Inspiration Board

I pin things I love onto a bulletin board in my office.  I started putting things on it eight months ago when we moved into our new house, and it’s still not full.  I have photos of my kids and family, ideas for future homes, cards I have received and gifts my children have made me.  It just makes me happy but it also gives me ideas about the future.

My grandparents with me in 1976
A card I received from my Mom
A kitchen I want to copy some day (and another card)

What do you have on your inspiration board?

IKEA Cabinets

I’m a fan of IKEA cabinets.  We have put them in our last few homes, including spec homes we’ve built.  After a couple of times, I’ve learned the tricks and they have become very easy to assemble.  I assemble the cabinet boxes, Chip installs them and I then add the fronts and finishing touches.

IKEA’s new cabinet system offers tons of different cabinet sizes and custom aspects that gives you thousands of possibilities.  Pick up one of their SEKTION buying guides to get ideas!  You can also do accent doors (like the glass), appliance fronts, drawers within drawers, interior organizers, integrated lighting and wall accessories.

I’ve done a variety of different styles over the years.  My favorite is the one we currently have in our house.  I used the gray Bobdyn cabinet fronts.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Some of my favorite features that I try to incorporate into each house is a pull-out trash can (or two, one for recycling), drawers next to the range/stove top for pots and pans, a set of drawers for office- and school-type supplies, some glass accent cabinets.  I also love doing a counter-depth refrigerator and place cabinets around it so it looks built-in.  It’s helpful to not have the dishwasher on the end of the cabinets or island.  I finish the cabinets off with pulls or handles, and IKEA has lots of inexpensive styles.

What Type of Parent Are You?

I think most parents would agree that they don’t know what they’re doing most of the time when it comes to raising their kids.  I know I fall into that category. My daughters are both in middle school this year.  I remember middle school as being awful.  Just awful.  So when a couple of issues came up this school year, I wasn’t really surprised.  But now I’m the mom, not the student.  Trying to figure out how to handle them is so hard.

My daughter was called fat at school.  My protective side told me to go up to that school and knock some sense into that kid and call up that mom and tell her what her child is doing.  What I ended up doing is talking to my child, telling her that she is beautiful, inside and out.  I also talked to her about the fact that some people are mean and friends need to be chosen carefully and that we love her no matter what.

One of my daughters has a teacher that is less than sensitive and made three kids cry within the first two weeks of school.  While my kids love all of their other teachers, this one stands out.  I talked to her about how she will meet people like this throughout her life, in school, in social situations, in her future jobs.  She is stuck with this teacher for the school year, so she needs try hard in all her classes, and harder in this one.

I think I’m a certain type of mom in some situations and then completely change for others.  I’ll probably figure this parenting thing out once all my kids are in their twenties.

Back to School

The kids start school in one week.  I’m both excited and sad.  I love summer.  I love sleeping late(r), the summer vacations, the pool/lake weather, the lack of schedule and the absence of running around like a crazy person.

On the other hand, I am ready to send my little people off to school so I can go back to work.  I am excited to watch them play their sports again after over a year.  I am so ready to concentrate on the new house so we can move in very soon.

This year, the kids are actually excited about going back to school.  I think they are ready for everything to get back to “normal.”   There is only one more week of orthodontist appointments, meet the teacher nights, sports assessments and one last hurrah to Schitterbahn.

Okay.  I have to go.  It’s time to buy groceries for school lunches, find long enough shorts for the middle school dress code and retrieve the white board out of storage so I can figure out the hell we are supposed to be doing every day.

Wallpaper

I love an accent wall of wallpaper.  In the last few homes we’ve built, I’ve done several of them.  I’m not quite gutsy enough to wallpaper a whole room. Adding wallpaper to a room is not complicated if you’re a DIY’er.  It’s also a pretty inexpensive way to add a lot of interest to a room if you want to hire someone to install it.  Here are a few of the walls I’ve done in the past.

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study

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In the house we are currently building for ourselves, I’m thinking of Graham & Brown’s Luna Plum for a wall in my study and Olympus in black and white for the laundry room.

purple wallpaper  black white wallpaper

It makes me so happy to walk into these rooms and see the wallpaper.

How to Decorate Your Arched Windows

Figuring out what to do with an arched window is challenging.  Do you cover it or leave it alone? Do you use blinds or curtains or something else?  If you want to go the curtains route, I have a few good ideas for you.

The first idea is to simply hang a curtain rod with your choice of curtains.  This is a good option if you need privacy or darkness.  It might not bring out the uniqueness of your window, but it is practical.  You can also span several windows and use one long curtain rod.

arched window curtains

A second option is to use curtain holdbacks to hang your curtains.  This allows you a lot of curtains options.  You can leave the curtains open permanently or let them close when you need privacy or light control.

arched curtain rod holdbacksThis third option really shows off your arched window.  Order an arched rod, made to your specifications.  You can get rings welded on so they don’t fall down the curtain rod.  Finish with finials and you have a really wonderful look.

arched curtain rod

New Curtain Rod Website

We have revamped our curtain rods website to make it more user-friendly, including mobile-friendly. Please visit and let us know what you think in the comments below.

There are some questions we get again and again.  You can find lot of answers in our FAQ’s. One of the biggest things is that standard brackets come included with your curtain rod order. So there is no need to purchase brackets, unless you need something special, like a different projection or a different style of bracket.  Another thing to note is that we have 18 finishes and you can choose any of them at no extra cost.

For shipping purposes, we must split rods longer than 104″.  When you order a long rod, we will split it and include connectors, which go into the rods and tighten down with set screws.  You usually have a bracket at the connector point.  If you don’t, you can turn the screw towards the wall to hide it.  This way, you can order as long of a rod as needed and simply connect the pieces.  If you want your rod to be split in specific places, please let us know in the ‘notes’ section.

We offer curved curtain rods for curved windows and bay windows and also corner rods for those corners or again, bay windows.  What to know about these is that they are easy to order!  People often get worried that it is too complicated but you really just need a tape measure to measure your walls.

If you still have questions, please feel free to call or email us.

Building a Home

Now that we are back in Austin, we are ready to start building our new home.  We bought a lot in February and have been working for the last few months on permits, a construction loan and plans.  Because we will be living in the RV for 4-5 MORE months while we build, we’d like to start ASAP.  I have a feeling that, while living in an RV on a great adventure around the U.S. was fun, living in an RV in Austin will not hold the same charm.

Next week, the husband gets to do his favorite part of the build – preparing the site with the Bobcat.  For some reason, he loves to get in that Bobcat in the heat and move brush all day.  Crazy.  For me, the beginning means becoming familiar with my house plans and starting to plan the details (in the air conditioning).

Because the lot is small, we won’t really have a backyard.  So the kids will play in the front yard.  They are old enough that a fence is not necessary.  However, we have a 12-year-old dog that probably needs a fence.  We were thinking of doing an invisible fence but are concerned about doing one with our Lucy.  Has anyone done an invisible fence with an older dog?

Here is our lot. It’s not much to look at yet!

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Caramel Apple Cake

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I am a Pinterest addict.  I’m not sure what it is about it, maybe it appeals to my Type A personality, but I love it.  I also love apples and caramel…and recipes…and baking.  So when I saw this recipe by The Novice Chef, I had to make it.  Yes, I know it’s called a dump cake, but I prefer to leave that word out (you guys with kids know why).

I made this cake over Memorial Day weekend for my family and it was a huge hit.  It is very simple and quick to assemble and you bake it for about 45 minutes.   We ate it warm out of the oven.  We topped it with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream and a simple caramel sauce that I made (see below).  I love the melting ice cream over the warm cake.

This cake was also excellent left over.  Just spoon in into a bowl, stick it in the microwave for a few seconds, along with the caramel sauce.  Then top with ice cream.

I could drink this Caramel Sauce:

1 c. sugar
6 T. butter
½ c. heavy whipping cream

Heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Once it is all melted and just as it comes to a boil, add the butter and stir until melted.  Add the cream slowly, still stirring constantly, until incorporated and smooth.  Turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Building Fences

We are spending the holiday weekend in Brenham with family.  It’s nice to spend some quality time after being away for awhile.  For us, quality time means swimming, walking, exploring, a lot of cooking and eating, and this time, working on the land.  Last Thursday and Friday, Brenham got about 24″ of rain and there was a lot of damage done to the land.  There was a lot of anxiety and worry about work already done around here and what this meant for the future.

We came up with some solutions, including a temporary fence so the neighboring cows wouldn’t invade the garden and house.  We all helped – even the kids – and got it done in this lovely Texas heat.  It is good to remind ourselves that it could have been worse. We were unharmed.  The house was unharmed, and after a few clean-up days, the property will be back to a new normal.

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