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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some New Features

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful week. We have been busy working away here. Last night Jamie and I worked on a project we are doing on her guest bedroom wall above the bed. It is almost finished so I am hoping to show it to you all with a tutorial either Friday or Monday.  My mom and I have also been working on the mantel here and doing a little tweaking at Jamie's, both of which I hope to photograph in the next day or two. And then we are about half-way done with an art project for Jamie's powder room. And once those projects are done I have about 20 more to get started on, including several for Jamie's 25th birthday party. 

Jason has also been busy working away. One of his first projects was to start cleaning up the blog a bit (mainly the sidebar) and making it easier to navigate and find things. He added several new pages including a page that has links to all of our tutorials and a page that shows each of the rooms in our home as well as where we got different pieces that we have received e-mails about. I tried to make sure to include everything that we have been asked about more than once but may have forgotten a few things. We hope that will make it easier trying to find things like paint colors. I know it can be such a pain digging through a bunch of old posts trying to find that kind of information. The only page that we haven't finished is the frequently asked questions page which we will try to finish soon. You can find the buttons to all of these pages up top under our blog header!

We are having so much fun up here at my parents. Tonight Jake and Jason brought Lillie to her first movie! I think she felt like quite the grown-up. I had planned on taking a photo as they headed out the door but there was so much going on I forgot. Oh well.  She also had a sleepover at Jamie and Dutch's over the weekend.  I didn't get any photos of that either. =( I can't believe how grown up she is getting. Because I hate to have a post without any pictures, though, I thought I would include a shot of Lillie as she was headed out to Sweet Frog with Dana last week.

I hope you all like the new pages and buttons! Have a great rest of the week. Hopefully we will be back Friday with a tutorial for a project that we did for free!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Moose Mountain



Lillian covered in dirt.


We made it! We have officially arrived on Moose Mountain. Lillie is in heaven, and it has been such a blessing to have so much help caring for Lola! Thank you all for your prayers. Although she had a bit of a setback Saturday she has finally started to show some real improvement!

Jason wasn't joking when he called my parent's property a virtual wildlife preserve in his last post. Lillie has already gotten to see so many animals. The first morning we were here she saw a deer jump over some turkeys and has enjoyed very animatedly telling everyone about it. My dad got her her very own pair of binoculars and she loves sitting out on the front porch and watching for pretty much any creature that ventures across the lawn or fields below.

 Using her new binoculars

Lola has also enjoyed a lot of time on the porch with Papa (and Mimi too)
And no, she doesn't have a mohawk. Her hair is just really dirty in this picture. =)

We are starting to settle down into a bit of a routine so this week we will hopefully be working on quite a few projects both here at my parent's and at my sister and her husband's house as well. I can't wait to show you Jamie's home office (I am so incredibly jealous - wait until you see it!) and we have quite a few tutorials that I hope we will get to start sharing later this week as long as I can stay on track.  I was able to get my camera fixed, and I purchased a new lens to replace my old one--we had a little accident at the beach involving some soda that put my camera out of commission for a few weeks =). Now that I have my camera working again I plan on showing you all our newest tutu named after Lorelei, some gorgeous shoes that Jessica from Joyfolie sent us, and some adorable hoodies from Amy of Evy's Tree. Of course, now I just have to get the girls to cooperate. As you can see from the photos, Lillie is covered in dirt from head to toe thanks to her love of the great outdoors, and that doesn't exactly go so well with photographing tutus, fancy shoes, or lacey pink hoodies!




I hope you have a wonderful week! Hopefully I will be back in a day or two with a tutorial or at least some photos of Jamie's house!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Way (Jason's June Post)

 Jon and Lorelei 


Jon and Lillian

Happy Father's Day! From now on Jason will be doing a post each month. I hadn't exactly planned on this month's being Father's Day as I had hoped to do a post with photos of Jon with both of the girls but seeing how I have yet to take a shot of the three of them together since the day Lola was born and my favorite lens got ruined at the beach and I won't have my new one for another week or so I decided to go ahead and let Jason have Father's Day. I would like to give two disclaimers though. First, most of this will only be funny if you know our family (especially our dad) and second, we really aren't quite as cheap as he makes us out to be....okay, we are kind of, but he is definitely the worst!

I do want to quickly wish my husband, dad and father-in-law all a very Happy Father's Day! I am so grateful for you and love you so much! And also, if you all could continue to keep Lorelei in your prayers we would greatly appreciate it. We are headed to the Children's Hospital for the 8th time tomorrow morning for two more surgical procedures.We are praying that by tomorrow afternoon we will have some answers (although we also will have to wait on some pathology reports again, too) and then they will know how to properly treat her and she will be on the mend very soon. Once she is, we will be headed up to New Hampshire and I have a ton of projects and posts planned! 

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Here is Jason:

I realize that there very well may be a few readers out there who are rather disappointed to discover that I will be contributing to the Dear Lillie blog on a somewhat routine basis. After all, my sister’s readers are likely drawn to this site by an interest in home decor, photography, babies, and/or clothing… and evidently none of these are objects of my expertise. However, with Jenni’s available time currently at a premium and my own increased involvement with Dear Lillie, the two of us have decided that it would be best for me to show my literary face from time to time. That being said, I promise that I will attempt to keep my topics of choice somewhat related to the general theme of the blog (or at least mildly relevant in some way or another).

While today’s post certainly won’t help you pick the perfect color scheme for your nursery-in-the-making or offer a step-by-step guide to refurbishing that yard sale gem you found last weekend, it does manage to at least revolve around a certain “holiday” occurring as we speak (which by my standards fits the “mildly relevant in some way or another” claim I made a few moments ago). Still not satisfied? Well then you’re just going to have to cut me some slack—I already used every decorating term I know in the topic sentence of this paragraph.

Now let me discuss something that’s been bothering me for the past week or so… Father’s Day. The whole concept of Father’s Day has just never quite sat well with me (now that I think about it neither has Mother’s Day, but that’s an entirely different conversation). Yes, I understand that fathers often go without recognition for their many self-sacrificing efforts, but c’mon—If they are really so selfless then why have they claimed their own day of acknowledgment? Sure, I guess every loving father deserves an annual (and largely proverbial) pat on the back, but does simply being a father really warrant the receiving of a pat and a gift?

I guess its not so much the idea of Father’s Day itself that bothers me but the fact that it requires me to actually purchase my father a present—something that I believe should be reserved solely for birthdays and Christmas (unless, of course, I am on the receiving end of the gift exchange). And why is that? Don’t worry, I’m not about to get philosophical or anything. My disdain for purchasing non-Christmas and non-birthday presents is based entirely on the fact that I hate spending money. I can grit my teeth through the Christmas and birthday seasons (our family's birthday season occurs every year between late February and the end of March), but getting my dad a Father’s Day gift makes it seem to me as if he is somehow being awarded with a second birthday.

Now before you go calling me a penny-pincher, at least know that it runs in the family. We are all ridiculously cheap. Dad has been wearing the same holey, cut-off shirts for twenty-plus years. Mom continues to fill up cartons of tap water at my grandfather’s house every day because bottled water is too expensive (apparently we have too much iron in our well… tastes fine to me). Jenni can change the entire feel of a room with a gallon of leftover paint and a twenty-dollar gift card. Jamie built her house by employing (without pay) nearly every member of her husband’s extended family. Ask anyone who has ever been out to eat with me and they will undoubtedly tell you that they have at one time or another felt the brunt of my “I can’t afford to pay for this meal” routine (my cousin Michael and his wife Dani still fall for it every time). Dana doesn’t quite fit the mold. In fact, she effectively breaks it by convincing herself that by purchasing new articles of clothing she is making a sound financial investment. However, Dana’s frivolous spending somehow manages to grind to a screeching halt when it comes to gifts—which essentially puts her in the same boat as the rest of us.

Dressed for success.

To help counteract the cost of the dreaded Father’s Day gift, last year our dad had what initially appeared to be one of his best ideas of all time. Instead of asking for some random souvenir, he asked the four of us kids to make him 365 index cards—each one with a different memory from our childhoods. With “divide and conquer” in immediate effect, that meant 91 or 92 memory cards each. Not too bad, right?

Sadly, it turned out that coming up with 90-plus childhood memories is actually much more difficult than you might expect. I don’t think I am alone in arguing that it was significantly worse than just spending money for a gift because we actually had to put thought, time, and effort into creating the cards. I legitimately considered paying Dana to do mine for me (and I’m sure she would have taken me up on my offer, as no amount is too small to invest at the Williamsburg Outlets).

Needless to say, my sisters and I reverted back to our old ways this year and pooled our money together for something our father will absolutely never use. Easier than making the cards? Yes, but I’m still not a fan of Dad getting two birthdays. To combat this predicament once and for all, I have come up with a foolproof solution for next year’s Father’s Day—a full day in which our entire family attempts to do everything exactly our father’s way.

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never tried to have a second birthday too.

For many of you reading this, my suggestion may seem like just another generic cop out in my never-ending effort to avoid parting with my hard-earned money… but rest assured, it is anything but. In fact, I am willing to bet that even one of us completing a single day in which everything is done exactly according to Dad’s ever-changing list of rules and expectations would truly be an impossibility. Due to the ever-changing nature of his regulations alone, I would be shocked to find that even he could successfully complete such a day.

Nonetheless, I decided to make an itinerary for what such a “Father’s Way” Day might look like based on our Dad’s likes, claims, and tendencies.


CROTTY FAMILY ITINERARY
June 17, 2012

5:30 AM – WAKE UP CALL
Our father claims to both rise and shine at this ungodly hour each and every morning. However, on the very rare occasions on which I have been awake at said time, he has never been up or about. But I guess this is his day and we will be doing things his way, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Regardless of historical accuracy, at exactly 5:30 AM a far too chipper Dad will yell “Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya!” at the top ‘o his lungs—which is exactly the sound I woke up to every morning of my high school career.

6:00 AM – DISTRIBUTE ITINERARIES
Everybody needs to know the gameplan. No excuses. Play like a champion.

6:15 AM – BREAKFAST
Dad will craft his culinary staple of French Toast. While it may seem harsh to make him prepare breakfast on his special day, lets be realistic… no one else is functioning right now. Also, I’m sure that even if someone started cooking for him, Dad would inevitably take over all kitchen duties because he has a tendency to straddle the fine line between obsessive and compulsive.

A modern-day renaissance man.

7:00 AM – WOODY HUNT
Nothing says “family” like the whole clan helping our father take down his arch nemesis and namesake, Big Woody. This apparently intelligent and ill-willed woodchuck has managed outsmart Dad for the entire decade that we have lived on Moose Mountain, but I have a feeling that I could catch our furry foe if given the opportunity.


10:00 AM – FAMILY MEETING
Since everyone is back staying under the same roof in the scenario, Dad will certainly feel it necessary to remind everyone of his “Shower Rules” and “Outdoor/Indoor Shoe Rules.” While this meeting will simply serve as a reminder for us all to shower quickly and avoid walking through the living room with “outdoor” shoes, it will inevitably drag on far too long. Let me also be the first to point out that the definition of “indoor shoe” and “outdoor shoe” are dicey at best when applied to the one who makes the rules.

C’mon, it’s a new rug!

10:30 AM – MOW THE LAWN
Twice. On the lowest blade setting. Then we will wonder why the grass looks so burnt this year.

Why don’t we take her for another spin?

12:30 PM – FAMILY DIP IN THE CRICK
While many hands may make for light work, Dad will still want to cool off at his favorite swimming hole—the creek (or “crick,” as he likes to call it) that runs through our woods. Many a rumor has surfaced about Dad’s crick attire (or lack thereof), but I for one will be bringing my trunks on this very crowded occasion.

Seats six not-so-comfortably.

1:30 PM – LUNCH
Nothing particularly exciting for lunch as the menu will consist mostly of “make-your-owns.” However, I am willing to bet that Dad will be compelled to pull nearly every object out of the fridge and place it on the counter—only to ask one of the girls to put it all back in after only three or four of the items are used.

Unnecessary.

2:15 PM – FAMILY MEETING
The topics this time will be the “Driveway Rules” and the “House Ventilation Rules.” I don’t even know where to begin with the driveway rules. I imagine the concept itself is rather hard to grasp for someone who has never been given step-by-step instructions on navigating our half-mile thoroughfare, so I will grossly over-condense it. Our driveway is essentially half paved and half dirt, with each portion having separate up and down slopes and each slope having a different set of directions (oh and don’t turn your wheels when you reach the top during the summer months). Think I’m kidding? Not at all. In fact, every UPS and FedEx driver in the region has been warned not to maneuver past the access road that marks the first third of the journey. As for the ventilation, let me just say that after the sun goes down our house becomes a practically uninhabitable wind tunnel.

Never too young to get them started… Ten and two, Lillie!

Regardless of season, the driveway is treated as if it were kin.

3:00 PM – FRONT PORCH SITTING
One of Dad’s favorite past times is, of course, sitting in the shade of our front porch, which overlooks what may as well be a modestly-sized wildlife preserve. This reflective setting will also give him an opportunity to brag about his self-made stonewalls, his newfound and surprisingly persistent reading habits, and his lifelong support of the Boston Bruins (which the rest of us only became aware of a few weeks ago). I will be unspeakably bored after about thirty seconds of this aimless assembly.

He knows them all by name.

4:45 PM – REARRANGE THE CARS
For absolutely no reason, we will move all of the cars in our driveway and park them in a different order.

5:00 PM – FAMILY COOKOUT
According to Dad’s latest fixation with having every dinner at exactly five o’clock regardless of anyone else’s schedule (read: my golf schedule), we will end up eating supper just a few hours after lunch. This cookout will take place on the back deck, and I will probably be given the task of “watching people cook hot dogs” (this is exactly the assignment I was given for our cookout last week in North Carolina). While our deck is spacious enough to hold our family and a number of guests, there happen to be numerous portions on which no one is allowed to stand… but whatever, Jamie only fell through once.

We put in all of this effort, yet it rots every year. Time to give up, I think.

7:00 PM – MINI GOLF
As a means of exercising our collective competitive streak, Dad will certainly expect the family to engage in the most cutthroat round of mini golf you’ve ever seen. On the way off the property he will without fail and without remorse break every “Driveway Rule” he posted earlier in the afternoon. Upon arrival at the course, he will take on the persona of his alter ego “Black Mamba,” relentlessly talk trash to all of his opponents, be obnoxiously friendly to complete strangers, and finish in dead last.

The Mamba also strikes at the local par 3.

9:00 PM – FAMILY WALK
Yeah, it’s as miserable as it sounds, but on this day I am left with no choice but to join in on what I am ashamed to say one of my sisters considers to be exercise.

Would hate to miss out on this.

11:00 PM – LIGHTS OUT ON THE MOUNTAIN
After falling asleep on the couch within five minutes of returning home from the walk (and with the remote clenched firmly in his palm), Dad will wake up with a startle, claim that he was simply “resting [his] eyes,” announce that it is “way past [his] bedtime,” and yell “Bedtime for Bonzo!” as he skips “up the golden stairs.”

All-in-all it sounds like it could be a pretty good day on the Mountain. But when my second birthday rolls around this year keep in mind that I’d prefer straight cash.

Happy Father’s Day!
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

For The Love of a House

I am thrilled to have Joan of For the Love of a House here to guest post today. I can't recall exactly when it was, but I would say it was sometime either last summer or fall that I first ran across her beautiful blog. Immediately I fell in love with it as she lives in a beautiful farmhouse in New Hampshire that she and her husband, Dan, have been renovating. I am from New Hampshire and most of my family still lives there. In fact, when I read her blog I often get horribly homesick.

I already enjoyed her blog, but then in January she did this post on her kitchen and I really have no words to say how much I became smitten. It is hands-down my all time favorite kitchen that I have seen in any magazine or on any blog.

And then last month she did this post revealing her master bathroom

I think you can see now why I love her blog and her style.

If you think her home looks like it is straight out of a magazine, well you are right. It is going to be! Right now it they are having a photoshoot and are going to be featured in Renovation Style !

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I was honored when Jennifer asked me to do a guest-post!  I live in Jennifer's home state of New Hampshire, moving here from Texas three years ago.  My husband, Dan, and I bought an unloved antique farmhouse and have spent the last two and a half years making it our home.   Jennifer grew up in a beautiful part of New Hampshire, about 40 minutes west of me-  in a region that has some of the most gorgeous sunsets you have ever seen!

Jennifer's recent post on her gorgeous porch made me think of porches, and porches make me think of Summer!  So, I thought I would share my porches in honor of Summer!
Our farmhouse has three porches:  a small front porch, a back porch off of the kitchen and an upstairs porch off of the master bedroom!  We use them all on a daily basis for different things.



An afternoon snack of watermelon on the front porch!  Doesn't get too much more Summer than this for me!



This photo shows with back and the upstairs porch, one atop the other.


the steps up the back porch






the french doors open into the kitchen dining area



When I originally bought the iron table at an estate sale years ago it came with four iron chairs.  It was a lot of iron!  After watching one of my favorite movies, "Father of the Bride" (the new version with the dreamy house!) I noticed she had an iron table with wicker chairs in the back yard-  voila!!  I love the combination as it softened the overall look and the chairs are much more comfortable than the iron ones that came with the table.    The pillows are down-filled; being natural they actually weather great outside!   And, at only $25 a pair (from Homegoods)...  I couldn't have handmade them for less. I can't tell you how luxurious it is to have down-pillows outside!




A pair of black rocking chairs let us rest while doing yard work and house projects!



Our always helpful pound-pup Ella!






This table is the ultimate in high-low decorating!
The iron table base we picked up curbside for free while "junking" in Dallas. It was originally an old garbage can holder.... yes, I said garbage can holder!!, and it moved with us to New Hampshire! The antique marble top was found at a wonderful shop in Maine!  Antique copper tub under the table is filled with Japanese fishing floats and copper floats.  A pair of antique Chinese vases sit outside all season! The antique French iron fountain is filled with "conks," aka "tree fungus"!! 



This is the upstairs porch off of the master bedroom.
This porch grants us amazing sky views all day. The evening sky off of this upstairs porch is a thing of beauty! This porch is usually the porch-of-choice for an evening cocktail!




An English rain-barrel (a dolly tub) serves as a table base.
Distant view facing northeast.




View from porch rail.


The floorboards on all the porches are mahogany, and have been left to age naturally to a soft weathered-gray.

Fern in zinc pot.
Iron orb.
The zinc pot was a curbside find in Dallas! Dan made the orb from old, discarded wine barrel rings!



French doors to the master bedroom.



Vintage wire garden basket filled with old Japanese fishing floats.


 The ceilings on all of the porches are painted sky-blue. It is historic to do so, and I've read it was thought to keep bugs away, or that it would keep bad spirits away... both please!.  Throw pillows are burlap, which also weathers extremely well outdoors.


My fingers are crossed that I get to meet Jennifer and the sweet-peas when they come to New Hampshire for a visit this Summer!
So, Cheers to you and here's wishing you a happy, relaxing Summer! 

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As soon as we can get Lorelei healthy we will be heading to New Hampshire to spend the rest of the summer and I am hoping I will get a chance to stop by Joan's and say hello and see her gorgeous home in person! Be sure to head of over to her blog and check it out. Be prepared to stay a while!

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