Monday, August 31, 2009

Window Shopping A Garage Sale...

...from the comfort of my own home.

It was nice!

I didn't even realize that the neighbor was having a garage sale until Will left to go to an appointment and called me shortly after he left:

Will: Did you see the neighbors yard?

Me: No....why?

(thinking it must be something horrible like they had been T.P.'d or their cars had been egged - I started walking towards the window right away)

Will: Just go look. You'll want to see what's...

(before he could even finish his sentence)

Me: *GASP* - oh my goodness!

Will: I'll be back shortly.

Their entire driveway was covered in items that they were selling and it looked like good stuff!

I immediately started surveying the scene and that's when I saw this...

I have wanted to get a chair like this for so long, but my husband doesn't like chairs resembling anything having to do with wicker, or rattan or anything of the handwoven nature. Since chairs like this aren't cheap, I had decided it was best not to get one.

That is, until my neighbor was selling hers at her garage sale!

It still has some of the packaging left on it...

And aside from a teeny-tiny bit of wear on the arms, the whole chair looks brand new!

It even came with a cushion.

A perfectly clean cushion!

It's obviously from Ikea (you can tell from the leftover packaging), so I looked it up online.

It's a $50 chair, plus the $14.99 cushion.

That's a $65 investment.

Want to know how much I got it for? Cushion and all?

A whopping $10


The kids love the new chair. And it's even cozier than I thought it would be.

And guess who else sits in it...

yep - the handwoven-ratan-hater himself!


I knew he would come around.

Did you come across any great garage sale finds?

Either way, I hope your weekend was wonderful!

P.S. Every week Rhoda has a blog party over at Southern Hospitality. To get in on the fun, just post your weekend finds and Thrifty Treasures. Everyone is welcome to participate!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Give Me Five...

The September issue of House Beautiful magazine
(one of my favorites)
is all about

Inside the pages are fun tests to see what your true color personality is.

Like this one...

All about numerology:


Take each letter in your first and last name and find its corresponding number on the chart. Add up all of the numbers, then reduce the total to a single digit.


K a r l a S w o v e l a n d

2 + 1 + 9 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5+ 6 + 4 + 5 + 3 + 1 + 5 + 4 = 50

5 + 0 = 5

My number, based on my name, is five.

5 = Blue

So my numerology color personality is blue and here is the description:

Optimistic, empathetic, flexible, idealistic, tranquil, patient, devoted.
A natural mother.

Nice! I'll take it!

I wonder what color I was with my maiden name?

I'll have to try it and see!

To see all of the color descriptions, check out

And there's more color fun...

Are you a sunrise? Or a sunset?

Q&A Color Personality Quiz

What does this color say?

Along with a list of

Color websites worth a visit


Will you play along?

What color are you?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paneling The Playroom...

The Problem:

In order to have perfectly matched moldings for the outside walls of our soon-to-be Playroom, we had to remove the original moldings from the interior of the room.
Because we added new walls to the space, the old interior moldings are what we will end up using on the new portions of the outside walls.

(Does that make sense? It even seems a little confusing to me! You can go back here and read where this project began and how far we've come. Maybe then it will make more sense.....maybe!)

Removing the molding on the inside of the room left us with this:

The solution to hiding all of that without having to mud, sand and texture was found in...paneling!

Don't worry - this won't be anything like the paneling from the 70's. This will be light, bright and crisp! Nothing cave-like here.

I have been fond of painted paneling for quite some time and to convince myself that this was the right solution for this room, all I had to do was look at the following blog for inspiration:

Completely Coastal

(Maya's blog is packed with photos that show how great the addition of paneling can be to a room. Just start at the beginning and keep scrolling. The inspiration goes on and on!)

Despite all of the gorgeous-"See! I'm telling you it will look good!"-photos that I provided for him, Will still wasn't convinced about the paneling (he rarely is before the design starts coming to life), but he went along, trusting that I know what I'm doing.

Using his handy little Dremel, he was able to precisely cut the openings for the outlets and light switches...

He had 6 different spots where he had to cut holes in the paneling, and this tool made the job so easy!

Throughout the day we had a super cute little helper with us. Very focused on her work...

At least, that's what she kept telling me...

"I'm workin', Mama. I'm workin'."

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree around here!

Within a few hours the paneling was up...

So far, so good!

Now it was time to add our own trim.

We almost always make our own trim from sheets of MDF - Medium Density Fiberboard. This way we can create exactly what we want it to look like, and we get it for a much cheaper price that any trim that you can find in the big home improvement stores.

We did it much like the trim in our Family Room when we did the Board and Batten treatment on the walls. I had originally thought that we would just recreate the trim exactly with the wide horizontal band and the more detailed strip on top like you can see here...

...but the more I looked at it, the more I decided that it was going to be a bit fancy for the look that I am wanting to achieve in the new Playroom.

So we cut the MDF to the same width as the trim in the Family Room (just to keep the looks similar) and nailed it into place...

Nothing fancy.

Just a nice, wide band of trim.

The baseboard was made in the same way. We just added a cove detailing to the top edge and called it good...

This was about where we left off when we called it quits last night...

We did finish that last bit of baseboard before shutting it all down though.

Since we played all day today, there hasn't been much more progress made. But I did apply spackling to all of my freshly-cut edges of the MDF after getting the kids tucked into bed tonight. We like to add the spackling to any edges that we've cut and that will be exposed to paint, to ensure a better finish. It seems to produce a cleaner look when all is said and done!

Since we're still waiting on the french doors to arrive (tomorrow is supposed to be the day - fingers crossed that the shipment comes in on time!) we couldn't finish the paneling or trim work completely. The small sections of wall on either side of the door frame have been left blank. Once the doors are installed we can finish up the paneling and trim on the walls and painting can begin.

I cannot wait!

All of the paneling and new trim work will be painted out in white and will make this room feel like a completely different space.

Once I can start painting, it won't be long before the job is completed!

Currently, we are in negotiations about that very thing...paint. And decor. I learned tonight that it's three-against-one. The boys and Will have their own idea about how the finished room should look, while I have other ideas.

Looks like I'm being out-voted!

Time to work on a new design plan...

P.S. Don't forget - Thursday is DIY Day over at A Soft Place To Land!
Be sure to check it out!

We Need A Break - It's Time To Play!

We've been working non-stop on the new playroom...

so we've decided that it's time for a break!

Today we're taking the boys for one last day of BIG summer fun before school starts and heading to

Wild Waves and Enchanted Village.

I think the last time I was there was in 8th grade...


So it's been a while.

The boys have never been and I cannot wait to see how big their eyes get when we walk through the gates! They are going to be so excited!

It's a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest today! We couldn't have asked for better weather!


A little update on the progress of the new play room:

We accomplished a lot yesterday...despite a burnt out router.

That's right - as soon as Will started in on the new trim, the router gave up. (Figures, right?) He has had it for about 8 years and it gets used all of the time. So, off to Home Depot we went to get a new one. It was amazing the difference in performance between the old and the new router! I think it had probably been going out for a while and we just didn't realize it.

Once we got the new router home, we got back to work and it all went pretty smoothly from there.

The interior of the room is nearly done. We're still waiting on the french doors to arrive and they're expected to be here by Thursday or Friday. Once we get them up, we can finish the wall treatment that we installed as well as the rest of the trim.

But don't worry, I won't make you wait until it's finished to see it all!

I have taken pictures of each step that we've done and I'm happy to share those with you.

But for now, we're off to play!

The room will just have to wait...

Monday, August 24, 2009

We Are Mid-Chaos...

At least...I hope so.

I don't think it could get any more dusty, or smelly, or un-organized than this house is right now.

You all warned me about the dust. And I believed you!

But I had no idea that it would be as bad as it is.

It's definitely one of those situations where you can't fully appreciate what it's all about, until you are in it. And right now, we are in it!


it's all gonna' be worth it!

Let me catch you up on what we've done:

Will finished what was left of the mudding process (many coats later) this morning.

That's when the sanding began.

Fortunately, the kids and I weren't here for that part. With only one week before school starts, I could no longer put off going shopping for their school clothes.
(I know - what a procrastinator, right?)

When we got back home, the sanding had just been completed. Will had vacuumed the carpets and was just finishing mopping the hardwood floors. Not only could I not tell that he had cleaned (because of the layer of white on every piece of furniture we own, throughout the entire house - you think I'm joking, don't you?), but he was covered from head to toe in a thick layer of super-fine, white dust.
I wish I had snapped a picture of him!
The boys could barely look at him - it was pretty scary.

After a quick shower for Will, and lunch for everyone, we started in on the spray texture...

I have only one thought when it comes to that:


It stinks. Badly. We had to leave the house it was so bad. As in, it makes you feel sick, it's so nasty!

I'm not sure what I was expecting it to be like, but I guess...not like that.

In the end, we got it done and it turned out well...

I ended up putting a coat of paint on the new sections of the wall a couple of hours ago, but I'll be giving the whole room a fresh coat or two. Hopefully tomorrow!

We spent a couple of hours at Lowe's today (trying to avoid the nasty fumes at home) and while we were there we picked up what has become the solution to the interior walls of the new playroom.

When the house was built, the builder put up chair rail, baseboards and wall frames throughout the entryway, hallway, dining room and living room. We knew that we were going to have to find the exact molding that the builder used to extend the moldings onto the new walls that we built. We hoped that we would be able to find it, but weren't surprised when we couldn't find anything that matched. Our only option was to remove the molding from the interior of the dining room to use on the new exterior walls in the entryway and hallway.

So today, Will took down all of the molding inside the room...

Luckily, it came off beautifully, so using it for the new walls in the entryway and hallway will work perfectly!

I had a few ideas floating around as options to deal with the walls inside the room. As always, Will is never on board from the get-go when I present an idea, but he's going along with the plan that I think will be the best!

We're going to work on it as long as we can tonight (running out of energy will be the only thing stopping me) and I'll take photos in the morning and show you our progress and solution to the problem. I know it's going to be great! And much better for our family instead of the formal looking wainscoting that used to fill the room...

Will just got back from Lowe's, picking up a few more supplies that we needed.

Time to get to work!

On second thought, maybe I'll make a pot of coffee first.

This could turn into a very late night...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Second Use...A Salvage Yard....

One of our favorite places to visit when we get time away from the kids for a date is

Second Use Building Materials

in Seattle.

I know what you're thinking:

"ooh - sounds romantic"

Ok, maybe not.

But for us, it is!

Second Use is filled to the brim with some of the coolest stuff that you can't find anywhere else! And we love to browse and dream of what is possible with all of their vintage inventory.

Case in point:

Remember this post from a while back?

The perfect vintage-industrial kitchen found on,
in the perfect color?

Well, guess what Second Use has in stock right now....

Can you believe it?

I'll admit - my jaw hit the desk when I saw it!

They have multiple lockers in smaller widths too - perfect for placing side-by-side, just like the inspiration photo...

And as if the basket lockers weren't enough...

see the tall, blue locker on the right hand side of this photo?

Look what Second Use has...

it's not a perfect match, but it's pretty darn close and would certainly do!


So here is my request - if any of you locals find your way to Second Use, and any of these pieces find their way back to your home, I would love to see photos of what you end up doing with them. I am not too proud to live vicariously through you!

Thanks in advance! :)


Back to why we love our salvage yard...

I signed up to get their weekly emails last year and I am so glad that I did. It was in an email that I saw the blue, metal basket lockers. When I clicked the link in the email, it took me to all of the items that they have reclaimed from old, local schools.

I tried not to drool. But they have some pretty cool stuff...

Pull down classroom maps from the 1940's

Double-sided lockers...

An old locker room bench...

This cabinet...

is awesome!

Don't you think?

Love this one as well...

An old single-pane door with transom...

...and much, much more.

This is only a small taste of what they have to offer.

And I'm telling you, it's all good!

They're good people too.

Read about how they began and what they've accomplished since opening their doors in 1994.

And take a look at their Customer Project Gallery to see how people put their salvaged items to use. You know you love looking inside people's's worth taking a look!

I urge all of you that are local to go and visit - you know it's got to be good if Will and I are willing to spend our rare alone time there...

You won't be disappointed!

P.S. I am in no way affiliated with Second Use. Well...except that, I love them, so I guess my heart kind of belongs to them. However, I have not been contacted by them, nor am I being paid or compensated for this post in any way. I am simply passing on information about one of the coolest places for salvaged items around.
Happy hunting!

all photos courtesy of

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time To Spill The Details...

I have suddenly found myself with some extra time on my hands.

Always a pleasant surprise!

With Will on a trip, it means that our Dining Room-turned-Playroom project has been put on hold for the weekend, which gives me a chance to get caught up around here.

Besides, I feel like I owe this post to those of you who weighed in with your opinions on whether I should visit our old home in Arizona while we were there on vacation visiting...

To my surprise, 41 of you took the time to give me your opinions.

Thank you for that!

Overwhelmingly, you responded "No - Don't do it!"

27 of you said "no" and most had personal experiences to back up those opinions.

7 of you said "Yes - do it"

And 7 of you said "maybe" or "it's up to you" or "good luck with your decision."

After thinking about it nearly non-stop, I had decided that it just wasn't a good idea. We would not be going by the old house.


It felt good to have a decision made.


you know the saying:

"the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray"

And that's exactly how it went.

We were in the West Valley, visiting friends, stopped and ate at my favorite lunch spot, cruising around seeing how everything had changed, when in a moment, Will said to me:

"So? You wanna?"

And my firm and calculated decision flew right out the window.

I said: "Fine. We can drive by, but that's IT! We're just driving by."

We made a quick right turn and before I knew it, we were driving down our old street.

When we got to our cul-de-sac we saw a truck parked right in front of our driveway.

I was fine with that! It would insure a quick drive-by, just like I was hoping for!

Until...our old neighbor came walking out of his front door and we realized that it was his truck sitting in front of our old driveway!

(I thought it looked familiar)

We said "hello", got caught up on how everyone has been doing the past 2 and 1/2 years, and then we immediately started asking about the new owners. We just couldn't help ourselves.

Ready for the dirty little details? Get this:

Turns out that the people that bought our house are great! Good people, great neighbors - super nice, friendly, clean, take care of the house, yard, etc


they decided to take advantage of the low prices that houses are selling for and they bought a house in the East Valley.

As soon as John said this, Will and I looked at each other, puzzled...

he went on to tell us that they had tried to sell our house, for quite some time, but couldn't get the price that they needed out of it.



We were shocked!

Obviously, these days, you hear about people doing it all the time, but to be standing in front of our old house, that we love, and hearing that it was empty...


John told us that we should go through the gate and take a look around.

"Really? Are you sure? We don't want's not ours."

I'm pretty sure he would have opened the gate for me, had Will not gotten there first.

John knew we would want to see it...

and in an instant, my feelings had changed.

Our house was empty.

I didn't have to see it with another family's life in it.

It was definitely a strange twist of emotions, but all I had was that moment, and with the new information that we had learned, I knew that I wanted to see as much as I could!

So we took the opportunity, and I can say now that I am happy we did:

Everything in the yard is so much bigger than it was when it was ours!

When we moved in, it was nothing but dirt, so it was so neat to see how it had all taken shape.

These next photos were the best we could get of the interior. They were taken through the side lights by the front door and through a few tall, decorative windows in the entryway...

It was really interesting to see the changes they had made with paint and the things that had remained the same.

Now, before you go and say "That was trespassing!", let me explain why we're ok with it, and why I'm pretty sure the current owners (who have now abandoned it) would be ok with it too...

We had to move back to WA from AZ in mid-November of 2006. We got an offer on the house and we were ready to be done with owning a house in a state we no longer lived in. We were all set to close in late December and we were thrilled to have a buyer in a market that was rapidly declining.

A couple of weeks prior to the closing we got a slightly frantic call from our real estate agent telling us that "everything has all been taken care of" and "not to worry" and "they've now got it all under control".


Turns out that the not-yet-owners of the house that we still owned, had started building a shed on our property!

From what we learned from our agent, that's a really big no-no.

So, we'll just call this whole "trespassing" thing, quid pro quo.


So, there you have it.

The funny thing is that, after saying "goodbye" to our old neighbor, and making our way back out through the neighborhood, we couldn't help but try and figure out a way to get our house back!

After a couple hours of daydreaming and trying to scheme up a plan, we finally realized that we just need to let it go. Because really, our emotions are not tied up in the house, it's in the life we had made.

We do love Arizona!
It will always hold a special place in our hearts. We formed amazing friendships and it's where we brought our baby girl into the world! But chances are, we will never call it home again. It's a great place to visit though - especially when you live in the Northwest through 9 months of gray skies and rain!

But if there is one thing we have learned about this life, it is to expect the unexpected...

For now, we're happy to call the Northwest "Home"

and with projects like the one we're working on now, we're well on our way to making this house a home that we love, equally as much!