Thursday, April 28, 2011

Out with the old...

and in with the new. I put all the Easter decorations away today. Then came the dilemma of what to do with the mantel. I think it needs something but the TV above provides a true challenge. So I went shopping at home to see what I could come up with. After a few tries I came up with this.

(Let me apologize up front for the photo quality. I clearly did not miss my calling as a photographer!) The Easter bunny brought me these little numbered pots. I got a 1, 2 & 3. I put a bug in my hubby's ear a few weeks ago when we were shopping. Number one looks nice next to my DIY Mercury Glass.

Number 3 looks nice on top of some books. I love using books in decorating. They add height & color. I like to look at books at other peoples' homes - you can tell alot about someone by the books in their homes ( I think you can tell alot about people by looking at what they have in their shopping carts, too!)

I snagged my big wrought iron container from under a side table in the living room for one end of the mantle. I took a frame I had in a cabinet and made the little 'B' with my Cricut & some scrapbook paper. Kind of cute, I think! The fresh flowers were taken from my dining room table centerpiece. They have a few good days left in them I think.

Getting ready for summer with some shells in an apothecary jar. The tag clearly lets us know that it's still 'le printemps' or spring.

I got this 'new' look just by shopping my house. Luckily I have a lot of stuff! I am liking the neutral-ish color pallette. I wasn't quite ready for a bright summer yet.

I am linking up to Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest, Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home and Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage.

Monday, April 25, 2011

At the Beach...

It seems that every spring Pottery Barn has some sort of sea/water theme with lots of fun, beachy decor and decorating ideas. It's truly my favorite time of the year. Lots of ideas for summer-izing your home - many are things we can re-create because, let's face it, sometimes PB can be a little pricey. I got my latest PB catalog today full of coral, shells, and blue, lots of blue.

My dad was in the Navy so we moved around alot and spent most of our time on the coast (obvious, probably). We lived on the water at times but always near it. I thought that was how everyone lived - swimming in the river or ocean regularly. I think this is the reason I love the water. And I love decorating like I live on the water. Maybe somewhere like this: Or this:

Or this:

Even if you live in one of those places (lucky you!) you have to be careful of making your beachy decor look too cutesy, theme-y or, well, tacky. It's a fine line. Even at somewhere like Pottery Barn you can end up making a mistake - too many shell pillows and you've become the lady that collects shell pillows not the owner of that neat coastal retreat in the city.

So what's a girl to do if she dreams of lazy days at the beach but lives in the 'burbs?

  • Pick just one of those shell pillows (or palm tree towels, fish serve ware or seahorse prints). I know it's hard but you'll thank me.

  • Use color. Think about colors that mean coastal to you. Tropical may invoke pastel blues and pinks and yellows. Ocean is all about the blue of the sea and the tan of the sand. Life on a lake means blues and greens. Right after we re-did our kitchen a friend came over and said 'it looks like Rhode Island in here'. Now I am not sure that she really meant that as a compliment but I took it that way because I was looking for a certain feel and Rhode Island (think Newport but cheaper!) worked for me.

  • Think about life on the coast. Look at pictures in magazines and books. If you actually lived at the beach how would you keep the sand from migrating inside? Maybe a natural-fiber rug like a sisal placed under your slip covered sofa (you'll need to be able to take if off and put it in the wash). Some hooks outside the back door would be used to hang wet towels.

  • Consider wood or tile for flooring instead of carpet. Much easier to clean up that sand!

  • Bead board. It's becoming so popular and just screams coastal to me. Use it in a kitchen, bathroom, entry way or mud (sand) room.

  • A room with a view should be appreciated. If you lived on the water would you really want to cover your living room windows with heavy drapes? Not likely. While it may be necessary to cover your windows at night for privacy try to pick window treatments that are as light and airy as possible to give you a beachy feeling. The french doors below are a nice example of treatment-less windows. A totally blank window may not be practical for you so just keep it light.

I love the way this kitchen uses color on the cabinets and the bead board on the ceiling to give it a beachy feel.

While we all may not be able to live at the beach we can still create the feel through color (paint), flooring and window treatments as well as a few well sought out accessories.

As I have been ogling the Pottery Barn catalog I have gotten some ideas for knock-offs and re-creating some of their looks. If any of them turn out (& I am confident they will) I'll be back to show you. Just give me a little time.

In the meantime, check out these beachy blogs for inspiration: Sarah @ A Beach Cottage & Cheryl @ Beachcomber

All photos from Coastal Living

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Decorative Storage....

We have our fair share of framed prints and pictures but not so much space to display everything all at once without making our house look like a store. For a while the 'extras' were just leaning up in the corner of our office waiting for a new home. So I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I could display them without actually hanging them on a wall. Then somewhere, and I don't remember where, I saw that someone had put their framed prints in a basket in their living room. Kind of a decorative storage type of thing.

I can do that! So here's how I did it. I bought this basket from Michaels (with my 40% off coupon!) because I liked the size. The color wasn't quite what I needed. Black was more like it. Nothing a can of spray paint can't fix, right? I spray painted the basket black and then added a little tag I made with my Cricut. It looks nice on the hearth plus I remember what I have when I am redecorating since I see the basket everyday. It's also neat if guests look through the basket and ask about different pictures or prints. The one you can see with the grass is a print of Pebble Beach that I got for my husband one year for his birthday. And of course there are pictures of LM in there.

What kind of interesting storage ideas have you come up with?

I am linking up to DIY By Design's Swing into Spring, Centsational Girl's Paint Project Party, Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch & Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Table...

I wanted to set a special table for Easter with a fresh, spring-y look. For something really fresh I needed to shop. But I didn't want to spend very much money.

A little background: I needed (wanted?) some new place mats. Something spring like. I had $19 in Kmart rewards dollars so I figured that was a good place to start. Surely I could get everything I needed for about $20, right? Wrong. The selection was s.l.i.m. There was a nice pale blue place mat I liked but there were only 3, I needed 5. And it was $5! Tucked down in the corner for $4 were these black & white toile place mats. Cute, but black for Easter? Hmmm. After standing there for about 10 minutes debating and helping out an older lady who, like me, was disappointed in the poor selection but also didn't want to drive all the way out to Wal-mart, I decided to get the black toile place mats and see what I could do with them. I also picked up 4 white napkins since I knew I could use them to make the table work. Using my rewards I ended up paying $9 for 5 place mats and 4 napkins (I only got 4 napkins because my dad won't use cloth so I'll add the 5th place setting right be fore dinner.)

I like the way the place setting turned out. I didn't have any spring like napkin rings so I went to my ribbon stash and found this Tiffany box blue ribbon that I got just after Christmas @ Michaels (50% off!). Love!!!

I did a little centerpiece vignette here. The Peter Rabbit plate was given to LM when she was born. A perfect touch here.

Grocery store flowers. I just love them. $4 for this bunch.

This little guy hangs on the back of LM's chair. Hopefully the Easter Bunny will leave something in it tonight. (Pottery Barn Kids a year or two ago).

An overview. I am happy with the results especially since I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to make the black and white work. It took a little playing around but I think it works. And I did it for under $15 with a little shopping- at the store and at home.

How will you be decorating your table this weekend??

I am linking up to Wendy's Frugal Friday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You say you want a Revolution....

I hope everyone has been watching season 2 of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. It is eye opening to say the least.

Here he is filling a school bus with the amount of sugar kids consume each year - just in chocolate milk. If that doesn't do it watch last week's episode on what gets done to the 'extra' meat from your average cow.

This year's show has been focusing on school lunches, namely in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has been banned from these schools by the school board. But he knows (as we all do) that these school lunches are not the quality food that we should be feeding our children. LAUSD isn't probably that different from the food in your kids' schools.

What's a mom to do? First of all, try to go to lunch with your kids and see what is being served for lunch. Even if you send lunch with your kids it's still worth looking at. Kids trade food at lunch. Some kids only get a hot meal at school. These are the kids that really concern me. They eat this junk @ school and I'll bet that when they get home they're not eating a good, healthy meal either.

I have long been a proponent of healthy eating, especially for our kids. But I really had no idea how bad things were until LM started kindergarten. I know what we do here at home but once we got out and about and observed school lunches (even those brought from home) I started to wonder if we were the only family eating the way we do (generally healthy, whole foods & special treats). Then Jamie Oliver appeared and I realized there were lots of others out there (600,000 + have signed Jamie's petition). There are lots of blogs out there dealing with healthy food. If you are one of those bloggers, or know one, leave a link in the comments.

Back to schools, we periodically get surveys sent home from our 'kitchen' manager. I use the term kitchen loosely as nothing is actually COOKED in the 'kitchen'. I sent back a 2 page response early in the school year and I am happy to say a couple of the things I mentioned were addressed. Also, one was 'un-addressed'.

I would like to start my own revolution series here on Wednesdays. I would love to be able to share the links to your healthy eating blogs/websites so please email me or leave the info in the comment section. Next week I'd like to deal a bit more with school lunches - those we pack and those we buy as well as share any success stories you have to share about your kids' school cafeterias. What are you packing in your kids' lunches that is healthy & get happily eaten?

And don't forget to tune into Jamie's Food Revolution on Tuesday 8/7C on ABC. Watch it with your kids. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Doors...

When we moved into our house all the interior doors were dark wood. Not my cup of tea and I always wanted to have white doors and white trim. Knowing it would either be expensive to hire someone to do it or super time consuming for me, I put it on the back burner. I got a quote from a door company $175 per door installed. Using hubby as the door guy? $59 per door installed. Well, eleven years later we have white doors and trim. Here's a before - it's actually a 'still' because it's the one door we didn't change - the closet door in the office - it's an odd, special order size and we just haven't gotten to it. But it's a good thing since it means I have a 'before' for this post! I despised these handles on these doors too and was on a mission to find something I liked that wasn't too expensive.

Last summer we bought one door at Lowes and the hubby installed it - one door to make sure we liked it and that he was up to the task of installation. It went well and off we went to California for a mini-break. My hubby came home while LM and I did what she calls 'the family road haul' -from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. While we were gone the hubby got new doors and installed them all. Here's one before it was painted and before the trim and walls were painted. Looks better already!

This finished product. So much better.

Remember the handles I despised? Well after not finding handles that I liked and wanted to pay for I thought 'why don't we just put the old handles back on until I find something?' Well, with that I FOUND SOMETHING. The same old, ugly handles now looked cool and kind of retro on the white doors. Who knew??

Painting the trim and doors was time consuming but so worth it. We still have wood trim inside all of the rooms and I am sure I'll get to that sometime...

Joining Show and Share Day @ Just a Girl, Transformations & Treasures @ The Pink Postcard, Metamorphisis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch, Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, DIY by Design's Swing into Spring party, Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Design, Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chic Cottage & Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cake Boss, Part 2

As with most plans here at September Acres, they change a bit. I had planned to spend the weekend making test cakes for LM's first communion. On Saturday morning I realized I needed to run to Michaels to get a couple of cake decorating supplies. I planned to go while the hubby and LM were at hockey but the banana muffins I was making were not finished in time for me to sneak out before they got home. So, my quiet little trip by myself turned into a 3 hour tour with the family. We ended up going to Big 5, Home Depot, Michaels and Walmart. Fun times. So I ended up not baking cake until today. I have a few weeks until communion so it's okay. LM requested a marble cake so I did that today. Full disclosure - I used a mix and it turned out pretty darn good.
We spent some time talking to the Wilton specialist at Michaels about fondant. I just love the look but I wasn't sure if that's the way I wanted to go or not. After talking to her I don't think it is. We have a tub of Duff's fondant. In hot pink. I figured it would be good for the test cake to see if I liked working with it. It tastes okay but definitely not something I could see eating alot of. I figured we could use the fondant for decorations. The Wilton lady showed us how to make roses so the hubby & LM made some today. They did a nice job.

They used cookie cutters for the bunnies and egg. A nice look for Easter but not for a first communion. I was mainly looking to get the tasted down and I think we did that. I want really simple & elegant so I'll work on that. Sometime this week I plan to make the same devil's food cake that Laurie did. I'll see which one is the winner and make that for the first communion. Stay tuned for part 3- the devil's food cake!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

White Sheets...

Who doesn't love the feel of the crisp white sheets you find in fancy (and not so fancy) hotels. It's easier than ever to re-create that feel at home. On any kind of budget. Retailers everywhere are selling 'hotel' linens. Everyone from Wal-mart to Pottery Barn - and beyond. We actually got our white sheets at the same place we got our mattress and head board. And they were a fabulous price (I can't remember exactly but I think right about $100 for a king) for 600 thread count 100% cotton sheets. White bedding doesn't have to be plain. It can be ruffled or ruched or monogrammed. It can be crocheted. It can be lace. It can be jersey or flannel. It can be fun. But it will always be comfy and inviting and clean.
Pottery Barn has a great feature in their bedding section called the all-white bed. It offers great inspiration for making your own bed all white - or even partially white.

White sheets go with everything. If you want a colored comforter, your white sheets will work perfectly. Find a wild print you can't live without? No problem, your white sheets will work. I like white sheets with a white duvet cover - & here at September Acres we live on the edge - white cotton in the warm months, white flannel in the cooler months. I am considering switching out the decorative pillows to all white for the summer. In the meantime I have blue and green ones giving the bed a little pop. I love the clean, crisp look of white sheets. They're my favorite actually. We also have a set of dark brown ones (trying to keep the hubby happy! He picked them out.) but I love the day when the brown gets changed out for the white. For that week I can enjoy those white sheets on our bed...

I joining Sherry's party today: Open House Party Thursday & Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cake Boss...

Well, not exactly. But I can bake and I can decorate a cake and I like it. LM's first communion is coming up and we are having a reception after mass at our house. We did talk about ordering cupcakes from my friend's new cupcake shop. After a few episodes of cake boss LM has decided she'd rather have a cake. Something like this: Sure, if you don't want to go to college! I was thinking something less ornate, like this:
Something I can make with no problem. I told LM that this weekend we will have a cake tasting. We'll make a couple of cake flavors and see what she likes, decorate a couple 'mini' cakes and she can make her decision. I am thinking of making a red velvet (of course) and a marble cake and she can pick what she likes best.

It should be a sweet weekend...

Monday, April 11, 2011


Bring your own bucket that is! We were at Micheals (I know, we spend way too much time there) yesterday after we went see 'Hop' - a cute movie, by the way. We took LM's friend, S, with us. We noticed Micheals was offering a FREE craft - right up my alley. The girls wanted to do this craft as soon as they saw the buckets. They provided the bucket and tons of foam stickers. If you missed the craft day the buckets are available for $1 each. Not too bad! When we were decorating the buckets I said 'you should leave these buckets out for the Easter bunny to fill when he comes, that way you will get more candy & treats since his egg won't be weighed down with baskets.' They loved this idea. So did the other moms and kids that were there. Every year I try to come up with some brilliant container to use as a basket. And the last thing we need is another basket (and the expense associated with it) so I had already come up with a 'use what we have' idea and was going to have LM leave a container out for EB the night before Easter. But now we do have one more container but at least if was free! :) LM thought it would be fun to make a bucket for her dad and Smokey and the lady @ Michaels was nice enough to let her.Each year I always try to think of fun basket fillers that are not candy or candy related. Like Halloween candy, there is just too much of it and much of it goes in the trash. So I like to find some new ideas. Here are some you may not have thought of:

  • Kid's gardening supplies: shovels, watering cans, gloves, seeds, aprons, etc. In the past I have found these at Michaels, Target & Lowes. This is a favorite of mine!

  • School supplies: notebooks, pencils, crayons, etc.

  • Books - of course! There are always cute Easter books for the little kids @ Target's $ spot. For the bigger kids check thrift stores for gently used chapter books.

  • Art supplies- paints, sketch pads, playdoh, coloring books, stickers,etc. There are tons of websites out there with free printables that you can print out and make into a little book.

  • Baking supplies - for the little baker you can find kid friendly utensils and cookie cutters at most stores. Make a jar of sugar cookie mix (layered with dry ingredients, they just add wet-be sure to include the recipe) and colored sugar for a fun group activity that yields delicious results. You might even come across a kids' cook book @ a thrift store.

  • Gift cards - LM got an iPod for Christmas so itunes gift cards are appreciated and used. Or McDonalds or Burger King for a special treat (a small $5 or $10 card is more than enough).

  • Summer toys like blow up beach balls & floating rings- Easter's late this year so it shouldn't be long until you will be taking the kids to the pool or beach. Cute, colorful flip flops & beach towels.

Everyone always likes a little candy so don't forget a toothbrush! That's always a BIG hit around here - HA. But it's gotten to be a joke around here so LM always looks for the toothbrush.

Make your Easter baskets fun and have fun doing them. Even on a tight budget, you can have lots of fun putting together something your kids will love. I set a budget each year - some years are smaller than others and I find it a challenge to try to stay within the small budgets. I'm always interested in hearing what other people do for Easter Baskets.

I am linking up to Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom, Centsational Girl's Easter Mantel + Linky Party, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm & Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

House Tour...

I love a good home tour. Andy @ Poppies at Play is having her 2nd Annual Parade of Homes Tour. You won't be disappointed if you go! Before you head over there I'd love to have you tour September Acres... Welcome! I love my front doors. When we bought this house I was so excited to have double doors. I always wanted a home with double doors. The original doors were very dark and had a 6 inch opening in each door that served as a 'peep hole'. It was kind of creepy really; haunted castle creepy. I wanted doors that would let in more light so I picked these.
Our 'mud room' - kind of - we have no mud here and it's not really a room but it's our jacket, handbag, backpack, shoe drop area right by the front door and leads into the kitchen & dining area.
The dining area. I love our table - it is compact but we can seat 8. Very nice to be able to do in this small space.
Hallway with my favorite barn star.
The kitchen.
Living room. We recently got this couch from my sweet friend J who was getting a new one. She GAVE it to us! Lucky us! We paid it forward and gave our friends our old couch for their new cabin.
The master bath. Nothing 'master' about it really except that it is in our bedroom. :) We remodeled it about 5 years ago and the change was amazing. When we bought this house there was carpet in here. All I can say is 'ick'!
Fireplace in bedroom.
Master bedroom.

That's all for now! Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To Paint or not to Paint...

that is a silly question. Of course I plan on painting. So we added the back splash which has really brightened the kitchen. There is still a bit of the wall that is dark brown (Chocolate Curl by Olympic). It looks okay but I am thinking something lighter but not sure if I want to go with a pale blue like this (China Blue by Benjamin Moore) or a creamy white like Sailcloth (Valspar)

or something else. I have the China Blue in my dining area which is open to the kitchen. It actually is a bit lighter than shown here. Believe it or not we have no where in town to get Benjamin Moore paint. A crime, isn't it? We had two places but one closed and the other stopped carrying it. There is a great guy at Lowe's who can color match it so I'm not too worried.

So let me know your thoughts. Take a look at the kitchen with the back splash - you'll also see the paint that is there now - the brown. The area that I want to paint is around the windows (that part touches the white cabinets) & a section of wall that is about 2 feet wide (you can see that here). Should I go with a pale blue or a creamy white? Or something else totally?

I will probably go get a few samples tomorrow & paint an area China Blue and see what I like but I look forward to hearing some other thoughts.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning Update...

This spring cleaning thing is moving along. Maybe a bit slowly but moving along anyway. You can tell by the ever growing trash bags in the garage. They should be dropped of at the Goodwill this week. There's also a bag of books and puzzles and games to take over to LM's old preschool. Moving right along. Simple Mom has had 'hot spots' the past few weeks:

  1. My closet - CHECK

  2. Paper clutter - NO check, yet.

  3. Kid's clothes/toys - HALF a check - still working on this. It's one of those things that keeps growing - I go through clothes and realize that her dresser/night stand needs to still be painted after we redecorated her room. An old art cart in the playroom needs to be changed out with a new one that still has all four wheels.

  4. Pantry - CHECK

  5. Whatever you want - you pick the area. How great is that? I vote for junk drawers! Yes, we have more than one.

Confession #1: my pantry is done because I did this a few weeks ago. Probably about a week before the Project:Simplify project started. But it still counts, right? I didn't take any before pictures - just use your imagination. This is my spice/baking cabinet. I threw out all the old, expired spices, old yucky sprinkles and frosting tubes & wiped down everything. I tried to put like things together.
Found the perfect spot for the bright pink fondant. My dad bought it for LM because - well I am not sure why but you never know when you might need it, I guess.
Confession #2 - the fridge is spic and span because WE GOT A NEW FRIDGE a few weeks ago! So it better be neat and orderly, right? I will say it's one thing that is usually kept pretty neat. I toss out anything old on Sunday nights since our trash is picked up on Mondays. We also have a huge fridge for the size of our family. That's not to say that things don't occasionally get lost in the back but it's not too common.
And I had to share this photo. It's the wall cabinet in LM's bathroom. I opened it the other day to look for something and this is what I saw. Don't you just loved the nail polish and lip gloss lined up on the bottom? Keep in mind that this is the child who can't find the hamper for her dirty clothes and leaves towels on the floor. I guess this is a start.
How is your spring cleaning coming along?