7QT: Homeowner Headaches

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum to share this week’s dramatic novella. Seems like Kelly has had an eventful week too!

1. This week has been one of those homeowner headache weeks.  Last weekend, it seemed like our washing machine, which we bought used and refurbished 4 years ago, had finally kicked the can, because every time I did a wash, the floor in front of the washer and dryer was a big puddle.  We played around with it a bit; Dave made sure the washing machine was level, since the floor is very much not, but that didn’t seem to help.  Every time we went downstairs there was more water. We were pretty sure it was the washing machine’s fault.  We looked behind the machines to try to find the leak and while there was some water on the walls, it was mostly on the floor.  We pulled the machine out a bit and from how much it sloshed when we did that we concluded it must be the machine.

2.  By Monday, we decided that it must be broken, so we decided to bite the bullet and buy a new washer and a dryer while we were at it since it was only a matter of time before the dryer went too, right?  That’s when we discovered that there’s no middle of the line when it comes to washers and dryers.  There’s bottom of the line and top of the line; bottom of the line is expensive and top of the line is outrageous.  We ordered this bottom-ish washer and the dryer that goes with it, but it was only after we ordered it that I read the reviews.  “Do not buy this washing machine!” “This machine doesn’t get your clothes clean.” Blerg.

3. Immediately, I had buyers remorse and told Dave we should probably cancel the order and do more research.  Dave just wanted to fix the problem and was irritated by the fact that he apparently made another problem by buying new machines.  My sister Jane talked me off the ledge by telling me that all these new energy efficient washers do a crappy job washing because they don’t use enough water.  Ordinarily, I’m 100% on board with new shiny things, but now I was mourning the loss of my ancient Whirlpool with the old fashioned agitator and inefficient water usage.  At least my clothes were always clean!

4. On Tuesday, I wanted to use the treadmill which is right next to the washer and dryer.  I texted Dave at work and asked him if it was dangerous to use the treadmill what with the puddles always seeping out.  He said no as long as there wasn’t water near the treadmill plug.


Never mind.

5. Wednesday: it’s still leaking and I’m still second guessing our washer and dryer order.  And I’m freaking the freak out.  Mystery leaks make me paranoid and panicy.  I blame Dave for making me watch Holmes on Homes with him.

6.  Yesterday I went downstairs to find this.


I don’t know why this picture is coming out sideways in the final post. I guess it figures though, right?

Oh come on! It can’t be the washing machine, I haven’t used it since last weekend!  Last night we pulled it all the way out and mopped up all the water and then waited.  We came back down a couple hours later and there was more water where the washing machine used to be, but where was it coming from?  Dave tried turning the valve off that goes to our hose outside, and then we went to bed.  We woke up this morning and it’s dry.

7. I’m still skeptical.  But at least this means our washing machine is off the hook and we don’t have to spend an outrageous amount of money for crappy new machines.  Is the saga of the mystery leak over?  Let’s hope so, but I’m not counting on it!

7QT: Blog Angst, Goals and Some Happenings

Here’s hoping that hopping on the 7 Quick Takes train will help me out of my blogging rut!

1. I’ve started and thrown out several posts over the past few weeks.  I lost my groove! First I tried to write about my quest for cute summer sandals, but the quest came to an abrupt end when I succumbed to the siren call of Target’s shoe department.


Gus is unimpressed.

They’re cute, I like them.  I just always do this.  I cave for the cheapest, easiest buy because the nicer, better made and probably more comfortable pair is so much more expensive! No doubt I will pine over this pair for the rest of the summer. But I made my choice. (Aren’t you glad I saved you all from a post full of this nonsense?)

2. I thought about and even started writing a What I Wore Sunday post about how more often than not, my Mass outfits are not nursing friendly because I’m a heartless mom because Sundays are the only days that I have an excuse to get dressed up nicely and it’s only for an hour, so I don’t see what the big deal is.  And then I decided that, indeed, it is not a big deal, so I trashed that post!

3. I guess I’m having a bit of a blogging existential crisis.

Moving on!

4. Last week was Dave’s birthday, and I made him this cheesecake.IMG_4247

I don’t know which good deed earned me best wife award: making the cake or selflessly leaving the last piece for him.  Anyway, I dun good.

5. The month of May so far has been positively magical.  The garden is thriving, my lilacs are starting to bloom and we’re all beginning to shed our pale ghostly gray complexions and don our summer glows.IMG_4219 IMG_4244IMG_4234 IMG_4261_2

Or, in my case, my first sunspots on my forehead.  Hello sunspots, you go well with my prescription sunglasses and forehead creases. 😉

6. This month I set a fitness goal for myself: run 40 miles in the month of May.  I got my 10 miles done in this first week, so I’m feeling optimistic that I can hit my 40 mile goal.  I’d been plateauing a bit with running because my hamstrings have been killing me. I think my lower back is a mess in general and that’s making my hamstrings tight, but I also have never been the best at stretching, so this week I really focused on stretching after running. I also started drinking coconut water again, since it helped my leg cramps and soreness significantly at the end of my pregnancy last year.  Anyway, if any of you seasoned runners/fit people have any tips about stretches, etc., please let me know! I’m a complete hack at this running thing.

7. What I really need to do is set some housekeeping goals for myself! Gus is almost a year old, which means I don’t really have an excuse any more, huh? I mean, I figured once Gus was sleeping through the night, then I could really get my rear in gear and tackle more than the basics.  Are you laughing yet? Have you figured out the punchline? Gus isn’t sleeping through the night. And the rare nights he does sleep all night, Sara wakes up screaming about losing Minnie or her blankets.  As Jenny brilliantly wrote last week, when it comes to sleep training, there are no victors.  Har har.

Anyway, don’t pity me, I’m not dying from lack of sleep. But I might die from lack of dusting in my bedroom.  Oy! I finally deep cleaned my bedroom this morning and it. was. shameful.  No more! Once a month (hey, maybe the Saturday that I go to confession since I actually have stuck to that New Year’s resolution!) I need to dust and swiffer the bedrooms.  No more neglecting the upstairs since nobody sees it. As the internet is my witness, the dustbunnies will never get that bad again!

Happy Mother’s Day weekend, everyone! And don’t forget to click back to Kelly’s place for more Quick Takes!


Nursery Reveal

“So, whatcha doing this week, Ellen?”

Oh I don’t know, just having a BABY.

Our buddy’s eviction date is set for this Friday, so that means I have t-3 days left of being pregnant.  And I’ve been such a good girl this time around that I’m just letting myself be pregnant and eat ice cream sandwiches and pop tarts when I feel like it.  People, I’ve been craving pop tarts for almost the entire pregnancy and I only just caved and bought a box yesterday.  That’s self control!

It’s high time I showed you his nursery in all it’s (mostly finished) glory, huh?  I also have a mostly finished kitchen to show you as well, but I have all week, so patience y’all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWay back in the awful never ending winter, I looked for boy nursery inspiration on pinterest and I was so taken by this nursery with the blue gingham curtains.  I just had to have them!  I’m also a big fan of crib skirts because then I can stash sleeves of diapers and other stuff under the crib and nobody’s the wiser.  So I picked up enough fabric (way more than enough fabric because I’m really bad at measurements) at Ikea for both curtains and skirt.  I also picked up this play rug at Ikea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThus solidifying (along with the awesome lamp on loan from cousin Jude!) the nursery’s unofficial and vague theme of vehicles.  Also, blue and green.  I know it seems to be too small for the space, but ultimately, the nursing chair will go back into the room so all that will be visible on the floor after that will be the rug.  I was pretty excited when I got the idea to use the car rug for the nursery because 1. it was super cheap ($13!) and 2. It will be played with by more than one kid.  SK is already a big fan!


Here’s a better shot of the crib and the picture above the crib.  I know it just looks like a cute watercolor of an elephant pushing a rock, but it’s actually way cooler and nerdier than that.  It adorably illustrates Newton’s 3 laws of motion.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this Etsy listing.   Our friend Pat bought it for SK back in the day.  He’s an engineer and Dave’s a physicist so they both thought it was coolest thing ever.  It’s pretty fun, isn’t it?

I have to brag that I got the bumpers at Savers for $3!! I had very girlie bumpers for SK so I knew I needed to get new ones for this baby.  Is it gross that I got them used?  They’re nice Carter bumpers and they were in good condition and I washed and dried them on really high heat.  Whatever, I’m proud of my occasional thriftiness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I totally have to eat my words in a former post when I complained that chevron stresses me out.  It’s still not my favorite, but I really wanted a changing pad cover this time around and this one was inexpensive on Amazon.  It does clash a bit with the curtains, but I liked how the gray went with the gray of the mobile clouds.  To the left of the changing station…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I actually have his name up there too in stainless steel cookie cutter letters, but I took it down for the picture so it can remain a surprise for some of you. 🙂 I’m not done decorating the shelf; I’d like one or both of his patron saints represented up there.  Spoiler alert: St. Joe up there is not one of this namesakes, but I like him a lot and want my son to be like him, so his presence on the shelf is very much welcome.  I think my favorite part of the whole nursery is that sweet pennant.  I whipped it up last night and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Turning around on the other side of the room…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI kept up the curtain with the ball fringe because it works color-wise.  And because, ball-fringe! The fun tire mirror is another loaner from Jude.  And yes, little brother’s closet is filled with his big sister’s clothes still.  He might as well get used it it.  And speaking of SK…


I’m pretty sure she’s telling me “It’s mies bed.” She’s still a little possessive of her former crib, but she does love her new room and big girl bed.  And she still owns the closet in this room, so she kinda wins. 😉

So there it is!  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I purposely made things simpler in the nursery this time around.  It’s such a small room that too much stuff just makes for clutter and mess and stress. I’m no minimalist by any stretch, but I’m starting to see the benefit of paring down all the stuff.  [For comparison, here’s SK’s nursery.]

I really will try to get a kitchen post up this week!  Please keep me and my littlest kiddo in your prayers this week too?


SK’s Nursery That Was

Apologies to our 5 readers for the blog-silence in recent weeks.  We have been pretty busy around here lately, but really I haven’t been blogging because I’m so pregnant and I don’t want to subject you all to my 24/7 train of emotions.  Besides, everyone else writes so eloquently about pregnancy and motherhood and waiting and pregnancy essentials and labor tips all that stuff.  I literally have nothing to say about anything, so…  I won’t.

Instead, before the world has turned a little more and completely shut the door on my first baby’s babyhood, I thought I’d do a little post about Sara’s nursery that was.  It’s now almost completely transformed into a little dude’s room for baby brother who, of course, will not use it until a few months down the road but preggo mama gots ta nest!  Once it’s done, I’ll share it with you but for now won’t you take a long, rambly, picture-heavy walk down memory lane with me?

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100We start with the basics, and very poor picture quality, of course.  Our nursery is our very tiny third bedroom which could only be a nursery or an office.  Pretty much all we could fit in it was the crib, chair, dresser and tiny rug.  From here I picked up some fabric for a crib skirt and curtain…

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

And I made a mobile based on this pin.  I really like how it turned out and it has added sentimental value because one of the doilies I used was crotched by my late Grandma Ross.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100The room filled up pretty quickly after that.  I tried to stick to a pink and green theme, but I’m not a big color coordinated theme-y person so it’s not perfect.  But I liked it. 🙂

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

The tissue paper poofs are so fun, but they didn’t stay for long. Dave is too tall and the ceiling is too low for things like that. Plus, it really make the room feel a little smaller, unfortunately.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

I’m a sucker for ball fringe.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Rose did this with grandparent pictures in Margot’s nursery and I loved it, so I copied it. SK loves saying goodnight to her grandparents  every night, so I’m moving them to her new big girl room so she can keep it up.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100SK loved her room too!  I remember excitedly putting the nursery together but having novice mom fears that she would never sleep in it. Luckily we never had a problem; hopefully her brother takes after her in that respect!



Lenten Round-Up

The internets have been all a-buzz with Lenten posts for our sacrificial benefit.  I thought I’d list a few of the posts that have really helped narrow down my intentions for this Lent, if for no other reason than to have them all linked and listed for future Ellen’s benefit.

Bonnie’s v-log about spring cleaning during Lent was a monumental find for me.  Why have I never thought of that before?  The housekeeping side of my vocation is the side that is often woefully neglected.  I’ve often thought that if this was my real job and I was paid for this, etc., I would be the most dismal employee of all time.  I just let other things get in the way and I’m too easygoing on myself and the state of my house. To go along with this Lenten goal of mine, I’m going to finally read that book I won in the fall on Emily’s blog, Keeping House.  Ordinarily, I’d been too embarrassed to admit to the whole internet that I haven’t even cracked the book that Emily so selflessly shared with me, but in this case I had a valid excuse.  I was very newly pregnant and for a month and a half, the house justifiably took a back seat to growing a baby and watching a toddler and trying not to throw-up.  Reading a book about keeping house while I just could not keep house was too depressing.  Anyway, I’m going to read it now!

Hot off the blog reader, Auntie Leila just posted about Lent and her second suggestion aligns very well with Bonnie’s v-log.  Just do your duty to your house, woman!

On a practical note, Rosie’s post with 25 meatless meals for Lent is very helpful.  I’m excited to try all of the soups she has on the list, and by try, I mean eat.  Does anyone else find it really frustrating how messy and involved making soup is?  It’s so tricksy, you have this picture in your mind of a big pot of soup bubbling away on the stove and the wife peacefully tending to everything else in the house and just checking on the soup periodically.  But in reality, soup is so freaking annoying to make!  Maybe my recipes are too complicated?

Dwija’s post on Lent for Pregnant People  has good tips for ladies like me who are in the family way.  I think the best thing I can and should do during this pregnancy is to not fret and complain about my weight gain and swelling.  Every time I feel a whine surging up, I’m going to try my darndest to choke it down and say a prayer of thanksgiving for my baby boy and my (so-far) healthy pregnancy.  By Easter, I’ll be 30 weeks so I’m going to be a lot bigger and more uncomfortable by then, with 10 weeks of growth and swelling to go after that!  Time to check the pregnancy whines.

Going along with being more of an adult about pregnancy weight gain and the body changes involved with motherhood, I really loved this article written by Michelle Duggar.  It has nothing to do with Lent but it really spoke to me and my specific struggles with body image and motherhood.

Finally, I loved Christy’s Lenten thoughts that she posted last week.  I loved how she cracked open that simple (but difficult) truth about Lent: that it’s not about what you can and should accomplish, but rather about what the work that the Lord does in our souls.

Now, go forth and eat some cake while ye can!

All Souls

The other day while driving, I caught the tail end of a story on NPR about a website that can help you find out whether anyone has ever died in your house.  The gentleman being interviewed basically said that this is valuable information to have, especially before buying a house because no one wants to buy a house that someone has died in!

I thought this was kind of silly.  If you live in an older house, it’s kind of a given, right? I think the bigger issue here is secular society’s refusal to face mortality. Everyone is scared of aging.  Physical suffering is seen as the worst evil, because suffering points to one thing… that thing we’re all scared of.  Dying.  So why would anyone want to be reminded of death in their own home?  It’s unheard of!  Homes are for living in! None of this terrible dying stuff.

Isn’t it funny that a secular mentality that refuses to admit the reality of suffering and death and embraces material goods, health, good looks, food… this mentality often leads to fear and profound sadness when reality comes knocking?  Meanwhile, as Catholics, we’re called to face there reality of sin, of mortality, and of death.  That seems like such a downer, right? But it’s not!  Facing the reality of mortality allows us to celebrate the blessings of life all the more!

Dave and I are less than a week away from officially buying our house.  And we know for a fact that at least two people have died in this house (probably more).  And we also know that at least one person (probably more) was born in this house.

When we moved here two years ago, we were greeted by our neighbors and landlords, Mr and Mrs. A.  Mr. A was a really intense and rather nosy landlord.  It was kind of overwhelming at first when we first moved, because he would knock on the door several times a day to bring some minor issue to our attention.  But it wasn’t long before we realized that Mr. A just took enormous pride in his house.  He was born in the house 80 years before.  He grew up here, brought his bride Mrs. A home here and they raised their two kids here.  He lived on one side and his parents lived on the other side.  Eventually, his son and his son’s wife and little daughter lived on the grandparent’s side (our side).  Mr. A took meticulous care of the outside of the house and tended to all of repairs himself.  Mrs. A was the most fastidious homemaker I had ever seen.  She was up at the crack of dawn and she had finished all of her housework by 8 am.  Her place always sparkled!

Mr. A left us very suddenly right before Christmas, only 5 months after we moved in.  He had been outside cleaning the gutters and he collapsed with a major heart attack.  As shocking and sudden as his death was, it was definitely the way he would have wanted to leave the earth.  He was doing what he loved; taking care of the house.

Mrs. A was so sad and depressed about Mr. A’s death.  She had always taken such good care of Mr. A and his house, and he had taken care of everything else.  She didn’t know what to do without him.  Her two grown children rallied around her and her grandkids were always here to cheer her, but her heart was elsewhere.  Only 10 months after Mr. A’s death, Mrs. A was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and only a few weeks later (exactly a year ago) Mrs. A went to join Mr. A.  She had been in the hospital for most of October, but she was able to come home with hospice care right before she died.

I have never felt spooked thinking of Mr. and Mrs. A living and dying in this house. They were wonderful people and they lived full lives here.  In fact, I feel grateful for having known the people who owned the house we’re about to buy.  I truly feel like it’s a benediction on our family.  I will forever be inspired by Mrs. A’s dedication to the vocation of wife, mother and homemaker. And I know that Dave will always think of Mr A and his obsessive care and attention he lavished on this house.

Listening to that NPR story and thinking of our own house reminded me of a quote from Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery:

When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding and a death.“—Marilla to Mrs. Lynde on Anne’s wedding day.  

I’m so glad our house has been consecrated by a birth and death.  I don’t know about a wedding, but there have definitely been brides here and families started.  This is the house that we brought our baby back to, so it will always be so special to us.

On this All Souls Day, I’m thinking with gratitude about the family and friends who have gone before us, who have consecrated our lives and our homes with their presence.  May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.


Seven Quick Takes: School days!

Joining Jen at Conversion Diary for 7QT. We’ve had a busy week at the Hazzard house, so no shortage of things to write about here:

1) Jude started kindergarten!!!


Here he is modeling his (borrowed!) uniform. I’m the awesome mom who first ordered the wrong size, then ordered the right size way too late to get the uniforms in time for school.

2) McBrother also started school this week! He’s having a good time at Providence, even though the resident hall powers-that-be put all freshmen guys into quads. That’s right: Himself, who has always had his own room, is now sharing with three other guys. It gets better than that, though. Jim’s roommates are three other kids of Irish extraction. Seriously, our McBrother is in with another Mc, a Fitz and an O’Something. I’m going to send him a can of Febreeze and this sign to tape to his door:


3) While Jude was having fun at school (and whistling at inappropriate times, according to one reliable source) the girls and I went furniture shopping and then we got McDonald’s (which we had to keep secret from Jude).

Jackie and Carmela try out our new sofa.

Jackie and Carmela try out some seating options.

4) The furniture shopping was one of the final components of the Great Family Room Makeover of 2013. Behold:





There are still a few things to do, including nailing in the quarter round around the base board and putting the shelves and doors onto the bookcases, but it’s 3/4 of the way done.

5) The painting and floors were only part of the makeover. Check out what the room looked like when we moved in last year:


The above picture was taken in the early morning and as you can see, the room was completely paneled and very, very dark because instead of the sliding glass door shown above, it had a small double window that looked out onto a screen-in porch. We painted the paneling to lighten it up but because of the porch, the room got little direct sunlight. This spring, we (by which I mean NOT me) tore the porch down and replaced the double window with the sliders. We also moved the washer and dryer hookups into a closet in the back of the room. It’s a wonderful difference and we’re very fortunate to be able to make these changes. I’m hoping we can make some positive changes to the kitchen sometime in the next year. The previous owners were really big fans of oak.

6) Our Jackie starts preschool next week! If you haven’t already, you should read Ellen’s post on preschool from last week. We decided to send Jude to preschool because he was (and is) a really social kid. He’s always looking for someone to talk to or play with. He’s got a great imagination and is very precocious. He spoke in full sentences shortly after turning one and never seemed to stop. This drove (drives) me nuts. DJ and I decided the best thing for Jude and for me would be to enroll him in PreK two days a week when he turned three.

Jude's first day of PreK 3.

Jude’s first day of PreK 3.

If Jackie had been first, we probably would have skipped the first year of preschool. She’s pretty content to stay home and color or play with her dolls. The only person she really wants to hang out with is her cousin Margot. However, because she’s seen Jude going off to school for three years in a row, she now expects to go to school so she’ll be starting next Tuesday.

7) Here is a picture of my kids watching the iPad, because that’s the sort of Mom I am:


Hope you all have a good weekend!

More Chair Talk

This is several weeks late, but I’m happy to report that I do have a smidge of progress in the land of hypothetical chair reupholstery!  Whew, say that 5 times fast!

I actually went out on a limb and e-mailed the unparalleled Auntie Leila to see if she had any suggestions for places to look for nice, inexpensive home decor fabrics in the Boston area.  She very promptly replied with very helpful suggestions and the next weekend I checked out one of the places she suggested: The Fabric Place Basement.

I’ll start with the name of this fine establishment.  Dave was mighty critical when we pulled up.  “Why isn’t it just The Fabric Place or The Fabric Basement?  Why The Fabric Place Basement?”  Well, I can now report, the name fits!  This place was huge and filled with fabric, notions, yarn, etc.  It was quite overwhelming!  Oh, and it was in a basement.  A huge warehouse basement, to be exact.

Anyway, when I finally oriented myself and found the home decor fabrics, my eyes had a little feast 🙂  IMG_0860IMG_0859IMG_0857

Some of these fabrics were expensive (ie, $30-$40 a yard) but there was a heck of a lot of options that  were in my $20 and under budget.  Now that I’ve checked out the options and know what’s available to me, I need to settle on what I’m looking for in the color and pattern department.  I love love love that yellow ikat, but I don’t think yellow would work in our living room at. all. I think a dusky red hue  would look nice, like this fabric:


This fabric reminded me of a chest that I saw at an antique store last year.  I took a picture, I loved it that much.


Then again, the practical side of me screams “Go simpler! Neutral colors! Simple stripes!”


Maybe I need to pick up some swatches to play pretend with?  What think ye? Your input is greatly appreciated! 🙂

Chair Talk in Hypothetical Land

It’s time to do something about this chair.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

I found it on Craigslist last year for $50 and it’s always been my intention to reupholster it eventually.  Well, eventually has finally come and this chair is driving me nuts!

Do you ever have the experience of knowing exactly how you would do something, in hypothetical land?  But when it’s showtime and you actually have a wedding to plan, a house to decorate or a chair to re-uphoster, you’re paralyzed with fear and indecision?  That’s me, right now.  I really like a good statement chair, in theory… like these:

Isn’t she a beaut?


Red ikat… so trendy!

And speaking of trendy, the ubiquitous moroccan print:

Part of me wants a trendy, fun statement chair.  But then there’s the conservative, traditional (boring?) side of me that is always telling me to tone it down and play it safe.  It’s that safe side of me that can’t resist a traditional stripe:

I love how you can liven up a simple stripe with a fun patterned pillow.

And then, of course, there’s the headache of picking the perfect color!  My living room isn’t perfectly color coordinated, because I don’t have the money to pull that off.  I have a neutral off-white couch with blue and red-ish pillows and I have silvery-blue curtains.  And the wood!  I have a chipping old, ugly, hand-me-down side table and a spray-painted black coffee table that I’ve covered with cushions and pushed in the corner for more seating.  The wood legs and arms of the chair are pretty rough and Dave is itching to spray paint them, but what color?  Is black to harsh?  Is white too fruity?

And the rug!  On the one hand, I love my living room rug because it was given to us by Rose and it’s classy and traditional.  But it really doesn’t go with anything.  I’m afraid once we finish the chair, the rug is going to really stick out in a bad way and we can’t afford/can’t justify the purchase of a new rug.   We rent this place, and I don’t know how long we’re going to be here, so I don’t want to sink money into the decor when we might move next year and the new rug we bought just to fit this place doesn’t fit in the hypothetical new place.  (Hey, I can dream, can’t I???)

So, what do you think McSisters and McReaders?  Should I go trendy or stay traditional?  Any color suggestions? What to do with the rug? Has anyone been through this before and has tips for how to rock the process?