a letter to my husband.

Dear Tristan,

You’re so tolerant of my decorating and redecorating and rearranging and painting and repainting and crafting and creating and selling things on Craig’s List to buy different things on Craig’s List and bringing home junk and making it less like junk. In our nearly 5 years of marriage you’ve gotten so used to our house changing on a sometimes daily basis. In fact, you’ve become so used to this that last night, when I started painting our kitchen black while I was making dinner, you didn’t even notice right away. And when you did notice your response was “Oh, Kate,” followed by laughter.

When you left this morning, you knew I was pondering painting that entire wall in the kitchen black. In fact, that was why I couldn’t sleep last night. Because I was thinking about painting walls black. You said you thought it’d be too much to paint the entire wall black. And I said I agreed. But then, after I made lunch for Gabriel, as I stood staring at the wall, I was overcome. I can’t quite explain it. But I got this urge and I just couldn’t resist it. While I usually just wait and see how long it takes you to notice these things, I thought it’d be best to give you a warning today. Our kitchen is black. And I love it. (Don’t worry, I didn’t neglect Gabriel while I painted. He protected me from dragons and ogres with the toilet bowl brush. The new, unused toilet bowl brush, of course. It makes a great sword.)

With much love,


P.S. Crap. You just texted me to say that you’re coming home for lunch. So, uh…. surprise!


And now to touch up the line at the ceiling and then put my new black kitchen back together again!

Check back really soon for better pictures.


back again.

Oh, I was doing so good with regular posts and then… well… not so good. Oops! I don’t have much time to write today. I’m in the middle of spring cleaning. On Tuesday evening I got the urge to switch the living room and the dining room. And then while everything was chaotic anyway, I decided to do early spring cleaning. Chaos doesn’t even begin to describe our home’s condition right now. And since I really should be trying to regain some order instead of writing, I’ll just leave you with a picture to make you feel better about your housekeeping. You’re welcome! Be back soon for more exciting things!



And sadly, those pictures don’t do justice to the chaos. See… your house really isn’t as messy as you thought it was. Perspective!

diy {alphabet fridge}

When you have a preschooler, your entire life is a learning experience. Your home is a classroom whether you intend to homeschool or not! I’ve been trying to find and incorporate some intentional learning into our routine. Gabriel is an active and energetic three year old boy, so I’m trying to find hands on learning, specifically working on numbers, letters, shapes and colors. I just turned our fridge from a blank, white box into a letter and number search. It was really quick and easy. It’s temporary. And it costs less than $5! And here’s a shocker… I used more gold spray paint!


what you need: 

vinyl sticker letters and numbers (I found some at Walmart, near the kids markers and craft things. A large pack for about $3).

optional: magnetic numbers and letters, a pointer, magnets, etc.

what you do:

Our pack of stickers had letters and numbers in 2 different sizes, several of each letter. I started randomly sticking the large letters all over the fridge. Then I did the numbers. Then the small letters. I skipped the small numbers because of space.

The stickers can be moved if needed. I just eye balled it, spacing as evenly as I could, but not being too particular. You could make it more or less challenging depending on how far you spread out letters (A in the top left, B in the bottom right etc).

If you don’t want to put the stickers on your fridge, you could put on them on blank wall that’s kid level. I actually like them on the fridge. I think they look kinda cool and graphic. And Gabriel can play with them while I’m working in the kitchen.


then play!

If you have magnetic numbers/letters, your child could play a sort of matching game and put the magnets on top of the corresponding stickers. Or collect any kind of magnet and have your child place a magnet on each letter as you say the ABCs. Or just call out random letters and have him/her put on magnet on it. Point to letters using a pointer. It doesn’t have to be long and involved. If you’re walking by the fridge together, pause and ask if he/she can find a certain letter/number. Lots of different ways to use the alphabet fridge!

I had a pack of magnetic letters/number from the dollar store. They were in primary colors- red, blue, yellow, green. My affinity for gold spray paint (coupled with a beautifully warm day perfect for spray painting) made me paint the magnets. Completely unnecessary. But I do like them gold!


What are some other ways you incorporate learning into your day with your preschooler?

Check back soon. I have another project I’m really excited to share… our diy headboard!

the hair saga and {diy pixie cut}

TGIF anyone?! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Tonight, this lucky wife gets to go on a date with her husband. (Many thanks to the in laws for a generous gift card to the best restaurant in town. I plan to get all dolled up and eat a great big delicious filet followed by creme brulee. Pure luxury. Yum. Also, thanks to a brother in law who’s coming to babysit! Hooray for date night). And tomorrow night, some new friends are coming over for dinner. Date nights and new friends. Sounds like a fun weekend to me.

I usually write about crafts and home things, but today I’m going to write about… hair. For many months, I’d been dreaming of taking the plunge and getting a pixie cut. I pinned hair pictures. (Do you have pinterest? You can find me here)! I saved them on my desktop. I had them on my phone. I even asked a woman, who was in front of me in the checkout line at the store, where she got her hair cut (she had a really cute short cut). But I never did it. Well, until this past September while we were at the beach. Something about the saltwater and sand that gives me courage!

The week at the beach (back in Sept.) was the week of the haircut. I got three different cuts by two different ladies. When we left for vacation, my hair was about shoulder length, maybe a bit longer. I can’t really remember.


This was the picture I brought to the first girl who cut my hair. She talked me out of it, saying my hair was too thick, too wavy, it’d be too much work. Halle Berry has to have her hair cut every 8 days to keep up with it. Blah blah blah. I left with a bob. Nothing wrong with a bob. But it’s a long way from a pixie. And at this point, I’d made up my mind that I wanted a pixie. Without going into the whole long story, the first haircut was free, so I didn’t feel right going back and complaining. Besides, she clearly didn’t want to give me the cut I wanted, and I certainly didn’t want someone cutting it that wasn’t confident in doing so.

Which leads me to my first tip: Go to someone who is comfortable and confident with cutting your hair. It’s OK to ask if they are. Be nice about it. But ask. Going from long hair to short hair is kind of different than trimming an inch and adding a couple layers.

Anyway, here’s a kind of awkward self portrait of the bob.


So we went to plan b. Per my aunt’s recommendation (they live year round in Nags Head) I made an appointment with a different lady at a different place. And she was awesome. I brought my mom and aunt with me again, and also my cousin’s wife. It was an event. They brought wine. I’m not kidding. It was fun.

I came with even more pictures of what I wanted. We talked a lot about it and then she started slowly. I was there for over an hour. Snipping here. Snipping there.


I brought this picture. It’s one that I’d been holding onto for months. Michelle Williams always has great hair.


I also brought this one. I like the horse as much as her hair. I’m not sure who she is.


And this one of Carey Mulligan. Or at least one very similar.

Tip #2: Find lots of pictures. When you’re looking at pictures, consider your own hair type. That last picture is super cute. But there’s no way my thicker brown hair is going to look like her wispy blond hair. Not going to happen. So take that into consideration.

Tip #3: Go to someone who will listen to you and talk with you. Don’t just plop down in the seat and sit silently. Talk. And start slowly. You can cut more. You can’t cut less. 

She kept snipping. We kept looking at pictures and talking. And we eventually reached a stopping point, at which point I looked like this….


Definitely much more pixie than the first bob. And I was pretty happy with it. But after a day, I knew it wasn’t quite right. Am I high maintenance? Maybe. At least I was this week when it came to hair. Silly.

So I called the lady back and she had me come in. I knew what I wanted. Shorter in the back. Shorter in the front. Just a bit… shorter. Less poofy.

This time, it only took about 15 minutes of some snipping and thinning. And I left looking like this…



I was pleased. As for the first girl telling me that pixies are a lot of work. False. The only thing that might be a lot of work is maintaining short hair. Because hair grows. If you have the money for it, I imagine it’d be fun to get your hair cut every 4-6 weeks. Who doesn’t love a little pampering. But fitting an extra $30ish(plus) dollars into the budget just for hair might not work for you. It doesn’t for us!

Which brings me to the diy part of this post. What do you do if you don’t want to pay someone to cut it for you? Cut it for yourself, of course!

Keep in mind… I am no hair stylist. I have no training. This is just what I do and it works for me!

1. Go get yourself a good pair of hair cutting scissors. Orange handled fiscars don’t fit the job. I speak from experience.

2. Invest in a pair of thinning shears. I love these. They look like scissors, only they have little teeth and only cut some of the hair. It’s more forgiving than regular scissors. And it lets me take some weight out.

3. Get a mirror on the wall that lets you see the back of your head. It’s a lot easier to cut your hair when you can see the back of your head. Again, I speak from experience.

4. And just like before, start slowly. You can always cut more. But whatever you do to one side, do to the other side. Looking at least relatively even is good.

5. Don’t be afraid to mess up. It’s just hair. And you’ll be surprised how quickly it’ll grow out.

6. Cut when it’s dry. This is a personal preference. It’s easier for me to see where exactly it’s going to fall and lay when it’s dry.

7. Look at lots of pictures… again. I have a whole board on pinterest with hair pictures. Look at your pictures and really take notice of how it’s cut. Not just the overall shape, but how it’s cut.

8. Don’t cut horizontally across your head. You’ll get funky ridges. Cut going vertically. It’ll lay better.

9. Don’t let it grow out too much before you trim it. You don’t want to completely lose the shape or style of the cut you had, or it’ll be harder to get back. Well, unless you’re a pro.

10. Have fun. It’s just hair! I thoroughly enjoy cutting mine. It’s fun. It’s creative. Yes, I’ve messed up. But it grows out. Right now, my hair is probably the shortest its been, and not necessarily on purpose. But I don’t hate it and it’ll grow!

Here are couple pictures that inspired my current cut (well, they were inspiration once I realized I got a little scissor happy)!


Michelle Williams. Photography by Peter Hapak




This was our Christmas photo. It was taken in December, but I had recently given myself a trim.

So how was that for a long post about hair! What do you think? Would you ever take the plunge and get a pixie cut? And would you ever cut it yourself?

*Update: If you search, there are probably a lot of thorough tutorials on places like You Tube that could teach you to cut your own hair!

diy road trip with a kid

I’m here! I’m alive! Sorry for the silence! We’re getting ready for vacation (yay!) and blogging has been pushed to the back burner. I want to share some things I’ve done to get ready for our road trip. Gabe does quite well in the car, but even I can get antsy siting for consecutive hours. We’ll have a laptop and movies for him, but I also have some special toys, too. (As a side note… I never grew up watching movies in the car. And I always thought those vans with DVD players in them were so dumb- does your kid really have to watch television IN THE CAR??… but now that I have a kid, I’m a believer. DVD players should be standard in cars with back seats. Movies in the car are GREAT!) Anyway…

I stopped by the dollar bins at Target- a great place to find cheap toys. I found some creepy looking army men (hey, at $1 for a pack of 3, I guess I shouldn’t expect realistic works of art, but I did weed through the packs to find ones that at least had the eyeballs painted in the right place!)… I got some crayons and a little notebook (which I have special plans for), a pack of Thomas the Train stickers (the boy loves trains and stickers- win), and a couple Matchbox cars. I wrapped each toy individually and will give them to Gabe throughout the trip. Just small little surprises to open as we go.

At home, I frequently cover our coffee table with a roll of paper and draw a road and parking lots. We spend lots of time playing with cars on the road. So I thought I’d make a travel version to go along with the Matchbox cars I wrapped. He can also use it as a lap desk of sorts. It’s a simple a quick diy project that he can use in the car and at home.

I used a frame and a piece of cardboard that fit inside the frame..

I taped paper together to match the size of the cardboard. Then I sketched out how I would paint the road.

Then I painted the whole piece of cardboard white. (Partially to make it prettier. Partially because I thought it’d make the cardboard more durable.) Once it dried, I used blue craft paint to make the road. When that dried, I used gray paint to make lines. And when it all dried, I gave it a few coats of clear protective spray.

And there it is! A toy car road. If you notice from the picture, I actually have the cardboard in backwards on the frame. I did this because the back of the frame provided a better edge. I wanted to make sure cars and things wouldn’t be able to easily roll off while we’re driving. The cardboard is glued down the the lip of the frame that it’s resting on. (Also, the cardboard I used is very thick, so it shouldn’t be too easy to destroy… I hope!)

I turned a small box on its side for a garage. The cars must have a place to park!

All his little road trip presents wrapped and ready to go. It looks like a lot but it really isn’t. About $5 worth of toys.

And that’s how we’re traveling with a kid to vacation this year!

Now I must go hide all these goodies until we’re ready to go!

fall fun

Last year, when autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas snuck up on me, I wished I had spent a little time thinking about how I wanted to decorate and things I wanted to do and make. By the time I thought about an advent calendar, it was already a good week into December! It was then that I decided to start early in 2012- so I could enjoy the seasons, holidays and whatever it was I wanted to make and do. The first day of fall is just a couple weeks away. Hard to believe! I thought I’d get a jump on things and work on my list (in no particular order)…

I’d love to have a family date night in the cool, fall air at the drive in theater. There’s one not far from us. We’ll have to keep our eyes open for a family friendly movie. Back in June, Tristan and I took a camping trip for our anniversary. It was fun, and would have been even more fun if we remembered sleeping bags and more blankets. We both think it’d be an adventure to take a family camping trip- all 3 of us. Maybe we’ll do a test run in the back yard and see how it goes! Anyone have an yummy gluten free pie recipes they’d like to share? Perhaps I’ll try one out at a fall dinner potluck. Dinner parties are always fun excuses to decorate. Stone Mountain, a 600 ft granite rock face, in NC a do-able day trip for us. It’s one of Tristan’s favorite places to climb. The ladies/children hike up the back and meet the men at the top to take in a most spectacular view. On Gabe’s first Halloween he was Thing 2 (complete with a blue wig). His cousin, who’s just a couple months older than him, was Thing 1 (also complete with a blue wig). Last year, Gabe went as Nacho Libre. I’m thoroughly enjoying the years of him not caring what I dress him as. I know it won’t last long! I haven’t yet decided what he’ll be this year, but I have ideas!

And all those things lead me to the decorating with sticks, pinecones, acorns and candles. Last year my fall decorating began at the pumpkin patch and ended by unloading the pumpkins and gords from the car. I really want to do a little more this year- have fun with it. So, without further ado, here is some inspiration…

(source unknown)

Mason jars, candles and acorns. Looks like those jars are even hanging, though this would make a lovely centerpiece or decoration sitting anywhere. Even at a fall wedding, hanging on some shephard hooks or on tables.


Pumpkins are a nice fall decorations no matter what. Miniature white pumpkins? Even better! Add twine to the stem? Perfect! Use them as place holders at a dinner party. Or on a plate/bowl as a centerpiece. Fall wedding? Why not make them part of a favor, perhaps with a cute little note. They’d do double duty as decorations, too.


Those vases are beautiful. You could get a similar look by spray painting vases ivory (not bright white). I think I’d use a satin finish. (Keep your eyes open at thrift stores for vases that would work.) To get the natural looking line, considering dipping the bottom of the vase in paint and letting it drip dry (over a protected surface, of course). At Home Depot and Lowes you can get sample sizes of paint for a few dollars. I think that would work nicely! (And it comes in a flat finish, too!)


Head over to Martha Stewart the tutorial to make this wreath. It would look nice on a door or hanging inside on the wall!

I’ll be sharing more inspiration photos and also the things I make for our home this fall. Are there any projects you want to do for the season? Do you have a Fall Bucket List?

the person behind the screen

Whenever I read a blog, I kinda like knowing a little bit about the person behind the screen. I realize I’ve been wonderfully vague here, even on my ‘about’ page. There are two reasons for that… 1) I feel weird writing about myself! 2) It’s the internet. But I’ve finally decided to officially introduce myself. You’d make my day by introducing yourself, too! Go ahead.. leave a comment and say ‘hi’! You can even sign up to follow my blog. (It’s right over there on the right side of the page.)

I’m Katy. You’ve probably already gathered that I love a good project. I suppose you could say that being creative is my hobby. My husband loves climbing (rocks, mountains.. that kind of thing). I love being crafty. But there are other things I love, too. Like my husband, Tristan. (Just for the record, he beats the crafty stuff.) We met in 2007. We got married in 2008. In 2009 we learned that we’d be a family of three by 2010. Did you follow that? It was an eventful several years! We just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. He’s great. And very tolerant of my craftiness that usually results in big messes and frequent rearranging. But in all seriousness, being married to him is a true gift- one I am very grateful for.

The most recent shot of us at a dear friend’s wedding reception. Forgive the poor quality… cell phone picture in a dimly lit room.

From a couple years ago, but one of my favorites.

From our 4th anniversary camping trip.

And then there’s Gabe. He’ll be 3 in December. We enjoy him quite a bit. He makes us laugh. Like the time I asked him what he was drinking and he replied, “Oh, it’s OK Mommy. It’s not beer!” Oh good… I was worried you cracked open a cold one when I wasn’t looking. (For the record, I’m not sure where his fascination with beer came from. Neither of us are beer drinkers!)

And then there was the morning we were all sitting around the table, sharing waffles, when Gabe shook he clear water bottle and exclaimed, “Oh wook (look)! Wook at all dos (those) wittle (little) fishes!” Then after taking a big swig, he exclaimed again, “So many wittle fishies in there!” Little fishies. Aka backwash swirling around in his water. Yum!

There’s no other title I’d rather have than momma. Being a stay at home mom is another gift I’m very grateful for.

Gabe was probably 1.5 in this picture. It’s one of my favorites.

More recent (several months ago). Another favorite. Snuggling on the sofa watching Beauty and the Beast.

From our beach trip last September. Remember the hammock I mentioned in my last post? That’s it!

A couple weeks ago. Two things I love- coffee and snuggles with my boy.

Three things I love- that man, that little boy and the ocean. (From our trip last September)

Our Christmas Card picture from last year (that never got sent out. Oops!)

And the one person who tops those two guys up there (and everything else for that matter) is Jesus Christ. Talk about an amazing artist and Creator. Take a look at the next sunset. Or hike to the top of a mountain and check out the view. Or stare out into the vastness of the ocean. There is no beauty or love that compares to that of Jesus Christ!

And there you have it- an official introduction. Thanks for reading, friends! You can always leave me a comment to say hi. I’d love that! If you have any questions, you can leave them here or email me at {ricedesignblog (at) gmail (dot) com}. And if there are any specific things you’d like to see here, please let me know!