DIY…Architecture Sketches

Conceptually, DIY is great.

I’m all about people creating things.  Huuuge fan of creativity.  Honestly, I’m about to go make a table from a marble slab, hair pin legs and a chunk of ply wood (wish me luck.  I’m no Jesus, carpentry is not my thing).

Although sometimes, paying someone else to do something just it the way to go.  But a lesson was learned this holiday season and it was don’t entrust your Christmas presents to someone on the internet.

drawing platter

I had originally intended to order presents from an artist in New Orleans who creates custom designs and transposes them onto simple dishes/platters/etc of your choosing.  But apparently you need to order these months in advance.

I do nothing months in advance, let alone hours in advance.  I’m lucky if I make it to my yoga class once a month; I just don’t like having a schedule.  So when informed this amazing artist person would not be making my presents for me (unless I wanted to give everyone their gift in March) I decided, as I do with everything else (and probably shouldn’t) that I’ll just do it myself.

Draw.  Shellac.  Complete.

moms house

My mom recently painted her front door a chartreuse greenie yellow.  Sounds horrible but it’s amazing (or maybe unique would be a more appropo word).  She’s lived in the house since before my brother and I were born so I thought a sketch of her house with her new door would be something she would appreciate.

I also made one of the French Quarter for some friends of ours that live in Baton Rouge. We just moved to New Orleans back in August so I wanted to create something to commemorate this.

french quarter

On Christmas my aunt came over and saw my moms gift.  “What is DIY?”  she asked me.  Apparently she’s the last person on the planet without a Pinterest account.

“DIY means remember to buy your Christmas presents way in advance next year.”

remodel…staircase final

Here is a link to the blog post describing the hell that is sanding and staining a staircase.

remodel…stairs from the 70’s

me and stainAnd here is me covered in stain.  Real pain to get off.

So two befores of our lovely 70’s stairs…

pink stairs 2
Pink champagne walls and carpet.

And that bizarre chandelier which has since shattered into at least 7 million pieces.

pink stairs

Also note the lovely laminate accenting pale oak wood.

Oh and the valences.

kitty stairsBut my helper and I trudged through.

We sanded, stained, cried, drank and meowed our way to the final product.

new stairs 2Dark hardwoods have replaced our pink carpet with beige Berber running up the stairs.

new stairs

Now I need to find someone who cleans mirrors and floors.  By the looks of these pictures, apparently I’m not terribly good at it.  Unfortunately for me that means I’ll have to stick with staining.

But on a positive note, after six weeks I think it’s almost out of my hair.

homeward bound…

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As much as I love traveling, I really like sleeping in my own bed.  And it’s finally time to stop adding a mimosa to my breakfast order everyday.

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And I brought back the obligatory souvenirs (t-shirts, coffee and the obvious cutting board shaped like a pineapple) but wanted something unique.

Like potato chip chocobars and a hand carved wooden tiki god bottle opener.

What more could someone need?

traveling…islands islands islands

mapWhen your hotel has a map like a mall, it’s a sign it’s probably too big.

I’ve been lost for what seems two days now.


But it’s nice being lost within all the flowers.

And here I thought southern Louisiana was lush.  Although it seems slightly ridiculous to compare Louisiana to a tropical island.  The only thing they really have in common is humidity and a large tourist community.


Orchids must not cost as much here as they do at home.

DSC_0166Also the view is a little different than mine at home.



Fall Cocktails…

This morning I woke up to a bit of a “cold front” (it’s currently 8am and 70 degrees) and it’s gotten me in the mood for fall.  Think sweaters, cashmere knit over the knee socks and, of course, cocktails.  All of my favorite fall things…

When we moved from Texas to Louisiana I had thought (hoped) the 9 or 10 bottles of Maker’s we have acquired over the years might stay behind.  They did not.  Our bar cabinets look like a distillery.

 apple bourbon bellini

{apple bourbon bellini}

So this time last year, to deplete our bourbon stash, I found recipes for homemade cider.  This year it’s a take on a bellini, which is  personal fave of mine.

Last week The Boyfriend and I went to breakfast at Fleur-di-lis Cafe on Chartres and had early morning peach bellinis.  I’ve been googling bellini recipes and came across this recipe on pinterest (obviously).

Cocktail night!

  • puree apple and squeeze of lemon
  • add a drop into a champagne flute, add apple bourbon (I’m using some Maker’s, I have got to get rid of this stuff)
  • top with prosecco

   Voila.  Fall cocktails.

remodel…blondie vs the azaleas

The face of gardening, I am not.

But I learned to tile.  I learned to paint.  I can throw some plants in the ground.

me and azaleas

{gardening selfie & a stack of ripped up azaleas}

As I was standing outside in the humid 90-something degree heat, ‘glowing’ profusely, one of the painters out smoking a cigarette (using the dog’s water bowl as an ashtray I noticed…) said, “it’s Louisiana.  If you aren’t sweating, you’re dead.”

So, I have that going for me.  Because it sure isn’t my ability to pull azalea bushes from the ground, but I am alive.

And if I one more person walks by and says, “what did that azalea ever do to you?” I might lose it.

no azaleas

The tile guy informed me I should try a chainsaw.  I’m not too sure what he sees when he looks at me, but I truly never imagined my name and “chain saw” would be in the same sentence.

Going on hour three of ‘operation azaleas’,  I sat in my pile of branches and started thinking that maybe it wasn’t too late to replant them.  I could go inside and subject myself to the drills, jackhammer, saws and soft rock coming from a transistor radio.  It’s loud, but at least it’s air conditioned.

So maybe I do unnecessarily dislike azaleas because, in the end, I decided not to stop til these bushes are gone.  Then I’m going to open a bottle of rosé and sit outside.

Because I’ll be too stinky to sit inside.  And we have no floors or chairs.

Remodeling is so fun.

beautifying the mail…

mail box

In a neighborhood of highly manicured yards, apparently my yard leaves a little to be desired.  I have that house.

When we moved in, our neighbor from across the street came over to introduce himself while I was pulling up weeds (which in a past life I never thought I would ever say) and he made the comment he couldn’t wait to see what I had in store for the yard.

I guess that’s what one calls a subtle hint.

mailbox 2

Which led me to question, what did I have in store?  My original answer was grass.  Which it conveniently already had.

But since, I’ve realized the error in my ways and have tried to get a little more landscape savvy.  Honestly, it’s a lot of work, kind of like being more ‘install your own tile savvy’ is.

mailbox 3

 So I started small.

I have a one foot circumference around the mailbox that was filled in with dirt (I guess I really did have a little work to do…) which is now a beautiful utopia of Lowes’ brightest flower assortment.

We live on a double lot, so in the grand scheme of things a one foot circumference maybe didn’t make quite the impact I’m looking for.

But, like I said it’s a start. Baby flower steps.

tis the season…

saints headband

From here on out my Saturdays are devoted to college football and Sundays are reserved for Saints games.

My go-to Sunday accessory, a Deepa Gurnani headband in the classic black and gold combo.

Geaux Saints

misadventures of remodeling…

When we originally bought this house in New Orleans to remodel and sell, I hadn’t personally planned on doing much manual labor.  It’s not a strong suit of mine.  I always thought of myself as more of a delegator.  Be that as it may, apparently I’m also a laborer.

But today starts the beginning of month two in our new house and things are finally starting to happen.

My mom was in town last week and told me “things seem to be moving right along” but I think she could tell I needed to hear that.  It was pretty obvious to both parties that statement was made more in regards to protecting my feelings than telling the truth.  At that point all that had happened was the countertops and sinks had been ripped out of the kitchen and every bathroom.  I’m still making bathtub coffee on the floor of tacky linoleum kitchen floor.

floor coffee

{my morning ritual}

Three weeks ago it felt like camping (or what I assume camping to be like), now it feels like defeat.  And tastes like chlorine.

So “moving right along” wasn’t the general consensus around here last week, but like I mentioned things are finally starting to happen.  Like at a glacier gliding across the arctic, you can’t see the change, but it’s happening.

When our general contractor informed us of his opinion of how much it was going to cost to update our house (it was general construction highway robbery in my opinion) I suddenly realized my second calling is in construction.  How hard could it really be?  Well, I learned it’s actually all quite hard.  But doable-ish.

I’ve noticed I start happy hour a little earlier everyday.

me stain

{my stair prison}

Three weeks ago I taught myself how to stain wood.  Here’s what  learned- it’s the worst.  It literally stinks and figuratively stinks.  But regardless I stained our stairs and banister then vowed never to go near stain again.  Last week I broke my vow and stained our bar cabinets and shelves.  Apparently during the interim week between stain jobs (when I was doing my actual real life job I seem to have forgotten all about), I must have failed to remember how terrible staining in fact was because I decided to teach myself to remove, stain and re-install old bar cabinetry.

But at this point I saved us over $2000.  And I’m just getting started.


This week I decided to teach myself, via Youtube videos, how to paint.  I’m normally an ‘act and then see where the chips may fall’ type of person but have been reprimanded about that type of behavior so I bought a paint roller.  I think it looks great.  I think everything I’ve done so far looks great.   But then again my vision is terrible and am a little biased.

So the moral of my adventure in remodeling is, when someone says “DIY”, understand it’s exponentially harder than it sounds.  Like a rough estimate of at least 110x harder.

And remember, painting is boring.  Invest in Bando’s diamond speakers.  I believe this is what all the painters have.

bando speaker

Oh, it’s 3:56 pm?  I believe it’s happy hour.