I Heart Black Friday

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was really nice. There's nothing like being able to hang out and laugh with family.

I've been dying to tell you what I did on Friday...I have a feeling only you will truly be able to understand my out of my mind, giddy, Christmas morning when you're 5 years old excitement.

I saw that Lowe's Black Friday specials included a miter saw for $59. Choking...gasping for breath.....$59?! Are you kidding me?! So I dragged my Aunt and Cousin to not one, but two, Lowe's and finally got the last $59 miter saw. I was literally jumping up and down in the aisle (fortunately my family is very understanding of my obsession...er...hobby). Here's the link.

I also found a combo pack that included a jigsaw, power sander, drill and flashlight for $59. Score!!! Here's the link.

Ohh, the possibilities. I am so excited I can't even stand it.

I'll show you the first project I used them on tomorrow. Here's a hint: It will also be the second post in my bathroom redo. Well...that's kind of a hint.

Have a great Monday!

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? Take a Deep Breath

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Are you feeling a little frazzled and stressed out right about now? This little post will be my attempt at calming you down.

I've watched my dear, sweet, wonderful, angelic mother host holiday dinners year after year – and I swear the poor thing gains a grey hair or two every time she does it (although, you'd never know it from looking at her). My sweet little mama sets impossibly high standards for herself, stresses out beyond the max about how she’ll be able to reach those standards, and then feels guilty if she feels like she’s fallen short.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? Have a seat, grab a cup of cocoa and listen to me, okay?

Does it really matter if the pumpkin pie is from Costco instead of your Aunt Ruth’s recipe that requires 5 different spices imported from the Amazon and 10 hours of intensive labor? Yes, it’s a tradition. Yes, it kind of matters, but does it really matter?

Will anyone’s day be ruined because you didn’t hand carve a mini replica of the Mayflower out of yellow squash…and make matching name cards out of baby pumpkins?

Will the world come to a crashing halt if the food isn’t quite ready when everyone arrives, or if the turkey is a little dry? Will it…really?

I know we all want to please. I know we want to put our best faces forward when we entertain, but remember what people REALLY care about. They care about spending time with you. They care about catching up on what they’ve missed since they last saw you. They care about laughing about that one time, when they were 16 and they accidentally knocked over a trash can by the side of the road with their car because you were a brand new driver (that was my friend Betsy by the way).

Let people pitch in and help you cook. Let go of expecting everything to be perfect…it doesn’t have to be. Enjoy spending time with your guests. Enjoy your food…even if the gravy isn’t as "perfect" as the gravy your mom used to make.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the memories that are being made.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Please don't throw mashed potatoes at me. I'm just the messenger :-).

Master Bath Redo: Post 1 - Changing a Faucet

Monday, November 23, 2009

Raise your hand if you’ve changed a faucet before. Okay – yeah, that’s a lot of you (did you know I can see you through your computer?...just kidding...uncomfortable silence). But for those of you who haven’t, this post is for you.

I bought two faucets on Ebay last May (for a steal)…and then they sat in my closet staring at me for 6 months. Why didn’t I install them right away? Because I was skeered. Yep, Ms. Go-Get-‘Um was afraid to change faucets herself.

So, over the weekend I decided to woman-up and face my fears head on. And you know what? It wasn’t that hard. Now I feel silly for waiting so long.

There are lots of great tutorials on changing faucets on Google or Bing or whatever, so feel free to refer to those. They might be written by actual plumbers and expert-types. I’ll give you a rough overview of the process, though.

Step 1
Turn off the water by turning the water valves beneath the cabinet (I believe turning them to the right closes the valve...at least that's how mine were...and I'm guessing all valves are created equal...am I sounding like a blonde or what?). It might help to put a bowl beneath the valves to catch any dripping water.

Run the sink faucet to drain any remaining water.

Step 2

Use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the hot and cold water lines from the water valves.

Step 3

Use an adjustable wrench to remove the mounting nuts on the underside of the faucet (beneath the sink). I had to lay on my back inside the cabinet to do this...not entirely comfortable, but I think it was a good ab workout.

Step 4

There’s a little screw that’s attached to the (oh geez, what’s it called)…you know the thing you lift if you want to close the drain. It’s beneath the sink. Just loosen the screw and the drain opening closing thing will be loose.

Step 5

Remove the old faucet. You may need to use a putty knife to loosen it.

(Isn't the old faucet a beauty?)

Step 6

Clean the faucet area of the sink to remove any dust or grime.

Step 7

I don’t know if this is necessary, but the Lowe’s guy told me to do it…and I chose to believe him. Make a snake out of plumber’s putty and place it on the inside edge of the faucet (see photos below).

Then put faucet in place.

Step 8

Attach new mounting nuts on the underside of the faucet. And tighten the screw on drain opening/closing thing.

Step 9

Attach hot and cold water lines to the new faucet and to the water valves (make sure the right line goes to the right water valve). And you’re done!

See?…it’s a lot of steps, but it’s pretty simple. The only hitch I ran into was that my old faucet’s hot and cold water lines were copper and completely attached to the faucet. So I couldn’t reattach them to the new faucet. I took the old faucet (with the long copper lines attached) to Lowe’s and asked what to do.

The helpful man pulled out an inexpensive and easy to use water line (see photo below), so I just used those. Easy peasy.

I hope this helps those of you who haven’t changed a faucet before. I promise, if I can do it you can do it. Seriously.

Don't Hate Me Because I'm a Smidge Nuts

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Okay, I’m a little nervous here. I’ve been trying to figure out how to break this to you for…oh, a few months now. Here goes….

Remember my master bathroom reveal from last June? Well, I liked a lot of things about it, but (gulp)...I never loved it. Never. I would like it in someone else’s house, but it just wasn’t me. It was just too shabby chic for my taste. I like a little of that, but I knew I needed something “crisper” and more classic (um, you still there?).

I also realized that I was trying to avoid tackling some of the hard things that I KNEW needed to be done (like getting rid of that nasty carpet and facing my fear of installing tile myself). Sometimes all a room needs is some paint and accessories. But sometimes you have to do just a little more.

Soooo…want to follow me as I do a redesign? I have an amazing plan that I’m so excited about, and, as always, it will be done on a dime. I’ve already begun a few things and I’ll show you the first project tomorrow.

Have a great Monday!

Timeless Home Decor

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanks so much for all of your comments on yesterday's post. Y'all were cracking me up. I'm not even kidding.

I truly hope I didn't offend anyone with my list of what may go out of style in the future. The last thing I want is for people to start looking around their houses and feeling like they need to replace everything because it maybe, might, could go out of style eventually.

PLEASE don't do that. Enjoy what you have. Keep things around that make you happy. I have no doubt that you'll know when there's a new hot trend and we're suddenly all making moss balls out of our birds...or something like that.

Okay, so in summary, y'all feel that the following things likely have a shelf life (by the way, I don't know why I keep saying y'all. I don't say that in real life. Anyway...):
  • Tuscan decor
  • Oil Rubbed Bronze (although I don't think black fixtures will go out of style...hopefully)
  • Birds
  • Burlap
  • Vinyl decals/Wall sayings ("The family that picks hay together stays together"...or something)
  • Distressing (maybe)
  • Stenciling Letters or Numbers on Everything (say it ain't so...I really like this trend)
  • Chalkboards (my fave comment "we'll all wonder what we needed all those chalkboards for"...ha!)
And may I say that I am so grateful that you all disagreed with me about beadboard going out of style. Truly! I've had a fear of committing to it in case it's passe in a few years, so I LOVE that you all feel it's classic. I believe you and I whole heartedly agree with you. Mwah! (I just gave you a big kiss)

Decor with Staying Power

So let's talk about things that have staying power. In my opinion the big items in your house (furniture, flooring, etc) should be like the equivalent of classic wardrobe staples; i.e. a simple black dress, chinos, a white t-shirt and jeans. As trends come and go you can switch out accessories, but the staples always look good.

For instance, remember Top Gun? It came out in 1986, and Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis would still look fashionable today.

Meg Ryan and Anthony Edwards....not so much.

How does that translate into decor? Here are a few ideas:

  • Try not to buy furniture "sets". Let your furniture collection grow over time. I've personally broken this rule by having a matching sofa and loveseat...oh, and they're microfiber...but you know....whatever :-).
  • Neutrals are always timeless. We may eventually get tired of beige walls, but tan, grey, black and white will always be classic.
  • I'm going to say that pretty much any architectural element is timeless; i.e. wainscoting, moulding, etc. They've been around a very, very, very long time. It's hard to imagine them going anywhere.
What do you think? Do you have anything to add to this list?
Have a great weekend!

You Know We'll Laugh About This Someday

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remember the every so hot combination of mauve, hunter green and brass in the 80's? Oh...and floral wallpaper...lots of floral wallpaper.

Oh, and we can't forget the essential coordinating wallpaper border.

And remember the florescent lighting, bad linoleum and oak cabinets in the 90's?

Well, I've been looking around at this here decade and wondering what we'll look back at and laugh about someday. Here are my predictions:
(PLEASE Keep in mind, I LIKE ALL OF THESE THINGS. Don't be offended if you have them in your home right now...I do too! I'm just looking to the distant future.):

1) The Tuscan Craze

2) Oil Rubbed Bronze: We'll think it's hilarious that we were all in a mad dash to spray paint everything in sight ORB.

3) Birds: I love birds...I really do, but I can just imagine them being the equivalent of harvest colored sunflower patterns in the 1970's.

Photo: Art.com

4) Burlap, Sisal, Jute, etc.: Again, these are a decorating staple for me...but in 10 years we might wonder why on earth we thought it was a good idea to decorate with a potato sack.

5) Beadboard: I HATE to even include this one because of my undying love of the stuff, but I have a fear it will be the dark brown paneling of the future.

What do you think? Do you agree with my list? What do you think we'll look back and laugh about? Let's chat :-).

Thanksgiving Table Decor

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A few weeks ago I had grand dreams of writing a post where I showed you my own dining table with several different Thanksgiving table decor ideas. Oh yeah, it was going to be great. "Look at the fancy metallic gourds." "Oh, and see how easily you can made a centerpiece with nothing but twigs, berries and duct tape?".

Uh huh...that didn't happen. Honestly though, what was I thinking? I'm not even hosting Thanksgiving at my house?!

Anyway...my lazyness has now resulted in the ultimate lazy move...I'm now showing you some great Martha Stewart ideas....hee hee. At least I'm honest, right?


Cheap & Easy Christmas Wreath (Sorry Pottery Barn)

Monday, November 16, 2009

I know...it's too early for Christmas wreath show and tell...but I just can't help it. Imagine your 5 year old jumping up and down and saying "Can we show them our wreath mommy?! Can we...can we?!!" Yep...that's me. I'm just so excited!!!

I admired this wreath at Pottery Barn, but not the $79.00 price tag (I'm pretty sure PB is going to start sending me hate mail...I'm sooo sorry PB...I really do love you.).

I knew I could replicate (does that sound better than "blatantly copy"?) this wreath inexpensively.

Enter my faux pine wreath (bought on final clearance at Hobby Lobby last year...it was probably $2).

A whole bunch of ornaments (some I already owned, and some I purchased...for a total of $5).

A few wire ornament hooks to secure the ornaments to the wreath (I wound them around the pine branches).

And voila! My own, lovely, easy, cheap, festive, sparkly...did I mention cheap?...Christmas wreath.

Um...please ignore the leaves on my doormat :).

This post is partying over at Kimba's DIY day. Feel free to head over for more great DIY ideas. We're also partying down at Cindy's party at Cottage Instincts.

Have a great Tuesday!

Giveaway Winner

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm sorry for the delay in posting the winner of the $20 gift card to Little Ones. That Nyquil I took last night sent me into a coma before I could publish this post.

So, without further adieu, the winner is East Coast Suburbanite (the 40th entry). Congrats!

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 61
Result: 40
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

To those of you who didn't win (and I'm so sorry about that), you can still buy that adorable hat or bow or bib for your little one at Little Ones.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I'm off to chug some mint tea...dang cold...

The Look For Less: Pottery Barn Toile Bedroom

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I haven't done one of these in a while, so I thought this could be a fun exercise for today. I love the look of this Pottery Barn room.

I love the contrast of the crisp white against the dark chocolate walls, I love the toile bedding, I love the airy curtains framing the bed, and I love the cute little mirror above the bed.

Honestly though, it would be impossible for me to go out and buy everything in this room from Pottery Barn. I'm not picking on PB here, I love them, but I just don't have that kind of dough. So let's look at other ways to create this same look, shall we?


The Pottery Barn Matine Toile Duvet cover is $149.00 for a Queen, and standard shams are $29 each. That's not terrible, but let's look at other options.

The photo below is from Overstock.com. I know this pattern isn't "toile", but it does give the same feel. The best part? It's $39.99 for a queen sized duvet AND 2 shams. Are you liking it better now?
This appears to be the same pattern to me. I found this on Ebay (here's the link). The 3 piece set is listed for $79.99.
Here's another option for you, sew. I know, it's a scary option, but I promise the sewing machine won't bite. And here's some incentive for you; this option gives you the freedom to create exactly what you want for CHEAP!

For example, here are two brown toile fabrics I found on Fabric.com.

To make a queen sized duvet cover you'd need about 5 yards of fabric, and a flat sheet (which you may already have). At the fabric prices listed above, you could have your own toile duvet for $35-$50.

Tired of me beating you over the head? It's okay...You don't have to sew if you don't want to. Really, I won't make you...I'm not going to come to your house to check up on you. Just giving you options here :-).

Sheer, Flowy Curtains/Something to Hang them On:

The lovely Pottery Barn curtains surrounding the bed are $25-$30 each.

These curtains at Ikea are $4.99...a PAIR! These curtains are $9.99 each at JC Penney (they come in white).

But what do you hang the curtains on if you don't have a canopy bed? How 'bout a ceiling mounted curtain rod? Like this one from JC Penney's?

Or, you could get super creative like this gal and build a wood frame on the ceiling and staple the curtains on the inside.

I would also scour Craigslist and fleamarkets for canopy beds that you could pick up for cheap.

Finally, Paint:

The paint color used in the Pottery Barn room is Benjamin Moore Kona (AF-165). It is really dark, though, so only go this dark if your room gets a ton of natural light. Also, I wouldn't recommend picking a paint color until you actually have your bedding since you want to make sure the browns match. I know...I'm being ultra helpful here :-).

So Let's Price Things Out:

The Pottery Barn Room: Bedding $207; Sheers (4) $100; Bed $1,299

Our Super Creative Option: Bedding $39-79; Sheers $10-40; Ceiling Mounts for Sheers $20-60

And...that's how I shop. That's how super-tight-income-little-'ol-me can afford to beautify my home. I hope this exercise gives you some hope that you can too.


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