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August 28, 2012

The New House : Progress... and Painting Prep 101

I'm sorry to have been out of touch for the last couple of days... we've been busy sanding, scraping, spackling, filling and sanding.  Last night we finally got some paint on the walls. 

I documented the process for you so you, too, can have the pleasure of spending hours repairing your woodwork and trim.

It is tedious work.  So much so, that Mike and I did the living room, prepped the dining room... and called a painting company the next day to finish.  Oops.  We really wanted to do it ourselves, but it was just taking us too much time to do it right. 

Before we started most of the woodwork looked like the photo above.  Ick. 

Step 1 : Sponge down all of the woodwork with soap and water.

With the bad comes the good, as do these really pretty glass and brass door knobs.

Back to the woodwork.

Step 2 : Sand the trim.  I sanded all of the spots that had dings and chipping paint.  Then I wiped it clean with damp rag.  

Step 3 : I filled the woodwork that was chipped away with wood filler.

Using a putty knife I filled the spots...

Then used the putty knife to form a new sharp clean edge.  

Step 4 : Patch the walls by filling any holes with spackling. 

We used this spot light to bring out all of the imperfections so we could repair the walls perfectly... or as perfectly as we could.

Step 5 : Sand.  Sand all of the filled walls and trim.  

Step 6 : Finally, paint.  We rolled first, then trimmed. around the edges.

Paint : Benjamin Moore in Manchester Tan
*You can see my design board (including colors and layout) for this room, here.

As I rolled, Mike used caulk to smoothly seal the seams.  We waited for the caulking to dry before I went back and filled in with paint to the trim.

Painted walls!  The house is feeling fresher already.  The color is a really soft warm grey, creamy color... even though this photo was taken at night in bad lighting.  I'll try to get a more accurate photo later this week! 

The paint crew started their part of the house (the rest...) today and should finish tomorrow.  I'll be traveling the next couple of days, but will follow up with a "before" photo tour of the house.

*You can see my design board (including colors and layout) for this room, here.

August 24, 2012

Our New House | Our Real Estate Agent Mary Carol Schriefer

We're officially home owners (again)!  This morning we closed on our new house... let the work begin.  As you know, I've been busy making design plans and pinning inspiration photos and products for what we hope to do with the new house, but a lot has had to happen for us to get to this point, including finding, negotiating and actually buying the house.  Details, details!

I want to give a big THANK YOU to our realtor Mary Carol Schriefer from Mary Carol & Reed Premium Real Estate Services.  In the spirit of full discloser, Mary Carol happens to be married to Pops (my grandpa), but the benefits of her services greatly surpass her family ties.  Mary Carol is an absolute expert in all things Residential Real Estate - from having great taste (like when I ask her her thoughts on window treatments and paint colors), a keen investment sense (she and her business partner/son Brian own investment properties themselves) and insight to the financial side of buying a house (her 30+ years of experience as being a mortgage broker helps!).

When we walked through houses Mary Carol and I would talk about how perfect a Christmas tree would look in the front picture window or how perfect the french doors were that lead from the dining room to the side porch, and in the same breath, she would turn around and answer all of Mike's questions about the condition of the windows and foundation.  I knew she would be the perfect agent for us because not only is she is a very smart (and self-made!) business woman, but she knows the importance of living well and how crucial a gracious home is as a part of a comfortable life.

Besides Mary Carol's experience in the business, Brian (her partner, as I mentioned) owned an appraisal business before he partnered with his Mom to start their agency and he was able to share with us his knowledge about the true value of various homes we considered.  Talk about full service!  Thank You, MC and Brian for helping us find our new home!

Visit Mary Carol & Brian's website,, for more information about their services.

Another big Thank You to Melanie Reed (Brian's wife) for doing a wonderful job as our mortgage broker.  You made it painless!  Visit Melanie's page for more information about her services.

August 23, 2012

The Girls | Sam & Emma at Moo Moo's House

Over the Fourth of July weekend, my friend (and our wedding photographer) Claire Ryser came out to my Mom's house (aka Moo Moo) to take some photos of the girls and our family.  It was an early morning and Emma was a little shy, but Claire was able to capture some really cute moments from the girls.  I love this sweet blushing Emma above - it is one of those sweet little looks that I might have never thought to shoot.

All photos by Claire Ryser.

The girls are being silly on their Moo Moo's chenille baby blanket.  Sam was saying "I'm going to get your nose, Emma!" 

Sweet babies.

Classic Baby in a basket.

It is amazing how much more hair she has now - just a month later than this photo... and the teeth that have come in that she seems to be working on in this pic!

We were telling Sam to give Emma kisses.

We close on our house tomorrow morning!  I'm headed to pick up paint and painting supplies.  The search for area rugs and light fixtures continues over the weekend - wish me good luck!

August 20, 2012

Our Bedroom | Design Board & Inspiration... Which Wool Blanket?!

Our bedroom is next on the list.  I do not have a real vision for this room... I feel like I'm just picking things in my typical shades and calling it a day. 

For the moment, I've ordered the satin stitch duvet and shams from Restoration Hardware in Ivory with a Ash grey stitched stripe (pictured in the top left of this photo).  They came in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I really like them.  It is a little more refined than my beds have been in the past, but it is really very classic looking and I think it will give our room a luxurious feel without much fussiness. 

I think I'm going to go with Pumice on the walls (see light cool grey paint chip on the bottom center of the photo to the left).  Or should I go with the dark gravel?  Would that give the room more of a distinct look?   I feel like the lighter grey will be very soothing and classic.  Right?  Or boring?  Hum...

 We'll be keeping the new headboard that we made (see DIY here!) and will be finishing it with the foot board and side rails, making it a hefty freestanding, real bed.

The next decision will be on what accent blankets... I love the look and feel of real wool blankets and I found these on Katy Elliott's blog (another blogger from Massachusetts).  Like her, I'm drawn to the neutral light grey and taupe selections from Prince Edward Island from MacAusland Woolen Mills.  Aren't they pretty?  Starting at $49 for a throw and $89 for a queen blanket sounds amazing to me for a really classic wool blanket.  Now, if I could just decide which one(s)...

Then there are these (above) from Pendleton... Also lovely and around $100.

Also, I have purchased a 13x22 heathered grey cashmere pillow from Restoration Hardware.

And for the bedside...
I'm crazy about this side table from Wisteria... but the price is a little high - especially because I'll be purchasing two.  Have you seen something similar anywhere else for less than $600 each?  Or is that a good price for such a nice looking table?  I really do love it...

August 18, 2012

(another!) UPDATE : New Date Added! | Fall Entertaining Workshop in October | Kansas City Cooking Class

This is for all of my Kansas City area readers - I'll be doing a classes at A Thyme for Everything this Fall and Holiday season.  The first class I will be doing is a Fall Entertaining class with comforting and cozy menu... the best butternut and beef chili, homemade mulled cider and s'mores!  (See the complete menu below)

My "classes"are more like workshops/parties - really casual, social and fun.  Not only do I share recipes and tips, but I'll show you how to use the beautiful Fall produce to make displays for your home and parties.   For this class, everyone will have the chance to take home heirloom pumpkins from a local farm.  

I hope to be able to meet some of my loyal KC readers in person!  Register Here!


Fall Entertaining : A Pumpkin Harvest Party, $55 per person

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
A Thyme For Everything, downtown Lee's Summit

(another!)**UPDATE : We've added a third date for the class in addition to Tuesday, Oct 16th and Thursday, October 18th.  The 3rd class will be Tuesday, October 23rd at 6pm!

Fall parties are all about comfort food served in a bountiful and simple style.  For this Fall Entertaining class, Jenny will prepare a complete seasonal menu that would be perfect for any Fall party.  The menu features new twists on classic Fall favorites- like sweet butternut added to hearty and spicy beef chili, and a Fall inspired salad with apples and cranberries.  You'll also learn how to easily make fluffy and light biscuits from scratch that are full of fun flavor with cheddar and jalapenos.  Jenny will show you how to create a display for your party featuring heirloom pumpkins and other harvest finds.  Farhmeier Farms will be there with a large selection of heirloom pumpkins to purchase.  We'll end the evening with Bite-Size S'mores that you can make in the oven... always a huge hit at her parties!

Creamy Blue Hubbard, Goat Cheese Spread
Hot Mulled Cider served in Mason Jar Mugs
Harvest Salad with Greens with Apples, Cranberries & Homemade Vinaigrette
Butternut Squash & Beef Chili
Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits
Bite-Sized S'mores
Heirloom Pumpkins & Gourds with Fahrmeier Farms

Register Here for the Oct 23rd class!

August 17, 2012

We've Moved! Sorry for my absence...

This was the big week - we've packed, and packed, and packed, said goodbye to Concord Mass, then said goodbye to Boston, flew home yesterday morning, arrived yesterday afternoon and have finally settled in... temporarily as we bounce from our parents' to parents' homes.  We close on our house at the end of next week!  Until then, I'll be without kitchen and craft room so I'll be sharing more inspiration, plans and purchases for the new house.  Look for those all next week.

Today, I'm sharing our first 'real' family photo that we had taken over the 4th of July weekend.   Thanks Claire Ryser for great photos!  I'll be sharing the photos of Emma and Sam in the next couple of days!

Have a great weekend!

All photos by Claire Ryser.

August 13, 2012

Emma's New Room | Inspiration from a BlaBla Doll

I have been struggling with what to do with Emma's new room in the new house.  As you recall, her nursery (that she's lived in for an entire 8 months...) was a really soft blue, ivory and grey.  I still love the room... when everything is put away including all of the various colored toys, stuffed animals, books, blankets, etc. that she has received as gifts- which is rare.  With all of those other colors in the room, it can easily become a hodge-podge, rather than a creamy soothing soft nursery. 

Because I like for her to be surrounded by all of those fun things that have been given to her by loved ones (instead of just the creamy white toys and stuffed animals we purchased for her...), I've decided to stop fighting the color that is creeping in and embrace it.  A little.

We received this "blabla" doll from our friends last week and it hit me - inspiration.  I loved the color combination - the pale blue with a really soft pink, grey, slate blue, white and pops of green and strawberry pink.  It seemed fun and whimsical while being soft and cuddly at the same time.

I'm still not exactly sure how I'm going to execute it, but here is a rough idea.  The cream crib, slip-covered chair, cream area rug and wooden changing table will remain the same, but I'll be making some striped curtains that will mimic the skirt I bought (maybe trimmed with pompoms?), and finding/making pillows to bring in more colors.  There will also be a play area made from an upholstered bench (that used to be in our living room) with baskets underneath.  My hope is that it will still feel cozy and soft, but a little more fun and whimsical with extra color.

August 10, 2012

Simple Summer Supper Menu | Lemon Orzo & Squash, Teriyaki Marinated Steak & Heirloom Tomatoes

Our dinners have been really simple lately - just fresh vegetables and some sort of protein like grill steak or fish.  I've enjoyed eating so freshly and seasonably, but needed a little something more... um, interesting.  Is that the right word?  I just needed something that was more complex than sliced vegetables or steamed potatoes.  Yesterday, I made this orzo pasta salad that had sauteed yellow squash, green onions and lemon.   It was a great new dimension to our sweet teriyaki marinated steak and sliced heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella. This would be a great menu for a party.  Everything can be made ahead of time - just throw the steaks on before dinner. 

I can't wait for the leftovers for lunch... 

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad 
with Yellow Squash & Green Onions

1/2 box of orzo pasta
1 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small yellow squash, small dice
8 green onions, sliced
juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Cook the orzo pasta in salted boiling water just until it is cooked, but still firm.  Drain - do not rinse. 

Saute garlic and squash in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the squash has softened slightly.  Add to the cooked orzo.  Also add the sliced green onions. 

For the dressing, mix together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour over the still warm pasta and toss. 


I used a homemade teriyaki marinade for our steaks - it was sweet and spicy... so good.   I'll share the recipe next.

And of course, a staple around our house... slice heirlooms with fresh mozzarella. 

August 09, 2012

The New Living Room Design Board | The great rug debate...

As I mentioned last week, we are in the process of buying a new house.  We don't move in until the end of the month, but I'm making design decisions and purchasing some new furniture in the meantime.  If you're following me on pintrest, you'll recognize the photo on the left as my inspiration for our New Living Room. 

I've put together the layout above using InDesign to help me with the scale of the room to make sure everything I'm planning will fit nicely.

After some long debates (in my head, with Mike and my sister), I've made some firm decisions regarding the new ottoman, wing back chairs and a light fixture.  Things that are still up for debate are the final paint color (I know the hue, just working out the saturation...) and the rug.  Double 'ugh' for the rug.

 We'll be keeping our current sofa (thank goodness for the budget's sake...) that is upholstered in a natural "sand" belgium linen.

I've decided to purchase the 2 of the Slipcovered Wing Back dining room chairs from Restoration Hardware.  My inspiration for these chairs is from the photo on the left of the Barefoot Contessa's home from House Beautiful. 

I'm going to have them flanking the fireplace in the Living Room, but will be able to move them to the dining room for special dinners.  The price is a little expensive for dining room chairs, but a steal for a living room chair... so, since I'm going to be using them as both, I'm justifying the expense. 

I'm going to have them done in Fog grey linen, as pictured above.  They are a great scale, measuring 25w x 27d x 47h.  Not too too big for our house, but still very comfy.  I also like that the wing back gives it a stately stature, but the slipcover makes it casual.

The ottoman has been another point of debate... what upholstery?  Because I'm doing the grey Fog Linen for the Wing Backs, I've decided (finally...) to have it done to match the sofa in Sand Belgium Linen so I don't add too many fabrics into the room.  I plan to have various throws, interesting drapes and pillows that will add color, dimension and pattern to the room.  I'd rather stick with the basics for the main pieces, then have more fun with things that can be changed easily and often- as I'm known to do it for each season.

I have always loved brass fixtures and plan to do them throughout the house to match the existing brass doorknobs and hardware.  This one is from Circa Lighting.  Hopefully my budget will allow to have multiples of these... if not, I'll settle for this one in the foyer, and something complimentary for the rest of the house - bedrooms, hallways, etc.  

I want the walls in the entire house to be very neutral and light.  I really like Stone and Ash from the Slate collection at Restoration Hardware.  Ash and Stone are not pictured in the swatches on the left, but they are from that collection.  Ash is the swatch to the right.

Now onto the rugs...

This rug from Ballard Designs, I love.  I love the colors, I love the pattern, but I don't love the comfort level of the flat weave or the price.  It is still the inspiration for what I'm looking for, though. 

This is another rug from Ballard.  I also love it - I love the contrasting pops of dark colors.  I think it adds a sophisticated element to an otherwise light and airy rug.  It is only available in a 6x9... so maybe I settle for it in the dining room?  But, I still need a rug for the living room...

This is the rug my sister has in her living room (that I love because I help her pick it out).  I love the colors, but not sure if I want to mimic exactly what Jill's done in her house, just for the sake of copycat syndrome.

I also like this rug from Pottery Barn.  Jill also has it in her hearth room.  I also helped her pick it out.  I'm wondering why I helped her so much : )  But, the real debate is if I want something as graphic, or if I want a more traditional Persian style... I do love the cleanness that the graphic pattern gives, but I like the classic look of the Persian...  Did I mention double ugh?

This rug is from Pottery Barn, also.  I like the colors and the traditional Arts & Crafts block print.  I think it would be a great classic look, but a little modern because of the clean block print. 

This rug from Pottery Barn struck me as interesting and eclectic.  I think it would add major interest to the living room... maybe a little too much?  

Amy I missing any other rugs out there?!  Your help would be appreciated!
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