I need your help!

I'm having a true rug dilemma. I'm to the point where I am totally ready to take the plunge and purchase a new rug for our great room/living room/den/whatever people are calling it these days. It's the room with the TV and the giant couch and all the toddler toys sprawled about. That probably paints a pretty clear picture. I hate that I ended that sentence with a preposition, but I am so crazed right now I can't think of how to reword it without sounding a bit too much like Yoda. See? I'm truly desperate.

I need to make a decision tonight because one of my choices is at HomeGoods -- and we all know that means run back and purchase it first thing in the morning, or be terribly sad because someone else realized how awesome it is and they bought it first.

I think I'd said before that I wanted something a little bit more modern. Right now I have a beautiful PB pale blue-gray rug with a kind of paisley/damask in soft tans and ivory. It's beautiful ... but it belongs in my bedroom. I want something a little more lively for the room. So here are the options I'm thinking about that I can actually afford.


The first two are the same price for an 8 x 11 -- which is so hard to believe -- and the last is a bit pricier, but not unmanageable. The first one looks funny because that's actually a picture of a 3 x 5 that sits in front of my door. I can't believe I found the same rug months apart at Home Goods. Wow. Anyway, it's made with silk and is incredibly soft and parts of it are raised and others not. The second rug is thin and from Ikea, but I keep seeing it used in other spaces and I just love it. And finally, who doesn't like the last one? I mean, really?

Keep in mind that our floors are light and our walls are a pretty warm and muddy brown, and our couch is tan. I posted a pic so you can kinda see. Ok, now vote! Comments, please! And thanks. : )

Well I did it ... and the Entry Way did, too.

I caved to peer pressure. Or barometric pressure. It was less than four thousand degrees today and in the spirit of things, I got out some fall decor and made a fall dinner. I know that I swore I wouldn't, but it's my prerogative and Madonna gave me the know-so way back in the day so you can just kiss my grits. They are in the pantry, all ready for the kissing.

In case you're wondering, we had a tasty Indian Chicken Stew tonight (heavy on garbonzo and ginger) along with some tasty pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins. De. Lightful. Even our guests thought so. And their three year old? He only wanted cupcakes. And then ice cream, which we didn't even have or suggest. Our son also really enjoyed a muffin during "naaaah", which is "snack" in toddler talk. Isn't he too cute?

Aside from all that pumpkiny goodness, I thought I'd also go ahead and let you inside for the House Tour. It's been awfully mean of me to make you wait patiently outside all this time, in the sweltering heat and such, but I am just like that sometimes. Go figure. Without much more ado, here's the entry way in our home, all gussied up in her "not-quite-really-fall-yet" look. You can even see that the summer wreath is still outside. I did put the fall one out. Just not before the pictures.

This is our entry way! We added the beadboard earlier this year during busy "crazy amount of projects before everyone we knew came to our house" week. Before that this space was especially hallway-esque. 

This is the "not quite really fall yet" look I was talking about. See that gold platter*? It's really heavy. And it was my starting point for the display. 

I had some different empty frames up there before but it never looked right. I even had these garage sale frames on my spraypaint list. Looks like today it paid off to be a procrastinator because I am loving the way it works with these other elements. It's like the not-really-ugly girl in those teen movies that gets the makeover and looks all hot. Except I didn't actually do anything to this frame. So instead maybe she looks better because she's not sitting in a pile with other things that need a lot of work. See there -- it makes sense to hang out with good looking people. You can all be my friend if you need good looking friends around you. I am super good looking and my friends are not so bad either. (I cannot wait for the comments I will get from them on this one.)

I added a dark little birdy (pictured above) and this Dollar Store birdy I purchased in the spring. He can do both seasons. He's flexible like that. 

This little table must hold things that are toddler-proof. And I know that. So when the candle is lit (and the little one in bed) it sits on the table, otherwise he's hiding behind the ledge on the shelf. And guess what little brown birdy was not toddler-proof? He's all glued up and back to his perch. On the right wall, we have some industrial hooks (but not super pretty, so no picture) and a closet door for the world's tiniest closet (I'm calling Guinness this week!) and a full length mirror that one toddler in particular cannot get enough of. Oh, and see that pillow in the reflection? My neighbor made that for me! Isn't that sweet? 

And one last picture of the platter because it's my favorite.

*My sweet grandmother, Mama-No, and I used to shop together all the time. One year we were out in the fall and discussing Christmas gifts for people and since I had a new house, she was telling me to be sure and tell her what I wanted. I agreed and figured I would start being on the look out. As we walked through the store we were currently in, she must have taken a mental note of every.single.thing I said was cute or neat or fun or interesting because that year for Christmas every present I opened up was spotted in that store on that one particular shopping trip. This platter has a matching vase so I can spread the love in more than one room. I love having it as one of the first things I see when coming in the door now. She might have to be up there for Christmas, too. 

I Just Can't Do It

I know that fall is right around the corner. I know! I keep seeing fancy displays and even Halloween and Thanksgiving stuff in stores. Every magazine and catalog that arrives in my mailbox has a full cover photo of some delicious fall scene. Even at Starbucks they've already brought back the Pumpkin Spice Lattes or whatever they are calling them this year.

But I just. Can't. Do. It.

It's still 298347 degrees outside with 29783% humidity. It feels like the surface of the sun. I can't even pretend that I'm considering it to nearly be fall. My friend Glo wrote about fabricating seasons. I should take her advice. She lives in the desert. No the real desert. Hey, wanna hear a joke? Why is desert spelled with only one "s"? Because it's too dry to grow two. Ha. I learned that in fifth grade and I still think about it every single time I write desert or dessert. Does that make me as smart as a fifth grader? Hmm. Moving on.

I just can't make it fall in my house. But I've started thinking about it. I made a list and will keep adding to it until I decide it's really fall. Which, maybe will be September 1. Or more likely September 15. Maybe it will be less than 98 degrees by then?

I saw this cutie in one of my catalogs and I think I'm going to try and make one! Well, without the shiny jacket or top hat. Ok, maybe the top hat. What do you think?

Risky enrty

Yay! You're back! How fun. I want to continue on my Home Tour (part 1 here) so I thought the next thing to show you would be our entry way. But it's raining and I can't quite figure out how to take a decent picture today, so instead I thought I'd just tell you about some other amazing entryways and things I would love to see incorporated in my own home. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and I can show you some more of my home ... you know, since we're friends and all. : )

The entry way is such an important space. I think it's too often overlooked, but it is your transition from the outside world into the safety and cocoon of your home.  This space needs to pull its weight both in form and function. If you go too much for form, it won't function and it's wasted but too much function and it could feel like you're walking back into work. Who wants that?

Your entry really needs only a few important pieces.

This is technically the entry from the garage, but I love that there's a desk and a chair here. How perfect to go through your mail right away, glance at your calendar on the way in or out and have a lamp handy to light the way at night. If this was the main entry, I think adding a basket on the right side of the door would be a perfect place to dump shoes and maybe a hook or two for your bag.

Not only is the entry your transition from the world to your home sweet home, it's a great place to give others a preview of your style. Think about something interesting on the floor or great art. This solution is a perfect fix for the long hallway type entry because this is  completely customizable. Again, there's a place to sit and a bowl for mail or keys, as well as a pin board for messages, events or momentos. 

An entry can be snuck into a quiet corner of your home as well. You are not limited to your home's official footprint. My favorite pieces for an entry are simple. A mirror, a place for mail and keys, a place to sit and something that clearly says home. Having said all that, I guess I should get really busy on my entry! 

(Images from My Sweet Savannah and Martha Stewart)

Curb Appeal

It's already week two of the Home Tour and I've already failed you! I cheated and left town last week and didn't do any posting or any photo taking of my house before I left. I didn't even take pictures of the fun house I visited either so that's a complete blogfail. I promise I'll do better this time. We'll finish up the rest of the exterior stuff this week and next week will {hopefully!} go as planned. 

Today I wanted to talk about some things I'd still love to do at my house to fix up the curb appeal and give some suggestions for stuff you might want to do as well to freshen up the outside.

I have grand plans in mind for the landscaping. I want to encircle the front tree with a bed and maybe more fern, as well as add a little bed in the corner area where the sidewalk meets the driveway. I'd love to have stone line the flower beds to keep everything from shifting and something large and focal pointy at either end of the bed along the sidewalk. Maybe tall topiaries? Maybe oblesque statues? And the walls on either side of the kitchen window seem so empty, so maybe some hanging plants or climbing plants? {Do you have any ideas for that?}

There are a handful of things you can do today to brighten up your curb appeal, but we're going to focus on the easiest three. I mean, you don't have all day, right?

1. Clean up your act. Sweep off the sidewalk or blow the driveway. It's surprising what a little yard work will do for your house.

2. Focus on your entry. It is so important to have a clear path to the door! Make sure you and your guests have easy access to the entry point from where they've parked. If you have stepping stones or some type of pieced walkway, make sure each piece is sitting tight and won't wobble or move.  At night, your walkway should be lit well enough to see from the driveway or walkway all the way to the door. On top of all that, make sure visitors can find your house. House numbers should be clearly visible from the street somewhere on your house, as well as perhaps on your mailbox or painted on the curb.

3. Add some interest. Painting your front door a striking new color adds to the wow factor. Consider a wreath or sign to accessorize your door and add warmth. It's a good idea to replace your welcome mat if yours isn't so welcoming. Also, try a bigger size or a different shape. Even though we only have a single door, we used a double mat and it substantially changed the feeling of our tiny porch.

Of course, if your entry or porch area is large enough to accommodate an urn with some seasonal plantings or a bench or swing, spend a few minutes creating a lovely place that you'd want to spend time in. Maybe a new cushion, pillow or pot {they'll all be on clearance soon!} will make a big difference for only a few dollars.  What about you? What are some quick or easy changes you've made that have upped the appeal at your place?

Come on Over

Hi friends! I'm so excited to invite you to my home. There are so many of you new followers that I want to personally extend an invitation for you to come party at my house. Over the next few weeks I want to give you a personal tour of our home, as well as give you some helpful hints and suggestions to make the most of yours. My goal is for the tour to be on Mondays, and the rest of the info to follow through out the week. I'd love to sit down and get to know you, so stop by and take a look around, and make some comments so I'll feel like you were really here and we had some serious fun.

First thing is you need directions, but I'm guessing if you're here, you already figured that part out. All the mailboxes are on my side of the street, which makes it really confusing for some people. I am sure to tell people that we're the tan house on the corner and people still try the red house across the street or the yellow house next door, neither of which is on a corner. I tried to make it easier by adding these giant white numbers on our front door. Do you like them? My mother in law said it looks like an apartment and our friends said it reminded them of Harry Potter. I bought some matching numbers for our black mailbox but haven't applied them yet.

Last year we did a major overhaul and tore out our sidewalk because it was always under water if it rained for .00002 seconds, which, since we live in Texas, definitely happens. I'm so glad we did this! I also suggested we make it a little wider as I knew right around the corner I'd need to be walking hand-in-hand with my adorable son and we needed room to walk. I love the gentle curves.

We did some landscaping and I really pushed to incorporate the tree in the bed and I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out. I love the fern around the tree. My spring annuals are growing a little out of control, but I'm trying to hold out until the winter annuals are ready. We have summer well into October so I need to wait as long as possible.

I also ordered this gorgeous black window box (that matches the panelling on our new shutters) that is over five feet long for under my kitchen window. It's only been planted about two weeks and so far, so good! It's really nice to have something pretty to look at while washing dishes. {Jenny, if you're reading, your house is pretty ... but so are flowers!} When I need to water them, I simply open the window, turn on the kitchen faucet, and aim the spray nozzle right into the box! Genius. I am a genius.

This is our front door and porch area. I know I've talked about wreaths before. I whipped up this wreath one night after bedtime with some moss and hot glue. Nothing to it! The funny thing is that when it's really hot out with low humidity (not too often) the moss shrinks up -- but it fluffs back out when the humidity returns. I just cut a thin strip of burlap and pulled pieces off to fray it and tied it in a loose bow. Simple and so cheap.

There's this weird little nook between that pillar and the house. Currently there's a little green gnome in the space, but I'm never quite sure what to do with it. Any ideas?

And just for fun, here's a quick before and after and after line up:

Before: Leroy Brown with pinky purpley brick and butter colored door and trim

After: Tan painted brick with black door and crisp white trim

(Read more about our Farbie Dream House Transformation)

Of course there are a ton of things I'd still like to do, but that's another post!

Thanks for touring the outside with me. I can't wait for you to come in!

House Tour

I love looking at blogs full of beautiful pictures of other people's homes. If it's a blog that posts frequently, I can often notice even the smallest of changes. I also get some kind of sick high seeing pictures of your messes and your house not quite complete or what it looks like when you're trying to take pictures and your son makes a lego explosion or inserts an alien superhero or something. I like it most when your normally pristine house looks crazy and tornado-esque. But I'm also afraid to show you my house looking like that.

In fact, I never want to post any pictures of my house because it's not complete and I don't have a really good before and after shot. Or whatever. But you know what? I invite people into my home all the time. In fact, there are at least a dozen people coming over Thursday morning -- and I don't even know them. My house is not perfect ... or usually even very clean. This realization made me ask myself why I can invite people in to see the mess in person; even people I'll see regularly and who will know what a mess my house is! Why can't I let you, all my blog besties in for a little looksie?

Well, I can. And I will. Starting this week, I'll let you have a little tour of my house, one room at a time. And I won't even go crazy cleaning and organizing and perfecting. It is what it is. And because your home is where your heart is, I'm going to show you some of my heart, too. Here goes. Your about to be assaulted with some handsome dudes.

I had to use a phone picture because any additional clarity would cause you physical pain. It's hard to look at such stunning specimens of manfolk, but try to contain yourselves. This is my hubband and my little. The hubband will not be around for the tour as he usually makes himself really scarce when ladies hit the house, but the little man is here and is well known for providing lots of entertainment. Prepare yourselves. You've been warned.
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