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January 2011

{ pause }

I think it is time for me to take a little break here at the fence.  My real life world, it seems, needs my more immediate attention these days and I'd rather push the Pause button than publish hastily written posts with so-so photos every once in a while. 


I'll being working on the kitchen as well as some other little projects around the house. I'm not really feeling the sewing thing right now, which is very odd for me. I do have a granny square afghan in the works, though, so my hands have something creative to work on at night. Am I ever so thankful to have picked up crochet last fall!

I'm not sure if this means a week or a month of two months or whatever. I will be back, because I never can seem to stay away.  I just want to take the pressure off myself for now.  Until then...


{ staying in } snow day

According to our local weather guru, Kansas City has been in the bullseye of the last four winter weather systems and we are gearing up for a fifth.

snow day

As of today we have hit 17 inches for the season, which is a lot for us.  It is also strange because my sister, just 2.5 hours south of me, has only had four.   At least it's snow and not ice.  Ice scares the cookies out of me. 

At any rate, this has been the daily grind around these parts lately.  Sofa cushion forts and all day jammies.  Warm fires, hot drinks and random stuff everywhere. 

Today the kiddos are in school again, so I have been using some time to freshen things up.  The cabin fever hits mama, too; but it is usually of the variety that makes me want to undo everything and start all over again.  At this point, I want to haul all of it to goodwill and start fresh.  Of course, that isn't going to happen, but my cupboards sure are getting a good cleaning!

Stay warm, my friends.  xoxo

{ taking on } the kitchen

the ball.  the ball is rolling.

I haven't been feeling my sewing groove lately.

As it so happens in the winter, when the children are bouncing off the furniture like pinballs and I haven't left my house in 4 days for the snow and ice and cold, my obsession turns to projects. Big projects. Like Let's Redo the Kitchen.

I am bound to be a terrible general contractor. The thing is, I really do see the good in people. I want to like people. The painter guy who came by today, for instance, was really very nice. Polite. A family guy.  Wife is a photographer and stay at home mom to two toddlers. He liked my sketches and we chatted for a while. I was impressed by his attention to detail -- even on his quote. If it were just up to me and money were no object, I would say this is a done deal.  (Actually, if money were no object, I'd be ripping out these cabinets for sure.)

Of course, I have to be realistic. Tomorrow means another round of calls and appointments. Let's be honest though. I'm pulling for this guy.

The funny thing is, once I have the contractors lined up for the kitchen, I am totally taking on the upstairs bathroom. It needs a makeover too. But that is one I can handle on my own. The contractors shouldn't have all the fun.

So this is your fair warning, I suppose. Prepare yourself for lots of home improvement posts. Or just check back in May if you're not into that sort of thing. We should surely be done by then. :)


ps: Yes, that is a heather smith jones original sun print + watercolor hanging on the left. I have had it for a couple years now in my kitchen and it makes me smile. If you haven't picked up her new book yet and are the kind who gets inspired to try new things, I highly recommend doing so. It's beautiful and  instructive and truly does make you want to run to the art store for brand new supplies.  heather, I haven't done your book justice here, but I love it. I really really do.  I'm so proud to know you.  xo

{ party } like you're miss america

So my friends and I had our annual Miss America Party on Saturday.

There was big hair...

miss america party 2011

and big heels...

miss america party 2011

And big puffy sleeves...

miss america party 2011

And big plates of food...

<a href="" title="miss america party 2011 by pinkpicketfence, on Flickr"><img src="" width="475" height="358" alt="miss america party 2011" /></a>

miss america party 2011

And lots of bling...

miss america party 2011

And a fitting queen.  Miss Nebraska, you were our fave anyway.  Good luck, you smart little cute young thing. 

miss america party 2011

(I don't have a proper photo of me wearing my dress yet -- just a crappy camera phone shot that I took myself.  I will say that if it is possible to rock a mauve polyester tie-strap evening gown that comes with its own ruffle bib, I mostly certainly came close.  It was $4.99 of mauve-alicious  glory.  What it really needed was a short blond Carol Brady or Julie McCoy wig, but I didn't think about that until too late.)

It was still quite smashing.


miss chris

{ dreaming } of a new kitchen

Ever since we moved into this place almost 6 years ago, I have had my eye on our kitchen for a face lift. For one thing, the existing cabinets are very short.  Too short for our 10 foot ceilings.  We have almost  2' of clearance above them.

Also, the finish is All. Wrong.  They are run-of-the-mill oak something or other and were stained a dark cherry.  And then given a super high gloss -- which is reflective and silly.  And, just in case they weren't already shiny enough, they added chrome bathroom handle pulls.

I know they are bathroom handle pulls because we also have them in our bathrooms.  Sweet.

These were previous owner choices.  Obviously.

However,I don't have the budget to go ripping them all out.  And, really?  They are good cabinets.  What they need is a little updating.

So this is what we currently have going on over the stove (minus the shine -- believe me, I'm doing your eyes a favor):

existing cabinets over stove

I like the trend of uneven uppers that I have seen in home tours and in magazines.  We certainly have the room to do it.  I also wanted to add a bit more storage -- who doesn't?  So I am proposing some 12 inch upper cabinets with glass door fronts and a vertical faux chimney with 'mantle' to replace the range hood (which is now a delightful white aluminum.)

proposed changes

Then paint the whole thing and glaze it.  (not me. I'm researching this bit right now.)

In my mind, it looks like this:

what it might look like in my head with very few structural changes.

But I am probably terribly off course.   There are other small changes around the kitchen I'd like to make before we have it painted, too...

I know it's not for everyone, and I certainly appreciate more modern choices, but they just won't work here.  I have to be realistic and work with what we've got.  It's a traditional home and we won't be here forever.  But if we ever want to sell, she'll need an update.  Why not now? 

Thoughts?  Any of you done this before?  I'm terrified and thrilled at the same time.  


ps: In case you haven't already heard, Joanne, from The Simple Wife, suffered a stroke yesterday morning and is fighting for her life.  If you know her, you might want to send up some light and love and prayers.  I know her husband and two daughters would appreciate it.  You can also follow her status on Twitter, thanks to her husband: @tobenheim  xo

{ slowing down } sit and enjoy

tea time

Oh, how this year has come at me with gusto.

2010 turned out to be one of adventure and friendships.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled a bit more... made real life connections with friends I have known online for years. Contributed to a book.  Submitted to a magazine.  Learned to crochet!  (Shoot, it was even the year I decided to give hot oatmeal another try and liked it for the first time ever. It is really delicious. I am dealing with my texture issues, apparently.)  I made more of an effort to handwrite notes and actually send them.  It was a good year.  A very, very good year.

The first week of 2011 has been chock full of people and places and food and making and presents and friends and celebrations, and it has all been wonderful. However, I'll admit am hoping for a big snow day tomorrow so I have a perfect excuse to just nix the ortho, dance class and bookclub commitments and spend the day in before I wear myself out already.  :)

I recently pulled my fancy china teacups out from safe-keeping and have decided to use them everyday.  My Grammy started a small collection for me as birthday presents for a few years and I have seven or so.  They are light and delicate and make the most delicious sound when the cup rests back in the safety of the little dish.  It seems to help me sit down and savor things a bit more.  So many times I brew really good coffee or tea and don't even remember drinking the mug or travel cup. 

To everyone's surprise I am putting them in the top rack of my dishwasher.  The gold paint may lift and they may chip, but the wear and tear won't bother me.  They do no good sitting up in a shelf where I can't see them and appreciate their beauty and usefulness. I'm pretty sure Grammy would approve. 

To sit and enjoy a cup.  There is something so simple and gratifying about that.

To 2011, friends.  xo

{ travel } New Orleans recap, part one

new orleans new year
Our spur of the moment New Orleans trip was wonderful.  I am very fortunate that hubs likes to do all of our travel planning.  I usually just have to show up with the right clothes, a camera and an appetite.  In his alternate parallel universe, he is a travel agent.  A really good one.

new orleans new year

The choice of city was rather logical: warmer than Kansas City, direct flight, fairly inexpensive seats, no car rental necessary, good food, live music, friends nearby.  Hello, New Orleans. 

new orleans new year

Having not been since the ripe old age of 6, and only hearing friends' tales of college trips and mardi gras,  I really wasn't sure what to expect.  I am not a crowd person.  And, somewhere along the way, I have become considered the safe, conservative, prudish mama of my set.  I'm still not sure where that came from.  At any rate, you can imagine what I imagined.  Ahem.

But I really did love it.

decked out and gorgeous, NOLA shop

It was beautiful.  I Love how the South dresses for the holidays.


new orleans new year

Dramatic.  The ironwork and architecture kept stopping me.  Crazy, crazy cool.  Oh, and I have never seen so many chandeliers.  It was sparkle heaven.

2 of 4 hotel monteleone lobby chandeliers

Moody. I loved the raw character and muted tone of the still weathered homes in the city.

you can't fake this

Delicious.  Um.  These fit over my wrist.  I have photos of that, too.

new orleans 2010

the color the color the color.

Colorful.  Oh, glory, the color.

new orleans new year

Entertaining.  I should have had more photos of the music. 

new orleans new year

Surprising.  Warm.  Damp.  The rooftop of this building cracks me up.

yes, that is mossy stuff, growing from the housetop.  Three stories up.

Fun.  The St Charles Trolley ride was the perfect morning trip through gorgeous old neighborhoods.

St Charles Street Trolley

From the trolley

Delicious.  It is more delicious than I can even handle.  I wanted to eat all the time.  My appetite is only now returning.  I am not kidding.

Mr B's cream puff dessert.  Oy.Luxe.  They do not do understated.

new orleans new year

Rich with Music.

new orleans 2010and History.

jackson square

And there is a lot of walking. The French Quarter is small, yes.  But you can walk for miles in an afternoon, tripping between antique shops and restaurants and landmarks.  I should have brought better walking shoes.  ( I did luck out on day 2 and bought some aerosole boots on Magazine Street at a   Buffalo Exchange.  It was a little pricey for secondhand, but I figure the rent is pretty steep next to Urban Outfitters and all.  Also picked up a sweet pair of red suede Red Cross shoes for $13!  Adorable.)

antiques shops galore on Royal
Perhaps the best part was that we were lucky to meet up with some friends.  Hubs has a work buddy down there and he arranged to meet us with his wife for a ridiculously fun and scrumptious dinner at K Paul's on the 30th. (The blackened drum is insane.  Also, the fried green tomatoes.  Yum.) 

new orleans 2010

Later, the four of us joined Beki and her husband for Dr John live at Tipatina's.  (WOW.)   I felt so lucky enough to see her again so soon after our Seattle trip, and I have plans to visit again this spring....

the fountain at pat-o's

Oh, and the peoplewatching?  Stellar. 

(End of part one. I swear, part 2 isn't as long. Will recommence with the crafting before long. If I don't write this down now, I never will!)



{ popping in } Happy New Year!

It seems like it has been forever since I stopped in here to share anything. We have been busy enjoying time with family and making the most of this holiday season. I hope you have been, too.

Hubs and I took a little last minute trip to New Orleans for New Years Eve. I had never been to the Big Easy as an adult, nor gone to a NYE party where I could get all gussied up.

Monteleone Lobby sparkles<>

We stayed in the French Quarter and enjoyed people watching and eating and music and shopping and all of the Crazy that makes it so fun. I now have an iPhone full of fun photos to share and lots of new favorite foods. (And a few days off from eating, I think. Oh my butter!)

Happy new year, friends!

I have lots of exciting ideas for 2011, too. Here's to a great new year! xoxo, misschris