a lost month

Time has a way of always moving forward even when your life seems to stand still.  August came with many changes for my family.  Some happy and others incredibly painful.  It is hard to believe how much can change in just one month.

As we prepare to say goodbye to August and unofficially  start fall, I want to remember that we did make it to a beach this year, even if the water wasn’t salty.  It never feels like you had summer if you don’t spend some time at a beach.


Both of my children are now in preschool.  Bridget goes three days a week for pre-k and Paddy goes one day a week to mother’s-day-out.

Today was the first day they both went to school for a full day.

I felt both elation at having a day to myself for the first time in 4-1/2 years and also that pang in your heart knowing that your babies are no longer babies.

I am using the first six Wednesdays that they are both in school to take a beginning class in upholstery at ModHomeEc.

This is the chair I am going to paint and recover.

This is how the chair looked after our first class. The first step is to remove the existing upholstery and I sanded the chair down so I can paint it.

So as something ends, something also begins.


not a box

It is NOT A  Box, it is a choo choo train


My children love to play in boxes, today we made a train out of diaper boxes that I have saved.


Happy news, three dearest cousins no longer live 5000 miles away!

We celebrated their arrival back to the States with a hot tub party and lemonade!


animal friend (or lizard) carrier

There is a great new sewing shop in town call The French Seam.  They carry lovely designer fabric that you can’t get at Joanne’s.  I picked up this book by Oliver + S there and it is full of adorable things to sew for children.  My first project was the animal friend carrier.  I made one for Bridget and Paddy, but Paddy only wore his for a minute because he has no interest in stuffed toys.  He would probably wear it if I put a digger in it.

Notice the lizard in the carrier along with her zebra friend. My children both love (but especially Bridget) the rubbery, squishy reptiles and dinosaurs.  Target had all of them on clearance for $0.83 so we came home with several yesterday.  After I finished sewing her carrier, she wanted to carry her lizard around in it.  She also gave it about six baths yesterday.

Every time I went into a bathroom, the water was on and lizard was getting soaped up, he also went swimming in the pool and had sunscreen and lip gloss applied.  Most little girls would want to carry their dolls around, and I her put her American Girl doll in her carrier, but that lasted about 30 seconds. . .


backyard camping

I am not a camper.  The few times we went camping as a family were very painful. I told Patrick early on in our marriage that the closest he will get me to camping is to stay at a hotel where the door opens to the outside. My husband, however, has fond memories of it as a child and promised Bridget that they would backyard camp this summer.  He woke up Friday morning and informed her (not me) that they would do it that night.  You don’t mention something like that to a four-year old and not keep your promise. Because we don’t have a backyard we set up “camp” at my parent’s house who fortunately live on 10 acres with woods, a creek and plenty of firewood.

Patrick proved to be a first rate camp-fire builder and it was the first time in years that I have had a smore!

Unfortunately he did not build the benches as well, and I sat down and broke the board clear through!

The best thing about camping out in the backyard, is that around 11 pm, when you realize that your four-year old is not going to actually sleep in the tent, you can take her inside and put her to bed.

OTHER NEWS: My baby turned two at the end of June. Here are a couple of pictures from his party.

I made his shirt and pants out of a very cute Japanese transportation print.

and now the after!

Our kitchen remodel took an amazing 38 days from start to finish (that includes weekends!)  This is pretty amazing considering some of the stories I have heard about it taking months and months and because it was a complete gut!

The finished product

This was our first major home renovation project and I learned a lot going through the process.  It was challenging enough to make all of the decisions about one room, I don’t think I could ever build a custom home, because I would not be able to make the decisions about design, lighting, floring, etc. for an entire home.

I wanted a slate floor, but my contractor convinced me this porcelain tile that looked like slate was more durable and easier to care for.  I also wanted Carrara marble and was told it was too difficult to care for with small children, so we went with a white and gray granite (cashmere white.)

We chose white shaker style cabinets.  The one thing I changed my mind on after the installation, was the flat front drawers – I think it is too plain, so we reordered shaker style drawer fronts that will be installed in a few weeks along with the cup pull hardware (which is why the drawers are missing their hardware in the photo.)

I love my white cast iron enamel Kohler apron front “farm sink.”

My contractor also suggested doing the window ledges in granite and I love it!

We choose a simple white subway tile backsplash with a dove gray grout.  I LOVE my new 6 burner 36″  pro- range.  Notice it even has a window with a light!  After cooking on a  cheap electric range for a year, I am so happy to have gas again!

The window seat is already a favorite!  We are planning on having a table made to fit in the eat in space, using the bench as part of the seating.  I wanted a TV in the kitchen, so Patrick bought the biggest one possible for the space.







The wine cabinet sits where a big butcher block and our trash cans were.  Our trash cans are now hidden in the island –  another favorite feature!

Our fridge and microwave are where the old built-in used to be.  We were also able to gain about 16″ of space by moving the wall back, which really made the kitchen feel bigger.  The cabinet on the left is a pantry with pull-outs and under microwave is a little catch-all space.  The DVD and cable box are hidden in the cabinet above the microwave.

The view from when you enter from the mud-room.  I love the school-house pendants we got from Rejuvenation. They are period appropriate to when the house was built in the 30’s.  We painted the walls a light gray called Icicle from Sherwin-Williams.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures, but better yet please come visit it in person!

a new kitchen, but first the old

When we bought our home we purchased it with the intent to replace the kitchen.  We looked at several homes with beautiful expensive kitchens, but they were not what we would have done.  We had the kitchen designer out during our home inspection last August to begin to draw up plans, but it took many months to finalize plans, determine budget,  purchase appliances, and select light fixtures, flooring, paint, granite, etc.

We began demolition on June 1st.  Below are the before pictures and the many reasons, why the kitchen had to go. . .

  • The cabinets are hung low (notice the lovely bulkhead above them) so that my kitchen aid mixer and coffee maker do not fit underneath.
  • There are only two ugly pendant lights to light the entire kitchen
  • The entire kitchen ran on two electric circuits, so that every time I used the microwave and something else the fuse would blow!
  • There were only three outlets in the entire kitchen, one of them looked like it was in the movie, “A Christmas Story.”
  • Notice the lovely electric (I prefer gas) Hot Point range that does not even have a window in it.
  • The cabinets were at least 50 years old and did not work that well
  • There were two different wood floors in the kitchen, neither in great shape
  • The walls were plaster and had no insulation. My dishes were well chilled in the winter!
  • The only redeeming factor were these beatufiul lead glass built-ins (we saved  glass), but they made the entire kitchen awkward and stuck out too far. 
  • The area under the built ins, was also low and had no outlet, making it a junk collecting space because it could not be effectively used as kitchen work space.

  • There is an eat in space, that we are keeping, but building a bench seat by the window, ditching the mini-blinds and putting in a large TV where the artwork is.
  • There was an awkward “L” shaped counter that stuck out and carved up the entire space, complete with bulk head above (that served no function!)

So far we are surviving the experience of not having a kitchen for a month well.  We have the microwave, fridge and toaster oven in the dining room and we are eating at my mom’s for dinner most nights.  I feel a little off kilter because the kitchen is the hub of the home and where we hang out the most, but  I am thankful for this problem of luxury.  New pictures of the finished kitchen should hopefully be coming at the end of next week. . .

Pillow Case Dress

The idea of a pillow case dress is as old as the hills.  I have been wanting to make one for forever and finally did.  I followed these instructions from Freshly Picked.

It turned out cute, but I think it also looks like Bridget is wearing my old pillowcase.  I think if I bought contrasting color bias tape instead of making my own out of the pillow case scraps and added an embellishment to the bottom it may look more like a dress.  Here are a few pics of Bridget as a baby when the pillow case in question was still performing its original function.

And because little boys don’t wear pillow case dresses, but they do “mow” the grass

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