Saturday, October 17, 2020

Autumn Home Vignette Challenge

Vignette (pronounced vin-yet). Isn't that a pretty word. It sounds gentile to me, maybe even  Victorian-esque. It conjures thoughts in my mind of all things pretty. 

While I have in my mind an understanding of the word I thought it best to see what the dictionary had to say. A vignette, as described by Webster's Dictionary: (noun) a picture (such as an engraving or photograph) that shades off gradually into the surrounding paper; a brief incident or scene. 

In literary terms, a vignette is a "short scene that captures a single moment or a defining detail about a character, idea, or other element of the story". 

Originally, it seems that a vignette was a vine or decoration around the text of a written piece, a decoration. It may or may not have been something drawn from the writing. 

When I am putting together a vignette in my home it is a small snapshot of a feeling I am trying to convey. It is a small representation of a season, event,  or moment I want to share with my visitors and family. Having dabbled in photography a bit I consider these little areas in my home as compositions and am always trying to style these little scenes/snapshots as such. 

Recently, I was on a fellow blogger's website and was thrilled to see that she had put out a challenge for others to share their Autumn vignettes! And so.... 

I'm joining Katherine from Katherines Corner and a few of her blog friends for her 

Autumn Home Vignette Challenge!

The challenge- we must include at least one pumpkin in our vignette. 

Here are a couple from around my home. If you are attempting this in your home keep in mind a few things:

 1) use lifts (books, blocks of wood, candle holders) to vary heights and use trays to corral the scene

2) layer vs straight lines work best usually 

3) try to tell a story with your items 4) it's not permanent so you can change it as you go along 5) use your phone to take photos and study them- sometimes our eye sees more in an actual photo and it's also easier to block out competing images from around the room. 

Autumn for me means nesting. There is more time to snuggle up with a soft blanket, read a book or spending indoor time playing games, and of course you need to throw some plaid in because what goes better than plaid and fall? That is the story in the next photo. 

These next two points are key: 
 4) it's not permanent so you can change it as you go along 
5) use your phone to take photos and study them- sometimes our eye sees more in an actual photo and it's also easier to block out competing images from around the room. 

Now it's your turn! Come back, leave me a message. And visit the others below for great ideas! 

Please click on each of the links below, please leave a comment. You will find beautiful vignettes filled with lots of inspiration for your home.

Katherines Corner

An Artful Mom

Eclectic Red Barn

While I Linger

Bluesky at Home


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Autumn Home 2020, Anticipating Blessings In Uncertain Times

Summer 2020 is in the history books and it is now fall. Usually, this is a hard transition for me as I love all things summer but this year is different for me and probably for you, as well.  This is the time of year when we look forward to all things cozy and spending more time at home... but, if you're like me you're thinking, "But we have already been spending all our time at home and we're weary of it." 

Maybe you're like me and it seems an act of futility when it comes to decorating your home for autumn. The world around us is in such chaos. Maybe your world is in turmoil. I get it. I have waffled back and forth as I look at the world around me that is being filtered through ever squawking media reports. I've questioned myself, my motives and if I should even bother right now. After all, I questioned myself,  "Who cares about projects and decorating when everything is so broken" and "Is it bougie or naive to even be doing this right now?" 

But, grace enters with a dose of truth. God is not the God of chaos or turmoil. He is the God of peace and a quiet calmness in the storm. I cannot control the world. I cannot control the news or politics. They never were in my realm of influence, anyway. Truth be told, I have no significant impact on the world outside my front door. What I do have control of is my home and how I want those who enter it to feel while they are here. In here you are loved and cherished; you are welcome here. 

It is autumn and we are thankful for our family. We are grateful for visitors. We embrace the change in seasons as we witness that God is faithful to his word. 

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, 
day and night, shall not cease.  
Genesis 8:22

And so, I will celebrate this season and ready my home in expectation of using it to bless others. 

Shopping now can be a bit of a struggle. Between wearing masks, being out in public and finding many empty shelves or limited options this can be a difficult and disappointing task. I chose to use what I have for the most part. With that in mind you might see some things you may have seen here in years past but maybe in a different place or with different accessories. This is our home, dressed in her autumn best for 2020.

A yard sale purchase in January (the basket) and some sale priced flowers from Michael's means that I am foregoing the traditional wreath on the front door, this year. I love this basket and the orange and purple arrangement brings the seasons best colors to the front porch.

I used the same pillows and blanket as last year and added fake pumpkins with real ones. A few fall mums and this porch is done. This is the first "welcome" you get when coming to our home. 

Upon entering our home you are greeted by a neutral pallet. This pumpkin was a new purchase for me from a second-hand store. 

And that is where the neutral ends!

I used the Pumpkin Patch sign I made last year. (You can see how to make it here.)  Every year I want to try to be beautifully neutral like I see in some of the blogs I follow. 

But, when push comes to shove I jump into color. I can't help myself! Blues and oranges and harvest gold play so nicely together. I put the sign in same place as last year but did a little different arrangement with my fake pumpkins. 

My coffee table kept the summer tray that is usually filled with seashells and candles but now hosts pumpkins and faux fall greenery. 

And a look around the room. 

I don't want our home to feel precious or too pretty. I want it to be warm and inviting but comfortable like the romantic ideas of a Norman Rockwell picture. With that in mind, I will continue to ready my home expecting that God will bring that gift of gathering through our front door. We will not let the circumstances of the world around us keep us from anticipating and preparing for all the joys this season will bring. 

Autumn Blessings
 to you and yours. 

Link parties:

Sunday, August 2, 2020

How To Add Living Space For Less Than $1 A Square Foot

** Boy, math was never my thing. The truth is this was less than $.55 per square foot! 

Everyone who has ever built anything or bought property knows that it is impossible to add square footage to your living space for less than two dollars per square foot...

 until now!

15 years ago, or so we had built a deck kinda in the shape of a baseball field (at least in my mind). It's just pressure treated 2x4's sitting on stones and bricks around the perimeter and then filled in with pressure treated 2x4's for the decking. It has been pressure washed multiple times and painted with the special paint that is supposed to hold up to outdoor weather... not so much.  It's okay, but does need to be painted again. In all fairness, it was done 5 years ago, in this post.


We purchased an offset umbrella and it nicely covers the patio table and chairs. It tilts so we can catch the sun/guard against it regardless of where it is positioned in the sky. I love spending mornings and evenings out there. It's nice but it's just the back deck.

Much more time than usual has been spent out there these past several months as is probably the case in many of your homes and yards. Usually, we are running off here and there to enjoy all that summer has to offer in New England but this year it is different; places are very limited in time and amount of guests, some places didn't make it and won't reopen at all. Some places we can't travel to without quarantining ourselves when we get there and when we come home.

That got me to thinking, "What exactly is it that I am missing about those places?" Places we like to visit usually are in close proximity to the ocean... Well, okay, I can't do anything about that but there is usually live music, good food and a little atmosphere... Hmmm...

This one took no time to sell to Mister on. If you ask him he would say it was all his idea to begin with. I quickly placed an order on Amazon.

The next day we were off to the Home Depot! We purchased 4 flanges and 4 plumbing pipes that are approximately 10 feet long and we headed back home.

Mister pounded the pipes into the ground with a rubber mallet until only 8 feet was sticking up. We used a level to do our best at keeping them from leaning one way or the other. This photo shows that either we were way off or I take photos at the wrong angles.

Mister then threaded the flanges on to the tops of the poles. The flanges got a coat of black spray paint so they won't rust. (Believe me they will. We had to go back and do this step after the first rain!)

We scrounged around to find some S hooks we had used for another project and attached one to each pole. Mister put some caulking at the top to cover the hole down into the pole. And right about then my package from Amazon showed up. Perfect timing!

Inside the package was led string lights. We strung the lights along the poles with a little draping and secured the ends with zip-ties.

Now we could rest from our day's labor. (It truly took about 2 hours, including the trip to Home Depot). Mister cooked us some dinner on the grill and we ate as listening to music and watching the sun go down.

As the daylight waned our music got a little louder. With a glass of wine in hand we witnessed true magic. Those little globe lights, without any provocation, whisked us away from all the scary news of this world and we just sat there, in our new room, at the back of our house! We danced to Ed Sheeran as fireflies twinkled in approval just beyond our "walls".

Now, for those who want to know how I got my figure of $2 per square foot: 

4 flanges-$31.88, 4 poles - $57.24, globe lights-$43.99,tax- $8.24 for a total of $141.35 to gain a 16'x16' room=$.55 per square foot. We had the spray paint, the s-hooks and caulking from other projects. 

No, we can't use it in the winter and yes, we do have mosquitoes in New England but right now, in these strange times, to us this new room is priceless. These little lights changed my anxious, worried and scared perspective and they brought to mind the changes light can bring.  

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

God is lightand in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darknesswe lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the lightas 
he is in the lightwe have fellowship with one anotherand the blood of Jesus his Son 
cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sinwe deceive ourselvesand the truth is not in us. If we confess our sinshe is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
1 John 1:5-9

Thanks for spending time with me today. 
Praying you are finding ways to bring peace into your own lives. 

** originally this post was titled How To Add Living Space For Less Than $2 A Square Foot due to my reversing my numbers when doing the math. 

Linking up to parties on these blogs:

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Over Due Bathroom Do-Over

If you have followed along in the last two posts you know that our small and only full-bath in the house was getting a new floor. The catalyst for the decision was that I wanted storage space that the room greatly lacked. We did a mini update on that bathroom about 10 years ago with a limited budget. Because an old steam radiator stood in the way I was convinced that we couldn't put in a vanity so we opted for a pedestal sink. My thinking was, "It's a small room so keep the necessary pieces small to make it not feel cramped."

While living in the house for all these years it has bothered me that the steam radiator in that room was just about useless, being the last radiator on the line. Annoyed with the fact that it took up such precious real estate in the small room, I was determined to get rid of it. I got Mister on board and that hunk of metal was kicked to the curb. (Not really, they're wicked heavy! You'd break your foot.) You can read about the in floor heating here and here.

That left me with a blank slate, or at least a little less crowded slate. We are not changing the tub nor the storage next to the door. So, with grid paper in hand and some photos that I had squirreled away on Pinterest I went to work measuring, planning and shopping online. Here was my preliminary thoughts.

This step in imperative for me in order to get Mister on board. I don't explain my visions well and he doesn't picture these things in his mind's eye the way I do. Also, with space being a premium I need to make sure everything was going to fit and not look/feel too crowded. 

My number two problem with the bathroom, after getting rid of the radiator, was that the toilet flange sits so far away from the outside wall. ( "Number two" haha! I crack myself up! Yes, that was potty humor. Ha! I did it again!) This is an old house and that waste pipe was retrofitted to a house that probably didn't originally have indoor plumbing. Long story short, we can't move it without a plumber and mucho money! We opted for a toilet made by Kohler. It has an elongated bowl and the tank sits far enough back that it takes up some of that space. This was a whole ugly business trying to find and get during Covid but we did it.

I had Mister cut a hole in the wall that plumbing and electrical chases down into. A small niche was made using left over plywood and some scrap pieces of flooring. A piece of glass from a local company divides the space for apothecary jars housing q-tips and flossers. 

The plastic apothecary jars in the niche were from Amazon.

The vanity was a stresser for me. I went back and forth on a 30" versus 36" length. Since I am working with a small space I want to make sure knees aren't hitting the vanity when someone is using the potty. I also don't want the room to feel stuffed and tight. Mister was the voice of reason here. We got the 36" vanity with the understanding that we could always return it if it was too big but we're going to try to get the most storage possible.  

I found a vanity in stock at my local Home Depot and was able to order the back splash pieces to match online. In this old house nothing is straight, flush, level or at a 90 degree angle so some finagling has to take place to get things to look and fit right. Here we had to cut into the drywall to get the top to sit on the vanity right. "Don't worry," Mister said, "a little caulking and nobody will ever know." I have learned that caulking in an old house is like wearing a little, black dress; it is a master at tricking the eye! Oh, and the size? Perfect! 

And a piece of trim down the side by the wall will get a coat of paint to match the vanity. 

Another Home Depot a few towns away had the faucet I wanted.

I waffled between wall sconces and pendant lights. I opted for pendant lights with mixed metal. I love the black but wanted to introduce a bit of the trendy champagne gold to warm up all the cool tones. The flooring has both those warm and cool tones so I am taking my cue from that. 

Like so many other people,  my Amazon Prime membership really paid off during quarantine time. The vanity came with hardware but I wanted drawer pulls to match the gold in the pendant lights.



Bath mat towels in a dark gray will replace the rug that used to be there. It stays draped over the tub edge instead a rug on the floor. A hand towel bar and toilet paper holder in flat black and a big round mirror finish off the vanity area. I LOVE the mirror. The frame is rubber!


Can you see a peek of the new shower curtain there? I loved the graphic design of this octopus shower curtain. I showed it to Mister and he said, "Yup, that's the one!"  Because the curtain hangs lower and because these floors are not level I had to cut about seven inches off the bottom and re-hem the curtain. Thankfully, it didn't cut into his head. 

I had a couple of the better photos I had taken over the years enlarged at Walgreens photo center and I framed them to hang over the niche and over the toilet. Art doesn't have to be expensive.

And a little zhooshing...


In this room we have put a bigger toilet and a 36" vanity and the room actually feels bigger than it did with the littler pieces we had before in this 7.3 x 6.8 space. What had I been so worried about? That is a lesson for me. The bonus in all this...I got radiant heat and more storage. I'm not one to rush summer along but I know when the days inevitably start turning colder I will have some nice, warm tootsies and a lovely space to relax in. 

Thanks for spending time with me and for following along on another project. 

Vanity-Home Depot
Backsplash-Home Depot back and side
Faucet-Home Depot
Towel bar-Amazon
Toilet paper holder-Amazon
Apothecary jars-Amazon
Shower curtain-Amazon
Drawer Pulls- Amazon
Shower curtain hooks, large picture frame-Walmart
Towels and washcloths-Home Goods
Hand towels- Target,

I will be linking up to these host's parties: 
Grammy's Grid,  Create With Joy, Finding Silver Pennies, Love My Little Cottage, Farmhouse 40, April J Harris, Stone Cottage Adventures, Lou Lou Girls, The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Ducks N A Row, Home Stories A To Z, Jenerally Informed, Across The Blvd, My Wee Abode, Wonder Wednesdays, Apron Strings and Other Things, Imparting Grace, An Artful Mom, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Two Chicks and A Mom, The Pin Junkie, The Cottage Market, Pam's Party and Practical Tips, Katherine's Corner, Shabby Art Boutique, The Zucchini Sisters