Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Addition

These days, I'm "Home with Baxter....and Striper." She's the newest addition to our family.

Striper, a 5 month old black lab mix has been staying with us for a month now.  I'm a volunteer for Great Dog Rescue New England ( and from time to time, we foster dogs who are awaiting adoption.  It became apparent Striper wasn't going to get adopted anytime soon.  She's 5 months old and competing with 8 week old puppies for a home.  And there are a lot of puppies! She's adjusted really well to our home, is house broken, and gets along great with Baxter.  She's also super cute and loves to cuddle.  Jake wasn't so sure adding another dog to our family was the best idea (and to be honest, neither was I), but in the end we couldn't imagine this sweet little girl not finding a good home. 

If you are in the New England area and are looking for a pet, be sure to check out GDRNE.  There are lots of animals looking for loving homes.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Bloggy Year

I started this blog a year ago come January. I never imagined how much blogging would teach me, how much I would enjoy it, or how many awesome people I'd meet. Blogging has been an amazing addition to my life and I'm so happy I took the time to figure out some HTML and register a domain. It has led me to find my passion and helped give me the confidence to do what I love.

To those of you who stop by and take the time to read a post or leave a comment, thank you, thank you, thank you!  Your support means the world to me.

{Image from frogprincepaperie}

Last March, I stumbled upon Karah's wonderful blog The Space Between. She was participating in an online discussion about what we want our blogs to be when they grow up.  I thought this was a neat idea and decided to answer the questions for myself (read full post here). Here's what I wrote:

  1. I want it to have useful content. A lot of my posts are related  to my projects, my progress, my home, but I want to make my blog less about me and more about you.  I want to help you tackle your projects.
  2. I want it to be fun to read. My favorite blogs to read are the funny ones.  I want my blog to make you laugh, or at least make you smile. :)
  3. I want it to be pretty. Every week I make small tweaks to the appearance of my blog, to make it look nicer.  I want to get better at that.  I want to continue to learn HTML and CSS and Photoshop and make my blog my own.  I don't want to be restricted to the Blogger template.
  4. I want it to teach me new things. Blogging is teaching me to be a better writer, a better photographer, to learn about web design, and tackle new projects.  I want that to continue as my blog grows up.
  5. I want it to inspire people to try new things. When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing.  Ha, I still don't.  It was scary and new, and completely out of my comfort zone.  Also, I'm kind of a private person.  You want me to share things with the world? Whaaa?  But it's been so good for me to share things with you.  
  6. I still want it to make me happy. I blog because it's fun.  I enjoy it.  I want that to still be true when my blog grows up.  I never want to blog for any other reason than because it makes me happy.
  7. I want it to be successful. I can't help but want that.  I'm a competitive person.  I do things and I do them well (at least I try).
  8. If it's not successful, I still want to blog if it gives me joy.  I sing and I have a horrible voice.  I love to cook and I'm no master chef.  I golf and I can't break 125.  Why should blogging be any different.

I'm amazed at how much I still agree with the answers I wrote in March 2012, just a short 2 months after I started blogging. I want to carry these goals with me to 2013 as I take on new endeavors and challenges.   I hope you'll join me for the ride.  I so love your company!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

5 minute, $2 Holiday Pillow

We're hosting Christmas Day this year and if you're anything like me, you're running around putting the last minute touches on your holiday decor. I'm a sucker for holiday pillows (ok, all pillows), but I've been trying to show some restraint and not purchase anymore.  I decided to dress up one of my every day pillows instead.  It cost me all of $2 and took less than 5 minutes to put together.

-2 Target felt snowflake ornaments ($1 each)
- 4 safety pins
- Pillow and pillow case cover.

I used 2 safety pins for each snowflake and attached them by threading a safety pin through the inside of the pillow case.  

So simple.  Just call me Martha freaking Stewart.

Not sure if I'll be back with another post before Christmas.  If not, a very Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Design Board (Blue and Gold Family Room)

Today I'm sharing with you a new design board that I've been working on. You might recall, I'll be sharing a new design with you each week. This week I chose to work on a tranquil family room.  I used soothing blues and whites with pops of gold and yellow.

I wanted to give the room a casual, relaxed feel and pull in elements of nature.  I love how the modern furniture gives the country decor an updated feel.

Sources and prices below:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Legs (Target Chair)

I'm chugging along on my home office makeover.  I'm afraid there won't be any "big reveals" this week.  I have a few last projects I'm working on before I can call the room complete.  I know you understand how that goes.  

One of the things I worked on this week is this Target chair. You might remember it from this post. I originally bought it for the guest bedroom, but like the rest of the furniture that comes to live here, it gets moved around a lot. Now it's in my home office. The scale and color work well, but the legs weren't doing it for me. They didn't look right with my shiny new white lacquer Ikea Expedits. So, I spray painted them....And they look awesome.

I unscrewed them from the chair, gave them a few good coats of Rust-Oleum White Lacquer Spray Paint over the course of a couple of days,  and reattached them. Good as new.

Are you constantly finding new places and purposes for your furniture too, or do you keep things put?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Design Board (glam living room)

I'm working towards launching an interior decorating business early next year.  In preparation, I'll be working on some design boards and I thought it'd be fun to share them with you.  My goal is to provide stylish designs that are budget-conscious.  I hope to share a new design with you every week and I'll list the source and price for each of the items I include.

So this week, I worked on a fun, glam, navy, pink, and gold living room.

We all know that gold hues are making a major comeback right now, and I have to say I'm really drawn to the trend.  It has me looking around at all my brushed nickel and wanting to change things up! Also really popular are the big, bold, geometric patterns on rugs, curtains, pillows, lampshades. I love big, bold, patterns, and I don't know if I'll ever tire of using them. recommendation I have is to limit their use to things like pillows and lampshades instead of using them on more expensive items like furniture and rugs.  If you're someone who's on a strict budget and can't swap out your couch every few years, it's best to sick with something neutral that will carry you through many styles.  You can always update the look with those fun pillows, curtains, and accessories.

Want to shop this room?  Here's a source list:

1. Target Home Chiffon Window Sheer $14.99 - $17.99 per panel
2. World Market Sofia Accent Table $95.99 (ends today!), Regularly $159.99
9. World Market Rapture III $89.99 - $199.99

Friday, December 07, 2012

Magnetic Chalkboard

I'm working on the finishing touches of my home office makeover.  I hope to share some pictures with you next week.  I've already "moved in" and it's such an awesome space to work in.

One of the projects I worked on this week was a DIY magnetic chalkboard.  I read quite a few tutorials on what to do and what not to do and I ended up putting my own spin on it.  This post by Less-Than-Perfect Life Of Bliss was quite helpful (especially reading about the problems she had with magnetic paint).

I didn't want to paint directly on the walls with chalkboard paint because I wasn't sure exactly where I wanted the chalkboard located.  I know, something I should have figured out before I started, but that's the way I work.  I also like having the option of moving the chalkboard around without having to repaint everything.  Portable=Good.

For this project, I purchased the following supplies from Home Depot.

1.  4'x2' Chalkboard MDF (1/4" thick).  I didn't even know they had chalkboard MDF so I nearly squealed when I saw it.
2. 4 12"x12" sheets of magnetic galvanized sheet metal.  The store I went to didn't carry anything larger so I went with 4 smaller sheets.
3. Chalkboard Spray Paint.
4. Liquid Nails.
5. 3M Picture Hanging Strips (Large)

I gave the galvanized sheet metal a quick sand and sprayed them with two coats of chalkboard spray paint then let them dry overnight.  I followed up the next day with another two coats, let dry completely, then cured them by rubbing chalk all over them and erasing.

The MDF didn't really need a coat of chalkboard paint, but I did give it one quick coat just to keep the color/texture consistent with the sheet metal.

Once everything was dry, I glued the 4 squares of sheet metal to the top portion of the MDF using Liquid Nails.

Because I didn't want to damage my walls, I attached the assembled chalkboard to the wall using 3M picture strips.  I used 6 of the large size and so far so good.  Baby's still hanging!

The top half of the chalkboard is magnetic and I can use it to post magazine pictures and notes and the bottom half I can use for my to-do list.  I'm really happy with how it came out, but I'm contemplating framing it somehow because I think it looks a little necked. I have a couple of curtain panels coming that will hang on either side of it, so I want to see how that looks first.  

Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Guest Posting - Grandma's Christmas Toffee

I'm guest posting over at Nineteen 93 today and participating in the "25 Letters of Christmas" link party!

I'm representing letter "G" and sharing my Grandma's yummy chocolate covered toffee recipe.  Hop on over and check it out.  Your taste buds will thank you.  Your thighs, not so much. :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Christmas Mantle 2012

Our fireplace is old school (wood burning that is!) and we use it often in the winter.  Last March we gave it a major facelift.



As you can probably imagine, I was much happier to decorate the mantle this year than I was last year.  I added some strands of garland and lights, reindeer, candles, and ornaments and used metallic colors. I'm pretty sure all this festive decor hides the giant flat screen. No?

The stars are ornaments meant for the tree, but I love how they look hanging from the stocking hooks.

The reindeer pair were a HomeGoods find (score!).

The candles are Pier One.  They really do have great Christmas decor.

The Lettered Cottage

Monday, December 03, 2012

Festive Foyer

This past weekend was all about Christmas at our house.  We put up two Christmas trees, hung wreaths, lights, and garland outside and started decorating indoors.  Last year we didn't decorate until a week before Christmas so I'm really happy to have this extra time to enjoy our home during the holidays.

I spent some time giving our entry a festive feel.  A little while ago I painted the inside of our front door and entry closet door black. Here's a reminder of what it looked like before:

And after, with black paint, and holiday decorations:

I also swapped out the old brass doorknob for something a little sleeker.

I usually wrap green garland and lights around the stair rail, but this year I decided to use holly berry garland.

I dressed up our entry table by layering an old table runner on top then added a sparkly reindeer from Pier One, red lantern from Ikea, and candles and box that I had on hand.  I layered a poinsettia wreath over our round mirror.

How do you dress up your foyer? Do you decorate your entire house or just focus on a few rooms? I'd love to try and add a touch of Christmas to every room in our house, but it sure is a lot of work!

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