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Archive - September, 2011

Friday Faves 9.30

no. 1 Imported from Ireland – This Avoca Plaid Throw made from 100% wool will keep you warm on a chilly fall night. $168 Terrainno. 2 Stanley Thermoses are an American standard, and will keep your apple cider piping hot $25 Stanleyno. 3 This cute print might just make it’s new home above my bar $29 by Dear Colleen; no. 4 Bring something both cute and compact to your next tailgating event. Jericho camping stool $108 by gallant and jonesno. 5  What autumn bonfire is complete without some tunes?  Solar powered radio $32 from Brook Farm General Store; no. 6 Made in Columbus with eight botanical infusions, this is the gin to use with those lemons… $28 Watershed Distillery for stores.


We made it!  It’s Friday!  I have so much on the docket for this weekend – hanging out with out-of-town friends and family, going to the nearby college football game, and attending my cute little nephew’s 3rd birthday party at a pumpkin patch! I’ll try to throw some home projects in there too, because the weekend isn’t complete if I’m not running around like a lunatic.


What is on your agenda?

Have a PHENOMENAL Friday and weekend!


Easy Entertaining: Halloween Party Invitation

So, it hasn’t come up before because this is my first year blogging, but I LOVE Halloween.  Love it.  I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve always been so into the fun of the fall season and it’s pinnacle is Halloween.

This year, my sister-in-law, Sarah, approached me about doing a party in her new home, and the theme of the party was a three-fold mixture of Popstar, Scary, and Harvest.  When I was creating the invites I really didn’t know where to start.  I approached it as I would have a non-family client – I must figure out how to successfully mesh these ideas.

*fall trees print on left by Madden Photography

I used the colors of fall – Orange – with a font that was a little creepy-crawly and verbage (and glitter) that hinted toward a mature desire to be an awesome popstar.  All in all the party trifecta came together for this one awesome invitation.

I’m excited to keep you guys updated on the rest of the party prep – and I want to hear about your plans?  Anyone else planning a Halloween party?

Have a SPARKLY Thursday!



A Cuter Cupcake

Okay, so it isn’t a cupcake – it’s a muffin.  The title was much better using cupcake! I have all sorts of events at work which require me to bake – birthdays, babies, weddings, you name it.

I just can’t bring myself to buy those packaged grocery store items for such occasions, but I do cut some corners.  Here’s how to make store-bought look homemade for any entertaining.

1. Use a unique vessel – these little nut and snack cups from the party store are cheaper than cupcake liners and look like you’re a professional baker

2. Embellish – I used a store-bought pumpkin muffin mix, but sprinkled the top with turbino sugar and sliced almonds.  You can use anything you have on hand.  Things like dried fruit, brown sugar, and rolled oats work wonderfully.

There you go!  My quick 1, 2 punch to creating something that people definitely assume is homemade in a snap!

Have a DELICIOUS Wednesday – I know I will!


P.S. Sometime later today, I’ll be sharing the actual difference between a cupcake and a muffin over on the House of Earnest Facebook page! LIKE IT to get additional photos and updates!


An Industrial Country Home Goes Spooky for the Season

In the home of Minnesota resident, Lisa Balke, the fall decor is spooky meets industrial country.  This is a mix I’m super fond of, and believe me, I’m taking notes!

Her draw toward the sinister side of the season is done so tastefully, that I hardly even notice the skeletal rack in the corner of the living room.  My eye goes directly to the soft, clean lines and warm palette. The mixture of oddities and antiques helps the look seem balanced and not contrived.

The beautiful white kitchen with industrial stools and period lighting are the perfect touch in this country home. A fair amount of branches, gourds, antlers, moss, and other natural elements ground the more creepy including a doll head without eyes (yikes!) and a large animal skull.

Lisa and her husband painstakingly restored an old bungalow to accommodate their family and have just the look they wanted. There is a definite contrast between industrial modern and the cozy cottage vibe.  Stained concrete floors in the kitchen play off the Gothic wood details.

Not only do Lisa’s collected oddities give me plenty of ideas for my Halloween decor, but the home itself is inspiring to boot!

Do you love?  Give me your feedback I’d love to hear! Super awesome? Or super scary?

Have an AMAZING Tuesday!

*all photos from Midwest Living Sept/Oct 2011


House Tour: Dining Room

My desire for this dining room is that it not be formal.  I want it to be a casual extension of the kitchen and living room in which I could do projects, or sit down for a conversation – maybe one day help kids with homework.  At the center of this ‘non-formal’ decor scheme was going to be a great dining table. You might recall from very early on in House of Earnest, I posted about farmhouse tables and how much I loved them.  I wanted one and I wanted it to be the star of the dining room. Especially coming off of the dining room we had.


This is actually an upgrade from what the room looked like in 2006.  Back then, instead of a pool table, there was a plywood beerpong table. The beautiful wooden chest wasn’t present, and although the wall decor isn’t good, my husband was definitely trying! I bought the light for above the pool table, not necessarily to encourage it being int he dining room – but more as a ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ kind of purchase.

Back to the present:

We kept the wooden trunk that was from a previous roommate (although he’s building a house and I know I’ll have to give it back at some point!).  Everything else is new – the dining table has a white washed top with an ebony stained trestle base.  With the exception of the end chairs (the second one has been swung around into the living room for additional seating), the side chairs are really just placeholders.  They were $20 each at Target, and are stackable.  Once I find my replacements, I’ll stack them away and bring them out for large gatherings.

sidenote: I like to live with large purchases for a while to see how I use the piece before buying supporting pieces, in most cases I purchase inexpensive placeholders and swap out slowly for things that I find when I’m not feeling rushed or pressured! I end up spending less in the end because I can search for a deal and the money I do spend is on something I absolutely love.

The artwork is also temporary.  Although I liked bringing in a more graphic print in color, I think it’s a little too far on the ‘farm’ theme so I’m looking for something more modern and abstract for that spot.

Talking about spots for artwork… this opposite wall is bare! There is a brick chimney behind this wall that used to supply fire to the kitchen, and with the oddly placed electrical controls, I’m just waiting.  I know a good idea will hit me for this spot sooner or later.

The armoire is one of my prized possessions.  It was originally $2800 at Anthropologie and I found it on clearance for $900. I was on the search for a storage solution for the dining room that could house all of my entertaining pieces, platters, extra places settings, formal china, crockpot(s), etc. This fit the bill on storage and fit into my vision for the space too.  Made completely of metal, it has clean lines while also feeling rustic and vintage-y.

Since we’ve occupied this house, the dining room has undergone:

  • new paint
  • replaced broken windows
  • replaced carpet
  • 6 homemade curtain panels
  • new furniture

The improvements were made in 2009, so there are now a couple of things I’d like to change – mainly the art and the curtains.  I’ll find my perfect dining room chairs at some point, and then (dare I say?) I’ll be done!

I hope you enjoyed!  Do you have a formal dining room?  Do you use it?


Have a WONDERFUL Monday, and beginning to your week!


Friday Faves 9.23

no. 1 rustic candle votives $40 for 8 at bent tree gallery; no. 2 Almedahls Fiskarens Dröm Tea Towel $18 at huset shop; no. 3 ceramic sugar and creamer set $40 by paulova; no. 4 mirror bunting $58 by fluxglass; no. 5 northern shore zig zag embroidered pillow $13 at meijer 


I don’t think it’s a secret that I LOVE simple Scandinavian inspired decor.  For the last two years I’ve been over in that part of the world in September. This year I’m staying put in the U.S., but the incoming crisp, fall air just makes me want to schedule a Scandinavian escape!

Have a FRESH and INSPIRING weekend


Let the Sunshine In


 Somedays we all just need a little encouragement to keep our chins up!

I hope you all have a FABULOUS Thursday!

Photo by Jasfitz photostream on Flickr



A Cozy Fall Feel

While I would venture to say that fall weather is here, I think it’s a bit early to break out the Halloween decor.  Mid-September is a tricky time.  Pumpkins will turn to mush by late October, but the summer brights seem old.

Using a few things from around the house – cork, pinecones, wooden bowls, candles, and fur(from the hood of a winter coat) –  as well as some quick things from the craft store  – feathers, burlap, and willow branches – will give your home a good cozy fall feel without jumping full force into the pumpkin, gourd and ghoul brigade.

All of these little tidbits convey a feeling a warmth and the changing of season, without being over the top… yet! I do LOVE decorating for fall, but I feel a two stage process is best! First, a cozy fall feel as above and second, a harvest theme that carries from mid-October into Thanksgiving.

How do you express the change of seasons in your home?

Have a MARVELOUS Wednesday!! (it’s my friday! Woohoo!)


Local Color: Vibrant Peach

On Sunday I spent some time at my favorite local farmers market stand and picked up the last of their summer goodies! The color of these peaches is so vibrant and saturated, it inspired my hunt for something more permanent in the same beautiful hue, like this tea towel from Katherine J Lee.

The fruit is reminiscent of late summer, but those colors are quintessential fall! Such a beautiful place to be!

I hope your Tuesday is BRIGHT and SWEET!


House Tour: The Bar

I wouldn’t say that the intent of this ‘room’ was to be a bar.  My husband’s grandmother (who lived in this home during the early days of her marriage, some 80 years ago) says it’s a hallway.

It is a little wider than a standard hallway, you could call it a ‘pass-through’ with it’s purpose just being a little shortcut under the stairs into the kitchen. Upon moving into the house, the 80’s carpet extended through this hall and the walls were white.  I painted it Behr’s River Mud (the same as the entry) in 2008.  The ‘Vino’ art and Thomas O’Brian console are both from my first ever apartment in 2005.

This long board was fixed to the wall with coat hooks screwed in, lined up down its length.  It was this way for years and years and years (at least 70).  Matt and I didn’t want to do away with it completely, and although we didn’t want to use it as a coat rack, we wanted to keep it in place.  Making it into a shelf for glassware storage seemed like a good solution. We placed a 2 x 4 on top as a ledge, and built it out with some trim. We also swapped out the existing 70’s gold globe lighting with a simple ‘arts and crafts’ style pendant.

A wall with some built-in cabinets faces the shelf, and holds an amazing surprise! I was pretty excited about this when I moved in…

A built-in wall safe with hand painted interior dates back to 1873.  The house isn’t that old, so it definitely had another home prior to this one. Up top of the safe was open shelving which Matt rigged into a built-in wine fridge for me!

Originally we set this room up as the ‘bar’ due to its proximity to the kitchen and a lack of any other idea for it.  Now that we’ve been living with it for a few years now, it seems very grown-up and somewhat indulgent.  In a house this old, there is no way we’d have something as modern as a wet bar, but somehow this seems ten times better – a creepy old safe, wine fridge, and all our booze? Can’t beat it!

At some point I would like to refresh this room a bit and make it more of an extension of the kitchen by using the same color palette.  This isn’t high up on my list, but is definitely on there.

Do you have a dedicated bar area in your home? Please tell!

Have a FABULOSO Monday!

p.s.  We’re heading out of town Thursday for a wedding in Chicago, so I only have  3 day week… which is why I’m pretty sure my Monday is going to be fabuloso!

p.p.s. For other house tour photos, you can click on the HOUSE TOUR link under ‘Regular Scoop’ header to the left!

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