Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My love affair... with turquoise.

I have so many neutrals in my house that I feel like I should have to go to a meeting:

"Hi, my name is Lynlee and I am addicted to brown..."

 However, there is one other color that I have always been addicted to - turquoise.  I have always had different shades of it in my wardrobe, especially with jewelry.

I love the way that the color is fresh and bright, but still moody and deep.  I know - contradictory crazy talk... But, it's true.

So, I started thinking, if turquoise makes me so happy in jewelry and clothes, why in the world would I not surround myself with it in my home.  It lends itself so well to the western/rustic/shabby chic/country type thingy that we are working toward.  So, I started out with my front door... A cheery and beautiful way to greet visitors and guests.

So, then I walked around the house, just searching for more places to implement this color that makes me so happy.  Everyone knows that anything that stands still in my house is in extreme high danger of getting covered in a coat of paint - if this obsession with blue isn't over by October, my children will definitely be smurfs for Halloween.

So in my ravenous scavenge for something to paint, I found a cabinet that I bought a few months ago from a friend.  At the time, I had no idea how I was going to use it, but it was so cheap that I took it anyway.  I will never be accused of being a girl that passes up a good deal.

I originally H-A-T-E-D the finish, but her legs were beautiful and the hardware was to die for...

So, I got out my handy-dandy paint brush and did something about it.  I used a color called Plumage by Martha Stewart from The Home Depot.  Fabulous.

The results might be a little too rustic for some people but I am in love.

I wiped the whole piece with a stripper (not the high heel wearing kind...) to take the varnish off and then dry brushed with plumage.  Then, I sanded to remove some of the paint and waxed with a tinted wax to finish.  Finally, I replaced the original hardware that I loved so much.

And check out those legs.  This cabinet turned out to be one attractive lady...

Hmmmm... what next?!?!?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Granite and cinnamon rolls...

First, I have an announcement...

we finished our project of a house!

We are exhausted, tired, worn out, pooped, drained and fatigued.  I would go on, but I am too tired to think of any more synonyms.  I will post pictures of the transformation as we weed through the sea of boxes and try to find some semblance of order.


The one thing I could not wait to do was break in my new kitchen.  And, let's be honest, after hours of cleaning and unpacking, a girl needs some comfort food.

I have wanted granite countertops for like forever.  Not because they are the bees-knees according to everyone else.  Not for the resale value.  Not even because of the way it looks.  For me, it is all about the bread.  I wanted the cool, smooth surface to knead and mix pastries and make treats that would be yummy in the tummy...

 So, it is only fitting that I would break in the counters with sinful pastries.  I should have been cleaning, unpacking, sorting or organizing but, I am a naughty, naughty girl so I made cinnamon rolls instead.  

The dough rolled out nicely and unlike my old crappy laminates, it did not stick.  I can hear the choruses singing- "hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah"

I use the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I have to say that that woman is my hero.  Anyone who can come up with how to make something like this deserves adoration.  After rolling the dough, stuffing it with unspeakable amounts of butter, sugar, and cinnamon you roll, slice and place in the pan.  This is the little lovelies before rising.  

I ignored them for a little while (like long enough to watch a DVR episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey) and they looked much nicer.  However, I was suddenly and inexplicably disappointed they weren't pasta.  Hmmmm... wonder why?
While baking them, I whipped up the icing.  My hero uses maple flavoring and coffee, but I could not pass up a chance to use my yummy vanilla (Heche en Mexico, of course) so I used it instead of the Maple. 

The end result was so yummy that I forgot the whole point of this was to test out the counters. 

Granite. Cinnamon rolls.  Life is yummy.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

This girl and her new windows...

Guess who has new windows?  (OK, I will give you a hint - it's me!)

I am so excited to see the new windows go into the project house.  Before, they were aluminum windows.  We could not decide at first if we wanted to replace them or not, but once we considered the way they looked and the efficiency factor, we just had to bite the bullet and do it. 

Most of the windows were straight forward to replace.  However, a few on the front were a little more difficult.  The day we first looked at the house, I said the arched monstrosities in the front were a dealbreaker.  Every time I looked at them, I could just hear the chant in my head:

U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly, yeah yeah, you ugly.


So when I pulled up recently after work, and saw the new windows, I almost wept big ol' rubbed oil bronze tears.

Ugly plaster arches no more!  They still have the arched window inserts on order but they will be here soon. 

But, what is already there is 1 gillion-bazillion-trillion percent better.  (One of my closest friends is a math teacher/guru.  She will probably tell me gillion-bazillion-trillion is not a number, but I would have to disagree.)

Yay for windows!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beautiful things...

My family has the most amazing tradition.  With a family the size of mine - 2 grandparents, 6 parents, and 8 grandkids that range from the uber responsible & intelligent 16 year-old to the ornery & mischevious 4 year-old - you have to get creative to keep everyone together.

So, a few years ago, we started the official "birthday bash" where we gather the whole loud, rowdy clan together twice a year to celebrate the family's birthdays.  Half are celebrated in the fall, half in the spring.  The locations and activities always vary, but some things remain the same - it is fun, loud, memorable... Oh, I could go on.


 This time, we went to stay at a hunting lodge outside Seymour, Texas, and the result was an onslaught of beautiful things.

The sunrise out of a ground hunting blind was breathtaking.
The native Texas surroundings were inspiring far away...

and up close.

The house was Jaw Dropping (like I am still drooling from all the high end finishes and custom details)

The inside was just as stunning as the outside with super rustic furniture which was so UP-MY-ALLEY!

And details that were perfect for a hunting lodge (just a little sneaky peeky into my personality - I would so rock this light in my house - hunting lodge or not!)

There was an abundance of opportunities for pretty pictures of my oh-so-pretty babies.

And then, there was the most beautiful thing of all.  My heel wearing, bling-rocking, big-city-living sister doing this...

just beautiful...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother's Day and my beautiful baby...

For those of you stumped for inspiration for a personal Mother's Day Gift, I have an idea for you!


I recently had to give my mom a gift, and she is one of those people who are incredibly hard to buy for.  So, I decided to go the DIY route and come up with something that had that personal and handcrafted style to it.

It all started with this photograph...

It is a side profile of one of my sweeties taken on a plain background.  

I then used Photo Shop to create a silhouette of her.  

For you Photo Shop fans, I used the Magic Extractor to separate my baby from the background.  I then layered a dark scrapbook paper over her profile and used a clipping mask to make the dark shadow effect for her face.  Then, I added a patterned scrapbook paper for the background.

It ended up like this after I printed it on photo paper...

I then framed the silhouette in a chunky fabulous frame that looked just like my mom and coordinated with the coloring of my files.

The final product was this... 

It was just one of a set of two.  They looked great as a pair, and I have to tell you my mom was THRILLED!  


For those of you who do not do Photo Shop, you can also do this manually by tracing the profile on dark paper, cutting it out, and attaching it to a background scrapbook paper that you prefer.  I am just a digi kinda girl so I went that route.  


Enjoy, and I hope your mothers enjoy too!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Death of the popcorn ceiling...

I have decided to call our new house the "project" house.  That way every time somone points out something we need to change, I can just say it's a project.

Funky arch windows?  No problem, it's a project.
Ugly yellow siding? We can fix that... It's just a project
No grass in the yard?  Yet another project.

I could keep going, but it is depressing me.  Sigh... This list is really long!


However, one thing I could not excuse for later was the popcorn ceilings.  GAG!

If you have ever considered scraping popcorn ceilings, I am here to tell you: GO FOR IT!  This house had dirty, nasty, stained, ugly, outdated, foul ceilings.  I could not stand it.

To scrape these off, you just have to get them wet (we used a garden pump spray bottle) and then scrape them with a long handle scraper. 

This shows the difference in before and after in the living room.  You can't really tell from pictures, but the room looked literally 2 feet taller in the areas where it had been scraped.  It was a beautiful thing!


However, be prepared for a few things:

Number 1:
Your arms will feel like they are going to fall off.  I scraped one small room and then backed away and left it to the professionals.  They were way more buff than I and made it look easy!

Number 2: 
Scraped. Texture. Will. Go. EVERYWHERE.

(by the way, who put their cracker right there?  What kind of mother am I that my kids were stashing their snacks in the midst of 30 year old texture?  That is gross layered right on top of nasty!)


You might not ever eat oatmeal again.

Maybe it won't bother you, but to me this looked like a big pile of really dirty oatmeal.  I was not a huge fan of it before, but now I might not be able to touch the stuff.


Your kids will not be able to stand staying out of the stuff.  Mine were drawn to it like a magnet, so I gave them a broom and let them go to town.  And... they had a little friend to help - many hands make light work!


Pictures of the newly textured and painted ceiling are coming soon.  Trust me, it was so worth the effort and the time. 

Rest In Peace popcorn ceilings...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Either crazy or genius...

My family has either made a crazy decision, or the most genius decision ever...  We are moving. Again...

I had planned on taking pictures before anything was changed but while I was at work one day, the hubby started putting his boot through walls.  Men... Do they ever outgrow their juevenile tendancies?!?  Gotta love them, though!


So, when we get done, this house will look nothing like what it did when we started.  If you wanna know what we are working with, here is the grand tour:


I love, love, love the cabinetry.  At the risk of sounding old, I am just going to throw it out there - they just don't make cabinets like they did in 1975.  I would not rip these out to save my life.

However, 1975 called (on the 1980's phone) and said they want their countertops back. 


 There. Are. No. Words.


 Can you hear my squeals of delight over this walk-in laundry room through the computer?


One Red Wing through it and this tile all cratered... Mark's evil grin made me think he enjoyed it.  


Yet again, I was late with my pictures.  Where there is bare walls and floor, there once was wood paneling and carpet.  And, why yes, you're right... that is a skylight.


So excited for all the plants that are going to be happy in this room.

We have so much work to do, but it is fun work... So, what's the verdict - crazy or genius?!?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Play Kitchen For My Darlings...

I have a theory in life... If you can't find it or afford it, you should make it.  

This theory definitely came in handy lately when we decided one of my angels "needed" a play kitchen.  She is constantly serving everyone cakes and tea and other creations she has made.  So sweet it almost makes a sappy mama like me cry!

So, we began searching and scouring stores and the internet, but could never find what we wanted.  I am a self-proclaimed snot about some things, and particle board is one of the things that I refuse to spend my money on.  So we narrowed our search to this one... It is at Pottery Barn and cost an unsightly $879.  


I could barely pick my chin up off the floor!  They say you can't put a price on love, but I would dare say that most parents are like me and would draw the line around spending $900 on a toy their princess will outgrow in a few years. I decided I am just too cheap for this toy...

Instead, I found plans for a homemade version on the Lowe's website that would work out just as well.  The plans said *advanced* level... Cue the sound of me calling in my dad for reinforcement!  We ended up with this:

We built the ENTIRE thing out of scrap wood that was just laying around.  Then added some real details that stepped up the style for my babies!

 The knobs are authentic and came from a second-hand appliance store, and the burners are a combination of mortar saw blades (not sharp, I promise!) and furniture slides.

 The sink (a boat sink from a local surplus store) and the faucet (donated by the greatest papa in the world) are perfectly sized for tons of imagination and play!

The refrigerator shelves were cut from a wire shelf bought at a local home improvement store.


And lest you think that their kitchen always looks this perfect... Here is a picture of it just 15 minutes after I staged it for pictures! 

Love those girls of mine...