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Pinch Me


Because look what was featured on Apartment Therapy’s Re-Nest on Thursday.


Yep our outdoor rolling cart that Derek whipped up.



The how-to is here in case you missed it.  I am super excited and thanks to Allison for featuring us!



I get bored easily.

Especially when I am not busy painting a new project.

It gives me too much time to look around and want to switch something up.

Even in a perfectly good room that we remodeled less than two years ago.

I don’t think this trait is on my husband’s top ten list of things he loves about me.

It may have to do with spending money.

Or cutting into football watching time.


So when I started thinking about the rooms I wanted to make changes in, it happened to be the first three rooms that we completed when we moved it.  And as I disclaimer I still love them, but they all needed a little freshening up.  And to of course on a budget (see above).  The three rooms are the dining room, family room and office.  And while the office and dining room are still works in progress, the family room’s minor changes are complete.  And they are just enough to keep me happy with the space.

And I am happy to report that no football watching time was infringed on for any part of it.

The Family Room

Issue #1- Too Much Brown

  Since we bought the bookshelves, I have been trying to convince Derek to let me paint the back.  Or apply pretty fabric or decorative paper to give them some pattern and pizzazz.  Just something to break up the boring brown. 


But that idea got vetoed.  Maybe because he knows my propensity to want to change things and anything permanent would not bode well for the solid wood bookcases.  I could day that we could just add built-ins when I get tired of them but I don’t think that would help my case.

So for two years I let it go and tried to enjoy the brown.

Then one day it hit me…..what about spray paint?  It is cheap and easily re-doable and who needs to touch the bookscases?  Why had I not thought of this brilliant idea sooner?

So I spray painted the lamps a blue gray and got new drum shades.  Then the brown tray got a coat of silver.  And I thought I would love it and it would solve of my brown problems. IMG_2947

But a couple of weeks later I am still not sure.  Maybe the blue is too shiny?  Maybe it is too much contrast with the brown bookshelves?  Maybe the lamps are too skinny?  Maybe I should just go with gray instead of blue-gray? Maybe I am just feeling fall-ish now and this is just reading a little too springy?  Maybe I way overthinking this and just need to be happy that is not brown and get over not painting the interior of the bookshelves?


Issue #2 It Just Doesn’t Feel Done

There is another change in the family room that I am 100% in love with….the rug.

I was a little iffy on adding an area rug over carpet.  But the space was not really unified and I wanted some more modernish touches in the room to make it flow more with the adjoining kitchen.  So I got out one of our 5x8 area rugs that we were not using and see what I thought of the idea.

It was love at first site….except the rug was way too small.

So that led us on a rug search.  It had to be big.  And cheap.  And modernish.  And good colors.  And not solid brown (see above). And not matchy with the walls.  But not too orange either. And not too busy.  Basically perfect.

We went everywhere in the city that carried rugs and came back with nothing.  It may have had something to do with how picky I was being.

Overstock had some great and cheap ones, but the colors and sizes were not matching up.  I then stumbled on and found a couple that met all of my criteria.  And free shipping and returns. 

It was a very exciting day.

We ended up with this one.




And I am amazed about how something so simple can complete the space.

Some friends commented that it was brilliant that the circles of the rug complemented the circular coffee table so well.


I was totally thinking that when I picked it out.

Issue# 3 Throw Pillows

You also may notice we now actually have some throw pillows on the couch and chair.  There are still some more half finished in the sewing room, but we at least have some color on the sofa.

But I have a confession to make.

I asked you opinion on throw pillows a long time ago.

About whether I should use the home dec fabric I already had or go with more modern cotton prints.

And the majority of you said to stick with what I had.

Well I didn’t.

Sorry….but I did listen on your advice on the kitchen curtain color, so you can’t stay mad.



So what do you think?  Hopefully I am not the only one that gets the itch to change things up.   But I think I am satisfied with the space and will be able to enjoy my time hanging out in there and not thinking about what I want to change.

For now at least.

What I Brought Back From My First Time


I know most people do not detail their IKEA purchases.  Because they go all the time and it could get really boring really fast.

But unluckily luckily for you, I am not one of those people.

Being that it was my first IKEA trip, and I am still 8 hours away from one, I just have to share.

The fabric was the first thing that went into the bag soon to be cart. 


I had heard about the great fabrics at IKEA from my modern quilting guild friends and was really excited to see what they had.

And I even I had purpose in mind….those shrunken office drapes.  I wanted something more modern and washable and cheap because I needed a lot.  And before IKEA I was coming up with nothing.  A whole lot of nothing that was not over $20 a yard.


Of course as soon as I got the bolt home I had to hang it to make sure I loved it as much as I thought I would.  Not sure what I would have done with it if I hated it, but it turned out OK because I think they will look perfect. When I finally get around to sewing them of course. 

The next purchase I really  had no plan for.  I knew I wanted rugs for  the entryway, kitchen and possibly office.  And that black and white would look good in all those places.  So I bought it thinking that we could make it work.

So it was unrolled and tried in the entryway…




Ehhh not my favorite there.

Office?  Nope does not fit under furniture without covering up vents.



(Imagine flowing white panels on all the windows)


(At least we have the rods up)

Even without the curtains I think we have a winner.  Which is good  because I was out of options besides Craigslist.

My final purchases were a pretty (and cheap) silver bowl that I am thinking about using in the dining room.


And the classic white pots which I am thinking will house herbs in the kitchen in the winter.  And an aloe plant which came highly recommended by Kim.   It had a couple battle scars from the car ride.


I could have bought a lot more….especially in the fabric if I had unlimited time to browse.  But I think for my first time I got a nice collection of things that ended up working out great.  And crazily enough not one of those items required any assembly.

Now if I can just become a curtain making machine……

The Creative Connection


Take two people who have never met in real life and put them in a car together for 10 hours and then make them share a hotel room and three days together.  How do you think that will turn out?

Well some of my co-workers were worried but fortunately for me…..fabulous.


Kim at NewlyWoodwards emailed me last spring after she had won tickets to the Creative Connection in Minneapolis and wondered if I wanted join in the fun.  Sure, we had not met in real life but had emailed and commented frequently on each other’s blogs and thought we would get along great.  Right?  So after phone conversations to make sure each other were not 50 –year-old men we signed up for classes.

We took fun classes like quilting with Camille Roskelley….


Creative Connection 2010

Creative Connection 2010 

And felting with Betz White……

Creative Connection 2010

Creative Connection 2010

And met of tons of fun creative people…..

Did I mention that the Pioneer Woman was there?

Creative Connection 2010

Everyone was a little excited.  And in our excitement, Kim and I were one of the first in line for the luncheon (insert joke here).  So we got really great seats to hear her speak. 

In our beeline to the front, we somehow found ourselves at the famous person table.  So while the Pioneer Woman was speaking, this was our view.

Creative Connection 2010

Don’t worry we tried to played it cool.

And then Ree and I enjoyed wine together.  Note to self: slip off the nametag next time.


All the meals at the event were so well decorated and creative.  Amy Butler and Mary Jane Butters spoke at dinner and I would share those pics but the lighting was really tough and they are blurry.  AKA I have a lot to learn about photography.

At dinner this giant burlap bag of amazing goodies was at our chairs.  Paint, fabric, glue, modpodge, jewelry etc. provided Kim and I an hour of ohhing and ahhing at the hotel.


But our fun did not end at the event itself.  We also enjoyed a little shopping of course.

Kim scored some great finds for her new old house at an salvage/antique shop.



And then we went to a place that I had been dreaming about since I knew I was going to be in Minneapolis.  A place that most of you will not understand my excitement about because you do not live 8 hours away from one with their very limited online shopping.


We met up with some other fun bloggers (Cindy, Allison, Suzanne and Allison) and had a great time together on my maiden IKEA trip.  I think my text messages to my husband were anxiety provoking to him in terms of the bank account that night.

“this just might be the promised land”

“i am thinking about a road trip to denver/austin/chicago/minneapolis with a large car could be fun”

“now we are off to the mall of america”




I will save my purchases for another post, but let’s just say Kim’s car looked like this on our way back to Des Moines.


I am happy to report that Kim and I were still chatting away when we pulled up at my car 5 hours later.  We had an amazing time together and I can’t wait to meet up again.

Maybe denver/austin/chicago/minneapolis ?

On the Road



My new sewing machine is getting ready to go on a long road trip.  And I am packing more for a couple of days away then I did for two weeks in Italy.   But oh well….that is what road trips are for right?

Can’t wait to share all the fun and photos……and I bet it will involve some people that a lot of you guys will recognize.  Any guesses?


With a Cherry on Top


I thought this would remain my favorite canning book of the season.  I mean it has tons and tons of great recipes like the delicious salsa.  What could top that?


Well I also found this book at the library.IMG_2866

And while it does not nearly the amount of recipes the the Ball book, it has such a unique and delicious twist on canning recipes that it is still in the running for my favorite.

Like this….


That picture made me drool and who doesn’t like wine?

So after investing in a cherry pitter and some really cheap wine we know have five pints of this goodness


And it was heavenly with cream.   So heavenly it was gone before a picture was snapped.  Not to mention the way the kitchen smelled while it was simmering.

I was not a lazy canner this time and actually went through the whole process so that these lovelies can sit in the pantry for a long time.  And when we have last minute guests, we can just break open a jar and add some cool whip and voila….an easy elegant delicious dessert.  Or we could just keep it all to ourselves. 

But if cherries are not up your alley this book has tons of other unique recipes I can’t wait to try.







I have gotten a little side-tracked with the final recap of our Italy trip.  We went to Florence and then the Cinque Terre….and then got sidetracked with other things.  But I forgot Rome.  The third and final stop of our trip. 

We arrived by train from the Cinque Terre and took a taxi to our apartment in the Trastevere neighborhood.  Which was a less touristy portion of Rome. 

Our apartment was the smaller green door right at street level-


And then this street was our home base-


We had amazing pizza that night and then woke up the next morning to walk to the Coliseum and the Roman Forum.


It was amazing to think about the history and just how old it was.  And made me want to see the Gladiator again.  And again it was sweltering but by this point we were used to it.  Well as used to it as you can be.



The Pantheon was also awe inspiring.  And it was a free which was bonus.


In case you were wondering what the “crowds of summer” look like in Italy….this was the scene at the Trevi fountain.  Needless to say we did not throw a coin.  I wonder how many pickpockets were in that crowd….


Just walking around the city was gorgeous.



But the most amazing part of Rome had to be the Vatican.


Finding the entrance to the Vatican museum turned out to be slightly difficult…good thing I had my navigator with me.  We should have just looked for the ginormous line of people waiting in the sweltering heat.  The extra Euros we spent on a entrance time were priceless.  In case you are questioning the pants choice when it was 110 outside….St. Peter’s has a strict dress code… knees and no shoulders.


The Vatican museum and the Sistine chapel were amazing….but we followed the rules unlike some people in there and did not snap any photos.


And the size of St. Peter’s Basilica alone was jaw-dropping. 






We climbed the dome and got a chance to see the tiny mosaic pieces that made up the artwork up close.


We also attended mass there since it was a once in a lifetime experience.  Unfortunately some people that were in attendance were not very respectful and the constant taking of photos and video while walking up and down the aisle was incredibly distracting.  I am not a person that likes confrontation, but if we spoke the same language I probably would have said something.

Buy anyway the extra Euros for the dome climb was also worth it.


The climb to the very top was long, tiring, hot, smelly and not for the claustrophobic….but oh so worth it for the views and the breeze.



The final day we had in Rome we had plans to hit two more museums before packing up and heading home.  But when I woke up not feeling well, we decided not to push it and that after two weeks we were museumed out anyway.  So we spent the day in our little neighborhood and had a great time.  Then after eating more amazing pizza we went to bed before our incredibly long travel day back to the states. 

And as always if these pictures were not enough stop over here because of course I have tons more!