Thursday, October 28, 2010

Give thanks

With Thanksgiving several weeks away, my head is in a bit of a spin thinking of all the lovely table arrangements & centerpieces to adorn our dining space. What's that you say? I've forgotten about the festive upcoming "holiday" known as Halloween? Well, there's a good reason I'm mentally skipping over this celebratory weekend. If you saw the wig that I'll be wearing with my 'I thought it was super creative, turns out it's not' costume, then you'd understand why. But moving along...

Did you know that this will be our first year hosting Thanksgiving? Why yes, yes it is. You see, the husband nominated us (ie. the folks who are starting a kitchen demo in t-minus 11 days) to host this little gathering. I can't begin to stress or occupy my thoughts with "what if our guests consume drywall dust with their mashed pototoes?" or "what if we have to resort to pilgrim methods of cooking the turkey because our stove is not operational?" (minor detail). It's onward and upward. It's best to keep my focus on what I do best--design a tablescape!

How creative is this kids set-up (that I'm tempted to use as a grown-up's whimsy & fun, right?):

And since our guests will need to take their leftover goodies to-go, how cute are these:

Although, I'm going to assume for the moment that these are totally non-functional & in reality I'll be sending our guests home with goodies in Glad containers. Sigh...

And how fun are these personalized table markers:

photos courtesy of Country Living Magazine
Can you imagine a miniature version of yourself on a plate? Hey look, you're as big as a pear!

So here's hoping our first run at hosting Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch! Or at the very least, without a side order of spackle...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good stuff

These lovelies came home with me this weekend:

I'd been searching for some big, gawdy gold frames for quite some time now, with a little inspiration in mind:

photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy
We took a weekend trip with friends to my in-law's cabin, which is where I scored these babies. The town is a stretch of antique shops, most with great deals. My endless trips to the Goodwill & Salvation Army were in vain...finding these was almost too easy! $70 later and all these frames had found a new home. And I got a wood-themed deer canvas to boot! I almost feel a twinge of guilt ridding myself of this gem, as there was a personal inscription & story on the back of the picture. But then I realized we're not going for the wood-themed deer look in our now I don't feel so bad.

In other good stuff, I started working on this for the hallway:

I'm back and forth, and back and forth again trying to decide what color this table will end up. I thinking black. For now anyway. But the primer has given me an idea of what it would look like white. So is white a better option? Or would it be too matchy-matchy with the new white mirror that will hang above? Or maybe black would tie in better with the new frames (that will soon be black also)? Decisions, decisions! Honestly, marrying the husband was a no-brainer. It's the simple things in life--like painting a table--that I can agonize over for months. Hello, indecisive city!

I also discovered these awesome, DIY chevron curtains that I think would look great in the hallway:

photo courtesy of Kristen Davis Designs
The tutorial seems easy enough (well, in theory anyway), but I suppose I need to decide how much of the lone hallway window I should actually cover. It brings very little light into the space to begin with. So I think a window treatment of any kind will have to wait until the space is pulled together. And by that point, I'll very likely change my mind...

And with that, I'm off to make a decision of some nature. I'm hoping to bring Tuesday Tours back soon! The husband wants his man's den to be featured one week. But that would require him to actually tidy it up. Afterall, we wouldn't want anyone thinking we live anything less than a perfect, pristine life, right?!

Happy Tuesday all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Losing the lamp shade battle

This amazing find came home with me the other day:

It was a Salvation Army find that I scooped up while on the hunt for some large, gawdy gold frames. The frames were nowhere to be found, but the selection of lamps was inspiring! I stopped in during lunch, thought about the lamp all day, and went back after work to snatch it up. To no one's surprise, the lamp was still there...sporting this little notice:

Sold as is, they make no guarantees as to if it actually works. Well, okay...fair enough. But I was a bit puzzled as to how I was going to "check before purchasing" when there was no outlet within reach. Or more importantly, a light bulb. Well, for $5.99 I was going to take my chances!

A fellow shopper commented on how cute the lamp was (well, thank you kind lady!) and then remarked, "now to find a shade, huh?". She had a valid point. I guess I didn't realize just how valid that point would be until I started my search for the perfect drum shade.

I arrived home to find the lamp was in working order (woo hoo!) and ready for a few coats of metallic spray paint. Next up, the search for the perfect shade. An online search turned up some definite contenders:

photos courtesy of Lamps Plus

But then I decided it was best to go neutral, in the event I wanted to move the lamp to another room, or change the hallway color scheme at some point. Back on the hunt, I headed to Target & eyeballed the perfect sized shade! But my "wing it" method proved to be unsucessful, as it was just too big for my new-old lamp (for those of you keeping track--that's 1 point for lamp shades, 0 points for Katie).

So back I went to return my purchase & continued the hunt (this time with measurements!). Lowes, Home Depot & a local lighting store all turned up nothing. HomeGoods produced yet another "perfect" shade, and as I walked out with my $14.99 purchase, I was 99% sure this one was gonna be too big too. So I hit up another lighting store...which was apparently no longer in business. Well, hello fools errand! It was around this point when I realized why the previous owner of my new-old lamp had dumped it at the Salvation Army in the first place!

My last stop was to the most random store in the universe, Christmas Tree Shops, where I discovered you aren't allowed to buy a lamp shade separate from a lamp base...even when you nicely ask the lovely customer service lady. They did, however, have a small selection of shades for purchase, which turned up this:

We have a winner folks! It's pretty much what I had in mind & for $9 (marked down from $16.99), it'll work. The charming pink piping will definitely be changed out. This might be my chance to bring an element of black to the shade!

More pics to come soon...project hallway is moving along!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white christmas...

Well, now that I've succesfully got that song in your head (mine included), I should probably make two disclaimers:

1) I'm not interested in rushing the season. Afterall, we still haven't celebrated my all-time favorite holiday (insert sarcasm here), Halloween!

2) I'm also not interested in anything white right now. I'm loving this current sunny, 60 degree day! From the comforts of my desk. But whatever. We'll take the warm weather for as long as we can around these parts! Even if it means I'm stuck indoors all day...

I do, however, have the holidays on the brain! It's hard not to be dreaming of a white christmas with greetings like these:

photos courtesy of Tiny Prints

Oh my gosh, can you SO picture the husband hoisting me into his loving arms, ala the first card?!

I'm also loving these gallery greetings:

photo courtesy of Tiny Prints
 Although, I'm pretty sure no one would want tri-fold gallery shots of me and the husband (into ourselves much?). But how cu-ute would these be for family photos?

And for all of you smarty pants who regularly receive a christmas card from us, don't go fooling yourself into believing that one of these made the cut. As if you'd get a sneak peak of our 2010 card! Actually, I'm still debating and deciding, and debating some more. I'm coocoo for cocoa puffs when it comes to anything stationary related, so this won't be an easy decision!

Happy holidays Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today's show... brought to you by the letter "K", the number "2", and the word DEAD.

You see, I have a thing for letter "K". Which stands for my first name, Katie. And then I acquired a husband with the same last initial, which made my collection of K's all the more special. If that isn't fate, I don't know what is!

Remember this gem? It was a $7 kelly green "K" from HomeGoods. Less than an hour post-purchase & a meeting with some white spray...presto change-o! A more sleek looking initial to adorn our mantel!

But it didn't end there. A trip to HomeGoods last week turned up another "K". The same exact one (for those of you who are curious). And the next thing I knew it was making it's way home with me. Days later it received a shiny new coat of yellow spray paint, and the result was this:

When the husband saw it drying on the patio he proclaimed, "you're painting our "K" again?". I should have known better. I should have just left it at that. But you see, I'm a horrible liar. And eventually he would notice that there was more than one of these scattered about our home. So I caved & told him. Followed by several exclamations, "but it's yellow!", "it will be a great compliment to the new hallway!", "we need more reminders of our last name!". Okay, so I didn't actually say the last one. But the other two excuses are excitable reasons to love the latest purchase, no?

And I kid you not, several days later I found another "K" (the same one again!) at HomeGoods & stopped to touch it. I don't know what's worse. The fact that I spend too much time at HomeGoods, or that I was actually considering buying it. If I wasn't DEAD after this last purchase, this one would have surely sent me to the grave. Thank goodness I resisted!

For now the plan is to incorporate it into the hallway project. And I will tell you it's a total coincidence that my intended color scheme matches the new blog design. Total coincidence. But stay tuned...we're only days into "project hallway" and I could change my mind at any given moment...

More photos to come soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Project Hallway

I have a confession to make. We hoard junk in our entryway stairwell. My sister-in-law recently remarked she had no idea we had an entryway stairwell. There was a good reason she (and many others) didn't realize this. Without further ado, I introduce you to our stairwell:

It's become a catch-all for a lot of our junk--speakers, wood filler, old paint, privacy film for our glass-front kitchen cabinets (that never quite made it onto the cabinets), mirrors, some Goodwill finds, a collection of pens & pencils (that I'm pretty sure haven't been used in nearly 5 years), and the circa 1985 Tunturi exercise bike we confiscated from my in-law's (don't judge--that thing gives a good workout!).

The stairwell has been the unfortunate recepient of our junk for 3 years now. We're either too lazy to walk things up to the attic, or the two flights down to the basement. The doorbell to the front of our house is located on the inside of the foyer entry doors, so for obvious security reasons we keep the entryway locked (using our side door instead). Actually, I take that back. The husband once invited his beer club buddies to the house and had the nerve to welcome them through the front door & up the stairwell. Thankfully guys don't notice junk. And if they do, they just don't care.

But you know what? I care! It's taken me this long & I'm doing something about it! So this past weekend I finally tackled the hallway. I decided several months ago on a color--Amherst Gray by Benjamin Moore--and shortly thereafter I read that it's one of the most neutral grays out there. But just to be sure, I tested it out first. Better safe than sorry!

Beautiful. Perfect. It was a match made in paint heaven! Thankfully the color was just dark enough that I didn't need primer OR a second coat. Don't you just love paint that doesn't require any more work than you're willing to give?! 

I also started painting the $39.99 HomeGoods mirror that will hang in the upper landing of the stairwell. I severely underestimated the amount of work involved when I purchased it. I mean, it was going to look super cute after a simple paint job, right? Well, 30 minutes into taping the stupid thing, I was only half done and had totally lost track of time. Not to mention, my mind.

Instead of several coats of spray paint (which would have been A LOT easier!), I opted to paint it instead--3 coats of high gloss paint (Alabaster by Sherwin Williams). Here it is in all it's glory...2 coats to be exact. One more to go!

So there you have it! The hallway is breathing a sigh of relief...we've rid it of it's junk (without the crew of TLC's "Hoarders: Buried Alive" thank you very much) & it's well on it's way to becoming an extention of our home. I'll be sure to post more pics as we make progress!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How I spent my weekend (otherwise known as 'tackling a large to-do list during a plans-free weekend')

With the exception of dinner at a friend's house (paired with a mean game of Cranium--I know, we're wild and crazy), this was the first weekend in a long time where we were without plans. Wa-hoo! The husband was at the office most of the weekend preparing for a work symposium & presentation. And I was left with lots of downtime. Which was the perfect opportunity to tackle the growing to-do list around here! It was either that or watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for the um-teenth time. I figured it was in everyone's best interest to do something a bit more productive.

By Saturday morning I had gotten down to business...

The porch furniture was sent to the attic for the winter:

My closet went from this:

To this:

And I finally started a project that's taken me 3 years to tackle:

More to come about this project later this week! It's a definite work in progress that will take some time to complete. Blame it on the day jobs!

Hope everyone had an equally productive weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Up & running!

We're up and running! City Dwellin' has successfully made it's debut from blah to ahhhh! What do you think?

Of course, I can't take credit for this upgrade. I have the talented Erin Bradley of Erin Bradley Designs to thank for this little makeover. Erin was so lovely in her e-mails and attached simple step-by-step instructions (perfect for this blogger newbie!) to get the new look up & running in a matter of 15 minutes. No cursing, sweating, or husband assistance necessary!

Because of this little upgrade, I was able to add more links to my sidebar. Most importantly I've added a follower section. So don't be shy, I like to know who's reading! I've obviously gained someone new as my list of three followers has grown to four. Apparently, this blog thing is catching on with the masses! I've also made some changes to the commenting format, as some folks had mentioned they weren't able to tell me how cute my house is, how witty I am, or how much they love the new area rug. So fire away...I love comments too!

I mentioned awhile back that I would be adding more blogs to my list of daily reads. So imagine my excitement when I recently happened upon Three Men and a Lady (which will be added to my daily reads ASAP)! I'm absolutely smitten with this master bedroom:

photo courtesy of Three Men and a Lady

There are so many things I'm loving about this space (most definitely the wall color) which is giving me lots of inspiration for a future bedroom makeover at some point. I'm wondering if this color scheme would work with this duvet that I've had my eye on for awhile now?

photo courtesy of West Elm

Which, now that I look at both photos, these two things don't go together at all. But trust me, they're both charcoal and gray and it would work, so whatever. Just go with it.

And yes, husband, a future bedroom makeover is in the some point. I've added you to the sign-up sheet. Your name is under the task of "paint walls". Like I said before, it's best if you just go with it. Thanks a bunch! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time for a facelift

No, not that kind of facelift. No surgery required...City Dwellin' is getting a makeover! Adventures in all things house & home will never look so good!

So what prompted this soon-to-be makeover? Maybe it's the fact that the simple blogger template just wasn't cutting it. Or perhaps it was when the husband (in all his blogger geekery) deleted my "daily reads" links. As you can imagine we were all cool, calm & collected when this happened. And your's truly did not threaten to change my password so the husband couldn't access & fool around on the 'ol blog when I wasn't looking. Nope, none of that happened.

With any luck we'll have the new look up and running soon. And by "we" I mean the husband will have things up and running soon. And no one's feelings will get hurt in the process...we think. And links will still be intact...we hope. But in all seriousness, this blog stuff is right up his alley. Afterall, his current MBA education is not for nothing (did you know they offer courses like e-marketing now??)! Yes sir, he's dabbled in the arena of blogs before!

Oh! And in the process of this little makeover, I hope to make it easier for you--my dear readers--to subscribe to & become followers of the 'ol blog. Many have asked and I hope to deliver. Stay tuned!

So there you have it! If the blog & I aren't around for a few days, you know why. It's makeover time!

See you on the flipside!

Monday, October 11, 2010

New edition

We're excited to announce a new edition to our family! And no, I'm not pregnant. Nor did I adopt a new kitty friend for our current kitty. Although, it should be noted that in recent weeks I've been very tempted to do so. Do you know they're waiving cat adoption fees in our area due to a kitten over population? The husband says this isn't a good enough reason to add to our family. Tiggy & I think he's no fun.

Anyhoo! Without further ado, let me introduce you to the beaut we recently welcomed to our abode:

It should be noted that it took the husband approximately 4 hours & the arrival of dinner guests into our home before discovering our new edition. In all fairness to him, the rug is identical to the one we previously owned. Only this one's larger & cleaner. And has that new rug smell...mmmmm.

You may be wondering how I convinced the husband to let us get a new area rug. Well, it really wasn't so much convincing, but instead a good 'ol phone conversation where I may have casually mentioned that I was at Target "looking" at new area rugs. And then, as if by magic, the rug appeared in our home! Isn't that incredible?

For now, I seem to be the only family member excited about this purchase. The cat avoids any & all contact, instead preferring to hang out in the spare bedroom (where you can find her on most occassions). And the husband seems to have forgotten that it even ever arrived in the first place. As for me, I'm sitting back, relaxing, and taking in that delightful new carpet smell.

And who said sneaky area rug purchases weren't a good time?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday inspiration

Happy Friday! We have a busy weekend ahead, which includes some fun stuff--a trip to the pumpkin farm, a visit with our friends' new twins & a season opener hockey game. The weekend also includes some not fun stuff--as in a day long event to watch a certain football team lose their 4th game of the season (did I mention Sunday will be their actual 4th game of the season? Yeah, it's that bad.).

Want to see something that's not bad? This amazing house tour:


photos courtesy of Young House Love

Awesome. Amazing. I'm loving this house. Lots of DIY projects going on here, which makes their space even more inspiring. The owners of this amazing place are the duo behind Landon Jacob Productions. I'm also a lover of all things photography, so this is a win-win discovery! 

Happy weekend-ing all!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Change of seasons

I swear. I had great intentions of a Tuesday Tour this week. For real! But when you're sick (our medicine cabinet boasts more cold meds than a Walgreens), taking photos of your home is one of the last things on one's to-do list. Some things have fallen by the wayside in these would certainly take a lot of city dwellin' effort to get this abode into a photo ready state!

I consider myself a lucky gal to live in a place that boasts 4 seasons. I can't say that I love our cold winters (especially come mid-January), but I can say--with much gusto!--that fall is one of my favorite seasons! There's nothing like a crisp-ness in the air, changing leaves, the scent of apple & spice candles in the house, a great scarf, and of course a good seasonal throw pillow to put you in a great fall mood!

So with a few simple changes, our house is finally decked out for fall! I'm not a huge halloween fan (gasp--I know!), so most of our seasonal decor serves its purpose all the way to Thanksgiving. And that's music to my '$9.99 wicker pumpkin from Target' ears!  

One of the most noticeable changes I made to the living room was a change in mantle decor. Rustic branches & orange berries, spice candles from Pier 1, and a Target pumpkin, were some of the simple additions that helped create the perfect fall feel in our living room.

I also changed up some existing framed engagement photos that hang near the mantle. By adding some fall colored scrapbooking paper (to replace the spring-like fabric that currently occupied two of the frames), it was an instant change that cost zero dollars (thanks to some paper I had in my stash!).

I also added some fall touches to the furniture by way of a quilt my mom made us for our wedding (coincidentally our wedding was in the spring, but the quilt boasts fall colors--thanks mom!) and some throw pillows from HomeGoods and Pottery Barn.

The dining room table also received some fall touches--$4 worth of gords & pumpkins from the farmer's market and existing decorative wicker balls from Pier 1 (that were the husband's from his bachelor pad days...he was the sole contributor of decor in his last place--a man after my own heart!). The runner is another quilt from my mom, and the large silver bowl is a $28 sale item from HomeGoods that I snagged from several nearby stalking women. HomeGoods shopping rule of thumb: snag first, decide later. 

And while I'm not a huge Halloween fan (again...I know, I know!) I did add a few items for the upcoming holiday.

It should be noted that when the $9 HomeGoods glittery skull was brought down from the attic, the husband asked what glittery skulls had to do with fall. As you can see, he's obviously not a Halloween fan either. Eh, consider us in the minority, right?

Happy fall decorating everyone!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend crafting

It's a gloomy fall weekend & I'm still under the weather, but that didn't stop me from doing a little crafting today. Scrapbooking room be idle & cute no more!

Armed with a large supply of buttons, florist wire & floral stem wrap tape, I set out to create some simple button flowers.

The first step was looping the floral wire through the button holes. You can use one or two buttons, but in this case I chose to use two contrasting colored buttons. (divert your eyes from my un-manicured nails--yikes!)

Using my index finger, I securely held the buttons together and twisted the wire until the buttons were tight & secure (creating a wire "stem"). In this case, I used the scientific method known as, "if the buttons don't rattle or move, proceed to the next step". Pretty simple method, huh?

The next step was wrapping the wire with floral tape. I'd never used floral tape before, so I was surprised to find it wasn't tape-like at all (eventually it adhered itself to the wire the more I wrapped and pressed)! I folded up the ends of the wire and wrapped the tape around the ends, careful not to leave any jagged wires hanging out. There's no need for anyone to get injured by my cute, new button flowers!

And the finished product...

In the end, each flower took less than 5 minutes to make. Easy, fun crafting for a fall afternoon!

Happy weekend-ing all! 

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