Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kitchens on the Brain

Alrighty... on to the topic of kitchens!  I've had kitchen renovations on the brain lately (too much free time = project planning and scheming) and have been trying to plan out what we'll do in ours.  Doug and I have been talking and planning and if all goes well (meaning my leg works again at some point in the near future) we may try to start working on our kitchen at some point in the fall.  So I've been thinking about kitchens and looking for kitchen inspiration.  A friend of mine is thinking about kitchens too-- and she mentioned that I should do a post on the classic kitchen.  Done and done.

Now let me start by saying that everyone will have a different opinion on what the ideal/classic kitchen is.  We all have different tastes, preferences, and styles.  If you are choosing a kitchen I would say-- who cares what's popular or the latest trend-- if you don't love it, don't do it!  Know what you like and find a way to pull it off without breaking the bank!  And this leads me to my next point.  As a mom with a couple of young (and exceptionally messy) kids I can understand then need to have a home that can withstand messes.  BUT, I think you don't have to sacrifice style!  If you love LOVE white kitchens don't choose dark wood cabinets and countertops just because it will hide dirt and kid's messes.  The only thing worse than a dirty kitchen is a dirty and messy kitchen that you don't love!  While you still need to make smart choices and select materials that YOU can maintain (know yourself and your level of commitment!) I think that if you truly love your home you will make it work!

Okay-- now I'm done ranting.  Moving on-- we may not all agree on what a truly classic and timeless kitchen looks like, but can we all just agree that it's not this?

We've come a long long ways.  Can't wait to renovate for reals... 

Now that we've got that out of the way-- let's move on to the pretty pictures!  As I've mentioned over and over and over again-- I'm spending way too much time on the couch these days.  Over the weekend I ended up watching an older movie-- Something's Gotta Give-- and I was struck with the fact that the kitchen in the movie (a movie that's been out for 8 years already!) is probably the perfect example of a timeless, classic kitchen.  Here's a picture:

It's classic but still casual and welcoming.  This kitchen has white shaker doors with a little bit of glass, dark countertops and floors, stainless steel, white subway tile backsplash with white grout-- a clean slate that can be updated over time with accessories.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this kind of kitchen would likely appeal to the most because it's a classic choice.  And 10 years from now it will still be appealing-- it's a timeless look.

Here are a few more kitchens-- while they're not all exactly the same-- they follow the same formula:

And about a year ago I saw an awesome house tour on the House and Home website.  The kitchen in the tour is so similar to the SGG kitchen-- the entire house is beautiful.  I couldn't find a picture-- but you can watch the house tour here.

Now, while I love these kitchens-- they are beautiful-- they are not exactly what I would personally choose.  Over time I've figured out what I really like after looking at countless magazines and spending way too much time on pinterest.  I really really love an all white kitchen-- simple white cabinets, a white or marble backsplash, and white or light countertops.  I like classic mixed with a bit of contemporary.  And I don't like match-y white-- I like layers of different whites.  And I love little details.  And fabulous lighting.  And a mix of different styles and texture.  And pops of color in small doses.  So without further ado... in no particular order-- here are some of my (currently) favorite kitchen images.  (all the following images can be found on my kitchen pinterest board).

Yeah, so apparently I don't have expensive taste at all :)  And I really do like a little bit of everything-- and I really do like many many different styles-- but I think I'm starting to get a good idea of what I like.

Now, about kitchens with stained wood cabinets!  Dark wood or white-- that always seems to be the dilemma-- what to choose??  There are many many kitchens with wood cabinets that I love.  However, I think that choosing a timeless stained wood kitchen can be tricker than white because you have SO many stain color options-- plus you then have to consider how the stain will coordinate with the other wood tones in your house-- like flooring, your dining room table, and other pieces of furniture.  It can be tricky.  But, I think that a dark stained kitchen in chocolate or espresso tones (not too much red) can be a timeless and classic choice too. Chocolate/espresso wood tones are easier to match with other woods and give you that cool bistro, "I'm at Starbucks" feel.  Here are a few of my favorites!!

I could keep going.  I could move on to kitchens with not-white painted cabinets-- those are pretty trendy nowadays.  But I'm feeling a little long winded.  Maybe I'll save that for another day.

Let me conclude by saying-- in the end selecting something timeless and classic is great-- but choose what you love and something you can live with!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Official...

This kid can draw better than his mama.
(please excuse the creepy facial expression.  my bad)

And this little lady likes baby einstein.

Apparently we've spent a little too much time indoors lately :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Free Time and Free Magazines

Oh today.  My first day without someone to babysit me OR my kids!  It's just just the three of us.  I go through moments of laughing hysterically at how hilarious my situation is (seriously-- how on earth does one parent two kid from the couch?!) and the next moment I'm horrified.  How on earth will we survive this day?  We will survive but it's gonna be messy!  I laughed out loud when I read in the info packet I received from the surgeon-- apparently you're supposed to take AT LEAST 6 weeks off of work to recover after this surgery.  Stay off your feet and keep your leg up for 6 weeks.  Somehow mom's don't get 6 weeks... and they sure as heck don't get to collect short term disability while sitting on the couch!!

I won't disgust you with more pictures of my ridiculously swollen feet-- today I will entertain you with a picture of my un-showered- un-makeup-ed, and un-attractive self.  Oh, and then there's that other attractive kid...

So if you know me-- I cannot sit still.  To me sitting still = torture.  Yesterday I was starting to feel a bit more daring-- I'd managed to get out of the house for a bit and thought that maybe it was time to start doing more.  Then I got curious and decided to peek under the bandages covering my knee.  The doctor told me not to touch them-- I wish I would have listened.  I expected to see a row of a few cute little stitches and instead saw a whole lot of industrial looking staples and other nasty stuff.  I quickly re-wrapped my knee and tried to not be so grossed out.  Easier said than done.  In the end it was probably good that I looked-- I needed a reminder to sit still and not do too much-- even if that means the kids go a bit crazy.  I can't mess this one up-- I do not want to do this again!!

Alright so enough about me... and onto something a bit more entertaining and no so yucky.

I love magazines.  Picking up a magazine while I'm waiting in line at the grocery store every once in a while has got to be one of my favorite splurges :)  For years I've subscribed to House and Home and Style at Home and I've kept every issue.  I have them organized in my office and am always pulling out old issues to page through when I have a few moments to relax!  And let me tell you-- I've had more than just a few moments to relax these days!  When you are forced to sit in the same spot with your feet up for 15+ hours a day you  a stack of magazines is essential!

But you know me and free.  I love a good freebie.  Did you know that there are lots of really great online home decor magazines that are totally free?  Many of them are pretty new-- but over the past year I've been checking a few of them out and some of them are pretty great!  While I still love being able to sit and page through my print magazines, online magazines have a few perks-- like videos, playlists to enjoy while browsing, and if you see a product you like clicking on the image will take you directly to the it's website for more info.  Let me share a few of my faves with you:

Lonny.  This one's probably the most successful online mag out there-- and I'm digging it.  They have featured some absolutely beautiful and unique places and spaces-- ones that have become new favorites of mine.  Out of all the online mag's this one-- in my opinion-- has the closest feel to a print magazine.  Definitely one you should check out.  You can start reading here.

Rue.  This one is similar to Lonny-- also a good read.  You can start reading here.

TradHome.  This is a one time issue (I think) that was a collaboration of  Lonny and the print magazine Traditional Home.  There is so so much good stuff in this online issue.  A must read!  You can start reading here.

Adore Home Magazine.  I'm not as familiar with this one-- I think it's an Australian based online mag-- but they've got some good stuff to look at!  You can start reading here.

House of Fifty.  This is a new venture started by a couple of bloggers.  It's pretty new but they have lots of do it yourself user friendly ideas!  You can start reading here.

So I hope you have a few minutes this Monday to enjoy a cup of coffee and one of these free magazines!  I sure will-- if I can somehow manage to find a way to feed and put the kids down for their naps with crutches!!  Let me know which one's your favorite!

Friday, August 26, 2011

One Week

One week since surgery.
One week since I've left the house.
One week since I've left the couch.

It's been one LONG week.
I'm going just a little bit stir-crazy.
Actually, a LOT stir-crazy.

But thankfully I've had lots of help.
And lots of entertainment-- courtesy of this little cutie.

So... one week down... many more to go...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keeping my feet up

As you all know I'm currently an invalid.  For the past few days I've been stuck on the couch... all day... with my foot up, trying my best to not do anything.  Some people would call it a vacation (if you could lose the painful swollen knee and crutches maybe) but I call it torture.  I'm not known for my ability to sit still.  But I'm trying my best to make the most of it!  And since I have so much free time on my hands I decided to put together a collection of the prettiest places to put my feet up.  Really, what else am I going to do?  So without further ado...

Um yeah.  No words needed... really.  Does it get any prettier than this?  Honestly, I could relax here for weeks...


This spot has all the essential elements-- a spot to put up my feet, a little side table and shelves to keep all my stuff on, a lamp to turn on when it gets dark (because I really am stuck in one place for the long) and a chair for a visitor-- a visitor who brought me Starbucks :)

That wall sconce is one of my favorites.  And I LOVE the painted panelling!!

Now, it would also be great to have a spot to put my feet up in the kitchen.  I'm not doing any cooking nowadays.  And I really haven't been eating in the dining room all that often since I haven't found a way to comfortably sit at the table for long  But maybe if I had a little breakfast nook like this...

What a fabulous pillow.  What fabulous windows...

If I could somehow maneuver myself to the window side of the table this spot would be perfect.  I could put my leg up and have some measure of protection from kids who want to jump on me...

The colors in here are absolutely beautiful.  I love love that rug-- although I sure wouldn't put it anywhere near a spot where food is consumed in my house!  But, I could definitely relax here-- there's even a couple of throw pillows to prop my knee up!

This room is a bit moodier than I usually go for with the black trim and bench-- but I love it.  I especially love those pendant lights!  Drama drama.  And that little TV... perfect for an invalid like me!

So as you may have guessed, I'm a wee bit bored these days!  But I figure I can use the time to do some online research and scheme up my next projects.  I have a feeling that the fall could be a great time to start a few new ones...

all images via Pinterest

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Non-Princess Chair for my little Princess...

So some of you more observant blog readers already spotted my birthday gift for Emerson in a previous post.  Of course-- if you know me-- I couldn't help but DIY her present.  For the longest time I've wanted to get her a kid sized chair to sit in.  You know those absolutely ugly kid sized foam chairs you can pick up from Walmart?  Kids love them.  I do not.  I'm all for ugly toys that can be hidden.  But a foam chair is a bit too big to stash in the closet on a regular basis and it's too nasty to leave in the living room as is.  Now there are ready made aesthetically pleasing options out there-- check out Aubrey & Lindsay's blog for a super cute, super stylish option.  I however-- was obsessed with the idea of finding a cheap option... like... REALLY cheap.  This of course means it's time for a little DIY.  I thought to myself... can I make one of those cheap-o $23.99 Walmart foam chairs cute?  Can I make one of them living room worthy?

I was up for the challenge.  I bought this one.  I don't mind a little princess from time to time-- but not in my living room all the time...

I will say that I briefly considered purchasing the foam and essentially building the chair from scratch.  But foam is NOT CHEAP people.  I quickly abandoned the idea and decided that purchasing the ready made chair was going to be the easiest and cheapest route.  Plus, the existing princess pink cover was the perfect pattern to start with.  So one afternoon when the kids were napping I picked the cover apart.  I was soon left with a pile of pieces.  Panic soon set in.

I gave myself a bit of a pep talk-- if I can upholster two chairs (here and here)... I can do this!!  Luckily all my upholstery projects have taught me a thing or two-- and I remembered to label all the pieces as I took the cover apart.  I had 2 meters of this fabric from Tonic Living in my stash from a while back.  Last fall I saw the fabric used to make some ah-mazing drapes over at Rambling Renovators and I was smitten.  I ordered some of the material knowing that I would find a use for it someday.  Turns out it also looks great on a kids chair!  I cut it all out using the pieces as a pattern.  I ended up using just over a meter-- if you wanted to make your own chair 1.5 meters would be enough.

Then it started sewing it back together-- another tip I've learned along the way-- start with the inside pieces and work your way out...

Having the foam chair to fit the pieces along the way proved to be invaluable.  I would pin the seams together first, fit it on the chair, move the pins around if needed, and then sew those seams!

And an hour and a half later I had put the cover back together (insert sigh of relief).  I ended up making a few changes.  The base of the pink princess cover had a zipper on three sides that could be unzipped when the cover needed to be removed for washing.  I knew that installing a zipper like that would take FOREVER and was quite possibly above my skill level.  So instead I opted to attach a panel around the bottom perimeter with a little elastic to hold the cover in place (kind of like a fitted sheet-- remember my tutorial?)  It worked like a charm.  Kids (my kids) like to take things apart-- but trust me... this cover's not going anywhere.  It's on there good and tight.  And here's the finished product!

I think Emerson likes it-- she's still a bit young to properly appreciate the chair... but I think it's going to see some good use and abuse over the next few years!  Not surprisingly, Caleb and his cousins are quite drawn to the chair as well.

Classic Emerson.  Tongue sticking out...

I am really REALLY happy with how it turned out.  It's even cuter than I imagined.  I will admit that it's not a easy sewing project to accomplish-- I'd rank it to be more of an intermediate project.  But if anyone else out there decides to give it a try-- let me know!

Monday, August 22, 2011

We had a birthday party...

Yesterday was my little Emerson's first birthday.  I can hardly believe a year has already gone by since she was born!  Was she really this cute and tiny?

Oh the tight wrap swaddle... I love a little baby all bundled up.  I'm not going to lie, sometimes I still wish I could put you in that straightjacket swaddle for a little bit :)

So as you know, I had surgery on Friday.  I wasn't going to have a party but my Mom convinced me to go for it.  She promised to make all the food and get everything set up, so we invited our family over for a little BBQ and birthday party to celebrate.  All I had to do was stay on the couch and watch it all unfold.

Cupcake time.  When we announced that it was time to pull out the cupcakes the kids in the room went nuts.  Seriously.  This picture totally cracks me up.  It's like she's say... "What on earth are these?  Where have they been all my life?"

I managed to hobble over on my crutches for the big moment.

Blowing out the candles was a family affair.

And finally... Eme's first taste of her dairy free birthday cupcake.  She loved it.

And then she had a major allergic reaction and Doug rushed her to the hospital.  Seriously.  She ate the icing... everything was good.  Then she ate a part of the cupcake and her face turned red, welts emerged, her face got all swollen and she started complaining and itching like crazy.  It was the worst reaction I'd ever seen in her so my Mom and Doug took her to emergency immediately.  After a combo of benadryl and steroids and a few hours of observation to make sure she was okay, the doctor let her come home.  We still don't know what exactly she reacted to-- the only thing in the cupcakes that she had not been exposed to previously was cocoa powder and food coloring.  We'll be taking her back to the doctor in the next few weeks to get it figured out... and we've got a prescription for an epi pen now-- just in case.

Whew!  What a birthday it was.  And it was just another day at our house.  Welcome to our world of surgeries, asthma attacks, and now allergy attacks.  Life sure isn't boring around here... that is for sure :)

Allergy attacks and all-- I sure do love you sweetie!  Happy birthday Emerson.  Your second birthday party will be better... I promise!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My View from the Couch

I made it.  I did it.  Yesterday went well-- two hours in surgery... about 5 hours in recovery... and then I got to come home.  Is it painful?  Yep.  Am I uncomfortable?  Yep.  Am I bored?  Yep.  (Or as Dave Hester from Storage Wars would say-- "YEEEEPPP!!!)  But,  drugs are good.  I've got Pinterest.  And, I've got my camera phone at my side.  Here's my view from the couch.

Crutches.  Bandages.  Skirt.  Yes, I said skirt.  Much easier to put on the shorts or pants at this point.  Oh, and a fan.  It's hot.

I've got my trusty little helper.  Caleb's been hilarious today.  As soon as I sat down on the couch this morning he ran to the freezer, grabbed an ice pack, and very gently laid it on my knee.  So cute.  He's been bringing me glasses of water all throughout the day telling me to drink.  And when Doug was trying to ask me a question this afternoon Caleb cut him off by saying, "Daddy, DON'T bother Mommy, she's feeling sick today."  Ha ha.

Have I ever told you that I'm a pro when it comes to crutches?  Once upon a time-- a long long time ago-- I broke my femur and spent 3 months in a body cast (ankle to armpits... it was the real deal).  I became quite skillful in the art of handling crutches.  While my shoulder injury does complicate proper crutch usage this time around-- they really do feel like old friends.  And apparently other people around here are enjoying them as much as I do...

And... finally... while we're talking about couches... have you noticed that they look a bit different?  Well, they do.  After all my craigslist sales over the past week I had some extra cash sitting around.  So I purchased a used 2 seater ikea Ektorp sofa from a craigslist seller and bought a new white slipcover to match the 3 seater I already had downstairs.  The night before surgery I had Doug and my dad switch the upstairs sofas with the downstairs ones...

And they are white folks.  Very white.  But they're slipcovers... so when the kids puke and spill on them I can just throw the covers into the wash with a little bleach.  We'll see if it works!  For now they make me happy-- and that's a good thing... because I plan to spend a lot of time on these couches over the next few weeks...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The last days of summer

Tomorrow is S-day.  Surgery day.  That means the end of summer for me.  Don't feel sorry for me.  I've crammed a whole lot of fun into the past 2 days.  My parents arrived a couple of days ago and will be staying with us for the next little bit to help out with the kiddos!  This means that my mom and I had two days to do our shopping.  We did good.

Ikea... I helped my mom pick out a few things for her bedroom.  We found a mirror.

Today I went shopping with both of my parents-- just like old times.  My dad drove... I sat in the backseat... the only difference was I had two kids with me :)  We had fun.

Here Eme's got her Toews face on.  Doesn't she look like her daddy in this one?!!

I attempted to take a mother/son picture with Caleb.  Little success.

And then I stopped taking pictures.  I guess we were having too much fun.  I didn't really buy a whole lot-- except for a schwack load of almond milk for Eme-- it's so cheap at Trader Joe's... gotta stock up-- and a fall sweater at Target.  Like I said, it's the last day of summer for me :)  I also ate two burgers today.  One at lunch and one at dinner.  It's the day before surgery-- the day before the midnight fast starts.  Two burgers?  Why not!  Would you be surprised if I told you that my Dad is picking me up a piece of Afterthoughts cheesecake right now?  At 10:15 pm?  You bet he is!

Well, I'm ready!  Ready to say good-bye to this semi-useless knee that is now freshly scrubbed and sterilized for surgery tomorrow morning.  I can't wait to have an ACL again!!  I won't miss you semi-useless knee (well maybe 6 months from now I won't miss you!!)

If undergoing surgery was a profession I could probably make a career out of it.  I'm not too sure what number this one is-- I often lose track-- but I estimate it to be number 8?  Number 8 in four years?  And we're only counting general anesthetic surgery here-- if I included procedures accompanied with local anesthetic and IV sedation-- it might take me a while to do those calculations!  The one thing that's different about this one is that I will have a useless leg, not a useless arm!  This could be quite challenging (and possibly quite hilarious) as I will be attempting to chase after my kids on crutches over the next few weeks.  But... I will likely LOOK much better this time around.  That is one thing I am quite excited about.  I have come to the conclusion that nobody looks good post shoulder surgery.  Can you picture me post shoulder surgery?  I do have pictures that I will never share.  Doug-- bless his heart-- tries his best to dress me and do my hair but seriously now... Doug should NEVER become a hairdresser.  He may be skilled at the art of finish carpentry but NOT at the art of ponytails!  And I hope I never have to wear another one of his T-shirts-- they may be easy to put on (because they really are that big on me) but they look terrible.  So at least this time around I will be a better looking invalid... right?

Well... my cheesecake has arrived.  (skor cheesecake-- YUM!!)  If you're awake at 6:15 tomorrow morning... think of me.  I'll be at the hospital doing my thing.  And if you are bored at all in the next few weeks... come visit me!  I'll be on the couch with my leg up, held captive by Doug and Storage Wars-- but be warned-- my house WILL be a mess :)