a quick knock-off

it all started in 2009 when i made my own centerpieces for my wedding… with lots of help from my mom… and they involved 16″ diameter mirrors that my mom accumulated from yard sales and craft stores and other mom-ish sources. 5 years later, i still had a number of these laying around.
so then i see these in a west elm catalogue.. you know those catalogues that they send you DAILY.

easy. i even had the perfect spray paint left over from the rods holding my new rug-on-the-wall creation.

but how to affix to the wall? i considered a number of options involving wood, gorilla glue, nails, and picture hanging hardware. it felt a bit messy and risky so i procrastinated a while.

enter the disc. i stumbled upon these things in a blog where someone was explaining the art of hanging plates on the wall. they worked perfectly!

and my wall is complete!

the sunburst mirror is from target and the little shelves on the other side are supposed to be square floating shelves, but i tilted them diagonally and now they are much more interesting.

standard bull dog position in this one, and can you spot the hidden stephanie?

half-painting things

hi. i painted stuff over the weekend! i also picked up a “big boy bed” for dane for $30 via craigslist that we are working on sanding down and painting. its been really nice spending some time at home for first time in a looong time. i’ve done some cleaning and organizing and some major rearranging.. more on that later.

so i’ve been on-board with the paint-dipped look from the get-go. now, specifically, i want to paint everything part-white. especially when its a neutral/natural something.

here are a few things i’ve painted part-white lately. i didn’t really take “before” photos so you’ll have to use your imagination.
…a couple cardboard letters (a gift for twin baby girls who i am dying to meet!) :
and a free tray from the brewster swap-shop:

the half-white letters are awesome. since they are for baby girls, i thought they needed a little feminine flair (hot-glued ribbon).

and the tray was so quick & easy & now its just a little more interesting.

the only thing easier than painting is half-painting. hooray for half the work.

when i get around to it, i want to do something like this to a couple free road-side chairs i’ve been hoarding:

this trend is right up there with uggs and jeggings… 

 the tray lives in my room now. if i could only clean my whole room. it may never happen.

wallpapered cabinet doors

we got the upgraded cabinet doors back on the built-ins just in time for dane’s party.

when our contractor left, they were in need of some serious attention.

i wanted to add texture, but keep it white and simple. here is my inspiration —

i used martha stewart beadboard wallpaper to try to copy this vibe (in an easy and cheap sorta way). this textured, paintable wallpaper is genius. there are all sorts of patterns and widths and designs, its the perfect diy-on-a-dime medium.
these are a few in-progress pictures i took with my iphone. the first one is my “model” (its a creative process, people!) the second shows how we were playing around with wrapping the wallpaper around the cabinet doors and making sure they lined up (which was a little more difficult than we thought).

once we had the pattern lined up best we could, we cut it to size using a mat cutting razor. next, we smeared the door with wallpaper glue and slid the piece into place.

the final step was cutting two extra pieces for each diagonal, uncovered corner (not pictured). when the faces of the cabinet doors were fully wallpapered, mike gave them each two coats of the ultra white semi-gloss valspar paint we used on the rest of the shelves.
the doors don’t hang perfectly and i wish i thought to spray the hinges to match the new hardware, but i’m over it. the result is just what i had in mind and i’m happy.

the ring pulls are the same ones we used in the nightstand makeover last fall. quite the improvement i’d say!

i am counting down the days until mike must pass along his elaborate fantasy football trophy to last season’s new winner. i’m told this happens at the next draft. i am so outnumber by all these boys in my house.

the rest of the shelves are not quite presentable yet. i do not plan on making a big fuss about the “styling” or spending more than a few dollars on fluff for them, but i would like to put a little effort toward a little “reveal” for the memory books… potentially i can work around my TWO bridal showers and make it a weekend project!

oh and TGI freaking F.

invitations for the big #2

was this really TWO years ago? i can’t believe i’ve been a real life mom for two full years.
at the same time, i can hardly remember life before dane. he is pure joy… all i think about and almost all i care about. he’ll be two in just over a week [wimper].
so we have a very special birthday party to plan. unlike last year’s first-birthday-bonanza, we are keeping things low-key this year. the invite list is just family and a couple close friends.

i pondered over a theme. there were the obvious choices; trucks, trains, farm animals, sports… i thought about dane’s true passions… while he is certainly into all of the former, dane’s happy place is with a big sippie of milk in-hand. or “mooks” as he called it up until recently (it is so bittersweet when your toddler starts pronouncing things correctly). “i want mooks pease mommy”.. i could never say no. kid drank way too much mooks.
so we are having a milk party. not to be confused with a “milk & cookies” party (i’ve seen this done via pinterest) just a milk party.
tiny prints invitation contenders were as follows:
i love the chalk board look of this template… the mustache fit the theme (you know, like a milk mustache). below is the photo i chose… my little goober with his cow happily chugging his milk… the “antique” photo filter option in tiny prints works nice with the template.

with less than a dozen invitations to go out, i thought i’d have some fun with them. so i came up with the idea of sending them on milk cartons.

milk cartons painted with cow spots, obviously.

i used left-over (no voc) white interior wall paint we had laying around & chalk board paint for the spots.


then stuck the invitation lengthwise on the front w/ packaging tape.


i made mike take them to the post office (impossible for me with my current work schedule) he was thrilled. it was fun to get the feedback from everyone once these arrived in the mail (mostly positive aside from one person who “thought it was a bomb”)….

i ordered a few decorations for the party from oriental trading, but otherwise am planning to keep it simple. i generally struggle with ‘simple’, but with everything that is going on, i think its the only way. i will of course have plenty of party photos to share after the big (simple) day.

white paint, tape, and beer

is almost all you need for this project.

i mentioned last week that i’d been painting stuff. mike and i both have been painting a l o t of stuff. mostly mike.. like the w h o l e ceiling he’s trying to brush and roll before the carpet goes in (no sprayer in our arsenal unfortunately). but i have been painting very different sorts of stuff in effort to actually decorate the huge blank canvas that will soon be our *finished* basement.

so here’s a project from a few weeks ago. i made it with the new bedroom in mind.,,

 mike helped. he’s the best. here is the print i found on pinterest that i basically copied:


and here is how this really quick, cheap, easy project went down:

i got this big random board at home depot. it was cheap and i liked the partical-ly texture.

i’m not sure what its called, but maybe this will help(?)

i started to stain it with this dark minwax that i had sitting around. the same can that i used for this nightstand makeover. but the wood was just drinking it up.. it wouldn’t spread or wipe.. it wasn’t right.

so i scrapped the stain and went over the whole thing with the antiquing glaze concoction that i mentioned a couple posts ago. i made the antiquing glaze for the bedroom’s wooden ledge. i wanted it to look a bit reclaimed/rustic. i followed these directions more or less to make it.

you brush it on, then rub off the excess with a rag. easy.

 it gave it almost an ombre effect (that ended up looking awesome on the finished product). dumb luck.

the next night we started taping it up, following the look of the inspiration print above. we crunched some numbers and broke out a ruler, but in the end we eye-balled it. as i have mentioned many times, i am the queen of eye-balling. an imperfect result was more than ok with me.

to get nice, even lines on each long-side, we ran another piece of tape perpendicular and cut off all the ends with a mat cutting blade.
the arrows were a little tedious, but i used a few strong beers and the same blade technique to even them out after i slapped them down.

 once the taping phase was complete, it looked like this:

now the hard part is done and this sucker was covered with.. you guessed it.. white dove.

the peeling was the fun part. i was so worried about bleeding, but it came out awesome and me & mike jumped up and down together hugging!… no that’s not true, i jumped up and down alone.


here it is on the ledge where i was experimenting layering it with this print (still in it’s packaging, homegoods price tag and all). 

you may notice i painted one of the arrows green on a whim which i totally regret. leaving well enough alone is not my strong suit. but i’m so proud of my creation & i can’t wait to have photos of it when its actually living in the finished bedroom!

i’ve been painting stuff

when our basement is really finished, we will have a beautifully finished, *empty basement. i mean all the money we have invested in the walls, ceiling, carpet… i don’t know how we’ll afford to furnish it. so i’m trying to be creative and thrifty. we picked up a craigslist couch over the weekend and i’ve started to diy some art and accent furniture… like the k-mart stool below.  i thought with a little paint and prayer, it could make a cool little side table.
*aside from toys
i needed sponges one day last weekend and i left k-mart with sponges and this stool. i think i got it on sale for 14.99. i just remember it being so cheap, i didn’t think i could go wrong. (last i checked online it was on sale for 17.99…. just sort by price low-to-high and once you get past the stool softener, you’ll see it..) either way.. here’s how it went…

i’m totally hung up on the paint-dipped trend. i want to one-third paint everything.

first, i quickly sanded down the legs and slapped on a coat of “antiquing glaze” that i already had mixed up from other stuff we have going on down in the basement (more on that later. much more.)

i just wanted to get rid of the shiny-kmart-oak finish. this roughed it up and made it look a smidge more rustic.

next, i taped up the middle of the legs which will remain otherwise unpainted.

..broke out the kilz primer and primed the bottom and top.

i sprayed the bottom of the legs gold which made me want to spray everything else in my house gold. lucky for shakespeare, i refrained.

then i gave the top a quick spray.

i know arrows are trendy but i’m totally unoriginal so i’m into them. and they are somewhat easy to conjure using quarter-inch painters tape.

on deck was a sample of valspar paint. i’m going to have to get back to you with the name of this color. #bloggerfail

as for the result….. first lets focus on the positives.
the gold “feet” came out awesome.

i love the colors and general look of the 3-toned (stool) table.

but my arrows were a bit of a bust. i had such high hopes, but the green peeled as i was removing the tape and they just look like complete crap. the green wouldn’t stick to the slick gold spray paint.. i’m not sure how to avoid this next time. if you have any thoughts, please share.

but all’s not lost. its still a pretty fun little $20 table and it really didn’t take much time or effort to create.

a little photo collage. finally.

behold, my weekend accomplishment..

finally some familiar faces in these frames.

if you follow along you know that it took a loooong time to get here, so even though it was a matter of filling 6 measly ikea frames, it still feels like a major victory.

i started by printing a bunch of 8×10 black & white photos via walmart. it was my first time using walmart for printing and they came out fine.. it was easy and cheap.. shipped free to my house in a couple days, so i’d use them again i suppose.

i got a big white mat at michaels for $15 from their framing department and used a mat knife to cut out some shapes for my photos to sit behind (since the cheap ikea frames are weird sizes). i just traced around a bowl for a circle, traced the shape of the hexagon using an image on my ipad, and measured a rectangle the old fashioned way with a ruler.

the frames are two of these: $9.99/ea. (already included a mat that works with the 8x10s)
two of these: $5.99/ea. (for which i cut my own mats)
and two of these: $1.99/ea. (cut a mat for one and just stuck some white paper in back of the other)

its so nice to look up and see all these happy moments when i first walk in the house.

photos of people you love make the best art. this one of dane chomping down apple sauce in st. martin is our favorite.

so anywho, the good news is you don’t have to hear me talk about this anymore. done. a good thing because we have way bigger fish to fry down below (meaning our huge finish the basement project).

without further ado – the dramatic journey of 6 frames and one mirror:

and still reveling in how improved the whole house feels after the entry overhaul.

my crafty little sis

before i forget, i need to share these b e a u t i f u l little wreath creations that my sister made. my little sister emily is a true artist. she doesn’t copy ideas from pinterest or shop at michaels, she seriously comes up with ingenious little creations like these right out of her head using what she has or finds.

if you can’t tell, these are made out of wire coat hangers. she bent them into circles and wrapped real greens and whatever that fluffy plant is around them, tying it all up with fishing wire.

she’s a gardener by trade, so she found the plants on the job.

aren’t they the loveliest things ever?

i’m trying to talk her into doing some guest posts, because she also has funny and interesting things to say. and she is freakishly good with photography. oh and she has amazing hair.
thanks, em. i need to take more pics of your pretty little face. this is the best i could do…


our work in brewster is done for now but we have yet to have a normal weekend at the homestead (and this coming weekend will be no exception). last weekend mike and dane headed back down to brewster to finish the never ending deck project. the stairs were the last piece of the puzzle and they apparently took a full day to finish. mike’s parents went down to help with dane while mike worked on the stairs with the guys…

finally complete. i hope all the renters appreciate the fresh, splinter-free deck!

me and shakey stayed behind. saturday was allison’s bridal shower. i, of course, waited until the last minute to pull together the favors, but they seemed to go over well. i made “s’more kits” in mason jars… a hershey bar, grahams, marshmallows and a little matchbox that i covered with pretty card stock & labeled “9*21*13” (the wedding date). basically, anything in a mason jar makes a great favor… candy, recipe ingredients (cookies, cakes, breads), jams, cupcakes, goldfish… the snack food.. not the real thing…


you can buy the jars by the dozen just about anywhere these days (like walmart). if you plan ahead, you can also probably collect some for free. due to the last minute nature of this project, i don’t have many good pictures – but they looked cute on display at the shower.

does this fabric look familiar?

alli’s shower was awesome. i ate two of these cupcakes. they were out-of-this-world…

here she is with a couple very color-coordinated bridesmaids.. such a natural beauty. its going to be waterworks when i see this girl in a wedding gown.

and of course me being awkward and unbecoming was captured on camera… that’s par for the course.

finally, sunday morning, i headed out to plymouth with a couple friends for a 10k. mike was supposed to meet me there and run it also, but he got stuck in brewster doing clean-up and prepping the house for our first renters. i felt really deflated when he told me he didn’t think he was going to make it. things are just more fun when we do them together. 
it was hot. but i felt ok with my run and my time. i gave it my best effort so i could gauge where i’m at and use it as a baseline for my marathon training… yes, that is happening, i am running the nyc marathon in november and boy do i have my work cut out for me.


Old Sandwich 5K/10K/HALF MARATHON Road Races


Place No. Spec Name G Ag Div/Tot Div City Di Gun Pace
===== ===== ==== ==================== = == ======== ===== ================= ======= =====
1 1060 10K JIM GARCIA M 54 1/4 M5059 39:30 6:23
2 1065 10K MIKE SAWYER M 51 2/4 M5059 41:05 6:38
3 39 10K Courtney Testa F 23 1/25 F2029 hopkinton MA 42:18 6:50
4 750 10K Janet Holmes F 54 1/1 F5059 Abington MA 44:30 7:11
5 197 10K Erin Brown F 35 1/24 F3039 Bridgewater MA 44:48 7:14
6 454 10K Scott Milner M 41 1/8 M4049 Plymouth MA 46:43 7:32
7 1061 10K PAM ROBINSON F 37 2/24 F3039 47:10 7:37
8 272 10K John Mitchell M 35 1/11 M3039 Hanover MA 48:05 7:46
9 408 10K Allyson Stoyle F 24 2/25 F2029 Franklin MA 49:34 8:00
10 130 10K Deb Powers F 32 3/24 F3039 Charlestown MA 50:09 8:06
11 255 10K Daniel Finch M 32 2/11 M3039 Millville MA 51:30 8:19
12 500 10K Travis Wenkalman M 35 3/11 M3039 Abington MA 51:34 8:19
13 30 10K Neil Veilleux M 33 4/11 M3039 Boston MA 52:31 8:29
14 767 10K Laurie Enos F 42 1/10 F4049 Plymouth MA 52:34 8:29
15 1059 10K MEGAN DELANEY F 28 3/25 F2029 53:13 8:35
16 464 10K John McMahon M 43 2/8 M4049 Cohasset MA 53:31 8:38
17 261 10K Mika Burke F 24 4/25 F2029 Brighton MA 53:38 8:39
18 77 10K stephanie fatzinger F 31 4/24 F3039 weymouth MA 53:39 8:40

it was probably the smallest race i’ve ever been in… i got 18th out of 90 runners. sounds much more impressive than it was as you can see from my time!

either way i’ll be doing much more running this summer than ever before in my life… SMART running… injury free running…


You Have Been Accepted Into 
2013 ING New York City Marathon

Visit Upcoming Races for more information

so that is what’s going lately. this coming weekend mike is off to the outer banks for a bachelor party and i’m headed to martha’s vineyard to see my big and littles (sisters) and baby riley!! i can’t wait to see dane and riley play together. they are getting so big so fast.

i’m hoping riley can help expand dane’s vocabulary beyond “ball”. probably not.

ombre paint chip art

by no means an original concept, but i put my own spin on it.

would you consider taking paint chips by the handful stealing? because i felt really awkward and guilty about it. it took me 3 or 4 visits to the hardware store to collect a decent stack because i tried to be all natural and stealth… i considered having dane grab some (paint chip robbing monkey-style) … i slipped some up my sleeve one time. in the end i had just enough shades of teal and blue to pull this off..


martha stewart flower-ish shaped punch

2 ikea ribba frames
navy blue craft paper
paint color samples
wood glue (because it was the only form of glue i had in brewster over the weekend)

all i had to actually buy were the 20×20 frames, so $40 was the total damage..

i made a fish and a wave. no, not being very subtle with the whole nautical theme.

and here they are on the wall:

the kitchen is done… for my next post i’m planning to do the big reveal(!!) i can’t fancy things up like a real blogger, because the week is just too busy, but i’m dying to get the final pics posted. i’ve been waiting for this since february!

but first, do you want to watch my baby grow before your very eyes?

summer 2012:


s i g h……

i don’t know where he got this from – we call it the sexy dance: