Sunday, February 27, 2011

Table Before & After

Remember the table I was working on a few weeks ago? Well, I finally finished it. I suppose it could use some touching up, but whatever- I'm considering it done enough.

I started with legs that I pulled from a table that I thrifted a few years ago & added a table top that I cut from a piece of oak that I had in the basement. I bought the oak for something else, but after it sat there for almost a year, I decided I would just use it for this table that I wanted.
After some sanding and swearing, I added legs and began to paint. Dark blue. It. Was. Hideous. But I decided that I did still want some of the blue to remain, so out came the painter's tape & I made a pattern around the edge & painted the table white. Once it was dry, I pulled off all the tape and this is the result: Rubber Tree needs a light dusting. I pruned it last night but didn't get around to the sponge bath.

Oh. And can I just say that the composition of the photo above really bugs me? Ack. Almost a good thing...but then fell short. Ah well.

I have the table by the windows rather than by the couch where it was originally going to go. It didn't end up being right for the intended area. So now my plants have a new home & will finally get (almost) enough light each day. 
Oh, and this is my newest Jade in a thrifted pot. Her name is Judi. Judi with an "i"...

Anyway, that's that. How is your weekend going? I worked yesterday but have today off. We went to Sauk to see if we could spot any Bald Eagles, but I was a little irritated and wasn't really in the mood to stick around. When we got home I made some food for a pot luck that we're going to and now I'm sitting here, blogging and drinking coffee. I told Joe that I am going to start my coffee detox tomorrow, although that was most likely a lie. But it would save about $20 a month if I cut my habit in half. We'll see. Coffee is the best medicine, in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lighting for Dining Area

Joe did our taxes the other night and I'm excited to say that we're getting a decent return! I'm really hoping to convince him that new lighting for the kitchen and dining room is a must. There have been times that I've almost busted out the headlamp so I could see what I was stirring (I've only made the mistake of using cumin rather than cinnamon one time...ya learn to check labels real quick after something like that).

Anyway, I'm going to consider us to have a lighting budget of $500, even though I doubt that I will be able to pass Go. And by Go I mean Joe.

First, we really need a chandelier to hang over the dining room table. Which do we go with?

1. Mia Chandelier, $170:

2. Eden Pendant Lamp, $50:

Once I decide on this, I'll be able to pick the rest of the lighting. Yes! No more cumin in my oatmeal! 

What do you think- #1 or #2? I'm leaning toward #1. At first I was worried that it would be too busy, but now I think that a regular drum shade would detract from the style that seems to have fallen in place. 

The other thing is that the upstairs main floor (ah! i keep calling it the upstairs. it's the two-story-house-love girl in me, *sigh*) has a more feminine style than masculine, and while the drum shade can easily lean either way, I figure I should just embrace the chandelier. 

The basement will be more masculine and I think I'd like a few drum shades down there when we start remodeling.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dining Room Progress

While 85% of blogland is sailing through house projects like nothing, there's the other 15% and myself who seem to be inching along like slugs. I have yet to find that 15%, but I know they're out there. If I can manage to get one room in my house completely finished by our 2nd house-anniversary, I'm throwing a huge party.
Right now I'm focusing my dollars on the kitchen & dining room. I took down the piece that I made last month because I just wasn't feeling it. I decided to add a shelf instead and now the wall seems much more anchored. Doesn't it feel like a different person lives here after viewing that "before" photo?! Crazy. Anyway- the shelf is just pressed particle board that I got for $7. I really wanted a nice piece of wood that I could stain, but there was no way I could spend $35 for a low-end plank of wood and another $11 on stain. So I used this cheap piece of wood along with paint that I already had.

And those are the dining chairs that I talked about in my last post. I reupholstered them with some fabric that I had, which was a super simple project that of course got effed up towards the end because even the easiest things seem to go awry...damn pneumatic staple gun cramping my style.

The paint on the chairs is chipping but I'm going to leave them as is because I am a sucker for things that are worn. Moonshadow started worshiping to the chairs right away and even showed her prized dead mouse how awesome they were. I know this because I washed the chairs last night, found Moonshadow in the living room with a battered mouse before the sun came up this morning and then noticed dried blood spatter all over one of the chairs at about 2:00 this afternoon. Fortunately, it was only on the wood. But she must have been doing loopdee-loops with it because there was blood all. over. the place.

Anyway, this is the grossness that it was before I put the new batting & fabric on:
Ugh, gross. 3 layers of moldy fabric and one layer of tattered batting that almost made me yack. For real. I started envisioning the people who may have once owned these and I got the heebeejeebees because it was almost like they were in my house or something. Ew. Ick. Nasty. Don't get me wrong- these may have been stored in a damp garage for a couple of years, but after driving by the guy that lives about 3 miles away who sets his tube tv out in the front yard to watch from his 1980's lawn chair, anxiously awaiting for the next person to drive by so he can spring up and viciously wave and scream "hiiii!", it's only natural that I think of the weirdos with old furniture first.

Oh and PS- it is taking everything in my power to leave that scuzzy photo on my blog. It's really grossing me out.

Anyway. I got this cork lidded jar at Saver's & I'm going to plant some moss in it, but until I get real moss I'll use this fake stuff that I picked up at Pottery Barn last year. As you can see, the cats have free range of the house and are allowed on the table & counters. We did try to make them stop when they were kittens but it didn't work so we decided that it didn't really matter.

In the background is the orchid that Joe got me for Valentine's Day. Isn't it sweet?! I am waiting to get a different pot to place it in, but until then I put some crinkled paper around it & secured it with hemp. I like the way it looks so I'm not in a huge hurry to find a pot.

Okay, well that's all for tonight. Sorry for all the words. Thanks for visiting. :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Blog

So umm, I started a new blog. Nothing much, but it's over here.


In other news, I found 2 dining chairs today, which is a mission that I've been on for over a year. A YEAR. There were 5 chairs available and they were $8.50 each or $35 for all. I didn't have $35 and I kept telling myself that I wanted mis-matchy chairs but now that I have these 2 at home, I'm not so sure if I want to keep holding out for 2 more. So I might go back when she's open again. We'll see. UGH you'd think I would have learned a thing or two from my drinking glass incident.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I don't think I ever showed you the rack that I made a few months ago. I had a piece of barnwood & used leftover paint from the living room. The hook is from Pier 1.

I have about 12 scarves and I like to hang different ones on it when I'm not wearing them. 

And PS: Am I the only one who is sad that scarf season is almost over? I have worn a scarf every single day since September. Not only do they keep a short-haired girl warm, but they also add some visual interest. Oh...and they hide my wonky hair. My hair grows oddly at the hairline on my neck and I never knew it till I chopped my hair (when the stylist exclaimed "you have the WEIRDEST hairline...and you have 4 cowlicks?!). Um, yeah- I have to shave it to make it look somewhat presentable (on a daily basis). I have seriously considered laser hair removal but since it's not covered by insurance, I think I'll wait till I win the lottery.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Houzz Ideabook #3

I'm overwhelmed by the number of comments and "likes" and "tweets" about my latest ideabook for Houzz. It was a lot of fun to write and I am really enjoying the extension of thoughts & ideas in the comment section! 

Check it out if you are into all things geeky. Haha- I'm typing this as Joe completes his latest Sudoku puzzle. I'm not a brainy type and am quite far from being what I'd consider to be "intelligent", but there's something to be said about the geeky sort. Although I'm not going to say it on my'll have to fill in that blank yourself. 

Okay I'll say it. They're hot.

But only if they dress the part. It's all in the glasses. Alright, not all. But like 85%. Maybe 90. 

PS: Joe wears glasses now and it's awesome. I helped pick them out. Even the girl that worked at the eye doctor thought they were cool...she told him they were "in"...I could tell he wanted to put them back when she said that, but I wasn't about to let that happen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Did you have a nice Valentine's Day? The temps hit 40 yesterday which was perfect for our lovely evening:

I mentioned that I wanted to have a fire on Valentine's Day, but as the date got closer, I changed my mind because I didn't have time to get things ready. Joe surprised me and dug out our fire pit, made a path through the snow so we'd have a good walkway, found some dry wood and brought the bench down. I added my vintage army blanket & my heart shaped birdhouse hanger. It was nice to see my beloved fire pit again. I'm almost over my fire pit cringe...if you don't know what I'm talking about, basically I ended up hating this thing because it took me an entire spring and a countless number of Ibuprofen to get through building it. And my muscles were freakishly huge by the end. Like, bigger than they normally are (HATE that).

We made smores and drank good beer. Haha, we were drinking beer that tastes better when it's slightly warm but it just kept getting colder since we were outside! But it was so nice to have a fire again. We didn't get to do it much last summer because we had a really terrible mosquito problem (the worst in years!) and it was impossible to enjoy the outdoors. I was excited that we were able to enjoy a fire again.

It's breakfast time right now and I have to say that I keep considering some microwave smores. I only had one last night because I was so full from dinner. Damn it!
Oh, PS- He got me the orchid I wanted! :) He was keeping it in our guest room and before I opened the door he apologized and slowly said "I didn't read your blog until today..." So I figured there was no orchid involved. Turns out he was just bummed because he got me a pink one and not the white one that I had mentioned. He was especially bummed because he had considered the white one that they had for quite awhile I guess & then chose the pink one. Ah! That's okay, Joe! I got an orchid! YAY! YESSS!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I have not always been a fan of Valentine's Day. In fact, I used to hate it.

And I used to think it was a stupid holiday and I was on that "greeting card conspiracy" bandwagon for a long time. I refused to give in...
But this year I had a change of heart. Who cares if it's just some marketing scheme- you can still celebrate love even if you don't want to give into the spending spree hype.

Even if you don't have a significant other, I'm sure your friends wouldn't mind some handmade Valentine's Day cards to show that you are thinking about them.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers. 

XOXO, Erin

The photos are ones that I've taken of things I've made over the years. They weren't necessarily for Valentine's Day, but they all seemed to have a common theme so I thought they'd be good for this post.

1. Block Printed Key Rack
2. Block Printed & Inked Recycled Notebook
3. Hand bound Journal *sigh. this makes me miss making journals.
4. A card I made for Joe a couple years ago.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Dear Joe,

I want an Orchid for Valentine's Day. I like the white ones and the purple ones. I don't like the yellow ones with purple streaks that look like dragon heads. But if it's just yellow with purple without a dragon head, that one will be okay. If you need me to pick it out I will. And if you think that you should have one too, that would be good so they can keep each other company.

Love Erin

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Plant

Today was grocery shopping day which meant that I had to venture into town- one of my most dreaded tasks is going to Madison on my days off since I'm there every day when I'm working.

Grocery shopping is kind of a production because we don't live near a grocery store that's even the slightest bit decent. The one I go to is 21 miles away so quick trips don't really exist and list making is a bitch since I can't forget a single thing. The other lame part is that I don't buy produce at that grocery store because it is really bad for fruits & veggies (but GREAT for everything else and also super affordable), which means that I have to go to a separate store for all that stuff. It's really quite a pain in the ass and I think "why the eff did we move here" like 50 times on my way to Madison and then like 100 times on my way home. I always answer "because the house was a great price and I love it" but it only gets me so far with my frustrations and back I go, questioning the decision again. Ah, things will be all the way awesome one day.

Breeaaath. Okay, so anyway- since I can never justify going all that way to just go to one or two stores, my list of errands is usually like a foot long. I always make sure to include somewhere fun in an attempt to either a) look forward to the trip or b) grab a pick-me-up while I'm out since I usually end up needing one.

Today my fun place was the garden store, where I picked up a new Jade:

Oh, I love jade plants.

PS: the table that she's on is the one that I have been working on but still haven't finished from a couple posts back.

The problem is that we don't get the best light in our house so these sort of plants are kind of a challenge to keep, but they do alright I guess. I'm just happy to have a new jade! I've been wanting another one for a really (really!) long time and since I haven't been lucky enough to find a huge one at the thrift shop like this guy has, I decided just to break down and spend the $6 on a small one.

Oh, and while I'm here- I wanted to mention that my first and second ideabooks have been published on Houzz! Check them out if you have 10 minutes & any interest in design stuff:

Get Your House Guests Talking
Interesting Privacy Solutions

Okay, 'tis all for now. More soon.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Lazy Day

Today I'm being faced with the "day off but can't find the motivation to get off the couch" mood. Fortunately, this only happens occasionally. UNfortunately, I have to take into account the number of days I have handed over due to the fact that I may have had a leeetle bit too much to drink the night before and add it to days like today. That number seems a little bit too big to me. I'm pretty sure that I have decided to hang that lifestyle up for a little bit, right back where it was before I found it last summer. What can I say- good friends equal good times and good times equal good riddance. Sort of. Bleh. Ick. Bad.

Anyway. Today I woke up with the intention of writing my ideabook for Houzz (check) and then doing a few little projects (not check). Instead, I woke up, laid in bed for like an hour (not usually my style at ALL!) finally got up only to sit back down with coffee in hand, read a bunch of right brain vs. left brain articles, dabbled with my houzz thing a bit, took a nap, made some more coffee (so much for 2 cups a day), finished my houzz thing, took another nap, listened to some music, threw around the idea of starting a new blog, made half a sandwich, wished i made a full sandwich so made another half to equal a full and then decided I could spend a few minutes blogging. And that's where I am with my day. It's 3:00.
The Moon must have been feeling slightly ignored so she perched herself on top of the record player, where the cats normally go if they are trying to get a point across. She sat there and stared at me for a good ten minutes. Ah, they make me laugh. Clem spent most of his day in his hotel room (i.e. third shelf of the linen closet) until he realized I was taking a nap, which is when he decided to come lay on me. I wouldn't mind if he wasn't such a lug, but God damn he is heavy. I'll probably end up needing an organ transplant after he smashes them up a little more.

Yawn. I'm finally feeling like I'm at the point where I can start my day--I got enough down time to be able to get a few things accomplished now, I think. I have tomorrow off as well, so whatever I don't finish today will happen then. Mostly painting stuff. My friends laugh because I have paint on pretty much every article of clothing that I own except for my good jeans and expensive sweaters. Yeah, it's kind of pathetic. And it's a constant reminder that I really need new clothes because here I am wearing the same 3 painted t shirts over and over again. 

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hi friends! I started back at work last week and I haven't had much of any time to do Erin stuff. Joe can tell you how I start to get when this happens. 

The table I'm working on hasn't moved since last week but I'm hoping to finish tomorrow.

I know you are bored by these books posts as of late, but I just wanted to say that I scratched the house book ends idea and made this thing instead. 3 scraps of wood, a jigsaw, 6 nails and some pink spray paint. 

Anyway, how is your 2011 going? Have you done anything on your list yet? I took a kayak rolling class the other day since it is my eventual goal to start whitewater kayaking and it's really a great skill to master. I'll cut to the chase & say that it didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I really, really hate being upside down in the water. I had a bad experience the very first time I did a wet exit and it's been downhill from there. I thought this course would help but I suppose I wasn't ready. Next time I will be. I think my biggest issue is that I haven't swam in years so I'm just not as used to the water as I should be. Swimming is no big deal, but being upside down in a kayak is a little unnerving. Oh well- I tried. And I will try again. 

For now I will get ready for work. It's day 6 and I am not a 6 day in a row kind of person. Not because I don't love my job- because I do- but because I am itching to do stuff around the house and I can't do those things during the work week! Oh well. Tomorrow is a day off so I will catch up on errands and Thursday is also a day off so I will catch up on projects. :)

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Sorry for the delay in the table reveal. I started back at work today and I kind of forgot what it was like to have the hours of 7:00a-7:00p occupied by things other than projects, blogs or whatever I wanted. 

Joe is still gone on a trip for work but should be home in about 45 minutes. Yay! I was just sitting here thinking that I have never had so much time to myself before. I do enjoy my time to hang out alone but I miss Joe a ton & am really happy that he is coming home tonight. Although I'm not sure that he'll really be in much of a mood to chat after his long day at the airport. I'm hoping that Clem chills out by then- he is really cranky this evening and keeps throwing himself on the ground and is trying to bust out of the windows. And he's bitching about everything.

Well that's all for now. I should probably see what he's freaking out about. Moonshadow's boyfriend is probably here or something. He comes around looking for a warm place to go and it causes quite a stir with Clem- such a pain in the ASS.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New Table

I'm snowed in today (again) and it's the third day in a row that I've spent by myself, home alone all day & night. It's really not that bad, actually. I can find lots of things to do while Joe is stuck in Dallas, where they are having their own weather issues. :(

I couldn't leave the house if wanted to...when I say that I'm snowed in, I'm really snowed in. I'm out of project $ and project materials, so I had to think outside the huge long "winter 2011" to do list. Good thing I'm awesome at making lists and not following them.

I've been wanting to replace this table for awhile now. I picked it up at a thrift store 4 years ago for $5. I've never really liked it much...

As you can see, I even tried setting it on an angle to see if I could make myself like it. Nope.

This morning I realized that I had what I needed to try something else & got started after a couple cups of coffee.

My soon to be potting room will never actually be a potting room. You know that, right? As much as I said I disliked basements when we bought our house, I have officially taken over the entire thing. Bass guitar in one room. Laundry (clean!) all over (allll over) another. Studio in the middle. Packaging materials and tools in another. And then this one. My winter workshop. :) Yes- I'm quite lucky to have so much space.

I made a circle & cut it out of a piece of oak that I had laying around. Er, pretty much a circle. There is one area that makes it not so circle-y. But I have come to the realization that I am not a woodworker, nor do I care to be one, and you can't perfect every single project that you attempt without going nuts. I've tried. Pretty much set myself up for disaster- nothing was ever good enough and what's the point of doing a project that is supposed to be fulfilling if it just puts a damper on your mood? So yes. I have recently learned to just let things go and I've been much happier since.

The bolts that come out of the legs that screw into the bases were too long to work with the table top that I made, which called for my all time favorite thing: hacksaw action! I love hacksaw action. So much.
I screwed the bases on and then added the legs. So far so good! After yesterday's attempted and failed project (let's not talk about that...) I was feeling a little discouraged after effing up something that was so EASY. Ugh. Still not over it. Anyway, yeah- in case you were wondering what's on my thumb nail, it's fingernail polish. I don't wear fingernail polish because I don't like colors on my nails. Too distracting. So I tried this shimmery nude shade on just one fingernail and proved yet again that I'm not a nail polish girl. Do you see how scratched off it is?! Yeah. I've never been that good at being a girly girl.
Next was priming. I like to dress like a ninja when Joe is out of town in case I have to kick somebody's ass. So far people have been pretty lucky. Moonshadow is my guard cat.

So unfortunately, you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see the reveal. Ah I hate doing that! Daylight is quickly escaping and I have to make a second attempt at shoveling the back deck and the roof. Our friend should be here any minute with his plow to help clear the driveway. So so thankful for that right now.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


A couple weeks ago I got an email from Sheila Schmitz, the Editor over at Houzz. Imagine my excitement when I read that they were looking for another contributor & that they were wondering if I'd be interested.


So fast forward through a phone call and a bunch of emails- I can officially say that I am the newest contributor for Houzz! I couldn't be more thrilled. This is a wonderful opportunity for me! 
My first ideabook was published today and I'm in the process of gathering photos & writing the commentary for my second one. Since I really enjoy writing and pretty much live for interior design (and spend a countless amount of time poring over design blogs and photos) this is perfect for me! I'm pretty stoked.

If you haven't heard of Houzz before, basically it's a huge collection of photos that have been submitted by architects, designers, photographers, bloggers, etc. You can save photos that revolve around a common theme in what are referred to as "ideabooks". It's really awesome for anybody who has ever found themselves clipping magazines or saving hundreds of design photos in folders on their computer. I'd highly recommend checking it out if you are into decorating, photography, design, DIY, or if you are simply just a visual person.

Anyway, that's all for now. Stop by and say "hi" sometime!

*the stairs in the photo above are by Elite Metalcraft Co. Ltd.