It’s Great To Be Home . . .

a homebody’s guide to home renovation and more

The Color Sense Game March 6, 2009

While picking paint colors is one of the most fun parts of decorating or redecorating a room, it can also be one of the most frustrating.  I mean, how are you supposed to know which colors will look best together just by looking at those tiny paint samples on the color wheel?

Now Pittsburgh Paints has taken all of the guess work out of putting together paint colors.  The Color Sense Game is a really cool online quiz that uses your answers to the quiz to develop a color palette for your home that is perfectly suited to your own personal tastes.

 The Voice of Color

The questions on the quiz are fun and original, asking things like “If a genie granted you two wishes, what would you wish for” and “What is your dream vacation?”  From your answers, The Color Sense Game places you into a primary “harmony family” such as “Morning Rose” and a secondary harmony family like “Al Fresco.”  These harmony families are intended to present you with color palettes that will inspire the paint colors in your own home.

So far I’ve played The Color Sense Game twice, fitting into different harmony families each time.  The first time I was “Pop Art” and “Tapestry and Mosaic.”  The Pop Art color palettes are vibrant and energetic:


Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 1   Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 2  Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 3  Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 4  Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 5   Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 6    Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 7

The second time I played the game my primary harmony family was “Al Fresco” and the secondary harmony family was “Water Beads.”  Al Fresco color combinations are inspired by nature, and focus primarily upon shades of green:


Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 10  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 9  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 8  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 7  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 6  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 5  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 4  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 3  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 1  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 2



As you can see, you may wind up with a different harmony family each time you play The Color Sense Game, depending upon your answers.  It’s fun because you can see the wide range of color palettes available – you might wind up liking several that aren’t even in your harmony family!  Click here to play The Color Sense Game yourself!


Images courtesy of Pittsburgh Paints.


Watch Out, Starbucks March 3, 2009

There’s a new brew in town.  Ok, not so new, but still pretty darn nifty.  I’m talking about the Keurig, of course.


You’ve probably heard about this magical little coffee maker and wondered what all the fuss is about.  I wondered too until we got our very own as a wedding gift. 



What’s so special about the Keurig, you may ask?  I think the coolest thing about it is that each one of your guests or every person in your household can have exactly what they want, exactly when they want it.  This is because the Keurig is a single-serving coffee maker, so you no longer have to deal with huge pots of coffee that go to waste.  


It’s also pretty great because you’re no longer stuck making coffee for everyone – it’s so simple that each person can pick out their own personal K-Cup, stick it in the Keurig, and hey presto, less than a minute later out pops their favorite brew.  K-Cups are the special little self-contained little cups that hold the single-serving of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.  That’s right – hot chocolate!!!!  That was probably my favorite discovery – I know, it’s not like it’s so hard to make hot chocolate in the microwave (or on the stove, for you diehards), but it sure is pretty cool to have hot chocolate on demand.  And by pretty cool, I mean awesome.


This is what those little K-Cup beauties look like:


Keurig K-Cups

After your K-Cup has finished brewing, you just throw it away – no cleaning of a coffee pot or any of that nonsense.  Love it!!  And these handy little guys can be purchased at either or Bed Bath & Beyond. 


If you’re really going for that coffee house feel, you can even use one of these nifty little K-Cup holders:


K-Cup Carousel  K-Cup 20-Count   K-Cup Rotating



Click here or here to get your own magical Keurig.  Got your own Keurig love story??  Let’s hear about it!

Images courtesy of Keurig and Bed Bath & Beyond


Fab Fabrics: Update March 1, 2009



As you may recall, I’ve been eyeing some fabrics for some simple decorating projects around the house.  Only 5 days after ordering swatches of four different fabrics from Buy Fabrics, my awesome swatches have arrived!!


Fabric Swatches


These are pretty generous swatches, about 6 – 8 inches long and 3 inches wide – definitely enough fabric to decide whether or not you like it, and what a steal for only $2.50 per swatch!!


I think I’ve decided to go for two of the four swatches – the two on the right, which are the ones that I originally ran past you guys a few days ago.  The top right black and white graphic fabric will look great on the barstools in the kitchen, and the bottom right paisley fabric will really add some interest and color as curtains in the third bedroom.  At $13 and $10 a yard, they are a great price.  


The swatches on the left didn’t make the cut, so I’m really glad that I checked out the swatches before committing to buying several yards of the fabrics!!  I was interested in the top left floral fabric for outdoor pillows for our covered patio, and the chocolate paisley fabric for curtains in the third bedroom – but after comparing them to the fabrics on the right they just don’t cut the mustard.


What do you guys think??


A Real Simple Deal February 26, 2009

Real Simple has been one of my favorite magazines ever since my good friend Jen gave me a year’s subscription for my birthday awhile back.  If you’ve never read the magazine, drop what you’re doing and either go buy a copy or check it out here – believe me, it’s really that great.  Real Simple is filled with tons of useful ideas to make your life more . . . simple!  (You never would have guessed that from the title, right?)  But it can also make your life more organized.  And beautiful.  And all sorts of other fun things.

Right now, Real Simple and The Container Store have joined forces to bring you two free issues of this awesome mag.  Go ahead and click here to sign up for this great deal!!


Real Simple | Life Made Easier, Every Day

The Container Store® - The Original Storage and Organization Store®

While we’re on the subject of the awesomeness of Real Simple, I thought I’d tell you about this nifty wine-pairing tool on the Real Simple website.  Even though I’m a big fan of wine (we even have our own built-in wine fridge in the hutch in our breakfast nook), I’ve never been able to figure out which wine to serve with different dishes.  Turns out it’s real simple!  Click here and you’ll never commit another wine-pairing faux pas again – or at least you won’t have any excuse if you do! 

P.S.  I just used the wine-pairing tool and found out that I’m supposed to have a glass of Gewurztraminer or Riesling  with my spaghetti tonight – delish!!


Real Simple Wine Pairings


Images courtesy of Real Simple and The Container Store.


Shameless! February 24, 2009

Filed under: Homebody Chatter — Liz @ 21:02
Tags: , , ,

So, it turns out that I’m like a proud parent when it comes to showing off our awesome reno – I have no shame!!  Check out pics of our master bath and kitchen on HGTV’s Rate My Space here and here when you get the chance!


Tax Credit For First-Time Homebuyers February 22, 2009

As you’ve probably heard, the federal government recently passed a tax credit available to first-time homebuyers.  Although the tax credit is pretty straightforward, there are a few little quirks that you should know about:

  1. Who is a “first-time homebuyer”?  The government considers a “first-time” buyer to be anyone who has not owned a home for the past three years – so, in reality, the tax credit is available to people who previously owned homes, as long as they haven’t been homeowners since about 2006.
  2. When does the home have to have been purchased?  The tax credit only applies to homes that are purchased between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.
  3. How much of a tax credit can you receive?  The stimulus bill allows first-time buyers to claim a tax credit on their 2008 or 2009 taxes for $8,000 OR 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less.  That means that homes worth less than $80,000 will receive a tax credit of less than $8,000.
  4. Are there any income restrictions on who can take the tax credit?  Yes.  Full credit is only available to first-time buyers that earn less than $75,000 for singles, or $150,000 for couples.  However, a partial credit may be available to singles or couples that earn more than the income ceiling.
  5. How do I claim the tax credit?  It’s easy!  Just claim it on your return – and if you’re really ambitious and have already filed your return, then you can just file an amended return to take the tax credit.
  6. Will I have to pay back the tax credit?  Maybe.  Basically, the tax credit is yours to keep unless you live in the home for less than 3 years – then you have to pay it back.

Pretty cool, right?  The tax credit is a great and unique deal available to you first-time buyers, so definitely be sure to take advantage of it on your tax returns!  To find out a little bit more about the tax credit and how it might apply to you, just click here.


Fab Fabrics February 21, 2009

Now that most of the major renovation projects for our home are completed, I can’t WAIT to start decorating!!!!!  I came across some beautiful and totally affordable fabrics the other day that I am dying to do something with:

moorish-black-tile       apriana-confetti

I think they could be great to reupholster the barstools at our kitchen counter or on the windows in the second bedroom.  The black and off-white in the tile patterned fabric would look dynamite on the barstools, and really complement the weathered iron knobs and pulls on the kitchen cabinets.  I love the paisley pattern because it is full of color and movement, and would really liven up the green bedspread and tan walls in the second bedroom.

I was really impressed by the fabric selection at this on-line fabric store, with most of the prices per square yard ranging from $9-$12, which is a huge discount compared to similar quality fabrics at other fabric stores such as Joann’s (I think the prices beat Joann’s even with a discount coupon!!).

So what do you think about the fabrics??  Which one would you choose?  Have other suggestions?