Archive for the 'bling blog' Category

I miss you, France 

That’s it. I’ll write about our trip soon. But for now, I’ll just say, I miss France. And coming back to America in 2017 in this climate hasn’t been super welcoming. France? That felt welcoming. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe this is. But the feelings are as they are. Le sigh. 

My newest love . . . The Crafter’s Box

Emily Jeffords, who paints landscapes and skies that make me audibly sigh, had recently put something on her Instagram feed that intrigued me more than usual. She often posts stuff about artists’ retreats that leave me dreaming — a recent one was even in France! — so to say I was more intrigued than usual is saying something. She was posting about a collaboration she was involved in with The Crafter’s Box. What was this intriguing new-to-me service?!

Well, The Crafter’s Box is a monthly subscription service that, should you sign up for the service, sends you craft supplies and tools and allows you to sign into its site to view a video instruction to learn how to do the craft-of-the-month. Emily was going to teach everyone how to do cyanotype, which sounded amazing, but I was too slow and had missed the deadline for her month.

So, I signed up for the next month’s box, which was going to be filled with beautiful rose gold scissors, crepe paper and access to instructions on how to make paper flowers. But. I was waitlisted. Story. Of. My. Life.

The good news? I didn’t have to write an essay or dig deep to tap into any latent charisma to get miraculously un-waitlisted! I, lifeandpuppies, was offered a box! I then did what any smart crafter does and I immediately tacked on the “add on” box, which would give me additional paper to make more of what I was sure was going to be amazing-looking flowers. $65 for the box. $18 for the add-on. Shipping costs included in that.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock. You see, you order the box by about mid-month of the month before its going to ship. And then it ships around the first week or so of the following month. But finding out you’re unwaitlisted only to have to WAIT to get this gem was like, well, waiting a long time. Something I’m not so good at. Anyway, I don’t remember when I got word that I was IN the club, but I know my box arrived at my door May 12. It’s forever etched in my memory. Just kidding. I just have a pic on my phone from that date.

Molly and I were both very excited.


We tore into this old gal.


This is really just a look at the paper work and the stuffing, but I love it none the less. Let’s get to the good stuff now, though.


So, the box came with the floral wire, floral tape, wire cutters, hoop for a wreath, the aforementioned rose gold scissors, a glue gun, glue for the gun, and beautiful crepe paper. Now, at $65 + $18 was it “worth” it? I don’t know. Sure, that’s pricy, but I figure that you’re really paying for a class, which could certainly cost that much and not include supplies. And I’d have to leave my house. Now, I didn’t need a new glue gun or wire cutters, probably, but it’s pretty neat to have the whole thing just ready to go. (I’m not even going to talk about needing the scissors because obviously I did.) And the video was amazing. It was great to be able to watch it, stop it, rewind it and do it all again. I mean, truly. This part was probably better than a class because I can keep going back. At least I think I can. Note to self: keep checking on this.

So, I’m not the best with hot glue, but I did what I could. Flower number one – the Icelandic poppy – turned out like this:


The center is a small piece of paper towel bundled up with crepe paper glued around it. For my second poppy, I improvised and used a small green felt ball I had instead. I liked it a little better as I had trouble making my ball as nice as I thought it should look.

I thought I had a little better luck, in general, with the peony. But I suppose I should let you judge that.


I really, really love this idea. If I were rich, I wouldn’t even hesitate to tell you how much I love it. I don’t think it’ll be sustainable to keep this going, but I hope it’ll be ok with The Crafter’s Box to start and stop subscriptions. At this point, they seem to suggest it is.

But, I let myself miss cancelling the June box so I’ll just *have* to try the wet-on-wet watercolor technique. Can’t wait.


The new kitchen is amazing! Shaker cabinets with brass pulls?! Thank you very much! 

And white subway tile with gray grout?! Yowee. 

So much to be grateful for

Lately, I’ve spent so much time in a state of utter stress and terror. I’m scared about national affairs and changes at work have created a new normal that’s lead to a lot of tension and feelings of fragility and confusion. What I really need to do is concentrate more on the home front and the things that I can control. I know I’ve spoken and written and thought these words a million times over, but it’s really, really, REALLY time to put them into action and try not to obsess over all of the noise.

I’m not saying that I could ever stop caring about politics or my job and just go through the motions or tune out, but I need to get WAY better about being able to separate them from the most important things in my life – my family and friends and my own well-being – or I’m not going to have anything left for those most important parts. And that would really be a shame. For me. Because, let’s face it, I’m not going to be able to make any of the changes that I really want to make in the world if I don’t take care of those most important parts first. And, if I’m honest, the real changes or the real effects I want to realize are about those parts. I want to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend, niece, cousin and Madisonian before I want to be anything else. I want to advocate for my loves first, and then I’ll have the energy and confidence to take on something else.

For now, baby steps.

And that baby step over the past week took the form of a new front door. And it could not have made me happier.

You see, our front door was a problem from the get-go. While it was an unoffensive, and even probably somewhat charming, red, it was totally ill-suited to the house. I’ll show you.


Can you tell? Let me get you closer. (Also, you can see the new door propped against the side of the house there on the right side of the picture.)


You see the problem now, right? Oy. It’s got this weird, pseudo-prairie-style stained glass thing going on. What the hell is this door doing on my house? It. Drove. Me. Bananas. For. Years. Three, to be exact. Actually, it’ll probably drive me crazy in my dreams for a lot longer than that. Anyway, we finally bit the bullet and hit Home Depot to order a new door. This was a mistake because of a number of reasons, but we learned again that HD is great for many things, and is a mistake to do business with for numerous other things. Anyway, we ended up canceling their delivery service and using one of our favorite local handyman service folks and we saved hundreds of bucks.

And then we got this sweet gem.


Holy bananas. What a palpable change, amirite?!? Sorry about the ThredUp bag in all the shots. More on that someday, if you want.

Now, we had to paint it. And you know me, I couldn’t wait a second, so I got going right away. Door went in Monday morning, the first coat went on on Monday night. Oh, a word on the paint. We had originally picked Sherwin Williams’ Electric Lime for the paint, but the paint gurus at Sherwin Williams nixed it, telling us that it would fade in the sun on our north-facing exterior door. Rats! But we appreciated the advice, of course. This is why I love going to the professionals at the paint store. Anyway, we quickly moved on to Exuberant Pink, which we had also used in the kitchen (and it’s still there, but now it just barely peeks out above the subway tile around the window – I think it’s a fun pop and I like how it plays off of the front door, which it sits directly behind). It’s taking about seven hundred coats to get it on there properly, but we love it.


And then the finally piece went on this morning . . . A knocker I bought a year ago, I think. And I’ve just been waiting for a new door to put it on.


So, I know it’s a small thing. It’s just a new door in the world. But to me, it’s long-awaited vision, now realized. And it’s a door that just makes me so happy.

Lighting update

Let’s get back to things that I have some control over: lighting. Admittedly, I rely a lot on Aaron for this, but I am capable of clicking ‘place order’ and I’m mighty good at it.

When we moved into the house, I knew we would have to replace all of the lights because, well, because they were basically all either dreaded boob lights or they were other totally inappropriate monstrosities. Our Flipper (as I call him) had installed really cheap stuff, which is fine, but it was also all really ugs. For example, there were sconces that were there to collect moths, there was a gothic-inspired top light, and there were brown-glass pendants in the already soaking brown kitchen. Ew!

By my count, we have now replaced 17 light fixtures in our home (one twice) and put three up where there weren’t lights before. Six lights have come from Barn Light Electric, five have come from CB2, three from Pottery Barn Teen, three from West Elm, three from Etsy (one of these has yet to be put up), and one from Ballard Designs. That’s a lot of lights. There are two more hall lights to be replaced, one is just waiting for AO to have some time, and three bathroom lights that are in the queue, waiting for the checkbook to have some padding. And it’ll be a long wait because, er, kitchen.

Here’s the thing. It hasn’t been a cheap overhaul, but good lighting makes a huge difference in a space. It sorta sets the tone for everything, whether you have the lights on or not. The top lights in our bedroom are rarely on, of course, but they sparkle when they’re off and make me feel like we’ve added a little glam to our lives. This creamy white and brass number from CB2, at $60, became my inspiration for the whole kitchen remodel. And I couldn’t be more excited for how I think it’s all going to turn out. (Fingers tightly crossed.)

bell white flush mount lamp

So while I get annoyed that Our Flipper spent pennies on crappy lighting and installed it everywhere, I’m glad that I’m not having to replace someone else’s expensive choices with my own. And I know AO is super duper glad about the whole thing. Tee hee.