As Hot As The Sun


We’re staring down what I believe is our 7th heat wave for the summer, which I think is a record. Regardless, it’s YUCKY out. This oppressive heat and humidity is even causing some schools without air conditioning to close early due to heat indices of more than 100. I don’t like it one bit. I even planned meals and shopping ahead of time, just like I was planning for a snowstorm, but the opposite. No baking. Except today’s Todd’s birthday so I’ll be baking a cake and stacked enchiladas. And cranking the air up so it doesn’t heat up the whole house.

Happy birthday, Babe! I would have gotten you a present, but I had to pay the electric bill.

Speaking of Todd, he finished my bookcase! It’s beautiful. I need to touch up a few spots with paint so he said I can’t show a real picture of it until I’m completely done. You’ll just have to come back to see that.

Now that the bookcase is in its home I can move the storage cabinet to it’s appropriate home. Then I can start putting stuff in said storage cabinet. And once the touch ups are done on the bookcase I can start filling it with all my cherished books. (I’m seriously smiling the smile of a love struck goofball as I type.) And once the cabinet is in it’s place I can move the desk down so there will be room for my glider and side table. But before I can put them there I have to paint them. And I have to hang my pictures and organizing thingies and calendar. And then I might be done.



Here’s a before picture of the glider and side table. (I’m actually showing this to you because you can see part of the bookcase in the background, but it’s not a full-on picture of the bookcase so it doesn’t actually count as a real picture. Right? And Todd doesn’t know the password to my blog so he can’t go in an remove it. But it is his birthday, so let’s just not tell him I did it. M-kay? Shhh…)

The plan here is to paint the glider the same white as the bookcase and the table the same mint color as the bead board  in the back of the bookcase. And I have new cushions for the chair, but I’m not going to show them to you yet. Suffice it to say, they’re lovely!

I’m on a bit of a time crunch to get all this done because my mom and sisters are coming out in less than four weeks! So now I’m going to go bake a cake and do a little website work for a couple of clients (I have real, live clients!) and tomorrow I’ll get back to painting.

You guys! It just hit me that I get chocolate cake tonight! That is exciting.


Girls’ Day Out

Crafters Gonna Craft

I realize it’s been over a week since last I regaled you with office updates. Since then I received and put together the cabinet and it’s pretty much wonderful.

It’s actually a bathroom floor cabinet from Wal-Mart, but whatever. It suits my needs just fine and it looks great! Except for this little oops right here.

I promise I followed the directions and, in fact, read them over and over again to make sure I was putting the shelf in the correct way. Apparently I was not. Which isn’t such a big deal because when the doors are closed you can’t even see the shelf. But still.

So yesterday Katie and I took a little road trip (more on that in a jiff) and I bought this tape and now it looks like this:

And I’m pretty much in love with the cabinet. Except for the bathroom-esque door knobs, but that’s easy enough to change. I will be looking for knobs to match the desk.

As for the rest of the office, nothing has been done. I’m waiting for the fabulous bookcase Todd is going to build me. He has the supplies and will be starting on it this weekend, but he had to finish these first:


He MADE me shutters for our bedroom! It’s really hard to tell in the picture, but there is still some finish work to be done to the window frame because, as it happens, our windows are anything but square. So shims were made and some creative hanging happened, but they look fantastic and will be beautiful when everything is done. And that will be when I paint the bedroom and the window trim. Which will be when my office is done. Which will be when And I have no idea when that will be.

Okay. So now we’re all caught up on the office happenings. On to the road trip I mentioned above.

Katie stayed down at school this summer to work, take classes and do an internship at a local museum. She is now home for about three weeks before she starts her SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE! How my baby is now a senior in college should be its own post full of nostalgia and tear wine stains and wonderment, but that’s for another day.

Anyway, we decided we had to go to Hobby Lobby because she needed fixings for her apartment and I needed a white board and calendar for my office. (See? Everything comes back to my office.) But no road trip, however long or short, is complete without some fuel for the road in the form of Starbucks something or other. So we stopped for our brew of choice and hit the road for Exton.

As I said, I was on the lookout for a dry-erase calendar and a memo board. But I didn’t want something boring so I made a dry-erase memo board out of a shadow box and pretty scrapbook paper. I added some twine and embellishments for clothes pins so I could hang notes and such. I’m kind of enamored with it.


But it wasn’t all about the office. I also wanted to pick something up for our mantel because it still had this:

Winter Wonderland

But all Hobby Lobby had was Fall and Christmas stuff so we decided we had to get serious and go to Kitchen Kettle Village. Kitchen Kettle Village is in Amish Country in a little town called Intercourse. “Intercourse” means conversation, people! It’s full of all kinds of trinkets that say I ❤ Intercourse. But no, that’s not what I was looking for as mantel decor.

This is what we ended up with:

God Bless America

And it will probably just stay there all year around because we are Americans all year around. And because my seasonal decor game is weak. I may throw a pumpkin or a Christmas bauble up there as the season dictates, but then again, I may not.


The Office Project – Not Quite There

The Office Project

Because I know all this talk of my new office has been so fascinating, so exciting, I thought I’d tell you a little more. Yesterday I put my desk and my chair together. Those IKEA desks are something else. It wasn’t putting together a bookcase, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, it was pretty fun. I did have to have Todd help me place the top of the desk on after I’d put the base together, but that’s just because it was a two person job.

So guess what I’ve been doing today? WORKING! In my newly painted work space. But it’s nowhere near done. There is so much still to be done. And guess what! Remember in this post I was lamenting the fact that I have three boxes of books and in this post I said I was going to redo the bookcase? Well, I’m not. Do you know why? BECAUSE TODD’S GOING TO BUILD ME A NEW ONE! Yes indeedy, folks! The cheapo bookcase I have right now obviously isn’t big enough to house all my books and I mentioned to him how it would be really nice to have a bigger bookcase and how there was room for it and on and on and he said, “Sure. We can do that. Just give me your specs.” HE TOTALLY SAID THAT!

And it’s going to be so wonderful that I may not want to actually put books in it.

NAH! I’m just joshing!!

I ordered a floor cabinet for some storage and it should be here tomorrow. Once I get that in place and the rocker where it’s going to go, I’ll know exactly where on the wall my desk will sit. Then I can start figuring out where to hang this cool bit of IKEA wonder for pens/pencils, files, and possibly my mouse and spare glasses:

IKEA Storage cropped


I can also see what my organizational needs are and, if needed, Todd is going to build me some shelves for over the desk. I’m not 100% positive on that yet. We can just be surprised together.

Still on the to do list besides what’s mentioned above:

  • Faux wood blinds
  • New cushions for rocker
  • Paint rocker
  • Paint side table
  • Hang pictures
  • Bask in the glory of my beautiful office

The Office Project – Days Three and Four

The Office Project

Thursday night I was so sore and exhausted from all the painting calisthenics I mentioned in my last post, that at 9:00 I took two Advil PMs and went to bed. I slept like a rock. It was glorious. Waking up yesterday was not quite as glorious. But wake up I did and coffee helped to clear the cobwebs.

Once I was mostly coherent I slapped the first coat of paint on the walls. I typed my wishful thinking on Facebook that maybe it would only take one coat and several people cautioned me against it. Which I already knew. I was just daydreaming out loud.

After the first coat I left for some errands in Todd’s manly man truck. It’s big and it’s diesel and I have to hoist myself up into it and slide down to get out. I felt mighty powerful, folks. My main objective of the day was to pick up my desk and chair and a few other things from IKEA.

Let’s stop here a second and chat about IKEA. I could probably live there. It makes my heart sing and my step spring. It’s like Disney. I know I’ve said that before and I still stand by that statement. And the food! I’ve always heard about their Swedish meatballs, but had never eaten there. Well yesterday I timed it just right. I was already hungry, but when I came to the cafe and smelled the aromas I became ravenous. So I had my first-ever IKEA Swedish meatball plate. Well worth the $6 for that and a flavored water. Now I’m looking forward to the next time I have to go to IKEA.

Anyhoo, I had already made a list of the things I wanted from IKEA so it was easy to just pick them up as I came to them. I had a hard time finding the storage boxes I wanted, mostly for the color, but was successful in the end.


Look at that color! It’s actually a little brighter than the picture looks and it goes so nicely with the gray walls! And boy, do I have plans for that accent color, as you will see.

After a delightful time at my happy place I came home and put up the second coat of paint and then I was done for the day. Which meant a nice evening watching Whitechapel with Todd.


Let’s stop here and talk about Whitechapel. Have you seen it? It’s on Amazon. It’s really good, but each season gets creepier and creepier. I’m not sure how much more of the creepiness I can take.

Okay. Back to the office. Today I haven’t done a whole lot. I pulled off the Frog tape and I primed the return vent, but I’m going to have to run out to get a decent brush to paint it with. I’m kind of stuck until Todd takes down the ladder and puts my desk and chair together. But he’s been busy with more important stuff, though what that means, I’m not sure. Well, he didn’t actually say that, but since he didn’t jump at the chance to help me put my furniture together it must be more important. He’s been out in the garage, though, and it’s hot and icky so I’m not going out there to find out.

What I DID do, though, was get crafty. I couldn’t bring myself to put the ugly switch plates back on the freshly painted walls so I did a little Pinteresting and found a cheap solution. A trip to AC Moore for some scrapbook paper and a little Modge Podge and I was in business. Check it out!

I’m going to have to paint the screws, though, because they’re bugging me. But all in all I’m pleased with the look. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the storage box is the same vibrant blue as these switch plates. As I said above, I’m going to be using that as an accent color splashed around here and there. You’ll just have to stay tuned for that, though, because there are many more tales from the office to come.

The Office Project – Day Two

The Office Project

Oh my gosh, people. I hurt everywhere. I mean from my toes to my neck. The top of my head feels okay. It might be tender, but I can’t lift my arms up high enough to touch it to find out.

Seriously, 30 minute work outs for three weeks had nothing on today. Though I’m thankful I had that three weeks to prepare for today. No really. It was a marathon work out, starting with pushing super heavy boxes of books around the little room so I could get to all the walls.

Then it was wash the walls – up the step stool, down the step stool, wax on, wax off, move over, rinse, repeat.

After that, Frog Tape over all the baseboards and door and window casings. Up the step stool, down the step stool, fasten the tape, move over, rinse, repeat.

Finally it was time to get the edging done. Sit on the floor, paint above the baseboards, move over, rinse repeat. Paint up the casings as far as I can reach, move over, rinse, repeat. Lift the paint can over my head and place on the ladder, up the ladder, paint as far as I can, down the ladder, up the other side of the ladder, paint as far as I can, down the ladder, take the paint can down, move the ladder over, rinse, repeat. (I just Googled the weight of a gallon of paint and it’s a little over ten pounds. So yeah. I definitely got my strength training in today.)

EdgingAnd then another go around the entire room. The original color is what I would call a goldenrod and the new color is a light-ish gray so even though it has a primer in it, it definitely needs a second coat to keep the gold from coming through.

Cliffside Gray

Benjamin Moore Cliffside Gray

The lighting isn’t very good so the paint looks much more blue than gray, but I think it’s going to be just the thing when I get everything finished.

By the time I finished the second round I was thinking how I liked the idea of a shower, but wasn’t sure I could execute the actual process. Good thing for the other people in this house I managed. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an early night for me.

My plan for tomorrow is to throw a coat of paint on the walls (should be easy-peasy compared to today, as long as I can still move), run to IKEA to pick up my desk and chair and maybe a few other accessories, come back to throw the second coat on and then maybe call it a day. Or maybe not because I thought of some other stuff I want to do in there.

I’m going to write a book called, “If You Give A Jen A Paint Brush”. It will start something like, If you give a Jen a paintbrush, she will want to redo the bookcase… I’m totally going to redo the cheap bookcase we bought at Wal-Mart 20 years ago. I’ll tell you more about that later.

I think Todd should just be happy that I didn’t “accidentally” rip up any carpet. Oh, how I miss having my friend, Rhonda, around. I could always throw her under the bus and say it was her fault. Now it’s all me. Obviously, I need a Rhonda up here.

The Office Project – Day One

The Office ProjectToday was the first day of my office project. The first official day, anyway. The sitting room has been a catch all for weeks months years and I have gotten quite a bit of it taken care of. And by that I mean boxed up and put in another room, which we will get to in a minute.

The tasks for today were logistical in nature. Part of the issue is that we have way more furniture than we need. But we also have two young adults who will be moving into their own places eventually and taking some of the furniture with them. Which means we have to hang on to said furniture.

Years ago we bought a beautiful roll top desk and Taylor had it in his room until we moved to Pennsylvania. It made its way into the sitting room, but it won’t work for my purposes. The hutch or roll top won’t allow me to: a) set a desk top on it; or b) open my laptop all the way. But what to do with the desk?

Todd finally came up with a plan. Since Taylor occupies the basement, his room has become the guestroom. His dresser is now downstairs and all that is in the guestroom is a queen size bed, two very small nightstands and a wall unit. The room is laid out pretty funky so it took some finagling to figure out we could move the wall unit and slide the desk into its place.

Which meant I had to move all the junk that I’d moved from the sitting room and onto the guestroom floor up to the bed so we’d be able to move the wall unit. I also had to take all the stuff off of and out of the wall unit, which is currently co-mingled on the bed with my office stuff and waiting for Taylor to go through because I think a goodly portion of it is junk. Like precalculus-homework-from-high-school kind of junk.

Once the wall unit was moved, I then had to finish cleaning off the desk and ended up putting all that stuff on the moved wall unit. Then, once the desk was moved into place, its contents were returned. This is, of course, temporary because most of it will go back into some semblance of organization once the office is completed. At least that’s the plan.

The only hitch today was not having enough boxes for all my books. I may have to cull them when I’m putting them back. Or not.

Tomorrow’s Assignment: Painting. Lord have mercy.

Challenge Completed

Challenge Completed

Twenty-one days are done and the challenge is over. I had hoped to finish strong, but Katie was home for the weekend and we went to dinner to celebrate Taylor’s new job and I wasn’t able to do my workouts because Katie brought a friend home and I didn’t want to be caught exercising by said friend and I’m sure I had a couple of other reasons, but they have escaped me.

In the end I only lost two pounds and two inches total. I was a little disappointed but not surprised. My metabolism is so out of whack. If I had done this challenge eleven years ago – before I was 40 and before I went through chemo and all the associated treatment – I would have shrunk a size or more. But it’s not eleven years ago and I’m not under 40 and I barely shrunk at all.

What I am is 2 pounds and 2 inches closer to my goal. Of course, it’s going to take me about 2 1/2 years to get to that goal, but whatever.

On another positive note, I am stronger than I was three weeks ago. Todd’s been doing a Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness challenge. For 22 days he’s to do 22 push ups (today is day 21) and the other night he was showing off his pecs. So I was joking with him about my pecs and when I “went to make a muscle” I surprised myself with a real live muscle! I may or may not have kissed it.

So really I probably lost more like three pounds because I’m pretty sure my arms are carrying at least a pound of brawn.

Thus ends my 21-Day-Challenge posts. For the next several days I will be channeling Chip and Joanna or maybe the Property Brothers. I will be turning my sitting room into an office so I’ll have a dedicated work space instead of spreading out all over the entire house. The image in my head is a lovely, Pinterest-worthy office. We’ll see how close reality will come to fantasy. Stay tuned…

I Grow Rocks

I’m sorry I haven’t been very good about writing. (Is it just me, or do I seem to say that a lot?) I’ll be better about it once I get my act together. (Again, I say this all the time, don’t I?) Actually, my act is fairly together right now as I’ve been spending a lot of time on my website and I’m having so much fun! It’s a lot of work, though! How come nobody told me!? Well anyway, if you haven’t been over to Grace & Such since my last post, you need to take a gander. It’s starting to really come together.

But I’m here to tell you about the home front. I mean that literally. I’m going to tell you about the front of the home. And a little about the back, but mostly the front.

My story begins a long time ago. Back when I tried to grow something. And then it died. I didn’t give up. I tried to grow something again. And then it died. And then I planted petunias around a mailbox in a whiskey barrel and I watered them every day and they were glorious and beautiful and I thought I’d finally figured it out. But then they died.

After a while I would bring plants home from the nursery and Mr. Jenster would apologize to them. “I’m so sorry it’s come to this,” or “You’re not long for this world,” or “dead plant walking.” Eventually he would say cruel things to me like, “What dead plants did you throw our money away on this time?”

I finally had to accept the fact that I have a black thumb. All my plants wither and die slow, painful-looking deaths and I’m helpless to stop it. Except for weeds and unwanted grass. Those I’m really good at.

About a month ago or so Todd cleared out the flower bed in the front of the house. And when I say he cleared it out, what I mean is he took out everything, including the nasty junipers and overgrown “little” evergreen tree. He dug down about 6 inches to get rid of the lousy soil,  took care of some drainage issues and filled it with premium soil from the local landscape supplier.

And then he turned it over to me. The one who kills plants with a mere glance. So I decided I’d start with rocks and see how that goes. Turns out big rocks from a landscape supplier are expensive! So I did what any sane person would do. I asked on Facebook if anyone had any landscaping boulders they wanted to get rid of. Ding, ding, ding!!

The hows of getting the rocks into the flower bed are a whole other story and one I don’t have the energy to tell. Just suffice it to say it was quite the ordeal. Not for me because I just went along for the ride and said, “I like that rock.”

Anyhoo, I’m so happy to report that we’ve had the rocks for over two weeks now and I haven’t killed them yet. I think I may actually try some plants next.

Rocks Collage


And on the homeback, Todd has put two bird feeders in the tree next to the deck. He can see the upper feeder from his office upstairs and I can see them both from the kitchen sink.

Bird Collage

So far we’ve seen a lot of sparrows and another type of little bird that is as of yet unidentified,  a downy woodpecker and yesterday there was a hawk in our tree. I’m not kidding! Why was there a hawk in our tree?? He was fairly close to the upper feeder so I think he may have been waiting for his lunch to come eat some lunch. It’s like Marlon Perkin’s Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom all up in here! The only thing that would have been better is if he hadn’t flown away before Todd could get his camera phone to focus.

Oooo, no! The only thing that would have been better is if his lunch would have come for lunch AND Todd could get his camera phone to focus. That would have been fabulous!

As you can see, Sookie is fascinated.

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Aaaaaaannnnnnnd It’s Done!

Well mostly done, anyway. It’s pretty much complete. The powder room is just a few touch ups away from being finished!

I promised before and after pictures, but I can’t find the before photos. Just suffice it to say it was a boring, construction-grade bathroom. Linoleum on the floor, a beige toilet and a standard cabinet with standard sink and faucet. Got that image in your head?? Now follow me to the bathroom. (That sounded much less awkward in my head.)

First we see the beautiful sink and faucet. I am in love.

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Beautiful, no? I’m filled with delight every time I see them. I’ve never thought myself to be very materialistic, but I’m starting to reconsider.

Now check out these killer switch plates I bought in Cape May! They were instrumental in my choice of cabinet color (which we will get to in a moment).

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Aren’t they nifty??

And now for the Piece de Resistance. The cabinet, which my super talented man made with his own two hands and all those spiffy tools in the garage.

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That dude has some seriously mad skillz! The delight I spoke of when I mentioned the sink and faucet? It’s totally surpassed by my complete joy and amazement every time I look at the cabinet and counter top. We actually had looked at vanities and I knew I wanted a vessel sink, but everything we looked at was either outrageously expensive or just icky. While looking at a particularly flimsy (yet reasonably priced) vanity at Lowes or Home Depot Todd said, “I can make you a vanity if this is all it is,” and BAM! Another new idea was born.

And a few of the finishing touches – the light fixture, the mirror and the flooring.

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The light fixture was one of the first things I bought, along with the sink and faucet. The photo doesn’t really do it justice. Just believe me when I say it’s really cool. And the mirror used to hang in my dining room. My Mother-In-Law bought a pair of these mirrors at an estate sale years ago and then gave me one of them. I had originally thought to paint it the same color as the vanity, but I’ve since changed my mind. I actually like the look of the dark cherry wood atop the bright green vanity.

The flooring is 12×24 inch tile with gray grout. Tile is one of my nemeses because I can never find just the right one. But when I saw these I just knew. Kind of like when I met Todd. I just knew.

The beadboard was one of those, “Oh no! We pulled the old vanity out and there are holes in the wall and we need to cover them up,” decisions. I think it was a good one.

And that, dear ladies and gentleman, is a tour of my new powder room. I can now get on with my life.


A New Disorder

My fans have been hounding me about writing some more since it’s been several months. There have been at least two, maybe three people beg for another post, ask for another post, mention there hasn’t been a post since December.

Always the people pleaser, I’ve decided to forgo the laundry, dishes and other assorted chores I always, usually, sometimes, think I should probably do on Saturday and give the people what they want a bit of time-wasting uselessness.

But what to write about? There are so many options and I’m not good with choices. So I think I’ll just tell you what’s on my mind at this very moment.

I have DADD – Decorating Attention Deficit Disorder.

We have a small powder room that I want to completely redo. Everything – and I mean everything – is coming out. I’m going to put in new flooring, a new toilet, a new vanity, a new mirror and a new light fixture and I’ve been obsessing over making the right choices.

It’s a powder room, for crying out loud. It’s not like people come to the house just to hang out in there. And if that is the reason they’re coming to my house they need to stay away because that’s just weird.

Urban Industrial Rustic Shabby Chic is pretty much what I’m going for. (See what I mean? I can’t even make a decision on what to call the style.)

I was thinking about doing a pallet wall behind the toilet and vanity, but foraging for useable pallets is more than I’m willing to do at the moment. So I’ve spent the last hour or so talking to Todd about the cheapest way to get the look I want and frankly, I think I’m going to like this even better.

Can I just stop here for a second and tell you how much I dig on this stuff? Thanks! I LOVE this stuff! If it didn’t cost money I would be just like Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict. And if you don’t know who she is or what Rehab Addict is then you haven’t lived! She’s like the cool version of “This Old House”.

Thanks for indulging me.

I’m very excited because we have a plan and it includes paint and Home Depot and the lumber yard and tile and a super cool project. I will, of course, post before and after pictures. I just hope it turns out half as awesome as the image in my head. Sadly, that very rarely happens.

You do know what this means, right? It means I’m going to be too busy to write posts.

And we’ve come full circle.