pretty things :: etsy

It’s just that i’ve been doing a lot of xmas shopping on etsy. i totally wasn’t planning on creating any sort of “gift guide” of any nature… but i logged into etsy today and it gave me a little summary of everything i had tagged as a “favorite” over the past some-odd-months, and so i was like, hey this stuff is awesome, and if i were to make a “gift guide” for someone (well, someone like ME) this would be it.

so anyway, here are some fav etsy finds:

one. one of my favorite words

two. because i’m an emily henderson wannabe

three. for yoga or picnics or the beach or for dane’s future teepee…

four. we have this in brewster. i just think its funny.

five. see number two. also, we need them to get the white ones back in stock.

six. and lots of other rad pillows in her shop

seven. breathe

eight. pretty and $10

nine. i’m going to diy these soon. ish.

ten. one of my favorite hip toddler tees i’ve bought for dane. and btw, its gone missing. has anyone seen it?

eleven. hex love

big boy bed makeover

i have no real before pictures. i’m kicking myself because, you should have seen it… there were weird stickers and strange silly string-like gu all over the headboard and crayon scribbling everywhere. this is after we scrubbed and sanded and sanded and sanded. i found the bed on craigslist for $35. i need to learn to negotiate bc i bet it could have been less. either way, it was solid wood and totally paintable.
did i say “we” sanded? i meant mike sanded… with his poor little broken fingers. he’s the best.

this was the tedious part (the taping). i wanted to paint everything white except the dowels. i’m not sure if this was the best method, but it worked well enough.

we (there i go again with the “we”) used a can of primer and a can or two of white spray paint to cover everything but those dowels.

it was weeks and weeks before this was finally done. mike chipped away at it over the course of a few weekends when the weather agreed, we were actually home, and there was time.

and here’s how it looks… its sort of awesome, don’t you think!? i was so happy with the way it turned out. you know me with the white and natural wood combo. its my favorite.

i glazed over each of the headboard & footboard dowels with the same antiquing stain i used on the ledge in this bedroom, so it matches perfectly.

goodness my bed styling could use a lot of work. its totally bugging me looking at these pictures. everyone knows i’m supposed to drape a couple woven blankets on top of the comforter ever so imperfectly so that the bed is just begging for you to crawl in… i’ll be sure to do that when i take the final photos of this new bedroom 🙂

i came across this crib from the honest co’s the collective recently. totally the same vibe as our bed, right?! can you believe they are all sold out? i really do love the honest company.. they gave a crib to a family in need for every crib sold.

the plan is for this bed to be riley’s – or any other little person’s who visits.. there is a packnplay under the bed and a queen bed at the other end of the room, so it will be perfect for when my sister’s family visits (once her new baby boy is here in march!). i just need to finish decorating and making it cozy, then it will be all ready for them when they visit for christmas!!!

mv for riley’s big day

alternative title: 20 pics of cute kids.

friday was pj day at school…

then we woke up the next morning in mv for cousin riley’s birthday party!

the 3 year-old!

3 toddlers tearing apart the house…

the four-legged love of my life..

being spoiled by grandma…

dane’s “why don’t i get any presents” face…

smiley bday boy

cool hat.

dane having a 2 year old moment..

milk face smiles the next morning..

and just when we thought the weekend couldn’t get any better, they leaf surfed.

homeward.

the end.

unspoonifying

this wall.

it needed some big, colorful art – so that you got a peak of it from the top of the steps.

big art for small money is not an easy thing to pull off.
enter: the spoons.

these huge 55×22″ spoon canvases were $40 each at ikea, which is way less than blank canvases i saw at craft stores or on the internets.

(this is best comparable i could find… its slightly bigger and $120 on amazon. slightly smaller at $60).

so i bought a couple spoon canvases and covered those spoons right up. sorry jo de pear.

i set-up shop outside with my apprentice.

and painted away with no real plan. i just used two paint brushes and the three colors (two green samples and some left over blue from the dining room) and brushed on overlapping sections.

i wanted really obvious brush marks and a random blend of the three colors. once the canvas was covered and i thought it was looking decent. i forced myself to put the brush down and walk away. less is more.

i asked my loving husband to build a frame for each of the two canvases. just a realllly simple frame. 
then i stained them with my trusty antiquing mixture and popped the canvas right in.

amazing right? i’m a regular van gogh.

next came my instagram masterpiece. i don’t think i photographed the process, but i literally just applied a coat of mod podge to the canvas, stuck on all the photos, then another coat of mod podge over the top the next day. easy.

confession: i don’t love the instagram collage. it could be better. ever since i finished i’ve seen so many versions of this and they look so much better when the squares are spaced out evenly with a white border separating each photo. (this is what i mean if you are curious). i sort of overlapped them a bit randomly to make them all fit and it doesn’t look as nice.

but overall i love the bright, happy, personal addition to this wall and being greeted by it every time we come down here.

and it was satisfying creating these big statement pieces for under $100.

b e f o r e:

a f t e r :

b e f o r e: (way before)
a f t e r :

better than spoons, anyway…

overdue finished basement before & afters

i was working on posting some pictures of an art project i did for a wall in the basement, when i realized i never really posted a finished-finished basement update. i tried to a while ago, but the post is all busted now and the pictures don’t show up (a little example of my advanced technological blogging skillz).

so here are those before and afters. this was the biggest, most expensive process we have been through as homeowners (by far) and it was so rewarding. when we moved in, this was a moldy mess.. we had to have a professional remediation just for it to be safe to be in our house (to the tune of $2k to un-finish the basement.. fun!) but now we have this huge new living space and its just nice knowing its all clean and dry.

b e f o r e :

d u r i n g :

a f t e r :

b e f o r e :
d u r i n g :

a f t e r :

b e f o r e :
d u r i n g :
a f t e r :

the new bedroom (you can get a peak through the doorway above) is in pretty good shape as well. i’ll share some pictures of that soon.

the only furniture we have bought for down here (still to this day) is the black craigslisted couch, the two side tables from target and the little rocker from amazon. 

the rug is from amazon too if that counts… the bulldog is from hinsdale. 

the wall color is benjamin moore revere pewter.

this is what we’re looking like now that the plastic has invaded… in need of some toy storage! but i’m in no rush. i think we need some time to live down here to see what the best layout and use of space will be. we want to have a little exercise area and an art station somewhere for dane…

that’s all for now, more soon!

halloween and other mom things

some very important fall stuff:

for halloween, dane and riley (and mike) were chickens. they were painfully adorable and its hard for me to accept that we might not be able to dress them as matching farm animals for the next decade’s worth of halloweens.

they were so cute and funny and once they realized they got candy from every strangers’ house, they were so into it.

i think mike enjoyed his costume the most (the beer from all our neighbors probably helped).

i have a million pictures, but this little video should capture the essence of the night. 

rewind a week to our pumpkin carving party. we have so much fun with our neighbors!

rewind further to dane’s official half birthday. the big two point five!

 here he is (much blonder!) last year..

i can’t believe how big he is.

two and a half has been huge. dane potty trained like a champ and transitioned into his big boy bed all in a matter of weeks. i’m so proud of him. it was all so much easier than i anticipated. however, i must say that we are seeing a little bit of those terribles. he has some strong, not-always-rational opinions these days and it can really be trying. for example, a major meltdown in the car because the car carrier that drove by us only had cars on the top, not the bottom. he found this intolerable… then when we were at the pet store and i told him all the toys were only for dogs, forget it – super-sized tantrum. my sister promised the phase will pass. riley was a little saint when they visited over halloween weekend… i may have asked her if we could trade for a little while (kidding, kidding).
most of the time, he is the sweetest, cutest, most lovable thing. i am so so excited for this holiday season.

october damage

last month’s spending confession was pretty therapeutic for me. i intended to spend the next couple of months paying off my credit card, but alas,.. pillows. this month i spent about $300 on somewhat unnecessary things for the house. well that includes a cheese grater and a dirt devil dust buster thing from amazon (that came damaged and we have to send back. grrrr).

but here are the more fun, most unnecessary things:

1. libby langdon syldan hand crafted scalloped cotton decorative pillows (x3) $44.98 each
(22×22 emerald, blue & poppy)
i decided i needed these for the banquet dining bench in brewster. i will slowly but surely make this into a cozy, awesome looking bench with cushions and lots of pillows and all of that…

which leads me to a ridiculously amazing banquet dining set-up i came across just this morning.. off track, but i can’t help but share:

amberinteriordesign

i sent this link to mike & he said, “why doesn’t ours look like that”? thousands of dollars worth of expensive pillows and custom cushions, that’s why! follow the link tho, this house makes me drool.

but back to the expensive-to-me pillows…
the scallops, colors and sturdy linen material (that looks fairly stain resistant and renter tolerant) all sold me. so $150 for three pillows. not good, but like i said, i needed them.

2. mainstays watercolor botanical decorative pillow $9.97
(18×18)
more like what i should be paying for a pillow. this will also live on the banquet bench.

3. mainstays rolling garment rack $9.97
i already had one of these and decided, for $10, i needed another for the clothes swap party i hosted earlier in the month. its currently serving as a little closet stand-in for the extra bedroom in the basement.

4. metal sunburst mirror $34.99 (i got on sale for $24.99) love. you should stalk this until its on sale and buy it (target stuff is always on and off sale). its on my rug wall.
5. pumpkins. yes pumpkins. $65                                                                                                               i went shopping with dane for a few pumpkins and somehow spent $65. dane requested a giant pumpkin, a few smaller ones, a haystack, a cheap little stuffed pumpkin (that shakey destroyed in 30 seconds) and some other random food items at our local garden shop. he was being so cute that i just went with it and let him load up the cart. 
a couple moments of weakness in october, clearly, but it could have been worse. i don’t plan on a november or december update because i don’t intend to do any frivolous spending. time for holiday shopping and saving up for our winter vacation!

newport

mike’s new company has their annual meeting and a fun employee outing at the castle hill inn every year – so last weekend, we spent a really special couple days in newport, ri.. dane and i drove down early saturday morning to join mike for the rest of the weekend.
it was the seafood festival at bowen’s warf that day which is quite the event… big tents with hundreds of people eating oysters and lobster rolls and day drinking. a really fun scene.

we first hit up the kids’ tent where dane painted a pumpkin masterpiece and scored a balloon.

and then, the best place on earth. the bouncy castle.

he would have spent all day in this thing. he was grinning ear to ear the whole time. and he can really hold his own with the big kids!

we did a little exploring after. SO much to do and see in newport. it was SO nice out. like 70.

obligatory pumpkin patch pictures:

when we finally headed back to the inn to check into our room for nap time, i had a major orphan annie moment. his company had us staying in the cutest little beach cottage directly on the most beautiful sandy beach. the most luxurious place i have stayed probably ever. i was instantly sad that we only had one night.

pic from their web site

i sat on our little deck eating a [really delicious] sandwich and looking at this view while dane napped like a champ in the packnplay that barely fits him anymore. it was the most relaxed i had felt in a while.

when he woke up, we went out to play on the beach where i took a million photos and seriously struggled to narrow down to the few you see below!

dane does this thing where, when i tell him to say cheese, he’ll do a big exaggerated CHEEEEESE while looking anywhere but at the camera. its makes things a little difficult.

look at these twins.

there’s the cheese again.

later that evening we went out for a little cliff walk. there were tons of surfers and really big waves! i’ve never seen surfing like this in new england, it was cool.

we had pizza and beer with his coworkers that evening then mike passed out shortly after dane (i think he had been having a little too much company sponsored fun) and i stayed up reading on the couch in front our fireplace. ahhh. can we do this again next weekend?

dane was just the funnest, happiest kid the whole time. i can’t remember what life was like before he was part of my crew. he is pure joy. the only thing that would have made the weekend any better is if shakey could have joined us. he would have loved this beach!

5 years

5 years of marriage makes me feel a lot of things: old, blessed, loved. old. but mostly happy and grateful and also, old.

for our 5 year wedding anniversary, mike gave me the most perfect and thoughtful gift. he transformed this very blog into two hardcover books. 80 miles to brewster volumes 1 and 2.

its the perfect gift on a number of levels. when you think about it, this little blog IS our past 5 years… a lot of the big things, some of the little things and all sorts of silly and stupid things we’ve done together since 2009. especially all the trial and error and hard work we have put into our houses over the years. from southie to brewster, to our house in the suburbs where we took a our new baby home 2.5 years ago (all with our best friend, shakespeare by our sides)… what an awesome 5 years.

it made me appreciate all the documenting i have done. it sure is difficult these days to find the time to sit and write, but its a story worth telling. it won’t be the prettiest and it definitely won’t be in full sentences, but our next 5 years, in one form or another, will be here on 80 miles to brewster!

i love my little family so much and it all started here with mike 5 years ago on the best day of my life. i’m so damn lucky.

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?