Archive for category: home

getting it together – january

26 Jan
January 26, 2017

man, tough year. and i’m not talking about 2016. i just can’t take another moment on a social site today, and instead, decided to find something positive to focus on. to work on creating and moving forward (i also randomly decided to scrub my fridge and stove, top to bottom, crazy, right?). i’ve called my local representatives for the day, i’m scheduled to attend my school’s pta meeting tonight… i’m doing. and for however how small, i just need to keep doing. i’m keeping the word #resist in my head, and i’m trying to find daily ways to work towards that thought.

at the other end of the spectrum- daily life. what i want to do with my year. goals, ideas, projects. the house is a constant. i’m slowly working at interior painting, but honestly, i’m getting to the point that maybe i just need to hire someone. be done with raw, mudded ceilings, half painted dining room, pesto mayo paint color EVERYWHERE

and my workroom! which is ever… so… slowly coming together. ok, not that slow. in the last week i’ve made tremendous progress. and by tremendous, i mean i’ve moved all the boxes around, and made a secret cubby to hide from my kids. kidding! not really. actually, i’ve unpacked a huge amount of junk, assessed if more storage is needed, built actual shelving units, and right now i’m in the middle of building the mother of all dream work tables. i say dream because a) it’s huge. b) it rolls 3) it’s underside is ALL STORAGE. and d) it dispenses wine and xanax. JOKE. it’s not that dreamy.

so, what else? i’ve decided to return to the idea of monthly creating. since my goal is to have most of the work room together by end of january(ish), i’m figuring out a schedule of project-a-month ideas, which you know, i totally had for last year, but then decided to sell a house, stage it, go on vacation while buying a new house, come home and move, hyperventilate, nervous break down, all creative plans dashed, *fainting couch*, aaaannnddd scene! i’m just going to try again this year. easy peasy. i also hope to be posting a little bit more regularly, and with the new workspace, hopefully inspiration strikes.

shining up the good stuff – brass fittings

12 Jul
July 12, 2016

so… if you’ve ever lived in an old house before (which is pretty much always if you’ve lived around here), you’ve probably dealt with old windows. i had an apartment in my 20’s in bellingham, and my super old windows looked right out over the bay. we didn’t really do much with them. they were old, creaky, sticky and pretty. i usually popped one or two open all winter, so i didn’t die of (the overused radiator) heat that i had zero control over.

20 years later, i have my very own Read more →

getting going – just getting started

11 Jul
July 11, 2016

for as cute as the photos of my old place looked, i realized right before we listed, that we had a lot of things that got put off, and a few things that were works-in-progress. you realize that most when you’re selling, because you’re basically finishing all those little… i’ll-get-to-that-later… things. and then you sell, and it’s all… not your problem any more. not that there was anything big… but just all the things you hoped for that space… cease.

and then you find a new place, and especially with the house we found, there’s just so much potential. you start imagining, and planning… and then you have to move. and you can’t do anything but schlep junk. boxes, and boxes and (holy cow, just purge already) more boxes. moving (with two small kids) is a drag. but (yay!) it’s over!

so. we’re in our new place. and although i was able to get a few things done before we got here, we are very much starting from scratch. the things i tried to get out of the way were bigger- i got the (asbestos!) popcorn scraped off every surface it covered, i got the downstairs floors refinished (original!! beautiful!!). and unfortunately, found out the upstairs floors were painted with lead paint. bummer. and you know who takes that off? NO ONE. so while i was having the ceilings fixed (popcorn removal jacked them just enough that i couldn’t paint) i also decided that the upstairs floors would get painted. it’s stop gap. maybe in a few years we’ll have them yanked out and new ones put in. kidding! i’m going to send my family on vacation and scrape all the paint off myself, because 100 YEAR OLD ORIGINAL FIR FLOORING!! i’m still kidding. i don’t know what the next step on the upstairs floor is. i’m not there yet.

what i really want is for beds to be off floors, and not be sleeping all in one room little-house-on-the-prairie style. feel me? so… this past weekend (the ceilings and some paint finished last friday) i busted out with painting trim and doors for the kid’s room and adding one more coat to the floor. and today, i need to bust out with painting the trim and floor in our room.

i’m truly awful at before and after. i always forget the before, and about halfway through (around midnight) i’m like… hmmmmm, i forgot to take a picture. and so i take one, and the next morning i think, hmmmmm, that picture looks like garbage. but! today i took some befores! it’s not true before, because the ceilings have all been redone, and the painters did the walls and ceilings, and there’s already one coat on the floor… but trust me. it still looks like a before on the doors and windows. i’m attacking those today. will try to post the afters tomorrow… HAHAHAHA assuming i finish before tomorrow.

up above- those are the windows. i’m going to start researching old windows. how can i save these, but still also have a heating efficient house? i think that’s a rainbow unicorn, yes? also, every single room has 3 windows. my living room… NINE. nine windows. one room. i’m sitting in my kitchen… just counted… 7. the people who built this house loved windows. also, has anyone heard of spackle or caulk? man, my perfectionist little heart is itching to get rid of all those cracks and curtain rod holes. speaking off… what on earth covered all these tens of windows? in some rooms, there’s nothing… no trace of anything. ghost blinds? i’m stumped.

and below:


this door technically goes to a place you don’t want to see. there’s eave storage all throughout the upstairs, but it’s not pretty. so lets just admire this filthy door. if you ever read door sixteen, i love her take on paint colors. she often references warm mayo as being a color in houses she moves into. this is warm mayo. i also have lots of pesto mayo (thanks jessica) in the downstairs. i cannot wait to paint away all the mayo in this house. please note the tiny knob- it’s brass! i promise it will look more brass in the ‘after’ pics.


another door. yes there are 3. this one actually belongs to a finished closet. a rather large finished closet. i’m not bragging. it’s the only closet in the house that doesn’t require anything from me other than painting it’s trim and door. it also doesn’t have a light fixture on the inside, with a cord coming out the wall beside it, plugged into the outlet outside. for this, i am grateful.


this is very close up photo of window fittings. they look black. they are actually brass. i shined them up in the kid’s room, and i felt like i had found treasure. finding gold under black grunge will do that. also, i get that you’re in this house every day, and maybe you didn’t know… but this is a 15 minute task. you missed out on admiring pretty brass fittings on the daily because you didn’t invest a little elbow grease. whatevs. i’ll do it and enjoy them. win!


one last fitting. because they are so gunky, and so is that window (barf), and this is truly a representational ‘before’ photo. but you know what’s better than fresh paint and some brass polish? nothing i can think of in relation to this photo. so i’m going to get to it. lots to do today. xoxo- k.


we bought a house! {again}

08 Jul
July 8, 2016 the martins say goodbye to the old house…

let’s see… left off… we were just getting ready to list our house. it happened! it looked adorable in the photos, we had the best agent ever. and much like all sales in seattle, it was on the market for a week, we reviewed the offers, there was one that won, and we were done.

so then. house hunting… wow. so much to see. so many considerations. and house hunting here is WACKO. i was somewhat worried about selling- i was freaked about buying. just to give you an idea, there were 9 offers on our house. nine. and it basically goes to the person who puts the best deal on the table. so when you’re looking, you get excited about a house, and you think… can i make an offer on this house that will beat out all other offers? am i willing to go through actually starting to like a place, only to lose out in some small (or big) way to someone, basically with more money? what is the most amount of money i’m willing to spend. and then up it. up it to discomfort. and then back down. and then get comfortable with upping it again. we did this back and forth while looking… talking about caps, and maxing, and what was realistically doable.

what’s crazy is that we looked at a lot of houses. all over seattle. so many of them were tiny. a few of them were huge. most of them were gorgeous. people put so much into their homes. i liked seeing that. because most houses here are old. old old. i’m trying to think if i saw anything younger than 60 years… doubtful. and strangely, having really wanted midcentury, i fell in love with houses that were about a century old. i looked at 3. and even odder, because we only bid on one house, we won it.

we won it.

god i love this house. i love it. i don’t know if i’ve ever loved a house. wait… yes. i loved an apartment i had in bellingham. my first apartment alone. and it was about 100 years old! maybe that’s where this love comes from. large spaces, wide trim, gorgeous old windows, tall ceilings… this house is… it’s amazing. ok. maybe it will be amazing. it’s got some good things going on. first, there’s a crazy amount of room. i think just about every house i’ve lived in in this city has been… right around 1000 square feet (or under). which is fine. i’ve learned to live in small spaces. i get small spaces. i would tell you my new square footage, but i’m almost embarrassed. almost.

the floors, original. the built ins, original. this crazy textured wallpaper stuff (lincrusta) that’s between my board and batten (that was under wallpaper and paneling) in the dining room… original. there were LAYERS of wallpaper to scrape (and discover!). there was asbestos popcorn, the floors needed refinishing… the plumbing and electrical need to be redone… but it feels like things that will feel good to do. this house has stood here for 102 years. 102!! i hope it stands here for 102 more.

i can’t wait to complete a few projects, and post along the way.

oh! and once there’s a dedicated corner for a workroom, get back to making. i miss it fierce. but first, time to paint some trim. xoxo- k.


house projects are taking over my life…

14 Apr
April 14, 2016

ugh. like seriously the last thing i should be doing is writing a post. but for reals? my brain (and back) need a break.

so- i did actually do some of last month’s making projects. i made some bracelets. i made the bunny pouch. i bought fabric for the dress (a truly beautiful emerald green rayon blend- delish!), and then got totally bogged down with buying a form. and instead of just buying an adjustable one, and calling it good, i sprang for the REAL DEAL and a kit to customize to my exact shape. and in case you think this is overkill, or too much money- let me explain why i did. when you drape (pattern making via a form), you pin to the center of the form. with an adjustable form, there’s just an open gap in the middle if you’re bigger than the form (i am). so. no dice. and i found a true dress form on amazon for a really competitive price, and the kit was just a bit more. so. expensive? yes. but let’s call it an investment, and move on.

fast forward to, geez, seriously? april. we decided (not so much at the last minute, because we’ve been thinking about it for forever, but…) somewhat suddenly, to sell our house. think up all the little fixing-up projects you’ve been putting off for as long as you’ve lived in your home. yes. those. that’s what i’ve been doing for WEEKS. and packing. and purging. my kids are freaked out. the dog keeps barfing. i can’t find anything.

some days i really love living in seattle. it was such a conscious decision for me to be here. like… some place i set off to be. and then some days… it makes me so weary. meeting people here, and having them be close friends is exhausting. and frankly, starting to feel impossible (whole separate post i’m working on). looking for a place to live, it feels… like a paradox. you pay the most money you’ve ever thought of (not kidding), for a house you’d probably not consider living in. not in it’s current state. like we’re never going to really afford the type of home we’ve dreamed of living in. and then you think on that, and think… so, maybe we should move move? but…i can’t imagine being anywhere else. like minded (educated, liberal) people? check. beautiful gorgeous outdoors with oceans, and mountains, and snow, and places to see? yes. good career opportunities, for both my husband and (someday, again, hopefully) myself. yes! it sounds whiny to keep going, but…i don’t know. some days i just can’t get my head around all of it.

so. i’m going to keep plugging away at the mindless monkey tasks of scraping moss off everything, touching up every surface that’s painted, vacuuming places that haven’t seen the light of day for about 8 years, and getting rid of my collection of… everything. because frankly, it all should have gone forever ago. and if you live in seattle, and want to buy my really adorable house (i might be biased), next week is your chance. i’ll get back to the making as soon as i’m able. probably after i hyperventilate about being homeless in less than a week, and being in the most competitive housing market in the country. cool. no stress. til then… xoxo, k.

make it – half-square-triangle quilt throw

07 Aug
August 7, 2015

this quilt was a much overdue thank you. a good friend stayed with our toddler while we went into the hospital to have a baby. about 2.5 years ago. ok, so i’m a little behind.

it was such a load off our minds that he was hanging with a friendly face, and probably having a blast, i resolved to make something special for her. then you deal with a baby for about a year (or 18), and life, with all it’s thank-you projects, gets put on hold.

i’ve finally started carving out some time, and making myself tackle a few things… this was my first finished full size quilt, and i couldn’t have been happier that it’s going to a good home, and will get used and loved.

the cause of all this gratitude is in the third photo… always ‘helping’. cutie.

want to make your own HST throw? here’s a great HST tutorial to get you started. xox-k.

make it – pineapple mini quilt

03 Jul
July 3, 2015

i think sometimes i think i have more free time than i actually have. last count i think i was somewhere around 361 started projects. i kid! but seriously…

i joined this mini swap forever ago. and had finally nailed down what i wanted to do. actually, i knew exactly what i wanted to do, but couldn’t figure it out. think kaleidoscope, meets fractals, meets… ZZZZZZzzzzzzz. no sleep. so- i had also been eyeing lots of pineapple blocks, and thought since i couldn’t button up that kaleidoscope business, that this idea would work perfectly with the colors i wanted. then i went to art walk (at the start of june) down in pioneer square, and found the most amazing solids at dry goods in a bundle with some more cotton and steel… even better!

this is the mini i made. my partner said she liked orange, so that was a starting point. this pattern was with red pepper quilts, and i used a tutorial from a little bit biased for construction. it was by no means super easy, but… i don’t know. there was something methodical and relaxing watching it take shape. also, not super quick. but really gratifying when all done. i wish i had the commitment/TIME to make a whole quilt of this. an oatmeal shot cotton with some dreamy soft plaids….maybe someday.

happy weekend and have a safe fourth!

a book a week – april

29 Apr
April 29, 2015

for the last 6 months or so, i’ve been addicted to the library. i think it was our daycare that reminded me it even existed. back when i had just a bit more expendable income, buying books was a habit. kind of an obsession. even after kids, i always justified money for books. we read most of our kids books at least once a week. we read some of our books every day. borrowing books has opened our world. into planets? we can borrow 10 books on planets. love legos? 5 books borrowed. and the idea that these aren’t ours, that we share them with everyone, and need to take care of them… so good for little minds.

the seattle public library also has a great online system, and also the ability to borrow e-books. how rad is it to reserve a book, get an email when it comes available, download it, and return it, all without leaving the house, or having extra errands to run. LOVE.

3 of these books were the best of this month’s library downloads, 1 was given to me by the publisher. if you’re looking for a good read, i’d rank them as follows-

the martian– not into sic-fi? me neither. not really. ok, sometimes. i don’t know? i know what i like, and what i’m willing to read. this was… Read more →

cooking for kids – granola bars (technically, sloppy joes)

15 Apr
April 15, 2015

so…i used to love to cook. and food. and going to restaurants. and, let’s be honest, anything involving calories, and chewing, and tasting delicious new foods. in case you need a refresher- cheese, croissants still warm from the oven, fresh beignets, oysters, smoked salmon, carbs, the food groups, you name it.

and the big ‘but then!’ is kids. of course it is. i’m all, *wah, wah* then i had kids. and although it’s slowly getting (incrementally) better, making food, and eating is such a chore. i buy the same 30 things at the grocery store. i can make a meal out of goldfish, yogurt covered raisins, and applesauce. that’s not horrible. but it becomes horrible the 364th time you do it.

i’ve decided to (once a week) try to make a homemade snack. we buy a lot of bars, Read more →

celebrate thank give – christmas edition

01 Dec
December 1, 2014

it’s december! IT’S DECEMBER! i’m excited. i am. i keep reminding myself that what happens today is what matters. not tomorrow, not two weeks from now, today. because these todays, they’re going to fly.

so… for the last few years i’ve tried to make lists for myself of things i like to do this month. things that make ‘the feeling‘ happen. i LOVE that feeling. i love it so much, i’ve looked for ways to work it in the rest of the year. but for some reason, it’s most gratifying now. maybe because it’s dark, and cold, and the expectations on this time of year are so wonky.

anyway. the list. it’s looser this year. i like loose. my only goal… to get the kids out. to make memories. even if it’s cold. even if it’s raining… i want them to remember their mom being action, and spirit, and shaking it to christmas tunes while we ate cookie batter. walking around doing anything while eating gingerbread and drinking cocoa. and most important, that december is about more than buying. it’s bigger than more more more. it’s about that feeling. a small tightness in your throat because you’re so thankful for all you have, and you want to share. i love that feeling. i really do. also, in the vein of sharing that feeling… visually, i’m making a hashtag for IG. want to play? hash your photos #celebratethankgive i can’t wait to see! alright, on to the list!

holiday photos– we get our pictures taken by someone who knows what they’re doing… oh… about… once a year. if that. i met val last year, and i LOVE her amazing eye and stunning photography (that’s one of hers above). i took out my photos from last year and CRIED. maybe because i’m sappy, but more because she captured all the little things about my kids i love.

holiday simmer – pinterest is full of ideas for this. basically… find an old pot, put some water in it, and add things to start making smells that make your brain think ‘christmas!’

christmas movies – i have a list i keep on my phone. i mostly like really old, or really new. meet me in st. louis, holiday inn, mame, the shop around the corner, white christmas, love actually, the family stone, elf, the holiday. and now i get to rewatch all the kids ones… sweet!

make treats/cookie swap – i rarely get to bake any more… i love baking. it’s one of those things that’s autopilot for me. it’s lulling, and relaxing, and then there’s a sweet treat at the end. last year we took treats to the firemen, des loved it. i was thinking Read more →

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