Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bed Alcoves

Although the color scheme we selected for Imani's room seems very mature, I am hoping that we will be able to add some touches to make it feel fun. 

One idea I have is to somehow create a bed alcove.  What kid doesn't like having her own little alcove to climb into and read or draw or pretend?

So this isn't a definite yet . . . because I still have to convince Mr. Can Man to actually create this.  He is still a bit resistant to the whole color scheme . . . and since I am in Dallas, it's hard to really sit down and show him all of my plans for Imani's room.  Hopefully, he reads this blog at work each day.

And hopefully, Imani DOESN'T read this blog at day camps each day.  Otherwise, there won't be much of a surprise when we reveal her room to her!

So here are some bed alcoves I found to inspire the project.  I figure at the very least, I could hang some curtains to make the bed feel like an alcove, right?

I like the curved arch around this one:

I like the red curtains here:

Absolutely love the curved arch around this one too.

I like that the next photo has a light in the alcove.  I also like the mirror in there on the wall and the storage beneath the bed.

Again, the next one is framed in but I like that it has the pillows up against the wall like a day bed.

This photo also has the bed framed in and also has storage beneath the bed.

Hopefully, we can do something similar in Imani's room because I think she will love it.

Only one more night and I am home from Dallas. Yippeee.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bedroom Inspiration

When Imani picked out the red electric guitar wall hanging and the "I Love Rock" wall art, the colors came to me.

I decided we would get Imani black and white bedding and accent the room with red. The walls would be a soft grey or white.

I will say up front that Jason HATES this idea. He thinks it is going to be depressing and too boring for a kid's room, but I am determined to create a 'music' inspired room.

Jason also hates the thought of buying more bedding.  He (justifiably) reminded me that we have spent a considerable amount of money on bedding in the past 6 months. 

What can I say?  I have two things I LOVE to update . . . bedding and shoes . . . and our bank account proves it.

Anyway , here are some pictures I found for inspiration:

First, I love the black and white floral pattern on this bedding and the vintage suitcases at the end of the bed not only complement the decor, but would be a great place to hide toys!

Love, love, love the red hedboard in the next photo.  I know that purchasing a new headboard is definitely out of the question, but I am considering using red as an accent color in Imani's room.

Stephen Shubel

I adore the next room, but it might be a little too gothic looking for some.  I am in love with the chandelier and really like the feminine lines of the headboard and footboard.  I also like the wall paper but will probably never wall paper my own house.

Finally, I really like the white chandeliers hanging on each side of the bed.  Having a black accent wall really draws attention to the the white chandeliers.  I also love the fluffy white bedding.

So I can tell you that in addition to not buying a new headboard, we will NOT be wall papering or painting any walls black.  I know how far I can push my husband, and I know these three things are DEFINITELY out of the question.

What I can tell you is that Imani's new room will have black and white bedding, accents of red, and a chandelier.   And of course, her room will have these two wall hangings:

And even though painting over the pink might cause my husband pain, I have to admit . . . I cannot wait. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Imani's New Room

Well friends, by now I am in Dallas for work until late Thursday night, but lucky you that I planned enough in advance to write a few posts and schedule them to post in advance (God I love that feature!)

So the story of Imani's new room . . .

Imani's room should have never been painted pink.  Imani is not a "pink" girl.  She's not a frilly, girly girl.  She's never liked princesses or barbies or anything else stereotypically marketed for girls.

She likes digging in dirt and finding fossils.  She likes treasure hunts, baseball, basketball and skateboarding. 

And most of all, she loves music.  While most kids her age save their money to buy toys or candy, Imani saves her money and asks us to take her to a local music store to buy her instruments.

She lays awake in bed at night and writes lyrics for rock songs.  We hear her whisper-singing for hours in bed.

So it seemed appropriate when she said she wanted a music-themed bedroom.  At first, since Imani plays the violin quite well (she's been playing since the age of 5 and she's nine now), I thought I'd do her room in soft browns and pinks.

And then I remembered: Imani is not PINK!  I am pink.  I needed to let that go. And, although she is most fluent in violin, her favorite instrument is guitar.  She has an acoustic and a cherry red electric guitar.

So I asked her what color she wanted her room and she said she didn't care -- that we could keep it pink if we wanted.   She is very much eager to please me.

I explained that it was her room, so she could pick whatever color she wanted but she wouldn't budge.

"Pink's fine Mom, just as long as it's a music room" she said.

A few days later, we were in Target and her big brown eyes locked onto something down one of the aisles and I saw the excitement in her face.

She reached for the red electric guitar wall hanging.  "Mom, this would be PERFECT in my music bedroom!"

My response?  "Yeah, but it's not pink . . . and it's $29.99 so you can forget it."

"What about this? This is sooooooo cooooool!!!" she said, pointing to a piece of canvas wall art in red, white, and black that said "I am Rock."

Price tag: $39.99

"Nope; this DEFINITELY doesn't go with a pink room," I told her.

I waited and waited and waited for the guitar and wall art to go on clearance at Target, as all of their trendy items always do, but finally I caved and bought them at full price.  I couldn't believe I was spending $70 on two pieces of wall art made in China.

Imani has no idea, of course.   I asked the nice cashier at check out if the items went on clearance if I'd be able to bring in my receipt and be refunded the difference.   She assured me that as long as it's within seven days, I would be refunded the difference and all I would need was my receipt.

TWO days later . . .

I'm strolling through the aisles at Target and I peer down the aisle where the music decor was and I see a bunch of red clearance tags!  50% off!  I was so psyched and Imani wasn't with me, so I marched my proud little self up to the service desk to get my refund.  The lady informed me that price adjustment refunds are not allowed on clearance items, only on sale items.

What?!  Was she really telling me "No?!"

"I need to speak to a manager,"   I said in my calmest voice.

Sure enough, Mrs. Manager came up and told me the same thing.  No price adjustments if something goes on clearance.

Me (in my longest run on ever . . . ):  "So, what you're saying is that I can go home and get these two items and bring them back and return them and watch your stock guys put them back on the shelves and then pick them back up and buy them for the clearance price?" 

Mrs. Manager: "Yep."

Time: 9:35 pm and Target closes at 10 pm

Apparently, Mrs. Manager didn't know that I live less than a block from Target.  I was back in less than five minutes with my two items.  I returned them and re-purchased them and saved $35.

I hate nothing more than policies that don't make sense.

And to anyone who reads this who regularly sees Imani . . . shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  This is a secret!  Imani loves surprises, so we hope to complete her room while she is at a friend's and then reveal it to her.

Maybe I'll even videotape it and attempt to post a video here on my blog.

Anyway . . . since she chose the red electric guitar and the black and white wall art, I figured that would be a good color scheme.  I'll show you the inspiration pictures next!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wood Floors? Check.

As of Thursday night, we officially have hard wood floors throughout our house (except for our kitchen and our two bathrooms, which are tiled).  We finished the hard wood in Imani's room in just five evenings!

I can say "we" because I did learn how to use the new nail gun the other night.  I was wandering around the house picking up and Jason asked me if I wanted to try out the nail gun.    I was a little intimidated at first but then I decided to try it.  I normally don't do home improvement projects in sun dresses, I swear.

But I wasn't about to go change my clothes just to shoot a few nails into the floor.

Jason did the majority of the work though, and he busted his butt every night getting it done.

And of course, his biggest fan was right by his side.  Maggie didn't care that the nail gun makes a very loud noise.  She'll face any sort of danger just to be next to her dad.

The room looks great with the new floors.  Here is the before:

And here is the after (we still have to put the baseboard back up).

Next post?  We are losing the pink in Imani's room and giving it a whole new look. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lucky Me!

I've always been fairly lucky, although you wouldn't think so considering my recent finger injury.

It's true though.  I remember entering each of my family member's names in a giveaway for an enormous stuffed Easter Bunny when I was a kid and I think they pulled my sister's name.  She had no idea her name was even entered until she got the phone call.

I also won $50 on McDonald's monopoly game when I was in elementary school.  We were on a vacation at Virginia Beach and each of my family members pulled off their playing pieces from their sodas. 

"What does 50 mean?" I asked.   My dad, who played the lottery faithfully each night but never won, was probably more excited than I was that I won.

And then there was a basket raffle at a school where all of my colleagues bought $25 to $50 worth of tickets to win a basket filled with gift certificates to fancy restaurants.  I bought one $1 ticket and, lucky me . . . I won.

Oh, and probably the biggest win of all was a honeymoon to any Sandal's resort of my choice!  I was at a bridal show and entered my name.  I was shocked when they pulled my name.  I thought it was a scam but it was actually legit!

When I married Jason, he warned me that my luck was soon to change.  He always had bad luck, he claimed.  To which I responded, "Out of your mouth comes blesses and curses!" (This is one of my favorite mottos of one of my dearest friends).

After a few incidents that I'd rather not get into . . . I began thinking maybe Jason was right.  Could my luck have changed from marrying him?

And then I joined the blog world.

Lucky me!  At Easter, I won a gift card to Pottery Barn from Deborah at The Fairfield House, which I still haven't spent!

And then, I won a necklace from RJ Charms sponsored by Allison at House of the Hepworth's.  Imani chose an adorable baseball necklace.

And then, most recently, I was fortunate enough to win two beautiful plates and a gorgeous Anthropologie vase from Grace at Sense and Simplicity.

Imani and her friend enjoyed the fruit I told Grace I would serve on these beautiful plates.

And the little vase looks beautiful filled with freshly picked daisies.

Grace was even kind enough to throw in a few fossils for Imani, since Imani has a rock collection and LOVES searching for fossils.  Wasn't that so sweet?

So to be completely honest, I'm not really sure if I believe in luck or not  . . .  but I do know that since I've begun blogging, my life is richer.  I've met so many great people, seen so many inspiring projects, and fulfilled my desire to write again (even if I do have lapses), not to mention that my house looks lovelier than ever!

Oh, and the prizes are great too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Injured Finger and a Room Renovation

What in the world possessed us to listen to a five year old four years ago when we were renovating our upstairs?  At the time, Imani insisted she wanted carpet in her bedroom, despite the fact that we were installing hardwood floors throughout the rest of the upstairs.

Three years later, Imani came to the realization that, as always, her parents were right and she should have opted for hard wood.  But Jason and I were firm in our decision NOT to change Imani's carpeting to hard wood, since we were planning to move.

A year later and confident in our decision to keep our Cape, we decided it was time to tear our the carpeting and install hard wood.  In fact, our plans are to renovate Imani's room entirely.

Here is her room with the carpet and all of the toys, which I am determined to hide.

First, we cleared everything out of the room and put all of Imani's stuff in my room and in the upstairs bathroom.

Next, Jason carefully removed the baseboard.

And we began ripping up all of the carpet.

Underneath, we found the laminate tile of choice from the 1950s. 

Jason laid down the special flooring paper and did all of his mathematical calculations to square up the room. 

He headed off to buy a nail gun and air compressor.  I think he feels all grown up and powerful now that we own one of these:

Finally (and on Father's Day), Jason began to lay the hard wood. 

But not before a trip to the emergency room.

This trip was not because I was helping and accidentally shot a nail through my finger with the new nail gun (thank God, because that sounds quite painful).

Instead, it was due to something much more beautiful, but apparently equally as dangerous.  Perhaps you remember this:

I really liked this vase and had changed out the Easter theme with a simple candle display.  I was cleaning up the dining room after Imani and I made Jason a Father's Day breakfast.  I accidentally bumped the big vase that was on the table and grabbed for it as it began to fall.

I caught it, but the glass literally broke off in my hand and continued to fall, taking a chunk of the pad of my finger along with it.

I hate to admit that in the split second the vase broke, my thought was, "Darn it; I love that vase!"

I resisted the urge to cry and snagged a dish towel to wrap around my bleeding finger.  Whenever I get hurt, Imani FREAKS out and becomes hysterical, so I was determined to remain calm, even though it felt as if there was a hole in my finger.

"I'm fine, I promise" I assured her.  "It's okay; it's just a small cut."

Meanwhile, I walked to the kitchen and whispered to Jason in my tiniest voice, "I think it cut out a chunk of my finger."

He assured me, it didn't.

And then . . . we heard Imani's voice from the dining room.

"Mom, there is a piece of your finger on the ground!!! I swear.  Hurry up and get it."

Jason came to the rescue and picked up the piece of my finger so that we could go to the ER.

I assure you, dear reader, I am fine.  After a tetanus shot and lots of bandages, I am okay.  It took me a couple of days to be able to type, but all is good.  I was a little sad that I couldn't help Jason start the floor on Father's Day.

But, it's looking great!

And my daughter always makes me smile.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keeping the Cape

As many of you know, Jason and I put an offer in on a big house out in the country and it was accepted.  The house was beautiful -- it was a renovated 1840s colonial and I was excited to have found it.

The entire process of listing my house and putting it on the market was far more emotional than I thought it would be.  I never realized just how attached I was to this little cape.  But we forged ahead, excited about our new venture.

To make a very long story short . . . as beautiful as a house might appear at times, what matters most is the home's structure.  Unfortunately, the home we were about to purchase had major structural problems.  Sometimes, when you want something really really badly, you try deny reality.  I was denying reality for quite some time in the process, but it became very evident that the structure had more damage than we were willing to take on and we decided to back out.

We thought about looking for another house, but after such an emotionally draining experience, we began noticing all the things we love about this little Cape and we've decided we love what we have.

Grace, at Sense and Simplicity is hosting a little blog party to list the five things you love about your home, and in looking around . . . I realized there is a lot I love about my house.

My house isn't overwhelmingly unique or awe-inspiring like this barn that was converted to a house (one of Jason's favorite type of houses by the way)

And my house isn't some 1800s Tudor revival mansion with a manicured lawn

Eifler Associates traditional exterior

Eifler Associates traditional landscape

My house doesn't have any incredibly fancy amenities, like an infinity pool.
(Who in the world owns these places and what do they do for a livng?!)

Original Vision tropical pool

George W. Girvin & Associates, Inc. contemporary pool
contemporary pool design by George W Girvin & Associates

Thomas Kyle contemporary landscape

 My house is just a cozy little Cape Cod in a small town in Upstate New York.

I know, we have GOT to do something with those steps!

So, in looking around, there are a lot of things I love, but I will narrow it down.  You'll find that I'm not that difficult to please.

Probably one of the single best features about my house is the enormous family room with cathedral ceilings.

With skylights, sliding glass doors, plenty of windows and a big bay window where we sit and watch unusually large herds of deer roam through our backyard, what's not to love about this space?


But the best part about this room is that at Christmas time, we get the biggest tree we can find!

Another feature of my house that I love is my deck.  It's not big or elaborate, but I enjoy sitting out there and having a cup of coffee in the morning or reading in the afternoon on the weekends (sorry for the rain in this photo . . .)

Another feature of my house that I love is the gas fireplace in our sitting room.  I have to confess that we cannot use it to actually have a fire because, although it's new, it sets the smoke detector off every single time we start it!  We need to address that this year, but I still love having it. 

I love the slate tiles Jason put in and I enjoy having a mantel to decorate (which currently needs an update).

Okay, the next thing I love is really silly and Jason will likely make me remove the photo if he reads this.  I love the marble tile he installed in the entry of my house.

Jason didn't really have any experience tiling and I picked out marble for the entry.  If you know anything about tiling, which we obviously didn't at the time, you'd know that marble is difficult to cut.  It is very soft and breaks really easily.  What should have been a small project turned out to be quite costly because of the many cutting mistakes.

To make matters worse, Jason wanted to just lay the tiles all straight and perpendicular.  I, of course, wanted a diamond shape in the center with little tiles bordering the center tile.  I haven't laid a single tile in my entire life and I am not the greatest at math with angles and cuts so I had no idea what trouble my idea would cause.  All I knew was that I saw something similar in a magazine and thought it'd be cool to have it in my house.

Jason argued with me that it was too difficult, so being the brat that I can sometimes be, I said, "Fine Jason. Just don't do it.  I'll just hire someone who can do it the way I want it done.  Forget about it."

But my good husband set out to tackle what he didn't know how to do and, in my opinion, it came out great.  I love this tile;  Jason hates it.  He sees his imperfections, but every time I look at it and see that diamond, I see my husband figuring out how to make my wish come true.

Like my bubble-gum pink toes dangling off that step?!  That pedicure was a celebration that recently, I survived lay-offs in my job .. . but I digress!

Back to what I love about my house.  Of course, I love my new tiled bathroom . . .

with a pebbled-floor shower. . . .

But what I love most about my house isn't any particular room.  I love that this house sat on the market forever and everyone laughed at it because it was so hideous and smelly.   But I had a vision, and Jason made it happen.

Every inch of my house has my husband's time and love poured into it.  He obtained his degree in Fine Arts and I often complain that he isn't doing anything with it but when I wake up each day, I realize his art is all around me. 

Our house has been his canvas.

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