Yesss, it’s that time again…pumpkin fever is back and more intense than ever! This year, mine began back in early August when I started craving some pumpkin-y candles and scents up in my house. (Too soon?) Like always, there are a bisquillion new pumpkin projects and recipes out there if you like getting your gourd on like I do. Here’s just a handful of my favorite pumpkins du jour.
Pumpkin spice white hot chocolate. We all know and love Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte — I was right there in line the first weekend they were available to kick off pumpkin season. But in an effort to cut back on my caffeine intake, Jamie and I discovered a new concoction: white hot chocolate with pumpkin spice. It’s sweet, spicy (in a pumpkin-y way of course), and straight up delicious. Give it a whirl!
Metallic pumpkins. No one can resist shiny things, so why not guild up your pumpkin? I love these DIY designs by Just the Bees Knees, especially the wood grain effect. Bonus: they’re super simple to make. All you need is a gold paint pen, some spray paint, and an afternoon to devote to pumpkin decorating.
Pumpkin bread pudding. Dude, does this not look stupid good? And you don’t even have to try that hard to make it. This recipe from Love & Lemons (one of my all-time fave food blogs) would be an awesome, unexpected Thanksgiving dessert. Or anytime dessert, really. Or breakfast?
White wedding pumpkins. My cousin Amy is getting married this weekend and for her fall wedding, she’s planned to decorate with white pumpkins….and as a pumpkin freak, I love the idea! I can’t wait to see (and play with) all the pumpkin décor. I’ve been told there will be tiny white pumpkin place card holders. Wheee!
Pumpkin fettuccine. I’m pretty excited about this savory pumpkin recipe from Camille Styles. This pasta looks fancy yet so easy to make, a little baby could do it. I’m determined to squeeze this dish into my meal plan before pumpkin coma sets in.
Pumpkin wreath. When it comes to pumpkins, the tinier the better is what I always say. So I squealed when I saw this adorable wreath decked out with mini pumpkins on Anthology. The look is simple, rustic, and totally DIY-able.
Pumpkin snickerdoodle muffins. This recipe by Heather Christo is a combo of three delicious foods: pumpkins, snickerdoodles, and muffins. So naturally I had to pin that. Can you imagine how amazing your house would smell with these baking in the oven? And how fun it would be to eat the whole batch yourself?
Pumpkin picking at Cox Farms. Just like last year, we visited Cox Farms on my birthday weekend during their annual fall festival to stock up on pumpkins. They have an incredible variety of pumpkins and gourds (some things I’ve never seen before in my life), not to mention the best kettle corn in all the land. We had to use a wheelbarrow to carry out all our pumpkin loot this year…we did good.
[All images linked to source.]
So I haven’t spoken much about the lower level of our house, and there’s a very good reason for that. Not much has changed down there since we moved in two years and four months ago. And by not much I mean, like, nothing.
We’ve had big plans for this space since day one, but it wasn’t in the budget to begin working on those projects right away. Luckily our house is a pretty good size for just the two of us (and an Allie) so we didn’t exactly need to use these rooms at first besides storing stuff in them. For starters, our lower level had a carpet problem of the mismatched and ugly variety — shaggy cream in the den and hallway, scratchy hunter green in the bedrooms. While it was in fairly good shape, neutral and consistent are our preferences so we planned for new carpet eventually. With this in mind, we didn’t want to begin purchasing a bunch of furniture that would have to be moved, taken apart, carried upstairs, etc., when it came time to re-carpet the area, so we held off…until now!
For our carpeting and installation needs, we went with the no-brainer option of Lowe’s. My parents chose Lowe’s to re-carpet their entire home a couple of years ago and have been happy with the results, so we followed their lead and perused samples at our local store. After scheduling an appointment for a contractor to come out and measure our lower level, we narrowed down the options to a Stainmaster carpet in a color and texture we liked. Truthfully it took a few weeks of hemming and hawing before we finally pulled the trigger and signed the contract but once we did, the process was pretty simple and straightforward. Plus we got a few discounts in there with free installation and 5% off with our Lowe’s card.
To save some additional cash, we chose to remove the old carpet and padding ourselves — this saved us somewhere in the neighborhood of $300. We needed some extra muscle for this project (because I have none) and Jamie’s parents were kind enough to oblige. The old stuff came up easily enough — Jamie used pliers to peel back a corner then pulled the rest up by hand. Despite how jazzed Jamie appears, we were actually surprised and somewhat disgusted to reveal some icky, old tile on the floor beneath in two (yes, two!) equally funky patterns: speckled in the den and hallway, crackled in the bedrooms. Yum.
Using a utility knife, the carpet was cut into strips, rolled up, duct-taped, and thrown in the back of our Jeep bound for the dump. Once all the old carpet and pad was gone, any errant staples were pulled out with pliers, the floor was vacuumed, and we put a quick coat of semi-gloss paint on the baseboards. All in all, it took around three to four hours to complete, including moving some furniture and other stuff out of the way. Definitely worth the $300 saved!
We took advantage of the carpetlessness by priming the wood paneling in the den (at last!). We used a low odor, oil-based Kilz primer and hoped one coat would be enough, but after noticing some orangey-brown bleed through areas, we gave in to the inevitable and begrudgingly put up a second coat. Sadly we didn’t have enough time to get color on the walls before the carpet installation, but once we apply another two coats of latex paint on top (in a stunning color I’ve already picked out) it should be looking pretty awesome in there. But that’s for another day…back to the carpet!
On installation day, two installers showed up in a van full of the new carpet and padding we picked out. After confirming it was indeed the carpet we had ordered, they went right to work and completed the job in about four hours. When all was done, we checked out their handiwork, signed off on the job, and then had Allie join us for a carpet feeling frenzy.
Here’s an up-close “put your face on it” shot — can you tell how soft yet durable it is? We love the nifty texture, which I think looks like raindrops on wet sand. The color we chose is a wheat-like shade with a touch of gold, so it’s neutral but still warm. I wanna marry it.
What a relief to finally cross this project off our list! Now that we have the proper flooring, we can’t wait to start spending more time and actually using the lower level of our house. And make carpet angels daily because c’mon, this new carpet is such a huge improvement from before! We still have a ways to go with painting (the office is the only room that’s done so far) but we have decided on colors so now it’s just a matter of finding time to get it done. Then the furnishing can commence! Dreams are just becoming realities left and right up in here.
Last June marked two years since we moved into our sweet, little split foyer home. Two years…that’s difficult to comprehend. As it turns out, time is flying and while we’re pleased with our slow-and-steady home improvement progress, we still have a ways to go on simple projects like painting and hanging stuff on the walls. If you couldn’t tell, we’re in no rush. But over the past few months, we’ve added a few fun things around here that I’ve yet to document, so here they come!
Washing the dishes is pure torture, as we all know, so anything that can be done to make the experience more enjoyable should be done post-haste. We spiffed up the behind-the-sink wall with this cute (and relevant) picture of root vegetables inside a silver Ribba frame from Ikea. The “print” is actually the back cover of a Cooks Illustrated magazine that came in the mail. Free kitchen art? Heck, yes.
Also in the kitchen, we installed a mini version of open shelving via a couple of Stenstorp wall shelves from Ikea (part of the same line as the kitchen island we already have and love) which fit nicely in the blank wall space above the toaster oven. They’re solid, sturdy, and give me a place to display all my cute things that were hiding in a cabinet. Also, please note the adorable teacup hooks.
There’s even more new shelving up in this hizzy! Keeping with the Ikea theme (we just can’t quit), Jamie installed two white Ekby shelves with silver brackets above the dresser in our master bedroom, which I then decorated with pottery, souvenirs, and other bits that remind us of our honeymoon in Greece. This is where form, function, and romance meet, people.
You’ve seen the frame gallery in our living room before, but we’ve made a few additions and now all the frames actually have some form of art in them. At some point I came across unique and affordable art prints on Society6 and soon after ordered the two largest prints in the gallery.
The first is the hot air balloon print in the center, which I chose for its cool sepia color and whimsy, of course. The other is the watercolor fox in the upper left corner; we selected this one for the bold, red-orange coloring and because foxes are the unofficial mascot of our neighborhood. Seriously, the human to fox ratio is out of control over here. Good thing they are cute (and hopefully not rabid).
The gallery wouldn’t be complete without a little homemade art, so I did a simple seagull silhouette picture in the lower right corner using scrapbook paper. At the tippy top, Jamie did a kickass job creating a triptych of our family silhouettes using Photoshop. That’s me on the left with gorgeous Ariel-like hair (thank you, Lovey), my handsome husband on the right, and Mr. Allie Boo Squink in the middle. Hands down my favorite part of the gallery.
That does it for now, but there’s more in the works (even a couple of big projects to report on)! Stay tuned…