Making it Rain Up In Here

So this crazy thing happened in August: it started raining again! In the past two weeks, we’ve seen more rain than we saw in the past two months combined. The watering bans starting lifting, the burn bans started lifting, and we finally have green grass again.

We are so blessed to have rain again. It’s been a rough summer for most of the United States.

Our grass might be a little patchy after baking in the sun for two months, but we’ll take it. It’s been a long drought and I’m so glad to see green grass and bright colorful flowers again. I was starting to wonder if we were going to stay brown until Autumn. I finally heard the sound of lawn mowers the other day. It was great. It was also wonderful to smell fresh-cut grass again.

Although I was diligent about watering my plants throughout the drought, I started to tire out in the end and fell a little behind once it started raining. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain enough in the first week to keep our potted plants really moist. I’m afraid they might not last much longer. I think it’s almost time to change the petunias for mums.

Despite our pitiful potted plants, the petunias in our garden are still growing strong. With a little mulch and some rain, they are getting just what they need.

It’s been a very hot and dry summer, but now that things are turning around, I’m looking forward to the start of Autumn and some crisp air and cooler temperatures.

How are your gardens doing this summer? Did you have to contend with drought conditions and  hand water your plants every day or every other day? Or did you let them go in hopes that it would rain again soon?

Give Thanks

The dining room table is back in the dining room, the food is in the crockpots and we are ready for Thanksgiving! As promised here a few pictures of our Thanksgiving table:


What are you thankful for this year? We are thankful for family, friends and beautiful weather for safe travels. Hope you enjoy your dinner and time with family! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Curtains = Cat Beds

Did you know that curtains can also double as cat beds? Zoey certainly thinks they can. Normally when I’m working in my office, Zoey can either be found laying in my lap or the desk by my feet. The other day, she was no where to be found. That is, until I looked behind the curtains to find a sleeping kitten:

I’ll admit it was a little chilly last week, but I didn’t think it would be cold enough for Zoey to seek warmth in the curtains. Maybe she is just getting herself ready for the winter months. It was really cute to see her all snuggled up in the curtains. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture of when she was sleeping on the other side of the room on top of the curtains.

Here is Zoey all tucked in her new curtain bed.

To give you some perspective, I have one curtain panel hung on each window of my office and then the curtain is draped over a hook. Zoey was laying in the part of the curtains that gathered on the floor.


S
o aside from finding sleeping kittens in our curtains, BJ and I have been busy working on projects around the house.

Here is a sneak peek of some upcoming posts about our projects.

The blue paint is finally on the wall! Remember the paint chip that we taped on our wall nearly one year ago:

Well, we finally finished the wall!

Over the weekend, I learned a very valuable lesson about gardening. Do not put off cleaning your flowers beds and then spend all day working on them. You will wake up the next morning with sore muscles you didn’t even know you had. My hat goes off to professional landscapers. I’m still beat from spending all day weeding, trimming flowers and bushes and pulling out unwanted sticker bushes. And there is still more to do.

The before:

It’s already been a busy October and there is still more month ahead!

Candy corn

Has anyone noticed the insane amount of Halloween candy in stores? This year it seemed extremely early that the Halloween candy started creeping its way into stores (no pun intended). Was it just me, or did it start showing up at the end of August? Seeing holiday decorations and candy early always makes me anxious to start decorating for that holiday, but I always try to withstand the urge to start decorating over a month ahead of time. It keeps me from getting tired of the decorations before the holiday arrives. But this year, I gave in and started decorating for Halloween a little early.

Now that it’s pretty much a month from Halloween, I decided to try a fun centerpiece idea I found on Pinterest.

Feed the Flames

To make my version of this fun candy corn centerpiece, I used our Crate and Barrel vases and our candles from Ikea …

…And added some candy corn I bought at Target to make my interpretation:

I arranged them on our dining room table with a wire pumpkin I found at Michael’s last year for a fun fall table display. They look really nice with our Vera Bradley Yellow Bird placemats.

I’m still not sure I’m crazy about the garland, but I’m going to wait a bit and see if it grows on me. Or I will leave there until I find an alternative that I like better.

So on another note, lately Zoey has been very helpful around the house. She really enjoys redecorating our fall displays. Evidently, our fall leaves are also fun toys. Some of our friends came for a visit recently and they found a few leaves Zoey sampled from the stairway garland. The other day, I caught her in action.

And to end my short Fall-themed post, if I had smell-o-vision for my blog, it would smell like the delicious apple crisp I made on Monday. So for all you pumpkin spice latte drinkers out there, this is the perfect Fall dessert (other than pumpkin pie) to enjoy with your Fall beverage of choice. For me, it’s a carmel macchiato, because I’ve never been a big pumpkin spice latte drinker. So grab a dish of apple crisp (with vanilla ice cream, of course), curl up with a blanket and your pumpkin spice latte and enjoy the rest of the week!

Fall project rewind

It’s been over a year since we moved into our house and we’ve already tackled a few big projects on our list.

Here is a recap of what we’ve accomplished:

1. Staining the stairs and railing
2. The kitchen island
3. Painting accent walls in the office and dining room

Not to mention all the painting we did before we moved in. Or all the smaller projects we’ve done. One thing that I’ve learned is that regardless of whether your house is one or 100, there are always projects to do. But I’m loving every minute of it. One of my favorite home improvement projects that we’ve done to date is the staining project on our railing and stairs. While we were building our house, we participated in the builder’s sweat equity program. Since we painted the entire house, they took some money off of the final cost. Nice deal, right? Well, it was a lot of painting. One thing we negotiated after seeing the quality of the wood spindles they were putting in, is that we would wait until after we moved in to paint them. This would allow us to stain them instead of painting them the standard white like the trim.  Because the wood was in good shape, it seemed like a shame just to paint it white… so we didn’t! Instead, we stained it a beautiful cherry!

When we first moved in, the wood looked like this:

We moved into the house in the summer and between the hot weather, getting married and our honeymoon there wasn’t much time for house projects. I also spent a great deal of time outside in the front yard planting flowers to boost our curb appeal. Once October came, it finally cooled down enough to work inside with the windows open. And that’s when we got our stain on.

Instead of doing the traditional three-step stain process, we tried the PolyShades from Minwax. Although it was fewer steps, it was more like painting and less like staining. This isn’t as easy as it sounds when you are staining spindles. The stain dries faster than you can get it all on there. You have to work a little faster to get the stain on without creating light and dark spots. Because you do not wipe the stain off after you apply, there isn’t much room for error. But all in all, it turned out pretty well and the stairs and railing look great.

We started the project by sanding the wood (my job) and the pre-stain. Here is my beautiful sanding job on the downstairs railing by the kitchen.

And here’s BJ starting the pre-stain.

After the pre-stain dried, we applied the PolyShades. The main difference between PolyShades and traditional stain is that PolyShades is polyurethane and stain mixed together. You only need one coat of the top coat to finish! No sealing required.

Now the only thing left to do is fill in the nail holes! Because they are not really noticeable, we’ve been filling them in as we have time. I finished the railing by the kitchen, so now we just need to finish the upstairs railing.

It’s been almost a year since we stained the stairs and railing and I’m still so pleased with how it turned out!

As I mentioned in the last post, up next is painting the accent wall in the kitchen and living room and crown molding!

Fall is on its way!

It’s starting to feel like fall again! The weather is back in the 70s, college football season is among us, pumpkin lattes are being served and the leaves are starting to turn a little less green. It’s time for football games, sweatshirts and hot chocolate.

Fall officially begins on September 23 this year, but today certainly felt like autumn weather to me! It was a gorgeous 65-70 degrees!

The forecast for this week is going to be awesome! Only getting into the 80s one day (courtesy of weather.com):

If you search for “Fall” on Pinterest, the boards are literally buzzing with inspiration for home decor, fashion, photography and more. I love it! Fall is one of my favorite color palettes with the deep oranges, reds and yellows!

To help celebrate the coming of Autumn, I changed the scents in our wallflowers to fall scents and I started decorating for the chiller months.

Since it’s not officially Fall yet, I decided to only get out a few of my autumn decorations. I still have more stored away in our spare bedroom closet and I will continue to bring them out over the next few weeks. I didn’t want to go to crazy this weekend. After all, I’m one of those people that complains about retail stores decorating for Christmas before Halloween.

Thanks to a long holiday weekend (Happy Labor Day everyone 🙂 ) I had some time to work on projects and get the house cleaned up for friends and family that will be visiting us later this month. On Saturday, I picked up some square frames for a project I’ve been wanting to do for years, but just never got around to it. I’ve had some fabric remnants siting around and I thought it would be great to use them as wall decorations. This weekend, I finally completed my project!
If you’re interested in doing this project, you will need four square frames, four fabric remnants and scissors.
From the fabric remnants, I chose four pieces that I liked and cut them to fit the frames. Pretty easy!
The finished product turned out bright and colorful:
I chose the bright colors to go against the purple wall in my office. Later this evening, we are going to hang the Ikea shelves in my office. I’m excited! Once we get them up and I get everything organized on them, I will post with pictures of the finished project. More to come soon!