Some of My Fall Favorites {2014}

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Fall is my most favorite season because the beautiful change in season, cooler temperatures and the desire to create a more cozy home.

This is the time I find myself cuddling next to the fireplace in the morning with my coffee, a book, devotions or just talking to my family.

My studio calls to me even more than usual when the temperatures start to drop and the light is flooding in over all of my supplies.

Sweaters, boots, hats and bonfires are the norm and the crunching of the leaves underfoot keeps you company on early evening walks.

Fall is when we were married and when two of our babies were born.

Fall to me is a reminder to me how much the Lord loves us.

Even as everything is dying is puts on the most incredible show…for us!

I went walking through our home this morning and wanted to share just some of the little things that make fall a little more cozy.

 

1. I love a day when the turntable is spinning and these records are constantly playing this fall.

* The Civil Wars

* Mumford and Sons

* Carol King

* The Lumineers

2. I love this scent from Anthro but the best part is the new copper lid. Perfect for fall!

3. I start each morning with warm water with lemon, tea or coffee and this cup is my new favorite. I don’t know if it is the cool waffle patter or smaller size but I like everything about it.

4. How can you resist a watercolor painted buck?  I know, right? This beauty keeps me company in my studio.

5. I love to cook in the fall and winter and these are a few of our favorites right now…

* Butternut Squash and Sausage Soup

* Pumpkin Pancakes and Apple Cider Syrup

* Pumpkin Spice Latte

6. I love this tea so much! I buy mine from Whole Foods.

7. This was my gift from Kelly this month for our 16th wedding anniversary.  We took it to the mountains with us when we stayed in Estes for a mini getaway and it is so fun and easy.

8. This course just helped me so much to notice this season and appreciate the changes around me. I may just need to do a course specific to fall each year:-)

9. Sure I drink Earl Grey…but did you know I wear it too?

10.  This movie is one of my all time favorites and just begs to be watched in the fall.  Who agrees?

11. I have this print on the wall heading up our stairs. I read it hundreds of times a week and love the song and the story behind it.

12. I have used essential oils in our home for as long as I can remember but I have been so much more intentional with them the past four months.  I add the lemon in my water, the deep relief on my temples when I feel a headache coming on, the peppermint in the diffuser while I am working or the kids are doing homework, Thieves to ward off sickness, lavender in the diffuser and on my skin, peace and calm in Benjamin’s diffuser to help him sleep and so much more.

13. These are one of my favorite pairs of earrings and the best part is that they were made a crazy artist:-)

14. Coolest book I have seen in awhile. My friend Danielle gave me the heads up on this one and I am so glad and listened.

***

Some of my favorite things about fall that don’t cost almost anything…

long walks and crunching leaves

hot cider

wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire reading your favorite book

crispness in the air

leaves changing colors

bonfires and s’mores

drizzly days and time in the studio

sweaters, boots and slouchy hats

jumping in piles of leaves

pumpkin carving

pumpkin anything

gathering with family

If you want to see our home all cozied up for fall you can check out our recent fall home tour with Finding Home Blog and Better Homes and Gardens.

My Thoughts On Our Marble Countertops

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I have found that so many people have very strong opinions about having marble countertops.

A few days after we had our marble island counter installed an acquaintance was in our home and this was her response as she ran her hands over our marble…

“Oh, my!  You went with marble!  Are you going to regret that?”

Hmm

I won’t even go into the next five minutes of me defending the honor of my shamed marble.

This wasn’t my first experience with the opinions and gratefully I was better prepared this time to stand strong in my choice and to be proud of it.

Let me go back just a bit and explain how we came to getting the marble and what I think about it after living with it for 6 months (the good, bad and ugly).

This was our first big remodel of our home and I was so excited to add new character and design elements into our home.

Keep in mind that it had been 12 years since we had picked out flooring, tiles etc. while we were building our home and obviously there is always a budget. Dang budget…I hate you.

Kelly and I headed out to find the stone that would be the icing on top of our newly built island.

I was so excited!

I wanted to keep an open mind about what kind of stone we chose but I also knew I wanted the island to be a light color because I did not want it to become a dark hole in the center of the room.

We went to many different showrooms and even walked among the huge slabs that were outside (in 7 degree weather I might add).

All of the men working with us kept telling us how awful marble would be, completely ignored me and then proceeded to show me the most manly granite you can even imagine.

I think they thought I was building a manly cabin in the woods.

Each showroom left me more and more discouraged and everything I was being shown I truly hated.

I sank into the car seat as we headed home, turned to Kelly and said, “This isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.” I think I probably sulked the rest of the ride home like the mature woman I am.

Kelly had made it clear from the beginning that he could care less what stone we got and this decision was up to me.

I forgot for a moment that I know what I liked and I just needed to stand up for it.

When we got home and I had sulked some more I gave one of my closest friends a call.

This girl is my artist in crime, travel companion, cocktail expert, best Halloween costume maker, designer extraordinaire and the funniest story teller.

I called her feeling defeated and I told her that I wanted marble for the island and every showroom was trying to talk me out of it.

The rest of the story is why I love her so much and I should have re-created it on video so you would all get a good laugh out of it.

“I hate when people know what they want and people try to talk them out of it!”

I want you to know that I have known Alexis for years and the following phone conversation was the most heated I had EVER heard her.

Alexis has one of the best homes of anyone I know because of her eclectic style and amazing design sense.

She told me that when they were remodeling her home that many of the installers of the tiles, counters etc. made her sign a waver because they didn’t agree with her choices (isn’t that a laugh) and they thought she would later regret what she wanted and they wanted it documented that they had warned her against it. Serious.

Of all of her choices she only regrets one and loves, loves, loves everything else she did.

Who cares what anyone else is saying…even the “experts”. Go with your gut and stand your ground.

When I got off the phone I thought I could take on the world…or at least the guys at the showrooms.

I have traveled to so many beautiful parts of the world and in so many of the hotels, restaurants and museums there is marble that has yellowed, dipped, stained and I find it all gorgeous!

I had originally hoped to find a vintage marble slab so all of the “beautifying” would already be added. No such luck for such a large slab.

As soon as I got off of the phone with Alexis I went immediately to Kelly and let him know that after Alexis’ pep talk we had some marble to pick out.

We then went to an amazing stone showroom with so much stone that we joked that it was God’s art gallery. Incredible stone that I had never seen in my life.

We picked out many different styles of marble and really made our final decision based upon price.

So, what do I think about it now that we have been living with it for 6 months?

We went with a honed carrara marble slab.

1. It is SOOOO beautiful. Truly gorgeous.   I love it so much and we have plans of adding it to the bathrooms when we update them.

2. It will not be perfect for more than 5 seconds…if it was even flawless when you got it.  I went into it half way relaxed and knowing that it would have marks of some sort immediately. Lucky for us our installers messed it up right away so that even relaxed us more.  Half of the things in our home are chipped or scratched because they are vintage.  I only want things in our home that we use and this ain’t no showroom. This is real life and I want to use what we buy.  It helped that I have lots of friends that have marble and they prepared me to just go with it…it is worth it.  We have flat marks, we have a few scratches etc. but I think it is still gorgeous. I really wish I could age it a hundred years and enjoy THAT beauty but I am sure with five of us in this house we will do our part.

3. It is easy to clean.  We only clean it with water.  We do need to look into a sealer that we can apply every once in awhile so if any of you have a great suggestion please speak up.

4. It is exactly the look we were going for.  No other stone would have done it for me.

5. We use it!  We make art on it, do homework, do devotions and enjoy the conversations that happen around it all of the time.  Jack has been known to take naps on it:-)

6. It softens the space so beautifully and will work with whatever direction we want to take the kitchen next.  The marble is a perfect neutral for any other color we want to paint the cabinets or walls.

7. Marble is timeless.  No matter what is in style or trending at the moment marble has been used in kitchens, bathrooms, floors, walls etc. for hundreds of years and they are holding up beautifully.

I am so glad I didn’t settle or compromise on a look I didn’t really like.  Every day when I come downstairs I have never regretted once getting the marble and the investment we made.

I think the moral of the story is to keep your opinions to yourself and let people enjoy their choices, don’t be talked out of what you really want and everyone needs an Alexis in their life!

Fall Decorating Ideas {Finding Fall Home Tour}

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Do I get to wear boots yet?

That is what fall is all about!

OK, maybe fall is amazing for other things too.

How about I was married in October, two of my babies were born in the fall, the cooler temperatures, bulky sweaters, getting all cozy and reading a book, family and friends gathering together more, crunching of the leaves under your awesome boots that you finally get to wear again…

I’m sorry I didn’t mean to go back to the boots.

Maybe we should get on to the decorating.

I am so honored to be included again in Finding Home’s Finding Fall Home Tour!

Don’t miss out on starting the Finding Fall Home Tour from the very beginning!

This is an amazing group of talented women that I get to be a part of and I never take it for granted.

Better Homes and Gardens is a sponsor again this year and they have come up with 100 Days of Holiday Inspiration.  I love all of the ways BHG inspires when it comes to the home. To sign up click HERE.

Welcome if you are coming from The Graphics Fairy.

I love Karen’s style and I know her site is always a source of so much inspiration.

If you are new to my blog I am so happy you are here and I hope you enjoy looking around!

If you love creating I would love for you to check out my online creative network that includes over 30 online classes!

If you would like to know about upcoming retreats, online classes and my shop please subscribe to my newsletter HERE.

Welcome to our home!

I am so glad you have come by and I hope you enjoy peeking around at the clean parts of our home:-)

One of my favorite parts of our home is our front porch.  There are many mornings that you will find me on the swing with a blanket over my lap, devotions at my side and a hot cup of coffee in hand.

Now don’t judge me too quickly but all summer I dreamed about having cocktails out on the front porch with friends. I don’t know where the summer went but I had to follow through and create a mini bar to use this fall.

I have three of these carts from IKEA that I use in my studio to keep my supplies close by while I paint.  Lately I have seen so many beautiful bars created from random carts and furniture that I thought it was worth cleaning out some art supplies!  It was so easy to quickly set up the cart and this will be my go to set up when we have friends over.  Don’t think I have gone all Don Draper on you all and will be having my first cocktail right after breakfast. I may be clinking glasses with my husband though after the kids go to bed.  I think the main point here is that if you live in my area you might want to join me on the front porch soon!

{I may be getting an email from my mom later}

The first room you see when you come into our home is my art studio.  When it looks a lot worse than this it means I have been busy making stuff that makes me happy.

We recently have been working on our kitchen and we have remodeled and changed the look completely.  We still have the back counter and back splash to install but we are getting there.

If you love before and after photos you may like some of our recent projects.

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

*Kitchen Remodel {before and after}

*How we built our kitchen island

This is the butler’s pantry off our kitchen that has become the perfect beverage station for tea and coffee. The kids really like this area during the holidays because I keep extra treats for their hot cocoa when their friends come over.

As a family we really spend the majority of our time in the kitchen and living room.  I love things to look pretty but what I really want is for the space to be inviting, warm and useable.

At the top of our stairs we have a window seat with storage and lots of shelves that we fill with family photos.  Today I just let the musician take the spotlight.

It seems a little weird to invite you into my bedroom but here we go…

I don’t constantly buy new things for our home or decorate much for any season except the little that I do for fall and then Christmas.  I like to rearrange what I already have and to use from nature as much as possible.

Before I set this table the kids and I went on a walk in the woods and found everything we needed.  It was free and when we are done with it we can put it right back:-)

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a look at our home all dressed up for fall.  As soon as I can get my hands on some Cinderella pumpkins and baby white pumpkins they will be making an appearance too.

If you like the photos above of our home I think you would like these posts too…

Fall Home Tour 2013

Christmas Home Tour 2013

 

Our 13 year old son’s bedroom makeover

Our daughter’s bedroom makeover

Going from baby to big boy room makeover

Hallway collage wall

Our home decorated for Christmas

How to add character to a new home

Shop your own home (one room four different ways)

Create your own outdoor movie night

Have fun on the blog tour and I hope to see you again here soon.

The next stop on the tour is Better Homes and Gardens!

You won’t want to miss what they are sharing.

IKEA Hack {how we built our kitchen island}

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When we made the decision to rip out our existing island we had planned on paying a contractor to do the work.

What did we know and how could we take on a project this big?

We knew we didn’t want what we had but where would we even begin to pick out the insides of the cabinets and basic design?

As we were walking through IKEA one night we both stopped in our tracks and were really looking at some of their island designs.

We didn’t want what IKEA was selling for our island but it allowed us to think outside the box and to realize we could piece together the cabinets that would make our ideal island.

With a little puzzle work, a brother that did electrical and plumping, a husband that dabbles in woodworking and a wife that would do the painting…we were on our way.

All resources are listed at the end.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section.

{I don’t think of documenting projects until the last minute so forgive the photo quality}

{BEFORE}

{THE DEMO}

{BUILDING THE ISLAND}

We purchased different size cabinets that would allow us to have two large cabinets on one side, cabinets under the sink, sink mount (we bought our sink also at IKEA) and a smaller drawer and cabinet to the right of the sink.

We knew we wanted to have the freedom to paint the cabinets over and over if needed so we chose the white unfinished wood cabinets.

As you can see we have gaps around the cabinets because we needed to space them out to create the island size we really desired.

We did the best we could to take advantage of the spaces between the cabinets and to make sure we had charging stations and all the outlets we could need.

On each side of the cabinets we attached 3/4″ MDF to build our custom wainscoting and pull the cabinet space together.

This was very important to me to include the custom woodwork and create an island that looked more like a furniture piece and to also incorporate the design elements that are throughout the house.

Anywhere we had gaps between the cabinet we included MDF to close the space.

Kelly was able to use the larger gap between the two larger cabinets to hide our Wi-Fi access point.  The wood panel is removable using speaker grill fastners.  Pretty clever!

These cabinets also were wired for our charging station, printer and microwave.

From this angle you can see all the spacing that is still visible from the top but all along the sides it had now been closed in.

Kelly and my brother were able to do all of the electrical and plumbing which saved us on money and time because we were often working on the island late at night.

We installed the garbage disposal switch under the sink because we didn’t want to have a hole cut in the marble counter top.  I am still not sure I like it there but I can’t say I would love it on the counter either.

I almost never paint anything without trying out the samples in the space and really living with the choices for a few days.

I think one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when choosing paint is to not sample them first.   It is worth the time and small amount of money to see what the samples will look like in your space with your lighting.

Don’t ever rely on the paint swatches for a realistic paint color.

We sampled three colors for the island and we ended up choosing Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore in eggshell.

I am still so happy with our choice and the paint has held up beautifully in the space.

We primed and lightly sanded the cabinets before we painted and we even used paint with primer for a better coverage (Aura by Benjamin Moore).

We also primed all of the MDF before we painted.

Before our Carrara marble could be installed we needed to have the island completely built and ready to paint.

At this point in the renovation we had been without water in our kitchen for a full month.

We were really excited to get the counter and sink installed and to get the water back on.

(I will have a whole other post on my thoughts on the marble and why we chose marble for the island)

Our marble was dropped and chipped the first time they came but here they are bringing in our counter a few days later and it was the beginning of a six month customer service nightmare that has not ended.

I don’t want to make this post about that experience but I do want to make sure my local friends and readers know not to use Stone City to fabricate any of your projects.

You can read my Yelp review HERE.

{FINISHED}

I still can’t believe that we really did this!

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t find the new island so beautiful and functional.

It was so much work and it was hard to not have our kitchen for a month but I would do it again in a second to have this result.

Resources:

 2 Akurum 36″ base cabinets in birch

1  Akurum 15″ base cabinets with upper drawer in birch

1 Akurum 36″ base sink cabinet in birch

All of our doors and drawers are Ramsjo in primed wood (white) so they could be painted

Glass handles from Hobby Lobby

Fieldstone paint by Benjamin Moore

Faucet by Home Depot (we will be changing it out because it does not reach far enough)

Apron sink from IKEA

Vintage grain sack used for a curtain in place of doors from French Larkspur

Yellow metal stools from Target

You may enjoy these recent posts about our remodel:

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

*Kitchen Remodel {before and after}

Top Ten {Links That Inspired This Week}

 

Between blogs, songs and websites it is hard to just share 10 fun links.

I hope you enjoy this Top Ten!

*

Because sometimes what we really need comes in a different package.

1. http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2014/08/god-gave-us-son/

*

I love this girl and her style is amazing!

2. http://www.flowerpatchfarmgirl.com/2014/08/secondhand-wardrobe-challenge.html

*

I can’t stop thinking about this vanity. I have already begged my husband to create this in our basement bathroom.

3. http://heatherbullard.com/2014/08/diy-concrete-vanity/#more-9727

*

This is the coolest project!

4. http://www.jenniferrizzo.com/2014/08/creating-jewelry-storage-trays-upcycled-thrift-store-finds.html

*

This will stop you in your tracks. Love this lady!

5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPIKtKo-spE

*

I am teaching next summer with this girl and I love her heart and gifts.

6. http://homegrownhospitality.typepad.com/homegrown_hospitality/2014/08/bible-journaling.html

*

Good stuff.

7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t8ORnWNSfQ

*

I could look at her art all day.

8. http://www.pamgarrison.com/2014/08/enthusiasm-continues.html

*

This is hands down the best advertisement I have ever seen. My kids are begging to get the game.

9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkPV0JT8bgk&list=PL4CwjKOuVQNXRy34z2I5ALWnaieW8BFL1

*

Sweet look at marriage.

10. http://farmgirlpaints.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-i-want-my-girls-to-know-about.html

Have such a wonderful weekend!

Kitchen Remodel {Before and After}

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Of any project that we have ever done in our home this project made the biggest impact!

We built our home a little over 11 years ago so everything was still nice in our kitchen but my taste had changed.

It took me about four years to convince my husband to go along with painting the cabinets.

What really sold him on going for it was the awesome instruction we received from Amber and Brad at Shades of Amber.

They were amazing at giving us step by step instructions in how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (our step by step instructions will be coming next week).

Our island had always been an odd shape and not a great useable space.  Because the island had two levels of counters it actually made it hard to do almost anything.

Once we knew we were going to refinish our pre-existing cherry floors and add cherry floors throughout the living room and studio we knew we had to make a final decision about our island.

If we were going to change it…now was the time.

I really wanted a larger island that would allow for storage, homework, baking and just a nice place to gather round and talk.

We will be adding a new counter along the back of the kitchen and a back-splash this fall.

I hope you enjoy the changes we have made and maybe you will even talk your husband into painting those cabinets:-)

I hope you will join me next week as I show how we built our island and step by step instructions how we painted our cabinets.

Thanks for looking!

{BEFORE}

{AFTER}

{BUTLER’S PANTRY}

You may enjoy these recent posts about our remodel:

*Adding Open Shelving

*Ripping out the built in desk

*Living Room Makeover

Living Room {Before and After}

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The next two weeks most of my posts will be about our recent remodel projects.

I love these kinds of posts and I hope you enjoy them too.

Today I wanted to share our living room before and after.

We extended our cherry floors from our kitchen into our living room and it made an amazing difference in the appearance of space and the ease of visual flow.

I love the color and minimal grain that you see in cherry floors but the softness of the wood is a huge drawback.

We already had cherry throughout the entry and large kitchen and it was cost prohibitive to start over with another wood.

Over time the cherry darkens and I believe gives the home a wonderful warmth.

We have a lot more dust bunnies and the kids don’t love all of the sweeping we now do (obviously they aren’t pros in the sweeping or we wouldn’t have the dust bunnies).

I am loving the updated space!

{BEFORE}

{DURING}

{AFTER}