Thursday, March 28, 2013

New House (#11)

Oh hey, look what I bought today.

Home sweet home.

(I was all set today to publish a picture of the exterior of the house this morning, except after I wrote the post I proofread it and looked at the picture of the house closely, and realized to my horror that the charming rope swing in the tree in the front yard had gotten wrapped around a lower limb of the tree and appeared to be a noose, thus giving a very very very wrong first impression.)

More pictures of the (swine-like beige) interior to come next week.  And the walls that don't go the ceiling.  And the interrogation room.

This is gonna be fun :-)

Monday, March 25, 2013

gender neutral shower curtains for kids

I have engaged the services of a painter to paint a large portion of the new house, since it has 20 foot vaulted ceilings.  In the age-old "well, as long as you're here...." I've got him doing a bunch of other rooms as well.  One is the upstairs bathroom that will be the kids bathroom, which is currently a greenish yellow that is not offensive but I am not overly excited about. 

Please ignore the raised toilet lid. 
I will be removing that glass shower door and using a shower curtain.  This is the only bathroom in the house where I can use a shower curtain, which is sad, because I think of shower curtains as a fun and affordable way to decorate and are easy to change out when the whim hits.  

Here are some options I am considering.

There's always opportunity for learning! But I'm not a huge fan of clear curtains.  
Via Urban Outfitters

This polka dot one seems like it would go with a multitude of wall colors

I have written about this shower curtain before. And I still like it. I like that it has pink and purple in it yet does not scream girly-girl. This one is a strong contender.  I am taking a chance that all 107 of you won't run out and order it, because last time I loved it it was out of stock forever.  

West Elm has a number of gender neutral shower curtains, like these awesome wide stripes (Emily used them in her bathroom), but I think I want something a little more colorful.  

This PBK fish curtain is adorable, and totally gender neutral.  

This is not gender neutral but its awesome.  Apparently I have already blogged about this pink ikat from Furbish. Looking back at that post, I kind of love that mini-mood board....can I stick a hot pink shower curtain in a little boy bathroom?  Too grown up for three kids under seven? 

PBTeen has some really cool ones which may be jumping to the head of the line. There's a chevron and I think I could use this without even repainting:

Or a madras plaid, which I blogged about a few months ago (which was met with a resounding silence, so I'm guessing you all aren't as excited about madras as I am.  Sadly, I wish this madras were a wee bit brighter.  Too masculine, perhaps?) 

Which ones do you like? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Navy bedroom plans

One thing I have wanted to do for years is paint a room deep, dark, moody blue.  Since I've lived in rentals for the last four years that hasn't been the most practical idea.  But! New house! I will own it! I can paint it any crazy rainbow I want!

Irony: ninety percent of the new house will be painted white.

But! For my bedroom, I think I am going to take the plunge.  Be bold! Be brave! Its just paint!

Here are some bee-u-tee-ful navy rooms.

This first room from Bossy Color is probably what sparked my desire to have a navy bedroom.  I love this room.  That John Robshaw bedding is just killer against the navy walls.

I love how the navy plays against the orange room down the hall.

image via Apartment Therapy

This room is pretty much perfect, in my opinion.  Its got the deep navy walls, subdued pops of red in the kilim rugs and the bedside table and throw, greek key trim roman shades, and a bit of warm unfinished wood in the Jenny Lind bed.

image via the nesting game

You might note some common themes in the above pictures. If you are going to do a dark wall, the rest of the room will need some light to balance it out.  All three pictures have white or white background bedding.  Each of the rooms has wooden or natural elements in it, like the wood floors, or leather poofs, or jute rug, linen headboard, or unfinished wooden bedframe.  Lastly, a wee bit of a contrasting color, like the red in the rug, the red in the Robshaw bedding (even the orange in the next room visible from the door).

I haven't drawn up a moodboard for my master bedroom because at the moment my budget extends only to paint and possibly a craigslist dresser, but that third bedroom is pretty much perfect in my eyes, and its got all the elements I want to put in my new bedroom (warm wood, white bedding, navy walls, kilim rugs, greek key shades).

I would love to include some more pictures of rooms, but I find myself very leery these days of sharing pictures unless I can trace the source (and if you are wondering, no, "via my Pinterest" is not an appropriate attribution and will not save you from a lawsuit should the original artist want to sue you).  I've pretty much stopped sharing "inspiration" pictures unless they were taken by an individual posting on their own blog about their own home, or come directly from a magazine source.

In any event, that's my plan.  One navy blue bedroom, coming up.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moving on up

*taps microphone*  Anyone still out there?

Last week was our one year anniversary of moving out here. Last year on March 13th I took my kids and five suitcases and moved to California (read about it here, here,  here, here, and here).  If you read the posts from last year you'll see that they are largely angsty and "omg I am moooooving and I feel scared."

So, since we hate stability and all that crap, we are moving again!

No, actually, I really want some stability and all that crap.  I want to put down roots, make permanent friends, stay in one place for more than 365 days, and never have to box up all our stuff again.

So we bought a house.  I'm boxing up my stuff for the last time (I won't say never again, but I hope to stay here for a long, long time).  We close on the house in mid-April, assuming that the Horoscope of Doom and its prediction of real estate deals that fall apart does not come true.  We'll have about two weeks to paint the sea of pinky swine-like beige that is currently all over the inside of the house, and then we'll move at the end of April.  (Insert angst and "omg I am moving and I am scared again" here.)

Obviously I'm not doing much in the way of decorating the current house, but stick around for a few weeks and I'll have a whole new house to put together.  On an extremely limited budget.  Should be fun :-)

I will ask for your help with a decorating dilemna.  The new master bedroom is bright and airy with a corner window seat.

The two walls with the corner window seat are the only two walls that will fit our king size bed.  (Apparently I didn't take a picture of the fourth wall, but the third and fourth walls have doors to the bathroom and hallway that will not allow for a king bed.)  You might notice that on either wall, the bed will be partially in front of the window.  This presents a few problems.

Here's a poorly photoshopped picture of my current bedroom imposed upon the new bedroom to illustrate.  Clearly this illustration is not to scale, but the only way that the headboard would fit on either wall is if the bed is shoved up against the far wall, leaving the person who sleeps on that side (me) no room to get out of bed.

First problem: our headboard hangs on the wall by D-rings mounted on either end of the headboard.  Since wherever we put the bed will be partially blocking the window, there is no way to safely mount the headboard.  Currently the headboard is not attached to the bedframe, although I suppose we could rig something up with 2-x4s or something.  (Arg, if only I hadn't sold this bed.)

Two, the nightstands are too big to put in front of the window.

Three, how does one decorate over the headboard-less bed that is located off-center and partially in front of a window???  I can't find any images of a layout even remotely similar; in most images the bed is directly under a window, not to the side.
 Hanging curtains wider over the window in such a way so as to trick the eye into thinking the bed is centered (like I did here) isn't really an option.

I am inclined to put the bed on this wall in the picture above--the dimly lit wall to the right of the entry door--because if I put the bed on the wall straight ahead (see the brightly lit picture), there will be a narrow corridor between the bed and the entrance to the bathroom.

I may end up just skipping the headboard.  This makes me sad.

I could put the bed in the corner, angled out into the room, either cattycorner in the window or cattycorner to the far right corner....but I kind of hate the bed-on-an-angle look.  Plus then I have no space for bedside tables.  Also, while the room is not tiny, an angled bed is not the most efficient use of space.

I am stumped.  And will probably hire a designer in a year or two to figure out what to do with this room but that's not in the budget in the moment.

Ideas?  Buying new furniture is not an option at this time, although I'm open to ideas (like a free-standing upholstered bed frame) for the future.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Horoscope of Doom

The other day Crazy Aunt Purl noted that she had received the Horoscope of Doom, and since I share the same astrological sign as Crazy Aunt Purl, I had to go and read it.  And it really is the Horoscope of Doom.  Apparently the beginning of March will be awesome, but the end of March is retrograde and full moon-ish and all sorts of horrible things will happen.

Upon seeing this, I sent an email to my sisters noting the horrible end of the month, which does seem to correspond to a few things I have going on (although not defending my thesis or grant-writing) and asking if I should be worried.  Here are their (multiple, ever-so-helpful) responses:

Well hopefully defending your thesis goes well!  And how is that grant application going?  Also, it’s interesting to know you will win your court case, but then agree to settle anyway.  And gosh, as the mother of three children, it is impossible to believe that you may have to juggle many conflicting needs at the same time.  luckily that only occurs in March, that would be really hard if it happened all the time, huh.  Perhaps the Mister is the “high level influential person behind the scenes” who will help you? :P

Geez, my horoscope says I will need surgery this month, and go through identity theft.  These are really specific predictions!  I will also receive a large sum of money from other people if I wanted to produce an album or a screenplay.   It is also possible that me and my partner will have in-vitro fertilization around march 11th and it would be a very good time to do so. 

Shoot, I have to cancel our trip to Austin, it says this is not my best month to travel and to postpone  my trip to April.  Is that ok with you guys?

Sounds like March should be interesting for me too!!  
-Sister # 1

Well, mine told me I should have met a new partner in January, so I should work on that.   Little late.  Thanks for the notice...However, at the same time, i've been feeling very unhappy with my partner, so I should also break up with him.  That makes no sense.  I should work on developing my feelings with my partner just to dump him?
I shouldn't make any big spending plans until April b/c I'll know what's going on then.  Apparently i will be spending my money very unwisely until then.  AND GREAT NEWS!  I'm going to get pregnant, but then, be upset b/c i can't afford it.  Damn money.
But then, March 27, apparently I will realize i DO have enough money.  phew.  that's a relief since i'll be having a baby in like 8 months at that point. 
My march sounds quite tumultuous.  Can't wait!

Who's the baby daddy?
 -Sister # 2

I’m kind of curious why I would even consider in-vitro…
After paying for that, I doubt I would have enough to produce my screenplay L
-Sister # 1 

Im glad there will be new babies in the family and that the new babies are not one of MY dire predictions; i have enough on my plate with defending my thesis. 

Do you believe in horoscopes? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

How did Don't Buy Anything Month go?

And how did my "Don't Buy Anything" February go, you were wondering?  I think it went swimmingly.

I think I should qualify that statement--it did go quite swimmingly, but lets also remember that January was Buy All The Things month, so it was probably easier than it might otherwise have been.  Also, it is difficult to take a toddler with a broken leg shopping, so that REALLY cut down on my shopping.

My intent in doing a "Don't Buy Anything" month was to slow down the unnecessary house and clothing spending. I felt that I was spending a great deal on mindless shopping at Target and Lowes and JoAnn Fabrics and Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Zappos.  I can't seem to walk out of Target without spending $50, even if I walked in intending to buy only a $3 box of envelopes.  The kids clothing, it just jumps into my cart without my noticing and hangs on tight.

I did not look to cut all spending all the time.  I did not attempt to change the amount of money that we spend on groceries, or dining out, or babysitting.  In fact, for all of February it was extremely difficult to leave the house with Princess and her painful broken leg, so my babysitting budget actually increased so that we could still attend the boys's extracurricular activities.

I was successful in not buying anything for the house. Not one single thing.  I did no projects (notice my lack of blogging?), bought no materials for said projects, and did not wander into HomeGoods to caress pretty pillows and enticing rugs. (I don't know how long I can keep this up.)

I was....less...successful at not buying any clothes.  Well, shoes.  I bought a new pair of sneakers because my current pair are a few years old and the Mister was buying sneakers and hey I need them too! No, I don't. I should take them back.  I also bought (ahem) three pairs of sandals.  I have terribly wide, pontoon-like feet, and have a hard time finding shoes.  Four years ago I bought three pairs of kitten-heel t-strap sandals from Talbots, which I have worn into the ground.  For the past year I have shopped fruitlessly for replacements with no luck.  As luck would have it, during "Don't Buy Anything" month, Talbots came out with a lovely t-strap sandal that fits perfectly and I love them and I bought them and I'm not giving them up!!  (Black, navy and nude.)  Yes, I failed at Don't Buy Anything.

But! Seriously? I didn't buy anything else.  I did not buy sweaters I don't need, or pants for the kids, or hey, we need pens, and I've always wanted to try boysenberry jam, and hmm, this Nate Berkus stuff is on sale, and those camis are on sale too, I've been meaning to replace mine, and I can never find the right lids to the tupperware, I should replace those and so on and so forth.  Four pairs of shoes was all I bought.

I think this little experiment was a success, sandals notwithstanding.  Our credit card bill was cut by nearly 60% this month.

One thing I did see, looking at our reduced spending this month, is that we spend far more than I thought we did on groceries.  The Mister does our weekly shopping on Sundays, and usually spends about the same amount every week.  What I noticed, looking at our receipts, is that we also tend to make at least one more grocery trip each week, if not two, each one totaling at least $40.  So we are spending at least $160 more a month on groceries than I thought we were.

For March, my goal is to start meal planning.  The extra grocery trips are usually me going to the grocery midweek, saying, eh, I'll make this tonight, except I don't have the ingredients, so I'll just go get them, and oh hey, cherry jam! That salsa looks tasty. Ooh, cantaloupe....  Hopefully the meal planning will curb these extra trips, by making sure that we have all the ingredients planned and accounted for in our weekly shopping.

My take-away tip from Don't Buy Anything month?  Don't enter the store.  Seriously.  Shopping for my house is a form of entertainment for me.  I need to start going to the library instead of Target.  I went to Target on Saturday to buy a birthday gift, put some cute dresses for Princess in the cart, and before going up to the register took out everything but the birthday gift and put it all back.  Its hard to resist Target's siren call. I do better at not buying stuff when I just stay home.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

new curtains and chairs the dining room

In January, I got new curtains and chairs for the dining room.

I swapped out the Ikea Janette curtains for the Ikea Stockholm Blad curtains.  I wanted the Blad curtains originally, but then was seduced by the much cheaper Janettes....and after three days I wished I had just gotten what I really wanted instead of saving money.  Womp womp, sad trombone.

Although the Janettes were a very Palm Beach-ish, vibrant curtain--they didn't play very well with the living room curtains. The Blads flow much better with the adjacent spaces.

While I love the Blad curtains, you might have noticed in the above pictures that they are floodwaters.  I sent them out to the dry cleaner to be hemmed instead of doing it myself.  

I am less than thrilled with the (expensive but totally time-saving, haha!) results.

I also got rid of the bamboo chairs.  As pretty are they were, they were a dangerous menace and were in need of repair.  I sold them on craigslist and replaced them with Industry West's Marais A side chair in gunmetal.

The metal chairs are easy to clean, wipeable, stackable, and very light.  Unfortunately, they also chip and scratch easily. Unlike the Palm Beach chairs, however, the seat is firmly attached to the frame, not dumping anyone on the floor, and thus we will keep them.  (It was also prohibitively expensive to return ship them back to Industry West, so...keeping them.)

To be honest, I am so-so on these chairs.  I love them from a functional standpont--they are so easy to move and light and not stained, unlike the heavy upholstered bamboo chairs.  I do kind of wish I had gotten them in white, or a lighter color.  I went with the gunmetal over the galvanized steel, because I thought the galvanized steel would look too country-ish, and I was afraid the white would chip.  I don't dislike them, but I do wish they were a lighter color that would contrast more with the dining table.  I also wish they didn't chip so easily.  (Anytime someone with jeans with rivet pockets sits on them, scratches result.)

Et voila.