31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

I'm looking forward to sitting on my porch tonight and seeing the neighborhood come alive with ghosts, ghouls, and witches.  Rumor has it our neighborhood is the neighborhood to go to.  I'm hoping I don't run out of goodies. 
I carved my own catolantern a few weeks ago.  It has since molded.  Go figure.  This was the beginning.  He looked pretty good for a while.  He was the test run, but I never got around to carving any more.  I'm fairly certain the kids aren't going to be concerned that my pumpkins aren't carved!
If I ever get back into my studio again there is project waiting for me with pumpkin seeds.  It has been the last room in the house to get settled.  Right now, it looks like a tornado passed through.  Not conducive to creativity.  At least there is another fall holiday around the corner.  I still have time.  I am not even going to think about Christmas right now! 


28 October 2011


It's safe to say that fall is my favorite season.  The reasons are endless...
1.  warm, hardy soups
2.  football season
3.  sitting under the stars near a fire to ward off the chill
4.  the smell of leaves
5.  sweaters
6.  no longer needing to shave my legs (this is big people)
7.  collecting things to bring indoors to prepare for hibernation

I am a collector of fall.  Leaves get taped into my journal, acorns, and acorn hats, line the mantel, seed pods are strewn about the McCoy pottery, tree limbs with lichen are displayed like art.  As soon as I think I've found the best of fall, there is always more to come.  It never disappoints me.

If you read Mary Oliver you'll know why this gathering ritual is so vital.  When the light of day becomes too short, and my limbs can't bear the severe chill of the wind, I can still heal myself with nature within the walls of my home.  It's like my body instinctively knows the connection and it forces me to stop and think about the coming months.  A shift takes place.  

Cc and I were out for a walk the other night and we happened upon my favorite little girls.  The two year old saw the acorn caps in my hand I had from earlier in the walk.  Without saying a word, she walked over to an oak tree and picked up as many acorns as her little hands could carry.  Then she walked back and gave them to me with a big grin.  She too knows.  Children are incredibly intuitive.

Bringing the out in is a yearly tradition, but just like that, when the first sprout of spring appears, all the collections are cleared to make way for the new light.  

21 October 2011

Hello | Good-Bye

I'm heading into the weekend with my head spinning with creative ideas.  We are moving the last of the furniture from the old house to the new.  It has sold.  I'll leave you with a few things I've been diggin' this week. 

++Thinking I need one of these custom made recycled wood signs for Christmas from shop Oh Dier 
++My labtop needs a cool cover like this one from Punk Projects.
++I decided to participate in Poppytalk's Autumn Colour Week and I've been admiring all the different shades. 
++The Tip Junkie has inspired me to take natural Halloween decorating to another level. 
++Found really great design ideas over on Decor8 from Authentic Interiors.
++Daydreaming of travel with Olivia's Little Film About Paris.
++I've seriously been debating my consumption of plastic and then I found these!
++I could use an on-line hardware store like Machen Supply when I turn my corner lot into a farm.
++ Geninne introduced me to dutch oven bread baking.  I will be trying this recipe this weekend. 

Happy Friday.

20 October 2011

Simple Bench Seat Protector Tutorial

When I started on the mud room I debated painting the bench a different color than the trim.  The trim is Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace, which is basically white.  I knew this bench will see a lot of traffic, which may leave traces of dirt.  In the end I decided to paint it white to keep the space light, and I would create a bench seat protector to add color.  It's a lot easier to change than paint, and it will keep the bench from showing signs of wear and tear.  

I didn't like the idea of a cushion.  I wanted the surface to be stable for things like grocery bags.  The most cost effect and reusable idea was to utilize materials I already had on hand.  

Piece of cardboard - large enough to fit the space you are trying to cover.  
Fabric - large enough to cover the size of the cut cardboard plus 1-2 inches.  
Tape measure
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Box Cutter (or any knife type object that will safely cut through cardboard)
Cutting Mat or other pliable surface 
Optional: yard stick or other straight edge

++A note about the supplies.  The goal of the 4(for) green acres life is to be creative in your living by finding and using objects and materials that may otherwise be discarded.  In most cases these things still have a function and don't need to end up in the landfill.  The cardboard I used for this project came from the gather sign that is hanging in my kitchen.  The fabric and cutting mat both came from an estate sale.  The fabric is a bed sheet.  For this project, avoid purchasing new items.  Need a piece of card board large enough to fit your space?  Ask around.  Friends, grocery stores, appliance centers will usually give you their old boxes. ++

1.  Measure the space using a tape measure.  For a snug fit, try to make your measurements as accurate as possible.  Lay the cardboard on a pliable surface.  Either a cutting mat, or your yard will do the trick.  Don't try to cut your cardboard on your floor or concrete.  With the pencil, mark the dimensions of your space on the cardboard.  Since mine was rectangular I measured out the four corners and then used the yardstick to connect the dots with a straight line.  Once you have the cardboard marked, cut it with the box cutter.  Error on the side of cutting it too large.  You can always cut more off.
Once the piece is cut, take it back to the area and make sure it fits the space.  Adjust it as necessary.  Don't worry about the edges being rough or slightly uneven.  You are going to cover it with fabric.   
2.  Once the cardboard is cut and tested for fit you are ready to measure out the fabric.  Lay the fabric out flat and mark the dimensions of the cardboard adding an extra 1-2 inches to fold over.  I was not worried about lining up my pattern, but if you are pay special attention on how you cut the fabric.  Be sure to cut your fabric on a cutting mat.  Again, don't worry about straight lines.  The edge of the fabric will be on the bottom side. 
To make the corners easier to lay flat cut two diagonal slits in the fabric on each side of the corner. 

3.  For the final step, lay the fabric top side down on a table.  Lay the cardboard bottom side up on top of the fabric.  The only part of the fabric you should see is the border that is going to be folded over.  Using the glue gun, start to fold over the fabric and glue as you go.  Be careful not to pull too tight.  When you get to the corner, glue the center section down first and then fold and glue each of the side pieces last like in the photo above.  Once you've finished gluing all sides down allow the glue to dry. 
You're finished!  Lay your completed piece in place and start using it. 

Autumn Colour Week: Gray

Decided at the last minute to participate in Poppytalk's autumn colour week. Join us over here.

19 October 2011

Autumn Colour Week: Orange

Decided at the last minute to participate in Poppytalk's autumn colour week. Join us over here.

++I had a stylist help me with this photo.  In fact it was her idea.  Take a gander at the titles.  This is what our library looks like; An interesting mix.  Isn't that what life is all about? ++

18 October 2011

Autumn Colour Week: Yellow

Decided at the last minute to participate in Poppytalk's autumn colour week. Join us over here.

Home Tour: Mud Room

The last part of the house to get painted was our back entry off the garage, which I call the mud room.  I've always wanted a mud room.  A place that houses coats, shoes, bags, and other miscellaneous items that otherwise get stacked on the kitchen table.  The built in already existed.  I debated changing it, but I think I'll stick with it awhile to figure out exactly what I do want. 
The walls and trim received a color face lift.  For uniformity, the walls were painted Classic Gray and the trim in Chantilly Lace, which are the same Benjamin Moore colors we used in the kitchen.  The door to the garage doesn't have any molding so I decided to turn it into a message center by creating a magnetic chalkboard.  My first post is an "i love you" note from one of my favorite girls.  It was addressed to me, and I think I should frame it.  It's too cute.  FYI she is only four.

I also added a colored bench seat protector.  I didn't want a cushion, but I knew the white paint would get scratched so I covered a piece of cardboard cut to fit the space.  It will protect the bench without the bulkiness of a cushion.  I like that I can change it out when I get tired of the pattern. 

Notice the cat door?  Since the litter boxes are in the garage the cats needed their own door.  I want to figure out how to incorporate the door into art, but in the meantime, I'm pointing out the obvious. 

Future changes include finding baskets that fit the alcoves under the bench, possibly changing out the tile and finding a colorful rug.  Right now the rug is more for function than aesthetics.  It catches a lot of dirt and debris. 

Since this was the last space to be painted I think we can now officially say it's official!  Bring on the furniture.


17 October 2011

Autumn Colour Week: Red

Decided at the last minute to participate in Poppytalk's autumn colour week.  Join us over here. 

Design*Sponge At Home in Dallas

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge during her book tour in Dallas.  She is such a charismatic person.  When I first heard about the tour I was thrilled that there was going to be a craft event prior to the signing.  I was one of the lucky few that got a spot and the opportunity to interact with her.  Creative people are endearing and always inspiring. 
We did a DIY project from the book that involved freezer paper, but there was a major iron debacle.  It ended up taking longer than expected because the participants had to share 2 irons.  Aside from that, it was a lot of fun and Grace and her team did a great job improvising and making it work.  We all walked away with personalized cloth napkins and a signed copy of the book.

What I love about this book is how versatile it is.  Not only does it give examples of great design, it also has several DIY projects (including the one made above), as well as before and after shots.  The projects are broken down into easy tutorials, and it will make you want to redo your entire home. 

I also love the repurposing of items aspect.  There are many creative ideas in the book that take something old and turn it into something new and fabulous.  After spending a lot of time in the pages of this book this weekend my craft list just got a little longer.

On another note, thanks to West Elm for hosting.  There were several pieces in the store that were begging to come home with me, but I probably need furniture first, right?  Oh, and rumor has it we just missed Jeff Lewis.  He had been in the store earlier in the afternoon.  That would have been fun. 

Happy Monday! 

13 October 2011

Natural Halloween Decoracting

I don't typically decorate for holidays, especially non-traditional holidays like Halloween.  I don't like the expense, the storage and the unncessary trash it creates.  This year will be different.  I'm starting think that this will be a year of firsts on so many levels.  Since my favorite little people live in the neighborhood, cc and I have become very popular among the 4 and 5 year olds.  I'm fairly certain they will be hitting up our house for candy and goodies come Halloween.  It won't be as much fun without decorations. 

I've been combing the web for ideas that are not only Halloween themed, but also fall-like so I can carry them over to Thanksgiving, AND then compost or recycle them.  Some of my favorites are from Country Living.  The idea of gathering orange accessories, transforming pumpkins with paper, using mason jars, and making ghosts out of ghords are fantastic.  I love how many ideas are out there don't require me to store them to the next year or throw them away. 

How are you decorating this year?

{images via Country Living Website}

12 October 2011

Home Tour: Kitchen

This is what the kitchen looked like when we purchased the house.  Very traditional and similar to what both of us have been living with in all our other homes.  It was the first room we knew we wanted to renovate.  Back in August I was still up in the air about painting the cabinets.  It doesn't seem like all that long ago, but time has been flying by so rapidly these days.  I'm happy to say that two months later the kitchen is nearly finished, and I wanted to show it to you.
We decided to paint the cabinets after all.  The look I was trying to achieve was crisp, yet a little rustic.  Although the house has a lot of natural light, the back corner of the kitchen seemed a little dark and I thought the lighter palette would reflect the light better.  The cabinet color is Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace, and on the walls is Classic Gray.  The two are very neutral colors and seem to compliment both warm and cool tones.  We changed out the tile with a simple subway tile with dark gray grout.  We waffled on the grout color for a while, but I really think the darker gray gives it some dimension and breaks up the space a little bit.  The other major change was the stove top.  Although you can't see it in the original picture there was a flat surface, electric stove top.  There was a gas line already connected so all we had to do was change out the stove top to a gas unit. 
At first I wasn't too sure I would like this desk and butlers pantry.  It could easily become a junk collector.  The good news is there is plenty of space to organize office supplies, recipes, and bills and I've used it quite a bit.  As of now, this stool is my chair.  It serves two purposes: It slides easily out of the way when I'm not sitting at the desk, and I need a stool close by for all the hard to reach items on the top of the shelves.  I might eventually change it, but for now, it works.  
The bar stools are perfect for the large island.  They match the rustic look and when my favorite girls come over to visit, the height adjusts so they can sit taller.  The paint on the island is a darker color called San Antonio Gray.  It's in a glossy finish with the intention of keeping it cleaner from shoe marks. At least less noticeable.
The hardwoods already existed in the kitchen, but they were a yellow pine color.  Since we added hardwoods in other areas of the house we had the opportunity to sand the existing floors and stain them darker.  The darker color blends well with the neutral color scheme.  
One of the last finishing touches for now was the hardware. With the cabinets being white it's important to have knobs and pulls to keep them from getting too dirty. We are messy cooks, and since we often make chocolate cookies we didn't want to end up with cocoa all over the cupboards.

I say that the renovation is nearly complete because eventually we'll change out the countertops, the light fixtures, and possibly the sink. All big decisions that need a little seasoning before making the purchase. In the meantime, it's perfect. Mostly, I love the transformation, and I think the kitchen is going to be the hub of the house as it is in most homes. What I love most about my parents' home is that everyone gathers around the bar. Laughter, tears, and everyday life takes place around the bar and I get the sense that my new kitchen will be no different.

New Home
Home Tour: Mud Room
Home Tour: Study

05 October 2011

Organize Your Stationary & Get A Pen Pal

I'm starting to feel a little more settled in the new house.  Boxes are starting to disappear, which is relief.  I'm really tired of looking at them.  We are still without a lot of furniture since we are leaving our previous house staged, but the good news is: we are under contract!  It won't be too much longer before all the furniture will be moved and the remainder of the boxes will be gone.  I might just throw a party.

My studio has been the last room to get organized.  I've been looking for a few storage pieces, and waiting for the bookshelves from the other house.  I finally took a little time to get a few things unpacked and found them a temporary home.  The first thing to get organized was my stationary.  I love hand written notes.  There are times when I wish I were still in grade school and had a pen pal.  Can adults have pen pals?  Hmm.  When I have the time, I also like to make my own greeting cards with old postcards and calling cards. 
I separated all my vintage cards, homemade envelopes, and recycled pieces by season in this great divider box I found at Patina Green.  I had intentions to use it for something else, but I think it suits this purpose much better.

It's much easier to find what you're looking for when everything is categorized. 
I found this cheese box at an estate sale for 25 cents.  It holds all the stationary I use to make my own greeting cards. 
The sewing drawer, another estate sale find, holds all the other cards I've purchased.
Eventually these will have a better home, but in the meantime, they are out and accessible.  I'm in the mood to send out some snail mail.  If your interested in a one-time pen pal, leave me a note in the comments section with your email address so I can contact you about your address.  No return letter required! 

03 October 2011

Lost and Found

The one thing I love the most about my new house are all the windows.  The advantage is being on the corner across the street from the park.  We a great view of green space which allows us to see life go by.

Yesterday morning was no exception as cc and I were drinking our cup of coffee when we saw not one, but two cute dogs running around in the grass.  We waited for their human we were sure was soon to follow, but no one came. 
We walked out to the front porch and still couldn't find anyone.  The dogs had an attitude of uneasiness.  Unsure of where they were or what they were doing, and appeared to have been out and about all night.  We called out to them and they came right over.  They are now chilling in they backyard until I can find their human.  They have no tags to identify them so the best I can do is put signs around the neighborhood and call the city shelter to leave my name and number.    

Unfortunately, we have a bad feeling that these two sweeties were dropped and left to fend for themselves.  Can't explain that feeling, it's just there.  So we wait, and hopefully someone will call and there will be a happy reunion.  They are not very fond of cat food (which is all I have at the moment), and they didn't like sleeping in the back yard.  While they didn't bark at all during the day, they certainly kept everyone up last night.  My hope is they can be returned to their home quickly and safely.  The alternative worries me...

I got a call from the owner yesterday.  Her daughter came and picked them up last night.  So glad it ended this way.  Turns out, the woman had a water leak at her home and the city workers left the back gate open and these two lovelies ran for freedom.