Monday, August 31, 2009

Safer and Sunnier at TLC!

When you've got wiring in half of your house that looks like this...'s probably a good idea to hire a guy like this...

This is Kevin's drummers brother, Mark.
He is our electrician. He rocks for being brave enough to crawl underneath our house and for fighting the urge to pick the proof out of his hair for what seemed like an eternity to me.

(Those two chunks of "crawl space" on the back of his head were driving me bananas!)

All joking aside, last week Mark made it possible for us to sleep more soundly here at TLC by completely re-wiring the old part of the house. (One side of the house was built in 1950, and the other side was built in 2003)
And because I'm so impressed with even the tiniest of details, I've been walking around the place, lovingly caressing my new, pure white outlet and switchplate covers and their matching light switches. Before, some of them used to be black, some used to be ivory, and some used to be half white, and half ivory- but now they all match. It's heavenly I tell ya. :-)

Another glorious change that occurred this past week was the removal of the small wall that previously separated the Living and Dining rooms.

This is how the room looked when we moved in...

Then sometime last year we opened it up a little more, so that it looked like this...

...but when we realized the ceiling was starting to sag above the wider doorway we had created, we knew we needed to call on the help of a professional to help us fix what we had done. Mark's friend Lee came over to help us install a header beam above the doorway. Lee frames houses for a living, so we felt very good having him there to show us how to git r' dun. Since they had to completely open up the wall, Lee said he could make the doorway even wider if I wanted him to. Uh, hello? IF I want you to? That man had no idea what he had just suggested was music to my ears!

When Lee started to remove the pine paneling from the wall, to expose an opening for the header beam to fit up into, he came across some wiring that needed to be moved...

Here he is showing Mark his discovery, and explaining to him how "he and electricity don't mix"...

Here's Mark figuring out what he's going to do with it...

Once the wiring was safely moved up into the attic, Lee held everything up, temporarily, with a floor jack...

The floor beneath the wall the guys took out looked pretty crazy for a minute...

...but Lee removed the 2x4 with the nails sticking out of it, and now I really can't wait to expose and refinish the original hardwood floor that's underneath the laminate.

After building us an extremely heavy beam in our driveway, the guys got to work hoisting it into place...

Kevin makes it look so easy...

Once the beam was firmly in place, Lee began to reassemble the pieces of pine paneling...

...then he trimmed everything out, all nice and neat...

The next day Kevin finished off the beadboard paneling in the Dining Room, and caulked, primed and painted everything...

It's amazing how taking out a little wall can really give a house a whole new feel...

It feels like the house got bigger, and the extra 12 inches of sunlight that can now stretch without interruption from the Living Room windows into the kitchen is such a welcome sight on my toes each morning. (I did mention I am tickled by the tiniest details, didn't I?) :-)

Hover your cursor back and forth over the photo below to see how different the view from the front door looks now, compared to the day we moved in...

Fortunately, Kevin and I both subscribe to the belief that "everything can always be fixed", and we're definitely not afraid of learning the hard way the first time around either.
In this case, we ended up with an even more impressive doorway, and with a contractor who can help us the next time we want to take on a project that might turn out to be too difficult for us.

So what about you? Have you ever had to call in a pro after you bit off more than you could chew? We'd love to hear your horror, I mean, renovation-stories-gone-wrong-then-right!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hudson Goods - Homes are Meant for Living

In the market for some gorgeous new nightstands? Check out these from

I LOVE the finish on them!
Their graceful lines really appeal to me, and because I'm a sucker for hidden storage, I adore the drawers.

I've also had my eye on this vintage wooden crate...

I've gotta get some of those seltzer bottles too!

While you're visiting Hudson Goods, make sure you stop by Karl's blog. He's always posting the greatest photos of vintage home goods, and it's fun to see where he draws inspiration from. I love this photo he recently blogged about...

Wooden Beads instead of crystal ones! Who woulda' thunk it?

Life with little Ones Interview

I was recently interviewed by Corey Ann of "Life with Little Ones". Her blog is such a treat to read. I just love the way she writes!
It's always fun to do an interview too.
A good interview takes you by the hand, holds your chair for you, invites you to kick off yours shoes, then allows you to reminisce about the good ol' days, and encourages you to think about the ones to come.

Click here to read my interview.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity Corey Ann!
I wish you continued success and can't wait to read future interviews on your blog.

Layla :-)

Reader Letter - Wrap Around Porch


I purchased a consultation from you this past April and you sent some links and ideas for the front side of my wrap around porch. Well, I just posted before and after pictures on my blog. I thought you might like to see how great it looks! I still would like to add a few things but I am being patient (uncommon for me!).

Here is the link to my blog post:
Girls in the Garden

Thanks for all the help!







Friday, August 28, 2009

Reader Letter - Nursery

Dear Layla-

Your Reading Room with its horizontal stripes inspired me!
My husband and I currently on the waiting list to adopt a baby.
It has been a long journey and much like most of life, where we started is not where we ended up. After the realization that I could not do a traditional blue or pink room because uncertainty of the of domestic adoption, I set out to create a neutral room.
When I saw the stripes in your Reading Room, I thought "this is it"!
I've attached a few pictures of the finished product. It was hard to give the dream up of blue and pink, but we absolutely love this room. We did the moulding and painting ourselves, and feel like it's such a soothing room. We know that one day God will bless us with a sweet baby to bring home to this perfect room!
Thanks for sharing your gift, your creativity, your inspiration, and your heart!

Emily Echols

(Click on the photos to enlarge them)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tetanus Shot, Check.

After receiving many comments and emails from people urging me to get a tetanus shot, I finally broke down and got one.
I'm terrified of all things medical, so it was a very big deal for me to even entertain the thought of (voluntarily) driving to the doctors office. Not to mention, once I got there, I would willingly invite them to drive a needle into my arm with a substance that could, or could not, cause an allergic reation.
On this particular day, Kevin and I waited for over an hour an a half in the jam-packed waiting room. You could almost feel the germs in the air.
They were short-staffed, and the girl who ended up stabbing me was actually the receptionist, who made it abundantly clear that she was not exactly at the top of her game because she "had not eaten all day" and was "about to pass out from starvation".
When she had to stop and ask a nurse if she was about to inject me with the right medication I nearly passed out.
To top off the whole experience, I asked her how long this shot would cover me for, to which she replied, "Three years".
"Really?", I said, "I thought it was longer?".
Then she says, "Oh, wait, did I say three years, or ten years?".
"You said three years", I replied.
Then she says, (and this is the clincher) "Oh, oops, I meant to say ten. My bad".

Let's just say I will be watching where I step a lot closer about ten years from now.

So tonight I've added "sore left arm" to my list of aching body parts.
But I have to admit, I will sleep more soundly knowing that I'm not going to get some sort of weird infection.
Last night, the whole subject must have really been weighing heavy on my subconscious mind because I dreamt that I did get an infection in my foot and both of my ankles and my knees completely locked up making it impossible to outrun whoever (or whatever) was chasing me. It was terrible!
I was so relieved when I came to, and realized that I was actually still able to move my legs underneath the covers. :-)

We're having Kevin's side of the family over for supper tomorrow night.
(His brother celebrated a birthday this week....oh, and because some readers have asked- yes, he is married) :-)
I'm anxious for the rest of the Palmers to see how much our Lettered Cottage has changed this past week. I can actually hear Kevin out there installing, caulking, priming and painting as I type this. I'll be sure to share some photos of the "new look" tomorrow when the project is complete.

Sometimes I just sit and think about how much the house has evolved because of us, and in turn, how much the house has completely changed the course of our lives as well. Life is but a dream....
Now if you'll excuse me, I owe my house a hug.
If only I could raise my left arm.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happiness, check!

The weather is so perfect here in Alabama around this time of year. Some days, we don't even run the air conditioner- we simply pull up all the windows and let the breeze dance it's way through the house. I love open windows. Smelling fresh cut grass, and hearing the sound of the church bells ringing just beyond the trees out back...pure heaven.

My foot seems to be healing fine today too. It's definitely still sore, but the nail didn't go in as deep as I previously reported and it wasn't rusty, so I don't think I need to go get a tetanus shot. I'm monitoring it very closely though, and the second I feel even a little bit funny, I promise to go get it checked out.

For those who have asked about Fleamarket the kitty, well, he now calls the cottage next door home. Jessica's boyfriend has miraculously decided that he does like cats after all, so he is warm and safe inside the Half Note now. I was very sad to see him go, but I am happy that he's not living outside anymore.
Especially since I almost stepped on a gigantic raccoon the last time I went outside to feed him.
It was the strangest sensation.
Almost like my brain refused to believe that I was standing right next to, and over top of, a wild animal.
The raccoon must have been going through the same thing I was because it looked up at me with the same, "whoa! what the?" type expression I surely had on my face. After the initial shock went away, and we were both no longer paralyzed in fear, it scurried down the stairs and I quickly pushed the door back open and stepped inside the house. When he got to the bottom of the steps and noticed that I had stepped back into the house, he just stared at me through the glass panes on the upper half of the door. I knew exactly what he was thinking, "I really want to eat that kitty food, maybe if I wait a minute she'll go away". After a few seconds of debating, and an intense staring contest with me, (who was now beating on the door with my fist and yelling "get out of here! go! go!") he (thankfully) chose to bound back into the woods from which he came.
From that night on I sat with Fleamarket everytime he ate, and brought his bowl inside everytime he was finished eating.
Now I know who has been ripping apart our garbage bags!

It's also really good to have Kevin home. We had a great belly laugh today thinking about a belly laugh we had a few months ago. :-)

Happiness, check!


Ga Ga for Galvanized

I just can't get enough of galvanized accessories! We carry these galvanized pedestals at and I just had to get myself a set to use here at the Lettered Cottage.

They come in three different sizes...

...and we also carry three different sized glass cloches that you can use on top of them to really dress them up. (The glass cloche in the photo above is not one of the ones we carry)

I couldn't wait to get done shooting these photos so that I could gobble up some of the chocolate-covered strawberries Sarah made...

(Diet? What diet? Chocolate is fat free, right?)

When I'm not using them to display delicious pastries, they look just as great on the kitchen counter filled with artificial (or real) fruit and veggies.
(I can also see a pile of pretty soaps, seashells or coral, candles and maybe a bird nest on them in a bathroom as well!)

When it gets a little closer to Halloween, I'm really going to have fun with them. Among other things, I'd like to use some small white pumpkins or gourds on them, and who knows, maybe I'll even incorporate a little hay into our tablescape. I'm kinda crazy like that. :-) Mr. LC never knows what I'm going to be dragging through the door next!

In other news, I was confined to my office yesterday, while Kevin worked on the house with a couple of fine young gentlemen out in the Living and Dining rooms. You're not going to believe your eyes when you see what they did! As soon as the job is finished, I'll share all the before and afters. It's amazing what 3 grown men can accomplish in just 8 hours. At one point, I ventured out to offer them some of those chocolate-covered strawberries and proceeded to trip (backwards) over an old board and landed squarely on my bottom. That's when I noticed the sharp, old nail connecting the bottom of my foot to the board. Oh yeah, it went in about a half an inch. All the way through my flip flop and up into my foot. So needless to say, I'm limping around today, and anticipating a giant bruise on my backside. These things are bound to happen when you buy a fixer upper I guess.
Blood, check. Sweat, check. Tears, check.

Layla :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'd like to introduce you to one of our new sponsors-
I used these amazing, adhesive hangers on our plate collection in the Kitchen here at the Lettered Cottage,
and let me just tell ya, these things are fantastic! I didn't want a hundred little brackets showing on the tops and bottoms of my plates, so when I came across these "invisible" ones, I was so excited. They're super easy to work with- just wet the back side and then activate the glue by rubbing it with your finger.

Once it's really tacky, attach the hanger (sticky side down) to the back of the plate and let it dry overnight.

24 hours later, your plates are ready to hang!

Stanley, the owner of has decided to sweeten the deal by offering my readers FREE SHIPPING! (He's such a nice guy!) All you have to do is type in this code when you are ready to check out:


You can find his ad button, which links to the Disc Hangers website, in our Sponsors section- in the upper left hand corner of our blog.
Now go on and start that plate collection you've been thinking about starting-
You know you want to! :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sunshine in the House!

Thanks to a beautiful day, I was able to shoot the new photos of the kitchen yesterday. I'll be posting them randomly, throughout the week. Here's the first few...

The newly hung plate collection...

I'll go into more detail about where I picked up all the different plates later this week.

The new seat cushion and pillows on the headboard bench...

Teresa Porter made the seat cushion for us out of a super-soft cotton duck fabric I gave her. I asked her to put a pleated skirt on the bottom edge, and she did a wonderful job with's flawless!
I bought the two smoky-blue pillow covers on Ebay, and had Teresa add braided jute trim to the edges of them to tie them together with the color and texture of the middle pillow a little more. I got 25 yards of the jute trim on Ebay for $4.99. The 18" pillows inside the covers are from a flea market, and cost just $3.00 each.

The middle pillow came from

I just love the way it all turned out and can't wait to see Kevin's reaction when he gets home tomorrow morning. He's been gone for a month, and I've really been missing him around here lately.

We still have a looong way to go in the Dining Room. Here's a glimpse of where we're at right now...

A couple random photos I shot yesterday morning...

And lucky for us, I finally found a complete set of white dishes to fill our china hutch just in time for the photo shoot.
I picked up for just $18.00 at a flea market. It serves eight, and there are no chips in any of the pieces...

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend wherever in the world you are!

Tip du Jour: Listen to the Beatles.