Thanksgiving Mantel

This post is in the "better late than never" category but I wanted to share my Thanksgiving mantel.  It's loosely based on the fall mantel, but with a "turkey'ed" twist.

Sorry this is blurry!

Chief design assistant...

Happy Thanksgiving!


Faking It

I never thought I would be writing this post, but I am considering getting a fake Christmas tree. 
  1. Yes, I love Christmas.
  2. Yes, I love the smell of real trees. 
  3. Yes, I think they are beautiful. (see last year's here)
  4. Yes, I love the experience of going and cutting down our tree. 

  1. I don't like the mess they make. 
  2. Putting lights on is annoying.
  3. And I'm allergic to them and I'm pretty sure my son might be too (he's had ear infections both of the last two Christmases). 
  4. And we are often traveling before Christmas so the tree gets dried out an drops needles even faster. 

And to round out the debate, these are not the reasons I'm considering this move.
  1. Environmental reasons. I think real trees are more environmentally friendly but let's not debate that point.
  2. Expense. A good artificial tree is hundreds of dollars and probably won't last more than 6 or 7 years until the lights burn out or it's too dusty or worn from use. 
While the debate continues, here are some options. I haven't looked at the big box stores yet.
Home Decorators Collection - 40% off right now so $161 plus free shipping

Frontgate - $$$
Brookstone - $429.00 + shipping
But will I like any of them as much as this?

Do you have a fake tree that's super realistic? With LED bulbs? I'd love to hear about it!


Spraying the Bookcase

Handy Hubby is making great progress on the bookcase for our daughter Elizabeth's room. Hopefully he'll have time to finish it up this weekend and we can load it up with books after Thanksgiving. It's important to give the paint at least 5 days to cure, but more if you can stand to wait. Waiting is really hard for me, but Thanksgiving should be enough of a distraction.

Here's the base -

And the top -

Let's hope she loves it for a really long time! 

Handy Hubby made an investment purchase in the name of progress on the bookcase. We've been talking about getting a paint sprayer for several years. We considered an inexpensive model but opted against it because they can be difficult to clean and the results are often inconsistent. We decided it was time to invest an Earlex HV5500 Spray Station.

So far Handy Hubby reports that it works really well and is easy to clean. He is spraying thin coats and then sanding lightly. Hopefully the last two coats can go on soon and we can dive into the next project.


Stuff is happening in here...

I'm at the very early stages of making some drastic changes in here...

The little talked about room at the end of the hall is about to get a major makeover in every way. Stay tuned!


Not Quite Free Backyard Makeover

I am happy to say that our backyard is pretty much finished. We have a few trees to plant in the spring but other than that, it really does look good. Here is what it looked like just before installing our swing set last winter.

Here's what it looks like today.

Obviously the major change is our neighbors' new garage. So clean and nice to look at. The added bonus is that it's larger than their previous garage so we get more privacy in our yard and through the first floor windows in the back of the house. 

The fence is a custom fence installed by a locally owned company, Expert Fence. Before installing the fence, Handy Hubby had to rip out old shrubbery on the right side and along the back of the garage. Then we had our landscapers come in and regrade the back corner of our lot so the soccer balls won't roll behind the garage after every kick! We also wanted to be sure the fence would slope down gradually without any big drops. They then finished off the project with some nice sod which was really the only option considering that it's already November.

Finally, we installed our sprinkler system a few weeks ago. It certainly comes in handy for keeping the new sod alive!

So, although not exactly a free makeover, at least we don't have a tumbling down garage to look at anymore, and it spurred us to clean up the back of our property line so it's clean and neat, as opposed to untamed and a bit scary!

We're also really excited to have a new gate in the back corner where we can slip through the back for fire pit parties at our neighbors behind!

Any landscaping projects left on your list?


Elizabeth's Bookcase: Take 2

The shout out fun continues here since I was just told that HOUSEography is the Blog of the Month on HouseBlogging.com. In addition to the Blog of the Month, HouseBlogging.com has a great listing of home decor and DIY blogs. Check it out here.

I'm really hoping there's no "take 3" on this one because our marriage might not survive it! After our big oops a couple of weeks ago (more on that here), Handy Hubby went at making the new bookshelf with a vengeance. It's close to done fortunately. Here's a picture from last weekend.

Next up - paint!

I realized last time that I never did a picture of the corner of her room where we plan to put this big piece of furniture. Her room does not have any big pieces of furniture other than her bed. Even her dresser is quite small in scale so the room could definitely use the bigger piece.

I love her room but this corner gives me the chills. It's so disorganized and out of control! Hopefully I'll be able to spend some time in here this weekend getting it reorganized.

Anyone else suffering with the daylight savings time rollback? I'm exhausted at 9:15 p.m.!


To Keep or Not to Keep

Not going to lie. There is a lot of stuff hanging around my house which may or may not still have tags on it. I recently snipped the tags off 3 lamps and a trunk in my living room after probably 8 months of "deciding" whether or not to keep them. Sometimes I say this to appease Handy Hubby when I come home with a carload of "deals" from HomeGoods, Target, thrift stores, estate sales, etc. If I leave the tags on, maybe he'll think it may leave again? Sometimes he's right. Most of the time not.

I used to be a chronic returner, until I started a new policy with myself - only buy what you love. I often pick up a lot of things as I'm walking through a store. When I get to the checkout (generally it's a long line at HomeGoods on a Saturday afternoon), I reassess what I have in my cart and whether I really, REALLY want or need it. Sometimes you just need things - a new set of sheets, etc. Most of the time, you don't need stuff but if you love it, and it's a good price, it's probably worth getting. I have started doing this with clothes too. It seems to be working and I think that I've purchased less things in the past 6 months than previously.

So, here's the current example going on in my living room.

Two new chairs on either side of the console table.

Here's what it looked like previously.

Now, the kicker is that these chairs were $100 each marked down from $150 at HomeGoods. Not a super amazing deal, but a nice price for upholstered dining chairs. They are also small in scale which is pretty hard to find because upholstered dining chairs tend to be REALLY big these days and that just won't work in this space.  The dark finish also works well. I have been looking for used chairs for a while to no avail.

Does our living room really need more chairs? Kind of. We have 4 chairs in there but when we have a crowd, it's not really enough space. These chairs can also be pulled into the dining room for a dinner party.

The problem? They don't match!! If you look at the picture below, you can see that they are slightly different. the one on the  left has a rounded front and slightly curved back, and the one on the right has a square front and squared back. The finish is also slightly different - one more traditional, and one more rustic. It's not really noticeable unless you are really paying attention. I didn't even realize it until I was loading them into the car.

So, the tags are still on. I'll give it a few more days then make a call one way or the other, but I'm leaning toward keeping them. If they matched exactly I would definitely keep them but the slight mismatch kind of bugs me, but then again I don't spend tons of time in this room and it would be handy to be able to pull a comfy chair into the dining room for bigger parties.

To keep things real and give you a hint on what our "formal" living room is most often used for , here's the wider angle shot. I removed Woody and Buzz from the console table before taking my shots.



Shout it Out!

What a great week for shout outs!! Not an every day occurrence around here (maybe some day?!) so I'm really excited!

On Monday, my powder room ceiling was featured on Sadie + Stella. Thanks ladies!!  Read all about the powder room ceiling reveal here.

Then on Wednesday, my blog got it's first dose of Apartment Therapy love when my daughter's night stand makeover was featured on Ohdeedoh, the kids/family AT site. More about that makeover here.

I'm not sure I will ever get tired of seeing my stuff on other blogs and websites! Thanks to all of my readers - you're the best!


Thrify Painting Finds a Home

I found a home for my awesome original painting that I scored a Goodwill a few weeks ago (more on that here).

Once I thought about it for 6 seconds, I realized that the obvious place was about 3 feet from where I snapped the picture above - in the dining room.

You can also get a little glimpse of my fall dining room decor.

Here's what my bar area looked like with the old picture which wasn't really working for me. This is one of those pieces that I picked at HomeGoods while looking for art which really never works because I often buy things I don't love...

I have to say that my dining room had improved since its low point a few weeks ago, but now the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations are being switched out and this is once again our staging area!


Canvas Love

I've been eyeing those coupons for big discounts on canvas photo blow-ups for a while now. I decided to give it a try after seeing a Groupon for Canvas on Demand. I went for it since I had a bunch of great pictures from our summer vacation. Honestly though, I had no idea where I would hang it or whether it would really fit with our style. It arrived a few weeks ago and I think the picture speaks for itself...