Archives for April 2012

New Kitchen Shelves & Pendant Lights

The shelves and lights from Rejuvenation are finally up!  I love them!

Chris made the shelves out of a 2″ plank of red oak.  He left the edges fairly rough…

…but the tops smooth for easy cleaning.

Aren’t they beautiful?  I’m having fun figuring out what to put up there.  So far I’m loving the easy access of our plates and bowls on the lower shelf.

Here is a full shot of the rug from

I’m also playing with that little shelf above the stove.  Right now I have a little ornate mirror I bought at an estate sale way back in our Houston days…nothing like looking at myself while I cook.  But it is an efficient way to check my lipstick and hair status before my husband gets home from work…I’m old-fashioned like that.

Tell me, am I crazy to reconsider the crystal chandelier in here?  I like it but also feel it may take the kitchen in an opposite direction than I want.  Hmm…

I had promised the kids that as soon as the kitchen was done and cleaned up, we would bake something yummy.  They chose Lemon Coconut Cake from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moscowitz (she’s kinda my hero).

Wanna see how it turned out?  Ugh!  Still good enough to eat…and when Daddy is out of town, we have a chunk of cake for dinner with some fruit and soysage.

This is what it really looks like when my Bundt pan isn’t being persnickety.  Yum, definitely one of my favorite desserts.  I top mine with a glaze from fresh lemon juice, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

Too bad we’ve eaten it already.

Seeking Happiness

It is easy to forget the simple things that bring happiness when I’m busy chasing bigger things that promise joy.

But a shady spot on cool lush grass helps me remember.

Or, reminders come while watching my daughter ponder the impossible–like fairy tea parties in secret gardens–while caught up in the magic of an impossibly grand home.

Happiness streaks down hills, too–with grass stains to prove it.

Then it collapses at the bottom, plucking blades of grass.

And Mommy practically jumped out of a moving car for a close up of a field with fleece as white as snow.  When a mama and her lamb bleated across the field to find each other among the masses and then ran to meet upon recognition–heart melted.

But you know what would have made my husband even happier that day?  If the electric fence had actually been on when I accidentally touched it, he would have been full of joy.  Of course, I touched it after I had repeatedly warned the children to be careful.

Recently we were up early one chilly morning making a road trip.  The kids ate their breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches in the car.  As my son leaned toward the heater and munched on his PB & J, he said, “Ahhh, this is the life.”

And one other experience that got me thinking:  my daughter looked at herself in the mirror and said, “I’m so glad God gave me the face that I would love!”

When was the last time I looked in the mirror and didn’t automatically start critiquing every flaw?  Or, when did I last rejoice in the deliciousness of a creamy sweet PB & J?

“Faith like a child” comes to mind but altered to “joy like a child.”  I want to experience more of the happiness that forgets failures, reputation, broken relationships–things that hinder the discovery of happiness in the simple things.

Next time, you better believe, I’m wearing shoes in which I can burn a trail down those hills.

Wild in the House

Let’s see, it all started last Saturday when I saw a snake slithering in the creek where my kids were playing at the Biltmore Estate.  And then, within 24 hours in our yard we saw, well, the usual suspects of squirrels and the chipmunk who lives off our back patio, but also a possum, groundhog, rabbit, and a giant awesome owl in one of our oaks.  That dude swiveled his head round and round until he fixed his evil glare on us before taking flight to the yard across the street.

To top it off, a bird flew in our house and took the grand tour of the house.  Before we could shoo it out, it pooped on–of all things–the white sofa in the guest room.  Of course.

Oh, and I can’t forget the wild turkeys I almost ran over at the cottage midweek.


Here’s wishing you a serpent- and rodent-free weekend!

The Kitchen | Almost Done!

If you were to come over right now, I’d say, “You gotta come see how the kitchen is coming along!”  And, I’d pull you by the hand–after an awkwardly long hug–to the kitchen to see what Chris has done.  “Oh, you’re just in time for pistachio cracking!  Gather round the trash can and have a few!”

Can I tell you how much I love that marble?  I stare at it throughout the day.  If you were here, you would be subjected to an hours-long monologue about the changes going on in the house, decisions yet to be made, and other earth-shattering things.  No, you can’t get a word in edgewise.

Next time I’ll take photos earlier in the day so you can see the beautiful inky blue of the cabinets.  The color combined with the hardware and the sparkly chandelier make me feel like I’m in a butler’s pantry.  (Note to self:  get a butler.)

So, I’ve decided to keep the parsons chairs and do a patterned slipcover.  This yellow one is in the running.  I’ve had the bench for almost two years–that Chris made–and have never painted or finished it.  (He made it a little taller for the kids so they don’t have to sit on their knees to reach the table.)  Now the dilemma is what to get to replace the white IKEA chairs?  Sherry and I have mulled over lots of options.  I want to keep something modern here to make sure the room doesn’t tip too traditional.  Doing another bench is an option.  I just don’t know!

Did you see that I stripped the orange paint off the table and painted the legs?  Doesn’t it always happen like this:  it’s 3 pm and I’m staring at an orange table and no one get in my way ’cause I’ve decided NOW is the time to strip and sand.  Make your own dinner.

I’m dreaming up a painting for that wall.

I just couldn’t wait for the kitchen to be finished to put up my freaking jars of beans.

We’re not neglecting the rest of the house.  There are lots of things to finish and make the house finally feel cohesive–lovely fabrics will be cherries on top.

I haven’t shown you the sofa I found last year and had recovered–after I moved the curved sofa to the dining room.  It’s a good story and lesson in reupholstery…another blog post with before shots!  Sherry motivated me to get this massive seagrass rug (17×10.5!)–that has been on my to-do list for a while.  It dramatically changed the room–even with all the furniture that needs paint and fabric.  Just another reminder to me how important layers are.

The little cane chair came from a little resale shop–just happened to be the same color as the sofa, ugh.  But I’ll paint it soon.

The space age light now hangs in the dining room.  It’s crazy and is taking some getting used to.  All my mid-century accessories were having a business meeting when I took this shot.

Grout, globe lights, and shelves will be up soon.  Stay tuned!

We’re McLovin’ it!

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