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creativehomebody.com http://creativehomebody.com Web designer by day, creative homebody by night... Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:55:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.13 Keep it Moving http://creativehomebody.com/keep-it-moving/ http://creativehomebody.com/keep-it-moving/#respond Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:55:37 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=903 front-porch

Wow. It’s been five months since my last blog post. I’d say it feels like yesterday but it really doesn’t. In fact, it feels like years instead of months.

Since then we:

  • lost our beloved Boston Terrier of eight years
  • sold a house practically before the sign was out front
  • put an offer on a home yet-to-be-built
  • considered another home that needed considerable work to bring it out of the 1970s
  • completely changed our mind and circled back to a brand new house we fell in love with last fall
  • purged and packed twelve years of living
  • didn’t hire movers
  • almost killed each other
  • are settled into a home we’re loving

The new house gets us much closer to school for the kids, a bigger lot with privacy and opportunity for outdoor entertaining, larger bedrooms for the boys, and in general, a new start that feels really good. We compromised on some things here–the overall square footage is smaller than our last place, no living room, a slightly smaller kitchen, the dream bath and, most importantly, we left behind some really great friends/neighbors.

I can’t wait to make this home ours. The biggest challenge at this point is pacing myself to slow down and make deliberate choices instead of quick ones. I constantly have to remind myself that it took twelve years for our last house to evolve into a place we loved. Home wasn’t built in a day.

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Shutters as Room Dividers http://creativehomebody.com/shutters-as-room-dividers/ http://creativehomebody.com/shutters-as-room-dividers/#comments Sun, 02 Feb 2014 17:02:49 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=886 I’ve been keeping my eye out for some sort of room divider/sliding door solution to bring a little more privacy and sun protection to the former dining room turned office. I had seen these beautiful antique doors a little over a year ago. They’re still available as of today! But at $1000.00, I’d surely be risking my marital health. Around Thanksgiving, I saw a pair of antique shutters at Sleepy Poet and immediately fell in love. They were the perfect height, which was important since I didn’t want to have to do any cutting or adding to length.

Shutters as Room Dividers

As much as I love sliding barn doors, the hardware is way too expensive. I’ve found some reasonably priced options at Tractor Supply, but even that option was very pricey, not to mention the standard sizes wouldn’t work with our opening width. So I ended up just going with eye bolts screwed into the studs of the soffit above, and into the doors themselves. To join the two, I found zip ties at Lowe’s that are each rated to hold 25 pounds. The doors are not very heavy, but I put 3 per bolt anyway.

Shutter ceiling installation with eye bolts

The main purpose of these shutters was to provide just a bit of privacy (the office is in full view of the front door) and to cut some of the blinding sunlight that shoots through our front windows in late afternoon. The ray of sunshine coincidentally travels right across the desk chair in the office. It basically renders the person in the chair blind from 4:05-4:20pm every day. One of the shutters cuts this light beautifully.

Shutter details

I loved the finish on the antique shutters. There is leftover paint, and the hardware is still there as well. I suppose I could always reattach them someday if I decide to move them.

Antique shutters as room dividers

The shutters hang from the bolts above, and there’s about 1/2″ of clearance below. The length worked out perfectly to be able to push them slightly to dust underneath, and they don’t actually touch the floor.

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Half Bath Dreaming http://creativehomebody.com/half-bath-dreaming/ http://creativehomebody.com/half-bath-dreaming/#respond Mon, 13 Jan 2014 19:16:12 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=869 This unintentional break from blogging has been sort of like laying down for a quick nap at 3:00pm and not waking up until the alarm goes off the next morning. There definitely hasn’t been a shortage of designing, decorating, cooking, traveling going on around here, but a lack of motivation to take the time to get it out of my head and onto the keyboard.

Lately I’ve been dreaming about ways to update our downstairs half bath. The bath has remained the same since we purchased the house in 2002. All of the bathrooms in the house were wallpapered when we moved in. We have removed it in the two full baths, but the powder room remained. Ironically, I kinda liked the wallpaper in there when we purchased the house. At that time, wallpaper to me was a grown up luxury. It had little tassles details on the border! Tassles = grown up.

Well, the wallpaper is now removed after what I refer to as “Hell Weekend”. Stupidest DIY idea ever. In fact, I’m encouraging my boys to get into the wallpaper removal business. They could wait outside Lowe’s for people who’ve rented a steamer, follow them home, wait outside for about an hour and then ring the doorbell with an astronomical price to take over the job. I betcha they’d have a 99% success rate. Especially if an unwilling husband has been roped into helping.

I’m deciding what to do with the builder grade vanity in there.

My choices are:

1) refinish the cherry stained maple vanity and replace the top with a stone remnant. I’ve already picked a soapstone slab and gotten a price. If I went this route, I’d love to do something fun with the backsplash detail. Like so:



2) or maybe get a vintage cast iron sink refinished (sorta like the tub) and get it wall mounted in place of a vanity all together. Or install it in a vanity? Like this:

3) or maybe find a cool old piece of furniture and use that instead? Something like this:



Each direction has pros and cons. Storage, or lack of, plumbing changes, patching hardwoods under the existing vanity (if we replaced with wall mounted or freestanding). It’s fun to consider the options and prepare for a change like this. If you want to follow along, here’s my Powder Room Inspiration Board on Pinterest.

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Kitchen Updates http://creativehomebody.com/kitchen-updates/ http://creativehomebody.com/kitchen-updates/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 22:06:04 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=840 I should know myself better by now. Somehow in the middle of a big project I swear to myself that it’s going to be a long long time before I take on another one. Don’t get me wrong–I love planning a project. But the execution of a project? Not so much. I’m a wreck in process worrying about every little issue that comes up. I’m the first to admit that I am Miss No Fun during a renovation. I guess for me a big project is a lot like childbirth. In the midst of labor, you swear never again — and wonder why you ever thought it was a good idea to begin with. But shortly after…you start thinking up cute baby names. Or pinning beautiful pictures of kitchens. Same difference.

I’m going to have a hard time convincing Husband that our kitchen needs a facelift. We worked on the kitchen back in 2006. In husband years that’s practically yesterday. You divide the actual years by seven. The result is when it feels like the renovation was done to a guy. We replaced the laminate counters with granite, and made the big switch of taking out electric cooktop to replace with a full-sized gas cooktop/oven combo. I like to think the changes we made were a whole lot of changes to the function of the kitchen. Good changes. Definitely good changes. I love my kitchen. But, these days I’m talking about changes to the form. See that? I’m practicing my semantics to sell my case for another project.

I’m not talking about huge changes to the kitchen that involve contractors or anything. I just want a facelift. A little nip and tuck. Painting cabinets, maybe replacing the island, updating lighting. Stuff like that. Here are my inspirations.

painted cabinets

How completely ridiculously beautiful is this island??

I love me some black mixed with wood:

I’ve fallen in love with a light fixture:

I can guarantee I’ll have a hard time convincing Husband to paint the cabinets. I know he thinks they’re perfectly fine as is. I can’t say I disagree necessarily. It is kinda risky. Maybe I’ll ease into things with the lighting. HA!

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Being a tourist in your hometown http://creativehomebody.com/being-a-tourist-in-your-hometown/ http://creativehomebody.com/being-a-tourist-in-your-hometown/#respond Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:00:29 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=820 We did a lot of fun things with family while we were up in Boston. My husband and I grew up outside of the city, but we head in to town at least once while we’re home. It’s fun to see the boys experience Boston and see things that I’ve visited lots of times over the years.

This time we headed to the Museum of Fine Arts, saw a Red Sox game on the fourth of July, and walked around Faneuil Hall.

I used to live within walking distance to the museum while in college. It was a weekly source of creative inspiration (thanks free student membership!) and I was so happy to see my boys get to visit.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The current exhibition is the culture, art & armor from the Samurai. A boy-friendly subject matter! If it had been something like ‘Floral Motifs from the Victorian Period’, I might’ve been in trouble.

Samurai Exhibit at MFA
Samurai exhibit at MFA

I’ve been a big fan of Dale Chihuly for many years. I made a beeline to the enormous glass sculpture in the atrium. I was mesmerized when I saw a feature on PBS a few years back of Chihuly in Venice. His glasswork looked so at-home floating down the canals in Venice.

Chihuly at MFA in Boston

The boys and I had seen this Pollock piece at MOMA last year. I was happy that they recognized that MFA also has two Pollocks. Here’s a detail:

Pollock at MFA

If anyone’s interested in Pollock, this book is excellent. I read it years ago, and of course a movie was made afterward, but the book is worth the read.

Last was a game at Fenway on Fourth of July. We only lasted until the end of the third inning though–our seats were smack dab in the middle of the center field bleachers, in direct sun, on a day that temps reached 90+. It felt like we were sitting on the surface of the sun. If we’d been in covered seating we would’ve gladly stayed. We got home and watched the rest on tv!

fenway park

Still, it was special to be in Fenway on the Fourth of July. It doesn’t get any more American and patriotic than baseball, in Fenway, in Boston, on the Fourth.

Fenway Park

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Trying New Old Things http://creativehomebody.com/trying-new-old-things/ http://creativehomebody.com/trying-new-old-things/#respond Wed, 10 Jul 2013 14:00:13 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=813 I’ve thought about getting back into horseback riding off and on over the years. I rode for years growing up. A few weeks ago, I got an email through our school group that riding lessons were being offered through one of our school families.

Here’s a pic of me back-in-the-day on my favorite horse, Peanut Butter.

I went and visited the facility and few weeks ago, and today was my first lesson! I was surprised at how nervous I was when I got there. The instructor put me on a sweet Tennessee Walking Horse named Ginger. She was just what I needed–low key, easy going, and very comfortable!

My mom went with me to watch. I wanted her to take a picture but had to show her how my phone worked first. This one was the best. See that little spec over on the right? That’s me!

I scheduled my next lesson and hope to continue in to the fall. It’s sort of a strange feeling to go back as an adult to something you enjoyed as a child. Have you resurrected something from your childhood as an adult?

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Going Back Home http://creativehomebody.com/going-back-home/ http://creativehomebody.com/going-back-home/#respond Tue, 09 Jul 2013 01:07:02 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=799 Every summer we take our boys back home to visit family in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. One of the main reasons we go is to see my grandmother–great grandmother to my boys.

I grew up visiting my grandmother every Saturday. She fixed us lunch every week, and since she is Portuguese, I got to eat some pretty delicious (and interesting!) things.

We always stop at our favorite pastry shop before visiting her.

I’m always amazed that all my childhood favorites are still made here daily.

My grandma always fusses that she doesn’t want any sweets….but….she manages to take a few nibbles 🙂 The raspberry filled eclair with whipped cream below is a personal fav of mine. Gee! There are two! How convenient!

I love seeing the boys sit at the same kitchen table I did. The same plates. The same table cloths. The same glasses. Everything.

The kitchen sink where I’d stack the dirty dishes and try to wash them for her. I’d try to be sneaky and do them, but she always caught me and made me stop.

Besides cooking–and eating–I probably got a big part of my love of plants and gardening from my grandmother. She has a fig tree in her yard that is probably over forty years old. Growing figs in Rhode Island is not exactly easy, and she has an elaborate set up to actually bury the tree every winter to protect it from frost. She pulls it out each spring and used to make jelly from the fruit.

She also has a grapevine that originally came from Portugal. She prunes and takes care of it every year as well. We always get a picture of her with the boys under the grapevine.

Every year I come back, it takes me a few days to get back into the routine of our life here further south. It’s bittersweet to visit. I love the fact that a part of my life is in a time capsule of sorts. The shops. The food. The kitchen table. The grapevine. My grandmother. They’re all as I left them twenty years ago. Every time I leave though, I wonder if I’ll still be able to say the same next year.

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New RSS Reader Options http://creativehomebody.com/new-rss-reader-options/ http://creativehomebody.com/new-rss-reader-options/#respond Fri, 28 Jun 2013 17:45:49 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=785 So remember how I professed my love for Feedly back in February? Well, I’m still loving it! Feedly seamlessly duplicates your Google Reader feed*.

You can use Feedly, or another option that’s been batted around is Bloglovin’. You can add me here with Bloglovin’. Some of you have already done so–thank you!

*Whichever you decide, do it soon if you want to retain those Google Reader feeds you’ve been hoarding for years (points to self). Otherwise you’ll be recreating all those gems in your new reader of choice.

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Cast Iron Tub Care http://creativehomebody.com/cast-iron-tub-care/ http://creativehomebody.com/cast-iron-tub-care/#respond Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:00:04 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=775 I really wanted to incorporate a cast iron tub when we renovated our master bathroom. I love the looks, but one of the major concerns I had was the care and maintenance of a refinished tub.

Our tub is from 1912 (a forged date can be found on the underside of a vintage tub), and was recently refinished locally. The refinishing process is lengthy, but if done correctly, provides a surface that is as good as new.

The core of the tub may be resilient cast iron, but the surface is actually porcelain. Since porcelain is porous, here are some tips I was given when the tub was installed:

  • No abrasive cleaners or pads.
  • Towel dry the tub after each use.
  • Fix any leaky faucets (prevents rust and discoloration around drain)
  • Don’t leave bottles/products on surface inside tub.
  • Wax the tub every six months with car wax.

That last tip about waxing the tub was a surprise to me. I’d never heard that. I went and picked up a tub of good ‘ol Turtle Wax and already gave the tub its first waxing. I think I was afraid that despite its size and weight, the tub’s surface would be delicate and fragile. So far, it’s much more durable that I thought and the soaks are as great as I’ve always heard.

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Farmer’s Market Finds http://creativehomebody.com/farmers-market-finds/ http://creativehomebody.com/farmers-market-finds/#respond Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:40:21 +0000 http://creativehomebody.com/?p=745 Some pics and finds from this weekend’s trip to my local Farmer’s Market. I look forward to the Saturday mornings all week for this reason. I hope these pictures give you a sense of why I love it so much.

My favorite stand without question is Cheval Farmstead Dairy. Her assortment and quality of goat cheeses is phenomenal. I may or may not power walk straight to that booth and elbow small children and dogs out of the way. The cheeses are that good. She also makes a goat milk yogurt, sometimes with honey, sometimes with things like ginger and mango. It’s good. Dang good.

My favorites this week:

oneCheval Farmstead Dairy: Try the Black Magic. It’s dusted with coconut shell ash before aging. It’s creamy, smooth and downright delicious.

twoChef Charles Catering: The display case at this booth is a thing of pure beauty with the neatly arranged rows of croissants, cookies, pastries and more. Be sure to pick up a baguette or two. They go fast.

threeQueen of Oats: A new vendor for me this week! I tried one of her homemade protein bars. You can taste the fig & date, which give them a really nice touch of sweetness.

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