Monday, November 7, 2016

Closet By Color


I've been getting monthly clothing deliveries from Stitch Fix for almost a year now. A couple of moths ago my designer asked what colors were missing from my closet. This got me thinking. 

My closet organization has gone through several renditions {by outfit, by clothing type, no organization what-so-ever}.  It took me a couple of days and more hangers but I am in love with the results. I can now clearly see what colors of which I have too little and too much. 

To achieve this look take inspiration from your new box of crayons or colored pencils. Lighter colors to the right and darker to the left. 


My finished closet

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Our neighborhood has a wonderful tradition of booing one another. If you have never heard of booing, Cynthia Ewer explains it fantastically at:

This year we were booed the week before Halloween. Twice in the same night. Boy we're the kids excited the first time. But to have the doorbell ring again 15 minutes later, now that was a sight. 

So now it was our turn. I didn't want to do a bag of candy since the kids would be tick or treating just a few night later. I also wanted something that would be appropriate for a home without young children at home. I thought it would be nice to create a box with a fall theme. 

Supplies (all purchased at Walmart):
Wood Crate
Frozen Pumpkin Pie
Sparkling Apple Cider
Vase with fall flowers
Halloween Sign
Caramel apple (not pictured)
Tin with candy
Spooky Fabric (not pictured)

Cost: $30 per boo

Here's my finished box. 

When it came time to boo we first drove around the neighborhood to see who had already been booed. After picking out targets we turned of the headlights and parked out of sight. The kids then, using their best spy skills snuck up on the house and put the box into position. Then one of them rang the doorbell and they all ran to get out of sight. After the target finds their box and is back inside the kids rejoin me in the car, smiles as big as the Cheshire Cat. What fun!

A little bit later I found this post on our neighborhoods facebook page. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hutch Makeover


I've been admiring the handiwork my friends Catherine and Cindy have been posting. They are both talented women taking furniture from discarded or tired to stunning pieces. Both have been using chalk paint; and while I love the look of chalk paint I hate waxing. So when I found this hutch for sale I decided to try my hand at refinishing it with cabinet paint.

Step One:
Give it a good cleaning and the degloss it to remove the laquer finish. 
Step Two:
Fill holes where old hardware was with wood filler. Let sit for 30 minutes. Sand lightly. Then apply primer. I brushed on Killz to be sure the red undertones of the wood did not come through. 
Step Three:
I decided to paint the inside a light grey and the outside white. This took about three coats with a cabinet roller. Once dry I used a razor blade to scrape the paint off the glass. Although it's a pain to scrape all of that paint off, I didn't have painters tape on hand and was too eager. I did find that using the roller I had more drips than I'd prefer. Grrr. Lastly, I attached the new hardware. I needed to drill new holes as the pulls were bigger than the original ones. 
Step Four:
Set in place and style. I divided my hutch into virtual sections.  Using only items I already had in the house, I placed similarly shaped and colored items in each section. Doing this allows the eye to travel around the whole display and lends to cohesiveness. 

Project Breakdown-
Cost of Hutch: $125 via online yard sale
Cost of Supplies: $125 via Lowes
Time: 5 days
Difficulty: Easy

What I would do differently next time...
1) Tape the glass
2) Try a brush to paint top coat (maybe this will prevent drips better). I tried a roller because I didn't want to see brush stokes. 
3) If I could go back in time, I would not have dropped one of the quarts of paint, causing 1/2 the can to go all over the garage floor. LOL

Thursday, October 27, 2016

9 Ways To Decorating For Fall

Fall is one of the few times I go all out to decorate my home.  I've been inspired by Douglas Elliman's  Florida office to write a post on how to decorate for fall.  When I think about fall a few words come to mind:

Using this for inspiration I am going to help you get a few ideas on how you can implement this in your own home.

1.  Layers -
As the weather becomes cooler, a simple way to add warmth is to add layers.  I like to look to fashion for inspiration.   Why not add a sweater to your bedroom or living room?  Or a blanket scarf wrapped over the back of a chair?

 2.  Change -
Embracing change is something many of us struggle with.  But what better time to rearrange furniture   than fall?  Hosting family and friends for Thanksgiving often times means making more space for conversation.  By rearranging furniture you can add conversation areas where family and friends can gather.  Family and friends don't seem to all sit together.  Rather they group themselves.  This is a natural occurrence in any large group, so embrace it and help to gather in comfort.  As an added bonus, when you rearrange your furniture it also allows you the opportunity to do a deep cleaning before your guests arrive.

3.  Apples -
Is there anything better than hot apple cider?  One of my favorite things to do with my kids each year is to go apple picking.  We usually leave with a bushel apples and then the creativity begins.  I have made just about everything dish you can imagine with apples.  Pies, cider donuts,  stuffing, rice, chicken, pork, you've got the idea.  So what to do with all of the apples in the meantime?  I use them in decorating.  It adds a nice thought to fall tablescape.

4.  Pumpkins - 
Pumpkins are a great way to add the feel of fall to your home.  Because they come in all sizes, shapes, and colors they are an easy way to add texture and color.  Use them on your tablescape with your apples, place them on your coffee table, or dress up your front door.

5.  Color - 
When most people think of fall they think of brown, orange, and black.  But there is so much more.  For inspiration on color, look outdoors.  What colors catch your eye.  Muted tones like ivory, browns, teal, or pale yellow?  Or brilliant colors like orange, green, burgundy, blue, or sunflower yellow?  Adding a splash of color can warm your home.  I am not saying it's time to paint your walls or furniture, just add it in your accessories.

6.  Football - 
Is there anything better than football?  Honestly it's my favorite sport.  It doesn't matter if it's pee wee, high school, college, or professional.  So why not decorate your home with the game in mind?  What things make you think of comfort during the game?  Food is of course a staple, so make sure there is plenty of room on your coffee table.  Since the TV is the focal point, build off of it by facing your seating towards it.  Having the TV to one side of the room could lead to your guests leaving with a crick in their necks.  Leather couches in browns are reflective of a football and are ideal for furniture, plus it cleans easily.  Reclining couches are even better.  Use throw pillows in your teams colors.  Use a chalkboard to display the menu for the game, the season schedule, or to record your teams stats for the current game or season.  And let's not forget about Fantasy Football.  Make sure you have plenty of outlets available to charge your laptop or smart device.

7.  Cranberries - 
I am from Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  Home of the cranberry.  So I would be remiss to not use cranberries in my fall decorating.  Cranberries are great in a vase, apothecary jar, on a charger with candles, or just use their color for a pop.

8.  Family - 

Fall is one of my favorite times of year for family photos.  I display these pictures year round.  (I love them that much!)  Most likely your entire family will be around for Thanksgiving.  When they are, take advantage for this moment by taking a picture.  Since I work in the photography industry I can tell you our generation does not display their photos enough.  How many pictures have you taken that are now only available when you have a computer or your smart device?  Don't loose those memories, share them!  Framed pictures of your family add warmth to your home.  They take your house from a showroom to a home.  I have two from our fall session, two years ago, proudly displayed in our front entry.  Here are a few from our family shoot last week!

9.  Warmth - 
Snuggling is certainly a great way to stay warm in the fall.  Your decorating choices can also make your home feel warm.  The materials you use should be soft and comfortable.  The colors you choose should be inviting.  Warm tones include red, yellow, and orange.  (Cool tones include blue, green, and violet.)  Accents should also be comfortable.  I like to play with texture, burlap, faux fur, cotton, and over stuffed leather when paired together add depth and warmth.  I prefer to keep it monochromatic in shades of beige (which have a yellow undertone) so other accents like the apples, pumpkins, and cranberries can take center stage.  Nothing says warmth, literally, than your fireplace.  Whether wood burning or electric there is nothing more romantic than a roaring fire.  If you don't have a fireplace, candles work great to also set this mood.  What I love most about candles is the scent they give then they are burned.  The scents make your home more inviting.  Yankee Candle is my favorite brand, and they have so many fall scents.

Sweater Blanket from Pottery Barn
Sweater Blanket in Use from Decoist
Blanket Scarf on Chair by Finding Home Farms
Blanket Scarf by Target
Seating Areas by HGTV
Apple Tablescape by Four Generations One Roof
Pumpkin Candlesticks byFrog Prince Paperie
Pumpkins At Front Door by My Sisters Crazy Blog
Colorful Pumpkins in Livingroom by At Home
Sunflowers in Bud Vases by Ivy & Olive's
Football Livingroom by Havertys
Football Chalkboard by Wonderfully Made By Leslie
Cranberries with Candle
Cranberry Livingroom by Hoosier Homemade
Family Portraits by Berryphotos
Fireplace By The Bungalow Blog
Please Snuggle from Allyson Magda Photography
Candles by Yankee Candle

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tomato Watermelon Skewers

These are one of my favorite summertime apps.  They are cool, refreshing, and super tasty.  You've probably have never thought to combine these ingredients, but the flavors explode in your mouth.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Walking Tour of Central Square Bridgewater Massachusetts

As part of the third grade curriculum students study the town in which they reside.  The George Mitchell Elementary School does an amazing job with this by having the students participate in a self-guided tour of Central Square.

Keith did the tour with Kaitlyn and I was lucky enough to do it with Alyssa.  I had so much fun with her that I thought I'd share our tour with everyone.  Bridgewater is so pretty this time of year and is rich with history.
Alyssa in Central Square

1.  Start in front of the Bridgewater Savings Bank.  What are the two dates above the front door?
Bridgewater Savings Bank
1872 and 1924
Did you know that the first date is the year the bank was established?  It was the first bank in Bridgewater.  The second date is the year the bank built this building.  They moved in on 
April 19, 1925.

2.  Stand at the intersection and read the green street signs.  Middleboro borders Bridgewater to the south.  How many miles to Middleboro?
The Sign to Middleboro has been replaced so we looked it up on our GPS.
9 Miles
If you travel on Route 28N, you will travel to West Bridgewater and Brockton.  How many miles from Bridgewater to each town?
West Bridgewater: 3 Miles
Brockton: 7 Miles

Did you know that Brockton was once part of Bridgewater and was called North Bridgewater?

What other two towns border Bridgewater?
Bridgewater is bordered by West Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Middleborough, & Raynham
3.  Walk to the Jack Conway brick building.  What does the red sign on the side of the building say?  (If you look closely at the brick you can see the outline of a saltbox building that used to be next to it).
Old Bank Building
Circa 1850
Did you know this building has been used as a barbershop, a music studio, jewelry store, clothing, and shoe stores, and was a meeting place for the Fraternal Order of Red Men?

4.  Continue walking in the direction of the library.  Stop at the black house.  It is the oldest structure in Central Square.  Walk to the left side of the house.

An unassuming two story wooden building known as the Tory House overlooks the Common in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The house was built in 1698 by Jacob Leonard, a fifth-generation descendant of Mayflower passenger James Chilton. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, the house was owned by a Tory sympathizer named Colonel Josiah Edson (who at that time was the head of the local militia). When Josiah sided with the British, the house was confiscated by the Continental Congress.  Before the outbreak of America's Civil War, local Bridgewater residents established the building as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Slaves William and Ellen Craft were sheltered here on their way to freedom.  Today the building is a private home, and not open to the public. But the house and the historic marker located on the side can be viewed by the public from the sidewalk out in front.

Did you know that a Tory is a political party in England?  During colonial days, a Tory was a colonist loyal to the King of England.

5.  Stop in front of the Central Square Congregational Church.  What is the object at the top of the church's steeple?  And what is its use or purpose?
Central Square Congregational Church
On top of the church is a weathervane.
A weathervane tell the direction of the wind.

Did you know that this weathervane was made by Jonathan Howard?  Mr. Howard made many beautiful weathervanes before the Civil War.  Later, he opened a vinegar mill and made pickles.  This weathervane is worth about $60,000 today!

This church was built in a Gothic style.  That means it was built to look a special way.  Many cathedrals were built in a gothic style, the most famous one being Notre Dame in Paris.  Gothic features might includes pillars with decorations on top, circle windows, windows that have a curved panel or an arc, a vaulted ceiling, decorative patterns such as flowers or leaves and religious statues or gargoyles.  Draw some of the gothic features below.

Did you know that this church was originally built in 1836 but burned to the ground in 1860?

6.  Walk to the Bridgewater Public Library.  Walk into the alcove on the front left side of the building.  There is a plaque there in memory of the people who donated a million dollars to build this library.  Who are they and when was the library built?
Bridgewater Public Library
Walter & Flora Little donate One Million Dollars to build the library.

7.  Continue on to the Memorial Building.  
Memorial Building
Currently used as offices for the Town Selectman

What are the dates on the plaques at the front of the building?  How many names are on the marble tablets? What is the building used for now?

These are the dates that the Civil War was fought.

Did you know that this building was built in 1881 as the town's first public library and as a memorial to the men of Bridgewater who had died during the Civil War?

Atop this building, near the apex of the roof is the date 1881, with a pair of the numbers on either side of a brickwork wreath with a star inside. Bellow that are the words "A MEMORIAL"  There is then an arch way to the front door. On either side of the door is a large ornate tablet with "In Memory of" and the names of locals who fought in the Civil War. There are a total of 37 names between the two tablets.  At the bottom of each are the dates 1861 and 1865.

Cross carefully on the crosswalk to the Common.

Did you know that this area was once a cow pasture for Mr. Leonard who owned the Tory House?  In the late 1800's, there was a gazebo on the Common where bands would play on summer evenings.

8.  Walk over to the American Veterans Memorial.  There are four wars listed on this monument to honor the Bridgewater soldiers who served in those wars.  List the four wars. 
Vietnam, Korea, World Wars I & II

9.  Face the building in the photograph.  What is the name of this building?
Bridgewater Academy
Did you know that the first Academy building was on the opposite side of the Common?  It was built in 1799 but burned down in 1822.  The new building was built on the south side of the Common and was used as a private High School.

10. Walk to the opposite side of the Common and find the stone structure.  When was it erected?
Drinking Fountain
Erected 1912
Did you know that this structure was originally a drinking fountain?  It was given as a gift to the town and built with money raised by public funds.

Long ago, people used to stop here to let their horses drink from the town water pumps.

11.  Walk over to the Gordon "Mickey" Cochrane Memorial.

12.  Face east and look across the street at the gas station.

Did you know that there used to be a three story inn here called the Bridgewater Inn?  Abram Washburn brought part of it here from East Bridgewater.  It was known for "fine food, lodging, and dancing" and was torn down in 1930.

13.  Walk carefully across the street to the Bridgewater Town Hall.  What year was the Town Hall built?
Bridgewater Town Hall
Built in 1843
Did you know that the Town Hall has been used as a movie theater, for plays and operas, and political rallies?  It was even used as a roller skating rink!
Bridgewater Town Hall in 1918

Look at our town seal in the sidewalk in front of this building.  It has the aboriginal name of the land and water for the colonial grant in 1645.  What is the Indian name written in the town emblem?  What pictures are carved into the seal?
Bridgewater Town Seal
Nunkatateset & Saughtucket
Arm with Hammer, Oil Lamp, & Castle
First settled in 1650 as Nunkatateset, part of Duxbury, it was officially incorporated in 1656 as Bridgewater.  Both Nunkatateset & Saughtucket were the original names of the villages that existed before the town was called bridgewater in 1656. Nunkatateset refers the the Great Pond and Saughtucket refers the the plains around the pond.

Did you know that the castle on the seal is a copy of the coat of arms for Bridgewater, England?

14.  Continue around the corner onto School Street.  Stop at Dr. Albert F. Hunt Hall.  Look at the stone book on the left side of the building.  Who was the architect that designed this building?
Dr. Albert F. Hunt Hall
Architect: Frank Irving Cooper

Did you know this building used to be an elementary school but is now owned by Bridgewater State University?  Dr. Hunt was the doctor for the college for many years.

15.  Continue down the street to the First Parish Church.  When was the church organized?

Did you know that the church once had a steeple the contained a bell made by Paul Revere?  The steeple came down during Hurricane Carol in 1954.
First Congregational Unitarian (First Parish) Church Bridgewater
In 1930s
16.  Cross School Street and look for the memorial stone next to the college bus stop.  

Did you know that this was the original name of Bridgewater State University?  It began as a school to train teachers.

We completed our walking tour!  Now it's time to celebrate with yummy frozen yogurt at Just Yo-Way, the newest store to open in Central Square.

PS: One last tid bit of history.  The building below is the first Train Depot for Bridgewater.  In 1995 I helped to open it as a Burger King and I was a Manager for three years.