Friday, February 26, 2010

A bit of fun to start the weekend...

I know that I've been MIA this week, I've been super busy helping a friend and taking a difficult trip down memory lane.
I promise to tell you all about it on Monday when I am fully recovered. Or at least partially.
Since I haven't been on the internet at all this week (well, barely at all anyways), I have been taking the last hour-and-a-half to catch up on all that has been happening in the blogosphere this week.
I've been browsing in a hurry trying to cram it all in before I absolutely collapse, and I could not resist sharing this charming image from this even better house tour via AT.
Here it is:


I know right!!

Oh, soon enough you may even be able to spot something similar to this in our home.

Happy weekend. See you Monday.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I started work earlier this week on the thirty-one windows in our home that need to be restored.
After spending about ten minutes trying to remove one of the painted (?!?!) sash locks, this is what I found:

I know. Eww. And the worst part... all the rest of the windows are at least this bad, if not worse.

And speaking of eww, yesterday as I was cleaning out our guest bathroom I noticed that the disgusting, painted over (seriously, ?!?!) laminate that was lining the medicine cabinet was beginning to curl up something fierce. So I chose to take this opportunity to finally rip out this hideous and unfortunate diy from days gone by.
So I did!
In addition to all the gross dirt, roach poop (apparently there were some serious infestations before we lived here... God bless pest control), and dust bunnies... there was an old hair tie! Gross!! Sorry, no photo of that one. I cleaned it all up and got the eff out.
Anyone else make any unfortunate discoveries whilst setting up house?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


*sorry for my absence lately. Who else is un-inspired, raise your hand! Plus, I started this post two days ago. Sorry. Anywho, here we go...

Living room organization is complete... mostly...
Oh come on, you know nothing is ever really finished. I love how Rita Konig felt about her apartment: "When everything is done, it's time to move!"
But for now, and for the sake of argument and this post, I am finished with the living room. And the office for that matter! More on that later...

So what I did:
Other than organizing a ton of photos, and sorting mementos and putting them in boxes, not much.
This was really the biggest challenge because before the move, I had consolidated all of the aforementioned into a large plastic tub. Photos were sorted by person and put into individual labeled plastic baggies. They stayed this way for a year. Mementos were in random boxes in no particular order. I'm not even going to get started on digital photos. I'm still working on this project
So to organize the photos, I put them in albums. First by person, then chronologically. For instance, Eric has an album and his photos are organized from his childhood to more recently. Same for me. Now, family photos are really tricky. I have pictures I want to have framed, plus a lot of random photos of random people from God knows when. So what I will eventually do is make a family photo album for Adelaide of all the best photos, and either scan or toss the rest. (Except for the beautifully organized photos of my mother's childhood, painstakingly preserved by my grandmother... Thanks GrandNan!) Then, we will take the ones to frame and create a family wall like this one:

Because our built ins house so many different types of things, it was important to me to streamline everything visually as much as possible so it doesn't look so cluttered. So I used lots and lots of Kassett boxes.

I also covered some of the panes with vintage hankies and some eyelet fabric I had lying around.

For mementos, I put them into several boxes sorted by either trip, or for random childhood things, Eric and I each have our own box. And we have started one for Adelaide.

CDs are alphabetized and put into more Kassett boxes to further reduce the visual noise in the built ins.

Along with organizing goes baby proofing since we will very soon have a crawling lil devil getting into everything, so I put our very UN-baby friendly coffee table into "the pile", and made these bad boys:

Using this pattern for a 5-minute pillow cover from Apartment Therapy. These took a little longer than 5 minutes, but were still super easy and fast, and now I have a place to store our 10 extra bed pillows! (Not that the closet floor isn't a wonderful place to store pillows...)

Our landing strip still could use a little work. Mainly, a few more hooks and some storage piece to house umbrellas, leashes, lint rollers, etc. And I still would like a cushy armchair to sit in Mr. Roger's style.*(actually, the more I look at this chair, the more I like it. And the sheepskin goes to yoga with me every week and it doesn't fit in my yoga bag... bonus!)
But there it is! Our living room:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Perfect Quote From A Perfect Lady!

Over at decor8 this morning, Holly highlighted a lovely interview with Deborah Needleman. You know, of domino fame? (*sniff)
I thought this quote just really fit what I was feeling with my earlier post about kitchens: (about who inspires her- Deborah)

People with great style who live easily and happily with it. Many seemingly stylish people are pretty awful — fussy and uptight. But I am interested in style that is expansive, that makes lives more beautiful and the people in your life happier. This goes back I guess to the team we put together at domino: I am really inspired by many of the people there like Rita Konig, Dara Caponigro, Sara Costello, Stella Bugbee. I am also really inspired by women who are focused, smart and accomplish a lot while never becoming one of those scary businesswomen, if that makes any sense.”

*sniff, sniff*
This really kind of sums up how I am sure most of us feel; regarding our homes especially.
Sure it's more of a challenge to painstakingly acquire all of the right accessories, and find individual pieces that work together than it is to order an entire room out of a catalog, but the end result is so much more enjoyable because everything has meaning! I look at my friends and their homes (here's looking at you Julie) and I feel like we have rather similar tastes, and we may love the same AT Home Tours, or shop at the same stores, but the end result is so different for each of us!
That's what I truly loved, and miss, about Domino. Every page and every space was a celebration of what makes different styles great! It was less about having a perfectly decorated and symmetrical space and more about having a beautiful, comfortable, personal home that you enjoyed.
Oh Deborah! We miss you so!!!

Read on about this and more of Deborah's perfectness here

Well Now, This is Just Lovely...

In light of our kitchen remodel looming in a few months, I recently wrote to the kitchn, wondering if we should go the IKEA route for our cabinets. I received some wonderful advice from the editorial team and the readers, and I think we're going to go with it! For the most part at least... more on that later...
And now, they've posted this beautiful kitchen by two Swedish architects. It is always so refreshing to see such a beautiful, functional, and comfortable looking kitchen. As a subscriber (sort of) to Architectural Digest, I feel too often that kitchens are so stuffy and formal that I wonder if people actually cook in them or it it's just for show? Like a status symbol or some other such nonsense because I certainly would not want to spend more than 10 minutes in something like this:

beautiful though it is, it's just not my taste. via: here

As part of my
mammoth living room organization project, I was organizing photos (for days). What I noticed was that a solid majority of pictures of me as a child were taken in the kitchen! Now, we lived in a (very) small home in Odessa, TX and trust me, it was nothing fancy. But my mom was a cook, and we had a little breakfast nook in our kitchen, and as a result, a lot of my playing was done in there. A kitchen really is the ultimate family room. In fact, now that I think of it, most of my happiest and most vivid memories are either of me playing on the kitchen floor, or baking with my grandmothers or Aunt Dete, or sitting on the counter, bathing my little cousin in the kitchen sink, etc., etc., etc. So much time has been spent in kitchens in my family that it really motivates me to make our new (future) kitchen the most comfortable and welcoming room in our home.
This kitchen represents that to me:

click here for more pictures and to read the full post.

And now, for your viewing pleasure are some more beautiful and welcoming and decidedly "un-fancy" kitchens from around the blogosphere. Happy looking!

via apartment therapy, I think...

via chez larsson

via: Cookie (sniff)

And finally:

Yes, this is a little me. Sorry for the grainy low light photo, can you believe this is what we did back then? God bless digital cameras!

P.S. Sorry for the delay in posting the finished and organized built ins, but I'm still not finished! One thing led to another, and, well, you know how it goes. But I will share that soon, I promise!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mmmm.... Pie...

So what does one do when the dreary gray February days start to drag you down?
What about if you gag at the mere mention of a root vegetable?
Well, I suppose you could buy some fresh flowers, watch a Wes Anderson movie, or maybe unpack some summer clothes, but me? I make pie.
Specifically, I make Aunt Dete's Shrimp Boat Buttermilk Chess Pie.
Here in the south, we tend to eat our fair share of pies. But this... well, this is my favorite pie. You see, in my family, we have birthday pie in lieu of cake.
My great grandmother made a pie every day of her life. She passed her love for pies down to my Great Aunt Dete. Every birthday, Aunt Dete would make us our very own birthday pie. Each person has their own favorite pie: cherry (Brooke), coconut cream (Debbie), lemon chess (GrandNan), and buttermilk chess. Buttermilk chess was my pie. This pie is so incredibly easy and quick to make it will blow your mind. Don't believe me? Read on.
In the 50s in Odessa, TX; Aunt Dete worked at a restaurant called the Shrimp Boat. This recipe originated there. My Aunt, in her infinite wisdom, got the recipe before the restaurant closed and has been making it for us ever since, and the recipe has not changed (except that the original recipe made 12 pies). It's kind of her trademark and a family tradition.
Having said all of that, this pie is so unbelievably delicious, I would be cruel to not share it. So here it is, my gift to you, Aunt Dete's Shrimp Boat Buttermilk Chess Pie.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup warm buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 Tablespoons flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 pie crust

Bring the pie crust to room temperature, so it doesn't crack when you unroll it.
Lay said crust in your pie pan and crimp the edges like so:

Mix eggs, butter, buttermilk and vanilla in mixer. Pour in sugar, flour, and salt until it looks like this:

Pour mixture into raw, un-pierced pie crust.
Pop it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. (Careful, it sloshes)

Now, about 25 minutes in you'll begin to notice a distinctly heavenly aroma wafting out of your kitchen. This is completely normal.
At this point, you may also want to cover the crust with a pie shield or some aluminum foil folded around the edges so the crust doesn't burn.

Once the pie is done, it will be golden, brown and delicious and the top may have cracked.
Now for the hardest part...

Wait at least 30 minutes before digging in. 45 would be even better. Don't worry, it will still be warm and amazing melt in your mouth creaminess when the time is up and the wait is well worth it...

See? I won't say I told you so...


Sorry for the light posting this week everyone. Between the crappy weather and an unbelievably slow computer and other things, it's all I can do to not just curl up in bed all day and do nothing.
But nay! I will will myself out of entropy and persevere! My attempts at productivity this week have been frustrating at best, and I tell myself that things always must get worse before they get better and this is especially true of organizing. Unfair though it may be, here it is:

This is the look of progress. More has been made since these photos were taken day before yesterday, but I am still not finished.
When we moved in, our built ins held only DVDs and CDs. They fit perfectly, and coming from 850 square feet of no storage, you can imagine how amped I was to finally have a nice home for our massive media collection.
But then, and this always is the case after a big move, the function of our living room changed. Our TV wouldn't fit in here, so it got moved to the 3rd bedroom. Now all of our media is in a different room from the media center. Odd, no?
And then our board games found a home in the built-ins. Soon followed by all of our books, mementos, photos, and various tchotskies, knick knacks, art, etc., etc., etc. Basically anything that didn't have a home got shoved in along with everything else. It has been my goal to remove anything that doesn't belong in the family room and leave only things that we will use in that room, or close to it, and leave it in a beautiful way.
I hope to share the finished product with you on Monday. In the meantime, here is some bookshelf inspiration to help keep me on track and hopefully inspire you as well! Enjoy!
Family room. by simplygrove.
simplygrove via flickr

Downstairs book  case by Chez Larsson.
love chez larsson

via: remodelista

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this home of Heather Frazier of frazier and wing
via: design*sponge

Be sure and pop back in later today as I will be sharing my Aunt Dete's recipe for Buttermilk Chess Pie that is absolutely to die for! And so easy to make! Right Mare?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dear February,

We get it. You're the shortest month of the year and you feel cheated. But seriously, is this really necessary?

Stop taking it out on us please. We're three days in and you've showed how pissed off you are. We get it! But please, we're all in this together so lets just get through this, ok? Could you just do us all a collective solid and relax? Does it really have to be this dreary? Just try and be cool for the next 25 days? Please? Thanks.
It's days like this that make me seriously re-think all the gray in my home.
God bless Flickr. I don't think I could get through days like this if I didn't have these beautiful, colorful, cheery photos to help me through:

flowers-2-Edit-copy by rossignolfoto.

Sillón naranja by la cabeza de maria antonieta.
la cabeza de maria antonieta

lovely cabinet by ATLITW.

our banner by sweet sweet life.
sweet sweet life

There, I feel better... don't you?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning in January

*Disclaimer: If you already think my house is "very organized", it may be in your best interest to skip this post. (That pertains to you Mare!)

Maybe the fact that I'm always at home. Maybe it's all the time I spend on home design blogs, drooling over all of the beautifully staged and photographed insides of cupboards and tops of dressers and things. Maybe it's that time of year again and I just want to clean out and start fresh, or maybe it's the thought of staring down the barrel of a long stretch of remodeling projects and chaos and construction and wanting to regain a little control in my home. ...Actually, it's probably a little bit of all of these things.
Basically, I've got the cleaning and organing bug... bad. Lately I have been perusing Martha's 25 Organizing Tips, or the Container Store catalog (OK, so I do this anyways), or creating multiple shopping lists of drawer organizers, bins, boxes, and all manner of organizers from IKEA. And this is how I spend my free time. I dream and day dream about "decorganizing" and the day when I can sip my afternoon tea and know that the inside each closet is full of only things that we need and use and that said things are stored and labeled appropriately. I have everything I need on hand always and I always know where to find it. I don't own anything I don't "know to be useful or believe to be beautiful".
I imagine that I am looking for something terribly important. I open the closet, admire the beauty and simplicity of my organizational handiwork, and then as a spotlight shines down from heaven on the label of the container I am looking for, I sweep it down off the shelf and find the treasure I need. I feel kind of like this quote from Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. (via apartment therapy)

I went to the new flagship Compartment Store on Fifth Avenue and bought everything I need to get my life in order.

There was a stacker thing to separate your junk mail from your humidifier catalogs, a thing you stick on your laptop that holds your keys, a round plastic deal that holds your shoes with a pocket for a photograph of what shoes are in there.

I'm going to become wonderful. It's a new beginning, like a Phoenix rising...

At this point, a bike messenger knocks her over, and the delusion of her decorganizing fantasy dawns on her, as she says, "...or maybe this is gonna be the worst day ever."

(I really wanted to find the clip for this, but can't... blast you NBC!)
Lately what happens is more like the episode of Friends with Monica's secret closet. The closet is full to the brim of all manner of junk and clutter not in use and stuffed in a hidden closet to hide her secret chaos in an otherwise perfectly beautiful and organized apartment. (Again, no clip.)
So until I can go buck wild in the "Compartment Store", here are some of my favorite organizing ideas, links, pics, etc.

I'm dying to organize our photos like this:

How to organize room by room via apartment therapy

A beautiful laundry room from domino (sniff)

I just decided that for all of our benefits, I am going to go room by room in my own home and organize each room and then post links and tips that helped me get there. It will give me a good excuse to actually get organized instead of just talking about it, and you get to check out all of my favorite tips and ideas and then get to see them put into practice. Sound good?