Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Remember the old fireplace? Floor to ceiling dentist office yellow and orange skinny bricks circa 1954 with a mismatching hearth and out of place, out of touch, ugly ass shelves that were attached with dark cement mortar and a brass tinted screen complete with a brass top and brass pull chain that enabled that draft that basically was the function of this wood burning beast?

I can't…

…because it's not there anymore! After photos to come. Am I driving you nuts yet? Is the suspense killing you? Are you laughing at my insidious implication that this blog determines the outcome of your day or in any way has an affect on your mood or daily happenings?


I'm going to post about our fireplace soon. You'll see the awful, dreaded before and the amazing, knock-your-socks-off after. Are you excited? Are you anxious? Do you love before and afters as much as I do? Does it drive you nuts that I posted this instead of just getting to the reveal? Good… that was the point. To get you to come back.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010



It seems everyone is having babies. Every where I look there is a baby bump or belly. It's baby fever! I know I've surpassed the dating phase. Everyone has already gotten married. I realize I'm now at the age where everyone around me is either trying to get pregnant, due any day, bringing home a newborn, learning their baby's routines or dealing with a toddler. I get it and I'm very truly happy for each and every one. That's the honest-to-God truth. Really.

But, I'm also sad.

When the day comes for Shawn and I to have a baby, it will be bittersweet. It will be amazing, exciting and life-changing. It will be stressful, chaotic and sleep-depriving. It will be a wonderful bonding experience for us, our friends and our family. But, someone will be missing. My heart literally aches every time I reflect on the fact that Dad won't get to meet my kids. Or in the same token, my kids won't get to meet my Dad, their Grandpa Miller. There are no words to surround that void.

This has been one of my biggest struggles for me when mourning the loss of my Dad. Aside from the mere and simple fact that I just miss him.

I can't get into it more because I'll fall apart. It's just what's been on my mind. No, I'm not pregnant (I KNOW some of you were thinking it!) but everyone else either is, was, or is trying to be so it projects my mind to the distant future. I know Dad will be watching from up in heaven and he'll have good seats for when it happens, but selfishly, it's not good enough for me. It's not good enough for my future kids. So today? Today I'm wallowing… and probably emotionally eating.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


As promised, a wee selection of photos from our recent renovation. This is me and my general reaction to having my picture taken, by Shawn, while trying to get something done.


To survive my work day, I need two things :: something inspiring to look at and something catchy to listen to. Fellow Mac users (and loser PC users) I'd like to introduce you to my two best work friends, InterfaceLIFT and Pandora.

InterfaceLIFT is my favorite resource for vivid and visually interesting wallpaper. Learn your computer's resolution and download away. From my Mac heart to yours, enjoy.
My current work wallpaper. I want to live atop this mountain.

Pandora is like iTunes' Genius feature on crack. If you haven't discovered it yet, you must. My current swoon…   
Mr. Eddie Vedder

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm sort of having a mid-blog crisis. I've come to notice this blog, Team DeBoer, lacks a solid theme. I guess it doesn't necessarily need one, I just feel my posts are so sporadic I should maybe instead, hone in on something and stick to it? About three and a half years ago I started this blog to document the remodel of our kitchen. From there it ballooned to other house projects/failed attempts to our travels to our family of four to the randomness that is my brain. I don't have to toe the line so-to-speak, I just wonder if I would recruit a broader range of followers had I a sphere of expertise? Therein, I think, underlies my problem. I don't really feel I possess such a sphere. At least not one many would find interesting. Or maybe I just lack confidence…

I don't have children. That knocks out over 83% of you I'm sure. I proclaim myself a pseudo designer/DIYer at best and any knowledge I could pass on, I've probably just read from some other blog. I could learn to cook but I feel I would betray my grilled cheese and french fries and I'm just not okay with that. I could continue the tales of having two tails running around the house but most of you already know all there is to know about Norman and Leo. I can confidently say I'm able to organize a mean closet or purge better then Peter Walsh but fear some may think my OCD is indeed not under control, despite my meds. I see the looks I get when I tell people I color coordinate my closet and all the shirts are facing the same direction. They want to run away. Fast. I'll bet half of you are still squirming from my use of the word meds. There's general life advice giving but I would just be copyrighting anything Shawn or my counselor's ever told me so that's not pure and I wouldn't be living my best life. Let's face it, who wants to let down Oprah? I could sugar coat the ordinary events that make up my day but I'm not that good of a liar and I'm not prepared to absorb your judgments.

So… I'll put it out there. What do you want to hear about? What don't you want to hear about. What are you sick of hearing? Can I look something up for you? Can I connect you with a better resource? What can I say that will make you comment to this very post? What will entice you to follow this blog? What will keep you coming back? I want to know what you want to know and am willing to do some leg work and learn. Speak now or forever listen to me teeter totter back and forth between mourning the loss of my Dad, trying to decorate my house and living in a small space with three very cute, but very close shadows.

Monday, August 9, 2010


It's been a process in the making but our new living room is coming together quite nicely. We have new sofas (both el cheapo Craigslist finds), a new end table (well, refinished), new entertainment center (eh, also refinished), new carpet (single splurge in the room) and well, new windows (don't mind the trim that has yet to be painted - that's next up on my list). I'll break it down:

This is the overall concept. Before, very monochromatic. All colors are close to each other on the color wheel therefore the room is very harmonious but doesn't have a lot of umpf and although it's warm, it makes the space look smaller.
old, monochromatic living room
Now, the colors are actually complimentary which means they're opposite each other on the color wheel (orange and blue). Therefore there is high contrast which inevitably makes the space look larger. The sofas are both neutrals as are the newly refinished end table and entertainment center. Things just look more crisp and clean. Can you tell I've been watching Color Confidential on HGTV?
new, complimentary living room
This is the old rug. I don't know what we were thinking other then it was cheap and neutral and well… that was it. Yes, we got some good use out of it but it's no longer remotely close to the color it started at and since it's woven, we cannot steam clean it ourselves. With pooches one and two, we have to be able to deep clean it ourselves, and often.
old rug, destroyed by the dogs
Here is the new rug, which actually was not the first we tried. I ordered one online from Target and while I liked it, it was much too big and of course, the smaller version was not available. After that returning fiasco, I found this one… at Pottery Barn. (cringe) Normally I can't ever justify buying anything at their prices but it was on sale, it was the floor model and we can steam clean it ourselves. Plus, it's actually comfortable to lay on and just happens to go with the space perfectly. My only snafu currently is that we don't have a rug pad or rug tape and therefore it stays in this position for no longer then 36 seconds before one or both of the dopey bassets come charging through and drag it towards the fireplace. Arg!
new rug, not yet destroyed by the dogs
The only photo I could find of the way our entertainment center used to look was from our infamous, impromptu Slanket photo shoot. You can't see the whole thing but you can see enough to see it was awful. It was oak, well some of it fake oak, with a glass door on the left and bright, brassy hardware. Ick.
old entertainment center, circa 1984
Here's the newly redone, whiter, brighter and more beautiful entertainment center. We left off the glass door on the left and the wooden small doors on the lower right. There was just no need and this way we didn't have to find replacement hardware. This took a harsh sanding period (first with 200 then 80 grade sandpaper using an electric sander), oil-based primer and three coats of semi-gloss pure white paint from Sherwin Williams. Since the backing to the unit has long been gone, I spent a tedious amount of time rearranging the cables and cords in the back so you couldn't see them. Great trick: buy the cord organizers from 3M.
new entertainment center, circa… at least 2000
Here's a close up of my favorite part of the entertainment center. Because we left the bottom right doors off, we needed a replacement storage idea otherwise it would just be bare space. Have I mentioned I love Target? And not just because it's a Minnesota store. I found these totes in the college back-to-school area for $6.99 a piece. The fact that the blue was in the range I was looking for made me so happy and the price tag helped make Shawn so happy. The other striped tote I've actually had forever. I got it as well as a second, similar piece from Pottery Barn years and years ago.
close up of favorite totes
This was the only photo I could find of the old end table. I obviously knew how bad the old furniture was and therefore never photographed it. Plus I was so anxious to start the refinishing process, I didn't bother with photos… well, there were a few but they were taken by Shawn and I'll show you some of my favorites later. This was also a fake-y oak with bright brass hardware and the top had many a water spots.
old end table, also circa 1984
This is the new end table, at an odd angle I might add. This required the same process as the entertainment center and was actually done first which was probably a good thing because the entertainment center took MUCH longer and might have deterred me from completing this piece. The bottom of the lamp doesn't have the greatest padding so we bought a place mat from Target to protect the top and break up the white.
new end table, circa at least 2000
Here's a front angle. We replaced the knobs on both the door and pullout tray with ones we found at Home Depot. Then we spray painted the hinges with an oil bronze color we found at Sherwin Williams. We couldn't find a close enough replacement hinge so the spray paint option worked like a charm.
front view of end table
You can't tell from any of the photos but we also added wheels to the bottom. The bottom inside of the base is hollow so it was an easy enough addition. And because I lost the gumption to deal with the inside, I used contact paper I found at Target for the three sides and that woven drawer liner stuff you typically use for kitchen cabinets for the base. This usually just houses Norman and Leo's toys so we didn't have to get too fancy schmancy.
inside view of end table
There you have it - our new abode. I'll bet your thinking, man, that fireplace is an eye sore! It's so ugly and out of place with the new, bright beautiful furniture and rug. You would be correct! That's our next project. Okay so I said painting the trim was our next project and technically it is. The trim we'll be doing ourselves but the fireplace will be getting a face lift from some professional folk. I don't want to give away too much but it will be converted to gas, those hideous shelves I've hated since forever will be gone, there will be some new dimension and it will knock your socks off!
spiffy new setup

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Nello is part of the card game 500. Not having the time or patience to describe 500 to you in detail, I'll instead just advise you to Google it. It's similar to Euker and involves partners, bidding, bowers and a blind. The basic idea is to use trump to take tricks to win hands to earn points to reach 500. The exception to this generality is nello. Nello is what you bid when you don't want to take any tricks. You've basically been dealt a bunch of crap and can't bid anything worth anything. It's like a life raft for the game of 500 and gives you an option to play despite your bad hand. Better yet, it's worth 250 points and generally frustrates most opponents once bid because it forces everyone to play backwards. The complete objective of 500 gets reversed and therefore, at least for me, requires exponential thinking and strategic play.

Dad was THE best at nello. I don't know what it was but nello came very easy to him and he took full advantage of it. He was always one with the numbers. I, on the other hand, came around to the idea of nello very hesitantly and literally sweat bullets the first couple of times I tried it. I always asked questions though. Every time I lost, I wanted to know what I had done wrong. Nowadays, I'm not a pro but am much more confident. Case in point, last Sunday we were at Mom's playing cards. It was Grandma and I versus Mom and Aunt Vashni. Our opponents had 490 points. Without going into the math of it all, just know that Grandma and I basically needed to bid and get all of the tricks. I, of course, had crap. If it was going to come down to it, I'd rather us lose then let them win. That being said, I went for it. I went big and I didn't go home. I bid DOUBLE nello. This means I had to play with just my hand. I didn't get help from the five cards in the blind or from my partner as with regular nello. It all came down to me and my hand. I was sweating bullets again.

I can't give you the actual play-by-play or Shawn's color commentary. I can only tell you…
…I won! That's right, by some small miracle, I pulled it out. I didn't get a single solitary trick and I did it all by myself. Grandma and I got 500 points for my victory and we came from behind to beat Mom and Vashni! I was so happy and honestly, a little surprised. Dad would have been so proud.

I think cards are an under appreciated pastime that I wish more people would find time for.


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