Oh, To Wear A Gown

I'm suffering from a serious case of Oh-My-God-Not-Another-Bulky-Sweater-And-Snowboots. I pretty much look like this all the time:

So I'm finding the Oscar red carpet coverage especially swoon-worthy and am drawn to what are probably the most outrageous and impractical dresses like these two:

Not exaaaaactly shoveling in the snow friendly, but a girl can dream.

(Oscar photos by Getty.)

I Love Lamp: the "Crazy" Room Redo and a DIY Meltdown

While the downstairs of our house has the kitchen and two large rooms, the upstairs is a bit more of a traditional farmhouse labyrinth with low ceilings and a door to a room just about everywhere you turn. Each one of which I've wanted to update. I've been taking it on room by room. First I did my office.

Then our bedroom.

Then the guest bedroom.

Which left two more (I know, I told you, there's like a thousand little rooms upstairs): my closet and the room we'd taken to calling "the crazy room". Yeah. It went from being a small "guest room" to a "closet" to a motherfucking "crazy room". Exhibit A:

No, your eyes don't deceive you. That's a feather boa peaking out. And a child's rocking horse. And sewing machine. And oh THAT'S where the bandaids went!

Sadly, the first step of having a go at this room meant emptying it. Which meant turning another room into total chaos. I chose the guest room, figuring that since "the crazy room" was so much smaller I could probably at least contain the madness to the bed.


But at least the little room was empty!

The pink drawers and tiny floral wallpaper weren't so much our thing, so I figured I'd paint the built-in loft glossy black (my new favorite), strip the wallpaper, and paint the rest white. It would be a new guest room/closet combo with no "crazy" to be seen. A cozy place to snuggle up with a book. A reading room if you will.

The glossy black went on easy enough. Though oh my gosh how BAD does it look with just one coat, right? If painting things white makes them feel clean, painting 'em black feels like you're making a filthy mess. Until the second coat that is.

Anyway! Next up was stripping the wallpaper.

Sadly, I'd thrown out my heavy duty wallpaper stripping formula from my go at the hallway. So I tried a homemade solution of vinegar and warm water which did about as much as if I'd simply wished it off. So I bought some more, applied it and--

...it didn't do a damn thing because much like the hallway, this wallpaper had been applied directly to drywall without any primer in between. Short of renting a power washer, I was screwed. I pulled and scraped and pinched and succeeded in two things:

1. Making it look worse than when I'd started.

2. Working myself into a bit of a fit.

At this point I took a time out to email two dear friends, Dominique and Mary, and vent, part of which I'm going to paste below because I'm of the tribe that believes some good old fashioned honesty on the Internet is a good thing: (And please excuse the excessive amount of f-bombs, I was really frustrated)

I'm just tired of working on this house right now. And so sick of it taking over my "off" time when I'm not working. Because it feels like I'm kind of working all the time then. And it's my own fault that I can't just relax in a messy/dirty place but it's just the way I am. I will literally keep thinking about the room until it's done. Then feeling guilty that I'm so annoyed by this 'white person problem' of sorts.

I would like to punch something. Or go somewhere that's not this fucking house. But I'm not actually violent so I won't punch something. And I can't fucking go anywhere because I have to wait for our wine distributor to deliver and for our florist who's dropping off pre-ordered Valentine's bouquets to come and the snow is so deep I literally cannot even go for a walk around the property. Where the fuck would I go out here anyway??

Plus it seems like I haven't felt my toes in weeks. No amount of Smart Wool socks can conquer this fucking winter.

Yeah. Re-doing this room brought on some pretty epic frustration and bouts of despair which my oh so empathetic and intelligent friends heard and helped me through. GOD BLESS ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION when you're living out in the country.

I felt especially better when Dominique pointed out: "Not for nothing is that famous creepy short story about a woman going mad in a room centered around wallpaper ["The Yellow Wallpaper"]... Wallpaper could drive anyone mad."

So there it was. The "crazy" room was threatening to drive me "crazy".

Continuing my fit, I decided fuck it. I'll just paint the whole thing white because even if put I up a wallpaper of some kind, I'll want an even base.

And it was SO cathartic. It felt like a cleansing of the room somehow. A brightening. And while yes, you could see uneven texture where I'd had a go at the wallpaper, or where the rolls met, it wasn't horrible. I mean, it's not like I was trying to turn this room into a royal receiving suite or something. The room could be 90% ok and that would be 100% ok.

I considered hanging lots and lots of Steven's art on the walls "salon" or "gallery" style, but I feared that would overwhelm such a small and severely angled space. And I didn't want it to look busy and compete with how busy the hallway wallpaper looks.

Several coats of white paint and a few nails later, I settled on this:

If you look closely you can see that not all of those pillows have been fully sewn yet, but it's progress! And like I told Dominique and Mary in a (much calmer) follow up email, the room makes me smile now. And really feels like it's a part of our house. And is a strange testament to Steven's and my bizarre path from Mali (where he made those paintings and where all the fabric is from) to the American woods. All of which makes me happy!

And you know what else makes me happy: side by side Before and After shots!

The view from the hallway:

The loft:

The other corner:

Yes, sadly there is still a bunch of crap piled up in the big guest room because I haven't had the time/will to put it all back in the drawers and closet yet (have I mentioned I'm supposed to be running an inn??). Besides, I'm going to put a fair chunk of that stuff in my closet once I redo that room the week after next. Mwahahahahah!

That's my evil can't-stop-won't-stop with the updating laugh. Well, it's that or the yellow wallpaper really did get to me after all.

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

P.S. We actually got to give this room a run as a guest room last night when my brother came up for a visit. We just popped the little twin mattress that's usually on the daybed near the wood stove up on the loft and bam! A guest room with a door that actually closes, where no one has to walk through to get to the bathroom. How sophisticated.

Only Lovers Left Alive

We watched "Only Lovers Left Alive" last night and it was...

...totally entrancing.

Moody, delicious music, lovely cinematography and of course Tilda Swinton can do absolutely no wrong.

I think my favorite part about the whole experience though was that it was unpredictable. Which sadly, is not a word that can be applied to most movies that make their way through Hollywood and Netflix and all that.

The most intriguing part of any vampire story to me is always the living-through-so-many-centuries aspect. What would you do with all that time? What would you learn? What would you produce? How would you keep your heart afloat after watching humans tragically repeat history so many times?

Check it out next time you're in the mood for something just a bit unusual.

I Love Lamp: the DIY Wallpaper Saga Continues

So remember how last time I had to stop wallpapering the hallway because I ran out of Encyclopedia pages? Well I got myself another one, Sarsaparilla to Sorcery! And after tossing aside a few unpleasant entries (think: Slavery) I was sure I'd have more than enough pages to finish the remaining one and half walls. And I was totally right!


(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

Goodnight Moon's Interior Design

I just came across this hilarious bit on the interior design of the bedroom in Goodnight Moon by The Ugly Volvo:

“So what color have we decided on for the upstairs child’s bedroom?”

Which child’s bedroom?”

“The enormous one.  The one with the expansive tomato-colored floor.”

“I was thinking for that room maybe a dark green?”

“Really?  Dark green?  You don’t think maybe dark green walls with a tomato-colored floor is a bit much?”

No, it’ll look amazing.  We can break up the monotony of the color with some dark green and yellow striped curtains.”

“That’s an amazing idea.  On non-matching red and yellow spearhead curtain rods?  Do you think a tiger skin rug would be overkill?”

For a young child’s room?  No.  Not at all.  ”  

“So what color do you think for the child’s bed?”

I was thinking like a tomato-ish red color?”

“You remember the floor’s a tomato-ish red color.”


“You don’t think that’s a lot of red for a child’s bedroom?  We don’t want it to look like the Amityville Horror kill room or anything.”

You don’t trust me?  I’ve been decorating children’s bedrooms for almost twenty years.”

“No, I trust you, I trust you.  So you want to do all the furniture in red?”

Are you out of your f**king mind?  Of course not.  For the rest of the furniture I was thinking something sophisticated, like a mustard yellow.”

“For everything??  All the furniture?”

All the furniture.”

“Even the little toy house?”

Are you seriously asking me this?  No.  Of course not.  The little toy house should be red.”

That just CRACKED ME UP.  Especially because I know that when Steven is illustrating his kids books he's NOT thinking like that. He's all, "And I'll make the sky yellow because my mountains are blue and who gives an eff if that's not realistic."

You can check out the whole thing here.

I Love Lamp: Guest Room Upgrade

Can't stop won't stop with the painting over here! This week: the guest room. We've had to do some odd things to that room, like add a chimney for our wood stove downstairs and shorten a window so that one day we could replace the old fashioned porch that was once on the front of the house. So we've been living with some rather unsightly spackling and such for a bit:

And while these photos don't really display it, the grey was showing some pretty serious wear and tear, as happens with paint over time.

I took everything but the bed out of the room and removed the doors, which turned the hallway into a bit of a nightmare.

(It's felt like a weird game of musical chairs over here-- just constantly moving the chaos from room to room as I redo each one.)

Then I got to work painting the trim a glossy white and the ceilings and walls flat white. The process was in all honestly pretty boring, but what can ya do?

Once that was done, I was faced with dragging those ancient white bookshelves back into this pristine new room and that just didn't seem right. But where would the books go?

"On barn shelves of course!" was basically Steven's answer. But instead of using the barn wood planks (of which we don't have too many left), we decided to simply rip out the actual shelves in the barn we'd been using for tools since our longterm plan for that space is demo the heck out of the interior anyway.

(That's them in the upper left corner, shot during the summer obviously. Oh, summer.)

We opted for four and went bottom to top, lining up the bottom shelf with the height of the bed and the bathroom door. Waldo, as usual, was incredibly helpful hung around the entire time trying to eat sandpaper and whatnot.

And ta-da!

Next up for this room is getting a door, but for now I like that you can see the encyclopedia wallpaper from the bed. Not mention, any guest who comes over and needs privacy is staying in the inn anyway, haha!

As usual, let's conclude with a little side by side Before and After because they're so satisfying! Like the static version of a montage. Facing north:

And facing south:

Also, because I might be certifiably insane, I decided to repaint Steven's studio shelves right after this which I'd given a first attempt back in September. And I mean right after-- like the paint brush did not even have time to dry.

I have yet to take some good After shots, but here's a During for your enjoyment:

Steven posted this midway through to Instagram and the audience was divided as to whether or not to continue...

I'll save the After for next time...!

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)


DIY Hallway Trim and Encyclopedia "Wallpaper"

Guys, we have been some busy DIY country mice out here! Right after updating our bedroom, we decided it was time to tackle the upstairs hallway. We'd been putting it off because we were a little stumped about how exactly to proceed. As you can see, when we bought the place, that hallway was in a transitional state-- partially wallpapered, partially trimmed:

Back in October I painted the linen closet and did a paint test on the hallway walls juuuust in case a coat or three of white could do the trick, but with all the strange layers and textures going on it looked like crap, so there went that idea:

After a few months of thinking while working on other things, we decided the most sensible, inexpensive, and we-can-do-it solution was to:

1. Mimic the existing trim with some new lumber to complete the doorways lacking it.

2. Paint all the trim a uniform, glossy white.

2. Use the pages from an old encyclopedia as "wallpaper".

Trim went up first. Steven turned his studio back into a wood shop and cut down the trim pieces we'd ordered from the local lumber spot to size.

Then nailed them in place with finishing nails:

Hammered the nails in in deeper with a nail set:

Then filled the holes with puddy:

The top part of the trim around our house has a small shim detail that we included to match. Not particularly difficult to do but looks all that much nicer:

The trickiest doorway was the one at the end of the hallway where there were some gaping holes and crazy warped walls. After measuring at key points up the frame, Steven just went for it and hand milled the trim to best match the wobble with a circular saw.


When we put 'em up we saw there were a few dark spots created by the shadows of the teeny gaps so we nailed some scrap wood in behind the trim to best cover it and I gave it all a quick coat of white paint.

Meanwhile, I was having a go at the 1947 Encyclopedia Britannica that I'd ordered from eBay for eleven bucks. With an exacto knife, I carefully cut out all 700 plus pages (which yes, were so thin I could do many at a time).

Vase to Zygote contains lots of crazy and fun sounding terms and places and what not. It also contains several topics I didn't want to plaster on my walls and walk by everyday. From all of World War I and II to these:

Still, even though that eliminated a fair chunk of the book from use, I figured I'd have plenty to work with. I mean, it's a goddamn encyclopedia.

As Steven put the baseboard trim up, I taped up some of the pages that didn't make the cut to see if I wanted to paste them in an orderly grid or layer them.

Because I kind of value my sanity, I opted for the more organic look if you will: the layers. But before I could go about pasting those up with wallpaper glue, I had to prime and paint all the new trim Steven had just finished, as well as prime over the inconsistent coloring of the walls. And oh yes, I'd have to paint the ceiling too because we wouldn't want to have to do that later and drip all over the new wallpaper.

Just a few things.

At least I love the process of white paint going up. It feels so CLEAN (even if you're just glopping over spider webs).

Somewhere in the middle of all this Steven went out of town to visit his college buddies for a night, I listened to "Shake It Off" approximately 9,000 times, and in the middle of scolding a barking a dog I stepped off my chair DIRECTLY INTO a bucket of paint.

Oh my god, it was like a bad cartoon-- the barking, and the paint splattering everywhere, all while I hysterically laughed at myself. Here's the calm right after the storm:

Still having fun though:

Next up was a wallpaper test patch to see if I needed to be careful about keeping the glue off the front of the pages, and to see if when I layered them you could see through them in an unpleasing matter etc.

In the end it was clear I could go pretty nuts with the glue brush which was great because while the hallway doesn't seem that big, this was clearly gonna take a fair deal of time. Which by the way is something you NEVER calculate accurately when entering a DIY project. Because otherwise you'd never do it.

Up went the pages, day after day, with breaks in between naturally. I do have an inn to run after all! And finally, FINALLY, I finished last night.

Well, "finished" meaning I ran out of encyclopedia pages about 3/4s of the way. But I chose a purposeful ending point so as I wait for my next encyclopedia to be delivered I won't feel like I'm walking through a construction zone. BUT LOOK!

Sorry for the strange lighting-- this hallway is surprisingly hard to photograph. But you get the idea. Pages upon pages of weird information carefully layered as wallpaper, successfully covering the odd textures and colors of the wall underneath. Tada!

I went the extra mile and used a paper cutter to cut the pages that touch the ceiling and trim so that the random stacking would exist all the way up and down the wall. It's as if the pages are emerging from the ceiling and baseboards and that the doors were cut out after the fact. Time consuming but worth it.

In the process I learned quite a bit about Welsh Literature, X-Ray Crystals, and Zoology. And I plan to learn much more, each time I pass through the hallway!

I realize that until we redo the bathroom downstairs, everyone who comes over and needs to use the restroom will take awkwardly long and return full of facts about Western Australia and George Washington. But I'm totally cool with that.

So while I still have a bit more to do I can see the light at the end of that particular tunnel. And in the mean time I'm having fun sprucing up other details in the house. Like this birch stairwell handrail we installed:

Just a fallen birch snag from around here and basic stainless steel handrail hardware.

And this built-in nook in our living room I decided to paint the night before we left for a quick trip to Montreal with our buddies who run Brushland Eating House.

Again, like the hallway, kind of hard to photograph but trust me, it feels luxurious.

We were totally inspired to do that by those same friends, Sarah and Soheil, who run a delicious and beautiful spot wonderfully slathered in good glossy black paint.

(This photo by Escape Brooklyn.)

So yeah. We're still going strong over here on the home renovation front!

To wrap it up, here's a few side by side Before/After shots because those are always oh so satisfying!

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

NYE Letter To Yourself

You know how every NYE I write a letter to myself that I open the next NYE? Well I forced it on all my guests this year, mwahahahaha!

Ok, maybe not quite forced it. More like, put some paper and envelopes and such in all of the rooms with a little explanation of the tradition and said that if folks wanted to write themselves one, I'd happily mail it to them next year.

I was super touch by how many people took me up on it!

Happy New Year to all of you out there!

Barn Wood Bar Booth

I love, love, LOVE the barn wood bar that Steven built for the Inn. It's handsome and sturdy and very much suits the surroundings.

I'm just realizing that I never actually made a post on how he built it. Hmm.... Here's the quick photo montage:

And DONE! Haha! Well actually it nearly happened that fast. Design*Sponge confirmed that they were gonna come up and do a feature and we were like, "Cool, there's literally nothing in the rooms right now but that's fine. We'll TOTALLY be able to stage two room types and build a bar in three days".

And while it was kind of insane, we did it.

We kept a lot of the bar the same for the first few months, moving and/or adding things here or there depending on how we'd seen guests use the space.

But as time has gone on, I've found myself feeling not entirely in love with this corner:

The orange chairs and low white stools are in the rooms and I love them there--

But for whatever reason they just weren't doing it for me in the bar. They somehow felt a little... dainty all together.

So one afternoon sitting behind the bar I asked myself, "If you could have anything there, what would it be?" and immediately I was like, "Duh, a big barn wood booth."

So I asked my carpenter-man and he said, "No problem" and spent the next few weeks thinking and planning, solving questions of weight and support and how to do this with as little lumber as possible. I'd wake up to the alarm ringing and roll over to find him open eyed, already talking. "I think I figured out a way we can get the kick space to yada yada carpenter talk early in the morning..."

We've been on a crazy project binge recently, finishing the wood trim in the hallway and "wallpapering" it with old encyclopedia pages and--

I'll do another post on that once it's finished up, but there's a sneak peek for ya.

So basically we've be on such a roll that we figured fuck it, let's keep going! Yesterday (yes, on Christmas Day, after opening presents), Steven turned his studio into a woodshop and built the booth's skeleton out of new lumber:

And luckily today it was sunny for the first time in weeks and all the snow had melted and our guests weren't arriving til the late afternoon so...

We dragged the interior frames into the bar and set up camp in there. And by "we" I mean "he". I mostly ran around with the dog, did some springtime-esque yard work, and wheelbarrowed over lots of wood for our bar's fire pit.

I occasionally bopped in to hold pieces in place, press here, pass me that etc. And to take pictures of course! Of Steven drilling from the underside so you won't be able to see screw heads on the bench seat:

Of the fronts with kick-spaces going on:

Of myself at the bar:

Of Steven head butting his shadow's butt back supports going up:

Of two stacks of planks for the backs of the booth:

And of the finished product!

If the carpenter looks a little more dazed than pleased as hell with his work, that's because he's consumed only half a Cliff bar and a Coke all day. And it's 4:15pm. And he just dragged that stump in to be a temporary table.

But YAY! Isn't he good?! Doesn't it suit the bar so well?!

Here's Before and After right next to each other:

Next up making a low table to set drinks on. And re-hanging the art and maps so they suit the new set up. And finding a new place for the toaster oven in the mornings. And making a pillow or five so guests can get cozy with their Nordic glögg and boyfriend and whatnot.

Woohoo! Thank you Steven! I love it. I love, love, LOVE it.

UPDATE 12/28:

He used the bases of those Ikea stools and made custom wood tops. BAM!

And I moved some pillows and dried wildflowers in here to soften it up. Ba-BAM!

But I didn't use a real camera to photograph it. BAM! I mean, sorry.

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

Judge That Book By Its Cover

Yes, I know, EVERYONE makes that title joke. But aaaaanyway-- there's lots of round-ups of the best book design going around right now. 'Tis the season of lists. I couldn't resist, here's a few of my faves:

So far I've only read The Bees (which was totally bizarre and enjoyable). Next I REALLY want to dig into Here by Richard McGuire. It's a graphic novel that takes place at a single location over vastly different points in time-- the 1980s, the mid 1600s, even B.C. something or other! And Steven went nuts for The Martian. I'm not that biggest outer space gal, but I'm thinking I might have to give a try.

Wishing you a book-filled holiday season!

I Love Lamp: The Kitchen... One Day!

As I attack the rest of the house with white paint, I'm dreaming of a country kitchen...

We've done a very surface level touch up of ours. We began like this:

I painted just about everything white, we put up some barn wood shelving and some hanging baskets (eff you mice!), hung a barn door...

And when we were having the outside of the house done we installed new windows and doors which has been great for the keep-the-heat-in game. But we've kinda plateaued on the rest of the progress front. And on the functional front. Because the next steps are BIG. Like, rip out the ancient linoleum floor big. And the walls. And the possibly sagging ceiling? And OH MY GOD THIS CORNER:

It being a kitchen and all there's a lot of moving parts and complicated elements between all the plumbing and electric and gas and and AND... You have an idea to take out one thing and then you're like, "Oh wait, that's physically attached to this other thing and if we rip that out then--" blah blah blah. And we're reaching our skill limit. I'm good with a paint brush, but I'm not exactly trying to trim out every window over new dry wall I installed, you know?

So in the mean time, like I first said, I'm doing all kinds of planning and scheming for that country kitchen...

(Top photo I've seen EVERYWHERE but cannot find an original credit, second photo is via Mother Mag, third photo is Jersey Ice Cream Co-- of a house that's only about 15 minutes away... think I can just move the whole thing to our house??)

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)

Master Bedroom Update

There are a handful of large-scale things we still wanna do to the house, like re-install 2 bathrooms that were demo'd by the previous owners and renovate the kitchen. But before undertaking things of that scale we figured we should take care of all the other smaller projects that we can do ourselves inexpensively. I was so pleased with my office make-over, why not approach the rest of the house the same way?

(By the way, we hung that plant. BOOYAH!)

So Wednesday morning I went to the local hardware store, stocked up some pure white paint, and got to work on the master bedroom.

Here's what it looked like before: (with Waldo showing off for the camera)

Fine. Just a little grey, not entirely pulled together. It didn't really reflect our style since just about every piece (minus the poncho pillows) we'd picked up for free somewhere along the way. Not a bad deal at all! Just not so purposeful.

I did a test corner first to make sure that the cream colored trim wouldn't look dirty next to the fresh coat of white which can sometimes happen--

It looked fine so I proceeded with the rest of the room.

I got about a third of the way through before I had to stop so we could go to the tree lighting down the road at the Community Hall. I felt like such a country housewife covered in paint, rushing around to get a pasta dish together for the pot luck. Though my part in the production was rather minuscule compared to Steven's:

Yup. The town Jew was Santa Claus. And oh my god it was so freakin adorable!

That night we slept in the guest room because otherwise we'd get all paint-high. It was cozy. And I was happy to give it a test-run finally.

Especially because I wanted to see if moving the bookshelves out of the master bedroom there made it feel too crammed.

Totally fine!

Thursday morning I got the roller back out and finished the paint job while Steven and I listened to the new Serial podcast that everyone's been talking about. That made the rest of the job fly by!

At this point I enlisted Steven to help me make and hang two new floating bedside tables to be made out of-- you guessed it-- barn wood!

We used a 10" wide piece and tested it with the objects we'd actually keep on it, and settled on 20" long. Two quick cuts, a few screws drilled into some L brackets left over from hotel renovations and BAM! Bye-bye dust bunny hide-out.

And the room feels huuuuuge now that we don't have the bookshelves in it! We'll probably get some kind of a chair or hamper eventually, and perhaps hang some art again but for now we're both enjoying the serene simplicity of the space.

As you can see though, we decided to hang my fern in there for a pop of green. Steven's caught the hanging plant bug too!

And now I must resist the urge to go nap in this lovely little haven...

One more time, before and after:

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)



Happy One Year Anniversary in the Catskills!

A year ago today we packed up our new Subaru and drove north from Brooklyn to move to the Catskills and open an inn. I remember being the kind of nervous where you feel nothing as we signed the surprisingly few papers needed to transfer the property deed.

Despite the piles on the lawyer's desk, it was done in a matter of minutes.

We picked up Italian sandwiches at a local shop, and two shovels from the hardware store since we'd heard it was supposed to snow the next day. Then we drove to our new house, the thrill of this huge change starting to settle in, our grins growing wider with each mile we came closer to our new home.

We met our first neighbor before we could even get the keys in the door-- Gary, who pulled up in his pick-up truck and welcomed us with an oh so friendly mile-a-minute monologue about "the valley" and all the nice people in it. I remember thinking how Moroccan or Malian that felt, to be welcomed like that. How not NYC.

We walked in every room, opened every closet door we'd been too bashful to invade during previous visits. Kept proclaiming things like, "Oh my god we live in a HOUSE! This is our HOUSE!" We even went down into the basement to poke around. Strolled the eight acres of land. Then had a celebratory beer and photo op to capture the moment:

Our moving truck which was supposed to meet us had broken down in Brooklyn and couldn't be repaired until the next day (which actually turned into the day after that) so we set up camp with what we had.

A crate as a dinner table:

Sheets as a bed:

And some Cretian ouzo to cheers the move with since this whole buy-an-inn-upstate idea had been born over a bottle of ouzo on a beach in Crete:

(Oh, Sougia.)

We ended the night with a bonfire:

I wish I could say we slept like babies, but really we slept like grown-ass adults on a floor with only a sheet to pad us, which is to say, uncomfortably and fitfully.

I remember just how dark it seemed outside too. How much it felt like we were in this lit-up fishbowl. How attuned we were to every unfamiliar creek that echoed through the empty house.

But you know what was so much better than our fitful night of sleep? Waking up in our new home. Making coffee and taking our steaming mugs out into the crisp morning, the dew still frozen on the meadow.

And you know what's even better than that? Being able to do that every day since.

We've put a lot of work into this place as a home and a business since moving here. There were times, especially right before we opened, when I almost didn't believe my own mantra of, "Everything will get done because it has to."

But it did! And through that work, over that time, this place became ours. And now, when we drive down the road and we come up to this house, something inside me says home.

And when I look out our window into the meadow, I think home.

And when I open our creaking door to go to work at the Inn in our backyard, I think home.

Not to mention all the people we've met over the past year who've made this whole experience more than the lonely move to the woods it could have been. And all the friends and family who've visited and even put their own sweat into the place. To all of you I say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! People talk a lot about community but I feel like it's something I'm only just beginning to truly understand thanks to this past year.

And to Steven. Cheers. Thank you. I love you. You make everything an adventure!

And thank god you turned out to be handy with a hammer.

I Love Lamp: Indoor Plants

For the past few weeks I've been obsessing about getting indoor plants. Probably because everything but the pine trees outside are dyyyyyyyying right now (of the normal "oh it's winter now" kind of affair).

It should be noted that my indoor plant track record is spotty at best. I mean, I've killed cacti before. Yes plural.

But I'll change! I swear! To have something beautiful and green hanging in my home office. Because hanging is the other very important part of this indoor plant obsession.

After a little online research (ok fine, after at least two hours of cruising Tumblr, Pinterest, and all kinds of previously unknown to me plant sites) I settled on: the philodendron.

At the suggestion of my florist/landscape designer friend extraordinaire Molly, I checked out what our local grocery store's nursery had during yesterday's trip to town and low and behold there they were!

I came home with this guy:

Which I obviously have yet to hang, but already I LOVE IT!

And because it was one of those days, or maybe I'm just that kind of shopper, I also came away with something else:

A lovely little fern! Which had been the other plant type high on my list. Because for fifteen more dollars, why not have both?

Now if somebody could check up on me in a week or so make sure that I've actually hung up these guys that would be great. Because I'll admit right now: I never finished that poncho pillow.

(What is I Love LampThis is I Love Lamp.)