Friday, November 30, 2012

Me, obsessed? nahhhhh

I think I'm becoming a little obsessed with old, distressed things.

I spent hours painting and sanding the door above my sofa to make it look old and distressed.

I made the Union Jack piece all distressed-ish.

I love old ladders, buckets, things that belonged to my great-grandmother and grandma.

Anything chippy, well-loved, worn you don't want? Bring it on over, I will find a place.

I'm so obsessed in fact, that when this truck pulled up beside me today at the light.........

I thought, "I would LOVE to drive that!!!"

I snapped a picture and then it drove away in a cloud of fumes.

It was awesome.

I think I may need an intervention.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree

I love our Charlie Brown tree. LOVE IT!

I don't know why. It has huge gaps between branches. It's crooked.

But it fits our family somehow. And even though it's scraggly and lopsided, I just knew it would shine when we were done with it.

And we, well I, decided that since it was such a homegrown type tree, that we should do homemade decorations.

Paper chains, popcorn strings, cranberries, that kind of thing.

Jeff vetoed the real cranberries. Something about red on the carpet? Boring.

We also used my MIL's sugar cookie recipe and cut out Christmas tree shapes. They are also gluten free so that Nora can sneak them and I won't worry:)

Midway, I was trying not to laugh at our funny little tree. But the kids loved making everything. And I love my dirty, hand print windows.

Kate strung all those cookies and didn't eat any that weren't mistake cookies. (mistake cookies don't have big enough holes to string things through). She needs a Mrs. Claus outfit and then this picture would be complete:)

Jeff wanted to let Nora put the angel on the tree. We have a star, but someone made this angel and my aunt Cathy gave it to us, so it felt right for this little tree from Snoqualmie Pass.

Jeff had lovely visions of lifting his little blonde baby up and letting her put the angel on. But she was too short, and the tree was too tall.


Almost got it....

I finally had to bend the tree down for her. But in the end it was glorious.

I was still sad about not having cranberries, so Jeff went to the craft store and found wooden cranberry strings. Who loves me?

Julia was there too, but the poor girl was sleeping during a lot of the evening from the lovely stomach bug that has been visiting our house:)

Something about the glow of the lights, everyone getting excited to turn off the main light and let the tree illuminate the room, just makes me all warm and fuzzy.

I love my family. I love Christmas. I feel so blessed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to drive yourself (and your spouse) crazy in 3 easy steps.

Number 1:

When you redo a room, and shop your house, that leaves decorative holes in other parts of the house.

And when you are me, and your brain cannot handle things unfinished, that becomes a problem.

A problem where you spent every waking moment thinking about it, you can't go to sleep at night cuz you're rearranging wall  hangings and furniture in your head.

A problem where you make your husband listen to you, move furniture for you, and where you ask him his opinions on things he could care less about.

Number 2:

Because of the above mentioned decorative holes, you now have a family room that is unfinished. But part of the major problem in that room is that you also made an awesome Union Jack piece of furniture for your boutique that no one bought.

Why is this a problem? Because you painted it in a finish that doesn't really match your house.

So you stare at it. You try and figure out curtains, pillows, accessories to tie this awesome piece of furniture into your family room.

But pretty soon you realize that you can't.  Because you already love the color scheme of your room, and trying to incorporate navy blue, specifically, will just cause further insanity.

And I am a believer in the following: Instead of trying to make an entire room fit around one piece of furniture, why not make the furniture fit the room?

As I contemplated this, I told Jeff and my sister and Charlie, who was home sick, about my idea. They all said the exact same thing, "Why?!!!!!"

I know it is hard to understand, but I had a vision that would preserve the awesomeness of the piece, but not make me crazy with it's clashing colors.

So I did what any neurotic decorator would do, I spend all day yesterday repainting and sanding this thing, as it sat in my living room:)

And voila!

I do love how you can still see some of the red and blue coming through, but it no longer darkens and overwhelms my house. I kind of think I'm a crazy genius:)

Number 3:

Knowing that you ordered curtains to try and incorporate a red, white and blue piece, and now that piece is no longer red, white and blue, and that when they curtains arrive, now THEY won't match.

Like I said, it's crazy-ville around here. Well, maybe I didn't say that, but it's true.

So now I can obsess about the curtains and pillows I will get that WILL match.


And props to the most patient husband in the world. I appreciate his willingness to let me do what I want, and his muscles that move furniture for me:)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hunting for a tree

When I was a kid, more than once we would hike out into the woods near our home and find a tree. My brother would saw it down, and we'd load it up on a sled and bring it home. Sometimes with our little cocker spaniels pulling it. 

My mom inherited a love of Charlie Brown trees (ie, ugly) from my grandma. It seemed the homlier the better. 

When I met Jeff, he did not remember ever having a real tree and was not to keen on the idea. That was fine with me. Fake trees are cost efficient because you don't have to buy one every year. 

Finally in Rhode Island, we got our first real tree. It was lovely, but the kind we got was super poky. It hurt every time you got near it. And it had all these little bugs all over it. That just confirmed for Jeff that a real tree was not worth it. 

Fast forward to two years ago. Our fake trees were "dying" and the kids and I REALLY wanted a real tree. Jeff, agreed, albeit a tad reluctantly. We found a beautiful tree at a tree farm that had a bird's nest in it, what luck! But the price tag, 72 bucks!!! was not ok!

Then last year, a friend of ours who is a tree wholesaler, gave us a real tree. It was so pretty, and we loved it, and it seemed that we were on our way to being regular real tree people.

So this year, I asked Jeff when we could get a tree. Meaning, budget wise. He said, "Why don't we get a permit and go find a tree in the mountains?"

Now I have really good memories of doing this as a kid. But as a mom, I know that this means cold feet, tired kids. Since we live where it rains instead of snows, we don't have snow boots or clothes. But oh well cuz what could be more fun than that? 

So we went and got our 10 dollar permit for up to a 12 foot tree (you can buy them for up to 20 feet even) and headed up Snoqualmie pass. Not too far from where we would go huckleberry picking when I was a kid. 

Thankfully, due to the demise of our 12 passenger van, we now have 4 wheel drive which was necessary on the dirt roads covered in mud and snow.

But we made it, and donning as much winter stuff as we owned we got ready to hunt a tree! I brought our camera, but forgot the sd card in the computer. Thankfully phones these days are as good as 700 dollar cameras it seems:)

Thankfully my mom has kept us supplied with homemade hats. Otherwise our little heads would have froze.

The younger kids were seriously in heaven. What could be better than dirty snow to throw at each other?

Ok, that is clean snow. But when we first arrived, they were throwing the snow at each other from the ground where everyone parked. Eww!

The boys especially were in Heaven. Including my oldest one, Jeff.(he had his phone though, so he was taking the pictures instead of being in them) Something about the woods, and snow and being male. 

This is Anne Marie's brave face. Poor girl was pretty cold.

Kate is always a good sport. And so cute!

And my twin Julia, 
it seems we like the same colors:)

And there are no words for this picture. Be still my heart.

Speaking of very loved people, I think my husband loves me the most. 

Jeff was so excited. It WAS really fun, and as everyone's feet got colder, and we walked farther, our standards lowered for what the tree should look like. But weirdly, it's my favorite tree ever. And I love my tree hunting man!

And his sons could NOT stay away. Seriously, the girls all watched, and the boys just climbed and got wetter and wetter, and they didn't complain one bit! It was love for sure.

We were all excited to stop at McDonalds on the way back and get hot chocolate and french fries. But sadly, this particular micky D's was out of hot chocolate! What?!!!! It was still fun. And french fries never tasted so good, huh Kate? (She LOVES McDonald's french fries like no one else I know!)

I hope your tree hunting is equally fun and exciting!! I love the holidays!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What to do when you have no money

Seriously folks. Who has money? Ok, some people do. And I am very happy for them. Truly. No bitterness. I am a believer in being happy for others. Spending time on bitterness and jealousy does no good and changes nothing.

But boy it would be nice wouldn't it? To have money I mean. Now granted, we have enough for our needs, and a little to spare. I'm talking about the kind of money where when your old couches stop being enough back support and you need new ones, but there is no budget for new ones so you improvise.

Are you with me still?

I have been wanting new couches for a while. Lovely, soft, not stained or squashed, back supporting couches. Preferably in gray.

And I will get them eventually. But for now, I have been left with the dilemma of how to fix our family room so that there are couches in there that are comfortable enough for me and my degenerative discs to sit on.

For a while I have been thinking about moving our black couches from the "formal" living room into the family room, and then moving all of my craft stuff into the "formal" room. Which would also give Jeff his office back.

But honestly, I hate the black couches. I have never really loved them. I only bought them because I was too impatient to wait the two weeks for the brown ones I really wanted to come. Stupid I know. And I've lived with that mistake for the past 8 years. I am over black in general, even though I still liked the way the room looked. Just the thought of moving them into our main sitting room left me feeling blah.

But, when telling my sister my dilemma, and trying to justify why we should spend 1100 bucks on new couches, she also suggested the black couches moving, and I poo poohed it saying how much I hate them.

Well, I do hate them. But I did it. I swallowed my pride(thanks for talking it through with me Maile), moved them all into the family room and spent the day transforming the "formal" living room into my craft area. And I paid for it severely with back pain that night. But it was worth it. Mostly.

Here is the before.

Not bad. In fact I loved that room for a long time. But desperate times my friends.

And here are the afters...We saved the red couch from the family room. The yellow couch, which I coveted and loved, that Jeff's mom so generously gave us, was seriously kuput. Not just in looks, but in broken, sinky-ness from the love my kids gave it. So Jeff gleefully saw-zalled it to pieces and it is going to the dump.

I have a pile of stuff hidden between the two white pieces of furniture that I have not decided what to do with yet. Don't judge me for being real folks. I know you're not. Most of us have hidden piles of stuff waiting to be sorted through. Right?

Julia helped me paint this book shelf this lovely blue color. My back was done by this point. Yes, we painted it the same day we moved it all around. So?

I took down the red curtains that I made from a king size Ikea duvet cover, and put up some white ones that I had laying around. Seriously, I have 4 sets of un-used curtains in my house right now. I have a problem friends. Then I took some un-used, much loved fabric that used to be my dining room table cloth, and I hot glued it to the white curtains. I have some other fabric coming to do the same with the computer area curtains. If you haven't discovered the greatness of glue guns, may I say, Come, join us:)

A little spray paint turned these formally black frames into white loveliness. However, nothing can fix their crookedness.

That very first day, I spent nothing. I just shopped my house and made do. But by black Friday, I realized that a few of my lamps were not working. So, taking some of the money I made from my Amy and Amber sale, I headed out with Kate to Target and got these darling little things:

I love the little rosettes on the one above, and the little tassles thingies on this one.

And I may have spent 12 bucks giving this random awesomeness a new home.

So, I spent 60 dollars total on this room.

Not bad., and certainly less than 1100. I also ordered new curtains from Target for the family room where the black couches reside. The old red ones were just too much and I am trying to tone down the darkness of those couches. Once the curtains come, I will show you. But not until:)

The computer area is also getting a redo, and the great thing is that I don't have to paint. I left it the green color and it is working just wonderfully. I am a painting fiend, but lately, with the back pain, it's just not easy like it once was. When the computer area is done, I will show that off as well.

It is really satisfying to both redecorate (that room was mostly the same for 4 years. That is a loooong time for me), and to be smarter financially. Do I still want new couches with all my heart? Yes. Do I still want to give those black leather things away? Yes. But can I wait a little longer? For sure.

Amy-1 million

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Off he goes....

So guess what?

Henry started kindergarten this year.

Yup, I am down to one at home and I couldn't be sadder about it.

Ok fine. I don't look sad in that picture. But that's because we hadn't gone to the bus yet. I'm not going to show you my blubbery, sad face, ok? Thanks.

Henry however, was not sad at all.

He did look really confused as to why I was sad and he was worried about me.

But in the end I let him go.

And he has loved it ever since. My little boy is growing up and he is so happy about it.

Me, a little, I know that it's time. But I also know how fast it goes. However, I am beginning to wonder what it will be like to go to the grocery store and the gym by myself. .....hmm, maybe it won't be so terrible?

We'll see.

Next year though, when Nora goes to kindergarten? I'm not sure I'll even be able to post about it. My last child, my baby girl going to school? Forgetaboutit!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Hi all-


Are you there?

I really will write a post soon on why I have been absent. Nothing horrible, but certainly some issues I have had to deal with have been a factor in my absence.

But for today, I am plugging our next Boutique. It's this coming Saturday, November 17th at 10 AM.

Saturday November 17th
10 AM
Amber's Basement
28623 239th PL SE
Maple Valley, Wa

It's our first anniversary! I've been working my tail off trying to get stuff ready. 

You've already seen this:

But this will also be available this Saturday. Recognize it Amy G?

Don't you love my workshop/garage in the picture? It will be totally clean again once the boutique is over and we will park in it again. But for now....well, it's kind of sawdusty.

I hope if you're local you'll stop by. It's really fun for me to see ideas in my brain come to life, but it's even better when they find good homes where other people will love them as well.

I'll share more photos as the week goes on. And then next week? Back to regular blogging. I have tons to talk about cuz I've been saving up!

Til then.

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