Two Story Cottage

Donut Mania

Dear Friends,

Doughnuts are trending.  It is a beautiful thing.

Last May, I co-hosted a doughnut-themed baby shower for my sister.  I had a grand time seeking out all things doughnut (donut?!) related.  I’m a tried and true doughnut girl no matter how you spell it.  My sister may win the title of Doughnut Queen but I’m next in line for the throne.

I’ve noticed in the last few months a surge in all things doughnut related.  It started in Target with some cute doughnut t-shirts.  The next thing you know there were leggings.  After that, one of my favorite catalogs had a doughnut rug.

One year ago, these things were nowhere to be found.  Now, it is raining doughnuts.  I’m not complaining because I’m on a permanent sugar high.

 

donut mania


I might need a doughnut phone case.  Don’t judge me.

-Erin

P.S.  I refrained from including the doughnut underwear.  You have to draw the line somewhere.

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.

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doughnut_party

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dougnut_buffet

dougnut_skewer_kabobs

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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.

-Erin

 

 

 

Spring Mantel

Dear Friends,

I’ve held off on spring decorating so far this year.  I’m a predictable admirer of all things bird, nest, and bunny but the instinct just hadn’t come calling.  I can blame the weather but we did have a beautiful few days last week believe it or not.  This week might be another story and with the pogo stick forecast it is hard to make that flowery, breezy, warm feeling stick long enough to spring into action.

All that to say, that on Sunday I put together a spring-ish mantel at the last minute due to the pretty palm fronds that we received at church on Palm Sunday.   It is a minimalist look for me but I’m enjoying the quiet right now.

Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration.

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palm_easter_mantel

 

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Easter is practically upon us so we do plan to color eggs and pull out the baskets.  Eventually, I’ll probably delve more into the spring decorating.  And perhaps by June the weather will follow suit.

Maybe, I’ll be inspired on Sunday when I get my sweet tea back.  I had more of an attachment than I realized but I have enjoyed the Lenten challenge.   I say that with gritted teeth.

Happy Spring whether it is raining, snowing, or filled with sunshine.

-Erin

 

 

 

Two Years Later: A New Faucet

Dear Friends,

After two years with a broken kitchen faucet we finally bit the bullet.  Because it was only the sprayer that was out of use, it was never at the top of the list to get fixed.  Also, if you remember, I waffled quite a bit on the style.  Our old faucet was a beautiful copper with a Victorian feel that quite frankly was not affordable to replace.

kitchen_faucet_cruette

We ended up with a solid choice that looks even better than I imagined.  The Kohler Cruette was my dad’s suggestion forever ago and it turned out to be just right.  They had an oiled bronze option which was what we were looking for.  I ordered it through Home Depot because their price was the most competitive.  They carry the nickel version in the store but not the darker color.

cruette_kohler_bronze

If you look closely, there is actually quite a bit of a coppery color that is rubbed into the bronze on this faucet.  That was one reason I chose this one in particular.  I didn’t want to get rid of the copper so I compromised.

bronze_faucet_kohler

I like the height and it has a little more impact than I envisioned.   The best part though?  I can pull that sprayer down and wash all of the crud out of the sink.  With a big farmhouse sink, you have to chase the food mess to get it to go down and not just collect in the corners.  Before I used a Pyrex measuring cup but this is much better!  If only we had done it sooner…

TGIF!

-Erin

 

Baby Shower Fever

Dear Friends,

I’m co-hosting a baby shower for my sister at my house in a month.  Emily has been responsible for two showers for me so I want to return the favor with something fabulous.  She likes to go all out – her cupcake baby shower for our friend Amelia was quite the event.  I have been daydreaming, pinning, and attempting crafting almost daily.

The invitations just went out and we decided to make it a loose doughnut theme.  Emily loves her some doughnuts.  Think minor obsession although we aren’t taking the theme to that level.  I want more of a spring farmhouse vibe with some doughnuts thrown into the mix.

I browsed etsy for an invitation but there weren’t a lot of doughnut baby shower options floating around.  Imagine that.  Instead, I decided to make one using Picmonkey.  Is isn’t perfect but I think it turned out cute.   I had the invitation printed at the Fed Ex and I was pleased with the quality.

 emily_shower_in_2_blog

Yes, I had to cover-up the personal information.  I’d rather not give out my address and phone number on the internet.  I’ve shared enough about my life thank-you-very-much.

The colors are going to be similar to her nursery colors with mint and pink although I may add splashes of gold or something else springy.   We are keeping the details a secret but sent her the invitation so she is aware of the theme and colors.  Speaking of color, they did decide on a nursery paint.

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Behr’s Mystical Sea is the big winner.  I can’t wait to get over there and see it on the walls.

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Of course, after it had all been decided, I noticed the coordinated color palette on the Behr website.  It is very similar to the colors she is using!  Now that the paint is up, the fun part can begin.

I have to stay focused on the shower though! Amelia and I still have a lot of decisions to make like games and food particulars.  I haven’t been to a first baby shower in a good while so I’m rusty on the current game trend.  Any suggestions?  Nothing gross, because Emily is not a fan of anything gag-inducing.

I’ve been on a cleaning rampage, knowing I’m hosting a party in a month.   I’m trying to take care of all of the odds and ends that tend to be overlooked around here.  Like the dozens of nail holes and half-finished curtains.  And I wonder why Lacey has a short attention span – ha!

Happy Hump Day.

-Erin

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!!

-Erin

 

A Simple Kitchen Makeover

Dear Friends,

My in-laws are selling their vacation cottage and I had the opportunity to help transform the kitchen.  They were advised by a realtor to update the space for selling purposes.   Of course, budget was important because the goal is to sell.  Who wants to sink lots of money into a house that is going on the market?

I knew that the kitchen had major potential.  With painted white cabinets all it needed was new knobs, a backsplash, and granite countertops.  Of course, you have to get a new sink and faucet when you go the granite route.

kitchen_before

When this picture was taken, a few of the knobs on top had already been replaced.
 

I made suggestions for the granite but they did the fun part of going to the design center and specifically picking it out.  I find giant slabs of granite intriguing. They are all so different – even within the same color scheme.   We were going for a neutral with some white and tans.  AND the price point was essential.   There are still nice choices on the lower price tiers.

 

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I picked up the knobs at Home Depot.  These  Liberty knobs come in a ten pack which is helpful and once again – inexpensive.

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The backsplash is white subway tile.  I actually got several samples but we ended up going with the basic white subway tile from Lowe’s.  It is a great white – not TOO white because the cabinets are a shade off-white.  Also, the counters have some beige tones.   It is crazy how many versions of white subway tile I saw.

kitchen_1

It is amazing what a little updating will do.  They did decide to stick with the older appliances and I don’t blame them. I’m sure the new owners will be happy to pick out something new if they would prefer.  It would have been fun to do new lighting but it made sense to focus on the major stuff.

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I’m hoping to get over there and get a few more pictures of the details when I have a chance.   I need some up-close shots of the granite and tile to really do it justice.

I think they wished they had made these changes a few years ago so they could have enjoyed it. It is funny how something so intimidating can seem simple once it is all said and done.

Now cross your fingers that it sells quickly…

-Erin

 

 

 

 

 

Mama Got Her Groove Back

Dear Friends,

I’m baaaaacccck.  I logged in to WordPress last night and it had been so long I was asked for my username and password.  The nerve!  I take a week off and I’m met with “who are you, again?”   I have not taken a full week from blogging since I don’t know when.  My spring break wasn’t planned but was much needed.

Last week was one of those weeks where I just didn’t have it together.  I was sluggish and just putting one foot in front of the other and getting everyone where they needed to be was about all I could do.  The spring is a tough time in our house because it is Mr. C’s busy season.  Last Monday, he joined us back home after over a week away and I think I was just so grateful that I allowed myself to feel all of the exhaustion I had felt when he was gone and/or working overtime.

Luckily, this weekend I got my groove back.  Seventy degree weather and a six hour stent of cleaning out the garage will do that.  Of course today it is back to 45 degrees and rain.  Ugh. We have had an ugly pattern of one beautiful day followed by three gross ones.

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Yesterday, we attended a hockey game to support Eosinophilic Esophagitis, my son’s autoimmune disease.  It was our first foray into support and advocacy for his disorder.    I’ll be honest – I have been hesitant to jump feet first into the support group pool.  I know how helpful the advice is from other people in the same boat and I completely see the value.  On the flip side though, we like to go on about our business as if he is just fine.  We have his diet under control and the disease is in “remission” because he currently does not have elevated white blood cell levels.   For now, I’ll stay involved at a minimal level and maybe at some point I’ll get the urge to wave my EoE flag.  I’m eternally grateful for those that push research and raise money and maybe one day I’ll be ready to join them.   I’m just not quite there yet.

Reid has just started food trials with potato so keep your fingers crossed that he can get that back.  Going from nine allergies to eight would be just peachy.   Not only that – if he sails through potato, there is a chance we can experiment with chicken.   That would definitely be happy dance material.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  One day at a time is what keeps us going around here!

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On another note, I discovered the most amazing treat in the world last week.   I picked up dark chocolate sea salt pretzel BarkThins at Earthfare and I’m completely addicted.  They are insanely delicious.  The chocolate is incredibly rich and smooth.  I actually bought them for Reid because of the ingredients but now I’m stealing treats from my food-deprived child.

So much for that Mother of the Year badge.

Cheers to a new week!

-Erin

 

 

 

 

 

Tick Tock Finds

Dear Friends,

Daylight Savings time is this weekend!  Time to spring forward.  I used to dread losing that hour but now I like it.  Having kids changes how you look at everything.  Mine will sleep later once we lose the hour. Of course, going to bed can be harder but it is worth it to have that extra daylight.

Leaving the house in the dark is not fun so lets not talk about that.

Changing clocks is a chore because I always seem to miss one somewhere.  That being said, I’m a clock girl.  I love the old fashioned variety as well as more more modern clocks.  Forget the cell phone, I want a watch or a wall clock.

This month I curated a clock collection for my partnership with Houzz.   I’ve included all kinds of clocks.  Some are whimsical and others are traditional.   Click on the link to head over.

tick_tock_collage

Take a look and don’t forget to move those clocks up.

-Erin

 

 

 

 

 

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.

nursery_before

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.

beadboard_wallpaper

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.

niece_project_nursery

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.

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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??

-Erin

 

 

 

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