Feelin’ haze-y

I know in my last post I teased you with the promise of a new kitchen wall color, which got delayed due to new windows.  I’m making good on that promise today!!

First off, can I just say that painting (and any project in general) takes 10x as long when you have to work solely during nap and bed times?  Painting the kitchen BC (that’s “before child”) would have taken approximately a weekend to finish.  Painting the kitchen AC (“after child”) took almost a month- taping happened one night after bed, then the walls got painted during a weekend, then I had to travel for work so we took a week off.  Then the ceiling finally got painted over another weekend.  I suppose if we didn’t mind being sleep deprived, we still could have gotten it done in a weekend, but I like my sleep thankyouverymuch!

I wanted a color that was lighter than our original color (Behr’s Mother Nature) but that wasn’t a tan because the office and living room are both a shade of tan.  I also wanted something with some grey to it, but not too grey.  It had to play nice with our counters and cabinets too.  I grabbed a million swatches, and painted a few test stripes on the walls (those are a good motivator to get to the actual painting process- we could only stare at those stripes for so long).  I don’t usually spend this much time deliberating on a color, but I really didn’t want to have to paint the kitchen again- there is SO much taping involved!!  I *finally* settled on Behr Mountain Haze for the walls and Behr White Clay for the ceiling.  And oh boy do I love it!! The color is still a little bit green, but looks greyish at night.

It’s actually still not 100% finished- there’s some paint to be scraped off the cabinets, and we have a project in the initial planning stages that we *hope* to complete this summer at some point (right now we’ve switched gears and are focusing our energy on the outside since it’s nice enough to be out there.  We’ll move back inside once the stifling heat and humidity show up).  It’s finished enough for photos though!!  Warning- I did not stage anything.  And there are toddler hand prints all over the dishwasher (I didn’t even bother showing you the fridge because the outside is kind of scary looking right now- I curse our stainless steel appliances on a daily basis…)

Anyway…I know you really just want to see the photos, so here you go!  First off, the dining room side:

Oh what a difference some paint and a new window makes!!  That window is the exact same size as the old window, but it looks SO much bigger.

And, just a reminder (again) of how far this room has come…

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Oh yeah…so much better!  We got a new rug awhile back too for the dining room portion- we did have 4 (!!) rugs in there and it was just getting ridiculous when we were vacuuming in there.  One big rug is much more manageable.  The colors tie in well with the curtains and wall color (the rug came first though).  And it goes well with the living room rug too.

And the kitchen side of things:

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This photo is probably the best shot of our counter tops I have- it really shows off the detail and true colors (Corian in “Burled Beach”).  I am still in love with them.  You can also see we added some new pets to our family- 9 neon tetras and 2 corydoras (aka cory catfish).  B loves to watch them swim, especially at feeding time, and has quickly learned to sign “fish”.

Another quick reminder of what this side of the room used to look like:

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It’s amazing what a little paint can do.  It feels so much lighter and brighter in there, which is exactly what I hoped to accomplish!

I’m excited about the next project we are doing in this room, but I’m keeping that cat in the bag for now.  I’m hoping we’ll get it done this summer but the way our projects have been moving lately, it might be more like fall.  We’ll see.  No promises!!

What do you think?  Have you painted anything recently?

DIY canvas art

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope y’all had a great weekend!  We were super busy, and poor B came down with a nasty cough.  Yuck.

I’m showing you something I put together over the weekend- it’s super simple and one of my favorite crafts.

In our house we have a few gallery walls (B’s room, my office and our hallway)  I really like adding in pictures that are in frames and on canvases- it’s fun to mix them up.  I’m loving photo printed canvases, but you know, they can be SO expensive!  But I’m going to show you how you can create your own at home for less!

First, gather your supplies.  You’re going to need your photo (I’ve used 8×10’s and 11×14’s for this project), some craft paint in your color of choice, a foam brush, a canvas to fit your photo and some modge podge.

DIY canvas art supplies

Paint your canvas edges with the craft paint

DIY canvas art painted canvases

You’ll notice I painted the blue one completely blue- you don’t have to do this (see the black one), but I wasn’t sure the piece of artwork I was putting on that canvas was as thick as a photo, and it is a light colored piece of paper, so I didn’t want any lines to show through.  The black does not show through a photo- I’ve done several this way and they’ve all turned out great.

Spread some modge podge down on the canvas…

DIY canvas art modge podge

Then put your photo (or art) down on top and let it dry so it attaches well.  Once it’s attached, cover the photo (or art) in a two layers of modge podge (let each application dry in between).

DIY canvas art print

Make sure to get the sides of the canvas too, because you’re inevitably going to have some drips.  Plus craft paint is very matte, whereas the modge podge is sort of shiny (I used the matte finish modge podge, by the way)

DIY canvas art side

Then, admire your canvas and hang it up!

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This particular canvas is a family tree that my sister got for B last Christmas.  I’m ashamed to say it took me a year to get it completed (mostly because I was afraid I would mess it up by writing on it, but I put my penmanship skills to work and I have to say, it looks pretty good) As of today, it’s filled out and ready to hang on the wall!!  Normally I paint the edges black for my photos, but I thought an aqua blue was a fun change, and it matches B’s nursery colors.  I can’t wait to hang it on the wall in there.

Did you craft something over the weekend?

Linking up to the Inspire Me Please blog hop at House of Rose!

Deck the halls, inside and out!

Hey everyone!  I’m skipping my usual “Tuesday Tips” this week to show off our Christmas decorations.  I just love this time of year- it’s so fun to have our house all decorated, and to drive around and see all the lights up- it’s just so festive.

We managed to get all the outside decorations up during B’s nap on Friday- a true Christmas miracle.  Ha.  I’m really happy with how it turned out!

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The giant ornaments are one of my favorite things:

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Inside, I did our mantle like I always do- my Noel sign is probably my favorite thing up there

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Why yes, that is a tool bench in front of the fireplace…just keepin’ it real around here!

We don’t have our tree up yet because we get a live one, and that sucker would be crispy by the time Christmas rolled around if we got it now.  So we’ll wait until the middle of December- I can’t wait for that fresh pine scent!  I do have a mini fake tree that I put up on the kitchen counter though- is it weird that I really kind of want to keep it up all year??

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And our dining room table isn’t fancy- normally I do more than this, but B is so curious these days I figured he’d either want everything on there or pull a tablecloth off the table.  So I just put out some simple place mats and a centerpiece- the glass vase has a wooden nutcracker, a couple of mini fake trees and some epsom salt snow!

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And that’s it!!

Have you decorated for the holidays yet?

Linking up to Dare to DIY at Newly Woodwards!

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Christmas Party!

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Stick a fork in it…

Because I’m calling the office officially “done”

I put a couple of finishing touches up in the office over the weekend, and I’m completely satisfied with how things look.  I still smile every time I walk into this room, and actually enjoy sitting at my desk to use my computer, which means this little room has come a long way!!  To see how far, check out this post.

The things I added over the weekend weren’t monumental by any means, but they did finish things off.  First, I framed Ellie’s agility title certificate and hung that up (there’s room for 2, which hopefully she will get in September):

I love those hooks- too cute.  And in Georgia bulldog colors, of course.  The frame is from the dollar store- I was actually pretty impressed with their frame selection.  I picked up a bunch and will share what I did with them later this week.

This wall looks more complete now- apologies for the sort of blurry pic:

I also put up a roman shade over the window…I’ve been on a mission to replace all the metal blinds in this house.  It took me almost 2.5 years to do it, but I can now honestly say that there are no more metal blinds!!  Here’s a look at the new shade:

Nothing too exciting- I wanted to keep it light and bright in there so I just went with a plain white one.  It ties in the white cover of the chair at my desk.  I tend to lean towards the bamboo roman shades, but thought this room had enough dark furniture/wood in it so went with something different.  The shade is this one (Savannah III 72×64 in bright white, just in case the link stops working), from JCPenney.

Done done and done- love it!!  So happy to have this room completely checked off my list.

How was your weekend?

Deck the halls- outside edition

I think my favorite part of decorating for the holidays are the outside decorations.  I remember my dad decorating our house when I was a kid- we had a big light-up snowman, a couple of giant candles that said “Noel” on them, and a bunch of lights and garland on our front porch.  There’s something so magical about driving/walking up to your house at night and seeing it all lit up.  I’ve carried on the outdoor decorating “tradition” at each house my husband and I have lived in.  It varies depending on the outside of the house, but lights end up out there some where!!  And believe it or not, I do 95% of the decorating.  Yep, I get up there on the ladder and figure out what lights plug in where.  Don’t worry, my husband helps too- usually by holding/moving the ladder and handing me lights.  I think he enjoys helping, but is probably glad I don’t make him do most of it.

This year, of course, was no exception.  This is the 2nd time we’ve decorated the front of this house, so I’ve got it down, for the most part.  Here’s the entire front

Actually, this photo is from last year.  I don’t have a good photo of the entire front this year.  BUT, the garage looks the exact same this year, I’ve just changed some things about the front of the house.

Here’s a better look at the front (from this year):

Can you spot what’s different about this year??  If you guessed giant ornaments, you win!!

I think I made my garland swags bigger this year, because I mysteriously ran out of garland about 4ft from the end of the house- whoops.  So I stole one of the wreaths that I had hanging in front of the windows (made out of leftover garland from last year) and used that- which is why there are no wreaths in front of the windows this year.   When my parents were visiting, my mom and I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and came back with the giant ornaments (50% off thankyouverymuch).  I wasn’t sure where to hang them, as the original plan was to put them in a tree in the front yard, but I didn’t like the look once I got started.  As luck would have it, I had just the right amount to hang them from the garland- and I like it!!  So does my husband.  They’re shatter-proof so they should hold up, even if it gets really windy.  Also none of them are hanging directly in front of a window so we shouldn’t end up with an accidental broken window. 

I love having our house all decorated- I wish we could leave it up year round.  It makes me smile to see it all pretty and sparkly.

What do you think?  Do you decorate the outside of your home for the holidays?

Re-purposing

Happy Friday everyone!

Sometimes I get stuck on finding something for a space in our house- example: we needed a place to corral shoes by the front door, because I was getting sick of tripping over a big pile of them every time we came home.  So I searched, and searched, and searched for a shoe rack that would look decent, with no luck.  Problem was, I had tunnel vision and was only searching for “shoe rack”.  Sometimes I need to step back and think outside the box.  What else can hold shoes?  What else do I want to use this for besides holding shoes?  How big do I want it to be?

After thinking about what I really needed (shoe holder, mail and key holder, something medium height and not too deep because we have a small entry)- I stumbled upon the idea of using a bookshelf!  Duh.  I wanted something with a warm wood tone, and it needed to be well made, not out of particle board.  One day, I stumbled upon this:

Riley bookshelf from World Market**

I loved the look, color and the dimensions were perfect for the space.  Sold!!  When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised- it has a lot of craftsman details that you can’t see from the online photos, and it’s solid wood.  My husband put it together for me, and we both loved it.  He even had the idea to add some shelf paper to the shelves to protect them from mud/dirt from our shoes- genius!

Here it is in its new home:

Sorry to blind everyone with my running shoes- whoops.  It’s a perfect fit- to the left is the downstairs bedroom door and our front door.  I dressed it up with a basket to hold keys/wallet/cell phone/mail and a couple of accessories that we already had.  Verdict?  We use it all the time!  I can’t believe we lived here almost a year without it- it makes such a difference.

Here’s the entry before we got organized:

Ok, it was never this messy- this is from when we first bought the house!

And here’s the entry now!

It was a happy accident that the color almost perfect matches the frames above it and the front door- I guess it was meant to be. 

What do you think?

Have a great weekend everyone!

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in any way by this company for this post.

Window shade tutorial

I’m back, with a really simple tutorial on how to make a pretty fabric window shade!  If you can sew a straight line (or even iron a straight line for that matter) you can make this shade.

When we bought our house, we inherited 1980’s off-white metal blinds. yay.  I guess I should consider myself lucky that we had any blinds at all.  Over the past year, I’ve been slowly replacing them to pretty things up.  You saw the shades in the kitchen and dining room- I did NOT make those.  But I did hang them!!

The spare upstairs bedroom in our house (we have 2 bedrooms upstairs- one is the “master” and the other was functioning as a cat room until December 2010 when I finally got up the nerve to paint again) needed some curtain love.   This is what it looked like when we went and saw the house:

Standing in the dormer, door on the left takes you across the hall to our bedroom

Standing in the door, looking at the dormer.  There is another window to the left (not pictured)

Boring boring boring.  And powder blue.  That had to change!  So about 2 weeks ago I finally had the time and patience to make some curtains for this room- and I can’t believe I waited so long, because they were super easy to make.  I made curtains similar to this style:

Source: Amazon.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

Enough fabric to completely cover the length and width of your window (allowing a little extra for hems and a rod pocket).  Make sure you’ve washed your fabric prior to using it, that way it’ll be pre-shrunk (surprise shrinkage after you’ve made something is never a good thing!)
Iron
Iron-on hem tape OR a sewing machine
If you’re using a sewing machine, thread color of your choice
Ribbon OR fabric strips
Curtain rod (I used this one from Target- I have 2 sets of curtains on the windows and this one is almost completely hidden, I just wanted something low profile and inexpensive)

Start out by measuring your window- you’ll need to measure the width and length of your window, factoring in the placement of your curtain rod (is it going inside the window? above the window?) and allowing a little extra for a rod pocket and hems.

Cut your fabric to the appropriate size.  FYI- there are a lot of great sites out there to buy fabric from.  In fact, Pinterest has a great link kicking around out there: 30 great places to buy fabric online.  I’d like to add one more to the mix and suggest Tonicliving.com, which is where I got my fabric.  They’re great!

Iron out any wrinkles and iron your hems- I like to do this before I sew, it eliminates the need for pins (unless the fabric is really stubborn).  If you’re planning on using iron-on hem tape, hem your fabric now with the iron.  You’ll want to hem the sides and the bottom.  Otherwise, sew your hem with a sewing machine.

Fold over the top of the fabric for a rod pocket and iron- I made a 3″ rod pocket on mine- you can make yours as large or as small as you’d like, just make sure your curtain can slide on to the curtain rod.  If you’re using iron-on hem tape, go ahead and secure your rod pocket.  If you’re using a sewing machine, wait one step before securing your rod pocket.

Once you’ve ironed your rod pocket, you’ll want to figure out where to place your ties- what I did was to take two long pieces of grosgrain ribbon and place one approximately 5″ in from either side of the curtain.  I made my ribbon twice the length of the curtain, and folded it over the top (so an equal amount hung down the front of the curtain and the back).  I then pinned my ribbon in place close to where I was planning on sewing down my rod pocket- my plan was to secure both the rod pocket and the ribbon at the same time.

If you’ve used iron-on hem tape to secure your rod pocket, you’ll want to do the same with your ribbon.  Alternatively, you could use some fabric glue to attach it.  You’ll only want to attach it near the top.  Keep reading to see what I mean…

If you’re sewing, you’ll only be attaching the ribbon in one spot- where you’re attaching your rod pocket.  I just sewed a straight line across my fabric and ribbon, which secured the rod pocket and the ribbon all at once.  Easy peasy (or not, since I’ve once again failed to take pictures so all these words may be completely confusing!!).

All that’s left to do is hang your curtain rod and new shade, roll it up and secure it with the ties.  Want to see mine?

Two layers of curtains- shade is on this rod from Target.  Fabric is Meandering Vines from Tonic Living.  Ribbon is grosgrain leftover from our wedding. 

I did leave the white metallic blinds up- they are just hiding behind the shade.  I figure they add another layer to make it dark in the room if necessary.  Another option would be to add a liner to these shades to help block the light. 

Here they are in the room (photo taken from doorway):

Decal from Leen the Graphics Queen

This room is still a work in progress, and unfortunately right now it’s still a cat room (although it can also function as a guest room) so we haven’t done much more to it.  At least now the cats can enjoy some pretty shades, right??

Bathroom break…?

I’m back again, with another bathroom post.  Don’t worry, we only have 2 bathrooms so this will be the last bathroom post!   
We actually re-did our upstairs bathroom (master bath to us, but really sandwiched between the 2 upstairs bedrooms) before the downstairs bath.  It looked like this when we moved in: 
Giant mirror and 80’s light fixture?  Check.  White laminate counter top and linoleum?  Check.  Towel shelf precariously hanging on wall (wouldn’t be able to hold a towel)?  Check.

 The first thing we did was remove the giant mirror, because we needed to have it cut down (it too was held on by plastic flower clips, 4″ in from the sides.  Bizarre).  A tip- any local glass shop can do this for you, and to cut ours down it cost around $20 per mirror.  This beats buying a new mirror- even cut down ours measure ~4 ft x 3 ft.

Look what we found behind the mirror:

Oh yeah, blue flowered wallpaper.  Awesome.  Gotta love it when someone just paints right over it…

Because the wallpaper had been painted over many times…we painted over as well.  Not ideal, but way less work than removing it.  We did remove pieces that were peeling off, then put spackle over the line between the wallpaper and bare wall and sanded in smooth.  We have flat walls, and I think this method worked well- you cannot see areas where we spackled.  Where the prior owners spackled?  You can see that.  And we’ve fixed some ugly spots thanks to them.

We used the same counter top, faucet and light fixture as the downstairs bathroom, which we installed ourselves.  The mirror got framed in this bathroom as well- hmmm, I think I should write a separate post on how to do this, since I googled all over the place to figure out how.  I sadly do not have in process pictures, but I can certainly explain how we did it – I think it turned out well.  We did not re-do the floors in this bathroom- that’s on the future to-do list.  The floors are fine (and thankfully no rotten floor in this room- yikes, I can’t even begin to imagine how we’d deal with that in a 2 story house!) just not updated.  When we do the floors in this room, we’ll probably use the same vinyl flooring as downstairs, (we still have an almost full box left from downstairs- hmmm, that reminds me, we should buy it before they discontinue the color!) but we are NOT removing the linoleum first.  We are going right over the top- because I am never removing linoleum again.  That was a nightmare.

Care to see it?

Done!  We used Contemplation by Behr as the wall color.  This color is the same color that’s in our master bedroom closet and master bedroom ceiling.  Master bedroom walls are Sage Grey by Behr.

And a view from inside the room.  The picture frames have changed since this picture was taken- they’re now white.

As in every room we’ve re-done, we changed out the door hardware from brass to brushed nickel (drawer pulls were already that way when we moved in) and replaced all the switches, switch plates and outlet plates to white (seriously- this last part is the easiest, cheapest way to update a room!!)

That’s the upstairs bath!!  I love it- it’s very calming.  Thankfully this was a pretty simple re-do. Not like the downstairs bath (which you can read about here).

What’s your favorite room in your house?  I’m not sure if this room is my favorite, but it’s pretty close!

Re-visiting the kitchen

I’m not going to say anything about how this is post #2 in as many days, for fear of jinxing my progress.  Whoops- guess I did just say something.
Anyway…a room that is constantly changing in our house is the kitchen.  Well, kitchen and dining room actually, since they are one room.  The kitchen was the selling point of the house (that and the big backyard).  We really loved the custom wood cabinets, layout and the storage space.  What we didn’t love were the counter tops, appliances and the paint color- the counter tops were 21 year old white laminate that had lost its finish and was separating from the plywood it was attached to.  You could set a coffee cup down and leave a permanent ring.  Awesome.  We knew that we could only live with these for so long (and lucky us, all the counters in the house were white laminate!)  Unfortunately, new counters are expensive, so we’d have to let that one wait awhile.  The easiest (and least expensive) thing to change was the paint color.  Because blood red just wasn’t workin’:
The blood red dining room with previous owner’s furniture

The blood red kitchen and lovely white counter tops.  Plus old, inefficient appliances.

 I’d always wanted to do a kitchen in green, so off I went to get a million paint chips and tape them to the walls.  My husband actually made the color choice, going with Mother Nature by Behr.  The ceiling is actually a couple of shades of green lighter- I’m not 100% on the color, it’s either Corn Husk Green by Behr or Rejuvenate by Behr.  Whatever it is, it’s pretty.  I do wish that either a. I’d chosen a shade or two lighter for the ceiling, because only in certain lighting can you tell there is a color difference or b. that we had crown molding in the dining room to better separate the two colors.  The crown molding idea is still on the table, we’re just not 100% sure how to do that because our cabinets already have crown that meets the dining room wall- installing crown in the dining room would involve taking off the crown on the cabinets and cutting it.  Not to mention I would like white crown for the dining room- and that cut would have to be perfect in order to match up between the white and wood crown.  It makes my head spin, I tell ya.

Anyway.  So we painted the kitchen (and discovered part way through the process that there was wallpaper under that blood red color.  Awesome.  Since it’d been painted over at least once, we just painted right over it, because removing it would have been a PAIN) and purchased a couple of appliances.  The fridge we inherited was small, inefficient and dirty.  That got moved to the garage and is now the extra fridge/dog treat holder (yeah, our dogs are spoiled).  The stove was also inefficient and dirty.  I cleaned it up and we gave it to a friend of a friend (who was using a stove from the 50’s…).  Oh and we also updated the lighting- taking the kitchen lighting from fluorescent strip and can light to track and pendant (I used one of the can light converter kits to install the pendant).  So here’s the kitchen after we did all that:

Kitchen with new paint, new appliances and new lighting.  You can see here how the dining room is right next to the kitchen.

 The dining room didn’t get much of an upgrade- we painted and installed the light fixture in the opposite direction.  Not my favorite light fixture but it worked so we went with it.  Oh and we also changed out all the door hardware from brass to brushed nickle and light switches/outlet covers from almond to white (this trick is by far the cheapest, easiest thing you can do to instantly update a room).

Dining room and a kitty- that’s Amber.  She loves to be the center of attention.

At Christmas, my parents generously gifted us with a new dishwasher and microwave, rounding out the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.  About a month later, we’d had it with the laminate counter tops and bit the counter top bullet.  I’d been eyeing Corian countertops for several months- I liked the solid surface (no way was I going to deal with laminate again) and the fact that they are man-made.  Plus the color goes through the entire counter, so if there’s ever a scratch we can just sand it out.  We even went to Home Depot** a few months prior to our purchase and picked out a bunch of tiles to choose from and then harassed asked everyone who came to our house to pick their favorite.  Once we’d narrowed it down to 3 choices, I ordered 10″x10″ tiles directly from Corian.  If you’re going to make a large investment in counters, you won’t regret spending the $15 per tile to see a bigger version of your teeny tiny sample tile.  2 of the colors we thought we liked were gross in large tiles, and the one we were just so so about was gorgeous in a large tile (the tiny tile left out SO much detail).  And we actually use the sample tiles all the time as trivets for our hot pots and pans- bonus!

Anyway- lucky us, Home Depot was having a counter top deal.  We ended up with a free sink, a discount on our color choice, 12 months no interest financing plus I think another 10% off the entire order or something like that- it was a great deal.  We went with a single basin, under-mount stainless sink.  LOVE.  I’m never going back to a double basin sink again.  The faucet is this one– we both wanted something with a pull out sprayer (not pull down) and only one hole cut in the counter (so we didn’t have the soap dispense installed).  So far it’s been a great faucet- no complaints.  Ok, without further ado:

 

Kitchen after counter top installation.  The color is “burled beach” and is 10,000x prettier in person.  Our kitchen doesn’t get a ton of light because we have a lot of trees, so we went with something light to keep it from getting too dark in the kitchen (because painting the cabinets is 100% out of the question)

With the pretty new counter tops, the rest of the kitchen was looking a little bland with only wood, stainless and green.  I had to spice it up a bit- we don’t love clutter on the counters so colored accessories were out.  One day I happened to stumble upon a shade at World Market** that I knew would be perfect!  Lucky me, it was on sale and the perfect size for the window (they’ve since sold out of this shade- insert giant sad face here).

Here’s the shade installed.  One thing that gives me hives about our kitchen- WHY is the light not centered between the cabinets??  Seriously folks…

The shade was SO pretty I quickly snatched up 2 more for the dining room windows, because the dining room was looking sad in comparison.  I installed them as outside mounts because they were the wrong size for inside mounting- I think they worked out just fine though.  We also just recently updated the chandelier in the dining room- the one we’d flipped always hung slightly crooked and too high above the table.  I found this one on sale at Home Depot and snatched it up.  LOVE. 

New shades and chandelier in the dining room make things feel more cozy.

And that rounds out the tour of our kitchen and dining room.  We love it.  The only thing left to change is the flooring (which is about as annoying as the counter tops were) but that’s something that’ll have to wait awhile- for now we’re pretty happy with our pretty kitchen and dining room!

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in anyway by these companies for this post.