Tag: Home

“Home, Sweet Home” Gets Me Every Time

Home Sweet Home art from Etsy shop claireabellemakes

As a writer, by profession, I explore words and phrases every day. I’m fascinated by clichés and oft-used phrases. So, I’ve decided to bore you all with a look at where some of those sayings come from.

Starting with one that we should all feel so lucky to say, “Home, Sweet Home.” (It’s also one I touched upon in great detail yesterday.) So where does “Home ,Sweet Home” come from? And what does “Home, Sweet Home” mean?

Home Sweet Home vintage mugs from Etsy shop SimpleTreasury

Well, according to the vast depths of the internet wikipedia, the phrase originates from an American playwright, author, poet and all-around creative guy, John Howard Payne. In 1822 he wrote the lyrics, which were then set to music and the next year, became an integral song of the 1823 novella Clari, or The Maid of Milan. (Not to be confused with the later opera Clari.)

The lyrics are as follows:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro’ the world, is ne’er met elsewhere.
Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home
There’s no place like home!

There’s even a movie about the lyricist, appropriately titled, Home, Sweet Home.

Home Sweet Home pillowcase from Etsy Shop audemarine

But that doesn’t really answer the question, “what does ‘home, sweet home’ mean?” I guess nothing is going to answer that question except one’s own mind though.

To me, “home, sweet home” is not referencing a place, but the feelings associated with the idea of home.  “Home, sweet home,” is the comfort and safety associated with that idea. It’s the familiarity and ease and all the feelings—stress, love and everything in between.

My “home, sweet home” is the sigh of relief I feel after a long day. It’s the joy I feel when surrounded by friends and family. It’s the pride of a job well done. It’s the weight lifting off my shoulders before a three-day weekend.

What’s does “home, sweet home” feel like to you?

What Home Means Gets Me Every Time

Skyline_BostonGMETWhat does home mean to you? When I count my blessings (which I do, at least every night) I always include both my house and my home. Some times, these terms are used interchangeably, but in my world, they are two distinct things.

They’re not even places, both of them.

A house is a place, sure. But for me, a home is a feeling, a state of being.

A house has walls and rooms and doors. A home has people and events and memories.

A house needs upkeep. A home is almost perfect any which way it is.

A house stays where it is. A home can follow you everywhere and can be anywhere.


For so long I feel as though my idea of house and home has been distorted. While at college “home” was a term I used to refer to going back to the place where my parents lived. (Or the place I needed to be taken after a long night, let’s be real.) When we bought a house, “home” was something I decided I suddenly had one of my own.

But really, “home” is something you can always have, no matter if there’s a physical structure with it or not. Maybe it’s about the people.

Home Card from RedBubble


There’s that saying, “Home is wherever I’m with you” that’s been popping up a lot the past few years, especially on sites like Etsy. You can see how that’s true, especially if there’s a person (or persons) in your life whom you couldn’t imagine being without.

On the flip side, “House is wherever I’m with you.” Nope. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.


For me, the best thing about “home” is that you can actually get away with having more than just one—and it’s way more affordable than having more than just one house.

To this day, we all probably say “back home” in reference to where we spent our formative years. We may call our parents’ houses “home” or our grandparents’ houses “home.”

Or we can call “home” the place where our physical dwelling place resides, (as the song goes, Boston, you’re my home.) We can refer to home as those special people in our lives. And we can say that there’s no place like it.

There’s a book, You Can’t Go Home Again, with a title that’s now a popular phrase in our everyday vernacular warning people you cannot return to an idyllic world you came from after you’ve left it.

Bon Jovi even wrote a song about it, but really, don’t click if you don’t want it stuck in your head.

But there’s also a popular story of a lost son returning home that says you can always go home again.

I think, and feel free to disagree, that if you have a memory, you can always, always, always go home. Places are temporary. People don’t last forever. But your thoughts and feelings about “home” can transport you there any time.

Wedding Memories Get Me Every Time


Updates have been happening all around the house. Big and small alike. This is a small one. Something we were lacking was some art for our bedroom. Instead of buying something new, I wanted to keep things personal, so I decided to update some “art” I had made in the past. After our wedding, we had all these paper mementos that I wanted to keep. So a few years ago I framed up some of our guestbook “tags.”


It worked fine, but it wasn’t quite the scale I had imagined. (I have this idea that “grown-up” art should be big.) Also, I wanted to feature some of the other fun elements from our big day, like the buttons—everyone at the wedding had a name tag button.


So, I took the cards out of the frame and measured everything out to decide how big a frame the cards could fill. A trip to IKEA gave me the perfect frames to fill out. Two smaller square “shadow box” frames for the buttons. And one larger frame for all the guestbook notes.


I used simple brown kraft paper as the background and double-sided tape to hold them in place. Yes, the “cheers” tag looks like it might have had one too many. Nothing a little tape can’t fix.



The two smaller pieces hang on either side of our bed, and the guestbook tags hang on Mr. GMET’s side of the room. It’s one of the last things I look at before I fall asleep and I’m always reminded of our family and friends celebrating the day we started our family.

Other bedroom updates: Headboard (seen above) | Text art (seen in reflection) | Jewelry Box

Our Dining Room Gets Me Every Time


We’ve been in our home more than a year, and, just now, we’ve finally started to feel settled throughout all our rooms. We’ve done a lot of work over the past year and today I’m excited to share the dining room updates with you.

Some details. On our mantle. (Maybe this year we’ll get around to using the fireplace.) The clock was a wedding gift. The photos are all old family photos from both me and the Mr. including his dad and grandparents and my grandparents. I had a friend help me with getting the resolution right after scanning them in, then printed them using MPix. There’s also one of Louise as we were trying to include the whole family in the room. Next to the front door we hung a wedding photo, though we plan to change that one out every year or so as our family grows and ages.  The new chandelier is from Overstock. And what did the old one look like? Here’s the room before we closed on our home.


Oh hi, Mr. GMET.


The walls were a very pale shade of green, which would have fine, except for two things. First, the previous owner didn’t leave any of this green paint behind. Meaning we couldn’t patch any of the holes they did leave behind in the wall. Two, this room had lead paint in the baseboards and the mantle, so we knew we were going to have to do some repainting anyway. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Athena, as we did in our family room and kitchen. We hired a great local company to take care of all the deleading and though it wasn’t cheap, we know it was worth the investment in the long run. We were out of the house for just over a week and came home to a painted, lead-free abode.DiningRoomGMET_InProgress

Over the course of the year, I’ve shared some of our updates with you. Left, our newly polished floors. We decided not to have them refinished because we were putting down an area rug anywhere. Our first Thanksgiving in the center there shows our in transition space, pre-painting, post-furniture shopping. And that rug. I just love our stripe rug (no longer available) from West Elm. (Table from Macy’s.)


With all the photos going on throughout the room, we wanted to keep the wall opposite the windows pretty clean and simple, hence, just one simple shelf. When we think about needing more storage, we just think back to the previous owner’s furniture and how cumbersome it looked in the room. (Maybe we need a bigger wine rack though?)

DiningRoom_GMET3Finally, opposite the mantle, we enlarged three more old family photos. One of each of our mother’s with their mothers. And one of my grandparents with my dad. To the right, you can see our ode to our “first home”. And, we had the interior of our front door painted black, just to make it pop. (It was previously white.)

And that’s it. Now, who’s coming to dinner?


One Year at Home Gets Me Every Time



This post has been in the back of my head for about a month now. We’ve just been a little busy and I haven’t had the chance to get everything out that I wanted to say. But it’s all about our one year anniversary of being home owners.

So far, we’ve managed not to set the place on fire, so we’re doing pretty good. However, we have had some learning curves along the way as we’ve survived four seasons in our new abode.

Truth: we paid someone to paint our kitchen cabinets and then repainted them ourselves. I came home from work expecting all the painting to be complete and found half of the kitchen cabinets hung upside down and all the cabinets a little less than what our standards required.

Lesson learned: A good painter can be hard to find. And even harder to afford. This isn’t a place to try to save money if you want it done right the first time.

Truth: a house is a lot of work. Like you wouldn’t believe. Case in point, this post is overdue because our weekends have been spent doing things around the house this summer. (More on those projects to come soon.)

Lesson learned: You either need time or money to get most things done. Have a plan and stick to it so that you don’t end up with less of either than you’d like.

Truth: we almost flooded our basement. We were trying to “turn on” the water line to our new refrigerator when a piece, installed by the previous owners, popped off and water went EVERYWHERE. It was late, and just the two of us, and I had to run and get a neighbor (thank God for neighbors) to help us stop the water.

Lesson learned: Know where the main water shut off for the entire house is. It might come in handy at some point. And it’s good to know where that is before the chaos begins.

Truth: location really is everything.

Lesson learned: And by that I mean your neighborhood. You can’t change it. And your neighbors (see above.) You can’t handpick them. We’re glad we did our research and found a community we love.


There are many other things I’m sure we’ve learned in the past year, but those are the biggies, in my mind. We’ve made a good amount of changes inside and out and I’m looking forward to sharing them all in the next few weeks. N

A First Home Gets Me Every Time


It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve posted any updates here. I mean, the last few were huge though, so I felt like they probably carried you for a while. But, the reason for the delay, is because we’ve been so busy readying our home for our baby’s arrival. So, there’s a lot to share, but first, I want to take a moment to share more about our first home—a small, one-bed apartment in Brookline, MA, right outside of Boston, and pictured above.


It wasn’t a glamorous place. A walk-up. Hadn’t been remodeled in years. Pink tile bathroom. No parking. Smelled a little funny. Packages got stolen. So, it’d be easy to remember it for those cramped quarters, slanted walls and noisy neighbors. But I’d rather remember it for everything else it stands for in our lives.

It was the first apartment we “picked” together, even though I was living there alone. It was where Mr. GMET first lived together after we got married. It was where we made decisions about purchasing our first home. Where we spent so many firsts as Mr. & Mrs., from Christmas to birthdays, etc. It was where I got an order for, foolishly accepted and made 500 business card holders with eyebrows.newart1I’m excited to turn our old home into new art, but I’m even more excited for all the memories we’ll make in our new home. “Old home, new art” is tucked behind our front door with our spare keys and not to be needed again address stamp. It’s a great reminder of where our family started and just how far we’ve come.

PS. The shortened version of how I made this: 1) take picture. 2) print out. 3) tape to window & trace. 4) scan and print on card stock. 5) frame with accessories (spare keys & address stamp.) 


Buying a Home in (Greater) Boston Part 2 Gets Me Every Time


Hooray! You’ve got your budget under control. Or at least, you’ve seen what affordability looks like in a spreadsheet. Bonus, you can see where your money is going each month and how much you are (should be) saving. Now what?

Well, in the great greater Boston area, it’s time to talk the first “L” of real estate. Location. Location. Location. And in Boston, we have more than a few to choose from. In the city? Or out of the city? North, south or west? Commuter Rail, T, Bus or Ferry. So, why not start with narrowing it down by area?


Some of the “community” lines on this map are a little off. But, then again, ask 5 different people what exactly the “North Shore” or the “South Shore” entails and you’ll get 5 different answers. Amiright? Also, there are many great towns not on this map. Andover & North Andover are missing for example. And, I’m no expert on Mass geography, so if some of these ‘burbs names are off, I do apologize.

When we started our search, we started with two very basic questions:
– North, south or west?
– Boston city limits or not?

We answered the first pretty easily. Although many people I know (through work) live on the North Shore, Mr. GMET grew up in Metrowest. Coupled with that is family proximity—his family lives in the “Blackstone Valley” region and I have extended family in Rhode Island. So, south it was.

The next question was one we didn’t figure out for a while into our search. We wanted to be close to the city, so we looked on both sides of the line, including towns like West Roxbury, Hyde Park and Milton in our initial search before we really focused in on one town.


How’d we narrow it down? We looked at a ton of stats and ratings. City-Data is a great starting place. Simply type in a town and you’ll get the median age, home price, income and more. Greater Boston Suburbs is another one if you’re looking to move beyond Boston. We looked at how long our commute would be on the Commuter Rail if we lived away from the MBTA bus/T. It turned out to be shorter than our typical commute on the Green Line, no surprise there.

IntheCarGMETSo, armed with our narrowed down list and a bunch of research, we jumped in the car a few weekends in a row. We looked up the name of a restaurant in each of our top towns and headed out. We ate in each town, walked around the area where we ate, then drove through a few neighborhoods. We wanted to know what we were getting into, of course.

Finally, after figuring out our budget, we knew we were looking for a little more than a starter home. (We call it our “forever home.”) So, in addition to all the specs and stats, we also started looking at grown-up things like school rankings. Yes, we are that forward thinking. Keep in mind, we started this whole research and budget process more than 18 months ago.

All of these factors helped us settle on Milton and Dedham as our two key markets that we wanted to explore. Next up? The “fun” part. Exploring actual homes. Stay tuned.

Buying a Home in (Greater) Boston Gets Me Every Time

I have never lived in a house/apartment/dorm room for more than five years. To some, that sounds awful. But for me. It’s been great. Why? Because I’ve gotten to decorate a new bedroom (when I was a kid) or a whole home (on my own) every five years or so. And that means that I’ve even had purple and black carpets in two of my many bedrooms. Yes. Purple carpet. Every girl’s dream. And black carpet. Every teenager’s dream. (Shout out to Mom & Dad.)

Needless to say, I couldn’t be more thrilled that we now have a home that we’re planning on staying in for the foreseeable future. (forever and ever.) And the fact that it’s taking me longer to decorate is A-OK because I have all the years in the world to do so.

But first, on how we got here. Being a first-time home buyer can be crazy nerve-wracking. And being a first-time home buyer in a major metropolitan area can be even more of a nail-biting good time. The good news, there are endless options. The bad news, same thing.

Now since I’ve been through this, I figured I could offer a few tips with the old Boston touch. Today, the most important. The one thing you must do before you even start looking. Before your hopes get high. Make a budget. You gotta do it. It isn’t the fun part. But that’s for later. There are plenty of downloadable spreadsheets on the internet, but here’s a breakdown of ours.


You might have more or less expenses, depending on your habits (Netflix, Weekly Dry Cleaning, etc..) but this is a pretty good start. And. Because I love ya, I’ve got a downloadable Excel version of our blank spreadsheet right here. It has two columns (now, renting and later, owning) and we calculated everything to be based off of a full year’s expense.

I’ve got some more Boston specific tips coming up soon too. Hold on to your house keys!

Easy Art Gets Me Every Time






Before we hosted our first house guests, I wanted to add a little more art to the guest room. I was tight on time. And budget. And motivation to hang anything in there since it’s that awful shade of green. (yes, that last picture may be blurry, but the color is not far off. )

So, I quickly opened up InDesign and typed up two of my favorite phrases. (If you don’t have InDesign, you could easily do this in Photoshop, or Microsoft Word. Or PowerPoint. Or in an email.) Then, I simply played around with fonts until I found something I liked. The two frame are several years old and are just simple painted wood with no glass or anything.

So, what do you think? Easy peasy art for this mid-winter Tuesday.

A New Cabinet Gets Me Every Time

cabinet1Growing up my favorite color was purple. My clothes were purple. My nails were painted purple. Even the carpet in my bedroom was purple. (Yes, like I lived in a casino or something.) I could not get enough purple. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still like purple. But it was only my favorite color until green came into the picture. Probably somewhere around sixth grade. And I still love green. But now. Yellow is my color.

KitchenOriginal3Except, not on the kitchen walls, as seen here, prior to any of our painting. See that cabinet to the left of the sink. If you recall, we took it down.

KitchenRedo5And opened up that kitchen wall. But that cabinet. It was yearning for a second chance. And, much like me, wanted a chance to shine.

Cabinet_1pillowThe doors came off. This pillow from Target became the inspiration. And we hit the paint store for a pint of York Harbor Yellow by Benjamin Moore. Then, I got to work.

Cabinet_inprogressAnd I forgot to take many in-progress shots, so here’s the run down. Doors off. Cabinet cleaned. Prep work complete. (Same as we did for the kitchen.) I added these legs from Lowe’s. And this hardware to the doors. Drumroll please!


Yes. And Louise likes it.


And our games have a new home.


The color. The plant. The games.


cabinet_3You guys. My name is Kelly and I’m in love with the color yellow and this yellow cabinet.