Monthly Archives: May 2013

Little Ms. Robin Saga

Every spring, a mother robin builds a nest somewhere in our yard . . . .


. . . . this year, she chose the arbor that’s over our garage door.

How sweet, no?

Well, KIND OF.

Since this photo op, our now-adolescent little Ms. Robin has left her nest,

as all adolescent robins do.

Tragedy was narrowly averted on Tuesday,

when she obliviously hopped to + fro in the grass behind our garage.

Suddenly, I heard her robin mother + robin relatives squawking like crazy!

What a racket!

Seems our murderous neighbor cat, Charlie, lurked nearby!

Cue: ME, ‘to the rescue’ . . .

. . . frantically catching little Ms. Robin (much to her + her robin posse’s dismay)

+ depositing her safely within our fenced backyard.


Since then, I’ve chased her a couple more x’s

+ re-deposited her within our fence,

dug up some earthworms + attempted (but failed) to feed her said-same,

+ finally dashed to the grocery store for a bag of wild bird seed.


I’ve not yet seen her this a.m.

(yikes — we had a couple torrential downpours yesterday!) . . .

. . . but maybe she’s wisely giving this interloper a wide berth

at the birdbath!

Fingers crossed she’ll show up again, soon!

I Want A Retro Tile Floor!


One of my favorite blogs — Hooked on Houses — recently posted about Drew Barrymore’s house.

Go there now:

I fell head-over-heels in love

with the retro-style refrigerator + freezer in her kitchen.

Who’s hip to the totally awesome + retro SMEG brand?

west elm smeg front

My retail bestie — West Elm — sells them!  $2 grand!

Of course, they come in all sorts of colors, but I ‘need’ red!

See for yourself

how the West Elm hipsters styled these beauties in room settings:

west elm smeg in room #2west elm smeg in room #1

While I did intend for this post to be about Smeg refrigerators

+ my love for them . . .

. . . my short attention span was diverted once again . . .

. . . this time, by Drew’s yummy yellow + white checkerboard floor:



The product is Marmoleum Click:

a substainable + natural floating floor

that’s easy to install + glueless!

Say no more!

I quickly proceeded to research Marmoleum images online,

+ look what I found:

linoleum -- aqua + lt. tan zig zaglinoleum #3

linoleum -- tan + white stripesFORBO CLICK

linoleum #1linoleum -- gray, white + black checks

linoleum -- green + white checklinoleum -- red + white checks

Are you swooning?

If you’re like me, you are.

I mean, it’s all about the mildly-odd-yet-tasteful factor in my little décor world.

Plus, how period-appropriate would this be in our 30’s-era Dutch colonial?


The good news is that I’ve chosen my favorite pattern o’ tiles, + here ’tis:

linoleum -- pink gray + white gingham check

I think it has kind of a gingham check vibe, don’t you?

The off-white, pink + gray is on-trend + darling,

but my kitchen is calling for something like this:

giant red floorgiant eternity floor

linoleum -- giant volcanic ash

Okay, I’m about to swoon,

+ meanwhile, I have a prediction:

G.O. is going to nix this idea, the minute I ask make him look at this post.


Why doesn’t he trust me yet?  😉

Warning: Impatiens Virus!


 What a coincidence that just yesterday,

I blogged about my favorite shade-loving flowers, the impatiens . . .





. . . because JUST yesterday, I read that

there is a very serious virus which is affecting impatiens!

It’s called Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus.

“They” say that you can put them in containers + be okay . . .

. . . but not in the ground, as they will contaminate the soil!


Has anyone else heard this?


Even though I didn’t know about any virus at the time,

 I managed to bring home a ^^couple flats of Torenia^^,

which several of my gardening friends have since suggested

as an impatiens substitute.

flower torenia #4

It is commonly known as the ‘Wishbone’ flower.

Look carefully at the closeup.  I see a wishbone, don’t you?

Kaui Lemon Drop

Kaui Lemon Drop

flower torenia #2flower torenia #3flower torenia -- #1

Blue Wings

Blue Wings

And now for some container combinations featuring Torenia:

Perennial lungwort (leafy, left side),  pink impatiens + trailing torenia.

Perennial lungwort (leafy, left side),
pink impatiens + trailing torenia.


Leafy Perilla  (this is new to me) + pale pink Torenia.

Leafy Perilla
(this is new to me)
+ pale pink Torenia.

More shade

 Speaking of shade, our house’s 4 yet-to-be-filled window boxes face north + get no sun:


I think I’ve found this year’s window box combination of flowers:

flower torenia #10

Aaron Caladium (white + leafy) — I’ve chosen these in the past + love them!

Diamond Frost Euphorbia (lacy white) — never had it but always admired it.

Summer Wave Blue Torenia.

* * * * * * *

‘Wave’ definitely means trailing, when it comes to flowers — haven’t we all heard of ‘Wave’ petunias?

They’re everywhere!

petunia wave #6petunia wave #5petunia wave #7

Nobody loves the ^^antique urn^^ more than I do.

I just love antique ANY-thing in the garden!

petunia wave #8petunia wave #2petunia wave #9petunia wave #3

Disclaimer: some gardening snobs turn up their noses at petunias,

claiming they’re ‘too common’.

But seriously.  I think the containers in these photographs transcend ‘common’!

What say ye?

* * * * *

But I digress.

I think it’s now time to grab my credit card + head to the garden center!

See you there!

Shady + Sunny White Flowers

Tabula rasa is a term I learned in college Psychology 101.

Tabula rasa:

the mind before outside impressions or experiences have affected it;

a clean or empty slate.


That’s what I call our Dutch colonial’s front yard,

now that we’ve yanked out the errant, overgrown evergreens . . .

. . .  a tabula rasa!


7 years ago, when we bought this brick bungalow,

we inherited another blank slate.

Our very first plants were the 6 boxwoods you see here,

 planted at the foundation of our north-facing, shady front porch.

* * * * *

Looks nice, if I do say so,

but don’t you think it ‘needs’ some white flowers to add brightness + contrast?

Well, here are my go-to white flowers for any + all shady spots in our yard:

impatiens #1

White impatiens!  They really do ‘pop’ in the shade.

At dusk, they turn into little white stars — so beautiful!

Don’t they look great as companions to pretty, green boxwoods?

boxwood path #3         boxwood path #2


Even more stunning — in my world — are THESE white impatiens:


They’re called ‘doubles’ impatiens,

+ I think they look like small, white roses,

which, coincidentally, are my favorite SUN-loving flowers!

box + roses #5

Iceberg roses

+ this brings us back to our Dutch colonial’s south-facing + quite sunny front foundation:

Here 'tis again.

What shall I plant here? — I’ve been asking myself, pretty much from Day One.

  Well, since I love the combination of boxwoods + white flowers so much . . .

. . . I want to do that again.

No shade-tolerant impatiens this time, though . . .

. . . here I’ll spring for sun-loving white roses, instead!

See some of my inspiration photos for yourself:

box + roses #7     box + roses #4

Very beautiful, no?

Perhaps the most beautiful of all is this photo:

boxwood path #8

These are ‘standards’,

which the dictionary describes as

a tree, shrub, or other plant having a tall, erect stem.

Here’s what I envisioned for our front bay:

box + roses

I know.  Perfect!

I saw some Knock-Out (brand) rose standards at Wal-Mart

for a mere $25 apiece.


And how fast could I get 5 of them inside my Volvo wagon?

Not very, as it turns out.

Saner heads prevailed, + I’m going to WAIT to landscape out front.

I blogged about it here:

Yes, that’s right — I’ve been forbidden to plant anything

until AFTER our house’s siding is up + at ’em.

Otherwise, we may end up with a trampled mess, like this:

Oh, dear.

Oh, dear.

Fingers crossed, though, that the siding will be up + at ’em very soon . . .

. . . + that, this fall, I can still find standard white rose trees + boxwoods!

Stay tuned!

I Hate Concrete

I am not a fan of old concrete.

Why is there so MUCH of it at the Dutch colonial?

For starters, take our old broken + heaving driveway.


Why can’t we have something charming + gravel+ Frenchie, like these?

driveway of gravel #3

driveway of gravel #6driveway of gravel #1

driveway of gravel #5

driveway of gravel #2

Oh, I suppose there are issues after a snowfall, when it’s time to plow.

But wait!

On an episode of This Old House, I saw them use a pebble-topped asphalt:,,20550775,00.html

They claimed it could be plowed without any pesky gravel issues!

driveway of gravel #4

Fingers crossed somebody can do this here in the Midwest!

* * * * *

And now, let us turn our thoughts to our naughty sidewalks.

Sadly, what we now have is like this . . .

broken sidewalk #1

. . . when I would prefer this:

bricks running bond with soliders

The bad news is that we’ll probably not get to this kind of happiness for a while,

so I’ll have to be patient.

The good news is that we demolished our brick chimney last week:


Look how awesome the old bricks are!


Of course, I insisted that these MUST be saved + recycled

for a new front walk . . .

. . . and within mere moments, I’m on Pinterest, searching for inspiration for said-same:

bricks happy girl

HA!  Look at how HAPPY she is!

You wouldn’t believe how many times this was pinned!

But please.

I would never try this at home —

not with my OCD + perfectionist tendencies!

* * * * * *

But once again, I digress.

Back to the genuine brick sidewalks!

Bricks + boxwoods + roses!  Pretty much what I had in mind for our front yard garden!

Bricks + boxwoods + roses! Pretty much what I had in mind for our front yard garden!

Diagonal bricks with 'soldiers' borders.

Diagonal bricks with ‘soldiers’ borders.


Running bond pattern with 'sailors'.

Running bond pattern with ‘sailors’.

Looks like a random basketweave, flanked by beautiful + fragrant herbs!

Looks like a random basketweave, flanked by beautiful + fragrant herbs!

During one of my frequent trips to my homeland,

I have seen old bricks, stamped ST. LOUIS, for sale . . .

. . . + now wish I’d gotten at least one.

You can see them here:

brick st. louis

How awesome would this be in our sidewalk?

What I Want MOST In Our New Kitchen

kitchen #5

Does everybody have at least one kitchen design feature  that they truly + deeply + madly love?

kitchen window #4

The one scrumptuous thing that draws your eye in each + every Pinterest photo you spy?

Small Black And Cream Cottage Kitchen With Italian Details P ItalianSomething that you’ve always wanted for your own kitchen + vow to have, someday?

lower cab plate rack

Well, I do!  Can you guess what it might be?

kitchen window #5

That’s right — it’s the large windows/window wall above the kitchen sink!

kitchen window #3

YUM, right?  To me, those puny, little single over-the-sink windows are just tragic!  J/K, kind of!

Here’s my current kitchen (below).  Tragic!

Kay's kitchen

And look!  It’s our Dutch colonial kitchen, ‘before’!

Potential tragedy, am I right?


Good news!  It’s my lucky year!

 We’ve sprung for the larger (dare I say ‘ginormous’?) above-the-sink kitchen window!


Here’s the brand of replacement windows we’re using, all from Home Depot:


We can’t recommend them more.

They’re very substantial + well-made + come with dozens of options!

We chose this window grille style — called Farmhouse.

window grill -- farmhouse

We also sprung for the option of having high-profile grilles

which rest on top of the glass, both inside + out!


I’m a huge fan.  Seriously, they make the windows more authentic + original-looking!


Is that window ‘calling’ for a window box, OR WHAT?

$150 Home Depot

Home Depot

Those brackets really put that white vinyl** charmer over the top, don’t they?

**Our Dutch colonial’s exterior will be white + vinyl + as charming as I can possibly make it!

But I digress again!

Here are a few more photo ops of my newest love:


Here you can see how our kitchen flows nicely with our dining room + its gorgeous bay + huge windows:


Another view.  Please pay close attention to the 2×4 board on the center of our floor:


I’ve decided we won’t replace our ‘before’ kitchen’s peninsula . . .

. . . (they’re SO ‘last century’!  J/K!)

Instead, we’ll have an island, + it will be approximately the same length at that 2×4 board.

I’m still pondering over its exact style + color, etc.,

but I’d like to incorporate a plate rack like this one:

lower cab plate rack

Our space is limited, but I’d love to provide room for seating.

Stay tuned.


Here’s hoping that you know about HOUZZ

+ go there often to be inspired, as do I.

There are bazillions of photos on just about any topic.

How do you think I found my inspirations

for the exterior of our Dutch colonial?

Search for 'Dutch colonials' on Houzz + voila!

Search for ‘Dutch colonials’ on Houzz + voila!

Houzz not only provides awesome eye candy — it’s also interactive!

Check it out:


People write in with their house-related dilemas,

+ we can respond with suggestions + photo ops!

I KNOW!!??  It’s like our dreams came true!


just yesterday I finally joined the party + responded to this mother’s request:

boy room on houzz

My son’s room

I want to decorate my son’s room.

He is 12 years old and wants to decorate to urban/city style.

Please help me.

* * * * * *


My thoughts immediately raced to Restoration Hardware’s website,

which has the most inspirational room galleries, EVER!

IN-cluding these yummy bedrooms for BOYS!

RH boy room with rollnig bed

^^Come ON — how awesome is that rolling bed!?!

RH boy room with RACERH boy room with pipe shelves

^^Totally digging the graphic letters + numbers + industrial-style lighting!

RH boy room with insect artRH boy room with huge M

^^Those metal beds + the huge insect art  — genius!

RH boy room with huge A

I was SO excited to participate + share my love of the Restoration Hardware “with the class”!

I did add a disclaimer that their merch is way too expensive,

but that it’s an excellent inspiration to take to the flea market,

where one can find “the real stuff”  for less $!

rh boy room with AZ

^^I mean, even WE have 2 sets of old, metal lockers

that were purchased for $20-ish each, at the flea market.

* * * * *
But I digress.

Don’t you agree that RH’s cool industrial furniture, lighting + accesories

would be a great fit in an urban/city-inspired boys’ bedroom?

Without having to be 100% literal or — God forbid — a THEME.

RH boy room with Kay lamps


Apparently, not everybody was on board.

In fact, one gal was so against my RH suggestion that she disdainfully rejected said-same!

* * * * * * *

Wow, really folks?

Urban/city style is not a wall mural of a city (not to say they aren’t super cool!),

nor is it restoration hardware or old signs.

* * * * * * *

HA!  What!?!


Gosh, I kind of dislike it when people are snarky + rude + dismissive

+  kill my fun, little online buzz.

 I’ll admit, I was a little tempted to reply in my best 8th grade girl fashion

+ call her a name.


Thankfully, saner heads prevailed, + I opted to act like a grown up

by making fun of her on my blog!  😉

Have a swell rest of the day, + see you on HOUZZ!

Landscaping, Part 1

SO, the start of our  Dutch colonial re-do has coincided with the onset of gardening season!

Perfect timing!  Sort of.

Our front yard’s naughty, ancient + ugly shrubs have been yanked out of the ground :

30's Dutch colonial, 'before'.

30’s Dutch colonial, ‘before’.

. . . IMG_0755(1)

Much bettah!

Sadly, I’ve been advised/instructed that NO foundation landscaping can occur until after the house is re-sided.

I just HAD to plant something!

Here's what 2 flats of shade-loving annuals looks like!

Here’s what 2 flats of shade-loving annuals looks like!

I’d never seen those flowers before — at first, I thought they were a new variety of impatiens.

Their name starts with a “T” — Torinia?  They grow to 8″ high.

I’ve had that HEAVY ceramic urn for years — this season it’s sporting a Boston fern!

Yesterday I bought a pair of white wood, cottage-y containers:


Now . . . just what to plant inside them!?

Stay tuned!

Huge Vintage Casters

Today’s to-do list includes heading to etsy + choosing something like these . . .

DestinationsVintage on etsy

. . . so that I can turn this . . .


. . . into this!

Source unknown

Source unknown

And now, for something totally off-topic, here’s a corner of our garden:


I recall fretting over our choice of the dark brown stain for the fence.

I can’t believe how unsure I was, because I love it so much now!

Not only is it striking in spring/summer . . .

. . . it looks fantastic in the snow!

fence snow #2fence snow

For our Dutch colonial,

I think we’ll stain our fence the same dark gray

we’re using on our garden shed!

Garden shed  color inspiration --

Garden shed
color inspiration —  


French Address Signs

Part of the fun of a fixer upper project like ours is that I get to make choices

+ lots of them!

Take, for instance, our address number on the new house.

I love and want one of these enamel Frenchie address signs:

Clutching my credit card, I was all set to place an order for said-same, but the price!


Kay?  Really?



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