Pillow Talk

I’ve heard the first step in overcoming an addiction is to admit you have a problem. I have issues with impulse buying throw pillows. (Before you judge me too hard, I will let it be known these are often Ross, TJ Max and Marshall’s pillows we are talking about. I’m not shelling out my entire pay check for the Anthropologie variety. Though, perhaps if I was, that would help me kick the habit.)

This is not a joke. I’m hanging at Target or World Market or Ikea, I see a cute throw pillow, I have to have it. It doesn’t matter if I have only $12 in the bank or if the potential pillow even remotely matches anything in the house. I sees it. I wants it. I buys it. Can you really blame me? Look at how cool bouquets of throw pillows look.

Maybe if I was actually using the throw pillows on surfaces throughout the house this wouldn’t be an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a very healthy amount positioned on the bed, on a bench, on a chair and on the couch, but I also have my secret shame closet of throw pillows I keep around just in case I want to do a seasonal switch-up. We’re talking a pretty big closet, too. It drives Heath bonkers. Of course, he’s the sweetest husband alive, so he never begrudges me my pillow purchase, but I know it’s one of my weird habits that has him a little puzzled…like how I feel about him devouring spoonfuls of peanut butter right before bed. It’s my weird thing that I can’t really shake or explain.

Internet, I have a pillow problem. I am working to change it. As I struggle through this addiction and work toward recovery, please be so kind as to hide any throw pillows that may be in proximity and refrain from speaking about them too much in my presence.

Thank goodness Heath promised for better or for worse.

 

 


A weird thing I never thought about until I tried to do it

I’m quickly learning that while I love to look at pretty things and can recognize something pretty when I see it, I am not so great at coming up with something pretty myself. Case in point, beautifying my dresser.

Until recently, my dresser sat in front of a window, practically negating any need for some sort of artful display of eclectic whatchamacallits on its surface. But in preparing for Bro’s arrival, we did some room switching and I was left with a simple dresser against a bare wall. I knew I wanted needed to do something to give it some gusto, but figuring out WHAT should go there was more difficult than I anticipated. Giant artwork was out of the question (I don’t own any) as was a television (we only have one and it’s in the living room). What I did have on hand though, was lots of mismatched junk. So I figured I could probably find some way to make several random pieces look good together. I mean, if Pinterest can do it…

I started fooling around with some of my favorite little pieces, but that’s when I figured out that, while some of the items in my inspiration images look like they were casually placed there, it actually takes a lot of thought to make several elements with varying characteristics work together cohesively. For example, when I tried to pair a framed map with a a jewelry stand, it looked more like a bag lady’s campsite than quirky but beautiful dressing table. I played around for a good 45 minutes before I finally threw in the towel and googled “How to dress a dresser.”

I felt like a chump.

Fortunately I am not the only person who has had this weird “problem,” and I found a great step-by-step guide to creating an area that is fashionable and functional.

And with that little maneuver, I came just a little bit closer to having a grownup house. Move over, Martha.


Was blind, but now I see: A five-minute kitchen fix

Mini blinds in the kitchen are just plain stupid. They collect dust and oil and keep out the natural light and are just about the most hideous things ever. So last week I decided to scrap the blinds on the kitchen door for a scarf I purchased for 25 cents at Goodwill. I definitely got my money’s worth out of that one.

Hooray for thrifty finds AND trashing blinds.


Lunchtime Lookyloo

Sometimes on your lunch break you have to grab a sandwich. Other times you have to grab some good design ideas to get you through the weekend. No, I don’t mind if I do spend 30 minutes of the lunch hour perusing the rooms of Uptown Modern, my favorite vintage furniture shop in Austin.

There’s a lunch where I won’t mind asking for seconds.


Papa’s Hill Country Hideaway

As kiddos, visits to the grandparents’ house were always looked forward to with great anticipation. Like most youngsters, I relished the time I had to spend with my grandparents because, of course as grand parents do, they doted on me incessantly and spoiled me rotten with baked goods and mouthwatering, artery clogging four course meals. Getting there was half the fun too. My Oma and Papa lived 5 hours South of us on the freeway–a trip that was actually more like 12 hours once you factor in a stop at the outlet mall for an obligatory road trip souvenir and a not-so-speedy run to the Czech Stop to purchase more fruit and cream cheese kolaches than should ever be consumed during a lifetime. But sweets and treats aside, I still loved visiting their home in the Texas Hill Country.

As a chubby tot I loved their home for very different reasons than I do now. A pier and beam craftsman with a giant wrap around porch, being on the deck at Oma and Papa’s felt like being a passenger on a cruise line sailing over a sea of wildflowers. Few sensations beat the one that came with dangling my little legs over the side of the porch while looking over blue bonnets and pear trees and making a mess of my mango juice and Sloppy Joe. Yes, as a kid  (and maybe a little bit as an adult too), that was pretty much as good as it got.

Inside was great too. A Franklin stove in the living room set inside a special elevated stone nook proved to be a great stage on which to perform scenes from my favorite storybooks for the family after dinner. A house that features spectacular views of nature and spectacular views of me? Of course I loved it.

But today I love the house for more reasons than its potential to be a platform for post-dinner performances. It’s the house my grandparents built and lived in together for nearly 25 years, and where my grandmother said she was happiest. After touring the country for months in an RV, they reached the Texas Hill Country and could think of no better place to spend their retirement together than in the rolling green hills in the New Braunfels country side. They designed and built the home from the ground up, focusing incredible detail on every aspect from the gingerbread trim on the exterior to the stain on the kitchen cabinets. They did it together and ended up with a beautiful home that acted as the perfect setting to display their love of art, enable their love of food, drink and entertaining, and enjoy their love for each other for the last years of my grandmother’s life.

So while I’ll always love rocking on the porch and looking over wildlife–now with a glass of wine rather than a plate of sandwich–I think even more I’ll love the way the house makes me and anyone who enters it feel. It’s warm and stylish and loved to its bones. It smells like fresh bread and always sings of happiness.


Barrels be Gone!

Remember when I posted here about the eye sore created by rainwater barrels, and then here about wanting to create a planter out of an old wooden pallet? Well this weekend we killed two birds with one stone by repurposing a pallet to hide two functional, yet frightful barrels. (For the record, I LOVE collecting rainwater and know the barrels–which combined hold more than 200 gallons of water–are a great, Great, GREAT thing to have, I just don’t love looking at them.)  I am wildly pleased by the end result.

I put Handyman Heath to work yet again to help me construct this fun creation that will hide our barrels and enable us put to good use a bit of the garbage we’ve been hoarding since the move. The entire project was actually pretty easy to put together.

It started with a pallet…

From there we used wood scraps leftover from other projects (like the fence and chicken coop) to create enclosed boxes within the pallet to harbor the plant life. After 30 minutes of drilling and sawing, the boxes were complete and ready for step 2–lining.

We lined the interior with leftover chicken wire (for extra support) and landscape fabric. Usually landscape fabric is used as a weed blocker, but in this case it serves a different function–helping the roots to breathe by allowing water and air to pass through more easily. This way, even in close quarters, the plants can get the aeration/ventilation they require. It’s sort of like the flowers are tenants in a ritzy but terribly small high-rise studio apartment. Sure there isn’t a lot of room to move around and the neighbors are obnoxiously close, but the central air is superb and the views are to die for.

Once the wire and fabric were in place, the fun part (gardening) could start. This is where I get to step in. Heath’s the master of carpentry, I am the master or color coordination. I know, I know…If we’re stranded on an island, my skill set is clearly the more useful and preferred one. Matching your coconut bra to your coral earrings > Building a shelter.

I’m happy the rain barrels are installed and doing their thing, but I’m even happier I don’t have to look at them. Hooray for Handyman Heath and resourceful garden makeovers.


The Green Room

Is there anything better than a green wall? Maybe a green wall made of green money. But, besides that…no.

It might not be one of the most popular colors to paint a room, but I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for green. Some say it’s too bright or too polarizing. I say it’s too awesome.  Every house I’ve lived in during my adult life (including college) has undergone at least a slight green makeover during my tenure. I like to think of it as my trademark calling card. See green walls? Kelsey was here. But seriously, what’s not to love? It’s fresh and quirky and reminds me of nature and the great outdoors. I will always, ALWAYS have some kind of green paint in any home I live in. Cheers to Green houses!