Nav bar

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fresh Snow and a Mocha Latte

I peeked out the door before going to bed  two nights ago to see if, for once, the weather forecast might actually be right. They said we were getting snow, a LOT of snow, but I've heard that before and then woke up to no snow, not even a flicker of a flake.

Wanna see what I saw?

Still light enough to be pretty, just resting on the branches.

The weatherman said to expect more snow all day, and he was right. By the end of the night, here's what we had. (Notice the fence line - I'll reference back to it in just a minute.)

Notice a few things in this picture - the amount of snow on the table, on the bench under the tree, and again, the fence row.

Woke up early this morning, and here's what we had!


It's been snowing all morning and we are supposed to get up to 10 more inches before morning again.
I tried to take a pic of the same view for comparison, but there's such a white-out out the back door that nothing shows up but a white square. So I took a picture of the other side.
This is a current picture as of noon today in Denver.

This is the same view as the very first picture. You can't even see our birdbath anymore.
That's our hammock under all that snow! We didn't remember to bring it in before the weather hit. There's about 28" of snow as I type this, and it's still coming.

I love these kind of days! Freezing outside, but warm and cozy inside. I've bundled up in my fuzzy socks and blankets, and conned hubby into making me this:
A yummy, yummy, yummy mocha latte!
Look at all that marshmallow creme. Hmmmm hmmmm hmmm.

Side note: Hubby 'suggested' that I tell you how sweet he was to buy this mug for me. He was in Starbucks, saw it, and thought of me. He calls it my 'special cup'. When I ask for something hot, he asks "In your special cup?" Well of course.)

Try this recipe. You won't believe how good it really is. I use the Nestle hot cocoa with the bunny shaped marshmallows in it. I top it with marshmallow creme, and I use crunched toffee.

Super Easy Mocha Latte
1 envelope of instant cocoa mix
3/4 cup of hot strong-brewed coffee
1/2 cup of milk
Topping of your choice (and I choose marshmallow creme and toffee pieces)

Pour cocoa mix into a large mug. Add coffee and mix.
(I actually make the cocoa mix and put in the coffee also, so that it makes more.)
Microwave milk for 30 seconds, and then add to mug with cocoa mix and coffee.
Add topping/s


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pimp My Pumpkin!

Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. I love creative pumpkin dressing. And, since I have no time to prepare anything other than a smiley face, pre-lit, standard run-of-the-mill plastic pumpkin, I have to envy everyone else's creativity this year. My own perky plastic pumpkin may not even GET lit this year if I can't find time to track down an extention cord to drag across the porch. I live in a busy, busy world right now.

I did however, make the time to throw out a box of decor that I ran across in the garage while searching for something else. Granted, there was only 9 items in the box and took all of 5 mintues to scatter on the porch. Enough of an effort to keep the neighbor boys from asking me where my Halloween decorations are when they show up at my door this year, but not so much that the association will feel compelled to enter me in the "best Halloween decorations" contest that is vainly and blatantly posted on a big sign in your yard when you win. I can actually picture them standing in front of my house wondering why I even bothered.

Oh well, nuff said about that. Let's honor some folks who do care about their pumpkins. I went on an image search across Bing and found a few worth mentioning.
Edited to add: I listed the link that Bing associated with these pictures. I did not visit the individual sites, so the link below the pic does not take you directly to the post showing that particular picture.

Every pumpkin deserves a little bling, right?

So simple, yet so cute.
(There's a white border around this pic, so it's a bit further down.)

This is from someone who must really care about what the neighbors think.
Love this idea!

From Good House Keeping

My Kind of Decorating. Throw on some masks and call them done!

Sorry, can't remember where this came from, but I'm guessing it's Country Living.

How absolutely darling are these? If I had woods on my property, I'd put these all through them.

Talk about two birds with one stone........Halloween and Thanksgiving all at once. These made me giggle for some reason.

(I think the turkey attire is a kit you can purchase. Didn't dig into it far enough to be sure.)

How beautiful is this? Next year I'll have this on my table.

Simple elegance. In case you're like me, and it takes you a few minutes to figure this out, I'll save you time and tell you that it's a carriage. I kept wondering why the big pumpkin wasn't setting level on the table, and then it hit me.............duh, it's sitting on those other pumpkins. You're probaly a bit more perceptive than I am tonight and figured that one out as soon as you looked at it.

How easy is this? Can't you see a heap of small pumpkins stacked in the middle of the table with different designs on them? Throw a few upholstery tacks on these and you're good to go.

And I truly love this. Super-duper-uber simple. Pull out that melon-baller and create your own masterpiece in no time flat.

Another creative idea while you've got that mellon-baller out!

Country Living............I think.

Now, off the pumpkins and on to some other brainstorm ideas.

Can't get this pic any bigger, but thought it was neat enough to post.

Love, Love, Love this. How do do this on my carpeted stairs?!
All of those people who make vinyl decals should start making these, don't you think?

I'm guessing I found this on Country Living again.

Clever idea.

Ummm, Country Living...................maybe...........

And last, but not least.........

From Good Housekeeping

Have some Halloween decor of your own? Link it in your comment so we can all see!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Joining the Party over at Funky Junk!

Donna is having another party this weekend over here.
This time it's all about vignettes. Lots of gals are already linking up, so I decided to join the party myself. I've never joined a blog party, and I'm not really sure who Mr. Linky is, but I'm told it's painless to get to know him.

Let me preface this post by saying that, as I was taking these pictures, I realized that I shouldn't take pictures in my house at night. My lights are really yellow - I must change that some day. Maybe tomorrow I'll retake these pics during the day and replace the dark ones. For now, bear with me.
Edited 10/28 to add: I changed the pics to ones taken during the daytime. I just couldn't get past so much of the yellow coloring. I left the first pic as is because I couldn't get a good one in daylight.

Starting in the living room, and traveling through a few more rooms, I'll just post the pics without explanation since this party is just about the look.
I hope you enjoy my little vignettes.


I hope you've found a little inspiration in some of these.
Happy Decorating!

More About My Life as a TV Designer - Upcoming Episodes

Many of you have emailed and asked me to please post more about my tv work on the blog. I was talking to a friend about Carter Can tonight and she said she saw another of my episodes this morning, and also informed me that you can watch several of the episodes online. So, I decided to do a little research and see what I can find. I had no idea there was so much on the HGTV website from the first and second seasons. Seems like eons ago. I normally don't write about this because it's a time gone past, but since I've gotten over 40 emails asking for more info, I thought that while some reruns were being aired, and my friend told me where to find the other stuff, this would be the perfect time to post about some of my work.

Here's a long list of information:
Upcoming Episodes:
(one of my favorite)

(Not my style at all, so this one was a stretch for me.
I do love the way the way the linen tower turned out though.)

(It's really not as gaudy as this picture makes it look)

(My almost favorite makeover. I say that because it's a toss up between this one and our first episode for my favorite.)

(These are projects from the show that I designed.)
Specific Categories and Projects:
Dark Basement to Bright Family Room Video

Rolling Tables

Art Tables (love these!)
Coffee Table (love the plexiglass art display on this one)
Dog Crate Cover

Upper Cabinets
Vegetable Stand
Bench Chest
Copper Doors
Linen Tower
Pantry Drawer
Shower Tiling

Composite Decking
(the second one)

TV Cabinets, Shelves, and Mantles:
Ply Boo Entertainment Center

Walls, Floors, and Surfaces:
How to Resurface Countertops
Concrete Hearth

I was the designer for Season 1 and a few episodes in Season 2, listed here.

Now, to answer some of the most popular questions I get:
The most popular questions I get are personal ones about Carter, but contracts prevents me from spilling any beans about him, so we'll move on to the next set of questions that are actually about the show itself.

What did you actually do as a tv designer?
I was responsible for working directly with the construction crew to plan the entire makeover for each home. We went out to each potential home, talked to the homeowners about what they wanted for their makeover, viewed the home in depth to see if it was a good candidate for the show, and if it was, we took before pictures and the construction team measured the areas of the home that would be involved while I interviewed the homeowners one on one.

We would discuss the job as a team and decide if it was something we could do in the time limit alloted, and if we felt we could get materials in time for filming. If the project was a go, we then submitted a report to the directors for their approval. Once the homeowners were approved, the casting department called to let them know. After that, their project was scheduled for filming and the planning began.

As a designer, I developed a plan for each project, submitted my plan to the construction team, and they had final yay or nay on the projects. Since they were absolute superstars, they rarely turned anything down, but their were a few. All projects had to fit within filming times for the home, which was almost always 2-3 days.
What you don't see is all of the extra hands working behind the scenes in addition to the ones on camera, so we had the ability to plan work for more than just the three of us that were on the show.

Once all of the planning was finalized, it was time to make shopping lists and wish lists. Our wish lists were things we wanted from vendors. Those lists usually went to the show assistants for them to call and ask for donations. The shopping lists were our responsibility. Shopping took up more time than anything! It was common to be shopping for 2-4 projects at a time, which meant it was easy to get confused!

When it got close to show time, we had a meeting with the whole show team and discussed what would take place on each day as far as filming. The director gave everyone the show rundown, with the hour by hour filming plan, who would be doing each project, and what the homeowners would be involved in on camera.

The day of the shoot, I made sure every project was organized, and all of the materials required for each of them was in place for whichever crew would be working on them. The main construction crew met with Carter to brief him on the scope of the makeover, and the details of each project, and then filming started. For 2-3 days, it was12-15 hour, hard labor days for everyone.

When filming was done, we had hours of clean up, and then it was on to the next job the next morning.

How do you select the homes you do?
Homeowners submit themselves to the production company's casting department. The casting department calls the ones they are interested in and interview the homeowners on the phone. If they choose to proceed with them, they go visit the house and take a short video of the people.
When the crew approves a homeowner (explained above), the casting department then sends a write up on the job and/or a short video to the development director at HGTV assigned to the show for approval.

How much is the homeowner involved in the design plan?
I always did in depth interviews with the homeowners so that I'd have a clear picture of what they wanted for their home. It was important to our team to give the homeowner a makeover that fit their lifestlye, and especially one that they wouldn't have to change when we left the house. After they were approved, I would again discuss what we had planned for their home. Most were okay with whatever we wanted to do, and then others said they were okay with it, but when filming began, they suddenly wanted to change everything after all of the planning and shopping had been completed for the projects they had previously approved. When that happened, they got the treat of a private conversation with the director. There were two homeowners that we approved, and then in the planning process, they'd get demanding, and keep trying to add things or change things to the point of messing with our filming schedules. In those two instances, we decided to drop the makeover all together.

Then there was the one that kept poo-pooing everything we did as we were filming the show. It had everyone so upset that we decided not to give them any of the really good big dollar things for their makeover. We did the bare minimum that we could get away with for tv. That episode did make it to tv, but if you have  keen eye, I bet you could figure out which job it was. It was the only one I wasn't proud of, and didn't even take pictures of when it was finished.

You'll notice in my episodes that we never did anything bizarre to a homeowners house. I just couldn't bring myself to do something drastic that didn't make sense in another person's home. All of our homeowners were happy with their makeovers because we really did try to give them what they asked for.
Whew! That was a lot of typing. I hope I didn't bore you with all of that detail. Next time I'll try to keep it shorter, I swear.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Would you knock on this door at Halloween?

I thought this might be an appropriate house to post right now since Halloween is around the corner. I find it just a tad bit spooky. The house was definitely empty, but that didn't shake the feeling that someone was there anyway.

We were driving on a long trip and spotted this house somewhere along I70 on the way home from Texas. It was so bitterly cold, but I just couldn't turn down the opportunity to do a little exploring. Once a lovely home, now abandoned. It had such a spooky feel to it, but even with the heebie-jeebies, my curosity got the best of me, and so, I went inside. Even in it's broken down state, it was fabulous. Someone had built this home with such love and attention to detail.
Why, why, why, do people ever leave these homes?
This home sat on a large spread of property, with a barn, and outbuildings, and beautiful trees. I'm certain with proper upkeep, this home would have lasted for generations.

Let's take a look around. I tried to get some interior pictures, but most all of them turned out black. I'll show you something (in a minute) that spooked me a bit after we left and I looked at all the pictures.

Even as eerie as it was, the poor house still held so much beauty. If I had had a crow bar in the trunk, those shutters and corbels would've come home with me.
Just look at all the details!

See the reflection in this window? It almost looks like it's a reflection of a statue in a cemetary. There was absolutely nothing there. Nothing in front of the window, nothing across the street, nothing. I cannot imagine what the reflection is.

reallllyyyy wanted those shutters!

The little out building and the house were both leaning to one side.

This is the back of the house. It looks like there's something in every window, but there wasn't anything at all.

Here's what creeped me out a little. I walked all through this house - well, what portions still had floors, that is - and I certainly was in this room. NEVER, did I see a single curtain in the house. I surely would've noticed that. Even hubby said he didn't see any curtains, so it wasn't just me. So if I looked all through the house and there were no curtains, then where did these white, ruffled curtains come from? I'm telling you, there were NO curtains in this house anywhere. Surely ghosts live here...............

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So Amazing I had to share!

(I've tried to post the direct video, but for some reason, blogger isn't letting me.)

A friend sent this to me tonight, and I think it is absolutely incredible. This is a Ukrainian sand artist who depicts the invasion of Urkraine by Germany during the war through her drawings in sand. She uses a large light box filled with sand to act out her art. I can only imagine what she could do if she were a sculptor.

This video is from the Ukrainian version of America's Got Talent. After seeing this, it's obvious that she was the winnner.

Let me know what you think! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.............and thanks to that friend who sent it to me. What a rare treat.

Turn up the volume a bit. The art is in direct flow with the music.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

See this little beauty..................

She's having a birthday today! She's turning the big 6!

Audrey Shaye is one of our many (yes, I mean many) granddaughters.
She's a beautifully funny little girl with a curious mind way beyond her years.
Happy Birthday Sweetie! We love you bunches and bunches, Grandma PJ and Grandpa Bill.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm a little upside a creative way

I've been in search of chandy shades. Not just any shades - the right shades.
I have discovered in my search the sad truth that there is no perfect shade for my poor little naked chandy.

There are pretty shades. There are elegant shades. There are even fun shades. But, there are no perfect shades.

Too dark, too light, distorted light, weird shadows on the table................and the list goes on.

Once I resigned myself myself to the fact that the perfect shade just didn't exist, I agreed to settle on something that just worked ok and was pretty.

My problem was that most shades that I loved in the store seemed to cut off our light supply in the whole front room - you know, except for those 9 bright cirlces of light on the table that no one sits at, that "I can see you better if you come over and sit on top of the table" kinda light supply.

The lighter colored shades I liked almost became translucent when you turned on the light. I fell in love with some yellow and cream checked shades with red beads, but under actual light, they looked like they had big white alien faces with fringe around the neck.

There was one set that I really liked. I brought them home three times, each time sure that I just didn't look at them well enough in my room, and each time sure that this time they'd work. (This is one of those times where hubby just shakes his head and leaves the room). And besides, they matched my new window treatment perfect. I'd put them on the chandy, then I'd lose all of my light in the room. I'd take them off, put them back on, take them off again, and so the cycle continued. I'm a wee bit stubborn, you see. I really wanted these shades, but finally had to admit defeat - yet again. I took them off for the last time, set them on the table so I'd remember to return them the next day, and decided that I just wouldn't be putting shades on my chandy any time soon.

BUT, the next morning I walked into the room, saw the shades sitting there upside down on the table - and then it hit me. If I put the shades on upside down, the light would shine up, not down, and maybe, just maybe, they'd work. So I separated the wire far enough to slide the shade down over the the posts, and proceeded to put all of them on. Then I turned the light on.........and (clouds part, sunbeams shining blindingly down in the living room, angel choir singing) worked!  OMG, what a difference.

Finally, the perfect shade for my poor little previously naked chandy!

One small change, one big difference. I'm a happy, happy girl.

(In case you're wondering, I did change all the bulbs out to smaller appliance bulbs that don't jut out of the top of the shades.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They like me, they really like me!

Ok, ok, not quite the Oscars, and I'm certainly no Sally Field, BUT, I got my first blogland mention today (by someone I don't know), so for me it's my BLOscar! Funky Junk Interiors - whose blog I LOVE - listed one of my makeovers on her blog today. Thank you so much. You seasoned bloggers surely think I'm nuts for making such a big deal over this, but to me it means somebody's coming to visit my blog.

While I'm at it, let me say thank you to all of you who have visited my blog and are helping by spreading the word and referring your friends. I've gotten so many nice emails this past month. Since I started less than a month ago, I've had almost 1400 visitors. To me, that's amazing. I am so grateful to you!!

I'm at 20 followers today. If you aren't a follower, please join in. If you are already a follower, get a friend to join in. I'm going to be giving away a wonderful gift, custom made by me, to follower #50, and every 50th follower thereafter, up to #500. I'm setting high marks for myself, but I believe in the power of bloggers to help me reach those numbers.

Check out Funky Junk's post about her favorite posts on several different blogs. You'll find a lot of great projects.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yes, it was me...............

Many of you must be parked in front of HGTV right now, because I've recevied quite a few emails asking if that was me on tv with Carter Oosterhouse just now. Well yes, it was.

It's true, once upon a time I was a tv designer.
Did I forget to tell you that? So sorry.

One of these days, I'll come back and talk more about that part of my career. It was definitely a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of hard work. I'll post the specifics to some of the makeovers here on the blog.

To answer the questions I received via email this morning:
I was the first season designer for Carter Can (until they moved the show to CA where I could not picture myself living). After that, I wrote and hosted 2 shows based out of Florida, (The American Home and Building it Green). I did product demonstrations for DIY's Cool Tools, was the behind the scenes designer for The Inside Job on DIY, and co-hosted a pilot called Project Greenhouse (which never took off). Oh yeah, I was also the set designer for What You Get for the Money for about a year or so.

So there you have it.........
Here's a pic from the first show I ever did.....................which never aired, by the way. (It was the original test show for Carter Can.)

(Taken with a cell phone....sorry for the quality).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Do You Need More Space in Your Kitchen.... without adding more space?

Don't we all. It seems that no matter how many cabinets, shelves, and drawers we have, we always need more. For those of you with cramped kitchens, or nowhere to grow more room, there is a solution.

My decorating mantra is 'If you can't build up, and you can't build out, find a way to build within'.

Here's an example of a kitchen where we had to do that. This space has a dedicated amount of  cabinets and drawers predetermined by the builder of a typical spec home. On the other side of the doorway is the dining room, so we couldn't knock out the wall to gain space. On the other side is the family room, whose layout also didn't allow us to push the kitchen out. Outside that window is a very small back yard, so we couldn't grow outward.

The client needed more room for her baking dishes, cookie sheets, trash cans, etc. She had been storing them elsewhere in the house, and since she entertained a lot, she really wanted everything in her kitchen. When we discussed the role she wanted her kitchen to play during her entertaining, she had a strong desire for it to be the gathering place. With a small table in the nook, it just wasn't a place people were drawn to.

Have you noticed when you have several people in one place they tend to want to stand and chat, or lean against something?
So, I suggested that we build her an island table in the nook, with seating for the kids on the back side, and at a height that would nudge people toward it. The best thing? We could put a large amount of storage in a somewhat small island. Are you thinking that putting an island in a nook is a bad idea? If so, maybe you'll think differently when you see all the benefits.

Ta Da!

This is a lot bigger than it looks in the pic. (To give you an idea of the size, the back end has 4 bar stools for seating. )

We built so many great things in to this island.
On the front side, we put in a sliding trash can holder, sliding drawers behind cabinet doors, pull-out towel racks, deep utensil drawers, and a pull-out spice rack. That's like a whole new bank of cabinets!

On one side, we put small exposed shelves for wine glasses, cookie tray sections, and a place for her Kitchenaide Mixer. (not sure why that plastic tub is sitting there)

On the opposite side, we did the same open shelving for her jars of goodies, and then we added a bank of drawers in graduated sizes for all of her kitchen linens. One of the things you can't see is that we added electical outlets into the fluted ends of the island base. We covered them with a matching cap of  fluting so they wouldn't be exposed when not in use. These allow her to use appliances right on the island without having to stretch cords across the room.

(Sorry for the size of this pic. My battery died before I finished all my pictures and I had to resort to my camera phone for this one.)
This is the backside where the barstools are. We extended the granite over the edge on this side so that it would allow 'table space' for the kids to eat. The two large drawers house her Christmas dishes.

I wish I had more after pictures of this kitchen, with the new window treatments and the 'table' set, but as I said, my battery copped out on me and the sun was streaming in so strong that my camera pics are all blacked out.
The clients and their kids love the island and she says she doesn't know how she ever functioned without it. And, yes, her guests now hover in the kitchen around the island, where she has discovered, is the perfect place to put all the food. It's convenient and pretty. That distressed black looks so good with the rest of the kitchen, especially the wood floors.
When you need more storage in any room of the house, think outside the box and challenge your own creativity. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with.


Related Posts with Thumbnails