Monday, May 21, 2018

You Have To Know Your Limits

While I have been quiet on the blog over the winter and much of the spring I have been busy.

We live in Massachusetts. Springtime is exciting and bursting with color. The summers are glorious, the beaches are beautiful. Autumn in New England has to be seen to be truly appreciated; rolling hills decked in reds and golds are world renowned. And then... there is winter. "Wait", you say, "why are we talking about winter?!" Stay with me.

I suppose if you ski, ice skate, ect. the winter isn't that bad... but I am not one of those people. I like the first snowfall, maybe a light snow while I'm Christmas shopping and possibly Christmas morning and THAT'S IT! From December 26th until some late day in March I question why I live here, what it would take to sell our home and move, or how to afford a three month long vacation south every year.

One of the my least favorite chores in the winter is clearing off the snow from the cars. For 14 winters we have lived in this home with enough parking for 6 cars but no garage. There was a shed at the end of the driveway. The house originally had a barn where the shed stood but that was long gone before we bought it.

We decided that we were getting too old and our cars were taking too much abuse. Two old maples, over 100 years old, flanked the left side of the driveway. I had to go to Google Earth for photos of them because for some reason I did not take pictures of them!

Both were diseased and we knew it was only a matter of time before they would need to be taken down.

Those factors combined moved us to build a garage! What do we know about building a garage? Nothing.

We contracted with a local builder because we know our limits. We are limited to where it can be positioned and how big it can be. To the rear is our septic system. It has to sit so many feet off the front property line and so many feet from our neighbor's property line. That being said we had to be very precise and smaller than we would have liked. We would still need a shed to house yard equipment. Trying to figure out where that was going to go I think was the hardest part.

The shed was needed to store all the stuff that our old shed housed but in a different spot. The old shed was rotting and wouldn't survive a move. The problem was trying to envision where it should sit in relation to the garage once it was built. We opted to sit in on an angle off to the side.

We contracted to build a two story, two car garage and it will sit where the old shed was. The upstairs will be a work space for me; not a living space but a place I can paint or sew or craft and have all the mess out of the house. If you sew you know how difficult it is to have to pick up everything to make dinner and use the dining table for something other than what you're in the middle of at the moment. Downstairs there is enough room for a work bench at the back of the garage.

As I said, we know our limits so it is better to have the shell done by those who know what they are doing but I had plans brewing for the inside! I will be sharing the process here in the coming weeks.

Thanks for spending time with me today.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Washington D.C.

If your new here or if you only visit here for the crafts or decor stuff maybe you don't know we are a homeschool family. I don't usually talk much about it here. I have realized (through many too opinionated conversations-on my part) that the homeschool experience can be a deeply personal and wildly different experience for every family.

As a homeschool mama we have enjoyed the days curled up on the couch as I read aloud. Those were my favorite times. My second favorite times were the field trips. We live in an awesome area of the country for history and art field trips and those times were great, especially when the kiddos were younger but time goes by and they grow up. Their growing has meant that they have surpassed some of my abilities or even desires to try to teach in certain areas. Thankfully, we have several homeschool co-ops around that offer different tutorials. My girls have benefitted from outside classes in writing, choir, biology and chemistry, algebra, foreign languages, drama, AP Literature and AP Government, ect. all taken by different instructors. This takes some of the pressure off an overwhelmed mama and gives a different source of accountability to my young adults-in-training.

Recently, the AP Government class got to take a trip to Washington, D.C. Of course, their interest was the government mechanics but for me it's all about the beautiful architecture! This was my 2nd trip to the capital so I didn't worry too much about taking photos of different landmarks but really looked more at not-so-famous buildings. Here are some photos to maybe inspire you. All were taken with my phone.

Loved the iron work on the stairs! 

 Don't you just love the color on this building...

A little Victorian flair to these two...

Lovely trim work and corbels always catch my eye...

I don't know what kind of a tree this was but the blossoms were beautiful against the cloudy sky and gray row house. 

We crammed much into the two days we were in D.C. The kids had a great time, we all learned more about our government and I came home with some beautiful photos for inspiration. Thank you for visiting with me, I do hope you enjoyed the trip around D.C. through my eyes. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Hoop Wreath Tutorial

Spring time means decorating. In spite of winter hanging around longer than I am comfortable with, the winter stuff has been put away and out came the spring decor! I have been using the same wreath on the front door for two years which is not unheard of but I think I want to do something different this year.

I went searching the in the Pinterest hole looking for ideas. I was seeing a lot of hoop wreaths. I have some embroidery hoops laying around, not being used.... I think I bought them for another craft project that never happened. Do you do that? Anyway, I decided that is what I wanted to do.

Armed with my coupons and an idea I went to the craft store and purchased one large peony, a sprig of green lamb's ear, a fern looking thing and some faux lavender. I found a welcome sign in a galvanized metal. I was looking for a little wood sign that said welcome or spring, or both. I went to three stores before finding the metal one. I didn't want the galvanized metal, but I can paint that. (Of course you can!)

First I took the hanger off the sign, marched outside and spray painted it an antique brass from Rustoleum. While that was drying I heated up the hot glue gun.

Remove the stem from the peony. Be careful on these multi-layer flowers as they will fall apart easily. Get the glue down into the center, on the underside, and hold it in place while it dries.

I cut the stems of the lamb's ear to fit my wreath and shaped them to match the curve of the wreath. I cut one smaller than the other as I do not want my wreath symmetrical. Hot glue the base in place and hold in place while cooling to prevent moving. This will be a larger dollop of glue so it will take a minute or two to cool. Use a scissor tip or something pointed to hold in place. You can spot glue a place or two up the side of the wreath.

Cut the lavender from the bunch. Mine had three stems on each bunch. I only ended up using one bunch. Hot glue them in place. I did two on the larger side and one on the smaller.

Next, I cut two stems from the fern-like thing and proceeded to glue them in place. At this point I thought I had enough so I held the peony in place but felt it needed just a little more. I used the two leaves that were on the peony stem. I glued one on each side and then glued the peony in place.

Happy with the wreath so far I went outside and retrieved my dried sign. I used clear filament to attach it the wreath and held it up. The sign slid to the side in a mess. I repositioned the sign and put a touch of hot glue on the backside to hold the filament string in place which worked perfectly.

Here it is in the living room.

I decided I didn't really like it over the mirror so I moved it to the hutch.

It looks perfect against the old frame I purchased at the closing of one of my favorite monthly markets. (I'll miss you Vintage Thymes!) My plan was to move it to the front door after St.Patty's Day but I don't think I want to move it now.

The total cost of this project (using my coupons) was less than $20. I love the way it looks, light and airy and ready for Spring! Hope you found this tutorial helpful and easy to follow.

Thanks for visiting with me today!   

Party time:
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Hunting For The Right Color

So, you want to paint a room in your house. You grab your keys and run off to the hardware store, paint store, or home improvement store all excited. You get the perfect parking space...this is gonna be great! "Good morning!", sings the happy sales associate! Yup, a great start! You round the corner and... (enter screeching brakes sound here).

You are met with a wall of about a bazillion different colors and everything stops. How many shades of warm gray can there be?! And then I get distracted by all the beautiful colors!

Image result for sherwin williams paint sample wall
                                                    Photo credit: Sherwin Williams

Ok, think! You know a general idea of the color but exactly which one is going to work in your home? Can you see the room from other rooms, what color is the trim going to be. Are you working with an existing trim color? Oh, and what was that color?

Does any of this sound familiar? It happened to me so often that I decided I needed to carry my existing colors with me. I am not talking about all those paper squares. In my pocketbook they would get mangled and would be rendered useless in a matter of a couple weeks and who wants to shuffle through colors in store while holding your keys, phone and coffee? Maybe it's me.

Here is my solution for this problem. Most of the pictures were taken with my phone so be kind.

I bought some mini popsicle sticks.

I went to my basement and gathered all the mostly-empty cans of paint that were used to color my walls and brought them upstairs. (In a perfect world I will do this each time I get a new paint color... but we all know how that goes.) I painted each stick a different color and let them dry. I gave each one a second coat; important when painting to make sure the coverage and depth of color is there.

When the sticks were dry I labeled each one on one side with the brand, color and sheen. (All my wall colors are in eggshell finish so I skipped that step on most of them.)

Next drill a hole in one end.

Feed each stick onto a key ring.

Now, you can attach it to your key ring or just keep it in your purse or car. You will always have your home colors with you whether you are shopping for more paint, drapes, bedding, furniture or accessories.

My colors are the size of a key, easily accessible and always with me. This is a super easy project and it is a tool of immeasurable worth for those who are always on the hunt for the right color.

Linking parties:
French Country Cottage, Remodelaholic, The Cottage Market, Shabby Art Boutique, Olives-n-Okra, The Boondocks Blog, Chic On A Shoestring, Pieced Pastimes, One More Time Events, Diy Showoff,, Nifty Thrifty Things, Life On Lakeshore Drive, Ducks n'a Row, My Pinterventures, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Skip To My Lou, Plucky's Second Thought, Angie The Freckled Rose, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, Flamingo Toes, The How To HOme, Home Stories A To Z, Celebrate & Decorate, Our Home Away From Home, The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Tip Junkie, April J Harris, The DIY Dreamer, Savvy Southern Style, Gingersnap Crafts, DIY By Design, My Thrift Store Addiction, Imparting Grace, The Charm of Home, Katherine's Corner, The Vintage Nest, The Pin Junkie, A Delightsome Life , Life With Lorelai