Hop on over to my blog buddy, Decor and the Dog to see my guest post about our kitchen reno! Michelle is featuring a bunch of blogger’s transformations this week, can’t wait to see the rest :).

While you are there, check out their amazing house that her and her husband designed/built from the ground up in Iowa!

a little getaway

Every year, Dan’s company has a booth at the Grand Tasting of the Nantucket Wine Festival. This year, I decided we needed a night away, so instead of going back and forth on the ferry all weekend, we booked a room at one of the B&B’s on the island. Dan’s first session began Saturday morning. I jumped on the ferry after work and arrived just as his last session was ending.

(taken from the ferry on the way over)

He met me at the pier and we had a relaxing evening of walking around Nantucket, catching up with friends for a drink, and taking one of Dan’s clients out to a delicious dinner at Oran Mor. My dessert there of homemade sugar donuts atop cafe au lait panna cotta was the highlight of my meal :). Dan knew the wine buyer very well as he is one of his clients on the island, and he was kind to come over and pour us some delicious dessert wine.

(straight wharf on Nantucket)

Sunday morning, Dan headed to his last session around 11:00AM. I had until 3:00pm to keep myself busy. It was a gloomy weekend, but I made the best of it and even rented a bike and took the 12 mile trail down to Madaket beach. Here are some more pictures from the weekend!

(cute downtown street)

I love red doors!

(on the Madaket bike path)

How cool is this curb appeal?

this was a beautiful sight at the end of the bike trail!

Raised Beds, Part Two

the building process


When I got home from work last night, I found these in the garage: (!!!)

Dan completed and stained the 3 raised beds and even remembered to take photos of the process :). Part One involved the wood delivery, and making the cuts.

then, using wood glue for a nice firm seal, he clamped the 4×4 pieces to the 6 ft sides and screwed them in like so:

*please ignore our dirty garage floor. One of the disadvantages of a private yard is that every.single.day. my car tracks in pine needles.

once the 6ft sides were completed, he did the same with the 4fts.

the installation


this is what we started with this morning:

a crazy backyard with a sprawling, no-order-at-all “garden” of sorts. Not only does it look messy, but it makes it nearly impossible for Dan to mow the backyard. Not that we actually have any grass… but we might. someday.

after quite a lot of plant removal, we brought the beds out and situated them where we knew they would get the most sun.

In my Organic Gardening magazine, this article suggested the “lasagna” approach. First, till the soil inside the bed to ensure there are no weeds/grass. Second, cover the bottom with a layer of newspapers.

next, layer an organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings, or other compost materials:

the third step is a rich topsoil. We had 4 yard delivered on Saturday afternoon from our local garden center.

on top of the topsoil, we put good ole fashioned cow manure. Luckily, it was composted cow manure so it didn’t smell too bad….not like the stuff that gets spread around my hometown every Spring, choking the whole town.

Add some more topsoil on top of that, mix it around, and you have yourself a vegetable growing paradise.

Ready to see what our yard looks like now??





the ground around it was so hilly from the removal of plants, and just in general, so we did a lot of digging and leveling.

I can’t wait to get these vegetables going!!

New Toys

Dan bought himself a new toy:

a compound miter saw. he gave me a “saw lesson” today so I can sound like i know what i am talking about but all i took from the conversation is that he will now be able to make me some crown moulding and the saw can cut wider pieces of wood, like the ones for my raised beds :).

which is what we tried out the saw with tonight! We (and i use the term “we” loosely) are building 3 6×4 foot, 8 inch high raised garden beds for our backyard. My thoughts right now are 2 veggie beds and 1 herb bed.

Yesterday, our local lumber company delivered 6 10ft x 8in boards and 1 6ft piece for the corners. We cut each 10ft piece into a 4ft section and a 6ft section:

and the 6ft fatter board (like my technical terms?) into 12 8in pieces for the corners:

I also purchased some water-based stain for the exterior of our beds to make the beds look a little more “finished”. Once Dan screws everything together, I will be staining the outsides. I also have scheduled a delivery of 4 yards of top soil and manure mix for this Saturday to fill our beds with. I have plans Sunday to go back to Mahoney’s (our local garden center) and get peas, lettuce, and some hardier herbs to start out with. I can’t wait!

Total spent on this project so far:

$92.00 for the lumber + delivery charge

$13.00 for the stain and wood glue

$140 for 4 yards of top soil, 9 bags of manure mix, and delivery charge


Total: $245 for 3 6x10ft beds

on to the vegetables!

Updated Kitchen Tour

Have you ever checked out the blog HOUSEography? It’s one of my daily reads, and if you love home decor, you have to check out their house tour. Their kitchen is stunning and their master bath tile floor is to die for!

Melissa at HOUSEography started a “house room tour” weekly where bloggers can link the featured room of the week. It’s a fun way to discover new blogs and get some great inspiration and eye candy from those who link up!

I haven’t yet participated in a room tour yet, but seeing as the kitchen is this week’s featured room and it happens to be my favorite room in the house, I’m participating!

To see the kitchen in progress, check out this post here

and here is our kitchen today (after some minor cleaning ;) haha)

and just for Michelle, the inside-the-fridge shot

Happy Tuesday!

and check out the link party at HOUSEography, let’s see those kitchens :)

HOUSEography House Tour Link Party

One Man’s Junk is Another Woman’s Treasure

My place of work just finished up a multi-million dollar renovation which resulted in the coordination of a major Estate Sale which we have been coordinating all week. The Estate Sale begins tomorrow at 8am sharp and we expect a HUGE turnout since the venue is a famously historic building that once housed the iconic restaurant, Thompson’s Clam Bar. We have been organizing hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of furniture, paintings, fixtures, and other miscellaneous decor items for days.

One of the benefits of being an employee of the company holding just such an Estate Sale is that we were told that we were welcome to pop on down and check out the inventory in case we wanted to purchase anything.

*cue happy dance (!!!)*

Picture a kid in a candy store and that’s probably pretty close to what I looked like walking through 15,000 square feet stuffed to the brim with amazing items.

It only took me about 10 minutes to get on the phone with my wonderful husband (did I mention wonderful??) and beg that he rent the U-Haul i googled and meet me at my venue to pick up my loot. With surprisingly little grumbling, he agreed. What can I say,  the man loves a good deal almost as much as i do!

So are you ready to see what I got??

Item #1:

this beautiful side table for $25.00

check out the details:

at first, I was dead set on doing a full furniture re-do, painting, changing the hardware….but now I can’t decide. There is something charming about the antique-y look too. I am going to live with it for a little while and see where the room design goes before I take a paintbrush to it. Here is it’s new home in our guest room:

item #2:

a Williams Sonoma Home Queen-Sized tufted headboard (below) and base (not pictured because it’s too heavy for me to help Dan…currently living in our garage)

Cost: Free…be still my heart

i had no idea just how lucky i was until i got home, checked out the Williams Sonoma website and found the retail price.

Check it out

no big deal.

item #3 (and #4):

a pair of tall table lamps= $25/each

I haven’t decided whether or not i will change out the shades…what are your opinions?

i love these bases!

their new home:

item #5:

chair- $50

i am going to tease you with the beautiful details first :)

my favorite part about this chair? I like it just the way it is…no reupholstering needing!

this chair will live in our future office

items #6- 18:

a dozen crystal glasses, 6 tall, 6 small= $5

i was drawn to the really neat design in the bottom of these glasses as soon as i saw them

items #19 & 20:

a pair of glass candlesticks (aka- fireplace/built-in decor)= free

item #21:

storage unit?= $100

the minute i laid eyes on this, i knew i had to have it. I will definitely be re-doing this piece, just not sure the style I am going to go for yet. My initial thoughts are that this would make a great entry-way table for our mudroom. Maybe with some hooks above it for scarves, purses, etc. I’m still debating though…I also like the idea of this for the guest room.

someone paid a lot of money for this at one time…

total cost for all my loot= $230 plus $80 for the moving truck (mileage + $19.95 4 hour rental)

Landscaping Day Two- Cedariffic

I got back from a couple errands today to find that this had been delivered:

last year, we had just moved in during the Spring and due to a lot of moving/closing expenses, we opted for the cheap “pine blend” mulch. This year, I upgraded to the cedar red mix…and let me tell you, it was well worth the extra $$.  Not only does it look amazing and smell incredible, it is 100x easier to shovel and wheelbarrow because it is not half-dirt/decomposing tree like the pine blend. What was a 2 day 8-hour a day back-breaking job last year turned into a 4-hour not-too-painful experience this year.

Our first task was to go “shopping” in our backyard for some plants to transplant into the front beds. Here is the before of the backyard…still pretty full of plants with the exception of the large hydrangea that we transplanted yesterday:

and here is what we were left with after the pillaging:

…definitely a lot more sparse! All in all, we dug and transplanted over 15 plants, including perennial flowers of which we do not know what they are, a rose bush, another couple unnamed bushes, part of the gigantic lavender plant in the back, and some irises. We tried to do these as carefully as possible, and are hoping that a lot of them survive the move.

The transplants went to two locations, the side beds next to the chimney and our very large front bed.

Here is the before shot of our side bed, looking quite scraggly:

and the after shot, post-raking/weeding/transplanting/mulching:

sooooo much better!

Here is our large bed in the front:

besides weeding, raking, transplanting, and mulching, we also got rid of those two crazy tree/bushes that look dead in the left center of the above photo.

Here are our afters:

well worth the 4 hours of work!!

ps– sorry for the shadowy photos, the sun was setting by the time we finished!

Buried Treasure

Happy May!

I know I have been a slacker with my blog lately…the last week has been a bit hectic. Last weekend, we hosted 12 people at our house for the entirety of Easter weekend. It was a lot of fun, but cleaning and cooking took up all of my blogging time and energy :).

Then, this past week at work, the venue that I work at finished up their multi-millon dollar renovation that we have been undergoing for over 6 months and we hosted our very first wedding of the season (and post-renovation) this past Saturday! So exciting, but added to the general craziness of the past 10 days.

In the meantime, all the April showers have done our flowers a lot of good.

our creepy, crawly, climbing hydrangea is doing it’s thing:

our giant flowers that sprout a stalk almost 6 feet tall are starting to come up. When they are 5-6 feet tall, they bloom and the blooms look like Lilies, but I am not certain.

our flowering trees are flowering:

and my all-time favorite flowers in our yard, peonies, are beginning to sprout.

Alright, enough of the good stuff. When we moved in, it was Winter (well, late February when we toured and March 15th when we closed) and we were very unsure as to what was under all the snow in our yard. We couldn’t be more pleased with the vast amount of perennials we inherited, which likely has saved us thousands of dollars of landscaping costs. What we were not so happy with was our backyard:

this is our “garden” (picture me using air quotes right now). There is no rhyme or reason to where the plants are located, they are just scattered across the middle of the lawn as if someone opened a bunch of bulbs and seed packets and threw them from the deck. It makes mowing very difficult and is just very strange to look at, not to mention that it makes the yard look very disorganized.

Last Spring when we first moved in, our focus was more on the interior of the house and making it liveable…ie: getting rid of the smoke smell, sucking up animal hair from the prior owners, steam cleaning grossly stained rugs, etc. This Spring, now that we are well on our way indoors, we have the time (and passion) to take on the exterior. The disheveled backyard is our main focus.


  • relocate *all* the plants from this area to other parts of the yard where we actually want them.
  • build 1-2 raised beds for that general area to plant a veggie and herb garden
  • till and re-seed all areas around the raised beds this Fall with the hopes of grass for next year (2012)

With planting season drawing near, this project has a bit of urgency. I opted to”go big or go home” and start with this guy:

the HYDRANGEA…aka King of the Garden Patch. Seriously, this guy is massive. I think this plant may be 100 years old, who knows. I pruned nearly half of it last year and it is still enormous.

We began digging and about 45 minutes later, were making some good progress on the massive amount of roots under this thing.

Suddenly, Dan’s shovel hit something hard. No big deal, just a rock, right? Trying to get around the rock, he dug further and further away and the shovel still kept hitting something very hard.

As he scraped the hard object, we started to see that it was curved on the side we were unearthing.

Ok…I’ll admit, maybe I watch too many episodes of Bones and Law & Order, but right about then, I started to freak out. I mean, no one expects to find a hard object under their Hydrangea bush. Was it a body? No…a tombstone? Indian Burial Ground? Buried Treasure?

Nope, just our septic tank! Yikes, not something you want to pry the top off of. Dan paled a bit, but we got it back on quickly…hopefully no damage done!

After that scare, we managed to get the Hydrangea plant out…wow, you can’t believe how heavy this thing was. It took both of us to lift it into the wheelbarrow.

and here he is in his new location in our front yard!

hopefully it survives here…crossing our fingers :) We have a cedar mulch delivery scheduled for tomorrow too, can’t wait to get this bed whipped into shape!

and here’s the hole in the backyard filled back in. 1 down….about 1,987 to go ;)

Happy May!!