Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Gossip Girl Fashion Show

Since I ended my last post talking about one of my fav shows Gossip Girl, I may as well continue the moment.  If I knew how to sew I would totally whip up my own clothes.  I have, in the past, sketched clothes I wish I had, but can never find in stores.  Hey! maybe I should learn to sew. 
Anyway, in honor of the fashion show on GG last night, let me just run down my top most memorable fashion moments that got talked about the next day at work:)  I guess, for me, Serena must have the best fashion since Blair did not make the cut.
The Pinochio hat with the little feather.  I...must....have.....one...... (even though it was last fall)
I know, it reminds me of the 80's too.  Which is why it's so cool!  Sorry for the small pics.
If I were going to a ball...and had Serena's boobs:)  I think this is a Jenny Packham dress but I'm not 100% on that.

Just for be-bopping around Paris in what's called the "cage dress".  Loving the hat too.
The backwards suit.  And not the weird Celine Dion kind from the late 90's!
Serena's high waisted coral pants.  The whole ensemble was cool, but I don't know that I would jump up and buy those pants, I just loved them in the moment.

Serena's gray lace dress. Amazing.
Other memorable pieces (for me) usually include Serena's mom Lily's jewelry.  She wears these massive necklaces that I love, but I don't think many people can pull off.
I love this.
And this.  But let me just add 1 more thing that I love on the show, it's weird but I have always loved Lily's pale pink Gucci glasses.  If I wore glasses I would rock these too.

Ok! thank you, enough about Gossip Girl.  I'm waiting for the furniture store to get my new chair in.  I will unvail it as soon as I get it.  Still waiting!

xoxo - Jess

Monday, October 15, 2012


My mom got this pumpkin for me and when I finally got outside to see it, I'm totally in love with the colors!  It's so beautiful in variations of blue and green.  I've really never seen anything like it. 
How weird!  But I'm so into these colors for fall ever since I saw a still from one of my fav shows Gossip Girl the other day.  That pumpkin made me think of this really cool outfit.

I've always been into hats too, I just never seem to be going anywhere where I need one.  I'm going to change that this season though.  Hats off to ya!
xoxo - Jess

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cancer Got Me Down, But Not Out.

I know, I know, I have been away for quite a while!  I was so dedicated to this blog and writing about design, one of the loves of my life, but some things have changed.  My last post on here was April 20th about all the wonderful mushrooms we collected for spring.  Exactly one week after that post I went to the doctor to check out this dumb pulled hamstring in my right thigh.  I had been letting my toddler stand on my foot while I walked him up the stairs (he thinks that is soooo fun!) only it wasn't a pulled hamstring.  Turns out I had a malignant tumor the size of a softball tucked into my right hamstring muscle.  It's very surreal to be diagnosed with cancer.  Stage IV liposarcoma with metasasis to the bone to be specific.  Pretty serious stuff and I'm sorry, but I just couldn't bring myself to even look at this blog, let alone write on it.  I see a lot of people blog their journey and share the experience, but let me tell you right off...that ain't me.  I tend to handle things inwardly, quietly.  I didn't want this to turn into a blog about cancer.  It's a part of my life now so, of course, I will talk about it sometimes, but it's not who I am.  I've been mourning myself for months and...I just want to talk about design again!  I don't want cancer to cast a shadow over what I love.  It has reared its ugly head and done enough.  I have learned a thing or two over these past few months though that I really feel I should share.  Then I'll get back to design!  These are five things I found out along the way...
1.  You learn to cry.  And in front of anyone anywhere.
2.  You start to see the humanity in people.  People will literally come out of the woodwork to help and it's really an amazing thing to know you have that much support.
3.  You learn your body/life no longer belongs to you and it probably never did.  This is beyond my control.
4.You learn how much you love yourself, your family, and your life.  No one wants to lose that.
5.  You learn you have a kinship with others who suffer.  No matter what age.  I may have not been able to see those people before, but now we share something scary.  Everyone has their brave face on, we can see it on each other.

Well, I just wanted to give you an update as to where I've been.  Now...on to design stuff very soon!  I'm over this cancer.

xoxo - Jess

Friday, April 20, 2012

Another Reason I Love My Home...Mushrooms in the Spring!

Hello!  I just wanted to share something real quick with you.  Spring in Iowa is so lush and plentiful and the morel mushrooms that pop up at this time are soooooo delicious and spectacular, like an explosion of pure bliss in your mouth!  Too much? - well get a load of this bounty...

Our plan is to eat them until we can't stand them any more:)  Good thing they only come once a year.

Sorry for the crumby picture, but I had to share.  We usually find a handful, a bagful if we're lucky.  Score!  Last night's menu...morels, breaded and sauteed.  Do you like them as much as we do?  How do you cook yours?  Have a great weekend!
-Jess xo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And Speaking of Walls, What to do with a Stone Wall

Hello Everyone!  My last post boasted about my 2 out of 4 lovely walls that are now gracing our new shed, but if I back up the photo from the shed a bit, you'll see the old stone foundation of the original barn that was lost in the storm.  I absolutely LOVE this stone wall, but I'm not so sure it should remain in the same place. Should we leave the wall where it's lies and fix it up as an homage to the original?, or should we try and move it and give it a new purpose in life?  I will never get rid of the stones because I see them as a permanent fixture to the property no matter where they are located, but they do look a bit messy in this state.  Just not sure which steps to take.

I've been searching pics of really great things to do with dry stacked stone walls and it's inspiring to think of the possibilities for these stones. I don't know if I like that question mark end to this wall. I think the stone mason may be trapped inside the circle, eeek!
shwa  landscape
landscape design by portland landscape architect Samuel H. Williamson Associates

Maybe an aged look?  This reminds me of a wall on the grounds of an English Castle!

Or we could fill the foundation in with dirt and plant beautiful ornamental grasses and other "maintenance free" plants? I love ornamental grass.

I also thought we could put a little picket fence on top of the wall and a gate like this maybe?
It could be a good garden area.

Here's a couple of pics showing how we could move and re-purpose the stone.
Maybe to surround a pergola like this closer to the house?
Or use the stones for a bench or barbeque or something? I don't know what do you think?!
Source: dswa.ca via Ed on Pinterest
Source: houzz.com via Kelli on Pinterest

I think I am kind of liking the idea of filling in the space with dirt and use the stray stones to make a lovely set of steps like this. If you have any other ideas, please tell me!

Have a great week!!
-Jess xo

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yes...We Have Walls!

Hello Everyone!  Let me refresh your memory a bit.  We had lost a good portion of our old barn in a major storm a few years ago.  Such a shame, but it was deteriorating and the storm just pushed it over the edge.  We tore the rest down and saved every piece we could find until we could eventually built a shed, a BIG shed, out of the salvage.  Flash forward to today and we finally have a roof and 2 walls!  Why all of the excitement over something that's not even finished you ask? 
It's called progress.  And that goes a long way at our house because time is short and so is patience sometimes, but there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel.  Let's check out this progress then.  Remember this picture from a previous post?

Cut to, right this second...

We had to lay out all of the barn board to see what was usable and what goes in the burn pile.  Some were split beyond repair.  Unfortunately there was not enough old wood to re-use that would have made suitable roof rafters, but everything that could be salvaged, will definitely be used.
Pretty maids all in a row.

If you have a keen eye, you will notice that the tractor never moves...Ever!  I'm not complaining though because all of this work has amounted to this... Yes, my fine peeps, we have walls!

2 walls out of 4!  Done.  Now that's progress.  Since the hubby is out there working on wall 3, maybe I should help the cause and get out there and pitch in huh?!
Happy Easter!

-Jess xo

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A New Ceiling...What To Do?

Hello Everyone!
I've been crazy busy, then sick, then tired, and now I think I'm back on track here.  Finally!  I hate been sick it's such a drag, but laying around certainly gave me enough time to dwell on our soon-to-be gutted upstairs remodel project. Contractor comes in a couple weeks. Remember the mess I have to clean out before we gut it?... 

Well, I was thinking...when we finally finish the space, what can I do to make this space unique and have that bungalow charm that I love so much?  In a space like this that has practically zero vertical wall space, the focus will be on ceilings and floors.  I love the character of the old hardwood floors so those will stay and get refinished.  But the ceiling...what to do, what to do?

Maybe something like this?  On a smaller scale of course
Madaket Modern  bedroom
 Or something like this?  No beams.

Or maybe something using our old barn beams still stacked outside?


Maybe that's a little much:/  Or maybe just stick with plain old drywall. 
Keep it clean and simple and focus on really cool decor like this photo below...

Source: flickr.com via Jessica on Pinterest

What do you guys think? Beam it, wood slat it, or drywall it?? Let me know if you have any other ideas. Have a great weekend! What's left of it.

-Jess xo

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Square Footage...How Small Can You Go?

Hello Everyone!
Another busy week and I'm lagging on the blog-front, but I'm back!  Does anyone watch "House Hunters" on HGTV?? 


I do love that show!  I find it funny and slightly disturbing any time a couple goes through a
Gi-Normous house and they are sooooooo disappointed because, how on Earth will their kids ever be able to share one bathroom sink?!  Or, "We have 2 children, 5 bedrooms will not be enough!".  Is it just me that finds this strange?  Maybe because I have never lived in a gi-normous house and do not know what it's like to be able to spread those wings!  When you look around at what other people live in, especially on these shows like...Selling LA and House Hunters it's hard not to compare your own home, look around your living room while you watch, and think...how'd I end up in this dump!.Ha.  Then you watch Selling New York and see bidding wars over million dollar apartments the size of a tissue box and think...Girl I got it gooooood:)  Don't get me wrong there are times when I think we should find a bigger house, maybe we will some day, but I keep looking and coming up empty on style and character when it comes to getting more square footage.  So, here we stay!  It takes real saavy and organization to live well and raise a family in a small home and I'm proud to say I am one of those people.  Cheers to the little houses of the world! 
Here are a few of my favorite petite styles.  Timeless, Classic, Beautiful....
The Craftsman Bungalow.  My very favorite!  The dark/white contrast lets the details shine.

The Spanish style Bungalow.  If I ever moved to Cali, I would be crazy to not live in one...so many are serious architectural gems!  By the way, I had a thought, if you did live in a California style climate (which unfortunately I do NOT), if you need more square footage, take it outside!  Outdoor rooms could be a whole other post that I'll touch on at some point, but this one is Spanish style so I'll just pop it in:)

Spanish Bungalow mediterranean landscape
mediterranean landscape design by san luis obispo landscape architect Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

This Victorian Bungalow is fabulous!  Even more fabulous because it's from my beautiful home state of Iowa.  Let me just say, I would not have energy to own this house.  Can you see yourself out there on a ladder year after year working on that paint job?

Victorian cottage house, Decorah, Iowa

Let's face it, owning a small home may be less maintenance, but when you have an old architecturally detailed house like the ones above, it's not going to be a walk in the park. The exterior maintenance can be all consuming sometimes. They are not for everyone, I just wanted to remind myself that it's not always about square footage.  I know the tniy house revolution is here, however, square footage CAN make some difference...
I mean, could you live in this???


NEVER!  So cute though:)
Have a great weekend!!

-Jess xo

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A New Roof and Dormers Coming Soon...See What You Think!

Hey everyone!  I wanted to share what I have been up to this week.  You've heard me yapping about this " Major Project II" that is supposedly coming soon.  Well...it's happening so let me tell you more about it.  We live in a 1 1/2 story bungalow.  Small, yes, so we want to maximize space for our growing family rather than leave the house/location we love.  So, like I always say, when you can't go out, Go Up!  So we are gutting and finishing the upstairs.  Yay!  I can't wait.  I love a finished project, even though while construction is happening I moan about how it's the bain of my existence, but I'm hoping the end result is worth it.  Hope hope.  Let me show you what it looks like right now, mess and all, check it out!  Everything is being moved to the basement.  It's half empty...

The half wall surrounds the steps going down to the main level.  Also, behind that beautiful yellow smoke alarm in the upper left corner...is a beautiful brick chimney that will soon be exposed;)
The previous owner's had split this space in two for a bedroom for each of their boys, but it has seen better days.  The particle board panel ceiling is falling in, and when that is re-done with drywall, I envision doing away with the flat part of the ceiling and giving a hair more headroom with a peak instead.  Here's a view looking back towards the steps.....Don't judge me it's a mess!

Beautiful floors huh?!  I want to refinish those hopefully.  The biggest part of the project is the new dormers that will be added to each side of the roof.  I hope it will help enlarge the look of the space by adding a little more square footage and A LOT more light!!  Here's our house sans dormers as it is right now...

In this pic below I did a little cut and pastey job on a photo to get the idea of what dormers could look like.  My main concern is that the new dormers do NOT take away from the original Arts and Crafts bungalow style.  If it doesn't look somewhat original to the house, it's going to feel off.  Boy I hope this works!  What do you think of adding dormers???  These are definitely NOT to scale, but this pic is just to give you an idea...

In looking at pics of other half story re-designs, I found this kids area that is really cool below!!  I really dream of an all white master suite, kissed by the warmth of finished wood floors.  Ha ha.  But we are seriously tossing around the idea of a great big space for Evan too.  He'd love it!!

Katie eclectic kids
Maybe with some great storage solutions for toys??
Master Bedroom traditional bedroom
traditional bedroom design by seattle kitchen and bath Kitchen & Bath Design Center

Maybe my living room won't look like this quite as often?? :)  Probably wishful thinking huh?!

Well, that's what is happening around here! Just a lot of box moving, toy shifting, soon-to-be wall gutting weekends until the contractor starts in April. Let me know what you think... and I'll keep you posted! I'm going outside to sort barnboard for the "still-going" Major Project I - The new shed.  Ugh!
Have a great weekend!
-Jess xo

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I love about my home

Last weekend we were blanketed with a lovely coat of fresh snow.  Though I hate winter most of the time, when a nice heavy snow (I'm not talking a blizzard here) covers my world with a new freshness, I think it makes everything look clean and beautiful.  Kind of like when you step back and look at your new freshly painted white wall.  You rediscover it's potential; like looking at a clean slate.  After a chilly, sloppy winter, I was happy for this fresh clean look.  Two days later it's 60 something degrees and we are left with yet another sloppy mess.  Don't get me wrong, I love the warmer temps.  When the mercury rises, my mood goes up right along with.  However, last weekend gave me a chance to fall in love with the look of my house again and look forward to a spring and summer full of project potential.  That fresh coat of white reminded me all of the things I love about this little bungalow and I thought I'd share those things with you...
I love our creek, so still and peaceful.

I love the trails.  Noah has spent so much time blazing these beautiful trails through the woods.  I look forward to our summer walks.

I love the house!  Our little country bungalow in the woods.  So safe and hidden away.  Though let me just say that when it becomes a muddy mess and I move closer to the house and see all of the work that needs done, I cringe, but at a distance...all covered in white...how charming!:)

With that muddy mess comes the promise of spring and summer.  I'm ready!!
I love that we live one mile from the boat ramp.  Can't wait to go rollin' on the river!

Hidden away, but with wide open spaces to play...

And relax... that's me fishing of the old pier 1 mile away.

Think spring everyone!  It's right around the corner, new house projects await!
Have a great weekend:)

-Jess xo