty ladies doing here buying tools??” I know he was just being nice, but was a little startling to hear. Haven’t we women come a long way in proving that we can do most things men can? Look at women like Ana White and Shanty2Chic who make such beautiful creations for so much cheaper than you can get at Pottery Barn or West Elm.

Ok back to the topic at hand. So I dreamed up a frame to hang from my porch ceiling so that I could string twinkle lights across for a canopy. I happened to have a $25 Home Depot gift card that my mother-in-law sent Wes and I for Valentine’s Day. She reads my blog and also loves working with her hands in building and gardening. It was so sweet of her to send us a little something we could use and that suited our interests (ok mine more so than Wes’ but you get the idea).

I am so so happy with the results. It looks so beautiful at dusk. Really this is so simple that anyone can do it. No building experience required.

Supplies:

  • Power-drill
  • Hammer
  • Corner brackets
  • Long nails
  • Wire ties
  • Screw hooks
  • Cheapest skinny wood cut to size
  • Twinkle lights!

Instructions

  1. First I measured my porch ceiling to get an idea of how large I should make the frame. 8×2.5 – check!
  2. Ventured to Home Depot to purchase and cut my wood to size.
  3. Stained them – this step is not necessary as the wood is up in the ceiling and not very noticeable. However my porch’s ceiling is painted white, so I wanted the dark wood to stand out.
  4. Once the stain was dry, I nailed the pieces together to make the frame. I made sure the 2.5″ pieces hung out beyond the 8″ pieces of wood so that the twinkle lights wouldnt be able to slide off.
  5. Then I drilled the corner brackets into the corners of the frame to help keep it sturdy. Otherwise it is very wobbly and you could risk it falling apart as it is hanging.
  6. I then wrapped the twinkle lights around the frame.
  7. Drilled screw hooks into the ceiling.
  8. For this part you will need a friend. You’ll want to take the metal twisties and wrap it around the wood and the screw hooks so that the wood is tied onto the hooks.
  9. I plugged the lights into an extension cord and voila! A twinkle light canopy!

(step 3 – stain)

(step 4 – nail the frame together)

(step 5 – drill in corner brackets)

(step 7 and 8 – drill in hooks and add metal twisties to hang to the ceiling)

(Enjoy!)

The Porch Facelift Begins…

You may remember thought I built a table for my porch last year. Now that Spring is here I’ve finally purchased chairs for the table so we can actually sit at it and enjoy the outdoors. I bought these two chairs from a flea market for $6 total. A steal if you ask me!

Having chairs to be able to sit out and enjoy the porch made me realize … this porch needs some serious work (see the wood on the barrels falling apart in the above photo??). So over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working on giving this little porch a facelift. After all, it’s the only piece of our very own outdoors that we own, so we might as well do what we can with it.

Here’s the plan for the porch:
1. Flowers for the barrels
2. Upcycle the table by replacing the legs with metal legs
3. Stain the chairs
4. Darken the metal on the chairs
5. Add art on the wall

Stay tuned for an update on the twinkle light canopy that I built for the ceiling of the porch!

Lifestyle | Antique Shopping Overhaul

This last weekend my mom and I went antique shopping. I’ve been trying to collect mis-matching victorian tea cups and have been trying to visit an antique shop once a month to find one each time. Well this weekend I found not just one teacup, but two … because you cant separate a set! Oh and I also bought 4 little teaspoons … because you cant have proper tea without teaspoons! Oh no …. how did I suddenly become my mom?? My mom used to decorate our home in teapots, teacups, doilies, lace, etc – definitely a Victorian home environment. Well I swore I would have nothing to do with fine china and antique stores once I grew up and got my own place. And here I am … purchasing a lot of my decor from antique stores … and wanting a collection of tea cups so I can serve tea to our guests. Whaaaat??

So anyway, I also bought this super cool brass buck and key. Brass is so in right now … I couldn’t resist. So I paired the deer with my lamp that has brass accents. I put the key on my bookshelf.

And … my mom convinced me to buy 2 pairs of leather gloves. They were so cheap and fit my hands perfectly that I thought … why not? They pair very nicely with my winter coats. Too bad winter is over now – I’ll have to wait until next winter to rock them.

Recipe | Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

When I was young, my mom frequently made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. They were sooo  yummy and sooo good. They are like … Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spiced Latte in a muffin … maybe a little less spice and a little more sweet – but still that good. They are the perfect dessert or morning breakfast  for brisk fall and chilly winter months.

This week my work had a Bake Sale and as I thought through what dessert I could bring I immediately thought of my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. The weather this week hasn’t been exactly Winter-esque but they really can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup oil (yeah i know … lots of oil)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Chocolate Chips

Beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until smooth.

Add dry ingredients, fold in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin pans 3/4 full.

Lifestyle | Vintage Baby Shower

It’s strange to think that I’m already in a new stage of life – babies! I still feel like I’m right out of college and am adjusting to even being married, much less bringing children into the world! But most of my brave friends are already moving into owning homes and getting pregnant, and I really couldn’t be happier for them (better them than me)!
One such dear friend is due to have her first baby in April (it’s a girl!!). And being a woman after my own heart, Mary wanted a Vintage themed Baby Shower. So a few of us put our heads together and scrounged up every vintage item we owned … and DIY’d anything we didn’t already have.
Amy created this “Baby Girl” garland to hang on the mantle. She cut burlap into flags and stencil painted the words onto it.
Rachel set up a yogurt bar which consisted of a large bowl of yogurt and side dishes of granola, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries to mix in. It was to die for! And check out those adorable cupcakes with safety pin toppings!
Rachel also brought her son’s baby bed into the dining room and made it the gift center! I love the onesies she strung above the bed as a touch of garland.
My contribution to the party was all of my vintage decor I’ve been slowly collecting. We created a tea station with a variety of teas organized in the file box with sugar and honey. I brought my fabric ball decor, vintage hankies and blankets, vintage looking books, pictures, china, and silk flowers.
 Rachel also had some fun games planned!
Game #1: Guess Baby Bouyett’s Due Date! Each girl had to choose one date for the baby’s birthday and stamp it with baby feet. Once Baby Bouyett arrives, Rachel will be mailing them their gift.
Game #2: My Water Broke! Rachel had found little plastic babies at the Dollar Store and froze each of them in an ice cube. Each girl had to take an ice cube and place it in their drink and the first one to have the ice cube melt to the point that the baby falls out had to yell “My Water Broke!” and she won the prize!
Game #3: Baby Memory! Rachel created a memory board with numbered envelopes. Inside each envelope was a word related to pregnancy and babies and the goal was to find 2 matching words. Each girl took a turn choosing 2 envelopes – if it wasn’t a match, the cards were returned into the envelopes and it was the next girl’s turn to try to guess a match! Once someone guesses two numbered envelopes that end up being a match, they received a gift (all gifts are chocolate/candy) that related to the match.
Example – Sarah chooses 2 envelopes which reveal to both have the word “Pregnant Belly”. Sarah wins a prize which ends up being a “Chunky Bar”!

Here is a list of possible pregnancy/baby words that correlate to candy bars that can be used in the Baby Memory game.
The Conception: SKOR
Pregnant Belly: Chunky Bar
Epidural or Grandparents: Lifesavers
Umbilical Cord: Twizzlers
Late to the Hospital: Rocky Road
Hospital Address: 5th Avenue
Choosing A Baby Name: Watchamacallit
Newborn Girl: Baby Ruth
Twin Boys: Mike & Ike
Triplets: Three Musketeers
10 Pound Baby: Whoppers
Preemie: Runts
Hospital Nursery: Cry Babies
Delivery Doctor: Butterfinger
Father or Dad: Sugar Daddy
Cool Mom: Peppermint Patty
Breastfeeding: Milky Way
Breast Engorgement or Dirty Diapers: Mounds
Hospital Bills or College Fund: 100 Grand
Bottle: Bottle Pop Candy
Mom Alone Time: Zero
Mom Nap Time: Take Five
Baby Giggles: Snickers

The afternoon was a lot of fun and celebratory of Mary’s upcoming arrival!

DIY | Build Your Own Shelf

After building my first ever project (my porch table), I got the bug and wanted to try my hand at building something else. Because … if I can build a table I can build anything right? Well …. let’s just say this one was a good effort. For my porch table project I used a project plan provided by someone who knew what they were doing. This time, I totally winged it. I didn’t have plans drawn up… I didn’t copy someone else’s. I just had an idea in my head as to what I wanted – some combination of metal and wood. I also scoured online for tutorials and how-to’s and they all weren’t very helpful. But I’d built a table so of course I could build a measly little shelf! Turns out … it was harder than it seemed! The top shelf is a little wobbly and the pipes are a little uneven/crooked … but to the naked eye it looks ok.

On to Home Depot Wes and I went …. yes I dragged Wes into this and he went along … kicking and screaming! He hates Home Depot. A lot. In fact, he tweeted the following while we were having what I thought was so much fun shopping for our supplies:

How could Wes and I be more opposite? I think Home Depot is fun! So anyway, to build yourself a table like mine you would need the following supplies:

Cost: $30

Supplies

 

  • 1/2 inch black metal pipe
  • Wood cut to size
  • 3/4 inch drill bit
  • Rubber Bands
  • Stain for the wood
Instructions
  1. Now I have to admit the instructions are not very good, because like I said – we winged it. Wes and I measured out where the holes needed to go, drilled the holes, realized the holes in each piece of wood didn’t line up, tried to make the holes bigger so they’d line up, yada yada yada.
  2. Then we pushed the pipe into the middle shelf and to keep the middle shelf from slipping down the pole (not that it would because the holes were so tight), we placed rubber bands under the shelf.
  3. Then we shoved and twisted the pipe into the bottom shelf, and placed the top shelf on top.
The end. Again I would not recommend that anyone actually build these shelves the way I’ve instructed – but if you are itching to build a shelf and this will do.. then go for it!
(check out these fancy rubber bands holding up the middle shelf)
Here are some photos and links to the blogs of the shelves that inspired me to build my shelf:
(source)
  (source)