Well actually, it was more of a salmon color, and dirty white. But you get the idea. I wanted to paint it black.

So I did.

Oh my goodness, isn't that SO much better? It's down right rich. An instant upgrade to a sad, old door.

This was my weekend project, completed during naps, afternoons and one whooping Saturday night. That morning as Thora and I walked out this very door to run some errands and play, I asked Mike to please take it off its hinges and set it up out back. Upon our return, we had lunch and I sent my munchkin off to nap. Tangent: My child takes glorious 2-hour naps everyday at noon. It's fabulous. If you have a little one, it's all about schedule I tell ya. Give your child a consistent schedule every.single.day and reap the reward.

Anyway, in order to take full advantage of said nap, I needed to complete all work in the Thora-accessible zone. I started by touching up the frame with white paint—much easier to do this with the door off anway.

The original threshold, or rather, thresholds, seeing as there were two stacked on top of each other, were worthless and the door too short, creating a mighty gap for a cold breeze. I couldn't wait to take them off and start anew. One went straight to the trash, the other got a good cleaning. Since I knew I would be adding length to the door, my hope was to make this single threshold work.

Once it was cleaned up, I reinstalled it then surrounded it with painter's tape. It was getting a fresh coat of Oil-Rubbed-Bronze spray paint.

While I was at it, I taped the mailbox too, getting it ready for the same black as the door.

I was able to get all of the framing touched up, two coats of spray paint on the threshold and one coat of black on the mail slot before Thora woke up. Yes!

Mike took over Thora duty so I could continue this project in the backyard. It was critical that we got that door hung back up in one day. You just can't NOT have a front door all night around here, know what I'm sayin'?

So, oops I forgot to take process pics, but here is the gist: The previous owner had already added an extension piece to the bottom of this door, but obviously it wasn't long enough. I picked up a piece of .75" x 36" poplar at Home Depot then attached it to the bottom of the door using 3" wood screws. Amazingly, it was the perfect size and required no cutting. You can sort of make out both layers in the above images.

Then I taped all the windows and got to painting. The plan here was to get all the painting done that would be in the way once the door was hung, meaning all the edges. Then put the door back in place to finish. Which is pretty much how it went, and how I ended up painting my front door on a Saturday night. The neighbors across the street were throwing a party while I worked. I must've looked pretty rocking sitting on the floor in my pjs, just me and my paint brush. It should be noted: normally I would remove the hinges, strip them, give them a clean coat of Oil-Rubbed-Bronze etc. Which is what I've been doing on all interior doors, one at a time. Just a little, you know, tedious. But since the plan is to ultimately replace this door with something brand new, I just didn't think it was worth it. So guess what I did? Shame of all shame, I painted the hinges black.

By the end of Saturday I was able to paint the threshold and mail slot, extend the door and get the first coat of paint applied. On Sunday, during nap time, I finished the second coat. And heck, while I was at it, I painted the front too.

Behold! I added a draft dodger to the door itself, which sealed the gap between door and threshold.

It's not perfect, this door is far from perfect. Poor thing has been painted a million times, scraped over and over by a wheelchair, patched and coated in silicone more than once. It has battle scars, 100 years worth. But I think it works for now, which is likely exactly what the previous owner said. In the meantime, we will save our pennies for the door of our dreams. And I can finally get the Rolling Stones out of my head.



Does this look like a problem to you?

I mean, you can see across the street in that reflection! Sigh, that is some serious draft taking place. And the first stop on my most-recent entryway to-do list. All the doors in our house were trimmed to accommodate the shag carpet, and sadly the front door was not spared. I don't mind it on the interior doors, I mean, whatever. But here it is a problem. I dream of replacing this door entirely, but for now, it needs a patch. I have ideas involving an extension, glued and screwed into place. There are TWO layers of rubber draft stoppers here, worthless.

When we first moved in, the entry was covered in shag and popcorn. If you have a moment, go ahead and relive the horror. Then I waxed poetic about wallpaper and light fixtures. That post cracks me up, mostly because our walls are old plaster and terribly bumpy and unlevel. Perfect for wallpaper right?

The very first thing I did after carpet and popcorn removal, and a thorough cleaning, was to whip up these privacy curtains. One for the door and one for the window. I don't know what I was thinking with that fabric choice, oh yes I do! It was cheap and had some green in it, go Ikea. But today, I absolutely hate it. The window doesn't need a curtain, it's up pretty high from the outside, and plain white will do just fine.

The doorknob is original and brass and I'm sort of in love with it. It's pedestrian in style, in a good way. Sadly, we don't even have a key and the knob itself is about to fall off. I might look into getting it repaired once we get a new door, you know, eventually. In the meantime, it is what it is. Wait? What? No key to the front door?! No need to fret our safety, our entry is also gracing one of those steel security doors that Oakland loves so much. Also, it does lock. By the way, how gross is this picture? Ugh. You can tell I've painted the trim but not the door itself. That need for paint is precisely what inspired this post. My goal for the week, to paint the door a shiny black. Mmm...

And while I'm at it, the mail slot is getting a coat of black too. And maybe some brass stickers that spell out L-E-T-T-E-R-S. Is that too cute? Like in a bad way? At first I hated this mail slot but it's grown on me. We've gotten to know our mail carrier now and he knows we are home and he can ring the bell instead of trying to shove oversized packages through that slot. Besides, I enjoy the sound it makes when it spills on the floor.

Upon entrance into our home, you are greeted by... our shoes. Our shoes which are displayed on a few Tadpoles playmat tiles I stole from Thora. A few tiles that cover up a nasty hole in our wood floor that used to be a furnace grate. There is a matching hole on the other side in the dining room. Obviously, new wood needs to be feathered in here and it will! But I'm saving all the floor projects in the house to be done in one fell swoop. Later, once we've saved up the cash and the time to be out of our house. I also need to fill in baseboard here, because of the old grate. For now, I faked it with paint. Know what I sort of wish, and if I was ever to remove an old furnace again, what I'd do? I'd keep the grates, at least until I finished the floor. They are charming and I could have painted them black too. Sadly, I donated them to recycling. Did the internet just gasp?

Argh. That's a good idea. Maybe Urban Ore has some laying around? Worth a looksie.

While we were having a lot of electrical work done in the basement and kitchen, I asked the electrician to install a couple fixtures upstairs. One is this pendant from Lowe's. HUGE improvement from the bare bulb we had hanging there. He also fixed the lightswitch, which had mysteriously stopped working. We still have knob and tube here, as in every room upstairs except the kitchen and bath. But I'm told that's not a hazard and we plan to update the rest of the electrical later.

There are a lot of laters in this post!

I also need to patch the ceiling around this fixture. Looks difficult and I could see putting a simple medallion there instead. Maybe one like this?

Here is the foyer as it sits today. I've painted the walls the same as the living room (Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter) and the trim (Benjamin Moore's Simply White in Satin). I scored a bench on craigslist that is the EXACT width of the window, then replaced it's hardware with these knobs from Schoolhouse Electric. The mirror in the corner is for Thora. My meager attempt at Montessori. She loves having this spot to check herself out so it stays for now. There is nothing but shoes on the wall opposite the door, something I hope to remedy with an open console and a couple oversized baskets. Maybe hang that mirror up after giving it a paint job.

Can I just say, I love having a formal foyer like this? The impulse around here, when renovating these old houses, seems to be to blow out all the walls for open-concept living. And although I see the value, if we had done that I think I would regret it. These are charming little houses just the way they are. It's traditional. I'm traditional. Anyway...

Foyer/Entryway To Do:

• Remove door, clean and patch, paint black (long term: replace door)
• Remove hinges, strip and paint oil-rubbed bronze
• Eliminate knob and tube
• Patch ceiling around light fixture, or medallion
• Replace glass in window, has a crack
• Patch and refinish floors
• Add hooks under window for bags and jackets
• Decorate: Console, rug, lamps, mirror/art, baskets,etc

Wish me luck. I hope to have that door painted by the end of the weekend!



Last week this little family packed up all of their essentials and hopped on a plane to Chicago. We were on a mission to celebrate! To see family that we've missed ever so. And friends too, beloved long-time friends, the kind of friends you grew up with, the kind you can't make in adulthood. And their offspring.

It was Thora's second birthday afterall.

My child has thankfully not connected with any characters yet, no princesses, no Trademarks. It's a blessing for me because it means I get to keep on decorating at my whim. She does like crayons though, and paint and chalk. She's a coloring machine so obviously what's more colorful than a rainbow? Not to mention, easy to whip out with two days of local shopping before the big day.

My poor mother. Upon arrival at my parent's house in Rockford, I unloaded upon my poor mother my frantic, anxiety-riddled need to prepare for this party. It was Go! Go! Go! until the moment guests arrived. Plus Thora was dealing with the two-hour time change and, I realized when we got home, the arrival of one of her two-year molars. Needless to say, she was grumps. Mike and I tossed her back and forth like a football and when I was off-duty, my mother and I were driving across town hitting up Target, Part City, Hobby Lobby, Logli... oh I'm exhausted just thinking about it. She probably wanted to kill me too because I was being P-I-C-K-Y.

But it paid off! In the end, we managed to represent all colors of the rainbow, ROYGBIV style, and create a wonderland in the middle of my parent's sunroom. When Thora woke up from her nap that day, she was pretty psyched. My anxiety lifted, her joy was all I needed.

My folks have these amazing windows and we filled the center with paper fans and gift bags all in a row beneath. Oops, we forgot purple. Do not look behind the curtain. Moving on!

The gift bags each came with a pinwheel—which if you ever need cute pinwheels, Hobby Lobby is THE place—bubbles, a sketchbook and a pack of Crayola Washable crayons. These are a must! I would never unleash any other crayon on my friends or their cabinets, walls and carseats.

Speaking of crayons. To the right of this rainbow explosion we set up a little crayon table, Pinterest style. Each color filled a mason jar and I set out placemat pages to color on. I wanted something nice and generic for this but in my time crunch grabbed these Jake and the something or other Pirates pages. In the end I realized this detail was insignificant. The kids would have drawn on toilet paper for all they cared. Pirates or princesses or whatever, this crayon station became the hub of the party. Success!

We kept the food pretty minimal: a bunch of cheeses with crackers and bread, some nuts, Mrs. Fishers chips (gotta represent!) and these fruit kabobs, also a Pinterest idea. These turned out cute and they were all gone by the end of the party. We also had juice boxes and mini-milks, water and pop for the adults. I avoided candies, cookies and things because I considered the cake itself enough of a sugar bomb.

The cake, sigh... a Pinterest failure. I had ambitions about making the famous rainbow cake. You know the one, the white cake that teeters on 6 lovely layers of color, only revealed upon cutting. It's a sensation, a marvel! And from what I heard, time-consuming as all get out. Yeah, I don't live there. Absorbing the mantra, Accept the Things You Can Not Change, I trudged to the grocery store to order the least-offensive cake they had. And we were all more than happy. It was yum! And only kind of ugly.

Now for a slew of blissful chaos that was the time had by many toddlers, friends, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts and one birthday girl:

What am I taking away from this experience?

• That kids all together in a gaggle is the cutest sight the world over
• Don't overthink activities. These children are creative and find fun in simply being in a new place
• You don't have to spend a lot, or craft a lot, in order to make a memorable event
• When throwing a party together quickly, don't shop around. Buy now and avoid multiple trips
• There is nothing wrong with cake from the grocery store
• If you can, aim to have a 10-year old cousin on hand. My nephew Ethan was the best ringleader, entertaining with bubbles and a fantastic sugar-burning game of chase.

I hope you had a wonderful second birthday, my pickle. I think you did! And although you still do not care about opening presents and only had two bites of birthday cake, you looked like you were having the best time. xoxo...