...because home doesn't happen overnight.
05.13.13 / Puppies & Rainbows

Notice anything different?


Yep, there’s a new rug in town. But, first, the back story…


I love the sisal rug shown above. It’s crazy durable and after a year of living with three kids, it looks the same as the day the UPS man delivered it. One caveat. Not everyone’s feet are as seasoned as mine. I grew up in the country where it was okay normal to walk outside barefoot. I still prefer bare feet over the trendiest shoes. {That’s why you see my feet naked in nearly every photo of me on the blog.} But my HH and my kiddos have sensitive feet {the kids get all of their persnickety traits from their father – ha!} which deem the natural sisal a little too “scratchy” and “rough”. Sissies, I say!

To put the rug-related whining at bay, I made a futile attempt to layer a striped DIY rug over the sisal but it was welcomed with little excitement. Still not comfy enough for my delicate family. In an effort to secure the “Mom of the Year” award, I reluctantly started hunting for a plusher option. Two must-nots: 1) it must not cost a bazillion dollars and 2) it must not shed profusely.

About a month ago, after nearly six months of hunting, I found THE ONE. It is plush, oh so plush. In all, it cost me less than $275 for the 8′ x 10′ size. {Looks like the price has since increased.} And it barely sheds. BARELY SHEDS! I’ve been eyeing moroccan berber rugs for a while but they are so expensive and I was leery of reviews reporting beast-like shedding. So when I found this polyester version, I decided to give it a try.


What can I say? We are smitten. It is the rug version of clouds in heaven. I would say it has boosted our living room’s cozy factor 1000%. My feet are becoming more refined by the minute. But don’t expect them to start wearing shoes anytime soon. Another quality we were unexpectedly surprised by is the rug’s sound absorbing abilities. The vaulted living room sounds cozier if that makes any sense. HH and I noticed how the rug quieted the room as soon as we rolled it out.


The 8′ x 10′ shag is slightly smaller than the 9′ x 12′ sisal and doesn’t come with a non-slip backing so I just layered it on the sisal. The natural fibers of the sisal seem to hold it in place pretty well. I vacuum it once weekly and that’s plenty. My only complaints are that the rug is polyester and it does have an initial carpet smell. The odor was remedied with a week’s worth of open windows. And I will make my kids eat organic everything from here on out to counteract the negative effects of polyester. Kidding. A little.


I can’t keep the kids off the rug. They are like moths to a flame. Mabrey enjoys rolling around on the rug like so…


…when she’s not practicing her WALKING!

And, finally, proof that I have secured the “2013 Mom of the Year” award…

The day we received the rug HH and I rolled it out, vacuumed it, opened the windows then let the kids have at it. As noted, they were all about it. The very next morning Layne, our eight-year-old, woke up early, made his bed, got dressed and went out to the living room where HH found him planted face down in the rug at 7:00 a.m.

HH: Layne, what are doing?

Layne: Puppies and rainbows, Dad. Puppies and rainbows.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Since our front door is still out of commission, we enter and exit through the garage man door or back french doors – both located in our mudroom. We use two large wardrobes and I set up a tidy little entryway in the mudroom to corral outerwear, bags, shoes and backpacks. I painted the walls dark and moody.


Things were starting to take shape but the empty wall was begging for some attention. Time for a mini gallery wall.


I picked up three non-matching picture frames from Target and paired them with three IKEA RIBBA frames that I already had on hand. I figured bright white, wood tones and a graphic chevron pattern would pop against the dark walls.


I came up with an asymmetrical arrangement and used my favorite 3M adhesive strips to attach the frames to the wall.


The frames are filled with family photos, a pen and ink of Layne as a baby that HH drew and vintage uniform patches from the gas station that HH’s grandfather used to run.


They welcome us home and bid us farewell.


Here’s how they look in the grander scheme. The french doors on the left look out onto our backyard and to the right is the laundry nook.


Get the look:

wall paint – Clark + Kensington flat finish in Besalt {Ace Paints}

trim paint – Benjamin Moore semi gloss White Dove

driftwood travertine tile – The Tile Shop

saddler bench – Wayfair

felt basket – Target

handbag – Amy Butler

jacket – Old Navy

wall hooks – Home Depot

RIBBA picture frames – IKEA

chevron picture frame – Target

driftwood picture frame – Target

bamboo picture frame – Target

Be sure to check in tomorrow to see the newly tweaked gallery wall on the other side of the mudroom! I’ll be sharing exactly how I use the 3M strips to install gallery walls.


This post brought to you by Threshold, a Target collection. The Threshold collection focuses on specialized design techniques including hand-painted accents and artisanal touches to make each piece unique yet affordable. What differentiates Target’s new Threshold collection is its unprecedented style coupled with its high quality and affordability. Thank you Tar-jay!

Other really awesome bloggers are working with Target and sharing how they use Threshold in their entries. See them here and here. Good stuff!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Last week we surprised the boys {and Mabrey too but I doubt she had a clue} with a staycation. HH took Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off from work so we had a 5-day weekend all together.

Monday I scrubbed down and swept up the house. Tuesday I ran my errands for the week, got groceries and finished up all the dirty laundry. That left the rest of the week open for me to fully enjoy the staycation. I had this card waiting on the kitchen island for the boys Wednesday morning. Layne read the card aloud to Everett. They were ecstatic. Everett kept saying, ‘We’re on stay-buh-cation!’ What was on the fridge, you ask?

Why the schedule, of course. {HH purposefully overused the exclamation point. Everything’s more fun with an exclamation point! The more, the better!!!!!!!} HH and I decided it would be much easier for us to plan the staycation ahead of time instead of asking Layne and Everett what they wanted to do each morning. Early on in the summer, I had both boys make a list of things they’d like to do this summer. We picked many of them to do over the staycation. It made us feel not so bad about saying no to vacationing in New Zealand or Hawaii – both of which were on their want lists. Sorry, guys. Remember we just had a baby and mama quit her job?

Here are some pics from our adventures. I didn’t take as many as I would have liked but maybe that was a good thing. I was fully focused on our family instead of getting the perfect shot. It was nice.

We were so proud of the kids at the water park. Layne passed the swimming test which required swimming a full length of the pool and then treading water for one minute. He got a green wristband deeming him capable of swimming without a parent. He wore it with pride. He swam in every pool, rode every water slide. Even the really tall one that HH and I were a little skeered of. Everett wanted to do everything. No fear in that kid. Sadly, he wasn’t tall enough for the slides. Mabrey enjoyed the baby pool, some nude sunbathing and even a nap. She did so great.

On ‘make your own sundae’ night, we went dairy free. Chocolate frozen dessert {made from coconut milk} + blended frozen strawberries {oops!} bananas + a few dollops of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter + sliced strawberries = dairy free heaven. The boys didn’t even notice it wasn’t a real sundae. Neither did I.

We hit up the local BMX track so Layne and Everett could ride their bikes. At first, HH had to help them over some of the steeper hills but by the end of our visit both of them were completing the track on their own. It was crazy hot that day but the heat didn’t stop them from riding for an hour plus. They were dirty and sweaty afterwards. Just how boys should be. Mabrey and I watched and cheered them on from the air-conditioned car. HH took his shirt off at one point and I was reminded that I have a pretty hot hubby.

At Scene 75 {basically a huge indoor arcade/small indoor amusement park}, once again, someone was too small to ride. This time it was the spinning bumper cars. {HH is in the background top right in the blue t-shirt looking over at Everett on the sidelines.} Maybe next year kiddo. I discovered why I never hang out in arcades. They’re loud, obnoxious, ugly, dirty, ADD-inducing and a waste of money. Not my cup of tea. But the boys had fun and that’s all that mattered.

Other non-stay-buh-cation-related events happened as well.

Mabrey turned four months old. When she’s laid onto her back, she immediately rolls to her belly now. Then gets mad after a few minutes because she can’t figure out how to roll back. She’s sporting a nice bald spot. The girl rubs her head back-and-forth when she sleeps. I keep finding stray hairs in her crib.

Everett’s love of costumes has reached an all new high. Like home decor, he prefers a mixed aesthetic as opposed to the matchy-matchy look. I call this his karate-pirate-ninja-surgeon look. He’s totally serious too. The headband, face mask and belt had to be put on just so. And I had to hold him up to look in the bathroom mirror at his reflection to which he stated, ‘perfect.’

I just realized I didn’t get a good pic of Layne! That’s probably because he’s too old, too cool for his mama to take pictures of. Just today he let the dentist know he is too old for stickers.

Or he’s always twenty steps ahead of me. I’m usually lagging {I just had to ask HH what word I was thinking of for that…for some reason ‘lacking’ was coming to mind but I knew that wasn’t it…before I could explain my ‘what word am I thinking of?’ question, HH quickly answered ‘penis!’ He’s not your typical engineer. He has a good sense of humor.} okay, where was I? Oh, yes. I’m usually lagging {not penis} behind with Mabrey in tow. I can’t keep up with those boys. Good thing school starts next week.

HH and I enjoy surprises if you haven’t noticed. {Hello. #3 is a girl! Still can’t get over that one.} Surprising the kids with a stay-buh-cation made it more fun. Have you ever tried a staycation before? Or a surprise one at that? They are the epitome of DIY vacations. Am I right?

Follow me on Instagram for more of-the-moment updates and sneak peeks!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve indulged in some pillow shopping. I’m holding out until we’re moved into the Underdog.

I guess you could say I’ve gotta thang fer pillas. They’re temporary {great for my frequent desire to switch up our decor on a whim}, inexpensive {especially pillow covers that can be placed over forms I already own}, and can help define a mood/color scheme in any room {personally I like to mix colors, patterns and textures together instead of just using a pair of matching pillows}.

So when Stacey contacted me about her new Etsy shop that features handmade pillow covers I was all ears…uh, eyes…although I admit that pillows sometimes talk to me. Weird? Good. I didn’t think so either. Modest Pillows is a great option if you’re looking to add a punch of color or pattern to your decor. You can use them to cover existing pillows or new forms.

Just browsing through Stacey’s shop has me twitching a little.

Must. Get. Pillows.

No, wait. Must get at least one bathroom and the kitchen finished at the Underdog then…Must. Get. Pillows.

No need for you to wait though. Stacey is offering up a gift card to her new Etsy shop as a giveaway this week! Lucky ducks. Here are all the details:

  • PRIZE: one $25 gift card to Modest Pillows
  • RULES: You must be at least 18 years old to enter. One entry per email address. International readers: You’re good to go on this giveaway. Stacey ships all over the world!
  • HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “COVER ME!”
  • DEADLINE: Enter before Thursday, March 8th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Friday, March 9th.
  • WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: Since we’re talking modesty here, divulge your most ‘un-modest’ moment. I’ll go first. I was standing in line for the trash in my high school cafeteria. I had just finished eating and was waiting to dump my trash and return my lunch tray. It was a hot, hot day. Our backwoods school had no air conditioning so several oscillating floor fans were turned on at their highest speeds. I was wearing a skirt…do you see where this is going? When one of the fans came around and faced me at full blast, I had something of a Marilyn Monroe street grate moment. But not nearly as sexy. My skirt blew up above my waist but because I was still holding my tray full of dishes, I didn’t have a free hand to push my skirt back down. So I just stood there holding my tray with my skirt blowing in the breeze until the oscillating fan turned the other way. I was mortified. Definitely not a modest moment.

If you’re interested in purchasing pillow covers from Modest Pillows, use the discount code “HOUSE” to receive 15% off your order. Offer ends March 31st, 2012.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ Modest Pillows on Facebook!

images: Modest Pillows