Saturday, July 30, 2011

desk organiza[tion]

I have a real issue with our kitchen desk area. We have gone back and forth over what this should be, but when we originally designed the kitchen, the intent of the desk was just that, to be a DESK! Unfortunately it has become the place that everything lands. This post shows how we cleaned it up. Now if only it will stay this way!

I should have taken a photo of the desk before I cleaned it off, but here's all the stuff that was on the desk (now on the counter).

I thought a 'blank slate' photo was a better 'before' picture.

The problem: having built a desk in the kitchen, it has become a catch-all for mail, product samples, receipts, unread magazines, study materials, sunglasses, you-name-it-it's-there, etc. I decided on my free Friday afternoon to go shopping! The goal: clean up the desk area!

The solution: file organizer, cork boards, stool, artwork, decor, computer area!

Also, Brian has always had an issue with the electrical outlets above the desk. We have one below the desk, as well as a hole drilled in the granite to drop cords down through the back of the desk, so the outlets up top aren't really necessary. So, he thought it would be nice to maximize the cork board space, rather than have two in between the outlets, we could now fit three. The only problem is that the cork is flexible, and the outlets prevented them from being flush on the wall. This is when he went to work, turning off the power in this wall, and removing the plates, and the outlets altogether, which are now hidden by the cork! Also, these two outlets are on their own fuse, so we can cut power to only them!

I also did another small project, which I kind of copied from Young House Love, although theirs is way cooler. They took a scrap piece of wood, and stenciled a number '7' on it because apparently that's their special number. Well, our number lately has been '54', so that's what I went with. I say that theirs is cooler maybe because theirs is bigger, and fills out the space, but I intentionally didn't do mine that way. I guess two numbers are harder than one. At least that's my excuse. I can always cut it down, I guess. Make it square, like our favicon. Regardless, it's done and I like it. At least for now, and it cost me less than $5 between the wood from Michael's, and the sticky mailbox numbers from Walmart. Here's a little step-by-step:

1. Buy wood and stick-on mailbox numbers. 2. Gather cutting mat and exacto knife to cut out letters.
3. Stick numbers to board. 4. Spray paint the board the color of your choice (I went with white)
5. let dry. 6. peel numbers off. 7. hang on wall!

Easy, right? I know! A quick, little sentimental piece to brighten my day and add depth to our desk decor. As for the other art, the framed photos include a picture from the Old Navy Base, which we bought at Kulture Klash a few years ago, and the other is an altered photo that I bought while in Cinque Terre when I studied in Italy. We liked the way that both pieces had similar colors, and the yellow of the kitchen pulled out the yellow in the photos. It all compliments each other, and makes for a nice little gallery composition.


Another project that developed from this, was the unsightly cords that pooled under the desk, so Brian made a shelf just below the countertop that allows the computer cord/etc to rest on. Keeps the cords out of sight. Before & after below.

File holder (black): Walmart $9.99
Cork boards (pack of 4): Michael's $12.99
Stool (black): Target (already had)
Artwork (photos described above):  Frames from Walmart $4.96/each
     (wood piece described above): materials $5.00
Green vase: Habitat for Humanity $3.00
Vase/supply holder: handmade wedding gift from our friend Geoff (already had)
Candle: already had
Computer: Gateway (already had)

So for about $40.00, we have a functional desk space!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Charleston adora[tion] - July 29

In my humble opinion, I believe we live in one of the prettiest cities in the Southeast (if not the prettiest). So I thought, why not celebrate that. Although we have 4 million visitors a year, I'm sure that most of my favorite places are rarely visited by them. Some are, but it's kind of nice to have our local spots to ourselves! Therefore, I thought I'd share some of the not-so-well-traveled, as well as some of the better known attractions. For now, I'll start somewhere in the middle.

First up in our new series Charleston adora[tion], and just a short bike ride from our house, is Hampton Park. Named for Confederate General Wade Hampton III, governor of South Carolina after the Civil War. This is the largest park on the peninsula of Charleston, at just over 60 acres. It is a gorgeous park that features a pond, tree-lined paths, the most extensive flower collection in the city, and a 1-mile loop of road that surrounds the park. It's central to 3 different neighborhoods including our home Wagener Terrace (to the north), Hampton Park Terrace (to the south), and North Central (to the east), as well as the campus of The Citadel (to the west). 

The park has had quite a history, having originally been part of The Grove Plantation in the 1700s, later becoming a horse race track in the 1800s and a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War, and in the 1900s there was a zoo and aviary. In recent years it was home to the Charleston Police horse stables, until this past February when the city did away with it's mounted patrol, due to budgetary reasons.

In my research, I learned that the park was supposedly the site of the first Memorial Day celebration in 1865! 

My memories of the park include our friends Jay & Amelia's rehearsal dinner in the gazebo, our 'engagement' photos on the tandem, and our rainy day visit with my sister, brother-in-law and niece Ellie. There have been lots of evening rides on our bikes, picnics with friends, and walks along the paths over the years.

It's also a great place to catch an intramural soccer match, a pick-up game of basketball, or cycling event. And although I've never been, the finale of our local festival Piccolo Spoleto always ends here with a big fireworks display. 

Before we leave the park, I'll leave you with a few of our photos from before we got married. I call them our 'engagement' photos, but in reality we just answered the call of a local photographer who was doing a piece on bicycles and their owners. Because Brian and I inherited an old Columbia Twosome from my dad that we used to ride around town a lot more than we do these days, we were asked to participate in the photo shoot. Here are some of those photos...


You are going to get a two-for-one this week because I can't resist putting another of my favorite things about Charleston at the end of this post. We saw it on our way home from the park last night... sunset over the marsh.


How gorgeous is that? 

Thanks to the following websites for informa[tion], and if you'd like to know more, please visit: Wikipedia and Charleston Parks Conservancy

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I have decided in oh, the last five minutes or so, that I am going to create a new series for this blog. One of the perks of my job is that I am off on Friday afternoons. Therefore, since things have slowed down somewhat, as far as the house goes, I think it's high time that we get out and about, and show you this amazing city that we live in. One cool thing at a time, every Friday. So, starting tomorrow, I'm going to introduce you to my favorite things about Charleston, South Carolina. Some of it will be touristy, some of it will be local. We'll start with the free things. It could be art related, it could be historical. Maybe a restaurant or a bar. There's really no limit. The only stipulation is that I have to visit this place or thing within the same week that I write about it, and there has to be a description, a history. This is the challenge to myself. A way for me to get out and document this world that I live in. I'm sure it all won't interest everyone, but it's the city as I see it, and love it. Come with me, on this weekly excursion, as I explore my town. See you tomorrow!

There's another favor that I ask of you. If you see something that interests you, tell me! If you were to visit Charleston, is there something that you would definitely make time to see? What are some of the reasons that you like visiting this city, or living here? Are there places that you would recommend to tourists? Maybe I'll give you some new places to put at the top of your list!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


If you've been around me lately, you've probably heard my praises of the website Pinterest. Such a great tool, that allows you to organize and share all the cool things you find online. Basically it is online storage where you have 'friends' that can follow your interests, and you can follow theirs. Yet another social network, however this one shows your creative desires! The gist is that you have boards that you virtually pin stuff to, and if you click on the image you pin then it takes you to the origin of the image. Therefore, for example, if you pin an image of a spray-painted dresser, and the article or website that the image came from is about how to spray-paint furniture, then you just click on that image whenever you are ready to spray-paint something and voila! Instructions at your fingertips.

This post focuses on my 'home' board, but I have other boards as well, including:

  • 'side yard' (ideas I'd like to implement into our yard once we have an enclosed fence area)
  • 'reading list' (books that I see other people reading that might in fact interest me someday, once I'm done studying)
  • 'so Charleston' (things I love about the Holy City)
  • 'bicycles' (anything bicycle related, since I do love bikes)
  • 'party planning' (ideas for all those big bashes I'm always hosting ;)
  • 'holiday' (as if I don't have enough reindeer and other decor)
  • 'graphics' (silly jokes, images, and cartoons that make me smile)
  • 'blogs' (as if you don't already know which are my faves)
  • 'for future use' (this is the mac-daddy, a catch-all if you will of all the projects and DIY things that I would like to do when I have time)
Here's a snapshot of my Pinterest 'home' board... which includes paint colors I like, artwork I want, or simple tricks and tips that you can do yourself around the home to make life easier. 

See that picture towards the bottom center/left of the screen? It's Georgia. I originally saw it on a blog I read, called Our Humble A{Bowed}. Well, they didn't have Georgia, but they shared that they bought their Minnesota & Montana watercolors on Etsy, so I checked out the artist and found the Georgia print, and 'pinned' it for future use. Brian is from Georgia and I'm from South Carolina, so I thought the pair would be perfect for our Master Bedroom. Unfortunately there wasn't a South Carolina print, however I heard from Amanda over at Our Humble A{Bowed} that the artist Elisabeth would do custom orders! Woohoo! So I contacted Elisabeth at Poppy & Pinecone, and she said 'absolutely'! She asked if there were any specific colors that I would want, and I said that I really liked the blue-green Georgia, and I'd be buying them as a pair, so she could do the SC one in the same colors. She actually did a couple of different versions and sent me photos of them to see which I would prefer.She'll do custom colors and different placements of the heart.

They arrived this week! They are 8-1/2 x 11 watercolor paintings (just $20.00 each for original artwork!), and I bought two 11x14 frames with 8x10 mats, white on white, at Walmart for less than $30 for the pair. Check them out...

Here's the 'before' photo of our bare bedroom, of course we still need to paint this room... last one! But for now, the paintings will suffice!

And a better shot from straight on... 

I realize they look a little low in this photo, but the bed is so high that raising the paintings any higher looked ridiculous! It's kind of nice that the frames compliment the window frames as well. Since one was vertical and the other horizontal, it made sense to stagger them, sort of in the same placement as they would be on a map! Brian also pointed out that they align with the right sides of the bed that we sleep on! Too funny.

They also compliment the new curtain in the room...

Keep in mind that this room is still a work in progress. Speaking of which, let me remind you of the new vanity nook that we are thoroughly enjoying!

Are you in love with Pinterest too? Any fun art that you've bought recently, or maybe done yourself? Do you have a vanity nook off your bedroom, so that you feel like you are in a hotel? I'm asking you questions people because I know you are out there, and I'd like some comments! :) Maybe even some 'followers'! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

collec[tion] - part two, hoo, hoo

Last week while on vacation, my aunt pulled me aside and slipped me a small, black box with a cute, little surprise inside! A new owl! So I thought back to which rooms were lacking in the owl department, that would suit such a small surcee. The hallway off the kitchen!

Not only will we see it every time we go to the bedroom, but there were some other small creatures to keep him company. Thanks Carol!

And then, today, I got home and there was a package on the front porch!! Yay, a surprise, with MY name on it! I LOVE surprises. So of course I ripped into it, before Brian even got home from work, and it turns out it was a gift from my dad, for no other reason than he thought I might like it! 

I need to give some background on this. My dad (who actually doesn't drink alcohol) collects decanters. Specifically antique car decanters made by Jim Beam. He has collected them my whole life (I think). This is the best photo I could find...

I truly wish I had a better photo, and you better believe the next time I go to visit, I will be photographing this collection for sure! They are quite beautiful, and it's too bad you can't see them all!

Alrighty then, so I guess you've probably figured it out by now! He bought me an owl decanter!

And he fits perfectly in the Dining Room, which is need of an owl! Here is where he lives...

It's a 1968 Double Springs Kentucky Whiskey decanter. A few detail shots for your viewing pleasure...

So cool, Dad! As Brian said, it's the perfect combination of our two collections. Thanks again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Since I've been writing about vacation all week, I figured I'd slip in a new subject. I went to my friend Jen's wedding shower yesterday, and the 'theme' was to bring a gift for entertaining... "gifts of glassware, games, or a disc of party tunes". The bridesmaids who hosted also asked that you "bring your favorite marinade or rub to fill a flavoring basket". 

Since we had gotten them an engagement present, and I plan to get them a wedding present, I figured something small was appropriate. Their Target registry included a set of Beatles pint glasses, which I thought would be perfect, since we share a mutual love of music. As most of you probably know, I love to wrap gifts about as much as I love to give them, and this was no different! 

When I got to the store and saw the box they came in, it was perfect! The shape of a boombox to go with the music theme! So I bought some black wrapping paper and a silver sharpie and set to work. It of course took me a few tries, but by the end I was pleased with my creation. I made a fake handle to tie my bow to.

To go even further, I looked up Beatles lyrics to see if they had any songs about beer, since these are pint glasses, but alas, the Beatles must not have drank beer. They did however sing a fair amount of songs about tea & honey... so there was my "marinade". Turns out that Jen likes honey in her tea, so score! I dropped a small jar of honey into one of the glasses before I wrapped the box.

I ended up making a 'disc of party tunes', that included all of the songs that the Beatles recorded that mention tea or honey! 

On the front of the card/cd holder, I had the signature Beatles in silhouette crossing the street from their Abbey Road album cover, since they are 'blacked out' I had George carrying a boombox! Then the name for the album "Honey for your Tea for your Honey", with the songs listed below. Inside, the message read: 
The Fab Four didn’t fancy beer, you see
but rather enjoyed their honey and tea!
So here’s a compilation
About that combination,
And if you’d like to have a beer…
Then just call me!

On the back, I did another symbol with the 'fake' album name, and added a bee to the center. And added our logo of course!

It seemed to be a big hit. Here's the final product:

The shower was a lot of fun, and once again I overstayed my welcome! Had to have Brian come retrieve me.