5 Favorites (vol. 1)

I just HAD to join in the 5 favorites fun over at Moxie Wife this week. {This should not to be confused with the 5 things that Jane and Rose still owe us…} Just as the world is better off knowing about Claire’s storied political career, the world really needs to know what 5 frivolous things are currently making my materialistic heart pitter-patter.

1. I know I said that yellow wouldn’t work in my living room for my chair reupholstery project, but I just can’t get it can’t get it out of my head.  Pinterest isn’t helping.

Aren’t they beautiful???  What do you think?

2.  Speaking of colors, this one is on my toes:

Essie Geranium

Too bad no one sees it because it’s basically winter still.  Ugh.

3. Another thing that hasn’t seen the light of day since I bought them a few weeks ago…

Thank you Gap Friends and Family sale (40% off!) and oodles of hoarded rewards points.  Now I am sufficiently trendy for the spring and summer, IF IT EVER COMES!

4.  Mint skinnies leads me to Laura of This Felicitous Life.  I’m loving her series on style and the stay-at-home-mom.  Clearly it’s something that I obsess think about very often.  I love her funny/real take on this all-important issue!  Oh, and I love her wordpress blog design.  Stylish mom-minds think alike!


Mad Men.  This Sunday.  Dave and I are so crazy excited about this!

Check out the other fab five favs at Moxie Wife!

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?

The Pinterest Post!

Finally! Okay, so when I actually looked at my pins, it turns out I pinned a bunch of things in my head rather than on my board, but I do have a handful of finished projects to show for the past two years of pinning. In no particular order…

1. Margot’s Play Kitchen:
I have to state first of all that I found, pinned, and completed this idea BEFORE John and Sherry made one for their daughter. I think they found my Pinterest page and copied me, actually.
The idea here was to take an old piece of furniture and transform it with some paint and fabric into a little play kitchen. I thought it sounded like fun and would look nicer than the plastic version, and Paul was on board for the construction part, so we went for it. Here is one of the inspiration photos I pinned:
And here is the finished product we presented to Margot on her 2nd birthday, which was three weeks after her sister Ruthie was born, and three weeks and 4 days after we moved into our new house. Yes, we are crazy, but I think it did me good to have a project to inspire me, and Ruthie was an easy-peasy baby so she made it actually possible. Paul helped a lot, too.

I didn’t end up with the shade of blue I really wanted, but I was in a time crunch, so oh well. Mimi provided the coordinating Melissa and Doug pots and pans, and Ruthie now really enjoys presenting us with frying pans full of plastic food which we are obliged to taste and then spit out while proclaiming it “too hot!”

Margot kind of never played with it. Wop wop.

2. Painted Stairs!

When we moved in, our lovely eighties raised ranch had wall-to-wall carpeting (sometimes more than one layer!) in every room but the kitchen and bathrooms. Knowing that wood floors were a long way off, budget wise, we have compromised as best we can so far in a variety of ways, based on the direness of the carpet in any given area. Area #1 that HAD to be removed immediately was the hallway and staircase, which had a dirty, sticky trail clearly imprinted into it that nothing could clean or cover. So my heroic husband spent the precisely 72 hours after moving in and before I went into labor ripping the carpet off the hallway and stairs and replacing the hall floor with laminate (our temporary solution). The stairs stayed bare for several months while I worked on convincing him that I could paint them and make it look good. I pinned the following inspiration photo:


I pretty much knew that staining the treads wouldn’t work, between the mess and smell and the fact that the stairs were pretty beat up, so I decided to go for porch paint in a very dark espresso that would look almost black, with white risers. It was time-consuming (pull out tacks and nails, fill holes, sand, paint and dry x 3 coats, seal and dry x three coats, and repeat for risers!) but I was able to sneak in a step or two every day while the kids were napping (and even while they were awake, since I was in the middle of the action but protected by gates) and now, months later, the paint has held up very well — no chips or scratches to report. I’m very happy I took this one on! Here are my own stairs (please note, railings and landing floor, plus wainscoting, to be accomplished in the future…):


3. One more for now, since this is getting long. One of the first ideas I pinned, and also the easiest project (with Ellen’s help) was the display of embroidery hoops over Ruthie’s crib. Here’s the inspiration I pinned:

crib wall 3 small

For Ruthie’s version, I made a little sample of the wall color and brought it to the fabric store with me, and Ellen helped me pick out some fat squares of fabric that coordinated with the wall color. Then I bought some hoops of various sizes, went home and figured out which ones should go in which hoop for the best balance and impact, popped the fabric in the hoops and arranged the hoops over Ruthie crib. Voila! I decided to decorate a big “R” for her as well, and used a sheet of scrapbooking paper and mixed a shade of yellow for the sides. Here’s the final product:


I wish my photos were better quality, but you get the gist. Let’s just say everything looks better in person, just take my word for it. 🙂

How about you all – any Pinterest projects come to fruition in your homes?

Unoriginal as ever.

I really and truly had plans for more inspired and inspiring blogging this week, but I’ve been in a physical and mental funk lately, made worse by the fact that I have not been able to leave the house (apart from walking to Mass on Sunday) in more than 4 days.

So!  I decided to jump on Ana’s bandwagon and share my very unoriginal craft/alteration project.  Now Ana, I know you made it quite clear that it did not have to be Valentine’s Day related, but you see, I’m a bit of a holiday fanatic, and I miss using my preschool class and classroom as an outlet for my outrageous holiday fervor.  You’re welcome, blog.

So here it is:

Felt Heart Applique Elbow Patch Cardigan.  Whew!

Felt Heart Applique Elbow Patch Cardigan. Whew!

Several MILLION versions of this project can be found on pinterest.  I specifically remember Misty doing this on her old blog last year… Anywho, being the sucker I am for all things holiday themed,  and since I already had an old gray Target cardigan and red felt lying around (I would!),I felt called to give it a whirl.


Whoa there. Is that blanket stitch with contrasting pink embroidery floss?? Yes it is.


SK, after distracting herself for 2 minutes by utterly destroying the living room, came up to let me know what she thought of this silly project.




Be done already!!!!!


Mom bought herself another 2 minutes with the graham cracker…


But then she had to kick it up a notch with dried fruit and the jumping contraption.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADone!  Aren’t they cute??

Mom of the year.

Mom of the year.


{phfr} Bedroom Edition

I was so excited to take on Auntie Leila’s challenge to “pretty up and clean out” my bedroom this week!  Back when I was nesting (and productive for the first time ever in my life), I read all of Auntie Leila’s posts about the reasonably clean home.  First of all, can I just say how much I love that phrase, reasonably clean home?  It’s so perfect.  I’m not the most meticulous housekeeper and I actually don’t feel comfortable and happy in super clean, super organized, super sterile environments.  I need a little comfy chaos!  But my relaxed attitude often gets the better of me and I find myself stressing out about the mountains of to-dos that I have let pile up. But reasonably clean?  I can do that!

Anyway, back to the genius of Auntie Leila.  In her reasonably clean house posts, she suggests to start cleaning projects in your bedroom.  I found myself very inspired by the idea of showing love for your husband and reverence for your marriage by not letting your bedroom become the armpit of your home.  Just that thought helps me to hop to it in the morning (most mornings) and simply make my bed!

So, thank you, Auntie Leila for your inspiration and for this challenge!  Here are snapshots of my pretty, happy, funny, real bedroom.


We don’t have a very big bedroom, but I love it.  I really don’t know what people do with cavernous HGTV-approved master suites!  Do they have parties to use their seating area and big screen tv?


I’m not happy with the side-by-side dresser situation but it’s necessary and it works. One day, I’ll have a nice bureau with a mirror. One day…

Motivated by the bedroom challenge, I finally made this (very necessary) earring organizer.  Can you believe I’ve had the materials and idea for this project since last winter and I just haven’t gotten around to it?  It was so easy, it took me 20 minutes.  The things I put off, it’s shameful!  I plan on making a necklace organizer next.


Dave and I had a thing for Barry White back when we were dating…………….

I know.

To forever memorialize that time (and to embarrass and confuse our kids when they’re older) Dave had this frame engraved with the lyrics from a classic Barry song.



I clearly have some more jewelery organizing to do!  We also desperately need to refinish this dresser.  More projects to put off, yay!

Check out more pretty, happy, funny, real-ness at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

One Dolla

That’s what this whole craft project cost me! Okay, the felt cost something, but I bought it a long time ago for other projects, so I don’t count that cost since I had it all lying around.All my wallet remembers paying for is the grapevine wreath, which I found at a yard sale for $1. I’ve been wanting to make a wreath like this for a long time, but I’d been stopped by several things:

1. Grapevine wreaths of this size and quality cost about $9 at the craft store.

2. I have a million other house projects and art projects and writing projects and Irish dancing projects that should be taking priority (oh, and kids…get off that chair, Ruthie!)

3. I thought the felt flowers were going to be a lot harder to make.


Ellen might understand this last one best, as she witnessed me trying to help her with paper rosettes for a wreath she was making for Claire.  I totally stunk at it. But guess what, felt is much easier to work with! I used this wreath as inspiration and followed the same tutorials she did (here and here) and it took just a couple of hours and was not frustrating at all (minus burning my fingers on the glue gun, but that’s par for the course).

Now that I know how easy it is to make these, I feel like the possibilities are endless: cute baby headbands, hair clips, pins, gift embellishments, faux bouquets, throw pillows…just so all you McWomen know what you’re getting for Christmas. Oooh, ornaments!