Tuesday, December 15, 2015

58 Happenings Around the Abode - December 2015

Long time no chat friends!  I apologize for my sudden disappearance... As much as I wish I had been away doing something amazing like skydiving with a celebrity or Christmas Party hopping or even hiding at a relaxing spa retreat, we were hit with a trifecta of illnesses and spending time curled up in blankets, taking hot baths, eating soup, visiting the Dr. office and combating chills and coughs.  Three kids in three different schools managed to bring home strep throat, the stomach flu and a sinus infection paired with bronchitis, and it just kept coming in waves.  And when one goes down, we all start tumbling after.  So as much as I was excited to create a stress free holiday, now that we are all finally on the mend, I just realized there are only about 10 days left before Christmas arrives.  #justbreath #tistheseason

I mentioned here that I have a few new series ideas for next year.  One of the things I would like to do is a monthly check-in to share those in-between moments.  The small switcharoos that don't necessarily warrant an entire post, but are still changing how we live in and enjoy our home.  I also think it will be a good place to share something new that we have tried; whether it be a new recipe we love or an organizing product or adding a new plant.  Finally, I would like to use it as a way to set a few home goals for the following month and do a check-in on those as well.  A little mix of everything to recap happenings around our home.

This first post may get a little lengthy as I have a lot of filling in to do, but hopefully these types of posts will find their rhythm and evolve as I go.  And this series needs a catchy title.  I have been pondering on this for about a month now and I still have nothing.... Bueller?


Because many of the rooms around our home stay the same from month-to-month, the purpose of this post is to tell the story of the rooms we have made small changes to and show how we reuse items from space to space.  Let's dive in with the most requested room update first.


KITCHEN/LIVING ROOM


What's new?  Very little since my last kitchen update.  The kitchen/living room renovation is a touchy one for me.  We put so much heart and energy and excitement into the update, and we have SO much to love.  In fact, we couldn't be more smitten with how the changes have impacted our day-to-day routine and lives for the better.  And don't even get me started on the joys of entertaining now!  We have hosted a few gatherings and they have gone off without a hitch and have really allowed us to share our home with many of our favorite people. But there are a few lingering things that we are working out and the longer things take the more frustrated I get.  That said, I never want that to come across as us not loving what we have done and sounding negative about the entire update.  I think we all know that renovations come with added expenses, things that go wrong, headaches, lack of sleep, set backs, and even a little heartache.  I went into the process thinking I could minimize most of those things from happening and I now wave my white flag.

I have shared a little here and there about the range/cooktop/downdraft dilemma and I really want to do an entire post on the problem and our ultimate solution to document the entire story and hopefully prevent others from making some of the same mistakes we made.  The range/downdraft is really the only item we have left to finish to have a 100% complete and working kitchen.   Although I wish I could say that by now it is all solved, which I believed it would be in our last post, it turns out there was some incorrect information provided to us by the new downdraft company (twice), so our second attempt at ventilation still didn't work.  The good thing is that we were able to install the new gas range and we are also not required by code to have any ventilation at all, so we have been able to cook meals with the luxury of a stove again (we are just careful about what we cook for now).  We would never call this a long term solution, we always knew we wanted some sort of proper cooking ventilation for all of the obvious reasons, but the actual system we have ultimately determined to be the best for our island setup is a product that won't be released until spring.  Instead of rushing things and spending any more money on the wrong items, we have been working directly with a company to help us rectify this once and for all (crossing all fingers and toes at this point).


Also, after some pondering and looking at our kitchen photos, we decided to remove the chunkier crown moulding on the pantry and fridge sections and update it with the IKEA stock moulding (seen above) for a more finished look.

Otherwise, as I mentioned, we have done absolutely nothing else with the space.  I really wanted to just live with it for awhile before I dove into selecting dining chairs, window coverings and backsplash tile.  I also think I was just ready to be done with all of the technical and install items, that my brain needed a break. 

While traveling in September to a Better Homes & Garden's event that I attend each year with my friend, Grace, we got to chatting about how we could partner up again.  You may remember that I flew down to Texas to work on her beautiful guest room with her, and it was truly one of my favorite projects to date.  Not only do I consider Grace to be a very dear friend, we also spent time doing what we both love; organizing and designing.  Truth be told, Grace's home is nothing short of extraordinary.  She has put so much thought and soul into her spaces, while also taking risks and playing with fresh ideas.  She isn't afraid of color (I bow to her for that) and dares to be bold with her design.  If you haven't seen her most recent bathroom reveal, drop everything you are doing and go fall in love here.  I will wait.

Grace agreed to help me put the finishing touches on our space.  She has been helping me look at tile options, problem solve a few of my dilemmas and come up with a design to create cohesion within the newly open area.  I can't wait to share more of our plans after the holidays.  I mentioned to Bryan the other day that now that the renovation is winding down, it feels like we just moved in and things just don't quite feel like home yet.  It has been a little unsettling, so Grace's help is just what I need.


BOY'S SHARED ROOM

The boy's shared room is probably one of my favorite rooms in our home.  It has slowly been layered with pattern and color, and always feels so fun and relaxed.  It is also where many brotherly stories have been whispered and late night mom snuggles have been cherished.... Our youngest two have always been extremely close, so sharing a room has worked out really well.  They recently heard me mention the idea of moving one of them into our guest room within the next year or two, and now they both have bedroom visions swirling.  Parker wants to keep the shared room just as it is so it is always sleepover ready, and Peyton is excited about the idea of creating a space to call his own. 


I really wanted to find a new home for our navy blue curtain panels, and on a whim one day decided to clip them up in the boys room.  Instant love.  And they really liked them also (as much as kids who really don't care that much about curtains will like curtains).


We also added plaid quilts to their beds about a year ago now, and the navy in the curtains ties nicely with the updated bedding.



PRESTON'S BEDROOM

Preston's room is the perfect example as to why I like to take things slow and let a space evolve.  As much as we continued to make small changes (painted armoire, diy headboard, diy study station), something still wasn't feeling right.  Then, after we hung the navy curtains in our boy's shared bedroom, I knew the second set was the missing link in Preston's room as well.  I gave him the option between the orange and the blue and he selected the blue (YAY!).  The panels inspired me to re-paint the lower portion of his walls Ralph Lauren's Adelaide Blue and his moulding Ralph Lauren's Iron Blue.


Iron Blue is now my favorite navy and I also used it to update his nightstand.  It is stunning.  I also installed some new hardware on the front of the nightstand (YHL shoutout!) and it looks like a whole new piece!


We still have a sconce to install and some art to hang and then his room will be ready to share and one we will declare finished (for now).


HOME OFFICE

We have officially started the process of swapping the playroom and my home office.  I just couldn't take working without a window any longer, so I started moving things out of impulse one evening.  The goal is to utilize as much as we can from both spaces for now, just moving around the furniture and storage.  I haven't done any painting or designing and I am now working with a lovely stenciled birch tree wall behind me each day.  However, aside from the window, the biggest bonus was bringing back my aqua hutch.  I am pretty sure it is the happiest piece of furniture in our home.  I love that I now get to look at it while I work, and the kids are excited to start creating a "boy cave" that they can use for playing and entertaining their pals. I promised them a beverage fridge and popcorn maker in exchange for a window seat.  It should be a fun change for us all!


The biggest change will be moving the location of the closet door so I can continue to access my under-the-stairs storage.  The switch is a little bittersweet; the playroom has been one of the most popular projects we have ever completed, but having the boys excited helps make the transition easier.  More photos and space plans coming your way soon as I unpack and get settled in. 


FAMILY ROOM

Last year we sold our leather sectional and moved down our softer sofa when the renovation began.  We also brought down our Moroccan shag rug and I have been playing with other furniture combos using what we already have.  Because we all agreed that the green patterned chair is the coziest in the house, it was moved to this lounge area to be used for movie nights, reading and video game playing.  We recently pulled the rug because it needs a good cleaning (still trying to figure out how to do that), so the boys have been using the space to build large train tracks.


Once I unpack the rest of the playroom, the kids will move their play things back there and we will work on finishing up this space with a few minor updates.  I would like to add board and batten from floor to ceiling to make the room feel taller (it is only a 7' ceiling), and also source a soft, round ottoman for propping up our feet.


MASTER BEDROOM

The last stop on today's updated tour, is our master bedroom.  During the time of the year when people are putting out plaid prints and warming things up with cable knit throws, I go the opposite route and bring in a little color and feeling of spring to battle the short and gloomy days.


I mentioned that we moved mirrors around a few months ago, so here is the updated shot of our wood tray mirror over our white dresser.


Our ring pulls couldn't hold up to the weight of the heavy, old wood drawers, so we upgraded to some beautiful brass cup pulls.


I finally settled on an updated light fixture to replace the out-of-place chandelier.  I played it safe and went with a sweet little drum shade fixture I found on Joss & Main.

The new art was created by using a photo I took at the Bloom Bash Workshop, which I uploaded to the Waterlogue phone app.  The app turns any photo into a lovely watercolor image, which you can then save and print.


I also uploaded the prints so that I could share them with you!

Download HERE

Download HERE

Download HERE

We would still like to add some more moulding detail on the walls and crown around the room, and source two bedside sconces as well, but other than a few decor swaps here and there, the room is feeling pretty finished and is a nice place to relax at the end of the day.


A few others random things to share...


We recently tried simmering some apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, rosemary and cloves and our home smelled absolutely amazing for a few days!  I highly recommend buying into this fun home fad and playing around with different spices and oils.  I am planning to add some peppermint oil next time to jazz things up for Christmas.



I get excited about small organizing products just as much as the bigger ones, and these darling boot clips are my favorite new find.  They come in a plethora of fun colors and I can't wait to hand them out as gifts for the holidays.




I don't know about you, but I find music to be my number one stress reliever.  I recently downloaded this album and find myself putting it on repeat daily.



I have purchased a few of Parima Studio's prints for our home, and now she offers free monthly desktop wallpapers when you subscribe to her email.  I look forward to updating my desktop to something beautiful and fresh each month!  Thanks Patricia!



And last but not least, I found this pillow a few months ago and shared it on Instagram.  Then I realized not everyone follows me there so I thought I would share it here as well.  I am not sure where the pillow will land as it currently makes its way from room to room, but the message is near and dear to me and how I feel about our home.

__________

JANUARY HOME GOALS:

Although we plan to hang up our project hats for the rest of December, we are excited to get back to work in January.  Currently on our January "Home To-Do" List:
  1. Finally finish our stairs with an installed railing, touch up paint and maybe a few fun decorative additions
  2. Install sconce and art in Preston's bedroom (and call it complete)
  3. Install french door from master closet to master bathroom
__________

Well, I called it!  This post got quite lengthy, so thank you for hanging in there with me!  You can find past room photos in my home tour here.

Feel free to let me know if you have any fun titles for this new series.  Also, I am trying to do some planning for 2016 posts, and I would love for you to take a quick and painless survey to help me better understand what brings you here and what you hope to find while you visit.  And thank you so much in advance for taking a minute or two to do that. 

Now, I am off to decorate the tree with the kids!  (Told you we were behind, yikes!) 

58 comments:

  1. I think you should just call this series "monthly mix ups".
    Glad to hear you guys are on the mend!

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  2. I love these kind of posts. So many questions answered! I love hearing about all the little changes you make (and the big ones of course!) Keep this series going!

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  3. This is such a great post! I love hearing about the small tweaks to projects and how you have adapted the space to work and meet your families needs!

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  4. Maybe "IHeart: The Little Things" or "IHeart: Everyday Details."

    (Glad you're feeling better and hope you have a wonderful Christmas season!)

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  5. Pop-up shops are BIG now. Call it an IHeart PopUp Post.

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  6. Loved reading this post and I'm looking forward to your monthly updates in 2016

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  7. Looking forward for your post this coming 2016 for updates about your house upgrades.

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  8. Really great post!

    Could you please share where you purchased the plaid quilt for the boys bedroom?

    Thank you

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! The quilts are from PBKids, I believe these: http://www.potterybarnkids.com/m/products/madras-quilted-bedding/?pkey=cboys-quilts&isx=0.1.4127

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  9. I enjoyed this post so much! Thanks for the heads up on that pillow, I love it!

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  10. "It's the little things...' immediately popped into my mind for the series and see that someone else thought so too! :) LOVE the 'pop up' idea also. We had the cold/flu/strep/whatever the heck it was....go thru our house too, so I feel your pain. We are woefully behind with anything Holiday related, oh well......Merry Christmas to you and your family with as little stress as possible!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you also, I hope you are all feeling better as well. <3

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  11. Our boys had a stomach virus last week and it has been one doctor visit after the other. I hope you all get better soon. I just downloaded the album you attached and I already love it…how relaxing!

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  12. What I love most about your blog is your honesty and how real you are! So many blogs now are turning "corporate" and I personally have stopped reading those. If I only wanted to see beautiful photos and "perfect" projects, then there are a multitude of magazines and web sites to choose from. I really enjoy your authentic blog! Thank you so much for giving us so much. Please stick with keeping it real! :)

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  13. OMG Jen! I happened to read this last night but after a long day of work, I decided to comment this morning. Don't laugh but as I was walking around this morning, I was thinking of suggestions for your column name and the one up top was something that popped in my head. Anyway, love the title and loved all the updates as well, even when you mentioned no updates since that's how I roll too! Glad to hear you and the family are feeling better and perhaps that bit of down time is a blessing in disguise...maybe you'll find that you are only going to indulge in holiday decorating, etc. that are the most noticeable and important to your family this year. I did that a couple years ago and not only do we all seem to enjoy the holidays more but there is certainly less stress around getting it all done. Thanks again for the updates and can't wait to see your projects in the new year! I'm personally excited to see Preston's room evolve since I'm using it as inspiration for my own almost 14 yr old's room.

    Peggy

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    1. Love this, thanks Peggy! And yes, I agree being home together is a blessing (even if we weren't feeling very good). We really try to make the most of down time because it doesn't seem to happen enough these days. And this year I am ok with only decorating the tree, mantle and front porch. It's all for the kiddos and I just want it to be fun. :) Merry Christmas!

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  14. "Keeping Up with the Joneses". I do love your posts and I can't wait to see what you do next!

    ♥ Elle
    www.ElleyBlogs.com

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  15. I saw your tag "around the abode" how about just simple like that...

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  16. Monthly Mashup seems right for these posts! I also like From the Heart, since that's where all these little thoughts, updates and ideas come from. Thanks for always putting your heart into your posts. I've missed them lately! ;)

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  17. Jen, I've been reading your blog for over 2 years, but never commented. You are one of my favorite bloggers- you've helped me look at my home as a place that is ever- evolving, but that it's possible for even transitional phases to be attractive and functional. I am as much of an organizing fiend as you, and appreciate you sharing how you not only tweak things over time to meet your current needs, but how you make things pretty as well. Your organizing posts not only inspire me, but remind me that it's important to make even the inside of a drawer attractive to bring a smile to the users's face (and encourage them to maintain it!) I especially appreciate your honesty and willingness to share the ups and downs of huge, long term projects, such as your kitchen Reno, and when you tackled your storage spaces. So many bloggers just post before and afters, and gloss over the realities of the process. As for your new monthly series - what a great idea! I love seeing how you make small changes (or big ones) to your spaces as your family's needs change or you crave a decor mix-up. Again, many bloggers "finish" a space and you never see it again, while you share how you truly LIVE in your home and use it as an ever- changing canvas for self- expression, rather than a static showcase for your decorating and DIY skills. This post is getting long, so let me just say I like the title "monthly mix- ups" suggested by another reader, and I' m really looking forward to updates on your office space, as I am currently re-creating my home office too. Happy holidays to you and your wonderful family!

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    1. Well said and I fully agree!

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    2. Thank you so much for your comment. I agree blogging has changed and with that, so have expectations from ourselves and our readers. It's not always easy knowing what people look for in a blog since it really is different for everyone, so I just try to stick to what I know and tell our home story. Happy to hear that you enjoy that, as I truly do as well. A very Merry Christmas to you and thank you again for sticking with me over the years! And cheers to pretty organized drawers! ;)

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  18. I love this idea, it was so great reading about all your little updates and the small tips about things you like and products you are enjoying are great too. Can't wait to read more in this series. I really must start setting myself a little monthly goals list too. I'm sure it would help keep us on track with little jobs that need to be done.

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  19. Where is that adorable green stereo from?

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  20. And So are the Days of our Lives....

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  21. I don't have a suggestion for a series title, but I do have a suggestion for a big soft cozy sturdy round ottoman. An upholstered garbage can. I know it sounds weird, but I did it a few years ago with a plastic barrel, and it's easy and perfect.
    https://homeon129acres.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/how-to-make-a-diy-ottoman/

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  22. OH, I'd love to see more about how you're using your new space for entertaining! Are you having more formal sit down dinners or more casual milling about the kitchen island, etc. Do you set out the main dish & sides buffet style, and if so where?
    And even if you don't do as much this year, I'd love to see a post with your house decked out for Christmas.
    I'm glad to hear your family is on the mend and hope you can enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

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  23. I'm glad you're all feeling better. Everything in your house looks so beautiful! I also like listening to music when I'm stressed.

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  24. Thanks for the update Jen and SO incredibly sorry you guys were all sick. Gosh I feel so much for you on the stove/draft issue. :-/ We are all too familiar with the issues. I hope you enjoy the rest of the month and have a lovely Christmas holiday!! xoxo

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  25. Welcome back Jen ...we have missed you so much! xoxo

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  26. I love those curtain panels. I'm so glad that you repurposed them. They are too gorgeous to not have found a new home for them. The watercolor artwork is also beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. Hi Jen! Whoa, just caught up on several posts and recent updates on the kitchen remodel. Everything looks great, despite the small issues you have (e.g., top heavy cabinets). Three things I absolutely love are the island stools--can you share where you found those and my apologies if that was already covered in another post. Enjoy your time off from remodeling and wishing you and the fam a wonderful Christmas! ~ Janet

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    1. Thank you Janet! The stools are from LexMod: http://bit.ly/1Ljlxxp. Merry Christmas to you as well.

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  28. Love that you shared all the real behind the scenes today! Your home is so beautiful. I'm looking forward to the monthly series. :)

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  29. This is a great idea :) Room & life updates are always fun to read, sounds like you have a lot going on! Glad everyone is feeling better!!

    Those water colors are awesome! Thanks for sharing as they may be new additions to my bedroom :) Can't wait to see more! Now go enjoy the holidays!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor
    xx

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  30. I LOVE this post and can tell it's a post I will look forward to every month. Full of information and various ideas. Thanks!

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  31. Jen, thank you so much for including my monthly calendar downloads in your post! I have so much fun creating them, and even more so because I know how much my subscribers enjoy receiving them every month.

    Btw I am in love with the updated color of the night stand! Such a gorgeous color!

    Best Wishes and Happy Holiday!
    Patricia
    Parima Studio

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  32. Thank you for a great post. You are an inspiration to so many. I think it would be really neat if you had a meet and greet sometime. You have so many followers from all over and tons from Wisconsin. Have a very merry Christmas. Jane

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    1. I love that idea! Maybe sometime this summer when the weather is good again. :) Merry Christmas!

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  33. I thought this post was great. I loved seeing all of the small changes you've made recently. I'm very excited to see what you do with your new office and with the boys area. Looking at your pictures, did you paint your desk white? I thought the original desk was so lovely and unique. It's not meant as a criticism, I'm just curious about the reason for the change.

    Also, I just wanted to say thanks for the time you put into your blog, and for staying authentic to who you are. It must be hard to take time away from your sick boys to post, but I appreciate that you did. I know you're debating changes to blog content, and all I ask is that you please don't become an R-style fashion blogger who occasionally posts home updates. I would rather have one post every two weeks, than a daily post about clothes (really, I'd rather have a new post daily, but I know that's unrealistic :). I find some sort of inspiration in almost everything you post, and have started taking the time to really organize my home properly because of you. So thanks for all you do.

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    1. Thank YOU Sarah for the kind words! I appreciate you reading and I am happy to hear you are finding ideas you can bring into your home. :) I did not paint my farmhouse desk, I am going to keep it in the boy's space because they wanted a bigger table for crafting, Lego and game playing and it already fit in there so well. I will definitely be sharing all of those details as we start really putting together both spaces again.

      Thanks again!

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    2. Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear the farmhouse desk is safe. I'm looking forward to seeing both spaces transform in the new year.

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  34. When I want to introduce moisture into the house then I boil cinnamon, vanilla, etc. When I don't want moisture, I sprinkle cinnamon on foil and put it in the oven on warm with the oven door open. Of course, making bread, cinnamon rolls, or cookies would fill the house with beautiful scents.

    I use my leaf blower to get dust and dirt from my rugs. Extends the time between washing (when washable) and is easier than beating them with a broom. Easier, gentler, and more thorough than using the vacuum. Only done outside, of course!
    Not sure if these things are helpful, but there it is.

    Hope everyone bounces back quickly. I just decorated my tree today and had a lovely time doing it. I am thinking of leaving it up longer and not sweating the fact it went up later - It is an artificial tree, so it won't hurt to leave it. Do what is least stressful for you and fun for everyone. Less is more. Not so much decorating as décor-editing.
    Merry Everything and Happy Healthy Holidays,
    Sherri

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  35. Hi Jen. Great post, you have such a BEAUTIFUL home. Been following your blog for a while now.

    I LOVE the pipe curtain rods in Preston's Room. I know pipe curtain rods and bookcases/bookshelves are quite popular these days...I'm working on a huge custom pipe bookcase unit for our great room. Question, do you have a tutorial on your blog anywhere for the pipe curtain rods in Preston's room? I tried looking for a link, but couldn't find anything quickly.

    Thanks!! Love your blog!

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    1. Thank you!

      I actually cheated on that one and just purchased one from Target: http://target.com/p/drapery-rod-threshold-medium-silver-1-number-of-pieces-in-set/-/A-17343808

      But my pal Cassie shared a tutorial on her blog here which is awesome and may be helpful: http://www.hisugarplumsblog.com/2013/08/diy-galvanized-pipe-curtain-rod.html

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    2. Thank you SO much Jen! Appreciate the links!

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  36. Great post Jen! I love all your tips and ideas. Your touch is what makes your blog so unique. Love to hear what you are planning for 2016. Enjoy the holidays and hope you are all feeling better now :-)

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  37. Merry christmas jen, hope you and your family get better before holidays. See you next year.

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  38. I always love stopping by and it is usually only on a month basis but I love all your tips and your beautiful style. I was wondering where you found those gorgeous floral pillows?

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    1. Thank you Amy! The floral pillows are from Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StuckOnHue

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  39. Really enjoy your blog and love your ideas. :)

    What about "This and That Chat" or "I Heart This and That"?

    Whatever you call it, I'll be reading. Merry Christmas!

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  40. Wow, your pillow has "our song" on it! When we were dating, I had mentioned to my husband that there was this song I'd heard once or twice that I liked but couldn't remember a whole lot about it. Without me knowing he went around searching for it (this was before internet searching made things easy), called DJ's, etc. Finally, after a ton of effort, he found it, learned it on guitar, and played/sang it to me on Valentine's Day. It completely blew me away. Tears were streaming. :) We got engaged shortly after and have been married 16 years now. It's called "Little Houses" by Doug Stone. The funny thing is we went on to have twins later... which happens in the song too. If you haven't heard it, and you like what the pillow says, you should definitely listen to the song. It's a good one.

    P.S. I heart your blog!

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    1. That is such a sweet story, thank you so much for sharing it with me! <3 I love that he learned how to play it and surprised you! #meltingheart I will definitely have to listen to the song sometime, I just love the words on the pillow so much!

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  41. I've enjoyed reading about you Reno, especially the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think your honesty makes it easier to face our (future) home renovation.

    Quick question regarding the IKEA pulls, do you find your shirts/jeans catching on them? I love the look of those pulls but have found that I tend to catch every stray corner on whatever I'm wearing (maybe I'm the magical perfect height, more likely I'm just clumsy). So has that been an issue for you guys at all?

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate you following along, especially since the process hasn't gone as quickly as I would have liked. ;)

      We are pretty short so we must hit at the right spots for us, no reported snags. :) The handles we selected do have a nice curved edge which is also a plus.

      xoxo!

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