Spring Break!

In the middle of some Midwest snow, we jetted off to southern California for our spring break.  The thought of taking an almost two year old  on an airplane for 4 hours gave us hives, but the call of sunshine and grandparents was too much to overcome. 

In the end, the plane ride turned into 6 hours because of the airline computers completely crashing.  And he was a champ.  Whew. 

Things Carter loved about our vacation-

1) We discovered Carter’s love of picking fruit courtesy of my in-laws citrus trees.  He may have a future as a farmer.  Who picks things one at at time and then throws it at the recipient.Spring Break 13

Spring Break 13

2) Disneyland.  Specifically rides at Disneyland that had continuously moving lines.  Such as It’s a Small World.    Spring Break 13

The teacups were also amazing…but the pain and suffering of waiting in a line that stopped and did not move for an eternity, at least in toddler minutes, was almost not worth it. 

OK the video of the joy on his face while we spun would make anything worth it.  But at that moment, there may have been threatening of us leaving.Spring Break 13

And honestly he would have been happy riding the train all.day.long.

Spring Break 13

3) The beach.  Spring Break 13

Oh the sand.  And the shells. 

Spring Break 13

And the wine. 

Spring Break 13

4)Travel Town.  Lots of trains-no further explanation needed. He takes his train riding very seriously.

Spring Break 13Spring Break 13

5) Swimming in his grandparents’ pool.  Oh the joy.

Spring Break 13

6) Meeting Big Nonna.  And spending time with family. 

Spring Break 13

That one is going on the mantel.

7)Goofing off and just playing.

Spring Break 13

Spring Break 13

Spring Break 13

Things Carter did not like about vacation:


Spring Break 13Sigh.  His expression in this picture is deceptively pleasant.  The whining and throwing of every toy (and phone) we gave him for entertainment was not captured.  And we thought we were raising him right to respect IKEA time.

My favorite part about vacation?  The sun.  And toddler naptimes by the pool without any guilt about what I should be doing. 

I was accidentally unplugged all week by way of forgetting my phone on the bathroom counter at home and remembering it halfway to the airport. After a mini freak out, I decided it would be nice to be free of it all week. And it was.  Even though I missed posting pictures on Instagram of the fun in the sun.

We all had a great time in the sun and with family.  All of anxiety about time changes and lack of naps was for nothing as he rolled with it. Carter did get very sick right after we got home. While it was snowing and my sunburn was fading under sweaters. 

Natural consequences of licking carousel horses at Disneyland.

Happy First Birthday!

Wow what a year!editsWe officially no longer have a baby.  Even though he is always going to be my baby.  Which makes today a bittersweet celebration.

It has been a very good year.  Full of lots of learning, not much sleeping at times and more love than I ever could imagine.  The baby we brought home from the hospital is a totally different little guy than the one year old who has us wrapped around his finger.  And while I thought my heart would burst with love for the newborn, it is continued to grow month by month. edits1We have had our bad days (I am looking at you molars and our brilliant idea to see if he still needed reflux meds…he does), but this summer has been almost perfect and in a lot of ways going back to work in a couple of weeks is going to be more difficult than when I started back after my maternity leave.  Because now he says “mama” and give hugs and snuggles.  And I have gotten used to categorizing everything I do into '”nap” and “with Carter” activities.   And baby babbles.  And catching some more zzzz’s every morning in our bed…which would be something that should last forever, but for the next couple of weeks it is perfect.  And did I mention snuggles?

So happy first birthday to the best little boy a mom and dad could ask for…thanks for the best year yet.

I can’t wait for the next one.


Summer has officially arrived at our house.  Having summer vacation every year is a definite perk of my job and Carter and I have big plans together. 


More down time equals more time for projects and blogging.  So much has been going on for me to share, I just need to sit down and get it written. 

Normally I would apologize for my absence (which at this point is not really surprising to anyone), but it was a conscious choice for me to spend more time with my family and doing projects for the love of them and not thinking about the “blog” aspect of it all. 

And I have to say it was lovely in a lot of ways.

In early March, I thought I had strep throat.  Nope.  Then I thought I just had the flu.  Three days of high fever and not leaving my bed later, I promised Derek that I would go to the doctor again the next day if I was not better.  That night I felt short of breath and it felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.  Like I just ran 5 miles beating.  Since that was obviously not the case, I tried the taking taking deep breathes and thinking calming thoughts.  Nope.

To make a long story very short, I ended up in the ER and then admitted at the hospital for a couple of days with pneumonia and tachycardia atrial fibrillation (basically my heart was beating incredibly fast and in an irregular rhythm).  There were a couple of scary moments (like the heart monitors going crazy in the ER and 6 people rushing in….one with the paddles) but the good news is they think I am totally fine and the pneumonia caused the whole thing.  The question is why the pneumonia hit me so hard since I am not 70 and have never had it before, but we will probably never know. 

But spending a couple of days on the cardiac floor and hearing everyone be surprised my age and my condition (You are the patient with the A-fib???-hearing it more than 10 times makes you feel slightly like a freak of nature) put some things in perspective. 

Like how quickly things can change.  Like how the ability to have another baby is not a given.  Like how precious time with my family is.  And how short it could be.

So over spring break I promised myself there would be no to-do lists.  I would be present in every single moment and not running through everything else I had to get done.  It was a lot harder than I expected but by the end of the week it was getting easier. Not much was getting done, but we had a great time.  Since then the to-do lists are back but I try to make sure there is no guilt attached if not everything is checked off.

So if a blog post did not get done or molding did not get caulked oh well if meant spending quality time with my family. Or spending time trolling Pinterest.

And it was nice.  But I have missed the blog and the community.  And while I can’t promise three posts a week, I hope to be around here more often.  Or so says my to-list in front of me at the moment.IMG_8694

Because I have projects and quilts to share.  And a certain someone is almost 1 with a party coming up.  And it is summer.  Hope to see you soon.

Up Next

There is one room in our house that has not gotten much love on the blog.  We affectionately referred to it as the junk room.  Here is what we started with when we moved in:


And in all the junk room glory:


furniture that needs to be refinished?  check

random light fixtures?  check

painting supplies? check

bags of clothes that need to go to goodwill?  check

honey oak?  of course

popcorn ceilings? duh

So we thought it needed a to be cleaned out….not to mention a facelift.  The junk room has served it’s purpose of holding stuff and a cabinet painting location but it is time to move on.

Because we happy to finally share that we are expecting Baby #1 in July!

Many of you probably guessed by my long unexplained absence, and honestly the first trimester kicked my butt.  I have never been so sick and tired for so long.  I titled this holiday season the “Christmas of Lowered Expectations.”  Christmas card?  Nope.  Cookies?  Nope.  Decorating the house?  I watched Derek do a great job while I sat on the couch.  And it all turned out OK even though it was hard to give up control and let things go.  And while I am still not 100%, at least I am functioning again. 

Anyway….plans for the nursery.  We have already started construction and I can’t wait to share pics on Monday.  Think orange and aqua and window seats.  And no more popcorn ceiling.  And of course no more junk.

Quilt Guild Changed My Life

Well the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild did at least.  My friend, and fellow officer, Lauren,coined this phrase and I am stealing it.  Or borrowing it I should say.

Let me back up a minute….

A little over a year ago, I was complete quilting newbie.  I loved reading modern quilting blogs and thinking of all the cute baby quilts I could make for my friends.  I had taught myself to sew and had made a total of two small quilts.  Which I was very proud of but I knew I still had no idea what I was doing.  And I had actually given those quilts to people so hopefully they did not know what good quilts were supposed to look like.  So I continued to stalk blogs and admire all the pretty pictures.  And dream of what I could make someday…..

Then one day one of my favorite blogs (Jacquie)  posted that they were having the very first modern quilt guild meeting that next week in Kansas City and invited every one in the area interested to the meeting.

I admit, I almost did not email her.  Have I mentioned that I had made a total of two quilts?  And I had no idea what I was doing?  And I would know absolutely no one there except through some lite blog stalking? 

But I did email her (proclaiming my newbieness of course) and stepped out from behind the computer and I went…..which was exactly one year ago.


And it was awesome.  That day I met 34 awesome women and was so inspired.  And I was not even the only newbie there.  And some of them had even read this little blog. A.ma.zing..

Over the past year the small first meeting grew into 96 members and the amazingness has not stopped.  They welcomed newbie me onto the officer’s panel as the secretary and the fun has not let up.  With these girls even writing by-laws had it’s perks.


I have learned so much.  More than a book, blog, or class could ever teach because at each monthly meeting there is so much knowledge sitting in that room being shared with each other.  (In case you were wondering I just learn things, I don’t think I have shared anything valuable yet).  And the inspiration…..I leave every meeting  ready to run upstairs and start sewing.  Without the guild I know my quilting would have hit a stand still by now.  But instead it is still going strong.  Just ask the four unfinished ones sitting in the craft room currently.  Or my new fabric buying addiction.

And finally the people.  This is the best part.  Because they are real and not just behind the computer.  We are a community.  I have made great friends that share similar interests and are tons of fun, all because of the guild.  And my new sewing machine is all a result of the guild.   Let’s not forget that.

My fellow officers have worked so hard to make this year and this guild a great big success and I can’t thank them enough for letting me be part of it.  And forgiving my newbie blank looks.  Check out what Jacquie, Shea, Jaime, and Lauren had to say about the guild…..and to look at all their beautiful quilts.

So Happy One Year Anniversary to the Kansas City Modern Quilting Guild….I hope you liked your love letter from me.  I am so excited to see what the next year has in store. and I am so happy that I will be a part of it!

Flower Power

In honor of our first frost, I did some last minute flower cutting from the garden before they get zapped.  Which is very sad.

But to help me not come to grips with the fact that winter is coming very quickly, I spread some vases of prettiness around the house to help me pretend it is still summer.  Or at least early fall.  Happy thoughts.

This is not usually something I would blog about, because really flowers in a vase is not riveting. 

Being the non-flower designer I am, I usually cut some flowers and stick them in vase and call it good. But since all my plants even the non-flowering ones are on borrowed time right now, I added them to the mix.

And I could not believe what a variety of leaves did for my scrawny flowers. Hence why it gets a blog post.


They actually looked like I put some thought into it….


So now I can think summery thoughts while I at the computer…



Or washing dishes…..



How are you hanging onto summer?  Or are you telling winter to bring it on?

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?



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…..no 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!


Loving the Mint

Hope everyone had a happy and relaxing Fourth of July and you are enjoying your long holiday weekend.  We have been enjoying mojitos and making good use of mint plant.  This drink is worth adding a mint plant to your garden.  It is easy to grow, but it can be invasive so you may want to think about using a pot to contain it. 
My favorite mojito recipe involves about 12 fresh mint leaves, 1/2 a lime, a shot of rum, agave nectar, ice and club soda.  Agave nectar is my new secret ingredient in the drink.  The recipes I found use simple syrup or sugar for added sweetness.  But sugar in a cold drink is gritty and frankly I was always too lazy to make simple syrup even though it is easy.  Obviously I am very lazy.  We had bough agave nectar because supposedly it is better for you than sugar and we wanted to try it out.  It worked perfectly and it keeps a whole lot longer than simple syrup.  Glad I was able to solve this pressing problem.

Which is a good thing because we still have half a summer (and a mint plant) left.....


When Wide is a Good Thing

I admit….I am a total photography newbie.  But I have been having fun playing with my Canon DSLR since I received it at Christmas.  And honestly have been pretty happy with the results considering….shhhh…. I really did not know what I was doing.

But something just came in the mail that rocked my world.  Especially considering it has not been on my camera for more than two hours.

Any guesses?

Well remember how I always make excuses for poor pictures in smallish spaces like closets and laundry rooms?

They looked something like this-


Standing in the exact same place I now have this-


That’s right a wide angle lens (a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 to be exact)!IMG_1161

This was purchased with our Italy trip in mind knowing that I would need a whole lot of practice before I would be ready to capture sites like Tuscany and the Florence skyline. I thought it also might come in handy in shooting stuff for the blog, but I had no idea what a difference it would make.  Bad news (for me at least) all of my current room pics are now unsatisfactory and I need to retake them.  That may require some straightening up around the house.

We chose this lens because of this incredibly helpful article on Fly Through Our Window, Amazon reviews, the Tamron 17-50mm Flickr group and pricing Canon wide angle at a local store.  We were really close to buying it on Amazon, when Derek found a couple used ones on Ebay.  After a couple of days of auction stalking he was the proud winner for a lower cost.

Something else that has helped my wannabe photographer skills is this (free) 12 week online course that I found via the blog Twenty-Six to Life.  I have not joined an actual group going through the tutorial, but I printed them all out and learning so much going through it at my own pace.  It is very straightforward and walks you through concepts one at a time with practice on your camera.  Because of this I can now shoot in the manual mode.  Big accomplishment for me. It is the perfect companion to a book such as Understanding Exposure

I am not making any promises, but I hope all of this learning makes a difference in my photos.  Now off to do some vacuuming to get the rooms ready to be seen in wide angle…..


Turn Back Time

There are some perks to sharing an office with the space that old school library books go to die.  Besides the potential for procrastination. And the ambiance that shelves of books bring (paired with the hum of the main computer servers of course).

Anyway you get to score these finds.

You know when you read the books from the 50’s about how to be a “good wife” and so forth?  Well these remind me of that but only with interior design and decorating….in 1987.  Which of course is also known as the golden years of design and fashion. But on the other really does not seem that long ago.  I would link to them for purchase (or possibly an updated edition) but could not find them anywhere.

Let me share some of the gems-

But I thought that the addition of this coffee table was interesting.….look familiar?


Maybe they were onto something??  Nah, the mint and mauve definitely counteracted that.

Bring back any memories?


The TV Question

So since the bed is done, I have been working on accessorizing the master bedroom so that it complete.   Not just 90% but completely finished.  Which you all know is a big step for me.


But in trying to complete this process I have come across an obstacle that I have not been able to wrap my brain around how to successfully hide it’s ugliness. 


You see it?  Yep the cable box (the speakers aren’t my favorite either but they don’t bother me as much for some reason).  I don’t think the reed diffuser is masking it. 

So how did the cable box find its home on the dresser?  Isn’t there a better place for it? Let’s back up a bit.

It all started when I declared that I did not want a TV in the bedroom.  Growing up we did not have cable and TV was not a big part of our lives.  We were not allowed to have TV’s in our rooms and we all had to figure out how to share one.  Sounds like fun huh? Derek on the other hand really enjoyed having a TV in the bedroom and assumed when we got married that we would have one.  Because that is what people do.

I lost the battle 5 years ago.

But until recently this is where our TV was located in our room as I did not want to crowd a dresser with it and a new flat screen was planted firmly on the “want” list and nowhere near the “need” column.  It was classy as well as dusty.


However when we went to the furniture store to buy a mattress, somehow this magically followed us home.


Amazing how that happened.

So you can see that there is no place for the cable box where the TV is located.  The box currently is near the location of the original cable outlet.  So Derek ran the longest wire ever through the attic and down the wall to the TV.  In order to change the channel, you have to point the remote to the box on the dresser and not the TV. This took some getting used to and still is a little strange.

But that leads me to the problem….I can’t cover the cable box with a basket or something else because of the remote issue.  And that is the same reason it has to be in a prominent location and not stuck on some shelf somewhere.

So do you creative people have any ideas about how to fix this?  I will admit that the TV is really growing on me and maybe I was even……wrong.    Or are there more “no TV in the bedroom” people out there?

While you are thinking here are some other sneak peek pics of the other things I am putting together in the space-





A-Tisket A-Tasket…

What is the best thing about winter?   It makes you appreciate spring so much more.  Even going to the grocery store after a long day of work is enjoyable when it is 80 degrees and sunny.  Especially when a month ago you were wearing 6 layers and cursing the snow.

So in honor my newly found good mood, I decided to make a spring resolution.  And since I am putting it on the blog it makes it all official, we actually have to do it. 

When we were organizing the basement I stumbled on this odd shaped object all wrapped up in trash bags.  Hmmm what was that?

Picnic Basket

Our picnic basket!

Picnic Basket

This was my most favorite wedding present.  I was so excited when we opened it and had all these visions of packing it every weekend and lounging in the park together ….eating and drinking wine of course.

Now want to hear the sad and pathetic part?

Picnic Basket

Ummm that was almost five years ago and it has never been used.  Yep never.  Told you it was sad.  I swear it was because we have been too busy with house projects.

So in the spirit of spring I decided to bust it out of the trash bag and keep it out so we would be more likely to use it. 

Because who can resist this picnic-i-ness?

Picnic Basket

Picnic Basket

I am not usually a red gingham type of girl, but in this basket, I think it is perfect.

And to up the ante, I also want to make a picnic quilt.  I have a couple more baby quilts that are 75% done. And after they are finished, I swore to myself that the next one would be for us.  Since we have a big fat zero quilts in our house as I repeatedly give them all away.  The picnic one can be incredibly simple since it will be hopefully thrown in the dirt and eaten off of and washed many many times (you know with all the picnics we will be having).  But it will be ours. ….and I can save the more difficult patterns for a throw in the family room.

So will you guys hold us to it?  Any other fun spring ideas to add to my list?


Knock Knock….Spring is That You?

All around blogland I have been seeing beautiful and inspiring pictures of spring.  I love seeing all sorts of flowers and green re-making its appearance. 

So I thought I would share what good ole Zone 5 looks like this time of year.   Not as springy as the warm places are sporting but I am taking what we can get.

Especially considering that last weekend we started with this….mother nature did not get the memo that it was the middle of March. 







Unfortunately the rabbits (and weeds) are also making their spring appearance-IMG_0803



ahhhh spring…..

I just may have gone to Home Depot yesterday to buy some potting soil and pansies for the front porch.  And while I was there, the vegetable vendor just might have been there delivering all his goodies.  And I might have browsed them to see if lettuce and spinach were there.  You know because they can withstand a freeze and all.  And it does not hurt to check.  And to stare at the mini tomatoes and herbs.  Sigh.  But I sad happy to report that I restrained myself by repeating over and over “It is too early….they will freeze and die…and then you will be very very angry.”  So for the next couple of weeks I will just have to take solace in the green beginning to poke up and knowing that they are waiting for me to take home and be part of our garden this year.

Now if I can just figure out just how to get rid of the bunnies and weeds and figure out how to have the beds add compost to themselves I would be set.  Hmmmm….


Spring Break!

Even though my flight was delayed three hours, I was 10 seconds from being embarrassingly airsick and it rained the entire time, my Spring Break Trip to D.C. to visit my college roomie was spectacular because…..

IMG_0719Isn’t she the cutest baby ever? 

Just in case you can’t decide here is some more pics…IMG_0667(1)

And with her beautiful mommy…IMG_0724

In case you still can’t decide…email me.  I have over 100 more pictures to make my case.  I was so busy snapping pics of baby that I somehow missed getting a picture of Katie and I.  Ouch.

I also brought with me her first birthday present, a new fun quilt.IMG_0676(1)

This was by far the most difficult pattern I have attempted thus far.  And I am happy with the results, but it is not perfect.  I titled it appropriately “Learning Experience.”

I used the free Off the Grid  pattern on Moda Bake Shop with Hunky Dory Fabrics by Chez Moi.  I thought the fun prints and colors were perfect for a little girl.

And the back-


And the best pictures of a quilt…being loved by a baby-IMG_0664

Oh the leggings…IMG_0670


And let me share this insanely creative idea for making incredibly cute big blocks inexpensively for babys that Katie came up with.  Use shoeboxes and cover them with scrapbook/wrapping paper and clear packing tape. Genius!


I am not up on my baby crafts, but I thought that was so creative and thrifty.  She was always the crafty one of the two of us.

Of course we did some home decor and fabric shopping during the visit.  I gave Katie her first sewing lesson….and let’s just say we chose a project that was a little tough for her teeny tiny sewing machine.  I was forbidden from taking pics of this and hopefully we can try again next time

Derek is happy to report that since I had to get back on a plane I was not able to buy anything of substance on our escapades.  But Katie scored this amazing mid century modern screen that she plans on using as a headboard from a store called Modernicus.  And it was only $125.  If you are in the DC area and love authentic mid century modern pieces, you will love this store. 

And they helped us wrestle into her Camry in the rain….double score.

And now for your parting gift….IMG_0773



Painting Addiction

For the last couple of days I have gotten this brilliant crazy idea in my head that just maybe we should repaint the entrance foyer.

Since I have missed painting so much.

And even though that poses many challenges.

First of all…the current color is OK.  It is actually the single room in this house that has not been repainted from the previous owners.  And really the color is fine.  When we first looked at the house with our realtor, I actually commented that it was good thing they picked an OK color and no wallpaper for that room because it would be awful to paint.


Issue #2 is that this room is 2 stories.  And I am really not a big fan of heights. So it will involve a lot of paint and a lot of time on a very tall ladder.  Yikes.

(Ignore the Christmas garland….it was the best “two story” pic I have)DSC01647

Issue #3 is this monstrosity.  Yuck.IMG_0654

I refuse to clean it or change any of the light bulbs in it because it is so ugly.  And even with a very tall ladder we cannot replace it because it is in the middle of the ceiling requiring scaffolding.

When the furniture delivery guys were bringing in our new mattress they whacked it pretty hard and I really hoped it would come crashing down so that the replacement would be on their dime.  Unfortunately it did not fall and shatter.

So even if I go through the pain of painting I will not be any more satisfied with this room until that thing is gone.

Why am I even thinking about doing this since I have all these good reasons not to?  Other than than the fact that I am strangely addicted to an activity that I largely cannot stand to actually do?

Well, first of all the front of the house faces north and does not get a lot of light so  lighter color would really help open it up I think.  I am thinking of an elegant light gray.  Like this….



Then there is this little detail-


Classy. I guess they got tired of painting?

And then finally.


The last.oak.window.

If I get enough courage to be that high on the ladder (it on the second story over the door), I will also have to be brave enough to climb there and de-oakify.

So I guess the questions are…how much do I love gray? …..and…..how afraid am I of heights?


An Open Letter to February

Dear February,

I always tell people that you are my favorite month.  You see when you are married to a huge sports fan it has potential.   Football has ended, baseball has not started (although I have been informed that pitchers and catchers have reported), and March Madness is still around the corner.  ESPN watching at the Anything Pretty house does not have the same intensity that it does all the other months of the year.  Which I have to admit is really nice.  More time for HGTV watching.

And you are the month that contains Valentine’s Day.  A good holiday filled with love letters, flowers and candy.  Or at least it used to back in the dating days.  Now it is more like a nice dinner and getting a bed built. And buying yourself “day after valentine’s day sale” tulips for $5 at Wal-Mart. IMG_0582


But I have to admit that I am lying.  You are not my favorite.  Not even close.

Snow is no longer pretty or fun.  It is annoying.  Especially when it is not enough to get off of work but enough to make you shovel your driveway and dust off you car.  And make your dog look like this each time he comes in.


Yeah the snow sticks to him and at this point I just tell him to go defrost on the carpet instead of yanking at his fur to attempt to get a portion of it off.  I am a bad dog mom.

I miss my garden.  And spending time outside.  And driving to work when it is actually light outside.  And BBQs.  And riding my bike outside.  And cut flowers from the yard.  And sunshine.   Sigh. 

So February I am ready for you to be over and for spring to arrive.  Even if it brings more ESPN, brackets and fantasy drafts.   Hopefully this clears up any confusion.  Sorry I lied and hurt your feelings.  Okay maybe I am not if it brings Spring any faster.




A Dog’s Life

This time of year is very busy around our house.  Not only is it Valentine’s Day, but it also Jack’s birthday and the 15th is our engagement anniversary.  We celebrated Valentine’s Day with a nice dinner on Friday but I bet you can guess who was the star of the show today.  I really wanted him to wear a doggy party hat but that got vetoed but all the males in the house.  Birthday Scrooges.
His day started with a bone.IMG_0122
Then a gourmet steak dinner.
Followed by some doggy ice cream also known as Frosty Paws.
Winter also enjoyed the fringe benefits of the festivities.  Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day!

Sadness with a Touch of Pink

It has been a bad week. 

My grandmother passed away on Saturday night after battling cancer and heart disease for over 15 years.  She was ready and honestly it was not unexpected, but it did not make it easy. 

So between traveling for the services and now trying to get caught back up with work, blogging (and catching up with my google reader) has somewhat taken a backseat. 

But I did want to share what I chose of hers to bring home.....her old sewing machine.

The sewing cabinet closed-

And with the lid popped open-
There is a way to swing it up so that it is sitting even with the top of the cabinet that my dad showed me but I could not figure it out with one hand while the other held the camera.  I thought this would do for now.  Did I mention it is absurdly heavy?

Sadly with the pups in the car we did not have enough room to bring it home right now, so until my parents come to visit it will be living in their garage (where I snapped those incredibly amazing pictures).

I have no idea if it works or where I am even going to put it.  Or anything at all about old sewing machines. But I love the color and I knew that no one else in my family would love it like I will (my inclination to sew was not genetically passed down) even if it is just a decorative accent somewhere.   Ideas are welcome because I am a little stumped.

Thanks G-ma for all the memories......you will be missed.