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25 Apr

I’ll start off by addressing the big pink elephant in the room (although maybe I’m the only one seeing it…).  I’m a bit mortified that not a single soul posted a comment on my call for opinions post last Friday.  I’m secretly hoping that it’s because no one ever wants to be the first commenter, but I know I’m delusional.  In reality, that actually answers the questions I asked in my last post just as much as your comments would have.  It tells me that I haven’t engaged you on a personal level, so that needs to change.

From here on out, I’ll be focusing more on content than posting on a certain schedule.  The posting will be sporadic for a few weeks while I figure out the changes.  I’m going to start up a few series posts and probably revive my Pin and Tell series, but lets face it, you aren’t invested in me enough to care about the minutia of what I started over the weekend (aside from a few of my friends in real life), you want RESULTS and meatier posts (more content, less filler).  So your silence has spoken volumes.  I hope you’ll bear with me through this transition and if it goes according to plan, this blog will be better than ever!

Until then, please enjoy this teaser of my newly painted and stenciled bathroom.



Raining Umbrellas

12 Jan

I’m not one for official New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to challenge myself to be a better self each year.

Even though I did a lot of DIY projects in 2011, I did very few original creations.  You know my deep obsession affinity for Pinterest, but with so many ideas at your fingertips is easier to reinterpret someone else’s ideas instead of developing your own.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a personal philosophy: you can’t complain about something if you’re not taking steps to change it (or at least change the way you think about it).   My example always is- I don’t want to hear you complain about the size of your butt if you’re too lazy to get on an elliptical.  Get your rear on that elliptical, then I’ll let you vent about the junk in your trunk.  Catch my drift?

So, how does this apply to my creativity rant above?  Lately I’ve been feeling inspired but unoriginal.  Over the weekend I was telling Hubby my plans to be more creative in the coming months, even though I had no real plan.  Well, a plan fell into my lap on Monday.  Vicki over at Simply Hue announced the winter session of her creativity e-course Raining Umbrellas and you can bet your britches that I signed up!

I’m super excited!  I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I’m hoping to be challenged and inspired and PUSHED out of my comfort zone (and who doesn’t need a good shove every once in a while).  No matter what, it’ll be a good time!

She still has openings, so you should join me and we can fumble through the unknown together!

Reflections and New Mirrors

26 May

After the whirlwind cleaning and house prep for the housewarming last Sunday, its been a week of mental recovery.  I was pleased with the way the house looked for the housewarming, but its still not where I want it to be.  I suppose its pretty darn good for only having lived there for only 4+ months, but it still doesn’t look designed.  Call me crazy (and I’m sure you will), but I feel like as a designer, my house should be held to a different standard.  …But as I’ve ranted before, too much corporate design has atrophied my residential design chops.  I’m planning a trip to the library (or maybe an order to Amazon) to get some inspirational books that keep repeatedly popping up on my radar: Details: A Stylist’s Secrets to Creating Inspired Interiors, Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design, and Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home to start with.

Before the housewarming I didn’t realize how busy I was making myself and how much I just needed to stop for a minute and relax.  So I’ve been making up for that this week ;-).  Between needing a break from house projects and a painfully quiet week at the 9to5, its been tough to find inspiration in the past few days.  Forcing myself out of this funk, I still have a pre-housewarming project to share with you!

Remember the $4 rummage sale frame I got?

Well, it doesn’t look like that anymore.  It’s now a mirror!

After seeing it featured on the Nate Berkus show, I decided to hunt down Looking Glass Spray: a spray paint that gives a mirror finish to glass.  I made a few calls to the local craft stores (and looked in the home improvement stores),  and realized my only way was to order it on Amazon.

Here’s where I’ve failed you- this project was part of the whirlwind before the housewarming, so I neglected to take progress pictures.  Will you forgive me?

The frame itself got a fresh coat of hammered gold spray paint before I secured the glass to it with epoxy.  Once the glass and frame were secured, I took 2″ painters tape and (on the back side) taped around the edges of the glass.  Following the directions on the spray, the back side got 5 thin coats (and one minor drip- oops).  Pull off the tape and voila!

Overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome!  Its more reflective than the picture shows, but not as much as a traditional mirror.  It kind of has an antiquey feel to it.  I think next time I would actually put 1 or 2 LESS coats to make it look a little inconsistent and a bit more like a weathered vintage mirror.  I’m itching to use this spray on some glassware to make it look like mercury glass.

I have a few other projects in the pipeline including bedroom curtains and planting some new flowers (from friends and family from the housewarming), but I’m boycotting house projects at least until the weekend.

Idea Storm

12 Apr

Is it possible to have too many ideas swirling around in your head?  At this point, I would say emphatically YES!!  I have so many ideas- for the house- for the yard- for future business ventures- for a friends wedding…  and zero time to actually execute any of these ideas or to come up with the solutions for the unanswered ones.  They keep multiplying and pretty soon there will be an idea avalanche of epic proportions.  Be warned!

Lets see if I can unload a few random thoughts/ideas/dilemmas here to start with.

#1. I heart estate sales.

I may have a new addiction.

Pretty bottle + amazing chair to refinish = $5 & 1 giddy buyer (a.k.a. ME)

The bottle is destined to have some jewelry draped on it (for now at least).  The chair’s future is somewhat uncertain.  Definitely getting painted and getting a new upholstered seat.  Potentially upholstering the back caned area- that might be a game time decision depending on how the paint comes out.  I’m thinking it would look spectacular in glossy white (don’t tell Hubby, he thinks he hates white furniture) with a punchy fabric.  I’m even thinking it might compliment our future Hollywood regency bedroom nicely.  We shall see.  Its currently sitting in the yard waiting to get hosed off.  Once it’s cobweb free, it’s going to go on an adventure through the house, being carried from room to room to see if it’ll live with us or be sold after refinishing (I’m rooting for living with us, its so sexy!).  This project might get done sooner rather than later.  I just need to get a jigsaw (to cut a seat), stapler for upholstery, some spraypaint, some zazzy fabric, and padding for the new seat.

#2. Yard work.

The fantabulous (you heard me) parents are coming up from CT this weekend to celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary and help with the yard.  Their idea, I SWEAR!  If the weather allows, we’ll be putting some bushes out of their misery to make way for an epic veggie garden in the side yard and better curb appeal in the front.  I know the oversized bland bushes in the front need to go… I just have no idea what to replace them with.  Any ideas?  I want color or texture- something different that will still look decent in the 9 months of winter we seem to get in Massachusetts lately.

#3. Curtains- living room and bedroom.  This is the biggest ‘question mark’ in my mind right now.

Hi, my name is Karen, and I am severely indecisive.  Here’s where I have too many ideas on one topic and I can’t make a decision if my life depended on it.

Living room.  I know I want white sheer-ish curtains with a subtle texture which I then plan to add a ribbon of vertical color to.  Great, I have this decided! right?  Close, but not quite.  What white sheer-ish textured curtains do I get?  White crinkle?  Satin stripes? Linen-y stripes? Burn-out circles? I’m forcing myself to answer this week so I can move past this and nix the heavy looking brown curtains living there currently.

Bedroom.  As I mentioned a few times before, its going to be delightfully Hollywood regency (eventually) and I want curtains to reflect that.  I’ve decided on an accessory color scheme and that I want a simple white comforter with black trim (which will be punched with various patterned pillows).  I can’t decided if I want a dark silver luxurious window treatments to compliment the light gray walls, or if I want a bold black and white stripe (or gray and white) that will be complimented by colored accessories, or if I want a lattice-type pattern in a color (particularly yellow).

#4. House guest preparation.

Brian’s sister is coming in from NYC this Sunday for a few days- making her our first official house guest!  I only have a few items on my house list before we pick her up from the bus depot.  Also, in addition to my parents semi-frequent visits, Hubby and I have offered to to make Easter dinner- just for my parents & siblings basically, but still our first holiday!  Hubby will take care of the meal and making the plates look Iron Chef-worthy.  I’ll make some dessert and make sure the house and table looks as pretty as the plates.  In planning additional house projects, I decided that I needed to pick a date for a housewarming so I would have a date to work toward.  End of May.  Now I have to pick and choose what projects I do first!  One step at a time.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.

#5. Chevron rocks my world.

I need to find a way to incorporate it into the house.  Maybe on the cool new chair above.  Maybe on a throw blanket, or curtains…

As you can see, my mind is pretty blank lately ;-).  Other topics racing through my head include: chandeliers, dining chairs, cat doors, and event planning (just to name a few).  Hopefully I can share all these topics/projects with you as I tackle them.  Are you as excited as I am??

*images via Tonic Living & Apartment Therapy

Give me an “L”!

14 Mar

Give me an “I”!

Give me an “A”!

What does that spell?


…as in Lia Sophia (I figured I would spare you and not spell out the whole thing).  I know I’ve mentioned before, on top of my 9to5 and moving and generally going crazy, I have a part-time business selling jewelry at home parties.  Yesterday I had my first party in MONTHS.  oops.  With the whole move, I’ve gotten so unorganized mentally and need to get back on my game.  Yesterdays party helped me to realize 2 things- 1. I need to get my act together and start actually doing something with my business- I have a LARGE to do list that I’ve been ignoring/hiding in the closet.  If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist, right?  and 2. I have no excuse for being unsettled in the house!  My jewelry hostess yesterday had moved into her apartment the same day as I moved into the house.  She had pictures hanging and looked settled.  I haven’t hung a single thing (except curtains in the living room that are temporary).  That needs to change STAT!  Its not like hanging a picture takes much time or energy (although figuring out a Master Plan for the house does..).

Per my usual, I decided with my abundance of free time (can you see the sarcasm dripping off those words) Saturday that I would try and accomplish something toward the house in the form of shopping and looking for inspiration.  It all started with Pier 1.  I had fallen in love with a clock online.  And then fell promptly out of love with it in person.  More shabby than chic.  poo.  Then off to my first trip to an actual West Elm store a few blocks from Pier 1.  I had gone by the store many times in Boston and drooled over the catalog for years, so a store trip was overdue.  I was drawn in by a quilt, but it wasn’t as thick and cozy I was hoping, so strike 2.  No clock, no comforter.  I did leave West Elm having adopted this adorable owl so it wasn’t all for naught.

I took home the little one. I need to name him I think.

To boost my morale, I decided an IKEA trip was in order, so off I went, getting frustrated with Boston drivers I usually try to avoid and getting a bit sidetracked by not listening to Eva the GPS (name was inspired by WALL-E and his pronunciation of EVE).  IKEA didn’t boost my morale as much as hoped at first.  I couldn’t figure out a plan for the atypical length I need for the desired office desks and corresponding storage.  Finally I got the adrenaline rush I needed when I saw this 4×6+ rug for just $20!!

Add that to the Target pillow I purchased a week ago…

And we’ve got the beginning of a bedroom scheme!  Huzzah!

Let’s just hope I can figure out how to keep Charlie from scratching the rug, otherwise it may have to go back. *pout*

What a Week

20 Jan

and its only Thursday!

I forgot how exhausting it is to uproot.  Forget routine and where you expect to find things.  Naturally  nothing has a place yet (and naturally its already driving me bonkers).

Hubby is finally back to work after 3 days home sick.  I’m hopefully reaching the end of my cold and cough.  We’ve begun the cat intros and as expected, Alpha-Daisy does not like our new Charlie in her space yet.  Much to my pleasure, however when Charlie is locked in his room, Daisy is back to her sassy self from before the move.

Yesterday we received a half-dozen packages and there are a few more on the way.  New kitchen faucet, a piece to replace a broken one in the fridge, a cat door for the basement door, pantry cabinets for the basement, and lia sophia catalogs for my part time business (add sending catalogs to upcoming hostesses to my large To Do list).  I finally gave in and ordered matching hangers for our newly organized closet and can’t wait until they arrive!

This weekend will be a big exciting transformation for the kitchen!  Saturday the dishwasher gets revealed from its large box (sitting next to the fridge as we speak) and it will be installed along with a countertop and backsplash extension. The current backsplash will also receive some aesthetic repairs and the new sexy faucet (yes, I called a faucet sexy) will be installed.  You should know me well enough by now to realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my To Do list.

Lets hope I don’t burn myself out by the end of the weekend- I have a whole house to make Home!

Pack, Pack, Organize, and Pack More

11 Jan

I refuse to bring anything to the house that is not somewhat organized.  Practical, yes, but also time consuming.

Check out some of these organization tips and resources that I’ve been finding inspiration in:

Apartment Therapy: 6 Ways to Make Space for the New– Need to reduce your clutter?  Ask yourselves these simple questions.

The Happiness Project: One Minute Rule– This is one of my rules to live by now!

Zen Habits: 5 Ways to Lose Your Stuff (Not Your Lover)


To me, decluttering my surroundings helps to declutter my head as well.  If my space is cluttered, you can generally bet that my state of mind matches.  As long as I can remember, I’ve functioned this way, although I first recognized this  in college.  I’d be in the midst of a demanding design project during which I would have let me dorm room explode in chaos and would inevitably hit a mental block.  Before I could get over the hump and continue on to productivity, the items of clutter around me needed to find their way to their respective homes.  Its amazing what you can focus on when your environment is a pleasant one.

By starting our life in the new house as organized as possible, I’m hoping to set up a home that will help us grow (even when we hit life’s little road blocks).