Best Laid Plans

The colors of…Christmas?

That’s right, I said Christmas. Even though I refuse to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, it’s still on my mind. I need to start working on our Christmas card for the year but I can’t do that until I’ve picked our Christmas colors and theme. Last year we did olive green, black, white and silver. Yes that’s a lot of colors, but our Christmas cards (that never got printed or sent – oops) looked like this

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And the gift tags for presents (which also never got printed) looked like this

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One year we did a red, white and blue Christmas. Two years ago was a John Deere Christmas. My favorite colors were back in 2004 when we did deep purple and gold. Anybody else pick new colors every year so the presents under the tree will look like one beautiful coordinated decorative masterpiece? Just me? Oh well. That’s how I roll. Usually I don’t have any problems, but this year I’ve really struggled with it. You see a couple weeks ago Hallmark sent me my rewards certificate to spend. It was only $3, but that’s better than nothing right? Not to mention that it came with an extra $2 one to use the first weekend in November. You know I’m not about to pass up a deal so I was all over that one. Off I was to Hallmark to visit Deb (yes I’m on a first name basis with the manager of the local Hallmark store) and see what I could find on sale and spend my free $5. The answer was definitely gift wrap after I saw that deal! Buy one roll and get the second roll for 99 cents. Woo hoo! Now which ones? Do I go fun but traditional red and green like these?

Image from

Maybe something a classic filigree or damask style but with not so classic colors like this set

Image from

Well, I ended up with neither of those and can’t find a picture anywhere of the one that I went home with. Doesn’t matter much because it’s heading back to the store and being exchanged for something totally un-Amy. But I was at Target and saw some paper that will coordinate with the Hallmark stuff I got and I came up with a great idea to make bows and stockings and a wreath and….oh, I’m so excited. I may have had to fight the urge to start singing and dancing in the Christmas aisles at Target. I’ll start sharing with you soon in case you want to craft along with me this Christmas. Oooo, the suspense.

Anybody else pick perfectly coordinated Christmas colors? Come on, someone has to. It’s okay, you can share. We’re nice in this house, this is a safe place (that’s what I tell Bella when she gets mad at her brother). I’m ready to start working on my Christmas cards so I can actually get them printed and mailed this year. Self imposed December 1st deadline. Keep me in check people!


Categories: Best Laid Plans, Let's shop!, Living Frugal, Possibilities | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Island Living

Islands. Do you have one? Do you want one? In your kitchen I mean. But if you do have your own island in the water, can I come visit? It’s going to be getting cold here. I’ve been spending some quality time with my kitchen lately. Painting, reorganizing things, unpacking some things (yes, we have lived here almost two years) and trying to make it feel like a kitchen that I would love to work in. I decided there is one thing missing – workspace! The kitchen is much bigger than other kitchens we have lived with, but it just doesn’t seem functional. The layout just doesn’t work well so it was time to get designing. I went back to my trusty plan on Floorplanner (love it) and started tweaking. From the beginning, we’ve known that a total kitchen renovation was in our future but I’ve heard that you should live in a house for five years before your renovate the kitchen. Well, less than two years in and this chick is getting antsy. So last night I was googling and asking my friends on facebook about their islands. What is the walk space? What is the counter width? Is it enough? Would you change things? This Old House said the walk space should be 42-48 inches. I’ve worked in my parents’ kitchen a fair amount and their walk space is 37 1/2 inches. I organized a party using Ashley’s kitchen and hers is 40 inches. Here’s our first floor now

Here’s the new (for now) plan of the kitchen and entry room. Yes I did add Bella and Bristol in there

The verdict is? Notice there are a couple walls missing? I also noticed when I saved the plan, the kitchen door is missing. Have no fear, that will stay…I totally adore that door. The sink stays in the same place, but the fridge and stove move. I don’t think moving the stove/oven is going to be a huge deal since the renovation will be changing out the electric stove to a gas one. We have to run the gas lines anyway so we might as well put them where we want them right? I originally wanted the stovetop on the island and a wall oven, but I also like the idea of having a big open space there for entertaining. I’m also hoping to not have a vent hood, but get one of those that comes up out of the countertop so the stovetop can be right in front of the window. With an fully open island, we could set out quite a spread for family gatherings and it would be much better than what we did last year for our annual family dinner (a line of TV trays). But that might change too. Anybody want to see a 3D view?

We’ll have upper cabinets too, but I haven’t figured out how to put those in yet. One more 3D view

While I was playing I decided that I needed to add some rugs and other furniture and furnishings. I also ripped up the virtual carpet and linoleum to uncover the beautiful (someday) wood floors. Maybe I can talk Michael in to renovating in phases so it doesn’t seem so bad. Yeah, I’m going to work on that. I plan on trying out the kitchen on the Ikea (hallelujah) kitchen planner too. Have you used either one? Do you love your kitchen? What would you change about it?

Categories: Best Laid Plans | Tags: | 2 Comments

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