Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Armchair Adventurer

Even though the first day of summer is still a few days away….
The University is blissfully in its off season and my less scattered thoughts are now firmly focused on a summer by the sea.  

Unfortunately, my pocketbook isn't as cooperative and I will be spending most of my summer land locked in the city that boats being a mile higher than sea level.

Despite my physical location I've found that I can embark on just about any adventure from the comfort of my own armchair.  Now I recognize that armchair traveling~ especially through books~ isn't exactly a new idea…however I cannot help but be amazed at how limitless and freeing and wonderfully vivid the human imagination can be.  
So while my body is here deep in the wild, wild west…my spirit and the current infatuation of my imagination is here

I have always been drawn to the rugged stone coast of the Atlantic and Maine has been a particular draw because its climate is so much less humid than its seasonal competitors to the south.  

Two summers ago, J- and I had the great fortune of traveling through coastal Maine.  We started in Camden and worked our way down to Boothbay Harbor and Kennebunkport.  We did not quite make it up as far north as Bar Harbor -I would like to someday.  

Handsome but fuzzy J- in Camden Harbor
Me and J- in a sea canoe in front of  Curtis Island Lighthouse 
Like J. Courtney Sullivan~the author of Maine~ I am in love with the idea of artist colony gatherings, beach picnics and moonlit ancestral story telling. I am just a bit of a romantic-can you tell?  

So I am going to spend my summer evenings emblazoned in a book~ frolicking in the Maine moonlight~dipping my toes in the cold Atlantic waves~laughing at stories of summers long past and decorating the summerhouse of my soul.  

If you too are an armchair traveler-you may want to check this out.  If Maine isn't the summer destination of your dreams-this book will tell you which novel will take you on an armchair adventure more suited to your likes.  

Also-did you know that Google Earth has an add on feature called  Google Books?  The Google Books layer in Google Earth offers users a new way to explore the world of books. By turning on the Google Books layer, users can fly from place to place, reading as they go, or they can search for a specific place name and browse a selection of references to that place name in both fiction and non-fiction texts.  For more information go here.  

Perfect chair for traveling found at

Happy travels :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Black(board) Beauty

When we undertook our kitchen remodel last summer, I envisioned a counter depth 
refrigerator that seamlessly blended in with the cabinetry.  
(Perhaps if the children couldn't find the refrigerator then I would find them with their noses in books instead of inside the refrigerator looking for snacks ;-)  

We happened to find a "gently" used counter depth, side by side, panel ready refrigerator at our local appliance shop.  While we waited for it to be delivered we contemplated how we were going to take the existing thin, flat plywood panels and transform them into the raised panel, ivory base with tobacco distressed finish and oiled rubbed bronze hardware refrigerator of my dreams.  

So we came up with step one: paint it with an ivory base coat, tobacco glaze and then distress.  "Hmmm…." I heard my husband mumble after the first coat of glaze "That doesn't look good".  He was right.  Step two: give up and start another project.

I am not one for accepting unfinished or (pardon the expression) half a_ _ed projects.  It just drives me insane…really!  But live with it…I did…until just a few weeks ago when a light bulb went off in my head.  Why not paint the panels with chalkboard paint?  Not exactly what I had envisioned but I can showcase some pretty fonts and let the kids know what is for dinner.  I grabbed my paint brush, went scavenging through the laundry room for the chalkboard paint that I had used on in the inside of my son's bedroom armoire and in one afternoon restored my sanity.  


…the almost finished chalk/menu board refrigerator.  I did say almost finished…we want to do something about the big white square that is the water/ice dispenser (make it blend in instead of 
STAND OUT!) and we would like to paint the interior center panel to match the stainless handles.  I had to give up my oil rubbed bronze pulls but such is the nature of home renovation…just like marriage... it involves compromise.  

I am going to add a little something something to the other side panel as well.  Hopefully it won't take another year before I decide what that is.  

This is the refrigerator before.

I wanted to snap a photo of our little ones with their noses inside of the refrigerator for the "after" shot because that is the reality of the after but I haven't managed to get one…yet.

May your weekend be full of light bulb moments and happy compromises.


I am linking this post to "Wow Us Wednesdays" 

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Place for Grace

Awhile back I posted about the progress that I had made 
on the design of my stepdaughter's room.

Her room has been in a state of undress 
since we moved into the house in January of 2008.  

All of that is about to change.

Here is the room as it is now.

We did manage to paint the walls, the ceiling and the beams.
{The ceiling beams were a decorative element that had
 already been added to the house when we moved in.
They look a little cottage "ish" so we decided to keep them}

Another "before" photograph.

Here you can see the ceiling beams-which we painted a deep brown
~even thought it doesn't look very deep in this photograph~


Here is the design plan.

The inspiration photograph is located on the bottom left corner.
Since the room is small I decided to create a bed nook which will be defined by the canopy.
I am going to use the crown (upper left) as the top of the canopy by attaching it to the wall and hanging fabric from it.  I have chosen three fabrics for the canopy.  The first is the large medallion floral in the top middle.  The second fabric is the deep brown floral and the third is the blue linen.  I am going to edge the front panel with an ivory crochet lace as well.
My thought is to repeat some of these fabrics in accessories like bed shams, throw pillows, hat boxes, etc.  The crewel fabric in the upper right will be layered with softer fabrics to create a bedskirt.  I have not chosen the linens as of yet but I am certain there will be ruffles :-)

I want to create a focal point as you enter the room so the far wall will be adorned with the blue damask wallpaper (upper left to the right of the crown).

The paint colors have already been applied-third from the left is the color I chose for the walls-it is called "Elephant".  The lightest shade (far left) was used for the ceiling.

The one thing that we did manage to do after moving in was to replace the dated parquet floors with Brazilian walnut 
{best idea ever!  It is so incredibly hard and durable that it has managed to withstand four children, one dog and a husband who seems to think that his closet encompasses the entire first floor-aka  there are shoes and coins and baseball hats all over}

The final element included above is the animal print area rug.  It is a little outside out of the design element but I like to keep it quirky ;-)  

Grace will appreciate that.

Whew…I have a lot of work to do.

I look forward to posting the "afters".


Linking up to party with…

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wish Fulfilled
I won! I won!
{please excuse me for a moment while I jump for joy}

I won a wonderfully charming enamel house number sign
from Ramsign

The giveaway was sponsored by a fellow Colorado blogger 
creator of this lovely blog

image from Ramsign
Thank you, Mary :-)

I am soooo excited!

I never seem to win anything 
~much less something ~
that is perfectly suited to my latest project

You see I have been frantically working weekends
in an effort to improve and enhance the "curb appeal"
of our home.  

Last weekend, J- built a new front door jamb 
and installed a stylish new entrance complete with an
aged bronze door knob.
{I spent the weekend shuffling back and forth to the hardware store 
and local paint shop trying to find the absolutely perfect shade of stain
I am happy to report that after 4 trips to Sherwin Williams, one quart of pre-stain treatment, 
and a lot of applying and wiping later-
I believe I have found}

While my little ol' ranch won't exactly look like this
or this...

The addition of the exquisite Ramsign Metropolitan house number plaque
will be a welcome improvement.

I can't imagine anything greater than being greeted by a 
little european flair after coming home from a long day's work ;-)

The outdated house number sign that my new enamel plaque will replace
And I can't wait to post about it
along with the new front door
that I will spend the upcoming weekend
staining the perfect shade of walnut ;-)

May all of your wishes be fulfilled!