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The Money Pit

Merry Christmas!!

Things have been crazy but I did manage a little holiday sparkle.   I had been picking up some pine cones every time we walked in the school yard, but I wanted more, because I only wanted nice pine cones.  My mom purchased a bag for me and they had the strongest cinnamon smell.. Holy cow! I used those pine cones on the front door because those overpowering vile cinnamon scented little buggers absolutely could not be in the house.  I bought some fabric ribbon to use for gift wrapping but had some left over. Using the trusty hot glue gun I glued the smelly pine cones to the ends of the ribbons and tied the ribbons around an old key ring (so I could easily hand it on the door).  Easy peasy and could be free if you had pine cones in your neighborhood.

Front Door

I put the Christmas Bells on the front door… they are cute and you hear the door when Bethany comes in late after babysitting.

Christmas Bells

The Christmas Tree…

Christmas Tree in Federal Way

Since Paul was not going to be home for Christmas I did not drag out the Christmas dishes and all of the Christmas decor. I only did a few little things around the house.

Santa Puppies

Tinkerbelle, Snickers and Fushi were very festive. The Shih Tzu Mafia have Santa Suits as you can see but they also have not one but two Christmas sweaters. Lucky Dogs!  So they have been very stylish all month long!

SnickersDSC_0150  Fushi




My moms house looked pretty festive. She had decorated early in December.. but even she decided to use a smaller tree and only drag out a few things this year. Although she did drag out the Christmas dishes which was better than I did.

My moms tree

Love this cute little tree.

Moon MirrorSanta's Lurking AboutNativitySanta Moon




My mom always decorates around this moon mirror for every season, it always looks so good. She put little Santa’s all over the house, put up the Nativity and this darling moon Santa. My mom has the best decorations.  We had a nice quiet Christmas Eve at my moms. It was a wild week here. My mom was not feeling well Thursday night (the 20th) and went to bed. She called me at 4am Friday morning to bring her some anti-emetic medication, around 10am mom said she needed to go to the emergency room. I took her to Allenmore Hospital and we waited for several hours before she got a CT scan.. but as soon as they had the scan results she was being prepped for surgery. She has a bowel obstruction by internal hernia. Four feet of bowel had wiggled through the opening and was turning black. Thankfully when the surgeon put the bowel back where it belonged and closed the hole the bowel pinked up and nothing had to be removed. We were not sure when they would release my mom, I thought we might be there for Christmas Eve. I had a plan however.. if we were celebrating Christmas there I was going to make her BE the tree. I thought a headband with a little star on top would be just the ticket. Luckily for Mom they released her the morning of the 24th and we celebrated at home.  Mom is doing really well and on the mend.

Bethany and Nan DSC_0261 DSC_0275

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!!

Flame Mahogany Buffet

This summer while perusing I found a fabulous buffet available in Seattle, the guy wanted $25.00. Yes, yes I want that. I loaded Carl up in the van and we drove over as soon as we could. What a great deal. When we get there not only was the buffet stunning, but the little family selling it was really cute. The husband had done just an amazing job on their house, really he had some just incredible ideas, so that was fun to see. I wish I was even half as handy as this guy.

There are small pieces of trim missing and I may remove all the trim and see if I can replace it but I should say I love it just the way it is (even if there is a little damage). Originally I was going to paint it but I love the wood so much I’m not sure I can right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind later.  It sat in the garage for a couple weeks and then I decided I wanted it in the dining room.. now, as is. I am so glad we did that, because it is fabulous in there.

As a bonus as I was leaving the house the husband asked if I wanted the matching hutch. Really? YES!!For another $25.00. Carl and I would come get it at a later time but I was so excited. A matching set.. for $50.00! What a deal!

We did take that opportunity to go visit my best friend Susie while she was recovering from surgery. It was good to see her and see how well she was getting around.  We sat in the garden and visited, it was a great day!

Inexpensive Art for the Kitchen

Framed Coffee Bean Bag

I have been working on some wall decor for the rather blank walls we have. We have really high ceilings at the house and need a lot to fill up the space. I’ve been piecing together ideas, ordering pictures and frames (wow, frames are expensive) as the budget allows. I did buy a used coffee bean bag off of eBay for $5.00, okay actually I had to buy two of them because I cut the first one too short (bad). I found a large simple frame at Michael’s for $7.00 (with a mat) and framed the bag.  The print on the bag was unfortunately offset so it looks slightly off center (this adds to the charm right?). For about $12.00 It works and represents one of our favorite things.. coffee. Now if it were a chocolate bag… that would really be something!

Another great idea might be to staple the bag over cork for a cute useable message center too.. so many ideas.. so little space, time, and budget.

Home Maintenance and Projects


A clean roof!

We are working on some money pit home maintenance while Paul is in DC. The house was vacant for more than a year before Paul bought it in October of 2009. The roof/gutters have never been cleaned in that time and I suspect they had not been cleaned since the home was “remodeled” from a small single story home into the much larger 3600 square foot home it is now.

We had no choice but to call a company and have them clean the roof and gutters or start telling the neighbors we had one of those roof top gardens (because really it was better than the lawn) and the house was eco friendly. So this guy shows up and works all day on the roof. I swear he never took a break. The roof looks totally amazing. Like a brand new roof. LOVE IT!

Goodbye old oven…

I even posted the old oven on Craigslist for free and someone came to get it the same day!!  This means more room to work on all of my projects. HA HA HA!!

My Craigslist Birdcage

I did get rid of the oven but.. I found a big birdcage on Craigslist… I will show my birdcage project later. As you can see it really needs a good scrubbing, but it was only fifty dollars so what can you expect? Right?Just wait until you see what I try to do with it!


Wooden Sphere Decor

I have been feeling a little crafty and Pinterest has only made this worse… now I have more than 400 craft/furniture projects to work on. Many are easy peasy so it sounds much worse than it really is. I did turn the seldom used (and yet to be painted) dining room into my craft room. Paul is thrilled with this new change. Ok not really but.. we rarely use it.

I saw the wooden Spheres from West Elm, and seriously these look like they are begging to be in an office on a shelf next to some big important books.

Then I found this metal sphere at Artco for use in your garden.


Since I don’t have any big important books and my garden is well.. non existent I thought I might be able to copy a fabulous knock off that I found on Knock Off Decor, which is now a favorite website that I hit every day.  This has led me to find more projects and some fantastic blogs to read. This project was done by Hill Country Homebody, this gal did an amazing job… I totally missed a step but I don’t think Paul will notice the error (these will be in his office on the book case).

I bought the embroidery hoops at Micheal’s and picked up some acrylic craft paint (Americana in Slate Grey), after they were painted.. Paul said he thought they should be shiny so I went out and got Krylon Clear Glaze spray.   In retrospect I should have stained the spheres but at the time the craft paint seemed like a better idea (and way cheaper of course).  I used those el cheap-o little foam brush thingies. These took me forever (but any normal person could have these done in a day).

My Spheres





I heard about Pinterest and thought I’ll never use that, what in the heck do I need that for? Famous last words right?  I didn’t try it or even peek at it for the longest time… did I mention Pintrest now my newest obsession. Pinterest where have you been all of my life?  What a super idea. I visit the site every day.

Since Paul is going to be deploying I have been looking up all sorts of craft projects to try… I’ve got a board for that. After spending days on Pinterest I now have a bunch of boards and a ton of craft projects, recipes to try and new blogs to read with even more ideas.

I found a pink dune buggy, an amazing deep pink velvet chair, and the best ideas for holiday themed displays. The list goes on and on. Inspiration for all sorts of things, room decor, weddings, parties, clothes.. you name it.  I am trying to eat more of a Paleo diet and there are a ton of recipes, on the downside my friends post the most incredible, fabulous recipes (not even close to Paleo)… some are waayy to tempting to ignore.

Paul’s start date for his deployment was delayed (for a MONTH) so he was able to partake in the joy of shopping for craft materials at craft stores, the goodwill and thrift shops.  He also bought a gentlemen’s chest I found on craigslist for me to refinish. I found it for $65.00 and it is super cute. It will be my first furniture project.  Paul is trying to keep me off of craigslist .. to no avail.  I want a really long older dresser next… and/or a farmhouse style hutch because I am so desperate for storage. So I hunt there daily as well.

Now if I can get past the mind numbing fatigue I will get a few of these projects done. I’ll post my progress.

A Diamond in the Rough…

I’m going to tell you about the never ending project aka the Money Pit or maybe the” What were we thinking project”.

When we consider that my sweetheart is not a real “handy around the house” guy, seeing this project might make you laugh or, more likely, cry a little. Probably you’ll send the men with the nice white coats over because clearly we are delusional at best and probably just flat out crazy.

Paul had been in Iraq for a year and when he arrived back here things did not fall into place as easily as one might hope for. When does it ever right?

The first day we looked at houses was a long and depressing day. So many were in short sale, a few in bankruptcy or with such irreparable damage it was out of the question. In fact the two that I liked the best were both problems. One was a short sale, I liked it so well I memorized the address. It had a HUGE kitchen and hardwood floors, the other was a great house with a perfect layout but… LOTS of water damage.  We knew we could not take on a house with that much water damage. So we kept looking.

We set a date to look at a few more homes and one had popped up just that morning. It was a big house in the right area. We put it at the top of the list as a must see for that day.

We opened the door and I knew right then this was the one! Aren’t you supposed to feel like that about a wedding dress?  I felt like that about this house. It was not without issues, clearly.  It was bank owned, the kitchen had been stolen out of it (all that was left was a pipe in the center of the kitchen), There was water damage in the dining room, and the back yard looked like the African Savannah, the list goes on and on.

On the plus side the ceiling are high and the floors are all tile, slate and hardwoods. It is a very large home with over 3600 square feet, four bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. The kitchen had the potential to be very large with lots of storage.. I was totally blinded by potential. Granted the house is between “the cuts” as my daughter calls it and the country club, but the potential was enormous.

The paperwork was hashed out and submitted that very afternoon.

A Bright Idea!

While at Lowes recently we started looking at LED lights, they are more expensive but they last so much longer. We had already been using CFL lights for almost all of our lighting needs because the incandescent is just not cutting it anymore. We are on a quest to save money and wanted see if switching it up again to the LED style bulbs would continue to  decrease the electric bill. Plus the added benefit of having to replace the bulbs less often. Considering we have a chandelier in the entry hall that we cannot even get to this seems like the best possible solution for it.. when we can get up there to actually change the bulbs. Take a look at this spreadsheet supplied by

I ran around and counted all the lightbulbs and we have over 80 to replace. Wow!

Glass Display Jars – Very Beachy

Upstairs we have a table with 3 large glass display jars. I love these jars because you can really do anything with them. This weekend I thought I needed to change it over to a spring/summer display.

 I bought 4 bags of sterilized décor sand and a bag of shells. I used all the sand but only just over half of the shells to make my spring/summer display. It was quick and easy and the materials were about 20.00.

Several craft stores have coupons for 40% or 50% off one item. I try to get on the e-mail and snail mail listings so I can get these regularly. I can always find some little thing I’d like to have for the house.

This entire set of large glass jars were purchased at Sams Club at Christmastime for 25.00. After looking around at several other stores, that was a great deal. I have seen some at TJ Maxx recently that were also pretty reasonable. In fact I have two more by the fireplace in the living room with sea glass in them.