Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quarterly Review

Sometime in January, I got too confident with my door and trim painting skills – I said I could have everything done by the end of March. Ha!

When I set this goal, I thought doors and trim would be my only task for those 3 months. Well, let’s just say, I’m awesome at getting distracted…

Organizing the cleaning closet:
Ripping out carpet in 2 rooms and putting in quarter round:

Organizing the office closet:
Redoing the office:

And what am I doing now? Painting the fireplace.

I must admit, I have always been like this – starting project after project when the original project isn’t even done. I feel in some way this makes me work harder, but I lack any logical explanation on the whys and hows.

I do hope though, for my next quarterly review I can say that the doors and trim are finally done.

Click here to see how I’m doing overall with my 2010 home goals.

March's Books

Books read in March: 6
Books listened to in March: 3

14. “Nightlight: A Parody of Twilight” by Harvard Lampoon
15. “Glamour: Making it Modern” by Michael Lassell
16. “Betrayed” by P.C. Cast (House of Night #2)
17. “Chosen” by P.C. Cast (House of Night #3)
18. “[the nest] Home Design Handbook” by Carley Roney
19. “Untamed” by P.C. Cast (House of Night #4)

12. “Bed of Roses” by Nora Roberts (Bride Quartet #2)
13. “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
14. “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger

Favorite book of the month:
“Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger
I must admit, I debated awhile about picking this book as my favorite, because honestly, I still not quite sure how I feel about it. The author is so talented at playing with reader’s emotions –I am still torn about how I feel about the twins. It’s an intriguing story, and even a week after finishing this book, I’m still thinking about it.

Biggest Disappointment:
“The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
Once in awhile, I try to be good and take a break from my guilty pleasure of young adult books, and read a book on the 1,001 list. I’ve heard positive things about this book, so I decided to give it a try. Ugh. While this definitely isn’t a long book, I found myself just wanting it to end toward the beginning.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Family room plans

When it comes to my family room, slow and steady wins the race. This is the room I spend the majority of my time in, so I need it to still be functional while I work away at it. My plan is one project at a time, whenever it feels right. My only goal is to have it done by Brent's 30th in August.

This is the only room in the house, that still feels like the previous owner's home. Even with the carpet ripped out, it still feels too traditional for my taste. I'm slowly working away at painting the fireplace white, and that is definitely helping – but I think it's time to face the fact that I'm not crazy about the wall color. I think it's time to introduce a greige color to my house.

As of now, here's the plan:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just Paint It Challenge

You know that project involving paint you’ve been putting off? Whether it’s been on hold because of laziness or sheer terror – it doesn’t matter – it’s times to get it done.

So, I have a proposal (yes, it’s so romantic of me). Paint the thing you’ve been putting off – whether it’s trim, a piece of furniture, a fireplace, a room, a floor, cabinets, doors, spray painting some accessories – it doesn’t matter.

I love a good challenge, so I am excited to announce my first Decorating Obsessed challenge.

The concept is simple – you and I will take the plunge together in painting that thing that scares us the most. Then, on Monday, April 19th – we will have a McLinky-posting extravaganza.

So, what do I fear the most? My fireplace. Yes, after some talk and much debate, that mofo is going white. If you want to liberate your fireplace as well, awesome. If not, that’s cool too.

So seriously guys, who is with me?

Edit: If you have a private blog or don't have a blog – you can send me photos and a description – and I will post it for you.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm excited to say that I have my first client in the furniture-flipping world. I will be painting a china cabinet, and I am so excited about it. It's a beautiful piece, it just needs some updating. Hopefully, I will get that bad boy home to me soon and the fun can start.

Here's the photo the client sent:

In other news: While driving, I was behind a semi called "beaver express." I'm really concerned/curious what that truck is carrying. It also made me realize how immature I am.

Design Time: Home Design Handbook

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by “[the nest] Home Design Handbook.” Since it’s basically a book for newlyweds on how to set up the home, there were tons of great tips and pictures.

My favorite part of the book though, was the illustrations. While I know the names of some furniture and styles, that knowledge is minimal – so graphics like those were extremely helpful for me.

Here are some of my favorites:

And for those who weren't in a sorority:

(While I am sure there are some non-sorority types who know how to set a table...if you were in a sorority, you can probably set a formal table in your sleep. Just like you will always remember that the salt and pepper can never be separated, because they are married. Have I talked you out of the benefits of sorority life yet? Awesome).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Living Room – Where I Got It

Since my living room is finally done, I am excited to answer the most frequent question I get – where I got something that’s in my living room.

1. Sofa – Nebraska Furniture Mart (Ashley Furniture), $900 (including stain guard protection and tax rounded up)
2. Coffee and end tables – Nebraska Furniture Mart, $500 (after I ordered this, I discovered Z Gallerie also carries these)
3. Art – This piece was a housewarming present from an artist from of the family
4. Lamps – Z Gallerie, $220 total (during their 20% sale)
5. Rug – eBay, $110
6. Bowl – Kate Spade, $149 (gift)
7. Tealight holder – Z Gallerie, $3 for both (gift)
8. Bowl – Crate & Barrel, $29.99 (gift)
9. Vase – Z Gallerie, $24 (during their 20% sale)
10. Picture frame – Z Gallerie, $14.95 (gift)
11. Pillows – Etsy seller Nestables and custom made, $100 (including inserts)

12. Chairs – Home Decorators Outlet, $300 total (gift)
13. Pillows – from sofa
14. Panels – custom made, $200 (includes fabric and labor)
15. Sofa Table – Target, $110
16. Mirror – HomeGoods, $59.99
17. Vase – Z Gallerie, $29.99 (gift – my mom gave me this vase and she has broken it twice. So yes, hot glue can do miracles)
18. Candleholders – Z Gallerie. $26 total (during their 20% sale)
19. Bling candleholder – Hobby Lobby, $14.99

20. Floating shelves – Lowes, $80
21. White vase – Z Gallerie, $29.95 (gift)
22. Crystal vase – I only have 2 things from my grandma, this is one of them
23. Candleholder – Z Gallerie, $16.00 (during their 20% sale)
24. Westie art – DIY, free
25. Line art – and Michaels, $30 total
26. Bud vase – Michaels, $3.99
27. Vase – HomeGoods, $12.99
28. White vase – Gordmans, $14.99 (gift)
29. Bling candleholder – Z Gallerie, $9.99 (gift)
30. Candleholder – Kohls, $4.99 (gift)

Total I spent: $2,392.98
Room total: $2,979.83

I must admit, I had a difficult time figuring out how I should do room totals. Because what I actually spent versus the room total are 2 very different things, I wanted to include both.

There were other things I debated, and that's where it gets complicated. There's at least $400 in the "total I spent" category that could be debatable. Any gift certificates I received, I included in that total. As well as the console table I bought with my March Madness winnings several years ago.

And for those curious about the multiple "gifts" in the room...a good chunk of it is wedding presents that we finally get to display. Brent's and my birthday's are really close together, so we took advantage of that last year with the amazing chairs.

Yep, I think that is about it. I hope I answered all questions. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I have pillows!

I'm excited to report that I finally have pillows for my living room. (The real meaning – my living room is DONE)!

The black-and-white pillows are from the Etsy seller Nestables. If you haven't checked out her shop, please do – she has a great line of fun spring pillows right now. And even better – her stuff is extremely reasonable in price. I got my covers for $32 total.

As for the purple-and-white pillows, I am super excited about those. After lots of unsuccessful searching at stores, I contacted my seamstress friend (who made my houndstooth panels) and we had a long pillow talk. After several changes of heart, I decided the the crisp look of Restoration Hardware bedding was the direction I wanted to go. Melody was awesome to work with and also extremely reasonable in price. She also has an Etsy store, but her goods focus on aprons (and I try avoid the kitchen). If you are interested in her other seamstress skills though, you may contact her at

Reader Question: My Fireplace

I've had a lot of comments/questions/requests about my old-school fireplace, as well as the art on it.

Most everyone who emails me, seems confused about what to do with their brick and raised-hearth situation. I just want to let you all know that I am confused with you. While I find fireplaces visually appealing, the amount of room mine takes up can be frustrating at times.

My fireplace at the moment:

My plans for the fireplace:
- Get rid of the brass. Once it's nice outside (and not raining), I'm spray painting that mofo black.
- For the shelves, I want to fill in the holes, paint it all white and then have a different color for the background. While I was debating green for awhile, I think a greige color would be best.

I will admit, at times I have considered painting the brick – but I can't bring myself to do it. I liked the brick better when the carpet was in, because of the contrast. Now, with the hardwood floors, it's just a lot of brown. Clearly, this is something I will not tackle unless I'm 100% for sure, and I don't know if I will ever reach that point.

As for the art on the fireplace, that's another Ashley original. I actually just put it up for the holidays, but then got lazy and never took it down. It's simple enough to make – paint the canvas white and then use painter's tape to create the squares. I actually made it in college after I got my tonsils out and was stuck in my apartment. I've done a color switcheroo since then, and the only original color left is yellow.

I hope that answers are the fireplace comments and requests. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend update and other randomness

My main goal for the weekend (other than hardcore basketball watching) was to finish painting the trim in the family room. I started painting the trim in there in mid-January, and have successfully avoided this task since.

So, why I have avoided the family room?

Yep, I hate ladders that much. Brent offered to paint the trim in that area, but I've seen how he paints and decided that was far scarier. As you can see from that picture though, I got past my fear and made it happen (granted I made Brent hold me and the ladder the entire time).

I must admit, I am still bummed about KU's loss yesterday. I should have known it was coming when I put Chip's KU bandanna on and then 5 seconds later he puked all over me. It definitely wasn't a great start to my evening.

So how did I nurse the shocking loss of my Kansas Jayhawks? I went upstairs and finished painting the doors in the third bedroom.

My stats for doors painted are slowly increasing. I am now 21/35.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spray paint update to the madness

Last summer, while Brent and I were living with my parent's for the month of August, I did several spray-paint projects.

This was my first and only project using a spray paint on plastic (as spray paint and I are not friends). But I am excited to report that all my chairs are still holding up beautifully and the paint is still going strong.

So Rust-Oleum spray paint for plastic turned me from a skeptic to a believer. This spray paint has definitely earned its place in my small "product rave" group.

The chairs I used this product on are just the cheap, plastic ones from Lowes. I made sure to do a thorough sanding and cleaning, before using the spray paint.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Major crush

I can't stop looking at this sofa from Crate & Barrel. I am loving the pinstripes. Sexy, sexy sofa. Sexy, sexy room.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Basket Case

I got my ass kicked by baskets last night.

My plan was simple enough – buy a basket to put on top of the DVD player in the family room. After not much more thought, I thought a green basket would be ideal.

So I journeyed to…
1. Hobby Lobby
2. Jo-Anns
3. Z Gallerie
4. Crate & Barrell

By this point, I gave up on green baskets and fell in love with this natural basket. I excitedly went home only to discover it was too tall. Awesome

5. Crate & Barrell – return
6. Michaels

Here, I actually found a light green basket – so I quickly snatched it up and took it home with me. It was then I decided it looked like an Easter basket sans handles.

7. Michaels – return
8. Gordmans
9. Hobby Lobby – new store
10. Michaels – new store and success!

And with my basket mission complete, here’s the new TV, console table and accessories.

As for the accessories...
Basket – Michaels, $8
Green picture frame – had
White vase (left) – Z Gallerie, $19.95
White vase (right) – HomeGoods, $12.99
Green vase – Crate & Barrel, $19.95

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coffee table options

So the new console table in my family room, makes the dingy coffee table I've had since college stand out even more. I'm ready to move on and tired of looking at Chip's bite marks in it from his puppy stage.

If you forgot, here's what my family room looks like now:After lots of searching, these are my 5 top tables.

1. Mendocino Table from Wal-Mart – $99
I have been eying this series since I first started my blog. I love the simplicity of it, and I very much so love the price.

2. Sutton Coffee Table – $250ish (this table seems to be available everywhere, so if this table wins – then price researching begins) I love the clean lines and modern look to this table.

3. Leather and Glass Coffee Table – $170
I've never seen a table like this, and that's definitely part of its appeal to me.

4. Allison Coffee Table by Sitcom – $278
What isn't to love about this table? Well, aside from the price and the fact that the wood would need to be painted black.

5. Brad Coffee Table by TAG – $199.99
Once again, I love the simplicity of this type of table.

So, opinions? As you can tell, I haven't completely made up my mind on the black versus glass debate. I think I'm leaning more toward glass though.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We have a winner!

Console table found and bought:
The TV switcheroo is in progress.

The 32" LCD TV Brent and I originally bought for the bedroom and somehow ended up in the man cave, has been moved back to the bedroom.

The new TV is looking fabulous in our family room right now. I'm really happy with the 42" size, the other TV just just too big for the space.

And the 50" DLP TV is currently being set up now in the man cave. All I know is Brent is doing something with speakers, so I stayed away and decided to take a 3-hour nap.

In other news: Selection Sunday starts in 15 minutes. Go Jayhawks!

In other, other news: Brent and I arranged a transport today for a Westie in need. We were actually going to do the transport to Omaha today, so she could get into foster care and out of the shelter, but since my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were heading back to Omaha today – it worked out perfectly for them to take her.

I try to not get on my soapbox often about rescuing pets, but I've been good for awhile – so you get it again. Rescue your pets, do not buy from from a pet store or backyard breeder. Puppy mills are the most heartbreaking thing, and the level of abuse that comes from them is criminal. Chip wasn't a puppy mill dog, but he was abused – and it's taken 3 years for him to act like the carefree puppy he should.

Can't take in another pet right now? There are other ways to help out. Brent and I actually used to foster dogs. It's a very rewarding experience, watching a foster learn to love – the difficult part is letting them go. Or, you can do what Brent and I do now – transports and home visits. Both are rather self-explanatory. You do transports to get dogs in need into a foster care. You do home visits to interview the people who want a dog with your rescue group.

Okay, off the soapbox and now time for some Selection Sunday. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What Brent bought today

Brent's only been talking about getting a new TV for the family room (so the one in there can be man-caved bound) since, oh, before we actually moved into the house. So it was only a matter of time before he came home with one.

Meet the new TV:
It's a 1080 42" LG. Brent was able to find the exact TV he wanted at Sears and it was a floor model. The thought of buying a floor-model TV had honestly never crossed my mind. That was until we got this TV with a 10% discount and a free 3-year warranty.

Up next – finding a console table for the new TV.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What I'm Up To

March is my favorite time of year. The weather starts getting nicer, it stays lighter outside for longer and most importantly, it's college basketball time!

So, what are Brent and I up to? We're at the Big 12 Tournament, of course.

This is the third year we have gone, and we absolutely love it. And since Kansas City is this year's host, there's even minimal driving and no hotel involved. Even better.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reader Question: Painting a Vanity

First, I must say I am so excited about all the emails I've been getting with questions and comments. Thank you. While most of the time I just email the answer back, when I receive the same question several times – I've decided to post it as a reader question. So, keep the questions coming and have a great week!

Hi Ashley,
I am a fairly new reader to your blog but I had a question for you. My fiance and I are working on decorating our first house and we have plans to paint the vanity in our tiny master bathroom white. I noticed that you did the same thing in one of your bathrooms. I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom to help us.
I think the concept of painting, whether it's doors, cabinets or furniture seems scarier than it really is. My bathroom vanity project was my first cabinet-painting experience, and I was thrilled to discover it didn't stress me out as much as I expected. I have to admit though, even now, there's something about the words "paint" and "cabinets" that I just don't like in the same sentence. (This is also why I don't discuss my kitchen).

Anyway, back to cabinet fun. Here are my tips...
- Use semi-gloss or gloss (anything lower in the gloss-factor than that will not clean up easily and bad things will happen). I used semi-gloss and am really happy for it.

- Make sure to sand. I know it's not fun, but having a roughed-up finish will help the paint stick better. (This is definitely my least favorite part about painting, so Brent and I struck a deal – he does the sanding and clean up from sanding and I do the rest. Sure, my side is more work, but that just shows how my feelings about sanding).

- If you have flat cabinets, awesome, that will be easier for you. If not, paint the insets first with a small brush. Then move on to the rolling.

(A visual of painting the insets first, as well as a visual of what I'm currently working on – more doors, shocking, I know).

- My roller of choice for anything wood (cabinets, doors, furniture) are the small foam rollers. The foam makes the paint go on evenly without in bubbling.

- Once all the coats are done, be patient. If you're anything like me, you'll be super excited to put everything back in so you can admire your work. Try to wait 24 hours before putting things back in, this will help prevent objects sticking to the paint.

I hope that helps!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Living room show off

I would like to thank Courtney for featuring my living room on Project Pretty today. If you haven't checked out her blog, you are missing out. I love all the inspiration pics she finds.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mood board Monday

I’m very excited to be participating in my first Mood Board Monday over at pewter + sage. If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s simple enough – she posts 2 different items to pick from (this time rugs), and you create a room inspired by one of the items. It’s amazing to see the different rooms people come up with.

This was the rug I picked for my inspiration:I thought it would look amazing in my imaginary sunroom with my imaginary budget, and I was right.

My modern sunroom:

1. I wanted something light and airy, so for paint I picked Behr’s Asparagus (410D-4). For the floors, I’m keeping it neutral with this ceramic tile from Home Depot.

2. The Tavern Bay fan is from Home Depot.

3. I am obsessed with this sofa from Hive Modern.

4. The Kelly Table Lamp is from Crate & Barrel and is $179.

5. Seriously, how adorable is this Oval Ring Side Table? This table from Inside Avenue has a price tag of $360.

6. And here is the Andalusia Rug from West Elm that started it all.

7. These benches by Jonathan Adler, are my coffee table for the sun room.

8. This cheerful Meridian Maribel Pillow from Crate & Barrel adds a touch of fun to the space for only $25.

9. To me, it doesn’t get more sunroom than with this green and white pillow from Pier 1.

10. I found this art, fell in love with it, but unfortunately have no idea who made it. But I figure with my unlimited budget, I could hire someone to recreate it if necessary. ☺

11. These Antique Copper Pedestal Vases from Jamali Garden bring out the color of the rug for only $25.

12. This amazing Empire Mirror is from Z Gallerie, and would go above the bookcase.

13. These green Kawayan Vases from Z Gallery, bring in some more nature to the room.

14. This amazing Paterson Two-Door Cabinet is from Crate & Barrel. I can see it displaying picture frames and travel books.

The office revisited – where I got it and the budget

I see pictures of rooms all the time where there’s something I love in it, and no mention of where it’s from. Even if I’m not planning on running out and buying it – I’m a curious person and just want to know where it’s from.

So my goal is to provide just that.

- The desk – Craigslist (similar one at Target)
- The chair – Craigslist (similar one at Target)
- The painting – DIY
- Printer stand – Hand me down

- Lamp – Craigslist
- Dog stapler – I got mine in Chicago, but it's also available at See Jane Work
- Supply organizer – PB Teen
- Red frame pin – Target

- Floating shelves – Lowes
- Black frames – Michaels and Pottery Barn
- Red bud vase – Target
- Candleholders – CB2 (here's their new version of them)
- Red Vase – HomeGoods
- M – store in Chicago, no idea

- Magazine organizer – Crate & Barrel
- Ottoman – Nebraska Furniture Mart
- Mirror – HomeGoods
- Polka Dot pillows – Target
- Red pillow – Kohls

- Bookshelf – Crate & Barrel
- Art – local “Starving Artist” sale
- Table lamp – Pier 1 (here's their new version of it)
- Red candleholder – Pottery Barn
- Little red dog – gift from Brent when he used to travel for work
- Red bowl – TJ Maxx
- Red & white striped box – Pottery Barn
- Red & white damask box – Hobby Lobby
- White flower – Blue Heron, which is now closed. :(

And just in case you were curious about what I spent my $226.92 on…

Office Price Tally
- Paint – $32.29 total (during Home Depot’s $15 per gallon Glidden sale)
- Hardware for drawer – $16.17 from Home Depot
- Red vase – $13.98 from HomeGoods
- Big frame and 2 mattes – $25.47 (40% off) from Michaels
- Bungee office chair – $125 from Craigslist
- 2 white photo boxes – $5.49 (40% off) from Michaels
- Red frame pin – $5.38 (on sale) from Target
- Red bud vase – $2.14 from Target