Time for a change.

Oops, looks like I accidentally let a few months pass since my last post. Well, the first month was an accident...the second month was more intentional.

I had so much fun with this blog earlier on, with the best period being the first couple years of fixing up the house. I'm so glad that I have that difficult but rewarding time documented, and it even had a few unexpected perks (namely, my kitchen in Home Magazine and Design*Sponge at Home, both huge honors!).

But here's the deal. I'm not working on huge projects every weekend anymore. Sure, there are things here and there, but not enough to fill up a blog. And you know what else? Lately I'm not even that into other people's blogs. I found myself reading hundreds of them on my Google Reader, scrolling through picture after picture, almost like it was a job to get through them and not because I was getting anything out of it. But the real bottom line is that I just don't feel a huge need or desire to post about my life anymore. At least not in this format.

 I finally gave in and got an iPhone, and because of it I've fallen in love with Instagram. I really enjoy how quick it is, and how I don't have to come up with a concept that is "worthy" of a whole post before I put it out there. I am capturing moments from my life...just for me...and if other people would like to see them, then that's great too.

And what I really love about it is that its not pictures from somewhere else (oh man, don't even get me started on Pinterest. It is amazing but WHOA inspiration overload. I've been off of it for about a month now and I feel like my head is finally starting to clear). The pictures I see from the people I follow on Instagram (and the pictures you'll see if you follow me) won't be a perfectly designed space that you'll see on 10 different design blogs. They are actual moments of beauty that someone captured during a normal day. And I think we need more of that.
I'm not sure what the future is for this blog, but I guess right now its safe to say that it is on a hiatus, and whether or not that hiatus is temporary or permanent is yet to be seen. In the meantime, feel free to check me out on Instagram (@libbygourley) if you'd like.

need advice

So I recently redid my bedroom, but before I post pics here I want it to be completely finished. The last 2 things I need are lamps and some wall art. One of the biggest components of the new room is a bed...our first brand new furniture purchase. It was scary! And it cost a lot more than the vintage/Goodwill stuff I normally buy. It was so worth it though...it is a solid piece and we will probably be sleeping on it for the rest of our lives. Anyway, the point of all that is I don't want to spend a lot of money finishing up the room, so I'm going to DIY some hanging lamps.

This is where you come in. I found 2 tutorials for hanging lamps and I want to know which one you like better. Or more specifically, which one you think has the better chance of not looking janky in my fabulous new room :)

This one made from cupcake papers (found here):

And this one made from hemp string (found here):

I appreciate the help! And as soon as I get the lamps made and find the perfect wall art, I will have a big ole reveal on the blog :)

ps. If anyone is wondering if I've started my dog painting business yet, the answer is no. I will start it though! I just haven't been able to decide on the perfect name yet, and you know...life got in the way. I was feeling guilty about announcing it and then not jumping on the ball right away, but then I decided to let that go and start the biz in my own time and in my own way. I've always been so bad about putting pressure on myself and carrying around guilt when I don't live up to that pressure, and I'm trying to break that habit. I am only human after all, and all I can do is try to get through each day the best that I can.

On turning 33

I wrote this post on my actual birthday, Thursday, but forgot to post it until today...oops.

Today I turned 33. Instead of reminiscing about this day 33 years ago (um, impossible), I started off today thinking about this day 17 years ago. Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit came on the radio on my way to work, and I remembered my sweet 16.

I had failed my driving test that day and was devastated in a way that only a 16 year old can be about something like that. I cried, which always makes me really tired, and when we got home my mom suggested that I take a nap. I almost never take naps, but I was exhausted from the "trauma" so I agreed. Dad called me downstairs when dinner was ready, and when I turned the corner into the kitchen, all my friends were there waiting for me! It was such a complete shock, and it was so awesome.

We all sat around the table and ate the meal I requested every year for my birthday - spaghetti, garlic bread and salad - then my mom brought out the sheet cake she had made with a street scene painted on it in icing and a red lollipop as a stop sign.

After dinner, my friends gave me a few presents and I got my very first (and best) mix tape of all time, Ethal Mix #1. That tape has long since worn out, which is a sad thing. I know I could recreate it on a CD, but it wouldn't have things like "w-w-Y 107!" accidentally recorded from the radio in between Wild Thing and West End Girls. Gah it makes me so sad that kids today will never experience what it was like to spend hours waiting by the radio, ready to push the record button when their favorite song finally comes on. Anyway, the other gift I remember getting was from an unlikely source, my much more conservative friend Christina Gallagher: a cassingle of Smells Like Teen Spirit. In a weird way it meant more that it came from her because I knew she didn't like that kind of music but got it for me anyway because she knew I loved it Nirvana.

The next day my mom took me to a different driving test facility, I passed with flying colors, and life went on. Now I'm 33 and I still wonder if the day will ever come that I'll feel like a real grown up and not a kid playing dress up. I sorta hope it never does.


I need more glasses like I need a hole in my head, but I just couldn't resist these beauties. Aren't they amazing?

I'm hoping to pick a color and get the bedroom painted today...wish me luck! And of course I'll post pictures when it's done.

Happy weekend!!


This is a scary post for me to write because it makes something that I've been safely thinking about doing but not taking action on more of a reality. But let me back up.

First things first, I don't post much anymore. Have you noticed? No, because most of the readers I had in the beginning probably moved on to blogs that posted more regularly, and I don't blame them. When I was posting a few times a week, it was because I was doing creative things in my spare time that I was excited about and I wanted to share them. Are you starting to put it together? I hit a dry spell creatively and therefore had nothing to write about.

But then in 2007 I decided to do a painting of a friend's dog June as a birthday gift. I had a small canvas already so I gave it a shot. She really liked it. My mom's birthday was a few weeks later, so I thought, okay, I'll paint a bird for her! She loves birds and she loved the painting. Another friend's birthday was a few weeks later, so I thought, I bet she'd love a painting of her dog Zoe...let me tell you, I was on a roll!!

Then 3 years passed. Yup. Classic Libby style.

But then in 2010 I got the itch to paint another dog, and my friend Al was coming to town, so I painted her dog Bandit. I was so scared that the other 3 paintings had been flukes and was pleasantly surprised when Bandit turned out well.

Another year passed, and the itch came back. My friends Barry and Mike were taking care of Ruby again, and I wanted to do something to let them know how much I appreciate them taking care of my little blind, elderly dog. So I painted their girl, Dusty.

That's when the wheels started turning in my head. Maybe I should turn this into a business. No, that's too scary...what if all those others paintings were flukes. Then a friend posted a super adorable picture of his dog Rhonda that was begging to be turned into a painting and I thought, Okay. Paint this dog and if you like how it turns out, it will be time to put that fear aside and make something happen.

I like how it turned out. And I am starting an Etsy shop.


That is a super scary thing to put out there, but its time. And today I bought 15 canvasses so there's no turning back now.

Of course there is a lot that needs to happen before I can start accepting orders. I need to do a ton of research about how selling on Etsy works, and I need to decide how much I should charge, and oh yeah - I need to come up with a name! Suggestions/advice on any and all of those things is more than welcome.

So that's it! That's my news. I am excited.

Kitchen floor

I was thinking about placing my order with Modularity for a black & white checkerboard floor this week, but then I got scared. I don't know why its so hard for me to make a decision! I guess part of it is that I'm worried all you'll see when you walk into the kitchen is FLOOR! And I really don't want that to take over the room because I like the cabinets and the wall color so much. Plus it will cost a lot to send the tiles back if they don't work.

I came across this today and I really like some of the designs...but I also know that whenever I start seriously considering an out of the ordinary design I end up pitching it because it will compete with the cabinets.

Maybe all my fear is coming from the fact that I've gotten used to the drab, forgettable floors that are in there now and something bold will look fabulous. Aghh! Decisions!!

Ho ho ho!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year to you and yours :)

Finally, I am satisfied!

Have you ever had one of those rooms that you just can't figure out what to do with? The guest room has been that room for me for the past 4 years. First it was just a den with a futon, and I painted it yellow not long after we bought the house. Not pretty. Over the next few years, I painted it the blue/green that it is now, hung drapes that my mom got for us, brought in the vintage pink metal desk, and put an iron headboard on the bed. All seemingly good improvements, but the room still just felt like a sad mix of random things shoved in a room. I toyed with the idea of painting the walls for a 3rd time, but eventually decided that it wouldn't work with the drapes, and it wasn't an option to remove them because they had been such a generous gift from my mom.

So a couple months ago my friend Stacy was over and I was complaining about the guest room...telling her all my ideas and how none of them felt right. I had been obsessing over it for so long that I needed a fresh perspective. She said that the biggest problem in the room wasn't the wall color or the drapes - it was that the room had no focal point. DING DING! She hit the nail on the head. Because this is a guest room, she suggested that I make the bed the focal
point and really go all out on it, and that's what I did!

I already had the Missoni zig zag pillows from Target...something I bought on that frenzied day that the collection was released as a consolation for the zig zag throw I really wanted being sold out at both Target locations I went to. And now I'm happy I didn't get that throw because I like this so much more.

Then I ordered the chevron duvet cover from West Elm and had to wait 2 months for it to arrive because it was on backorder. Super frustrating but well worth the wait. The throw is something I got at a friend's yard sale last year. The funny thing about that is I bought a total of 7 throws trying to find the right one and it ended up being one I already had!

The next big change was the headboard. I painted the one I had I think 4 or 5 different colors, finally settling on oil rubbed bronze. After having it up in the room for a few weeks, I realized it didn't matter what color it was...it was too ornate for the room.

So off I went to find a new one. I ended up buying a brass headboard for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity thrift store and painting it charcoal grey.

I freaked out when I brought it in after priming and painting it only to realize that it didn't fit on the bed frame, but a few weeks later I rigged it with a piece of wood painted the same grey and it works great.

The lamps are vintage pink ceramic lamps I got on Ebay, and the shades were $9 each on clearance at Kirkland's.

I like how they are a subtle nod to the pink desk without being in your face pink (just like the desk). I discovered that its hard to find pink stuff that doesn't scream baby girl's room.

I also picked up another vintage lamp for the dresser and organized my jewelry in my grandmother's old jewelry box. I never posted pictures of that part of the room because my jewelry was all over the place and the lamp was ugly and sitting on a box because it was too short. It also had a binder clip on it to keep a piece of fabric over the shade. Classy! :)

Finally (and this happened yesterday), I found an awesome set of Syroco flower wall hangings from 1964 that are the cherry on top of the bed. I LOVE them. They add even more drama to the bed, and they tie in the color of the drapes.

And that's it! Again, a big thank you to Stacy for helping me figure this room out. I really don't think I could have done it without you! I'm so glad to finally feel content with the room, and now I'm ready to have a house guest over to enjoy it. So...who's it gonna be?? :)

Thanksgiving 2011

This year Seth and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house and it was so much fun! We had green bean almondine, whole wheat couscous with cranberries and pecans, and wine...

...deviled eggs, Parmesan crusted butternut squash, roasted broccoli with pine nuts, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes...

...and of course a fake turkey for me and Seth (a Quorn Turk'y roasted in the oven with olive oil, sage, and s&p).

My sister Lana was a huge help in the kitchen, as was my sweet mom.

I was in the kitchen cooking from 9:30am until 2:30pm, and I loved every minute of it.

I love Christmas, but I might just have to pick Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. Its just hard to beat a full day of cooking, eating, being together, and remembering all the people I have in my life to be thankful for!

Thoughts on stuff

Every day this week I have been day dreaming about going home and getting rid of a bunch of stuff, and every night I get home, cook dinner, and then realize that I just don't have the energy to start a project like that a few hours before its time to hit the sack. Its frustrating having to wait until the weekend to do a lot of things, and I worry that by the time the weekend arrives, I will have lost my motivation (which happens alllll the time). But I really hope I don't lose my motivation this time...I feel such a strong urge to purge! Not that I'm a pack rat or a dreaded hoarder, but I still want to have less. I want to open a closet or a drawer and see unused space, and I want to know that there is nothing under the bed. Wish me luck this weekend!

And on an unrelated note, the guest room redo is really coming together! The duvet cover should arrive in a few weeks (stupid back order), I found vintage lamps for the bedside tables and for my dresser, and the bed frame has been spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. One day I'd love to replace that bed with something simpler, but for now it works. Here's a (very small) sneak peek:

One of these lamps will go on my dresser in front of the mirror. It is the perfect size, the pale pink references the pink metal desk, but mostly I'm happy about the deal I got. I've had my eye on these lamps for almost 5 years but they were too pricey at $75, and they finally went on sale! Sometimes it pays to be patient :)