Scenes from the Field: One more Daffodil

To remind myself to be thankful for where I live.  To remind myself  that even in the midst of months of rain, the sun does occasionally shine.

xo Jay

DIY: Old School Green Chalkboard Mural

As we were building this wall, I knew that it was destined to be used for some creative purpose.  After throwing around a few ideas in my head, I decided on a large chalk board.  One thing I just could not decide on was the color.  I have painted many, many things with black chalkboard paint.  But after so many great tutorials in blog-land, I decided to try my hand at mixing my own chalk board paint.  Martha has done it.  Elsie has done it.  And of course, Kate gave a great tutorial as well.  Chances are, you too have made your own chalkboard paint.  I guess it was just my turn.

I do believe that everyone is using the same ratio.

Now, originally I wanted more of a green apple color, and had I taken the apple with me to the Home Depot, I would have a more yellow-green.  Truth be told, I actually really like the color I ended up with.

The paint is Behr Premium Plus Ultra (paint and primer in one) in Pesto.  It looked much more like pistachio pudding on the paint can lid.  When I picked it up from the paint desk, I experienced a moment of horror diappointment.

And I have to admit after the paint dried I experienced a moment of  “Oh, Lord.  What have I done?”


The grout is “bright white” non-sanded grout.  I do not think it affected the color at all.   I mixed the paint and grout together in this 13″ x 9″ lidded plastic container because I had read that it sets up pretty fast because of the grout.  Also, the lid serves as a great paint tray.  I used my new favorite painting tool; a 4″ foam roller.  It provided a nice smooth finish, perfect for a chalk board mural.


So here is our “blank canvas”.  It is a half wall, about 4 feet high by 15 feet long.  It is in our lower level, adjacent to the family room.  You will see more of that room soon.


And here is the after.  After in-progress, really.  I need to add trim around the “bar top”.

Like I said before, after the second coat dried, I was not so keen on the outcome.  But Lizzie and I spent some time priming the board, wiping it down with white chalk.  And then… it just kinda transformed before my eyes.

“Why hello, old school green chalkboard!  Thanks so much for showing up!”

And… I really like it.  Every member of the family has come down for a scribble or a doodle.  Now a previously under-utilized area of our home is being used for creative, fun pursuits.  Love it!

I also want to grab a few more small stools, which are much more comfortable than the floor.

Lizzie in action.

Until the weather warms up, I see us spending quite a bit of time here; drawing spring flowers, blue skies, apple trees, and quadratic equations.

What’s your next bold move?  I want to know!

xo Jay

linking up at:

centsational girl    tidy mom     tatertots and jello

Making Peace with My Sofa: Freshened Up for Spring

I want new furniture.  There it’s out there, now you know.  What?  Not the first time I have mentioned it?  OK, guilty.

Here is the living room just mid January:

But what I want more than furniture is a super fun vacation with my family (more on that later).  So the funds are already being spent on something more important.  Also, you may recall frugality is seriously hip right now on Wilbur Road;  I just don’t think that the living room will see a new sofa in 2012. I am OK with that.

Truth be told, if I had found a sofa that I just LOVED, I would spend the money anyway.  But I have not found my long-lost sofa-mate.  To me, if I am going to lay down a cool grand (or more?) for a sofa I had better LOVE it.

So for now, I am making peace with my living room furniture.  Love the one(s) you’re with, right?  So I decided to whip up a few envelope pillow covers, in whimsical fabrics that just say spring to me.

I found all of the fabrics at Joann, all 9.99/yd, on sale 30% off.   These prints  remind Liz of jelly beans. They had so many adorable, whimsical, fantastic choices.  Seriously.  I was thrilled.  It is a really nice heavy canvas-y type home decor fabric.  I had to whittle my choices down to these.  My pillows are down filled from IKEA, in various sizes.  The next time I am there (about once a year) I must be reminded to purchase 4 more 20×20 down pillows.

I really like this “chevron-ish” zig-zag pattern.  After discount, I am going to guess-timate the cost of recovering this pillow to be about $6.00.  I am will to spend $6.00 and a half an hour on trendy fabric.  I am not however, willing to spend $26.  I am… cheap frugal.  And I am happy to report that I am actually pleased with how these turned out.  Which, I must say is odd for me, because I usually hate most things that I sew.   The other (blue on cream) pillow is from Target, circa 2011.

If you are looking for a tutorial on sewing envelope pillow covers, there are a few on my decorating Pinterest board here.  I am not slowing down for a tutorial right now ladies….

It feels fresh to me, and that feels good.  A bit more cheerful, with a definite air of spring.  I think I have made peace with my sofa, at least for the time being.

Happy Spring cleaning and decorating!


linking up at:

tatertots and jello

Wake Up! A Simple Spring-time Mantel

Happy First Day of Spring!

The daffodil fields are popping, the trees are alive with buds, and signs of growth and change surround us here on Wilbur Road.  Yes, it will rain for many more months to come here in the great Pacific Northwest, but we will choose to embrace these signs of spring and be patient for warmer days.  Either that or we will pack up the car and head to warmer climes for Spring break.

But I digress…

I felt that the mantel deserved a simple display for spring, along with a sweet, quiet message.  I had originally written “GROW” on the chalkboard.  Just a simple word of encouragement, one that could be interpreted by the reader in whichever way they chose.  “GROW little flowers”, “GROW in your spirit”, “GROW in your work”.  You get the idea.

But my dear sweet 14 year-old son was not impressed.  I am pretty sure he though it was L-A-M-E.

Buddy: “What’s that about?”

Me: “Huh? What? Grow… you know it’s spring, Grow.  It’s a simple message for Spring”

Buddy: “Really?”

Me: “What, no?”

Buddy: “No, Mom.”

Right about now I am kinda taken aback. 

I had no idea he was really paying attention to all my mantel tomfoolery. 

“Alright, what do you think it should say?”

And without hesitation he blurts out:

And he says it with conviction, which I am totally digging.  And yet again I am reminded that these kiddos of mine are smarter than me and much more clever.  I dig that even more.

So there you have it.  Two bunches of tulips, 3 bunches of daffodils, everything else was found elsewhere in the house.  No glitter, no party lights, just a simple, startling call to WAKE UP!  Love it, Buddy!

Want to see the daffodil fields in all their glory?

Visit my Scenes from the Field posts here and here.  You can see them come alive, wake up if you will.  You can even see them in the snow here. 

And my past mantels which were decidedly less SIMPLE are here (St. Pat’s), here (Mardi Gras) and here (Valentines’s Day). 

Thanks for visiting,


Linking up at:

the lettered cottage       52 mantels

Scenes from the Field: The humble Daffodil

We were treated to a rare bit of sunshine in the Valley this evening.  No worries, the forecast calls for plenty of rain and perhaps even a bit of snow.  Oh, glory.  So when I glanced outside, and saw the blue sky across the Valley, I gave my partner a kiss, grabbed my camera and headed to a few of my favorite fields.

The funny thing is, that for such an unusually pretty night, I ran into not one other person out snapping pics.  No professionals, no drive-bys, not a one.    In a month, when the tulips are at this stage, there will be dozens of folks out, snap-happy as can be.

These picture were taken from different directions (first was east-facing, second was west-facing).  They are two different fields about a mile apart.  

While I was out there, I asked myself, “Why are the daffodil fields so lonesome?”

To me, they are the guardian angels of spring.  They are a full-bloom promise.  They stand tall, bright and showy.  I imagine them saying, “HEY.GUESS WHAT?  Yeah, it’s gonna rain for like the next 6 months and all, but HEY!  I’m here.  And I’ve brought friends.”

So I will look to these bulbs, and their friends who will be arriving shortly,  to help guide me through this time of rain and mud.

With love,



Scenes from the Field

We had a rather unexpected snow fall last night.

I had to put my studying on hold for a few minutes this morning and see how the daffodils fared with our wee skiff of almost spring time snow.


They appear to be faring quite well.

We had some pretty unbelievable weather throughout the day, snow, hail, and patches of bright blue sky.  School and work had me driving quite a bit today, and I swear there were about 20 amazing shots that I missed because I DID NOT HAVE MY CAMERA!

Note to self:

Don’t leave home without your camera!

Alright, back to the books!

xo Jay

Scenes from the Field

Not to far from Wilbur Road, there is a Valley.  A beautiful Valley, which grows an abundance of many wonderful things; like the World’s largest annual crop of beet seed.  Impressive.

But even more impressive is the show the fields put on during the months of March, April and May.

You see bulbs grow very well here. 

I drive past the fields almost daily.  I watch their progress; on my way to run errands or to school.  I never take their beauty for granted.

First up, the Daffodils.

Temperatures are supposed to reach 60 degrees here today, so I bet we will see many of these fields alive with color in the next few days.

What signs of spring are you noticing?



Wednesday: Let’s Take a Walk

How’s your work out routine going?

Wait, what?  How about a craft, we like those.

Yeah, me too.  I need a little motivation.  Let’s see…  short season is going to be here before we know it.  Yikes.  I am not sure about you, but I have been a little sedentary this winter.  Besides climbing the stairs multiple times a day, and a quick jog to and from class I have spent little time off my rear.  I just don’t think standing at a counter mixing cookie dough counts as “off my rear”.  Those cookies are going straight to my rear.

But I digress.

It’s Wednesday.  Let’s take a walk.  Where shall we go today?

First,  I picked up this little baby, because I need an external motivator, a “gold star” if you will.   I like to report my mileage to my Partner-in-Crime when he gets home.  He is my greatest cheerleader.

I got it at Target for 18.99 + tax.

I am in no way saying that this is the Pedometer to get.  I was lazy and didn’t feel like researching pedometers.  :)





 Then,  I called a girlfriend, who I missed terribly.  She is my favorite walking partner.

And, she is a professional photographer.  So in between catching up, I get some good photography lessons.

The bad thing about a walk with said friend is that if the cameras are along, we never seem to get our heart rate up.  Yeah, next walk, we will leave the cameras at home.  :)

Walking is the perfect time to get together with friends or even make new friends.   I have a bad habit of hibernating in the winter and staying close to home with my family.  Unfortunately this means I neglect many of my friendships.  This is one of my least favorite aspects of my personality.   I think the weather has a great deal to do with this, but I also honor the fact that it is just part of who I am, and I periodically need solitude.

But it’s time to connect.  

Pick up the phone.  Email is a lovely non-confrontational way to spark up a conversation.  Text?  Awesome.

Lets just connect.


So back to our walk….

A pleasant day in Western Washington.  It’s the middle of our (9 month) raining season, so we cannot expect to much, alright?

 So today I walked 1.32 miles or 4199 steps.

Nothing to brag about, but it’s a start.

I am going to keep track of my weekly mileage and steps, and report that here each week.

Let’s check in.  Let’s take a walk together on Wednesday.    Let’s share how many miles, hours, minutes, steps we take each week.   However you measure your progress.  Or even… “I went for a walk on Tuesday, and if felt great.”   No pressure, no rules.  Let’s just move.

And let’s do it with a girlfriend.

Or maybe a furry friend.

But lets connect, and lets move.



Taking Care of Business: Trimming a Vent and Door

I love a list, don’t you?  Is there a more lovely way to organize your thoughts or prioritize your projects?  Nope.

What’s even better than making a list?  Crossing things off your list.  My virtual pen did plenty of that this morning!  Over the weekend we worked on finishing up a bunch of trim work.

Check out our Home(stead) Goals  2012 list here.  Progress rocks.

We have been putting this area off for some time, because we just didn’t quite know what to do with it.  It’s the bathroom door, in our master bedroom.

My Partner-in-Crime and I installed the door about two weeks ago.   Aaand… I installed the door knob BY MYSELF last week.  It was time to finish the job, and cover this nastiness that I have been stepping over for about 5 years.  Yeah, time to get on that.

A big part of our foot dragging came from the fact that we just weren’t sure how best to go about it.  How to trim around that vent, and trim out the bottom of the door?  We thought about just using one large piece of wood that would reach to the bottom of the door.  That would be really spendy.  And the transition to the molding on the adjacent walls would look wonky.  Yeah, we himmed and hawed for… years.

And quite honestly, I am not sure that our solution was the perfect solution.   But it is 100 times better.  And it is very Wilbur Road.

So we just went under the vent, and cut a small trim piece to go around it, and inserted the vent on top of it all.  I am not going to lie to you, there was some swearing involved.  We had a dickens of a time getting the fancy vent cover to fit correctly, without voids around it.  I needed to know that I could shut off the vent in our room completely.  It gets warm in here quickly the three times a year the furnace is fired up.

And this is what I mean by so very Wilbur Road.   It’s a little cooky, and a  little crude.  But I am going to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We are not finish carpenters.  We don’t care, either.  This is a handmade home.  And every little detail has been overseen by a team (usually my Partner-in-Crime and I; sometimes a sweet family member, a neighbor or a friend).    And we have learned a lot along the way.  Sometimes we don’t remember what we have learned, but learning has occurred.  But every little detail has a story, and when I look around my home, I feel the  love that went into building this house.

What’s better than crossing something off of your list?  The beautiful results.

So have you made a list for the year?  What nagging projects are you tackling (or have you recently tackled?)  I want to hear!


Oh, and you might be wondering “why is your door off the floor in the first place?”  Good question!  Our loft was built directly on the beams below it, there are no voids  for things like pluming, venting, and electrical.  Tricky, yes.  So it is pretty typical in homes like ours to “build-up” the sub floor, to create space for venting, pipes, etc.  Now you know.


De-cluttering Continues: A Place for Everything (Bookcase Revamp)

So I am not going to quite meet my self imposed March 1 completion for my De-Clutter challenge.  But I am soldiering on!

When I last left you, the loft looked something like this:

And while I did get rid of the clutter, I needed to complete the job.  I have tossed many ideas around in my noggin’ about how to best utilize this space, most of them cost a bit of cash.  I went into this project  challenging myself to utilize only things we had on hand.  Frugality is very hip right now on Wilbur Road.

So I decided to take this 80′s oak veneer bookcase, and try to make it a little more classic.

I sent my Partner-in-Crime out to the woodshed, and he came up with some scraps of molding we had left over from various projects.  I went to work on painting (more cream, left over from the open shelving project in the kitchen).

Hmm.. maybe I need to do a little more touch up on that molding?

My PiC attached the molding to the top, plus a little “skirting” piece around the bottom.

Now, if I was to say spend a little money on this project, I would have purchased a little bit larger molding.  But really, I am quite happy with the way it turned out.  Lighter, brighter and a little more timeless.  Of course I could not wait to get some of my books off the floor and onto the shelves.  But, I was patient, and gave the paint plenty of time to dry.

Now I have a place for the sewing machines to hang out.   And  it is home to most of our craft/home improvement/DIY books.  A place for everything, and everything in it’s place, right?  It is amazing how much tidier your house can be when you have a place to put your goods.  I resisted the urge to “curate” this space; adding nic-nacs from around the house.  I am going for simplicity and function.

Isn’t that green ladder cute?  I found it just like that.

Every so often (like a change of season, or preparing for a holiday) I like to group books together by subject.  It gives me inspiration for upcoming projects.  Can you tell that I am getting ready for spring?  Did I mention that it snowed today?  Grrr…

And this shelf?  I decided to leave it open.  Which is my word for 2012.  I wanted a blank space, open for whatever may be ahead.  It is grouped with a sweet little painting by Lizzie.

The loft is really shaping up.  I have de-cluttered the library and the craft room.  Next up, my closet.

I hope you’ll join me!


linking up at:  whipperberry     tidy mom     i heart organizing    miss mustard seed    tater tots and jello

                            funky junk interiors    sew many ways    thrifty decor chick

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