Room Evolutions

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
-William Morris

Today marks the first Room Evolutions party at Jenny's fabulous blog, Evolution of Style!

We have been working on this house non-stop since we moved here eighteen months ago so it would stand to reason that even one room might be completed, right?  Especially since we've owned three other houses before, and came into this one with lots of furniture and belongings!  Well, I've come to the conclusion that evolution doesn't happen overnight.

Mark and I took our most recent move as an opportunity to make our home feel more like US.  Our previous homes had somehow come together as traditional spaces; perhaps the result of young parents feeling the need to be "grown ups"?   But as we aged along with our kids, we realized that while we like traditional style, our house didn't feel like it represented the family that lived there.  So we sold our formal dining room set.  Our heavy drapes stayed with the last house.  Instead of going for "traditional" or "contemporary" or "country" we instead purposefully decided that we'd take our time creating a vibe that felt good to us.

About a year into trying to pull together what works for us and feels good for our family, I read this post by Darlene at Fieldstone Hill and it nailed exactly what we'd been trying to accomplish in this house!  Darlene encourages you to identify your personal style with adjectives and descriptive words about how you want your home to feel, how you want your home to look and the purpose(s) you want your home to serve.  These are some of the words that we want our house to reflect:
Pulled together

The idea to is to identify what you want out of your home, and then use this as a springboard for pulling it all together.  Every design choice or purchase that we make should reflect something on our list.  And the key to all of this, I've come to find, is something I don't possess a lot of:  patience.  Making this home cozy and meaningful and organized is a process.  But if the end result is a home that we love, that we created with intention and thought, then it'll be worth it.

For Jenny's first Room Evolution party, I thought I'd share the evolution of our foyer - before, now and someday.  Like all the other rooms, it is slowly but surely evolving into our vision!

Here's the foyer at our home inspection, July 2010.

Fall 2011:  the treads and rails went dark and all the trim white, and board and batten was added to the stairwell and foyer walls.

{The board and batten project deets.}

Why the dark stain on the stairs? 
Eventually we will replace the ugly 80s tile with medium-toned hardwood floors to match the rest of the house.   After stripping the treads I discovered that they were badly stained from the previous owner's pets.  Our options were to either replace them or stain them dark, like this gorgeous photo that shows dark treads and rails contrasted by medium wood tone floors.  
{We also love all the molding and woodwork in this inspiration photo!}
This Old House Stair traditional hall

Way off in the distant future we'll replace the foyer and kitchen floors with hardwood to match the other rooms on this floor.  This year we'd like to install a natural runner on the stairs.
Reading Nook from Southern Living traditional living room
{Southern Living}

EW Renovation  staircase
{Atlanta Architect Castro Design Studio}

I love how a natural runner adds some warm tones to balance all the black and white.
{Landry & Arcari)

This year I am also planning to move the doorbell box or replace it with a wireless system, and add crown molding.  I absolutely love this ledge for leaning artwork but I think we need something a little more interesting than the haphazardly placed S.  I see a lot of Pinterest in my future!

Thanks for checking out my foyer and be sure to visit Evolution of Style's Room Evolutions Party today!

Also, this Friday, February 3 is the BEFORE LINK UP for February's Before & After Parties!  I can't wait to see what projects or goals you have for yourself this month!

Shine Your Light

**Edited to add:
After publishing this post, I came across a wonderful party at Pancakes and French Fries that coincidentally is an ode to the quote above by William Morris, and invites you to link up a post of how you are decorating your home with intention.  A perfect fit for my philosophy for our new home!  I am delighted to find this lovely blog.  Be sure to check it out.


Mangia Mondays:: January Features

Welcome to Mangia Mondays, the weekly blog hop that I humbly co-host with the absolutely radiant Kristin of Delightfully Dowling!

A couple of fun announcements before we get rocking:
I'm currently giving away a copy of The New Boston Globe Cookbook - pop over here to enter!  The giveaway ends Tuesday, February 7.

Second, I love to highlight all the culinary talent out there, and have featured some of your Mangia Mondays recipes in fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants fashion for the past 9 months.  With a new year I'd say a little organization is in order around here, don't you?  From now on the last Monday of each month I'll highlight some of some great posts that caught my eye at Mangia Mondays that month, starting with today!  {Be sure to grab a button if you've been featured!}
Shine Your Light
January Features
There's nothing like a good bowl of soup on a cold winter's day, is there?
Wellness Hammock shared a recipe for Hearty Hamburger Soup that sounds SO satisfying.

I'm sweet on Sweet Morning's Sweet Potato Soup recipe.  Don't even get me started on how much I love my beta-carotene spuds!

My friend Sandy at c'est Moi linked up her French Onion Soup.  This is one soup I love but have never made - I can't wait to try it.  Thanks Sandy!

If you're looking for some Valentine's recipes, how cute would Mrs. Happy Homemaker's Heart-Shaped Pepperoni Pizza be for your lovies?  So clever and fun!

Are you craving summertime?  Check out this beautiful and tasty Spinach Salad with Fresh Berries, Candied Almonds and Raspberry Vinaigrette from The Blest Nest.  The next time I see berries on sale at my grocery store I'm all over this!

Imagine...It's Easy If You Try shared her Homemade Applesauce, both cinnamon and cranberry.  Have you ever looked at how much sugar is in jarred applesauce, a staple of my children's diet??  I've got to try this homemade version!

I thought I didn't like cauliflower until I tried a roasted version recently, and mmmmmm, was it good!  Check out the recipe shared by Meg's Everyday Indulgence for Roasted Cauliflower......go on, give it a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised if you've never had cauliflower this way!

My mouth was watering just looking at this picture of Seared Scallops with Creamy Pesto and Lemon Pepper Pasta (try saying that three times fast!!) from Cook Lisa Cook.  Don't you love when you use what you have in the house and it comes together as a fantastic meal?

Just Call Me Maria linked up her Rainbow Swirl Sugar Cookies - I've already bookmarked this recipe to make with my kids over February Vacation.  How fun!

Last but not least - how about some sweets for your sweeties?  Life Is Sweets shared these adorable Hershey Kiss Cutie Pies that I am definitely going to make for a Valentine's surprise for my kiddos - wait until you see how easy they are!

WOW - there are some chef extraordinaires out there!  You never cease to amaze me with your creative and delicious recipes.  Thank you to everyone who has linked up to Mangia Mondays this month!

Please be sure to link back to Mangia Mondays either at Delightfully Dowling or here to be featured in the future.  There were a few recipes that I would have liked to feature but didn't link back to the party.

Link on up your recipes, kitchen tips and tricks, restaurant reviews - anything food related will do!
Happy day, all!


January AFTER Linky Party!

Hello my friends and welcome to the first After Party in the monthly Before-and-After series!

I can't wait to see what you've accomplished this month!  Even if your current project isn't quite complete, feel free to link up how your project has progressed.

With a stomach bug taking up residence in my house this month, I finished up my goal just in the nick of time:  making over my daughter Hannah's closet.  After the bi-fold doors broke off their runners, we took them off and decided to try an open closet concept.  The previous owners had already installed a great built-in shelving unit - I just needed to make it functional for an 11 year old who is caught in the middle of being a little girl who plays with dolls and a tweenager who plays with makeup :)

This is the color scheme we went with when we moved here last year.....a cheerful blue {Ben Moore Splash 2059-60} that I tried to temper with lots of white, and just a pop of lime green and hot pink.

Enter the closet project.

When my Hannie Pannie asked for hot pink in her closet, how could I say no, when I see my baby girl growing up before my very eyes?  There's plenty of time for sophisticated in the years to come....right now I'm all about embracing this age of silliness and fun.

And oh, how painting this closet brought me back to my childhood room, coming home from school to find my mother and aunt transforming it for me - for me!  I had shared a room with my brother but when mom decided it was time for us to have separate rooms - ages 4 & 5?  5 & 6? - he joined my other two brothers and I got a room all to myself.  I'm sure mom thought I'd be delighted, and the boys thought I was so lucky - there I was with a whole room to myself while the three boys were all smooshed in another - but I could hear them laughing at night through the wall and I was oh so lonely.  So on a tiny little budget my sweet mom made that room of mine into a little girl's dream and I learned to love it and enjoy having my own space.  Now I see my daughter read, do homework and write stories in solitude, and play, dance and laugh with her friends in this room like I did once upon a time in mine, and I want this to be a happy place for her, in this beautifully uncomplicated and simple time of her life called eleven.

If a color palette will elicit a little joy, then why not?  So my kids' bedrooms look like Candyland!!  The closet had to be painted anyway.  So here we are - and I have to say - I love it, and so does Hannah!

We found a place for arts and crafts (storage made out of wine boxes....more on that later!).

A spot for the week's outfits, to make getting ready for school just a bit quicker.
{The clean laundry is woefully low since Mom has been busy doing projects.  Will there be clean laundry in Hannah's future?  The Eight Ball predicts,  It Is Decidedly So}

A little nook for the thousands of lotions, nailpolishes, and hair bands my girl has accumulated, with a couple of paper lanterns for light.

We purged this closet, and I hope having an open closet will help us to do it more frequently.  Those grey Fuggs have seen better days but she won't part with them!

Now how could a girl that lives in this room possibly have a moody adolescence?  Right???  I'm all about a little color therapy to battle the impending hormones.

Hannah loves her closet makeover and I hope having it look so nice and tidy will encourage her to take of her things and stay organized, but more than anything, I hope that when she grows up she fondly remembers this room and her crazy hot pink closet.

Now what about YOU??  Do share!  I'm dying to see your projects!

If you're linking up a blog post, please add the Before & After button or a link to Shine Your Light so your readers can find the party.
Shine Your Light
The next BEFORE party is next  Friday, February 3 and I'm looking forward to see what you have in mind for your next project.  Before you leave, don't forget to enter the giveaway!

And thank you for joining me for the first Before & After here - I'm so happy to have you over!

I am linking Hannah's closet to Thrifty Decor Chick's closet sharing party today!


After Party Reminder!

One last reminder that tomorrow, Friday the 27th, is the After Party over here!

SO many great Befores were linked up this month - I honestly can't wait to see how your projects have progressed!!!

If you didn't link up a "before", you are still more than welcome to share your before & afters at tomorrow's linky party!  It's always fun to see where you began so be sure to share a before photo or idea if you can.  If you're not finished with your project, give us an update!  Some projects certainly take more than a few short weeks!  I'm finishing up by the skin of my teeth - remember where I started?

The before and afters linked up each month can be DIY projects, home organization, a personal goal you are aiming for - just about anything!  The whole idea is to share a project that you want to accomplish, and then go after it!  Befores are linked up the first Friday of each month and the Afters on the last Friday.

Keep in mind that the next Before Linky Party will take place next Friday, February 3, and you can either link up a blog post or share an idea in comments, then return at the end of the month to show how your project progressed.

Tomorrow's party will be up and running by 9am EST, if my kids get on the bus as planned :)  See you then!


A Thank You and a Giveaway

Hi friends, how about a fun little giveaway?

Let's say it's in honor of the Patriots making it into the Superbowl and Chinese New Year, but it's really because I feel so grateful for all of you wonderful readers that make this blog such a fun place for me.  From the friends and acquaintances in my community who heard about Shine Your Light from a friend, to best friends who comment anonymously or send me messages on facebook, to all of you that I've never met in real life but weigh in on and support all my crazy notions, I so appreciate connecting with all of you via blogging.  Writing this blog and you have made moving and fixing up the Peach Pit oh so much fun!  So, thank you, my friends.

The giveaway:
The New Boston Globe Cookbook 
It has lots of great recipes (especially the clam chowda!) and a glimpse into life in my fair city.

To enter, how about we mix things up a bit? 

A post written by my lovely friend Suzanne of Privet and Holly reminded me of a Chinese New Year dinner party I went to once where the hosts handed out the meaning of Chinese Zodiac Signs {isn't that a fun idea for a party?}  I thought you might enjoy reading them today.  I'm a Pig/Boar and had to laugh at "doesn't handle money well" - yep, that hits the mark!

So what sign are you?  Enter the giveaway by
telling me what your Chinese sign is!
{Be sure to leave your email address if your comment is not linked to one!}

For a second entry,
subscribe to emails or follow Shine Your Light {see boxes in sidebar}
(Google Friend Connect is going away - we'll have to figure that one out together.)

Chinese Zodiac Signs
1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Powerful and aristocratic, you expect to be adored and you expect the very best.  You are passionate, proud and complex.

1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001
A mystic and philosopher, the snake is born with intuitive wisdom.  You are strong willed and intense, and known for your sense of style.

1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
Cheerful, popular and quick witted, the horse is known for an adventurous spirit.  You enjoy the company of others and are a hard worker.

1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
You are compassionate, kind and forgiving, though you may be sensitive to criticism.  The Ram (or Goat or Sheep) is likely to be artistic and talented, as well as a private person.

1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
Clever, playful and resourceful, monkeys can solve problems with compromise and negotiation.  You strive to excel and are very persuasive.

1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
Roosters love the lime light but are also tidy, well organized and direct.  While you may like to be right, you are usually not quick to anger.

1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
Animated dogs draw people to them easily and are generous, loyal friends.  The dog works well with others.

1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
The Pig or Boar is honest, courageous and proud, has a love of learning and detests fighting.  Though you have a taste for indulgence and luxury, you don't always handle money well.

1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Rats are known to be hardworking and ambitious.  The recipients of your generosity know your secret - you give to those you truly love.

1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
The Ox is strong and determined, a natural leader.  A tireless worker, you are admired for your fair mind and ability to listen.

1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Dynamic and dramatic, tigers are filled with passion, daring and courage.   Your spontaneity and liveliness stimulate others.

1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
You personify grace and elegance, with gentle speech and natural diplomacy.  The Rabbit or Hare is intelligent, calm, affectionate and a seeker of tranquility.

The giveaway will be open until Tuesday, February 7.
Good luck and thanks for following along on this ride!

***Don't forget to link up your AFTERS this Friday, January 27th!  I can't wait to see how your projects are coming along or your big reveal!***
For more information on the monthly Before & After parties, click here.

Shine Your Light