kriselkeeper: July 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013


Within the first month of Dave and I dating we decided to go to India together.  Actually, it wasn't just the two of us. The trip was in the works when we met. My mom and I had already decided we wanted to go and when I went on my first date with Dave he sort of invited himself along.  A week later we were at the airport buying tickets for the three of us. How nuts is that?  You start a relationship and right off the bat you go to a foreign country, not just with the person, but with their mother!!! I think we're nuts now but I thought it was pretty normal at the time. 

Anyway, on our trip we bought a lot of textiles.  They have such fabulous colors and fabrics in India.  I stored most of these things and had forgotten all about them.  Last week while searching for old curtains from my old apartment, I came across my box of Indian fabrics.  I found these pillow cases that I loved at the time and love even more now!  

The girls build forts and bunkers. Part of the process includes gathering every single pillow in the house.  It's all fantastic except for when they use the pillow I sleep on.  I don't really love my sleepy pillow getting sat on...and sometimes farted on.  So, my latest goal has been to get the kids more play pillows. Finding the pillow cases from India was serendipitous!

 Look at these amazing prints!  I vividly remember buying these cases or shams. We weren't in a shop. In fact, at this point on our trip we were still flying solo without a guide. We ended up in a sort of abandoned factory or something and a man on a rooftop had mountains of fabric remnants.  Almost all the pillow cases had an imperfection.  But even the good ones had a vintage allure to them. I think I bought the three for a dollar a piece!  

I also vividly remember thinking that the shams would be perfect in my future daughter's room.  So, when Gemma got onto P's bed and started reading to her doll I almost cried. There was my vision come true.  It's all a bit surreal.  

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

House Colors

In recent pictures it's pretty evident our house needs to get painted.  In person it's been evident for about 5 years now and definitely for the last 3.  Three years ago I fixed the wood on the south side windows and beams. I planned on painting the frames and then the house.  

My dad got very sick and passed away three years ago. I remember working hard to varnish and protect the wood before I left for Florida. It was January, the rainy season was hitting hard and I wanted, at the very least, to keep the wood from rotting.  My dad passed away on that visit.  When I got back the last thing I thought about was painting.  It's all stayed the same since.  There's been a number of pregnancies and miscarriages in these last three years.  I feared being around any kind of paint fumes.  Then we were blessed to have Gemma, who is happy and healthy thank God. Painting again has been the last of my worries. 

However, with the installation of insulation...that's a mouthful, we're now at the point of no return. We need to have the house painted!  I've started getting estimates. Everyone has a different opinion about what the house needs.  Plaster, stucco, some sort of latex covering, sand blast, take it down to the studs, etc. etc. There's definitely more than one way to skin a cat.  

There's a few things on my mind with this job.  One is our budget.  Two, is that no matter how much stucco or glue or plaster you use on these houses they all crack.  This neighborhood is built on basically a sand foundation. Every single house in this hood has cracks. Big ones. Doors open in one season and get suck in another.  Sounds awful right? Well, the flip side is that when the earthquakes hit these houses have minimal damage.  They shift and handle the movement.  So, I'll take the cracks over big damage.  Everyone suggest fixing the cracks but it's not a big thing for me. In fact, I consider it money down the drain. 

Anyway, I have a few ideas on the colors. It has to be a light colored house. Our summers are God-awful.  I don't want a color that soaks in the heat, although I really wanted a dark brown.  Also, the window frames are white. We can't change their color or the color of the roof and the lip that comes down off of it. The roof is a dark brown.  I'm also taking into consideration the wood element all around our house. I'm not sure I can afford to do the fence as well as the house at this point but I hope to have the whole house looking super spiffy in a year's time. So the pictures here are some reference ideas of what I want. I have a vision in my mind. Lets see how well it executes! 

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Better Burger

Once upon a time we had this grill.  It was cute and orange and cheap. $100.  But it lasted one season!  Last year my mom got Dave this grill from Crate & Barrel. It's awesome...and pretty to.  I completely forgot to write about this and yet it's one of those things that has made an improvement to our summer living. When it's 100 degrees outside who wants to turn on the oven?

When buying a grill I highly recommend buying a Webber. There's a reason they've been around so long. And I recommend getting either a grill with a little station attached like ours or buying a cart or table of some sort to keep right next to the grill. You don't think of it until you're flaming away, but you need an area for plates, sauces, etc.  We hope to keep this grill for many summers to come!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shade Sails for our in-between space.

Our backyard. I love it in the mornings when the sun is kissing the front of the house and the back is left alone to feel cool and shady. But by 2:30 the sun has moved. It's now slapping the back of the house and we're feeling incredibly hot.  

This particular garden spot between the house and carport had potential.  At 4pm the carport blocked the sun and it was heaven. It's been one of my favorite late afternoon reading areas. However, earlier in the day it was wasted space because it was too hot. After reading The Brick House's post on shade sails I got inspired to do the same thing here.  Not only would it extend our shady reading time but it could also cool the house down.  The shade could help keep the bedrooms cooler! 

I read The Brick House post years ago and finally in May I decided I would call the resource she listed for the sails.  I wanted to get a custom made sail.  However, that same week I went into Costco and they had these triangular sails for $22 each. I couldn't resist. I bought 6! 

Before the sails were fully installed you can see how sunny it was. We didn't enjoy the space until late in the day.  Now, we use it all day long.  With three butterfly chairs and the kids water and art tables it is the ideal place to play and relax all in one.  

The Costco sails claim not to need any hardware. However, I suggest buying shade sail hardware which you can buy online.  I bought one of these packs that's meant to work for one sail.  I was able to use it for two sails and then decided to buy similar hardware at Home Depot. The items from Meijer were better and had a more polished look but by the time I got my 4 sails up with hardware I had at home I only needed very specific pieces. 

So, now we have magical play space. Next,  is painting the house.  It looks awful right now with the patch work from the insulation. But baby steps. We're getting some big things off our list!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Red-Orange Umbrella

We've been making many little changes and/or additions around the house this summer.  They've all had big, positive effects on our comfort level. For the first time, since moving into our house, I'm happy to be here during the summer. This is huge!  I really dislike the heat!

I bought an umbrella for the back patio.  We've always used our shade sails and they've gotten the job done. However, this umbrella brought an added dose of happy.  I think it's the red/orange color and the permanent shade to our Hoop chair area that makes us all feel happy. 

We now have the perfect shady spot to sit and have yummy mango in the mid-day sun!  
This umbrella was a spontaneous $50 purchase from Target. It's only 6 feet wide.  I don't think it'll last too many summers. So, now I'm on the lookout for a 9 foot, Sunbrella fabric umbrella from Crate & Barrel. They have beautiful ones there.  But for now I'm thrilled that $50 could bring us so much happiness!

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