House Tour: Perfect SE Portland Foursquare

Almost a year ago I went to a bridal shower for my friend at her sister’s house. The shower was just lovely and the setting was perfect. I went a little nuts snooping around the house. It was just the sweetest-perfectly-put-together vintage foursquare. I go wild for homes that are so obviously loved and thoroughly thoughtful in their homey-ness (yeah, you’re right – that’s not a word). Plus, I think this house is the hybrid between my mom’s style and my style: Perfectly vintage with plenty of visual interest but also impeccably orderly. I sent Oregon Home a few emails alerting them about this beauty right under their noses, but since they are evidently asleep at the wheel I asked the Gregg family if I could come take pictures of their home and show it off to my readers…And, as luck would have it, by the time I got around to it they had decided to move and they are about to put this house on the market. So, you are getting a super sneak peek at a house you can actually make your own. So, here it is:

Vintage Portland Foursquare

Vintage Portland Porch

White and blue living space

the loved home house tour

beautiful blue and white living room

{I literally just noticed while writing this that the mantle is faux. Pretty great fake in my opinion. I actually have a pet-peeve about “free-standing fireplaces” that plug-in or whatever, but this is in it’s own category. I sent Nicki – the homeowner – a quick message to ask about it and she said it was an ugly craigslist find that she gussied up with some carpentry help from her husband and that maybe she could do a whole post about the transformation…stay tuned for that!}

blue and yellow pillows

renovated vintage kitchen

renovated Portland kitchen

Vintage Stove

{Ahhhhh THE STOVE (the pictures DO NOT do it justice)! People that cherish a vintage stove are my kind of people. It is just so, so cute. I hope they get to take it with them to their new house, but then I hope the new owners find one just as cute so the kitchen can still be this adorable!}

Perfect Vintage Kitchen Redo

Marmoleum Counters

{how clever is this: Marmoleum counters! It is so perfect in this style/age of home. The color is just right too.}

Vintage Stove Close-up

Blue and Brown TV room

blue and brown family room

{love the pale blue/brown combo in this lounge space & get a load of all those organized toys, etc.}

craft box storage

{just had to include this close-up (in spite of the poor quality) because she has a box that is labelled duct tape, & below it knitting & weaving. I mean, really?  This is just too much cuteness in one house}

vintage pink guest bedroom

{pretty little guest room}

land of nod paper letters

turquoise girls room

sophisticated boys room

classy boys bedroom

George Perrou Art

{if you are lucky enough to have a super talented artist brother-in-law you too can have kitschy personalized art like the one in this picture. If you are not that lucky you can buy it from the talented George Perrou}

Vintage Pink Bedroom

vintage pink and green bedroom

sitting area

{Perfectly pink room. When I chose a lovely shade of pink called ‘ballet slipper’ for our family room I envisioned it looking something like this. It didn’t. It looked like flesh-tones. It’s since been painted gray. Pink is harder to get right than you might think, especially in a grown-ups bedroom. This room is just right}

craft room

craft supply storage

nooks and crannies

craft room

{If you are a crafter you would think you had died and gone to craft heaven when you walked into this attic-turned-perfect-craft-space. I especially love that there were 2 little craft spaces just right for the kiddos tucked into the dormer windows.}


Hope you enjoyed my first home tour post…And keep an eye out for future posts from Nicki Gregg. A woman that can put together this beauty (with plenty of help from her handy husband) surely has a few things to show us.

easy DIY fire pit ideas

Disclaimer: I am using “easy” in a pretty liberal way in the title of this post as you will soon find out ūüôā

A little over a year ago I posted about this easy in-ground DIY fire pit we made:

diy fire pit

{you can see the full post with pictures/instructions here}…On a trip to both Lowe’s & Home Depot last week with my father-in-law {they are visiting from Canada – Yay!} I was surprised to find out they no longer stock the tree ring pavers we used to build the fire pit. When I asked about it I was told the manufacturer quit making them. I can’t find any other local supplier, but here are a couple companies that are still making them if you want to go hunting:¬† Mission Concrete Products & Bayshore Concrete. Or, feel free to post in the comments where you have found them so others will know.


In the meantime, here are some alternative ideas:

If you or someone you know has welding skills you could make something simple and sleek like this gorgeous thing the clever people over at Brick House created {just don’t lean up against in on accident, youch!}:

modern diy fire pit——–

…or you could go nuts and build forms, pour concrete and create an outdoor gas fireplace like this one:

modern concrete fire pit

take a look at the plans over at the diy network for an idea of how to make something like what is above

diy concrete fire pit{in the end they take things a little too far and add some tacky river rock and flagstone embellishment on top, but if you stop at this phase you will have something just lovely}


I love the idea of this small, portable fire that you can take with you:

portable fire column{these can be purchased from the restoration hardware catalog for a pretty penny, but you can make something similar with these diy plans from The Art of Doing Stuff}


How’s this for a truly simple outdoor fire pit {Ruhl Walker Architects}:

simple outdoor fire pit

{1. dig out a large circular area, 2. put in some edging material, 3. throw down some gravel, 4. build a fire}


And, last but not least, for those of you who have the luxury of building from scratch consider this fire pit built into the patio {and also take a look at all the pictures of this beautiful home by Goforth Gill Architects}:

built-in outdoor fire pit


As an aside: I was at Edgefield with my family last weekend – the website¬† claims that it is “a truly remarkable destination” and it is – but this came to mind as I was admiring the trees and buildings & fire pits for that matter “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.‚ÄĚ And it’s true.

DIY Raised Garden Beds

A few months ago I was feeling sorry for myself that another season was going to pass where I didn’t get to plant food (I missed last season because we had purchased our current house and spent April-July remodeling it to get it move-in ready). Our exterior has endless work to get done and building raised beds wasn’t very high up on Jeff’s to-do list. I mentioned it in a forlorn way about a goo-gillion times sort of like this: “I am so bummed that I am not planning my garden right now”, “do you really think it would be that big of a deal to put raised beds together”, “honey, what are you thinking about a garden this year?”, etc. you get the point. So, like any sensible man who wants to quit hearing about the same thing ad nauseum, he went and bought some lumber and started building. I think he was happy he did it though, because for the next few days I couldn’t quit smiling and I kept saying over and over, “I am pretty sure you making me raised beds is my love language” and it is. Some people want quality time, some people want words of affirmation, I want a garden.

as an aside, my husband is sitting on the couch while I type this and he just said: “Is there anywhere specific you’d want to go eat on Wednesday (my birthday) if I decided to let you not cook?” I laugh, and then he says “watch your attitude, because I haven’t decided yet”…laughing is also my love language.

Anyway, these pictures aren’t going to grace the cover of Living anytime soon, since I already mentioned that our exterior is our current “project” but if you want to make truly simple raised beds (Jeff says they take around 45 minutes to make and cost around $25 each for materials), so that you too can be smiling all summer here is what you will need for 1 3×6 box that is 12 inches deep:

1. a chop-saw

2. a box of coated framing nails

3. a drill

4. a hammer

5. a box of 2.5 inch deck screws

6. 3 12 ft. 2×6 untreated lumber (for sides)

7. 1/2 of an 8 ft. 4×4 (for corners)

8. scrap 2×4 for optional cleats

DIY raised garden beds

{the last 2 pictures are progress pictures, still have a long way to go…but see all that glorious food growing? Doesn’t get more fresh and local then your front yard}

¬†Here’s what you do:

1. Cut 2×6 into 4 6 ft. lengths and 4 3 ft. lengths

2. Cut 4 10.5 inch lengths from the 4×4

3. Cut¬† 2 8 inch lengths of 2×4¬† for cleats

4. Nail 2 boxes together separately

5. Stack on top of each other

6. Screw corner posts in (& optional cleats in the center of the long lengths)

7. Fill with good soil

8. Plant seeds and starts


If you are a beginner to gardening here are some tips that I wish we had when we first began:

1. No matter how cheap DO NOT be tempted to buy these tomato cages:

crappy tomato cage

they are awful. They WILL tip over. Your tomato plants (if you live in the Northwest) will get larger than you can possibly imagine and by the time you realize your mistake your toppled over scrawny tomato cages will be completely intertwined with your plants and you will end up doing some weird homemade reinforcement structure…Save yourself the trouble, spend a little more money and buy these:

folding tomato cageor, make these DIY tomato cages:

diy sturdy tomato cage

{click here for the tutorial to make these super-sturdy tomato cages}

you will laugh when you see your tiny tomato starts surrounded by the fort knox of tomato cages, but you will be patting yourself on the back in August when you are harvesting tomatoes.

2. Thin your seedlings early and often. It feels a little sad after you have planted and watered your little seeds to pull more than half of them out when they arrive, but you need to give them enough room to grow, so don’t be shy, pull them out.

3. Give your plants some breathing room. Everything will get bigger than you think so give it the room to grow.

4. Trellis as much as you can. Unless you have tons of space, going up is the best way to maximize what you can plant. Here is some more info about how to grow vegetables on a trellis.

5. Buy good soil. Organic is best.


Need some more inspiration? Here is an old garden post with lots of pictures of our garden at our last house. Or here is my pinterest garden board

Happy gardening.

Food Love: Meringues & Poppyseed Cake

I have been thinking of writing some food posts for awhile. It just makes sense since the kitchen is the heart of my home and where I spend half my day.  So, I am going to start with a dessert duo I whipped up last week, beginning with one of my favorites: meringues. I never knew I liked them until I ordered them at multiple bakeries around Portugal on a trip years ago. They were huge and perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and filled with nuts or chocolate. The perfect confection in every way. They were NOTHING like the dry, overly sugared variety you can buy in tubs at trader joes. Apples to Oranges. Delicious apples to pretty grody oranges. If you have never had a homemade meringue, and judged all meringues by the store bought variety, I am telling you you are truly missing out on one of the best and simplest desserts. Just look at these next to each other & determine for yourself which looks tastier:

meringues{meringues at the Borough Market in London, Trader Joe’s meringues}

I came back from my trip hoping to find something like the ones I had in Europe & had almost given up when my foodie friend Becca took me to the super-fabulous-none-compares-to-it-bakery Tartine in San Francisco & there they were. For some reason that I am unsure of they call them rochers instead of meringues, but they are one and the same. Then a year or two later, the same foodie friend gave me this:

tartine bakery cookbookThese people are amazing chefs (as in they won the Outstanding Pastry Chef¬† James Beard award) and I am poor at following instructions (thus my total failure at making the shaker style lemon pie from this book), but if you stick to the recipe in their book, you too can be eating delicious “rochers” in no time. I especially love them with toasted almonds…Or put the nuts and mini chocolate chips in together-total food bliss! As an aside, if you are ever in SF you should absolutely take the trek over to Tartine and fill your bags with delicious goodies to take home to your loved ones, they will thank you!

Meringues are simple, but they can be a little tricky if they are exposed to too much humidity or if you don’t use enough sugar so don’t get too creative with the recipe. This one is pretty fool-proof if you don’t happen to have a copy of the Tartine cookbook. I have made them a few times and increased the amount of whites/sugar to get a bigger batch with good results. I also added a little more cocoa than the recipe calls for and chopped up some high quality chocolate and threw it in (didn’t have cocoa nibs). If you have any left over don’t store them in air tight containers, or else they will loose the crunch and get sticky. Here is a picture of how they turned out:

chewy meringues

{here is the recipe for these chewy chocolate meringues}


Once you have made your meringues you will find that you have a whole bunch of egg yolks left over. In my case beautiful orange yolks from our neighbors chicken eggs, not to be wasted. You could make creme brule or a custard and that would be lovely. In my case I decided to try a new recipe and found a site that gives you dozens of recipes intended for left over yolks (who knew? the world wide web truly has everything). I read through a bunch of them and decided on a poppyseed cake from Smitten Kitchen. It was delicious. Not too sweet with good texture.¬† Texture is pretty much the most important thing to me when eating. I don’t eat entire bags of pirates booty for the flavor, it’s the strangely addictive styrofoam texture. Anyhoo, here is the cake:

poppyseed cake


Happy Baking!

p.s. the picture of the trader joe’s meringues is from a post re:food photography from A Beach Home Companion

Nursery Love, Part 2: Guest Blogger Katie Delgado

In honor of the arrival of our son last Monday {see the bottom of the post for a picture} my sister is contributing her baby/nursery favorites. You may remember her lovely contribution to art for kids rooms. When you are done reading, you should head on over to her blog The Red Thread Quartet and get inspired, and then you might as well buy her book too!


I am watching the aptly named “Tree of Life,” a Terry Malick film devoted poetically to none other than the origins of the universe, in parallel to a loose biography of his own childhood.¬† The central character is a boy, the first of three.¬† In one scene, a group of boys tie a frog onto a firework, and after lighting it, another asks “did he go to the moon?” Ah, boys.¬† In another scene, one of the boys asks his mother “tell me a story about before I remember.”¬† This is frequently a request from my own kidlink, and one of the sweetest. And now, a boy has joined our very own tribe; a new cousin.¬† Bundled into his own dna there will no doubt be inexplicable impulses to tie frogs to rocket ships, and other such gaity.¬† Soon, he will give us stories we can all remember.¬† But before there was K, there was the idea of him.¬† And with a new breed of baby (the first one born with a Y chromosone after three double X’s:)¬† we have been daydreaming about all things blue and orange and grey that are distinctly boy.¬† The binding for the stories we will tell, about before he remembers.¬† And while I am far away and lean in the pockets, I can share a day dream registry about the things I would give him *if only*. Call it window shopping for a shower.¬† For K, before he remembers.

The first stop-toys.¬† I know K is too little to know, but this is the story of “before” he remembers.¬† And some of the sweetest toys are the gifts that have been around so long, we don’t know who gifted them, until our mother reminds us:)

wooden forest animals

{When sister had her first baby, she mentioned to me one day that her baby, around a year old, seemed bored.¬† “Where are her toys?” I asked, and she sheepishly showed me a lovely raffia basket with a pitiful assortment.¬† Sometimes, its easy to prefer form over function, but these little beauties deliver both! Hand carved in Germany by Michael Engelberger, they’re available at Nova Naturals.}


The Animal Print Shop

{For some elegant, charming art that would be at home in mom and dad’s room if sharing with baby, any of Sharon Montrose’s prints, from The Animal Print Shop, will do.}

wild rumpus print

{For some more cheery loveliness, check out British based Ruka Ruka.}

elephant boat print

{For some original artwork, pop over to JAustenRyan.  Let me just say, anything that has elephants, giraffes, monkeys and bunting flags has me at hello!}

modern rocker

{And for true form meets function, join me in salivating over Land of Nod’s gorgeous Joya rocker.¬† My baby outgrew rockers about 8 years ago, but I’d take one of these today if I could!}

Petite collage mobile

{You can never go wrong with Petit Collage, or their beautiful bamboo mobiles!}

see-through crib

{And how is this crib for divine, not to mention genius!¬† Little’s K’s big sisters could watch every delicious expression as he slept, with no help from mom and dad! Crib from Ubabub.}

And how about some sweet softies to tuck inside…

Stuffies fox & bear

{Rag bear from Zazomini, plush logs from hitree, and debonaire fox from The Walnut Animal Society. }


{This fellow is customizable.¬† If you don’t have the time or inclination to knit baby a teddy bear, let Yarnigans do it for you!}

sisters guild bunting

{I’m crazy for all things Maileg, but it’s rare any of it would be suitable in a boy’s room.¬† Except for this charmer! Available at Sisters Guild.}


{And if you can figure out how to order from Europe, this wall mural from Cosas Minimas is as sweet as they come!}

And last but not least, a few fabulous rooms for inspiration!

modern crib

{The gray diamonds and blue cabinet make a gorgeous backdrop for splashes of red.}

orange eames rocker

{A varation on the same palette from BHG.}

gray & orange nursery

{If you like the idea of a “foresty” theme, this room has some great ideas.}

modern nursery

{Another example of gray diamonds as a lovely foil for bright colors.¬† Just because it’s a boy’s room, it doesn’t have to be boring!}

modern circus nursery

{And the absolute craftiest room of all, from Joy Kelly, my new hero-who actually MADE her son an elephant lamp (and pretty much everything else)-eek!  Do not try this at home;)


If we take anything away from this post, boys and girls, let it be that gray is the new blue!  (Gray and orange, gray and red, gray and blue, etc.)


Here he is:

Nursery Love

We are days away from meeting our little guy, so I have baby stuff on the mind.¬† As I mentioned before, we are combining our “master bedroom”/nursery for awhile (since we buy such little houses we are doing it out of necessity…more on that here). It’s actually our downstairs family room, but for now we will be using it for a bedroom (in order to preserve our playroom/classroom & guest bedroom upstairs). It is starting to come together and I will post some pictures of the finished project, but in the meantime I thought I would share some products and lovely inspiring spaces while it’s all fresh in my mind (& I don’t have a crying infant distracting me). Let’s start with some of the fabulous things I found on etsy while looking for stuff for our nursery space…

modern nursery decor

¬†{mochi & bean blanket – we bought a different one from this lovely shop, which I will show you when I post about our space, fox print by wintersmoke, hooded towel by mitani designs, paper birds & alphabet/initial art by Almost Sunday, quilt & blue elephant sheet by iviebaby – if you are willing to splurge this woman makes the most lovely bedding I have seen. So pretty!, elephant garland by Art’s Delight, cloud mobile by gosh & golly, cloud pillow by bunbunbabydesigns, swaddling blanket by lippybrand}


Here are some of my favorite nursery’s:

simple white nursery{what a soothing space to spend time in. I love the art above the crib by sarah jane studios. I also love that the space is neutral without being boring. For more pictures of the space take a look here. The crafty mama behind this space also has a delightful stationary company called The Penny Paper Co. that is worth checking out}

modern nursery{for more shots of this simple, modern nursery take a look at make me studios}

modern yellow & blue nursery{this nursery makes me want to bust out with John Denver’s, “sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy”…to see all the pictures-and you should-take a look at Me and Wee}

modern gray nursery{originally found on A Lovely Lark. Love the elephant stool and picture. This is my kind of a “theme” room. Subtle to the extent that it is almost non-existent :)}

simple boho nursery{this simple. sweet nursery was originally found on apartment therapy}

teal & chartreuse nursery{this pretty nursery was originally found at me oh my!}

bright eclectic nursery{you should take a look at all the pictures of this bright eclectic nursery at on to baby}

pink and orange modern nursery{love this pink & orange nursery, also found at on to baby}


Here’s to hoping my next post will include our baby announcement!

Modern, Beautiful Bedding


I am in the market for some new bedding. We moved our house around in preparation for our new arrival (due in the beginning of March) and now we are using the downstairs family room as our bedroom/nursery. The upside is it has a fireplace and more space. The downside is that it is currently a smorgasbord of random items collected throughout the years posing as a bedroom set. Most everything is a shade of tan/white/beige/pink and gives me the overall impression that my “theme” in putting it together was “flesh-tones”…Needless to say, something has got to give.¬† I want to start with bedding. In general I like to stick with textures more than patterns when choosing bedding because it is more versatile and easier to change. This is especially true when combining 2 spaces. In our case Nursery/Bedroom. We want it all to go together so we will need to stick with a similar color pallet and go from there. I am leaning towards a grey base (no surprise, considering it is the primary color throughout the whole house) and adding some orange and brown into the mix. But, I might change my mind while writing this post, because I keep coming across all sorts of snuggly, fabulous options in beautiful colors. Let’s start with the throws:

rouched blanket{you can find these at Nordtrom for a mere $48, I especially love the “blue mist”}

modern knit quilt{this beauty makes me want to pick up my knitting needles again. Especially since I never got past the scarf straight-line phase of knitting. In fact the entire website, Purlbee, is amazing. Nothing granny about it}

gray and orange blanket

{this blanket by Woolrich would be a perfect adult compliment to the colors we are thinking of for our little buddies space. p.s. I bought my husband a blanket from woolrich a few years ago – husband has a bit of a blanket addiction – & we love it!}

rouched quilt{this pintuck quilt by bloomingdale’s comes in a number of colors and is lovely in person. We have 2 in a marigold color – which they no longer have – for our girls. I’ll post a pic below}

modern girls room{see that little bird hanging in mid-air? That’s what you get when you put a 2-year old in a bed within reach of the wall decal. He used to be sitting on a branch ūüôā – you win some & you lose some}

modern "pendleton"{love, love, love these! They have a cabin rustic or modern vibe. Would look great in so many styles. Especially love the graphite/aqua combo. You can buy them at abchome & they come in a “throw” size and queen size if you want it as your bedcover}

yellow anthropologie throw{isn’t this lovely? and it looks perfectly-worn-in-sweater-soft. you can find it at anthropologie}

neon pink striped wool blanket{I’ve often thought that Design Within Reach was oddly named – I’m not sure who would think a $525 throw was “within reach” but if you do, I think this would be the perfect choice. As much as I have tried to reject the neon trend it has snuck up on me and in small doses I find I like it.}


OK, so I could spend hours finding more amazing throws, but then I would never get to the duvet covers & bedspreads. We have always been a duvet family, they are so cozy and warm, but I have to admit to liking the way a bedspread looks when made…No lumps & bumps, just a nice smooth surface. So, I will show you both and you can decide what you like best:

anthropologie zigzag quilt{I tend to stay away from patterns of any kind of a comforter because it can take over the whole room, but this is pretty lovely and you could do a lot of different things in a room around it. Find it at anthropolgie}

polka dot duvet set{my sister pointed out this adorable duvet set when we were at ikea the other day. It comes with a white background too. So cute for an older girls room.}

moose duvet bynord{basically the best duvet cover I have seen! it’s from bynord & I contacted the company and they will ship to the US…this may soon be on my bed}

shabby chic girls bedding{I’m not generally much for florals – maybe you noticed – but this is so fresh & vibrant, I just love it! Plus, it’s called the “sister florals” and it would be perfect in a room for sisters. You can find it at Garnet Hill}

smocked gray duvet{love this smocked grey set from Pinecone Hill. It comes in white too, if you want a blank slate to work with in your bedroom}


Oh how I love throw pillows! They are so aptly named too, since what you mostly do is throw them off your bed and off your couch so you can get comfortable. They bend all my rules of form & function – since they are mostly just there to be pretty, but I love them just the same}

linen and neon pillow{perfect combo of rustic and modern from SMITHhandmade}

yellow ruffled pillow{this yellow ruffled pillow from The Land of Nod would look great with the grey smocked duvet set above}

modern bolsters{love these bolster pillows from Blue Dot}

house pillow{I don’t know where exactly you would use this vertical pillow by Design Public, but I sure like it}

balsam pillow{In general I find the words put on home goods poorly chosen – for more on that see this post – but these little gems from Izola have both good words and a good smell. They are filled with Balsam needles! I am pretty sure I am the target market for these. Before you buy them though make sure and look at the size. Think sachet, not chair pillow}


If you need some more inspiration take a look at this post – specifically, for throw pillows, or this pinterest board for all sorts of home goods, including bedding.

Organize for the New Year

I am not much for New Year’s resolutions. They seem like a set-up for failure, not to mention that if I want to change something about myself, circumstances or home I would rather start as soon as the idea strikes. That being said, I am for getting organized anytime of year and when you are taking down all your Christmas stuff and figuring out where to put all the newly acquired Christmas goods seems like an obvious time to me. My New Years gift to you is some beautiful & functional organization ideas.


When I was getting things organized for my homeschooling adventure I needed a bunch of storage for colored pencils, pens, dry erase pens, crayons, etc. I was about to buy some containers when it dawned on me that we have a huge supply of mason jars in a variety of sizes (due to my husbands canning addiction). They are perfect. Here is some inspiration about the myriad uses of a mason jar:

mason jar storage{How about putting your good looking craft supplies on display? If you are like me this would just make you want to run out and buy cute craft supplies so you could see them lined up on a shelf in your craft space. Originally found at twotwentyone}

mason jar storage{originally found at lifeiscrazybeautiful. When I saw this I wondered why I never thought of it before now. So handy!}

mason jar storage basket{I posted this for 2 reasons. 1- mason jars are great storage for dry goods as shown here & 2- you can buy this vintage basket from thehomecraftcottage that fits 6 quart jars and takes your organization to a new level}

modern painted mason jars

{these beauties would look good storing anything and I love how modern it makes an old mason jar look. originally found at Blue Eyed Yonder}


Here are some storage bins & boxes that add to, rather than take away from the style in your house {unlike the plastic kind with a lid we all have too many of}:

burlap storage bag

{if you happen to be a reader that lives in Europe than you are lucky enough to shop h&m Sweden, or any of the other h&m stores that carry home goods. If not, you can be like me and add it to the growing list of fabulous things us Americans don’t have}

felt storage bag{I pretty much like all things felted. This would make a perfect catch-all for books, magazines, toys, games or even kindling. You can buy it from DIGS}

chunky knit storage bins{knit storage bins by landofnod would be great in an adult space that needs some color, or of course a kids room for easy toy clean up}

modern metal storage containers{I love these numbered boxes by Jayson Home}

etsy storage bin{if you want something personalized BaffinBags makes all sorts of storage bins out of lovely fabrics}

yellow vintage chest{I found this old wooden box at the etsy store oldgoatandhorse. The thing I really love about this simple, rustic style is that it works with pretty much any style. My home is pretty modern, but I have quite a few funky, junky items to add warmth and visual interest}


Here is some storage furniture I like. Really the options are endless in this department, so here are just a few of my favorites:

modern rustic coffee table with storage{love this simple coffee table by west elm. Form & function!}

chalkboard storage locker vintage{we have a few old lockers that I love as storage. One is in my kitchen and it houses all my baking stuff, oils, vinegars, salts, etc. I especially love that the old coat hooks are still in the large compartments because it is a perfect place to hang onions and potatoes so they get good circulation. This set with chalkboard paint was originally found here}

teal metal buffet table

{This teal metal console is intended as a TV stand, but I think it would make a great sofa table with blankets, books, etc stacked up, or a kitchen console with lots of white dishes and glassware piled on. You can buy it at Target for a measly $180 -BARGAIN – if you aren’t very adventurous it comes in white, black or orange, and it’s a really nice orange too. You should look.}


Here are some storage solutions for odds and ends:

open shelf storage in kitchen

{almost all kitchens have a little extra wall space where you could add some open shelves. Ikea has inexpensive stainless steel options & pretty much any home goods retailer has a myriad of options}

rustic hanging metal shelf{this hanging shelf can be found at Pottery Barn}

bright metal wall containers{love these wall containers from landofnod for a craft space, kids room or junk drawer alternative}


If you need some more storage tips & ideas here are some of my favorites from the experts:

8 incredible clever organizing tricks {from Houzz}

14 foolproof storage solutions {from Real Simple}

Winter organizing tips {from Martha Stewart}

Homemade gifts worth getting

I am not that crafty. My sister got all those genes in our family. She writes poetry for people (the good kind, that should be published – not the kind you wonder where to hide in your home) She makes things out of clay, she stays up until 3am making every item for her daughters birthdays (including homemade princess dresses & crowns)…One year the level of thoughtful personalization of gifts from my sis got so out of hand (OK, we were feeling insecure) that as my dad was unwrapping the wool sweater we purchased him from REI, Jeff commented that he was sure Katie had woven him one out of her hair (I’m sure it wasn’t that far off-base). Anyway, I shamelessly support the material, economic engine of the USA by purchasing my gifts…The truth is, I don’t usually want to receive homemade things, they are usually so…homey. My aesthetic isn’t homey. Now that I have said it and made every person past and future insecure about making me things I would like to follow-up with some home made gifts I have received over the years that were great: burp clothes from my Aunt Di, all my baby bedding from my grandma (I picked out the fabric and she made them), a few beautiful quilts for the birth of my daughters, book of wonderful parenting/childhood quotes from my friend…I am sure I have received some other wonderful things that I am forgetting from every single person that is reading this (sorry to offend). Anyway, my point is that while I can go to crafty wonderland and appreciate most everything there, almost none of it would fit in my home. That being said, my husband and I do love the thought and process of making things for other people (& have given homemade canned goods & caramels as gifts for a few years now), so I am a curating a list of things that I would love to receive from others & that seem do-able as a way to kick start the holiday crafting time of year.


¬†DIY salt dough or cornstarch ornaments {here’s a recipe}:

cornstarch and salt dough ornaments

{images found originally at 1. even*cleveland, 2. Oleander and Palm, 3. Composing Hallelujahs, 4. the woodside kitchen. 5& 6 are for those who love this look but will never get around to making anything, you can buy these white ceramic beauties from marley & lockyer}


I would be happy to have these DIY home goods at my house:

modern homemade gifts

{1. DIY lavendar vanilla soy candle tutorial found on Ruffled, 2. wooden doormat DIY compliments of Martha Stewart 3. DIY rustic US map from Girl in Air 4. if you knew how to quilt and you made me this I wouldn’t be mad. It’s the anti-granny afghan & I LOVE IT. originally found here, 5. homemade soap is a serious labor of love. Don’t EVER feel bad about spending $5 for a bar at a craft show, the person who made that soap earned every penny. One year my sister made Jeff a years worth of amazing, gritty, clove-scented soap – the real stuff, not melted and reformed glycerine – & he has been daydreaming about more ever since. For a bunch of recipes look here, 6. Pillow tutorial here}


DIY food/drink gifts {homemade food is pretty much always a good idea, because it doesn’t take up space for long & if the person receiving it doesn’t appreciate it, chances are someone in the household will}:

gourmet homemade food gifts

{1. recipe for these homemade peanut butter cups is from Blue-Eyed Bakers, 2. find a tutorial for homemade fruit jellies at sunset magazine , 3.recipe for candied pecans, 4. I love friendship or russian tea. It’s made with Tang which is pretty much enough reason not to love it, but I still do & you know, everything in moderation. Here is a recipe for this delish drink mix which would be so cute packaged in a little glass jar with a homemade label,¬† 5. I fell in love with pasteis de nata during a trip to Portugal & I like the idea of introducing something new to friends, 6. infused vodka can never be a bad idea and keeps forever, I made a cucumber gin that lasted years…}


If you have kiddos {or know kids you want to give gifts to} here are some of my favorites:

homemade gifts for children

{1. I would love these large stacking rings for my kiddos, such a great diy idea, 2. What child’s day isn’t made happier with a felt crown? 3. If you happen to be my husband you may have been put up to making some version of this for our daughters for Christmas – good thing they don’t read my blog – or you could spend $1300 and purchase them from Modern Playhouse, that is if tons of other parents. with way too much money, hadn’t already bought them all! 4. how about these adorable¬†sewing cards from the adorable/informative¬† handmade charlotte. It’s a free printable, so all you need to do is add a needle and chunky thread & put it in a cute box. easy peasy! 5.this would be a great semi-homemade gift to make for a child – or homeschooling mom like me – again, you don’t even have to be crafty, just download the printable and assemble. You can find it at Mr.Printables. While you are there you should look around, if you have littles, it may be your new favorite freebie website}


You now have no excuse, go make something! If you know us, you may even be the recipients of some of this fun stuff!

Cozy Spaces

My sister loaned me a book awhile back all about the senses (can’t remember the name, but she might post below if you are interested). It came about because we were talking about how smells take us back the furthest. You know when you are walking outside and all of a sudden you smell that smell of flowers that were at the front of your great-grandmas long driveway in Sacramento – where you visited often as a child – and all of a sudden you remember taking long hot walks to the corner store for an otter pop. You hadn’t even thought of it since you were 3 or 4 and then there it is – all because of the smell of some forgotten flower…Well, anyway for some reason I smell those remind-me smells an awful lot in the fall. The cold mixed with rotting leaves. You get the idea, right? I’ve mentioned before that my favorite smell is woodsmoke, but especially woodsmoke from someone else’s home, while we are taking a cold, wet fall walk…Which of course got me thinking of my favorite cozy spaces. Which led me to today’s post. If you can’t actually get away to one of these places anytime soon, maybe you should curl up with some coffee and have a daydream:


I’m going to admit that while I have a tumblr account I don’t really get it, never use it personally & rarely even look at it. However, while writing this post I stumbled on a tumblr account that has the most gorgeous pictures ever at theyardpdx. You should look at all of them. But in case you don’t here are a collection of my favorites:

rustic cottages and cozy spaces{I should probably just finish my post here, since anything else I might add will pale in cozy comparison…But I will try, so I don’t feel like a blog cheater by just showing you someone else’s collection}

storm king ranger station{this is the lovely Storm King Ranger Station in the scenic Olympic Peninsula, worth the drive if you live in the Northwest, you can’t rent the station but you could stay in the nearby Lake Crescent Lodge}

tiny cottage on Galiano Island{this adorable cottage on Galiano Island, British Columbia is by far the cutest home I have ever seen that was built in the 1980’s}

red barn on Kinderhook Farm

{Just when you thought I forgot there was color in the world I post a huge red barn! You can rent this perfectly rustic space on Kinderhook Farm in Valatie, NY for a farmstay. No TV or internet, just lots of happy grass-fed animals & fresh-air. Yes please!}

floating cabin in France{how about this beauty at Les Sources de Caudalie in France}

Whitegates Cottage in UK

{wouldn’t you like to have tea in front of this fire at Whitegates Cottage? You can rent it through the UK National Trust}

Treehouse at Treehouse Point in Washington State

-{this is a tree house you can rent at Treehouse Point in Washington state.¬† As a child my absolute favorite thing at Disneyland was the swiss family robinson tree house, so you can imagine my disappointment when I went back last year and found they had turned it into tarzan’s house. lame. Maybe If I stayed here I could imagine I was part of the Swiss family}


Now that I have got you daydreaming I will leave you with this poem, by Robert Louis Stevenson (from A Child’s Garden of Verses}

Autumn Fire

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!