Two Story Cottage

Halloween Recap

Dear Friends,

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday.  It makes me feel grinchy, but I’ve just never enjoyed the chaos, the costumes, or even the candy.  I prefer my secret stash of sugar to the motherload the kids bring home.  There is also the inevitable arrival of meltdown central which is usually epic.  This year was different though.  I quietly dreaded it while trying to put on a good front. And then…

I had fun.

It was a good day.




I’m not sure if it is my kids getting older,  the lucky Friday positioning, or the new neighborhood that made this year more enjoyable.  Whatever the reason, I didn’t cringe and then at some point realized I was truly having a good time.


This Halloween was void of meltdowns and it was a smooth day.  There was silliness and a costume malfunction or two but overall I have to say I’m cured of my Halloween anxiety.  Not to say I won’t turn skeptical next October, but I’ve got hope for the years to come.




My parents stopped by to see the kids as well as Auntie Em, Andrew, and baby Savannah.  Of course, Uncle Andrew got some good pictures like the one above.  Savannah was a show stopper in her doughnut costume.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t too interested in wearing it for long but the pictures will last a lifetime.



And yes, Emily made the costume.  She is crafty like that.  After a doughnut baby shower, it really is fitting to have a doughnut costume for Halloween.  Perhaps there should be a doughnut first birthday party as well-  thankfully, she has a long time before that milestone.

I’m excited for the month of November and Thanksgiving.  Beyond that is too much to think about right now!


New Beginnings

Dear Friends,

I am in fact alive and still here on Earth.  I took a blogging hiatus without really intending to.  It turns out moving combined with the end of the school year was far too much to handle and everything peripheral fell to the wayside.  We were so busy and crazed that I honestly didn’t give the blog much thought except when others asked if I was hanging up my hat.

But I did miss you, the readers!

Blogging for me has always been a hobby and not a business.  I enjoy the creative outlet and the fun of having an online family and taking this little break affirmed that.   Today is the first day I have wanted to write in ages and I’m happy to have that fire burning again.   It is on simmer for now but I’m thankful for the cautious excitement I’m feeling this morning.  I’ve blogged for four years now and perhaps it was just time for a senior year break of sorts.

Where do I even start?


Yes, we sold our house.  It took only three weeks thankfully.  Showing a house with kids and a dog is pure unadulterated torture.


Yes, we bought a house within the city limits.  I can’t wait to show you!  We moved in at the end of May and things are finally coming together.  Sort of.   We are at least settled.


Yes, my niece was born.  She came 3 weeks early on June 15th.  Her name is Savannah Jane and she is a perfect little angel.

That is a lot of big news to process and I can’t wait to elaborate further.  I plan to post twice a week this summer because with kids around 24/7, the lack of school schedule, and piles of stuff everywhere,  I’ve got other priorities.   Of course, summer fun is sandwiched in between the to-do list and swim practice.

Thanks for not forgetting me, friends!



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.





Nursery Progress: Window Seat

Dear Friends,

My sister has found that later pregnancy energy.  She has morphed into a project maniac and is turning out stuff on a daily basis.  I’m frankly jealous of the nesting gone wild phase.  There is a lot of productivity in that superwoman stage.

Just in the last couple of weeks Emily (& Andrew) have:

-caulked and painted the trim above the beadboard

-painted the breadboard wallpaper white

-painted the walls Behr Mystical Green

-purchased and hung curtains

-begun a window seat/toy storage unit under the windows


I thought I’d highlight the window seat that they are working on.  Originally, Emily wanted to use the Ikea Expedit as a window seat and storage unit.  It had five cubbies and would nest perfectly under the windows.  However, you may have heard that Ikea discontinued their famous Expedit and replaced it with the Kallax.   She was a little disappointed because there were only four cubbies meaning it wouldn’t quite be long enough to fill the space like the five-unit Expedit would have.


It turned out as a potential positive though.  Like most pieces of furniture it seemed bigger once it was in the nursery.  Emily thinks the five cubby Expedit would have come too close to the corner where she intends to put her chair.


The closet is in the other corner so the unit couldn’t be much longer there either.   I think once the pillows and cushions are in place it will look nicely nested in that spot.


The curtains are from Pottery Barn Kids, specifically the Addison flocked blackout panel.  She decided against making them because she wanted the panels lined with the real-deal blackout material.  The room gets a lot of sun so that should help!  I love the color with the wall color.

Emily is in her third trimester now with baby showers coming up and summer just around the corner.  I’m excited as this room evolves even more into my niece’s special space.


Nursery Paint Swatches

Dear Friends,

This weekend was just not mine when it came to technology.  My scheduled blog post for Friday never published and somehow disappeared into thin air.  Then that afternoon my iPhone went all black screen of death on me.  I spent half my weekend trying various recovery methods to no avail.  I got it back working once only to have it back on death’s door fifteen minutes later. Unfortunately, I lost a few pictures but I’m thankful I’ve been backing up monthly.

Our two year phone contract happened to come up last month so I am a little bit lucky on that front.  I just hope that they can get some of my stuff off!  I have really realized how dependent I’ve become on the phone – it is kind of a nice breather to be unreachable.

Enough with the 21st century problems – lets talk nursery swatches.  Baby niece’s room is ready for paint!  I can’t wait because then the real decorating can begin.  Emily has to decide what kind of green she really wants.  We said “mint” initially but she might prefer something a little softer.



My sister picked out all of the colors.  I’m just a sibling consultant.  🙂

Believe it or not, darkish cell phone pictures captured the most correct hue when looking at the colors.  My fancier camera was  getting prettier pictures but without as much accuracy.

The sea salt looks dark compared with the lighter greens.  Funny, because in my house it is so light but that is with a different color combo.


She also grabbed some Valspar swatches.  Three of the first four colors are shown in tiny squares below for comparison.

I don’t really think she can go too wrong when it comes to color.  The nursery will be primarily gray and a soft pink so any of these will complement that.  I’m more drawn to the colors with a coastal vibe but only because that is my natural style.

Andrew & Emily are hoping to paint next weekend.   She has a week to decide although I think she may already have a favorite.   That being said, do you have one that you like?  She would love to have your opinion and I would too!!



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.







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