Monday, December 31, 2012


When all's said and done, sometimes it's best to just lie down and take a nap :-)

Kate (& Murphy)

DIY Desk

I've been on the hunt for a sturdy desk since we moved into our house.  Target has some great deals on their ladder desks, but they have no storage - something we're in desperate need of.  Craigslist has an endless supply, but most are either too big or would need refinishing.  And I really don't need another furniture project in the garage gathering dust!

Luckily, I spotted Michaels semi-annual storage sale in their weekly add.  There were no prices listed, so I thought I'd pop in to see what the options/costs would be (as if I ever need an excuse to visit Michaels!).

They had an amazing selection of stackable storage.  Basically a square pod with all number of storage options; some with shelves, or drawers, or containers.  I calculated that by stacking 2 together (they come with special plugs especially for stacking) I would have a counter top height of 29" - the perfect height for a desk.  One style was on clearance for $15 so I bought three of those, and one that was originally $35, but $17.50 with my 50% coupon.  All in all it cost $62 for the base.

They were super easy to put together (if I can do it, anyone can!).  The three holes are actually a file folder, and the drawer with the long opening is for ribbon, but will be perfect for posting letters in.  I have it all planned out.  Organisation here we come!!
My next stop will be Home Depot for some wood I can stain and run across the top.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Another bedroom!

I haven't taken many pictures of our 2nd guest room as it's been a bit of a dumping ground for half finished projects, picture frames and of course the ironing board!

But it was time for a tidy, so I took the opportunity to snap some pics of how it is now.

 We decided not to paint this room (for now!).  It's a neutral beige so is completely livable.  I painted the headboard an off white (more on that here), and we added the cocoa bedding.  The orange chair was a flea market find and the cream pouf a Pier1 clearance score.  Ignore the weirdly low bed, we'll eventually get a larger mattress for the Master and the old Master mattress will be moved to this room.
 The pictures above the bed were originally cut from scrap booking paper (it took all my brain power to measure and hang them so they were evenly spaced.  I would tell you how, but I couldn't remember if I tried.  I seem to remember lots of tiny calculations on the back of a receipt!).

This is how the room looked when we went to view it:
When we moved in:
And now:
The next thing on the list in this room is to get rid of the hideous giant black ceiling fan.  It's far too big and far too black for the space.  It's like the Darth Vader of fans.  I can't imagine getting much sleep with that thing looming over you. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I'm a big fan fan

I've been on the hunt for a vintage fan for months.  The word was obviously out as any I came across were always mega expensive.  Well, too expensive for me anyway.  Etsy had a good selection, but when you factored in shipping it just wasn't worth it.  So I couldn't believe my luck when I came across this beauty in my go to flea mall (Bama Flea Mall).

I have no idea if it works or not - I haven't risked plugging it in in case it shorts the whole house!
Hopefully it will end up in a beautiful vignette like these (nothing a globe, a few lemons and a cactus shouldn't take care of!):

Monday, December 24, 2012

Maybe next time

Unfortunately, the trip to Mall of America didn't happen after all.  David will just have to wait to meet me - I'm sure he was disappointed!

I did, however, manage to pick up another source of design expertise at one of our local thrift stores:

It's funny to read how much decorating opinions have changed.  It was published in 1976, and has some real decorating gems, such as:
"Making a man suffer in a pink bedroom or, worse, a pink living room.  Think of others when you plan a scheme."
"Being afraid to cover everything in a living room in a bright chintz.  It can be charming."
I'm not even going to tell you what I thought a "lambriquin" was before reading this book - and now I know, and can guarantee we won't be having one in our house!
To see decor we would be horrified to find in a house today referred to as crisp and contemporary (yes, paisley fridge I'm talking to you!) is hilarious.  Makes you wonder if we'll look back on in 35 years and wonder "what were we thinking" about ikat or chevron or chalkboard paint!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Loving YHL

I couldn't wait for Santa to bring me the YHL book, so I ordered it from Amazon about a month ago(I'm glad I did - its been back ordered for the last couple of weeks!).

It's basically an extension of their blog with lots of easy (and cheap!) decorating ideas.

A great place to turn if you need a little kick start in the inspiration department (sounds painful!!), plus it gives you a realistic time scale of how long projects are going to take and cost.

I've got a couple of their tutorials picked out, so watch out for how they turn out.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stalking David

This weekend I will (weather permitting) be at Mall of America.  Not doing any last minute shopping, but stalking David Bromstad.  By complete coincidence, HGTV have a special Holiday House set up at the mall with special guests throughout December.

I get the feeling there will be a lot of queuing involved!

Even his signature is creative!!  I'm currently rummaging around the house trying to find something cool for him to autograph.  Can he really not have a book (I checked Amazon, and nothing!!).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tacky Tinsel

For my sweet friends at work, I wanted to get creative.  I had amazing plans of wrapping their paper mache initial with red and white yarn and adding some kind of christmassy accent flower.

This kind of idea.  I wanted rustic-crafty-Christmas.

I got half way up an L and quickly realised this was not going to look good.  I ended up with rubbish-crappy-shitmas!!
Back to the drawing board.
I started with a basic paper mache letter from Hobby Lobby:
I added the magic ingredient (hot glue!!) and a lot of tinsel.  It was amazingly quick and easy to manipulate round the letters.  I also picked up some cute little owl decorations from World Market that I hot glued into place.
Here they are all together (J, G, H and L):
How cute are these little guys, and the handy hook on the top means you can hang them too:
It would be so easy to spell out a word for your mantle (Joy, Merry, Noel).  I love that they are bright and fun and maybe just a little bit tacky :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Origami - am I late to the party again?

I feel like I might be a bit late in jumping on the origami band wagon, but I'm on it now and I'm driving that sucker!!

This trio of amazingness is currently winging it's way to me (hopefully - USPS?):

For less than $3 each and free shipping, you can't beat
CB2 also have these 2 scowling owls:
Target, not to be outdone in the origami stakes, have this sweet little fox
And this trio of birds is from Amazon:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Party Poinsettia

Somehow I ended up making the centerpieces for my work Christmas Party.  I'm not entirely sure how it all happened.  I vaguely remember a conversation about the restaurant charging us $50 PER TABLE for their flowers.  I think by now you know I don't like to overpay for anything, so coughing up $300 for one night of festive revelry was clearly not an option.

"I'll make them" I heard myself saying.  Three days, six centerpieces, zero experience, how hard can it be??!!

There was only one place to turn, Pinterest!

Luckily, there were a variety of tall plain glass vases left at work from various valentines and birthday flower deliveries.

I also had a stacked apothecary jar, similar to this one, that I thought I could somehow incorporate.

And this was the end result:
I added burlap to line the tall vases (to look nice and hide the stems), around the rim of the circular vase, and to make the bow on the small vase.  The flowers and berries were all from either Michaels or Dollar Tree, and I mixed in some greenery from our front hedge.    The small vases were also from Dollar Tree and I filled them with mints.  All in all, it probably cost about $50 to do all six tables.  Ha ha, Kate 1, overpriced restaurant nil :-)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas mantle, O Christmas mantle! (it sounded good in my head!)

Moving from a small apartment, we don't have too many Christmas decorations (yet - watch out Target sale, I'm coming for you!).  For the mantle I tried to use some of the items we already had around the house or that I could buy relatively cheaply.

The owl we relocated from another shelf, the MERRY was $1 from Michaels, the red flowers were two $1 bunches also from Michaels, the upside down square vase we already had tucked away, and the little red bird was from our trip home.
On the other side of the mantle:
The little red boot and Noel we already had.  I'm always on the lookout for Christmas ornaments that will also look good off the tree and if you're lucky year round (we have 4 little glass pears in our dining room that were Target Christmas ornaments).  The reindeer was a whopping $4 from Michaels (originally $10 marked at half price, and then I had a 20% off coupon), and the round vase was left over from one of the table decorations I made for our work Christmas party (more on that in a later post).
It fits perfectly with our red/white/silver/green theme we have going on in the living room.  Cheap, cheerful and festive.  Perfect!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!

We dusted off the 6 footer and spread out his sparse little branches.  He really is a sad sight without any decorations or lights.

Tinsel is always a good filler, so I layered the lights first, then tinsel, then plain ornaments, then the slightly nicer ones (by slightly nicer, I mean not from the Dollar Tree!). 
And here he is (yes, that is a London bus - surely everyone knows it's not Christmas without a London bus!):
And a close up of some of our ornaments (thanks mum for the robin):

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bonnie Scotland

These are just a few pics of our recent trip home to Glasgow.  We had such a great time and managed to squeeze in visits to lots of family and friends.

These were taken during a freezing walk around Mugdock Country Park.  Scenery, scenery and more scenery!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can it really be 2 months!

Seriously, 2 MONTHS since I last posted!!  Good grief, what have I been doing with my time?  Of course one HUGE distraction has been Murphy, who has quickly become king of this castle.  That sweet little face gets me every time.  He is overflowing with personality.  Plenty more on his adventures and super sleek new hairdo (do dog's have hairdos?  furdos??  ah, whatever!) to follow.

We managed to squeeze in a trip to visit family in Amsterdam and Glasgow, plus a road trip to Nashville for a Christmas party.  And now it's full steam ahead to Christmas, how did that happen?

My camera is bursting with photos which I will be powering through this weekend to cherry pick the best ones!

We've got some catching up to do!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Furry Friend

Introducing the newest and cutest addition to the family!

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's Murphy!

He had been at the local animal shelter since June!  Poor little guy.  He was found as a stray and nobody claimed him, so we snapped him up.  They think he's between 2 and 3. 
He's super sweet and full of personality.  I'm sure there will be many many many more pics of his adventures to come!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cats eyes

Coming to a wall near me soon!!

Cat on Eames chair by Olive Dear


Monday, October 8, 2012

Smug thrifter alert!

I am feeling especially smug after my trip to J&J Junk at the weekend.  I managed to pick up some real mid-century treats. 

The Jacob Zook sign was a whopping $1 (admittedly, I had to Google it as I thought it was some magical board game I had never seen before!), the Royal Haeger vase another $1, and I splashed out on the mosaic trivet for a budget breaking $1.50.

Also making it into the basket this time around were a stack of orange melamine plate mates, a pair of lucite wine bottle holders (marked at $3 each - amazingly the nice cashier lady took exception to that lofty price tag and gave me the two for $3!) and a small wooden candle holder.
I was fully prepared this time with cash (they don't take cards) and wet wipes to wipe away the inevitable layer of grime that comes from rummaging through boxes of toot for 2 hours! 
A morning well spent. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nessy-ssary Art!

Ooft, I outdid my self with the title today!

This print is a much needed addition to the otherwise bare walls in our hallway.

You see it as soon as you walk in the front door, so it's a little "hello" to visitors and a nice reminder of home.

It's by the super talented Amy Sullivan, who has at least another 20 prints that I could easily buy tomorrow.

More pictures of our brightened hallway to follow.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quick Switcheroo

This was a quick and easy update to our hallway.  Especially easy for me as I "supervised" rather than actually doing any of the dirty work.
Before - builder basic boob light!  (and a nice closeup look at the popcorn ceiling!)
After - the soon to be in every hallway in America, Ikea Alang!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Look at the Nook

First up, Ikea trip was a huge success.  I'm currently fighting with some flat pack furniture.  Updates to follow, if I don't get lost in a sea of allen keys first!

More importantly, a look at the nook!

This is how it looked when we viewed the house.  Hmmm, floral wallpaper, pelmet, chandelier.

And this is how it looks now.
A much cleaner look, with a big old mixture of old and new.  The chairs were a vintage Craigslist find and the table is from JCPenney.
The thrift store bread print looks a million times better in its new frame.
The view from the hallway.
We still need to add new window treatments in place of the old plastic blinds.  I'm having complete analysis paralysis when trying to pick the fabric.  I feel like it needs to be a print.  Or maybe a solid.  Or textured.  What about a burlap?  Oh good grief!
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