Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Artwork for Me and for You

The worst part about Christmastime + blog is that I want to share all these great things I find, but I don’t want to spoil presents and surprises! So all I can say is that if you know me, and you want to buy something that I’m posting, you’d better contact me first so I can tell you if it’s okay or not! :)

Last night, I just went ahead and got another Jane Mount bookshelf print from 20x200.

Jane Mount Ideal Bookshelf Jen Beckman

Did I already tell you that I bought this photography-themed one a while ago?

Jane Mount Ideal Bookshelf Photography

I love books and I love paintings of books, what can I say? :)

While I’m telling you about lovely things that I have bought but not hung, I also got this awesome watercolor of London from 20x200.

Stamen Watercolor London

And I got this cat painting at a resale shop. I’m not normally a fan of animal/pet art to really hang in my house, but this one seemed pretty cool (and it looks a lot like my cat, Puppy). And with a new mat and frame, it will be perfect.

a picture that looks a lot like Puppy, my cat

I just can’t wait to hang everything (ahem, but when?) and show it all to you in action!

Then this morning, via Pinterest, I stumbled upon Katie Daisy, an awesome artist who sells her work via Etsy (as well as other places).

Isn’t her stuff great?

this is it

the great lakes

rise and shine

And for Christmas:

peace on earth

merry christmas

So beautiful, right? I am definitely ordering quite a few prints today.

Again, if you know me, don’t order anything until you get my consent. :)

Have you found anything beautiful today?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Fabric Shopping!

Did you do any shopping this weekend? I did a lot and it was great! Mostly online, but we ventured out to a few stores eventually.  There were great deals and I feel like I’m ahead of the game for Christmas!

I even got a new bike! (That I really was supposed to get around my birthday – thanks, Mom!)


Today, is having their Cyber Monday sale, and my chair fabric is included! Woohoo!!

blue chevron fabric

Now, this doesn’t actually guarantee that the chairs will get reupholstered anytime soon…


But it would be oh-so-nice to have them done (and some curtains made and hung) before New Year’s.  It’s good to have goals, right?

Are you doing any Cyber Monday shopping today? Do you have lofty goals? :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Of course I am thankful for lots of things, but as cheesy as it sounds, I’m thankful for my family.

This is not nearly all of them, but they put up with my picture taking and stick out their tongues when I tell them to.




Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spring in the Dunes

Here’s how I updated a frame and did some DIY faux-mat goodness.

Spring in the Dunes, ready to go above the fireplace

This Spring in the Dunes South Shore poster is going to live above my fireplace on my new mantel! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

I did some measuring of the wall over the mantel, and headed over to Michael’s for a frame. I love their selection and they always have great sales and coupons that keep the frames really reasonably priced.

I found this guy.

black 18x24 frame from Michael's on the new mantel!

It has an 18”x24” opening, I loved the detail/design/size of the frame, and it was about $25 after all the discounts. (P.S. It was like $20 a week later with the new sales and coupons, but oh well.) :)  I didn’t like the black, so I just planned on painting it.

While I was at Michael’s, I also found that they sold mats in the 18”x24” in size with a 14”x18” opening for about $10 (and of course, you can use one of their coupons!).

So right there in Michael’s, I ordered my South Shore print from Amazon on my phone. It only came in the weird size of 12”x16” so I was happy Amazon had such a good price on the print, since I didn’t know how it’d really look above the fireplace/in the mat and frame.

(So I just looked over my blog, and I think I’ve never mentioned this Spring in the Dunes print before…which is funny, because I’ve been eyeing it for a long time as an above-the-fireplace contender. I guess it’s just because this living room is going in a very different direction than when I started out!)

While I was waiting for the print to come, I spray painted the frame. I used some of Rustoleum’s Plastic Primer spray paint and some random gray spray paint I had around the house. I had a few puckering/peeling paint snafus, but it turned out fine.

The print arrived and I put in under the mat.

too much white on white

And it was pretty blah. It was even worse in the frame above the fireplace. The print just looked too small and everything looked too white.

I knew Michael’s didn’t have any pre-cut mats with a 12”x16” opening and I didn’t want to get one custom cut, because I was just trying to keep this a really cheap project. So I began thinking of a way to DIY a mat or something, without it looking to hokey.

Then I found this 12”x18” manila drawing paper in my stash that I bought on clearance at Target in the school supplies section. Man, I love being a crazy hoarder sometimes.

12"x18" manila drawing paper

I love that it’s big, so I wouldn't have to piece it together along the long part of the print and mat. But the color wasn’t quite right. So I got out the old Prismacolors I used in fashion school and started coloring.

blue slate prismacolor and manila paper

If you’re really curious, I used the Blue Slate color with 10% and 20% grays as blenders. I colored enough of the paper to cut 4 – 1.25” strips.

I was bold and taped them right to the print.

Then I put the mat back on top, and sighed.

faux mat. much better!

It looked perfect. And in the frame, it looked even better.

Now, let me tell you, I have a lot more mantel styling to do, but I’m pretty happy with how this print and frame turned out.

Spring in the Dunes over the fireplace...I still have a LOT more mantel styling to do!

The grays just look so good above the fireplace, with its gray grouted tile. And the colors in the print blend perfectly with the colors in my rug.

Woohoo! I love when a little DIY goes a long way to helping a project come out great!

Monday, November 19, 2012


(Yup. I’m about to post about lampshades. And it might be boring. But somehow it was a big deal to me. I overanalyze everything.)

My lamps finally have shades!

lamp with shade
(Don’t mind the missing shelves from the bookcase. They’re off being painted.)

First, let’s talk about how amazing lamps are!  I finally really get why people use them. When I was a kid, our living room had no overhead lighting, only lamps, and it was kind of a pain…especially if you were afraid of the dark. No one, single switch to turn on and banish the boogie man.  So when Brandon and I started doing things to houses, we always made sure there was plenty of overhead light.

But them my designer friend, Valerie, was trying to convince me to use lamps…and I really did notice that all my favorite inspiration rooms had them. And let me tell you, when they’re really plugged in and running, the light quality is amazing. Whether it’s because it’s at eye-level, or diffused well, or just because now there’s more light, it really makes the living room feel warm and wonderful.

Okay, enough about why lamps are amazing.

Remember these lamps I found at Goodwill?


They’ve definitely just been sitting in our living room shade-less all these months. I still want to paint/decorate/do something to the wood part in the middle, but am holding off until I figure out what I really want them to look like.

But in the meantime, they needed shades.

I wanted white-ish drum shades for not too much money. I checked HomeGoods whenever I could (we don’t have one super nearby), Lowes, Target, and finally, Tuesday Morning.

And here’s what my living room looked like.


Yeah, I had 7 sets of shades, all very similar.

My lamps have harps with a cool ball detail on the top, so I wanted to use those if I could. Target only had the kind of lamp shades that attach at the bulb base.  (Just FYI, I found plain white ones there for $14.99, gray herringbone ones for $24.99, and a linen-colored version by Nate Berkus for $24.99). Lowes had some nice ones for the harp top that were pretty much exactly our wall color for $14.99.  I liked them, but kept looking just in case.

Then I went to the jackpot Tuesday Morning. They had a couple of huge ones (15” x 17” x 10”, where all the others I had looked at were more like 13” x 15” x10”) and they’re prices were great. $19.99 for the huge white and gray ones, $12.99 for the smaller white ones.


Okay, and how awesome are the bright blue lined shades!

I really am glad I got so many, because the ones I thought I’d love, just didn’t cut it when they were really in the room and on the lamps. The blue-lined shades were a little too cool blue for me when the lamps were on, and even though I thought I might like the gray shades instead of white, to tie in with our various pieces of furniture, I didn’t.

So some white ones from Tuesday Morning won out! They’re 12”x15”x10” (so not quite as drum shaped as I hoped, but I still love them), they have a cool green/gray lining, and they were just $12.99 each.

lampshade with cool green/gray lining

And I love them with the lamps on and off.

lamp with shade :)
(Notice my fabric swatches on the wall? :) Oooh, I’m getting ready to finally make some curtains! Woohoo!)

So even though the shades cost more than the lamps (which were $10 each), $22.99 each for lamps with shades is still a pretty good price. (We’ll see whether or not I count the cost of paint when it comes to revamp the bases, because a lot of that the supplies and paint are already in my “inventory” and I often paint perfectly good things that don’t need it at all.) :)

Have you bought anything that’s relatively small and/or boring but has made a huge impact on your room/life?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fun Fonts and a New Blog

So, I’m just going to post things I find and like.

Follow me on Pinterest, and you’ll see a lot of this stuff, but I’m gonna be posting it here, too. :)

Here’s a blog I just found, via my favorite, Young House Love, with a fun vibe and great look: Homemade Ocean.

And here’s her list of fun fonts and where to download them from…I love every one!

Go check out her blog!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

I had pretty good luck with the dog treats I was making yesterday.

They were Grounder approved.

Grounder the dog

Here’s what I did.


about 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
about 1 cup peanut butter
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients really well.

pumpkin peanut butter dog treat mix

Then I took handfuls of dough and flattened them out by with my palms.

pumpkin peanut butter dog treats

A lot of people do cute things like make dog-bone shaped treats, but I just wanted something simple and bite-sized, since I mostly use the treats for reinforcement training (like making the dogs sit on the dirt-catching mat when they come in with muddy paws), so I sort of just ripped pieces apart and put them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. 

I baked them for about 30 minutes.

bite sized pumpkin peanut butter dog treats

Let them cool for a while, then feed them to your dogs!


The dogs don’t look really enthused, but I swear they were wagging their tails.


Grounder, the brown dog, loved the treats, but to be fair, he’ll eat anything.  Shadow, the black one, didn’t eat them up as quickly as meaty treats (think, Pupperoni), but he still really liked them. 

(I think I’ll keep experimenting with treats that will make Shadow sit on the mud-catching mat for as long as possible, like the meaty ones do…when I do, I’ll keep you informed! I just found another recipe that uses bacon drippings…sounds interesting, right?)

(I was inspired to make my own treats by my friend Jessica, who made them last Christmas. I roughly followed this recipe.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Aerogarden and Pumpkin Roasting

I’ve got a few fun little projects going on right now, but of course nothing that’s finished enough to share! So here’s a picture of my Aerogarden.

Aerogarden with big basil

Isn’t everything so nice and huge? I actually put the top of the big basil plant outside of the light so I wouldn’t have to keep raising it. I wanted to keep the light as low as possible as the littler plants grew. And now they’re getting so big! I did a lot of basil pruning after this photo. Tomorrow I’m hoping to make basil and mozzarella stuffed chicken! I’ll tell you how it turns out!

And, as I was waiting for paint on various other projects to dry, I finally cut up 2 remaining Halloween pumpkins we had, and roasted them! I mostly wanted to roast the seeds, but felt bad wasting the rest of the pumpkin, so I Googled around and decided to puree them, following these directions (complete with great photos).

I cut the tops off the pumpkins and cut them in half.  (I scooped out the seeds for cleaning and roasting.)

pumpkins for roasting

Then I placed them cut side down on foil lined baking sheets and covered them up with foil. I baked them in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and a half.

When I took them out, I let them cool for a while, then started cutting and peeling the skins off.

taking the skin off the roasted pumpkins

I cut the roasted pumpkins into chunks and pureed it in the food processor.

pumpkin puree

I scooped the puree 2-cups at a time into baggies.

pumpkin puree

(And labeled the baggies of course!)

Some of the pumpkin puree is currently being used to make dog treats. (They’re still in the oven. Hopefully tomorrow, I can report how well they turned out!)  You can freeze the puree, but I plan on using it soon to make smoothies, butter, and soup. If they’re successful, I will let you know!

Have you been doing any seasonal cooking lately? Do you cook while waiting for paint to dry? :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Goodbye, Cottonwood

Our current project is one we’ve definitely hired out and one that’s taking quite a while. We are having a number of trees cut down and removed. The biggest one is a huge cottonwood that had branches as big as small trees hanging over our house and garage. It provided lots of shade in the summer, but also a year-round dropping of seeds, pods, leaves, and twigs, along with the constant threat of a limb falling on our roof. It was a gorgeous tree, and if it were somewhere else in our back yard, I would have wanted to keep it. So I took lots of pictures before it began to be cut down.

I had to take this picture from waaay in the back yard, just to get it all in the lens.

our humongous cottonwood tree

I mean, it’s gorgeous, but you can see all the junk it drops on our roof, and from this angle, you can’t see just how the limbs really reach all the way into the front yard.

Look at its gorgeous bark.

gorgeous cottonwood bark

It was beautiful and shady, but look at its crazy limbs over the house and the garage (all the way to the front of the house!).  As a girl who grew up with a lot of oaks, I’m not used to trees that are this crazy spread out.  And its huge trunk was impeding any additions to the house or changes to the deck and garage.

our humongous cottonwood tree

Just looking back on these pictures, I know a part of me misses it! But just a part of me.

We hired our awesome neighbor, Mark, from Stump Busters, to do this hefty job for us. The nutty weather and all its wind have been dragging the project out. He’s been working on this tree on and off for over 3 weeks. But here’s what it looks like now.

the cottonwood is nearly all cut down

And from the side.

the cottonwood is nearly all cut down

Crazy, right? Who knew we had so much sky! And when that humongously huge trunk is down, I might not even know what to do with the huge space I’ll have between the house and garage.

(I haven’t posted many of pictures of the outside of our house, because there’s definitely a lot I want to do to it before I love it as much as I’m loving the inside, but the change is tremendous with these trees/bushes gone!)

He also took down a large pine from the front of our house, again to save the roof, as well as some large bushes we had. (I tried to prune and save them, but they were very messy and a lot dead, so I think starting fresh will be a good idea.) Having all that gone will open up the house for some fun landscaping that I’ll start in the spring.

Here’s what the the north-east side of the house used to look like. You can see it was completely covered by the pine and the bushes. And in the upper right side of the picture, that’s the humongous cottonwood tree.

the north-east side of our house was covered by huge bushes and a big pine tree!

And here it is now:

and now it's all clear!

Nuts, right? Grandpa said he didn’t even realize the front of our house had that stone stuff! 

Of course, I can’t wait till spring to fill this with pretty flowers and landscaping. In fact, that’s some of what I started planting and transplanting yesterday. And I’ve already ordered some more seeds and bulbs. :)

We had another tree taken down outside of kitchen door, but I’m not ready to take pictures of that one yet. :)

And just for some reference of the size of this project, this is all the wood that was on the ground, after the first two rounds were cleared up! (I had Grounder sit in for scale.) :)

Grounder and piles of cottonwood

Wood and branches were going all the way out to those fence posts in the background!

It’s sad but very exciting and I can’t wait till it’s all finished!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My New Dead Plants!

I bought these dead plants last night at Lowe’s for $.60 each! That’s right. Sixty cents. They were something like 90% off, since it’s waaay past the end of the season.

60-cent plants from Lowe's!

Of course, they’re not really dead and of course, now is a great time for planting. (It was actually pretty warm yesterday!) I bought mostly salvia/sage and waterperry speedwell (a groundcover). They’re perennials, so come spring, they should look something like this:

Image from here

But for now, they look like this:

60-cent salvia in November

And this:

60-cent salvia in November looks pretty sad

We’ll have to remember this post so I can update you in the spring!

And while I was out planting and transplanting yesterday, I came across these happy black eyed susans.  For real this time, the last of my wildflowers. And much less sad looking than the cosmos I posted the other day.

the last black eyed susans in November

the last black eyed susans in November

It’s much chillier (dare I say, cold!) today, and I’m just not ready for winter. But later this week, it’s supposed to get a little bit “warmer”, so hopefully, I’ll be able to do a little more yard work in preparation for spring!

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