14 posts categorized "My House"


Final Wall Collage for the Baby's Nursery

Without further delay, the wall collage for our baby girl's room is finally complete.


You know I'm a huge fan of collages (hence the "M" wall in my entry way) but I always forget that they are a total pain in the butt to do. I did take some photos of my process as getting wall collages correctly spaced is critical to the final look.

Once I received the items I ordered from Etsy.com in the mail, I physically took them around to a handful of stores looking for the right frames. I knew the paper doll and her dresses would do fine in a normal frame, but the baby doll dress needed to be in a shadow box.

(Note I purchased the brown frames from Walmart and the shadow box from Hobby Lobby. As mentioned before, the baby doll dress, paper doll and baby blocks were purchased on Etsy.com. The large metal "A" was found at an antique store in Rockwall, TX. The chandeiler sticker was purchased from LeenTheGraphicsQueen.com. The metal chairs were purchased back in 2006 from IKEA. The acrylic shelf was purchased at The Container Store.)

When choosing colors for the frames, it's good to try to find balance. I picked white for the baby doll dress frame specifically to tie in the white of the chandelier and the brown frames to tie in with the furniture of the room.


Once I got all the pieces, I laid them out on the floor exactly as I wanted it on the wall. This can be a slow process as I constantly move the frames around until I find that balance I'm looking for (for example, I knew I did not want the baby doll dress to be near the chandelier sticker just because they were both white--their separate creates balance).

Once you have it laid out, measure the total width of the collage.


(It helps to have a 75 pound black lab who is "assisting" you with this process.)

I measured the wall I was putting the collage onto to find the center point, with some simple math on a scratch piece of paper. I could then find the center-point of my collage as well--so I knew where I'd hang the first piece of the collage. It ended up being the metal "A's" left side.


I then made newspaper templates of everything. This step always seems excessive and drawn-out (I pretty much despise doing it) but it really pays off. I took each newspaper equivalent and taped it on the wall. (For the shelf I used a thin piece of cardboard.) This allowed me to step back and evaluate the spacing of each item and to make sure the height of the collage itself worked.


Once I got everything where I wanted it, I started the hanging process. I did the sticker first (man, that made me nervous since it's not re-positionable) and added the frames one-by-one.


Finally, the wall came together and it's straight, centered, and exactly as I envisioned it.


(Just don't give your husband the camera as you're finishing up the wall . . . as he'll go crazy and get a bunch of pictures, although it's not bad to get some behind-the-scenes-35.5-week-pregnancy pics!)


Baby's Room Update

I have this week off from work and I've been committing myself every day to do something to get the baby's room done--or at least in livable condition. We only have five weeks left until her due date, and only two weeks left until she is considered full term. (Holy cow!)

To prep for my goal of getting the baby's room done I did a little bit of online shopping the week before last and found some items I'm pretty excited about.

(I have been planning on doing a collage on the wall and knew I wanted to fill it with mainly vintage girlie items. Shopping with my Mom and sisters a few weeks ago was supposed to entail  a trip to Canton, this huge outdoor flea market, but we ended up not going so I needed a plan B.)

I went over to etsy.com and literally within a half hour, I found exactly what I had been envisioning in my mind.


Baby Doll Dress


Purchased in the Beca Runs shop.

This is a baby doll dress with a delicate blue and white lace pattern. The red glass buttons just set it perfectly, as it matches the main fabric I'm using in the room.


1940's Paper Doll Set


Purchased in the Songbird Industries shop.

This 1940's paper doll is named Curly Top and has real mohair hair. It was designed by Alma de Journette, although I have no idea who that is! I just thought this was adorable to frame and put on the wall.

She's a bit taller than I thought she'd be, since she is right around 13" tall, but she is just perfect.


Set of Three Baby Blocks


Purchased in the Venus Envy shop.

These are pretty tiny in real life (1.5" blocks) but I was able to score two out of the three blocks with the letter "A" on them, which is the initial of our little girl's first name. (No, we haven't picked it yet, but we have our short-list done and all three names start with an "A".)

They are a mix of embossed, carved and printed letters, animals and different pictures.


Set of Three Tissue Poms


Purchased in the Prost to the Host shop.

I just ordered these last night after a couple-hour search for a mobile that I actually liked. Either the one I liked was $100 or they were just plain ugly. I'm not sure Cody is really a fan of paper flowers hanging from the ceiling of our daughter's room, but I think it will turn out cute! I got to pick what colors I wanted and so I went with the off-white, mandarin and sunset colors.


It's been so much fun to get these packages in the mail with all the goodies. I'm going to put the collage up tomorrow (I'm really slow at these kind of things) so stay tuned . . .


Fall Decor

As soon as Labor Day comes around, I'm ready to put up my fall decorations. Cody asked me to hold off for a few weeks, and considering that it was still 100 degree's in Texas at the time, I agreed.

I waited until October came and I then added as much orange, reds and yellows in as I could. And, with Thanksgiving coming up in just two weeks, I'm trying to enjoy these colors while they are still around.


I'm a sucker for mantles. I've had these stars up on our mantle in Illinois and carried the same look over to our Texas house. I'm starting to feel the itch to try something new, but I still love them for now.

(Inspired by Pottery Barn, but I picked up cheaper look-alike's in a small Texas-decor store in Stephenville, TX back when we were there for Christmas in 2006. I had to carry the dang thing on the plane as carry-on . . . a bit surprised it wasn't seen as a weapon!)


Antique Ball jars that always grace my side table. I just fill them up with different season-appropriate decor.

A close up of the bundle of wheat that is on my mantle. A great find at Home Goods.


A fallish look to the "M" wall with a large leaf fashioned out of twigs (found at a decor store). . . a fake pumpkin from Jo-Ann's . . . and a basket of smell-good pine cones and natural-material pumpkins.


12x12 pictures of fall leaves Cody took while on a hike in Illinois, set in IKEA picture frames.


A simple mini-grapevine leaf, with fall garland intertwined.

And for the shelf above our couch, a bit of orange around the base of a candle.


This bowl was supposed to house some more gourds/pumpkins . . . But five minutes into their existence they met their match with a certain 75-pound black dog.


I don't know, he looks awfully guilty.

(Lesson: We can do fall decor, as long as it's out of reach from this guy.)


Baby Boom

I don't really have a lot of babies in my life. Out of my three sisters and Cody's two sisters, we will be the first to have a kiddo. Outside of my limited babysitting experiences in middle and high school, I am still pretty clueless about what it takes to take care of a baby (although Cody reassures me, and I know he is right, that by day 2 of having our daughter I will be a diaper changing pro).

But, with that said, my friends and I are going through a bit of a baby boom. I had never co-hosted a baby shower before, but that recently changed--and I know I'll be getting lots more practice in the upcoming months as all these little ones start to make their appearance.


Jacque is one of my closest friends and after being married for ten years, she will FINALLY be a mom to baby James Hudson in just a few weeks.

We had planned the shower pretty far in advance (six weeks or so) but it ended up being bad timing as Cody's grandma, Bonita, passed away the Thursday morning before. So, on the day of the shower, we had her funeral at 11am, a two hour drive home, and the shower at 3pm. Whew!


Jacque was so sweet and offered to reschedule, but my co-hosts pulled off an amazing feat and everything was set up and ready to go when I walked in my front door at 3:05pm.

It turned out so cute, and the food looked so good! Stacey, a friend who went to Africa last year with Jacque and I, made the adorable diaper cake. Again, I am a total baby shower novice and had never seen one of these before. I guess they are easy to make, or so rumor has it, but I was impressed.

(Love that she put the African animals on here to tie into our trip!)


Since my co-hosts had already rescued me from prep and set-up, it's not a surprise that Megan, who was in charge of games and prizes, totally kicked butt on the shower activities. I know any guys reading this won't agree, but the games were actually fun and not cheesy at all. (Note that Cody and Jacque's husband, Dace, were babysitting Spangler upstairs while this was going on . . . . They had some man activities planned, but the were cancelled because of Bonita's funeral so they just played xBox instead. I'm sure they got a kick out of listening to us.)

We had to figure out how many words we could come up with, just using the letters from "James Hudson." We then separated into two teams for game #2 where we picked an item off a given list and Jacque had to dig in a bag to try to find that particular item. Whatever team had the smallest cumulative amount of time, won.

(My team dominated this one.)

During the shower everyone was given a clothes pin to wear with either "baby" or "boy" on it. If you said the word and someone caught you, they'd get to take your clothes pin. Whoever had the most clothespins at the end of the shower, won.

(I did not dominate at this one at all. In fact, I think my clothes pin lasted about 2 minutes on my shirt before I said "boy.")


We opened gifts, which is always fun. Jacque's Mom made her a "J HUD" teddy bear and she got some way cute little man clothes.

What is cuter than a miniture old man argyle sweater?


I'm pretty sure she felt showered after surveying the goods, post shower . . .


And we had plenty of help, especially with Jacque's two nieces around. Ali, the oldest one, had her fair share of guidance when it came to how to open each gift.


After the guests had left I had to bust out the Gap jeans since we were all in baby mode.


And Spangler finally got to make his appearance.

He was just DYING having to stay upstairs while all these people and food were downstairs. Luckily, Jacque's nieces have a big dog at home so they had no trouble telling Spangler to "sit" over and over again. I'm just glad they didn't mind getting licked on the face over and over again by a 75 pound dog.

So, we have three more babies coming in the next six months ago, and hopefully another one coming shortly after that (ahem, Randy and Jace . . . hint hint).

Lots of babies. Lots of showers.


Exactly How I Envisioned the Computer Desk to Be

I've mentioned before that I've been looking for a computer desk for our kitchen/dining/family room. Our house in Illinois had a built in desk and it was a great place to catch all the daily paper crap that builds up (bills, mail, etc.) as well as a place to put our computer, which is a huge part of our daily life.

This weekend Cody and I headed down to San Antonio for some R&R. He gifted me the trip for my 28th birthday and we planned a weekend out doing some tourist stuff in downtown San Antonio, but spending most of our time in the towns surrounding the city.

(I also got a four day break from Spangler. Not that I needed a dog-mom break, but I really really really needed a dog-mom break.)

Friday we were in Johnson City, TX (home of our 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson) for lunch and walked into a cute little antique shop next door called "The Old Lumber Yard."


I was in the front of the store and Cody had already headed to the back (he's the in-and-out-I've-already-been-around-the-store kind of a shopper). He came back and got me, pointing out this desk:



Oh, I loved it immediately. I'm all for simple lines (no turned legs please!) and the signs of age, small marks here and there, are beautiful. It is the perfect finish, and the exposed nails in the top sealed the deal. It is functional, as the desk is tall enough for Cody to sit at, and it has a super deep drawer, enough to keep the paper crap we have in our house nice and organized.

Since I'm such a great planner, we had no idea whether or not the desk would fit the spot we had for it. Luckily, we conned our friends, who have a key to our house, to come and measure the spot Friday evening so we knew we had plenty of room.

It wasn't exactly convenient to drive back to Johnson City on Saturday afternoon, but we made it right before they closed. We got it home and the finished product is:


And I know, another horrible picture, but you can see the detail of the handle. Love it.


A fantastic birthday present. And, I'm so happy to finally have what is in my head in real life. While getting the stacks of mail off my counter.


ThinBrick And Missing My Old Kitchen

We bought new construction when we moved to Illinois in 2005. Although we now prefer older an more established neighborhoods, I think it suited us well at the time.

One of the reasons why we ended up buying the house we did was for the kitchen. It was huge! And I just loved the dark cabinets.

The appliances were all new (and I still miss them, since our Texas house has the original 1989 microwave that we haven't replaced yet).

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We had just moved in and were watching HGTV and there was a do-it-yourself project using ThinBrick, which is real brick that is cut thin so you can use it like a veneer. We knew we wanted to do the brick in the kitchen and jumped in.

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It was our first home project (besides painting) ever.

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Of course, we had the help of Sage, who likes to be in everything.

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She is a little weird and likes to get under mostly anything, even a random plastic grocery bag or a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. She'll find a way to get herself directly underneath it.

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We started by putting up cement backer board up, covering everywhere there would be brick.

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Cody killed the electricity to to the kitchen and extended out the electrical outlets by a half inch or so. We replaced the white plugs with brown so there wouldn't be a lot of contrast between the outlets and the brick.

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Now came the fun part . . . We ended up trying three different kinds of construction adhesive, but finally found one that worked. Then at like 9pm I even ran back to the store to get more since we were already out, but what home DIY project isn't complete without multiple trips to the store?

Anyway, we literally glued on the ThinBrick how we wanted it to look. The corner pieces were used around the window and Cody just cut the brick to size if we needed it smaller.

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Once we were done gluing, the messy part came in. We taped everything up as good as we could and used regular mortar to fill in the spaces. We had a giant baker-bag looking thing (a big version of what bakers use to ice a cake) and Cody would fill in the holes and I'd come by with the scraper to scrape it and give a nice flush rounded look.

Once everything was scraped, we then took a big brush and got the remaining mortar off the brick and let it dry!

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We loved the final results as it made our average-new-construction-home-kitchen look a little bit more unique.

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Buying the real stuff (real brick veneer, not "fake" cement brick) made the biggest difference. It ended up taking all weekend (as soon as we got home from work Friday to late Sunday) but we got over two years out of our kitchen before we moved and we'd do it again in a heartbeat.


The Quest for a Computer Desk

In our house in Illinois we had a great built-in desk in our kitchen area that we kept the computer on. I LOVED it as we used it daily. It was a good place to put bills, papers, and the other day-to-day stuff that collects.

Our house here in Texas was built in 1989 so it doesn't have a built-in desk of any kind. Cody and I have been talking about putting a small table in the living room/kitchen/kitchen table area to act as a computer desk and catch-all for the paper and bills.

Even though we talked about this over a year ago, I hadn't seen anything that I liked. My goals were:

  1. "Goes" with the furniture of the area, but not too matchy-matchy
  2. Small enough so the eye is still drawn to the fireplace
  3. Tall and wide enough that Cody can comfortably sit

I went antiquing this weekend with some girlfriends of mine and I came across a few options. I took some cell phone pictures so I could show Cody and think about them for a few days . . .

Option One:

This is the same type of look as our eat-in kitchen table. A raw wood that shows its age, complete with some burn marks on the top. I just love tables that show the history.

I love the structure of the table. Simple lines with not too much going on. Just my style.

My only concern with this one is size. Is it too wide? I'd have to measure the spot at our house and see if it would fit.


Option Two:

A totally different look than Option One, Option Two is more of a traditional table with detail on the legs and top. It's beautifully restored (or in just in that great of condition) and is the most expensive out of the three.

Not typically a piece that I'd like, but I just fell in love with this table.


Option Three:

Option Three is a mix of the simplicity of Option One and detail of Option Two. Only one problem . . . It's not a desk. This is one I think I could get away with using (women can suffer on comfort for cuteness, right?) but I just don't see Cody sitting at this little side table on the computer.

I am thinking it could be a good option for his office.


Now I just need to act on one of them before they get snatched up. The only problem with liking antiques is that they are truly one of a kind.


Bathroom Redo, Day Four and Five

Three months since the start of the bathroom remodel project, and serious progress is being made.

(You can catch up on your reading of the bathroom saga here: the master plan, the demo of the vanity, the removal of the popcorn ceiling, and the failed attempt of texturing the walls)

Texturing: Day Four

As I mentioned in the previous bathroom post, we tried texturing the walls ourself and we figured out fairly quickly that it would required a professionals touch. There are people that do this for a living for a reason: because they are very good at it.

We called up a texture guy and he gave us a great quote. Not only did he show up right on schedule, but in less than an hour and a half, but he completely transformed the walls.

<insert picture of bathroom with white texture that Jackie forgot to take>

Painting: Day Five

After the walls were dry I headed to Wal-Mart to pick up my favorite paint, Kilz Colors, and ended up going with what I thought was a yellow-tanish color. The intention here is to take the same color as the bathroom and bring it into the main living areas--to try to bring the whole thing together. I also wanted a light color for bathroom as it's such a small space and has no natural light.


I got the can home and realized that it just wasn't what I wanted. (Why I went ahead and painted it, I have no idea). To make matters worse, Cody installed the lights as soon as the paint was dry and I realized that the yellow was even more yellow, because the scones have a very warm tinge to the glass.


Yellow. It's all I see now when I turn on the light, even though having the bright white wainscoting would lighten the room up, it is just way too mustard yellow. Not the warm brown tone I thought I was buying.

So now it's decision time . . . Do you suck it up and repaint the entire bathroom when you can, or be lazy and stay with the overly yellow color?

Unfortunately, I'm leaning towards repainting. I think I'll be glad I did in the long run as I can stick to my original vision of the flow of the entire house.

Next up? New flooring installed!


What To Do With The Dog Crate?

When we got Spangler we quickly saw the advantages of crate-training him. He's very much into everything and being a lab, he loves to chew. Now that he is even bigger (60 pounds +) he can reach the coffee table standing on all four legs and can reach the entire counter area by getting on his back two legs.

Moral of this story? He cannot be trusted in the house unsupervised.

We're lucky in that I work from home, so Spangler is only crated when we're gone (he can't be in the backyard since he has fallen into the pool THREE times. He still hasn't figured out how to get out on his own so once pool season comes, we'll teach him how) or at night time. It's worked out really well and he even knows what "go to bed" means. He'll put himself in his crate (mostly) every time.

I've read online where some people don't agree with this training technique, but Spangler loves his crate. He'll put himself to bed in the evenings when he's tired, or go take some of his afternoon naps in his crate--sleeping with the door wide open. 

It's his safe place; his own little bedroom.

One of the challenges of having a bigger dog though, is that you need to have a bigger crate. And when you're trying to create a nice look to your home, a big dog crate stuck in the middle of your living room can ruin it.

This is What We Have Now

A huge crate that you see as soon as you walk in. It's in front of the focal point of the room, the fireplace.


It's been there for . . . over three months. (Wait, we've only had Spangler for three months? I seriously feel like we've had him a year.)

I've started to look into a couple other options, especially since the crate that we have is not really our crate (thanks Jace and Randy!). We do need to give back the crate at some point soon and I want to make sure the one we are buying has a more permanent home.

Our Options Include:

One . . . The Wooden Side Table AND Dog Crate

Pros: It looks nice

Cons: Expensive! Also, it may work for a little dog, but even a huge wooden crate as a side table will look very much out of place.

Two . . . The Metal and Faux Rattan Crate

Pros:It looks nice. It's large enough to hold Spangler. Not as expensive as a wood crate.

Cons:Spangler is a chewer and if we got this, it would only take one time of him being bored to start to destroy it.

Three . . . The Nicer Metal, Wood and Faux Rattan Crate

Pros:It looks nice. It's also plenty large enough for Spangler.

Cons: Expensive as well. It also is a potential chewing nightmare.

I think the biggest thing that will drive our decision is the maturity of a certain dog who, at this moment, is still very much a puppy. We may have to continue down the path of "durability" more than "appearance," which will make my living room still look very much Spangler-oriented.

If we put him in a fancy wood or faux rattan dog bed, we will likely come home to something worse than this:


A side story . . . We got home from church last Sunday and saw the above. It was cute, in a not-cute-at-the-time way, because when we come home Spangler is obviously excited to see us and ready to be let out of his crate. He knows that in order to be let out, he has to be quiet and sitting. He was trying to act as though he did not have his bed in a million pieces with a chunk hanging out of his mouth. In his mind at this moment, he was being quiet and good!


Carrots, Carpet and Lessons Learned

Not that I really can care about my carpet too much with a puppy, but the incident the other night was not quite what I had expected.

(We've postponed our quest for new carpet until after Spangler grew out of the puppy stage, which for labs is like two years old. Or five. Or ten, depending on who you talk to.)

It was late on a Friday night and Cody was gone for the weekend working. I had gone to the grocery store the night before and had picked up some carrots for a soup I wanted to make. Remembering that Spangler had liked the carrot tops a few weeks earlier (he had batted it around like a toy) I gave him half of a carrot as a leave-me-alone-and-go-play-with-something toy.

As a new dog owner, I didn't think much of it. Even if he started to eat it, it could be a healthy alternative to his usual snacks.


Not much playing went on. He went straight for the chewing. Not bad though. He was at least quiet and calm.


But he kept going. He kept chewing it, with obviously no intention of eating it. Soon, I had a orange spot on the carpet with a rather large pile of carrot pieces on top.


Sage even thought it was weird.

Especially since it quickly turned into his usual chewing pose--on his back.


Don't worry. I've taken the liberty to save you from the PG-13 images of Spangler chewing. This is a family friendly blog after all . . .


Unfortunately, my carpet suffered a much worse fate.

I've learned my lesson. Carrots, while in theory, are not good for your carpet when you have a 45 pound black lab puppy.