Salvaged Mantle

I’m really excited to show off Brian and I’s most recent project. We have been planning on making a faux mantle in our bedroom for awhile now. There is this strange little area of tile where a gas fireplace used to be, but the previous owner pulled it out because it wasn’t properly vented. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to re-do flooring yet. (I’m wanting to run hardwoods throughout and that ain’t cheap!) So we are left with the design predicament of trying to make those weird tiles look purposeful.


This past winter we got an electric fireplace with the plans of eventually adding a mantle above it. Fast forward til now and my plans finally started to fall into place. Last weekend, we went shopping at Verdigris just for fun, and I came across the perfect corbels. I had been trying to keep my eye out for an antique mantle or architectural pieces that could be repurposed and there they were! They were perfectly chippy and a subtle green color. I could envision them topped off with a rustic beam or shelf.


Then, our misfortune of an old fence falling apart turned into a fortunate event because we were able to re-use the fence panels to create a rustic mantle. So I got this and THIS out of the deal! My husband is so handy…he just whipped both of these out like it was nothing.


Once my mantle was hung, I got to do the fun stuff and style it up. I simply took things from around the house to create the vignette. The only thing I had to purchase was something interesting yet simple to fill the space beneath the mantle. So I headed off to my other favorite antique store, The Rink. And oh the luck! I found a cool, rusty ceiling tile on sale for a whopping $9 bucks!


The starting point for my mantle design was a sepia toned painting from Guatemala. I added a vase, basket and, bowl to add some height and weight. The bowl was tricky because it didn’t really stand alone very well, so I added a tree slab to give it more substance. Then, I layered in croquet balls, tiny terra-cotta pots, and driftwood pieces to lend more movement to the space. To complete the moment, I added some fresh greenery with a succulent plant and a personal touch with a photograph to the top of the fireplace.


I just love how it turned out. It totally changed the feel of our room. We have a big space so it’s nice to add something substantial to cozy it up. I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to complete any project with a newborn at home…a diy mantle or just the laundry. Doesn’t matter. So satisfying!

Continue Reading on June 28, 2014 in DIY, Interior Design

Keeping It Real

Days like today aren’t the easiest or the most fun. Basically, if Vera is awake, she’s not happy long. She has been like this since day one, but it’s definitely getting harder as we approach “peak fussiness” at 6-8 weeks. She wakes out of her sleep ready to eat and I’ve got approximately two minutes until a meltdown occurs. Then when the meltdown inevitably happens, she’s hard to nurse because she’s so worked up. She’ll eventually calm down by the end of her feeding…then we’ve got maybe 20 minutes of happy, calm Vera. The fussy but not sleepy phase is hard because it requires constant holding and interaction. Getting her to sleep for more than 30 minutes or so is another struggle. Now it’s already time to repeat the process! This does not leave much downtime or chore time for mamma!


I feel like I’ve tried everything in the book, and different things on different days work. Today, it was a sling and a car ride that have got us through to the afternoon. I’ve eliminated dairy from my diet for fear that it was making matters worse. I give her gas drops when all else fails. Maybe it’s colic. Maybe it’s just her age and temperament. Being a mommy is confusing and trying.

I don’t say all this to whine or to be pessimistic (I’m actually pretty optimistic about all this), but I do just want to be vulnerable and real. Being a parent is really hard. It’s definitely not for the weak…or the selfish. All I’ve gotta say is that these women that are mommies five times over must have super human strengths or some secrets up their sleeves. I appreciate every mom there ever was more than ever now. We aren’t easy as babies. Heck, we aren’t easy as kids, teens or adults either! But at least we can talk and function after a certain point, right?


Here’s to the thousands of moms doing exactly what I’m doing right now. (Well, maybe not typing one handed while breastfeeding, but you get the point!) You are doing a great job even if it feels like you are getting nowhere fast. We can, and will, do this together! xoxo- kaleen

Continue Reading on June 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Happy First Father’s Day!

We had a great weekend around here. Too bad it had to come to an end : ( We are trying to dream up a way for Brian and I to work from home together…we’ve got some plans in the works but who knows how long it’ll take until it’s a reality. We want everyday to be family day for us. Brian has always had the philosophy of work to live, not live to work. Family and our love for each other is wayyy more important to us. Especially now that there is a lil babe in the picture! For now, we’ll just have to soak up the weekends.


This Saturday, we had a low-key day…Brian made a yummy breakfast, we went to Target for Father’s Day cards, Brian worked in the yard (his favorite hobby), I made Ranger cookies, we did a lot of baby juggling, and also had my dad and bro over for a fancy roasted chicken dinner. It was a lovely day.

For our Father’s Day celebration, we were quite busy! We had brunch with family and celebrated 3 generations of fathers. We came home briefly to wrap gifts and attempt to get Vera to nap, then headed off to a family cookout. It also happened to be my brother’s birthday, so it was a big day altogether. We managed to scarf down our steaks before a baby meltdown occurred and we had to head home.


I love it so much when Brian is here to help me. I feel like we are such a good team. He really has amazed me over the past month. He is so calm and level-headed when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. He knows exactly when to hold me…and when to hold his daughter. He is the master of putting her to sleep at nighttime. I’m excited to see him love on her, teach her new “daddy” things, take her on special one-on-one outings, and even play tea party or dress up one day! I know he’ll jump in with both feet and not think twice about braiding her hair. Brian, you are the best daddy and husband a girl could ask for! Hope you had a great first Father’s Day : ) Love, Kaleen & Vera

Continue Reading on June 16, 2014 in Happenings

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