amis au fil des ans

just a few good friends, sharing adventures in family, arts, and sometimes heavy machinery

Archive for the category “home projects”

dwell studio bedroom, in progress

hey, where are you guys?!  i know you’re not sitting around, so please start sharing again!!

my next room decor project is focused on our master bedroom, mostly because we don’t have anything that actually matches and is functional.  i’m a firm believer in white bedding so that’s not going to change, but i needed to spruce up the place a bit.  i fell in LOVE with the new dwell studio line of fabrics, but didn’t want to pay the prices for their bedding, so i’m trying to be a little creative and find ways to incorporate the fabric into our room.  you may recall i also used dwell studio in the mudroom redo too!

dwell studio fabric samples

what you can’t see – we used to have brown curtains on the windows, only because they were left over from my previous home.  they were too short and, well, brown, so i’ve wanted to replace them forever.  i decided on white (white?!) curtains, and i actually like them more than i was expecting!

i’m definitely not done yet, but what i have finished so far is: recovering the lampshade, adding a bench from our dining room and recovering it, and making 2 pillow covers.  small changes but the impact has been big!

for the lamp, i used bella porte charcoal.  sissy and i kind of traced the lamp onto the fabric, which worked fine and all, however the pattern is a little lopsided.  we didn’t think this through enough obviously.

the bench used to sit in our dining room since it’s technically part of our dining room seating, however we never use it.  instead i brought it upstairs and recovered it in vintage blossom in grey.  actually, i can’t take credit for this project – my very talented parents did this bench and the one in the mudroom while i was visiting hubby in japan!!  how awesome is that?

after seeing the vintage blossom on the bench, i knew i needed more, so i ordered 3 more yards of fabric and made two king-sized pillow covers using this tutorial.  i love them!!  the one change i made to the tutorial is that i didn’t do the edge.

pillow pocket close-up

next up are a few euro sized pillows in the yellow & white zig-zag pattern (premier prints line).  maybe also some toss pillows for the bench in one of the other fabrics…at any rate i hope hubby likes it when he returns!!


stuck in the mud

ahh, the dreaded mudroom.  the room in the back of the house that ends up collecting all the miscellaneous clutter that didn’t fit anywhere else in the house.  instead of a junk drawer, it’s the junk room.  at least this is what it is at our house.  for context, our mudroom spans the entire rear of the house, but is only about 7 feet wide.  picture a sideways bowling alley, and yup…that’s what the room is.  here is a picture from when we first bought the house:

you’ll notice a nice-looking built-in desk, which gave my hubby the smart idea of selling the house to me since it had a sewing room.  “look babe, you can turn this room into a sewing room!”  needless to say i have never so much as cut fabric in that room.  in the next few years we will come to hate this built in desk, but ultimately decide to do nothing about it.  (sorry for ruining the end of the story).

i’ve wanted to do something to the mudroom  we came up with these grand plans, had contractors come out and give estimates for shelving and cabinets and wainscotting and tile flooring…i mean, if there has ever been a plan for a mudroom, i was going to have it!  in the meantime, you could come over pretty much any day of the week and this is what you’d find:

so that was about 6 months ago.  needless to say, i did a full 180 on the whole grand mudroom plan.  i don’t know why, but i abandoned the mudroom plans and took matters into my own hands.

first, i started painting.  the original color was a cross between barf and honey, with beige trim that looks like it was painted white and then someone smoked cigarettes next to it for 20 years.  i was going for a grey color, but like every wall color i pick this ended up more blue than grey.  luckily, blue is my favorite color.  the trim is sherwin williams #7004 snowbound.  note, i always use sherwin williams colors because i have the paint deck, but i never buy their paint.  i could write a whole blog about how overpriced their product is, with terrible customer service to top it off, but i’ll bite my tongue.

next, i bought a great shelf/coat hook unit from home decorators collection, and we were off running.  the shelf was pretty easy to put together, but i did have some assistance which was necessary for hanging the seemingly 200 lb unit.  i hung a few pictures on the walls, bought a new rug, got rid of all the extra junk that was just hanging around, and taa dah!

and yes, of course i still have a bit to do – you’ll notice the back door isn’t painted white yet, and the bench will either be reupholstered or get throw pillows, since it’s obvious that the beige microfiber does not match.  also i still have at least one more picture to hang.

here are some of the details:

cafe curtains - handmade - dwell studio soft scrolls fabric

pier1 imports multi coat hook

ikea - dog butt leash hook

personal images -

give an old book(case) a new color?

would you try to hide them and make them disappear into the wall or would you paint them in an accent color (think pear green) and make them stand out?


i have been toying with the idea of painting them since we moved in.  but i hate them.  and i don’t think painting them is going to make me like them any more.  or will it?  can you give an old book you hate a new cover and all of a sudden like it?

i was all set to give up on the idea until i saw this picture in the design within reach catalog over the weekend:

it was love at first sight.

but can my dysfunctional shelves ever make me swoon like these do?



return to creativity


hello again!  betcha thought i’d never return, huh?  so as you know, i’ve been a little preoccupied for about the past month, but i think we’ve gotten things stabilized again and i’m finding some time for fun stuff.  today was a fantastic day, because i was able to tackle a home project that has been weighing on my mind for OVER A YEAR.  why has it been on the to do list for so long??  two reasons: time, and weather.  the time excuse is obvious, but seriously the weather has been miserable for so long…hot, hot, hot, dry and hot.  not exactly a good time to plant a bunch of new things.  this week mother nature delivered a true gift – 60 degree weather!!  i honestly can’t tell you the last time that i worked in the yard with a sweatshirt on.  wowsers!  so the story goes like this – this little nook in our yard used to have a few azaleas when we first moved in, which ended up dying.  i added the brick border using left over patio stones from our patio project, and i kind of like that they’ve moved around and aren’t exactly even anymore.  i have added a few annuals to this spot to just kind of keep it pleasant looking, but once they died…well it was pretty gross.  so i ripped nearly everything out (the tea olive tree was a wedding gift, so it’s relatively new), and the rest got a facelift.  i used the same process and ideas as the rest of the back yard – multiple textures, heights, and a combination of bushes, flowering trees, perennials and grasses.  i’m sure it’s not a style that would be popular for everyone, but in our eclectic neighborhood it fits right in.  the reason why i picked this style is because it attracts butterflies and birds, and is also tolerant of the little paws that love to pounce on plants as they chase lizards.  i finished it off with cypress mulch, which smells soooooo good!!  what do you think?


you may be asking what are all those plants anyway, so here you go:

(1) tea olive tree (VERY fragrant, truly awesome)

(1) pink lady camellia tree

(3) ligustrum bushes

(2) japanese ewe bushes

(4) mexican heather perennials

(2) loropetalum bushes (purple leaves with pink flowers)

(2) green grasses

(3) white grasses

(2) chrysanthemum perennials

(1) persian shield perennial

just take it one day at a time…

as i threw up my arms in defeat 2 days ago my wise 3 year old reminded me to just take it one day at a time.  honest.

me:  we need to hire someone to do all this yard work.  it is too much for mommy and daddy to do.

e:  why?

me:  because mommy and daddy are sore and tired and there is still so much to do!

e:  that’s ok.  just take it one day at a time, mommy.

how right she is!  i have this issue of needed immediate gratification and wanting things done yesterday.  so with those wise words in the background b and i are taking it one day, one wheelbarrow, at a time.

over the past few days we have done a lot.

added gutters to the first story on the front of the house.  (big issue with all the rain water from the second story landing right in front of the living room and going into the basement.)

set up our new rain barrel to collect rainwater from one of the new downspouts.

rearranged some of the plants on the hill and added a few more grasses and junipers.  and a butterfly bush for the girls.

cleared out the vines and stumps in front of the house, to the right of the house, and this horrible awful section in the front right yard.

moved 800 lbs of boulders that we discovered when we cleared out the vines and stumps.

laid a small patio off of the family room door and setup a couple chairs and cocktail table.

spread lots and lots and lots and lots of tree chips.

next to come is the play structure!

remember…here is the before:


here are some during:


and finally…some after:




before and after…

and i know it isn’t much.  but it was.  we dug away and moved so much earth from along the wall to to steps.  so much dirt.  oy.  seriously.  i need compliments on this.  can you see the 18″ wall in the first picture?  NO!  can you in the second?  YES!  we are getting mulch delivered next week and i think i will put in a few more junipers and maybe even a huneysuckle ground cover.  just worried it will overtake our yard.  we also need to grow more grass on the top of the slope and define the grass line some.  maybe add in a landscape border?  that could keep the honeysuckle at bay…

anyway…forward (???) progress is being made!



ever bite off more than you could chew?

b and i are very good at that.  we have a hate-hate relationship with our yard.  so last week we had a company come and tear out everything in the front yard and take down 4 trees and now we have to do something with it.  but it needs so much work that it sends me into a mild panic attack just thinking about it.  but we have to do something.  we just need the something to be in the low low low low low financial requirement category and the something has to be in line with our master plan.  some pictures to give you a framework:

front before and after:


right side before and after:


back before and after:


master plan includes a new front entrance-way, pergola, play structure, garden, flagstone patio around the house and off of the sunroom, and a fence.

i think the steps for this year will be as follows…

1.   excavate more of the land in the back right of the house to expose more ledge (rock).  both for 2 reasons.  1:  we like it.  2:  it will act as a natural retaining wall and can (hopefully) save money by using what is natural versus creating something man-made.  we also need to address some drainage issues since during the rainstorm yesterday it was discovered that we have a waterfall coming through our basement window.  sigh.

2.  level the front, right, and back yards.  the front yard will remain on a hill but we need to level the top part so we can put a fence at the top of the hill and do a low maintenance mulch garden down the slope.  b wants to rework the steps and path to come up by the driveway as opposed to the sidewalk.  we also want to level the area to the right so we can put a play structure for the girls.  the back left we also want to level so we can put up a pergola for an outdoor sitting area.  did i mention we also want to remove all the vines and ivy on the ledge?

3.  update the sprinkler system.

4.  lay sod and spread mulch.

5.  install a fence.  (note:  this is a pipe dream as my budget is $0 and clearly the above items will not be free.  but…a girl can dream.)

next year we will get the play structure for the kids, do some plantings, build window boxes, and hopefully get a couple raised garden beds.  main concern with the garden is that it will have to go in the front yard as that is where the sun hits.  i think as long as we have a good fence that should be fine….?

the following year we will tackle the new front entrance-way, pergola, and patios.

totally doable…right?

updated cafe curtains


don’t you love when you set out to do something crafty and it ends up taking a totally different direction?  i had big plans for making my own cafe curtains for the kitchen and making coordinating cushions for the hookah table (yes, you read that correctly).  so what went wrong?  well, i headed off to bb&b for the curtain rods and found these great panels – the perfect length, the perfect color…one thing led to another…i bought a pair, brought them home expecting to return them the next day.  wouldn’t you know they are exactly the right size, let in exactly the right light, and look just about perfect all on their own.  sheesh!  after i set up my sewing machine and everything.  in this rare example of a project taking about 20% as much time as originally estimated (afterall, i did have to clean up all the packaging materials), i’m happy to say tah-dah!  instant satisfaction.  yippee!

wedding pictures

while i’m pretty excited about getting our wedding pictures delivered this week, i think my husband is three times as excited because now he doesn’t have to look at pictures of people we don’t know in our hallway!  (i hung all the frames to make sure they fit, and left the stock photos inside).  i was going to make it a little more elaborate, but the hallway is kind of narrow and dark, and too many frames would’ve overpowered it.  i love how the photos turned out!  i bought all of the frames at kohls and went with all black frames.

i’m going to try taking different pictures another time, these ones came out really bad because there is absolutely no light up there.  which brings me to my next question – any good lighting ideas?  i’m thinking gallery style, but it might reflect off the glass…this will be my first time with gallery lighting so i think it will be a little bit of a “quess and check” process.

photographer: meghan stewart photography, jacksonville, fl

frames used:

(1) 14×18 (holds 11×14 photo)

(4) 14×14 (hold 8×8 photo) malden matted manhattan frame

(2)  10×20 (holds (3) 5×7 photos each) montego collage frame


bzzzzzzzzzzzz…where’s my honeycomb?

a few months back i stumbled upon this picture in a blog:

needless to say…i was hooked.  i wanted them…no…needed them in my house.  so a couple weekends ago when b’s father was in town i set them to work.  i had everything sketched out and drawn up with measurements and everything.  and then it got comical.  b’s dad is a physicist and had to create a model for the shelves to confirm the lengths and angles.  let’s just say that 10 hours later he proclaimed me “right”.  b hung the shelves this morning (with a little help from a cute 3 year old…).

they are in b’s office (which is really a glorified hallway with a door on it).  you are also getting the first glance at the new paint color (bm freedom trail)!  he used wood we reclaimed from an old storage closet in our basement.  the wood had old posters glued to some planks and we tried to get some of those pieces to give in an old feel.  i would like to try to attach the one that is floating on the left side to the set of two but i am not sure if we can…  my initial drawing had 3 connected and one floating.  but hey…at least i have something!

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