Christmas 2010

Viv and I started off our week by making cookies.

Vivian helping make cookies

Aunt Bop (my sister) and Poppy came up for a day to visit.  Tiffany was trying to teach Vivian how to play “numbers”. that was fun. 

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I Bedazzled my shirt!

Well, the Karaoke machine was a huge hit!  I have a six year old Hannah Montana.

I love my karaoke machine!!!

I don’t think the dogs are amused…

Taavi perched on the sofa



Decorating for Christmas

Vivian helping with the lights. She's a good helper.

Its kinda hard to decorate for Christmas when half of your kitchen is in the dining room and the other half is on your back porch.  Nevertheless, we are trying to muster up some Christmas spirit in the Warren house.  I type this as I hear hammering in the kitchen as the new floor is going down.  Hopefully, after all the dust settles, and most of the items are returned to their rightful places, Viv and I can finish our decorating in preparation of opening our home this weekend to family who are coming.

Vivian knows that right after Thanksgiving, we decorate for Christmas.  This is her absolute favorite time of the year.  She always bugs me the whole week of Thanksgiving, perpetually asking “When are we going to decorate for Christmas?”  It was no different this year.  We finally pulled out the tree…even in the midst of the kitchen remodel, and got it ready for decorations.

Vivian’s friends came over and helped her decorate the tree in her room.

They did a wonderful job.  It looks beautiful!  When I clean up all of the construction dust and put things to rights, we will take pictures and post them next week.  Hope you are enjoying this wonderful season!


We Even Renovate Barbie Houses!

For Christmas, Vivian asked for a Barbie doll house.  So, Jonathan, my brother with wonderful carpentry skills, volunteered to make her one.  After we got back from Colorado, Jonathan came into town for some R&R and to build the dollhouse.  The morning after he arrived, he and I set out to find supplies to  make the house.  Vivian went to Nana’s house for the weekend to give us some time.  Vivian also wanted a Barbie car and furniture, of course.  So, I asked Jonathan to stop at Goodwill on our way to Target to see if I could find a Barbie car, or things I could use to outfit her house.  Some people would cringe at this thought…not me.  I would prefer to recycle and reuse rather than buy everything new.  I did not find any furniture, but as we were rounding the aisle, lo and behold a pink and white wooden dollhouse exactly like the one Vivian asked for.  I wanted something nice that I would not mind having in the living room.  I did not want anything cardboard or plastic.  I wanted something that would last.

The only thing wrong with it was that it had permanent marker in the attic and was missing its front door.  Steven measured and cut a new front door and outfitted it with a new doorknob.  He also primed and painted over the marker that was in the attic.


We went to Target and bought a dining table, refrigerator and vanity set.  A good friend already gave Vivian the bathroom set.  I could not find any beds, so we made them.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought unfinished wood pieces and we made the bed and sofa.  I also bought the princess crown wood cut out and some small dowel rods and ends to make curtain rods.  I sewed curtains and made a comforter and pillow set.  I also covered the sofa.  Whew….that was a long evening!  We had to have it all done before Vivian got back from Nana’s house.  If you think making pint sized curtains and comforters would be the worse thing you ever had to do, check out this:

All these little parts to take apart and take out!

Look at all the waste it made!

Here is Jonathan helping place some of the furniture.  He always has a funny sense of humor.  He put the grandpa barbie doll in the smallest room close to the entertainment center so grandpa could see it.  Lol….

What was really funny about Vivian discovering her present from Santa was, when she opened it up, she said “That smells like Kilz!”….hahahahahhaa….we used Kilz to cover the permanent marker.  She is only 5.  Can you tell that she has helped us renovate a house or two!  Hahahahaha……………..

Vivian finding her Santa present


Instead of building a doll house with the supplies Jonathan brought, he turned it into a bookshelf for my room. Yay!!!!  🙂

Thanks Jon!


Breckenridge, Colorado Christmas Trip

Here are some of the photos from our Breckenridge ski trip.  We decided to take off to Colorado this Christmas.  It was loads of fun and Vivian had a great time playing in the snow (as you will be able to tell from the pictures).  The only snow Vivian saw was when there were a few flurries in the air sometime the first week of December.  This Louisiana girl had a good time.


Projects – 2008 in Review

I was sitting around trying to think about what we did all year.  It seems like 2008 was a slow year for us as far as the DIY scene was concerned.  In the early part of the year, around March, we spent a lot of time getting construction bids and filling out mountains of paperwork for our construction loan, only for the subprime mortgage crisis to hit and, in the end, we ended up scratching the whole deal.  I had to go back through my pictures to see what exactly we DID accomplish this year.  I was glad to find proof that our year was not wasted.  Here is a pictorial review of our year:


Finished the rent house (Hallelujah!) and took our three year old employee to Chuck-E-Cheese.  Hey, we had to pay her somehow for all that painting she did!

chuck e cheese

employee viv


We celebrated our five year anniversary

anniversary flowers


My birthday!  Ahem….anyway.  In 8 hours, I cleaned, primed and put two coats of paint on the living room walls.  It wouldn’t have taken me 8 hours normally except that I: 1) painted alone; 2) pushed a very heavy 10 foot ladder around the room 8 times while I painted the middle and top of the room …twice! I have 13 feet ceilings.  [is it 13 foot, or 13 feet?]

living room bay

fireplace living room

lr bay

lr fireplace


In April, I redid an ugly 80’s dresser for Vivian’s room and, for storage, we revamped an old shelf my brother made many years ago by adding crown moulding to it and painting it.

Vivian's dresser

old shelf

shelf finished


We took down the ugly drop ceiling in the attic.   We also painted the Master Bedroom.

drop ceiling

master bedroom before

master bedroom in progress


I sanded, repainted and recovered an old chair I bought for $5.00 at a junk store.  I also managed to tick off the entire Ratcliff family and get called a potstirrer.   Hahaha….that’s definitely a new one for me!

old chair

chair finished


I started this blog. Yay!  I pulled a metal tray on wheels out of the garbage and remade it into a plant stand for my porch.  Click here for the details and pictures.  Even my husband could not believe I wanted something this ugly.  But it turned out well.

My new plant stand

My new plant stand


We went to the Philippines.  What a life changing experience!  Click here to see more photos of the trip.  In case you cannot figure out who I am, I am the very white girl in the middle!




Vivian’s Birthday.   Hurricane Gustav hit Cenla.  That was very interesting.  It took us about a month to recover and get all of the debris cleared and everything back to normal.  I can’t complain though, we did not endure anything like New Orleans did.  Click the link above to see pictures of that fun.


Was definitely not a project month.  I was caught up watching the media and reading the news regarding  local and national politics.  I did get a call from the Louisiana Historic Preservation Office in Baton Rouge telling me that they want to put my street on the National Register.  Which reminds me…..I need to give her a call.  That nomination is supposed to be sent to Washington in April.  I am definitely going to help make sure that happens!




I repainted and reappointed the guest room and stripped a fireplace mantel.

Spare room before

Spare room - almost done


We worked on the attic/loft area so we can add another bathroom upstairs.  Steven put up two porch lights in the back.  Steven stripped a door and a transom down to the bare wood.  We also stripped some paint in the hall that was caked on to the wainscoting.  Click here for December’s project pictures.

I guess all in all it was not a bad year.  We did not get as much as we wanted accomplished.  We didn’t nearly come close to the amount of work we did in 2007.  Oh well, put it on the list!  It will get done eventually!


Merry Christmas!


I woke up this morning singing:

“Come on, ring those bells,
Light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the king
Born for you and me.
Come on, ring those bells,
Every-body say,
Jesus, we remember
This is your birthday. ”

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Vivian opening her presents this morning.  Steven told her that in celebration of Jesus’ birthday, Santa delivers us all a present.

Vivian opening presents

Vivian 09

Daddy Steven putting everything together (like good daddy’s do):

Christmas 09

And lastly, Vivian wrote Santa and asked him for a purple “buggy” and a brown baby.   This is what she found by the tree this morning:


Last night at Nana’s house:

Nana's House

Vivian & Rayleigh

Warrens 2009

It was really muddy out at Steven’s aunt’s house.  I accidentally closed my hair in the door and, when getting in the car, got mud ALL OVER my skirt.  I had to borrow Nana’s red jammies.


Dilemma of the Day

I decided to sit down and finish sewing the last curtain panel for my dining room.  I have been trying to get it done for about six months now.  I don’t know why I stopped with only one to go.  I must have been really tired!  I put the finishing touches on the very last one and then pulled out the hardware that I am going to make into a bay window curtain rod.  I have searched high and low for a bay window curtain rod to my liking.  There are only few choices out there for bay windows and the few available on the internet and at JCPenney either cost way too much or was not suitable for my needs.  I did not want a double curtain rod and I wanted to be able to open and close the curtains, so the rod had to be nice to look at with the drapes tied back or pulled close.  So…I took a trip to Lowes and bought several pieces and parts and made my own bay window rod.  Right now it looks like this:

bay window rods

Overlook the rug.  It is temporary until I get new dining furniture.  Right now it is serving its purpose by protecting the wood floors.  Anyway… I am two curtain brackets short and need to run to Lowes to see if I can find two more.  Hopefully I can talk Steven in to cutting the rods down to size so I can paint them, assemble it all and get it put up on the windows before next week.  We have been in our house two years without any curtains….sigh….

Here are the dining room curtains that will be going up (hopefully) sometime this week.

dining room curtains

Off to finish the curtain rods……



Buy Nothing Christmas

So, my mom, dad and sister came in this weekend and we exchanged our “Buy Nothing” gifts.  The point of “Buy Nothing Christmas” is to make something or do a service instead of buying a generic, overpriced gift from the store.  If you have to buy supplies, it should not be more than $5.00.  We were trying to be creative and see what we could come up with.  It was very neat and interesting what my family gave me.

Melanie, my sister, made me an apron and hand painted “Kiss the Cook” on it.

Kiss the Cook

My mom made me a devotional book.  It is very cool.  She took family devotions from our childhood that she saved and combined them with my first recital sheet music “Joy to the World” and family activities.
Family Altar

My other sister, Tiffany, who lives in Alaska made me a mini scrapbook out of dominoes.  It is too precious!  I absolutely love it!  When you open it up, it says: “Words that describe you”.  Sprinkled throughout are words that she attributes to me.

tiffany present

My dad made me DVD’s of our family vacations, childhood videos and a 1987 “Passion Play” our church used to do every Easter.  This is also a favorite gift.  I think they were all my “favorites”.  I am glad that my dad took the time to convert them from VHS to DVD and make me a copy for Vivian to watch.  I think Vivian will get a kick out of seeing her mommy at a young age.

I made all of the girls pretty whimsical pot holders with pretty fabric.  Vivian and I made the men a miniature box made out of an altoid tin.  Vivian painted the tins and I decoupaged them with different images and sayings.  On the inside we gave them a list of suggestions on how to use their little box.  Such as:  toothpick holder, really small pens, chinese fortune holder, stray screws, etc. 

Steven received a metal detector from my dad.  My dad either bought or received the metal detector as a gift many years ago.  After digging several holes in our yard, my dad was satisfied that there was not buried treasure located anywhere in the front or back of our property.  At that time, he put the metal detector up and never used it again.  My dad overheard Steven say he wanted one, so he dug it out of the attic and gave it to him for Christmas.  Well, it wasn’t very long before Steven and my dad disappeared and this is where we found them:

Digging for gold

At first, we kinda came in and out of the house laughing at them. I fussed at them for digging holes in my yard and told them to make sure that they filled them back in.  They found many roofing nails and a twisted metal, but we stopped laughing when they found this:

1920's Cosmetic Case

It appears to be a circa 1920’s silver cosmetic case.  That’s when all of us got interested and pulled a chair out on the porch to give advice on where they needed to dig.  In fact, my dad and Steven laughed at us and took a picture of us gawking.  Here is a picture of us with our food and drinks with a front row seat watching the “Gold Digging”:


Even Vivian caught “Gold” fever.

Vivian digging for gold

We also found a 1929 wheat penny and an old marble.  The marble was a lucky find.  It just turned up in a clump of dirt they turned over.  Last time I checked, the metal detector is parked close to the door so I am sure that there are many more holes to come and many more roof nails to find.  🙂

All in all we enjoyed our Christmas.  We proved that you don’t have to spend a million dollars or buy the “perfect” gift in order to have a good Christmas.  We focused on what is really important.   I did not want Vivian to grow up thinking Christmas was all about getting presents and I did not want to feel pressured to buy a lot of “Stuff” just to keep up with the Jones’.  I hope everyone liked their gifts and I look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.



Yay! Holiday!

Today school is out and we don’t go back for two weeks! Yay! I came home and looked at my “To-Do” list…

Decorate [Check]
Send Christmas Cards [Check]
Buy/Make Presents [Check]
Clean house, get ready for family coming in [Double Check]

I got down to the bottom of my list and could not believe that everything is done! In fact, I felt a bit lost not having the pressure of “getting something done” this afternoon.  So, since I have the time, I am writing this short blog post to recap this past week in pictures.  It is nice to sit and relax and enjoy Christmas.

Over the weekend, we went to the zoo and had a great time listening to the music and looking at the lights. I felt a little bit homesick. Every year at City Park in New Orleans, they play music and light the whole park up with beautiful lights and trees that the children of the area schools decorate.  They call it “Christmas In The Oaks” It is beautiful and used to be (still is when I can get down there) my favorite thing to do at Christmas. City Park has a mini amusement park. It has some of the funniest things to do and, even as a teenager, I would get on the “Dragon Coaster” just because it was a tradition. My dad’s company would give us free tickets for a hot chocolate and a cookie. We always brought a neighbor friend and had a really good time.
Vivian at the Zoo

We had a Connect Group meeting at our house this past Tuesday. It was a lot of fun. We drank hot cocoa, cider and coffee and snacked. We also played UNO attack and for a while there, we thought we would never see the end of the game! But it was a lot of fun.

Connect Meeting

Connect Group 

Wednesday was Vivian’s school play and she was a very cute reindeer.

Vivian in her school play

Vivian the Reindeer