Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bug Hotels

When I opened the latest issue of Sunset Magazine, I was surprised to find a whole spread on Bug Hotels. A Bug Hotel sure sounds like a place that you don't want to visit, right? Well, it's actually not a seedy motel room with weird stains on the comforter, it's a home for friendly insects in your garden. Bug Hotels offer shelter and food for beetles, spiders and solitary bees.  
 
This framed bug hotel looks like a piece of art, but with all of the different sized holes and the stacked wood, it provides a great resting place for carpenter bees and various types of beetles.
 
 
This slice of wood is a great place for bees to stop and rest while out gathering nectar and pollen, (and pollinating your plants!)

 
Stacked sticks and branches offer a great home for beetles and spiders. Though spiders and beetles are creepy and crawly, they help keep mosquitoes in check.

 
Adding yarn to the mix gives your neighborhood birds material for their nests.
 
 
Because I'm always searching for ways to improve our garden, I'm anxious to create some of these beauties myself. Any other ideas on ways to make a garden more inviting for friendly insects?
 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Kitchen Reveal!

It's been way too long since we've updated the good ol' blog. But now, we're back on the horse and you can expect many updates and fun posts about projects that we've been working on around the house.
 
Finally, we are excited to show you our completed kitchen . . .
 
 
 
With all new walnut cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, she's lookin' pretty good!

 
We have so much lighting going on in this room, I'm not sure where to begin. We have all new recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, in cabinet lighting and a lovely chandelier over the sink.

 
And did I mention the skylight?

 
The travertine flooring turned out better than I thought it would. Point for Joe.

 
I love this little nook. It serves as our command central, though you can't really see it in this photo. All of our day-to-day items are kept in the top drawer. I'm sure it will turn into a junk drawer in no time.

 
This chandelier pendant is really beautiful and I've got to find a better way to get a shot of it in all it's glory.

 
The eat-in section of our kitchen now has a comfy settee that is full of soft pillows. The glass table is a temporary item, while I search for the perfect piece. The chairs were a fabulous find at TJ Maxx. They were on sale and we negotiated a bit to get them each for $50 a pop. I had seen similar chairs for about $200 in other stores.

 
We added cabinets to our pony wall. All of the appliances that we don't use on a daily basis are kept in there. Also, the granite top serves as a place for Zoey the Cat to rule her empire.

 
And yes, as soon as someone heard the camera, he made sure to get some face time.

 
Our new refrigerator is one of my favorite items in the room. The top drawer is for fresh produce and the bottom drawer is a freezer with separate compartments and drawers. So easy to keep organized!

 
I made the curtains from fabric I bought on Fabric.com. I love their selection!

 
And the pillows were also made from fabric purchased at Fabric.com. Luckily, my mom gave me a hand with the pillows, or I would still be sewing them. Thanks, mom!

 
So, just to remind you, here is a shot of our kitchen when we first bought our house . . .

 
Not pretty . . .

 
And here it is now that we've remodeled . . .
 
 
We still need to hang artwork, but we're pretty happy with it for now.

 
We'll be posting more details about the remodel over the next few weeks. And we have a few more "Before & After" shots to show you of other rooms in our house that we've been working on. We've been busy!