Two Story Cottage

Emily’s Doughnut (donut) Themed Baby Shower

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that the much anticipated baby shower for my sister is over.  I’ve never planned so far in advance for a party or event.  The best part of the shower was the excuse to go hog-wild.  With kiddo birthday parties, I’m always feeling the need to reign it in. I don’t want it to be too much, over the top, or set great expectations.  Celebrating a first baby is a whole different ballgame.  Permission to get a little crazy.

I shared hosting duties with Emily’s good friend Amelia which proved to be invaluable.   Working with her kept me on schedule and gave me incentive not to procrastinate.  Also, Amelia is a task master and good crafter so she did the bulk of the tedious stuff while I decorated to my heart’s content.

The shower had a doughnut-farmhouse-bakery theme.  Emily is a doughnut connoisseur and we celebrated her love for glazed goodness.  The colors were mint, coral, and gold taken from the invitation.  Lucky for me, Amelia got a few photos. Otherwise, I’d be sharing candid shots. I always find it hard to photograph before an event with all the last minute details to take care of.
















I will get to the nitty gritty on the crafting, the food we ate, the doughnuts, the favors, and the decorations in a separate post. We had the doughnut bar but also enjoyed lunch.  I forgot to photograph my dining room which had simple, coordinating decor.   It was a beautiful day so guests also enjoyed our screened porch.

Oh, and with the house on the market we had to take down everything that afternoon.  On Sunday,  it was as if it had never happened. Except I was stuffing myself with leftover cake, sandwiches, and doughnuts.

Cheers to Emily and my niece and big thanks to Amelia for 90% of the pictures.





Project Nursery: Beadboard Begins!

Dear Friends,

Work on baby niece’s room has begun.  What was a spare bedroom has started to look like an actual nursery. Over President’s Day weekend, my mom, sister, and I had a girls’ work party.  I showed up, ate doughnuts, chatted, and oh, did a little bit of wallpaper hanging.

Emily did the majority of the work but it was nice to get in on the action for a short time.


Beadboard wallpaper is the bomb-diggity.  Anyone who says otherwise is lying through their pearly whites.  Or fibbing, as I say to the kids because that sounds nicer than the l-word.

I’ve used it many times.  It is fast, easy, and adds a lot of detail.  It holds up well and is easier to paint than the real deal.  It is also offers a more streamlined look, especially if you use a glossy paint.

I won’t bore you with a full step-by-step tutorial today but you will get the general gist.  I hung wallpaper for the first time on a mission trip in high school and have had good luck with it ever since.

Instructions for Hanging:

Soak the paper,

book the paper,

hang the paper,

trim the paper,

rinse and repeat.


We always make the little square for the electrical by poking a hole with a pencil after it is tentatively hung and then carefully cutting with scissors.


The key to using beadboard wallpaper is in the details.  You have to trim it out and caulk just like you would the real deal.   Emily nailed the trim pieces in place (cut at Lowe’s) while we held it up.  You do need to buy a little tool to countersink the nails so that you can cover the holes with putty. We have both done this a couple of times now and neither of us had previous experience other than reading about it on the internet.   Paint covers everything thankfully.


This beadboard has not been painted yet.  Above, you can see the streaks in the wallpaper as it dries.  Those are gone by the end of the day.

Emily is in the process of picking a paint color for the wall.  She has had a little help from the peanut gallery but it is a tough choice.  I can’t wait to see a few samples.  I’ll be sharing those after they go up.

My goal is to show you each step versus a big reveal.  That way you can see how it all comes together!

Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited??





Niece Nursery Update + Design

Dear Friends,

My baby sister is 30 today.  And she has a baby girl in her tummy.  Double whoa.  Happy Birthday to Emily, almost four years my junior.  I can’t believe she is 30 and pregnant too.  Life is sweet.

My mom and I got to help my sister do a little beadboard wallpaper over the weekend in the future baby space.  I love the sweet detail that beadboard adds and the room is actually looking like a nursery now.  It was fun to have a girls work day complete with doughnuts and cake pops.

My sister has zeroed in on pink and gray for the space. She really wants an elephant print crib sheet from Pottery Barn Kids but doesn’t want an “all gray” nursery for her little girl.

I knew she wanted pink elements (but not pink walls) so I tried to incorporate her wishes by adding mint green walls. A background of mint with primarily pink and gray is the idea below. Also, she did not want an elephant theme overall so I tried to keep that in mind.

Baby Brown #4


Crystal shade

Pottery Barn white light

Elephant home decor

Wall mount mirror

Tate Double Dresser

Taylor Crib Fitted Sheet

Addison Blackout Panel

Addison Rug

Monogram Canvas Reproduction


Handmade home decor


I like how it turned out. I have no doubt that it will change as the room comes together. It is difficult to design with parameters versus whatever comes creatively. I probably would not make a good interior designer because I am married to my own ideas!

I can’t wait to share before and after pics with the beadboard.
Stay tuned!

Guest Room Corner {Mini-Nursery}

Dear Friends,

I’m still weeding through the hoards of crapola in the guest room but I have a finished corner that is ready for a baby niece.   I still wouldn’t want her to stay in this space quite yet, and since she won’t be coming until summer that isn’t a problem.  I think if I exposed her to the junk that is still on the bed she might judge me, especially with my sister’s ocd organizational skills in her gene pool.


The crib has gone through two children and I painstakingly took it apart and put it back together making sure every nut and bolt was as tight as could be.  Safety first and all of that.  The only crib bedding I had left from the kids was a gingham fitted sheet.  Everything else was given away, trashed, or consigned.


I didn’t want to buy anything so I used my favorite shower curtain to act as a bedskirt.  I simple draped it across the crib bottom and put the mattress on top.  It does just what a bedskirt would do and lays on the same way.  The sides are open because of the size of the shower curtain but a little tucking keeps it looking neat and not weird.

I threw some pillows in the crib because there isn’t an actual baby that will be sleeping in there for a while.  I had the pillows in the closet and would obviously remove them with a baby in the bed.


Lacey thinks she has a giant doll bed play space now and really I don’t mind a bit.  We don’t use the guest room much and it is nice that she wants to play “baby” in there.  Auntie Em’s pregnancy is definitely bringing out the Mama in Ms. Lacey.  She wants to make things for the baby, talk about her, and pretend with her dolls.

And the questions.  Oh, the questions.  Really detailed questions about how this baby will come and how it came to be.

Oh me oh my.  You can’t glaze over much with that girl.  I doubt that will come to a halt anytime soon.  Reid’s version of baby mania is to ask me loudly if “she” has a baby in her tummy.  “She” can refer to any woman bigger than a size double 00 and age is not a factor. We are working on discretion but it is a tough concept at three.


The paintings are a zillion years old and I need to touch them up big time.   I have to add that to the master list.  The curtains are my gold silk Pottery barn panels from our old dining room.  They weren’t long enough for the dining space here so I put them in this room.   It creates an interesting, eclectic vibe.  Fancy, silk curtains and shabby chic style quilts share the space but I like a little juxtaposition.

Now that this corner is set I feel motivated.  Sort of.   It seems I did the fun part first.







A Guest Room Confession + Big News

Dear Friends,

You might remember the many times that I have alluded to my sister’s future children.  They were figments of my imagination but a girl can always hope.  It turns out that all of that penny- wishing in the fountain made my dreams come true.  My little sister is EXPECTING and I couldn’t be more excited.   She is due in July with a baby girl.   Having been due the same month with baby Lacey (seven years ago!),  I feel a special connection to my future niece.

In fact I plan on stealing her as often as possible.  I’m going to be the crazy Aunt.


In order to ensure that I get enough baby time,  I kept our crib to put in the guest room.   You have to plant the seed early you know.   The only problem – our guest room is pure chaos.   We don’t have any furniture except for the bed and side table so there should be room for a crib.  But the piles.  Ohhh, the piles.  They will eat the baby alive.

That is a horror movie we could do without.

People always assume that I am organized and orderly.  They imagine a perfectly staged model house and I’m not even close.   This past fall, the guest room was grounds for a call to TLC and an episode of Hoarders.  Not only was it not suitable for a crib OR a visitor,  it was a decorating junkyard.  Or a children’ s consignment store.  Or one giant yard sale.

Since moving into this home I have managed to keep most of our closets and rooms pretty tidy.   And it is mostly because anything questionable landed in the guest room.   It became the graveyard of, “maybe I’ll use this somewhere.”  And the home of, “I don’t want to Goodwill that – someone I know may want it. ”   My favorite, “I’ll hold onto it – maybe I can spray paint it” became a mantra of sorts.

I started to fear the room.  Just walking by it made me sort of hot and uncomfortable.  I was having vivid images of my grandmother’s basement with her lifetime supply of church bulletins and newspaper bags.

Sometimes you need a reason to suck it up and tackle the tough stuff.   I had to take deep breaths and do meditative yoga first, but I started the sorting process.

And sorted.  And boxed.  And toted.  And sorted.  And consigned.  And organized.  I quit a couple of times.  I had a mini-tantrum where I channeled my six year old, threw myself on the partially covered bed and declared it an impossible task.  There may have been foot stomping involved.

But I’m no longer knee-deep in stuff.  I can see my ankles and the surface of the bed.   The crib is inside of the room.   I’ve still got piles to go before I sleep (couldn’t resist) but the space is taking shape.  I will debut it in on the blog for the first time ever as soon as I can!

A beautiful room is hiding in this space and I’m determined to let it out.


P.S.  Maybe I’m channeling the second trimester burst of energy.   I can’t wait until Emily get the nesting bug!



Colorful Outdoor Space, before & after

Dear Friends,

Last week, I introduced you to my sister’s deck via her staining project.  This week, I want to show you the final product, trappings included.  A deck is just a pile of wood without the furniture and decor!  I think Emily did an excellent job of bargain-hunting and balancing color.  I love the bright feel it brings to the backyard.


I am enamored with that bistro table- a wedding gift from years ago.  They traded in the gray metal chairs for those yellow beauties from World Market.  What a difference it makes!


Yep, that is the same house.  The existing deck covers the sidewalk, steps, and front stoop making it a straight shot in the back door.  There wasn’t much they could do with this space, previously, especially considering the downhill.


The deck really changes the landscape of the backyard.  Hello, entertaining space!


Andrew & Emily bought a chair & ottoman set from Lowe’s that has a cool feature.  The chairs can hook together to become a love-seat!  It gives them a lot of flexibility depending on what they are using the deck for.


I wish I could get a better shot of the lights that they strung!  What a gorgeous area it will be at night.   Those cushions are fun too.


The built-in benches maximize the seating for any occasion!  The bench wraps all the way around the side of the deck. They are attractive also which is a bonus.  They plan on hosting cook-outs, tailgate parties, and bonfires using the portable fire pit.  I love how versatile the space is!

Well, there you have it.   A unique deck that is ready for action.  We have had a sudden heat wave here, but I have my fingers crossed for a cooler weekend.  I’m itching to spend time on my own porch!




Adventures (or MisAdventures) in Deck Staining

Hi Everyone,

I’m Erin’s sister, Emily –  I’ve written a few posts before but it’s been a LONG time. Oops! Anyway, there are a lot of perks to being Erin’s  younger sister.  I’ll send her pictures of things I’m thinking of doing in my house to get her feedback. I even had her come over and style a bookshelf once. (I’m too left-brained for that.  My arrangements tend to look too stiff and orderly). As you know, Erin likes to move things around frequently, so I am often the recipient of items she no longer wants.  I’ll take pretty much anything – even if it goes into the garage attic for a future house (why yes, I do have a giant kitchen table and chairs stuffed up there…luckily, it’s a big attic).  There are a few disadvantages too; like being publicly pressured to have children.  Thanks for that.


My husband (Andrew) and I had a great deck installed at the end of the summer last year, and we were planning to stain it early this spring so we could enjoy it all summer long.  When Erin mentioned that Thompson’s offered her deck staining products, I jumped at the chance to use them.  We just needed two free weekends – one to clean the deck and one to stain it.  The only stipulation was that the stain had to have 48 rain-free hours prior to application.  We usually have summer drought problems around here, so no big deal right?

Enter the summer of rain and statistics like “second wettest June since 1895.”


We had one nice weekend in June and cleaned the deck.  We stowed the furniture in the garage and got to work with the Thompson’s WaterSeal 3 in 1 Wood Cleaner.  Since our deck was less than a year old, I wasn’t sure if we really needed a product like this, but Andrew and I were both surprised by the results.  And by how dirty the deck was…oops.

The cleaner was really easy to use.  We poured some into a bucket and rolled it in small, wet sections of the deck with a paint roller.  Then we let it sit for 10 minutes or so and rinsed it away.  Super easy, right?  We had a few spots where we needed to scrub a little bit, but that wasn’t a big deal and the stains either lightened up quite a bit or went away completely.

I was worried about keeping the cleaning solution off of our recently planted beds. By cleaning small areas of the deck at a time it was easy to control, however.  And it turns out I didn’t need to be so careful.  Thanks to Mother Nature, my backyard is basically now a marsh and my new azaleas have officially rotted to death.  Sad.

We were really happy with the final result – it just looked much brighter and new again.


With the deck prepped, we were set to begin staining the next weekend.  Wrong.  The weather forecast slowly changed and it rained.  And rained some more.  For weeks on end. Even if we had a nice Saturday we didn’t have the 48 hours of dryness prior.  So, my nice new deck furniture sat in my garage for two months until we finally had a Saturday in August that worked.

Or was supposed to work.

You see, I was getting desperate at this point.  We had a dry Thursday and Friday, and Saturday was supposed to be dry until the evening.  I figured that we could get up early and get everything done in time to allow the deck to dry for the two hour minimum before the rain started.  Not so much – it started raining at 11:30am.  And not just a light rain, but a pouring rain.  The deck was close, but not quite done at that point.  We had to abandon the project with  just a few boards incomplete, and I was really frustrated at this point.




The next day the rain stopped, the deck dried and we were able to get a good look at the damage.  It looked awful!  There was a small area that was messed up by the rain, but the parts that we did that dried looked bad too. I know now that we were staining the deck the way I would go about painting a room….which is not the way you are supposed to do it.  The correct way is to go section by section and stain small areas at a time.  But, we stained areas along the outer edge of the deck next to the house first and then stained in between the boards and then stained the top.  Apparently stain doesn’t dry all together like paint does.  So, we had a stripey, choppy, ugly deck.  Super…just what I’d been waiting all summer for.  Luckily, Andrew did the bench, sides and legs of the deck all at once, so those looked nice.  It was just the floor of the deck that was questionable.


We got lucky the next weekend with a dry Sunday and re-stained the floor of the deck.  It took an entire day,  but we were really meticulous this time.  Instead of staining a squared-off section at a time, we stained two or three boards and did the entire length of the deck.  One of us rolled the stain on and the other used the paint brush to smooth it out, get in the cracks, etc. It was worth the effort though – the deck looked much better after round 2.  Once we figured out the best way for us to stain, I found that the stain went on easily and we really liked the color.


The stain is Thompson’s Waterseal, waterproofing stain in desert brown.  It is semi-transparent.  It is also an all-in-one product.  No sealing necessary!  I like that it allows the wood grain to show but gives the deck a uniform, tinted look.


The only surprise is that the water seal aspect works ridiculously well.  After it rains, the water beads on top of the deck in some areas.   I’ve found that I can sweep it off if necessary, but I don’t really see myself doing that every time it rains.  I understand that it’s good that the water isn’t soaking into the wood though!  There is no question the product is working.

Now that it is nearing the end of August, the deck is finally back together and ready for use.  I got a couple of new pillows and repainted my flower pots to complete a fresh, new look.   I know Erin has a post planned to show off our deck makeover.  Stay tuned!


This review was in exchange for the product and all opinions are my own.


At-Home Tailgate & Football Fun

Dear Friends,

Happy Labor Day!  I love this little break from the action.   Getting everyone up at dark-thirty for nearly two weeks has been a shock to the system.  Thank goodness for holidays.

I didn’t grow up a football fan like many of you.  My Dad loved football but the house of girls didn’t pay much attention.   And then my sister went to Virginia Tech, married a fellow alum, and all of a sudden my family became the capital of Hokie Nation.  I am wed to a Tech fan but from the state of Georgia.  Yellow jackets rule in our house but we put up with all of the VT madness.

I had no idea what I was missing out on with the tailgating business.  Having attended a smaller college, I wasn’t privy to the buffet of fun that goes on.  Not to mention the hours of eating which is pure bliss for this foodie.

My sister, Emily, hosted an at-home tailgate at her house on Saturday.  The party started hours before the game began.  Food, games, and a lot of television were on the menu.


The food is essential at any tailgate, indoor-pretend ones included.  Emily and Andrew focused on items that could be fixed ahead of time so that they could enjoy the many football games playing on several different televisions.  Andrew cooked barbeque on the grill earlier in the day and it was ready to go.  Pasta salad, pimento cheese, fruit, deviled eggs, slaw, baked beans and various chips and dips kept us from going hungry. As if.

Of course, there was dessert.  Mini cupcakes and assorted chocolate goodies.  All you can eat heaven.  Emily whipped up watermelon martinis that were perfect for a lightweight like me.


I think everything they own might be maroon and orange.  At least in the entertaining department.  Team colors rule when tailgating.  It ended up being a really hot day so most of the tailgate ended up being indoors.  After such a cool summer, the heat feels unexpected.     That being said, there were games set-up outside along with a television of course.


The kids loved every minute of the “football party”.  Reid has declared his deep love for all things football on a daily basis. I found him laying in the floor watching Sports Center this morning. Daddy had left the TV on and he was mesmerized.

Above, I let you have a sneaky peeky of Emily’s deck.  It is a recent addition and I’ve got all kinds of pictures to share with you later this week.

Are you a football fan?  Or just a fan of the food, like me?  I’m typically ambivalent at best but I’m slowly converting.

Cheers to the best Monday of the year!




Master Bedroom Design Board

Dear Friends,
My sister is overhauling her master bedroom.  Emily wants an elegant adult retreat and asked me for my opinion regarding a duvet and chevron chair from Target that she is debating.  I created the board around the chair & duvet so that she can decide if she wants to go that route.   This design incorporates some of her existing things.

Untitled #19

Task Lamp Red

Dachshund Bookends



The mirror & furniture are similar to what Andrew & Emily already have.  Their room is a blue color now and I don’t think they want to paint.  I like the duvet and think it will work well with their existing things.

In this case, I’ll actually be able to share what she does!  I’m sure she won’t follow this as-is but regardless we can see what she takes from it.  You never know with sisters.  She might hate it and if so she won’t be afraid to tell me.   I don’t really think that will be the case but I’m guessing she will do a lot of her own fluffing.   I do think this fits her style though.

Our master bedroom is in need of some work but it always seems to be at the bottom of the list. Is your bedroom a retreat or just a place to lay your head at night?



Christmas Craft {Paper Trees}

Dear Friends,
   As promised, my sister Emily is returning today for another Christmas craft. Check out these super cute paper trees… 

I’m back to guest blog about the second (and last) items produced from my Christmas Craft spirit!  These are decorative Christmas trees that turned out better than I imagined they would and I’ve moved several of my Christmas decorations around to make sure they are displayed prominently.  

All you need is more festive scrapbook paper, foam cones from any craft store, felt, and tiny bit of wire and a hot glue gun.  Buttons or crystals/jewels are optional.  

Cut your scrapbook paper into 1 X 2 1/2” pieces for the larger cone and 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ pieces for the smaller cone.  We used a paper cutter to cut the scrapbook paper into long 1” or 3/4″ strips and then used decorative scissors to cut the strips into 2 1/2″ pieces.  

Then, curl the ends of the pieces of scrapbook paper around a pencil so they curl outwards.  

Starting at the base of the tree, hot glue your pieces of paper in layers going up the cone.  This is a little tedious, but worth the effort!

Finally, top it off with a circle of a paper to cover the foam and your felt start (the wire we used was from the inside of a twist tie from the bread bag…it worked really well!).  

Lastly, add a few buttons or crystals here and there for some sparkle and then display them proudly!  

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to Emily for contributing this week!  I am happy to have some craft action on the blog since I’m not much of a crafter.  I might have to make those trees though… they are really adorable!

\"Designed \"Development