Archive | August, 2011

Favorite Things

31 Aug

Today I am partying with Kate and all the others at Centsational Girl, where the topic is favorite things in my town.

favorite things link party button

Seven months ago Kevin and I moved from a city of 9.5 million, to a town of 19,000.   Our new little town is so lovely; I almost don’t miss the big city.

Here is my simple list of my favorite things so far:

  • Every Sunday in the summer we have a farmers market where we can buy fresh veggies, flowers and dairy products from near by farmers.  Do you have a farmers market in your town?

Farmers Market

  • Every Wednesday night we have a classic car show that draws quite the crowd.  It is just a couple blocks from our house and gives us something to do during the boring work week!

Cary Cruise Night Banner

  • Our home is also just a couple blocks from the train that can take us to the big busy city (for work or when I am missing it)

Train stop

  • We have THE BEST burger place for miles and miles called ‘Tracks.’  The menu is quite extensive; they offer over 20 gourmet burgers and various other bar fare.  It is hands down the best burger I have ever had; better than a little place in Chicago called Kumas Corner (which was actually on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, and has also been featured in other TV shows and magazines).  You need to get to Tracks early or there will be a wait…but the wait is worth it!  Where have you had a great burger?  Or maybe a fantastic hot dog?

Gourmet Burgers

All of the above images were taken from

  • My very favorite thing in our town is the beautiful old homes.  Our street has many historic homes, but surely my favorite is ours:

    Our little piece of Americana...

That’s all I got after just 7 months here.   I am sure next year I will be able to think of a few more!

Before you go back to Centsational Girl, check out my post about being a tourist in your own town, where Kevin and I went back to visit Chicago a few weeks ago!


Re-purposed Decoupage Nightstand

29 Aug

Hi there!  Today I have a quick an easy update I did to a modular shelf unit to make it more like a custom nightstand.  As I said last week, I am trying to make the guest room a little more inviting (on somewhat of a time crunch).   Here is another look at the room:

Black bed guest room

Our Guest Room

On the left we have an old white shelf unit…I honestly have no idea where it came from…was it mine?  Kevin’s?  My moms?  Who knows.  I suppose it is ours now, so I decided to give it a new  life for the guest room.  I was going to buy a second Ikea nightstand (like the one on the right), but I decided to spend less than $10 on supplies and makeover the shelf instead!

Here is a closer look at the shelf unit after I cleaned it out and moved it into the craft room (this might be the first actual project that I did in the room-o-crafts):

White shelf unit

Plain shelf....and Stewie getting in the way!

You remember Stewie, right? I introduced the little guy here.   All he wanted to do while I was trying to decoupage was sit on my lap.  I finally had to give up and made him leave the room.

First I took the shelves out of the unit and gathered my supplies.

empty shelf unit

No more shelves

Decoupage supplies

What you need...

Basically, what we have here is:

  1. Decoupage paste
  2. Scrapbook paper (this was a higher quality/thicker paper that was in clearance for 18 cents a sheet-score!)
  3. Yardstick for measuring shelves and paper
  4. Paper cutter to get a nice straight edge
  5. Foam brushes
  6. An old box/cardboard/drop cloth so you don’t decoupage your hardwood floors or table on accident!
And here is the visual step-by-step:

Measure Shelf

Cut paper to exact size

Brush paste on back of paper

Place on shelf, then brush with more paste (on top and along edges/sides)

Try to smooth out the bubbles as best you can.  I used the yard stick to really press the bubbles out.  There were some bubbles still there, but once it dried they seemed to go away.

Repeat with all shelves or any over surface you want to cover.

I also added paper to the inside back of the unit in the same manner...


The seams look a bit sloppy here, but once the paste dried it looked much better.  I was also able to put the shelves along the seams, so that helped!

And there she is!

And here she is in her new home:

Not bad for about $8 worth of supplies!

I plan on adding a bedside lamp and filling the shelves with books, towels, and possibly some toiletries to make our guests feel at home.

I think it looks cute, and you could do this to a larger unit.  There are so many scrapbook papers out there so you could really get creative.

What weekend project did you work on?  Kevin and I were pretty busy…we finally got a riding lawn mower (for our 1/2 acre), so he had fun with that (I don’t know if he would call it fun, but I am sure it was better than the walking mower that took him 3 hours to mow with).  I also started to paint our bathroom…finally!  Hopefully next week I can show you all how great it is (hopefully).

Here’s to hoping; enjoy your day!

Look What They Made!

26 Aug

When I was a kid I loved to make things (not much has changed).   Some of my favorite creations were part of a line of jewelry my friend Liz and I made in junior high.  We called it “KeLiz Kollection,” which, you must admit was a pretty great name.   Most of our “jewelry” was that weird plastic stuff that you melted in water and squished into a shape with your fingers (leaving gross finger prints on the finished product).  At the time we thought we would make the big bucks…I am pretty sure we did not sell any to anyone, but it was definitely fun to do.   “KeLiz Kollection” actually made a come back a few years ago (sans weird plastic), but this time we only wore the creations and/or gave them to friends as gifts. 🙂

At an early age I would always show my parents anything I drew/crafted and exclaim: “look what I made!”   While I still use the phrase quite frequently to this day, today I would like to share some cool things that I found on the world-wide web/blog world/TV, and I think you need to check them all out!

So here is the first edition of Look What They Made!

1.  Tabletop garden over at The Inspired Room:

via The Inspired Room

How cute is that little bitty garden?  I think I need to get Kevin to help me make one (he is the real gardener in the family)

2.  Shabby Chic’d card catalog  (via Dittle Dattle) at The Frosted Gardner:

BEFORE via the Frosted Gardner

AFTER via The Frosted Gardner

Why can’t I actually find one of these old pieces to finish myself?  I love it.  I have no idea what I would put in there, but I am sure I could fill it up…

3.  Meredith’s hand painted Michelle Armas inspired canvas at Welcome to Heardmont:

MH Painting

MH Painting via Welcome to Heardmont

It turned out great!  I actually like hers better than the original…is that bad?  Now I want to try to paint something for our guest bedroom.

4.  Wall of lanterns done by Meg on HGTV’s Design Star:

via HGTV

As the judge’s pointed out, she did hang it crooked, but what a cool idea!  Anyone else think Kellie should have gone home for her poor “locker room” bedroom?

Did anyone else out there find anything cooler?  Thoughts?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Have a lovely weekend (the last weekend of August!  eek)

Our Guest Room Before

24 Aug

We have lived in our house about 7 months now, and we have not done much to our guest bedroom.  Basically we put our old bed and nightstand in there and called it a day:

Black bed guest room

Our Guest Room

I really love this bed; it was a housewarming gift from my parents when I moved into my condo years ago.  It and the night stand to the right are from Ikea.  The color of the room is ok for now, because we don’t feel like painting it (way too many rooms to paint at the moment).  The bed, Ikea nightstand, and window shades are fine, but everything else has to go!

window shades

View of the window

I would like to find a nice duvet and some coordinating curtains for those empty curtain rods.

ceiling fan

The ceiling fan in the room

The fan is pretty boring.  I suppose it would be nice to keep a fan in here, but those fan blades are pretty ugly.  I think the other side of blade is solid, so hopefully I can just turn them around.

I am thinking green & pink-ish for the room….

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

My friend from grad school is coming to visit…

Michael and I before my bachelorette party

Michael will be here in just a few weeks, so I have my work cut out for me (and Kevin).  We still have yet to paint our full bathroom (that we were going to paint months ago), and in the process of prepping the bedroom we broke the medicine cabinet (not such a huge loss considering I hated it anyway).  So much to do, so little time!!

What is everyone else out there working on?  Any guest room rehabbers?  Or maybe your master bath?

All Night Flea Market and Vintage Postcards

22 Aug

Who knew that you could peruse a flea market at 3 AM or that postcard postage in 1910 was 1 cent?

This weekend Kevin and I (along with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew) went to an all night flea market.  The massive market is apparently one of the top ten flea markets in America according to Discovery Channel.  It ran from 4 PM Saturday night to 4 AM Sunday morning.  Armed with our flash lights we went at about 8 PM, just as it was getting dark…why go to an all night event during day light?

Half of the market was outdoors (excuse the blurry cell phone pics):

All night flea market Wheaton

Shopping in the dark

And the other half was inside:

all night flea market Wheaton IL

Yes, the Incredible Hulk was there!

It was pretty crowded inside once it started to rain, but a good time was had by all.  My 6 year-old nephew loves old street/tin signs; my brother was able to pick up a couple of those to add to his collection.  Kevin and I were looking for an end table to display a Tiffany inspired lamp I got him for Christmas, but we didn’t see anything we loved.  We did find a booth with the worlds largest postcard collection…I don’ t know if this man had the largest collection, but it sure seemed like it.  I think he said he had over 2 tons of postcards!?  He had them organized by location and/or topic.  We had fun looking through a few of his boxes.  The best one was this card from 1910:

Holy Name Cathedral

Holy Name Church, Chicago

Kevin and I got married at Holy Name (now called Holy Name Cathedral) almost one year ago, so this card has a special meaning to us. Check out more about our wedding here…you can see us on the front steps of that same church.  This Vintage card was mailed over 101 years ago!  It is post marked Jan 20, 1910, and the stamp was just one cent.

Vintage Postcard

Backside of card

In case you can not read sideways, that says “Chicago Jan 19/10, I am coming home Sat. night so come to town after me.  Brother Mike.”  Someone wrote in pencil over the original name for some reason; I think it originally said “Walter” then someone wrote “Mary”…dunno what that’s all about.  And for some reason the man selling the card put the price ($3) in the corner.  My favorite part is that the recipient does not have an address other than the town, Lemont, Ill…times have changed!   In 100 years the postage has only gone up 28 cents to mail a postcard; that’s not too bad, is it?

At the same booth, we found one other card we ended up taking home.  While most people won’t find this one interesting, I certainly do:

Vintage Spectacle Card

It is from a spectacle company in Chicago from 1923.

Backside of card

Apparently all you had to do was send this card to the company with your name, age, and address, and they would send you a pair of glasses guaranteed to work!  Lol…this is awesome considering I went to school for 8 years to learn how to prescribe eyeglasses (among other things).  My how times have changed!

So, a couple of signs and a couple of postcards were all that my family took home from the all night flea market, but I think it was worth the trip.

Check out how the cards look now that I framed them:

Framed vintage postcard

Holy Name Church

I did not want to put any tape on the card, so I added photo corners to a piece of coordinating card stock.  I selected a vintage-like frame for the church print, and for the specs card I picked something more rustic:

vintage eyeglass postcard

Mail Order Specs Anyone?

I did not want to block the print on the glasses card so I opted for no photo corners and a smaller frame.  I am really happy with how they turned out.  Hopefully I can find the perfect place to hang them…most likely they will end up in the sunroom =)

What did you do this weekend?

Check out Amaze Me Monday over at Dittle Dattle and Life Made Lovely Monday at Life Made Lovely:

Tourist in your own town

19 Aug

Last weekend Kevin and I decided to be tourists in our own town.  Kevin grew up in the city of Chicago and I lived there for about 7 or 8 years after growing up about 20 miles outside the city.  It has only been about 7 months since we have moved (learn a little about that here), but there is always something new to see in the Windy City.  With summer quickly coming to a close (can you believe August is already half over?!), we needed to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

After we met our friends for Sunday brunch (and bottomless mimosas & a bloody mary bar), we headed to see the Tall Ships:

Tall Ships Chicago

Tall Ships at Chicago Navy Pier

Look at all those ropes!

It was really cool to see the pirate-like ships against the back drop of the big city.

Ships at sea

There is so much to see at Navy Pier (I suppose that is why it is the biggest tourist attraction that Chicago has)…

Navy Pier

Beer Garden where a live band was playing

There was also a sailing regatta going on...

The above pic doesn’t show it, but the water was really rough;  I thought some of the sail boats were going to tip right over!

Ferris wheel on a very windy day??

I love this photo of the ferris wheel that Kevin took.  Read more about the first Ferris wheel at Chicago’s Worlds Fair in 1893 here.

Navy Pier also has a stained glass museum that has some beautiful works of art.

Unfortunately I can not recall the artist, but it is so detailed and unique

Stained glass of St. Patrick

Original work from Dale Tiffany

The Tiffany windows were just amazing.  Kevin can make stained glass windows so he knows quite a bit about the art.  Apparently the glass Tiffany used was very unique.  He created a way to bake the color into the pane of glass (it looks like it is painted on, but apparently the color is inherent to the piece)…it was really quite beautiful.

After Navy Pier we headed back to the train station, but saw something interesting on the way:

Marilyn Monroe!

A gigantic Marilyn statue.  How funny is that?

Marilyn Monroe in Chicago

I guess it is pretty windy in Chicago!

Maybe this weekend you can be a tourist in your own town!  Let me know what you have planned =)

I think I have DADD…

17 Aug

Yes, DADD.  No, I am not a father; I think I have Decorators Attention Deficit Disorder.   Basically, I can’t focus on just one room…I seem to want to redecorate every room in our whole house, all at once.  Kevin and I said we would completely finish one room before moving to the next.  We have failed miserably at doing this.

We started with the master bedroom, which is not quite done, but I did make some progress on styling it today.  I was searching high and low for some art to go above the bed.

It looks a little empty above the bed...

The first item I purchased a few months ago ended up going back.  It was branch like metal art…kinda hard to describe, but similar to this:

Metal Branch wall art from

I did not take a photo of it, but I think it was too big.  The next piece I bought was a red-ish wood carving from Hobby Lobby, and it was so small:

Ha! That looks funny...too tiny!

I actually like it, but not there.  I may get another one and put them above the nightstands.  Perhaps the third time is the charm, because the third piece I bought seems to be just right:

horizontal wall art above bed

The perfect fit!

Right now the canvas is just sitting on the headboard, but I will definitely hang it higher.  Because the walls are made of plaster, I am really hesitant to put any holes in them until I am absolutely certain the room is the way that I want it.  Has anyone out there hung pictures with those sticky hooks that do not damage your wall?  Maybe I can do that, otherwise I think I am going to move forward and put some nails in the wall…gulp.

In the above pic you can also see the accent pillow I made and a coral colored king quilt I scored on clearance at Home Goods.

I made some other additions to the room.  First lets look at the dresser before:


Lonely dresser

And now, not so lonely:

Kevin's dresser

I also need to hang this canvas on the wall, but I think it fits well here.  I added some books, two crosses (one was Kevin’s, the other from Hobby Lobby), a little elephant, faux orchid, and a small tray to hold Kevin’s watches.

Here is a look at Kevin’s nightstand before a few accessories:


Empty nightstand and lamp...

And now:

Not so empty nightstand and lamp!

Next to the lamp is a dragon statue that I was going to paint red…but for now it is orange.  Let’s take a better look at the lower part:


I love that little geisha doll; ain’t see a cutie?  She is actually a bank that I got today at the dollar store.  I also added two thrift store books, and a Superman tin that was a recent birthday gift for Kevin.

I have been looking for a nice floor lamp for a while now.  I wanted something that complimented the silver lamps, but I did not really want to get stainless steel.  I found the perfect lamp at (a new store in the Chicagoland area) Gordmans:

Our new floor lamp

The square shade is similar to the silver lamps and the base is a similar color to the bed and dressers.  I still need to get rid of those chairs, but all in due time!  My plan is to add a large floor mirror and one comfy chair to this corner and ditch the modern gray chairs.

So, the bedroom is “To Be Continued.”  In the mean time, I have been working on the dining room, sunroom, bathroom, and now the guest room (which we can look at later).  I can’t focus!  We are going to have our first house guest in less than one month so the guest room and bath need to be spruced up ASAP.   Hopefully we will finish something (anything) soon!