My new inspiration & Pinterest



I’ve been looking around for some new inspiration to paint. I tend to gravitate towards bright bold floral patterns for painting inspiration . They’re definitely my sweet spot and usually what inspires me to pick up a paintbrush.

While looking for some inspiration I was browsing pinterest which I discovered recently. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check it out and have a couple spare hours to waste I highly recommend you go on over and take a look, it’s a virtual pinboard, which is awesome all by itself, it’s visually beautiful and the result is professionally looking mood boards that go together in a snap, but what really makes it special is that you is “following” and browsing other collections. It seriously fantastic if you’re looking to get inspired.

Pinterest calls itself “a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by people with great taste” Right now it’s in the BETA stages and by invitation only but if you go to apartmenttherapy’s review and look in the comments section there’s an awesome link that will get you started right away.

So, back to my inspiration for today, I came across these pillows from Crate and Barrel‘s Summerlin line on pinterst.

The colors palette in this is pillow are bright and fun for summer. Right now I’m dreaming up a plan to transfer some of this inspiration into some DIY friendly artwork. Luckily the people at PLAID took half the work out of it and came up with a color palette using “Apple Barrel acrylic colors.

(clockwise from upper left): Apricot, Kiwi, Plum Kiss, Country Gray, Black”.

Next stop, off to the store to buy some paint in the color palette above and make some cool summer art. Of course once I’m finished I’ll post the complete tutorial on the completed project. So check back soon!



Listing the night away




When it comes to projects around the house it’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects (like I do) and veer off the originally intended course. Lists are a must in this house to keep us moving in the right direction, not to mention the untold satisfaction of crossing an item off the list.  A list allows us to contemplate our options and plan for the future. We can jot down those big-ticket changes we’ll have to save for and the little projects that will only cost a few dollars but just take some time to complete. We find that we get so much more accomplished with a list staring at you. So this weekend I walked around the house, pen and paper in hand, took and good look around and started listing like crazy including simple updates we’re sure about, ideas we haven’t thought all the way through yet , some stuff that’s been on our list for a while, and some that might change as we plan for the addition.  Because I’m such a die-hard list junky I thought I’d share what’s on our evolving to-do list including some things we just finished.

  • Prime and paint the oak kitchen cabinets
  • Add decorative feet to the base of the kitchen cabinets
  • Add crown molding to the kitchen cabinets
  • Kitchen island
  • New counter tops
  • Replace the Kitchen back-splash
  • New more energy efficient appliances
  • Change out the flooring (maybe someday)
Living room
  • New sectional sofa (we recently ordered one from Potterybarn)
  • Console table for behind the sofa. (Possibly build one if we can’t find one)
  • Install new baseboard molding
  • Install crown molding
  • Paint door molding (it’s already been changed out just need the time to paint it)
  • New coffee table (possibly a round one)
  • Sew some new pillow covers
  • Reupholster old chairs that are in the attic
  • Mount TV on the wall
  • New TV stand
  • New artwork
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Paint
  • Add molding around mirror
  • New faucet
  • New hardware
  • Linen cabinet to fit in the awkward empty space between the wall and the cabinet
  • Crown molding
  • Figure out a color palette
  • Build an upholstered headboard with some awesome nail-head trim
  • Build/buy platform storage bed either with plans from ana-white or buy an ikea frame
  • Paint
  • Feature wall, possibly with some cool graphic element
  • New nightstands/paint the old ones
  • Refinish dresser
  • Crown molding
  • Replace existing drafty window with something a bit higher for privacy
  • Sew new curtains
  • New bedding
  • New pillows
  • Update lighting
  • Update and Organize closet
  • New artwork

So basically it we just like to write everything down, we generally start in a room and pick those projects that don’t seem too daunting and just go for it. Of course we jump around when we feel like it , add and subtract as we go along and save for the bigger projects that will take more time. We write down tons of things including the DIY art work I want to make but don’t quite know what it is yet and eventually in a few years we’ll look back and see everything we crossed off the list.

Check out our floor plan post so you can see which rooms we’re talking about

To-do list stationary found here on ETSY

365 days ago…



…our baby boy was born. 365 days ago at 3:53 am.

We knew you were going to change our lives, but oh boy, we didn’t even have a clue!

366 days ago you were 3 days past your due date and oh boy, we thought the day would never come when you would arrive.

In 365 days we’ve rocked you, walked you, snuggled you, fed you, changed you and loved you. You have, sat up, crawled, walked, said your first words and got your first tooth. What a year it’s been baby boy! Mommy and Daddy love you more than you’ll know, until the day your little one comes into the world.

Pardon us while we go snuggle our baby boy and remember what life was like just 365 days ago today.

Happy 1st Birthday Nikolas!

30 pounds of Crap in a 5lb sack!



As long as I’ve been with my dear sweet bride Maria, I’ve been going “down the shore” (Jersey speak for the beach) with her family every year to Ocean City, NJ.  And as long as I can remember, and no matter what vehicle I’ve ever owned. It has always been packed to the roof with food, and umbrellas, and coolers, and CRAP!  And while it makes our week long family vacation MUCH more comfortable having everything we own, it’s always difficult to get everything in the car to fit, both coming and going.  Luckily for my own sanity, I AM the master car packer!  I’ve been road tripping it with my family my entire life, so when it comes to packing 30lbs of crap in a 5lbs sack, I’m your guy!  I’ve never had a problem until this last year…

I am the proud owner of a Toyota Tacoma, It’s a pickup truck.  This is the truck we take on vacation, and two years ago I tried ordering a Tonneau cover for the bed of the truck to keep our stuff dry and out of sight.  I didn’t get it in time, but I installed it when we got home, and realized almost instantly it was well worth the money.  It keeps my stuff dry, and INSIDE the truck blasting down the Garden State Parkway.  Shown below, Extang’s BlackMax Tonneau cover.   If you’re a truck guy and want a cheap bed cover, this is the one for you.  It was $220, it has snaps which is a pain to close up when its cold, so I seal it up in the fall on a nice warm day and hopefully don’t have to open it till spring.  The only other problem has been my own fault; I left the back part of it open on route 80 with part of a handtruck popping out in the middle of the winter, and it torn apart at the seams a little.  Again, my fault, and voids warranty.  Now its not as weather proof as it once was, but still does its job for the most part.


Since our son Nikolas joined us last year, we had to forget about bringing the 6 bikes and everyone beach gear and everything in order to make room for pack & plays, and 2 strollers, and diaper bags, and bouncy seats and various other baby paraphernalia.  Everything barely fit, except my wife’s suitcase and our big rollie cooler.  I fixed that whole problem by borrowing my brother’s wire rack cargo carrier.  They run a couple hundred dollars, but they are fantastic.  They connect right into the tow hitch on your truck/SUV and can carry 200-400lbs depending on the model, and your vehicle specs.  I’ve seen people carry anything from a deer to a cooler, or luggage on the back of these things.  My brother uses it to carry one of his son’s 50cc dirt bikes out to our parent’s house in PA.

This all got me thinking last year when I was jamming our belongings under the bed cover on the truck, wishing and praying that everything my wife wants me to pack sitting in a tall pile on the driveway, will somehow fit.  “I NEED A BIGGER TRUCK NEXT YEAR BABE!”  We pulled into Ocean City, and it started pouring, CATS AND DOGS!  Everything under the tonneau cover stayed nice and dry, and everything on the hitch cargo carrier was soaked, but luckily it was only the coolers and CRAP, HER SUITCASE!

Since then I’ve been looking into my options, and short of buying an new truck, this is what’s available to extend your cargo carrying capacity, to keep everything dry and safe, instead of wet, and bouncing down the highway…

I don’t remember the name of the one my brother has, but it looks exactly like this one.


If you want one that will last, you’re gonna want to spend some money.  I’ve seen these flimsy things at Wal-Mart and Kmart, for like $60, and the thought of putting any kinda of load on it attached to a vehicle moving at highway speeds, scares the crap outta me!  Spend a couple hundred, and you’ll have one that will outlast your vehicle, and the one after that!  They make bags for these too to keep things dry.  The biggest problem is once you have it loaded, it’s impossible to get your back door or tailgate open!  You have to take everything back off, that’s where this next guy comes in.

This is a Stowaway2.

It’s like my brother’s carrier, but its weather proof, has 16 cubic feet of storage, and swings away from the back of the truck for easy access to the bed even when loaded with 200lbs of gear.  It’s a bit pricey at $600.  But its basically bulletproof and awesome.  They have a bunch of different models, this is one of their top of the line deals, but they start at a couple hundred.  The nice part about this is it gives you a ton of storage, and you don’t have to climb up on top of the vehicle to load it.  And this one swings away giving you access to the tailgate.

This is Cross-country model “Roof bag”  can be used without roof racks, its 100% waterproof, windproof, rain, and snow proof, tornado proof, zombie proof.  It’s like $100, and its 15ft of cargo space, can fit our suitcases, or all the smaller bags up on the roof, can be used with my truck or your car…  This is probably the best way to go, give us enough room to not squeeze everything in bed.  

this one is the Cross-country model.


A hard cargo carrier would be great because again, waterproof, impact resistant, weatherproof, and aerodynamic, but you need a roof rack, which my truck doesn’t have, and carrier alone would be $350-400.  Then I need to install a roof rack for another $100-150.  Doesn’t make sense unless I had an SUV right now.  But they are the ultimate in road tripping cargo space…

So for this year, I think I’ll want to go with the Soft roof carrier.  I need the room, with the bigger family, and I think I may be able to ditch one of the 2 strollers we bring when my wife isn’t looking, and cut down a little on my fishing stuff to make everything fit better…

We’ve been “Knocked Off”!



We’ve had our Ballard Design Inspired-Berry Blossom Print tutorial featured over on Knock Off Decor today! Go check it out. Knock Off Decor features all sorts of inspiring ideas based upon your favorite interior design companies like Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs and restoration hardware to name a few. It’s a great place to get inspired. Some of our favorites are:

Pottery Barn Kids — Bird Art Knockoff

Ballard Designs — Ticket Plaque Knockoff

Horchow Home — Mirrored Writing desk tutorial

…and lots more. Go check them out!


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