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House #2 Revamp: Hallway April 14, 2012

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 5:33 am
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The hallway was painted a really dark wine color which was…unfortunate. This is a composite picture which is why it looks a bit wonky.

It was painted-on wallpaper so we had to strip it all off back to the bare walls to start with.

Painted it a nice cheery yellow color. Hung some chandeliers which were gold with orange bead accents. Sanded and stained the floors, and warmed it up with a soft rug.


House #2 Revamp: Bathroom 2

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 5:17 am
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So this is a basic bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower stall. Wasn’t as bad as avocado hell but pink isn’t really my color either. Shower stall/curtain was behind the door (pink of course). Wall tiles had a floral motif, but it wasn’t much to talk about. Flooring? Why, carpet, of course! yuk

So, we gutted it. Put in tongue and groove paneling and Victorian ceramic units and taps.  Slate floors. Tiled the shower stall with a shimmery aqua mosaic tile and put in a glass shower door.  Put in a ladder radiator for warmth and towel warming purposes. Painted the walls white for a crisp, clean look in such a small space.


House #2 Revamp: Master Bedroom

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 4:34 am
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So let’s just say that this room had a lot of…potential. It was pink, and a weird textured pattern at that. The floors were, well, gross. They had started to sand them and just stopped.  There was a nice, but HUGE bed in the middle of all this.

Where to start? Well, we put down a soft, modern shag carpet. We painted the walls in what I like to call “Latte” and “Chocolate Pudding” colors. Kept the furniture to a minimum, but we got an Extra Large King Bed which was fun!


Food Stylin’

Filed under: Kid Stuff — bellsandthistle @ 3:58 am
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I’ve been lucky enough to take part in some Food & Drink Photo Shoots over the course of my career (just to be clear; it’s not over yet!). Glamorous, it’s not. Think of sitting in a room, pouring and re-pouring a drink until the ice glistens “just right” and you have the preferred amount of carbonation.

Or worse, filming video outside in LA’s hot weather until just the right amount of milk swirls and adds “movement” to the shot.

Actually, I really like these kinds of shoots. They just take some TIIMMME, that’s all. It’s always more fun when you can work with great people – on that shoot it was with a great food photographer and fab food stylist (she does these amazing cupcakes!)

I also once held a steamer above a bowl of clam pasta for hours, because we needed a picture that looked like the dish was “straight from the kitchen”. Ouch.

Who knew that there was even a “For Dummies” book available? Maybe I should read it to learn easier ways to take pics of steam!

Anyhoo, I had a what I refer to as a “Working Girl” moment…there are lots of posts about Sensory Bags on Pinterest + some cool styling pics for kids foods = I went to work on some sensory fun for my little one, Baby P.*

I  chopped up some cherries, sweet potato and banana,

while she went to work on re-organizing the cupboard.

I normally don’t let Baby P have sweets but I was more interested in a safe (and edible) sensory experience. I don’t get all these suggestions of having kids play with shaving cream, when the first thing Baby P does is put it in her mouth. So I laid them on a bed of whipped cream.

Please note I AM NOT a food stylist or professional photographer. If I get it in focus that’s a bonus.

Looks like she had a fun time eating the food and then playing with the cream, no?  And the best part – remove the highchair tray and voila! Easy cleanup.

I also got excited and put together a Kids Party Tray for our Superbowl Party…here was the before shot.  Never got an ‘after’ cuz i was too busy watching the ads!

*If you have not seen Working Girl a gazillion times by now, do it!  BEST.MOVIE.EVER. Ok, that and Princess Bride. 


Remembering the ’80s

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 3:03 am
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My Retro Phone post reminded me of an article I read about “Things your kids will never know”.

Here’s a link to one from last year,  Things Babies Born in 2011 will never know

My favorite:

Movie rental stores: You actually got in your car and drove someplace just to rent a movie?

Wowsers…Yes, I did. In fact, that was the big thing to do on the Saturday morning when I was younger. There really wasn’t much else going on in Border Town, TX.*  And when they installed a computer inventory system…oh man! I could whiz around that green screen like nobody’s business.
*Well, that – and Miami Vice on a Friday. Long live Sonny Crockett!


House #2 Revamp: Bathroom 1 April 12, 2012

And on to the bathroom…by FAR the worst room of the lot.


YUK!!! Avocado green everywhere.  We all know avocado is good for you, but the old adage of “everything within reason” is a keeper.  Dirty CARPET in the bathroom! Dark room and grungy tiling.  Talk about Fugly!  I took one look – the room looked big – shut the door and ran away.


So, we got to work immediately. I wanted this GONE, cuz I wasn’t about to use it!  It’s a very old house so there aren’t any windows in this room, and therefore I wanted to make it as light & bright as possible.  Green isn’t a bad color for the bathroom, so we used a less avocado-y tone.  We put in a rolltop bath and shower, and bought an antique dresser which I had retrofitted for sinks.

I (literally) mirrored the beveled mirror inset of the dresser and had a custom mirror made to sit on top of the dresser – although I think it’s hard to see the bevel in the picture.  I just called up a mirror & glass store and got a quote, easy peasy.  We put tongue and groove paneling around the rest of the bathroom to finish off the Modern/Victorian feel.

Although I did love the look of them, the square sinks are difficult to use and clean…lots of toothpaste bits that didn’t go down the drain properly. Ewwww.




Gimme the phone! April 11, 2012

Filed under: Kid Stuff — bellsandthistle @ 1:32 pm
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So, Grandma got Baby P a toy, and she asked me if I remembered having it too:

And, yes, I do! But as I watched Baby P try to make sense out of the toy, I realized that OF COURSE she wouldn’t know what the heck it is, she’s never seen a rotary phone! In fact, I can’t remember the last time I even saw a rotary phone…probably on Mad Men? Which made me think, WHY is the toy manufacturer still making this toy? Is it just the Grandma-toy-purchase market they are going after? That target market is in decline if you know what I mean…

Some one also gave me a hand-me-down, and I laughed it was so big! Love the fake antenna detail.

But we know what kids really want to play with today…your iPhone!  With the flashing screen, noises, timer, apps, etc., it’s really a one-stop shop for toys.  Whenever Baby P sees it, she doesn’t put it to her ear like a phone – she grabs it and starts tapping the screen.  I bought this iPhone case, but it didn’t really work out for me.

By the time I was able to put the phone in and lock it, the baby was having a tantrum cause she wanted the toy.  And it doesn’t stop them from tapping the screen so they can easily veer away from the carefully curated selection of developmentally-appropriate apps you have spent time researching and downloading. Oh, you just picked a few free ones? Yeah, me too…

For now, I just try to hide it away when possible and distract her from other toys.  I think there are some toys that babies can play with now which have the tactile, sensory features needed to develop young minds (wooden blocks anyone?) I’m trying to avoid learning like this: The video goes on too long but you get the point, yes the iPhone/iPad can help kids learn.  Right now, I’ll try and distract her with old fashioned things like books and stuffed animals.  But I can imagine a day when we’ll need to buy Baby P her own iPhone, just to be able to use ours!


House #2 Revamp: Kitchen

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 6:48 am
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The kitchen was a cacaphony of checks, and was so old we easily tore it apart ourselves one afternoon.

So we installed a new kitchen, tiled the floor and painted. When I say “we” I mean we paid professionals to do it! (except painting). Solid oak cabinetry, double oven with glass cooktop, and black granite worktop. We had a custom stainless steel backsplash put in.

(It’s painted red, I don’t know why it looks orange in this picture.)

And of course the pastoral view from the window stayed the same. Whatcha think?


House #2 Revamp: Living Room

So, we moved into this great castle-y thing with a wonderful facade but needed major updating inside. Here are some Before & Afters…


Living Room – was neutral and a bit blah, so we painted it blue and stained the floors a dark brown.  I loved the turret feature in the corner of the room. We left the door frame /woodwork alone…NEVER attempt to strip it yourself. We did with House #1 and it took forever!

AFTER! So whaddya think?