Monday, October 22, 2012


On a day
 where the still 
and morning gray
 stay unnaturally past their early-hour curfew.

 I sit

with my first born baby.

And watch a movie with her.
Watch it with her. 
Not just stay near her.

While my husband and baby sleep in.

And I soak.

Soak in the mommyhood.
Soak in the calm.
Soak in the gorgeous lines of my daughter's face.
And I let her eye lashes dazzle me.
my eye lashes gather up
memories of her first day being seen.

Her eyes meet mine,
and I smile away tears.
Because they are happy tears 

The camera cannot capture it.

It's only in my mind,
to keep,

In the quiet

my heart 

finds calm.

Finds peace.

Finds joy.

Finds acceptance.




And I wanted to keep it.
To keep 
the joy
 in the imperfect.


Tiny leaves blown in on my unswept floor.

The etchings of a life well worn.

The coat, 
that only gets hung up, when I hang it up ---
in the quite calm,
it fills up my heart
as it sits on the chair
that has the marks I've can't quite to scrub off.

And I can't find anything more perfect.

with that coat's owner...
I had a date night. 
On our couch last night.
A dinner.

And I've found romance inside my home.

And in this quite morning with 
of my little 

I finally feel like showing you my home.

Because I don't feel like I need to make it perfect.

 it is perfect for me.

I've been wanting to get it "just right" for my "makeover photos"
But I can't.

And now I feel almost like I shouldn't.

And so
I will show you:

The dirty smudges on my fridge 
that dance with letters and sheep.

The too-much-stuff on my fridge
tells me a story.
Where I came from.
Where I am going.

J and I heat up some
dairy free 
Mac and "cheese"
for breakfast.

And we don't eat at the table.

And I soak it up.

My DYI letter's needing a pinch of repair
have stared at me through my pregnant days
and now the two bare spots 
make me smile.


Forget the mail I hide from my short-body's-view, on top of the fridge.
And smile thinking about our unity sand
still in the same jar
from the beach 
5 years ago.

I linger, here.
But you can read on.

I wanted to show you,
how I've made a rental
feel like
*You can click any photo to see it bigger*

(It's all been done fairly recently,
as apparently I did all my nesting postpartum!
I was a little preoccupied with going into labor before hand.)

The day we walked through our home 
back in November 2011:

(I took photos of all the places we walked through, so we could stay objective and look back through the places afterwards)

I questioned my new life.
SO MUCH unknown.

Is this the right home for us?

Its tiny.

I was so scared.
So scared to live in a "fish bowl." 
I didn't know if I could do it.

I had to get rid of stuff,
to fit here.

since my first was born, 
I've had to give up things
 I'm just starting to know what humble is.
And its neater 
I used to think.

Quite honestly,
I love this place.
Its small. 
And it's quant.
But it feels

I feel more and more aware of how much I have, despite it being "less."
It feels more and more like the mansion that it is, compared to many homes the world over.

I'm not sold still on the town.
But my house,
is shockingly

you know me.
I like to decorate.
And I really, 
love paint.

That's the only sad part here,
renting =
I'm not given full reign to change things.

But you can do reversible things...

Like change out the light that came with the place.
(You just switch it back when you leave.)

I didn't want to spend much at all.
Since likely, I wouldn't want to use the light when we move.
And lucky for me,
my parents had this thing, 
laying around in their barn, collecting dust,
and they said I could have it.

(The arms used to face down, 
like this:

but I cranked them to face up.
Just takes a bit of muscle, less than I would have expected.)

I had to kill the brassy gold.
But didn't want to go silver.

After scouring the internet for ideas...
(melding thoughts together)

I just bought a dollar bottle of craft paint
in an antiqued mellow-gold.

And painted it on with a brush.

It worked great!

A One dollar makeover!

(For perfectionists, this isn't your best bet, it's easily scratched. But light fixtures, don't get much wear, so I was fine with it.)

The glass shades seemed a bit too "new"
next to the antiqued hue.

So I grabbed out my "looking glass" spray paint I had left over.

And gave them a quick mercury glass treatment.

Its subtle,
but it did nice things for the overall feel.

Ta da!!

As for those, just so... builder's grade cabinets...

I finally figured out a fix!
(Months! AND MONTHS of thinking here, guys. 
I mean I racked my brain!)

The magic???

Dollar store wood grain (easy remove!) contact paper.

I don't have any photos of it being done. But it's a no brainer.
Basically just cutting the paper to the right size, pressing it onto the cabinet, and cutting off any access.

(I tried doing some stripes on a couple cabinets. And it actually looked really cool, but had the wrong vibe for me. It was a bit too 70s than I was hoping for. But it was fun. If I get bored I could always try a new look. This stuff is one dollar!)

But I'm loving it fully covering the fronts here and there.
Gives it a little personality.

And throws things off balance enough
to feel

(I can't help giggling to myself as I think about a very symmetrical friend of mine *cough*B.B.*cough*, and how this look would probably drive her crazy. ;) ) 

That sign above our table is a prized possession 
from my days of working at Starbucks.
I forgot I even had it, until I discovered it rolled up in a drawer as we packed up our old house. 
I was soo soo sooooo excited to get it hung up!
Its about 6 years old now,
so its got "vintage" latte prices
and a discontinued syrup!
Even better!

Our Table was a $40 Salvation Army Purchase.
Its a classic clean lined modern table. 
I love its stereotypical legs.
And it has two removable leaves. 
(One's in place now. It shrinks to a circle.)
Its exactly what I was hoping to find. 
And I found it within the first few weeks of us moving in.

The chairs were an even better deal.
Those were from the University's surplus store
where the sell off their used stuff.
We got 4 vintage green chairs
AND a vintage officey sorta loveseat 
(Photos to come in the living room post)
all for...

wait for it...


It was a thrifter's dream!

I still get a little high reliving it!
One of the chairs was $0.75!
I mean seriously!
I've paid more for a pack of gum!

They are very comfy
and very kid friendly.
And I love them!

Recently, I added some green, patterned, (dollar store,) contact paper to the backs of each to kinda give them an overall connection, other than being shades of green... and old.

The other thing we did in the space
was take the door off of the cabinet that holds our white dishes.
I missed my old dishes display from back when,
so this kinda filled the void.
I feel like it looks better in real life than in photos.

(I know this picture would look better sanz fridge stuff, but like I said, this is who are we right now.)

The mirror above the sink
 was hanging up in our living room at our old house.
I love using it right here to reflect more light into the windowless room.
(There is a florescent bulb above the skin, so double the light now!)

And often as I catch the coffee sign's reflection in the mirror,
being lit by our "new" light fixture
I get a tiny sensation of
a European cafe
that I've never been in.

Our pantry door stays open a lot.
J has figured out door knobs.
She likes it open.
(Our new aprons, I just made, are making me happy.
I didn't really intend for this, but they totally match the space.)

And may I just say... 
I love having a pantry.
Its not big,
but its awesome!
(Never had one before.)

Our stove is old,
but it does the trick.
Its hard to see, but the handle is a dark wood,
which doesn't naturally match anything in here.
I really feel like my dark wood contact paper 
did some magic with the whole pulling things together.

When my kitchen doesn't make me feel like I'm in France
it kinda makes me feel like I'm on this woodsy retreat, 
where I cook up something culinary
 as a PBS show host.

I had been looking for a way to bring a little "more" into the space.
Some more life, 
some more color.
It was all so beige!

I found it in some fake plants.
I love the "freshness" they bring.
I know, I've heard plenty of designers go on and on about only having real plants...
But I was born to break the rules!
(And I mean, how am I support to get stuff to look this good in a room with no light, and with an owner who can't remember to water plants!?)

These plants (and their containers) were found at the thrift for all of about $6.
And they make my day, every day!

With my contact paper, I also created some signs for our dishwasher
to help us keep track of if we've turned on the dishwasher yet.

(dishwasher = awesome = another reason I really like our house!
No dishwasher before.)

I took one of those magnets you get in the mail that has advertisements of some sort on it, and cut it in half, stuck some contact paper on them, 
and sharpied the words on. 

(We have to hide the sign that's not currently accurate, 
up on top of the fridge, 
to keep our two year old from rendering the signs useless, 
as she continually switches them all day.)

And then...
 I got over excited and put some contact paper on our front door 

just for fun!

So that's our kitchen.

I seriously get a kick out of it every day now.
I don't know what you think about my fake wood paneled cabinets,
but they are awesome stuff 
to me!

Cost of my little reno:
When I add up the 
contact paper, paint for the light, greenery and table cloth(s) 
(only one pictured, but I have three more I like to rotate through)

I spent $16 to "re-do" our rental.

Oh and I guess you can add up the $40 for the table and the $7 for chairs.
But really, that came out of the money we made selling our old table on craigslist before we moved.
So...kinda... free.

Oh yeah!
That's the way to do it!

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