I painted the living room and dining room.

Living room with greenish gray walls

So I painted the living room and dining room. It has been 6+ years since I first painted this space, and it was time for a change. I’ve been over the coral color for a while, and then all of a sudden, I couldn’t stand it one more day. I was craving something more neutral for this space. The coral was getting (had always been?) so bossy. It took me a while to figure out the direction I wanted to go in since I really only wanted to repaint the coral walls, keeping the off-white I have in the rest of the room. This greenish gray shade (Valspar’s Wetlands) pairs perfectly.

It probably should have been an easier decision considering the rest of our house has various shades of blue/green/gray throughout. This color flows much better with everything else.

It’s dark, but only slightly darker than the coral was, and with the rest of the room being off white, it’s not overpowering.

I have plans to switch out the curtains to something that feels much more me in 2015. Fabric is on the way!

Valspar Wetlands

Green gray paint

Gray walls in dining room

See more decorating posts >>

Declutter 2015: The Dining Room


Challenge: I am tasking myself with going through my entire house and getting rid of everything that we don’t need anymore. I’m also taking this opportunity to repair things that are broken, eliminate annoyances, develop new systems, and just streamline as much as possible. I’m going to tackle one area/room at a time and won’t move on until that spot is completely done. See the first post here >>

On a casual glance, our dining room really didn’t appear to be cluttered. Sure, I always have some transitional junk on the table. I have a problem with keeping flat surfaces clear, as most people do, I think. But the table was the least of my worries. I knew there was junk behind closed doors just waiting for me.

This room had two culprits: the buffet and the wardrobe.

Organized dining room buffet

The buffet

I had been holding onto a ton of candles. A whole box full. and with small children, there’s really no candle burning going on around here. I saved a few as “emergency” supplies (like for a power outage/zombie apocalypse), but many of them are now gone. Paper napkins went to my party supply box to live with other paper party goods. A few random pieces of china went in a storage box with the rest of the set. A bundle of new dish towels I had been hoarding finally went into rotation. Also gone: some napkins and napkin rings (we have enough), an ugly vase, and random other things.


I was going to get rid of those fabric placemats because we just don’t use them, but then I realized they would work as pads between all of my platters. A much neater situation than the sloppy folded up tablecloth/flour sack towel method I was using before. All the Seussian stacking of odd-sized dishes used to give me anxiety. I was always afraid something was going to break. But now with the placemats between everything, it feels a lot less precarious.

Before-After of wardrobe

The wardrobe

Some people have a craft closet or a desk or a secretary; this wardrobe serves that same purpose in our house. Art supplies, stationery, paperwork. That’s the kind of stuff that’s in here. This wardrobe was among the most cluttered places in the house, and for one reason: kids art supplies.

Right away, I was able to throw away dried up Play Doh, dead markers, and other used-up art supplies. That part was easy. I also found a Valentine’s Day craft that we started in 2014… whoops. We finished it up for this Valentine’s Day.

The next step was giving this space somewhat of a function change. Elise needs to be able to access her supplies by herself, so we moved all of them to lower shelves. I also decided to move the printer to the office just to consolidate my business operations. I do more printing of postage labels than anything else. It belongs in the office. And that freed up a whole shelf!

Plastic file folder storage box

Also, my “filing system” (term used loosely) was not working at all. I had a letter tray for “to be filed” items, but they never ever made it to the filing cabinet in the office. Maybe like once a year. So after filing the back log of papers, I bought a plastic file folder storage box. It’s pretty much the size of a standard file cabinet drawer and barely fits onto the shelf, but I already know this system is going to work so much better.

I brought up a few of the folders from the filing cabinet in the basement, and my plan is just to add them to the storage box slowly. When we get something to file, I’ll grab the necessary folder from the file cabinet, purge any unneeded papers, and then put it in the file box. Nothing sounds as dreadful as spending an entire evening purging and organizing a complete filing cabinet. One folder at a time? That I can do.

120 Holga film waiting to be developed

Unexpected find: I found two rolls of undeveloped film I took with my Holga a few years ago. I also found two unexposed rolls. So I did something silly and took the Holga on our trip to Disney World to shoot the other two rolls. The film expired in 2011, so I am not even sure what I’m going to get back. But I just dropped all four rolls in the mail to be developed. Surprises await!

I also blew through all the Instax film I had because it was also expired. I should probably post some of those photos because I really love the way they turned out. I should also probably stop letting film expire.


All this junk left the house. Gone!

Next up: The Kitchen. Contained clutter.
See more dining room posts >>

P.S. I actually started repainting this room yesterday. Decluttering is inspiring! More about that soonish.

P.P.S. I’ve added a couple new music note birthday cards to my shop!

Music note birthday cards


You’re all write: Mini notebook valentines + FREE printable

Notebook valentines with free printable

I am normally not a fan of puns; overused, old hat, tired. But for some reason I find them totally acceptable, necessary even, on kid classroom valentines. It’s just what is done.

We found these mini notebooks at Target in their Valentine section, and printed up some simple cards using pink card stock we already had. Elise stuck everything down with washi tape. Cheap, easy, non-candy, and done.

Want the free printable? Download it here >>
(Personal use only, please.)

You're all write valentine

"You're all write valentine" Free printable.

You can never have too much art.


One of my unofficial goals in 2015 is to add more art to our home. Even though I’m decluttering the house, art is the one thing I don’t feel bad about collecting. Originals, prints, found pieces, kid creations, photos: let’s add them all! I just want to change up our space and make it inspiring.

Over the past few months, I’ve accumulated a few new things, and I’m finally getting around to hanging them up. I’m never short on frames, but for the longest time, I kept forgetting to pick up nails. Nails! How can one run out of nails? It’s possible, let me tell you.


Small PSA: I discovered on my trip to buy nails that Lowe’s now sells a version of the OOK hanger nails. All of you with plaster or masonry walls are probably familiar. They are needle-like and so great for not tearing your walls to bits. Anyway, I’m mentioning this because the ones at Lowe’s are so much cheaper than the OOK brand nails. A pack of 10 is only 97 cents!

So this is a post without much of a story; it’s more like a mini art tour with captions. Here are some of our new(ish) pieces. More art to come, hopefully. The piece at the top is from this artist, and was something I found for myself while I was holiday shopping.


I bought this St. Louis skyline screen print from this artist in the wake of all the violence in Ferguson. Sorry for the glare. It looks great in this spot in our hallway.


As I’m writing this, I am realizing this is not as quite a recent addition as I had thought. I instagrammed it way back in July, it seems, though I’ve never shown it here. We inherited this photo from Dan’s aunt. Not sure if the girl is a relative or not, but I love it. I haven’t tried taking it apart to see if it has writing on the back yet because it appears to be stuck to the glass a bit, and I would hate to mess it up. It’s a really large photo for being so old (maybe 9×12?), and it’s not even the right size for the frame. I just love everything about it.


And this last piece was made by Elise in art class. Although she loves art and projects and drawing, she usually doesn’t have the patience to make things like this at home. I love his polka dots and his strange black feet. Who knew snowmen had feet?

STL250 cake hunting challenge complete!


I’ve been meaning to update you on our STL250 cake hunting adventure. Short story: we finished!

We went to more than 250 different locations in the greater St. Louis area. We logged hours of driving, both to tourist attractions and the middle of nowhere. It took us to places we never knew existed and places we’d always meant to go to. We saw things we will never see again and places we’d like to revisit. We walked across the Mississippi River. It was a nine-month-long adventure in local sightseeing we will likely never repeat.

142-Grants 180-Compton 186-Lafayette 188-Eads

We visited our 250th cake the day after Thanksgiving. But on New Years Eve, we went to see a collection of cakes assembled for New Year’s festivities. It was the perfect cap to our adventure.