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Fixin’ Up the Kitchen

I painted the kitchen!


Not sure if you remember what it looked like before…but the walls and ceiling (like in every other room of the house) were a very yellowy beige. A grossly glossy yellowy beige.

I’ve been desperate to paint since we moved in, but we’re taking it slow because
1. Painting all 1600+ square feet of our home is getting expensive
2. It’s hard work. Especially the ceilings.

And I’m so glad this is done! Only the half bath, Justin’s office, the living room and the dining room to go…oh dear.

Anyway. More pictures.


This window lets in so much light and give me lots of space for my plants and bottles (don’t judge me).



The travertine backsplash is kinda traditional, but the long, rectangular shape of the tiles makes it feel casual and clean.


So this post totally doesn’t help explain the layout, but this shot was taken from the dining room as you enter the kitchen and looks through to the living room.

Hopefully I’ll do a house tour sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

The colors are: Indulgent Mocha on the walls and Swiss Coffee on the ceiling. I still need to reprint the trim and baseboards – those will be pure white. We use Behr low vac paint in non- glossy finishes. Like eggshell. I’m so over glossy walls ๐Ÿ˜‰

We’re also finishing up the guest room and full bath. So there’s more to come!

Painting Over Paint

Yesterday, I gave a peek at the progress we’ve made in the guest room, including this door:


Again, sorry for the lame iPhone picture…

Believe it or not, this door used to look like this:

photo 1What color green is that, exactly?

Olive? Chartreuse? Puke?

And there were several, several layers of other colors under that one, too.


Again, the danger of owning a home as old as ours is that we don’t know what type of paint was used on this. The good news is, this is the only painted door original to the home. The other beauties are all wood and all naked. So I was careful to not sand off too much of the mystery paint and thus avoided getting any of it in my lungs.

Paranoid much? Maybe ๐Ÿ˜‰

But I’m getting ahead of myself! First things first.

1) Remove the hardware – i.e. hinges, door knobs, latches, etc. Our doors all have glass knobs, which are held in place by brass plates, so I pried those suckers off with a screw driver (carefully, since I didn’t want to bend or scratch the things).

2) Grab a high-grit sanding block andย go to townย gently. You don’t need to sand off much of the existing surface – just enough to rough it up.

I didn’t take pictures of this step. I apologize. I’ll do better next time!

3) Make your paint. This is so easy, so have no fear.

And don’t go spending money on the brand name stuff, either…unless you want the soft wax coating to finish the piece. That I’d recommend. I love Anne Sloan’s. Anyway.

You’ll need:
The interior paint of your choice (this will be your base, and it will determine the color of your chalk paint!)
Hot water
Plaster of Paris

Mix the hot water and Plaster of Paris together first until the plaster has dissolved. Then, stir in the paint. Continue to stir until the ingredients are combined and you’ve reached your desired consistency.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t include any measurements. That’s because a lot of it is based on preference. I like mine thick (I do not like the “rustic” look), soย I used about a 1/2 cup of hot water, 1/2 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1 1/2 cups of paint. This left me withย way more chalk paint than I needed – enough to completely fill a small, rectangular tupperware container (you know, the one deli meat comes in in stores). I still have about 3/4 of the it left. And I painted both sides of the doorย twice.ย I’d recommend halvesing the above recipe.

4) Get painting. Paint the piece completely. Let the paint dry (it doesn’t take too long, maybe 20 minutes…if that). Paint it again. And again, if you want to be super thorough ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s what it looks like when it’s done, but still wet (meaning it’s not ready for the soft wax/polyurethane/whatever you’re finishing it with):

photo 4

5) Finish it with a protective coating. Again, I used Anne Sloan’s soft waxย in clear. It’s useful for protecting the piece from liquids, dust and other minor offenses. I apply it with a rag by rubbin’ it on in small circles. You know, wax on…


6) Put that hardware back on and admire your handy work. If there are any scuffs or scratches (Mine had a weird mark in the paint acquired from the 45 sec walk from the living room to the guest room ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), you can just paint right over it (if you use the wax or no protective coating…I won’t make any promises for how the paint will look over poly, etc)!

Have you used chalk paint? Have tips to share? Post them below!

To the Walls

Hey there!

Last post, I went into the deets about my home office. Now, I wanna talk about what I have up in my gallery wall.




From left to right:

A picture of my Compassion kid (Check out more on Compassion International here)

Aย  California State Park Foundation SOS badge

My first free printableย ๐Ÿ™‚

My Tomales Bay printable

A San Francisco poster I found at a little shop in Sonora, Ca

A new printable!

A vintage map of Twain Harte I found in my grandad’s things

A poster from Anchor Steam in San Francisco

A poster from Rifle Paper Company

And another new printable!

It’s nothing fancy. Just some things I love put up with paper tap and thumbtacks. Feels a little more like home with some of these on the wall ๐Ÿ™‚

On to the printables!



fall2Each is a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald’sย The Great Gatsby about fall! They’re all designed to be 8.5in x 11in full size..but they’d be superย cute framed in a row ๐Ÿ™‚


My Office

I thought I’d give you a peek at what I’ve been working on around my home lately.

Since I work from home now…it seemed appropriate that I have an office set up there. It’s not a large room and I haven’t put a ton of money into it, but it’s my space to do whatever with. And it’s almost done!

Here’s a few pictures:



Blurry – darn! This is from the living room door, one of the two doors into the office. I just had to get the light fixture in there for you – isn’t it beautiful! Justin got it for me for my birthday a few years ago…I think…from Home Depot. I love the true brass finish on it! Not necessarily practical for lighting the entire room, but thats why:

1. I got a lamp ๐Ÿ™‚ from Target

2. I have a window behind my desk

I know it’s all the rage to have your desk face a window, but I’m claustrophobic. And it gives me a great excuse to eventually have some awesome window treatments ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t care what people say, excuses can be pretty useful!

The color on the walls was from the Martha Steward collection, matched to Behr’s low-vac, low-sheen paint at Home Depot. The paint originally on the walls was so glossy and so on the yellow-end-of-beige that I couldn’t wait to get something else up there!

IMG_5284The view from behind the desk…I gotta get those wires under control (from the lamp and the monitor), but one thing at a time ๐Ÿ˜‰

The desk is obviously from Ikea – I had the birch desk and bookshelf (why?!), but we sold it on Craigslist and then bought this beauty-of-a-white-set for $25 out of pocket after our profit.

The bamboo white chair is a vintage Good Will find that I painted. It was only $7!

The lamp is no longer available at Target (similar). I waited and waited for it to go on clearance because I loved the scale, and the hollowness helps it seem like the lamp isn’t totally taking over my deskspace…even though it still kinda does ๐Ÿ˜‰ The thing is huge. The office-supplies-box/Riffle-Paper-wanna-be-box-of-awesome-stuff is also from Target (couldn’t find it online, but it could be in the clearance section of your local store), as are the little jar-thingy on the left and the paper tape (washi tape? whatever). ‘Cause I buy just about everything I own from Target.

The quail is from ย Scout Livingย and I’m in love with it.

True love comes from inanimate objects.

The adorable little box is from a DIY my friend Renee Hong did for the Knotty Brideย – our rings made a special appearance in the post (and my wedding dress in the following DIY post!) so I kept the loot.

The framed lyrics are from the Oh Hello’s loveliness “Like the Dawn” (I cried like a baby when I first listened to it…I think it’s about Adam and Eve). Let me know if I should post it as a printable here!

And that monitor…let’s face it, graphic designers have an issue with back and neck pains. From staring at a 15in. display. All. Day. Long! So my husband grabbed that for me. It’s not retina compatible or anything (I’m so high maintenance), but it really comes in handy when working in multiple programs.

So! What’s left to do?

1. Window treatment. I’m thinking something like this or this or this

2. Hang up some more shesh and add storage to the closet.

3. Replacing the hardwood. We’ll do that when we re-floor the living room and continue said flooring into the office ๐Ÿ™‚

Next I’ll post about what I’ve got up on the walls and a few free fall printables! See you then.

The Look for Less

So. Let’s talk about furniture.

Why is it so freaking expensive!

Oh, come on. You know it is. 3 years ago, I could find a name brand couch on Craigslist for $300. Now, I’m lucky to find one for twice that much!

So I decided to make furniture shopping easier.

Here are some of my favorite accent tables on the market and their CHEAPER counterparts.

Ya, like the Look for Less.

Man, I really enjoyed that TV show back in the day ๐Ÿ˜‰



+ | + | + | + |ย + | + | + | +

Please enjoy – especially the cheaper, ummm, more frugal, options ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t Be Hasty

Ever read The Two Towers? J. R. R. Tolkien is such a genius. He loved forests. And trees. And green things in general. He created an entire plot line in his wonderful trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, around the idea of sustainability. One character, Treebeard the Ent (erm…a giant, walking, talking tree), even herds and protects an ancient forest. He literally fights its assailants in order to defend it.

So let me ask you this: what if trees could physically fight their attacker?

Craziness would ensue.

Anyway, Treebeard insists upon patience. Don’t be hasty is this guys’ motto. It makes sense, too. Trees (in this reality ;)) don’t move around. They grow slowly. And they are felled without protest (of their own making).

Americans, however, have often been described as the opposite of Tolkien’s Treebeard. We are seen as hasty. And irresponsible. Have you ever seen Ken Burns’ documentary about national parks?

My nerd is really showing through in this post.

Anyway. It’s this quote (also used in Burns’ documentary) that’s inspired me today:

โ€œGentlemen, why in heavenโ€™s name this haste? You have time enough. […] Ages and ages lie before you. Why sacrifice the present to the future, fancying that you will be happier when your fields teem with wealth and your cities with people? In Europe we have cities wealthier and more populous than yours, and we are not happy. You dream of your posterity; but your posterity will look back to yours as the golden age, and envy those who first burst into this silent, splendid nature, who first lifted up their axes upon these tall trees, and lined these waters with busy wharves. Why, then, seek to complete in a few decades what the other nations of the world took thousands of years over in the older continents? […] Why, in your hurry to subdue and utilize nature, squander her splendid gifts? […] Why hasten the advent of that threatening day when the vacant spaces of the continent shall all have been filled, and the poverty or discontent of the older States shall find no outlet? You have opportunities such as mankind has never had before, and may never have again. Your work is great and noble; it is done for a future longer and vaster than our conceptions can embrace. Why not make its outlines and beginnings worthy of these destinies, the thought of which gilds your hopes and elevates your purposes?โ€

Lord James Bryce


Man. I’ve been shamed.

The Newlywed Learning Curve (Chapter 1)

I heard the other day that the thing newlyweds fight about most is money. Oh man. Money is a very personal and potentially stressful topic. And two people sharing an income after having managed their finances independently (and probably very differently) can create major tension! JBoat and I have been very lucky to argue only a little about it (so far)…so I thought I’d share a little about what we’ve learned.

1. Share a bank account and a budget. Seriously. I was surprised at first when I heard (married) couples use separate accounts. But then I thought about it. I guess it seems more manageable to just keep doing things your own way, even after you say “I do.” But it won’t be in the long run. Prioritize your spending together, be sure you both agree to and respect a budget. Not only is it a learning experience in compromising, but it’s also a great team building exercise, if you know what I’m saying ๐Ÿ˜‰ it takes two to tango and you’re in this together (or something equally as inspiring and cheesy). Work at it. And stick to it! Hard work and perseverance will pay off. Pun intended ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Sharing a budget means deciding how much to save, give and spend. The first year we were married, this was a rough subject. Not only was a capitol campaign underway at our church, but we were both also supporting Compassion kids and wanting to tithe 10%. And we weren’t sure we’d have money to put away, or how we would stay ahead of J’s student loans. So, we decided we had to prioritize: God first, saving and debt second and then our day to day expenses. And ya, there were lean times. Like, I couldn’t always go out with my girlfriends for dinner and J couldn’t afford regular games of golf. And our date nights consisted of $5 movie nights and coffee runs. We didn’t eat out much.
And it wasn’t the end of the world.
It was actually really fun to come in under budget every month by being creative and cheap ๐Ÿ™‚ And now, we have a nice nest egg and the loans are under control. You’ll only be a poor newlywed for a period in your life. Enjoy the experience!

3. Budget in a weekly date night. Yes! Do it! Then, there’s no pressure over an extra expense. And, you’ll try out a bunch of things you wouldn’t usually do on a date just to meet the budget parameters (at least, that’s what we did)! Driving range visits, happy hour meals, local coffee shops, art walks, state park visits…expand your horizons! And the date night budget when you can ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Live inside your means. I’d like to mention at this point that these aren’t mentioned in any particular order ๐Ÿ™‚ This one’s important. Budget wisely and realistically. Use a cash budget if it helps you keep better track of your spending. Cut corners where you can. Budget for emergencies and extras so you don’t go over on your car’s blown tire or a friend’s wedding gift. Leave yourself some wiggle room for a new pair of shoes. Buy what you need. Debt is a nasty, sneaky thing and a credit card can seem like a no brainer when you’re in a pinch. But use it with discretion. If at all. I use mine for work purchases that I get reimbursed for. J uses it to pay our automated bills (like utilities and tithes) and then reimburses these charges from our checking account. That way, we’re building credit with little overhead. Remember, living within your means now leads to more fun to be had in the future! Hopefully ๐Ÿ˜‰

There you have it, friends. I’m no expert, but these things have definitely come in handy in the past two years. Do you have any budgeting tricks? Share them in the comments!

If You’re Reading This, I Must Still Be Alive

Yes. I’ve survived this week.
I just wrapped up this event:

And it was a blast.
My home is a mess.
My dog mistook another woman for me at the dog park today.
I’ve been working 14+ hour days.
But the event was great. It looked great (thanks for your help, Kindred!), people had a good time and lots of money was raised for a local charity!
I’ll share more when I get the pictures ๐Ÿ™‚
Now, I’m just sitting on my couch with the pup, watching the Vampire Diaries.
Here’s a quick peek, since he’s sooo cute!

Have a wonderful day!

New Things for Spring

Picked up some new things for the home ๐Ÿ™‚

These chevron pillows from Target. They’re now on sale for $17!

These curtains were on sale at World Market. They aren’t as long as the packaging claimed (which may be why they were on sale ;)), so curtain rod needed to rest just above the sliding glass door in order for the curtains to touch the carpet. With the help of some handy hardware from the Home Depot, JBoat made it work!

Installed the Alang ceiling lamp from Ikea in place of the boob light that was in the kitchen. It gives off a nice glow:


Some flowers ๐Ÿ™‚ and the quail are making an appearance for spring!
We also took away the fireplace mantel. I’m trying to figure out how to make it into a floating shelf by removing the base and installing the mantel on some wall brackets. The JB remains!

Also – planted a garden, pruned the hydrangea bushes in the front of the house and lit a Poolside candle from Bath an Body Works ๐Ÿ™‚ smells like summer…and sunscreen. Yes. Sunscreen ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s Up With the Pup?

I have a dog, right?

I think I remember him…from many posts ago.

This cute guy:

2013-03-30 17.24.22

Yes, Coach is still around. I’ve gone quiet about him for a while. Look how he’s grown! Remember when he had the puppy uglys?

Neither do I!

OMG. They grow up so fast.

So here’s the update:

He’s 8 months, approximately 12 lbs.

His coat is finally coming in!

He eats a whole lot of food for a 12 lb dog. Especially if there’s duck in it ๐Ÿ™‚

He sits, plays fetch and takes a leash. But he’s not a super trick-savy pup.

He’s very stubborn. See note above ^

He loves to snuggle. And bark.

He has a blast at the dog park, but is very timid around other dogs. Not many good experiences with them in his past!

He’s my fav!

I would highly recommend the Australian Shepherd breed. Especially the smaller classes. If you don’t have room for a full-sized Aussie to run around, that is.

Or maybe I’m just biased ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously, though. He’s loyal, energetic, smiling constantly, playful…and the older he gets the more he knows when to chill.

You read that right. He relaxes with us!

Woohoo! He’s so grown up!

So, have I sold you on the purchase of your own? ๐Ÿ™‚