Because I Laughed So Hard I Cried

I couldn’t resist sharing the hilarious site posted on Young House Lovetoday. I love how Catalog Living takes images out of home decor catalogs that I have absolutely drooled over and presents them in such a hilarious way. Such a great reminder that if everyone’s house really looked like it was pulled from the pages of the most recent Pottery Barn catalog, it would be a little…crazy. Below are some of my favorites:

Oh dear, our Q-Tip decanter is almost 1/5th depleted.

I’ve only set out personalized towels for Margaret and Patrick, but I see three people arriving on horseback…if they’re bringing a friend I wish they had told me ahead of time.  The embroider is fast but not that fast.

Greta, the invitation specifically said to bring a yellow or white food or drink.  Now, please remove your brown cookies at once.

For a great start to the weekend, stop by Catalog Living and check out the other entries!


Technical Difficulties and a Link Totally Unrelated to Decorating

Please excuse my lack of posts lately- the power cord for our laptop is broken, and we’ve been without computer access for a few days. We have a new cord on order, but in the meantime we’ll have to revert to our primitive way of life BG (Before Google).

Since I can’t upload any pictures from around the house for today, I thought I’d share a song that I’ve been loving lately. Zach and I recently found a new church that we are absolutely thrilled with. It was a little unnerving leaving our former church (especially after being there for so long), but it’s been neat to see God reaffirm our decision and help us get excited about what’s ahead of us. On our first Sunday at our new church, we sang “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns. Oh wow. Such a beautiful picture of the Gospel and the hope that we have! If you haven’t had the chance to hear it, or, like me, have heard it but can’t get enough of it, you can listen to it here (lyrics below). Enjoy!

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Dork. Out.

As an end-of-year gift, one of my sweet students gave me a gift card to Target. Of course I started envisioning all of the fun clothes, shoes, and home decor goodness that could be mine. (Ok, the gift card was only for $10.) Of all the things that I could’ve bought, what did I choose?


Because I’m a huge dork and a total sucker for good smelling things and cleaning products. All dorkiness aside, I LOVE this stuff. It makes kitchen essentials look cute and stylish, fits in with the color palette of our kitchen, and smells amazing. I went with Herbs of Provence, which was my favorite by a smidge, but mainly because of the color. In reality, all of the scents smell wonderful. You can’t go wrong. My kitchen caddy came with hand soap, dish soap, and counter spray. Target also makes lotion and  kitchen candles in the same scents, and I’m hoping that they will also make their way into our kitchen someday. At $20, this set was a little pricy, but it softened the blow knowing that these are things I use pretty much every day and I can always try and refill the bottles when I’m done. For now, I’m enjoying my fresh-smelling kitchen!

Goldilocks and the Three Sofas

You may remember a couple of months ago when I mentioned that we were selling our old blue sectional. Even though I liked the old sofa, we purchased it on Craigslist a couple of years ago and there were a few stains and tears that I wasn’t too fond of. Also, the more I hone in on my personal design style, the more I realize that I prefer neutrals on larger pieces of furniture both for the sense of calm they bring to a room,and for their versatility when it comes to decorating.

After we sold the first couch and knew how much money we had to work with, I began the hunt for a new sofa. Even if you’ve only read a few posts on this blog, you probably realize that this was a BIG deal. As someone who knows me well said, “You’re buying retail?!” It’s practically unheard of around our house. Since this was such a rare opportunity, I obviously wanted to make the most of it. There were a few specific qualities I was hoping to find in our new couch:

  •  Neutral colored fabric, but not stark white: I have nothing against white we already have a white couch in our fireplace room. That being said, the family room gets the most use of any room in the house, and I didn’t want to worry about every piece of dog hair.
  • Slipcovered: We’re hoping to have this couch for a while, and that includes when we (hopefully) have kids. I love the piece of mind that comes with being able to easily wash things.
  • Sectional: We toyed with the idea of a couch and a loveseat, but the shape of a sectional really works in the space. We also love the comfy, family-style seating for hanging out with friends.
  • Meets industry standards: Ok, so I wasn’t overly picky about this one. But I did do some research on what makes a quality sofa. Again- if I’m going to spend the money, I want it to be worth it.
  • Classic: There are some modern pieces that I love, but it was important to me to prevent myself from looking back 20 years from now and saying, “What was I thinking?”
  • Comfy: The new couch had to pass the husband test. Period.

With these criteria in mind, I started with a style that I new I liked. Any guesses where it came from?

Image Via Pottery Barn

I mean, duh. When it comes to classic style good ol’ PB is pretty much the authority. Annnd when it comes to being way over my budget. With a pricetag of between $3000 and $4000, it wasn’t coming in our house unless it came through Craigslist. That being said, it served as a great starting place for getting an idea of what I wanted. It met most of the things on my list (with the exception of eight way hand-tied springs, the industry standard for sofas). Unfortunately, the price was a dealbreaker. On to option #2…

If it was inexpensive I was looking for, there was little doubt in my mind as to where I would find the cheapest sectional. Any guesses for this one?

Let’s face it, when it comes to cheap furniture, that Swedish-speaking grown-up Disneyworld of a superstore wins just about every time. The sectional search was no exception. Ikea’s Ektorp model had a lot of the things I was looking for, and at $999, it was significantly cheaper than the PB version. That being said, I’m a little leery of buying big furniture items from a place that makes you assemble cardboard boxes. (I’m sorry, Ikea. I still love you and your cheapness and I promise to still fill with excitement when I see your blue and yellow sign and think of all the glorious things that I don’t need and will still somehow come home with every time I visit. Love, Arielle) The search continues…

After looking through several options online, I found that most of them were way more than I wanted to spend. I was almost ready to throw in the towel when…

Image Via JcPenney

Total Goldilocks moment. Every single thing on my checklist, and a price that wouldn’t break the bank. When I first found the JC Penney Friday Sectional online, it was on sale for about $1800. At that point, other than the Ikea version, it was the best price I had found. When I showed Zach, he was sort of excited, but not totally. We went to see it and both liked it, but he told me to wait a little bit longer so we could see if we could do any better. “But it’s on SALE!” I cried. “What if we go back and it’s the regular price [around $3600] again and we really regret it?” Yadda, yadda, yadda, doomsday, the whole shebang. If you’ve met my husband, you’ll know that he has not convinced by my theatrics (yet another reason why he’s so good for me). We waited and, to both of our delight, the price dropped to $1600 something. We also made a point to call the store to find out the schedule of the woman we had worked with the first time. She kindly gave us an additional 10% off, making the sofa about $1500. I know it’s not Craigslist prices, but I’m really happy that we were able to find a sectional that met everything on our wishlist and was within budget. I’m looking forward to sharing pictures of it in our living room!

Guest Room: Things I’d Like to Add

So remember when I said I would be back “tomorrow” to share the plans that I have for finishing the guest room? I seemed to have forgotten that summer is NOT the time for sticking to a schedule. Friday morning ended up being pretty busy as I scrambled around getting things together for a girls beach trip that afternoon. I went with four incredible friends to Caswell Beach for the weekend, and we had such a great time! We were long overdue for some quality time together, and the beach was the perfect place to relax and catch up.

Now that I’m back, I thought I’d share a few things that I’d like to add to the guest room. Nothing major, but there are a few little details I think would really help finish off the space.

First of all, the windows are clearly crying out for some curtains. I want to keep things light and airy, so I would probably go with the Vivian curtains from Ikea.

At $12.99 for a pair, they fit right in with this room’s thrifty style. Because I’m pretty sure that our guests would also appreciate a little privacy, I would also like to add bamboo roman shades beneath the panels. I like the Tahiti Cocoa color that Wal-Mart offers because it would draw out some of the darker tones in the mantel.

Much like it does in my inspiration room, this layered look should keep things both breezy and functional.

Image Via The Lettered Cottage

Another spot in the room that is screaming for help is the wall to the left of the bed. This wall is part of a pathway to what we call the “little room”, a smaller space off of the guest bedroom. Since this is a walkway between the two rooms, I want to add interest by sticking with wall groupings rather than furniture. I like the juxtaposition that the clean, modern lines of the 20.5X20.5 Ribba frames from Ikea would have with the older elements in the room.

I would love to do a sequence of these using black and white photographs taken by former students. A few years ago, we did a “This is My City” project with the kids where they took pictures of people and places around town. Their shots of our local farmers’ market, former school building, museums, eateries, and other fun places would be a fun, personal way of introducing out-of-town guests to the area!

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to making these updates, but I’ll be sure and keep you posted on the progress!

Gussying Up the Guest Room: Afterish

I know that I said I would post pictures of the guest room yesterday, but my sweet husband surprised me by taking me on a whirlwind roadtrip. We had a great time, but I’ll share details later. Today, I’m going to finish what I started.

For this room, I knew that I wanted a light, airy space for our guests to relax and recharge. I was inspired by the white, gray, and blue tones of Layla’s beautiful guest bedroom. To me, her space is the perfect mix of charm, creativity, and coziness.

When putting this room together, one of my main goals was to “shop the house” and try to use some of the things we already had. The mantel was the focal point of our previous living room, but it didn’t really work for our current living room or family room. When I knew we couldn’t use it downstairs, I immediately got excited about the possibility of using it as a headboard. Thankfully, it was the perfect size!

The quilted bedding was bought with some post-wedding money shortly after we were married. We used it in our previous master bedroom but decided to go with a different color scheme in our current house. I originally planned on using all white bedding in the guest bedroom, but this seemed to work just as well.

Now that you know a bit of the background, here is the space today:

As I mentioned in the last post, my goal was to keep this makeover under $100. The running total thus far is:

Now, onto the accessories. I added:

  • White side table from Wal-Mart: $15
  • Milk glass lamp (thrift store): $3
  • Pottery Barn frame (yard sale): $3
  • Chenille bedspread (yard sale): $1
  • Milk glass bottles (yard sale): $1
  • Shells (vacation finds): free
  • Old books (school discards, gifts, thrift stores): free- $5 (probably less than $7 total, but we’ll say $7 to be safe)
  • Clear glass bottles (estate sale): $.25
  • Large enamelware tub for magazines (flea market): $10

Putting the grand total at: $70.25

Hooray! Mission accomplished.

Now, to be fair. Things not included in the total because I already had them lying around the house:

  • Mantel (flea market): $50
  • Songbird bedding (Pottery Barn): can’t remember exactly, but probably around $250?

There are obviously a few things I want to add, but I’ll save those ideas for tomorrow. For now, I’m happy to have a functioning space for our family and friends to use when they’re here. We’re looking forward to visitors!

Don’t forget to check out the other inspiring ideas at The Shabby Nest, The Inspired Room,Finding Fabulous, and Miss Mustard Seed!