Part 2- the Bath

I feel like I have so much to cram in here!  
Next up on the wayback dial is our master bath renovation circa Fall 2016.

The mahogany counter came out of an old bar in NYC that got demolished.  My mother had found it and kept it hoarded away for years for us.  Thanks Mom! The rail along the back was a fun place to keep toothbrush cups and toiletries.

The mirrors were super sentimental.  
They were the original window screen frames from the first house we lived in Salem.  I added mirrored glass and new brass latches.  They opened and acted as medicine cabinets.

The single centered sink happened for a couple reasons.  As much as two sinks would have been normal and good, it left no counter space for your crap.  I like to spread out my make up and hair appliances.  The raised marble vessels were pretty big and forced you to teeter things on the edge.  
Also, my husband and I don't get ready simultaneously so we only needed one sink at a time... gotta keep the mystery alive.  We nixed a sink, and the round mirrors both opened toward the sink so you could see in the mirror when brushing your teeth.  Not for everyone, I know, but honestly I can brush my teeth blindfolded (flossing not so much). 
Used the same cabinets in my kitchen, good old IKEA. I loved the double hidden drawers to hold all my makeup and junk. (I so wish I took pictures of them- I was so organized!) And towels were folded away neatly in the bottom drawers.

To make this master bathroom we combined the kids bath (yellow) with our bath (blue).
They were back to back and mirror images of each other. Remember these? 

Heres a crappy pano of when we gutted them.  It gave us a 14' wide x 10' deep space to play with.

Our wish list included:
-big shower with no glass or door to clean
-deep tub to soak
-reusing the old round window frames from our first house
-incorporating the old mahogany bar top 
-a neutral palate 

 We played with a ton of configurations and in the end we decided to do something like this...
use the left side for a long shower with a wall between the tub,
toilet vanity on the right.  This also used existing plumbing to save some $$.

The shower was my favorite.  
It was enormous at 10' long and 4 1/2' wide. It was heavenly.  I could seriously do yoga and cartwheels in it if I wanted to.  It was like your own personal locker room shower, although you could probably fit 6 people in it and have a dance party if thats what your into.  Not judging.

Lord I miss that shower!  
It spoiled me for all other showers.  The one at our new house feels like a space capsule.

In the end, when we decided to sell, we replaced the round mirrors with plate glass because we know that most buyers weren't quirky like us and wanted to see themselves when they brushed their teeth. And I gotta say it made the bathroom feel even bigger!

I really wish I had taken better pictures of this space.  
(Note crappy phone photo with the seat up above. "Hi!") 

Off topic, speaking of photos, I have a quick question... 
What is the best photo organizing tool to use?  I have a Mac with like 150,000 pictures on it and I need to clean it up.  Same for my 25,000+ emails on my phone... I don't have time to go through every picture individually.
What do you guys use? What makes your life easier?  HELP!

We only got to use this bath for less than a year when we decided to move. 
 It has been my favorite house by far. We stayed here the longest, 8 years- a record, and I loved that we took our time on it and didn't rush into renovating right off the bat.  
We had so many good memories here. 

She came a long way from the chocolate brownie she used to be when we first bought her. 

You were a good house Neptune Street! 
As my husband likes to tell me, a house is just a house- its the memories you make in it that you get to take with you forever.  Off to make new ones.

I'M BAAACK (part 1)

Hey, its 2018 and I resolved to blog this year, so here goes nothing!  Its been so long that I seriously forgot how... feels a bit like riding a bike after a couple tequila shots.  Wobbly.  

First off, and most importantly, I just want to thank all of you for your kind words.  When I last posted I was in a tough spot, and honestly I'm still a hot mess.  I still struggle with the motherhood/work/guilt thing and I have not found the silver bullet for staying organized and focused.  But can I tell you how nice it is to know I'm not alone?  All of your comments got me through a pretty tough time and I am forever grateful.  I have gotten better at being more mindful, keeping my stress level down and overall just not giving a fuck or comparing myself to others.  (That last one is a HUGE game changer.)  I had to step off social media and Pinterest and blogs in general to clear my head and reset myself.  

As for this blog, I am going back to the start.  I had to figure out what I liked and disliked about the whole experience.  I started blogging as a journal to keep track of my projects and it lead into a whole bunch of How-To/ DIYs.  It makes me so happy when I know I helped someone figure out how to make or do something- so I am going to keep doing tutorials.  I met so many talented and creative people here, and had many great opportunities that I'm thankful for.  What I hated doing was sponsored posts, I hated editing my voice,  it didn't feel authentic.  It felt like an ad.  So I am not gonna do that.  I'm not here to get rich, although that would be cool, but it has to feel good.  I make some money off Adsense, YouTube and fabric I design on Spoonflower and I'm happy with that.  This blog will basically be about what I'm up to or making and I hope to help or inspire someone in the process.  

OK,  so where were we? 
When I last left off (2+ years ago) we were remodeling our kitchen... and we have long since finished that, remodeled our bath and spontaneously moved down the street to a new house.  A LOT of stuff has happened so even starting this post has been a bit daunting trying to figure out where to much to tell you, its gonna be a multi-post I suppose.  

I guess lets start with the kitchen.  
Back in the fall of 2015 we finally did the kitchen over completely.  Took down the mudroom wall and opened her up and added lots of lights and windows. 

For anyone new the party here, I've had many incarnations of this kitchen... "renovated with paint", walls taken down and lots of piecemeal.
So lets do a before montage for old times sake.

(ORIGINAL VINTAGE KITCHEN circa 2009 when we moved in)
Renovated with Paint (everything including the counters) 2011
WALL DOWN (2012)

For this renovation we carried the hardwood throughout and I stained the whole first floor a soft caramel to kill down the orange oak undertones.  It was a two part process that killed my back, but it was so worth it.  The living room was original white oak and the new floor that got laid throughout the kitchen dining room was red oak (oopsy!) so the red oak had to be dyed with a water based greenish color first prior to staining.  In the end everything matched and there was peace and harmony at the red and white oak border.

We decided not to do an island because my husband is a Spartan and felt it would make it too claustrophobic, even though I really wanted one.  Just have to choose your battles.  
But I must say we had some great dance parties in this space, and in the end I loved the openness of the kitchen- so I'm not mad.

We did IKEA cabinets throughout and I absolutely love them. I used their kitchen planner to lay out the space, and it was easy.  I miss this kitchen so much and would totally do it all over again.  
My favorite part were the drawers.  And the drawers INSIDE drawers.  
I loved having my plates and bowls in a drawer next to the dishwasher.  The ultimate lazy unload!  
I even used these cabinets in the master bath renovation,  but more on that in the next post.

 Found some porcelain numbers at a junk shop in NH to commemorate the 2015 finish, and put them on the mega cabinets we used as mudroom storage lockers.  
Hardware is from the Dakota Collection at Restoration Hardware.  
Countertop is Silestone Lagoon.
Lights over the windows are from Illuminate Vintage.
And I used my Tribal Maze wallpaper to pop in some pattern and color.

SO that is the kitchen in a nutshell.  Let me know if you have any questions or if I left out any sources.  I'll be back with a bathroom post next as well as more on the new house.  
And again, thanks for reading this blog and all your comments.  I'm glad to be back!

the nitty gritty

This is going to be a lengthy one...
Long time no blog.  I have attempted to post so many times, but its been so long since I've done a real post and a lot has happened.  I used to post all the time and I felt connected to the blogworld.  Then life got crazy busy and I started doing sponsored posts (which I am grateful to have had the opportunity) but I never felt like I could totally use my voice and I learned I don't like to have my voice edited... I just began to feel disconnected.  And then there is Pinterest and Instagram.  And everything you can possibly make or imagine is already on a blog somewhere.   I felt stale and like I had to force out some amazing idea or project.  My life wasn't a perfectly staged Inst-photo, and I didn't feel like making it one.  In fact it was a mess.  So I just didn't do anything.

As I've mentioned in the past I have always struggled with balance.  Juggling career and family.  I have always had a ton of energy and would just steamroll through.  People would always comment on how much I was able to get done, and I took it as a compliment, a strength.  At some point I'd hit a bump and realize I was spread way too thin and have to reassess/ freak out/ get overwhelmed and work through it.  I knew I could do one thing REALLY well, but having ADD kind of kept me in a vicious cycle of starting one thing and then saying "yes" to five other projects.  I would thrive off the chaotic energy, I still do.   I remember back in high school and college how I would have a project due, and I would wait until the last minute.  The eleventh hour was when I did my best work.

But a couple years ago shit hit the fan and I just burnt out.  It has taken me a long time to even talk about it because I really felt like it was a defect, that something was wrong with me.  A few years back I was running Overlays, a household, designing for clients,  running a blog and training for half marathons.  It was crazy and I was stressed out and overwhelmed beyond belief.  But I kept pushing and not saying "no" to anything.

The whole reason I started Overlays was so that I could work from home and be with my kids.  Instead I was sitting in front of a computer doing CAD and answering emails while they ran amuck.  I would take time to do things with them, but I would be thinking about what I needed to do and I wasn't present in the moment with them.  When they would go to bed, I'd get back on the computer.  My husband also felt like he was on a back burner.  It sucked.  I cut back on clients.  I cut back on training.  The blog suffered.  But I still felt like I could do it all.  I'd watch all these other women doing it, so it could be done.  Right?

I was wrong.  Things just got worse.  I was miserable and cranky.  I had always lived by the motto "Do what you love", and I pretty much was hating what I was doing.  I was in autopilot on a computer screen.  I didn't feel creative.  As a girl that would change her wall colors three times a year,  I felt stagnant- and I had no time to change my wall color!  I wound up selling the majority of my share of Overlays to Cheryle my business partner.  Her kids were grown, so she had the time that I lacked.  Shortly after that I just sold it all off.  I was done.  Part of me felt like a flake and a failure that I couldn't stick with it, and part of me still does- I'm not sure that will ever go away.

After the dust cleared I was left to pick up the pieces around my house.  My husband has been amazingly supportive and patient through it all.  He is a much more logical and practical person, thank god for that.  He keeps me grounded.  I realize the time I lost with my kids I cannot get back, and worst of all my youngest son is on the spectrum.  I have huge guilt over losing such an important developmental period of time in his life.  I am doing my best now to make things right, but I am always going to wonder.  

I struggle with my ADD everyday, more so now that my youngest has been diagnosed with it as well.  I feel like I'm the worst role model for him- like the blind leading the blind- since I can't even figure out how to mange myself.  The bright side to this is that it is making me be more mindful of my actions and behavior.  Both of my kids are very creative, so my biggest fear is that they turn into eleventh hour whirlwinds.  The eleventh hour only worked for me when I had no responsibilities and was single.  Kids and a husband aren't too keen on me pulling an all nighter.

So emotionally that's where I've been.  I am slowly getting my mojo back.  I have gone back to taking on clients and designing, and of course I still find myself saying "yes" too often and taking on one more than I should.  I'm in a weird space design wise.  I think I've been oversaturated by design honestly.  I took a lot of time off from blogs and Pinterest to try to figure out what I really like.  It is really hard to do that when you are constantly being bombarded by imagery and color.  We are in the midsts of a kitchen renovation at the moment, and I'm going all white and neutral.  If I decide I want color I can always add it later.  Right now I'm enjoying a white blank space and having things simple and not busy.  Very opposite from the norm.  I've even taken down most of my huge inspiration board in my office.  I just need uncluttered at the moment.

I've done a lot of soul searching over the past two years trying to figure out what really makes me happy and what I love doing.  I love creating.  I love making. I love the whole process and how excited it makes me.  So I plan on doing that.  I have missed this blog, and sharing stupid shit and harebrained ideas with you guys.  But I seriously could not do another post without writing this one, because every attempt at a "pretty" post just felt empty and fake.  I want to thank you guys for reading this, for following me on this blog and for being my sounding board for the past 6 years.  I'm not sure what the direction of this blog will become... I'm by no means ending it, just changing gears a bit- I am just going to post when I have something to talk about or show you.  I don't want to post just for posting sake.   I will be back soon with kitchen renovation stuff.  Thanks again for listening.


How to Divide Spring Bulbs


Who doesn’t love spring bulbs?  Year after year they signify the end of a long winter as their bold pops of color brighten the dormant landscape.  They require very little effort, simply plant in the fall and you will be rewarded with blooms for years.  Best of all they multiply, creating lots of new bulbs that you can replant or share with friends.
Bulbs create offsets, smaller baby bulbs that grow around the base of the original bulb.  
bulb with offset

You may notice your bulb plants will increase in size and blooms over the first few years, and then suddenly stop performing as well.  Fewer blooms are quite often a sign that your bulbs may be crowded.   For example,  the daffodil below was planted about five years ago.  It produced several flowers previously, but this year there is only one bloom and a lot of greenery.

Underground the bulbs and their offsets are competing for nutrients and space.  Energy used to create and sustain these new offsets is diverted from making blooms.  The easiest way to resolve this is by dividing your bulbs.  It's really easy to do, and you will be rewarded with lots of new blooms in the following years. You can get all your lawn and gardening supplies from your local True Value. 

You can divide your bulbs in the spring or fall.  I prefer the spring since they are easy to find since their foliage is still visible.  You will want to wait until late spring when the blooms have faded and the greenery has significantly died off.  A general rule of thumb is about six weeks from the last bloom.  As the greenery withers, the bulb absorbs energy from the leaves and stores it for next year’s blooms.  
It is important to let this process occur and not to cut back your foliage too soon.  

Start by digging up the cluster of bulbs and laying them on clean newspaper or a drop cloth. 
Be sure not to damage or cut your bulbs as you dig.  Carefully twist and shake the bulbs apart, trying hard not to tear their roots.  

Can you believe all these bulbs came from just one bulb planted a few years ago?

You will want to replant them immediately and keep them from drying out.  Wrap them with wet newspaper if they are going to be exposed to the air for a long period. 

 Return a few bulbs back to the original hole, spacing them out so they have room to divide.  Add a little organic material or compost to the bottom of the hole to enrich the soil.   Plant the remaining bulbs in holes that are 2-3 times deeper than the bulb’s height.

Once again be sure to leave plenty of space between bulbs, about six inches.  Cover the bulbs with dirt, trim back the dead greenery and water generously.  The larger offsets should flower next year, while the smaller ones may take longer to establish.  

You don’t need to wait until you suspect overcrowding to divide your bulbs.  Division can be done at any point once your plants have been growing well for a couple years.  They will benefit greatly from it by rewarding you with lots of healthy foliage and blooms.   

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated
for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been
compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Office Update/ I'm a Flake

  I'm such a flake.  Its only taken almost two years, but my office is done.
I know your thinking "Yeah, yeah... shut your face. You always say that."
Really. I WANT to be done.  I've tweaked and changed so many things along the way, and I finally have it how I like it.  Remember, this room started off almost 6 years ago as a nursery.
Its been about 4-5 different colors, but I kept going back to the pale pink. So pale pink stays.
I painted a chinoiserie mural on my closet/whiteboard wall
(there is a flip down queen size bed inside that closet so this doubles as a guest room).  Behind the doors there is yellow and white stripes and a leopard headboard.
I'll take some photos next time a guest comes.
 The bookcases (actually my entire office) are all IKEA pieces that have been trimmed out with crown molding or hacked in some way.
Lots of storage for all my junk.
The base cabinets are IKEA Sektional kitchen cabinets that 
I added homemade faux bamboo trim to. (see last post)
My I made the giant cork board over my desk from high density 3/4" thick foam insulation board wrapped with fabric and nailheads. It was a cheap fix, costing me under $25.
It herds my all my visual crazy to one area.
Starburst light tutorial is here.
 My white boards are made out of a 4x8' sheet of tile board ($13 a sheet) that I cut down into 4 pieces and framed with flat stock molding.  I will do a post on these.. really easy and they clean up great.  The trick is using a rag dampened with Windex.
Look how clean they are! They are usually jammed up with jibberish and to-do lists.
I made some more bamboo trim for these babies, and painted a yellow lattice background...
I change shit around here so much that I forgot how many looks this room had.
Here's a little memory lane montage...
Starting back in 2010 when I starburst the crap out of it and made it the guest room with a tiny desk jammed in it.  It was always a mess- note the laundry basket and printer on the bed!
 Then I got crafty and put my office in the big closet, and painted out the sunbursts with a dark charcoal brown:

 I really loved this set up, but the bed still hogged the room and collected crap like a magnet...
 I tested out a sofa bed option, it just wasn't comfortable.  I had a vision that I would lounge on it and read mags.  Never happened...
 I also built a work station, but the height was weird and I constantly had back problems from craning at the computer:
Then the room went coral for about a month:
And finally about a year ago I built a work area using a giant laminate counter and two IKEA Malms:

 The Malms started to buckle under the weight, not good! So that lead to where I am today.

I think this situation is going to stick around for a while.  I'm too tired to change it, and I think I have finally found a layout that is functionally pleasing.  The only thing I still need to do is make a new slipcover for my desk chair. That thing is pretty tired.

Happy weekend peeps!

(First 4 photos by Tabitha Sherrell- thanks lady!)


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