Evolution of a fireplace…

Since I am showcasing my mantle for Christmas, I thought I would show the progression of my fireplace.

When we moved in our fireplace was the big ugly elephant in the room. It was dark. The brick was dark and the mortar was black. Yes, black. Who uses black mortar? I guess it was something they did in the 70’s.

It was just not my style. I love having a wood burning fireplace back. A real fire roaring in the winter. The smell, yes I love the smell. And its just a beautiful thing to watch, all the burning wood and glowing embers.

So here is the story of my fireplace in photos…. and please ignore our messes in these photos because we were still moving in and things were not cleaned up and organized very much. We are still living in a construction zone some what.


Here would be my cabin theme I tried for a few months trying to make this fireplace brick fit in. Though I actually loved the look, I just can’t live in it. I love cabins and cabin decor but its not something I want in my main living area. Maybe in a room I am not in all the time.


So here is right after I white washed the fireplace but not finished. I removed the trim and have since painted it white to blend and also left some off since we need to fix a ceiling area about the fireplace from a previous roof leak issue. I also have not repainted yet in this photo. The surrounding walls have been painted a few times. I have also moved the bookcases to my craft room now that I don’t have a million homeschool books to store. And as you can see, I really like sideways photos lol!


And so here it is today! For some reason the top looks yellowish but I promise in real life it does not. See those “slits” in the brick next to the art work? Those are vents for the heat for the blower. I also have a vent up in the master so my room stays a little toasty. The man who inspected our fireplace said we had an awesome fireplace. Well built. The lining is high end something special. Who ever built this fireplace really put a lot of heart into it. I just didn’t like the brick selection :). I am not sure how common this part is but the wall the fireplace is on backs into the garage and it is a full wall of concrete bricks. So in a hundred years if the house isn’t standing, the fireplace wall will be.


I hope you enjoyed my sharing of my fireplace. I am really starting to love my home!


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Update to the Fireplace mantle

I have not figured out which look I want in my family room, but for the winter we decided to go nautical instead of beachy. And these photos are not as clear as they should be. My camera phone is 13megs but doesn’t seem like it. I really need to go back to my Canon.

So here is what we settled on for now.  We changed a few colors out and added in more red. Hope you like them.

I decided to put my “boat rope” on the mantle. I will leave it up after the holidays if I keep the family room nautical. Which I probably will until the movie room basement gets finished. I usually have my nautical decor in the movie room.  My rope use to be my handrail in our previous home but when it when on the market I took it down to bring with me. The rope isn’t expensive but the brackets kinda are.


And today we have the fireplace going. It is about 50 here in Cincinnati.


This is a different angle. Eventually this paneling you see in the background will come down and dry wall put up. Though I do kinda like it painted as it gives me a beach cottage kinda feel.


And here is a little preset on my phone. Thought it made it look neat and the blue pop.



I wish the whole room was finished so I could post a photo of it all done. But there is still a whole in my wall where we took down the brick half wall separating this room from the breakfast nook area.

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My thoughts on the non Merry Christmas Starbucks Cup…

Some people are already mad about Starbucks not putting Merry Christmas on their cups.

This is where I am sure to tick off some of my fellow Christians.

I don’t really care that they are not doing this. I don’t get why it matters so much to some Christians that other people, or company in this case, do not cater to their holiday.

Here are some points on why it doesn’t bother me:

  1. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. And for those who do, do it for different reasons. Some do it as a celebration of Jesus’ birth even though he was not born any where near December. Then there are those who celebrate it because its a time of giving, spending time with family, and decorating. I personally love to decorate for Christmas. Its something we do as family bonding time. I compartmentalize Christmas in to these 2 categories.
  2. There are other holidays in these next couple of months like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and there are others. If Starbucks, or any other company, were to list every holiday on their cups, they would spend a lot of money. If they wanted to make all their customers happy then they could put Happy Hanukkah on their cups for that week, then the week of Christmas they could put Merry Christmas on their cups.
  3. Stop getting so offended over everything. That is the problem with our generations now, everyone is so selfish for their own agenda they get offended over everything.
    When’s the last time you heard Jews whine over not having Happy Hanukkah written on a Starbucks cup? Not that I have ever heard. They understand not everyone celebrates their holiday and they don’t make a big deal about it.
  4. Oh and some people don’t celebrate any holidays. They just want to live their lives peacefully and not be bombarded with people whine about how they are offended.

I will put in one thing that does bug me. Its a Christmas Tree! Not a Holiday Tree. No other holiday decorates a tree. So calling it a Holiday Tree makes no sense. It sounds pretty stupid if you ask me.

So, in conclusion of my rant. People need to let it go. Respect others.

If you don’t like a company not putting Merry Christmas, or any other holiday on your cup or what ever, just don’t shop there.

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Beachy/Nautical Inspired Christmas Mantle…

I know its kinda early for Christmas decor, but for us, is ever really too early? NO!

We have been working on our mantle decor. Agent K decorated our mantle garland.

We are still finishing up the remodel in this room so if you see weird things in the background, please ignore them.

If you are curious about the painting it is by Leoma Lovegrove exclusively at Bealls Florida.
This is my favorite painting. I also have some other items with her art work on them. She paints in my style.


Agent K wanted to make sure she got some traditional Christmas in so she put red bows on the end of the garland along with our little dachshunds we picked up last year at Cracker Barrel.

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In stead of using twine I had originally purchased to use as garland, she opted for burlap strips left over from other projects from the past.


We also picked up some “pics” from Micheal’s in blue squiggly things (they remind me of coral), palm leaves, and teal leaves.

We took some shells and star fish and hot glued curling ribbon to them for hanging. We also will be using them on the tree this year.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this little peek into our life today.

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Surprise! Todays Funny Photo…

We had this surprise coming out of our Cracker Barrel bag today…. Lunch? Maybe not lol.


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Cottage Crashers: Front of house makeover and kitchen sneak peak…

I have been slacking again on posting. Sorry.

Here is the latest on the constant house crash.  I had to pull this old photo off the internet of our house. This is what it looked like outside when we purchased it.
Very drab and boring. The shutters blend right in.


And here we are now.  New front door (I will post about that experience very soon), new windows, and some minor landscaping changes. We will get to landscaping next year probably. I do hope to take out a few bushes this weekend. The hubby doesn’t want to do it but they need to go. You will see them in the lower photos.


We painted the shutters dark brown to match the door. And yes, I am brave. I picked out an Autumn-ish yellow (Behr’s English Daisy) to go with the browns. I was going for a Mediterranean feel.  I just get that vibe with the brown tones in the brick. I am going to be changing the lights out or painting these. I am not sure yet.


So my lovely daughter trimmed up these bushes in the summer to look like “pine trees” so she could do Christmas lights on them for December. But 2 of these I want gone. I don’t mind the ones surrounding the front door next to the house but the 2 center ones surrounding the short sidewalk going towards the door, they have to go. They block the front door and seasonal porch decor from the road. They are also starting to grow over the sidewalk. I am not really sure what the “planter” was thinking when s/he planted them there.


I will be posting some more updates soon. The kitchen is 90-95% finished. There are still final touches to be done and an island to be built. I don’t really want to post much of that until its done. There was a lot that went into that project. Taking a wall down and expanding the kitchen into the dining room. Moving the dining room into the large formal living room. We did away with the formal because that is not useful for us. We have a family room we love and then we also will have a family theater room in the basement so having a 3rd space with a sofa was not a good use of space for us.

Here is the sneak peak of the kitchen. The granite (colonial white) and these white washed in blue boards have something to do with the kitchen. Can you guess what it is?


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Until next time…….

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DIY: Mason Jar Pendant Light…

When we purchased our home, we inherited a lot of items (I think someone got tired of packing). One of those items was this old mason jar. I have one of these from my Grandma but I didn’t want to make it a part of the house. So I thought since this mason jar was with the house when we purchased it, it should be here when we leave. Not that I plan on moving any time soon. I hope!


I went to one of our local home improvement stores and purchased a Westinghouse light kit for pendants in white. I remember it didn’t cost much but I can’t think of the cost right off hand.

I took the lid and drilled a hole in it then I took wire snips and cut out a hole big enough for the light ballast to go in. I also spray painted the lid white because I wanted it to blend with the light parts. Then my husband did the hard job of hanging the light over our sink.


These photos are not the best. I am not good at indoor lighting. I will have more photos after out kitchen remodel is complete.

The background may look terrible because we are still in construction mode.


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