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A Pretty Little Patio

Ever since we moved into our home 2 and a half years ago, I have wished we had an outdoor living space. I love being outside, and we have a big beautiful yard here that we hardly ever get to utilize. After considering building a deck which is too expensive at this point, Jeremy suggested converting part of the carport into a little sitting area. We are still able to park a car in the carport, and it's been so nice to have a little place to sit outside and enjoy the weather...rain or shine!  photo IMG_9895_zpshryncpuq.jpg

In order to convert it from a boring carport to a cute and functional space, we just did a little clean up. We powerwashed the floor and the concrete wall. Then I painted the half-wall with a light gray Drylok. We also added a gutter to the outside of the structure to allow the water to drain into the yard and keep everything dry during rainstorms. Last week, it rained for a week straight, and everything stayed pretty dry. Success!

We created two little spaces. A sitting area and a bistro table for eating.  photo IMG_9930_zpsstmqbmzw.jpg  photo IMG_9927_zpsaldjh51x.jpg

We found that adorable church pew at the Nashville Flea Market. It was taken out of a church in Evansville, IN. The coffee table was $5 at a yard sale, and I painted it with some homemade chalk paint. I already had both of the chairs hanging out around our house. I picked up the rug at Target, and the round spools were free on Craigslist.  photo IMG_9914_zpskbnwc3zy.jpg  photo IMG_9904_zps7eqm65b4.jpg  photo IMG_9898_zpsgo4oihls.jpg

I think the best part is how cozy it is out there in the evenings with the cafe lights on.  photo 5DB7E15C-C1CC-4E5B-B744-4620FFA0042D_zpsuwwd4luw.jpg

Now everyone is invited over for dinner and a long chat on the patio!

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Life in Color: A Musical Journey

Today I take you away from our normal talk of pillows and paint colors to share my heart with you and share a very exciting announcement. Have you ever felt stuck in a rut due to your own fear of failure? Have you fought off a calling or desire simply because it's easier to stay still?

   Today I launched my very first Kickstarter to fund the creation of a 5 song musical EP that will be releasing early 2016. I have a pep in my step and a lump in my throat simultaneously as I talk about this project as it is so near and dear to my heart.

For as long as I can remember, music has been a huge part of my identity. I was the singer and the songwriter. That was my label, and I wore it like a proud badge. I began writing songs when I was probably 6 years old, and I was constantly performing for family and friends and anyone who would listen to me. Music has always made me feel alive.

I began performing publicly around age 10 and leading worship at my church around age 13. I started voice lessons at 12. I sang my way through middle school and high school. All I wanted to do in college was sing, so I got a commercial voice (think contemporary music rather than classical) degree at Belmont University with an emphasis in songwriting. I thrived. I spent hours every week in the practice rooms and really fell in love with songwriting more than ever before. Once again, I proudly wore the nametag that said "I'm a singer."

I released my first recorded project in February 2012 at the tail end of my senior year of college. It was a senior project for my then-fiance (now husband), and we did the best we knew how. I'm proud of it because it is a timestamp of the season of life I was in at that point (even though I would do a lot of things differently now).

In the first year after the creation of that project, I graduated college, got married, began learning to be a wife, started a full time job as a marketing manager at a record label, and bought a house. Throughout that year of change and of learning who I am as an adult, I began to have doubts about my musical abilities. Little lies about my worth began creeping in, and I struggled with fear, writers block, and apathy. I carried fear of failure around like a weight and let the excuse of being too busy dictate my dreams.

Life has continued in a wonderful, colorful, vibrant blur over the last three years. I have worked hard at a 9-to-5 job in the music industry that I never thought I would have. I'm a radio promoter at a record label, and I get to work with the best team. I didn't picture myself on the business side of the music industry, but I love it and I have been blessed to be placed in it.

Marriage has been the most wonderful experience of my life. I have begun to understand myself better and what passions drive me. I have developed a love for interior design. I have spent time learning how to cook and keep a home and budget and be a grown up.

I have kept up with songwriting over the last few years. I have scheduled cowrites (songwriting sessions with other people) in the evenings after work and spent time writing on my own. I have dreamt of a new album or EP, but I didn't actually get serious about it until the top of 2015 when all of my stalling and fear hit me over the head and I realized what I had been doing.

God has been preparing me. He has been shaping my heart and teaching me that my music is NOT about me. My voice is not my own. My songs are not my own. My career is not my own. My home is not my own. God is in control, and life is so much better when He is.

For so much of my life, I have put my identity in my music. I didn't realize I was doing it, but I was. When I started to think about not being successful as a musician or releasing music and having the people around me tell me it was bad, I became paralyzed. It's easier to do nothing than to take a risk.

But I realized something important. I realized that all I can do is be faithful with the gifts God has given me now. 

So, I'm releasing an EP. I'm being vulnerable, I'm sharing some songs, and I'm recording a 5 song album.

But, I'm asking for help. YOUR help if you're interested.

I need to raise $7,000 in 30 days. That's scary! That money goes toward recording the album, kickstarter fees, marketing, and some really fun rewards. If you are able to donate any amount, I have some fun gifts and prizes to give back to you. There are all kinds of details here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/930334933/chandler-roberts-the-color-ep

If you follow me on Instagram, you will likely see some posts about this. Don't worry. I'm not abandoning my design ship. I still love home, decorating, and DIY. I just have another project that has been quiet for a while and is now something I get to talk about more!

Thanks for reading this little life update and a diversion from home design. Coming soon...I want to show you an update on the cutest little patio we created!

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Fall Home Tour 2015

Fall means warm meals cooked with love in the kitchen, cozy nights at home cuddling under blankets, cool mornings outside with a cup of Trader Joe's pumpkin coffee and my journal, and evenings hanging out with friends who feel more like family. Fall means drives in the country and fresh beginnings. Fall means beauty and warmth.  I believe decorating a home for the seasons means creating a place to invite the joys of the season into your house. Yes, I love all the seasonal decor like flowers in the spring, pumpkins in the Fall, and greenery during Christmas season, but it's about more than that. It's about a place to make memories. And  I have to admit, I love staging things and making them look pretty, too.

Also, let's be honest, our house doesn't look like this all season long. Sometimes life gets messy. Also, I reused pumpkins in different places for this house tour. I say that because I've learned something recently about blogging and taking photos. It's ok to gussy things up and make them look beautiful, and it's also ok to understand that things aren't always picture perfect. But there's something important about enjoying the pretty little things for the sake of it.

So, come on in. In keeping with what I said earlier, I kept things pretty simple. I focused on mixing in some warm colors, making throw blankets available, and dotting pumpkins around the house. 

 photo IMG_9780_zpsmj9yljok.jpg  photo IMG_9741_zpsqloiirnj.jpg  photo IMG_9756_zpsuhtbb7en.jpg  photo IMG_9763_zpsgkzguteq.jpg  photo IMG_9725_zpsgm272i9u.jpg  photo IMG_9769_zpsmx0hzd8k.jpg  photo IMG_9731_zpsp0wciegu.jpg  photo IMG_9772_zpslldbe5ni.jpg  photo IMG_9783_zpshkprl6mj.jpg  photo IMG_9765_zps3az7w3x8.jpg Come on in to the reading room!  photo IMG_9695_zps0jlrluh1.jpg  photo IMG_9692_zpsxlw3am0i.jpg  photo IMG_9686_zpse3yqomtn.jpg  photo IMG_9664_zpsbwzylizh.jpg  photo IMG_9658_zpssqrp603m.jpg

Come on downstairs to the basement. Let me show you our new mudroom.  photo IMG_9604_zpsqodtxbml.jpg  photo IMG_9582_zpsfbo8yy6i.jpg  photo IMG_9625_zps0j7xejld.jpg  photo IMG_9618_zps28wmx9tf.jpg

Now, I'll give you a peek into our master bedroom. Ever since the grand reveal of this room transformation, I haven't shown it off a whole lot, but today I set it up for breakfast in bed and added decorative pillows to the bed and window seat which I haven't done before.  photo IMG_9799_zpsmncjg7aj.jpg  photo IMG_9814_zpsslu0ldqs.jpg  photo IMG_9836_zpsvoyh5ut3.jpg  photo IMG_9838_zpshirf89kl.jpg  photo IMG_9837_zpsqubfucps.jpg  photo IMG_9820_zpsyhmkjnbr.jpg

Thanks for coming around and checking out our home all decked out for Fall. I can't wait to show you some outside spaces soon! We are working on a new space outside that I think you will love! 

 

Hagood Home Before & After!

I am so excited for this post! My very first "client" reveal! Some of my very dear friends, Mary & Philip Hagood, recently did a major overhaul on their cute condo, and they asked me to help with shopping, arranging, color choices, and overall design! As soon as they asked me, I enthusiastically agreed. That's a job I won't turn down! Back in February, Mary & Philips's home was flooded due to a malfunctioning drain pipe outside their condo. When they realized all the floors would need to be replaced, they took it as a prime opportunity to completely renovate the space and turn it into a place that would feel more like them!

I have to give major props to the Hagoods. I served as a consultant, but they have some seriously good style! Also, they endured some major headaches and setbacks in completing this project (just ask me about their painting contractors and I can tell you who NOT to hire). But ultimately, they made great design decisions and have a new space that they can enjoy! 

There are still a few finishing touches like pillows and a couple of art pieces that we are still hunting, but I'm proud to show you the dramatic before and after!

Before...  photo 9F172077-FD7C-449E-8999-C6CCAA3C4E62_zpsktbla1mh.jpg

This was after they already got rid of their big leather couch.  photo 602A25F4-6580-4040-BA3B-0EB52D123178_zpskkqe5olo.jpg And after some new paint on the cabinets and the walls, almost entirely new furniture, new light fixtures, new floors, and new accessories, here is the lovely AFTER...  photo Hagood9_zpse2mi9ozu.jpg  photo Hagood1_zpse1ztcqq3.jpg  photo Hagood11_zpskyig9sgk.jpg  photo Hagood6_zpscklvz1e2.jpg Amazing difference, right? It almost doesn't look like the same place!

Their cute pup, Ron, wanted in on the glamour shots. He's the master of the house and a great model, so I had to agree.  photo Hagood8_zpsxjgpvyah.jpg  photo Hagood2_zpscxvvz8cr.jpg A few more details...

I was so excited about this handmade farm table that I found for a steal at an antique store in Chattanooga (Knitting Mill Antiques). Also, light fixtures make SUCH a big difference.  photo Hagood18_zpsycdramds.jpg

Philip MADE that Tennessee art! Isn't that amazing??  photo Hagood5_zps9ppnwdp6.jpg  photo Hagood17_zpsv2idvuzs.jpg  photo Hagood10_zps1xeakkro.jpg  photo Hagood12_zpsf1aq4ytc.jpg

One final before & after...  photo 742F9AD2-C68B-49AA-B4C0-62294A8DEF8F_zpsiwrfdzpp.jpg  photo Hagood3_zpsgskcstpd.jpg

THANK YOU, Mary & Philip, for the joy of helping with your renovation! Here are some sources for you!

Living Room Paint color: Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams Couches: West Elm Coffee Table: Wayfair TV Stand: Wayfair TV Stand Baskets: Target Rug: Rugsusa.com Curtains: West Elm Distressed Mirror to the Right of the TV: Home Goods Metal Wall Baskets: Magnolia Home Table lamp: Target Dining Room Table: Knitting Mill Antiques in Chattanooga Cage Light: Shades of Light Chairs: Target Serving Tray: World Market Pitcher: World Market Artichoke Figurines: Target Table Runner: World Market Kitchen Pendant lights: Ferguson Lighting Gallery Industrial Shelving Unit: World Market Accessories: Target, World Market, Home Goods Barstools: Target

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Basement Updates

It has been a long time since I updated you on the renovations in our basement. When I last left you, we had just finished our master bedroom--our biggest project yet. After we finished that room, we were sitting in our basement den and realized the room would become much more functional with the addition of a half wall, and armed with the skills Jeremy had recently acquired in electric wiring and wall building, we decided to build a mud room. We finished it to the point where it currently stands a couple of months ago. Then i painted the whole basement. Then I hated the color and painted it all again.Here is a look head on before...  photo IMG_9014_zpsv2suduwj.jpg And after...  photo Basementupdates1_zpszdb4iojm.jpg Here is what the room used to look like from the studio room.  photo IMG_5543_zps8d4837ce.jpg

And what it looks like now.  photo Basementupdates6_zpsrquvzmnl.jpg And here is what it looked like from the back wall when we bought it.  photo 11-Basement_zpsdb68cb55.jpg And now.  photo Basementupdates5_zpsz3nenrwb.jpg And a few more photos.  photo Basementupdates9_zpssvvjmnw3.jpg  photo Basementupdates7_zps0vyhpscv.jpg  photo Basementupdates3_zpsn1fiumaa.jpg  photo Basementupdates8_zpsqazsbode.jpg This room is hard to take photos of because the natural light is minimal. But I think this gives you an idea. It is still very much a decorative work in progress. I have a lot of work to do to get it to the cozy space that I envision in my head.

Eventually this mudroom area will look something like this.  photo mudroom1_zpsundgwukm.jpg Imagine a stained built-in bench and some antique hooks I got at the flea market. I think it's going to make this basement so much more functional!

Up next...more details on the shiplap process. Stay tuned!  photo IMG_9020_zpsnko8ejio.jpg

The places you go...

"You will be the exact same person you are right now in five years except for the places you go, the people you meet, and the books you read." I scribbled those words studiously while sitting at a student leadership conference in high school. I was already completely entrenched in thoughts of the places I would go, the people I would meet, and the books I would read, and I wondered what life might look like in those five years. Little did I know, in those next five years, I would move to a new city, meet my future husband, and read countless mind-shaping books through my personal studies and college education. I still believe that statement to be true, which is one of the reasons I love to travel (and read and meet people). Whether it is to a new part of Nashville, a quick and easy roadtrip, or halfway across the globe, traveling enhances our perspective and enriches our understanding of the world. There is a depth to people who are willing to experience new cultures and places.

I started this blog post a few months ago on a day when I woke up in Portland. I was there for 24 total hours and then off to another city for some meetings for my job. Lately, I have found myself in a new place every few weeks, and I want to let these tiny snapshots shape my view of life. I tend to record those snapshots in my head like little paragraphs in an essay. Welcome to my world.  photo 4B0310B9-A1CB-4559-818C-671B01624C22_zpsnzawqmrx.jpg Have you ever felt the way a city breathes? It inhales and exhales like a human being. Every neighborhood, small business, industry, and landscape adds to the ambience. In most cities, it doesn't take long to start to feel it. Like a first handshake reveals so much about a new acquaintance, a single day in a city is like a wide panoramic snapshot.

After a day on the outskirts of Portland for a lunch and a dinner meeting, I drove into the city and took a drive around. As per usual, I started writing sentences about it in my head. Even with no one reading, I tend to think in essays and songs.

The waxing street lights begin to illuminate the well worn sidewalks and cast shadows on every corner; they make the show posters and neon signs appear eerie in the moonlight. 

In Powell's City of Books, millions of pages line the aisles with voices telling a million stories. Books do not discriminate; they speak to anyone who will unfold the spine and listen. A petite millennial with a purple pixie cut, worn acid washed overalls and tie dye Converse browses the classics section next to an unassuming middle aged man with a salt and pepper mustache and receding hairline; they are simultaneously engrossed in words written decades if not centuries ago. Worlds apart and yet caught in the same trap set by the written word.   photo B44C5C41-24FC-44D0-9FC0-7A94DEF95749_zpstmrpfdfl.jpg There is something about traveling to new places that awakens childlike wonder and deep, philosophical thoughts in me. Sometimes all it takes is a step outside the norm to get us thinking deeper, dreaming bigger, and loving a little bit better.

As you probably know from reading my blog or falling victim to my excited storytelling in person, I just came back a little over a week ago from a trip to Italy with my husband. I feel fortunate to have taken several handfuls of trips to other countries in my life, and each one reminds me that the world is so much bigger than I give it credit.

Our nation is less than 300 years old, and yet we sometimes believe we know everything as a society. There is so much we can learn by stepping outside of the life we know as Americans. I even get so wrapped up in an even smaller world--my life in South Nashville--that I begin to believe that everyone experiences the norms that I do.

As I walked through Italy, I once again took snapshots by writing descriptions in my mind.

In the midst of the Roman Forum ruins. Small and large cobblestones grouped together form the pathway through the Ancient epicenter of Roman life. I squint at the sun and try to imagine the grandiosity that once existed where now only columns stand. Temples to the Roman gods were clustered together to make worship easy amidst the chaos that would have been the market, political buildings, and important residences beneath the shadow of the mighty colosseum. I stand in the place where Julius Caesar drew his final breath. I climb up to Palatine Hill and pretend I live in one of the palaces of the nobles with the perfect view to watch the world below with an upturned nose. I walk back toward the Colosseum, and I am struck by the incredible similarities between this ancient, decaying culture and the one in which I live. We flock to stadiums not dissimilar to the Colosseum. They brought their tickets on fragments of clay pots. We bring ours to be scanned on our iPhones. They cheered at what we now consider barbaric fights to the death while we cheer for men dressed in helmets and body pads to score goals. Perhaps life has not changed as much as we think.   photo FAFA3B9B-974A-4599-8758-F37074B0A563_zpsnfny0lgk.jpg In small town Vernazza: Tourism has a different rhythm in the small Mediterranean town of Vernazza. Intermingled with daytrippers in swimsuits and adventurers on the trails is the essence of real Italian life. I can feel it on a morning walk by myself. An elderly woman waters her plants on the stone patio in a narrow back alley away from the main drag. Locals pass by and share jovial greetings in Italian. Even without understanding the language, I can sense the camaraderie that implies they have known each other for their entire lives. Local fishermen drag their boats into the harbor, and I think about the fish that will be freshly fried, grilled, and baked in local restaurants today. Scrawny wild cats wait patiently in hopes that a single sardine will drop to the ground for breakfast. I savor a cappuccino and listen the music of water against rocks, boisterous Italian laughter, and instrumental music coming from storefronts as shopkeepers prepare their stores for the day. 

It's these little snapshots that I've taken in my mind in the rolling hills of Tennessee, the outstretched highways of Texas, the stone villages of England, cramped townships of South Africa, concrete markets of Bolivia, picturesque piazzas in Italy, and everywhere in between that have begun to expand my view of this world God made and the people in it. I never want to stop exploring. The world is so much richer and deeper and more vivid than I even know.

It's true. You will be just about the same person five years from now except for those places you go, people you meet, and books you read. So, go places. It doesn't have to be expensive. Try a new ethnic restaurant. Take a walk in a different neighborhood. Spend your Saturday at a new coffee shop. Volunteer at a non-profit. Take a drive an hour in the same direction even if you don't know where you're going. Take your own snapshots. They may not be as wordy as mine. Take pictures, collect leaves, write down the names of the people you meet.

You won't be the same.  photo B79479BD-7E36-439E-B70A-9FC38A8BFA8B_zps548rweiu.jpg  photo 2496D8DB-ED6D-4647-AEC8-85C3CF4CDA3E_zpsa3wslkiy.jpg  photo 4E334E82-0248-4935-84A9-15F8FF34653B_zpsetazi3lq.jpg

State of Construction Address

Slow and steady wins the race. It's been over two months since we started our garage to master bedroom renovation.

In that two months, we spent 11 days in a foreign country, and then Jeremy left on tour for 29 shows in 6 weeks. He came home from tour on Tuesday. Hallelujah! So, the progress has been slow and steady. But the amount of money we are saving doing this ourselves is astronomical. And we really aren't in a hurry, so all is well.

So, here is the update.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YarYSHdBUmM&w=560&h=315]

The view looking from the new closet toward the window. Imagine a tufted headboard and king sized bed against the right hand wall. And four can lights in each corner of the room to replace the weird light in the middle. Oh, yes, and an actual ceiling.

 photo garage_zps0c923547.jpg

This is the angle from the window back toward the new closet.  photo garage2_zps3f0c5a15.jpg  photo garage3_zps505b1ca3.jpg

Look at the size of that closet!  photo garage4_zps8d969663.jpg

 

You have to have a bit of imagination to picture the future of this room, but imagine this...

Master Bedroom Mood Board This is my vision for the room. I want it to feel like a hotel room. With white bedding, and a fabric headboard. We are aiming to get a king sized bed for the first time, and I am hoping to mix textures and colors. A hint of traditional. A hint of industrial. Lots of neutrals...grays, whites, creams, tans, taupes...with shades of blue and hints of gold. Elegant. Understated.

What do you think? So excited for things to continue coming together. Next, Jeremy will be fixing the ductwork in the ceiling, re-installing ceiling drywall, and likely doing some bathroom renovation in order to create a door into the basement bathroom from the bedroom.

One step at a time.

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England Part 1: London

 photo England13_zpse9a43aa1.jpgThis month has been a crazy one. I started off the month with a work trip to Orlando, and Jeremy traveled quite a bit the first week of the month. Then we left for 10 days in England. Then I got sick. Then our cat ate some ribbon and a shoestring and almost had to have emergency life-or-death surgery.

Now, I am back at work, and Jeremy is about to start fall tour season, and life is feeling a little bit more normal. But my heart is still reeling a bit from what I now recognize as 10 of my favorite days ever. It was my fourth time in the UK, and it was also my favorite. We had an amazing trip, and I am having some withdrawals from the scenery, the tea, the people, and the sense of purpose that filled our days on a trip that we have been anticipating/hoping to take for years.

I have already posted the pictures on Facebook, ordered a photo album, and had some time to decompress and journal about the experience (thanks to the two sick days that immediately followed our trip), but I figured a blog post would be the way to round out my recap of the trip. We went as a couple to serve alongside a ministry called UK-USA Ministries (www.uk-usaministries.com) with one of my former youth pastors and to work at a school called The King's Academy. We basically used music everywhere we went to build relationships and plant seeds and spark conversation and lead worship.

I will be sharing next about the time we actually spent doing that in the Northeast region of the UK, but first, we spent two and a half days in the great city of London as tourists. It was our only "vacation" with just the two of us this year (barring a couple of quick weekend getaways), and we had an absolute blast.

I have been to London several times before. First was when I was about 12, and my family spent nearly three weeks there. I still have SUCH vivid memories from that trip; that is when I first fell in love with England. Then I went back twice in highschool. Both times it was for little more than a day at a time, and the experiences were very rushed and part of a large group.

This time, my best friend and I got to explore and set our own schedule and get lost together and do so many things in a short amount of time, and it was such an amazing experience.

The first day, we arrived to our hotel around 2pm. First we went to St. Paul's Cathedral and climbed the hundreds of steps to the top to look out over London. We stayed close to the Tower of London, and it was just a short trip to the South bank where we went to the Borough Market, walked along the River Thames, stopped into the Tate Modern Art Museum (we are not modern art people, apparently), saw Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and visited two historic local pubs (favorites of the likes of Shakespeare and Dickens) before settling into some fish & chips at a not-so-historic pub that wasn't so crowded. Then we retired to a fairly early night's sleep at our budget (yet extremely acceptable) hotel.  photo England1_zps6f313f45.jpg  photo England5_zps05f5ae57.jpg  photo England6_zps12cc16f6.jpg

Day two. The day of magic. Because we went to Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden and saw Wicked on the West End. Lots of magic wands and spells. We LOVED Harry Potter Studios. If you are a fan of HP, it is the place to see all the original sets, props, and the behind-the-scenes details of how the movies were made. We spent four hours there, and we could have spent longer! Then we made the trek back to London and took a short nap before heading out to dinner at a Tapas restaurant (after searching in vain for sushi) and Wicked on the West End.  photo England2_zpsea526ade.jpg  photo England7_zpsce2bf665.jpg  photo England9_zps873ac0f6.jpg  photo England10_zps14cf7f5d.jpg  photo England17_zpscc976771.jpg

Day three. The London speed race. Tour of the Tower of London (so amazing for this history buff!) Churchill War Room Tour Church Service at Westminster Abbey Trafalgar Square Buckingham Palace Big Ben Parliament Picadilly Circus  photo England11_zpsa656e721.jpg  photo england19_zps6b24574f.jpg  photo England8_zps66c1ca1d.jpg  photo England14_zpsebd2c5e2.jpg  photo England15_zps8fb33edf.jpg  photo England16_zps0208febe.jpg  photo England18_zpsb0c01ec0.jpg  photo England4_zps86b8574f.jpg

We took in the major sights of London in one big gulp. This day was a highlight for me because I love learning about the British history and seeing iconic sights of Britain. I also loved attending a church service at Westminster Abbey where the reverend gave a stirring sermon on the meaning of the cross as more than a symbol.

After two and a half invigorating London days in practically PERFECT Fall weather in the 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit), we boarded a train for the Northeast, and that is where the adventure really began...

To be continued.

The Perfect Homemaker

I know your dirty little secret. You didn't fool me. You can stop pretending right now. I know you're not the perfect homemaker.

I know you sometimes sweep the floors and just end up moving the dirt under the couch where nobody will see. I know when I came over last time you probably stuffed clutter in the closet and hoped the door would close. I know you leave shoes strewn around the floor and then you step on them in the dark and cry out in frustration.

You know how I found out your secret? Because it's mine too.

I married a man who can be messy. And he married a girl who can be cluttered. Neither one of us are extreme neat freaks. Neither one of us are slobs. That means we get to take turns getting mad at the other one for whatever mess we find. He comes home from a business trip to my shoes strewn throughout every room of the house and it pushes his buttons, but when I ask him to please make the bed because it affects my entire perception of life, and he forgets, I can snap quickly.

Anyone with me?  photo IMG_7425_zps50fb65d2.jpg

I want so badly for my house to be clean all the time, and sometimes I have good phases. Things seem to stay naturally orderly and I'm on top of it, but as soon as life gets busy, it's the first thing to go. We don't even have kids yet, but when I haven't had an evening at home in weeks (like right now), the kitchen table becomes a dumping ground for purses and papers and the living room floor looks like we are stock piling clothes for the next Y2K.

Jeremy & I are working on communicating better and establishing teamwork to keep the house orderly and organized, but in the mean time, God is teaching me a lesson.

I am not the perfect homemaker. 

I am currently reading "The Nesting Place" by Myquillin Smith of The Nester. Her mantra is It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful. I have been so blessed and inspired by her journey to the realization that we can embrace imperfection.  photo nestingplace_zps78412bd2.jpg

So,  here is my encouragement to you today.

Your home doesn't have to be perfect. And you are not the perfect homemaker.

So I hope you will open up your home to friends even when the floors haven't been swept in a week. I hope you will stop apologizing when things aren't exactly like you want them to be. I hope you will be encouraged that there is imperfection everywhere, and that is part of the beauty. Stop apologizing. You didn't do anything wrong. 

But, also, do you have any tips for keeping things tidy when life is crazy busy? #help.

 

Springtime Dreamer

Doesn't Spring give you hope? I've never been so excited about Spring as I am this year. With a yard of our own, I can watch Spring coming out of the ground and budding on plants daily. We have had several nights of Spring thunderstorms, and I absolutely love the pounding rain on the roof as I drift asleep and the waking up to see the ground even greener than it was before the rain. photo flowers_zps6d7a6d60.jpg

Spring fills my soul and drives me to action. As the world wakes up again, so does my gumption, and I have been in full-on hustle mode of late. Contrastingly, you all have been hearing crickets on the blog.

So this is just a little note to say that I am working. On my dreams, on my passions, on my job, on my house, on my marriage, on my relationship with God. I've been absorbing inspiring non-fiction, praying like crazy, writing lots of songs (I can't wait to share soon), making to-do lists a mile long, and feeling so hopeful/anxious/burdened/excited/giddy about the future (poor Jeremy has to deal with THAT mess of emotions).

But, in this season of life, that means I am a little bit quieter on the world wide web. And I feel ok about that. So, this isn't exactly an apology.

But, I LOVE BLOGGING. It is a necessary outlet for my soul. So, I'm still here, but I'm also everywhere else. So, this Spring, I will be probably blogging only when I have something to say. A project to share. An important thought. Maybe once a week instead of three times a week. Maybe four times one week and none the next. We will see.

I have 100 projects happening in my house right now, but none of them are ready to share with you yet. And I'm so busy putting up paneling and painting accent walls that I haven't had time to write about it, but I just wanted to check in (because I went a whole week without a single post! Eee gads!)  photo wall_zps9ad24bd8.jpg  photo wall2_zpsd4b51bd6.jpg

I love you all. And I love Spring. And I love seasons of learning and growth.

Don't you?

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Signs of Spring

After a glorious weekend of 65 degree sunshine and soul-energizing fresh air, the temps in Nashville have descended back into the sub-freezing range. While the snowflakes that fell on Wednesday morning may have been sent by Jack Frost to squelch my spirit, I won't let him. You hear that, Mr. Frost? The sooner you leave the better. Those few days of glorious warmth reminded me of the things I love about Spring, and the reasons I am thankful for the bits of Spring that are popping up around us like little beacons of hope.

So, happy Friday, my friends. Here are my favorite parts about the coming Spring.

1. Tulips & Roses Signs of Spring Signs of Spring

2. Whiskers on kittens Signs of Spring

3. Quotes like this one Signs of Spring

4. Cutest flea market iron animals Signs of Spring

5. New buds growing up from the ground all on their own. Signs of Spring

Is spring on its way wherever you are? Take a deep breath. It's almost here.

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Happy Blog-Iversary! (+ Win a Starbucks Card)

There is so much to celebrate this week! Love & valentine's day, the Olympics, the fact that we are nearly halfway through February which means it is almost March which means it is almost Spring, and, last but not least....

The ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of All Precious & Pleasant Blog

Can it be so? It's hard to believe I have been blogging for a year and we have almost been in our house for a year. So much has happened, and I still have so many big goals for the future as well. To commemorate the occasion, I have two things...a little infographic about what the blog looks like after a year, and a SURVEY for all you monkeys (powered by Survey Monkey, get it?)

It would mean the WORLD to me if you would take this survey letting me know about your experience with AP&P Blog (All Precious & Pleasant). Then comment below and let me know you took it for a chance to win a $5 Starbucks gift card. It's not a lot, but it will get you something warm to drink on a chilly February day. And right now, they have pink drink cozies. Adorable.

Also, I won't know if you took it unless you comment and say "I TOOK THE SURVEY", but your responses will remain anonymous!

Take the Survey HERE

I will remind you again at the end so you don't forget.

So...here is a little bit about where the blog stands after a year of existence.

BlogIversary Info-graphic

Phew...that's a lot of info! Let's break it down, y'all.

Top Posts - Here are the three you really liked the most! 1. How To Stain & Paint Laminate Furniture (a la our TV stand) 2. 12 Months of Dates (a last minute post I threw together about my wedding gift to Jeremy) 3. How To Hang Plates Without Plate Hangers (via our plate wall above the banquette)

Where you came from... I analyzed the stats a bit to find out where you guys tend to find the blog from, and I found an overwhelming majority found me by doing some sort of google search, followed by Facebook & Pinterest.

The most popular month for you guys to visit the blog this past year was December, when I posted all about our Christmas Home Tour.

And the most popular day was June 26, 2013 with over 1,000 views when you came to read about Why My Imperfect Marriage Is Better Than a Fairytale Ending.

So, thanks for reading, friends. You make my heart soar. I have a few goals for this coming year...

1. Interact more. I just want to become better about interacting with you, with other bloggers, and with the internet about all things home & life. 2. Continue to work to post more consistently 3. Tackle some major projects...like a bathroom makeover, garage-to-bedroom renovation, and deck finish. 4. Give the blog a new, more user friendly look.

So...you know how you can help me make these dreams come true? By answering my survey questions. Thanks. You're a peach.

But really, can you take my survey? You could win a Starbucks card! (Did you click on that link? Tricked ya).

Well, that's all folks. Love ya. Keep reading this week for a few projects coming your way.

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2013 Blog Favorites

I wanted to do a sentimental post recapping my thoughts and feelings about 2013. But I'm having a hard time processing it all. It was a year of learning, and a year of everything and not much at all. It was my first full calendar year as a wife, and my first time to own a home. There is so much swirling in my head about 2013 that I can't quite formulate constructive thoughts quite yet, so it is easier to make lists. Today, lists about the subject of this blog: our house. And Monday, lists about our life as the Quarles family. So stay tuned for next week's post about life in 2013. For today, home in 2013. Next week I will also gab about goals for 2014 and a master house to-do-list.

I started this blog in March of 2013, and we closed on our house March 22. I have plans for a great big infographic recap of the year of blogging on the blog-iversary. Today I want to share my top 10 favorite house moments of 2013.

#1: Living Room Before & Afters living room tour

The living room has definitely been our biggest undertaking so far. I am proud of the overall before-and-after of our main space. It's been a lot of little projects and a lot of time, and I know it is still a work in progress.

#2: Stenciled Hallway

tone-on-tone Moroccan stenciled hallway

This was perhaps my most labor intensive project, but I love the subtle glamour it adds to the house.

#3: Chevron Chairs  photo livingroom-chair_zps8c004abd.jpg

This was my first project, and I completed it before we even moved into the house. It was such a labor of love to turn ugly, stained, green waiting room chairs into accent chairs into our living room, and I credit them with starting my love for DIY.

#4: Banquette vintage plate wall without plate hangers

This was technically my husband's and father-in-law's project. But it was the first idea I had for this house when we toured it. It really makes the most out of our kitchen space.

I also re-did some mid-century style chairs for the table. Funny how much money you can save if you try.  photo etsyvsmychair_zps9a2dd15f.jpg

#5: TV Stand Re-Do Gallery Wall -  All Precious & Pleasant

This is one of the most viewed posts on the blog because I cover exactly how I was able to paint & "stain" a laminate piece of furniture that I got for FREE on Craigslist.

#6: The Office

House Tour - All Precious & Pleasant

This is certainly not complete, but I just love this room. Enough said.

#7: Christmas Tour All Precious & Pleasant Christmas Tour 2013

I just really like the way our little house looks all decked out for Christmas.

#8: Floating Console Table building a frame out of trim - all precious and pleasant blog

I owe this one again to my handyman husband who took a vision and made it reality. This is one of the most functional and practical solutions to a small space in our home. We love it.

#9: Basement Staircase Basement Stairs - All Precious & Pleasant Blog

#10: Buying The House  photo 532842F2-4267-4DAF-8199-D8AB47DB06D3-2728-0000026185EE176D_zpsddb5eeaa.jpg

Items 1-9 were made possible by actually owning this house!! That was a huge step for us this year. We feel so blessed to be able to have a home of our own.

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Back To The Basics

We went camping this past weekend with some good friends, and it was a wonderful fall weekend. The leaves are making their colorful transition into winter, and the crisp fall air was the perfect environment for "roughing it" in the woods. We had access to a bathroom and electricity at our camp site, so I don't know if it was really roughing it, but it was amazing to escape from the world for 24 hours.

Camping Fall 2013

In front of our tent...

Camping Fall 2013

Sweet friends...

Camping Fall 2013

Camping Fall 2013

Have I mentioned I love Fall?

Camping Fall 2013

We went hiking, and we barely went a hundred yards before Jeremy led us off the trail. We crossed a river, slid down angled rocks, and explored "uncharted" territory. We all picked up walking sticks and felt like Louis & Clark as we tapped in to our adventurous sides. It's good to go off the beaten path every once in a while, and we loved the gorgeous views.

Camping Fall 2013 Camping Fall 2013 Camping Fall 2013

Being out in the open air (if only for 24 hours) got me thinking some deep thoughts.

- It made me thankful for nature. Seriously, God made the world so beautiful. - It made me more aware of my flaws. My dependence on structure. I could feel the tension in my soul when we veered off the map and then never finished the outlined trail in favor of a different path. - It made me realize how little we really need to survive. When you are camping, you pretty much have only what you need: a shelter, food, companionship, water. I packed about three things, and pretty much just layered on top of what I was already wearing. We ate things we could cook over an open fire. We (mostly) put away our phones and unplugged to walk on trails and look each other in the eyes and play games and watch the fire. Which leads me to one last thing. - It made me wish life was simpler.

So, I've been mulling over the idea of a simpler life...a less technology dependent, less success driven, more people oriented life. I'll let you know if I come up with any good ideas on how to make that happen...

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Welcome & May Richer Fuller Be Feature

If you are visiting from May Richer Fuller Be, welcome! Keep reading for some more details on finding your way around my blog! Good Morning, friends! I'm excited to announce a guest feature today on May Richer Fuller Be. The voice and creative mind behind that space belongs to Chaney, and we have gotten to know each other a little bit through blogging. Be sure to visit her blog and enjoy browsing through all her amazing project and organization ideas! Today, you can also pick up a FREE PRINTABLE of a meal planning chart from none other than ME! So, head on over there to find out more and get your meal planning chart!

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If you are visiting All Precious & Pleasant for the first time, thanks for coming over! Be sure to check out my House Tour to get an overview of the projects we have done in our home! Here are a few of my favorites and the most viewed by my readers:

Laminate TV stand Before & After Stenciled Hallway Before & After Chevron Thrift Store Chair Makeover Built In Banquette Hanging Vintage Plates Without Plate Hangers A One-Year Box of Dates for my Husband

Check out the menu tabs for more on weddings, our life, and to learn a little more about the voice behind the blog! I would absolutely love to hear from you. Leave a little comment and let me know you were here!

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Simple Wall Art Update

Some projects are time consuming and difficult. This is not one of those projects. Also, you could pretty much take any old frame in your house and create this simple art. I will start you out with the finished product because it just makes me so happy. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

I started with some really simple and pretty prints. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog They looked great in our apartment, but I am no longer using any brown in our color scheme, so I decided to update it using some of the fabric from the pillows I sewed and a little white paint.

I took the art apart. Ignore my red shoe strewn across the top of the picture. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

I cut the fabric into strips and alternated the fabric. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

Then I pinned it all together.

simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

After a little sewing machine magic, I had everything ready to go. I hot glued the fabric around the original cardboard that was in the frames.

Then I moved onto the frame. Here's the thing. I sprayed it with the cheapest spray paint possible on a really humid day. That meant drippy, tacky paint and uneven spots. Ew. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

So I sanded everything down and hand painted it. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

Then I put everything back together. And voila! Such a simple update with a high impact! simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog

It makes the perfect statement on the wall by the window and balances out the fabrics on the couch. simple wall art update - All Precious and Pleasant Blog Now I'm brainstorming other places I can use fabric in a frame. It's just too easy not to do it again!

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Pinterest Fail: The Oven Baking Soda Fiasco of 2013

I love Pinterest. You love Pinterest. We all love Pinterest. It's a great symposium of ideas. But not all pins are created equal. And not all of them work for me. This blog is about real life, and in real life, things don't always work.

We inherited some great appliances with our new house. We didn't have to replace any of them, and I am so thankful. They all work well, and we have cooked many a delicious meal already. See? The kitchen is so spacious and lovely.  photo 4-Kitchen4_zps002558e0.jpg But, the previous owners didn't clean out the oven before they left, and we moved in with a pretty nasty, grimy oven. These pictures emphasize the icky-ness.  photo null_zps10962f3b.jpg  photo null_zpsd3a8e004.jpg I read on Pinterest that you could safely clean your oven using baking soda and water.

I mixed together a paste of baking soda and water and rubbed it all over the oven after I removed the racks. It was weird and gross and made my hands turn black. But I had faith that the end result would be worth it.

I read a suggestion that you should leave it anywhere from an hour to overnight. I decided to leave it for a full 24 hours because the grime was really heavy. I forgot to take a picture of this step! Bad blogger.

The next day I proceeded to wipe out the oven, and it pretty much looked exactly the same as before...except some of the baking soda got stuck behind the glass. Here is a great before and after of my progress.  photo ovenbeforeaftercopy_zpsd77727af.jpg Awesome.

It also left behind this white residue that is still there several weeks later.  photo null_zps1ed6734d.jpg  photo null_zps065da63e.jpg What did I do wrong?!! Tonight I am going to use the self cleaning feature on the oven. Wish me luck.

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One Month of Home Ownership

We signed the contract and picked up our keys one month ago today. What a whirlwind it has been! 1. We painted two bedrooms in one night.  photo IMG_1421_zpsc1f36e95.jpg  photo IMG_1420_zpsfbf9f998.jpg

2. We moved all of our stuff with the help of good friends.  photo IMG_1431_zpsd87fccac.jpg

3. We built and painted a banquette.  photo IMG_5589_zpsb7fcd7ce.jpg

4. We enjoyed a lovely Easter with family and ate our first meal at our new table.  photo easterlunch_zps7a4e7d57.jpg 5. We got the basement "guest ready"  photo IMG_5531_zpsb5b3077e.jpg 6. We painted my childhood bed.  photo IMG_1435_zpsf24b6ffa.jpg 7. We refinished a TV stand  photo IMG_5481_zps16cc0404.jpg 8. We invested in lawn tools, and Jeremy mowed our yard for the first time.  photo E390FBBF-C1CF-45EA-9368-FF5877EB176A-3959-0000022F4CC0DD4F_zps38997c37.jpg 9. We painted the living room and kitchen gray.  photo IMG_5471_zps718cae8b.jpg 10. We inherited and invested in new furniture pieces  photo IMG_5462_zpsaba834ca.jpg We actually did a lot more that I have yet to post about. Here is a sneak preview of some of our other projects that we have been working on!  photo 49aaa134-a5ae-4f1d-9d0d-3cfcfa9c6cf5_zpsa4f2451c.jpg

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

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