Top 3 Items on My Halloween + Harvest Wish List

I’m always looking for super unique, quality seasonal decor. For cheap. My goal is to eventually be able to buy new (real) pumpkins each year and call it good. Or a Christmas tree, or Easter eggs. You know, the perishables.

Here’s what’s currently on my fall decor wish list, but I will probably hold off until next year or a post-holiday sale (for the brass pumpkins). But if you haven’t started decorating for fall, it’s not too late! Start here.

  1. West Elm Brass Pumpkin ($14-$24)West Elm Brass Pumpkin
  2. Aluminum Candleholders (DIY) Tin Candles
  3. Skeleton Wreath Hands (DIY)Hands Wreath

What do you think? What’s the most creative thing you’ve seen out there lately?



Remodel and Living Room Decor Update

And just like that, I felt like blogging again. I think it was a combination of me finally decorating for a holiday again (Halloween & Harvest reveal coming soon) and that the remodel of our downstairs unit is finally starting to look exciting.

Here’s our progress report.

Before (on demo day, August 2014):

DEMO (2) basement 8

After (looking same direction, taken this week):


In the interim, while NOT helping out with the remodel, I started decorating upstairs a bit more. Our our plan has always been to live upstairs while redoing the downstairs unit, move downstairs while we redo the upstairs unit, then move back upstairs and rent out the downstairs. So, you can imagine why I was hesitant to put a ton of effort into decorating and/or purchasing furniture for the upstairs unit before all of said moves. Well, I got over it, and I’m glad I did.

Here was my original inspiration. I bought curtains, a leather chair and a rug for the living room, and procured this amazing table at a garage sale that converts from a console to a dining room table that seats up to 8. It even stores 4 chairs inside the base. It’s like that IKEA one everyone has, on crack. It’s solid wood and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with it.

Here is how the living room looked right after we moved in. It stayed in this sad little form for a good six months.


And here is the last full length picture I took of my living room when it was clean.

T&T Updated Living Room

I’ve since rearranged the pillows and added cognac leather chair in the corner. Here’s two fuzzy snapshots to give you an idea.

USE ME (4)

T&T Updated Living Room

I also had two parsons chairs reupholstered, so you can see those and my console/dining table in my upcoming Halloween decor reveal!

Thanks for tuning in.



Top 10 Halloween & Harvest Decor Ideas 2014

I enjoy decorating for Halloween. It’s mainly about the colors – orange/rust, black, white, and gold. The color maroon bores me to tears, so Thanksgiving decor is only so-so for me.

Tristan and I are on Team Jesus, and prefer to not decorate our home with witches, ghosts, goblins or devils, but skulls and artistic cobwebs are fair game. I think this is because Christians have skulls and Christians battle cobwebs – these are facts of life. I also get tons of pumpkins so that the decor can transition into Thanksgiving.  Here’s proof – exhibit A & exhibit B.

Since we’re remodeling, my seasonal decor plans are minimal. Heck, my regular decor plans are minimal – I don’t want more objects/furniture to pack up when we put in the hardwoods. Therefore, I’ve decided that for Halloween and Christmas, I will focus on a festive porch, since the porch won’t change. And I’ve never had a porch before, so it’s a fun research project :).

I originally wanted two large topiaries for the porch, but at $150+ per piece, I knew it’d be a tough sell, as they offer no value other than aesthetics. Instead, I settled on two trees from Home Depot for $12 each – guilt free, and they still accomplish the overall look. I also added a new doormat and (duh) pumpkins.

1019141545c 1019141600b

If I were going to go all out decorating this year, here are the 10 cute, simple ideas I’ve stumbled upon recently (click on the image for source):

Halloween and Harvest 2014 2

How simple to just pop some pumpkins on a candlestick! Love this idea!

Halloween and Harvest 2014 3

Halloween and Harvest 2014 5

Another use for the natural? Hollow out some butternut squashes and put some flowers inside! Or even hay/wheat could be festive and less expensive.
Halloween and Harvest 2014 4

Finally – a use for those Mardi Gras beads you’ve had since college:Halloween and Harvest 2014 6

Halloween and Harvest 2014 7

I am definitely going to do this in the next few years with artificial sunflowers. Each bloom takes up a large amount of surface area so you wouldn’t have to buy very many to cover a ball, and could reuse them year after year for multiple occasions. If you’ve seen our wedding pictures, you know I’m a huge fan of the flower ball. If you don’t want to hang them, you can pop them into a vase for a centerpiece (like we did for Easter using our wedding balls).

So simple and chic:

Halloween and Harvest 2014 8

I love the black and white contrast! For less effort, you could paint three pumpkins and just put “BOO.”

Halloween and Harvest 2014

This might be the very first time I’ve ever referred to a lawn ornament as classy. Technically still a ghost, but an elegant ghost for sure:

Halloween and Harvest 2014 9

This is pretty chic, you know, as far as poison goes.Halloween and Harvest 2014 10

If you don’t already subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens’ weekly e-newsletters, I highly recommend it. It turns out that several of these ideas I’ve pinned over the last few months were pulled from there. If you’re looking for other ideas, check out my Halloween & Harvest board on Pinterest – you might even find some adorable kid costume ideas because I can’t help myself.

What are the cutest ideas you’ve seen this year? Anything related to porches? 🙂



New Home Tour – The Before

Homeowners 2

Hi Folks! It’s been a busy month for le petit Rynning family, partially because of our mission trip to Mexico and partially because we just bought a house! We feel so blessed and humbled by this home, especially after building small homes in Mexico without plumbing or electricity for families in need – quite the contrast. I will share more on that amazing trip in a later post.

Here is our little bungalow in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.

For Sale

Here are the For Sale pictures with staged furniture – they give you a better idea of the space and scale.

For Sale 1

For Sale 6

For Sale 2

For Sale 3

For Sale 4

For Sale 5

Here are some house pics “in the nude,” as we were just about to move in:





Does everyone see the size of that closet?! Yeesh. Tristan and I didn’t even try to share it.

“DINING” ROOM (TBD if it will actually fit our kitchen table)






Here’s a wide angle looking towards the front door:

Wide Angle Door

And here’s a shot looking away from the front door.

Wide Angle From Door

If you look really hard, you can actually see that my topiaries have already found a new home by the sides of our kitchen sink! I know you were all concerned.


Oh, sweet ecstasy! I cannot believe I finally have my own washer/dryer.


Our place is actually a duplex, but the downstairs isn’t exactly livable as is. Tristan’s been hard at work demo-ing the downstairs so that we can get renters in. It’s very manly work and I’ve been so impressed by him.

This renovation is a good exercise for me because I won’t be able to immediately decorate, like I usually can. We hope to redo the upstairs floors and walls as soon as the downstairs is done, so we aren’t even taking some of our furniture out of storage or hanging things up on the walls. Eek! #mustnest #buthow

UNIT 2 (around behind the house)

Here’s the door to the downstairs:

Basement 1

Here are some interior shots from before the demo.


basement 2

OFFICE (this will likely turn into a kitchen nook)

basement 6

basement 5

I wish you could all experience the smell of the carpet. Time will tell, but the most dramatic before and after transformation may just be the aroma.


basement 8


basement 9

basement 7


basement 12


basement 14

We have fairly traditional gender roles in this household. The morning after we moved in, Tristan was ripping out carpet and flooring in the basement. Meanwhile, I was organizing the kitchen.

DEMO (1)

DEMO (2)

DEMO (3)

Though the upstairs is in a lot better shape than the downstairs, we both look forward to renovating that next. Tristan purchased a home before we got married and remodeled that, which we currently have renters living in. He’s been itching to smell the sawdust once again. Here are his plumbing plans – so advanced :).


This blog was originally designed to incorporate Tristan’s interests as well as mine, and this house project will be the perfect way for you all to get to know a little bit more of what makes Tristan tick! We’ll be documenting our progress and sharing photos, of course.

More to come!








A Star-Spangled Third

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tristan and I had a few friends over on July 3. It was 4th of July-themed, but on a less chaotic night (i.e. less parties to compete with). None of my friends had to work on the 4th, so it was a great night to relax and enjoy some BBQ and bevvies! I talked about my Orondo Ruby Sangria recipe here, and I still have to share the super special strawberry BBQ recipe we made. This post is focused on the party itself, and of course, the decor (is there a difference?).

4th of July Eve Party

I’d done some Pinterest perusing, and gathered some 4th of July decor inspiration, then promptly ran out of time to do anything I’d planned. BUT, our friend the Star also appears during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, allowing for easy re-purposing of existing decor when in a bind.

In this picture, we see how I painted some letters and glued them onto some ribbon I already had, and draped them across a glittery star I’ve had on my front door SINCE CHRISTMAS. I would not kid about this.

Torie and Tristan July 3 party

I also was able to re-use the festive stars I had hanging during our New Year’s Eve soiree. And I really wanted to do this centerpiece, but went to three different places looking for blue bottles (no luck), and my amazing husband brought me home flowers that weren’t red (but stunning nonetheless, and still alive, almost two weeks later!). I took these as clear signs that my centerpiece wasn’t meant to be. Here’s what I came up with instead:

Torie and Tristan July 3 party

Lantern, cookies, Orondo Ruby cherries, pit bowls and firecrackers (again, left over from New Year’s Eve!).

Here’s the BBQ station (AKA Tristan’s Turf) before it was overrun with amazing food and condiments.

Torie and Tristan 4th of July cocktail party

Yay for market lights!

Torie and Tristan 4th of July cocktail party

We inherited this flag from some family members (don’t worry – it wasn’t folded into a triangle in wooden case or anything), and it was such a fun, vintage touch!

Torie and Tristan 4th of July cocktail party

Let’s zoom in on those snacks!

Yummy treats

Our little apartment reached capacity at 13 people, inside and out. Here are some brave souls who were willing to appear on our blog.

July 3 party pic 2 July 3 party pic 1

Up next, the recipe for THE best burger I’ve ever had. Tristan and I have been eating the leftovers for two weeks and could continue through winter. It’s THAT good.





Patio After

I’m so excited to show you our patio today!

Here’s what you will NOT find on our patio:

I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of cute patios and cute ideas for patios on Pinterest and blogs this year. And I’m sure I’m just hyper-sensitive, since for once I actually have a patio for comparison. But like, stop taunting me!

I decided not to try to compete, and instead see what I could forage for free from friends and family (turns out, a patio table set and a fountain, yay!). Or from my recently vacated neighbor’s adjacent patio (hint: all my pots and a watering can). Given that I have never gardened before, I figured I had my work cut out for me just keeping the plants alive, let alone accessorizing them.

If you haven’t seen the before picture, here it is (mind you, taken a full year ago, before winter storms). And, after a solid weekend of hard work, here’s the after!

Torie and Tristan Patio (9)

Torie and Tristan Patio (5)

Torie and Tristan Patio (7)

Here’s a closer look at some of the plants (primarily impatiens), which are barely visible at this point.

Torie and Tristan Patio (1)

I found this metal sun on my ex-neighbor’s patio. I plan to spray paint it yellow to match my patio furniture. And because I love being literal.

Torie and Tristan Patio (2)

And, as you’ve previously read about, my beloved herb garden:

Torie and Tristan Patio (11)

Looking toward the other side of the patio…

I am still interested in purchasing a reclining outdoor chair, which would go in front of the BBQ (facing away), and Craigslist frequently has these for around $20. Whenever I do get the chair, I have a side table on stand by that can hold my magazine and drink.

Torie and Tristan Patio (12)

To the left, those spikey leaves are dracaena and the taller pot is filled with sweet potato ivy, coleus and something else, I can’t remember. Apparently these plants will be quite large by August. All I know now is that I have to water them every other day and fertilize every two weeks. And slug bait, always. Thanks, mom!

Torie and Tristan Patio (14)

Torie and Tristan Patio (15)

Including plants, soil and the one non-negotiable accessory (market lights, as if you had to ask), I think we spent around $80. The market lights were from Target and on sale for buy one set, get one half off – totaling $20. I spent about $40 on flowers and $20 on soil (organic, for the herbs) and slug bait. My mom hooked me up with some fertilizer. If I had to purchase my own pots, the cost would have drastically increased, so I recommend checking with family, friends and Craigslist if you’re not picky about matching.

Is my patio everything I could’ve hoped and dreamed of? Not quite. But I love that I was resourceful with materials available to me, got my hands dirty, and took a chance on growing sh!t. It’s an ambient place to eat dinner with Tristan, visit with friends, and cran my neck to see the water.



Adventures in Herb Gardening

I get worked up about all kinds of things, and lately, it’s been the cost of buying herbs. And sometimes, the store is out of the herb my meal plan depends on. Real serious issues here, people.

So, I decided to try growing my own kitchen herb garden. I was inspired by Amy Pennington’s Apartment Gardening book. I haven’t read it, but knowing there’s a whole book devoted to the topic must mean that I, too, can garden from my apartment. Plus, I recently found out that the author lives on the same street as me – her weather is my weather!

I began by purchasing starter herb plants at Fred Meyer. I got cilantro (x2), basil (x2), rosemary, lavender and chives. I sadly forgot mint for mojitos.

Herb Garden

I kept these suckers indoors for a good week and they were definitely growing. The nice thing about having them in the kitchen is that it’s extremely easy to keep them watered. When my mom came over to show me how to plant plants on my patio (more on that later this week), I decided to make the move from Apartment Gardening to Just Outside the Apartment Gardening.

Here are my herbies right after transplantation (just outside of that same window):

Torie and Tristan Patio (3)

Those pellets are slug bait. Not my fave look, but if I want to actually eat the herbs, I can’t fertilize or put any chemicals near the plant itself. So I made a soggy moat of poison. One perk of kitchen gardening: no slugs!

Here are my herbs a few weeks later, with the addition of colorful drainage trays and still sans slugs:

Torie and Tristan Patio (11)

I think they need more water (apparently it’s too hard for me to open the window and reach out). But they are alive … and tasty!

The most recent research I’ve done is how to properly clip each type of herb when you want to eat it so that it grows back. Have you grown herbs before? What were things you were surprised to learn in the process? I need all the help I can get!