An Apple a Day

When my mom emptied my grandmother's apartment after she died last summer, she found a painting that I did in high school when I went through an oil painting phase.  She brought it down to me but I wasn't sure what I would do with it.

When I was leaving the house the other day, I noticed this empty area near our side door and stairs to the basement.

 Seems like the perfect place for a little painting done by me.

And here's a close-up in case you are interested in critiquing.

 I really wish I had time to do some artwork again.


When you get lemons...A Junk Drawer Overhaul!

A bit of a mishap in our house last week.  Jim was adjusting the pot-filler over our stove after the back splash was installed, and may have pulled the pot-filler a little further off than he should have.  WATER!  Water, water, everywhere!  Gushing out of the pipe on the wall above the stove.  Woops!  Unfortunately, I ran downstairs, instead of Jim, but I didn't realize the water shut-off was in a different place from where it was before our addition.

So, we had a lot of water on the floor, in the cabinets, in the drawers, in the stove... everywhere!  Fortunately we were able to clean it up really quickly so there was no damage.  The stove dried out and it works fine too.

But, some of the drawers got wet including our incredibly messy drunk drawer.  I put everything on the counter and ended up with this.


I had been thinking about organizing this drawer for a while - particularly since we keep some spare keys in here that we never know what they go to.  I headed for the Container Store (one of my favorite places) to find some drawer organizers.  Since it's the junk drawer, I didn't want to break the bank.  Fortunately I knew they carried the inexpensive wire drawer organizers that I used in my silverware drawer and in the dresser in our family room.

After I cleaned out the junk and the impossible to salvage stuff.

Now I have this -

[Sigh of relief] 

Yes, I know where the water shut-off is now.   

Linking to Thrifty Decor Chick. Thanks for the mention, Mrs. Limestone!
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Dining Room Budget Decor

Like I said last week, I come from a long line of shoppers.  My mom scored some gorgeous decorative plates at her local Salvation Army store.  She paid $3.99 each but the original boutique store price tag on the back of each says $36!  Go Mom!  Fortunately for me, my mom couldn't find a good place for them in her house, so she brought them for me.

I used them to give my buffet area a little more interest.

Here it is before - 

And here it is now -

I think it adds just enough interest around the mirror and it was just lucky that the plates were black and gold like the mirror.  Like it was meant to be!

I'm still working on one other corner of the dining room but I think it's really getting there now.  I have some ideas for bigger plans for in there but I am still thinking them through.


Remodelaholic Featured!

Welcome Remodelaholic fans!  Hope you enjoy HOUSEography and stay awhile. 

For everyone else, our mantel project is featured on Remodelaholic today!  Thanks Cassity for the feature!

Backsplash Finale!

I never thought I would be so excited about a kitchen backsplash.  If I had known it was going to make me this happy, I would not have waited 15 months to get it installed!

Here's the last of the before pictures -

And after -
 What do you think?  No matter what you think...  I love it!  It totally changes the look of the kitchen.


About that Backsplash...

Remember when I told you about backsplash shopping?  (if not, click here to read about that)  So, that was almost 6 months ago.  Well, now here we are doing it!  Well, not us - we hired someone.  Very unlike us but I really wanted it done before our big Thanksgiving and the holidays in general.  So, we hired it out. 

Here are the before pictures.

 Now here are the guys working on installing the tile.

And here's the tile finished before the grout. I love the early morning light in my kitchen.


 And here's the finished product with Delorian Gray grout (although it's not totally dry in these pictures so it appears very dark).  Tomorrow I'll show you the full before and after with all of our stuff back in the kitchen.

Check back later today to find out the winner of last week's CSN Stores giveaway!

CSN Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Susan who won my CSN Stores $35 giveaway!  Susan, I hope you get that food processor you wanted!  Thanks for following me on Google Friend Connect!

Thanks to everyone who signed up to win.  Several more giveaways are in the works so stay tuned!


Last Chance to win!

Last chance to win the CSN $35 gift card!  Click here for more details.


Goodwill Thrills!

I love to shop and I come by it honestly.  I come from a long line of shoppers on my mother's side - mother, grandmother, great-grandmother.  I love a bargain but I also splurge on things that I really love and know that I will have for a long time to come.  But, when I want to get my fix do a little shopping then I often head to Goodwill.  Of course, it is totally hit or miss but if you can often find something good even if it wasn't on your shopping list. And almost always a real bargain.

Last week I had some great luck at my local Goodwill.  I found these wine glasses. 

I didn't have any red wine glasses before and I found my regular glasses to be a tad bit small.  At $1.76 each, I figured that these were worth a try.  They are pretty heavy which I actually like and they have a nice shape.  Not sure where they came from originally but I am pretty sure someone paid more than $2 each.  More importantly, I certainly won't cry if someone breaks one after having one glass too many.

My even better score was this little nightstand which I think I will save for Alex's big boy room.  The price?  $15!!!!  It's a maple nightstand with dovetail drawers.  Unbelievable bargain.  The stain is in in great shape so I can leave it as is if that's the direction I decide to go.  For now, it will hang out in our attic.

Did you find any great Goodwill stuff this week?  Are you yard sale-ing tomorrow?  It's supposed to be cold here so I kind of doubt there will be any decent yard sales this week.

Have a great weekend!

p.s.  Don't forget to sign up for the CSN $35 gift card giveaway!  Closes Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET!


Small and dirty hands!

While I enjoy sharing a lot of things with my kids, hand towels are not on that list!  We encourage good hand washing techniques but there is only so much you can do.  And our bathroom hand towels often seem to end up on the floor for some reason.  I am by no means germ-phobic but I think doing simple things like changing out the hand towels frequently in the powder room can really keep illness contained.  I keep my spare hand towels right under the sink in the powder room so if I notice the towels look a bit grungy, I can throw new ones up - even if dinner guests have already arrived!

To help keep our kids' germs at bay, I installed (well, my dad installed...) a towel bar on the back of the door in the powder room

Sometimes I use a kid-oriented towel but generally I use a towel that matches the "adult" towel on the ring next to the sink (generally out of reach of children).  The towel on the door also serves as a reminder to wash hands before leaving!



FREEography: CSN Giveaway!

I am very excited to do another CSN Stores giveaway for HOUSEography readers! I know everyone is getting ready for the holidays and CSN has a lot of great furniture and decor items, as well as cookware.  It's a great also a great way to get a head start on your holiday shopping (unless you are done - I'm not even talking to you).  Even better - most of their items ship FREE!
In case you haven't heard, CSN Stores is an amazing group of more than 200 online stores with everything from an ottoman coffee tables to a kitchen cart.  We got a great lamp for my daughter's room from their lighting store last year.  I am currently looking for a new bathroom cabinet for our upstairs hall bath.  Our current one has seen better days and could stand to be a little larger.  Here are some possibilities from CSN - 
Wycliff Diamante
Dawson Double

This giveaway is for a $35 gift certificate to use in any of the CSN Stores!  Also, don't forget that many items ship free. 

Here's how to enter:
  1. Become a follower!  You must be a follower to win. You can follow HOUSEography on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Google Friend Connect (link on the lower right side of the page), or another reader.  Let me know how you follow HOUSEography in your comment.
  2. Submit a comment on this post and let me know what you plan to get with your gift certificate by Sunday, November 7th at 11:59 p.m. ET!  Be sure to sign in to leave a comment or include your email address with your comment so I can contact you.  One entry per email address.  US and Canadian residents only.

Winner will be announced here on Monday, November 8th!

Good luck!

Photos courtesy of CSN Stores.


Drapery Challenges - Master Bedroom

The existing curtains in our master bedroom are fine.  But, that's all they are... fine.  Fortunately they were about $12 each from Walmart so not a major investment.  If you want to buy them, I'll make you a deal.  You get what you pay for - they were too short (probably 82") and they are not lined.  Such a big issue for me because they do not look full or rich. 

 Also on the back wall, I really want the curtains to hang above the transom window to emphasize the cathedral ceilings in the room. 

So, my first try at a new option was this -
Nice quality and the color is nice, but not the right color.  They are from JC Penney where I have bought a lot of the window treatments in my house.  Too much contrast and it is taking the sea blue accent color into being a primary color in the room which is not the look I am going for.  I really want a neutral and serene room - a total break from the craziness of life.  The color is neutral but the contrast with the wall is too much. I think I am looking for a simple cream curtain, so I am going to try these same curtains in cream.  I may eventually add some trim or something but for now, this might just work.  Stay tuned!


"Mom, NOW what are you doing?!"

What did you do while your kids were eating breakfast this morning?  Seemingly I lost my mind because I decided to reorganize my dish cabinet and add a little punch on the back wall!  What?!!!  Yup, seriously.  Elizabeth said "Mom, NOW what are you doing?!"  But then she jumped in to help.  She's a keeper.

Here's where we started - lots of white!

The main reason for reorganizing was that I wanted the coffee cups to be close the actual coffee pot.  I love the idea of a coffee cabinet (check one out on Nesting Place), so I took it as far as I could except that I keep my actual coffee in the fridge and I use a permanent filter so need for a place to store filters.  I have a sugar bowl in here and the spoons are right underneath.  Now, weekend guests can grab their mug after seeing the  full pot of steaming hot coffee and grab a mug right away. I also needed some more room in  my glassware cabinet for a couple of recent bargain purchases (more on that later).

I also had an idea for adding a pop of color to this cabinet since right now it is pretty much all white but it's a focal point in the kitchen.  I picked up a roll of green and gold paisley wrapping paper at the Container Store about a month ago.  I trimmed about an inch off the side of the roll of paper (with Elizabeth's help), and slid it up behind the shelves.  I didn't even have to take most of the dishes out!  I then taped it at the top and bottom using double-sided clear tape.  Done!

The only disappointment is that from far away through the glass, it looks like the back of the cabinet is just green because the pattern is fairly muted.  But, up close and when you open the cabinet, it definitely has a big impact and my white dishes don't just fade into the back wall.  It was so easy, if I find a paper I like better (maybe with a bolder pattern), I'll just change it out - maybe during breakfast.  Including reorganizing the cabinet and wiping out some dust, the whole project took about 35 minutes.  Just in time to leave for school!

I am already thinking of other pieces of furniture to try this technique on. 



Happy Halloween!



 My little goblins!


Just cannot help myself...

No, not talking about candy corn although I have eaten a few this week.  I am talking about our over-the-top Halloween outside decor.  I just added a creepy spider to our hanging light on the front porch.  It's really for the benefit of trick-or-treaters.  Next year I am going to try to find some purple/black bulbs for the front porch light.

 Here are a few more pictures of what the trick-or-treaters will see from the front porch.


Happy Halloween!