Painting In Progress

We have lived in our house for 14 months and for 14 months we have lived with a floor to ceiling tan paint job (with the exception of 2 bedrooms and the kitchen, if anyone is keeping track.)
For some, this would feel like a finished and well coordinated paint job. For me, it feels drab and like the previous owner's house.
You can even get a glimpse of the tan ceiling in the pic below. If only I was as tan as our walls.
This may surprise you but I have matured a little bit (I said a little bit) since I started this blog. Instead of driving to the paint shop, flippin' through a couple of samples, paying for a couple of gallons of what I think it the perfect color, hauling it home and begging Henry to spend his whole weekend painting, I bought SAMPLE SIZES!!! Hooray Nikki! The process of painting it on the walls and living with my initial choices for a few days was a proud process for me. 
Since Oscar arrived we use No VOC paint. The smell is hardly visible and it is safe for the little dude to hang around home while the paint goes on. It must be noted, that we never worried about paint toxins when it was just Henry and I and poor poor Stella! The paint is considerably more money per gallon, but anything for our  Oscar's health and in the whole scheme of things No VOC paint is still a cheap way to transform a space.
Here are the grays I picked out for the guts of our house. While I was at Sherwin Williams I was convinced the top swatch (in the pic above) and the bottom swatch (in the pic below) was the perfect shade. After a few days of checkin' out the swatches in different lights and in different spaces we chose the lightest gray (F). I love light and white spaces, but always make the mistake of going to dark.
This time things are different, samples and all. 
As for the bottom of the wainscoting, clean white. The white we decided on matches our existing white really well, could be an exact match says our neighbor, a professional painter. Again, it paid to buy the samples. The white is Dover White. 

College Roomies, does that color ring a bell?? We had a crazy landlord who insisted that if we pounded too many holes in the walls we would need to buy ourselves a gallon of Dover White paint and fix up the place. Which would be reasonable, if he didn't also spy in our windows and relentlessly try to convince us to join his church. Those things were not in the lease! Needless to say, we were perfect tenants and were happy to tape our U2 and Dave Matthews Band posters to the wall. 

Because of that experience I didn't want to use the Dover White, but Henry insisted that I wasn't being reasonable. Blah blah blah. Those kind of things stick with me.
It might take a few weekends to finish this project, so make sure to check back! I will tell you that the light gray is on, Fleur de Sel by Sherwin Williams, and the ceiling has been painted white (a mix of whites we had in the basement) and I already love living in our house even more than I did before!


TV Nest

I have a stack of old throw pillows that I gather from garage sales and friends that are going to drop them off at thrift stores. So, when I want to create a pile of pillows I buy the fabric and sew up an envelope pillow cover. Always a penny saver in comparison to purchasing a cover or a whole pillow.

My vision for our family nest was cozy and cuddly...

Considering Duluth only has one mediocre fabric shop, my options for cozy and cuddly were limited and pricey. The solution- I bought clearance blankets from TJ Maxx. I got 2 yards of double layered plush fabric for 14.00 each.
Who wants to snuggle?
Double layered blanket tip...fold the pillow in the blanket like an envelope and sew two sides. Stick your pillow and done! I got crazy with the scissors and pinned all four sides on some covers- the layers shifted all over the place and there are some weird puckers and wonky corners going on. And so it goes...

Imagine me snuggled up here saying..."HEnryyy, Oscar needs to know who the Real Housewives are. I am teaching him about pop culture. Quit hovering!"
Our house is always beaming with love;)

PS Oscar's 29th week of life photo is posted!


Feathery Valentine's Day Mantel

The Lovely's 
Feathery Love Mantel

You know how I roll, I grabbed my Michael's coupon and bought myself an armful of feather boas and marabou. I bought this gigantic frame a few months ago to use for a project that didn't work out, since it was only 25.00 marked down from 99.00 I hung onto it and no regrets. 

For those of you who are new here and don't know how I roll...check out last years mantel, which is featured on Better Homes and Gardens Valentine's Day Slide Show this year. Wahoo!

Home Stories A2Z


Mastering the Finished Product

I am not sure I will ever master the art of a finished room. There is something magical about looking at other blogger's big room reveals and wishing I could live in their bedrooms without dirty clothes piled in the corners, dust balls under the furniture and spit up on our sheets. If ever there will be finished product this is it, with a few tweaks, I am happy to say our bedroom is pretty darn cute. (scroll all the way to the bottom for a reminder of the before photo)

I changed the faux roman blinds to clean white. Amazing how a little change, from the darker nursing home version as Henry called them, brightens up the room. It also took a little time to land on the big striped curtains and of course, gotta love the dresser I found on the side of the road.
There are only about 7 days a year that we would really benefit from a ceiling fan. But we will benefit 365 days a year with this pendant light.

The headboard project! Love it every time I see it.
One of my favorite things in the whole room are the photo copied pics of the kiddos.
 I don't have one regret about replacing the mirrored closet door with this chicy vintage screen door.
I received this map as a gift about 8 years ago. I pulled out my pins and Henry and I now share this map to record all of our adventures. The plaque says "World Travels of Nikki & Henry. We haven't been everywhere, but it's on our list.

Short Accessory Stories:
Pillows: I bought one ruffled pillow cover from GroopDealz for 12.00. Quite a deal. Then I decided I wanted a 2nd. I contacted the seller and she told me they were sold out. But WAIT, she had some imperfect covers that she was willing to sell for 8.00. "I'll take it." The maker is her worst critic, I think it's perfect!
Bucket o' Lavendar: I hauled this home from a friend's wedding in Oregon about 5 years ago and still gingerly haul it around everywhere.
Moose Head: I bought this with some Bday money at the The W Store online, with a coupon of course. I waited and waited and waited for it to arrive, with daily phone calls to Oscar's babysitter to see if it was sitting on our front stoop. Finally, I called and they forgot to send it. You ready for this??? They sent it rushed order, reimbursed me for shipping and 10.00 for my patience!! I'll take the 10.00 bucks, but what patience??
Dog Pillow: I made this pillow for Stella out of an old coffee sack. If only she'd enjoy it. Thankless little dog. 

There it is. Any questions?

As a reminder, here is what our bedroom looked like 6 short months ago.

P.S. check out the new Oscar photo and collage.

Linking up at...
Home Stories AtoZ



I have written several posts about thrifty artwork. The Internet is AMAZING! Kind of makes me sound like an old lady who just got her hands on the world wide web for the first time. But seriously, so amazing.

I rounded up some free art work that I love and the best part...it's free for everybody! This is like a giveaway and everyone wins. So, Congratulations!

Fantastic Kitchen Art from Over the Big Moon

Hello free poster for my crap craft room!

I find farm animals adorable. I especially love cows!? Mooo.
Check these out! Vintage Alphabet Flash Cards. I downloaded the whole alphabet, but thought I would share a couple of my faves:) I am for sure going to print sets of these for all of Oscar's buddies! Thank you to The Handmade Home, who also has other fab freebies available. 

Thirty Handmade Days has fabric, yarn, glue stick, ruffles, etc. etc. that could help you rule the world. 
So cute!

All of the images you see here can also be found and downloaded from Everything Etsy Blog, who really did the "free art download" round up. Plus more, many many more.

Please share if you find something you love and print...or just love. 


Bathroom Reno. Update

I put out a teaser a few weeks ago that we were planning on starting a fabulous bathroom transformation, big modern sink and all...

Well, here is the scoop...before we do anything we need to install a fan. We have serious paint dripping and brown ceiling moisture going on. Trust me, it's gross.

You can get an idea of the dripping paint in this photo. Unfortunately, those aren't shadows. Full on, paint dripping down our walls.

Although, I like to boast about Henry's handy skills, we thought it might be worth getting a bid from a contractor to see how much it would be to install the fan. After all, wiring and electrical work could equal d-d-d-danger.

Might was right, the first (and only) bid we got was for 1500.00...and 3500.00 for the additional bathroom in our house that doesn't have a fan. Shut the Front Door!!! I couldn't believe my eyeballs (we got the bid by email.) 

So here we are, runny walls and all. I am sure I will be back to let you know what we decide, because I will tell you what, I will figure out a way of putting that new sink, that is sitting on the bed in our spare room, to use. For a reasonable amount of money. 

Any suggestions? Any general contractors out there interested in making a trade, I am sure there are gobs of you reading my blog!?


Babies Eat Everyday!

Oscar started eating mushy food a few weeks ago and I recently came to the realization that now we have to feed him everyday for the rest of his life. The horror! Next thing I know he will be asking me for a game system!

In preparation to feed another mouth (baby steps, baby steps) we pooled my thrifty and Henry's health conscious parenting skills together and made Oscar a stockpile of food.

Here is our system. (Photos are sporadic but you'll get the point.)

1. Buy fresh organic veggies.
  a. Carrots
  b. Sweet Potatoes
  c. Squash
  d. Broccoli

2. Boil all the veggies. 

3. Blend or Food Process cooked veggies into mush.

4. Put on trays in blobs, wax paper, blobs, wax paper, blobs...

you get the point!

5. Freeze
Busted! Oscar gets organic veggies and the rest of us eat frozen pizzas.
6. Put frozen blobs in Ziploc bags.

100% vegetables at a fraction of the cost of those little baby food containers. We also froze blobs of apple sauce, made from, you guessed it, apples! Defrost a couple of discs for dinner and end of story....until tomorrow.