Be my valentine



Aren’t these the most adorable handmade valentines you’ve ever seen?

I love how they’re so simple, sweet and made with love. I love the added touch of button trimmings. So fun and clever!

They are the creation of Anne Weil over at flax & twine. She offers up a complete tutorial for these one of a kind creations that anyone is sure to know came straight from the heart.

Simply adorable!

In the beginning



So we bought a house back in November of 2009. It happened to be on a lake in New Jersey, it’s a mother/daughter house. My parents live downstairs.

Since then we’ve begun to do some projects around the house. I thought I’d take a look back to show where we started some 17 months ago in September 2009 during our home inspection.

Upstairs Kitchen

The eat-in kitchen is quite a large space it. I liked that it’s open to Living room and has a great view of the deck.

Upstairs Living room

The living room before felt a bit cramped that giant TV and couch are blocking half of the room.

Upstairs deck

I still can’t believe I get to look at that view everyday. This was one of the deciding factors to buy this house. You can change everything about a house but you can’t change location.

Upstairs Bathroom

This bathroom had some weird gray graffiti wallpaper going on

Downstairs Kitchen

When we bought the house it had a second full kitchen downstairs. Which is especially nice for our mother/daughter living arrangement.

Downstairs main living area

One of the main reasons we bought this house was the way it was set-up. It has 2 distinct floors with 2 kitchen’s which makes it perfect for our mother/daughter living arrangement. This layout meant we could move right in without any major modifications.  Also the house was in good condition overall, we didn’t need to gut the entire interior for us to be able to move in.

The only bad part about the house was the upstairs white carpets were in pretty dingy condition. But lucky for us during the home inspection we noticed glorious original hardwood floors in great condition under those dingy white carpets.

But after weighing all the options we still picked this house because of  Location, Location, Location and we couldn’t be happier!

Product roundup; outdoor rugs



Keeping with the theme of a great deck escape while I’m waiting for spring to sprung I’ve been browsing for outdoor rugs. They are a great way to give your outdoor space the coziness  and comfort of an indoor space, outdoors. I especially like these rugs from one of my favorite catalogs Ballard Designs. Although durable enough to be used outdoor these rugs do not skimp on the style you would expect from an indoor rug.

Le Poeme Indoor/Outdoor Rug is a beautiful and whimsical addition to anyone’s outdoor space. The words are taken from the storyteller Jean de La Fontaine and handhooked adding a touch of fun underfoot.  (on sale $43.00 – $559.00)

“The elegant poem rug design was created with words from famed 17th century French fabulist, Jean de La Fontaine. La Cigale et La Fourmi tells the story of an industrious ant, a carefree cricket and the end of summer. Inspired by the fables of Aesop, La Fontaine wrote volumes of simple poems using animals to teach real-life lessons. Hand hooked of washable, poly-acrylic pile that’s soft underfoot, but durable enough for outdoor living.” —
The Crewel Floral Indoor/Outdoor Rug is another gorgeous one, the hand embroidered look is at once rich and luxurious while the non-slip backing is practical for outdoor applications. ($59.00 – $649.00)

“The unique, high/low floral acanthus design of this floral scatter rug has the look of hand-stitched crewel. Hand cut from anti-microbial acrylic felt, so it feels cushiony underfoot. Back is coated to resist slipping. Colors are applied using a special needle punch dying technique.” —

The Farrah Indoor/Outdoor Rug is an eco-conscious design made from recycled water bottles. No only does the woven design looks beautiful it’s a green alternative. ($59.00 – $149.00)

“This plastic outdoor rug is a beautiful choice for you and a good one for the environment, too. The interlocking chain design is hand woven of material made from recycled water bottles, so it stands up to the elements and helps keep waste out of our landfills. The durable construction makes it ideal for heavy traffic areas indoors or out.” —

Leopard Belgique Indoor/Outdoor Rug has a subtle leopard pattern that will bring an elegant touch of “Jersey” to any outdoor space. ($29.00 – $229.00)

Our all-weather Leopard Outdoor Rug lets you take Ballard indoor style outside. Machine loomed of durable, UV protected 100% polypropylene, so it feels soft to the touch, but defies the elements. Serged on all sides for long, fray-resistant wear. —

Grooms and Grizzlys



My dear sweet wonderful husband emailed me today. Grizzlys were on his mind.  My husband is usually highly entertaining (even on a bad day) and rarely disappoints when he’s trying to charm his way into a new toy. You gotta give the man credit for creativity and effort!

* * * * *

My Dear Sweet (understanding) Bride,

Did you know, that this baby (the Yamaha Grizzly 450) can plow a driveway, AND tow over 1000lbs?  Sounds like a great overall utility vehicle to add to the fleet if you ask me, for moving boulders, firewood, gravel, dirt, around the yard?  YES, it does all those things, and much MUCH more…  Plus it gets about 25mpg, so over 100miles per tank of gas.  It comes in the awesome blue color you see below, or green, or camo…  It’s a 4 stroke, so clean and environmentally friendly, it has more ground clearance than my pickup, and has racks for extra carrying capability.  Electronic power steering, on command TRUE FULL LOCKING 4wd (meaning, ALL the wheels have power and spin when you get stuck), “Ultramatic” variable auto transmission, has a “rear wet brake” that’s encased in the fully enclosed rear differential, completely impenetrable to the elements, so it will never get wet and stop working, and zero lifetime maintenance on that system, fully independent suspension.  12v acc plug for a GPS, heated gloves, or whatever the trail throws at you.  Fully assembled in the USA!  Its fully capable of getting us to the gas station in a state of emergency to get milk, and can easily outrun hungry hordes of flesh eating zombies…  It’s really a no brainer, I think we need one on the ranch, to help with all the work we’re always doing!

2011 Yamaha Grizzly 450 Auto. 4×4

Also, I’m always going to be like this, so you may as well get used to it….

Love Always,

Your Eccentric Groom,

Great deck escape, outdoor sectional plans



There’s a certain time every year that I start to get a bit fidgety. It comes the same time every year after the bustle of the holidays have sufficiently left my memory and the novelty of snow and ice has worn thin.

It’s usually about this time I start to plan some projects and count the weeks till the first sign of Spring in the Northeast. This year I want to start on our deck. It’s the spot we spend the most time during the Spring and Summer . It was probably THE deciding factor on the purchase of this house. I love sitting there in the morning to look out on our view below.

The previous owners were kind enough to leave us some furniture on our deck, but it’s not quite what I envision for ultimate sit, relax, drink a cup of coffee,  read a magazine type lounging space. In my mind I’ve always envisioned something along the lines of the Chesapeake Sectional below from Pottery Barn.

But at around $2,000 for the sectional I can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money.  That’s where Ana White comes in. She’s inspired me with her easy to use Simple Modern Outdoor Sectional Plans.  I plan to tweak the plans a bit to some up with a look similar to the Chesapeake Sectional from Pottery Barn by adding back slats.

I’ve done some initial searching around on how to make outdoor cushions once the sectional is complete. While the weather’s still crappy and I can sit inside and make them.  I have to say I was surprised on the price of outdoor foam  It looks to be around $140 for a 4″ x 49″ x 50″ piece of outdoor foam. But I think it’ll pay in the long run when I’m not schlepping the cushions in every night to keep them from getting wet. I still need to do some looking/measuring/figuring before I decide on a final course of action and price out my alternatives.

I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

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