Two Story Cottage

Ode to School & September

Dear Friends,

Well, I can’t let the whole month of September pass without acknowledging back to school time for the kiddos .  This year was particularly special because I have a kindergartner and second grader.  That means everyone is in the same spot for the first time ever.  It feels like a big milestone as a mom.


Reid going to kindergarten has been bittersweet.  It is so exciting for him to be at big school. He is thrilled to do all of the things Lacey has done and I can tell he thinks he is big stuff.   He is proud and challenged in such a good way.


However, kindergarten is an adjustment.   It wears them out like nothing else.  My even keeled boy is all kinds of cranky by the end of the week.  It has taken a few weeks but finally he is settling in and as a family the routine is feeling more normal.

Second grade has been a seamless transition which I’m thankful for.  Lacey is excited to have her brother at school but slightly annoyed at having to share her special place.  She has made it clear that she is the seasoned veteran and we all need to remember that.

September often feels like a blur and survival mode is the mantra. October is such a fun month in comparison so I’m ready for the next chapter!


Finding a Just-Right Desk

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, I did a product picks post for Houzz where I highlighted a collection of desks.  After all, it is that time of year where everyone is buckling down and schoolwork takes priority.  My search was loosely based on a desk that might work for Lacey in her room.  There isn’t much space to contend with – it will have to sit next to her bed where typically a second nightstand would be.


I’ve had a bit of trouble finding the right desk for our big girl’s room.  For now, Lacey still does homework in the kitchen where she can pretend to focus and I can answer (google?) any questions.   What she really needs is a space where she can draw and color and tear up cereal boxes and cut paper into a million little pieces.  She likes to take random stuff and create with it so her room is usually full of scraps.  (Of crap!)

Lacey is at a tough age because a tall 7 year old is really too big for a kid’s desk.  That being said, a grown-up desk is a little on the large side.  I’m actually eyeing an Ikea desk at the moment because the size is right but I need to see the color in person to see if it will work.

My desk collection at Houzz is a bit different than usual because I was limited to products sold on Houzz.  I still think there are plenty of good finds though if you are looking.  The prices run the gamut but so do the shoppers so there is a little something for everyone.


And of course,  several people mentioned that they needed large desks with storage and more function.  I’m the queen of practicality so I get this but I was on a specific search for a petite desk to suit her needs.  YES, she may require all of that down the road but I need something transitional for now.   I’d likely put a larger student desk where her toy storage is when she is a bit older.

The most important factor in the desk hunt is the bottom line.  I wouldn’t mind a garage sale or Goodwill find but something from Target, Ikea, or World Market could work too.  I’ll keep you posted.





City House: Lacey’s Room

Dear Friends,

I wanted to start the week off with a bang!  Home decor posts have been nonexistent since we moved.  I’m more than ready to share what we have been doing around here.  Thankfully, I have plenty of material for the blog moving forward.

Lacey’s room is coming along nicely so I thought I’d start there.  She inherited the guest room bed since we no longer have a guest space.  It is a queen which is big, but she got the larger room so she has enough space for it.  I wanted to use as much of her existing stuff as possible in the decor.

The girl chose a pink room which I wasn’t jumping up and down about but we made it work.


I”ll admit, I love the cornice over the bed.  I was stressing about not having a window or door to put it on but this might be even better.   The green buffalo check helped put a bandaid on the pink overload.   Honestly, I didn’t even think Lacey was that big of a pink fan but her likes and dislikes change seasonally.  At least it is a peachy pink – White Oleander by Sherwin Williams if you are wondering.


The only new addition is the comforter and shams set.  I love the strawberry pattern.  The reverse is a pink chevron.  We got it (on sale!) from Garnet Hill Kids.  The brand is Morgan and Milo.  The coverlet was on our guest room bed before and reverses to a light blue.


I’m still strongly considering  a desk for Lacey.  I’d like something inexpensive and on the small side.


Her room looks finished in these pictures but we are still working on the other half.  For reference, you can see how it looked before the cornice.


It is nice for me to have some finished-looking pictures to look at.   When things are in progress, it seems like nothing is actually done so this is a pretty good confidence booster.  Lacey’s room was my favorite at the old house so I was anxious about making it equally sweet and fun.


Lucky Seven

Dear Friends,

Lacey turned seven over the weekend.  I’m a little startled by it to be honest.  Clearly, I knew it was coming but something about seven just seems old.  She is suddenly tall and in the span of a week has lost her two front teeth.   I guess cursive and multiplication will be around the corner.

We didn’t celebrate with a big party this year.  I’m thinking that may be an every, other year thing.  Or maybe we will just evaluate each year as it comes.  We did sort of dangle a carrot out there, telling her that she could choose a special present from Mom and Dad OR a friend party. I knew she would choose the gift because she wanted a “grown-up” doll house so my master plan worked.

It was still a fun-filled Saturday with extended family over for cake and dinner at Red Robin.   Lacey is my agenda girl and she had every minute planned out despite the lack of party.

I did the annual birthday survey, thanks to Leelou Blogs.   I always enjoy comparing it to previous years.


It is funny how the answers can change on a dime at that age.   Anything that had occurred in the last 24 hours was fair game, especially when it came to the “favorites.”

Six was a pretty great age for Lacey so fingers crossed that seven is smooth sailing.




Silhouette Pillow

Dear Friends,

I popped in HomeGoods a couple weeks ago for the first time in months.  That might be my longest absence since it came to Charlotte several years ago.  I was looking at lamps but came home with a sweet pillow for Lacey instead.  I haven’t touched her room since the initial room reveal.

I talked about getting a desk over the summer but we never got around to do it.  It isn’t an immediate need so things will stay as is for now.

The pillow is a silhouette of a pony-tailed girl.  Just too sweet to pass up AND it was the perfect pink.


I’m trying to only buy things that I LOVE as opposed to things I like. I’m a sucker for deals so it is tough to pass up items with potential. However, this was an easy decision. I saw it and was sold.


I’ve always thought of sewing a couple of pillows for her bed but I didn’t have any real plan. Now I have an inspiration piece!  A pillow or two but nothing too noticeable so an not to take away from the rest of the bedding.  I could use a good fabric hunt.


Lacey insisted on being in a picture with her new pillow.  You can’t actually see it but you can tell that she likes it!  We don’t do a lot of random buying for the kids so it was nice that she appreciated it.  I wasn’t sure if she would care but she has been making sure it is front and center when making up her bed.

I love decor that brings a smile.





Dear Friends,

The biggest items on the summer bucket list got crossed off with only a few days left on the calendar.  Yeah, school has been in for a month but I extended “summer” to mean until the first day of fall.  Lacey wanted so badly to learn to ride a bike with no training wheels and she was not even close in May.

Project summer this year?  Biking until we were all blue in the face.   Our girl was just never that comfortable on a bike with training wheels much less without.  She is athletic but between her cautious nature and lack of pedaling skills it took ALL summer.

Yep, she did it.  We ended up taking the training wheels off of her old 12 inch bike first.  She looked like a giant pedaling a teeny tiny bike in the circus but it worked.  We were able to transition to the big girl bike she got last Christmas as seen in the video.

Someone is not far behind.  Had we known the beauty of the pedal-less balance bike, we would have done it with child number one.   Oh well.


Lacey also wanted to lose a tooth this summer – as if I have any control over that.  Coincidence or not, luck was on our side.  Her first tooth came out at the beginning of the month.   The tooth fairy gave her a $1 gold coin and she was thrilled.  Pretty cool, huh?  Although the going rate is apparently much higher, in the world according to Facebook.  Sorry, kid but your tooth fairy is thrifty.

Milestones are what growing up is all about.  Between kindergarten, bike riding, and lost teeth I feel like I might as well have her apply for college.  Time flies when you are having fun!


Lacey’s Space {An Update}

Dear Friends,

Hello, my name is Erin and I’m a recovering space tweaker.  In the past, no room has been safe from a sudden spontaneous makeover.  Yet, I say “recovering” because there is one room where I haven’t been tempted to change a single thing and it has been almost a year since completion. Lacey’s room has been untouched for nearly 365 days.


Hold your horses, that might be a first!  Mark this day as monumental.  My one year roomiversary.


I haven’t messed with Lacey’s room because it is my favorite space in the house if you don’t count the screened porch. No tweaking necessary.


(dresser makeover can be found here)

I don’t necessarily love the yellow walls but Lacey feels strongly about the color.  It is her happy place.


This is where I mention that I do need to make a teeny tiny change.  The play kitchen is going to be replaced by a desk. We always knew this would happen but it seems like now is the time. During her quiet time, she likes to color and cut and doing all of that in the floor makes a royal mess.

I’m on a desk hunt – any suggestions?  I’m considering everything from Craig’s List to Amazon and I’ll probably research it to death like everything else.

Big and expensive is out.  I want something small and budget-friendly.

Picture 14

I like this KidKraft model and I’ve had good luck with that brand.  Of course I wouldn’t turn down a $25 yard sale or Craig’s List find either…

Reid’s room is still in progress.  I’ve been sidetracked by his crazy food allergies but I’d like to get that in the win column this summer.

Cheers to a finished room that does not tempt me to tweak! Today, Emily A Clark is hosting a Kids’ Spaces link-up and I’m excited to participate. Check out the other fun spaces.


Any thoughts on a desk?


P.S.  Want more info on the bedroom?  Sources & details can be found in part one and part two of last year’s post.


Birthday Questionnaire: Lacey

Dear Friends,

Today is Lacey’s sixth birthday.  And I have to say I’m a little flummoxed by the whole “six” thing.  I just can’t quite wrap my brain around that number.  I was perfectly content with five yet here we are.

Last year, I started a birthday questionnaire tradition, thanks to a download from Lelou Blogs.  I got a kick out of reading the 2012 version so I know that each year it will provide a good dose of “where we are now.”


And just for kicks, here is a link to last year’s version.

The funniest thing about these questionnaires is that they are directly proportional to anything that has occurred in the last six hours.  That being said most of it rings true.  She is taking after her Mama with the ribs & wings.   She very clearly did not like her quesadilla at dinner, thank-you-very-much.

The most humorous switch from last year is her taste in music.  Sweet preschool songs are being replaced by catchy pop tunes.  I hold art class directly responsible for “Who Let the Dogs Out?” because that is the kind of music that really awakens your inner muse, apparently.

Here’s to hoping that six doesn’t take the sweet out of my girl!  She is goodness to the core with a handful of spice thrown in for good measure.





Goodbye, TK – Hello, Kindergarten {lessons learned}

Dear Friends,

Last year I wrote a post about our decision to send Lacey to transitional kindergarten instead of kindergarten.  She has a late summer birthday and it made sense for a multitude of reasons.  I have zero regrets and know that our girl is going to kick serious kindergarten butt.   Don’t tell her I said that – “butt” is a dirty word in these parts.


I have to brag on our Lacey-Bug for a minute as she deserves it.   Because her brother is loud and proud, she can be easily overlooked.  Of course we are careful about that, but birth order is a tricky thing.  She is the oldest and a mild perfectionist with a quiet demeanor.

The girl is not quiet at home.  The polar opposite of quiet.  It must be pointed out.

This past school year was a real challenge for Lacey.  It was one of those years where certain elements whirled together and spun a situation that wasn’t ideal.   Our first time dealing with a “mean girl” opened my eyes to what we have to look forward to.  It was one of those years where she just had trouble finding her place.  I felt like her light dimmed a bit and that is hard for a parent.

There was no one to blame.  Her teacher was the kind where people would line up begging for her class.  The kind who makes a scrapbook at the end of the year, nicer than anything you have ever done for your child.

Circumstances sometimes outweigh our potential BUT we learned.  OH did we learn.  Did we complain to the teacher or ask to switch to class with her friends?  No, because in real life we struggle to find our way sometimes and we have to come out the other side.

You have to keep swimming.

The girl showed us what she was made of.  Her skin is thicker and she learned the value of standing up for herself.  Her neighbor will not be getting her snack, thank-you-very-much.  Whether you have sparkle shoes or not, the sandbox is for everyone.

So many valuable lessons uncovered.

Sometimes things bottled up all school day long and came out at home like a cannon wreaking havoc on anyone nearby.  We pressed on and learned.  How to express emotions and feelings and how to ask for space when it is needed.

What started as a challenge ended as a blessing.

Lacey got the “helping hands” award on the last day for her willingness to assist anyone in need.  Or her deep seeded desire to be the teacher’s pet.  Either way, we’ll take it.  At home we always praise her for her helping heart.  She finds joy in little jobs and she found her way to shine.

Next year is going to be a fun year.  I can feel it.  Her confidence is growing and things are coming together.  Lacey made the neighborhood swim team last week, showing determination we didn’t know she had.   The contagious smile is returning.

This girl is something to celebrate.


P.S.  I’m taking the rest of the week OFF so I can fully enjoy our first week of summer.








Adding Scalloped Trim to A Mirror: Wayfair & HomeTalk DIY Blogger Challenge

Dear Friends,

I’m about to be one of those annoying people that shouts from the rooftop their good fortune. Not usually my style, but when Wayfair contacted me about a DIY challenge sponsored by HomeTalk, I think I felt the Earth tremble.  I’ve been blogging for a long time y’all and for the most part I’ve moseyed along like the meanderer that I am.  Basically, to get this opportunity felt like a sign from the Blogger Goddess that I should keep on trucking.


The challenge involved giving the Stratford Wall Mirror a makeover based on a theme (geometric, black & white, or rope).  This was ideal because Lacey’s bathroom has been mirror-less since replacing the builder mirror with wallpaper.  The poor girl hasn’t seen herself in nearly a year.

I chose the “black & white” theme  because I thought it would fit nicely with the graphic feel of the existing bathroom. My biggest obstacle was that I liked the mirror as-is.  It is a great product with a cottage feel.  That being said, I went for the “detail” that I’m always blabbing about.  In other words, don’t overhaul the whole piece but add a little eye-catching detail that gives it a custom icing-on-the-cake kind of look.

My DIY solution? I added scalloped trim inside the edge and painted it black.


This is where I tell you how SIMPLE this project was. SO EASY.  It was so much less involved than I imagined.  I don’t have a lot of experience cutting trim so it was a huge relief that it went smoothly.

I purchased two pieces of scalloped trim at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars.  The black craft paint is Licorice by FolkArt.  I also bought the houndstooth cup in the Target dollar bin section.

I used a mitre box with a handsaw which you can purchase from your home improvement store for about $15. Mine had the saw included with the box.  I had already used it a couple of times for very minor cuts. Of course, if you own a power saw of any kind it would greatly expedite the process.




1. Lay a vertical trim piece on the mirror.  Mark with a pencil where the top corner and trim meet. Do the same at the bottom corner on that piece of trim.

2. Line your pencil mark directly under the saw making sure you use the 45 degree angle grooves in the box. Take care that the angle is the correct direction . Repeat step 1. & 2.  for the other vertical side piece.

3. Lay your horizontal side piece down and shift until you like how the scallops line up.  Mark both corners with a pencil.

4. Saw the horizontal pieces just as you did the vertical pieces.  Take care that the angle is going the correct direction so as to fit with the vertical piece.  Think of a puzzle!

5. Lay all of your cut pieces out to make sure you have a good fit.  One of mine was cut slightly off so I used the saw to cut it down just a bit more.  Mine fit together in a nice, tight fit.   Keep in mind it doesn’t look good yet because you have to fill the cracks where the edges meet with putty.

6. Paint your trim.  I primed mine before I started with white paint but I think that was unnecessary.  I did two coats of black craft paint.  Be sure to paint the back of the trim because the mirror will reflect that (lesson learned*).

7. I used hot glue to attach the trim to the mirror.  I considered epoxy and wood glue and other solutions but I felt that hot glue would be forgiving if I accidentally got it on the mirror.

8. Use wood filler (mine was DAP) to fill those cracks in the corners where the trim meets.  I used my finger to squish it in.

9.  Yes, the filler looks terrible – like a bunch of gunk on your pretty trim.  Wait until it dries and sand until smooth.  Touch up your paint and you are good to go!



I think this is appropriate for a five year old yet grown-up at the same time.  It fits our cheerful,  sweet little girl.  It also suits the modern cottage look that I like so much.


This project may or may not have induced a photography melt-down.  The combination of a dark bathroom without windows and a reflective surface really got me flustered.   I’m taking a crash course in photography this summer with my new camera so maybe after that you will be spared from vertigo-inducing pictures.


*The only hiccup I encountered was a painting mishap.  Lacey wanted to help so I let her paint the back of the trim.   I figured no harm, no foul.  I approved her choice of pink paint but didn’t clue in that it would reflect off the mirror.   It was glued down and in place before I realized that the pink paint reflects almost like a tiny edge.

It wasn’t a project-killer and she likes pink.  Her bedroom has the same color throughout so we went with it.  I guess I got an extra detail for free.


If you don’t have any experience with a saw, don’t fear because this is about as “beginner” as you can get.  You can look on Pinterest or HomeTalk for actual tutorials involving mitre boxs.   Be sure to wear gloves.  Also, sometimes it can take a few minutes to get “in the groove” when sawing but once you get your saw at the right angle you can cut right through that trim.

It took me less than two hours to do this from start to finish.

Do you like the mirror?  I hope so.  You can also check out the Wayfair/HomeTalk pinterest board where other challenge participants are pinning their entries.

TGIF, people!  I’m sharing this post with Amanda from Serenity Now.


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