Archives for November 2011

Thank you!!

I am jumping for joy this morning.  And cannot thank you all enough for reading. When I woke up, my blog had over 1000 hits to date.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you. But I first shared my blog exactly two weeks ago. TWO WEEKS!  I had little expectations about blogging. Sure, I had hopes. Hopes that people would read and enjoy.  Hopes that people would want to follow my blog.  Hopes that I would be added to someones ‘must read’ list of blogs.  But 1000 hits!  That seems like a lot to me.  So thank you. Thank you so much!
Since clearly not all of you are personal friends with me (YET!), would you mind leaving me a comment and telling me which part of the country you are reading from?! I’d love to know where my blog has been opened, and hopefully enjoyed!
This week I plan to post some pictures of my home, decorated for the holidays.  I still have a few things to fluff…..more fresh greens around the snowmen, fixing the tilting Christmas tree before it topples over (need a little help from Dan on that one!) and setting the new dining room for a dinner party this weekend. So make sure you come back to see what’s new!
Again, thank you.  Thank you for being the start of something really fun in my life!  Let’s see how soon we can reach 2000 hits!!
Don’t forget to post a comment about which part of the country you are reading ‘at home in the northwest’ from!  And please continue to read, and possibly follow, my blog.  
May God bless you this holiday season.
Jen

Personalized Doormat

What’s better than receiving a personalized doormat?  How about making a personalized doormat for only $7!
The following is a tutorial on how you can turn this…..
….into this!
The doormats are from Walmart and cost only $6.98.
1.
Once you have your mats, select two round objects that are different sizes.  I found two plates, a large and a small.  First trace the larger circle with a permanent marker.
2.
Then trace the smaller circle.
3.
Next, print an initial in a font of your choice.  My computer wouldn’t make the letters large enough.  So I went online and googled “Letter K images” and found a font that I liked. Then dragged the image into Pages (which is Mac’s Word program) and dragged the corners of the image to enlarge it to the correct size.  Another option is to print a letter on your computer and run to Kinko’s to enlarge it on the copier. Cut out your letter.
4.
Measure the center of the circle and place the letter in the correct spot.

5.

Trace the letter with a permanent marker.

6.
Grab some craft paint. I used the $0.99 bottle of paint from Michael’s and an old paintbrush.
7.
Start painting.

I painted two of these is less than 30 minutes, so it’s really a quick (and did I mention inexpensive?!) project!  They make great teacher gifts, hostess gifts or a treat for yourself!

Only one more to go and my teacher gifts will be complete!

Have fun creating!! (Note: The best place to use these are under a covered porch,where the weather won’t further deteriorate them.  I may try and spray an acrylic coat on top to see if that extends their life a bit.)

Jen

I’m linking up to:http://www.momnivores-dilemma.com/i heart naptimehome maker on a dimefun to craftby stephanie lynndiy showoffthe allred adobehomestead revival, the shady porch, home stories a to z, mrs hines class, saved by suzy, the corson cottage, serenity now, centsational girl, famingo toes, aka design, tutus and tea parties, sarahndipities, the inspired room, at home with k, a bowl full of lemons, saved by love creations, crafty scrappy happy, the charm of home, stuff and nonsense, somewhat simple, the 36th avenue, whipper berry, chic on a shoestring decorating, shabby art boutiquehouse of hepworths, blue cricket designsallie makes, ninth and bird, laurie anna’s, blissful rhythm, the southern product queen, the brambleberry cottage, new nostalgia, eye candy, chicken scratch ny, coastal charm, tip junkie, skip to my lou, debbie doos, southern hospitality, my girlish whims, home is where my story begins, sisters of the wild west, between naps on the porch, the shabby nest, my uncommon slice of suburbia, home sweet home, common ground,  michele raven designs,  beneath my heart, french country cottage, 2805, fingerprints on the fridge, simple home life, nifty thrifty sunday

O’ Christmas Tree

In the past, we’ve gone to a rather popular, pricey Christmas tree farm.  And every year, I say “I can’t believe we paid that much for our Christmas tree….and to ride the tractor/wagon….and to have our tree bailed….and to let the kids go on the slide….”  We always have fun.  But it always adds up to a spendy outing.
So this year, I did some research and found a lesser known Christmas tree farm only two miles down the road from our previous choice.  It’s basic.  It’s simple. And the prices were reasonable. 

Eaton Creek Tree Farm

They didn’t have any hot chocolate or cider for sale.  But they did have this blazing fire for us to warm up by.

In fact, it was almost too warm! This was as close as we could get to it.
The nice man there gave us a saw and sent us on our way, driving through the Christmas tree farm in our car.   It was quiet, peaceful and so easy to wander and pick the perfect tree.  (And we were surprised by how many perfect trees we had to choose from!)
After a short search, and a few snapshots taken of the kids running through the trees, we found the tree we wanted!
Dan did the cutting and the kids helped tie it to the top of the car.
After Dan made sure the tree was secure, we were on our way!
We were so thankful for not only no rain, but a blue sky! It was the perfect day to get a Christmas tree!!
Fortunately, Dan was off this weekend so we even got the tree in the house and decorated!  
Need another gift idea for teachers, friends or for yourself?  Come back tomorrow to read about a fun one that will cost you less than $10!
Jen

Let there be light!!

Good-bye old friend….But we were every really friends? Or were we just forced together by circumstances?  You were a light fixture and I needed something to illuminate the toys and children at my feet.  Thank you for serving our family for 5 years, but I am sorry to inform you though that you have been replaced by a newer, prettier model.  I’m sure someone will snatch you up at the Goodwill and put you to work again.  For now, please enjoy some rest during this holiday season.  You deserve a vacation.
Yes, I did it.  I got the crazy itch to install that darn dining room light on my own.  Dan was at work, clueless to my wandering mind.  Thanks to a quick tutorial on You Tube, I was in business.  Black wire to black wire. White wire to white wire and green to green. Easy, right? Well, easy for most.  But this being my first venture with electricity, it took me a bit longer than expected.  Three hours to be exact!
The light box in my ceiling was smaller than the metal plate needed to hang the light.  This meant that the head of the screws ran into the ceiling instead of into the light box.  So most of my time was consumed with finding a shorter screw. I was certain I had some that would do the job. So I searched. And searched.
After not having any luck, I decided to switch gears and cut the wires and cord shorter.  They gave me plenty of cord….about 2 extra feet to be exact!
 And of course, I didn’t have the proper tool to cut the wires.   
I tried cutting a test piece to see how my scissors would fare.  I was so careful. And so unsuccessful.  So off to Lowes I went.  
I needed shorter screws and a wire stripper.  The wire strippers was a quick task.  I even had the nice gentleman cut the cord and wires for me.  The screws became an issue all of it’s own. Turns out the decorative ‘nut’ would only thread onto the long screw that came with my light fixture! Even though they measured the screw, and the nut, it would not thread onto a new screw.  So my only option was to cut the provided screws.  I got a new hacksaw blade to just make sure I had the proper tools since I wasn’t sure how sharp our blade was at home.  Wouldn’t want to have to go back to Lowes!  The lights were off in our house and it was getting dark.  So I needed to get that light installed asap!
Once I got the screws cut (which only took a few minutes, surprisingly!), I was cruising!  I carefully connected all of the appropriate wires and ta-da!  Let there be light!!
We did put the pretty shade and light diffuser on too. And trust me, it looks great….but you’ll have to wait a few more days to see the final product. (Sorry that the light is all askew!  It straightened out when I put the shade on).
I need to finish decorating for Christmas.  And I’m waiting for a few plate hangers to come in the mail.  I ordered these adhesive plate hangers from allplatehangers.com.
So assuming those come this coming week, I’ll finish up the room and post the finished product !
Thanks for reading. And I hope you all are having a great start to your holiday season!!
Jen

New Light Fixture

Look what came in the mail last night!!  UPS delivers at the end of the day to our neighborhood. Even though I know that, I have to periodically look outside my front door, just to make sure they didn’t decide to arrive early.  And as always, they arrived around dinner time.  I’m not sure how I thought I could miss seeing the box….it is gigantic!

Here is a sneak peak (and I do apologize for the dark picture.  We have having tons and tons of rain here in the Pacific northwest.  And even though the curtains were open and the ‘light’ was shining in, the picture still came out dark.)  Hopefully you can see the texture  on the shade a bit though.  The shade color appears to be a perfect match to our chair slipcovers!! I do love that!

My biggest concern now is that it only holds one 75 watt lightbulb.  There is a diffuser that will attach to the bottom of the drum shade too.  Hopefully that will be enough light for our dining room. Unfortunately, that isn’t anything we can test out until the fixture installed!

The last point to ponder is weather we should TRY to install the light ourselves!  Neither Dan nor I have fiddled with electricity. And while I know people say it is easy, I have a proper respect for electrical things and have left that task to the pro’s in the past.

What are your thoughts? Should we try and install it ourselves? And do you think it will be enough light for our dining room?  I’d love your thoughts!

Jen

Planting Paperwhites

Need a teacher gift? Or hostess gift? Paperwhites are the perfect item to give. They are very reasonably priced and take very little time to put together. That’s the perfect mix for a gift, in my opinion!

Paperwhites take about 6 weeks to bloom, but the journey from planting to blooming is a fun one to watch.
Supplies:
Paperwhites
Container
Rocks
I got my paperwhites at Lowes for $6.98 for 7 bulbs.  I saw a cute package at Target today.  They were in a little burlap bag for $7.99 for 5 bulbs in the Smith and Hawken section.
Find a fun container (it can be a vase, flower pot without a drainage hole, ball jar or anything you find interesting to plant bulbs).  Next put some rocks into your container. If you don’t have any rocks laying around, go outside. I bet you or a friendly neighbor might have some pebbles on a driveway or walkway. Give them a good scrub and into the vase they go!

Place bulbs on top of the rocks. You can put as many or few bulbs in as you’d like. For a nice, full presentation, feel free to make the bulbs nice and cozy next to each other. I probably could have put one or two more in the vase below, but I felt 6 was a nice number to start with.
Fill the vase with some water just so it touches the bottom of the bulbs. If you fill it too full, the bulbs might rot. But keeping it right at the bottom will help them sprout roots. It’s a really fun process to watch, if you planted them in a glass container!

If you happen to have a few extra ball jars on hand, there is no added expense for your gift!

Here are the bulbs after just a few days. Can you see the roots starting to sprout?!

Trust me when I say you do NOT need a green thumb to plant these bulbs!  This project is easy!  
Have fun!
Jen
I’m linking up to:
  ThriftyThurs Thrifty Thursday Week 50
The Shabby Nest  Holiday    Photobucket      Photobucket

Snow!


This morning we woke up to our first snow! Jack was beside himself with excitement – bounding into our bedroom at 6:30 am to announce that it had indeed snowed and was sticking (Thank you Mr. Weatherman for finally being correct. It’s no fun having disappointed children when the snow doesn’t deliver as promised).

Wake up time in our house is 7:00 am, so back to his bedroom Jack went. Thirty minutes later I heard the ‘swish – swish’ of ski pants walking down the hall…he was ready to play!

While not much snow accumulated, a child living in the Pacific Northwest finds any amount of snow exciting.
Happy kids = happy mom!

It may not be the worlds prettiest snowman, but when you’re 5 years old, it’s pretty darn close.
I’m working on a great teacher gift this weekend! I think you’ll love it! Stay tuned for a tutorial in a few days.
Have a great weekend!
Jen

Laundry Room Before and After

A year ago, we started the addition to the second floor of our home. And we figured that while we were at it, lets remodel the laundry room too! (Aren’t those famous last words during a home project… “while we’re at it….”?)
Let’s take a look at the before shots. Clearly these before photo’s were not staged. We were about to begin construction and I was emotionally DONE with the laundry room. So the not so pretty room was REALLY not pretty when these images were shot. The pictures below show which walls were moved during construction.

There wasn’t a single counter top. The only usable space was the top of the washer and dryer.
The wall below didn’t move. This is the future site of our mudroom bench. Do you see that little hanger with 4 hooks? That was the only place we had to hang clothes to dry. Sometimes when there was a lot to hang up, the items in the back sometimes wouldn’t dry completely. They would then have to be re-washed because of their musty smell. Very frustrating.

Cue construction outside (and cue chaotic family life indoors! Think 7 days with no washer or dryer. Not the end of the world, but almost the end of clean clothing!)
The first step was digging up part of our front porch.
Now it’s starting to look like something! Hard to believe that this small area will make such a huge difference in our laundry room!
Below you can see where they bumped the wall out 24″ into the garage. And where they bumped the window wall out 4 feet toward the front of the house. (Can you see that ugly linoleum flooring? It has a touch of pink in it. No thank you!)
And now for some after pictures. Drum roll please……..
The sink moved to the new wall that was bumped out into the garage.
And the washer and dryer were pushed into the 4 foot bump out, giving us so much more room.
All of that extra space allowed us to put a row of cabinets and a mudroom bench along this wall, where the sink used to be.
Here are a few of my favorite things about our new laundry room. The mudroom bench top was used from a 200 year old piece of wood. I asked the builder to put something rustic in there since kids would be sitting on it, standing on it, throwing bags on it…. I didn’t want to have to worry about scratches. This piece of wood was perfect!
And the cabinet to the left of the mudroom bench fits our ironing board and vacuum cleaner….two things that always seemed to be in the way before the remodel.
Our new drying rack, purchased from Ballard Designs. It is so unbelievably handy (and it closes too when not in use). We have both this and a clothing rod above the sink to hang up clothes. No more musty smelling clothes!!
And with this great counter space, no more folding clothes on the family room floor!
What do you think? Do you love the finished product as much as I do!?
Thanks for reading!!
Jen
Linking up to:
Photobucket  shabby creek cottage    

Dining Room Light Fixture Dilemma

We are in the market for a dining room light fixture. The one that came with the house was a bit much for my taste. I must have blocked the details of it from my memory because all I remember are lots of crystals and too much brass. And not a fun antiquey looking brass with great looking crystals. This was circa 1995 – too many cheap crystals and plenty of shiny brass. Since the room served as our playroom, a giant chandelier just became something that anyone over 5 feet tall would hit their head on when standing up.

So down it came. And thanks to Craigs List, someone else gets to enjoy all that brass and crystal in their home. And in an effort to be frugal, we put up a light fixture from another part of the house until we found something that suited us better. It too is brass and has been in the dining room entirely too long.
It’s time for a change….The search is on for something new!
I’m loving the drum pendant. Simple look with clean lines.
via west elm
I stopped by Seattle Lighting, after finding this drum pendant online.

via destination lighting

This is the 18″ size. And the bronze finish is actually more of a dirty brass (and after 2 brass light fixtures in the dining room, I’m ready for a change). The shade was shorter looking than I expected (only 7″ high). So I purchased the larger size, which had a 22″ shade that was 9″ tall. But it didn’t come in the soft white/cream color. So I bought the white. Turned out to be a bad decision. I got it home and didn’t like it. Didn’t care for the ‘bronze’ finish and the white was too much of a stark white.
Side note: Did you know how to figure the right size of a light fixture for your table? Measure the width of your table. Mine is 36″. Then you subtract 12″ from that. So in my case, any light fixture that is 24″ in diameter or smaller would be appropriate for our table. Thank you salesman at Seattle Lighting for that helpful tidbit of info!
After more searching online. I came across this fixture at Ballard Designs.

I ordered it in the natural linen shade, which has an 18″ diameter. The shipping confirmation was emailed to me this afternoon and it appears that the light fixture will be arriving on Monday. I’m concerned that it may not let off enough light. (I believe it only takes one 75 watt bulb). But here’s hoping this one works out!
Stay tuned….more on the dining room to come!
Jen

Christmas Lights


It seems to be a rarity when a sunny, dry day coincides with one of Dan’s days off. Today we were lucky enough to have both of those, so we made the most of it and hung Christmas lights on the house! (and by ‘we’, I mean Dan. I stood back, took pictures and worried about him falling off the roof.)

While I stood safely on the ground below, Dan had two little helpers that handed lights out of a bedroom window.

(And don’t worry…we typically have a screen on that window. We took it off just for today to facilitate in hanging the lights.)
I need to run to Target tomorrow to buy a few more strands of lights, assuming they haven’t sold out of the C-9 lights! Then the job will be complete. But for now, 3/4 of the house looks perfect

You can see we are blending holidays…..a little it of Thanksgiving on the porch and some Christmas lights on the house (Though the Christmas lights won’t officially be turned on for another 10 days. We’ll celebrate Thanksgiving before we move onto our Christmas decor).
-Jen
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