Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ghostly Music

Our little house was born built in the 1960s. When doing a little bit of duct-work in the week we moved in, Timm & I found nearly an entire newspaper from 1968 just shoved into one of our air ducts. It was pretty amazing looking through all of the news stories (many of them about the 1968 Preakness Stakes), and even more amazing looking through the ads. (A dozen eggs for 55¢?! Can I go back in time, please?) Aside from the newspaper, though, there was no evidence showing us anything about anyone who lived at our house before we did.

…until now. *cue dramatic music*

We discovered that our heating system wasn’t working as well as it should be. Timm decided to crawl into our crawl-space to seal up any air leaks with caulk. I kept nervously checking on him, convinced he was going to somehow get trapped in the space, calling for my help & I’d never hear him. One of the times I checked on him, I asked if he needed anything. He said, “Yes, I do need something. I need for you to come get this.”

I saw him handing something behind him out of the crawl-space that looked like a small suitcase. I opened it up to find this little gem.

A beautiful (yet completely destroyed) violin in its case! It’s a shame that this one is really busted up, because it looks pretty old. The front is separated from the back, the neck is snapped clean-off, the bow has had its hairs ripped off of it and the hairs are scattered all around the battered case, and the chin-rest is broken off.

Still…there’s something pretty beautiful about it.

Some research has shown that it’s just a replica of a fancier violin, and probably not worth much of anything. We may still have it appraised just for the heck of it, but we’re not sure. Either way, it’s the coolest thing we’ve found in the house to date!

I’m also pretty convinced that there’s a ghost in the house who LOVES his/her violin and is going to be pissed at us when he/she/it sees the violin missing. Maybe I should put it back, just for now…

Have you ever found anything cool in your home left there by the previous owner(s)?

Edited to add: So, to further prove what a DIY novice I am, Timm just corrected me. He wasn’t caulking the vents.
“I was sealing the vents with vent wrap and seal tape. I spray-foamed the hole that was in the side of the house and I caulked the windows and around the vents.”


It’s the End of the World as We Know It…

…and I feel fiiiiiiine.

If 2012 really is the end of the world like some are predicting, I at least want to make sure I’m going into next year with a swank calendar. Priorities, people!

Every year, the insanely creative folks over at Young House Love create their own calendar, and then share the template with their readers. Considering that I work with a lot of artists/designers, I know how hesitant some people can be to give away their design secrets, so I’m always so impressed that they’re willing to do that for their blog followers. That being said, the calendar they made this year was GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, for a little Photoshop-newbie like me, the number of layers contained in that file were a bit much for me.

Turns out that it was much easier for me to go back to their 2011 calendar and edit that into something I could use for 2012. I loved the idea of taking quotes that mean something to us and slapping them on a calendar. It’s funny – Timm & I will say the same quotes over and over again until we’re beating a dead horse, but when it came time to think of 12 of them, I had SUCH a hard time!

Nonetheless, I made the calendar, and I’m pretty damn proud of how it came out. Here are a few of my favorite months:

Each lil phrase means something to us, and it’s sweet to me to have such a meaningful calendar hanging on our kitchen wall that we can see every day.

Do you guys look forward to a fresh calendar each year like I do? Have you ever made your own?

Tagged ,


Just sayin': If you guys want to be the first to hear about a new post going up, please follow my blog! You can either follow via WordPress, or you can get an email every time a new post is live. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the “Follow My Blog!” link-a-roo!

Artsy-Fartsy. That phrase always makes me think of Aunt Fanny from the movie Robots.

“That’s my Aunt Fanny. She’s a little artsy-fartsy. The ‘artsy’ part is okay, but when she gets fartsy…”.

We’ve collected different pieces of art for a while now. Sadly, in a one-bedroom apartment, there’s only so many walls you can hang things on. Most of the photos or art that we ever bought went into a folder that we kept behind a bookcase to keep everything nice n’ flat. Once we got into the house, it didn’t take us long to be “those people” completely filling our carts at IKEA with picture frames so that we could finally display so much of our collection. Truth be told, we still have a lot of things we haven’t hung yet, but we’re on our way!

Please note two things for this entry:
1) “Art” to me can mean anything from a print of a painting, to a photograph by a pro photographer, to a snapshot taken with a webcam. Art is what you make it.

2) The photos that I took for this entry are Crappy with a capital “C”. I never realized how difficult it is to take pictures of things that are already in their frames without getting such a severe glare.

First, let’s start with some of the art we have in our entryway. When you first walk into the house and hang up your coat, we wanted something to look at immediately.

This is one of my favorite photographs of all time, taken by one of the best people I know. Ed Kirkpatrick is an amazingly talented guy, and a good friend of ours. He and his wife Marti are both fantastic people. Ed is known for taking breathtaking landscapes, pinhole camera pictures, and beautiful panoramic shots. This picture he took of Trotter’s Church in ND takes my breath away every time I see it.

When you look slightly to your left, you’ll see where we hang our keys. Since “keys = home” to us, and “Baltimore = home”, we decided to make this our Baltimore Wall.

Our classy Baltimore Hon was a housewarming gift from a friend…and she’s fabulous.

My good friend and (soon-to-be-ex) co-worker Donald Ely essentially gave us this print of his art as a housewarming gift. (I chose which I wanted.) I’ve always loved John Waters. Coming to Baltimore made that love grow tenfold and made me appreciate his movies that much more. I’ve seen him in the flesh several times, just walking around B-more, and I still get star-struck each time. (Note: He HATES when people get star-struck over him. Oof.)

Going upstairs, my goal is to have our stairwell hallway filled floor-to-ceiling with pictures in frames. We have a good start going with about 15 frames right now, but here are some of my favorites.

In the upstairs hallway, there are only two pictures right now, but because they’re both pretty important, we wanted them to stand out.

First, there’s a photo collage of my friend, Scott Kirkpatrick. Scott was a Sgt. in the Army who was sadly killed in Iraq on August 11, 2007. He was a close friend, and I miss him more than words can say. If you have the time, read this article that Details Magazine wrote about him. Scott’s father is Ed Kirkpatrick, who took the Trotter’s Church photo I showed earlier.

To the right of Scott’s picture, we have a collage of one of the greatest moments of my life.

Pretty much from the moment you meet me, you’ll learn that I have a “thing” for Slash from Guns n’ Roses. In October 2010, I was ridiculously lucky enough to win a trip through My Space (I know, right??) to fly to Seattle to meet & interview the man himself. It was…indescribable. The whole trip was amazing.

There was that time I caught a fish at Pike Place Market.

It happened that I met the man himself.

There were moments of uncomfortable laughter.

And times where I looked like I was trying not to puke from being nervous.

Times when the full dork that I am came out in full view.

And times of complete and utter happiness & jubilation.

If you want to watch the whole she-bang, check it out here.

So yes. The collage I made has my plane ticket to Seattle, the VIP backstage passes that Timm & I wore, the one pro-photograph taken of Slash & I, a whole mess of his guitar picks, the setlist from that night’s show, the documents preparing me for the trip, and a list of my interview questions. Time of my LIFE.

Last, but certainly not least, we travel to Timm’s office (post on that room coming soon…) to see one of his most awesome pieces of art.

Our good friend, Alicia worked on the set of the movie Species II. As a “souvenir”, she took home two of the original set-design sketches from the movie. As a birthday gift to Timm, she gave them to him. He loves them, and they go SO perfectly in his office.

I’m pretty proud to say that I think our art says so much about what kind of people we are and what we’re into. It may look weird to most people, but it’s US. I kind of love it all.

Tagged , , ,

The room with the toilet

I never quite know what to call a bathroom that has no bathtub. Yes, I guess I technically still call it a “bathroom”, but if you took a bath in a room that just has a toilet and a sink, you’d have to be very small to fit yourself into said sink to take a bath. “Powder room” sounds so formal, since nine times out of ten, no powder is involved in that room. “Restroom”? Nah. I’ll just call it the bathroom.

But I digress.

Strangely, our half-bathroom is simultaneously the most finished room, the one that still needs a lot of work, and the smallest room in the house. I have to admit that I can take next-to-no credit for the entire room. The first week that we owned the house, we were still technically living in the apartment. Timm took off of work to start house-stuff immediately, and the bathroom was one of his first big projects.

We walked in to peel-n-stick vinyl flooring (that was peeling up on the edges), a toilet that the word “gross” couldn’t even be used to describe, a HUGE vanity that took up most of the usable space, and a general “blah” feeling to the room. But now…

I love our little Powdery Resty Half Bathroom! After giving the all-white walls a fresh coat of Behr’s Sea Life, the next things tackled were the sink and toilet. Timm did these all on his own!! I was so proud of my lil handyman. If you told me I needed to change out a toilet or sink (or anything to do with plumbing), I’d probably give the Team America Distress Signal.

He handled it like a champ, though.

The best part was how shockingly cheap this part of the project was! The dual-flush, water-saving toilet by Glacier Bay was a mere $98 from Home Depot, and our space-saving vanity was only $129 on sale from Lowes. There’s SO much more room in our little room now.

Oh, and just in case guests aren’t familiar with a dual-flush toilet…


Stepping back a bit, this is the lady and gentleman that welcome you into our bathroom. Of all the things we’ve given names to in our home so far, we haven’t named these two yet. I feel like they need to be something fancy, like Esmarelda and Frederick. Yes…Esmarelda & Frederick were only 50¢ each from Goodwill. Cha-ching, again.

Here are some detail shots for other goodies in the room.

But wait…what is that in the mirror’s reflection??

Squeeeeeeeee! Our octopus decal is pretty much one of the best things in our house. He takes up nearly the entire wall on one side. While he was a bit of a chore to actually get on the wall (picture the largest sticker you’ve ever seen with tons of little details and holes), he was entirely worth it. We kinda sorta love him.

The big thing we have left to do in the bathroom is to replace the dingy, peeling floor.

Let’s hope it’s not too difficult.

At first we thought we wanted to replace the ceiling, but I think the bubbly texture of it is growing on me.

I like to think of it as the bubbles that our octopus friend is blowing while he’s underwater, swimming towards his magical castle under the sea.

…wait. What?

Tagged , , , , ,

Down to the Wire

I usually pride myself on being finished shopping for the holidays before most people have even started. This year, though, something must have taken over my brain. Maybe something like – oh, I don’t know – buying a house. Because of that, I’m now finding myself one week before Christmas with next-to-no gifts to show for it. Oops. This is going to be a whirlwind gift-buying weekend for me! Thank goodness I don’t have too many people I’m exchanging with this year.

I can’t be the only one in this boat, right? Thank goodness so many online sites are still promising to have your gifts in your hand before Christmas, even though we only have a week to go. One of my favorite homegoods websites, Z Gallerie is giving people all the way until Tuesday, December 20th to order to have your stuff in time! If you have a Decor Addict to buy things for this holiday, Z Gallerie is a FANTASTIC place to snag gifts that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but it’ll look like they did.

I picked out a handful of goodies that I think would make FANTASTIC gifts. The best part? None of these are over $25!

1. Porcelain Elephant Jewelry Bowl: THE ELEPHANT. IT’S SO ITTLE!! *ahem* Excuse me. As I was saying…who wouldn’t coo over this jewelry holder? Fantastic for your absent-minded friend that leaves jewelry strewn all over the house, or for that dude who just throws his change everywhere. Keep it all in one place, sucker! (And for less than 10 bills, how can you go wrong?) $9.95

2. Rectangular Jeweled Tray: I think I’m kinda sorta madly in love with these, and I can’t imagine that anyone you gift these to wouldn’t feel the same way. You can fill them with homemade cookies when you gift it, or just present it as-is. Great for holding votives, jewelry, or hell, even your keys on the mail table. ($12.95/each, choice of FIVE colors!)

3. Ms. Food Face Plate: I picked this up for my niece last year, and Don’t limit yourself to thinking this is just for kids, though! Who doesn’t like to play with their food? Plus, when else are you ever going to get the chance to say to someone, “That’s nice. Now eat your eyebrows, dear.” ($14.95)

4. Bird on a Wire Photo Holder: LOVING this. What a fun way to display your pictures! I think it would be great to gift this already loaded with some fun photos, or maybe even a few gift cards. Great for that commitment-phobic friend who thinks that deciding what to put in a picture frame is just too hardcore of a decision. This lets them switch it out when the mood strikes. ($13.95)

5. Pill Carafes: How FABULOUS are these? Yes, you’d use them during parties, but these are the kind of glasses that I’d probably display all year round. Put them on a nice tray on a windowsill, and I bet the light streaming through them would make it look like your room was a fancy disco-party. ($7.95/each, choice of three colors)

6. “Oragami” Giraffe or Rhino: Okay, while it could be argued that I saved the most expensive for last, it could also be argued that I saved the BEST for last! I mean COME ON. They’re made of a glossy poly resin, so they won’t be crushed like normal oragami giraffes might be. Plus, I think you could name them and give them to a friend as pets. Best gift ever? (I’m uber-partial to the rhino.) ($24.95/each)

So there you have it! Six gift ideas for less than $25 each. Oh, and Santa? If you’re listening and have an unlimited budget (and I know you do), I wouldn’t mind finding this little gem under the tree for me.

You guys. It’s a giant moose. A MOOSE!!! He’s a whopping 31″ wide, would look faboo on my wall, and is on sale for $199.99! I’ve been very good, promise.

How are you guys doing with your holiday shopping? Any last minute tips you want to share??

Tagged ,

I Was Here

We were planning our December housewarming party before we had even moved into the house this past October. I knew that I wanted something to remember our guests by, just in case I forgot to take pictures.

Well, wouldn’t you know it – I forgot to take pictures. It’s tough being a party host! I was running around so much that I barely had time to breathe, let alone snap pictures. I wanted to do a makeshift photobooth (read: a white sheet on the wall with a camera on a tripod in front of it), but the logistics of it seemed a bit much. I thought of doing a guestbook, but that seemed to suit a stuffy wedding more than a rockin’ housewarming. I’m so glad that I thought of our little jar beforehand.

As guests walked in, they saw this framed picture:

We had little 4″ x 4″ squares of paper laid out (in our colors of teal & white, because I’m a dork), pens (in a makeshift penholder that was a glass wrapped in leftover fabric from the tablerunner I made), and a HUGE vase I snagged from HomeGoods for a piddly $12. (I am completely addicted to HomeGoods, if that isn’t obvious to you guys yet.

Add a vase full of ornaments from Dollar Tree, and a bud vase of fresh flowers, and voila! Pretty!

While not everyone filled out a slip, the ones we got were fantastic. We spent the next morning reading them and alternating between coos of “Awww!”…

And hysterical, belly-aching laughter…

I love our friends. ;) We’re going to keep the vase out on display with all of the notes inside, and encourage anyone who comes in the house to leave a little note. That way, if we’re ever feeling “meh”, we can look back on all of our notes.

Do you have any little, cheesy sentimental baubles around your place?

Tagged , ,

Sittin’ Place

The very first time that our realtor took us through our house, there was one area I loved almost immediately.

When you first walk down the stairs, you see this strange little bench. Timm and I think that in its former life with its former owners, it served as a sitting area behind a dining room table. Because we decided to make the “den” area into our new dining room, we had free reign with this lil guy. Well, maybe I’d be more accurate in saying that I had free reign with it. Timm let me take magical control of it.

I immediately had a few ideas:
a) A comfy window seat where one could curl up and read, ala DJ Tanner’s room in Full House.

(Oh hush. Full House was a very important part of my childhood.) Then I realized that the bench we had probably wasn’t big enough to do any curling whilst reading. Enter Option B…

b) A Moroccan bench/seat. Using inspiration by simply Google-ing Moroccan Sitting Rooms, I came up with this:


Before the pillows went down, our colors of Grape Juice and Yukon Gold had people thinking that we must just be HUGE Los Angeles Lakers fans…but no. We just liked the colors.

I’m really proud to say that I made most of the pillows on the bench with my own two hands. I made friends with my new-to-me (read: hand-me-down) sewing machine, and we decided to work together towards the common goal – making gorgeous pillows for cheaper than you could buy them for. The pillows that were not made by me were either gifted (like that teal beauty third from the right) or bought on the SUPER cheap (like the huge purple guy in the left corner that I snagged for $2 at Goodwill – new with the tag still on it!).

I also made the bench seat – a process that I now wish I’d snapped pictures of. It basically involved me taking a long sheet of 3/4″ plywood (that Home Depot cut to size for me), laying a layer of foam on top (purchased from Walmart, cheap), laying black upholstery fabric on top (SUPER clearance from JoAnn’s), and stapling it to the back. I was all proud of my Master Skillz, until I realized that the whole project had taken me a mere 7 minutes from start-to-finish. Doh. Not very masterful, eh?

The lanterns were the very first things I bought for the house. We hadn’t even closed yet, and I saw those in HomeGoods and knew they had to be mine. MUAH HA HA!

One idea I had to finish the bench off was to drape some fabric along the front or sides or back. I just wanted something flowy, though everything I found seemed to be too heavy, or look too much like something you’d find in a stoner’s dorm room.

Enter one of my best friends, Acacia/Cacie and the most awesome housewarming gift in the history of ever!!

See that fabric laying there? It’s SILK. Oh, and that coloring that matches everything perfectly? It’s hand-dyed. Seriously, folks. I just about dyed (HA! Get it? DYED??) when she gave it to me. I have two stunning, HUGE pieces like that and I can’t wait to hang them. I might work on that this weekend.

So what do you think? What would you have done with that strange little sitting area? Would you have kept it as a dining room bench? More importantly, did you watch Full House, too?

Tagged , , , ,

The Island of Misfit Toys

I cannot tell a lie. I have been listening to last year’s Glee Christmas album all morning, and I have been known to randomly burst into song. This will happen all day, I’m sure. The frost that was on my car this morning probably helped the cause along, but whether it’s the music, the frost, or my ever-looming shopping list, I have one thing on the brain – the holidays! “Excited” isn’t even a strong enough word to convey how I feel right now. Add my usual excitement to the fact that I now have a house I can decorate and I’m over the moon.

Black Friday scored us an AWESOME deal on an AWESOME tree. You might have spied it in our last post, but let’s go on a journey together and take a closer look, shall we? Don’t worry – I’ll hold your hand if you get scared.

It’s a 6.5′ tall, prelit guy that we snagged from Walmart at a steal. Most trees we see that are this size & quality run about $80-100. Because I’m one of those crazies who goes out at obscene hours on Black Friday each year (hey, it’s tradition), we got our tree for a piddly $30! Win.

We bought all of the ornaments on the super-cheap, as we are wont to do. We probably spent no more than $20 on all of them. We searched and searched for the perfect tree topper, but the cheap-ass stars that adorn most trees just weren’t our thing, so we perched that little Peacock Man from Pier 1 on top. He ran us $6.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Linda-and-Timm tree if there wasn’t some weird-ass ornaments thrown in there for good measure.

ZOMBIE DUDE! I managed to pick him up at the tail-end of Halloween 2010 from Pier 1 for a whole dollar.

Hunka-hunka burnin’ ELVIS! He was a housewarming gift to him and I adore him. Do you see how sparkly his jumpsuit is??

You guys. You can’t know how much I freakin’ love this ornament. First of all, I have a minor obsession with Dirty Dancing. (Fun fact: As a kid, I used to slide down the slide at the playground and picture Patrick Swayze was waiting at the end of the slide for me. I was probably 7 at the time. Yes, I’m aware that is just so wrong.) This ornament? It says lines from the movie. I can’t even. My favorites: “Spaghetti arms!!” and “Butt out, Baby.” sigh But I digress.

Here’s what lives under the tree:

The Grinch, Egbert the Owl, and The Spooky. (And yes, a squirt bottle to keep said “The Spooky” from chewing on, and therefore throwing up said tree.)

Blatantly stealing Christmas inspiration from YoungHouseLove, I whipped up some (remarkably simple, but effective) decorations to be strewn about the house.

$14 for 3 vases from IKEA.
+ $1 per set of a dozen ornaments from Target, bought 3 sets
+ $3 for moss from JoAnn Fabrics
+ $1 for two vintage milk bottles from Goodwill
+ 50¢ for two silver, wiry ornaments from Goodwill =
$19.50 for a house-full of holiday cheeriness. And to that, I say, “Woot woot!”

So there you have it! Our holiday decorations for 2011! Next year, I’m hoping I have the guts to attempt some outdoor lights, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Now spill the beans – how did you guys decorate your place for the holiday season this year? Any creative DIY projects you tackled?

Tagged , ,

As I live and breathe

For a lot of people, it seems like their living room is a “Look, But Don’t Touch!” kind of place. Sure, it looks great, but what’s the point of living room if you can’t…yanno…LIVE in it?? Nope. Not for us. We wanted a place that yeah, it will be nice to look at, but it’s even nicer to curl up in and watch horribly bad movies (like my personal favorite, Drop Dead Gorgeous). It also has to be a room you can eat pizza in. You should never eat pizza in a dining room – just sayin’.

With this room, there were sadly no “before” pictures. This probably happened because I don’t want to remember what it looked like. In short, before we moved in, the entire right side of the ceiling was caving in. The drywall was cracked, broken, crumbling, gross. The ceiling? Popcorn-finish. It was hot, let me tell you. When the ceiling was repaired, our (awesome) contractor laid out smooth drywall, which improved the room tenfold.

Enough jibber-jabber! Here’s where the room stands today.

I love our little crazy, colorful living room! At first, the flat-texture of the paint worried me. (I’m seriously like a raccoon – I prefer things shiny and sparkly.) Once I was able to see that you can add texture/sparkle in other ways, though, I was madly in lust with it. The Laguna Green color was one of the very first paint colors we chose for the house.

The couch was our #1 biggest purchase for the house. For 8 years, we’d been “cozying” up on our IKEA Klippan sofa. It was 100% fine for what it was, but we were ready for some adult furniture. I’m not gonna lie – we love our television & DVDs, so we needed a couch that would keep our butts from going numb as we watched. Enter the Mirage sofa from Value City Furniture. Thus far, the couch has claimed many victims, as it’s the most godly piece of furniture EVER.

Again, enough jibber-jabber! “We want details!”

Above the TV.
Shelf: IKEA, less than $10; Peacock Candle Holders: Pier 1 (housewarming gift); Postcards: Free, by A. Aubrey Bodine

IKEA Billy bookcase, $50; Glass doors for Billy, $20/each

Random Close-Up Things:

I think it’s obvious from the pictures, but I think we’re becoming mildly obsessed with white accents. No HomeGoods is safe.

Tagged , , ,

Check that off my list.

You guys get it? Check?? No, you probably don’t get that yet. But you will, I promise. And you’ll laugh.

Shortly after our new shiny things appliances came in, we wanted to tackle the flooring situation. What we walked in to was dark green, marbled vinyl flooring. While they were never really our cup of tea, the addition of the stainless appliances combined with the floor just made the kitchen so dark. Plus, it had always been my dream to have a black & white tiled kitchen floor. After extensive searching on Timm’s part, he finally found some of the “peel-and-stick” vinyl floor tiling from Home Fashions Store. He erred on the side of caution and got 6 boxes of white tiles (20 per box) and 6 boxes of black tiles. (Note: These tiles were hard. as. hell. to find for some reason! Why?!?)

We started by making sure the kitchen floor was as clean as it could be, and then, the first glorious tile went down.

Once we got the hang of it, the center part of the floor was ridiculously easy. Peel the backing off of the tile, stick it on the floor, roll over it with a vinyl floor tile roller, stand on the tile, dance a bit, marvel at your tile, dance some more, sit back down, do it all over again.

A little sneaky tip for you: When you’ve been handling gluey tiles for a while (and yes, “Gluey” is a word), the glue will inevitably transfer from the tile, to your hands, and back onto the next tile you touch. Goo Gone will become your best friend. Slather a bit of that onto a paper towel and voila! The glue comes right off.

That is how the floor looked when I finished helping all that I could. Timm was an awesome specimen of human and finished the rest, which obviously involved cutting a ton of little tile triangles. End result?

A-freaking-mazing. I love, love, love our floors. They clean up so easily and add such a pop to the kitchen. They are textured enough to keep you from falling on your keister, but smooth enough so that you can accurately do your best Tom Cruise dancing impression.

And the best part? The total cost of our total kitchen floor renovation was under $200. Cha-ching.

Look at that view! Oh, but don’t trip over that massive ledge.

Yep. For some reason, there is a full 2″ ledge between our walkway and the kitchen floor. Timm and I are used to it by now, but I think every single other person who has come into our house has left with a stubbed toe from it. This will have to change someday.

So what do you think? Would you be into using peel-n-stick vinyl tiles? What home improvement project has made YOU dance?

Tagged ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers