Friday, September 30, 2011

A Fluttery Yellow Visitor

I rarely see butterflies anymore, which is why I get so excited when I do see one.

This beautiful yellow butterfly visited my flowerbeds this week, and lucky for him (or her?) I happened to have plenty of flowers still blooming.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn Sunflowers

Last spring, I didn't bother to plant any flowers in my yard like I do every year because Tim and I were too involved with our May 1st wedding planning to care about our yard. I also knew we would be away for our honeymoon for 2 weeks and I didn't want to have to worry about who was at home watering my flowers.

About a month after we got home from our wedding/honeymoon and settled back into real life, I took a good look at my sad, empty back porch and I really wished I had planted flowers back in the spring.

I really need flowers in my life!  So one weekend  in late June I spent a quiet afternoon out on the porch planting some old flower seeds I had found from the year before. One packet of seeds I had laying around were sunflower seeds. I had no idea if the old seeds were any good or not, but it was worth a try.

I put the seeds in some pots of dirt and I watered them for a few weeks. Soon I saw little baby sunflowers beginning to grow~

See the sunflower seeds that popped open and are still holding fast to the tops of the tiny plants?

After a few days of holding on tight, the sunflower seeds loosened up and dropped off of the plants:

My sunflowers kept growing on the back porch throughout the month of July and in the beginning of August I transplanted them all to the empty flower beds in the front yard.

Now I have some healthy autumn sunflowers getting ready to bloom any day now!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My business background is actually in bookkeeping but I have a day job working a receptionist type of job at a college. I also have a second job. I am a licensed Private Investigator and I do people searching, adoption searching, and genealogy & family history research.

I got my P.I. license in March of 2010 after I spent about 15 years searching for my own birthfamily and my siblings (more on my own adoption and search story coming in a future post). I did find my family, and along the way I learned quite a bit about how the search process works. It just came natural for me to reach out and try to help people in their searching when I could. I have spent years helping others search for lost family and loved ones, and also helping people to build their family trees.

In 2005 I started moderating several message boards for  and I now moderate 16 of their message boards.

In 2006, I found Genealogy Trails, which is a website dedicated to putting free genealogy and family history info online for everyone to share. Since my birthfamily came from the St Charles Missouri area (just a few miles northwest of St Louis), I became interested in that particular area. For over 5 years I have been the host of the St Charles County Genealogy Trails page.

Over the years, I have also helped with transcribing documents for the Missouri Digital Heritage website,

I have spent 3 hours a week volunteering at my local history museum in their archives department,
I just love this place!

 There are so many other things I have become involved with since I entered the genealogy world, those things are really just the tip of the iceberg.

At some point several years ago, I decided to turn my hobby into a career. I'm not yet at a point where I can quit my day job but I'm getting closer to being able to do just that.

Right now I have 3 clients. They all happen to be adoption searches, allthough my business is not limited to just adoption searching.

At this time I'm not planning on taking on any more clients. The three cases I am working on seem to be plenty to juggle without confusing myself. All three of the cases I am working on right now are in beginning stages but as soon as I get close to solving one, I will look for a new client to fill the spot.

I really enjoy this type of work, and I'm pretty good at it (if I do say so myself!!)

I am really hoping to be able to quit my day job at the college and be a detective full time.

 Sorry for the yellow picture (again!) My detective skills are good, my photography skills are NOT! Eventually I will find the time to take a photography class.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY these awesome apothecary jars

These type of apothecary jars are very popular in the decorating world right now.

The problem is that they are SOOOO expensive! I found a couple for sale at Crate & Barrel like this one:

It's price is $62.95 

or this one, which is a little less expensive at $39.95:

I sure don't have an extra $100.00 laying around for 2 glass jars, even though they look really cool.

So I found a solution on the internet to make my own!

Tim and I spent most of last weekend going to garage sales and thrift stores. We  found plenty of very cool things, and we also picked up some glassware so I could try to make my own apothecary jars.

We bought a nice looking glass candlestick:

And a nice looking glass jar with a lid:

We paid under $2.00 for both the candlestick and the jar.

And when we got home I glued them together to make these:

It worked! And they look just as good as those expensive jars in the stores, but nowhere near the price!

I made the two taller apothecary jars, but the cut-crystal pumpkin was one of my garage sale finds (for only $1.00). I filled them all with Halloween candy since it's beginning to feel like fall around here already anyway.

Hint: Don't use superglue, try one of the glues specially made for glass. You can find glass glue at any hobby store.

Next weekend Tim and I will be on the hunt for more jars and candlesticks, I think these would make great gifts.

Porch wish list

Our screened-in porch is one of my favorite places in the house.

It's a peaceful place to sit, and I love spending time out here.

Of course I have a wish list for this area and we may be able to begin redoing it this spring. We have big plans to paint the outside of the house in the spring and add a large patio in the back. The porch makeover will most likely be included in the outside makeover.

Here are a couple of ideas I have for the furniture I want for the screened-in porch. I love the rustic look of this porch, and that couch with all those pillows looks so comfortable. I could take a nap there!

In this next picture, I love the basket table, the rocker, and all of those pillows.

I would love to add a wall mural to the one solid wall the porch has. This garden scene looks so relaxing and peaceful, but it might be a bit too busy for a mural on our smallish porch:

This picket fence and flowers wall mural might work. It's adorable!

I also love this one with the fairies:

Here are a few more wall murals I like for the porch:

And for the porch floor, I am considering using a large floor stencil and painting the floor. I have a rug out there now, but a painted floor would be so cute (and easy to care for). Here are a few ideas I'm looking at for porch floor stencils:

I realize those first two pictures of floor stencils are mainly black, but I will probably choose to go with a much lighter color (or colors). I most likely won't carry the "black" theme out into the porch, there is plenty of black paint in the inside of the house already. See our mostly black kitchen and the black trim in the livingroom, and I think there is plenty of black going on over here already. I want the porch to be light and airy.

So far, those are my ideas for our porch makeover. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to begin this project in late March 2012. That's only 5 months away!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bathroom Wish List

Our house only has one bathroom, and that is unfortunate. I really wish we had two. I like the privacy that a master bathroom gives. I have no problem sharing a bathroom with my husband, but we also share this one bathroom with my 23 year old son. And this is the same bathroom our guests use when they come over.

My long term wish list for this house is to add a huge master bedroom and a huge master bathroom. While we're at it, I would also really love a big walk-in closet, and a family room. Oh yeah, and Timmy needs a gigantic garage since our garage is too tiny to even fit one car inside.

So before we get into huge renovations like garages and master bedrooms, Tim and I may decide to move into a house that already possesses these things. We will make our decision whether to move or not in the next year or so, but until then we want to continue to re-do all of the rooms in this house.

We already posted about our kitchen wish list and our livingroom wish list. This post is about our wish list for the only bathroom in our house.

Here is what the bathroom looked like on the day we moved into the house in November 2008:

And this is what it looked like several months after we had been living here:

Nothing spectacular. As a matter of fact, it was downright ugly! I hated the sponged on blue paint blobs on the tiles.

We have BIG plans to gut this whole bathroom and start over, but we also know that kind of re-do isn't going to happen right away. We will have to save a few thousand dollars for a big remodel like this bathroom needs. Tim actually thinks it will cost close to 5K to do what we want to do in here.

We put up with the bathroom looking like this for about a year and we finally got tired of it looking so plain and ugly and sad. About 2 years ago we decided a mini-bathroom-makeover would be a good idea.

Here is what our bathroom looks like after our mini-makeover:

Much better! But still this is a very ugly room with that huge gawky sink and those klunky drawers and cabinets.

So, our big plans for the bathroom is to turn it into a spa bathroom. This will include ripping EVERYTHING out of there and building a stand-up shower (no tub) on the back wall with the window. The window will stay, it will just be inside the shower. The stand up shower would be the same size as a tub would be, and I see it looking something like this:

The sink will be relocated to the opposite wall that it's on now, and we will probably remove those bulky tall cabinets and drawers.
Here are a few inspiration pics I am looking at for sinks, and for the general feel of the room:

I'm sure you get the idea, and yeah, we will have to save up for that. Since it's our only bathroom, there won't be time for uh-oh's in the middle of the job. We will want to plan that job out and make sure we have our ducks in a row before we start ripping stuff out. I will most likely need to stay at a nearby hotel during that job. I couldn't go ONE day without a bathroom, and this re-do will take several days to a week at least.

So the bathroom will continue to look like this for a while longer:

And I'm dreaming of my spa bathroom every time I go in there. I'll keep you posted when the big bathroom renovation begins.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kitchen Wish List

Continuing on with our house tour and wish list, let's take a look at the kitchen.

This is what our kitchen looked like when we moved in, November 2008:

It's a nice big kitchen, but it was pretty ugly! See the ugly cabinets with the PINK counter top and back splash?? Pink?

We both like the knotty pine walls in the eat-in area. Since they aren't easily replaceable, we decided to leave those walls alone and work around them.

The floor is laminate and is a light gray in color. The floors were in surprisingly good shape when we moved in (and they still look good 3 years later!) so we decided to leave the floor alone for now.

The house came with a refrigerator, an old oven/stove and a dishwasher.

The dishwasher never worked at all, so Tim replaced it with a stainless steel GE dishwasher, which I love.

I assumed the oven and the refrigerator would both stop working and would need to be replaced also. Just my luck, the refrigerator AND the oven are both going strong. We will most likely replace them both before they stop working, I'm tired looking at them and ready to finish my kitchen remodel.

When we moved in, I was anxious to do something with the ugly kitchen, so I began thinking about painting the cabinets. I thought painting them black would look classy.  Since the kitchen is so big, I thought it might work.

I continued on with the black trim from the living room into the kitchen. The black trim really looks good with the knotty pine walls.

I went for it and I painted the cabinets a semi-gloss black, so they would be easy to keep clean, and Tim and I both love the end result.

Here is the kitchen as it looks these days. I can't get the lighting to reflect how it really looks, but here are several different pics with different lighting taken at different times of the day.

The kitchen looks quite yellow in this picture. Believe me, there is nothing yellow about this kitchen. It must be the florescent lighting playing tricks.

The back wall is painted gray.

We added plain silver hardware to the cabinets. Tim picked out and installed a dark gray counter top, a black double sink and a new faucet.

The back splash is made of metal or tin. Close-up of the back splash:

Well, kind of a close-up. When I make this picture bigger, it becomes distorted. Sorry! I have a lot to learn about photography, lighting, re-sizing, etc... Please bear with me

We rarely eat at this table, the plants have now taken over. It's the brightest room in the house and the plants love it here. (The short plant on the right is fake, but the other 3 are tropicals)

Now for the Kitchen wish list:

1. Of course I can't wait for the day we go shopping for a stainless steel refrigerator and stove. I'm not sure which one I will be more excited about, a new stove or a new refrigerator.

2. I would like to bring a splash of color to the kitchen, but I'm just not sure where to go with it. I have brought in a bit of turquoise and I can't decide if I want to continue on with the turquoise or switch to something like maroon or rusty red. Decisions, decisions!

3. I would like to add a back splash of some type to the wall behind the stove. Maybe some tile work would look good there.

4. We need under the counter lighting and a light over the sink. We also need a new light fixture in the kitchen area.

5. I have the long black curtains over the 2 bigger windows. I still need curtains for the window over the sink, and also for the small window in the door to the back porch.

6. I want to paint the table and chairs black. Yes, more black. The table really looks better with the black tablecloth on the table. When I take it off, there is too much wood with the knotty pine walls being almost the same color as the table. Rather than deal with the tablecloth, which picks up lint and dog hair like crazy, I am really considering trying to paint the table.
The worst that can happen? We will hate it and we'll have to go out and buy a new table. We got this one at an estate sale for about $20.00 so it won't be a huge loss if I end up ruining the table. I'm willing to take the chance.

This is a picture of the table I want to paint:

I'll post more about the kitchen updates as we get to them. I am anxious to finish this room and move on to other rooms in the house that need attention.

*** UPDATE: We got a new fridge! Check out this post.