Halloween table

Being in a bigger house – three times the size of our house in California – means that we need more stuff to decorate it for the holidays. This year we’re going to focus on expanding our Christmas stash, so for Halloween we’ll decorate smaller areas in our home, such as the sofa table in the living room.

The center lantern is one Steve has had forever, as is the marble chessboard. I found the striped candles at World Market and loved the pattern play, so I added them. Then I thought we needed a little dose of glam.

I saw these adorable mini pumpkins at Target, polka dotted black and white and metallic gold – perfect.

The spooky cloche is from Michaels, and I added some suitably horrifying books from our book collection to complete the scene.


It’s a nice little spot in our living area and makes me feel like I have accomplished my Halloween decorating for the year ๐Ÿ˜€ I also managed to score those blood-dripping candles from World Market so I might change it up at some point.

We are enjoying the first days of fall here in Wisconsin, some of the trees are already sporting flashes of bright reds and oranges. I can’t wait to experience this season!

My 4th of July mantel

I am keeping my holiday mantel simple – I found a couple of items at our local vintage store and added items from IKEA, Walmart, and World Market.

The metal stars are something I’ve wanted for a long time, and I got them for a steal at Roost, and I love that the red in them is pretty close to the red of the mantel. The fabric banner is from World Market.

The wreath is from WalMart — I added a small banner that I found at Roost, it is the shape of our new home state of Wisconsin, with a heart to denote Lake Country, the area where we live. And yes, that is one of those ubiquitous IKEA lanterns, I always swear I won’t get more and then they come out with new colors and I grab a bunch.

A closer look at the little paper banner, I had originally grabbed it on impulse, but it looks perfect on the wreath, marking our first 4th of July here.

And that’s it. Like I said, I kept it simple, but I do like to mark the holidays and put out some decorative pieces. My next two projects are the guest room/office, and my walk-in closet. The closet is such a dumping ground right now and I’m over it, so it’s getting some TLC. Wish me luck!

Our first few days in Wisconsin

We’ve been here almost a whole week and it has been busy, busy, busy. We did not bring any major furniture – sofa, dining set, beds – so we’ve got a card table and folding chairs as our dining / gaming area, and a very, very glamorous home theater set up:

My awesome husband bought me Mockingjay, Part 1, so I now having it the background as I finish setting up the kitchen. We’ve been eating microwavable food after eating on the road for a week, so more homemade meals, even a bowl of our favorite oatmeal, has been a treat.

Speaking of the kitchen, the set up is different than at our old house, and putting up a pot rack as we had is not an option here, so we’re exploring various solutions.

0322kit

There is a sliding door about two feet to the right of that lower cabinet, which might be the perfect place for some wine and stemware storage. I love the mix of the traditional dark cherry wood and modern brushed nickel / steel, my husband added the pulls and knobs a couple of days ago, so I will be looking for something like this in a bar cabinet.

Have a wonderful week!

Glam holiday mantel

Our holiday decor “stash” is one that we add to every year. Also, I love to use things that we’d ordinarily have around the house anyway, and add them to our holiday decor. A couple of pieces in this mantel are a good example.


The two lanterns you see are part of our every day decor. The lovely one on the left is from Pier 1, we paid a couple of bucks for it because one of the pieces of glass was missing. The red one on the right is from IKEA.


I wrapped a couple of bottles in green yard for contrast to all the red and gold, and stuck a variety of branches in each. Steve had the WISH stocking holders since before we met, they’re from Pottery Barn, I think.


Our tree is also a forever work-in-progress. We started with many generic ornaments and over the past few years have been working on replacing them with more meaningful ornaments:

When our tree topper broke a couple of years ago, Steve (of course) rigged a star I had from Pier 1, and we’ve been using that as our topper. People have asked where we got it and love it because it’s so bright and cheerful.

That is our living room all decked out for the holidays, along with the village Steve put together. Next time I will show you our outside decorations – have a great week!

Is it too early?

Because I am already planning my 2014 house revamp projects, starting with the living room.

The main change would be that we currently have three large, framed pieces of art on the main living room wall. They are very difficult to photograph because they are sculpted paper, so the artist took a large piece of very thick handmade paper and formed a picture molding the paper with high relief techniques. Also, my living room is super dark, so the prints reflect every single light I have to turn on in order to get a picture. But i will show you a corner so you can see what I’m talking about:

They are beautiful and actually do a good job of filling up the large wall. However, I’ve been staring them for about a decade. And the whole black and white thing doesn’t really fit our house.

Et voila, this is what I have come up with. Our current sofa is a very, very dark burgundy, but when we replace it in a few years, I’m considering a brown/grey tweed kind of fabric.

2014 Living Room v 2.0

Our (future) new sofa would complement all the colorful accessories included in the mood board above. And our pets, because let’s face it, they spend as much time in the living room as we do.

I am ready for a week full of adventures with my boys, who have vacation time until December 2nd, and am planning many afternoons cozied up with them and a hot coffee drink – have a wonderful weekend!

’tis fall in our living room

And nowhere else, apparently, given the 100-degree weekend we just had. But in the spirit of “if you decorate for it, it will arrive”, I added some fall touches to our living room.

We had everything I used, although some of the garlands have seen better days and didn’t get used. I love groupings of candles at varying heights, and I made the little candle with cinnamon sticks last year:

The brown vase in the back is from IKEA and the green bottle held liquor in its former, non-decorative, life. The two lovely glass pumpkins are very dear to me and I will share why later in this post.

On the TV console, I used a fabric runner my mom made a few years ago and used decorative pumpkins, our LED candles and real candles, a miniature chest a friend gave me long, long ago, and a fall floral spray on top:

The other side continues the theme with more small candles. Even though it was like 90 degrees when I took this picture, I have to admit I love candles. Their glow is just magical.

Overall view:

Now on to the glass pumpkins. These were given to me by my dear friend Kat.

I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since she passed. I miss her every day and although I am super busy, the mornings I used to spend with her still feel empty. Thank you for making me a better person, Kat.

So that’s our living room with some touches of autumn throughout, I am hoping that the matching autumn weather is here SOON!!! I dream of long walks with my sweet Foxy, wrapped in sweaters and scarves — both of us, ha ha – while the wind blows and the leaves turn golden. For now I just have super early walks because anything after 10am is too fricking hot and I am sweating like a pig 30 seconds into the walk.

I have a couple of fall projects I am working on and hope to share with you all soon!

DVD storage solution

We didn’t use to own many DVDs. Then we had kids. Then we got chubby. So now we have ton of kids’ DVDs and, since we got our XBox, games and workout DVDs. There were DVDs everywhere, a couple even got damaged because they would be thrown into a drawer with no sleeve or case, so I started to look for a system that would work for us. I wanted things to be organized and for our boys to be able to see where their own DVDs went.

I ended up going with these mini binders from Atlantic:

I bought two – with 4 binders each – and LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Plain old grown-up movies are labeled alphabetically, with room for more should we purchase DVDs in the future. The rest are labeled “misc.”, “kids”, “workout”, and “xbox”. There is room for almost 200 DVDs in these binders and they are all neat and organized.

As you can see, we do save cases for movie collections like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, but all the cases from the movies stored in the binders are up in our attic storage, lessening the bulk and frustration of finding a case only to open it and see that the DVD is not inside.

Above the DVD shelf live our votives and wax melts.

I made the little boxes out of chevron tape and one mini-corn dog box (my oldest is addicted!), because, again, the wax melts were all over the place, and the burner is to the left of this cabinet.

Now I need to tackle the CDs. Holy crackers, that is going to be a huge job – I’ll report back in a year or two.

katherines corner

Yellow and green make . . .

Yellower green. Or greener yellow. In any case, it’s a color I am in love with right now. So does IKEA, apparently, featuring these shades in a variety of textiles.

We usually have brick/rust and brown colored throws on our sofa but it’s definitely time to lighten up the look. The lovely green throws would look great in my neutral living room, as would the cream one. I also love the cushion covers, although any pillow on my sofa quickly becomes the cats’ favorite spot or weapons for the children. Seriously.

The bird prints are adorable. I’m completing the gallery walls above my corner desk and would love a little groping of these sweet prints.

So, yeah, it’s sounding like a trip to IKEA is in my near future, no?

It takes a village . . .

to brighten up our TV console during the holidays ;D

Over the last few years, we have been gathering pieces for our little holiday village, mostly on clearance or at 60% off.

It is my youngest who turns on the lights every day when he wakes up and gazes at the different buildings, like this little cottage:

isn’t it adorable?

I wouldn’t mind taking a class at this pottery studio!

And I am sure both boys would love to have a tree house like this one in the backyard ๐Ÿ˜€

although the kid on the swing seems to have suffered a mishap – oops!

We recently purchased another little building at Michaels, they had a 60% off sale plus 15% off that day only, so we scooped it up, it was the last one like it — I’ll show it to you next week.

We’re not letting it mellow

When we moved into this house eight years ago, the living room was painted a dismal grayish-peach that made the space look small and drab. Wanting to lighten it up, I chose a buttery yellow for the walls. My husband Steve wanted a tan color for the trim so this is what we went with:

Both colors by Behr.

Eight years later, I’d had it with the yellow walls. So had my husband. We knew we wanted a warm neutral since those are the colors we gravitate to, our living room is filled with browns, creams, tans, reds, so to throw a grey or pure white wasn’t going to work. Steve picked Chamois Cloth by Behr, which looked lovely on the paint card, but it turned out to be pink. We don’t do pink. I do pink occasionally in my clothes, but pink walls are not us. Here are the painted and unpainted areas side by side after the Chamois Cloth snafu:

So it was my turn to get paint, and since it’s closer, I went to Lowe’s and got Valspar’s Cream in my Coffee:

Yes, that’s my youngest helping out, and you can see the difference between the yellow walls and the new color. Not a huge difference, just a subtle de-yellow-ing that left our walls looking brighter.

The color was a bit lighter than my husband had imagined, I think, he kept mentioning tans and that he wanted “color”, but he ended up liking it because a) our house is so dark that we need all the brightening up we can, and b) because it made for a peaceful, serene backdrop and accents in bright colors could then shine.

Speaking of our youngest, Alex, I have to say that one of the things I love the most about Steve is that he encourages the kids to jump in and help with whatever we’re doing, as long as it’s safe for them. Alex asked if he could help so out came a little roller he could handle and after covering up the floor, off he went to roll paint on the wall to his heart’s content.

Alex kept saying how happy he was to help — it was such a big deal for him to work alongside mommy and daddy! It was a big deal for us, too ๐Ÿ˜€

Another shot of the new color on the walls:

I love how our wrought iron “pops” with the creamy walls. Even though the color is lighter, the living room feels calmer without all that yellow. We are super happy with the results and if you ask Alex, he will grab your hand and show you the wall he helped paint ;D