How’s That for Color?

Me & the MR went shopping for carpet last weekend.  We went to Haight Carpet in Woodinville where we’ve had good service in the past.

We’re not looking for anything fancy, since it’s just for the master bedroom, the guest room, and the sewing room. We made the big commitment to the faux concrete floors a few years ago, so we really don’t have much in the way of wall-to-wall carpeting.

We’re looking at a medium-gray tone for the master. We’ve chosen the top sample from below—Stormwatch.


And then for the guest room, which is really dark, we’ve chosen a gray-beige (Morning Mist) that matches the floor color well. We’re hoping it will lighten the room up a bit. It’s the sample on the far right.


That’s the same color we’ll use for the sewing room. I’ve been in a bit of a quandary as to whether to go light or dark up there. The room gets plenty of light, so we could choose the darker gray, but darker carpet shows lint. I always have strings and threads, bits of fabric and yarn scattered on the floor. I’m not sure which would hide that the best. We’ll go with the light and pledge to vacuum more often.

Our sweet dog followed the man from the carpet store around as he measured the rooms yesterday. We could have it installed and looking bright and new in just two weeks. I haven’t made the call yet. I was hoping for a sunny day to check the colors one last time.

Cocoa also tried to help me photograph the samples. Sitting on the floor is an open invitation to dogs.


She hates to be left out of anything.

What are your carpet buying tips and tricks? Light or dark?



The August Recap

If I didn’t have this blog, I’m not sure I’d remember any of the things that happen in my life, and the stuff that makes it in the blog is just the half of it. August has been a busy month at the big white house on the hill.

I’ve fought with wildlife in Manly Yes. Irish Spring soap might keep me out of the garden, it’s certainly smelling up the laundry room, but it hasn’t seemed to keep the wildlife away. I moaned and groaned about animals eating my vegetables in Garden Envy.  I’d pulled up the poor remains of my beans, emptied the a bunch of seed packets, and surrounded them in netting structures, only to find holes.


Some readers have been concerned that the dirt is poor quality, this is a super-close-up, and I’ve boosted the color so you can see the tiny seedlings. I’m not having trouble with the seeds sprouting just having them torn up and eaten. I stuck a few rocks in the holes, and called it good.

Maybe I’ll just have to plant our pests least favorite foods. They haven’t bothered the asparagus and have only eaten a few bites out of the tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes

We have enough zucchini to share with all the pests, and they’ve mostly left it alone. I was able to send a bag of apples, tomatoes, and zucchini down to Sweet Miss when Baby Girl visited her over the weekend. If you have enough produce to share, it’s not all bad.

With our long weekend in Kansas for my nephew’s wedding, we explored a little Old Time Charm at our rental apartment. While it’s not really my style, it’s fun to get new ideas. The owner’s have taken what most would call junk and thrown out and turned it into something fun.

Wood Art

I like the way they’ve taken chances with their decorating and embraced their own unique style.

Baby Girl had a friend over the other night. This young one, looked at me with a smile and raised eyebrows. “Kim, are you making Christmas trees in August?” I just owned my craziness and freely admitted I was. I told her I was going to be busy in November, and now seemed like a good time.

Christmas in August has been going great guns. I ordered a ton of ribbon from PaperMart, I’ve used them in the past and they offer a lot of ribbon at a reasonable price.  Now I’ve gone from a few trees to a veritable forest.


Reasonable styrofoam cones are a little harder to come by, but I’ve picked up some on Ebay and at JoAnn’s with coupons. I’m excited for our new “woodsy” look for Christmas.

Moving on Up, my big plan to turn Sweet Miss’ old room into my sewing room, has stalled out. I’ve moved out a desk and a dresser, but we still have another dresser to go. And then me and the MR were talking, and he suggested new carpet and paint before moving my craft things upstairs into Sweet Miss’ old room.

I checked Ikea online and tried to figure out what wardrobes I’d need for the wall project and got totally confused. So for now, I’ve turned the bed sideways, vacuumed, dusted, and blocked a sweater upstairs. It’s a beginning.

We were talking to a friend of the MR’s the other night, and I was shocked when he started asking about my craft room. On his first visit to the house he’d noticed cobwebs and bugs in my room off the garage. He thought I needed a better area, and he didn’t even know about the mice.

When a man is concerned about your creative space, it’s time for an upgrade.  I know it’ll happen, but this one is going to take some time.

It’s kind of sad that we’ve only used our new lamp to Light It Up a few times this month. We’ve still been enjoying long evenings on the deck. Once fall arrives, it will definitely come in handy. Until then, it can just  stand around looking pretty.

New Light

Ominous Skies was my shout out to the people impacted by the wildfires in eastern Washington. An area roughly the size of Rhode Island was on fire a few days ago. I don’t know if our recent rainfall reached the eastern part of the state, but we’re hoping for the best in what’s being called the worst wildfire season in state history.

Finally, Wrapped in a Cloud was all about splurging on the everyday. When your towels look a lot like the ones you wipe the dogs’ feet with, it’s time for something new. It’s only been a few days, but if these bamboo and cotton blend towels from Snuggledown keep performing well, I’ll be adding to my collection. Two bath towels does look a little chintzy. If you figure out the per use cost, these’ll be less than a latte in no time.

New Towels 3

Now just for fun, I thought I’d share a few things that didn’t make it in the blog. The first weekend was my nephew’s wedding. The next weekend, Sweet Miss and her roomies road-tripped it on up. We did a little early celebrating for her 21st birthday. Then me and the MR went out to dinner in honor of 24 years of wedded bliss.

The last week has been a flurry of visiting with old friends, celebrating the MR’s 30th high school reunion, picnics, more birthdays, and a marathon shopping trip to outfit Baby Girl’s dorm room.

Oh, and if bees are buzzing all around your umbrella, they’re probably up to something.


The MR buys a lot of wasp spray. It hasn’t been very effective with the stump on the slope by the orchard. The MR throws dirt on it now and then, and I’m just avoiding it. Oh and me and Baby Girl have both enjoyed a plucot (apparently plumcot is trademarked). In case you’re wondering, it was delicious. Next year, I’m planning on more than six—if only our tree cooperates.

How was your August? 





Moving On Up

You know how you want your kids to grow up and make their own way in life? And then when they move out, they leave behind an empty room, and you miss them?

I was catching up with my uncle at my nephew’s wedding. When his grandson moved out, his son had set up exercise equipment into that room the very same day.

Sweet Miss did move down to Oregon back in June, and I’ve been telling her that her bedroom is going to be the new sewing room for months. But she was coming with her friends to visit, and the MR is talking about painters and new carpet, and I just wanted a space here she could call her own.

Sometimes you have to embrace the fact that life moves on. So yesterday, on Sweet Miss’ 21st birthday, I started cleaning, and vacuuming, and packing. She may have only lived here for a few months before heading off to college, but her room was still filled with the stuff of life.

You may be wondering why I’d want to leave my cute sewing room off the garage. (You can check it out here.) Well, Sweet Miss’ room is just one floor up, and almost the same size and shape. It has modern luxeries like heat and air conditioning. And probably the biggest draw is fewer issues with mice.

The MR routinely catches mice in the wine cellar, the garage, and the well room. Let’s just say, my sewing room is surrounded. I’ve found droppings in my yarn, droppings in my embroidery floss, droppings in my fabric. You get the picture.

The new sewing room still has a wall of windows, albeit shorter and fewer. Since the windows are lower, I won’t have to have my desk so high and will be able to sit down while I sew—another added bonus.

Wall of Windows


Often when Sweet Miss comes home, we have other visitors, so we’ll keep her old bed but place it flat against the wall to allow for more room.

Bed Dressers


Ages ago, we had a less vibrant comforter. I’ll have to track it down or find something new.

Along that bright green wall, I have big plans.

Bed Desk Dresser


A wall of built-ins would add a ton of storage and make good use of a small space. I saw this Ikea hack on Pinterest years ago from Domino Magazine.

Ikea hack


This looks truly amazing—tons of storage, a small footprint, and very chic.  I like the way the designer added mirrors to the doors to visually expand the space. Using the same wall color for the cabinets adds to the built-in look and makes it all flow together. Maybe we can even camouflage our weird angles.

Sweet Miss has a stash of things in the closet, so this would add storage for guests and for all my sewing, knitting, crafting, beading supplies.

For now, I’ve started cleaning and removed everything from the walls. In a perfect world, we’ll have room for the cabinetry and for a double bed plus my sewing and cutting tables. I guess I need to do a little measuring, too.

This room has big changes in the future. It will no longer look like Sweet Miss when she comes home, but I know she’ll find a warm and welcoming haven on her visits.

Making changes at your house? What did your kids’ rooms become when they left home?


The Handyman is Back

For years, summer has meant the MR’s folks coming for a visit. Way back when, they used to arrive in late-June to sell fireworks and then stick around until early September when they finished selling copper art and jewelry at the King County fair.

Now that they’re getting older, they’ve cut back on the number of shows they do, but they still manage a few weeks in Washington each year.

When company comes, some people take them to the Space Needle and a tour of downtown, or Mount Rainier and Snoqualmie Falls. Well, MeeMee and Papa lived in the Seattle area for years, so instead of showing them a good time, we just put them to work.

Remember my genie in a bottle handyman? (Check it out here.) He’s back in full force, and boy do I have a list of things for him to do.

That cute red shelf that used to hang in Sweet Miss’ room at the old house has found a home over the ironing board.

Red Shelf

Now, I have the perfect place for my spray starch and water bottle, and it is no longer on the floor just waiting to be hung.

When I showed Papa Larry the hooks I bought at Ikea and told him my plan, He said they were too nice for the garage and bought a rail system with hooks for all the random dining chairs and lawn chairs that were scattered around the floor.

Hanging Chairs

We’ve never had so much room in the garage. (OK, so we did just bring back the cradle the MR’s grandpa made for the girls before they were born. It was at his aunt and uncle’s house and will now find its home in the upstairs storage room, but the floor really is quite clean at the moment.)

And the pictures we took down in the guest room when the painters came back in February–a year ago–they finally found their way back up on the walls. Suddenly, that room looks a lot more warm and welcoming.


A little something personal, loosely referred to as art, can brighten up a space and make it feel like home.

Stacked Pics 2

Some jobs get done before I even ask. The barbecue broke loose last winter and banged up the deck railing. He had the hand rail sanded and painted in a jiffy. And when Baby Girl went to the store last week, she found Papa lying on the ground in the driveway sharpening the mower blades.

I don’t want to say the MR would never have gotten these things done, it’s just that he has his own to-do list. When you’re recoating the blacktop, mowing the lawn, weedeating the orchard, barbecuing burgers, driving to a family reunion, going to church, and watching World Cup, sometimes you don’t have time for your wife’s little projects.

Thanks Papa for all your help. While us girls are headed out for pedicures, we have some planters that need sanding and painting if you’re up for it.

Can’t say I don’t know how to show a fella a good time.

What’s on the honey-do list at your house?




It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

A couple months ago, I was chatting with a fellow who works at the local hardware store about the weather as I was heading to my car. That’s when I decided that it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Do you carry peg board? I said innocently, although I’d already scoured the aisles of his store. He told me that they didn’t sell the board, but they did have the pegs. They’re not much good without the board, I quipped back. That’s when he told me to wait a minute, he could help me out.

Back inside, he showed up at the cash register with a large sheet of peg board. It was a little worse for wear, but for five bucks I’d take it. Oh, and while I was at it I picked up a few of those pegs, too.

I’ve been thinking it’s time to organize the sewing room. I can pretend that it’s always neat and tidy like when I made this big reveal.

Lots of storage, so I can attempt to stay organized.

But sometimes I get all creative and random and my supplies just seem to explode. I blamed it on all the plants we were trying to overwinter in there, but that’s just silly. They’ve been gone for months, and it’s still a jumbled mess.

messy craft room2

It was time to add something besides book art, and peg board seemed like a great idea.

Asking a simple question had been so effective before, I decided to try it again. So I asked the MR if we had a stud finder. Sure enough, we did, and he gave me a little lesson on how to use it. I figured this was definitely a two-man/woman job, so I was waiting for an afternoon when Baby Girl had some free time, but before I knew it, the MR had my peg board up on the wall centered between the windows. It was perfect–almost.

You see the MR didn’t realize the board was primed and painted on one side and just press board on the other. I figured it would be fine and started organizing. An old curtain rod would come in handy for holding reals of ribbon.


But then every time I saw it, I wished the painted side was out. It seemed so silly to waste time on it, but it was just bugging me. So with some help from Baby Girl, we did a little switcheroo. In order to be able to use all the same holes to fasten it to the wall, we flipped the board vertically rather than horizontally.

old side

Unfortunately, the painted side looked a little old and yellowed. We have a ton of sample paints from when we were trying to decide on what color to paint the great room, so I figured that could be remedied really quick. One coat of Benjamin Moore’s Simply White had the peg board looking bright and fresh.


Fresh white

I added some hooks, drilled holes in cups, hung them up, and thought wow it’s going be great. But it just wasn’t. Perhaps that’s why this post has been languishing for months, and I never quite got around to taking a picture of a bunch of ho-hum, white cups hanging on a peg board.

Then last week, we were invaded by the floor guys. What’s a body to do when it’s rainy and yucky outside and your stuck in the garage with two dogs? Retreat to the sewing room, crank up the space heater, and get busy.

My plan was to recover a few pillows for the couch and finish up some other projects, but my sewing machine conked out on me. With it back in the shop, I started organizing. I added a little decorative washi tape to the cups and trimmed out the peg board, added bows to buckets, and hung some party favor boxes from Target. Suddenly my little peg board looked oh-s0-fab.

New Decorated Peg Board

With projects in bags lining the edge, I have a visual reminder of what to do next. I covered the clipboard with some scrapbook paper using spray-mount adhesive. To finish off my not-so-perfect job, I added a little more of the washi tape. Now I have an actual list of ideas and things I want to do; I was surprised by the number of half-way done projects I unearthed in my organization efforts.

I said goodbye to the thick, wool rug that served as a magnet for pins, threads, and bits of fabric and took a hard look at the shelving unit. I have a lot of space that could be better used.

Shelving Unit

It needs a lot of work, but for now, I added some labels to boxes just to help me remember what I’ve got going on. Lately, I’ve picked up some really beautiful yarn without a definite project in mind. Taking a picture with my phone and displaying them on the ends of boxes helps me see my options.

labeled boxes

I have big plans for the sewing room. Graphic, black-and-white, peel-and-stick floor tiles might be just the thing for this space. A little paint, some curtains at the windows, and suddenly, my retreat could look quite lovely, vibrant, fun, funky, and creative. It’s getting there–don’t you worry.

Any organizing and beautifying going on at your house? What do you do when your trapped in a small space with two large-ish dogs?



Some Assistance, Please

With all the help I received when the MR’s folks were here, I kind of got used to the idea of someone lending a helping hand. Now, the girls do chores and help with the dishes and dinner, but my projects are usually my own.

This summer, Baby Girl has been working off the money she owes us from her big trip to Europe last winter, and you can only clean your room so many times. So she’s swept, she’s mopped, she’s picked berries and weeds, she’s rearranged the junk in the side yard (here), she’s painted rocks, and she’s climbed ladders for me. It’s so nice to have an assistant.

Now in case you’re wondering, yes I can climb a ladder, but no I don’t like to do it. After I climbed on the arm of the couch to fix the drapes and wound up falling in the houseplants, the MR told me to stop. That was a few years ago, and my balance really hasn’t improved since then.

Anyways, Baby Girl has helped without judging or asking why and for that I’m deeply grateful. My ideas can be a little out there, so I appreciate not having to explain everything. After spending some time out in the sewing room, I decided to get those completed book pendants off the cutting table. BG even put spackle on the holes I made in the ceiling on my last attempt to hang them.

Hanging Pendants

The pendants look much better hanging up, and they’re no longer taking up valuable space in my work area.

New Pendants in place 2

As you can see, I have a lot of stuff out there, and it can get a bit jumbled–creative minds, you know.

But that was not the end of BG’s ladder climbing days. Over a year ago, I showed you the knick-knacks I’d added to the alcoves in the kitchen. They were filled with cacti when we moved in. Once I’d donated the plants to the FFA spring sale, I needed something to fill the void. Well, I was pleased with my collection of decorative bottles, vases, candles, and plates.

Showcasing color, shine, and a little whimsy.

Spring of 2012, I’d finally filled each of the alcoves.

Then a friend in the decorator business visited. Afterwards, she mentioned that she liked each of the vignettes, but that they didn’t really go together. She recommended a more cohesive display. Oh, she pushed my buttons. Didn’t she realize those pieces are gigantic? It’s a major pain to find things that are interesting, affordable, and the right scale. I stomped my foot and pouted, but I knew she was right.

So for the last few months, I’ve been keeping my eye open for pieces that might work. Since I had a copper garbage can, I mean vase, and a gold wine decanter, I thought it might be fun to add some silver. I’ve also been trying to incorporate green into our decorating scheme, and when BG saw a vase she loved in greens and blues and another in silver, I brought them home. Yesterday, she went back up the ladder, and we did a little playing.

Baby Girl Rearranging

While I liked this new arrangement, BG liked the two beige vases better. By leaving the beige vases with the blue bottle, we could add some blue elsewhere. So maybe we have a glass, metal, and blue theme going on. I’m not sure it’s anymore cohesive, but here’ what we ended up with.

Alcoves After

It’s really hard to tell from this vantage point, but the alcoves vary in height and depth. The the new silver vase is 14.5 inches tall, while the smaller beige vase is 21 inches tall, and the glass pedestal bowl is about 40 inches tall. Some of my finds seemed much smaller when we put them in place. Along with the size issue, each of the alcoves has a three inch drop, so the pieces are arranged on boards and bricks. To add to the fun, a light is positioned in the bottom of each space, so the area for arranging is limited by that as well.

While I’m happy with the additions and subtractions we’ve made, I am toying with the idea of switching the plate display to the middle alcove and filling the copper garbage can with silk hydrangeas and positioning it next to the tall glass bowl. That way we’d have a touch of blue in all but the center alcove. Then I could hunt for a blue glass platter… The possibilities are endless. Maybe I’ll come with something really exciting for the holiday season and switch everything around come January.

Now you may be wondering what we did with the pieces we removed. Don’t worry, we have plenty of places needing a little something. After we painted over the faux-finishing in the bathrooms, they’ve taken on a subdued/bare look. The MR suggested a tall vase for the powder room. I tried one of the tall beige vases, but we liked it better in the alcoves, so I decided to use the hurricane instead.

Hurricane in Powder Room

When you take a closer look, you can see the blue of the inner glass lantern. I used Gallery Glass to paint it and add a little color.

Hurricane Up Close

Now we have something besides the sink that’s blue in the powder room.

The painted vase made its way to the master WC.

World Vase in Master

I swirled paint in this large vase last spring and was disappointed that it turned out so dark, but I like how the navy paint picks up the navy of the tile. Maybe I’ll fill it with water until the paint soaks off and start all over again. I now own a dozen samples of beige, white, and gray paint to mix with the navy–it took us a while to decide on colors.

World Vase up close

While the windows are frosted, these pieces obscure a bit of the view of the outside entry. A little privacy isn’t a bad thing.

I will miss Baby Girl’s help when she has all-day volleyball practices starting next week and then heads back to school the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Toes, Footprints, and Cocoa

Of course, I always have little furry helpers, but while they’re extremely excited, they tend to be a tripping hazard.

Do you have big or little helpers around the house? Done any rearranging lately? Should I buy some blue silk hydrangeas?

Taking Stock

Wrapped in my blanket, nursing a cup of coffee, I look around and see the ugly carpet fading from emerald to teal, the white walls, and the hodge-podge of furniture the puppy has taken to tearing apart. We’ve been here a year now, and it seems like we haven’t made a lot of progress.

Where has the time gone? What have we done?

Well, we replaced the lower deck so big chunks of the house aren’t falling off.

Deck Collage

When we woke up to no water in early July, we ended up replacing the well pump and all the pipes. As a bonus, the old galvanized steel pipes have come in handy channeling the stream under the driveway rather than over it. We also replaced the bubbly siding outside the boiler room.

Nasty Siding

This summer we had workers here from the end of June through the beginning of September. They weren’t just here to play ball with Bogart–although he did love that. They fixed the deck, the siding, and added a heat pump, so the girls wouldn’t freeze again this winter. Since we’re totally used to workers here day after day, we decided to get this place painted. In a few short days in October, a crew turned our home from a beacon of white to off-white practically overnight.

Painted Home

While our focus may have been on keeping our home structurally sound and emphasizing the basics such as water and heat, we did find time to do a few things inside.

Some changes were forced upon us. When the old oven stopped working and I couldn’t handle the sound of the dishwasher anymore, we went shopping for new and replaced a little of the white with the sparkle of stainless steel. The old white sinks, also got the sparkle treatment. With a few trips to school, all the cacti found new homes thanks to the FFA plant sale. The overhead niches are now filled with garbage cans, lanterns, plates, and other random “decorative” items.

Kitchen Collage

The MR painted the inside square of the master suite a beautiful navy, we upgraded from a queen to a king-size mattress to fit the built-in bed, and added 15 blinds so I didn’t have to greet the UPS man in my towel or wake up at 4 am with the sun (that would be during the summer).

Master Upgrades

We also changed the extra bedroom from a sewing/junk room to a guest bedroom in time for our summer visitors.

Guest Room

The storage room off the garage received a miraculous transformation from a hot mess to a lovely sewing room complete with book art.

Sewing Room

But the room that received the most attention was probably the hangout room with its ever-changing chalkboard wall, magic carpet, slipcover, pillows, and artwork this room is really coming together.

The Hangout Room

Maybe I’ll wake up those silly girls and get some paint then we’d almost be done with this room. The bookshelves need a little attention, curtains would add some softness, and we do need a table of some sort up there. I guess we have a ways to go, but it’d be nice to feel like one room was totally together.

Looking back, 2012 was the year for the outside, maybe 2013 will be the year we can focus on the inside.

My goal for this month is to pick out paint colors. Some day I will wake up and no longer see a wall of chaotic faux finishing.

What’s your goal for January? For 2013?