Friday, April 30, 2010

A Birthday Celebration Giveaway!

The first birthday of my blog is coming up on May 8th. 
I am amazed how fast this first year of blogging has zipped by.  Quite honestly, before I started my blog I had serious doubts if blogging was for me and whether I would even make it through the first month of being a blogger, as you could probably tell if you ever read my first post
One year later and I’m actually still here!
To celebrate, I want to have another giveaway.  During this past year,  I have held 4  giveaways with 6 prizes  but the gifts have always been of my choosing.  This time, I would like the winner of my blog birthday celebration giveaway to pick their own gift so I’m offering a…
 $25.00 gift card
 I want to allow the winner to chose which store they want it to come from!


You have THIRTEEN choices:
(or 15 if you count the 3 in 1 card of TJMaxx, Marshalls & HomeGoods)




target gift card




jo ann fabrics gift card




barns and noble


macy's gift card


PB gift card




lowes gift card


home depot gift card
Since we all have different and varied likes, wants and needs, I tried to cover a wide variety of retailers. 
So, how did I do?  Think you could find something to spend a $25.00 gift card on at one of these stores? 
Uh huh, that’s what I thought!  ;)
If you would like to be  entered into the giveaway, I am not asking you to do a single thing except…
leave  a comment on this post telling me which store you would like to have the gift card from
what you think you would most likely spend the gift card on.
Anyone who has at least one of these stores in their area is welcome to enter.  If you don’t have a blog, please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.  If you would prefer not to publish your email address in the comment section, feel free to forward it to me via email at:
You have until midnight (eastern time) on May 7th, 2010 to enter.
On May 8th, my blog’s first birthday, a winner will be randomly selected and I will send them a $25.00 gift card from the store of their choice.
Let the party begin!
**Disclosure:  I have no affiliation with any of the above companies nor have I received any compensation from them for mentioning them in my giveaway.  In addition, none of the above companies have contributed one single cent to the giveaway prize; it is funded solely by me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Modular Home Decisions

When we bought the house in Hooterville, one of  our goals  was to put a modular home on the property so Daughter could have her own residence. 
I had never actually been in a modular home before so when we went to the model center, I was really impressed how NICE they are!   For the most part, they look like a regularly constructed houses.    There are even models that are 2 stories or have 1 or 2 car garages.  The prices are surprisingly affordable too.
For the past several months we have been waiting for a long list  of county permits to be approved before we could actually proceed with having a modular home built on our property.  At this point, we have jumped through enough regulatory hoops  that construction of Daughter’s modular  home will likely start very soon so recently, she and I went to pick out the carpet, tile, paint colors, cabinets etc.
This is the floor plan of the model she liked.  It’s 1800 square feet,  3 bedrooms, and 2 baths.  Although it is considerably larger than she needs right now, it’s big enough for her to “grow into” if she should get married and have a child or two.

Palm Harbor Sherwood

The photos below are pictures I took of the MODEL, not her actual home (or furniture).
As you come in the front entry, the living room is to the right.  The built-in entertainment center is included and she liked it in cherry, as shown.  She has chosen a different shade of beige carpet.  That open door to the right of the entertainment center leads to the master bedroom and bathroom.

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Instead of this terracotta color, she picked a pretty sage green for her accent wall.

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This view is looking back across the living room to the dining room, which is to the left of the front entry.  You can also just barely see the kitchen in the back.  I was really impressed with  all of the architectural details that are put into these  homes  like the beams,  pillars, and even crown moldings.

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Standing in the dining room, this would be the view of the kitchen.   This kitchen is  bigger and laid out much better than the kitchen in the house in Hooterville!  Daughter liked the cherry cabinets and black appliances.  However, she selected a lighter, creamier tile for the floor and backsplash areas, and  a slightly lighter countertop.

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Across from the kitchen island is a  built-in desk/computer workstation.  To the left of the desk is the doorway into the laundry room.

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The laundry room is a very nice size.  Behind that door is the hot water heater and storage.  Again, her floor tile will be a lighter beige and she also chose a lighter beige wall color.  (There are only a few “standard” carpet, paint, tile, cabinet etc. options available, unless you wish to pay extra for “upgrades.”)

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Looking back across the laundry room into the kitchen.  This bench area will be great when she comes in from the barn.  She can enter through the back door (on the right) and sit down to remove her dirty barn boots.  She also has a place to stash her purse, and hang her coat or rain jacket in inclement weather.

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The master bedroom is a generous size…slightly bigger than 14 feet x 14 feet, which is larger than any of the bedrooms at the house in Hooterville

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Although it doesn’t really look like it in this photo, the master bedroom  walk-in closet is very spacious.

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The master bathroom is quite nice too.  It has double sinks, lots of  storage, and a deep soaking tub.  I can’t say I would particularly like to be seeing myself getting in and out of the tub in that big mirror directly over the tub though.  (YIKES!)  There is also a walk-in shower to the left, across from the sinks.

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This is the guest bath.  Again, she chose the lighter floor tile and wall color.  In addition, she opted to have all white tiles in the shower as opposed to having the double row of contrasting tiles.

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Since we embarked on this  journey of buying the “Hooterville” property six months ago,  there have been several times  I have wished we could have just bought TWO modular homes and not had to worry with the extensive renovations which need to be made to the house in Hooterville
How about you?  Would you ever consider living in a modular home?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Samsung Front Load Washer and Buying From hhgregg: Big, Expensive Mistakes!

Disclaimer:  This post is a rant and it doesn’t contain any pretty pictures.  Sorry.
 I am furious!
Remember how apprehensive I was about buying a front loading washer? 
Instead of listening to that little voice in my head, I did it anyway.
In January, I decided to buy a matching front loading Samsung washer (model #WF409ANW) and dryer from hhgregg, an appliance/electronics chain with stores all through the eastern part of the United States.
To make a very long story short…after only 2 1/2 months, the washer started shutting down in mid cycle and flashing a “no fill” error code.
The first factory authorized service technician who came out couldn’t find anything wrong.  As soon as he left, I put in a load of clothes and the washer shut down in mid cycle and flashed the error code.
I immediately called to try to get another technician to come out but had to wait 4 more days.  The second technician couldn’t get the machine to duplicate the problem I was having with it either but he said it definitely wasn’t filling with enough water.   He suggested replacing the “valves” inside the machine since it was still under warranty but  he also added that the new valves may, or may not, correct the problem.  Naturally, he didn’t have the necessary parts on the truck.  They would have to be ordered and it would take 7 to 10 days.
In the meantime, I went back to the hhgregg store to personally speak with a manager about my displeasure over having a washing machine that has already required 2 service calls and new parts in less than 3 months.  I asked about getting the washer replaced and the sales manager said he would forward my case up to “corporate,” who in turn would take it up with the manufacturer, Samsung, and someone would get back to me within 48 hours.
Of course, five days after the 48 hours had passed,  I was still waiting to hear if/how they were going to resolve this.
I tried to call  the hhgregg sales manager I had spoken to in the store and was told he was in Pennsylvania opening a new store.  (Does anyone besides me think maybe he should be minding his own store, taking care of his own  (unhappy) customers, instead of out-of-state opening a new store?)
Then I asked to speak with the general manager.  He told me  Samsung has refused to  replace the washer.  Hhgregg only has a 14 day return policy so the general manager  suggested I go ahead and have the parts replaced and if that solves the problem, the machine should give me “many years of trouble-free service.”
Why am I skeptical that a new washing machine that is already requiring service calls and replacement of parts less than 90 days after purchase will  provide years of trouble-free service?
Of course, I’m not happy but what choice do I have? 
So, do you want to hear the best part?
The authorized service center calls to tell me, “The parts are not available.  We are researching to see if we can find them through other vendors.”
So typical…
Sell the (expensive) product and then leave the customer high and dry when there is a problem.
Doesn’t anybody build a quality product anymore, stand behind it if it doesn’t perform up to reasonable expectations,  and provide TRUE customer service?
Between the washer, dryer, the special installation hose kits (which are an extra charge), the extended warranties and sales tax, this was a $2100.00 purchase.  That is a significant amount of money to me!


Boo to you Samsung!

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And boo to you too hhgregg!


hhgregg (E)


Within the next few months, we are going to be starting the kitchen remodel at the house in Hooterville.  We are planning to replace all of the appliances.  
Can you guess which two companies definitely WON’T be getting my business?
***UPDATE:  You can read about the outcome of this situation HERE.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Praying for Patience

You might remember that a while back I was looking for a little bench to use in the house in Hooterville laundry room and I found one at an antique store for $40.00. 


Even though the yellow didn’t fit into the aqua color scheme I’m using for the laundry room, I liked how the bench was distressed  so a lot of the natural bare wood was exposed.  Unfortunately, you can’t see all the worn places on the seat because the photo above was the one I took in the antique store and they had other items displayed on top of it.
Anyway,  I figured I could just strip off the yellow paint and perhaps do a similar treatment with a different color paint.
Easy, right?
I’ll admit I haven’t had much experience stripping paint but the time or two I have done it, I don’t remember it being this hard! 
And time-consuming!


I almost think stripping paint  is  worse than stripping wallpaper.
Does anybody have any tips that might make this go easier…
and faster?
I’m praying I have the patience to get through this project.
Okay, I’m off to work on the bench some more but don’t be surprised if you see it painted a solid color when I have the laundry room reveal somewhere down the road.


Just sayin’…

Sunday, April 18, 2010

“The Blog You Were Looking For Was Not Found.”

If you are a blogger, can you imagine the feelings you would have if you logged into your blog account and found your account and your blog completely gone…deleted?    
This recently happened to one of our fellow bloggers, Willow @ My Irish Cottage. 


Willow told me she has no idea how or why her blog disappeared and despite her best efforts, she has not been able to retrieve any of the content she had previously posted.  
Does anyone else besides me think  it is  scary to know that could conceivably happen to any of us bloggers who use Blogger?  Many of us use our blogs as an on-line journal of the events in our lives.
Even working with the people at the Google  Help forums proved fruitless for Willow.  After at least a week of attempting to find and restore her old blog,  she came to the realization that if she was to continue blogging, she would have to set up a new Blogger account, select a new URL address, a new blog name, and start over from scratch.  
Bless her heart.  She didn’t throw in the towel and give up like I would have been so tempted to do.  She’s starting over.
I told Willow I would be glad to help her re-establish her readership by posting her new blog info here, since I’m sure we share some of the same readers.   If you previously read Willow’s blog and found it deleted when you went to visit, now you know why. 
If you have never visited Willow before, stop by and say hello.  In addition to posting about gardening, crafting and decorating, she has embarked on a weight loss program and she will be courageously sharing her journey as she attempts to lose  200 pounds.    I know from personal experience, the process of losing weight is HARD and I’m sure Willow would appreciate some encouraging words.
Here’s her new blog:

My Irish Cottage Home

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Furniture Shopping

I have  placed an order for a couple pieces of furniture for the family room at the house in Hooterville
I’ve posted before about the white matelasse slip covered sofa and loveseat in my current living room so it’s no secret how much I love EVERYTHING about slipcovers.   When I set out on my furniture shopping expedition, I was adamant that I wanted another slip covered sofa for the family room. 
I found this sofa at a locally owned furniture store.  It’s a classic style, pretty much identical to the  Pottery Barn sofa that is so popular right now  but this sofa was almost half as expensive as PB’s price.  I also like the fact that it’s  a bit firmer than the PB sofas.   As much as I hate to admit it, I find the older I get, the harder it is to get up off of squishy, very soft furniture.  

  IMG_0774 (C&E)

The showroom sofa shown here was covered in a pale yellow twill fabric but there was a vast array of other fabrics and colors to chose from, far more than PB offers.  I ordered  a natural color cotton twill slipcover, which will give me lots of decorating flexibility.  However, I’m thinking  I might order another slipcover at a later date,  in a different fabric/color,  possibly in green.
I also decided to get the chair and ottoman in the same natural twill fabric.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I have no furniture in my current house that will work in the family room at the house in Hooterville.  The white matelasse sofa and loveseat I have will go in the “formal” living room.  The (rattan) furniture  in my current family room will be used in the sunroom at the house in Hooterville.  That means  starting from scratch in the house in Hooterville family room so,  in addition to the sofa, chair and ottoman I ordered,  I am looking for  a comfortable recliner for my hubby, a coffee table, end tables, and a media console to hold the TV and components.
I really like this console unit  I found at American Signature Furniture.


But I’m wondering if it might be a little too formal for the more casual PB look I’m going for in the family room.  What do you think fellow decorating enthusiasts?

PB2 Image:  Pottery Barn

PB3 Image:  Pottery Barn

Oh, so many choices and decisions!  It makes my brain hurt.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Black or White? The Decision.

A couple weeks ago, I asked for help in deciding  whether I should paint the basic, economy model,  home improvement store vanity and medicine chest/mirror in the guest bathroom at the house in Hooterville black, or leave it white. 

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Much to my complete surprise, the opinions were pretty evenly split but the (slight) majority were in favor of leaving it white.  I really didn’t expect that.  I thought for sure the votes for painting it black would far exceed those for leaving it white.
For several days, I mulled over all the comments, suggestions...possibilities. 
I’m a self-professed white furniture (and vanity) lover through and through…to the point my husband says I have a “white obsession,”  but a little voice in my head kept whispering, “Paint it black! Paint it black!” 
So I did.

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I found this scrolly appliqué at Lowe’s.  In a “perfect” world, this probably should have been applied before I painted the vanity but I don’t think it is too late to  add it to the front horizontal panel above the door and drawers to give this plain vanity a little more pizzazz and mimic the curves of the iron pieces in the room. 
Finding this inexpensive piece of framed art, which I really liked, (at Wal-Mart, of all places) further convinced me I needed to paint the vanity and mirror black.

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It does make the bathroom a little bit darker but, in person, it feels warmer and so much cozier.  (Note:  If you missed it, you can see photos of what the bathroom looked like when we bought the house in this post.) 

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Now that the vanity is black, I have switched the black trash can for a cute yellow French pail and added a few more accessories but I completely forgot to take updated photos when I was over at the house this  weekend.  :(
I’m still pondering ideas for a window treatment.  Decorating is definitely an ever-evolving process that takes lots of time, as well as a fair bit of trial and error, at least for me.

Linking up to:

Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Show Off Your Cottage Monday @ The House in the Roses
Make It For Monday @ Cottage Instincts

Power of Paint Party @ Domestically Speaking