Week in Photos

5/17/09 – 5/23/09

Sunday night at dinner, Eric indulged me by making our favorite salad – Caprese – with fresh basil from the garden. Delicious. I’m still kicking myself for not having this in Rome. But at the time I was anti-tomato. What was I thinking?!?


I remember buying this little book for Eric the year we got married, for Valentine’s Day I think. I thought it was appropriate since we were going to Rome for our honeymoon.


As often as I can (due to school), I like to meet my girlfriends at Barnes & Noble one night during the week to visit and stitch. This week it was just Sylvia and I. I always enjoy her company and as you can see, I brought along the Adam & Eve I am working on.

Stitching at B&N

I’ve been trying to keep my two blogs separate, but occasionally I suppose they will overlap. Particularly in the case of the 365 photo project, I’m bound to have many of them be of my hobbies. This week, that’s happened a couple times – the photo above, and now this one.

I sent this piece out to be professionally finished, and I just got it back. I’m thrilled with how it turned out. But, I especially love the hand-painted hanger I purchased for it.

Barnabee's Quest Pullware

Eric and I decided that now that our leak in the ceiling was fixed in the media room, it was time to put the cd towers back where they go. That room is usually a disaster area, since it’s kind of a catch-all room, but the least we can do is move the big pieces back where they go. Of course, moving one of these massive cd towers involves first removing all the cds from it. I attempted to keep all the cds in alphabetical order, even when they were stacked up on the floor.


I find it endlessly entertaining to look through Eric’s portion of this collection. He has some bizarre stuff!


We did manage to get the towers back in their correct places, and move all the stuff out of the middle of the room. What a project this was though!! One of these days, I’ll get this room cleaned out and I’ll share a before and after photo.


A Few Simple Changes

So, over the past few months I’ve been making some small changes around the house. The search for a new house has been slow and frustrating. So, while I would love to be thinking about decorating a new place…this is the one I have. Recently we took a trip to Virginia to visit a friend and her family, and I was extremely inspired by the decor in her home…it was warm, inviting, as well as elegant and classic. I’ve been trying to narrow down my own style and I believe I may be a traditional girl in some cases leaning towards the cottage feel, in some cases leaning toward the British colonial feel. But beneath it all, it is always traditional. I am definitely not modern, definitely not shabby chic. So, I’m going to be exploring some ideas surrounding finding my style in an effort to better define it in my home. But for now, a few simple changes are all I’ve done lately. I do keep looking back at those photos of the office and media room that I posted on here some time ago and cringing. They really look terrible. And I have not given up my plan to really overhaul those two rooms…it just takes time, inspiration, and possibly a bit of money.

So here’s a recap of what I’ve done.
In the master bath, I needed some additional storage, as well as I got tired of looking at that gap under the counter (I’d love some built in drawers here). So, I purchased these two baskets from Michael’s while they were 50% off. They work well for holding extras like Kleenex and toilet paper, cotton balls and Q-tips.
I missed having a windchime hanging outside. I used to have two hanging at my apartment, but when I moved I just never rehung them. After being at my mom’s house and hearing hers I decided I wanted to at least hang one of mine. So, Eric was a sweetie and hung this one for me out on the back porch. This windchime was made for my by my best friend’s brother. I love it.
Eric decided that he wanted to display a few more swords from his collection. We’d talked about hanging this one in the dining room, and finally got around to it. It hangs over the doorway into the kitchen.

We hung this one in the entry way. I believe this is his favorite sword. He has several more that I am considering how to best display them.
The last thing I did around the house was something that had been bothering me since the day we moved in. Or, since the day we decided to purchase our dining room furniture. I have this rather large cat tree monstrosity. The cats love it, but I really don’t want to have to look at it. When we moved in, the piece took up residence in the dining room because we didn’t know where to put it. In my apartment, it was in the living room next to the couch. Well, when we got ready to purchase our dining room furniture, the cat tree had to be moved, so it got moved to the entry. I didn’t really intend to leave it there, because it’s such an eye sore. But, needless to say, two and a half years later it was still there. At the beginning of July, I posted photos of my Fourth of July decorating, including my Stars & Stripes quilt top that I hung on the wall. Well, in that photo you can clearly see the cat tree in the background. One of my commenters (possibly on the other blog – the craft blog), stated “I love people who not ashamed to have a huge cat tree as part of their funiture!” Now, I am sure that the person leaving the comment did not mean anything negative at all in her comment, but it struck a chord with me. I realized that my entryway – the part of my home that is a person’s first impression of our home, is dominated by this huge cat tree! I don’t want that the be my statement piece, if you know what I mean. So, a week or so ago, we were having company and I asked Eric what he thought about moving the tree. He also hates it where it is, but didn’t see any other place to put it…so it had stayed there. We brainstormed and decided that since we already had the media room torn up (due to a leaky ceiling we had moved all of our cds, etc. over to the other side of the room), it would be easy to move it into that room. So, after a bit of maneuvering (I had to move a bookshelf so that the tree would fit through the door), it is now in its new home in the media room.
My entry way is now bright and open. I’d like to place a small table or cabinet here and then use it for seasonal vignettes. I’d also like to hang a photo Eric took of Grand Central Station here. So many possibilities, but for now I like having the open empty entryway as a first impression, rather than the other.

And Romeo seems happy with the move.
The photo at the very top of this post was taken prior to our dinner guest arriving. We recently bought new everyday dishes and I just love that they are all white. We used our wedding crystal as well. It was such a lovely evening, but I was well-pleased with how the table looked too.
I should have a couple more changes to show soon, as well as a discussion on style and trying to define that in my home.

More Valentine’s and a Few Improvements

Well, I promised you a few more Valentine’s photos. Above are the glass scatters I bought. Aren’t they cute? I love conversation hearts, so when I saw these, I had to have them. Eric’s mom bought us these beautiful votive holders.
I loved how the table looked with the heart tree and the gifts.
And of course, my sweetheart brought me roses in a beautiful vase.

We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Over the weekend, I was feeling a bit of spring cleaning coming on. I found myself working on a few of the problem areas around the house. You may remember my New Year’s Resolution to work on my office and media room. Let’s start with the media room. This mainly required going through the boxes I brought home from work when I was laid off and getting rid of the extranneous junk. I also cleared off the boxes of china and crystal from on top of the bookcase, so that you don’t just see stuff piled up when you look into the room. Here’s the before…
And here it is now.
I am pleased with how it is coming along. Granted I still have boxes on the floor, but once I find a new job, they will be moved out of here. I think just having some vases and a photo on top of the bookshelf looks much better than the boxes. I also got rid of the stuff stacked on top of the cd tower. It was mostly videos and cds that needed to be taken and sold. So, not only did it get rid of the clutter, but we made money too! Those three boxes right next to the door are full of magazines. As soon as I can find a better solution for storing them, those boxes are outta here! I am thinking of those magazine boxes maybe, that will fit on a shelf and not look as bad as the magazines themselves. Anyway, I’m making progress!!
And I also did some work in the office. The corner where the printer and network equipment sit was bothering me.
So, I cleaned out one of the drawers in the set of plastic drawers our office supplies are in. I managed to get some of the compressed air and stuff like that into the drawer. The hard drives that were sitting over here also got moved, as did the printer ink cartridges. I also put away my quilt that was sitting next to the file cabinet in the brown paper bag.
Better, yes?

And, then for the corner of doom. I hate this corner so much, it is just a pile of junk.

So, I had a sudden burst of inspiration to get some shelves down from the attic. These were my grandmother’s and I used to have my craft supplies on them. They are not in really good shape (as you can see I am missing one of the top pieces), but I think they help. They allowed me to organize some of the stuff that was stacked on the floor, like the laptop case, file folders, scanner, etc. I took all the loose hard drives and put them in that brown box on top of the scanner. I got rid of the pen holder on top of the plastic drawers, and organized the drawers themselves. I also donated the electric stapler that had been sitting here (not plugged in) for almost two years. I still have two boxes of magazine articles, etc. that I want to scan into the computer, and then that will get rid of all but the printer paper box – which can go on the bottom shelf. I am really happy that this is a little more organized now!

I think it looks so much better – not perfect, but definitely better. You may notice, I’ve also been working on cleaning off my craft table. I definitely want to take the advice I got about making a skirt for the table to hide some of my craft storage. I think that will definitely help.

And while I was at my attack on the clutter, I decided to do something nice. I found a great frame at Hobby Lobby last week for 50% off. So, Eric and I printed out some photos from our trip to San Antonio last year for our anniversary. I decided to hang it in the entry next to the photo from Gettysburg Eric took. I think it looks better with the two pieces now, because the Gettysburg picture was a little small for that area. Love it!!!

I’m going to keep working around the house and I’ll be sure to show you my progress!

New Year’s Resolutions

This is probably not going to be pretty. I feel like I have made pretty good progress on getting the majority of my house looking better. I am making it more homey, and comfortable. And most of the rooms just require some more tweaking at this point. But, there are two rooms that I haven’t shown you yet – for good reason.

The two rooms are our office and what we call our media room. They are, to put it nicely, junk piles. And they are making me crazy. So, for 2008, I am setting resolutions to get these two rooms cleaned up and organized. Make them presentable – so that I am not embarrassed to show them to anyone. But, before I can do that – and in the interest of full-disclosure, I must show you the rooms as they exist today. Here goes. Do not panic.

The Office:

Eric and I both have desks in the office and I also have my craft table (where I can sew, bead, scrapbook, etc.). This is what you see when you walk in the door to the office. (Note: I do not keep so many drinks on my desk normally, but I’d been working at my desk).

The obvious first problems are that our desks are cluttered and covered with stuff. Also, my craft table has ceased to be a craft table, and become a “crap table” as Eric calls it. I have projects spread all over it.

This is my desk. The file cabinets hold our printer, network equipment, and the stuff that needs to be filed sits on top of the printer.
My craft table. Ideally, all this stuff would not sit underneath the table looking junky and cluttered. This table actually got worse after I took this photo. In an effort to get rid of some of my paper clutter, I have started a project of scanning everything I want to keep – so as to get rid of the piles. Well, in the mean time the piles shifted to the table.

This corner is what I call the black hole. We have two boxes of who knows what, two laptops, a backpack, a box of printer paper, some empty file folders, you name it. This corner is what bothers me most about the room (surprising isn’t it – with so much that has gone awry here).

Eric’s desk. Eric is actually in need of a new desk, one that would suit his needs better. But in the meantime, this is what he’s got. He needs to sell the photo printer on top, and the paper “organizer” is an eye-sore to me. No idea how to store the paper better, but this ain’t it. Yes, Eric has three computers and seven external hard drives on his desk. In the left hand corner, you can see my bookshelf which holds my cross-stitching stuff, projects in progress, etc.

The closet houses our seasonal decorations, and my craft supplies. I will spare you the horror.

So that’s the office. The first thing I am going to tackle is the horizontal surfaces – my desk, Eric’s desk and the craft table. Then, we’ll see what I can do about that black hole.

If you can stand to see more, here’s the Media Room:

View from the door. This room was dubbed the media room because it houses all of our cds, and all of our dvds. The room actually is worse than normal because of two things: 1) I was laid off from work, an these boxes you see on the floor are all the stuff that came home from my office (amazing how much you accumulate in seven years), and 2) we received some of our wedding crystal for Christmas, and it is sitting in the bags on the floor.

The plant came from work. and that’s the only place I could find to put it up high enough to keep the cat out of it, but not so high that it was completely squashed against the ceiling. On top of the small cd towers are stacks of magazines. One stack is to recycle (pass on), and one stack is to keep.

These two cabinets house our dvds and some crystal/china. We don’t have a china cabinet, so all of our wedding stuff is in boxes in this room. You can see some of it on top of the cabinets.

On top of the cd tower in the corner, we have stacked cds and vhs movies that need to be sold. On top of the bookshelf is more china/crystal and our wedding and honeymoon albums.

On the wall to the right of the door are two bookcases, with more china, etc. on top.

I need to do something with the photo boxes. That’s another project – converting all my photos to digital.

Now, there are a couple of cool things in this room. And one day they will look awesome in the Hemingway/Cigar Room I have planned.

The cigar mold.

The cigar band artwork. The one on the bottom is not complete.

In the meantime though, this room really is a pit. I plan to get through my boxes from work and put away the crystal we got for Christmas, that should at least clear the floor. Then we’ll see what else can be done. I’m sure I can deal with the magazine stacks and the stuff that needs to be sold.

So my 2008 resolution is to work on these two rooms. Any help or advice is appreciated!