Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas cartoon

It's my first day back at work and of course I can't concentrate, so I have been fooling around with my photo software. Kyle and I volunteer every year at the Baltimore Symphony's Holiday Spectacular show, and get our picture taken as part of the project we help with. Here is this year' a cartoon!
And the original, pre-crop and cartoon.
I hope everyone enjoys the last few days of the year and Christmastime!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Here's a picture of me with a swatch of the fabric I ordered for the curtains in the living room. When I went back to JoAnn's to order it, I found out it was actually 50% off, instead of the 40% I was expecting. So I got 15 yards at just $10 each! Now, if I can only decide what to buy with that extra $22/yard I'm saving by not buying it at the fancy upholstery shop... :-)

Gramma took the picture while she and Papa were here visiting - I'm still waiting for her to be a guest blogger and tell about their visit! C'mon, Gram!

Finally, please excuse how large my rear end appears in this picture. I've gotta ditch those jeans.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear Santa,

Thank you for the beautiful house that you and the Easter Bunny gave me and Kyle. We just decorated it this weekend so you'll be able to find it in 10 days! Doesn't it look nice?

This year, our family is coming to visit. I really want the house to look great for them, so we're trying to finish lots of projects before they come. We still have to finish our work on the stairs, do a little bit of painting, and hang a light. Then, we have to clean - the house is a mess right now! There is dust everywhere from drilling and sanding and sawing. And flour all over the kitchen from baking cookies for you! And then, when we're done cleaning, we have to decorate! We still need to get a tree and deck the halls - all two of them.

So, Santa, this year I'm just asking for one thing, but I need it early...can you please send me an elf to help with all this?

Love, Katie

19 months and 3 new stairs

Can anybody else say that your husband can come home after playing hockey, whip up a brand new beautiful staircase in front of your eyes, give a concise biblical history of where Christianity/Islam/Judaism split (complete with verse references), and randomly belt out tunes from the Phantom of the Opera, all in one morning?!

Kyle is quite the renaissance man, and has taught me so much during our first 19 months of marriage. Plus, he lets me cut his hair, which is really fun.
Pre-hair cut, in the wife beater. Oh, yeah.

We wanted to update the railing, newel post, and balusters, since they were all a little worse for the wear and dingy. We also wanted to change the risers from natural to white, to add a little bit of architectural interest and go a little more formal in the living room. We got more than we bargained for when Kyle took the old railing out and realized that with the new newel post which was sized slightly differently than the old one, the existing baluster holes in the treads wouldn't work. Long story short, it was easier to replace the treads (so he thought at the time) than to fix the holes.
Preparing to attack the stairs

The old treads with filled baluster holes- never quite worked out how Kyle hoped

Buh bye, old stair treads.

Welcome, new treads and newel post!

Kyle put the edging on the stairs, stained, and added the first coat of poly.

Caution: wet stain. We have perfected the art of climing up to the top of the ladder and jumping to the landing to get upstairs.

Tonight he plans on drilling the holes for the new balusters, and sanding that nasty old trim on the wall. A former resident of the house had painted right over stained wood, so the old white paint is peeling off.

In other news, we finally received the correct thermostat for our heated tile floor in the upstairs bathroom. It is AWESOME! So nice to get up in the morning and walk onto a toasty warm floor. Thanks, Kyle for having that great idea and making it work! Thanks, also, for re-grouting the tiles where I spilled red nail polish a few weeks ago, and letting me off with just one warning never to do it again. That is why I love you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

breaking up is still hard to do

You may remember way back when we were choosing a realtor that I had to break up with a few of the ones we considered. Well, it was a good thing I gained some experience because I just had to break up with the lady at the store that we were considering having make curtains for our living room.

Paula spent a lot of time with me, in the store looking through fabric swatches, coming to the house to measure, and searching for hardware that would work in our bay window. Aah, the memories. But, like most break-ups, it came down to money.

Yup, she got greedy. The fabric I chose was $32/yd at their shop, plus about the same cost in labor per yard. Mother-in-law Margie helped me find the same stuff for $19.99/yd + 40% off at JoAnn Fabrics! So, I'll be placing an order there this Saturday and then begging my mom to make them for me. Don't worry, Mom, you'll figure out how to do the lining. You've got plenty of time to learn - after all, you are retired now.

AND I remembered that Newell Rubbermaid, where my sister works, is the parent company of several window treatment/hardware lines! So I can get the same hardware Paula wanted to sell to me for like $400 for much, much less.

Well, Paula, it's been fun, but just remember, it's not's me. (Boy does uttering that phrase remind me how happy I am to be married!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Day review

Hi there- wow, I didn't realize quite how long this little break was that I just took! It wasn't intentional, I promise, I guess things just got a little busy!

We hosted Kyle's side of the family for the first Thanksgiving at our new home(9 adults and 5 of the cutest little girls you've ever seen, all 4 years old or younger) and had a wonderful time and a great meal, if I do say so myself! Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.

Father-in-law Terry carving the turkey

The kids' table! From left to right, Kate, Emma, and Paige.

Gramma always likes to have a picture of the table - nothing too fancy here but I like the fact that we're grown up enough to have 9 people over for a holiday, and have real chairs (ok, one desk chair) for them to sit in and matching place settings!

Kate got a new angel costume from "Mimi" for the church pageant, so of course she wore it most of the day and tried to fly (from the ottoman to the couch).

We don't have many (ok, any) toys at our house so I like to let the girls use my camera. This is a shot of me and Emma, by Kate.

I knew buying a new couch for the tv room, aka Service Porch, was a good idea. Little did I know it could hold seven humans. And one duck.

We accomplished a lot of projects in preparation for Thanksgiving, and now have a few more to check off the list before my family arrives for Christmas. Nothing like company as motivation to get things done! More to come tomorrow on some of the latest.

Until then, many thanks to all of our family for a wonderful Thanksgiving! We loved having you all here!

Monday, November 10, 2008

busy bees

I'm going to steal Kyle's funny line today and say that I am happy to be at work so I can relax! We had a really busy, but very rewarding weekend, making a lot of headway on our list of things to be completed before company starts coming...see you in a week, Gramma & Papa! Here are some things we got to cross off:

1. Dresser mini-makeover
We snagged this sub-$300 dresser at Ikea and are loving it for its spaciousness, smooth action drawers, and style versatility. However, the round burnished metal (really chincy metal) knobs weren't doing it for us. So, I scored some knobs at my favorite place (RH Warehouse guessed it) for $1.99 apiece, and voila! A dresser worthy of our swanky hotel-style retreat bedroom. The new, heavier, shinier, and more luxe knobs go really well with the bedside lamps and that Jonathan Adler ceiling light that's on my wish list. Now if we can just get all of our junk cleared off the top of the dresser...


2. Re-frame living room windows
Kyle worked his pants off (all the better for checking out his calves that I love!) this weekend on the window trim in the living room. The bay window has been a mess since I hastily ripped the tile off the sill back in June, so he got a bunch of wood, a new router bit, and worked the table saw to come up with this:
He stripped the other LR window and the little on in the stairwell of their trim too, and patched up some drywall before hanging the new stuff. Next it's my turn to paint and dress the windows!
3. Paint new tv cabinet
Kyle and his cousin Corey built this piece of furniture a few weeks ago in a mere 5 hours and for just 60 bucks. I decided to paint it white to coordinate with the trim in the house and to keep it versatile should our decor in that room ever change. Here it is, before and after! We haven't put the tv back on and boxes back in yet, but I'll post those pictures once we do. They custom built it to hold those cute file storage boxes, which are housing our cds, dvds, etc. You can just make them out (they're green) in the background of the second picture.
4. Assemble new headboard and make bed
Thanks to Mom and Dave for this awesome early Christmas present! I was going to try making my own headboard, but after seeing prices for the fabric I wanted, realized it would cost pretty much the same to buy a new one, and it would most likely be a lot nicer. So, they obliged and didn't even make us wait until December. Here it is!
5. BAKE!
My coworker's birthday was Sunday, so I wanted to bring in some treats to celebrate today. I thought I'd use the opportunity to make some double batches and freeze some breakfast goodies for the aforementioned holiday guests! So I spent yesterday afternoon alternating between the kitchen and the service porch (a.k.a. tv room...see previous post for explanation), baking and painting. I think I washed my hands more than I ever have in one day. But I made some good chocolate-hazelnut biscotti, lemon blueberry scones, and orange oatmeal muffins in the meantime! They met rave reviews at work and the rest are waiting in the freezer for ya'll.

Oh yeah, we managed to squeeze in a 14 miler, a hockey game, church, and a tapas party at the neighbors' in there too. How was your weekend?

Monday, November 3, 2008

c'mon baby, light my fire

I have not been blogging lately because I have been spending all of my time searching for a light for our bedroom. Well, now I can start again because I've finally found the perfect one!

from Jonathan Adler, via

She's a beaut. And I'm even willing to pay the slightly higher than my normal range price tag because it fits perfectly with the decor for that room, and is only 7.5 inches high, so we won't hit our heads on it!

Ok, I was kidding about spending all my time searching for the light. I've been doing other things, like flying to San Francisco, running one marathon and training for another, raising money both at work and not at work, having company, taking two graduate classes (and getting As!), and still working on the house little by little. But I am going to continue my haitus on posting pictures of the house until after the holidays, because I want there to be some element of surprise for the holiday visitors we'll be having. Until then, I'll try to come up with some other creative posts...but don't hold your breath, this fall is really getting the best of me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

spring, sprang, sprung

The guys got the box spring upstairs! Here is the play by play from Kyle who is sitting beside me, but who has trouble typing on the mini keyboard of his toughbook work computer.

1. Cut or pull back dustcover and fabric from bottom and sides of box spring.
2. Cut side and center length struts - cut in one place where you anticipate bending to navigate staircase.
3. Bend while carrying up tight staircase.
4. Place 2x4 blocks at cuts and re-attach struts using screws.
5. Google for better directions.

Sorry folks, he's a tired little guy tonight. It was a long day of doing little to nothing for a home building suffering from the economy. He did cook a mean pad thai dinner though.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Box sprung

Well, we were all excited last night to have the upstairs bedroom clean and ready for the bed. Around 9:30 we mustered all of the energy we had left from a long day and prepared to bring the box spring and mattress upstairs and to make the bed. Only to find out that it doesn't fit up the staircase. I guess that explains why the upstairs bedroom, although the biggest, always belonged to the littlest kid! I also guess that they didn't make queen size beds in the 1930s when the house was built.

So, this afternoon, Kyle and Corey will go about cutting the box spring (google says you can do it!) to fit it around the corner and up the stairs. Or, as my dad always said, up the wooden hill.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Movin' on up(stairs)!

After 4 months in our new house, we are finally ready to move into our new and improved master suite! The bathroom is done (really this time...I jumped the gun a little bit last month in announcing its completion), the bedroom is painted, the floor has been re-finished and cleaned, and the closets are finished. The only thing we're waiting for is the arrival of the new closet doors. Tonight we'll move the bed upstairs and maybe spend our first night up there! Here are some pictures from yesterday.

Does anyone else think the faucet bears a striking resemblance to Gonzo's nose? I still love it though. :-) Good job Kyle for fixing the tile surrounding it that the plumber messed up. It looks just as good as the rest! Next time he might have to install all the tile himself...we all know that the reward for good work is more work!


To borrow blogger buddy Corey's term, I think my new closet is truly Carrie Bradshaw worthy! Now if we can just get the wardrobe elevated to that status too...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

shop at Bluehouse!

For you Baltimore readers who know I'm always plugging the RH warehouse, here's another place you've got to shop: Bluehouse. It's where the chairs are coming from, and they provide the best customer service I've experienced in a long time (not to mention some of the coolest merchandise!). I let them know that we could really use the chairs by next weekend since we're having a party and they gave me several options of ways to get around the standard 45 day delivery time for the chairs. I opted to buy two they have in storage in their warehouse, and to buy the two floor models, which they usually don't sell (and at 10% off to boot!). They also offered to loan the two floor models to me for the fiesta weekend if I wanted to order fresh ones from the supplier. How great is that?!

They have one location now in Harbor East, at 1407 Fleet Street, and are opening a second soon in the Kenilworth Mall in Towson. Also check them out online at

have a seat and hang your hat

I finally took the plunge and made my decision for the DR chairs! I was really, really leaning toward the Eames, but since I knew Kyle was a little hesitant, I asked the store if I could borrow one for a few hours to see how it would look at home. The staff at Bluehouse, in Baltimore's Harbor East neighborhood, was so helpful and friendly, and generously loaned one to me for three days! He liked the chair a lot, so we're going with those! Here are a few shots.

I love the crisp white (compared to the off-white slip covers on the folding chairs....look behind the table in the above photo), and how the curves of the table and the chair complement each other to blend the two contrasting styles. The steel base looks great with all the stainless in the kicthen too! I'm hoping to have the other three delivered in the next week - I think they've got a few stored away in a warehouse.

Upstairs, work continues on the closets in our bedroom. Kyle finished an oh-so-exciting day of OSHA training early yesterday afternoon, so had a lot of time to devote to finishing the trim in the bedroom. He painted the window frames, leaving me the detail stuff, and installed and painted the baseboard. He also installed this great light in my closet!

I didn't even have to use the dishwashing scrubby brush to install the teeny halogen bulbs, as Ikea included a little suction cup with the light. Which, of course, ended up stuck to my forehead. Sorry, no pics of that. Tonight and tomorrow we'll keep working on putting together the shelving system, which looks like it's going to be a perfect fit! This is how it looks now......stay tuned for the fully assembled version on Monday!

For those of you who call me on a regular phone is currently out of comission. I left my charger at Tera's, and since I was up for a free upgrade anyway, I just ordered a new phone thinking the delivery time would be quicker than having Tera mail the old charger. :-) I'll be checking my voice mails from my work phone and Kyle's so just leave a message if you need to chat!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

clean house!

I got back from a great weekend in Atlanta with my sister on Sunday night to find a whole bunch of awesome work Kyle had accomplished while I was busy antiquing, getting my nails did (mani/pedi Atlanta style!), eating out, and doing the last 20+ mile run before the taper starts to San Francisco. Kyle framed the windows in our bedroom, which is painted now, by the way- I just haven't gotten any pictures up yet! He and his cousin also built a sweet piece of furniture to hold our new tv - we finally joined modernity and got a flat screen. Pictures of that to come later - I'm going to paint it and try to do sort of an antique finish, so I'll be sure to document that process for ya'll.

The trip to Tera's awesome apartment also inspired me to get moving on decorating! Her place is the perfect eclectic mix of styles in a huge 1 BR apartment with really high ceilings and great details - molding, windows, etc. So, last night Kyle and I went on a cleaning spree and got a few more boxes out of the way and put their contents where they belong.

We're going to put the second coat of paint on the bedroom this week, assemble and install the closet shelving, and we should be ready to get settled into our new room next week! Pictures to come soon.

P.S. Thanks to all for your input on my chair dilemma. I am a little closer to a decision...

Friday, September 12, 2008

chair despair

I am very indecisive, a trait which usually bothers Kyle a lot more than it bothers me. But lately, it's really been getting to me, about one topic specifically...chairs for the dining table. I just can't decide what I want, and we have lots of entertaining to do this fall, so I really need to get some soon! So, I need your help.

Here is what we're starting with:
The table I scored at the RH warehouse for $199.

I just picked up four of these chair covers for the old Ikea folding chairs in the above photo. When I finally choose new chairs, these will be used to dress things up when we need extra seating for company.

We don't plan to be in this house forever, so on one hand I'm thinking I should get some cheaper chairs that are pretty casual and cheap that could become kitchen table chairs if/when we have a house with separate kitchen and dining room eating areas. Maybe something like the one below, and I could get a fabric that coordinates with the room to re-cover the seat.

These are only $60 at Ikea, and appear to be very close in color to the table.

I have kind of had my heart set on some classic Eames Eiffel chairs for a while- something that would be a bit of an investment now, but that could transition to really any room of a future house and will never go out of style. However, Kyle isn't a big fan - he thinks they are too "Jetsons" for our place. Sure, most of our decor is on the traditional side right now, but we hardly have anything yet! This is the time to start bringing in some eclectic styles, if I'm going to do it! I keep showing him pictures like the one below to prove that different styles mixed together looks really cool.

Or, I could go for something with kind of a cafe style like this:
Or add an extra pop of color, and complement the jute rug we're waiting for with the green or blue version of these: It's all too much - I just can't decide! What do you think? Any other suggestions? Let me know...I'll check the comments when I'm back from meeting with my therapist!