Sea glass obsession

I am obsessed with glass. Colored glass to be precise. Blue glass, green and aqua glass to be even more precise. There’s a great deal of evidence to my obsession around my house. I have troves of vintage bottles, and my very favorite, is a treasured bottle of full of sea glass I collected on a beach in Nice, France. It holds the memories of a nearly perfect day.

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For this bathroom I drew on my obsession for a fellow beach lover as the inspiration for the colors.  To begin, I have to describe the bath before because I am notoriously good at not taking before pictures. Ok, here we go… It was white.
That’s it. Just white, white, white. And not in a good way. In a cold and boring king of way. Oh wait, I think there were navy and mauve towels. Mauve! Worse than boring white. I think you can close your eyes and picture that. Got it? Ok, open up, here’s the transformation.

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My pictures here are not good.  Taken with a point and shoot after I was done and never re-shot. The crazy shadows and lighting.  Sorry.  No one’s sadder than I am. I’d love to go back and get some good pictures, but I’ve been advised that breaking and entering is highly discouraged.

Here’s what was done.  Walls were painted with a varying pattern of sea glass perfect light blues and light aquas, four colors in all.  Bead board was put up on one wall, and a neutral sand colored linen shower curtain was purchased at Crate & Barrel.  Silver hardware was put on the white cabinets, and the towel rod was removed and replaced with nifty silver hooks.  The mauve towels were banished. Forever, I say.
And P.S. If you have kids, that throw their towels all over and even when they try it looks a soggy, hot mess?  Then do yourself a favor and put up hooks rather than a rod. The hook makes it easier on them and they are perfect no matter how the towels are hung.  Win win. You’re welcome.

Maybe a half moon

Have you ever gone through the sometimes agonizing job of getting handfuls of paint swatches at the paint department, bring them home where you hang them all over the room and spend weeks looking at them to find the perfect color? Then one by one you pull each paper strip down as they fail to make the cut. You look at them a few more weeks, finally decide on THE color, head to the paint store and order your special color from that man with the fascinating computerized color machine. Then you put down plastic, tape off the baseboards, remove the switch plate covers, take down things from the walls and you paint. You remove the blue tape, throw out the plastic drop clothes, clean up your brushes, hammer that lid down on the paint can and call it done. Have you ever gone through all the hard work, only to realize that the color you picked – full moon – because that seemed hilariously perfect for a bathroom, was way too bright?!?  Yeah me neither.

Oh the full moon! Bright. Just like, well, a full moon.

So I find a comfortable place to sit and just look at it, I realize that just maybe, I cannot live with this. But there’s no way I’m not going back for more swatches. Thats not how I roll. This little faux pas was the perfect situation for some sort of faux finish.  Ralph Lauren makes these amazing glazes. And the Tea Stain saved my life. Its an aging glaze that comes in four colors. You can use it on paint or wallpaper to add an aged patina. Or a much needed toning down for a full moon in a small room. Its amazing. A friend of mine moved into a new home. New to them. The previous owner was apparently a fan of the full moon. The dining room was bright yellow. Big and bright, like the stars at night. Which we love deep in the heart of Texas here,.. but not so much around the dinner table. Enter in the Ralph Lauren glaze. Heres a little peek of how it looks from a blurry iphone picture.

2015/01/img_0807.jpg The product dries quickly and takes some getting used to. So work with a friend, or start in an inconspicuous place until you get the hang of it.

pallet wood project

This happened. But sadly, not in my house. I’m going to share it with you to show you what can happen when you pay attention. My brother and sister-in-law have always allowed me a lot of freedom in their home when it comes to decorating. My first ever design re-mix was in their house years ago. I turned a hodge-podge guest room that had all the catch all stuff no one knew what to do with, into a serene flex space for guests as well as my sister in law’s massage therapy business. It was so much fun and we pulled it off like an old HGTV show and wouldn’t let her see any of it until it was finished. Maybe one day I’ll share that with you, but honestly, the pictures are so bad. (Which is something I’m still struggling with – indoor photography)

Working with said brother and SIL is always fun. And somewhat challenging until I figured out the dynamic. Robin is a wheels off, full steam ahead, what-about-this, what-about-that, lets go shopping NOW, kind of girl. And Scott is a generally just trying to do anything he can to stop that downhill train. Or at least thats my take, but it helps me try to balance the two sides out.

So this project that my brother did makes me particularly proud. They were shopping for a piece of furniture and saw some inspiring merchandising in a West Elm store and he decided to make his own. Scott gathered the pallets, pulled apart boards, chose the perfect pieces, sanded boards, laid them out on the garage floor, and began to try to stain. Which was where it almost fell apart. He wasn’t getting the result he wanted so there the boards sat. For weeks. For months.

Enter the sister who cannot keep her hands out of a project. I saw the problem and produced a solution in leftover paints from the many cans in the garage. I whitewashed & blue washed, and he did some extra sanding to weather the boards a little more and this is what we got. He had to hang it all himself, which was the final of all the harder jobs he did. I just helped with the fun stuff and then drove back out of town.

I love the finished project. With walls this big, it needed something big and bold to make a statement. Statement made!

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{I will now teach my brother about Pinterest and googling ways to solve your paint and stain problems.}

It’s a new year! May I have a second chance?

January.  A new start.
And now that we’re in a year that does not include moving, building a house or unpacking boxes, (ok, I lied – I still have boxes that are unpacked that I’m hoping someone will haul away when I’m not looking) I really want to continue journaling my designs – the ideas & the executions.  And I’d love to help you with yours.  Shall we try this again?  With more realistic expectations? Ok, great.

Truth. I am not Young House Love. Not even close.  I do not desire to post things every day.  Maybe not even every week.  My kids would not get fed, one would probably fail science and the other might not ever come out from under his headphones.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I hereby fully accept my limitations and embrace a realistic idea of this endeavor.  
Signed, me.
(Zero offense to YHL.  I adore them, their blog, their book, their Clara, and everything they do.  They work like madmen and I’m sorry I missed them at Book People last night, but I had to taxi the next Lebron James to basketball practice.)

Today I published two posts that were written long ago and waiting for photos.  Oh the bane of my existence!  Getting photos off my camera, into the computer in a timely manner, only to be thwarted by ridiculously annoying issues getting them to look the way I want to on wordpress.  I think I need a wordpress for dummies class.   So,… one got photos, one is naked. I am heading into the jungle we call iphoto and look for what I need for the unclothed post.  Avert your eyes.

Another chalkboard wall in a world full of too much chalk.

The first paint out of the can in the new house? Black.
Seriously.

I’ve been wanting to play around with the chalkboard paint for a long time now. I mean, everybody has a chalkboard something by now, right? I may be the last girl to this party, but at least I didn’t completely miss said party.  And I’m always last to leave a party so as not to miss anything.  We picked a fairly prominent wall in the house, through our massively open entry from the front part of the house into the living area. It’s wide and open and white. Too white. This spot means the kids art work and random ridiculousness shows to the world. (As did the pink chalk dust all over the carpet when they decided to stray from white chalk.) But I love it. Love how it changes the feel of all those big white empty walls. And I love the funny things my kids draw and the welcome notes to friends they write. So fun.

My observations and failures:
~ The paint is rather thick and does create a build up that will make a literal edge on the area you paint. It’s kind of cool though.
~ Frog tape only works its magic when you actually have some of the paint that the original wall was painted, which I don’t. I admit I didn’t research the online directions, so naively thought it would be the end all to perfect tape lines. Note to self: There is no end all.  And I should be less overzealous and read the directions.
~ Much to my sadness, chalk pens cannot be used on a wall. The surface is too porous so the drawing will actually remain when you try to erase it. This was a big bummer, because the pens don’t leave chalk dust and I dreamed of being a fabulous chalkboard artist like you see in Starbucks & Whole Foods. Not gonna happen. Yet.
~ White chalk is all we will use. The colored dust is dangerous to the baseboards and carpet. That fancy eraser holder tray in your elementary school classroom wasn’t just for looks, my friends.
~ And lastly, once you use the chalkboard paint, you will look for things to paint! Its fun. I ended up painting labels on some terra cotta pots to go with a gardening gift. Loved the way they turned out.

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countdown

Holy moly, the countdown is in the single digits! The mortgage company calls or emails daily asking for some extra piece of scanned financial paperwork. The grass has been laid and the trees have been planted. The construction mess has been swept away.  Our new carpet has been vacuumed and waiting on us.  All I am waiting on is a call to let me know when my final walk through is and a final confirmation that I have in fact qualified for this loan.  Yeah, yeah, I can hear you, “say what? ing” out there.  “Doesn’t she know she was supposed to do this long before now?”

I was pre-qualified. I was good to go. Then I found out my dear employer gave the mortgage company different numbers than were on my w-2’s. Oops. Now I look like some shady chick who asked the HR guys to say I make more money than I do.  And it all amounts to vast amounts of paperwork and scanning documents and number crunching and unreturned phone calls so that my stomach is churning into knots.

But I have faith. That things will work out. And that if they don’t, that God is enough amidst the biggest disappointment of my grown up life.  He really is.

At the heart of a lot of my anticipation is the excitement of getting in there and doing what I love to do most. I can’t wait to look at paint swatches and rearrange furniture. I can’t wait to figure out how to stain my back patio. I cannot wait to take those white walls and make them ours!  The past six months living in this apartment have seriously put a damper on my creativity in the nesting and home decorating department.  It has made me creative in different ways – like how to make meatloaf in a snowman cake pan because you don’t have a proper loaf pan unpacked – but honestly its not a blank canvas with which I can cover in inspiration.  So we are counting down, day by day. The boys are counting down the days until they have their own room and a basketball hoop.  But I am counting down the days until I am unleashed!

Simple clothes closet clean out.

January just makes me feel like cleaning out.  I get the big urge to purge.  Most likely a symptom brought on by the ridiculous amount of things brought in to the home over the holidays. For the past two days I’ve had to work outside the house, I’ve changed my clothes a minimum of 3 times.  I’m pretty sure it is God’s way of telling me it’s time to do some clothes shopping and not just home shopping.  (I really hate clothes shopping)  It also screamed, it’s time to clean out!  So here is a project you can start today to get you ready for spring, summer and fall clearing out that will be easier than ever.  And you will not have to take a single thing out today. Unless you want to.

Step 1.  Go into your closet and turn all of your clothes hangers around backwards.

Step 2. As you wear things, return clean clothes back to the closet with the hangers facing the right way. I said simple, didn’t I?

Step 3.  When the season you are currently in is over, you need to seriously examine those clothes left hanging on the backward hangers and purge them from your closet.

Then what? You can donate almost everything for a better cause.  You can sell nice clothing at consignment shops, although I have to say I found this process a bit tedious.  And if you have something you hate to part with, but it hasn’t fit you in 3 years, and yet has that amazing material or those really snazzy buttons?  Repurpose it into an art or sewing project.  There are lots of great ideas online.

This is the time, you have all of 2012 to see if you are truly committed to the things you are giving space to in your closet. Do it! You’ll thank me later.