Category Archives: monday musings

monday musings: It’s NFL time ladies and that cute handbag isn’t going to cut it!!

monday musings: It’s NFL time ladies and that cute handbag isn’t going to cut it!!
written by Stephanie

If you want your shoes to match your handbag for a fashion ready statement at the stadium, your gonna have to break out the jellies’.  I can hear your mind hitting the rewind button on this announcement (insert sound effect here).  Yes, the higher powers of NFL football have spoken,  “It has to be ‘IN THE CLEAR‘ for you to get admittance into the stadium.”  Women were being turned away from  the gates during preseason, having to go back to their car to stow their handbag.  Talk about a goldmine of purses for a criminal mind!  Well, this means the new Marc Jacobs bag, unless it was created in collaboration with ZipLoc, will be unacceptable and will have to relinquish its designer status to that of a lowly shopgirl’s bag… plastic and completely see thru.  So as I see it, you have 4 choices for that all important accessory, 3 of which clearly had to have been thought up of by men.

1.  The man created, and oh so snazzy NFL “IN THE CLEAR” bag.  As if it’s not painful enough with for the cost of season tickets, over priced beer and food but now…. just add a few more $$ to cover the cost of the NFL approved handbag.  Let’s go one further and add couple $$ more… for the IN THE CLEAR backpack bag for the toddler toting mom to stash not only her stuff but diapers, wipes and stuffie.  The bags come in all shapes and sizes and are moderately priced.  However, fashion savvy they are not.
in the clear bag

2.  A small clutch no bigger than the size of you hand.  C’mon, really?  Let me see, should I take that super-sized tampon or my phone and lip gloss. Decisions… decisions! Oh yeah, and who is gonna hold on to this damn thing while I’m cheering on my favorite team!

3.  The gallon-sized resealable bag for the hardcore gal… you just don’t care what people think and the hand-sized clutch just isn’t big enough for your Samsung 4 smart phone, pack of cigs and your Wet ‘n Wild lip gloss.


4.  Or… in the spirit of Pinterest and Etsy, a DIY bag created by girl power.

My girlfriend needed a last minute bag that she could carry on her shoulder. Last Friday this supermom was multi-tasking at the pool with her two toddlers in tow.  One wrong move, she zigged when she should have zagged, and wham… fumble! She is now sporting crutches with a sprained and possible fractured ankle.  Results will come in today. No matter the results, she will be sitting in the Club Seats tonight at FedEx Field cheering on the Skins!   Since there will be the continued possibility of crutches (I say “go with the crutches” and use them to your advantage girl to expedite your way through the long security checkpoint lines!) the need for a shoulder strap is crucial.  So last night we took on the task of creating her “IN THE CLEAR BAG”. So what does one do at the last moment with a few materials on hand?  Step back, it was time to channel our “inner Ms. MacGyver” that and a bottle of wine.  Now take note ladies, this is how it’s done and these are the things you need:

  1. Did I mention the bottle of wine?
  2. The zippered clear plastic packaging from your daughter’s new set of full-sized sheets.
  3. Zip-ties raided from your husband’s man stash or if you are on the FIfty Shades of Gray side, zip-ties from the “Red Room of Pain”.
  4. Duct tape (Seriously ladies, what project wouldn’t be complete without duct tape?  What about all the moms out there who have been pestered by their children to decoratively duct tape their world.  I know I just spent 2 hours decoratively duct taping multiple school composition books, pocket folders and pencil boxes! Duct tape, it’s everywhere, in every store, in every color, in every pattern, in every college logo and I’m sure in every NFL team logo.  You can choose to be as girly as you like, perhaps punk it out with skull and bones or show your team pride.)

With 3 rolls (thank you Costco) of girly duct tape in hand, my friend and I started cutting 4 1/2″ long strips to make the age-old “chewing gum wrapper chain” (think Juicy Fruit and Double-Mint).


The chewing gum chain proved to be a little dicey on the durability factor so we reinforced the outside edges with a row of the duct tape.  The end result made the strap look even better.  I am sure there is a way to make the chain work.  I mean, they make purses and baskets using this method!  It’s just that we were to busy dealing with unruly children and under the gun for time to start Googling “how to methods”.  The zip-ties were used as reinforcement on the ends of the chain and around the bottom and sides of the plastic packaging bag.

While doing this “on the fly project”, we were flanked by my girlfriend’s 2 toddlers and my 2 kids running amuck.  They were trying to grab snippets of duct tape and their little hands were trying to make the adult-sized scissors work.  I had visions of running with scissors and long locks of hair hitting the ground.  The husbands were comfortably ensconced on the couch watching the opening night of NFL football, completely oblivious to the chaos of children.  (Easton darling, would you get Mommy Dearest another glass of wine?  Daddy seems to have fallen asleep on the couch and he’s no help.)  At some point in the evening my 9 and 7-year-old assumed parental responsibilities of the two toddlers.  Mommy Dearest #1 and Mommy Dearest #2 couldn’t be bothered while sipping their wine and crafting the “IN THE CLEAR” bag.  We were “in the zone” (football pun intended), working diligently on our one-of-a-kind bag.  While it may not be Pinterest or Etsy ready, it turned out eye-catching and in an offbeat way… cool.  The jury is still out on how the shoulder strap will hold up.

in the clear shoulder strap

It’s easy to make fun of the situation but necessity is the mother of invention.  Two women have hit YouTube with a funny video poking fun at the new policy changes #MYPurseMyChoice.  Unfortunately, in today’s world, excessive security measures have forced us to live our lives in a fish bowl and now…. the perfect handbag for that fishbowl! So put on those brightly colored jelly shoes and run with the pack.

Jelly wedges

(I know…. this jelly wedge is not your 80’s kickback.  This one is darn cute and can be found here.)

Smile and nod as the lady sitting next to you admires your DIY “IN THE CLEAR” bag and those awesome and stylish jelly shoes.  It’s all you girl, unique and fashion savvy among the masses!

in the clear bag #1

in the clear bag #3

…what have you mused about lately?  Happy Monday!



monday musings: abort, abort, abort copy!!


Sorry folks, please ignore the last post from us. The “publish” button was hit in error and the post went out without edits and pictures. This is what happens after a late night of DIY and a bottle of wine. Stay tuned… The new post will be up in minutes and I promise it will bring a smile to your day!

monday musings: olde-time country fair and a search for “snakey”

monday musings: olde-time country fair and a search for “snakey”
written by David
                                                                                                                                                                    picture by

It’s nearing the end of August in the Piedmont of Virginia and that can mean only one thing, well, actually two things: first, oppressive heat… you know, those “dog days of summer” and second, the start of the country fair season. This year, like every year since 1972 the sounds of Bluegrass Music, the smell of funnel cakes and country ham, and the laughter of children, young and old has wafted through the air around the Old Lucketts School House (a.k.a. Lucketts Community Center) as the Lucketts’ Fair announced the coming of Fall.

We have been avid Lucketts Fair goers for the last 10 years, most years with friends and lots of kids in tow. This year it was just the 4 of us and, by the gods, we were on a quest. Yes, much like the Knight’s Templar searching for the Holy Grail we have, for the last 3 years, been dragging ourselves to countless country fairs and craft shows seeking to replace our daughter Scarlett’s beloved “SNAKEY”.  Snakey is best described as a bright purple, sequins and glitter covered miniature beanbag stuffed snake-like toy that went missing one day, never to be seen again. Scarlett was distraught. She demanded that, at a bare minimum,  his picture be placed on a milk carton and that all forms of ransom or reward be offered. Being good parents, we of course refused. We did, however, promise that a suitable replacement would be found. So, at every fair and festival since, Scarlett has searched through countless bins of beanbag animals trying to find a new purple Snakey. None has met her exacting requirements. You see, Snakey was straight, not coiled, not curvy and this has posed a problem. Plenty of coiled and curvy snakes, but not a single straight “Snakey” in the snakepit. Well, as the original Snakey was acquired from a vendor at the Lucketts Fair we were off to the fair. Maybe today would be her lucky day!

Lucketts Fair is a genuine country fair complete with tons of activities for the kids including: hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, a climbing wall and this year even a mechanical bull ride. There’s entertainment (traditional Bluegrass Music), good food (funnel cakes), interesting crafts and crafters (maybe a SNAKEY!), and fun demonstrations and contests. What began as a tribute to the beautiful 1900’s Old Lucketts School House and its many graduates has blossomed into a two-day annual event with proceeds benefiting not only the maintenance and restoration of the magnificent building but also the creation of play grounds, ball fields, pre-school programs and summer camp scholarships.

After a bit of a slow start, adults must have their coffee, we made it to the fair just after noon. The day was absolutely fantastic, the weather was amazing and we were told more than once by Easton and Scarlett, and I quote, “this is the best day of our LIVES!”.  As usual the petting zoo was a huge hit and Stephanie took artistic license in capturing photos.  The goat picture is a little satanic looking but hey, the pics won’t be the same boring shots from earlier years.

Easton, was extremely proud, he climbed the more difficult side of the climbing wall, making it to within 5 feet of the “summit” before running out of hand holds within his reach.

Scarlett managed a smile towards the end of her mechanical bull ride after spending much of the time with a very serious and determined look on her face (The 4 kids who went before her were all catapulted off of the thing.)  She too was ejected from her seat but a smile remained on her face.

Before being bludgeoned by the kids activities we actually had a chance to check out some of the exhibitors, crafters and purveyors of antiques and collectibles. We saw many items of interest and purchased a really cool mirror.  After wandering in and out of many booths we saw it, a tent in the distance with a halo-like glow.  Upon entering the tent, we found the tent to be filled to the brim with every “manner of girly stuff“, including bins and bins of BEANBAG TOYS. Scarlett moved in, cat-like, and with a purpose. It was like a feeding frenzy, beanie toys cast aside like chattel, bin after bin scavenged and still no straight Snakey. Finally, following an exhaustive search of all bins and with a deep sigh of resignation, Scarlett chose a snake…purple and coiled, not what she wanted but somehow what she would accept. Even as we paid, she continued to go through the bins just in case she missed something, anything. She moved inside the tent and THERE, draped over a painted tree branch filled with earrings and hair clips, was SNAKEY!  Pure delight and joy erupted from Scarlett!  And maybe, just maybe… a quiet ride home.

All of that is well and good, but, if were being honest and Snakey not withstanding, every year we really go to the Lucketts Fair with one thing in mind, the famous Lucketts hand-churned ice cream! You got it, a full fat, real ice cream with all the fresh flavors of kid-hood scooped high into a big bowl. Our favorite, PEACH. The unbelievably fresh flavor is impossible to describe and this homemade ice cream is so cold and sticky that if you’re not careful and pull to hard, the plastic spoon could snap sending a spoon-full of creamy goodness hurling toward an unsuspecting fair goer in front of you (not to say that has ever happened, LOL).

With the day winding down we stumbled upon an exhibitor, Hillsboro Pottery, supposedly plying his trade as a potter while actually having the children at the fair do his dirty work. This exhibitor was no poseur, in fact it was a moonlighting Matt Danielson, President of Electronic Ink of Leesburg, Virginia. Matt, a talented potter and ceramist, had created a tile grid of clay and was offering the children an opportunity to release their inner artist. Matt had all the tools a budding clay artist would need to create a masterpiece. There were loops, cutters, scratchers, scrapers and he even had a die-cut alphabet so they could sign their work. Easton and Scarlett quickly jumped in and exercised their artistic license. Scarlett created a beach scene with the sun and waves while Easton created a mountain scene (immediately dubbed Mount Nose) complete with a meandering river. Matt said his plan was to glaze and fire the piece and then  present it as a gift to the Lucketts Community Center after the fair. WOW, what an awesome and fun idea, we can’t wait to see the finished product.

Our last stop, on the way out of the gate, was to pick up the amazing mirror that we found and purchased at the start of the day for $10.00. That’s right, the perfect mirror for a project Stephanie has had in mind for a couple of years and for only $10.00. Steph has some great plans for it and it will surely appear in a future post.

There you have it! We came. We saw. We mused! Keep an eye out for a future posting or join us at the Bluemont Fair on September 15th and 16th or at the Waterford Fair on October 5th, 6th and 7th.  The most compelling reason for going to the Waterford Fair…a fresh crisp Virginia apple cored and wedged topped with home-made caramel sauce, crushed Virginia peanuts and fresh whipped cream! Trust us, it’s worth the drive, the cost of admission and the wait in line!  In closing, we are happy the 3 year search for SNAKEY is over!

…what have you mused about lately?  Happy Monday!

monday musings: british cloakroom vs. american powder room

monday musings: british cloakroom vs. american powder room
 written by David

So, what do you call the smallest room in your house?  Growing up (a product of the Nuns and the Catholic Schools) we always referred to the small rooms in the back of our classrooms, which only held a toilet and a sink, as a “lavatory”.  Some of my friends had homes with what they call a “half-bath” (not my family…6 kids one full bath and the reason, like Pavlov’s Dogs, I still get up at 5:30am every morning).  Somewhere along the line, in deference to the fairer sex I presume, we began calling the space a “powder room”.  While I’m sure this is a reference to a softly lit room with a water closet, vanity and mirror, where the ladies could go to freshen their makeup ( i.e., powder their noses.) still, I have to say the name does give a rather quirky wink and nod toward the 1980’s drug culture, don’t you think?  Enter the ever thoughtful British Real Estate Agent, trying to make the properties seem as grand as possible and seeking to lend a more masculine reference to the minuscule room… the CLOAKROOM was born.  Previously the CLOAKROOM was reserved for public buildings, train stations or in reference to the small rooms next to legislative chambers, presumable where the legislator’s hung their cloaks.  While it may be tiny, a cloakroom can be big on style and impact.  After all, this practical room is most likely viewed by every guest you have in your home.  Let’s talk about one tiny room in the house that can exude a lot of glamour or drama.  A cloakroom is a great space to experiment with color.  These little rooms can handle dark and vibrant colors that actually make the space seem bigger in scale.

Bold wallpaper is another way to make a grand statement and impact.

A cloakroom is a great space to create a gallery wall of photographs or mementos.  In our next home (unfortunately our log cabin doesn’t have a cloakroom although it does have a nice under-the-stairs pantry complete with plumbing rough-in), Stephanie has visions of a gallery wall consisting of framed front covers from found vintage comic books.

Even a simple printed roller blind can add a punch as in this girly cloakroom…

I for one intend to always and from here on out refer to this potentially spectacular room as the CLOAKROOM!  Lets face it, if the CLOAKROOM is a grand enough space for Kate Winslet to display her Oscar’s, it’s clearly a space that could add a dose of glamour to all of our lives.

If you are in need of a CLOAKROOM makeover, PlanetDwell is here to help.   We would be happy to design and build a space that suits your musing.

…what have you mused about lately?  Happy Monday!

monday musings: a mid-century euro chair find

monday musings: a mid-century euro chair find
written by Stephanie and David

Ever think that good deals (cheap stuff) and unique finds where a thing of the past?  We certainly did.  It seems like only yesterday it was easy to find inspirational stuff, reasonably priced, that could be repainted or re-purposed into something interesting and fun.  Then, almost over night, it was as if the gods had frowned upon us!  Now those things we found to be interesting and fun were no longer reasonably priced, in fact it was as if sellers believed them to be PRICELESS!

Enter, It’s Bazaar on 21st Street in Purcellville, Virginia. The best way to describe It’s Bazaar (appropriately named by the way) is:  Retail space that is part consignment, part antiques, part vendor space all mixed together, shaken and stirred, in a downtown coffee shop, you know, like a… a bazaar.  We discovered It’s Bazaar back in May when a some old, gray high school lockers, that were sitting at the curb in front of the store, caught our eye while driving through town one night.  The lockers ended up on a mudroom bench and like magic, the gods smiled!  Maybe, just maybe, we had found a new place to satisfy our thirst for unique and inspirational things at  reasonable prices.

Well, long story short (and the reason for this musing), while we were downtown last weekend for the 1st Annual Purcellville Food and Wine Festival the unique and interesting bug struck again.  We walked into It’s Bazaar and stumbled upon a set of four (4) Mid-century Modern, made in Denmark, solid wood chairs.


Oh, it is indeed the stuff of dreams. Of course, there were no tags on the chairs and even as we inquired about the price, we where certain they would be well beyond our means.  Or, would it be that the gods were smiling?

Well, as you can see from the photos the gods were indeed smiling and oh what a plan we have for these fantastic little bits of history.  So, stay tuned.  We plan on transforming the set into a  functional and usable work of art.  Be assured they will be hip and happening once we are finished with them.  Who knows… you might just find them here ‘for sale”.

…what have you mused about lately?  Happy Monday!


monday musings: a new take on old wood paneling… bamboo flooring

monday musings:  a new take on old wood paneling… bamboo flooring
written by Stephanie

Yes, that really is bamboo flooring on the wall!


Don’t laugh, it’s really not that far-a-field from the old wood paneling of the 1970’s… but, the esthetic is eclectic and so much hipper.   Hardwoods and even laminates, such as Pergo, are not just for floors anymore.  Depending on the size of your room, the flooring could be applied to all the walls or just choose one wall as an accent.  I wanted to warm up a rather large room in my old house by creating a focal point on a specific area with the application of bamboo floor planks.  I just knew this idea would deliver the POP! I was looking for and since this wall was in a high traffic area the resulting low-maintenance finish was a bonus. 

The cost to do an accent wall can be very budget friendly.  Often you can find random boxes of pre-finished hardwood or laminate planks on clearance at Home Depot or Lowes.  The tongue and groove system makes this an easy install and can typically be done in a weekend.  If you are unsure how to install laminate flooring, Home Depot offers free weekly workshops on how to.  You might even be lucky enough to have an instructor who has done a wall installation and give you some guidance.  This was not the case when we were buying our bamboo flooring.  The flooring sales guy asked David what room he was doing the install on.  David’s reply was, “Oh, I’m not putting this on a floor, I am hanging it on a wall.”  The “ye-of-little-imagination” sales guy thought David was nuts and wished him luck!   

Don’t be bound by convention, think outside the box!  There are so many gorgeous colors and textures to from which to choose.  The next time I try this application I might do a tonal mixture using multiple colors and textures.  Or, maybe I’ll use cork flooring!

Happy musing….

monday musings: math lesson 101

monday musings:  math lesson 101
written by Stephanie

Farm House Stairs Makeover

One day, in our former farm-house, I was looking at the stairs and was alarmed by what I saw.  Peeking out from the plain and boring white paint on the risers was hints of 1970’s avocado green paint.  To my horror, I realized this awful paint color had begun rearing its ugly head via shoe scuffs that had chipped away the white paint.    I decided it was time for a change before the ugly green paint took over.   My first plan of action was to prep the stairs with a little sanding to the areas with chipped paint and then followed by a thorough cleaning.  I decided on a dark oil-based paint color (sorry, I needed heavy-duty traffic paint) for the risers and chose Deep Space by Benjamin Moore.   After 2 coats of Deep Space and good 24 hours of drying time for each coat of paint, I took out my trusty set of stencil brushes and a set of number stencils (found at AC Moore) and got to work.  The process was easy and the end result was playful. The numbers made for such a fun design impact. My kids thought the numbers were great and avoided step number 5 like the plague. Why you ask? Well, during their times of unruly behavior, step number 5 became the “time-out” seat!

“Oooooh… step number 13!”

…. but wait, I didn’t stop at the stairs.  David had built a bench for the kids to use in the kitchen as a step stool.  The bench had been sitting in the kitchen unfinished and screaming out for me to paint it.  I decided to paint the bench as step number 13 as a humorous nod to the unlucky number 13.  Ever notice in some elevators there is no “13th” floor?  Me, superstitious ….obviously not!


Sorry folks, I didn’t do this as a DIY.  The stairs and bench were done way before this blog was ever envisioned.  If you have any questions on how to complete this project, send me an email or leave a comment and I will be happy to answer them.