Friday, October 26, 2007


Did I say I was leaving? This was too much fun, and I obviously dont for one second believe I look like ANY of these women. But here's to dreaming...


I completely forgot to mention this... but I wanted to recommend a friend's business before I left. Her name is Jerusalem (My Little Life) and she has a Banner of the Month Club. Here is one I bought from her and I highly recommend them! I have the benefit of running over to her Shoppe and buying them whenever I want, but this would be a great idea for those of you who live far away, love crafty things... yet perhaps aren't so crafty? Yes, I raise my hand on that one.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Halloween!

This will be my last post this Halloween season. I'll be back with bells on after then, but as of now I'm taking a much needed break from my regular routine. My plans include a fun trip with my mom and sisters (to a very haunted location) and some house projects. In the mean time, I hope everybody has a wonderful Halloween! If you are in need of a Halloween movie to watch, let me recommend Bell Book and Candle with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak (pictured above). It is the perfect combo of spooky and romantic.

Happy Haunting everybody!

Country Living

Has anyone else noticed the change in Country Living? Here lately I have been less than satisfied, it just doesn't feel the same. Much less actual decorating and more recipes/advertisements/misc. stuff. Maybe it's just me, but I was reminded of it when I found these pictures online.

These photos are from an October Country Living several years ago (3, 4, I'm not sure). I remember getting this magazine.. I remember being so excited that I must have looked at it a hundred times that month. I loved this house, in fact, I still have these in my 'house scrapbook.' It was exciting to find them online, like old friends. I just hope that next year Country Living manages to pull off an October magazine that can match their old ones.
(photos by Keith Scott Morton)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hello Fall

Apparently we skipped fall and went straight to winter in a period of 12 hours. It is so cold here, and just two days ago our air conditioner was working it's little head off! I'm not complaining though, I've been waiting for this for the past two months. I was in such a cheerful mood as I drove home yesterday. As I passed by the lake, I had to stop and soak it in. The leaves are finally changing and the poor little ducks were floating around as if they didn't know what had happened.

It is ironic to me that after being away for almost 15 years, I ended up living in the exact neighborhood I spent my young childhood in. I can remember this lake being completely frozen one winter and people skating on it (we NEVER have winters that cold anymore). I can remember feeding the ducks with our stale bread in the winter time, totally convinced that it was my bread that tided them over until spring. As I sat there yesterday, I was immensely thankful. Life has been so hectic and rushed here lately, and it was so nice to stop my car and just enjoy the moment.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekend Projects, Duh Moments

After spending many weeks/hours considering, shopping on line and plotting about a chalkboard for my kitchen, the epic quest ended somewhat unceremoniously. I was stalking my local craft store and spotted a ready made chalkboard right next to the cork boards. Plain jane chalkboard with unfinished trim: $12.00. I had such plans of sweat and labor over this and in the end... I paid next to nothing and spray painted the trim white. Eventually, I may add some heavier molding, but until then, this will do just fine.

I had to laugh at myself though. I toiled on this (ha) and finally Matt helped me hang it. He examined it, nodded approval and then said, "Where's the chalk?" Of course I stood there, blank faced and flushed from embarrassment. What woman buys a chalkboard and forgets the chalk? Apparently, I do. DUH!

In other news, we spent Friday night with my little sister and her adorable friends. Matt dutifully picked up the tab and chauffeured the car as they laughed and carried on as only unattached, free-as-the-wind females can do. I had to admit, it was catching, and I found myself joining in spouting Hocus Pocus movie quotes and being silly. It was so much fun and made me miss my college friends! Poor Matt. We set out to find a haunted house, got lost, and ended up watching 30 Days of Night. Yeah, a truly scary vampire movie. Truth be told, it was only scary for about an hour, and then it just became silly. But it was fun to sit next to my sister who, when presented with terror, has no qualms about screaming her heart out. Even if she is the only one doing it. In a theatre of 400 people.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nest Fluffing

Sometimes my most satisfying house projects are the little things. Something small bought on sale, a project I can sit in front of the tv and work on. Case in point, last night was a satisfying night. Did I do anything big? Nope. Did I paint a wall? Nope. Did I find the perfect curtains for the living room? Nope.

But, I did make shelf liners while watching my two favorite shows (30 Rock and The Office). I did swing by Hobby Lobby and find an adorable clock on sale. I did buy a strand of white Christmas lights.... because, well, they were playing Christmas music ALREADY and I'm a giant sucker.

Here's my little clock. I got it for half off, so it ended up being $7. I think it's perfect for the kitchen. I'm going to hang it over my chalk board... but that is another post entirely.

Here are my shelf liners. Nothing phenomenal, but it was fun to do something with scissors. I felt very relaxed, like a kindergartner at craft time. Maybe I should just start cutting things out every night... where are my paper dolls? Anyway, I ran a little short of card stock, so I still have to make a couple more.

And this is what I did with my Christmas lights. I know it's a smidgen Christmasy for a year round decoration.. but I don't care. It looks so happy, so I'll leave it for now.

I wrapped my night up looking at magazines and staring at Mabel. This is why animals lower people's blood pressure. Just look at that face. I cant be mad or upset when I look at her. All in all, it was a lovely Thursday night. I've decided to wrap up my chalk board project this weekend... you are all going to laugh out loud when you see it. I have taken the easy way out for sure! :)

PS... I need to give a BIG thank you to everybody who has given me their opinions/help about my living room curtains. I so so so appreciate all the feedback, I have no idea how I functioned before I started this blog. I cant imagine not having all my blog friends for inspiration! Thank you to Chris especially for the fabric tips.

What Constitutes a Good Lunch Break?

A trip here, of course!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Curtain Conundrum

I have a curtain problem. I love what I have, plain white canvas. I love them in the summer that is. This time of year makes me long for more coziness, something that a white room and white curtains doesn't necessarily give in the winter time. But there is a problem, I'm a big cheapo. I often times find myself in a fabric store, drooling over a fabulous print. One glance at the $30 a yard price tag (honestly, look at these windows, it would cost a fortune) and my throat locks up in a death grip. Here are photos of what I'm dealing with (as if I haven't posted these before).

I found these curtains online, and on sale. I once saw a room at Christmas with drapes similar to these and it looked very fun and cozy. My worry is two fold: 1. I do not want to go the 'country' route. I do love country style, but more of a thrifty, cottagy kind. Will this be too 'down on the farm' for my living room? 2. I'm worried that the pattern may be more beige and red and will look dirty with the white walls. Any thoughts? Suggestions? These would be seasonal drapes, I do plan on going back to light and airy in the spring.

In other news... I'm also getting a little tired of my couch. The sage green color is not my thing anymore. It is much more dark and earthy than I like. I'm thinking slip cover, but I have no idea how to make them. This could get interesting, or chaotic. My mom always used to say, "Don't pick at a healed sore." Maybe I should just take her advice and leave the entire living room alone. :)

The Old Standby

We all have one. That one perfect magazine, a photo taken on a Christmas tour, or a storefront window that never fails to disappoint. We all have a piece of inspiration that is old, tried and true. Mine is a little book called New Cottage Style. Its a smallish, paperback decorating book, chock full of gorgeous houses. I really like that each house addresses a different cottage style, because let's face it, there are thousands. Anyway, that' s my little recommendation for the day. It has rained all day here, and continues to pour. I am really looking forward to getting in my car and wading home. I'm going to cook something that smells good (although I cant make any promises about the taste), light a candle and read this book.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Flickr Chalkboard Inspiration

Wanted: Cheap Kitchen Chalkboard

For the longest time I have wanted a big chalkboard in my kitchen. They seem so fun, so retro, so French Bistro. But, alas, it is not meant to be since the price tags on these little beauties are astronomical. I have set out to find a super cheap way of doing this that doesn't involve nail guns or saws or measuring headaches at Lowes. I have an idea, which may or may not pan out. We shall see. Until then I'll just be satisfied with Pottery Barn's inspiring photos (I would be remiss not to mention that this little beauty of a chalkboard is $149.00 plus tax AND shipping). I love having a mission.

Oink Oink

It begins now. Hubby and I thought ourselves so crafty and smart as we bought our Halloween candy before the shelves begin to empty. Our promise: not to open the bags until Halloween. Hah. As you can see, here they are, eagerly beckoning us every night when we get home. I'm going to have to get a handle on myself, or I wont be able to wear my pants by January and my new fashion mentor will be the ballerina hippopotamus from Fantasia.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Know What Happens When You Assume...

OK, I admit it. I was wrong. I think we are all guilty of this: regional ignorance. I should know better, I really should. After all, I am from the south. I have heard it all. After attending a private university where most of the student body came from out of state, I thought my head would explode from all the lame, done-to-death, lackluster jokes that involved everything from cousin-marrying to moonshine to banjos. But, as it turns out, I am just as guilty as the next guy.

I always had this mental image of New Jersey. It involved smoke stacks, dirty garbage strewn beaches that smelled of dead fish, mobsters, and dumpsters where the Law and Order guys dig out dead hookers. I am guilty, and today I hold up my hand before the blog world and apologize. I was wrong wrong wrong.

My lovely cousin (shown below in all her radiant glory with her equally lovely son) is a born and raised southerner as well, and when I heard that her husband being transferred to New Jersey, I clasped my pearls and gasped (like any good southern woman would do). Moving from Texas to New Jersey! I thought to myself, 'I could never do that.' Well I'm eating it now.

This is the house they are living in. It's gorgeous! The whole town is gorgeous, with fall weather (which we are NOT getting down here), rolling hills and beautiful trees. I promptly printed this picture out, went home, showed it to my hubby and declared that we needed to move. In with them. Just kidding!

Fashion Mentors

I recently finished reading Tim Gunn's Guide to Quality, Taste and Style. I confess, I'm not a huge fashion buff. Oh, I have my preferences, but when it really comes right down to it, I would much rather spend my money on magazines or flea market finds. But... I really enjoyed this book. Tim is such a pleasant man, he gives advice without making me feel like a hideous fat cow (ahem... Tracy and Clinton). I also recently read an entry on Linda's blog (Restyled Home) where she discusses the fact that she would much rather decorate than shop for clothes. I identified with her. I would much rather buy an old globe or a Fanta crate than a new purse. But as of late, I find myself wishing I had a little more panache at the office.

One of the things that he discusses is the use of Fashion Mentors when we shop. He says that it helps to have someone in mind, someone famous that we admire. He stresses that one should NOT seek to duplicate someone else (because how many of us really weigh 90 pounds like Audrey Hepburn, black tights are still almost ALWAYS a mistake), but to get a general feel or vibe from someone with whom you share a kindred style. Of course, I like Meg Ryan. Who doesn't?

Ok Ok Ok.. I'm not nearly that skinny, and I am not now nor never will be a blond. But as I watched the movie You've Got Mail (for the hundredth time), I identified some things I love about her. I love her short hair, it looks easy and chic. I love her simple outfits, the simple black skirts and sweater sets. I like that she doesn't wear heeled, pointy toed shoes or fussy, tight ensembles.

I don't want to look exactly like Meg Ryan, I like who I am. I like that I'm brunette with a freckle on my left eye. I like that one foot is bigger than the other, that I have crazy frizzy hair that has to be straightened. But as I perused the endless stores in the mall this weekend, I found myself looking past all the distracting off the shoulder, spangled, sequined items. I zipped right over to the wide legged slacks and grey sweaters, smiled and thought of Meg. Tim Gunn... you are a VERY helpful man.

Cooking For Dummies

Last night I made my favorite dessert of all time: apple crisp. I think that I love it so much because of two simple reasons. One: it's the first item I ever cooked without a Betty Crocker box of ingredients. Two: Matt and I used to eat this all the time when we were first married. We were so poor and in college, it was about the only thing I could afford to splurge on.

Since then, I've come to discover that I adore fruit. Pies, baked crisps, whatever... if it has fruit in it, I will eat it. I recently watched a fantastic Ina Garten episode where she makes a fantastic pear crisp. I havent tried it, but I can imagine it would be marvelous. You can find it here:

But until then, I'll sick with my tried and true cheapo apple crisp. I'm sure everyone in the free world already knows how to do this, but just in case, here it is:

1 stick of butter
3/4 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
7 small apples, sliced
lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425. Cut apples into desired slices (I sprinkle them with a few spurts of lemon juice just because I'm OCD and get stressed if they turn brown). Mix flour, softened butter, sugar and cinnamon. Stir into a crumb mixture, put on top of apples. Bake until top is brown. If you want to make more, just double the ingredients. And... with the extra money I saved I'm going to buy a magazine. Life is good.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Let There Be...

Light! Hallelujah, our florescent light fixture is gone! I always new that once we got that out of the kitchen, the whole atmosphere would change, but I had no idea it would be so drastic. We spent most of Saturday working on it (or rather, Matt did). Once we took the old florescent fixture down, we discovered a giant electrical box, way too big to put our little track lighting up on. We did some quick thinking and just put a cap over it (one of those handy dandy rounded faux-molding things). It isn't ideal, but we could not bring ourselves to sheet rock, again (we already did this in the dining room). We still have to spackle and fix little spots on the ceiling. Anyway, here is our newly lighted kitchen. Everything looks better, the white cabinets, the paint color. I almost don't mind doing dishes, especially now that I can SEE them. Even Mabel seemed to notice a difference.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is no secret that Halloween is hands down my favorite time of year. I've philosophized about this before, so I wont rile myself up about it again. Bottom line: it's a fun holiday you can decorate for, but it doesn't involve big family dinners (which usually involves at least one kerfuffle between cross-ways kin folk on my side of the fam) or spending tons of money on presents for, at least in our family, mostly adults. I've just never understood that. So, I love Halloween.

Each weekend in the month of October I devote time to watching at least two Halloween movies. I don't really get into the true horror movies (although they aren't without merit), but I have a list of "happy" movies that I watch every year. So this weekend I'll be watching Arsenic and Old Lace and Hocus Pocus. Please let me encourage you if you haven't seen either of these, and you love this season as much as I do, watch them! They're my favorites!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Other News

I have to brag on my little sister. She held a python at a circus! She's the one with curly hair that is holding onto the HEAD! No way.

More Gratuitous Halloween Decor

You know I cant help it! I have to add that the pumpkin above my tv cabinet is from my mom. She cut it out of foam board and painted it! It has to be my most cherished Halloween item. In other news, I think that the new room arrangement has been successful. It isn't that Mabel has completely stopped stomping pillows (as shown below), but at least they aren't as important!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Big Move

The best thing about rearranging furniture is, well, it doesn't cost anything. I just keep telling myself that while I try to get used to the new arrangement. Anyone that knows me knows that I can be hugely claustrophobic about house matters; thus the white walls and big open windows. But, the arrangement of my living room was a huge irritation to me. Mabel regularly tromped all over the couch, and everything was pushed onto two walls, creating a sort of bowling alley/hallway feel to the front living room. This is how it looked before:

So, I did the unthinkable. I put furniture on an angle. I usually HATE furniture on an angle, I'm a prude and I like orderly squared off rooms. BUT... there was no other way to arrange it (due to my red cabinet and cable hookup, don't you just hate those). So, here is what I came up with. The arrangement is still on the chopping block, it may not last. However, I never realized how nice it could be to sit NEXT to my husband on the couch to watch a movie. We've always had our couch off to the side. And, Mabel can still see out the window while standing on the sturdy, non-crushable club chair (although she isn't happy about it at all).

So for now, this is the new arrangement. Until I get a cold-sweated bout of claustrophobia, and then it may all be shoved back onto the walls.