Friday, April 27, 2012

kid tested, Olive approved

Olive's bed for the porch arrived this morning.  I brought it inside and announced "your bed is here" and our son thought I was talking to him so he promptly laid on the dog bed in the living room once I had unwrapped it.  Olive stood by looking confused as usual.

Now it is nap time and Olive got to check out her very own addition to the porch.

Hopefully she will embrace it.  It is new and not dirty and stinky like the old bed she had on the porch so I can see why it might be less inviting at the moment.

That green is a seriously good match though!

Have a happy weekend! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

House tour, Porch

Here is the porch!  I'm still waiting on one little final touch, a outdoor bed for Olive to enjoy that matches the decor but I couldn't wait to share so I'll update you once it arrives.

I even set the table for you.

Or you could take a seat over here.

and for the little ones...

Some storage for shoes, toys and assorted junk.

I told you about staining the floor here.  The green chairs and table belonged to my grandparents on my father's side.  I remember sitting on them in their backyard.  I sprayed them my green and added the pillows for a little extra comfort.  The dining table and chairs belonged to my grandparents on my mother's side.  My parents got us the little table.  This porch was a family effort, I like that.

The storage cabinet was a Craigs list find that used to serve as our little guy's changing table.  I painted the front of the doors with chalkboard paint and switched out the knobs.  I use dollar store bins for toy storage which works out well.

I originally intended on getting one big rug for the space but that would have been big bucks.  So, then I thought ok I'll get two separate rugs that are the same.  I ordered the round one under the table and a matching rectangular one for under the chairs but they didn't match.  They were just enough different in color that they looked odd.  So I figured ok, I got a dud, I'll order another.  No dice.  Still didn't match so, I admitted defeat and picked another rug that compliments it.  I love the way it turned out.  A happy twist of fate.

I'm in love with that fern.  I've got a fern fixation at the moment.

So just to remind you, what once was this...

Is now this...

I love that its bright and happy and it is without a doubt my favorite space in our little home.

the shady porch
my uncommon slice of suburbia
between naps on the porch
delightful order
the shabby creek cottage
at the picket fence
french country cottage
not just a housewife

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

staining the porch

When we looked at our house one of the things I loved was the porch.  It has glass windows which can be changed to screens in the summer.  There is no heat but the sun warms it up in the winter and you can hang out there very comfortably on a sunny winter afternoon.  It is my favorite space in the house but it has been slow to come together.

Here is what we were working with.  This is my husband near unconscious on the floor after ripping up all the carpet in the house.  Faithful Olive is keeping him company and our little guy just 6 months at the time was snoozing in his stroller.  We had two weeks after we closed before we moved into the house and we tried to get as much done as possible which meant that our son spent lots of time on the porch while we frantically worked inside. 

As you can see it is a concrete floor.  I think it had been painted at one time but has worn and chipped away.  So it was a dirty greyish brown and not terribly attractive.  We had been talking about staining it and this weekend we finally did!  The contents of the porch went out in the yard which our little guy thought was pretty awesome.

We chose Behr semi-transparent concrete stain.  We liked the idea of adding a color but still seeing the variations in the floor which are sort of pretty.  We figured we would do a medium grey but when I got to the store to choose a color the only greys were light bluish grays or a charcoal grey which was pretty dark.  I knew I didn't want the blue tones so charcoal would have to work. 

I edged around the porch with a foam brush and rolled two coats on with a medium nap roller.  They suggest spraying it on initially then smoothing with a roller or brush but I figured a roller would work just fine for the whole job.  We weren't looking for a perfectly even finish anyway.

Two coats did the trick and we are really happy with the change.  I'm so glad that we went with charcoal.  It is sort of dark but there is some warmth showing through and it really changes the space.  Looks more like a proper floor and less like a concrete slab.

I'll be revealing the whole porch in the next few days.  I'm just finishing up a few little touches.

not just a housewife

Friday, April 20, 2012


We are really lucky to have some very talented artists among our family and friends.

My husband's Aunt sent this watercolor portrait of our little guy last week and it is now in our frame gallery above the sofa.

Isn't it beautiful? 

You might have noticed I don't share pictures of our son on the blog.  We decided not to when the blog began but I had to share this lovely piece of art.  It really captures our sweet boy.

I met with a cabinet maker this morning to talk about building more cabinets for our kitchen.  I'm so nervous and excited to hear back from him.  If the price is right we'll be going ahead with it.  I practically dream of more storage... sigh.

Have a great weekend!  I saw a sign for an estate sale tomorrow near our house, I'm there!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ranch beef skillet

One pot wonder, casserole crazy, call me what you will but I love any meal that involves me tossing a bunch of stuff in a dish, leaving it alone and coming back to find dinner.   I had the recipe for this dish sitting around for a while before we finally tried it.  I don't know why we didn't have it sooner.  It is now in regular rotation and we are big fans.


  • 1 lb. ground beef

  • 1 box (8 oz.) seasoned rice & black beans

  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies

  • 1 box (10 oz.) frozen corn kernels

  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    1. Cook beef in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up clumps of meat with a spoon, 4 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Drain.
    2. Stir in rice and beans, tomatoes, corn and 2½ cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

    ready to boil away

     We top it with grated cheddar, sour cream and guacamole and use blue corn chips to scoop it up if we so desire.  We might have had a bag of fritos around once and when you sprinkle them on top, oh heaven!  Not the healthiest so that is only a special treat.

     Yum!  Enjoy!

  • The Shabby Creek Cottage

    Delightful Order
    its overflowing

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012


    I've got yarditis.  Spring rolls around and I get consumed with our yard.  I blame my parents.  Growing up we always had very pretty yards.  Lush green grass, flower beds and assorted plants that were cared for and healthy  There was always some serious curb appeal to my childhood homes and well now that we have our own home I want that too.


     I want healthy green grass and weed free flower beds.  I don't think I had any idea before moving into our home what that actually involved.  I thought you watered and mowed grass and voila!  I thought you planted some flowers and shrubs and they thrived!


    Yes, I was a fool.  Gardening is not really an exact science I am finding.  Despite following instructions you are up against all sorts of challenges like soil quality and little pests that will undo your hard work pretty quickly.  I feel like our yard has battled against us since we moved in.  Grubs, nutgrass, bunnies galore.  I mean there are seriously strange numbers of bunnies in this area...

    When you have a little home on a little lot your landscaping is all the more important and I think that is why it consumes me so.


    I have been told by my father that they will be forced to do an intervention if I don't relax about the yard.   This is after I texted him to ask why my yard hadn't greened up yet after I spread ironite.  I may or may not be peeking out the window several times a day and squinting my eyes as I drive up in the car to decipher if the grass is just a shade greener?  It is a sickness....  it truly is.  I'll just gaze at the amazing yards above and dream.

    You know how I mentioned I wanted some clematis?  Well I got some.  I'd like it to look like this...

    but it looks like this...

     I know, I know, patience...  these things don't happen over night.  The thing is, I'm not terribly patient.  I know a watched pot doesn't boil but does a watched plant grow?  I'm just staring at the pitiful thing.

    Do you have yarditis?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    making the cut

    I did it.

    I cut the artwork.

    But I have to tell you I'm glad I did.  I kept one in its original condition and framed it.  This is the one that the little guy did totally solo.

    The other I was asked a few times " Mama you do" and so I made a brush stroke or two.  It was still his vision...

    There were such excellent sections of it that I felt moved to chop it up,

    and I'm glad I did because look how great they look

    It's alright.  When he is rich and famous they will still be incredibly valuable even in their altered state.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    lilac love

    We have this massive lilac bush in the corner of our backyard.

    It is blooming and it smells so very good.

    I had to snip just a branch to bring inside.

    smells like heaven

    Lilac is among my very favorite scents.  When I was in high school there was a road with a bunch of lilac bushes.  When they bloomed the whole road smelled like them.  One spring my friends and I pulled over the car and picked a ton of the blooms so we could just drive around and smell them.  I wonder if my pal over here remembers? 

    It feels like July here in NJ.  We've already been out in the sprinkler and had some lemonade.  Enjoy the temporary summer!

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    well homegoods you just might be right...


    According to my Home Good quiz:


    Teresa, you are an Elegant Classic

    You have a refined sensibility with an appreciation for history and tradition in your furniture and your rooms. You value beauty, things that are well crafted, and family heirlooms. You are visually sensitive and understand how symmetry and a formal layout give order to a room, and hence your home is refined and calming. You are not taken in by the trends of the moment. You go for things with a timeless appeal, and appreciate old-fashioned virtues like manners and handwritten notes and making a home that is welcoming for others.
    You value serenity. While there are probably a lot of interesting things in your home, they are joined by your taste or a certain palette that keeps them in harmony. You appreciate the beauty in simple forms. Whether fancy or plain, you appreciate things that are well made and function as well as they look. You also have a strong respect for the environment and craftsmanship. You care about how things are made, and how they are used.

    Yeah,  I'd say that is pretty accurate.   It would be the only time I would feel comfortable referring to myself as "elegant".   I do indeed value beauty and I am VERY visually sensitive.  My Aunt has told me that my home feels calm and my dear friend (you know who you are) loves being here and never wants to leave.  She says she loves the way it feels here and I think that is due to the surroundings, oh and my charming company of course!  I am not immune to trends as evidence by the chevron in my home but I wouldn't say I'm terribly caught up in them either.  So, yeah Home Goods you are not 100% but pretty darn close. 

    There is a certain palette that keeps our home in harmony.  Not everything matches but the tone of the colors in each room is similar.   Like the soft grey in the master bedroom...

    has a tone that echoes the taupey tan in the living and dining rooms...

    even the green of the guest room...

    ...  it all sort matches but doesn't. 

     You definitely don't walk into any rooms in our house and go "Whoa, where did that come from!"  It feels cohesive which I think is nice in a home, particularly a small home where drastic color changes or decor styles can be really jarring.  You can see several other rooms when you are in any of the rooms in our house so it becomes pretty important that they are joined visually in some way.  I'd like to say this was totally intentional and while I did plan to have a color palette that ran throughout the house, when it came to choosing colors I didn't think about whether the dining room tied in with the bedroom.  It just sorta happened because it was what I gravitated towards.  When a friend of mine first saw our house she said "Your house looks like you!  It's your colors!" and then pointed out that the outfit I was wearing matched the decor.  I just keep gravitating to a certain palette, a certain look and I think that has served me well thus far in terms of decorating. 

    Take your Home Goods style quiz here and let me know what you are.  Does your house feel cohesive throughout?  Do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing?   Thanks Mandi at Vintage Revivals for sharing the quiz!

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    my artist

    Once a month there is an art activity for kids at a local museum.  It is a really nice program and we've been going for about six months now.  Some times the little guy is into it.  Other times he would much prefer to peruse the refreshment table and wander about. 

    Yesterday we painted and he was feeling it.  He hasn't really painted much.  I've given him watercolors to paint with now and then but he has never had real cups of tempura paint and a big brush and a cup of water.  The whole deal. 

    Now I am a smidge biased here but aren't they fantastic?

    I have these two little frames that have some owl drawings that I did in them.

    I was thinking I could cut out two of my favorite sections of his paintings and frame them for his big boy room.  I'm hesitating a bit to cut them up though...   what do you think?

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    same lamp new color

    Oh spray paint how I love thee.

    I took this lamp.

    and I taped off what I didn't want painted, stuck it in a box in the yard and sprayed it like crazy

    and now it looks like this.

    It is a great addition to the reading corner in the big boy room.

    Truth be told we don't use the rocker all that much.  We end up on the floor when we are reading most of the time.  So the rocker will get moved out of here at some point and in it's place we'll put his blue chair which he loves to sit in.

    I saw this idea and I love it.  So I plan to do the same on the wall underneath the red shelf.  I can't ever get enough books!

    i heart organizing

    between naps on the porch
    Not Just a Housewife
    Let Birds Fly