Friday, December 31, 2010


Since writing it down might make me actually do it, my resolutions include finishing the small projects I've been putting off. I resolve to finish these Bungalow projects in 2011:

  • Put glass knobs on hallway wall and hang framed monograms with ribbon from them
  • Paint the paneling/hang artwork of some type in the stairwell
  • Paint/fix up the stairwell to the basement. This includes stripping and staining the bottom flight of steps
  • Paint upstairs hall
  • Hang artwork in upstairs hall
  • Find/DIY a piece of furniture for upstairs hall
And now for the big projects we hope to accomplish at some point. 2011 would be nice:
  • Fix our living room ceiling
  • Build a deck
  • Save for/install IKEA wardrobe wall in bedroom
  • Spruce up laundry side of basement
  • Organize gross part of basement
  • Save for/buy new washer and dryer

Not too ambitious, right? C'mon 2011! We're ready!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

100 chapters down ... and Pier One is all around

Oh happy day, it's the 100th post on A Short Story! But who's counting? That doesn't really matter to me right now because I scored some Pier One gift cards!

Back in July I had the urge to buy a particular chest, rug and bowl for the bungalow from Pier One. These urges for things from Pier One happen often and there really is no cash flow in the Bungalow for extraneous beauty from the Pier. But then a little thing called Christmas happened and Devon and Rachel gave Pier One gift cards to me. Thank you ladies!

My gift cards fulfilled one urge and added a little extra bonus. Behold, the bowl I wanted is now sitting right where I wanted it to sit. It currently holds Christmas cards (I'm SO SORRY we didn't send any out this year. New Year's cards may be out soon). I think I can have some fun finding things to brighten up my beloved new bowl. Oh, and big thank yous to Mama Marie for picking out the new placemats and napkins dressing the table.

And here are the added bonuses. Two glass stars that hold candles. These will hang on the front porch in the summer along with the hanging votive holder Devon gifted me with. I want to create a whimsical look with hangy things like these for breezy summer nights on the porch. These stars work just fine in the vision in my head.

I also hit up Pier One's 50% off Christmas items sale. I picked up some fun things for Mike's office decor and for our gold-and-blue-themed upstairs. You'll have to wait until the 2011 holiday season to get a peek!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fine china and Chinese takeout -- holiday must haves

When Mike and I got married we didn't really need/want china. But we decided we would use Christmas china. We (I) envisioned large holiday dinners with family around our table and the perfect place settings and serveware setting the scene (setting, get it?). So we continue to recieve this lovely pattern in various forms and we insist on using it.

I should mention the placemats are from Aunt Pat and Uncle Lou from last year. They match perfectly!

For the past two years, Mike and I have sat down to a fancy meal during the holiday season. I couldn't tell you what we've eaten off our fancy service, but I do remember doing it. He has been out of town a lot and the holidays have flown by, but I insist on keeping the tradition. We travel to parents' houses for holiday meals and I don't transport the china. So I set the table Monday night and put out all the serving dishes for an inpromptu Chinese takeout dinner on the fine china. Courtney, Tara, and Melissa helped and came to eat dinner with me. It was beautiful!

Lennox's "Holiday" is a fine complement to good friends.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Now Prancer ... Don't hit Vixen on I-79!

Welcome to Christmas 2010: Part 2, Maysel. Let's house crash MoJo and BG Al's, shall we?
So, first, it was a White Christmas in Clay County. Lovely to see and to have, but wasn't so nice to see when we left Midnight Mass at 1:30 a.m. and found snow raining down on roads that were not going to be plowed/salted anytime soon. The ride home was a white knuckle trek complete with Vixen, or another of Santa's harem, running out in front of us on I-79. Oh, lucky us. Dad has been driving since he was 6 years old. We were good.

BG Al is a Charlie Brown tree enthusiast. He raises the bar every year. Check out his latest after Santa came to visit.

The living room tree is all dad. Mom decorates the rest of the house. Her awesome nativity is made of dolls from the Provence region of France. These "Santons" were all gifts from her friend Susane.

She couldn't find her 3 Wise Men or the baby Jesus. Go figure.

Mom has been building a hodgepodge Christmas Village for years. See the house on the top left knoll? That's Santa's workshop. I think that came from Nashville, TN. I remember when she got it! (Yes, The Grinch was on TV)

I think Mom's pride and joy is her Travel Tree. She and dad collect ornaments from places they visit and they end up here. Mike and I have even contributed with ornaments from Delaware, Antigua, Tybee Island, Corolla, and Williamsburg.
The latest contribution from Mike and me (Tybee Island).

Mom has several knicknacks around the house. Here is a small group of snowmen. I painted the on on the far right in 1992!

What would Christmas in Maysel be without several references to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Here we have Hunter joining in on the fun.

Christmas 2010: Parts 1 and 2 were both glorious occasions. Can't wait til next year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh, the Sweaters Inside were Frightful

Step away from the Bungalow with us for Christmas 2010: Part 1, Manassas. We traveled to Virginia over the weekend to take in Christmas with Mike's fam. They had their home ready for us! Join us in a little Manassas holiday house crashing.

This is the swanky red IKEA dresser Marie picked for her downstairs guest room after a painstaking search. I think it works wonderfully for the holidays (and the rest of the year, too!).

Here's the cheery red dresser with its equally cheery guest room Christmas tree.

Next we have the big Christmas tree and all the goodies piled underneath. Apparently it was supposed to be a light Christmas. I don't think anyone got the memo.

And the stockings were hung on the banister with care.

Have you ever seen so many lights in a ceramic tree?

We all exchanged ugly sweaters for our first (hopefully annual) Ugly Sweater Contest. Mike C. was a clear winner with original couture designed by Mama Marie. We all went bowling in our sweaters after this. They loved us at Bowl America. They really did. They told us so.

(Lilo is not in this picture. She is upstairs eating our cheesecake. For real.)

Stay tuned for Christmas 2010: Part 2, Maysel! We'll have some holiday house crashing from the home of MoJo and BGAl coming your way.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let's GO .....

Some of the most excitable Mountaineer fans from the other side of the nuthou... er, state line are coming to town for the regular season's last game -- WVU vs Rutgers. Our newly finished basement will get some sleeping hours logged. Maybe. But even more exciting is that there will be way too much food and drink for the bungalow and more laughs than 7 people crammed in it can handle. Hope She's ready. Did I mention there are four Christmas trees to navigate?
Let's Go Mountaineers (and USF Bulls, too!)!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Keep on keepin' on

I came home from doing a little Christmas shopping to find Mike lugging a ginormous old TV toward his swanky new office. When I asked what he thought he was doing he said "I need a TV working in there." It broke my heart to think of that awful, chunky TV ruining the vibe in his new space, so I made him come out to the car with me where I opened the trunk and surprised him with his Christmas present -- a month early. I really hate that he won't have that big box to open on Christmas morning, but I know he'll appreciate the streamlined tube much more during this next month instead of waiting for it. Lilo approved.

My personal shopper, a.k.a. Courtney, found a deal on frames at Michael's. So we grabbed three with mats for some Find Harri prints by Jeff Moores. These were a birthday gift from my parents last year. The artist even signed the one of the Coliseum (to "Erin" ... oops) and threw in a free print of his Backyard Brawl. It isn't being used yet -- saving it for a wall upstairs. I digress. Here they are:

The Coliseum and Mountaineer Field:

Mike swung by IKEA on his way home from Pittsburgh over the weekend and picked out a desk complete with an orange drawer. I'm told it was a little aggravating to assemble, but isn't everything from IKEA? His "new" desk chair came from Frog Pond Printery via WV Tech (correct me if I'm wrong, dad) and can probably be classified as an antique.

We'll keep on keepin' on with this basement and see where it takes us. I think his office has quickly become Mike's favorite spot in the house.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's a start ...

Little by little our 86-year-old basement is becoming useful. A year-long effort has produced a home office for Mike. What started on December 27, 2009 as B.G. Al's "let's insulate that outside wall so it isn't so drafty down here" type of project became a whole room. Evenutally. Feast your eyes on this.

We made a hallway! It's way more welcoming than what you previously saw when walking into the basement. The picture on the left shows the beginning stages. Note Mike's hardhat. He had a hammer incident involving his head. The hardhat was the result. The blank walls will soon have my Find Harry prints I received from mom and dad for my birthday last year. You know I'll post about them here.

On the left is what the space looked like before there was a hallway and a room. On the right is a view from the hallway at the bottom of the basement steps into the office.

Check out the difference the ceiling makes! We decided to keep as much height as possible and not put up a true ceiling. This part of the basement didn't have many wires or pipes hanging in it. I had read about a basement redo in Martha Stewart Living where the home owners simply painted the floor joists. That's just what we did. Two coats of primer and two or three coats of Killz white paint later, we have a much brighter room. Thanks to MIL Marie for helping on that. We both had sore necks/arms for days.

Mike now has a wall of storage and shelving. There will be a nice TV in the middle soon so he can run Bill Stewart's press conferences down there while writing his articles. Mike picked out the room's paint colors. Isn't that orange fabulous?!

This comparison amazes me the most. It's hard to believe our basement looked like that!

This is a pretty amazing transition for this corner of the room. There was a shower where you see the chair in the pic on the right! Unfortunately I can't find a picture of it. This is the first wall we worked on. It now has caulking, moisture block, insulation and the beadboard you see in the picture on the right. How 'bout that door? That was leaning against the wall in our basement. Score! We think it may have previously been a door between our kitchen and living room. We sanded it a little and whitewashed it. B.G. Al cut it down to fit the space and voila! An 86-year old solid wood door that is just beautiful. The shelves you see outside the door are along the basement steps. B.G. Al added them to use as a pantry space.

Here's the back wall of the room. The trim is actually tongue and groove flooring. Mike and his dad discovered it would be a cheap alternative to actual trim when they replaced a few boards on the front porch (see The Porch Post). We had some leftovers. It works. The carpet came from Lowe's. It is a commercial grade that came with padding on it. It worked perfectly on our imperfect concrete floor (thanks to Jay for helping this girl put it down as a surprise for Mike). The pictures are old ones Mike already had of Doubleday Field at Cooperstown, NY and Jacobs Field (now Progressive Park) in Cleveland. I popped them into matching frames for the wall.

We aren't sure where this sign came from. It was in Chris and Melissa's basement when they moved in. None of us can find a street in Morgantown called Cleveland Avenue. Melissa graciously offered it up as a surprise for Mike in honor of his love of Cleveland.
UPDATE: There is a Cleveland Ave in Westover, across the river from Morgantown. I wonder if the sign came from there.

Did I mention how much I love storage? These cabinets are 30 years old and came from dad's print shop. He wasn't making use of them so he brought them to us. We used some boards to space them out and painted them white. All they need now are some pulls. Mike will fill these up with media guides.

So now we're ready to find some furniture and get Mike set up in his new and improved work space. It's a start because, well, there's the rest of the basement to think about. Plans to spruce up the storage area and the laundry area are under way. We may have it all set in about five or so years.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I'm so excited about what's going on in the basement :) Stay tuned! Also, Christmas is just around the corner. Soon our attic will explode with red, green, gold, etc. goodness!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We saw the light ...

... and it was on clearance at Lowe's!

Earlier this week my love and I had a rendezvous at Lowe's for supplies for another ongoing project in the Bungalow. He shouldn't let me get there first with time to kill, especially with the Christmas retail out in full force. But what caught my eye was not of yuletide spirit. It was in the lighting department. I've had my eyeballs on this particular fixture for a year. The style goes along with the Craftsman/Mission character of our bungalow. And now it was a price I couldn't pass up.

Our boring, old light fixture in the hallway was replaced with a beautiful Tiffany style piece priced at a whopping $28.

Boring, old light:

Shining beauty:

If I had my way, we would have the larger, flush mount matching piece in the living room. But my love wants to keep a ceiling fan there, so we'll have to get a Tiffany inspired one down the road. And that's just fine with him since he was not daunted by the knob and tube wiring coming through our ceiling, circa 1924.
This post reminds me we've never addressed our hallway on the blog. If I ever finish up the few small projects I have for it, then we'll get a blog post up about the neglected middlemost part of our house. Now, with this fancy new light fixture, I have to add "paint the ceiling" to my to-do list.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Howl-o-Ween from the Bride and Groom

Melissa and I took Rudy and Lilo to the Howl-o-ween Paw-ty at Woof's yesterday. They dressed up as a bride and groom (thanks Melissa), but we let them think it was their wedding paw-ty. Lilo won a game of first dog to get a treat out of a plastic bottle and Rudy bobbed for hot dogs!

Lilo had a veil, a flower, a ring and a garter!

Rudy had a nice tuxedo and flower in his lapel.

This looks like they are saying vows.

The happy couple:

Our First Trick or Treaters at the Bungalow

We were not at the Bungalow last Halloween. We traveled to Tampa for the WVU/USF game and Guavaween in Ybor City instead. So this year was our first Trick or Treat in the 'hood. It was so exciting! Lilo wore her pumpkin best for the kiddies and we handed out Reese's peanut butter cups and Butterfingers. We had 19 trick or treaters!!

Our first trick or treaters were Thing 1 and Thing 2 (or Chuck and Leigh's kids, Colin and Charlie, from Jones Avenue). They were adorable. This was the first time both of them went trick or treating and we were their first house. Yay! Firsts all around. Both boys were perfect in their "Trick or Treat" pleads and "Thank yous." And they even added "See you Monday!" when they left. I guess they want us to come eat some candy with them or something.
Aren't they adorable?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Have I really not blogged during my favorite month?

It makes me sad to see that the last blog entry was Sept 24. I love October and its pumpkins. I need to kick it in gear and get some bloggy times for the Bungalow. Wait til you see the awesome pumpkin MIL Marie made for Mike and me. Oh, and a project that began last December is shaping up quite nicely. I haven't made mention of it here because it has been a very slow process. Hopefully there will be a big reveal soon.

Until then, check out the new home of our friends Jess and Brett. Isn't it pretty? My fave part is the arch window above the door. Jess used some punkin decorations we picked up last weekend to make it festive. Check out the wooden pumpkin with their last name on it located bottom right. CUTE.
Not to be outdone by Jessica's pumpkin cuteness, Courtney has a little pumpkin flair of her own on her front stoop. I'm jealous. Both gals purchased their decor at Pennsylvania's Annual Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival. We went on Oct 17. It was a blast!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lil punkins make me so happy

We all know how much I love pumpkin time. Of course our porch is decorated. All I need are a few big mums and it looks pretty much like it did last year. I'm currently playing around with options for the buffet in the living room. I love our little buffet. Since we lack a fireplace and I suffer from not being able to create mantlescapes, I'm so happy to be able to create buffet-scapes.
Here's what we have going so far.
I spent $7 on this! I purchased the spider web runner for $3 at Kroger a few weeks ago. The little ceramic pumpkins were part of the decor for a pumpkin-themed baby shower I threw for a coworker (my pumpkin love knows no limits). The two square pumpkin candle holders and the bigger ceramic pumpkin were Big Lots purchases back in the late 90s for mine and Jennelle's first apartment. The pumpkin kid figure was a TJ Maxx score at the end of last season. The orange vase was a Christmas gift last year from my mother in law and the green Blenko glass piece was a gift from Jennelle. The Indian corn bundles were Kroger sale items I picked up this week, 2 for $4.

The buffet isn't the only thing sporting some pumpkin love. My main punkin' got her share of it:

Admittedly, Lil Punkin' Lilo doesn't look as excited as I am for pumpkins, but she is so darn cute! She actually wasn't as miserable as she looks here. She didn't want us to take off her shirt. I think she liked cuddling in it.
So maybe next fall I will grow my own pumpkins. And then Mike and I can sit in the pumpkin patch and wait for the Great Pumpkin to show up.