Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let's get out the "big girl" dishes.

A popular toy for little girls is a plastic tea set. I think I had a couple. Strawberry Shortcake or Smurfs patterns, if I had to guess. I served many a pretend meals on these. It was never tea, though. I grew up in the country. We didn't do tea time. It probably was green beans. That was my favorite food when I was little.

Since we've lived in our house, I've hosted an early Christmas dinner and exchanged presents with my dad and brother on the 23rd. Christmas Eve Eve, if you will.

The first year, I did a take on Feast of the Seven Fishes. I think last year, I made one of my dad's favorite pasta dishes. It's never turkey and the fixins'. We get enough of that on the days that follow. This year, I made one of Jeremy's recent favorite dishes, Stout Braised Short Ribs. They did not disappoint, I can assure you. Read more about the recipe here.

Before everyone arrived, I was setting the table with my regular Fiestaware, and thought I should break out the fine china I got for my wedding. I've never used it. What a shame to have it and to have never used it, I thought. But I didn't stop there. I put out the nice glasses and even cloth napkins.

For a centerpiece, I usually use paperwhites that I force bloom. I LOVE LOVE LOVE paperwhites. There's something so elegant to the pale delicate blooms in your house around the holidays. I always put them in clear vases with glass pebbles instead of the dirt the bulb kits always come with. The last few years, I've bought the Smith & Hawken kit at Target. But this year, I didn't get them in time, and didn't get them started in time for Christmas. So, I dumped a container of plastic ornaments in a bowl and called it a day. The ornaments perfectly match the bowl and the cool blues and greens scheme in my dining room. Easy-peasy!

In the background is my aluminum tree. I love that thing.

And, we are having some friends over for New Year's Eve. So, even though my paperwhites didn't make it to the Christmas party, looks like someone besides me will get to enjoy them tomorrow before they die.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aluminum or evergreen?

or both?

I FINALLY got my trees decorated. To my credit, the trees were up for a week but I just hadn't decorated them. We always get a real tree. My husband's a forester, so it's kinda a given. Plus, it's just tradition. Growing up, we always had a real tree, and half the fun was going to pick it out.

This year's tree is... well... a little small. But it was FREE. Like it was crowding my father-in-law's fruit trees, so he wanted it outta there. And there's two more that are smaller than this one. So, I guess we've got our trees lined up for the next couple years.  According to the hubs it's a Norway Spruce. Really short needles, and nice flexible branches, so it's easy to get ornaments placed just where you want.

The other one is in my dining room. It's an antique aluminum tree that I bought last year from The Purple Moon. I LOVE it. When I was in third grade, our teacher brought a tree like this in from home and we decorated it. I'll bet my grandparents had one at some point. Apparently, they fell out of favor when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" came out because they kinda knock aluminum trees and how Christmas became so commercialized. Now they're collector's items. All the decoration they really need are some simple bulbs.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Evolution of a dining room.

Decorating seems like a never-ending project.
Dining room during our walk-through when we bought the house--June 2007.

Dining room right after we bought furniture--April 2009.

I bought the light fixture after we painted. We had different furniture picked out that was wood. About the color of the light fixture. When we brought home this furniture, I realized the light fixture stuck out like a sore thumb. So, I began looking for something else. Only problem is, I'm picky. And I didn't want to pay $800 for a light fixture.

I especially like the vintage saucers on the wall. They are Fiestaware, Luray, Harlequin and Franciscan Starburst.

Dining room with new light fixture and curtains, and more plates on the wall--November 2010.

This summer, I was in the West Elm store in Columbus, Ohio. I spotted this light fixture and knew it was exactly what I was looking for. Drum pendant. White or neutral. And best of all, less than $100.

I picked up the new plates last weekend when I was at the Fiestaware outlet in Flatwoods. I wanted to get vintage, but it's expensive in the bigger pieces. These are seconds, so they were about the same price--or cheaper, as the vintage saucers.

Next on the list is a rug and a china cabinet. I have my china displayed in a nice cabinet that my Mom gave me  when she redid her kitchen/dining room. It just doesn't match. One of these days, maybe I will be "finished." Probably just in time to start thinking about a new paint color...

It's all about the details around here.

Earlier this year, Jeremy and I undertook a huge project at our house. We had been wanting to install solid hardwood floors since we moved in four years ago, and after watching prices for a few months, found some flooring we liked at a rock bottom-price.

So  of course,we bought it.

And it sat in our house for about a month.

Then, Jeremy started ripping up carpet and putting the flooring down.
It really is beautiful. So much better than the white carpet.

He finished it up in a few weeks. Kinda.

Fast forward to October. I had been watching interest rates for a few months. You see, we needed to refinance sometime in the next few years because we were in an adjustable rate mortgage. I figured it was as good a time as any. And I couldn't have been more right. In October, interest rates hit record lows. The lowest since anyone had been keeping track of them in the early 70s. So, we pulled the trigger on the re-fi.

What does this have to do with the floors???

Well. You know how I operate. Nothing like a looming deadline to get me motivated to do some home improvement. Since Jeremy finished the floors in June, we had been enjoying them without baseboards. And with the hideous white carpet still on the stairs. I was getting to the point that I didn't even notice anymore. But  I knew an appraiser certainly would.

So with our application pending, we went on a home improvement and Home Depot consumer credit card blitz. We ripped the carpet off the stairs and completely replaced the them with beautiful oak stairs. We also finally got around to putting down baseboards. They look SO nice!
And, while we're on the subject of baseboards, you'll notice they're white. We obsessed a little bit about what color we should put down. Oak would match the floors, but is wildly expensive. We could have gotten pine and stained them to match the oak, but I wasn't sure what that would look like. The other non-oak option was pine painted white. But white baseboards meant the trim around the doors wouldn't match. An added expense would be replacing all the trim around the doors. And the doors. But, in the end, I decided I'd try painting the trim around the doors and the doors. And, I couldn't be happier. It lightened up the hallway immeasurably.
There are only a few little odds and ends left to do. Hopefully it doesn't take another six months to complete the project 100%.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our DIY-free summer.

Okay. So, there's not been much to keep up with the Joneses about the last couple months.

The home improving has come to a standstill since June-ish when the hubs "finished" putting down the hardwood floors. I use "finish" loosely here, as all the flooring is in fact down, but there are no baseboards, transitions, or railing, and the holes need to be cut out for the air registers.

I wanted to post an "after" picture, but we haven't quite made it there yet, and I'm too vain to put up pictures of the half-done project and brag about how great the floor looks...

The good news is that after a summer of travelling a lot and being really busy, things are finally settling down (for me at least--Jeremy is just starting to get to the busy time with his job). AND, last month I paid off the hardwood floors on our Home Depot Card. AND I just got a 12 months same-as-cash, plus 10% off your next purchase promo card from them in the mail. Time to go load up that credit card again with some baseboards, stair treads and kicks, and railing so we can get this project put to bed.

I've got a couple other things in the hopper to keep me busy around the house this fall.

We DESPERATELY need to fix our only fully-functioning shower. It's an easy fix. All we need to do is replace the rubber washer behind the shower knob. Right now, when you take a shower, water runs out the faucet at full force while the shower is running. We are wasting A LOT of water, not to mention it's so annoying to be standing in ankle-deep water when you get done taking a shower. The only problem is, I've tried twice to get the stupid shower knob off to replace the washer. Yes, I unscrewed the screw holding it on. Everyone asks if I did that. Duh.

I'm also not feeling this bathroom now that I've painted the family room orange.

The light blue and the decor are a little off-putting to me know with the swanky orange "lounge." I really want to paint it (again) and find some new wall art. Since it's a small space, I think I should avoid any dark colors on the wall, and I want something that will flow with orange. I'm thinking gray. As far as the decor, I'm not even sure what I want, except maybe a tiny orange accent. Like one small knick knack on the back of the potty or even some wall art with just a hit of orange in it. I like black and white photos, and I stumbled on an awesome website with THOUSANDS of Depression era black and white photos. Apparently, the federal government sent photographers (some quite notable) out to document the depression across the country. There are a number from West Virginia and even Charleston. You can order them right from the website for a nominal fee, although I haven't had any luck getting in touch with the proper person. They are fascinating just to peruse, though.
The website is maintained by the Library of Congress. Here's the link: You might even recognize some of the photographs, as they became iconic images of the struggles of America during the Great Depression.

I'm not sure how they would look in a 'loo, but at least it would be something interresting for guys to look at while they're peeing...

Stay tuned for updates. Hopefully we get the DIY project wagon cranked up again soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some days being a homeowner isn't all picking out wall art and hosting cookouts.

Last Tuesday, I got up for work and went into the kitchen to feed my cat like I do every other morning. I looked out the kitchen window into our back yard and wondered why Jeremy had cut down such a big tree. I hadn't had my coffee yet. Then it occurred to me. He hadn't cut it down. It just fell. My second thought was, how did I not hear it fall?

This tree was HUGE. It was a red oak, and actually was standing on the bank across from a streambed at the bottom of our lot. It was most definitely not on our property. But now it was. It smashed our fence in two places.

So, we spent the better part of Sunday cleaning up the mess. It's a good thing I'm married to a forester. He knows his way around with a chainsaw. Luckily, the tree fell right across Jeremy's woodpile. But, he got three loads of wood last week for our fireplace. Now, there's about 3 more loads' worth on top of it. I guess I'll be nice and toasty this winter.

We didn't get finished cleaning up the mess, but we made a big dent in it. We were able to put the chain link fence back up in one place, but I'm not sure what we'll do about the part laying under the 2-foot-thick truck of the tree.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Every swanky lounge needs a HUGE white leather couch.

A while back, I got an idea for my red family room. I'd paint it orange.

The idea was mostly inspired by this picture:

Photo credit:

Y'all know how much I love Frank Sinatra. Well, Frank Sinatra famously loved the color orange. Wouldn't it be cool if I turned my family room into a lounge that Frank woulda like to hang in?

I knew I wanted a leather couch. I knew I wanted the room to be orange, chocolate and cream. Here's the lovely before:

And, here it is now: Ta-da!

Even the mantle got a upgrade. Katie Bower would be proud of this because, it's all stuff I already had, except the hurricane and candle are new.

This couch is seriously huge. After looking high and low, I found it at Ashley Furniture. It's individual pieces, and you could buy as many as you needed and arrange them to fit your room, which was really nice. And after pricing leather sectionals, I'm confident we even got a pretty good deal, to boot!

I still haven't finished the other side of the room. I want to get a high-top table and bar stools, and put in a bar. Hopefully, that is coming soon. Unfortunately, it would be really difficult to run water over to make it bar a wet bar, so, that's off the table.

Now, who's coming over for martinis?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Guess what I got last week?

A couch!

Stay tuned for the pics. BTW, I LOVE it so far.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The couch saga ... one month later.

Yay! We found a couch! Actually, Jeremy found a couch at Ashley Furniture at Southridge. It was on the showroom floor. He sat on it and said it was pretty comfy. He texted me a picture of it, and it looks perfect. Contemporary. White. Leather.

So, on Memorial Day, we go to Ashley Furniture to check it out. We figured they'd be having some bangin' sales that day. But the floor model was gone!!! Sold!

Anyway, they were having a sale. Not a "bangin'" sale, per se, but we got 12% off for arriving at the store between 1 and 2 pm. I'll take it. We went ahead and ordered the couch--sight unseen to me. I trust Jeremy. And I'm desperate.

It was supposed to be in this week, but like our luck with couches has gone so far... it'll be in June 29th. We'll see.

And, in other news, I found a light fixture for the dining room. Yes, I know, I replaced the light fixture in there less than 2 years ago. When I thought I was getting a wooden dining room suite. It's been bugging me since I got the white and chrome one. The light fixture in there is just too dark, and it doesn't match.

Actually, since this picture was taken, the brown curtains (also bought in anticipation of the wooden furniture) are gone, replaced with a white sheer with a dot design. And the carpet is gone, too. More on that very soon. The hardwood floors are 99% down.

I've been looking for a long time for something else for the dining room. Something affordable. Something bold. Something that MATCHES. Here's something I saw in the West Elm store when I was in Columbus over my birthday. 99 bucks. But wait. Last week, it was an additional 10% off on the website. Sold.

Well, I got it yesterday. But the conversion kit (sold seperately) is back ordered until the last week in July. Which means I won't get to put it up before Jeremy's birthday cookout next month. Booo! No worries for now, though. All of my living room furniture is still in the dining room while the floors are under construction. I'm told they'll be done by said cookout. If they aren't I might just finish them myself. Y'all know how a looming family function at my house gets me on a home improvement marathon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The dining room comes full circle.

Since we started putting down hardwood floors, I have been on the lookout for area rugs for the dining room and the living room. I've been trying to prepare Jeremy, too, by mentioning how expensive rugs are when we talk about the flooring project. But, "expensive" is relative. He'll probably think I mean like $150. That's the low end. As a matter of fact, that would probably be a steal.

I would be interested in wool, and something that can be spot cleaned easily. Also, I'm not big on the traditional-looking rugs. Not too much floral, either. I'm not afraid of a busy pattern, since the rest of the room has clean lines. It has to be mostly brown, off-white, green and a bit of blue. That's a tall order.

Target has some nice ones, actually, at reasonable prices. And with free shipping and 15% off orders over $125, that's not to shabby. This is one of the rugs I'm thinking about. And, at $199 for a 5x7' rug, it's really not a bad deal.

DwellStudio® for Target® Garden Pattern Rug - 5x8'Exploded Floral Rug - Blue/Green (5x7)
I like the Dwell Studio rugs, too. They look kinda modern to me, but not over the top. That's probably good since I don't want my house to look like a time capsule house from the late sixties, just heavily influenced by mid-centry modern. Here's another one similar to the first that I like.

Home Azul Floral Wool Rug - Blue/Brown(24x36") 
Then, this morning, I get an email about Layla Grace. I'm not familiar with this company, but at first glance, it looks a little to "girly" for me. But something in the email mentioned Amy Butler rugs. I LOVE Amy Butler fabric--and I don't really care for floral prints. That's saying a lot. It feels a little bit bohemian to me, but depending on how you worked it into a room, it could fit with a lot of styles--romantic, modern, Southern.
As a matter of fact, I matched the paint I picked out for the dining room to some Amy Butler fabric I wanted to buy to make curtains out of. Well, I should have pulled the trigger and bought the fabric when I first saw it on When I went back, it was sold out. I even tried ebay, but there were only small pieces of it available.

I gasped out loud when I saw the pattern again--this time as a rug.

Sadly, when I couldn't get the fabric, I moved on with my plans for the dining room. Instead of pink, there are hints of blues from the plates hanging on either side of the window. So, I won't be buying this rug. But, I think it's meant to be that I buy one of these. Only problem is they are substantially more than the Target rugs--$676 for a 5x7' rug.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Facelift almost done.

After the both the legislative session and spring fire season ended, we attacked home improvement like we've never done since we've owned our house. Just as an aside, we COULD have possibly bitten off more than we can chew.

The first day it was warm enough to get outside, I got to sledgehammer the trellis on our stoop. I've been waiting for this moment. I hate that thing. And the English ivy around it.

Look how gross it is.
These pieces of wood have a new life as tomato stakes.
It only took a few hours until the trellis and the ivy were all gone!
And now, after a few weeks, a few coats of paint, and some grass seed, it's almost done.

It's hard to appreciate from this far back, but you get the whole picture.

The shutters and door are now navy blue.

Most importantly, the ivy and trellis are gone.

We have a light fixture to hang up. We'll get to it sometime soon, I guess. I bought some marigolds and some kinda white flower. I thought the orange would be a nice contrast with the blue. Also, today, Jeremy's mom offered me three hostas she wants to dig up, so I'll put those in the bed to the right of the door. That bed doesn't get much rain, though, so I'll have to remember to water them occassionally. Hostas are pretty tolerant, though, so hopefully they survive the summer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Left hangin'

Left hangin' without a couch, that is.

Right around the end of March, I did a random google search for "white leather sectional." I do this sometimes. Especially at work. When I'm bored.

Low and behold, one of the first couple hits I got was for one on CLEARANCE at JCPenney dot com.

It was perfect, except it was a little closer to beige than off white. The exact color was "bone." I was willing to live with this as it was on CLEARANCE. I'm talkin' crazy CLEARANCE. Like $2799 marked down to $1199. I. Could. Not. Pass. This. Up.

But, I didn't have $1200. Think, Jennelle, think. I need to buy this couch. NOW. You know, my mom has $1200 and she does moonlight as a loan shark. Just kidding about that last part. Sort of.

So, my mom bought me the couch and I made up an amortization schedule for the payments. Like I said, she's a loan shark. The couch was supposed to be delivered on May 3rd.

In the meantime, I listed both of the couches and two chairs that were in the family room on craigslist. I sold one couch and two chairs and am in email negotiations for the second couch.

On May 3rd, I called JC Penney's to ask if it was still on schedule, since I hadn't received a call to set up a delivery time yet. They told me it was supposed to leave the factory that day at noon, and the trucking company (a third party) would call me sometime in the next few days to set up a delivery time. I didn't hear anything, so on Friday, May 7th, I called JC Penney back to double check. Yes, the couch already left the factory, and I should hear from the trucking company by no later than May 21st to arrange delivery.

Then on Monday, this week, I get an email from JC Penney. "Our manufacturer has notified us that the item you ordered is no longer available." What? It's en route! ... supposedly. So, I called JC Penney back to ask them "WTF?" and relayed the whole situation to them. The lady was SOOOO nice, I couldn't be really mean, which really took the wind out of my sails. Apparently, the people I spoke to BOTH times the week before misread the information. It never was shipped. Yeah, right. I don't know what's going on but JC Penney is on my shit list.

Anyway, I need a white leather sectional for under $1,600. STAT. Is there one out there? Who knows. Google hasn't turned up anything yet.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let the DIY weekend begin!

Lunchtime trip to Home Depot: $2,100.

Taking the day off to make a long weekend of painting: $0.

Having your home the way you've always wanted it: PRICELESS.

Yep, I ran out to Home Depot today during lunch to pick up the painting supplies I needed so I could start first thing in the morning. Jeremy met me out there because I also wanted to buy some mirrored bi-fold doors for the master bedroom closet, and they won't fit in my car. While I was getting the paint mixed, he wandered over to flooring and found a pile'o 3/4" thick oak hardwood flooring on sale for $2.99 a square foot. There was a limited number of boxes, and the salesguy told us (now that I think about it, it probably was a sales ploy--but hey, it worked) that another couple was there earlier in the day looking at it, and wanted to shop around some. I've been watching the price of hardwood flooring for about a year now, as I've been saving up, and 2.99/sq. ft. is pretty cheap for this stuff. So, we bought it.

I also bought some orange paint for the family room. Tomorrow I am going to primer and paint over the red walls, and hopefully make it look like a lounge that Frank Sinatra might have liked. I am using a deep orange on the walls, and using chocolate and ivory as my other colors. Here's a pic from when we were moving in.

The carpet is in pretty decent shape, so it's going to stay for the time being. Plus, light carpet lightens the room up with such a strong color on the walls. The couch, unfortunately, will stay for the immediate future. Although, Jeremy's parents have offered us their sectional when they get new furniture in a few weeks. It's tan, but I was thinking of getting a white slipcover for it. Problem is, slipcovers for sectional are EXTREMELY difficult to find. Most website I looked at suggested buying two slipcovers for conventional couches and tucking the extra fabric into where the sectional joins. Eventually, the plan is to get all new furniture for the room, and I have been looking at white leather couches. Jeremy is leaning more toward chocolate brown leather, instead, which would still be okay with me. I have some long hocolate matte satin curtins that I will use, most likely in front of the sliding glass door opposite the couch in this picture. Right now it has a valance that matches the curtains over this window. And, of course, my Audrey is staying, since she falls into the theme for the room of Palm Springs circa 1966.

I also bought some navy blue paint for the front door and shutters, and a new light fixture for over the front door. There weren't many hanging exterior lights to choose from, and I wasn't really crazy about any of what they had, but I picked out a black, wrought-iron looking one that was only $25. I also got some grass seed for the bare spot where we ripped up all the English ivy growing around the front steps. I hate that stuff.

At any rate, this weekend will sure be a busy one. We're not planning on starting on the flooring right away, but it looks like we'll have plenty to keep us busy this weekend anyway.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

All signs point to spring.

Timing is a funny thing.

I feel like I've just woken up from a long nap. It's called the Legislature.

After working until 7 almost every day for the past two weeks, sometimes this places feels like a parallel universe. And, now that I've stopped working long enough to take a deep breath, and I notice all the sudden, it's spring.

So, it was either very fitting or cruel irony, that daylight savings was Saturday night. Two hours after we adjourned, actually. (I just put in an 18-hour day, and now I loose an hour of sleep!?!)

But, the nice thing is that the weather is finally breaking, and I get home with a few hours of daylight left in the evenings now. I've been putting off some home projects and yearly maintenace until now.

And, this morning, I paid off my Home Depot credit card. Just in time to go load it up again for 12 months same-as-cash.

Here's what I've got planned for the coming weeks:
  • Get a new closet door for the master bedroom. I've been eyeing a mirrored bi-fold door for $100.
  • Paint the "red room" orange and start saving up for a new couch.
  • Clean up the patio and backyard, and plan landscaping.
  • Replace outside light fixture above the front door. (Unfortunately, there's a pendant light there now, so for ease of replacement, I guess that's what I'll get. I'd like to get one that mounts to the wall of the house beside the door, but that would leave a big hole in the soffit.)
  • SLEDGEHAMMER the trellis on the front stoop. I HATE that thing and I cannot wait to destroy it.
  • Get some new planters for the front stoop and get some colorful annuals for them.
  • Paint my front door and shutters.
  • Till and plant my vegetable garden.
  • Shop for hardwood floors for the living room, dining room and hallway, buy the flooring and hopefully get it installed in a reasonable amount of time. My tax return has been buring my pocket since I got it, but now I have the time to devote to such a huge project. However, something is telling me I shouldn't expect the installation to be completed until after Memorial Day. My home-project timeline is usually vastly different than Jeremy's.
Maybe this list is a bit ambitious. Wish me luck. I'm going to take a couple days off work, maybe next week, to start on my to-do list. My house hopefully won't even be recognizable by the time I'm done.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rejuvenation Lighting

It's funny how timing works. Or scary.

Last week, I received a catalog in the mail from Rejuvenation Lighting. I've been looking for a new light fixture for my dining room since I got the dining room suite last spring. I just can't find what I like for under $500.

Anyway, why did this lighting and hardware boutique store in Portland send me a catalog? Was it the cookies on my computer? That's scary, considering the order I just placed at drugstore dot com... I digress.

If you have a period house (unlike me) or if you like a period of architecture (like me) this seems like a pretty good source. Still a little pricey, but I liked how their catalog, and website is organized by period. It makes it really easy if you're not totally sure what you're after.

I wish they had more to choose from in their Mid-Century Modern Collection, but I'm seeing what styles would work in my dining room, and maybe I can look for something similiar at cheaper retailers. This style looks a lot like the light I bought for my entryway from Ikea.

The price ain't bad at $215, but you could pick up the FADO model at Ikea for $39.99, like I did. Let me take a moment to caution about lighting from Ikea. I'm no electrician, but having owned a house for 3 plus years, I've changed okay, supervised the changing of several light fixtures. This light fixture has FOUR wires. The hubs and I were dumbfounded with what to do with the extra wire. Ikea's directions are mostly pictures with very little text, to accommodate the multiple countries Ikea has retail locations in. We took a guess what to do with the extra wire and we were wrong. I'll just leave it at that, saying that we have a different light fixture in the entryway now.

But, if you had a craftsman bungalow like my girlie here, look at all the goodies Rejuvenation Lighting has. When I redo my master bathroom, which I want to do in hollywood regency style, I'll definitely remember this source with it's extensive Deco Collection.

What's better is that the company has a mind toward sustainability. They started using a low-VOC clear coat, and even replaced individually-wrapped salt and pepper packets in the employee lunch room with salt and pepper shakers. Every little bit helps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dropping the ball in more ways than one.

It's been an embarrassingly long time since I've posted. I've been busy doing this and this.

Since my last post, I hosted Thanksgiving Dinner at my house, decorated for Christmas, had our first family gathering for Christmas Eve at our house (by default--Mom's electric was off for 8 days straight over Christmas), watched the ball drop on 2009, undecorated for Christmas, weathered a couple good dumps of snow (one of the pitfalls of being a homeowner is shovelling your own driveway), and went on a road trip to Cincinnati, where I bought some stuff at it's fairly-new Ikea.

Here's a pic of the fab vintage tree I put up this year. You see, I have a store here in Charleston that I LOVE. I wish my whole house looked like the inside of this place. It's like a mid-century museum or something. When Mom and I did the Charleston Art Walk in November, I spotted this lil' jewel of a 3-foot vintage aluminum tree for $50. I've admired aluminum trees of all shapes and sizes in the Purple Moon's windows for the past couple years at Christmas time. Chuck, the owner told me they search estate sales and flea markets for them all year and sell better than 25 trees a year. I bought some plain lime-green bulbs at Wal-Mart (I hate to admit it), which is all I put on the tree. I really didn't need a lot since it's so pretty and sparkly by itself. I didn't want to over do it.

Because of my work, there're no home improvement projects in the hopper for the next couple months. But, I'm about to pay off my 12-months-same-as-cash balance at Home Depot, and it's about time to load it up again. Here's one thing I'm definitely going to buy:

Mirror closet doors for the master bedroom for $102. Also, we've been talking about what we're going to do to the family room. We affectionately call it the "red room." Yikes. The seller was nice enough to throw in a couch and matching chairs in our negotiations... Thanks. No, really. They've served their purpose. We have a lot of seating, which makes entertaining easier. Also, they matched the red walls, which is more than I can say for my other furniture.

I got an idea  while back for the new family room from a picture I saw once (and can't seem to find now). Frank Sinatra was standing in front of a jet with an orange stripe on it. The caption said something about how orange was his favorite color. I'd love to have a family room that looks like a swanky lounge in Palm Springs, circa 1966, with a pumpkin/chocolate/cream color scheme. But, this room is where we spend 75% of our time and where we entertain, so it can't be too over the top. I'd love to paint the walls pumpkin and put a white leather sectional in the corner. On my road trip to the Cincinnati Ikea, this is what I bought:

Pretty flexible no matter what direction this room takes. It's going to be a major overhaul, regardless.