Tag Archive for 'house'

House Plants Tremble in my Presence

Ever since first owning pet cats I’ve had the worst luck with plants. Our house is set up so that the only south facing windows are on in the main living room where the cats have full access. I look at our families’ house plants, and decor pictures of homes online and think it is not too much to ask to have a plant in our house. BUT these cats are hell bent on killing anything we have out. Bishop’s taste for plants goes so far that he will even eat fake plants! We had a fake Christmas tree up for a month and good chances if you were looking for Bishop he’d be over pulling down branches to his mouth range and chomping away on them. We are always amazed at his spidey sense for any plant life that may enter the house. One time I carried a leaf into the house with some mail. The leaf got lost in the shuffle of mail and I forgot about it. A little bit later I watched as Bishop strategized for 5 minutes about how to get on the pillar speaker where I placed the mail. Finally after figuring out which piece of furniture to launch himself from he got there, and then piece by piece flipped each piece of mail off the speaker until he found that leaf. He’s like the Princess and Pea.

This of course means we have to be careful about what plants we have (if they are pet safe) and where we can keep them. The above gif was just a quick capture to show how I placed the plant out and less than 30 seconds later he was trying to devour it. I of course put it back in my studio immediately.

AND, what they don’t eat, I skillfully and promptly kill myself. I suspect that our house is VERY DRY. This has been a very hard and cold winter. I’ve been running a table top humidifier around the clock and yet everything I touch shocks me. I’m guessing that is a sign that our aprilaire system attached to our furnace is long dead.

My new air plant. I don't think of myself as someone who kills plants but for the life of me, I can't keep an #airplant alive. This is my second. The first one I had in a window, the second one I had away from the window. The first one I watered rarely, the second one I wa

I’ve managed to kill 2 air plants. After the first one, I made sure to do plenty of research and yet the second airplant was dead within 3 months as well.

Craving some greenery, I just bought this little lemon button fern for my studio.

Last week after CRAVING some greenery (read: cabin fever) I went to Lowe’s and searched for a plant I might be able to keep in my studio. I was kind of hoping for a string of pearls, but they didn’t have any so I walked away with this lemon button fern. I’m telling you! From one weekend to the next, more than half of it’s leaves are already dried up and dead! It says “medium” for water so I’ve watered it once and spritzed it with spray a few times. I know some plants have a hard time trying to transition from the perfect “atmosphere and climate” of a greenhouse to real life. Maybe some of the weaker leaves are dying and will give strength the other branches?

I just want a plant that lives.


Meanwhile my mom had THREE orchids that are blooming away!

2 Years on Instagram

A treasure house

Today I received Christmas cards I ordered.  It inspired me to put together this little collection in my shelf by the wonderfully talented Ann of A Beautiful Party. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this shelf before, but I LOVE it!  I added a few little holiday knick knacks to the shelf. The sewn felt covered stones on pedestal are by Stephanie Barnes, the yarn ball is actually my very first handspun yarn on my spinning wheel, and the party popper is also by Ann of A Beautiful Party. It has goodies inside, but it is too pretty for me to open up. The picture on the Christmas cards is the picture below.

It was an instagram from late last year. I thought it was my sister pulling my nephew, but the caption says it was me pulling Doc. Either way, behind my nephew is my brother pulling the Christmas tree we just cut down at Camelot tree farm. It’s a beautiful tree farm out in the countryside. After tramping through the snow and freezing your tootsies, you head into a little shed to pay and warm up while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies while sitting in old classroom chairs.

While putting together this post I realized that it’s been over TWO WHOLE YEARS that I’ve posted daily to my instagram account! I’m pretty proud of that. I’m also continually inspired by the things my instagram friends share, and the wonderful and supportive community that it is. Go Instagram, High Five!

Edit: Just wanted to ad that I’ve actually been on instagram since 2010, but only have been posting daily for 2 years.

Being in the Studio

Studio door

Another thing that will hopefully help me get back into production mode is a clean studio. My studio is in the third bedroom of our home. It is entirely studio, not a guest room/studio. It is just filled with my art, craft and design related items, and boy is it filled. Recently it had gotten so cluttered the floor was pretty much covered. There were boxes upon boxes filled with scrap paper (I’m a vintage and decorative paper ephemera hoarder) and boxes were even overflowing onto the floor. It was a disaster. I’d go in there to start cleaning and organizing and I could only take 5 or so minutes before I just felt lost and had to leave. I’d eventually make progress in those 5 minute increments, but then I’d have some big project and it would get worse than before.

Fabric stash
Finally, last weekend my sister came over and spent 2 hours with me in my studio cleaning and organizing. I mostly put things away while she organized: folding and shelving my fabric stash, putting books back in order on the shelves and somehow consolidating all my paper stash down into 2 boxes! It’s amazing what 2 hours of hard, continuous work can do. My drawing table was tidy and there was room for me to do work at it, imagine that! My studio still isn’t perfect, but everything is off the floor and now I just need to do some major organization of shelves and hopefully pare down on things I don’t need or use that often.

The picture at the top of the post is the inside door of my studio. I keep a drawing sheet there where I list all the projects I want to work on. To the right there is a decorative “wind sock” by Ann of A Beautiful Party. Last week she posted about moving furniture around and how it takes her a long time to get fully settled into a new living space. I really relate to that. I always remember something I read or heard after moving into my second place. It was a stat and I don’t really even remember the exact details, but it was something like “it takes 6 months for the average person to really feel fully at home in a new place after moving.” I think about that so much and I have spent so much time online trying to find that same stat, with no luck. I remember thinking that it made sense but that for me it was probably more like a year. Well, that was a couple of moves ago. Now, I’m pretty sure that every time I’ve moved since then it takes me an additional 6 months before I get all the kinks out. It makes sense because here I am 2 years later and only now just starting to actually hang things on the walls. It’s all about committing and putting something in a place that you know will make sense, or finding that sweet spot for a piece of furniture that is most efficient.

It’s a little bit over 2 years since we moved into our current home. I went for a walk during the summer and walked by our old house. I saw my old studio window that was lit up at night and just had a moment where I missed that studio soooooo much. It was just a spare bedroom with one window and a big closet, the same as my current studio. It was on the second floor and my drawing table, under the window, looked out over a few of our neighbor’s yards. I think about all the time I spent in there and all the creative projects I worked on and feel like it held some sort of magic that maybe my new studio doesn’t have. Then I have to remind myself that when we first moved in to that house that I had major guilt for about a year and a half where I almost never even went into my studio. Matt never said anything to me, but I felt like we are paying all this money to be in a 2 bedroom home and I’d just walk past this room every day and never actually open the door and go in it.  It took me a good long while before I got things arranged in there to the point where everything flowed and I felt comfortable, but then after that point I was in there ALL THE TIME. I’m still waiting for that to happen at this new house. I know it will happen and I’m hoping with the recent organization that it is just around the corner. I’d really love the amount of time I daydream about working on art to reflect my actual time spent in the studio.

Ideally, by the end of the month I will be working in my studio all the time and it will be in good enough condition that I might share a little tour.

I’m no decorator and this is no home decor blog

I’ll preface this blog post by saying I have a pet peeve when reading other people’s posts where they post a picture of something and then state “please disregard the mess”. Then, for the life of me, I’m looking at the picture and can’t see a single thing out of place or even a spec of dust. Those people will probably be repulsed by this post because, as the header states, I’m no home decorator and this is no home decor blog. I don’t have fancy wide angled lenses, professional lighting and a staged home. I have a (probably) decade old, used digital camera, minimal winter lighting and a very lived in home. So yeah, today I’m going to be one of those people… Please disregard the mess. Also, I just remembered about when I was renting and had no prospects of home buying it used to really annoy me when people would do these type of posts. I was reading their blogs for their craft or design or artwork, not junk about their house. I apologize to anyone that might feel like that, feel free to skip past this post and please return later to our (semi) regularly programmed material.

We bought our home in August 2011. I can’t believe it has been that long. We have been living here for over a year and a half and until recently have done very little to it, other then fresh coats of paint to a few of the rooms. It takes me a long time to feel settled into a new place. I actually felt at home right away, but I’m realizing there is a difference between feeling at home and getting to the point where I feel like I can make adjustments to suit my own needs rather than just live with what I have. That being said, I’m still not even to the point where I feel like I can confidently drill holes in my own walls and hang things. 3M pull tabs, you’ve been a life saver!

In the last month or two we have made a few minor changes that have succeeded in making the house feel more and more like OURS. The before pictures are ones we took at the inspection or closing. I wish I had thought to take pictures right before we made these changes, so I didn’t have to use the closing pictures (all empty and well lit), but naturally, it wasn’t until each of the lights were down that I thought about it. Also, big props go out to Matt’s parents who helped us with each of these changes.

3.20.13 old dining room

The house originally had those brass and glass light fixtures, as seen above. I knew I wanted to put in lights of my own before we even settled on a house. I really had my heart set on the Ikea Maskros. It wasn’t until we bought the house and took a trip into Ikea that I saw them ALL.OVER.THE.STORE and immediately I got cold feet. I’m sure they knew they were a hot item and felt like they were trying to shove them down my throat. I didn’t want an item that would look super dated in 5 years and I started thinking that in 5 years that light would feel more like “oh yeah, I remember when those were super popular and everyone had one”. I still really love it, and props to those who have it, but I know myself and I wanted something I’d be keeping up for a longer time period.

So, this is finally happening.

I wasn’t sure what kind of light I wanted. I shopped online, in local hardware stores, and we checked out the habitat for humanity store, where we found a sea of our same style lights. Seems like everyone else wanted them out of their houses as well. One of the things I’ve tried to keep in mind for our house is “when in doubt go simple”. I have a tendency to get cluttered. I love collecting things and have tons of display type stuff. So when putting things in the house I’d rather go simple on the larger things while the other display items become the accents. This way everything isn’t overwhelming, cluttered, or competing for attention.

3.20.13 new dining room

I was tired of waiting for the just the right light to be placed in my arms. I hunted online and finally found the Crate and Barrel Large Finley pendant light in white. 1. Our walls are all painted bright white, despite what the pictures may look like. I liked that the Finley is also white, plain, and simple, and has a bottom, so that when you are sitting below it you can’t see up inside of it. 2. Picture disclaimer: Yeah, I know I said I’d like everything I put in the house to look SIMPLE, but this really only applies to things we buy new. Our house is currently such a mishmash of items. Pretty much everything is thrifted, handed down or picked up for free. Beggars can’t be choosers. The only things in this picture that don’t fit into that category are the two lights (the floor lamp, and the new pendant light) and the TV stand. The coffee table (which you can barely see), the couch, the other couch out of view, lazyboy, chairs, dining room table, and even the TV all fit into the first category of previously used items.

3.20.13 old foyer

One of the things I first loved about our house was that it had a foyer. My original idea for the space was that I wanted a bench, baskets for mail, mittens, etc., and a large mirror to check myself before heading out the door. We hunted and hunted for a bench before I just gave up and found a narrow table that worked just right. Sure enough, since then I’ve been seeing tons of foyer benches. We still have not hung a mirror (see above for fear of hanging things on the walls). Then, within the last couple of weeks we took down this brass and glass (complete with fake candlestick) light in the space and replaced it with the Ikea Knappa. Because it was hard to see how the displays were wired in the store and the packaging didn’t explain, we were a bit surprised to find that the light is actually just a plug light with hooks to hang it by. We ended up having to cut off the plug and strip the wires to have it hang like a true chandelier light.

3.20.13 new foyer
I don’t think I previously really paid attention the light in this space. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t an eye sore either, maybe because it was high enough, out of sight out of mind. It wasn’t something that I was dying to change. What did that for me was one evening while walking down my street I happened to notice that I could see through my neighbor’s window transom, over their front door, and see their foyer light. I don’t even remember if it was anything special, but just that I realized If I could see theirs, then people could see ours that same way. We don’t really have front windows, but we do have this transom window. I thought it would be really cool if there was something interesting to see there. When hanging we took care to make sure that it was visible through that transom from outside. I am thrilled with the way it looks from the street and sidewalk. From the inside, the space doesn’t have too much going on, so I wasn’t worried about it looking too cluttered, by choosing a busy light. Also, it is something that might get boring soon, but for only $25 we can easily replace it with something different in a couple of years. Something also new, fun and interesting to look at.

3.20.13 old laundry

Definitely the most functional update are these shelves above the washer and dryer. There were some rickety shelves there when we bought the house but they were taken down when we were painting. For a Christmas present, Matt said he would get shelves and install them. Up until then I was frustrated, living with a laundry basket filled with soap, bleach, dryer balls, stain remover, tid bits from our pockets, what-have-you, and just moving that basket from top of the washer to top of the dryer to the floor and back again.

3.20.13 old laundry new

Now I have the shelves and I’m relieved that things in this space can finally be “put away”. Also, we don’t have a linen closet per se, so I am excited that I can get some baskets to go up on the top shelf and put things away in there.

My new air plant.

These are the major changes. We’ve done a few small things here and there that aren’t too much worth sharing. You don’t want to see replaced toilet seats, do you? hehe. One last thing though, something I wanted to do way before we bought the house and that was to get an air plant to hang in the kitchen. I bought the vase at Micheal’s for a couple dollars, and the air plant from Acorn Design Source at the Kane County Flea Market. I’d really like to add more greenery to the house, but I have to be creative with two cats that will destroy any living plants within reach.

Okay, that’s that. Since we are slow movers when it comes to home improvements this will probably be the last home post until next year.


This weekend my sister came over to assist me in unpacking my studio. We got all the furniture in place and started unpacking. But then it was my brother’s birthday and then I got sick so it sits partially packed. I keep getting inspiration and wanting to work on projects, but when I get into my studio and see all the boxes covering my drawing table I kind of lose my drive. Funny how I rarely get inspiration to unpack boxes which is what I REALLY need.

8.22.11 sketchbook2
This morning it dawned on me that I carry my sketchbook with me everywhere I go, and I don’t need a studio to draw in it, so the above was a quick piece I made using my limited supplies of a pencil and highlighter.
8.22.11 todo
I often use my sketchbook to write out concept ideas, quick sketches for future projects and to-d0 lists. The to-do lists will often get lost amongst other things, so a while ago at the old house I started this list to hang on the wall.  This is a much quicker and long running reference where I can add short as well as long term goals. Since I kept having project ideas, but am not fully in my studio yet, I decided the list had to go up again. It’s MY HOUSE now, so if I want to tape it to my door with masking tape, so be it! Once again, just for my own comfort, and your information, the looney tunes wallpaper will be coming down. I wouldn’t want someone, for one second, thinking that it was something I chose.

So far in the move there have only been two casualties. I dropped an empty Ikea frame and the glass shattered and the second Oops was a can of chalkboard paint that opened up into a box of my desktop tools (pencils, pens, scissors, etc.). The funny thing is we made sure to hammer the lid on tightly before packing the can and it still opened somehow. Fortunately I discovered that chalkboard paint peels off easily, especially when spilled thickly all over like it did.

My Big News

The other day I mentioned that I’ve been up to something big and would be back to share. In short – We bought a house!

In depth, well, I don’t even know where to begin.

Should I start with how I never even allowed myself to hope that I could be a home owner? Even though owning my own house was a dream I’ve had since I was a child.

I could explain how I shared our house hunting with very few people because I was so afraid to jinx any of it.

And I could easily go on and on about how much I’ve hated renting from someone else, and how I could never fully feel comfortable, especially when I come home to find strangers in my house (like we did earlier this year).

Or how about once we began looking I was shocked to find out that I have great credit, even though for years I had imagined being laughed out the bank doors.

What about the countless houses we previously viewed in the year and half prior, and the 3 other houses we put offers on, got our hearts wrapped up in, only to lose for various reasons.

I think I’ll start with a simple explanation that on Friday, August 5th, 2011, Matt and I closed on our very first home. Driving home with keys in our hands, we were equally shocked that we made it through and that the house is ours (well, the bank’s technically until we pay it off). All the same, I don’t think it will all sink in until after we are fully moved in.

8.5.11 Moving
Okay, I’m off again. We have loads of packing and someone is doing his best to make this chore even more difficult for us.

While still on the topic of Style

Let’s talk about home decor. Today I got the bug to put together this mosaic of some of my favorite home decoration inspiration. Decoration inspiration, it’s fun to say.

My creation, originally uploaded by robayre. Find the sources of all the above images in my favorites, here.

As you can see above, if I had my way our house would have lots of white, bits of wood and splashes of bright colors here and there. It’s an eclectic look. It incorporates lots of “collections” displayed prominently. Vintage/retro items are also a theme in the form of some spot furniture, as well as decorations. Oh, and let’s not forget my dream of having an entire chalkboard painted wall and a black and white checked floor. Oh, I also have to note that there are no beige carpets in this fantasy home.

This makes me very happy.