Friday, September 30, 2011



Happy 30th birthday to my main squeeze... and many more lazy days on the beach to come.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Member of C.A.

You know, C.A.... Crafters Anonymous.

It's an episode of Hoarders in my guest closet.

I blame it on Pinterest.

I go to stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and the like, innocently enough, intending on only coming out with a can of spray paint and some card stock, and end up with 2 cans of spray paint, 2 terracotta planters, a wreath form, 2 bottle of acrylic paint, brushes, 1 roll of yarn, another roll of twine, 3 fake pumpkins and some letter stickers while completely forgetting the card stock because I was too distracted by the front yard Halloween decorations and spent the better part of a hour talking myself out of a cupcake decorating kit because really, I'm not a sweets girl... but I could be! Only if I buy those 32 bottles of sprinkles! And package of 6 frosting bags! And all of the nozzles!!

Realizing that I can't fit anymore in my cart - good idea, Michael's, to make your carts smaller than the normal grocery cart or else I would be in real trouble - I check out with 4 new projects that are going to make the house THAT much cuter!

Then reality sets in and I get home to an unfinished Texas wreath laying on the couch, an intended chevron blanket but really it just has one chevron stripe laying on the floor, a craft box that refuses to close, and overflow paint brushes under the sink. So I tuck my tail between my legs, place the newly purchased crafts in the guest closet, and vow to finish that which I have started first. And I'm ALMOST there!

Last night we buckled down and finally finish wrapping the letters for the wreath!... all while watching Modern Family. I love that show. But really, I am loving how they turned out.

This blanket is going to take FOR-EV-ER (name that movie!). Back in August, papernstitch posted quite the DIY weekend post and this chevron blanket immediately caught my eye. I was enamored from the beginning and knew I must do it. As I was reading through the Twig and Thistle post, she said that she got the idea from The House of Smiths who did a kitchen rug in the same print using an IKEA rug.

Well I knew then and there that I wanted to do both. Hello, I'm an addict.

As you may recall, we just recently painted our black breakfast nook chairs bright yellow and have already had fun practicing photography with them so I decided to bring this color into the kitchen by way of this rug. So on the last trip to Home Depot, I snagged this quart of a rather bright yellow that will be making a guest starring role on these two chevron printed textiles that will match perfectly with the breakfast nook. Someday...
I did manage to finish one though... for a special birthday boy...

Idea "borrowed" from Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone, I made this for Huynh to be delivered to the office today - though his birthday is tomorrow, it happens to be an "off" Friday. His response?

Pham, Huynh [8:00 AM]:
such a gooooob!
I kinda love you

I think it was a hit.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Front Door Mat

It's finally here! I am so excited about this mat that I even ran to IKEA during my one-hour lunch - and for those who know ANYTHING about IKEA that making it through there in an hour is a feat in and of itself but then also adding in drive time plus a trip to Sur La Table for cookie cutters to wrap for the wreath and a drive through Jimmy John's to, you know, actually eat during lunch, I managed to make it back to work within an hour! Give or take... an hour. Close enough.

Nevertheless! I picked up a door mat on my run through IKEA with this project in mind.

I made my own stencil out using the font "School House Cursive" and taped off/covered the rest of the rug completely.

I had some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint left over from painting the hardware that I knew would show up, on this material, close enough to black.

I first tested the stencil on our fabric drop cloth and decided that I didn't mind the overspray so I went right to work. And, I absolutely love how it turned out.

So, here it is. Our beautiful red door, newly painted hardware, and a new rug. More to do still, but yet, another to cross off the list!
  • Paint front door
  • Find a bench
  • Revamp front door mat
  • Potted plants
  • Add a wreath

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don't Stop Believin'

Clearly, this blog title has nothing to do with the post but I still have Journey on the brain - did I mention we went to see them in concert?? - and so, couldn't help myself. We also managed to squeeze in family, a car wash, and painting the front door this weekend among other things. So which color did we choose?

Before we reveal, let's start with a before picture, shall we?

Brown, slightly scary. College door mat with a (which you probably didn't even realize this) a broken doorbell. Oh and chipping hardware!

We cleaned, vacuumed, and took all of the hardware off. Then we opened the can of paint and viola! RED!

To be exact, it's Behr "Chianti" bought at Home Depot. 

In some light, it looks really red and in others, burgandy. Today thought I saw some spots I missed that I saw at 4:00 p.m. that I definitely did not see when I painted it at 2:00 p.m. Ah, the glory of scattered light versus direct light.

Tomorrow calls for more touch up paint and a full reveal (that includes the new front door mat!). 

Just to recap...

  • Paint hardware
  • Paint door
  • Find a bench
  • Revamp mat
  • Potted plants
  • Add a wreath

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lusting After

I've been dreaming about dining room tables since we cleaned out the dining room (remember when it used to be the office?). So I rounded up all of my latest favorites, partly so I could see them all in one place and partly because my "House Ideas" folder on my computer is reaching 300+ pictures in just a couple of months and I'm going to stop remembering where all of these items can be purchased from! But here ya go - and yes, I'm leaning towards farmhouse :).

How perfect then would this buffet table be in the living room acting as a sideboard?

Which would you chose?

Friday, September 23, 2011


I have a lot of cookbooks.

Before the kitchen reorganization, I never really had a place to put all of these. I absolutely love this Kitchen Bull block from torolegno.

{photo from etsy}
But my wallet does not love the price tag. I scoured the web for some inspiration shots and the majority that turned up either said they didn’t keep cookbooks in the kitchen – me now – or they put them in cabinets! I couldn’t muster the waste of space in the cabinet so for now they reside on the bar cart.

I actually kind of like it. Put away while still on display and, most importantly, within reach. What about you? Are you a cookbook hoarder like me?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pantry, tackled

Oh the pantry. You saw yesterday that I have big plans for the kitchen reorganization and, in trying to be organized myself, I realized that the pantry was the best place to start.

Starting from the top and working my way down, I pulled everything out. Before I set it down, I figured whether it was expired or not (you would have been surprised) and then organized it all out on the countertop.

Can you tell that we do most of the work at night? Hehe...
So, Huynh took out all of the shelves, then I vacuumed, cleaned, scrubbed and disinfected the entire closet… it needed it. Since the paint in the pantry was flat, I took this emptying opportunity to paint the walls the same color as the dining room.

Oooo purdy. And I’m not just talking about my favorite paint brush that I used to cut around all of those wall brackets in lieu of taking them out. Needless to say, painting took a tad bit longer than anticipated so we lived with our pantry spread out in our kitchen for 2 days before I was able to finish painting.
Huynh reinstalled all of the shelves and then I started methodically placing all of the goods back into it. At BB&B, we picked up a spice rack for the back of the door which hangs on the back of the door. Not ideal but we were hesitant to permanently attach it to the door until we figure out if we like it or not.

I was even able to pull down some of the things from the tops of the cabinets to store in the pantry now that there was more room. While I was at it, I also cleared out the spice and canned good cabinets, deciding that canned goods needed to be moved to the pantry along with about half of the things in the spice cabinet that weren’t really classified as spices, like flour, sugar, and pho mix. Much better now that it’s official that all of the food is in one spot.
  • New countertop
  • New back splash
  • Reorganize
  • New rug
  • New faucet
Yes, I realize reorganizing has little to do with décor (does painting count?) and more to do with my sanity but the entire kitchen is done organizationally! From start to finish it took about a week. And, wouldn't you know it, I actually am enjoying cooking even more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kitchen redeux

Contrary to popular belief, or I guess I should say, contrary to the pans and boxes stored on top of the cabinets instead of inside the cabinets, we have a lot of storage in the kitchen… it’s just so horribly utilized.

Since we had a garage sale last weekend, I had already gone through a lot of the cups and dishes to pull out all of the college-esque ones that needed to be ditched. While junk drawers are a necessity, ours need to be organized and we really need to not have a junk cabinet. Huynh also has an affinity for sticking light bulbs in random places so those need to be wrangled.

What else… the pantry needs to be painted and reorganized, most of the cleaning supplies under the sink need to be moved to the laundry room where we have a cabinet just for them, and the Tupperware cabinet needs help. The cooking utensils drawer will barely close while we have a drawer on the other side of the stove pretty empty; the mixing bowls are stacked in a tower just waiting to fall into the floor when the next unsuspecting chef opens that cabinet. Phew.

 So this is what we came up with. My thought is to have baking on the left of the stove, cooking on the right. It looks like we have a lot of small appliances but I am hoping to get the majority of them into the bottom cabinet and then the overflow into the pantry. I also want all of the food in the pantry and none inside the cabinets – some will still sit on the countertop. And yes, we really do have that many K-cups that they deserve their own listing.

I would love to say that ideally this is exactly what we will do but I know that part of the problem is that you have to live with it for a little while to see if it makes sense. Either way, when I finish, I will get to cross a bullet of the list!
  • New counter top
  • New back splash
  • Reorganize
  • New rug
  • New faucet

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Umbrella Box

After Huynh made the guest bedroom headboard, we had a pretty decent amount of MDF left over.

I noticed after taking pictures around the house for the home tour that we had a lot of umbrellas. Everywhere. Living room, bedroom, random suitcases. Thinking that we needed to wrangle those up, Huynh went to work making us an umbrella box.

Using what we had, he built a pretty basic box using his trusty jigsaw. He made it to fit right by the front door between the window and the door frame. Keeping in mind this was back in August... it sat like this for a long time...

Draft parties, actual parties, and life took over a couple of weekends in a row but taking advantage of the rain this past weekend, I finally decided it was time to do something about this.

To give the box some dimension, Huynh added trim while I primed the front where the monogram "P" would go.

I printed the "P" onto card stock creating my own stencil. I took an exacto-knife to cut it out then used a pencil to trace it onto the box. I then cut in with the black, a good paint brush, and a steady hand.

It might sound weird but I actually really like the texture that the MDF creates. It looks homemade just enough but still looks great in the space. But my favorite part would have to be the trim detail.

Now I have the perfect place for my yellow umbrella and I spy the perfect spot for my Missoni rain boots... since apparently I think it rains in Houston all the time (it does not). A girl can dream.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Garage Sale

We had a garage sale this weekend!

We actually had a lot of people stop by to the point that all I had time to snap were these two pictures. We pretty well sold out with the first thing to go being Huynh's shoes. Who knew. We also managed to sell 1/3 of the appliances and 1/2 of the TVs we have currently taking up much needed parking space in the garage. Progress. It started raining around noon so we packed up and made it inside just in time to watch UT beat UCLA. Hook 'em horns!

We needed the rain but of course that meant a no-go on painting the front door. Bummer. How was your weekend? Stay dry?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Front Door Fix

I got excited about the front door make-over that I decided to jump the gun and paint the hardware first. Obvious choice of color: oil-rubbed bronze. I even made us a hook for the front door to hang the “soon-to-be-finished” longhorn wreath (pictures to come). Such a quick fix! 

Left to do?
  • Paint hardware
  • Paint door
  • Find a bench
  • Revamp mat
  • Potted plants
  • Add a wreath
We are off work today and busy organizing, pricing, and advertising for the garage sale tomorrow. Wish us luck. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Front Door Make-over

I am being totally indecisive about front door colors.

I casually asked Huynh the other day what he was thinking in terms of color and he, rather quickly, said burgundy which had never crossed my mind.

At first I was skeptical since I thought that it would clash, or even blend in too much, with the brick. But now that I see this faux-paint job, I actually kind of like it.

I, on the other hand, always thought navy.

I tend to gravitate towards blues/cools when I am decorating. So we could go the complete opposite, pull a John and Sherry and go yellow.

I don’t know if I am brave enough for that! So we could keep it really basic and just add a new coat of brown.

But that’s not fun.

What I do know is that with this beautiful weather we are finally having, the front door make-over commences.

  • Paint hardware
  • Paint front door
  • Find a bench
  • Revamp front door mat
  • Potted plants
  • Add a wreath

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Small-ish "Art"

When we were first starting off decorating our house, we knew we wanted a small space for things that we dote upon and decided that the small sliver of hallway next to the alarm would be the perfect place. I love gallery walls so just decided to go for it and see where we ended up. I love that we can keep adding art to the wall (like the Texas state love print I just got the other day!) and love that we can change out and replace pieces without much effort.

First up is actually a card we snatched up in Key West this past summer. We had eaten breakfast at Pepe’s, had the best key lime bread, and in a full stomach euphoria, wandered in the cute little shop next door, aptly named “Red Door Gallery”. From my guest room wall, you know that I love me a good postcard, so when Huynh saw this card, I knew I had to have it.
Next to that is a self-portrait of Huynh and I – you’ve seen it before on our “Nha?” page – that we took in Nicaragua. There were four of us that got last minute tickets for the weekend, thanks to a Continental special, and ended up staying at this fantastic resort. We were walking to the front gate to catch a driver to take us zip lining, and were so hot and gross from the mile plus walk that we knew we had to capture the moment.

Above that is a picture of Huynh’s family – about half siblings, the other half cousins. He has so few pictures of himself from his younger years that I knew once we got a hold of one, we needed to do something with it! This one unfortunately was a pretty poor scan of the picture and thus the quality wasn’t much to write home about… so I ended up mounting to a wooden block scored at Michaels, added some modge podge, and I think it turned out really well!

I am a huge Jane Austen fan and am such a sucker for Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth. Bored one day, I messed with this quote for awhile until I just decided to hit print and frame it. Hey, I might even need to get Huynh this shirt.
And then finally, my favorite. I commissioned half of the force behind Yellow Brick Home, Kim, to paint this adorable portrait of Gatsby, our loveable, four-legged character. She did such an amazing job that you must go check out her pet shop (and her blog!).