Friday, October 30, 2009

the farm (part 2)

i think most of these pictures are self-explanatory... and many are taken by my photographically gifted sister, Kerry. if you are reading from Alabama, you need to take advantage of her talents! and her amazing home with the HUGE porch & her penchant for making yummy mojitos. : )

on to the photos...
hayride hugs from cousin dot

ready to feed the cows

the next 3 pictures are my favorite series...
1. cousin annie looking disapprovingly at julia who had no idea her ball was actually a "magic crystal ball" desperately needed by the fairy princess of the hayride (or some similar pretend game).
2. caught in the act of stealing the ball. i mean, magic crystal.

3. the aftermath. i'm such a good mommy- i took pictures instead of intervening! ha!

"gone fishing" sort of...
classic farm image- sleeping with a chain saw. (no it's not real, but hilarious, right?)

worn out from hayrides and weenie roasts. and 5 days of refusing to nap!

okay, maybe THIS is my favorite series of pictures! my sister has a nice camera & a great eye for setting up our family portrait at the farm each year. but somehow the remote control was not working as expected... kerry got caught in the act of pressing the button several times! you have to look closely to see which kid is moving and/or falling apart in each picture...

finally a great pic of my parents with all ELEVEN of their grandkids! i think it's quite a beautiful crew, but maybe i'm biased.

one more farm post to follow- caroline ate s'mores for the first time, and i took about 50 pictures. : )

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the farm (part 1)

i didn't actually abandon this blog... and i didn't take a week off for no reason, either! nope- i packed up my girls & headed to Texas for 5 days! my grandpa has a farm in Madisonville, TX with lots of wide open spaces perfect for little girls & their cousins to run & be crazy cowgirls for a few days. my siblings and i got to visit the farm every year as we were growing up, and it's really special to have our children there now. they are getting to make the same messy, funny, exhausting memories that we did- 4 generations of one family all in one place. amazing...

now i may have created an image of Gone With The Wind in your mind... i love our family farm, and i love the old farmhouse, but Tara it is not! there is beauty in the old white homestead... but it has been patched & shored up in very unromantic ways over the years. it is sinking in many places and moldy in all the rest. the rain brings out a strong wet dog smell from every corner & crevice, and the gas heaters smell faintly of broccoli. but there is also a beautiful history there... a lot of love and sweet memories. no, not a picture perfect loving family- we're broken & mixed-up just like your family. but we are a mix of serious & silly, sweet & salty, love & frustration melting into one perfectly imperfect mess. and that's family, right?

we gathered to celebrate my grandpa's 89th birthday- amazing. he's still out there on the farm EVERY day pulling weeds, hauling limbs, burning anything he thinks he won't miss. yes, he's starting to show his 89 years in the typical ways... maybe (definitely) shouldn't be allowed to burn things anymore. but i'm still really proud of him! happy birthday, grandpa! here's to many more years of celebrating with you!
Julia with her grandpa & great grandpa... isn't the sky beautiful above this multi-generation group?

so what do we do on the farm?
lots of digging in the dirt... and some tasting dirt as well.

a little wandering in the pastures and playing with the animals- this year there's a puppy who hangs around, as well as a sweet old farm cat.

my sweet niece named the puppy 'boney," and it stuck... poor dog!

we also go for LOTS of walks down the road to find the cows or wander about the property. i'm not sure how many acres it is altogether- mom? dad? you can fill me in! but it's just big enough for a pleasant walk & talk, and sometimes see a little nature. deer mostly- sometimes armadillos or skunks or wild hogs. those are other stories for other blogs!
and when the kids get cranky and can't share toys anymore, we load them in the back of the pickup for a drive. these are my girls with my sister's daughters: annabelle & dorothy (annie & dot)! my brother's kids came later in this trip- i'll have pictures of them in another post.

no, we don't let them just roll around back there by themselves- the car was not moving when these pictures were taken! and we don't ever leave the property with the kids in the back of a pickup truck. just tooling around the pastures... feeding the cows & seeing the sights!

julia's first cow feeding adventure- last year she was too little to ride back there with me, but now she LOVES it!
i believe this is me saying "moo." ha!

when we're not feeding the cows, snuggling with grandma is always fun!
or snuggling grandpa...

and that's just the first 2 days! still to come: hayrides, cookout, s'mores and the BIG family picture!

Monday, October 19, 2009

procrastinator's party reveal

okay, the dining room walls are painted, which is essentially what i said i was going to do... in my mind, i was also going to clean & paint the trim around the windows, doorways & fireplace. and i kind of thought i'd spray paint the chandelier, too. however, i painted 4 other rooms in the last 2 weeks, too. so i think i'm off the hook!

here it is: the dining room. the color is 'ballard blue' by valspar, the eddie bauer collection. i'll tell you a secret: i don't actually LOVE it. it's pretty, don't get me wrong. but i look at this really beautiful room & think, "what's this doing in my house?" it doesn't look like me. no, i'm not going to repaint it. i'm going to make sure the accessories i put in here give it a significantly less formal look! i'm thinking burlap, rusty old junk, and chippy painted stuff- like pretty much everything i own!

next projects? well, the master bath needs a second coat, the master bedroom is only 1/8 done, the powder room is 1/2 done. then the kitchen needs to be touched up, the utility closet could use a splash of color... foyer, stairway, hallway walls & floors, "bonus room," and every single piece of trim & molding.
i will be painting for the REST of my life! (not complaining- we chose this, and it's a fun journey!)

flea market favorite!

someone (i'll never say who!) once told me that she hates antique and vintage furniture because so many other people have touched it. "who wants to sit on an old needlepoint chair that 100's of other butts have been on & farted on?" well... i suppose i do! minus the farting, of course.

i love furniture & architectural pieces that have history and character. when asked about my decorating style, i mostly say "rusty old junk." don't get me wrong- new pieces are also wonderful! sometimes i can more easily afford something new & give it "character" by letting it age in my home. kids & pets & husband help with the aging process nicely! but when i can, i love getting an older piece & learning something about it's history.

and i'm certainly not alone in my love for "old junk!" the creative minds at Flea Market Style (the blog and the magazine) are having an "I'm a Flea-Marketeer" party today, and i decided to join. we have a piece in our home (2 actually) that i think are pretty special, so here they are!

My Favorite Flea Market pieces- do you see them?
yup- these glass front cabinets are among my FAVORITE pieces i've ever purchased... they were part of a big lot a vendor purchased from an old hotel here in town that was being renovated. there were 2 of these built into every room of the hotel. i believe the hotel is now apartments... anyway, we got these for $125 each & i LOVE them!

they are perfect for holding our special books & favorite flea market pieces... just the right depth for my snack tray sets, but shallow enough to fit nicely in a room without taking up too much space!

the sad news is that i don't think they will fit in the living or dining room in our new home. : (
too many curvy walls with the bay windows or low hanging windows that i don't want to block. happily, i may get to use them in the sitting area of our master bedroom!

for those of you reading this blog for pictures of the kiddos and who have no interest in our old furniture, here you go:

caroline dressing up her lamb... i think she was pretending to be wendy from peter pan. the lamb was captain hook- recognize him?

julia just being cute... : )

happy monday everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009

sneak peek... and a question!

i'll be honest... i'm tired. i've painted 9 rooms in the last 2 months, plus 2 floors. it's totally worth it- the house is transforming with color & new floors & lights & cabinets. we're getting SO close to moving in, probably 2 more weeks. but i'm tired!

that's why this is a preliminary "AFTER" post- i did not dig up the BEFORE pictures, and obviously i haven't put any furniture or accessories in yet. that's much later! but you can look at the BEFORE post to compare & contrast... and i'll do some more formal posts once we have "stuff" in the house. enjoy!

this is the living room- formerly "the pink living room," now the calming shade of
sherwin-williams 'white hyacinth.'
looks boring in the photo- it's a yummy vanilla color, and i love it!

ironically, we had to paint another room a shade of pink very similar to the one i detested in the living room! this is my 3 year old daughter Caroline's room. the walls are sherwin-williams 'rosily,' and the floors are valspar's 'cottage white.'
i'm planning to put fabric & shelves in the old window space...

this is julia's room- light & bright, perfect for a little 1 year old! the color is 'sagey' by sherwin-williams. you can hardly tell that it's green in the photo, but it is! very light & sweet.

biggest transformation so far- the playroom! i got this idea from an article in Better Homes & Gardens (February 2009) in which Stephen Saint Onge redecorated an attic playroom in similar colors. i can't find a link to it right now, but i'll keep trying- his room was wonderful! this is the budget version- cheapo laminate floors, re-used trim, low ceilings, and 10 hours of me painting!
the colors are 'cloudless' and 'picnic' by sherwin-williams.

and now for the question- this is the light fixture in the dining room. (you can see the new dining room paint color in the background- still wet!) i can't afford a new chandelier right now... too many important projects going on at one time! i'm NOT a fan of the shiny brass. time for some spray paint- but which color? i was thinking of oil-rubbed bronze, but would that look funny with the gold paint on the ceiling? (yes, i'm leaving the ceiling alone. i want to see if i'm still okay with it in 6 months!) so would a matte black be appropriate for the light? or shiny black? what would you recommend?

now i really need to go to bed... or take a shower. probably a shower. : )



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

renovation frustration

honestly, our home renovation has gone so smoothly... considering all that has happened in the last 6 months, i'm quite pleased with how little we have stressed out over the house. no, it isn't easy to try to stay on a budget & do much of the work ourselves. yes, we get tired- matt has done at least 130 hours of physical labor in the last 4 months. (he's pretty amazing, but i knew that i married a superhero!) all in all, i think we have taken it all in stride & kept a good perspective on the whole thing: we are building a home, so it should be a good experience, not a stressful, anger inducing one!

but i have to say i have finally found my "unhappy" place. in an effort to save money, i ordered a LARGE number of our kitchen & bath fixtures online from a large hardware store using a coupon that came in the mail. as i was placing the order from my home computer at 8:00 on a Saturday evening, i thought, "i'm so smart & budget-savvy! look at me saving money and time by ordering online! i'm so awesome." those thoughts will always come back to bite you in the... i then place the order and get the screen that says, "we're sorry, your order could not be placed. please press the back button on your browser & try again- OR- call our customer service line." like an idiot, i did. i placed the order again. smart, yes? i got the same screen again, so i gave up.

30 minutes later, i get a call from the store saying that some of my items are already available to be picked up. mild hyperventilation ensues, then i calmly ask if she can tell me exactly what my entire order includes: 4 bathroom vanities, 8 bathroom light fixtures, 4 bathroom faucets, 2 kitchen sinks & 2 kitchen faucets. yes, double of EVERYTHING. i less calmly ask her if my credit card has already been charged because i'm pretty sure i can't afford this many items! i explained the situation & she assured me she could handle it all & would call me back. and she did- she was amazing. i'm completely re-assured & happy that she saved my...

today, it is about 7 weeks later. we have only received 2 faucets & 1 sink. no vanities, no lights, no kitchen faucet. and NO ONE can find those items. or figure out why they're not in the store. or tell us if we have been charged for the items... which we have, but our credit card statement is not itemized for what has been purchased, only when, where & how much. awesome.

what i have learned:
1. computers are wonderful, but not reliable. don't order expensive & important items online. pick up the phone & talk to a PERSON!

2. don't EVER "press the back button" and try again. dumb dumb dumb.

3. ALWAYS ask for a confirmation number, receipt, order number, etc. you'd think i would know this from all my years working in healthcare & dealing with insurance companies. again: dumb, dumb, dumb.

i'm sure i learned more things, but i'm on cold medicine right now & can't think of them.
good night!

these are completely unrelated pictures, but i have to add something for Grandma!
PLEASE don't leave "i told you so" comments, grandma- i know. : )