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Posts Tagged ‘Widget’

May I just go on the record and say that I love the selection of home accessories currently at Target? Lots of gray and white, and lots of brass accents. The gray and the white completely fit in with pretty much every room in our house; the brass… not so much. At some point, with no real discussion, Andrew and I reached the consensus that we preferred silver-toned finishes over gold-toned. I was cool with it. I haven’t touched base with Andrew on this recently, but I’m pretty sure he’s cool with it (-slash doesn’t give it a second thought). We’re pale people, and silver is a better complement to our skin tone. But sometimes I see some brass accessories that are seriously the bomb (entryway light fixture not being one of them). Brass reminds me of Emily Henderson. Love her!

Oh, brass horse. You complete me.

So, yeah. Time to loosen the no-brass-allowed rule. But how? HOW? Some people are really good at mixing metals, but that’s way too advanced for me. Life is so difficult! (#firstworldproblems)

Here’s the compromise I came up with: instead of completely scrapping all the chrome-y/silver-y/brushed-nickel-y accents in our house, and instead of swearing off all brass no matter how bangin’, I’ve designated the office/guest room as our brass-and-gold-toned-metallics mecca. That room is pretty much a clean slate, decor-wise, so it can go any direction. The solution is so simple, but when I came up with it, I felt liberated.

Back to Target. I was there on Monday, and I stumbled across this mirror:

You know I loved it if I was inspired enough to take a picture with my phone. I didn’t buy it though. I’m practicing restraint, which is a gamble with Target goods – I still get wistful over these plastic tumblers I saw there in June. When I went back to buy them, they were gone. Sniffle. Moment of silence for what could have been…

Anyway. Restraint. I wanted Andrew’s opinion on the mirror, and I wanted to make room in our budget (we’re talking $40-plus-tax, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but we’re watching our funds closely around here… it’s called “operation: pay off the car early”). Andrew was all “of course you can buy that,” which I knew he would be, and Tuesday was our wedding anniversary, so after a celebratory dinner out, we stopped by Target to grab my mirror (it was still there – phew!).  Oh, we grabbed a few other things while we were there. I’ll have to share those soon, too.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to hang the mirror in the office/guest room. If you can’t make it out in the photo, the finish is more of an “antiqued” brass, not shiny-shiny. This mirror might even jump-start the office/guest room makeover, which has been a looooong time coming. Also, looking at that brass horse, I feel like I could DIY something really similar. Did anyone else have Breyer horses? I have about a million of them at my parents’ house – add some gold paint and attach a base, and boom! Instant Emily-Henderson-inspired style.

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STUFF. Blech. Stuff stresses me out. In my perfect world, our house would look like this:

Monochromatic and uncluttered to the extreme. Unfortunately, it’s not really a realistic ideal since Andrew and I sometimes like to do things like watch TV or read or surf the Internet. And we have a dog that requires stuff. And life in general just takes stuff.

I’m not exactly Type A, so organization is a constant struggle. Luckily, I was recently in the land of stuff: my parents’ house, where stuff goes to die. Normally, all that stuff just makes me anxious, but a stack of six baskets – abandoned by my sister – struck me as a possible solution for an empty… hole?… in our TV stand.

I put a few books and a decorative bowl in the bottom left quadrant, but the fourth and final one sat empty for the past two months. I wanted something white or light-colored to put in there, to lessen the black-hole qualities of the unit. And then those white baskets winked at me, and here we are today:

Light and bright? Yes. Clutter control? Oh heck yes. Widget’s toys have a new home.

And of course, that basket had friends.

These couldn’t be a better fit; I think this is what they call “fate.” There’s good stuff in these two baskets. Junk food for Widget:

Junk food for my brain:

How about those Twilight kids, eh? So scandalous.

So that’s three of the six. The other three moved into the multi-purpose closet in our living room. It’s our coat closet/pantry/catch-all storage space.

Those doors need a makeover, and that trim needs painting. At least the inside has begun it’s transformation from a jumbled mess to a semi-sensical…mess.

Reusable shopping bags shoved in there, then that pink bag is full of cleaning rags and there’s some other cleaning supplies shoved back there. Next shelf up is for games and my yoga mat and light weights. Here’s where one of the baskets came in handy to wrangle cards and Catch Phrase.

The other shelves are taken by our toaster oven and random foods, spices and oils.

Then I used the remaining two baskets to corral our hats and gloves: one’s for Andrew, and one’s for me. At some point, I’ll get around to making little labels or something for them so it’s easy to grab the right one.

While we’re talking about contained storage, check out this little box I picked up from Marshall’s for about three bucks

It’s kind of Hermes-esque, right? Ha! I wish. I use it to store my hair ties.

There you have it; that’s how we’re trying to deal with all the stuff life necessitates. As mentioned, organization is ever a work-in-progress for me, so any tips are more than welcome! Send ’em my way. Oh, and Stephanie – if you’re reading this, can I have these baskets? Thanks! Love you!

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Isn’t he darling? NO. He’s not darling at all; he’s a MONSTER.

It’s one of mine and Andrew’s ongoing goals to improve the yard and overall curb appeal of our home, and this year – with a not-so-subtle nudge from my mom – this year was going to be the year of flowers and color. Susiemommy actually drove down here from Pennsylvania with a car full of plants for us and made an effort to get as many in the ground as she could (with a minimum of help from me; hey, I’ve been more than a little absorbed in my bathroom).

Now that the bathroom project is wrapped up though, I can shift my focus elsewhere. I planted all the Gerbera daisies one night after work last week, and I started setting out some wave petunias to figure out where they should go.

And then yesterday morning, when Widge and I went out to water the flowers and go for our walk, what we saw was shocking. The “arms” of our petunias had been butchered and were strewn on the ground. It looked like a murder scene. Those stupid bunnies.

I feel like they’re sending me a message. Those bunnies are bullies. It’s a good thing Widget has my back. Here he is, holding watch from the porch:

Doesn’t his harness make him look like he means business? Bunnies beware. I’m not sure how to repel the rabbits from our plants, but I think they sell some kind of spray at hardware stores. I don’t necessarily LOVE the idea of coating everything with a layer of chemicals though. Are those our only options? Ugly, flowerless flower beds or pretty, chemical-laden flower beds?

It’s not all bad news though. This lovely lady is thriving:

Hopefully, she’ll continue to grow up the trellis and fill out some more. For some reason I can never remember what this plant is called, but we had a bunch of them at our wedding reception to spruce up my parents’ yard and pool area, and I think they’re just gorgeous. I’ll ask my mom (again) what it’s called and get back to you.

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Leaps and Bounds

What a difference two days makes. There are so many exciting bathroom milestones, I don’t even know where to start. I guess we’ll start with the color conundrum.

You’ll recall we were trying to pull inspiration from our new shower curtain:

Landed on bright sky blue:

And hated it. Susiemommy was here on Thursday, and the three of us were discussing it. She pointed out that blue paint can reflect harshly on a lot of skin tones. I don’t know if that’s true, but let’s just go with it. The she said “What about a peach or pink?” and I said, “Ew, fleshy.” Then Andrew said “Terra cotta!” (or something… probably not actually “terra cotta” because that doesn’t seem like a color he would describe) and I said, “Ugh, no.” Then, unprompted by me, Susiemommy suggested gray, and I beamed. Andrew had suggested gray in a separate conversation, so I felt like I now had permission to embrace my neutral-loving sensibilities.

Even gray is tough. The gray in our bedroom goes blue a lot of the time. Fortunately I had just read this blog post by Emily Henderson, listing her favorite grays. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl – without even testing it. I was swayed by Emily’s sales pitch: “this gray can do no wrong. Ever.”

First coat is on the walls.

It came out looking very putty-ish and has kind of a greenish tint. I’m not declaring love or hate until the room is done.

Guess what happened yesterday? Two big things. The window wall is tiled TOP TO TAIL.

And. (drumroll please).

We’ve started to lay the floor.

When I say “we,” I mean Andrew and his dad. I helped pick the exact layout, but then I cleared out for the most part. This marble was not cheap, and the installation was giving me heart palpitations, so better that I was not that involved. Especially when Mike (Andrew’s dad) laid the first square foot of mosaic and his reaction was “uh oh.” “Uh oh”!?!?!? The adhesive squished up between the tiles just a smidge, and immediately started to discolor the marble. We pulled up that portion, and I whisked it away to perform surgery, aka wash the evil thinset off. At that point, I wanted to halt the whole production, but I let the boys do their thing and figure it out. I THINK it’s all going to work out. Fingers (toes, eyes, legs, etc.) crossed. I would pretty much be devastated if this marble doesn’t turn out well. Okay, life would go on, but I might cry a little first.

There were a few spots where the stone seemed to be looking cloudier than it was, but the word on the street is that the porous marble sucks up some of the moisture from the thinset, releasing it (and returning to its initial coloring) later as it dries.

We can’t walk on the flooring for 24-36 hours, so work is halted for now.

No doggies allowed either.


Sorry Widge.

One more note about the marble, and then I promise we can move on. When I placed the tile order for the marble mosaic and the ceramic subway, the saleswoman sold me two bags of grout. Both are bright white, but one is sanded and one is unsanded. Sanded grout is more durable, but 1/16″ grout lines call for unsanded grout. So at the point of sale, when the saleswoman at Avalon was explaining this to me, I went ahead and ordered one bag of each: unsanded for the walls, sanded for the slightly larger grout lines in the floor.

Later research revealed NO! WRONG! SO STUPID! That sanded grout can scratch soft marble. Since we’ll be picking up a new batch of grout, Andrew and I have been considering a color other than white for the floor. Maybe a soft gray. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion to this discussion.

Andrew’s dad was here yesterday to help in the bathroom, but my parents and Aunt Maryann also came down to help out. They spent all day working on the outside of our house. So nice and generous when they have their own houses to maintain! Let me show you my favorite thing that my dad did. There’s a sidewalk that starts just beyond our house, and it’s typically the way we go to walk Widget. Yay for sidewalk, boo for boobie-trapped sidewalk. This big holly tree has a couple of nasty, prickly branches ready to scratch the ish out of our face if you’re not paying attention, right where the sidewalk begins.

My dad is a holly-pruning/removing and weeding pro, so here’s what that patch looks like now:

Wha…? Crazy, I know. It looks like an actual bit of landscaping now. We’re not 100% sure this is even considered “our” property (might be the neighbors’ or public property), but I think the entire neighborhood will thank my dad for nixing that scratchy bugger.

It’s hard to say what my favorite project of Susiemommy’s was, but it might be this:

Yup, after a long hard day of work, she fed us all.

It was a productive day, but now we have to wait to walk on our bathroom floor before we can continue. The mandated wait time might be a blessing in disguise. Andrew and I can try to clean and organize our disaster of a house, finish up some yard projects, and oh yeah, we have a wedding to go to tonight. It’s going to take me even longer than normal to get beautiful (how do I disguise legs covered in bruises?). In the meantime, a little before & in-progress? I think so.

Or did you want to go way back to the REAL before? Okay.

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Bathroom Day One: Recap

Let’s remember what our bathroom used to look like:

At 10:43 this morning, minus two sliding shower doors:

11:43 a.m., wondering how to get this shower insert outta here:

12:28 p.m., removing the screws holding the shower surround in place:

1:57 p.m., we break the news to Widget that we’re not getting heated floors.

2:41 p.m., almost have the shower out:

4:41 p.m., we’re slowing down by this point, but we’ve said “sayonara” to the shower and are scraping paint off the window, playing with the cement board that will go up, taking up more floor tiles, and thinking about colors for the wall again…

Overall, day one was a huge success, and it feels good to get this project rolling. We’ve only been thinking about it SINCE WE MOVED IN. There were no huge surprises revealed when we started disassembling the room, but we’ve got a long to-do list for tomorrow. Until then, Andrew and I are sipping some Sam Summer and catching up on DVR’d Modern Family episodes. Gotta take time to recharge the batteries right?

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People have been asking me about the bathroom – sadly, there’s not much to report, but there is a tiny bit of progress, so I will need to write a post about that (soon, promise).

Instead, I’ll share the little projects we did this weekend. Gotta keep the state of this shack moving forward in some way. That reminds me of my mantra, which I don’t think I’ve shared: “petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nit.” “Little by little, the bird feathers its nest.” Sometimes I repeat it over and over to myself, and it makes me feel better that our house isn’t 100% perfectly put together 18 months later.

So, we now have a few visitors scheduled in the upcoming weekends – one of my cousins plus her friend, Andrew’s parents, and Andrew’s brother. Nothing like visitors to motivate some nest-feathering. Andrew painted some more trim work (that job seems to never end), this time around the door to the third bedroom and some other small pieces in the “hallway” that never got done for whatever reason. Hmm, I don’t seem to have a picture to illustrate why I used quotation marks around “hallway,” but it’s really just a small area that includes the doors to all three bedrooms, the bathroom, and the linen closet. Here’s a picture of Widget to make up for it:

I decided to finally hang some stuff that’s been gathering dust for a few weeks/months. First up, a mirror I got from Goodwill for $25. It’s pretty heavy, so I was nervous about hanging it, but I successfully located at least one stud. It’s been about nine hours, and it hasn’t fallen off the wall… yet… I’m still nervous.

I’d like to paint the frame, but I haven’t landed on a color yet, and I really wanted it on the wall already.

While I was at it, I decided to put up a picture I’ve been meaning to hang in the dining room also. It took me about 10 seconds to hang it. I don’t know why I didn’t until this point.

It’s a picture of cheese and honey that I took out of an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. If you know me, you know I love cheese, and I hung it over our “bar,” where we keep our wine rack. Get it? Wine and cheese.

Anyone else have trouble keeping wine in the house? We had a good stock going, but now all that’s left is that bottle of ice wine.

Since I had such good momentum going, I decided to hang one last thing over the fireplace. Yes! We now have something over the fireplace (18 months later)! And to be a total letdown, I didn’t take a picture! But I have a picture of the next best thing, which is the picture sitting on the mantel. It’s basically the same thing, the picture’s just three inches higher now.

It’s a photo of us from our wedding. A late Christmas surprise from my parents. Close up:

Andrew said, “Does it make us vain to have a big picture of ourselves in the living room?” And I said, “It’s our house, we can do whatever we want.” Plus, I look so happy in it (because I was).

The black frame brings a new direction to our living room: now we need to incorporate black. Easy. Our living room had no direction anyway! Maybe I’ll paint the mirror frame black to tie it in.

Back to the dining room for a minute. I found an old pic for a little before and after. Here’s the before:

Please note the hand-me-down table & chairs, the window valances and light fixture left behind by the previous owner, and my sad attempt to spruce things up with some sunflowers. Also, look! Our wine rack has some wine in it!

Here’s the now (not really an “after” since I wouldn’t consider any room of our house to be an “after” yet):

So that’s our weekend update. Back to you, Seth Myers.

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Christmas 2011

Happy 2012, all! My sister, Stephanie, sent me some pictures from Christmas at the Dill household, so I’m sharing a couple.

What’d we get for Christmas? It was surprisingly Apple-y. Susiemommy is tricky.

Widget is still getting over his jealousy.

Speaking of Widge, we also tried to get a picture of the three fur kids together. Here’s my favorite:

Hope everyone had a healthy and joyous holiday season! We’re back to the grind here, but I’m not complaining because my grind now includes playing Words with Friends and Bejeweled on the iPad.

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