What’s New Mid Year – 2014

Can you believe the year is half over? It seems like just yesterday I posted my New Years resolution/ To Do list and already I am late for my mid year up date. Time flies, before you know it I’ll be making next years list.

My only real resolution  for the year was to eat healthier and exercise regularly  when I posted this I had just returned from eating my way across the U.S. Gulf Coast and had gained a few pounds so it was a must.  I have to say I have done a pretty good job on this one. I have added a 5 mile run/walk into my routine at least 5 days a week trying to add little more running each day. I am up to 3 miles of running and 2 miles of walking which I will follow by saying I am not a runner and never have been. I have done better on my eating but to be honest I love food, and since I  just returned from another trip home you know I could not resist all my New Orleans favorites. I did keep up exercise routine while traveling so I would not feel too guilty, so I am proud of that.

Okay  the rest of the list were things I wanted to accomplish, most of these have to do with the house…

1. Take down all those Christmas Decorations-√

2. Fix all blog posts that have photo link errors √  I think I have remedied all of these but every now and then I run across one that is not quite right. If you see any posts with errors feel free to let me know.

3. Work on the decor in my upstairs hallway

4. Create some interest on the stairwell wall

These two kind of go together you can see the before photo here with the after photos below. I am pleased with the results but the art collection is a work in progress that has lots of room to grow. You can read more about the process HERE and HERE


5. Clean out the garage √ The job is not complete but great progress has been made in the garage. I even started organizing my tools on a peg board, only problem is I really need a large 4×8 sheet like I had in my old shop. Oh well, I will have to make do for now and finish sorting my tools. (and yes that piece of furniture you see there is a new addition to “the list”)


6. Organize sewing room drawers and cabinets  Haven’t even started this one and my recent trip to the U.S. means even more supplies to organize.

7. Finish The Man Cave √  This one had a whole list of sub categories and they are all complete check them out!

Man cave

  • Reorganize wall lockers  HERE
  • Finish curtains to camouflage wall lockers HERE
  • Find coffee table HERE
  • Find a console for a TV HERE
  • Make pillows HERE
  • Re-upholster swivel chair for desk HERE
  • Hang artwork HERE

8. Make slip covers for parson chairs in living room – The chairs I mentioned were the chairs on the left but since this post I purchased two antiques slipper chairs that I want to use in their place. They still need to be either upholstered or slip covered but the good news is I have already found fabric for them.  I would say this task will be on the list of complete very soon!

9. Slip cover Sofa- This one is still on the list and since deciding on a fabric for the chairs above I am one step closer to deciding on the fabric  for the sofa. I am still loving the sofa below.

floral-curtains-bhgPhoto via BHG

IMG_045310. Update bed in master bedroom- Would love to upholster this bed, so far only a thought but these unfinished projects give me a lot to think about until the New Year…

Of course this list only includes the things I was thinking about as we came into the new year. Now that some of them are complete I have a whole new list running in my head but I will say scratching things off “the list” is one of my absolute favorite things so hopefully posting this little reminder of all the things I wanted to do will put me a little closer to getting them done.

What is on your To Do list?


Threshold Indoor/Outdoor Geometric Rugs

One place that I just have to go when I return to the States is Target, my shopping Mecca. I can’t get enough of their housewares which are always fresh and modern but still affordable. This trip was no exception.

14325953_Alt01_130112103000Living this last year in Germany has me starved for modern affordable rugs in bright colors and geometric patterns. I just don’t find them here. Shopping online I had seen some of the Threshold indoor/outdoor rugs but this trip to Target my first time seeing them in person. From earlier experience I have learned to be careful buying indoor/outdoor rugs without seeing them on person. These rugs are usually made from synthetic fiber and some of them can look down right plastic. This however is not the case for the Threshold rugs, their soft weave looks anything but plastic. The colors are bold, the price is right ($99 for a 5×7 and $199 for a 7×10) and the bonus of indoor/outdoor is that they are easy to clean.

I am hooked, the color selections was just what I was craving. If only I could have fit the whole collection in my suitcase…

I didn’t buy a one on this trip but you can bet I am watching these pretty rugs online to see if they go on sale once summer is over. In that case I will have to enlist a friend to help me get one shipped over.

Buy New Orleans Souvenirs Like a Local

I have finally returned home from my 3 weeks in New Orleans and although I was sad to go it is also great to be home. Since much of my time there was spent shopping I figured what better way to end my New Orleans posts than a quick “must have” list of New Orleans souvenirs. I am not talking about Mardi Gras beads or T-shirts made in China but the good stuff that real New Orleanians buy, souvenirs like a local. Many of these items I own myself or have gifted to others as great reminders of home.

NOLA Souvenirs

  1. Mignon Faget Crown Tumblers $40 – Local Jewelry Designer Mignon Faget has a home collection which offers a beautiful array of glassware and utensils inspired by New Orleans.
  2. “Be a New Orleanian wherever you are” T-shirt $12 – In the past years, several great T-shirt printers have come to New Orleans staples, with t-shirts that are locally designed and printed. Many of the logos require you to be a New Orleans native to understand but just as many require only that you have come to know and love some great part of the city.  The one shown is from Dirty Coast (one of my favorites) but Storyville and Fluerty Girl offer a great selection as well.
  3. Simon Sign prices vary-  Just about everyone in New Orleans has a sign painted by French artist Simon. Form welcome signs to fully custom quotes Simon will paint a vibrant sign that says exactly what you need to say. Mine says “If Momma ain’t happy then nobody’s happy.” Even if you don’t purchase a sign his store is worth a visit.
  4. Tabasco Hot Sauce available in any grocery store for about $2- Tabasco is a local favorite that is added to just about everything and if you are up for a day trip you can even visit Avery Island for a factory tour.
  5. Community Coffee $6.50 – Another local favorite that has been around for almost 100 years is Community Coffee. It is the largest family owned retail coffee brand in the U.S and it has been dubbed the State Coffee of Louisiana™ not to mention it is a great tasting cup of coffee.
  6. Perlis Crawfish Leather Belt $65Perlis is a New Orleans clothing company that has been around since the 30′s but more recently developed a crawfish clothing collection featuring a variety of pieces including classic polos with a crawfish emblem.
  7. Mignon Faget Red Bean Bracelet  $65 – What says New Orleans better than red beans and rice? Check out the Louisiana collection by local jewelry designer Mignon Faget and you will find many wonderful pieces of  jewelry inspired by the region.
  8. New Orleans Sewage and Water board Door Mat $35 -  New Orleans has a very distinct water main cover that become as icon of New Orleans. Shops all over New Orleans are recreating this symbol in everything from jewelry to coaster and in this case a door mat.
  9. Voodoo Doll Magnet $3.50 – Okay so this one you might find in French Quarter T-shirt shop but these little dolls are so fun and colorful everyone should have one and who knows when a little VooDoo might be required. This is actually the souvenir my kids picked this trip.
  10. Good Night NOLA $12 – Another great gift for the kids is this cute little book that is a lovable tribute to things unique to New Orleans
  11. Scriptura Stationary $18.50 – Scriptura is a beautiful store fashioned after European papeteries that produces a wonderful line of New Orleans themed invitations, stationary, and cards.

Tassology -New Orleans

Tassology - New OrleansIf you commute along Business 90 through New Orleans you may have seen these guys perched along a roof top below. If you have ever wondered just what was going on in that building I have some news for you. The four bunnies (well actually sculptures of men dressed as bunnies) peer over New Orleans from the roof top of the Tassology, a beautiful little coffee shop in central city that is an absolute work of art.

Tassology  is owned by a couple who are both artists and while the coffee is excellent the café is as much an art gallery as it is a coffee shop. Fiber art sculptures hang from the ceiling and found objects are mosaic-ed onto every available surface. The end result is an interior that is absolutely amazing!

Tassology - New OrleansEverywhere you look there is something to see.  A collage of clocks..

Tassology - New OrleansSparkling fiber cornucopias…
Tassology - New OrleansEven the coffee bar is a work of art!
Tassology - New Orleans
Tassology - New OrleansTassolosgy is filled with cozy seating and beautiful displays.

Tassology - New OrleansSo if you are looking for a good cup of coffee or you just want to enjoy the view stop by Tassology and have a look. You can bring a friend or just have “Orange Cat,” the resident shop cat, keep you company.

Tassology - New Orleans

Greg’s Antiques – New Orleans

Greg's Antique's New OrleansThough out the French Quarter you will find loads of antique shops most of which are very high-end and very expensive. Fun to look but there is not much I can touch. Fortunately for me I stumbled onto one of the best antiques in New Orleans nestled at the Esplanade end of Decatur just a block away from the French Market. Greg’s Antiques is 8000 sf of joy, better yet 8000 sf of affordable joy.

Greg's Antique's New Orleans Greg's Antique's New Orleans Greg's Antique's New OrleansGreg’s has a warehouse full of extremely affordable antique furniture that is shipped in primarily from England, France and Belgium in volume so all the savings is passed on to you. Once a month a new shipping container arrives, so on top of their regularly amazing prices Greg’s does a one week 25% mark down followed by a one day 50% mark down to clear out the old and make way for the new. That means once a month an almost complete turnover of their inventory. You can shop Greg’s again and again seeing something new every time!

Friend Greg’s on Facebook and you can know exactly when these sales start.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. On top of their antiques Greg’s also offers New Orleans Architectural salvage. Windows, doors, mantels and the like are piled high in the courtyard, along with metal signage and letters. The signage is new but they have the best vintage patina.

Greg's Antique's New Orleans Greg's Antique's New Orleans Greg's Antique's New Orleans Greg's Antique's New OrleansAnd while your there if you happen to be in the market for a bike rental you are in luck. Greg’s shares its courtyard with BikeNOLA where you can rent a bike for just an hour or the entire week. What a great way to see the city!

DSC04954I will have to say there were a few beauties I had my eye on, if only I could fit them into my suitcase…

Fortunately Greg’s can ship the French Quarter sign, so maybe I can get at least one of these pretties home with me!

French Quarter Balcony Gardens

DSC04914 I hope you guys are not getting tired of all my New Orleans posts. I am in the final week of my visit but still have so much to share. I am busy seeing family, eating good food, stocking up on supplies and trying to keep up my blogging. New Orleans is my home town and holds a special place in my heart ( and my stomach too, there is a lot of good eating going on here.) So I  wanted to share some of the things I love so much about my home.
French Quarter Balcony GardensOn the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter you will see lovely multi story balconies with cast iron railings but almost no area for landscaping. Vertical living does not mean you can’t have a beautiful garden. Here,  residents showcase their gardens all along the railings. Plants that can tolerate the heat thrive in the greenhouse like humidity of the New Orleans summer. The lush growth overflows and cascades down the railings making for a lovely view from the streets.
So if you happen to be in New Orleans and are willing to brave the heat yourself, be sure to take a walk and enjoy the view. French Quarter Balcony GardensFrench Quarter Balcony Gardens French Quarter Balcony Gardens

Living in Color – New Orleans

Living in Color NOLAIt seems like houses built these days are a combination of builder beige and neutral nothings. I know contractors are trying to appeal to the masses but frankly I want to live in color. Beige is boring!

Driving around New Orleans these past few weeks I have seen color combinations that are anything but boring. With houses full of architectural detail that just beg for beautiful paint New Orleans homeowners are happy to oblige. All over New Orleans you can find house colors as vibrant as the city’s history in every combination imaginable. When I see these homes I just can’t help but smile, thought I should share a few of my favorites.

Living in Color NOLA

Living in Color NOLA

Living in Color NOLA Living in Color NOLA Living in Color NOLA Living in Color NOLA Living in Color NOLAFeeling inspired to bust out the paint? If so, I say bold is beautiful…

Little Free Libraries – New Orleans

Little Free Library New Orleans

I am an avid reader, I always have a book in hand which means I have a lot on the shelf as well. This true for most everyone in my family so when we live close we constantly pass books back and forth, but what to do when everyone has read the book?  For those books a whole new concept in book trading is spreading over the New Orleans area (actually all over the U.S. and the world.) On street corners everywhere little house like structures called Little Free Libraries are popping up for everyone to use.

Little Free Library New Orleans

What is a Little Free Library?

“It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.” Little Free Library.org

Basically you build your own Little Free Library or order a pre-built one from the organization put it up on your own property and start sharing. Friends and neighbors are free to barrow a book at any time or add a book for borrowing – anyone may contribute or take books. If you take a book (or two) from a Library, you do not need to return that exact book at any point but the next time you swing by the Library you should bring a few books to share. Little Libraries function on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside.

Little Free Library New OrleansLittle Free Library New Orleans Little Free Library New Orleans Little Free Library New OrleansThese are just a few I ran across in New Orleans but if your interested in starting a Little Free Library in your own community here’s how.

Little Free Library New Orleans

Almost Built In

Built ins One of the things I have missed most since we moved to Germany are my constructions projects. In my own homes it seems I always had a construction project going, so renting can be very boring. When my good friend Robin moved to Germany in April and asked if she could hire me to build her some shelving similar to my Built-In Beauties I was more than happy to help.

It just so happens that her rental had a nice alcove that would be the perfect spot for a built-in to house here TV and “pretties.” But being a rental I could not do a true built-in so while I was going for that look, it is actually free-standing shelving and not attached to the structure at all.

perfect spot for built insI approached the project with the knowledge that this was going into a rental and while it needed to look good and be sturdy it would only be used for 3 years. It needed to be built quickly, easily, and without too much cost. With this in mind I used paint grade lumber and simple construction techniques, and when possible my handy-dandy nail gun!

Built in shelving phase 1The design was to be very functional; Robin wanted a center section to house the TV and components with plenty of shelving on either side. Since the TV components needed more depth I actually constructed the shelving in four sections. Two 9”deep side shelves, a 16” base shelf for the TV and a 9” upper shelf that would then attach to the two side shelves to the TV base.

Since very little of the sides of the shelving would show once installed I built them in the easiest fashion. A very basic shelf screwed in from the sides with countersunk screws so that the shelving would fit snugly against one another. The few screws that would be seen I simply covered with wood filler sanded down and painted over. I built these off site and then brought them over for a coat of paint and to fit into the space.

Built ins phase 1

Once they were fit and leveled the units are secured to one another using wood screws.

Built ins phase 2I used 1 1/2″ lumber for the top and then applied the top and bottom moldings.

Built ins phase 3I applied basic 1/2” trim to the  fronts of all the shelving using my nail gun to act as face frames. In detailed carpentry these face frames would be created as an entire unit and applied as a whole but this is a very time-consuming process.

Built ins phase 3That’s me using my favorite tool to apply the trim to the shelving.

DSC04456The finished product gets wood filler in the nail holes and caulk at the seams before one last coat of  touch up paint.

And then come the “pretties.”

Built ins DSC04641Built ins Built ins

Time for Travel

Travel Musts



Time for travel, yet again. This time I am headed to the States for three weeks, probably our last visit for a while. Lots to do before we go but the biggest hurdle for me is always the packing. I don’t mind packing for the kids or helping my husband getting his stuff together it’s packing for myself that can bring on a full-blown panic attack. Okay maybe not that bad but my husband knows to steer clear once the suitcase comes out.

I open the closet door and I have absolutely nothing to wear! Surprisingly I am able to get dress everyday but apparently these outfits do not translate into a suitcase. I don’t have the right shoes or the right accessories.  And the What ifs… What if I have to go somewhere fancy? What if the weather changes? What if I need comfortable shoes? What if the comfortable shoes don’t match my outfit? Add in air travel requirements of bag size and weight ARRRH.  I know, I know, your exhausted just reading about it. Imagine how my husband feels. He waits until the morning of departure before he even ponders if he has clean underwear so I know he doesn’t get it.

Why this is such a problem? I guess the control freak in me needs to be prepared for all things and sometimes that is just not possible. So I am taking a deep breath and this go round I am trying my best not to stress out too much . I can shop when I get there, right?

If I ever get packed I will be headed across the sea on Monday and will catch up with you guys on the other side.

Wish me luck and if you have any bright ideas on the subject be sure to drop me a line.

Until then I will be grabbing my “travel musts” and hoping for the best…