Apr 20, 2015

What's Been Going On Around Here

It's high time we had an update around here! 

I hope you're all enjoying a nice spring. It's been a busy one for us so far. My husband and I spent the weekend helping our oldest daughter and her fiancĂ© prime and paint the 
four bedrooms in their new house

We had a lot of fun but, boy, am I pooped today! 

On our home front, things are starting to get back to normal after having the new floors installed. The family room floors are finally done and happily curing. I've decided having floors installed and finished on site is kind of like giving birth; if we women didn't eventually forget the pain, we just might never voluntarily go through it all again. 

But, seriously, we do love our new floors!

There's not much going on outside around here yet. Local wisdom says not to plant your annuals until the snow has melted off of Shafer Butte. Since it keeps melting and snowing again up there, I'm playing it safe and waiting for next month.

 Spring has made a tentative showing indoors, though, with some flowers, a birdhouse, and a favorite ceramic bird.

The photo clipboards above the sofa are sporting some pretty spring art.

Free botanical prints from A Daily Something.

Tucker is back to looking at me like I'm nuts for walking all around the house pointing my camera at everything like I've never seen it all before a million times.  

When I say things are starting to get back to normal at our house, I really mean just starting. My chalkboard is still wearing its winter menu!

I did manage a bit of spring decorating in the dining room, too, though. And we also rearranged the furniture a bit when we moved it back in. We moved this homemade cupboard from the entryway into the dining room where there's room now beside the new table. I always wanted a buffet in the dining room! 

You can see my new green glass candlesticks from World Market peeking over the tray. I fell in love with their pretty sparkly spring green color and they're one of my favorite possessions now, but my taper candles are still packed away! 

 We are enjoying all the room beside our new table, and how we can easily fit six chairs here now. Walking between rooms feels so much better now.

Here's a close-up of the top of our new industrial/rustic/farmhouse table. 

 We ended up finding the perfect affordable sun blocking solution for our south facing window at Lowes with this lined bamboo blind. It even has a narrow black stripe that looks great with our black Windsor chairs.

I also like the way it picks up the other textures in the dining room and how it balances out the visual weight of the buffet and chalkboard on the opposite wall.

The best part is how I can close it part way to block the sun while still enjoying the sheer white cafe curtain below it as it softly billows into the room from the breeze through the open window. I just love curtains billowing in the spring breeze!

Did you notice the empty corner cabinet and the glimpse of our bare hutch in the next room?

Bare as can be! And the poor orchid all alone there on our old dining room table as it sits waiting for its new home at our daughter's house. If I didn't love the lack of clutter so much just now, I might be a little embarrassed to show you I haven't unpacked yet.

And the living room is just as empty! Well, not empty, just not decorated. I think I haven't unpacked yet because I'm simply enjoying all this calm after the chaos so much. I haven't even felt moved to add a colorful pillow to the sofa. Every once in awhile, I just walk in here and look at the beautiful new floors and feel utterly satisfied!

I'm not sure how long this will last. I ordered a couple of new area rugs, and maybe when I get them I'll be inspired to unpack and decorate again. 

By the way, how do you like the new furniture layout? It's so much more open, and we're really enjoying it for now. 

Before I go, I want to share some exciting news. My dear friend (really one of the nicest, sweetest bloggers in the whole world) Sharon, of Elizabeth & Co. has opened an Etsy shop where she's now offering the most gorgeous handmade wreaths you have ever seen. This is just a tiny sample of her exquisite creations.


Aren't they simply breathtaking? Way to go, Sharon! Best of luck with your newest creative endeavor.

I'm so glad you all stopped in to catch-up with me today.

Have a most wonderful week, everyone!

How about a fun spring party?!

Between Naps On The Porch
Mod Vintage Life
The Scoop
Cozy Little House
From My Front Porch To Yours
Our Home Away From Home
A Stroll Thru Life
Coastal Charm
Elizabeth & Co.

Mar 30, 2015

Our New Dining Room Table - A Sneak Peek

Hello friends! 

We've been doing some spring cleaning around our yard while we're on hold waiting for the family room floors to be installed. I know it must seem to you like this has gone on forever! It's a fact of life that contractor schedules are a delicate and mysterious thing, and we've learned to happily go with the flow. We actually took advantage of having extra time while the family room sits demolished for a week to repaint all the trim back there.

I do have a bit of exciting indoor news to share today, though!

As you probably know if you're a follower of my blog, I inherited this 75 year-old maple drop leaf table about thirty years ago. I painted and refinished it, and it's been well loved and used for many family meals at our house over the years. However, as you can see in this photo, at 54" round it's always been a bit of a tight squeeze to walk around the table from the living room to the back rooms of our house, a regular necessity due to our shotgun floor plan.

 Back in January of last year, I asked your opinions about table shapes in this post. I cut a large rectangle of cardboard and put it on top of our table to see how we liked it. We loved that we could fit more chairs around this shape without having to add extra leaves and how we had more room on the sides to walk. So it was decided we'd get a new rectangular farmhouse style table. 

Whoa, not so fast there, Nellie. 

It turns out that almost all tables have aprons around them that would keep the 27"- high arms of our Windsor chairs from fitting beneath the table top, and we really wanted to keep our six comfy very sturdy maple chairs. We thought about building our own farmhouse style table to fit, but those big solid wood tables are so darn heavy! So, we've been shopping for the just-right table for over a year. If we found one without an apron, it wasn't wide enough between the legs to fit two chairs side by side or maybe the table was too short or maybe it was too long or too narrow or too something

You get the picture. Gosh, we're picky!

We were becoming pretty much resigned to keeping our old table, when yesterday we finally found one, and here's a sneak peek! 

This is all I can show you today because just out of camera range our house is still piled high with all the stuff from getting our floors redone. A mess, in other words.

See how two of our black arm chairs fit under the table top side by side between the legs with room to spare? We can now fit six chairs here, and even eight in a pinch. No more lugging heavy leaves and extra chairs to the table when all the kids are here for Sunday dinner. And the ends of the table are just right for our big wicker mom and dad chairs. This table is 72" long and 39" wide, which is just right for six uncrowded place mats and platters of food down the middle, but still narrow enough to walk around. And unlike our unusually sized round table, I can now purchase standard size table cloths and runners. And (maybe best of all) you wouldn't even believe the great price we got on the table on sale and with a coupon. 

Can you tell we LOVE our new rustic industrial farmhouse dining room table!?!

This table isn't heirloom quality furniture like my antique maple table, but it's sturdy, heavy, well made, and the exact size, shape, and eclectic farmhouse look and feel we've been wanting. The finish on the metal legs even matches our new pewter chandelier. We're doing a big ol' happy dance in our dining room today because the long search for a table is over!

For now, our round family heirloom table is pushed into the corner awaiting its fate. It will be either going to my daughter's new house in her own dining room or upstairs in our loft as a game table. Wherever it ends up, it will always be cherished.

Please keep your fingers crossed for us that our floors will finally be finished this week. I'm getting excited to unpack our boxes of stuff and do some spring decorating!

Meanwhile, have a great week!

I'm sharing today at

Between Naps On The Porch 
Knick of Time

Mar 23, 2015

A Moment of Spring in the Dining Room

The sun broke through the clouds for just a moment today during a heavy rain storm here. I was sitting in the dining room drinking my tea and listening to the rain when the glimmer of sunlight on the wall next to me inspired me to grab my phone and take a picture. 

These flowers are the only bit of spring I've managed to add to our home during the disorganization of installing new floors. It's wonderful how a bit of sunshine and some pretty flowers can lift one's spirits!

Rain or shine, I hope you have a lovely spring day!

A spring party sounds fun!

Mar 20, 2015

New Hardwood Floors - Reveal

This afternoon, with the installation of the base shoe molding and the last of the touch-up painting, our new hardwood floors were completed in the living room and dining room. Tomorrow, we'll move the furniture back in, but first I thought you might like to see the new floors without anything on them. I visited many websites and blogs searching for examples of different floors when deciding on ours, and I wanted to give as much information here as possible to help others doing so.

These are sanded and sealed on site hardwood floors, meaning the bare tongue and groove boards were nailed down to the sub floor then sanded and sealed on site, as opposed to manufactured hardwood floors which are installed already finished. Our wood is rift and quarter sawn white oak, which gives it the characteristic tiger grain pattern and makes it very strong and stable, minimizing cupping and shrinking. 

Our floors were stained with one coat of Minwax Special Walnut stain and finished with two coats of very durable satin Glitsa. We chose a medium neutral brown color that won't show dust and will darken over time. We'll need to have a maintenance coat of Glitsa applied every five to eight years, but the rustic grain pattern of our wood should minimize the appearance of scratches.  

The staining and sealing stage is toxic and extremely smelly, so we stayed at my daughter's house for four nights and kept our windows open for another four days after returning before the odor dissipated completely

I've tried to minimize editing of these photos so that what I'm seeing on my computer screen is what I see when I look at my floors. When choosing a stain I found that Special Walnut on white oak tended to have a slightly yellow cast rather than an orange (Early American) or red (Chestnut) one.

 I love how the late afternoon sunlight warms the wood and makes it glow. Going through the whole process of having our floors finished on site really makes us appreciate that this beautiful wood was once a living oak tree. It's a long messy process to live through, but we feel a connection to our floors and absolutely love every single knot and grain pattern. Sounds sappy (pun intended), but we'd do it all over again.

And in fact we are, because this weekend we start the whole process over again on our family room floors.

We bought this baby gate to keep Tucker off the floors until they're fully cured and we can put our area rugs back down, especially at the front door where he does his happy dance when someone knocks at the door. At the bottom of this photo in front of the gate and behind my watermark you can see how well the kitchen tile color and new wood floor color blends. Even though the surfaces are different, the similar colors help make the floor appear fairly seamless.

We couldn't be happier with how our floors turned out. We did a lot of homework before deciding on site finished floors, the wood, color, and finish, and then we waited for the best contractor. We feel like all the careful preparation really paid off with the beautiful floors we always wanted. 

Thanks for taking the journey with us!

Read more about our hardwood floor saga:

New Hardwood Floors - Preparation

New Hardwood Floors - Demolition

New Hardwood Floors - Installation

Mar 19, 2015

DIY Tea Caddy

Happy first day of spring, everyone!

As our new floor project progresses I've been staying tucked out of the way back in my studio working on a few small DIY projects. The first one I have to share is my new tea caddy.

I recently gave up drinking coffee and started drinking a cup of green tea every morning instead. I absolutely love coffee, so it wasn't an easy switch, but tea is much friendlier to my tummy these days. My husband, affectionately known as "the toughest gut in the west," still drinks a few cups of coffee each day. To help keep me from feeling deprived I started treating myself to all kinds of different teas, and they have become a little bit of a hobby for me now.

Instead of rummaging through boxes in the pantry for my teabags, I thought it would be nice to display them on the counter where they'd be easy to choose from. I had this little wood box I found at the thrift store for a few dollars a couple years ago...

Bonne Maman
...and I'd been saving up these cute preserve jars that happened to fit the little shelves perfectly. (These preserves are wonderful, by the way.) When I discovered my tea bags fit the jars perfectly too, I knew I had my tea caddy!

I painted the box white and protected it with a coat of poly and then filled the jars up with my teas. Now, I can easily see the tea bag labels through the jars, and it's fun to look them over and choose a tea to match my mood.

A spoonful of honey in my tea is an occasional special treat, and the jar fits just right on top of the box. And did you notice the jar lids match my farmhouse curtains? 

My husband is so sweet, he rinses out the coffee pot every morning when he's done with his coffee and leaves me a fresh pot of filtered hot water for my tea. 

The cups and mugs are in this cabinet right above the coffee pot. Having a cute tea "center" at my fingertips is definitely making it easier for me to give up coffee. 

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope your first day of spring is filled with sunshine!

Let's go to a party!

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