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So far, the What The ? posts have been a mix of funny yet possibly usable retro accents that may actually find a place in the house post construction.

This is different, at least to me.

This post could also be called “The Living Museum,” as the Prophet Himself often calls our house.

Here’s why:

Forgive the low quality photo – but you are looking at a section of a book case in our dining room, a village of tiny figurines.  Though looking sparse above, kind friends and family have been pilfering items from here for years.

hey bull dog

As you can kind of see in the above picture, the village was constructed of books stacked in varied heights with an old linen fabric draped for the setting.

It’s actually kind of sweet, and filled with whimsy, but it had to go.

So as we pack up the house, into a box these all went.  Wrapped safely in newspaper, I tried to keep the animals grouped together as they have been for so long.

No, I never dusted this little village.
I have to give *D’s mom credit for assembling this sweet little vignette.

what’s up, Mallard

I’m still debating what to do with all these little guys after we move back in.

Do we recreate this little village of tiny figurines?

Or randomly scatter throughout the house – a sort of “Where’s Waldo” of kitsch?

Where is the Smoking Caterpillar this week?

Creepy Owl, how did you get here?


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I’m not a big fan of the color orange.  I never thought it would be a color that *D would ever even think of for our house design.

Lately, though, he has been flagging orange items every where – as his preferred pop of color in the family room, a guest room, and possibly the basement pub.

I wasn’t as enthusiastic about bringing in orange as *D, but we’ve both vowed to only veto things we truly hate – and to approve things we may not personally love, if the other is smitten.  So I figured a throw pillow or two would be it for the orange category.

And then I saw this advertisement for Kyle Bunting in a recent issue of Luxe. Interiors & Design Magazine.

Kyle Bunting Rug – Room Design Eric Roseff

Yes it is stunning – and that rug makes me want to nuzzle my cheek against it – but it is not the rug that stopped me.

It may be hard to see in this shot – but check out those tall, orange bud vases.

The gentle ombre effect – the bright orange color.  Where have I seen that before…

Orange Glass Bowl

Of course!  I found this very solid glass vase/bowl just last week!  Ombre orange?  Check!

Don’t worry – this went into the “Keep” pile.

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Whenever *D and I travel, we make it a point to purchase a piece of local art, try some off the beaten track restaurant, and overall try to take something away from every experience.  This has brought us to fun places throughout the years that continue to inspire us now as we set about designing our house.

On our recent anniversary trip to Baltimore, MD, we were lucky to experience one of our Top 5 Meals ever – at the Woodberry Kitchen.

We loved every single detail of the restaurant and every single bite of food.  I seriously cannot recommend this place enough.

While there, *D said it would be tacky to take pictures of every single thing I loved (which was a lot) but I did sneak this pic in the bathroom.

Woodberry Kitchen - Bathroom

Yes, I was a creep in the bathroom with a camera.

But check it out!  White penny round tiles on the floor.  Deep navy subway tiles – which, although I thought I was over subway tiles, I am totally smitten by.

Wondering about the walls?  They papered all the bathrooms with recipe pages from back issues of old cooking magazines, such as Gourmet.

Woodberry Kitchen - Bathroom Sink

And can the sink be any more perfect?  A simple bowl and a single spigot, because that is all you need.

I also loved that they use actual hand towels instead of paper towels.  So green.

*D and I have both always loved the look of papered walls, so it was no surprise when we both blurted out that we loved the bathrooms.  After sitting outside after dinner, at the lovely fire pit, we talked it over and have now decided to replicate this in our house renovation next year.

But instead of papering a bathroom, we are thinking of doing one wall like this in our kitchen.  For years we’ve been saving menus from our favorite restaurants, as most of our favorites are local, farm to table venues that change the menus frequently.  So we already have a stash to start with!

Are we crazy?

I guess sitting outside in a beautiful spot like this, on a beautiful summer night, will bring out the crazy in you.  That, or the Whiskey Smash I started the meal with.

Woodberry Kitchen's Fire Pit

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As you learned in Part 1, this was a totally fun project – but one will filled with frustrating lessons.

Frustration #4 – not having a detailed guide for the second half of the project.

Merriment Design’s Tutorial was amazingly detailed and thorough, so I was nervous to finish this up on my own.

The instructions had left me with a finished bottom half and a finished top half.  It was up to me, the novice, to figure out how to attach the two pieces.

Apron Bottom Pieces

I started by laying out the pieces for the bottom of the apron:  Pleated Apron bottom, 2 ties, and the Apron Waist band.

I rationalized that the ties should be attached next, so as to be covered by Apron Waistband.

Positioning Waistband Ties

Attach Waistband Ties

Position Waistband Ties on top of Pleated Apron panel so that the two ties meet in the middle of the panel.  As you will see on my old-school ruler, that was about 6″ in.

Pin both Waistband Ties in place and sew.

Attaching Waistband Ties

Make and attach Apron Waistband.  Warning – Mistake Ahead
What I did:

Take the 5″ x 14″ Apron waistband piece, lay on top of Pleated Apron Bottom with the right side facing down.  Position the Apron Waistband with a raw edge touching bottoms of sewn Waistband ties.

Attaching Apron Waistband

What the Next Step Should Have Been:

Take the Apron waistband: 5” x 14” and make Side Seams.  Fold and press 1/2 inch, and then fold over again to create seam.  Sew closed.  Repeat on other side.

How did I realize that I had omitted a step?

Apron Waistband - Wrong

By folding the Apron Waistband back to cover the Waistband Ties, the beautiful Trim/Underside is unwrapped.

As see in this picture, though, the sides of my Apron Waistband were raw.  Not good.

Instead of realizing my mistake here, I went a little insane and kept going.  And even made a bigger mistake, to correct my silly error.

Error on the Waistband

Really.  I thought the next step should have been – Butcher your Apron Waistband down to size, in order to cover Waistband Ties.

I blame the lack of Part 2 – and the heat wave.  Frustrating Lesson #5.

So, for those of you looking to try this at home – make sure to always seam your edges!

Which would look like this:

Seaming Edges

Which would have created a nice, edged Apron Waistband like this:

Correct Waistband

Luckily, I caught my mistake at all – and was able to correct for the second one.

Seamed or not, fold the Waistband over the Ties, ironed flat, and then folded again to create a nice cover.

Back of folded Waistband

To Finish Apron Waistband

Finish the Waistband by sewing the double folded waistband piece to the back of the apron.

Mostly Finished Apron Bottom

At this point, one apron was finished for my daredevil Second niece.

For the other apron, it was now time to attach the top panel with the bottom panel.

Apron Top Panel

After referencing the finished picture of the Apron on Merriment Design, I decided to attach the Top Panel to the back side of the Apron Waistband fold.

This is where it gets even more confusing.

I positioned everything like below:

Positioning Top Panel

To Attach Top Panel to Apron Waistband

Sew front piece of Apron Waistband to front of Pleated Apron Panel.  Fold waistband over ties and iron a nice seam.

With the unattached back piece of the Apron Waistband free, lay the Top Apron Panel on top of Apron Waistband with raw edges touching.  Right side of Top Panel should be face down here.

Pin Top Apron Panel to the Apron Waistband.  Get your sewing machine on.

Sewing Top Panel to Waistband

In this process of sewing the top panel to the waistband, you should also be sewing the waistband to the bottom panel of the Pleated Apron Panel.

I took as many pictures as possible during this process, as it was super confusing to me and I wanted to document for myself and any other apron seamstresses.

Sewing Waistband to Bottom Panel

Fold that baby back over and you are done!  Trim any excess strings, re-iron if necessary – and that’s it!

Two Aprons

I won’t even pretend that making these for my nieces hasn’t also inspired me to make one for myself.

The challenge was set after *D and I visited the Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, MD for our anniversary dinner.  Almost every tattooed, hipster waitress there sported a homemade, kitschy apron.  And if it wasn’t home made, it was store bought – And you could tell there was some sort of clique factor brewing there.

So yes – I am making one for myself now as well.  Or two.

One may be a toile print.

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Slowly Coming Back



Sorry for the radio silence the past two weeks.  Hurricane Irene shook up my plans the last few weeks, so bear with me as I get back into the swing of this blogging thing.

*D and I were without power for three days and our basement definitely flooded.  We are very fortunate, though, as we know many other friends and family who are still reeling from the hurricane and the subsequent flooding.

This picture of our basement was taken over a month ago.  I was standing in the creepy “dry” room next to the sump pump, looking into the main room.
Thankfully, *D had just finished clearing out the basement and ripping up that nasty green flooring material the week before the storm hit.


Stay tuned for regular posting!

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here we go!

It has been recommended that I start a blog. So this is me, doing just that.

I hope that the interwebs appreciates my humor and gusto as my husband (hereafter referred to as simply *D) and I deconstruct his childhood home in Suburbia. We pre-inherited a 100 year old Side Hall Victorian house in a beautiful suburb of NYC, in New Jersey. This home happens to be in the town that both *D and I both grew up in.  Although we weren’t technically high school sweethearts, you get the drift.

After years of being somewhat neglected (due to several factors, which I will not bore you with on here), it is time the house gets a big overhaul. So that is where we (and you, dear blog-readers, aka Mom), come in.

So bear with me as I translate our finds and our work onto this blog.

I will share the before pics, the during pics, and the after pics – over the course of the next two years. Or ten years, based on *D’s lofty ideas of design and construction…

This journey will not simply be photos of our unique house. It should also be noted that *D’s parents both had an affinity for knick-knacks and for compulsive saving. As we go through the house, room by room, we often have to stop and consider why something was purchased, what usage was intended, or why something was saved.  I plan to share these little treasures with you all along the way.

And in addition to posting about the treasures we unearth, I will also be sharing lots of other goodies.

To celebrate our first year of marriage, I’ve arranged several small weekend trips for us to take together, exploring new cities and sights.   So expect some honest reviews, tips and fun pics – including my favorite of the HV/AC Farm. Stay tuned.

Another reason I felt compelled to start this blog was to review and highlight some of the cultural goodies this great Garden State has to offer – but is often not recognized for.  So expect some yummy restaurant reviews, cultural events, home tours, etc.

And lastly – to finally capture and share all my design forays, crafting binges and DIY moments of glory and shame, I will share all my tips, true stories, and of course pics.

That’s right – all while DeConstructing Suburbia.

We’re not all white picket fences and green front lawns out here.
I promise.

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