Friday, June 29, 2012

Dormer decisions

Garry and I have been mulling around the idea of adding a dormer to our attic so we can turn that area into a master suite (complete with skylights, claw-foot tub, soft rugs...) and increase our bedroom and bathroom count and our property value as well.

We got a quote back and it was about what I expected - $5,700 to install a 12 ft. shed dormer on the back of our house. It's actually not as bad as I thought it would be (by the time we'd be done with everything it would cost around $12,000 - $15,000 to completely finish the entire attic considering we've already spent $3,000 on the insulation).

It will be a while before we can save up enough to have a dormer put it, I thought that we might as well get an idea of how much it would cost so we can decide whether or not it's something we want to continue entertaining.

Considering we have a lot of other projects that are more of a priority, it's still on maybe status. Keeping that in mind, we may end up finishing the attic to the specs it's at now and a few years down the road (if we decide to go for it) end up demolishing that 12ft of drywall. In the grand scheme of things, we wouldn't be taking a huge loss, and it allows us to get another project "out of the way" without waiting for a few years to make a decision. Also, we may need that room to be functional before we make a hard decision on a dormer.

Going along with the attic theme - here is an inspiration photo:
Photo from

Now I really love rustic elements, but I don't necessarily know if we would have a beam situation (our ceilings are kind of low up there), but I am in love with the idea of having two wardrobes and a built-in set of drawers. We would have a window right smack in the middle of the bed, so flowy curtains would be a must, as well as some bamboo blinds. I don't think we'll end up installing enormous sky lights like in the photo above (but wouldn't that be cool?) so good lighting will be important. We'll probably end up with a fancy-type ceiling fan (since we're in the attic and all) and put an AC unit all the way on the OTHER side of the attic (a good 20 ft) so it's not blowing right behind the bed or just get a portable floor model. 

Best part is - we already have the bed! Yay! Once we get the space finished and all of the storage items moved to where they belong - we can move furniture up there and tweak it as we go. I'm probably going to stay with a neutral color palette, and I'm definitely looking into doing some stenciling on the lower parts of the side walls.

Maybe something like this:

With the lighter color going on the gabled walls... that could be pretty. (It won't be brown and white...) Add that with some simple woodblock print linens and that would be quite lovely. Since the room doesn't get a whole lot of light - I want to keep the colors light and airy. We use a lot of blue in the house in general, so I'm not sure if I'm going to keep with that or try something else. Since this area will also be home to our office area, I want to keep it neutral enough that Garry doesn't feel to "girlified" when he goes up there, but ultimately, I get the final say in how we create that space (fun!) 

Some other inspiration items:
Photo from charancreations on - useful for making prints, but can also be decorative

Photo from SpademanPottery on

Photo from

Photo from

Photo from

Something like that... but make it an office and bedroom and with the colors fairly neutral (but I can tell you right now there will be pops of turquoise and kelly green here and there - think pillows, trim on curtains... small items). It will certainly be interesting to see what we manage to get accomplished this year. I have so many "ideas" for everything and of course, the budget is the ultimate dictator over what we accomplish. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dining nook inspiration

Did I mention that we have a LOT of projects we want to do? 

The one thing about our house that I wasn't terribly thrilled with, was the lack of an actual dining room. We have a really cute little nook area that is practically begging for a built-in or at the very least, a nice rustic looking table and benches. 

Here are some ideas of what I'm leaning toward (as they are close to the layout of my kitchen):

Both photos from

While I may not have the huge windows like shown in these photos, I can definitely make some curtains to add a little bit of "oomph" to that section. I love the top photo's natural elements. I don't know if I could go with kelly green curtains, but I love the mix of natural textures. I don't think a round table will work in that space since it's pretty narrow, but I love the idea of woven chairs and some pillows. 

The second photo is almost the exact same layout as my kitchen except I have one window in the center instead of two. My kitchen table is also very similar in shape and style. The bench adds a little bit more seating, but overall it looks a little too "plain" for my taste and I want to incorporate some of the items we already have, build a few pieces, and move some of the stuff we currently have for use in other areas (like the very desperately thrown-together sunroom. 

Now... picture this... 

We can make a simple farmhouse table with a mitered frame, stain it a dark stain color and then stencil this pattern: 

Then, distress the pattern so it looks worn and what not. I think that could look really cool and it goes with the lotus mosiac in my kitchen:
Just in case you forgot what the mosiac looks like... I know, I have an obsession.

Or... you know... I could try to recreate this table on a slightly smaller scale. (It wouldn't be too hard since I have a few friends with the necessary three P's to make that happen: property, power tools and pick-up trucks)

I mean just imagine that table in the top photo's setting with some simple chairs, bench, natural fabric for linens, pebble place mats, monogrammed glassware, white square plates with wicker chargers and colorful accent plates/bowls... I know. I'm drooling too. 

Maybe make some chairs kind of like this.... 

Did I mention how much I love Ana White? Like if she showed up I would give her the biggest hug and make her cheesecake. Anywho, I'd use different fabric, and it would be something very durable that could easily be washed/stain-resistant/etc that went along with a rustic/natural vibe. 

Or, see what I can score at a yard sale/goodwill or see if I can make the captains chairs from my downstairs dining table that I wish fit in my kitchen because it's really gorgeous work and make some cushions/slip covers/whatever. 

I have my big wooden spoon and fork that hang on what would be the "shelf wall" of the second photo from BHG. There really isn't a better place to put them in our kitchen (even on our enormously long wall - which I have other plans for) so there they will stay. It may or may not end up being accompanied by some smaller (slightly silly) artwork as well. 

Because the space is so small as well, I'm thinking of opting out of a rug. It would just get "shoved" into the niche and that just doesn't work for me. Other items we'll need for our little dining nook are some matchstick bamboo shades (easily enough found at Christmas Tree Shoppe for super cheap), iron chandelier (found one at Lowes that is a good size) and linens (probably will make myself). 

Of course... it just has to get done. Which requires money. Which requires savings... etc and so forth. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Photos of Auron

It's been a while since I've added photos of Auron on here. So here are some photos taken from our camping trip last weekend...

He's getting quite huge. At 4 months old, he weighed in at 42 lbs.

That's 42 lbs. of chaos and squee folks.

Water is his favorite thing in the Universe. He was so excited to actually be "in" the water when we took him to the creek.

A friend of ours had bubbles - when Auron caught on he became the vicious bubble hunter.

Although sometimes he'd get distracted by a bug, or a stick... there were just so many interesting things to see and smell there. 

Special thanks to my friend Joanna who took the photos because I was an idiot and left my camera at home for Garry and I.

A good night's rest - bedroom redo inspiration

Chances are when I get back from Florida I'll feel completely refreshed and ready to tackle some summer house projects. One of which involves re-doing our bedroom and the sunroom. It involves some moving around of items and fabric, but overall, I think it will look nice.

This is what I'm using as inspiration for the bedroom:

Both images are from the Pottery Barn website

I really like the softness and texture of these two spaces. Our bedroom doesn't get a whole lot of light, so painting the room a nice light color (I'm thinking a slightly warm light grey) would be helpful, along with adding some glass table lamps, repainting my dressers/nightstands and adding some white bi-fold closet doors to our very unorganized closet. 

Photo from 

I also have a deep love for paisley, texture and exotic and vintage styles/prints. Like the moravian star chandelier with the antique dresser in the above photo. I just... love it. I also have a woodblock stamp and would love to stamp/dye some sheets or my old light blue duvet cover and pair them with a paisley quilt/shams. I just think that would be pretty. 

Or something like this: 
Image from

But first things first, what needs to be done:
  • Repaint the bedroom
  • Repaint/distress the dressers and night stands
  • Find two glass bedside lamps 
  • Find two small 2x3 size-ish rugs for both sides of the bed
  • Replace mirror on dresser 
  • Install bi-fold doors 
  • Install curtain rods 
  • Find/make bedding and curtains 
  • Maybe replace the over head light
  • Maybe install new molding 
I haven't worked out too many ideas for what to put on the walls. Right now I have two metal stars (that I will probably repaint because they're a copper color now) and another project that I haven't actually started yet. 
Which may or may not look exactly like this.... from Pinterest

For the time being, my friends Raine and Kal are staying in our guest room/sunroom with their kitties and dog  so this project will have to go on hold until after their living quarters are set up (which apparently is happening today - I'm so excited for them!) and I get back from vacation. You know me, I get twitchy if I go too long without painting something

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer clothes shopping/creating

It's only a few days until I finally get to go on a verymuchneeded vacation to visit my family. Unfortunately, the hubs gets to stay home and take care of the critters, mind the house and all of that fun stuff, leaving me to spend a blissful week of doing just about nothing with my family.

However, Florida is a LOT hotter than New York and I don't particularly like sweating unless I'm working out, which is certainly NOT on the to-do list while I'm there. Whenever I go to Florida, I pretty much sweat just by existing, so breathable clothing that not only looked good, but was comfortable was the first thing on my list to pick up. 

While I'm trying to start my Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and this was the absolute perfect opportunity to take start it, by making a bunch of clothes to wear on vacation, yeah... that didn't happen. Mostly because right now I just don't have time. June was a CRAZY busy month for us with events every weekend (which is usually when I would do that sort of thing) and working late most nights. It will have to commence when I get back I suppose.

I had a few "rules" in mind while I was shopping. Since I go clothes shopping maybe twice a year I needed to give myself some guidelines:

  1. Buy good quality - I would rather spend a little more on a piece of clothing that will last a few years than have to replace it 6 months later (and end up spending more money overall) .
  2. Don't spend a lot of money - Goes kind of directly against rule 1, but I needed to make sure I bought things on sale to get the most bang for my buck.
  3. Buy useful items - pieces that "go" with  items I already have, transition between work and social, comfortable (so that I will actually wear them), and will allow for some weight flux - since that tends to happen with me. 
I'm happy to say that I managed to stay within my budget and I found some really cute items that I can wear to work, vacation, and for any other reason. My style, or at least what I'm starting to gravitate toward is more boho than anything else (taking a hint from my jewelry collection which is basically all boho with a few more traditional pieces) - so I picked up 2 maxi dresses (one of which I'm wearing today), a long maxi skirt, a pair of shorts (they're chinos but with a cute stretchy waistband so they're REALLY comfy) and a mustard yellow top with a braided kind of embellishment. Oh, and some aviators, because I totally rock them and with my green eyes, going anywhere where there's actual sunlight means I can't see anything and get massive migraines. 

I managed to find everything at TJ Maxx for $106 total, which surprised me because I generally have terrible luck when I shop there. Either what I really like is expensive or I just can't find anything I like that's in my size, or at least a close-enough size so I can alter it. I felt very accomplished yesterday. 

I have also found some patterns that I'm in LOVE with and some inspiration pieces too. I really want to wear more dresses/skirts because, let's face it, they're comfy. If they're made with the right kind of material, you can have a piece that will last next to forever and will fit even if your body fluxes like mine does. I also like the idea of having items that are dressy enough for work (just add a cardigan, jacket or accessories) but I can dress down and are comfy enough for a weekend camping trip. 

I've gotten to a point where having two (or even three) separate wardrobes is pretty much out of the question, so now finding pieces that transition well is the plan. And, of course, trying to save some cash by making my own clothes too. The most important part of it though, is finding "myself" and wearing something that is really a reflection of who I am and not who everyone wants me to be. Sure, I may end up being a little more quirky that some of my co-workers, but as long as it's still appropriate, there's nothing wrong with quirky. When I actually make an effort with clothes/hair/makeup, I get a lot of compliments. I'd like to find a way to "try" without actually having to. Yay laziness!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A sort-of update

It's been super crazy at our house lately. My very lovely friends Raine and Kal (over at Nemeton project) are staying with us until their sheds are installed on their property (which surprisingly will be by the end of the week). This is where the guest room becomes super handy.

Garry and I have been contemplating other ideas for the guest room as well. As in slightly more cute and tiny ideas.

Like I said before, we're taking a break from any big projects over the summer. Unfortunately, it's not just because we want a "break" from housework, but with my hours being cut at my main job (boo!) and since Garry is a temp and his hours are fairly inconsistent, we need to make sure we can put more in reserves in case something happens.

That, and I've been exceedingly exhausted for the last week-ish. Like there's not enough coffee in the world for me to get out of bed in the morning.

The weather here is supposed to be ridiculously hot today and tomorrow and with that, I've been thinking about summer clothing. I found a great tutorial online for a super simple maxi dress here. Seriously folks, it will take 2 hours at most. The best part? I have old jersey/beech bed sheets that would be perfect AND I have some kelly green Rit dye. Sweet! Also - I can add some embellishments with my lotus woodblock stamp I bought a while ago. Ideally, I'd find a way to ombre dye the fabric and then use a metallic fabric paint (which I might have somewhere...) for the woodblock stamp. Best part - I have two sheets so I can test it on one before I spend the time/effort making the dress.

I'm hoping this will help kick off my Homemade Wardrobe Challenge. I'm really hoping to make some cute maxi dresses for summer since my office doesn't run the a/c in the summer time since not a lot of folks are here.

Photos? Hopefully... soon. Wow, I know I'm bad about this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The other side of crazy

Well folks, Garry and I managed to make it through the busiest week ever without too many scratches and bruises. Seriously, I don't think we were this busy before our own wedding last September.

The business was mostly on my part. Being that it's the end of the school year I had events to cover a few nights after school hours and I had an event to do with the radio station I work for. On top of that, I had a few other errands to run with my friend Adee that just got married on Saturday.

I pretty much stayed in bed all day on Sunday. I was exhausted. As in so tired that I couldn't sleep exhausted. Yeah, not pretty. Garry had some friends from out of town in, and I was a bad hostess and just hid in my room all day. Oh well, they understood. We were crazy busy and I was crazy exhausted, these things happen.

So now we're looking at the rest of the month and summer to see what projects we're going to take on and what needs to be finished. Since the weather has been typical for this area, it's been raining - a LOT. So finishing the fire pit was put on hold until we could get a few days (where we have some time) to mortar the facing on the stones. Once that is all set, we can start having some fires (yay!) and burn some of the wood we have from cutting the pine trees down.

In a few weeks I'll be taking a very much needed vacation to visit my family in Florida for a week. Seriously guys, I haven't had a real vacation in a LONG time, like 2 years. I'm due.

The plan there will be to sit next to the pool and do very precious little else. We're also planning a party for my grandma's 90th birthday - so okay, there will be one day where I have to do something, but that's how those things go. My cousin is also due to deliver her baby the week I'm there, so that will be really exciting too! It's doubtful we'll end up going to the hospital or anything, but I will be cheering her on while I'm poolside with margarita in hand.

When I get back from Florida, we're going to start working on some more yard-related projects. I'd like to get the flowerbeds tamed, new plants planted, and re-mulch. Making sense of the back corner of the yard would also be a good plan as right now it's a pile of bricks, slate and various random plants growing (including the indestructible hosta, which I'm very sure I killed off last fall, apparently not, so since it has defied my ability to kill it, I'll dig them up and include them in the landscape project - which means they will probably die when I move them...).

I'm still working on the plans for the backyard garden. Essentially, what we're going to have to do is fence in the area where we're going to plant it, as most of these plants are poisonous to dogs. Added to the fence will be a pergola-style archway. The crummy part of this project is that we're probably going to have to wait until next spring to tackle it as we have some bigger indoor projects to attend to (like getting the attic situated so we can actually use it as a guest room/office). For this summer, the plan is to clear out the area of weeds and other debris, rebuild our mermaid shrine and hopefully plant a flowering tree in the back corner area.

But, all of this will have to wait until my vacation. I'm looking forward to spending a week doing very very little other than existing. It will be blissful.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Taking time to take care of ourselves

It seems as though we spend a lot of time daydreaming planning our house projects and sometimes actually working on them and not a whole lot of time taking care of ourselves. This weekend, even though we did absolutely nothing on our house, left Garry, myself, and even our pup Auron, quite exhausted.

Starting on Friday, we went pretty much non-stop all weekend. Friday, Garry and I woke up at 4:30am (he has to be at work by 6am), worked a full day (I worked an event after I was done with my "regular" work for the day) and then went to our friends respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. By 11 pm we were both exhausted, Auron was annoyed that we were gone after his bedtime, and in much need of some deep sleep.

While the sleep was good, it felt too short. The next morning we were up and at it again. This time we were going to my co-worker's wedding and then straight off to our friend's memorial service. You read that right folks, wedding and a funeral in the same day. It was rough. Poor Auron had to stay home for all of this too, even though both events were technically "dog friendly," I didn't want to chance him acting inappropriately in those situations.

Sunday, well, let's just say Auron at that point had had enough. He stopped eating. Naturally, Garry and I were really upset. He would eat a little and then stare at us dolefully. Garry took the pup over to a friend's house to play and run around with their dogs (so he could get some exercise and maybe that would cause him to eat) and while he did manage to eat a little bit, he wasn't willing to eat an entire meal.

Everything else was "working" fine and he has been acting completely normal. We tried feeding him breakfast this morning and he wouldn't eat unless one of us fed it to him out of our hand - which then he ate with the usual gusto he would when we fed him in his bowl. Ah ha. We're fairly certain he's doing this out of defiance because he wants more of our attention (which we fully admit, we haven't been able to give him the previous two days) so we're making a pact to spend more time playing and spoiling our little pup (not that we didn't during the week anyway, but this will involve more interactive play on our part) and spoiling ourselves like going out to eat once in a while or to a movie. This could also mean a master bedroom redo to encourage more... umm... restful sleep.

I have some paint chips on the wall (yes, again) and I'm leaning toward a light, warm grey. Yep, it's a totally different direction than we went before, but I think part of the reason I'm having a hard time sleeping is that the room color (albeit, one of my favorite colors) is just too dark. Part of this renovation will also involve re-painting our dressers, end tables and bed frame, *finally* adding some bi-fold doors (and possibly doing a cool project with them too), new curtains, bed linens, some soft rugs for under our feet and lamps for our nightstands. Maybe some closet organization in there too? Hopefully Garry will feel ambitious enough to tackle the molding (base, window and crown) project this summer too. Oh, and artwork... yes I have some things in the works for that as well.

We're also thinking of moving Auron's crate to the guest room. As much as we love our little boy, when he rolls around in his crate at night it wakes me up (preventing a good nights' sleep), and our room feels a lot smaller with his very large crate in it.

Overall, it's a nice "project" for the summer. It's not difficult to do (the hardest part will be installing the molding, which we've done base and door molding before, but I hear crown is the hardest to do) and everything can be done in stages without the room being out of commission. Besides, we have a guest room if it ends up too crazy in there for a few days.