Jan 25, 2015

Home Tour At Design Dreams By Anne

I'm so honored to have a tour of our cottage featured today at Design Dreams By Anne!

I hope you'll hop over to take a look!

And I'd like to extend a big welcome to new readers visiting from Anne's.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Jan 21, 2015

DIY Snowman Box

Hello! I can't believe it's already the middle of the week. Where does the time go? 

I had the loveliest day Monday with my daughter, who had the day off from work. We went to lunch at an elegant restaurant near her new house and did a little window shopping, then we just visited the whole afternoon away. It was such a nice treat for us.

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment about her new home and the idea of recording her adventures in a blog. She appreciated all of your enthusiasm and encouragement, and she's definitely considering it. You can be sure I'll announce it and share a link when the time comes if she does start a blog, and hopefully she'll let me share a photo or two here. 

Now, on to today's DIY project!

I enjoyed making glittery putz houses so much last month for Christmas I decided to make a glittery snowman, too. I didn't get this project finished in time to add it to my Christmas decorations this year, but looking out my window today tells me it's definitely still snowman weather around here! 

 This was one of the most fun and easy craft projects I've done, and it turned out really cute. I started out with some little paper maché snowmen like these from the dollar bin at the craft store. 

I always keep a bunch of these inexpensive cardboard boxes in various shapes and sizes on-hand for craft projects. I used a round one this time for my snowman's pedestal.

I painted both the box and the snowman with a couple coats of white chalk paint and used my hot glue gun to adhere the snowman to the top of the box. 

Then I just went to town decorating the box and snowman with paper, glitter, trims and embellishments from my craft stash.

Every snowman will be different depending on what you purchase or have on hand, but here are the details for mine to give you some ideas:

I printed some Jingle Bells sheet music from Knick of Time (convert it to black and white to remove the pink hue) and decoupaged it onto the box, then trimmed it with some pom pom ribbon and sprinkled it with chunky silver German glass glitter and fine white glitter. 

I painted the snowman's face freehand with a fine artist's brush and some craft paint. For the carrot nose I squashed a few drops of water and a small piece of torn paper into a carrot shape, let it dry, then glued it on and painted it orange.

The hat is covered with chunky silver glitter, and fine white glitter was sprinkled over the rest of the snowman, except on his face. A pipe cleaner is wrapped around his neck for a scarf and silver star shaped sequins and white beads make the buttons. Some shiny tinsel garland finishes the snowman's base. 

I printed the little Let It Snow flag on my printer and then glued it around a bamboo skewer that I painted white. Finally, I lightly sprayed everything with spray adhesive and sprinkled on some white mica flakes to look like snow.    

Easy, and so much fun! A perfect craft project for a cold winter's day.

I just love his cute little face!

If you have winter snow flurries at your house today, stay warm inside and think about making a snowman!

Let's go to a party!

Savvy Southern Style
Shabby Art Boutique
Thoughts From Alice

Jan 16, 2015

My Daughter's New House

I'm so excited to share some family news with you today and to ask for your opinion. (No, I'm not going to be a grandmother, but almost as good!) My oldest daughter and her fiancé have just closed escrow on another house! 

This is my daughter's current home, a three bedroom midcentury modern ranch. It's one of her favorite architectural styles, and she was thrilled to find one she could afford after college. She and her fiancé have been fixing it up over the past two years. They've drywalled, painted, redone a bathroom, replaced floor coverings, built furniture, re-landscaped, and put in an organic vegetable garden. It's a darling little gem of a house.

And here's the big turn of the century farmhouse my daughter's fiancé just bought. (That's right, they have his and hers houses now - so cute!) This house has such an interesting story: in the 1970's, it was actually picked up and moved to a small farm here in Boise. Last year that small farm was purchased by a developer who divided up the land for a new subdivision and put this house back on the market with a smaller lot. My future son in law and my daughter fell in love with it at first sight, but they kept cool heads while getting contractor bids, inspections, and appraisals. They finally closed on it just this week and are anxious to get started working on it.  

This is a text I just exchanged with my daughter:

We really, really enjoyed watching my daughter and her fiancé fixing up her midcentury modern ranch house, seeing them develop their DIY skills and come into their own decorating style. We were so proud of them for all their hard work. We never imagined they'd be moving again so soon, let alone keeping two houses. So now, we get the fun of watching as they do it all again! And in case you're wondering why they are moving, the new house is in a fantastic neighborhood and closer to downtown where they both work, has a park next door, is bigger, and is in a better school district. (and you know what that means ;).)

These are their ragamuffins, Molly and Jake. They'll love their new yard!

The new house they'll all be moving into has 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a library, a full 7' high basement, and an entryway staircase to die for. There are high ceilings, wide moldings, a claw foot tub, hardwood floors, and of course a fabulous front porch! It's been sitting empty for quite awhile and needs much more work than their other home. A lot of it will be done before they move in, a few months from now. It will have a brand new kitchen and bathrooms and a central heating system for starters, and you may have noticed there's no driveway or walkways and landscaping. You know for me that all spells F-U-N! My husband and I can't wait to dig in and help them anywhere we can. 

Here's where I'd really appreciate your opinion. I think my daughter and her fiancé should start their own blog to record and share every step of their new adventure. A second opinion and a little encouragement from you might really help them along.

How about it? 

Should they start their own blog? If you agree, I hope you'll leave a comment for me to pass along to them.  

Thank you so much for sharing my exciting news. You always make it more fun! 

PS: I forgot the rest of the news: our youngest daughter is moving into the midcentury modern house! Could it get any better?!

  I'm partying this week at

Jan 10, 2015

Where I Grew Up and Some New Farmhouse Art for the Living Room

It's no secret that I love farmhouse decor.

My childhood home
I came by my love for all things farmhouse while growing up on a little farm in the hills of Saratoga, a small town in Northern California near San Francisco. My family lived in a big three story country house with a wrap-around veranda overlooking Saratoga, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Santa Clara Valley all the way to the bay. 

My horse, Joey
We had a big barn and meadow where we kept horses, a cow, and a lamb, all looked after by our sheepdog, Lady. Rain or shine and dawn to dusk, when I wasn't in school, I was riding my horse, Joey, all over the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I can't even imagine a better way to grow up.

When I was ten, my stepfather took us to the dairy farm auction where we sat on bleachers and listened wide-eyed to the auctioneer calling out the sale of calves in the pens below us. We didn't know we'd be driving home with a little black and white not-quite-weaned calf in the back of our pickup. 

We called him Mr. McDougall and taught him how to drink milk from a bucket. He missed his mother and followed us all around the farm like a puppy, so I spent much of that summer sitting on the front lawn under a tree with his head in my lap.

These are my new cows. I haven't named them yet, but I will!

Let's go to a party!

Between Naps On The Porch
Cozy Little House
The Scoop
  A Stroll Thru Life
Elizabeth & Co.
Savvy Southern Style

Jan 7, 2015

Top Ten Posts Of 2014

It's time for a recap of last year's top ten posts at The North End Loft! Last year saw some big changes for our cottage as we remodeled our master suite, painted our living and dining rooms, and introduced some fun and trendy farmhouse decor. It was a really fun year, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to share it all with you.

Here's what you liked best!

It's always fun and interesting to take a look back at the top ten posts here at The North End Loft. It really energizes and excites me for the next year! I can't thank you all enough for following along with me as I create fun and easy DIY projects in my craft room and make simple and affordable changes that keep our home decor fresh and exciting. 

I'm looking forward to another great year!

{To see my top ten posts from 2013, click here.} 

I'm sharing this week at these wonderful parties:

Jan 5, 2015

Priorities and a New Chandelier

Hello! I hope you all are having a good start to the new year.

 I've downloaded a  journal app called Day One, and I'm kind of loving it. I tried keeping hand written diaries in the past, but never kept them up. My problem was that I never say what I mean the first time. After I'd written something down, I'd think, no, that's not what I mean. But there it would be in pencil that I'd have to erase, or ink that couldn't be erased. So I'd quit, unhappy that I wasn't saying what I wanted to say.

But keeping a journal on my laptop is awesome because I can backspace at lightening speed and have countless chances to get my words just right. It's so satisfying to look at each perfect entry that says exactly what I mean. (I guess that tells you something about me being a perfectionist and compulsive.) 

So, anyway, on my new journal I spent the morning setting my priorities for this year (or at least for this month). They are simple: my health, as in eating well and moving my body more, and nurturing my family through personal support and unconditional love. 

My blog didn't make the list, and yet here I am writing a blog post before making my healthy grocery list and doing my stretches. So, big lightbulb moment, I will go back to my journal and add personal creativity to my priorities because obviously being creative isn't a choice for me. It's not a lack of discipline, it's something that just is. 

I can't continue to blog the way I have been and also fit in my other priorities, though, so my blog may look a little different while I work that out. I'm not sure how, but I think it might have to do with that perfectionist compulsive thing I have going on. 

So instead of spending hours behind my camera and in Lightroom today or looking for pretty photos to sandwich in between all these words, I'll share a quick phone photo with you to say howdy and this is what's up at my house today. Then I'll go grocery shopping, make a delicious and nutritious dinner, take Tucker for a long walk, and do a yoga workout. 

I hope that's okay!

So what's up at our house isn't quite "up" yet, but it will be soon. Right now, it's sitting on our dining room table. Last weekend, my husband and I went shopping for a new chandelier for the dining room and couldn't find anything we liked anywhere near our price range. The ones we loved were in the $500 to $700 price range. Uh, sorry, but no way! 

Then my husband remembered we'd noticed a chandelier we liked for sale in a consignment store where we bought our pine armoire last summer. Could it possibly still be there? We called the store from the car, and not only was it still there, it had just been marked down! 

So we got a farmhouse style chandelier we love for only $99!

As you can see, it's very simple and graceful. It looks like it's made of pewter, which we have nothing else of in our home, but I'll be keeping it as is, not painting it. I've never been afraid of mixing metals in our home, and we have a little of everything: stainless steel, polished chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and even some old brass (gasp!). This will just add to the happy mix.

I'm thinking about adding those cool beeswax dripping candle covers and different lightbulbs, but first we need to get it hung and make sure it works. I can't wait to see it above the table!

So there you have it. Lots of words today, and not a lot of pictures. Later this week, along with my other personal priorities, I'm hoping to share a top 10 posts of 2014 and also share some new farmhouse art I found for the living room. They might not be as full of photos or perfectly edited, but I think I can still do it all. Just a bit differently.

Priorities. Gotta love 'em!


Jan 1, 2015

Christmas Ornament Storage


Today will be a lazy new year's day at our house watching the parade and lots of football on television, while a gentle snow falls outside our windows.  

I'll be taking down our Christmas decorations tomorrow, so I thought this would be a great time to re-share my system for storing all our delicate glass Christmas ornaments. 

I used to have those slotted cardboard honeycomb inserts that came with this box, but every time I went to pick up a layer to get to the one beneath it, the cardboard would fall apart and collapse, and I'd have to put all the slots together again. Frustrating! Plus, if it was full of ornaments and I picked up a layer, the ornaments on the edge spaces would fall out. Even more frustrating!

Last year, I finally decided to create something better.

 I bought a few packages of the shorter and wider clear plastic cups at the grocery store and took the time to hot glue them to the cardboard dividers in my ornament storage boxes. It made storing our ornaments and decorating the tree so much easier. I can just pick up the flat cardboard with the cups securely attached and hold it in one hand, while either putting ornaments directly from the cups onto the tree or taking them off the tree and putting them back into the cups. This system really cuts down on the time it takes to both decorate and un-decorate the tree.

You could create this system for any big cardboard or plastic box you have. Just cut some flat pieces of cardboard, mat board, or display board to fit your box size and then hot glue the cups on securely. Layer as many as will fit in your box.

Once you take the time to create this system, you'll have a sturdy and easy ornament storage system for years to come.

I hope you have a wonderful day today, and best wishes for a new year that's full of happiness, good health, and prosperity for you and your loved ones!

PS: A big Congratulations to our Boise State Broncos for winning their third 
Fiesta Bowl yesterday!