Thursday, March 13, 2014

Plant Life!

I really love having houseplants.  My grandmother always had a whole bunch of houseplants by the sliding door in her house, including the little cactus puff that I once tried to grab like a baseball- I ended up paying the price and learning my lesson on that one.  Not trying to sound too granola, but bringing some nature into my home really boosts my spirits.  Living nature!  In my home!  It's green, it's fresh, they clean and purify the air, and hey- they're pretty!

I'm a researcher by nature.  So I researched beneficial plants, and cross referenced them with the ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plants.  Because Jack really likes to nibble on greenery, and Abby... well, I don't think she'd hesitate to eat pretty much anything.  So while I might not know the names of all these plants, I do know that they are for the most part* non-toxic to the babies!  All you have to do is google the name of the plant and ASPCA- for example, "aspca english ivy" and it will pop right up to their site and let you know.  I have it pulled up on my phone every time I shop for new plants- and I have definitely gone through 15 different plants over half an hour to find the perfect one- for both appearance/care/needs AND non-toxicity.

So, here's a quick tour of the greenery in our home thus far!

When you first enter our home, you're greeted by our ponytail palm.  This one is also our newest plant!  We just picked it up this weekend, as I have been wanting a bigger plant for what tiny little entry space we have.  With a split-foyer, we don't have much of a landing- and I've been really working on making it feel more welcoming.  This plant, which is the perfect size to fit in the corner where the door can't knock it, perfectly fit the bill.  I bought the planter from Target and just dropped the store's container right in.  I'll re-pot it eventually, but the weather's about to take a nasty turn and it's too darn cold and rainy for that right now.  

Next, we move to the living room.  This space was featured a recently in my "Favorite Spaces" post.  Back then, this was an empty pot of dirt, because the African Violets that had been residing there totally croaked over the winter.  This pot is recycled from our wedding- the raku centerpieces were made by my dad, and the white ones were used on the head table, so I'm happy to be able to re-purpose something so lovely and with such meaning.  This plant is Fittonia "Superba"- dudes, I don't know.  I bought it from Lowe's and searched it on the website and it said it was good.  It's low/indirect light and claims to be easy to grow so I'm down.

My hanging plants!  I was so proud of these.  The little copper planters came from Urban Outfitters and were a Christmas gift.  These plants are Peperomia "Isabella"- again, another Lowe's find.  I wanted something interesting and drapey, and these were perfect.  It was one plant that I split after originally wanting to get two different plants and not being able to find two pet-friendly ones.  These are medium light, so they are right in front of the window.  They've been there for a few months now and seem to be doing great!

This hyacinth bulb* was an impulse purchase last year.  We got it from the grocery store of all places- it was super cheap and seemed like a cool idea.  It grew, it flowered, it smelled and looked great, it fell over from it's own weight, and then it died.  Me, being the lazy person that I am, broke off the dead dried up pieces and left it on the bar all winter.  Now- guess what- it being a bulb and all, it's growing back!  How cool is that?  The amount of roots in the bottom has probably quadrupled since the winter.

Succulents!*  I gave succulents to my bridesmaids when I asked them to join my bridal party, and kept the remainders for myself- so two of these babies have been going for over a year and a half.  The Jade Plant (far left) is the newest addition.  Sorry but I have no clue what the other two are.  These are sitting on the window sill in my kitchen, right above the sink.  The pots were a small project a few weekends ago- before, I had them in a skinny glass dish thing and I decided I wanted something cleaner and crisper.  A few coats of white paint later and voila.  Exactly the look I was going for.  

But wait, there's more.. kind of.

What's this?  What on earth could that be?

It is, in fact, the saddest and most scraggliest spider plant that ever did live.  This is the second newest plant, and the most pathetic.  On a snow day last week (yes, we had snow days last week), I went over to my parents' house and stole some of their spider plant pieces.  I put the pieces in this giant pot (I have high hopes) and put that inside a basket.  I'm really hoping it will start to grow and thrive and thicken up and fill out that pot and the basket, and eventually drape down over the china cabinet.  But right now, it hardly even pokes over the sides of the basket at all.  I put it in front of the windows during the day so it can soak up as much sunshine as possible.  Spider plants are supposed to be great house plants- they're low maintenance and filter a bunch of crap out of the air.  Apparently they also grow little white flowers, so that's cute.  

That's all we've got for now!  I still have a running "wish list" of plants on my phone.  Someday my house will probably look like the secret garden.  That's the end goal, anyway.  

*The hyacinth is NOT non-toxic- which means it IS toxic to animals.  It was the very first plant thing that we purchased, and I didn't know about the ASPCA site at the time.  I keep it up and away from Abby and on a surface that Jack has never jumped on.  Succulents are toxic on a case-by-case basis- some are and some aren't.  Again, I've got these placed where Abby can't reach and Jack is way more interested in dangly type plants and has not expressed an interest in them.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Favorite Spaces- Tunes and Tomes

One of my favorite spaces in the house is one part of the living room area.  The lefthand side of the couch, with its velvet throw pillows and fluffy throw blanket is my reading space.  There's natural light, hanging baskets, and a record player.  

Pot of diiiiiiirt!

Putting on a record and curling up with a blanket and a Diet Mountain Dew (not gonna lie) is one of the most relaxing and cozy things for a weekend morning.  And I love love love having live plants in the house (separate post on that in the future).  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DIY Bar with Concrete Countertop (Part Three): Completed Project

Part one is here, and part two is here.

The bar is complete!  I don't have progress photos (again, ugh!) but I will explain the different parts that all came together to create this project.  Here is a photo of the bar when I last posted, right after the counter top had been completed:

And here is the top piece, completed:

Let's break this down.  The wooden top piece is some piece of something that my parents found at an antique store.  I think maybe it was the top part of a buffet?  No clue.  It also was not that color- it was more of a yellow-oaky type.  And there was no shelf.  Basically it was a wooden thing with a mirrored back.  We removed the mirror and painted it to match the bottom cabinets.  We had a glass shelf custom made, and bought wrought iron shelf rest thingies (this is all very technical).  We added some lights and drilled a hole for the cords.  My dad somehow attached the wrought iron wine racks to the top so they won't fall off but I don't exactly know what he did.  Which is pretty much the same for the entire project.  

Boom.  Completed bar, featuring liquor that has been left at our house over the past year or so.  Hooray!  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Living/Dining Room and the Den: Paint Edition

When we moved into the house, the walls were the same color in every room.  The ceiling was also the same color in every room- the same color as the walls.  It was like Doom.

Whyyyy is the ceiling covered in stone bricking also how is that even staying up?

Thankfully, the ceilings were painted white before we officially moved in.  And the walls were fine- very neutral, very blah- but fine.  Once we officially purchased the house, we decided we could probably start looking at paint.  

I didn't take any photos of progress or anything.  And I really don't even want to dig through and find old photos from "before."  BUT, we have only painted two rooms so far, and since everything was the same color, there's plenty of ways to show comparisons.  We will start with the upstairs!  

We started with the dining/living room space.  We went with a lightish grey color that I am in love with- I especially adore it with the white trimmings.  

Man, doesn't that just look so crisp??

Since we haven't yet done the whole upstairs (still working on figuring out where to start/stop if we do different colors yada yada yada), the corner of the dining room is a perfect comparison shot for the old/new colors.

I love it.  It looks different at different times of the day, but it always looks great.  The color is Valspar Metropolis.  Here are a few more photos from around the room, in different lighting and times of day.

Pot of dirt makes a return cameo

Alright, so that's the upstairs.  Let's move on to the downstairs/den!  My goal for the den was an earthy feel- browns, greens, off-whites, wood and brick and stone, and metallics and reds for a pop.  We are getting there, slowly.  When it was time to choose a color, we wanted a green.  I have to admit- this was not my first choice when we swatched, but Scott was really into it, so we went with it.  It grew on my as soon as it dried.  I especially love it up against the brick.  

OOOooOOOoo, Aaaaaahhhh.  I know.  Here's more:

See with the brick?  Loving it.  That hangy-downy-beam-thing is the color that the walls were before we painted them, so below is the comparison photo!

This is with the weird lighting downstairs- 
yellowish lamp light and pure white LEDs.

This color is Valspar Native Henna.  I was a bit worried that it would be too dark downstairs in an already dark room, but it is actually great and really fits the mood I was going for.  

Anyway, those are the two rooms we've completed so far.  We have the paint for the office but we haven
t gotten around to that yet.  It's really amazing what some paint can do as far as making a house feel that much more YOURS.