April 29, 2010

Homegoods Happy

I have an addiction.  No really, I need serious help.  I cannot say NO to Homegoods.  I absolutely love it, like any good home owner/lover should.  Husbands beware - do not let your wife go through those doors with a credit card in her hand.  She doesn't even need the credit card - it's so cheap she can even use cash.  I am ashamed to say that I can count on one hand the number of times I have walked out of the store empty-handed and that is saying a lot because I always stop by Homegoods.  But hey, if you don't buy it when you see it, it won't be there when you go back for it.  Plus they have a great return policy.  Wives, always use this argument when you walk in the door with one too many bags and he gives you the look - you know the look.
Well they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem - check - and confessing your sins (uhhh ....well I may be confusing a few things here but it's worth a try).  Here are a few of my latest sins - some of my favorites too!

I love these pots.  I imagined growing my herbs in them but then I bought these flowers and they look so charming on the table the herbs can grow somewhere else.

We needed some extra storage in our small bathroom and at the same time I needed to fill this awkward corner outside the bathroom so when I found this it was too perfect.  It seems a little strange to have our TP in view but its not like it greets you at the door.

This is in our guest bathroom downstairs.

This is my absolute favorite blanket. It is two-sided and ohhhh so soft.  Lola loves it too.

I fell in love with the planter - it was a little hard to carry.

I don't know what I want to do with this basket yet but its been doing a great job holding my paint chips.
Don't you just love the red tag!

This is has been great for all my yarn scraps.

Okay, so ignore the mess.  This is the man cave and outside my jurisdiction AND he's doing his MBA and taking his CPA right now so give him some slack but this is the desk that he picked out all by himself.  He is very proud of his first Homegoods purchase.  I just Had to include it.

I love this little concrete planter.  I bought three of them and have them scattered around the house.

So enough with the concrete but I fell in love with these pillars and bought two to flank the fireplace.  This was one purchase I almost returned.  Glad I didn't.

Brandon's office/man cave chair.  I bought this guy for $200 and surprised Brandon.  It was one Homegoods purchase (besides his desk) that he was glad I brought home.  It is super wide and comfy!  I had to crop it to hide the mess in the room though.  So sorry.

So tell me...what makes you Homegoods happy?

April 18, 2010

Antiques & Garden Fair

This weekend my dear friend Maria and I headed over to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to check out the Antiques & Garden Fair.

me                             maria

My dad's bank, the wonderful Northern Trust (plug), has been hosting the event for years and has never once mentioned it to us.  To think that we could have been enjoying all the beautiful inspirational sights and SHOPPING this whole time.  But no, I had to find out about it in my favorite mag, Country Living (another plug) years later.  Antique stores and florists from all over the country come in with their merchandise and set up in tents in the center of the grounds.  Admission in to the gardens is free but tickets for the tent were $15 - unless your dad works at the bank - then they're free!  Which was a very good thing since parking was $20.  It was so worth it though.  There were tents and tents of vendors.  We actually got lost several times.

bad attempt to show the tents - total afterthought

I wish I had taken more pictures.  I had the intention of taking a ton of pictures to share with everyone but I was enjoying myself so much I forgot all about my camera....so I must confess I just shot a few pictures on my way out.  Also a note about the pictures - I am not a good photographer and I do not have a good camera so carry-on with low expectations.

One room we entered was centered around this midsummer's picnic (well that's what I labeled it).  A very long low table was placed on grass with pillows and blankets surrounding.  It was casual , comfortable and yet elegant.  You can kind of see the urns filled with large baguettes and all the rich, full outdoor plants.  I pictured it set out in the middle of a garden at dusk.  All the guests sitting around, eating, talking, laughing with lots of wine of course and as the  sun falls and the night darkens it is illuminated by large candles in lanterns and perhaps a large tree strung with lights.  Of course it was displayed in a brightly lit, standard room so use your imagination.

Here's Maria modeling it for me.  We decided that we would like to use this as inspiration for an English Garden Tea Party!   I will be back later this summer to let you know all the details for that event.  Now that I shared it on the internet I have to follow through on this party - and that is what I call blog accountability.  I hope it works.  

Here is another pretty scene.  I love the old, beautiful window frames tat were turned into a gorgeous trellis structure.  Another thing that I want to replicate in my own yard is the random, full foliage.  Nothing seems planned or placed or too neat and linear - it feels wild.  Not in a nasty, overgrown way but in a cozy cohesive way.  Well you may not get that from this photo - but that was what I got from it.

An orchid arrangement in a hall leading from one tent to the next.


I think this was my favorite florist at the event.  I couldn't get great pictures because the booth was so crowded but he made wonderful arrangements from people passing by - I have never seen such huge, beautiful flowers.  Unfortunately we weren't able to snag a free bouquet but we had fun watching him create.  Each one was gorgeous.  He had a lot of my favorite flowers too.  Ranunculus, peony, and hydrangea oh and a beautiful, unique rose which I had never seen.  I am definitely going to the garden center next weekend and picking out some rose bushes and even a climbing vine rose I think.  I wish we could grow ranunculus in Chicago - at least I have a lot of peonies that are blooming soon!!

After some shopping in the various antique booths and buying a few small things each we decided to head out and tour the grounds and enjoy the sun.  We first came upon a walled english garden which is my absolute favorite thing.


It is early spring so not too many things are blooming yet but you get the general idea.  That blue door inspired us enough to initiate a mini photo shoot - very senior class photo-esque!


Yeah....we're dorky but I am totally in love with that door!  It would be so fun for engagement pictures or wedding pics or even a family photo.  I highly suggest checking out the Chicago Botanic Gardens (plug again) if you are in need of a) a great date b) a girls trip c) are engaged or planning on proposing d) a day with the family (there were lots of little kiddies running around) or e) just a reason to go

Well before I go I will leave you with a few pictures from our walk back to the car.....

April 15, 2010

The Wise and Foolish Builders

 46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.".. (www.biblegateway.com)

This is the home that my grandpa lovingly designed and built completely on his own from the ground up in the 1950's for his family.

He built this home completely on the foundation of Jesus Christ which still continues to support and hold my family up to this day.  I am so thankful for the example and heritage of love and faith that this home and my grandpa's life represents.

I do not want to forget this as Brandon and I build our first home together.  Of course, ours may already have walls and windows and even a foundation (well hopefully it has one of those), our home is more than that.  While I love picking out paint colors, gardening and decorating - and sharing it here.  Please know that it doesn't mean anything if Jesus Christ is not the foundation of our home and our lives.

April 11, 2010

Where the magic happens

I know what you're thinking.....but by magic I mean the wonderful, edibleness that makes our tummies happy.  And by wonderful, edibleness I really just mean chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes or anything really with sugar.  But all that goodness is kept in our kitchen making it a very important room.

At the moment our kitchen is less than spectacular but it isn't horrid.  I definitely have a lot of ideas and plans on my to do list.  At the moment it looks like this:

Not much has been done to the kitchen yet.  I made quick no-sew curtains that cost a total of $5 for both.  They were super easy and perhaps I will share more about those another time.

Our back door is just to the right of this window - sorry no picture - and that is the door we use the most so we definitely needed a little mudroom area.  As you can see this has also become the dog center.  We keep many of their items in the baskets, including the container of their food in the left basket.  A little bit ago I made them a stand for their dog bowls that I can share with you at some point.  It was so easy and cheap.  As useful as this nook has become it also is on its way out thanks to the dogs.  They have chewed and pawed those baskets making them look awful.  Our little Lola also was able to pull two of the hooks out twice and now we can't use it at all.  While we were out of the house she would pull and yank all the jackets off the hooks - taking the hooks with them.  We also lost several jackets to this.  Eventually we would like to add a sun/mudroom to the back of the house allowing us to do something like this instead:

It has been nice to have this shelf for a little extra storage.  We added a few hooks for our 
keys which helps keep us sane.  But at the same time I won't miss it if I can have a 
sunroom that can double as a mudroom.  
Enough about the sunroom.  Back to this kitchen.  The one thing you can't see in these photos are the floors and baseboards.  They are horrible and disgusting.  When the previous owners did anything to this house it appears that they did it as cheap as possible and in all the wrong ways.  The baseboards have giant clumps of paint that dried on them as well as actual things painted on them.  The floors are dirty, stained and cracked pretty bad.  The cabinets are old and cheap and we are very afraid that they might actually fall off the wall at some point.

When the time comes when we can re-do some things this is what I'm thinking we'd do.

Due to the dogs and high traffic I would like to install a honed slate or limestone floor.  I don't typically like the slate look but I didn't realize that dark, honed vermont blue slate is actually very sleek and smooth and looks great in large rectangles like above.  I am hoping the darkness on the floors would help me not have to sweep and mop everyday.  

I am loving the butcher block right now and think it would be a nice contrast to the cold, sleek floors and white cabinets.  Hopefully that would be new white cabinets.  
Oh and the last thing that I am coveting right now is this...

So there you go....another dream to check back in on.
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