Four Years In

This past Sunday marked my 4 year “blogiversary.” I can’t believe the leaps and bounds this little journal has hopped in the past few years– from less than a hundred views per month to over 10,000 regularly. Wow!

diy blogger

I’ve had a lot of fun chronicling our home and watching it change and grow on in these posts. And I’ve had some amazing opportunities too… working with some of my favorite companies like Minwax and Gorilla Glue. Being featured in This Old House magazine. Attending a HGTV Magazine party last summer (and again in a few weeks). Meeting some of my favorite people, fellow bloggers that love all the same stuff as I do.

home made stretched canvas art

Life has changed drastically in the past four years too- I got engaged, then married. We added a fourth pet (and had 3 foster dogs along the way too). I have 2 new nephews, and I’ve lost some friends and family members along the way too. I went from working 32 hours a week to over 50, which is both good and bad.

take your pleasure seriously charles eames quote

All this to say… in case you haven’t noticed yet… things need to slow down here on the ol’ blog. There’s so much more to focus on in my life, and this will never be a full time career (nor did I ever intend it to be). I went from posting 5 days a week, to 3, to 2, to one, to now maybe once every other week. And it’s not that nothing’s happening around the house, in fact so much is happening. But between the doing, and the pausing to take pictures, and the editing the pictures, and the writing the posts, and the running of the social media, and the unstoppable desire to refresh my stats— oof. It’s got to give a little.

I’m still going to check in once or twice a month for sure, and I have hundreds of posts in the archives to dig through. I’m so happy so many of you have stopped by, and continue to stop by. So I’ll catch ya at the next check in… and if you want to be notified when that is just follow along via Bloglovin or pop your email in the box on the right hand side of this page. I’m also mildly obsessed with Instagram, so you’ll always find that regularly updated. :)

xo. Stephanie.

Freak Accident Update

The past few weeks have been a little insane around here. I alluded to some house trouble in my last post (here), then a few days after it all went down we left for vacation, then we came back from vacation and are back to working with the insurance company to get our house back in order.

To better explain what happened- basically, a distracted driver hit a telephone pole outside our house so hard that it caused a surge of electricity into our home. It knocked out half our power, fried some of our electronics, then made it’s way into our ground wire. The ground wire was connected to our plumbing, and the surge burned a whole in our pipes which then flooded our basement. WHEW! It was an intense few hours while we waited for the water to be shut off to our house. Luckily, we live on a hill and have a drainage pipe in our basement we were able to open up pretty quickly so we ended up with about 5 inches of water at the highest point (and had we not had the pipe, there would have easily been over a foot). Also, the driver walked away perfectly fine (though I suspect the car is totaled)

We filled our dry vac 4 times once power was restored.

Also luckily, everyone we have been working with on this has been amazing. The night of the accident we had 2 firemen, 2 water department employees, and our plumber all in our house. The next day a clean up crew, electrician, and construction crew all came. Within 48 hours we had electricity and water restored.

You may wonder why we needed a construction crew. Wellllll…. the pipe burst outside the house, underground on our front lawn. So a regular plumber could not repair it. Our front lawn got dug up to replace the pipes.

water being restored

What you’re seeing above is a bulldozer thing digging up the lawn, one crew member in the hole repairing the outside pipes, one crew member in our house jack hammering through our sub-floor to get to more pipes, and the spot where the pipes busted.

This has been an insane mess.

On Monday this week, the insurance company came out (Liberty Mutual) and I have to say- they have been so amazing to work with. I have uploaded about a million pictures to the claim site, as well as the police report for the incident and all of my invoices. Because the cause of the flooding was so complicated, I also had my electrician write a statement explaining what happened and I uploaded that as well. Having done all that in advance really helped the process go smoothly and the adjuster was able to assess the damage and start the process of reimbursing our money right away.

So! The good news– we have some really nice electronics that were all ok because they were on high end surge protector power strips. All those power strips took the brunt of the surge and burned out, but have now been replaced. Our computer has now been replaced and the data transfer from the fried computer was successful. We have a new stove arriving on Friday. And we bought a new rug last night.

PhotoGrid_1436335142507

Still to come: all of our basement walls need to be redone. We have 3 built in closets that need to be sanded and retextured and all of our wood work (which includes paneling, chair rail, casings, and molding) needs to be sanded down and restained.  Stay tuned!

… I think that’s a long enough post for now. :)

Goings On & Freak Accidents

I meant to have a much better blog post this week, but I think when you see what I’m working with over here you’ll understand… either way, I thought I’d hop on and share a few things. Let’s start with the freak accident and work our way to the good stuff:

  • Tuesday night there was a crazy car accident outside my house (no one was hurt), and long story short it caused a huge surge of power to hit my house that temporarily blew out our electricity and also flooded our basement. Electricity is now restored but the surge fried our stove and my husband’s desktop computer as well as a few surge protector power strips (thank goodness we had them, or the damage would have been much worse!). Our (finished) basement currently  has 14 industrial fans in it drying out the flood (for the next 3 days) and our water should be fully restored today- it was damaged outside of the house so our lawn had to be bulldozed to access the pipes and a section of our basement got jackhammered as well. The whole thing is a mess and once insurance is settled I’ll share more. But yeah, it’s been a long few days. If you follow along on Instagram you’ve seen a few peeks of it all.

industrial fans to dry out a flooded basement

  • Before this whole mess went down, I spent my Saturday painting my heart out at my friend Nate’s house. He recently bought 100+ year old country style home and I’ve basically insisted that he let me help with it’s updates because I’m obsessed. When we went to see it he mentioned he needed to paint all window sashes white and I casuallyyyyyy recommended maybe he do them black because I would die if they weren’t black they’re so perfect for it and I’ll even do it myself pleaseeeee. I’m a woman of my word, so I spent 6+ hours painting and it was glorious.

black window sashes with white molding moulding and light walls- country kitchen farm home

The kitchen has these 3 windows, 3 more on a perpendicular wall, and I painted 2 doors that lead to the sunroom to match as well. I’m also on team yellow walls, but not necessarily that particular yellow.

Also, look at this perfectly aged and chippy coat closet door at the house’s entrance. UGHHHH. I don’t even really like the country style but it’s so perfect here that it makes my bat my eyes and grow wide. I’m 97% sure Nate doesn’t look at this blog, but if you do- do not get rid of this door! It’s what dreams are made of! And the brick floor? I’m dying.

chippy aged wood coat closet door and brick entryway floor

  • And to end this post on a super high note…. my husband and I will soon be headed to the Bahamas with a few of our friends! I can not freaking wait, after dealing with all this house stuff it’s just what we need. We’re going to an all inclusive resort and the whole thing is paid for so I’m excited to just show up, get a drank, and sit on the water. Oh, and we’re also going to go swimming with these cuties:

swimming pigs of exumas bahamas

Hopefully our house will be in good working order before we leave!! If not, I guess we can just go snorkeling in the basement… :( womp womp.

Tie Dye Onesies- An Awesome Baby Shower Activity

This weekend I hosted a “drizzle” for my sister-in-law in my backyard and we had a blast. It’s her and my brother’s second baby boy so we just had myself, parents, and grandparents over to celebrate and restock their diaper supply (no need for a full “shower”).

Even though there were just about a dozen of us I also really wanted a fun activity, so I hooked up with Tulip and their #TyeDyeYourSummer campaign to make tie dyed ones for my nephew-on-the-way. You guys, we had SO MUCH FUN. My 80+ year old grandmothers making their great grandchild onesies in my yard was so lovely and adorable.

tie dye onesie station- baby shower party activity idea

This kit is super easy, it comes with 18 colors in squirt bottles (just add water), elastics to make your pattern with, plastic gloves, and even a tablecloth. It’s a party in a box! I laid everything out on a few different tables and wrote steps on some white tiles (you can use dry erase markers on ceramic tiles- I do it all the time at parties to label food and write out directions), the kit comes with instructions on how to make specific patterns so I laid that out on the table too.

I got 2 different size white onesie packs, a white 3T shirt for my nephew, and Tulip sent a bunch of large white t-shirts for everyone else.

tie dye onesie baby shower activity

Everyone just kind of did their own thing, and most of the onesies came out super adorable. Others though, not so much. Careful with the red dye, haha.

tie dye onesie oopsPoor mom, she just wanted to make a heart for her new grandson.

The tie dye needs to set for 6-8 hours so we all just put our creations in a plastic tub I had then went off and ate a bunch of cake and ice cream. I ended up leaving it overnight and the next morning just rinsed them off in the tub then threw them in the washer on hot to set.

My nephew’s going to be the cutuest little hippie baby that ever lived.

one step tie dye kit

…but I’m not biased or anything. ;)

Thanks Tulip for sending me the one step tie dye kit! We had so much fun, and everyone loved it! *Even though the kit was sent to me, I was not paid for this post and all opinions/ideas/adorable onesies are my own.

Stalk Tulip all over the web for so many fun ideas and projects:

Facebook //  Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Tumblr // Google+ // YouTube

ilovetocreate tulip tie dye

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Looking for more baby shower ideas? Check out my the owl themed and jungle themed parties I threw:

owl themed baby showermonkey decorated cupcakes

Living Pretty with your Pets feature

Hi all! Today I’m over at Cuckoo 4 Design guest posting all about my brood of pets, hop on over and check it out here.

three cats and a dog petsIf you’re here from Julia’s blog- welcome! You may want to check out my DIY Hidden Litter Box or Raised Pet Food Stand.

And don’t worry you’ll get used to seeing my animals pop up in just about every post ;)

striped wall room with painted furnitureThings I Didn’t DIY 

upcycled cabinet inside

Upcycled Kitchen Cabinet

tree stump end tablesTree Stump/Log End Tables

Happy Weekend!!

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Patio Dreams & Plans

Earlier in the week I talked about our front door spruce up and adding some flowers around the house, so today I wanted to do a little more outdoorsy talk.

A lot of the flowers I bought already (particularly the daisies) will go into the ground after memorial day, leaving room for a few container herbs to go on the front steps. I like to keep onion grass and basil there, close by, because I use them constantly when cooking.

As for the backyard though, it’s a never-ending mess of projects. Over the years I’ve added a garden bed wall (here) to our dining area and plants are justtttt starting to settle and spread there. I bought 2 shrubs (rhododendron) that I added in the bed last weekend. I’ve also made a compost bin system (here) and a small vegetable/herb garden (here)- but none of that is particularly pretty.

backyard before 2015Our yard is 2 levels because we’re on a hill, and the previous owners left us a bit of a mess to deal with… it looks way nicer in pictures then it does in real life. Because you’re being fooled into thinking we have grass. We do not have grass. We have awful cheap turf. Also not awesome:

  • There’s a random too-wide-to-be-a-walkway cement paver situation next to the second section of turf. But if we removed that….
  • we’d have to spruce up the vast wasteland of sand directly next to it because there used to be an above ground pool that we took apart and sold. This area serves as a fire pit now but could use some love.
  • On the second level, where our patio table is, there’s just dirt because it’s too shady for grass. I have no idea what to do here. Giant pavers? Gravel (will that hurt my dogs’ paws?)? Mulch? I don’t know
  • The dirt section in front of that (by the swing chair) will someday be filled with ivy ground cover, but it’s slow goin’

So you can see we sort of have a few “patio” areas. The dirt pile our actual patio set is on, plus the fire pit area, and even the cement “basketball court” section. The bummer with outdoor stuff is that none of it is really instant- it takes time for things to grow (like the ivy! come on ivy, growwww!). So, while I wait, I’m dreaming. I created a Patio Dreams Board on Wayfair full of stuff that would make this area much more awesome.

wayfair birdbath double seating flower planter and string lightsbird bath | bench seat| flower pot | string lights
I think matching flower pots, and string lights, and nice seating go such a long way, don’t you? What’s on your patio wish list?

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I partnered with Wayfair for this conversation, but I am a real customer of theirs already and they have EVERYTHING for every area of your house. Check it out!!

Front Door Spruce Up

The nice weather has finally, finally, finally hit Massachusetts and that means it’s time to move onto some outdoor work — especially because I’m hosting an outdoor drizzle for my sister-in-law next month. (Have you heard of drizzles? It’s baby number 2 so they don’t need a whole shower, just a little somethin-somethin ;) ).

ANYWAY. Painting our front doors has been on my list since we moved into the house. We have a side door (that we use 100% of the time) and a front door that we never use. Both of the doors are super cheap and not that great looking. They’re also some kind of metal so I’ve held off on painting them because I wasn’t sure they would hold paint well.

I decided to join forces with Modern Masters to work on some front door curb appeal, and I’m really happy about how things have turned out. Modern Masters has a paint specifically designed for front doors- it’s fade resistant and really durable. They also have a front door app to help you pick the color, basically you take a picture of your front door and then you can digitally “try on” all the colors.”

Originally I was going to play it safe with a white or black front door because our house is a light sage green. Then I said, NO! LET’S BE BOLD! and thought I’d go with coral or yellow. And then I reeled myself in and settled on a nice deep blue called Peaceful from the Front Door Paint line. It was quite a ride, I used the app and it really helped (search Front Door Paint in the Apple or Google play store and it’ll pop right up!).

Here’s my sad dingy doors and weather beaten exterior before I got to work:

front door before - sage green house old white doorsAnd let’s just reality check for a minute- neither of these entrances are ever going to be gorgeous unless they get ripped up and redone. BUT they can definitely look better than this with paint and flowers.

gray tinted zinsser primer- modern masters front door paint

I used gray tinted primer- gray because I was painting a dark color and it helps you get better coverage, and primer in general because the door is metal and I wanted to give the color something to stick to. Just one coat of primer was fine.

I painted only the outside of the side door because my dog jumps all over the inside of it when we get home and I was afraid he’d just scratch up any paint I put on (does anyone have input or thoughts on this? do you think it would be ok?). Then I painted both the inside and outside of the front door. After 2 coats of Peaceful went on I took and artist brush from the dollar store and did two coats of pure white paint around the window molding. No need to tape off the windows- just use a razor when it dries and scrape off any paint that got on the glass.

Once everything was painted and dried it was time to beautify the rest of the area. I picked up the leaves (yes, they fell last November and yes they were still everywhere), swept, cleaned, and added a bajillion plants.

navy and white front door on a light green house

ranch house curb appeal with front door paint and summer flowersThe plants are all spillers and spreaders, so in a few weeks once they’re settled in it’s going to look awesome. The in-the-ground plants are justtttttt starting to pop up, so I’ll update next month with how it’s all coming together. I’m lovinggggggg it so far though and I can’t wait to get to the rest of the outdoor space!

And just because, here’s a picture with the door open to the sunroom, which is generally how it is when we’re throwing a par-tay and want people to just come on in:

navy door gray and white sunroom bright light summer room

How are you sprucing your house up for summer?

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Modern Masters provided the paint for this project, but I was not otherwise compensated and all thoughts and lovely potted plants are my own. Find their front door paint at selected Lowe’s and Ace Hardwares as well as online via Amazon, HomeDepot.com or the Modern Masters online shop.