Thursday, October 28, 2010

It Smells Like Fall

Each year, without fail, fall comes traipsing through the pacific northwest and brings upon us wind & rain, cold, short days, and long, dark nights.  Our little corner of the world is suddenly transformed and we realize that we'll soon be losing the blessed sunshine that we don't get enough of, and taking it's place are grey skies, blustery days, and excuses for baking!

Those close to me know that baking is one of my favorite things to do, and I will often be found lovingly whipping something up in my handy-dandy Kitchenaid mixer at the mere whisper of the need for warmth and comfort. Lately it's been a lot of things pumpkin, because really, who doesn't like pumpkin stuffs this time of year? Some of the things I've made (and not all pumpkin) include:
I've been a busy girl! Baking delicious goodies and sharing them with those I love is one of my favorite pastimes. I put so much love (and butter, and sugar...) into my baking projects, I simply can't keep them all to myself. Plus, homemade baked goods put a smile on the face of most people, right?

When the Kitchenaid is in hibernation and the stove cool to the touch, I still like my house to smell like it's recently been baked in. The aromas of cinnamon, butter, vanilla, pumpkin... Nothing makes a house feel warmer to me than the cozy, yummy smell that goes along with cozy, yummy goodies we shovel into our mouths. So what to do when there is no baking project on the horizon?

I light a candle!

Recently I found these deliciously scented wax bricks at Wal.Mart, and after opening each one and taking a slight sniff (don't sniff too big, some of those smells will burn your sinuses, it seems!) I have found one I'm in L-O-V-E with.

Smells perfectly like fall, to me.
You break apart the little cubes, drop them in a wax warmer (we use an oil warmer with a tea light, which works perfectly!), sit back and enjoy! The aroma of those apples and oranges, along with the spicy richness of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, gently nudges me toward the couch, covers me with a blanket, and softly blows on the steamy hot chocolate in my mug, all the while warming up my home and my soul.

So when time is short, or you don't have the energy to whip up something yummy but you still want your house to smell good, drop some of these little cuties into your lives and snuggle on down.

I promise, it's almost as good as the real thing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Couch Hunting!

We've been in our home now for over a year, and in that time we have been using the same second-hand, we-got-it-for-free, it's-seen-better-days "couch" that was gifted to us. We are extremely thankful that we had it, it definitely served it's purpose, but we will not be sad to see it go. Here it is:

It's actually a love seat, and not even long enough for me to stretch out on.
It's leather, which is helpful in that dog hair is easily wiped off, but not so fun in the fact that it is extremely hard to get comfy on this sofa. Sitting on leather, in the middle of the summer, with bare legs... gross. Sitting on freezing cold leather in the dead of winter... unbearable.

And so we begin the quest for the couch of our dreams.

We decided that whatever we get is going to be our main piece of living room furniture for a long time, so we might as well spend a little more and invest in something that will hold up and last us for a while. That pretty much eliminated Ikea, but we're not completely ruling them out yet because some of their stuff is nice, and you really can't beat their prices (we have to spend wisely on this purchase, so we'll be bargain hunting).

What we are looking for is a sectional, preferably with a chaise lounge. It can't be more than 7' long on either side because of how small our living room is, it MUST have arms (what's with all these armless couches out there?), and the back pillows need to be detachable so it can double as sleeping space if/when we have house guests. We wouldn't be opposed to a hide-a-bed, and we would love it if the cover(s) came off for ease of washing. Lastly, it must be grey. And not just any grey, but the perfect shade of grey.

We decided to go with grey because it is such a neutral color that will pretty much go with any other color, so we'll have a lot of versatility. Currently our living room is painted an icy, light aqua blue on two walls, and a deep chocolate brown on the other two. Down with the brown! Those chocolatey walls will soon be covered up with a granite hued satin paint, and the main colors of the room will be aqua, grey, and white. Yummers! Here's what we're liking:

Loving this charcoal hued beauty.

Hello, gorgeous.

LOVE this!
So, as you can see, we're in the process of updating our living room and I can't wait to find the perfect couch and show you our hard work!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Out Little Abode

So, now that you've met everyone that resides in our tiny, love filled home, how about I give you the 2 minute grand tour of our little love shack? I knew you'd be game...

Our cozy little cottage.
Here she (he?) is! This picture was taken by the realtor who listed the home, but in all honesty not much has changed in the year or so that we've lived here. You could stand in front of our house and probably take the same exact picture, with the only difference being the shrubs have grown. Sad, right? But, as first time home owners, we're trying to pick and choose our projects based on need and added value to the home. Next up for the face of this little beaut? A walking path from the front door! This little wifey is tired of her heels sinking into the grass with every step. Once we get the walkway in we'll re-seed the yard, too. Right now it's pretty much a blanket of moss with the occasional weed poking through. I can't wait to get the front yard in shape!

Driveway and garage.
This driveway is sort of the bane of our existance. It's old, only partially paved, and it's COMPLETELY overgrown. The previous owners just planted whatever they wanted, no rhyme or reason, so we've literally pulled hundreds of bulbs from the ground, yet those buggers keep coming up. This spring we'll be adding planters on either side of the driveway, and we'll be graveling all the way up to the garage. Also, that huge rhododendron you see will be GONE and we'll be putting up a fence in that same area.

Looking at the front door from the living room.

What you don't see in the pictures, located on the other side of the front door, is a mudroom. It's a great place for kicking off muddy shoes, drying of wet puppies, or plain old not having to stand in the rain whilst fumbling for keys. I love the mudroom! I'd love to have some built in seating/storage in there at some point, too.

View of the living room from the hallway.
Those are the original hardwood floors, and the house was built in 1948. For the most part the floors are in great condition, but there are some areas that show a bit of wear and tear from previous owners. Deep scratches mark the entryway to my dressing room/office/guest room. Eventually we'll most likely sand them down and refinish them, but for now we can live with it.

Also, it should be noted that we have painted since these pictures were taken. I'll show you bare bones now, and future posts will consist of the "improvements" we've made.

Our cozy little kitchen.
Our kitchen is cozy, but cute. There is a lot of storage for it being such a tiny house, but it is lacking a dishwasher. That means you can pretty much find me standing right there in front of the sink nightly, sometimes twice a night. We've painted in here as well, but I can't wait to get rid of the flooring and backsplash. Not my style, and those floors show EVERYTHING. Thank goodness it's so tiny because the floor will be fairly inexpensive to replace. Just to the right you can see our back door, which leads to the backyard (duh!), but we'll get to that in a bit. 

I was going to post pictures of the two bedrooms and the bathroom, but the pictures are terrible and show you absolutely nothing other than a corner of the room. But, they're pretty basic as far as bedrooms go, and the bathroom... don't even get me started on that one. Wait, let me see if I can find a pic worth sharing...

This is the room I hve the most issues with in the entire house. First off, it's small and it's the only bathroom. There is fake, plastic tile on the walls, which looks terrible and needs to be ripped down. There is a window in the shower that doesn't open, and it probably has been there since the house was built. I'm going with a grey & yellow theme in here, with some beadboard and awesome fixtures to polish it up a bit.

And here's what sold us on the place...

Where we spend most of our time.
We loved the backyard as soon as we saw it. It has so much potential, and The Hubster is kind of a guru when it comes to yard work so he's right in his element. It's fully fenced, lots of brick everywhere, and we even have our own little brick BBQ pit (which needs some work, but still!). There is a huge tree (which most likely has to come down, but more on that in another post), and for the most part the grass is in pretty good shape. The dogs love it out here!

The tree. We've cleared out a LOT of the beds and they now have red rock in them instead of green overgrown-ness.

And that, dear readers, is our home.

It's tiny, but mighty. Cozy and warm. A place where we live and laugh, argue and cry, entertain and love.

We love it.