above

Coffee Chat Episode 22 | back to school, hurricane help, freebies for you

Happy Friday!

Sometimes on fridays I like to do a thing we call COFFEE CHAT. If we were hanging out in real life sipping coffee, perhaps we would chat about these things. I basically jot down a few topics, turn on the camera and just start talking. It’s not scripted or polished (and sometimes the camera is not perfectly focused – oops!), but I hope it feels a tiny bit like we’re just visiting like old friends.

So grab a cup of coffee, press play and let’s chat!

MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO:

HURRICANE HARVEY – how to help:

 

PAPER WORKS September collection is perhaps my favorite of all time.

You can join the monthly membership and receive all of the files to download and print on your own, or we send out professionally printed sets on the 16th of each month so you can get a jump on the month ahead.

Grab the SEPTEMBER FREEBIES – a calendar, note page, those cute lunch box notes and a wallpaper for your phone and desktop screens (a pop up should appear where you can enter your email address to receive the free items).

 

Have you tried VOXER or MARCO POLO? Both are fun (and easy) alternatives to texting or facetime.

 

Come hang out with me on Instagram @JONESDESIGNCOMPANY

Earlier this week we talked about what to do with all the PEARS we have. There were so many great recipe suggestions. If you need ideas, head over to this post and read through the comments.

Also on instagram was my public declaration that I WANT TO BE AN EARRING-WEARER. I currently own three pairs: diamond studs, these drop earrings and the square ones I’m wearing in the video. Any suggestions?

 

Wishing you a great Labor Day weekend!

 

continue reading | 25 comments

Books I read this summer, books I quit this summer and what I’m reading now

Well, summer has juuuust about come to an end and I’m feeling quite bitter sweet about it.

Because we were traveling around the country all last summer, we missed out on the very best weather our beautiful Pacific Northwest has to offer. This year, we mainly stuck around home, with two trips over to Eastern Washington where it is hotter, dryer and the lake is much more swimable than the chilly Puget Sound. It has been an amazingly warm and sunny summer (which we all so needed after that dreadfully wet and gray winter and spring!) and it feels like we’re all holding on to it as much as possible.

Staying around home, taking some time off work and the easy ages of our kids has allowed me to get a few books finished this summer.

Since recommendations from a friend is my favorite way to choose a book, I thought we could spend a few minutes chatting about the books I finished, the ones I quit and what I’m reading now.

BOOKS I READ THIS SUMMER

SELF TO LOSE SELF TO FIND

This is the book I can’t stop talking about. The Enneagram is a personality typing system that is both completely fascinating to me (my degree is in psychology, so I guess that makes sense) and also has been hugely eye opening and healing. This book uses the Enneagram as the basis, but approaches it through scripture. It’s so good!

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN

Susan Meissner’s stories are my favorite types: historical fiction with multiple characters whose stories intersect in unexpected ways. This book is about the Queen Mary and *warning* it talks about ghosts. It almost stopped me from reading because I’m not super into ghosts, but I kept going and I really liked the story. Not my very favorite of hers, but still worth reading (fyi, my favorite of hers is this one).

TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT

Did you read Where’d You Go Bernadette? If not, you should. If so and you liked it, you’ll like this one too. Quirky, quick to read, endearing character, and it’s set in Seattle, which makes it fun for this local girl.

LOOKING FOR LOVELY

Annie Downs is adorable and I want to be her friend. I listen to her podcast and kept hearing pieces of the message of this book so I decided to go against my normal non-christian-living book preferences and give it a try. I actually listened to the audio version (Annie reads it so it feels like your listening to a fun/wise/kind friend sharing and encouraging you).

Here’s what Amazon says about this one: No matter who you are and what path God has you on, we all need to remember the lovely, fight to finish, and find beautiful in our every day!

DELICIOUS

READ THIS ONE! I loved it. I quit a WWII novel (see below) because I needed something a bit lighter and happier – but still engaging and well-written – and this one was perfect. A young woman goes to work at a food magazine, only to have it shut down shortly after starting. But in that time, she uncovers hidden letters written during the war between a young girl in Ohio and legendary chef James Beard. The letters, the characters, the way food is part of it all makes it such a delightful read.

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS

I can’t remember how I heard about this one, and even though it is on the heavy side, it was a good read. I started listening to the audio version and it was read in a super depressing voice, so I switched to reading it on my own and liked that much better. There is a movie out, which I haven’t seen yet, but I think I will. A husband and wife find a baby and decide to keep it, but have to deal with the moral ramifications, which are many.

 

BOOKS I QUIT THIS SUMMER

I’m not typically a book-quitter, but I am allowing myself the freedom to stop reading a book if it just isn’t holding my attention. How far in should I give it? I make myself get to at least 25%. These three I quit for various reasons … but chances are I’ll pick them up again when I’m more in the mood for the stories.

THE ROYAL NANNY

Based on a true story about the nanny who cared for the brothers who were both the King of England (Queen Elizabeth’s father is one of them), I wanted to like this one because I’m generally interested in history, England and the Royal family, but I grew bored pretty quickly. Perhaps I’ll try again.

VICTORIA

See? History, England, royal family. I made it about 60% through but this one felt a bit dull as well. I might try to get through it, or I might just watch the pbs series of the same name and call it good.

LILAC GIRLS

A friend recommended this WWII novel and I jumped because I do like WWII novels and I actually really do like this book. It is just heavy and I was wanting something a little lighter for the summer (I picked up Delicious – see above – and it was just what I was looking for. I’ll come back to finish Lilac Girls this fall).

 

WHAT I’M READING NOW

THE ROAD BACK TO YOU

Just keeping with the Enneagram learning. This book is also written from a Christian perspective and is surprisingly witty and very enjoyable to read. If you are brand new to the Enneagram, this one is a great choice.

Here’s what Amazon says: Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile forge a unique approach―a practical, comprehensive way of accessing Enneagram wisdom and exploring its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of ourselves, compassion for others, and love for God. 

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS

I’ll confess: I almost quit this one. I was at 23% and my sister told me to at least give it to 25%, so I did. And then I couldn’t stop. And now all I want to do is read and see what happens to the characters that I now really like and care about.

I was initially drawn to this book because its subjects are not my typical go-to (I’m trying to expand my reading preferences from the above mentioned history/England/WWII mix). This story is about an immigrant man and his family from west Africa who works for an executive for Lehman Brothers before its collapse in 2008. It is a story of immigration, family, facades, wealth, secrets and dreams.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

While on vacation, we spent one dinner talking around the table about the best books we’ve ever read. My brother-in-law named this book as his favorite. We put on the audio version for our family to listen to on the long drive home but stopped a few chapters in after not finding it quite as child-appropriate as we prefer. I think I’ll keep going, though, because it is a clever and compelling story.


Have you read anything great this summer? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

continue reading | 54 comments

Updates and decorating (finally!) in the family room + kitchen

Our house is not done. We have so much more to do with it, so many ideas and plans and sometimes it can feel a little frustrating to have the vision, but have to wait to bring it all to reality.

I do my very best to look around and see all the things we have done, to remember where we were just 10 months earlier, to be grateful for this big, wonderful house with its big, beautiful yard. But, ugh, sometimes I can feel a little impatient and a touch envious of all the pretty, finished homes out there (like my sister’s, my friend’s, anything by Studio McGee).

Our kitchen and family room are two rooms that we can’t wait to update. They are the heart of our home, the spaces we spend the most time in and hang out when our extended family and friends are over. We have great ideas for how to transform these rooms … we’re just not exactly sure when we will execute.

So we’ve been doing the small projects that feel like progress – painting the walls and trim, replacing the bulky kitchen cabinets with open shelves, wallpapering the guest bathroom, changing out light fixtures. All of these minor changes have done a lot to update the rooms.

What hasn’t really happened is decorating.

We’ve been in the house for nearly a year and I have hung approximately three pictures on the wall (and they’re all up on the third floor where I hardly ever visit).

A few days ago, I wrangled my friend into helping me move some furniture around in the family room just to try to make it look better in the meantime. I didn’t want to buy anything new because ultimately we’ll add built-ins and move the tv and figure out the rug situation once hardwood floors are in. But I just felt so bummed out looking at a bare room with zero decoration. It was time to make some changes, make it feel a little more lived-in and inviting and add some personality.

We shopped the house, moved things around, stole lamps and even hang a few pictures.

It’s not the finished, perfect, ideal space we hope to get to at some point, but it’s so much better. And, actually, it feels so much more homey to us all.

This old wood church pew is my favorite borrowed piece from Ryan’s mom. It hasn’t had an official home in this new house until we tried it (and love it!) pulled up to the kitchen table.

(Let’s not talk about the wrinkles in the rug. I hosed it off to clean it, laid it over our outdoor furniture to dry and it hasn’t been the same since).

chairs | leather pillow | pendant light

bar cart | lamp

(art print from the September Paper Works collection)

sectional | ottomans | floor lamp | x-pillow | pom pillow | leather pillow  | stripe basket

chair | pillow

bookshelf | basket (on shelf)

Moral of the story: do what you can do today, with what you have to make your home feel happier to you :)

continue reading | 17 comments

From 90’s to Now: Guest Bathroom Makeover Before + After

Before and afters are the very best, aren’t they?!

Our little guest bathroom has undergone a great transformation that I can’t wait to show you.

Here’s a sneak peek of the after (because I just can’t handle leading the post with one of the before pictures!).

Isn’t it pretty?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Our house was built in the early 90’s and we think underwent a few updates throughout the years – tile floors in the kitchen and mud room, a full master bathroom remodel in the early 2000’s, possibly a few light fixtures over the years and we’re guessing the bead board and vanity in the small main floor guest bathroom we not original when the house was built. Even with those updates over the last 25 years, most of the house still feels a bit dated. We’ve spent the past year slowly making changes to bring a more modern, current feel to our home. The little bathroom was next on the list.

This little windowless bathroom sits right off the kitchen and is the only bathroom on the main floor.

Here’s a random photo to help you get a feel for where it is located (that doorway on the left):

The location of the bathroom is not our very favorite as it lacks privacy and feels sort of weird having it open right into the kitchen. One of the first things we did when we moved in was add an automatic closing hinge to the door so that while sitting at the kitchen table, you don’t have to peer right into the bathroom (then we added a magnetic door stop so that you can make the door stay open if needed). Eventually, we’d like to move the door around the corner in the entry hallway to offer a bit more privacy and close off the bathroom from the kitchen.

Here’s another shot to show you how the bathroom fits in the floor plan. To the right is the front door and entry hall, to the left is the family room and behind us is the kitchen table and kitchen.

So, when we first saw the house, this is what the bathroom looked like:

And when we moved in, it looked like this:

The first order of business was painting over those red walls.

Red was a very popular color – especially for dining rooms – in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, but it is perhaps my least tolerable color and felt particularly painful to my neutral-loving-eyes in this tiny bathroom. One afternoon after the boys’ football game, I pulled out a leftover can of paint from our old house and painted right over that red.

After painting the walls white and the door and trim charcoal, we replaced the chunky black framed mirror with a thin round brass mirror and installed modern brass towel and toilet paper holders (no longer available, but this and this are very similar).

Those little updates did a lot to just neutralize the space and make it a little more updated.

The thing about this little bathroom, though, is that it is right in the middle of the house where we see it and use it often and yet it had no unique style. It was also feeling super dark and heavy with that black vanity.

So this summer, I’ve been making a few additional easy changes to inject a bit of style and special-ness to the otherwise blah bathroom.

The first step was painting that vanity. I ordered a sample pot of paint during a Sherwin Williams paint sale in one of my favorite gray-blues called Rushing River (it’s the same color as Audrey’s bed, seen here). I think the sample was $4.50-ish. I lightly sanded the vanity and then just brushed on three coats of satin paint and let it dry for a few days before adding knobs I had leftover from our old house.

Lightening up the vanity did a lot to tone down the size and starkness of the previously black vanity.

Next, I installed a striking (and slightly dizzying!) removable wallpaper called Vintage Poppy in a deep navy color. In case you missed it, here is the post all about the installation process.

With the brass mirror back up on the wall and a few accessories added for color and detail, here is that little bathroom all updated for today.

The best part is that now when the door is left open, the bathroom is actually charming to look at!

These little changes have made a big impact in turning our 90’s bathroom into a modern and updated space.

SOURCES

mirror | wallpaper | vanity paint | towel bar (similar) | hand towel | striped tray | white vase (similar) | brass vase (vintage)

continue reading | 27 comments

How to Hang Removable Wallpaper (with a couple of issues resolved)

The one main floor bathroom in our house was in need of a makeover. It’s just a little box of a room with no windows and is visible off the kitchen.

When we moved in, the walls were painted very bright red, which made my neutral-loving-eyes ache. I painted the top part of the walls white a few days after we moved in last fall (see that here) and the bathroom has sat untouched since then.

This summer, it was time to continue with the makeover. I’ll share the full reveal with before and after shots later this week, but for now here’s a sneak peek:

Today, I wanted to talk about that amazing wallpaper.

It’s removable! I installed it myself! In just a few hours!

I knew wallpapering this little window-less room would be a bold statement but it felt like a good way to add interest and something special to an otherwise uninteresting, yet regularly used room. For the past nine-ish months, I’ve been looking at patterns and ordering samples (here’s one I liked) until I finally ordered a sample of this Vintage Poppy print I first spotted on Spoonflower.

As with every other space in our home, this makeover is a Phase One makeover. Are you getting sick of me saying this?! Eventually we’d like to move the door (so it’s not right off the kitchen), change out the vanity for something smaller and replace the beadboard with tile. But until then, I was ready to make the room a little more in line with our style.

Wallpapering with removable wallpaper was a great option – it is less expensive than regular, I didn’t have to hire a professional installer and, if we so choose, we could reuse the wallpaper elsewhere.

Once I decided that this was the wallpaper we wanted to use, I decided to contact the designer to see if she wanted to trade her wallpaper for a blog post. As it turns out, the wallpaper designer not only sells her designs on Spoonflower, but she actually has her own wallpaper shop, Art of Wallpaper.

Amy was happy to with me (yay!) and shared that her peel and stick wallpaper is printed on a much better grade paper. She sent me a sample from her shop and it was indeed a better quality. It is thick and has a canvas-y texture, so it more resembles a nice wallpaper.

I was wanting her Vintage Poppy pattern in deep navy color and she was kind to work with me on getting the color just right. Once I approved the sample, she printed up my order and sent it my way.

The paper comes in 24″ strips in whatever length needed. For our bathroom, it took 10 4′ strips.

I have installed removable wallpaper once before and loved the results (here is that post) so I was excited to try this easy wallpapering again.

The process is quite simple:

1 | PREPARE WALLS

It is recommended to wipe walls with 70% alcohol, but since our walls were painted not too long ago, I just wiped down with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or dirt. It is suggested to you let paint cure for 30 days before installing wallpaper over to reduce the risk of paint peeling when removed.

2 | GO FROM LEFT TO RIGHT

This is where I messed up last time. I didn’t realize that the pattern is repeatable from left to right and I had a tough time getting my pattern to match up in the last house. This time, I paid attention to the instructions and installed correctly :)

To install, simply peel the backing paper from the top and line up along the top of the wall. The first sheet is obviously the easiest, but also most important. Make sure it is straight! I pulled out a level to make sure it was going on straight. If your walls are not square (very likely), adjust the paper to keep it level.

3 | MOVE DOWN THE WALL

Once the paper is lined up on the top of the wall, continue to pull the backing paper down and press lightly with you hand to hold the paper in place.

4 | PRESS TO SMOOTH AND ADHERE

Use a flat squeegee (or in my case, a pastry cutter?) to smooth out and firmly adhere the wallpaper. It is removable, which makes it super easy to lift and adjust if needed.

5 | LINE UP THE PATTERN

The second piece overlaps the first by about 1/2 inch, so lining up is fairly easy. It just takes a little bit of adjusting and readjusting to get it just right.

Then just keep going!

6 | TRIM AROUND OUTLETS

Use a utility or exacto knife to trim the paper around the outlets. Just don’t cut too far outside to make sure the outlet plates cover up the seams.

7 | TRIM THE EDGES

Once all the paper is up, go around the top and bottom edge with a utility knife to trim the ends. I just did it by eye, but you could also use a metal straightedge to help guide.

For the most part, installing was easy and straightforward, but I did run into a couple of problems that might be helpful to share to help you avoid them:

PROBLEM: WHEN CORNERS ARE NOT SQUARE

This piece wrapped around the corner and it turns out, the corner was not perfectly square. As you can see, the paper would not smooth flat. I tried and tried to adjust to get the paper to smooth out, but couldn’t get it to work. Ryan had the brilliant idea to use my utility knife in the corner to carefully slice the paper from the point it would not lay flat corner and then overlap the paper. Because the pattern is so busy, you really can’t see the overlap. Problem solved!

PROBLEM: WHEN THE PAPER STICKS TO ITSELF

UGH! I had this strip – my very last one! – up on the wall, but just didn’t love how the pattern lined up. I pulled it off thinking I could just reapply and somehow the paper folded itself together and stuck. I panicked for a second because I really didn’t want to waste an entire piece AND I was almost done! I brought the piece over to the kitchen table and although I was worried I would stretch out the paper and wreck it, I firmly pulled the paper away from itself. Slowly, but surely, it worked. Thankfully, the paper went back up on the wall and there is no evidence of it’s trauma. I completely attribute this to the quality of this paper.

After just an hour or two, the wallpaper was up!

It’s crazy and striking and just what I was hoping for.

I can’t wait to show you how great the before and after shots are!

If you’d like to try out removable wallpaper, I completely recommend it. For rentals, temporary spots or for long-term, the peel and stick variety makes wallpapering accessible.

Amy from Art of Wallpaper is offering us 15% off with code JONES15 through August.

She offers peel and stick and traditional wallpaper in hundreds of styles. Here are a few of my faves:

Have you tried removable wallpaper? Any other questions? I’m happy to answer!

continue reading | 20 comments