Out with the Old + Labor Day Weekend Fun!

I like to have really nice things in our house. But I don’t like paying high prices for them. This is often a conundrum as it seems the things I like most tend to be out of budget and I’m left to dream.

Unless I can score a good clearance deal!

That was the case last week. We bought a new patio set!

Our old set was just that – old. We’d had it for 3 years and over that time the umbrella broke, as did one of the chairs, and the table top was permanently marked up.

It made our patio look junky.



I wanted something more “grown up”. Something comfortable and functional but with an air of sophistication.

And of course it had to be kid and dog friendly.

So I started watching the sales and low and behold, I saw one that was exactly like what I was looking for, on end of season clearance for 60% off.

I dragged CJ and Isabella to Sears and we ended up with this Ty Pennington set that at full price retails for around $1200 (with the loveseat, 2 chairs, coffee table and 2 ottomans).


Guess how much we paid?

$425 smacks. That’s right; we got a 6 piece set for almost 70% off. It was on sale already plus they added an extra 10% discount because it was the floor model and last one in the store.


We love it – and Samson approves too! Not only is it comfy and gives us way more seating but it also makes the whole patio look more put together.


Isabella digs it too!


I would like to jazz it up a bit with some brighter colored pillows and add some decorative touches to the table – like flowers or something. Maybe even an outdoor rug. I’m watching the sales now to buy stuff but most likely will wait until next year to put it out since cool Fall weather is right around the corner (Dear God please!) and we’d end up bringing most of it inside anyway.


The Labor Day weekend was a busy one for us. It started with the patio set being delivered Friday afternoon (yeah!) and then we headed downtown to spend the evening walking around Heartland of America Park.

The purpose of going was to show Isabella the big “rainbow fountain” they have but unbeknownst to us, it was broken. While that was a disappointment for sure, we still enjoyed the beautiful evening by walking around the lake.

We saw lots of ducks and swans.


And were able to catch the sunset behind the buildings of downtown Omaha.


Isabella did her best Olympic winner pose as she pretended those rocks were medal podiums.


Saturday we were up bright and early for Isabella’s dance class.

I wish I could say she loved it and show you pictures of her dancing around in her leotard. Instead, I will report that she basically sits against the wall for the whole class and refuses to participate.


This week was a little better. She at least stayed in the room with the kids and participated in one game. Last week she clung to me the whole time. *sigh* I guess it’s a process.

But for at least trying, we rewarded her with a trip to Fontenelle Forest to see their Dino Quest exhibit.

She had fun walking through the forest and seeing the replica dinosaur displays.


She also enjoyed the children’s activity area.


At one point she was getting tired from all the walking, plus it was humid out, and she basically sat down and wouldn’t go any further.


So Daddy carried her for a little bit and she was happier.

They also have an indoor exhibit that was fun. Isabella especially liked dressing up in costume.


This dinosaur head was so top heavy that she had to hold it up to keep it from flopping over.



Saturday night we went out for ice cream and then I drove around trying to find a fountain for her to look at since we had such a disappointment with the rainbow one. We finally came upon one at a nearby hospital and it had a little trail to walk around it. Perfect! As we pulled up, in the darkness of 8:00 pm, we saw a group of 3 girls standing on the grass by the lake. One had a blanket and one had a basket. They looked at us as we parked and then they quickly jumped in their car and drove off. No idea what they were doing but it was obviously no good, hence their quick getaway. The only thing I can figure it that they were about to go skinny dipping or something.

Sunday was spent at the beach for the last day of pick-up sand volleyball and Monday was a family day over at my sister’s new pad.

It was a very fun and family filled weekend – and I was able to nap every single day! Score!

How was your holiday weekend?

Sitting Pretty

I finally did it! I can now cross another item off my Resolutions List for 2012. Namely, create a sitting room within the master bedroom.

And the best part, I didn’t have to spend a dime!

Here’s how the side of our room looked before:


Pretty empty…

Here’s a view of it from the other side of the room, looking across the bed.


(Let’s all play “Pretend” and imagine the bed being perfectly made, with no toys on it shall we?)

I’ve been spending the better part of the year looking around for the perfect chair and table to fill up that space. I wanted it to be a reading corner so the chair had to be comfortable for reading (either a rocker or big armchair) and the table had to be functional yet cute. Every time I wen to a thrift store, I looked at their furniture but never found anything I liked.

Then one day this happened.


CJ’s dad brought over this rocking chair that he no longer needed. It’s in really good shape and needs no work. There are a few scratches on the seat, which the pillows I tossed on there cover up nicely. So we put it in the living room, in place of the old rocker.



I like the contrast in color that it adds to the room. It feel cleaner and more grown up too.

So now I had an extra rocking chair that would be perfect for the bedroom!


Then, while in the basement today with Isabella, I gazed upon an end table that was tucked back in the corner and realized it could work great for the bedroom! Just needed some touching up. So I dragged it, along with a few decorative items and a tablecloth upstairs.

Here’s how it all came together.


The chair works well as is and tucks in to the corner perfectly. I covered the table up with the tablecloth and put the bowl and candle on it. Then I tucked the little plant in to the corner for some greenery.


I’m really happy with how it turned out. And so is Isabella, obviously.

We also added in an area rug that had also been collecting dust in the basement.


(Remember, we’re still in Pretend World where the bed is made!!)

It adds just the extra something that the room needed.

Here’s how the 2 new additions look together.


The room looks that much more finished and cozy.

Is it done? No. I’d like to maybe change out the cushions on the chair, and probably the pillow too, and add balls or something to fill up the red bowl. Will probably add a little figurine to the table too. Oh and the bulb in the lamp needs to be changed to something brighter so that we can see better.

But overall, it’s a definite improvement and am super excited to cross this off my to do list. I’m particularly pleased that we were able to reuse items we already had! Bonus!

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Master! | New Additions | Little Touches

New Additions

I know I haven’t posted in a while. We’ve been busy. That’s no excuse really but it’s the truth.

I mean, hello, the OLYMPICS were on! I could not tear myself away from the TV – even when the boring sports were on (*cough* the marathon *cough*)!

But now that’s behind us and life can resume its normalcy, if there is such a thing.

We were busy during the last few weeks creating various art projects. All of them (eventually) got hung up on the Gallery Wall too.

The first project was one I did after seeing creations like this. I figured, how hard could it be?

So I grabbed some supplies from Michael’s and got to work. First I spray painted a basic wooden plaque.


Then I printed an outline of Nebraska, drew a heart in the center (most people put the heart wherever their city is on the state but since Omaha is all the way on the right, it wouldn’t have worked) and lightly secured it to the plaque with tape. Then I took my brads and hammered them in around the outside, trying to get them evenly spaced.



Then it was time to thread it! I tied the thread (I chose green) in a knot around the top left-hand most brad and then started wrapping it around each brad from one to the next. I measured that there were 4 outside nails to every 1 inside nail so each inside nail got threaded 4 times – 1 per outside nail.


Once that was done. I took another string and wrapped it from nail to nail around just the heart, to give it an outline and finish it off.

Ta da!


If I had it to do over, I would have put the brads closer together, especially on the left side. But all in all, I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s something unique and colorful to represent where we live!

And here it is on the wall!


The other project I did involved some stenciling letters I found in the Clearance bin at Michael’s. They just happened to have a “T”, “C”, “S”, and “I”, for $1 a piece, so I bought all 4, and a canvas, and went to work!

Here is what the final product turned out to be!


I started with yellow because I’ve decided the Gallery Wall will be a rainbow of colors. I want every color represented. Yellow felt right to me. I wanted the “T” to stand out as it’s the first letter of our last name and therefore the common shared letter amongst all of us. So I made it black. Then I made the other ones blue because I like blue and yellow together, plus it echoes the color scheme of the playroom and dining room.


Here it is on the wall!


I haven’t decided if I want to leave it next to the red piece or move it up under the Nebraska thread project. I think I’ll probably move it, to balance out the big blocks of color and fill in the big space on the right.

I am happy with how it turned out. It’s simple yet makes a bold statement.

Finally, the piece de resistance! Isabella’s ode to the Olympics!


I tried to get her to do something like this but she decided that smearing the paint was more fun. Not what I had in mind but that’s ok – it’s actually something better because Munchkin did it!

So there you have the latest additions to our gallery wall!

I can’t say good-bye though before showing you today’s activity – flying a kite!


A Spiderman kite no less.

CJ showed her how to do it first.


And before long she was a natural!


She had a blast and we’re already looking forward to doing it again!

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Little Touches

We have officially lived in our house for 9 months.


I can hardly believe it. Some moments it feels like 9 days; others like 9 years.

We love it. I pinch myself sometimes to think about how perfectly everything came together. This house literally had everything we were looking for (the only house that did) and we got such a good deal on it.

Are we totally settled in? Mostly. I say that because while all the rooms have the essentials in them – furniture and items to live on – there are still some finishing touches to be done.

At this point, I’m not pushing myself to have the house “Better Homes and Gardens” ready by any certain date. I find it goes better if I tackle a little bit here and there. Sometimes I need to have a moment of inspiration before I decide how to fill a space. Also, as I unpack boxes from the basement (yes, there are still quite a few) I find new homes for things (possibly different than where I had those same things in our old house).

All that to say, I’ve made some more progress in the last few weeks that I wanted to share.

Let’s start with the dining room. The last time we saw this tray, that I made using leftover fabric, it looked like this:


Since then, I’ve changed it up a bit by adding a vase of fresh flowers and a candle that my sister gave me for Mother’s Day (it’s actually yellow inside so sometimes I leave the lid off for an added punch of color and extra fragrance).


I like the grouping of 3 MUCH better and love the touch of organic and color added by having the flowers (also ties in nicely with the plant next to it).

Moving on to the kitchen….

So one of the things I found when digging through boxes was a bag full of magnets. See, we have a tradition that we buy a magnet from every new place we visit. However, our refrigerator is stainless steel so the front is not magnetized but the sides are. I decided to make a “wall of magnets” on the side with our travel ones.


I think it looks pretty cool and it’s a fun thing to see when you walk in from the garage! Isabella likes checking out all the different places and finding them on the map we have downstairs.

The kitchen in our old house was done in a coffee theme so I have a lot of wall hangings and decorations related to coffee. The new kitchen doesn’t have much room for that kind of stuff as we have a ton of cabinets and no real ‘free’ wall space.


I was able to find a sliver of wall wide enough for these little guys though.


They add that little extra something that the kitchen needed in that corner.

I also put some stuff up on top of the cabinets (pretend the counters are perfectly clean and that you don’t see the pile of dirty dishes).


Here’s the close-up.


I’d like to keep adding to the top of the cabinets as I think it provides additional interest and color without being too obvious, but I want to be careful not to overcrowd them.

While I was sorting through kitchen boxes, I came across my stack of cookbooks. I don’t use all of them (a couple I’ve never used), but they’re a natural item to display in the kitchen so I put them on the bottom of this accent table.


If you look back here, you’ll notice that originally I had some coffee trinkets on that bottom shelf. Those got put up on top of the cabinets to make room for the books!

Now let’s wander in to the living room, shall we?

So let’s start with my FABULOUS clearance find. I was shopping at Kohl’s and wandered over to the clearance bin in the home goods section. Nothing caught my eye until I glanced down at the bottom shelf and saw a beautiful orange/grey/tan/white rug. I noticed it because those are the colors in our living room, along with turquoise and the occasional splash of green. I picked it up and didn’t see any tags on it so I put it back and walked away. But I didn’t get far. I turned around and looked at it again, unsure. Do we really need a rug in there? What if it was a lot of money?

Then I remembered the Goodwill Incident of last week. See, I had spotted a really nice standalone full length mirror in one of the stores that would have been perfect in our bedroom. I didn’t get it because I didn’t feel like messing with hauling it to the car, blah blah. Well after a few days it was nagging at me so I went back and the mirror was gone.

Lesson learned: trust your gut!

So I took that rug up front and it was marked down 80% to $15!! Plus I had a 20% off coupon! Done and done!

And it looks awesome…


While we’re here, I’ll show you the rest of the living room, which is the one room in the house that is the most done.

By the way, those orange tub chairs were a garage sale find by CJ. He got both for $30. We had them in the basement of the old house, just to stage it, figuring we might get rid of them once we moved. The movers plopped them in the living room and we loved how it looked and ended up building the rest of the room around them!


I really like the unexpectedness of the round ottoman/coffee table. Ties in the curves of the tub chairs with the leather of the couch.


We bought that rocker when Isabella was born, to use for nursing at night and such. Since we’re way past all that, it got placed in here for extra seating. That’s pretty much where you’ll find CJ any night of the week that we’re home.

And of course the fireplace.


By the way, that back wall with the black and white pics is where we want to put built-in shelves. I think it would look awesome to have white built-ins with a space in the middle for a TV and picture. We will hopefully get going on that project soon…


All in all, I love how the room has come together. It’s very eclectic and unique (you won’t really find anything in our house that’s too matchy-matchy).

Couple more little things to point out.

This tray was born out of necessity.


See, I was painting my nails one night and put a polish remover soaked cotton ball on the table without thinking….and it ate away at the finish. Oops. What’s a girl to do but cover it up?

I made this tray using a picture we got in Ireland and a frame with the stand torn off (and some felt ‘feet’ tacked to it so as not to scratch up the table). Works like a charm!

I found this tray at Goodwill for $3.


That little ottoman was getting stained up from CJ putting his drinks on it so now he has a tray to put them in!

Finally, some additions to the gallery wall.

Here’s the before:


And the after:


Can you spot the additoins?

Yep, this collage I did of all the photo booth pics we’ve taken over the years.


We sort of have a thing about photo booths. If we see one while out on a date or traveling or something, we stop and get some pics taken. What can I say, it’s cheap fun!

I also added these 2 little prints that I found in the basement. Both of them are original prints I did in college.



So that’s the latest on the house! I have a lot of fun digging up new stuff and finding “homes” for them all. More updates to come as we continue to progress!

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Master! | S&C | Projects


Finally. FINALLY!!

We have the curtains up in the master bedroom!


You may recall that they’ve been on backorder for 2 months! Well they arrived Friday and we hung them up on Monday!


I was worried at first that the dark color would be too much for the room. In our old house it would have made the bedroom look like a matchbox. But in this house, the room is big enough to handle it. And the cool pattern gives them some added interest.

Also, these are blackout curtains. Personally, light filtering into the room doesn’t bother me. But CJ is very sensitive to it and insisted we get light-blocking drapes. I actually bought 2 other sets and took them back before landing on these. The other ones were from Target and didn’t block the light at all. These are from JCPenney and do a great job.

Here’s what the room would look like at night if we didn’t have the curtains.


I kept the lamps on because otherwise I couldn’t get a good picture.

Here’s the room with the curtains closed.


I know from the photos they don’t look all that different, but trust me, they are.

We really love them both for how they finish off the room nicely and because they make sleeping that much easier. And really, anything that does that is a winner in my book!

In other news…

I mentioned a couple weeks ago about going on a flower potting expedition with some girls from work. I had left my pot at the garden center because the owner of the shop keeps them and fertilizes/waters/etc. to make sure the flowers get over the shock of being replanted.

Well I got it back yesterday and here it is!


I took a pretty little white strawberry pot and put Begonias around the side and a Batface Cuphea in the middle.

The Begonias are already starting to fill out and grow.


The Batface Cuphea is on its regeneration phase. In other words, most of the flowers fell off and a new batch is growing in!

They are called “batface” because some people think that the flowers look like little bat faces, with the top petals being the ears and the purple fuzzy inside being the face.


I put the pot outside near the back corner, so it can be seen from the back or side of the house. I put some hanging baskets next to it to create a pretty little grouping.


Ten bonus points if you can spot the sad faced Labrador who’s sick and tired of having to wear his leash every time he goes outside. Sorry buddy, 3 more weeks…


I think as the flowers grow and fill out, this will look really pretty.


I plan to do more planting this weekend, filling in the pots out front and adding some others to the back.

That’s all for now! Time to wrap it up for bed!

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