Sunday, January 31, 2010

Some Random Thoughts On A Roof

There are certain aspects of my house that I really love.  As you can see from this picture, it is my slate roof.  Crazy I know, bare with me on this post...I love the color, the texture and how "forever" it is.  I think it really makes our house special and unique.  I was reading recently about how important it is in choosing your building and decorating materials for your home-the materials that you choose have a powerful effect of the soulfulness of a home. (Never considered this concept, but realize now how important it is to nurture your soul and spirit in your home by what you put in it.)  
A slate roof like this one with it's subtle grays and blues evoke the image of a soulful shelter.  Slate expresses stability and durability.  "It is the symbol of the eternal and the indestructible.  The timeless character of stone reflects the process that created it.  Granite, marble, and other stones were the first materials of a newly formed planet hundreds of millions of years ago.  The soul can feel connected to the substances and processes that create the world." (A Home For The Soul, by Anthony Lawlor)  When I read some of this book, I realized why I love the slate so much.  I also read that there are slate roofs and floors in India that have been around for over 1,000 years!  Now, this roof was installed when the house was built in the 1940s and I was told would be very expensive to install now.  I was also told that we will never have to worry about it much other than minor repairs or replace a cracked tile.  I don't know, it just makes me feel good to look at it!!!!!!!

Just a bit of random thoughts on a roof...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Want To Be Here Right Now

Signing off for the weekend with thoughts of warmer places.  We had such a lovely little backyard when we lived in Piedmont, CA.  It was packed with apple trees, lavender, rosemary, thyme, climbing roses and a water fountain.  It was beautiful year round.  I would walk right out my back door and "pluck" a Meyer Lemon right off the tree and use it to cook with.  It was heavenly!  It is minus-something-degrees right now and would love the ability to just transport or beam myself right there!  This winter will just go on and on...I am  starting to whine.  Good news is, when spring finally arrives, it will be wonderful here.  I just have to hang on.  I am looking around my office as I sit here and I have to get organized...
The Camellia bush would be in full bloom in the winter...Ahh!  Have a great weekend!

*Images property of Living It At Home*

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blog Favorite...Good Bones Great Pieces

I just finished reading and enjoying my new March issue of Traditional Home and came across this feature on "How To Decorate A Pint-Sized, Post-College Apartment On A Half-Pint Budget?  A Smart Girl Asks Her Mother".  Even though I am not right out of college,  or living in a teeny-tiny city apartment, I just fell in love with this mother/daughter team approach and philosophy for decorating.  First of all, they are adorable together (love the setee they are sitting on, and small tables).  You can really see that they have a great relationship.  This is just a side note-but my daughter, who is now 11, will one day be out of college and living on her own, I would love to be there for her and enjoy having that grown up relationship.  That being said, I am really enjoying every age and I am trying to live in the moment and give lots of hugs...time is a flyin'!  OK, back to this story and their blog....

Lauren McGrath (daughter) and her mother Suzanne Grua McGrath, who is an interior designer, and even worked with Martha Stewart in TV developments, worked creatively in decorating this small apartment. They used pieces that were in the family or flea market finds.  I love their philosophy.  This is a quote form Lauren Mcgrath, "We are not interested in chasing the latest trend.   We are all about investing wisely in classic pieces that I can, potentially, own forever."  She has taken family furnishings and just repainted them or repurposed them in her design.  They also used new classic pieces with simple lines that will last forver.

I love how they reinvent pieces.  This favorite of Lauren's is an old desk turned vanity that her mom found thrown out on a Brooklyn Street 20 years ago.  "Paired with an unusual vintage lucite stool, it's rejuvenated," says Suzanne.  "It's probably not worth anything, but it has good bones."  I love that idea.  Pick furniture that will last and a piece that can be moved around from room to room or house to house.  It is an easy and simple way of approaching decorating your home.  I went onto their adorable, informative, and creative blog called and found great ideas and information.  On their mother/daughter blog, they also share some fashion advice along with their practical decorating knowledge.  They are very fashionable and have a great sense of style.  I am definitely going to keep my eye out for furniture that has good bones and is timeless, well, changing out fabric or repainting every 5 or so years!

Just wanted to share...enjoy.

*images from Traditional Home Magazine and Good Bones Great Pieces blog*

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Couple Of Anthro Finds...on sale

I gave my daughter the camera (she is 11yrs) to take some photo's of me wearing my Anthropologie sale finds.  I think she did an amazing job...she is hired!  Adorable hat for $19.95.  I love the embellishments, so cute!  I am not showing any photo's of me, too chicken, hee-hee, just featuring the clothes, well and some parts of me!  Ugh, I may regret that later!

Found this jacket on sale also.  Originally $198 reduced to $49.99 (plus no tax here in MA).  What a great deal!  Looks like a lot of work went into it.  I just love the detailing on this jacket.  I wanted to show the green ruffles along the bottom, especially in the back.  It has a little flounce to it.  Almost victorian.  Since I love period piece movies and the costumes,  I am all for it!  Notice the material on the cuff.  That pattern runs the whole inside, it is so soft and comfortable! 

I thought this would be fun to wear with jeans and boots.  It was my daughters idea for me to stand next to this tree for effect.  I asked her just to focus on the boots.  I love how this shot came out!  She has a real artistic eye.  I found them on sale at Bloomingdale's last year, they are Stuart Weitzman.  Very comfy and flat, which I like.  All my shoes and boots with the "killer" heels are just gathering dust in my closet.  The days for those are over!  I am all about comfort and easibility (is that a word?).  Another project I have to do is bring clothing and shoes that I no longer wear to a consignment shop.

This is a display I found at the Anthropologie in NYC.  It is so creative using spoons and I think those are chopsticks in their covers for the tail.

There are so many great warm stylish sweaters on sale right now.  Would be great to put away for next year.  Or wear them immediately, since it is still so cold!  Have fun shopping!  I know I am definitely returning for more!  However, I really need to get back to work...organizing and all my house projects!  Stay focused!  


*All images property of Living It At Home*

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Productive Weekend To You All!

Weekend is here already!  I am still playing around with my camera.  I am trying to find different subject matter to take pictures of other than birds...still my favorite though and they are always there at the feeder!  There are so many "house" projects I have to do and cannot seem to get started!  I need some more furniture in my living room and lamps, bathrooms (2.5 baths) all have to be done over, I need all new appliances, and would love to rip the whole kitchen out and remodel, my daughter needs a headboard-shades-and rug,  and my office needs to be organized with a bigger desk!  These are just some of the projects.  I can't seem to stick to one.  Jumping around to much!  On top of that, I need to get my whole house organized...get rid of things that I don't use anymore.  It seems that is what everyone is after in this new year... clean and this photo I took above.  
Nature has a way of showing us the beauty of simplicity.
Happy Productive Weekend To You All!

*Photo property of Living It At Home*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Birds! Not The Movie...

Oh my gosh!!!!!! Isn't this Black Capped Chickadee the cutest little thing ever?  (Can't believe I captured this shot!) Proud to say that this is our state bird here in Massachusetts.  I actually learned that little tid bit when my daughter was studying our state in 4th grade!  You know that show "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" (never watched it, but you get the idea).  Well, she is in 6th grade now and definitely knows more facts than me!  Never really payed any attention to the birds around here...  I took these with my "semi-pro" Nikon D300 super duper camera with telephoto lens that is about a mile long!  I was far from these little ones, so I could sneak up on them!  So excited at the capabilities of this camera.  Completely clueless though.  Love photography and hope to churn out "fabulous" pictures with it!  For just getting to know it...  I love how these pictures came out!
The elusive Cardinal in Red and the Tufted Titmouse, so cute!
One day, when I was bored and just needed to "buy" something.  You know those days...couldn't quite find what I was looking for.  So, I was browsing in Russell's garden center out in Sudbury and saw all these bird feeders.  I was instantly inspired to have one!  Sales girl was really informative and I decided to get the "Squirrel Buster Plus".  Cheesy name but does what it says.  With all the trees in our yard we have lots and lots of squirrels.  They try to get the seed but fail!  I highly recommend it.  Not the most attractive looking feeder but simple enough.  Beautiful Blue Jay below.   We have had four show up at once, they pretty much take over the feeder.  They are so big!  Never realized.  I love their reminds me of camping at Taconic State Park in Upstate New York.  So happy they decide to visit everyday!
Cuteness abounds...I can't stand it!
Caught this peek-a-boo moment.  My camera even captured the glint in his eye!

Not sure what kind of bird this one is, above.
I think this is a wood pecker.  Beautiful markings on this bird.  I have become an avid bird watcher now.  I am trying to learn more about them and their habits.  In the cold winters, especially here in New England, they really need the help of bird feeders.  I actually feel better now that I am helping them through this frigid weather.  Now, I am worrying about where they sleep at night!  Ugh!  Just what I need!  They do need some shelter I learned and now I am going to have to figure that out!  There are so many beautiful things in nature that we forget about with all our day to day lists and busyness.  I find myself, especially in the morning, running to my back kitchen door to see who is eating at the feeder.  This Dove below is too big for eating at the feeder but visits anyway and is able to eat off the ground.  I hope you enjoyed my photo's of these pretty ones.  Let me know what your state bird is or what kinds of birds you have enjoyed seeing lately.  I would love to know...Thanks!

*All photo's property of Living It At Home*

Monday, January 18, 2010

Photo Wall Crazy

Amazing display of photo's from Coastal Living.  A photo wall has been on my list for years.  I am getting really inspired to start compiling my pictures to do something like this.  I really like how all the frames are different yet have a commonality in color. This bedroom looks so fantastic in all its black and white glory.  I would love for my home to have this kind of feel...crisp and clean.  I just don't think this color scheme is realistic for me.  Ceiling height in this room also helps in the display. We live in a 40's colonial and ceilings are lower than average.

This is great!  It is photo wall paper!!!!  This is definitely for me!  Thinking of arranging and hanging all the frames can be overwhelming.  So, this is definitely for the "photo wall challenged".

Cool huh?  You can just stick your photo's inside the frame or leave as is.  No holes.  I have old plaster walls that are impossible to hang things on or make a mistake for that matter...which I often do!

The photo wall paper is by designer Lisa Bengtsson.  Check out, Bunny Maxwell an online store that carries her line, otherwise hard to find. (info from

More inspiration!

Image from Domino.  Wow, what a staircase display!

Great idea to go frameless...

For help on how to create an attractive photo wall in your home, check it out here.
I am going to start gathering my photo's.  Now, if I can just get this done... Have fun!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Have A Nice Weekend

Maggie, our dog, peeking out the back door as I putter around in the freezing snow.  She will not come out because it is too cold.  She is smart.  I think she would be better off in a climate like Florida or California.  She is part Havanese and that breed originated in Cuba (i think).  Glad the weekend is finally here.  Just picked up a new book to read from B&N, "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo".  Heard it was really good.  That is on my list of things to do this weekend!  That and work on some blog posts!  I also have been playing around with my blog and probably will continue that this weekend.  I changed the picture in my header to suit this time of year....snow and freezing!  It is a picture of my backyard during a snow storm.  I need it to be spring...seriously!  Sorry if it gives you the chills!  It is a nice picture though of the back of our house.  Looks pretty impressive from that view!  Anyway, hope you enjoy any changes I will be making (and probably many mistakes).

Have a restful weekend.  Stay warm!

*Photo taken by Living It At Home*

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Boring Stuff You Just Gotta Do

Let's face it, decorating and making your home beautiful is the best part of owning a house.  Keeping up with maintenance is the worst part for me.  I either forget or just put it off.  The problem is, it catches up with you sooner or later and the problems only get worse with time.  With this start of a new year in 2010, I am going to try and find some pleasure in doing these things because it will mean that my house is cared for up and down and inside and out.  I also will be providing a safe and healthy environment for my family.  I am going to print out this comprehensive list and keep it up on my wall.  It is just a start!  You can do the same if you would like!  How do you keep your home healthy and cared for?  I would love some tips and inspiration!

• Fire Extinguisher: Check that it's fully charged; recharge or replace if needed.
• Sink/Tub Stoppers and Drain Holes: Clean out debris.
• Garbage Disposal: Flush with hot water and baking soda.
• Water Softener: Check water softener salt drum and replenish salt if necessary.
• Forced-Air Heating System: Change filters once a month if user's manual recommends fiberglass filters.
• Wall Furnace: Clean grills.
• Range Hood: Clean grease filter.
• Faucet: Clean aerator.
• Tub Drain Assembly: Clean out debris; inspect rubber seal and replace if needed.
• Floor and Outdoor Drain Grates: Clean out debris.
• Smoke Detector: Test batteries and replace if needed.
• Toilet: Check for leaks and water run-on.
• Interior Caulking: Inspect caulking around tubs, showers, and sinks; replace any if it is deteriorating.
• Forced-Air Heating System: Change semi-annually if user's manual recommends high efficiency pleated or HEPA-style filters.
• Garbage Disposal: Tighten drain connections and fasteners.
• Clothes Washer: Clean water inlet filters; check hoses and replace them if they are leaking.
• Clothes Dryer: Vacuum lint from ducts and surrounding areas.
• Wiring: Check for frayed cords and wires; repair or replace them as needed.
• Range Hood: Wash fan blades and housing.
• Roof: Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.
• Gutters and Downspouts: Clean them out or install no-clean version. Inspect and repair weak areas; check for proper drainage and make repairs if needed.
• Siding: Inspect and clean siding and repair if needed.
• Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace any that is deteriorating.
• Windowsills, Doorsills, Thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint; replace if needed.
• Window and Door Screens: Clean screening and repair or replace if needed; tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint if needed; replace broken, worn, or missing hardware; tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
• Roof: Inspect roof surface, flashing, eaves, and soffits; repair if needed.
• Gutters and Downspouts: Clean out. Inspect and repair weak points; check for proper slope.
• Chimney or Stovepipe: Clean flue (more frequently if needed); repair any cracks in flue or any loose or crumbling mortar.
• Siding: Inspect and clean siding and repair if needed.
• Exterior Caulking: Inspect caulking and replace any that is deteriorating.
• Storm Windows and Doors: Replace any cracked or broken glass; tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint if needed. Replace damaged hardware; tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
• Window and Door Weather Stripping: Inspect and repair or replace if it is deteriorating or if it does not seal.
• Thermostat: Clean heat sensor, contact points, and contacts; check accuracy and replace thermostat if it is not functioning properly.
• Outdoor Faucets: If you live in an area with freezing winters, shut off valves to outdoor faucets. Open spigots and drain, store hoses.
• Septic Tank: Have a professional check the tank (watch for backup throughout the year). In many areas, it is recommended that the tank be pumped every year.
• Main Cleanout Drain: Have a "rooter" professional clean out the main line, particularly if there are mature trees in your yard whose roots could have cracked the pipe in their search for moisture.
• Water Heater: Drain water until it is clear of sediment; test temperature pressure relief valve; clean burner and ports (gas heater).
• HVAC System: Have a professional tune up your heat/air conditioning system.
From Sunset Books, JoAnne Liebeler's Do It Herself  (House photo from Flicker...isn't this house from England charming?)