Thursday, January 26, 2017

One of the prettiest girls I know…

I had sooo much fun a few weekends ago.  My darling sister asked me to shake the dust off my camera, and do a photoshoot.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0734_zpsa8kzi54f.jpg

I was so excited to take her maternity pictures.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0686_zpsvwf5vdbb.jpg

Right after she asked me, she ended up in the hospital because of her Placenta Previa.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0655bw_zpsl9dl5pqt.jpg

I rushed down there as fast as I could, and hoped she would be better and feel up to photos.  I prayed that all would be well.

 photo Kristins Maternity-06132_zpsfyx8qhbt.jpg

Luckily they got everything calmed down, put her on a mild bedrest and…

 photo Kristins Maternity-0752_zps4qgwkerm.jpg

told that baby to stay put for a while longer.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0653_zpskwt9ireu.jpg

He needs to bake a little longer.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0038_zpsxkwdvr7s.jpg

We also did some photos of the whole fam showing their love to the babe in the belly.

 photo Kristins Maternity-08652_zpsrtavpmgx.jpg

Hank was not showing his love.  He was kinda mad, but that’s a 3 year old

 photo Kristins Maternity-0911_zpswad6gcb0.jpg

He was mostly mad about his sweater.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0936LOVE_zpsnwkkarra.jpg

We finally got him to perk up at the end, after we found a dog for him to pet.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0022_zpsudvzujbh.jpg

I am so amazed at the strength and beauty of this women.

 photo Kristins Maternity-08202bw_zpssrzu0v4b.jpg

She has been thru many hard things, and always comes through smiling and teaching me how to be better.  I learn to be a better wife and mother from her.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0768_zpsqyoyfpym.jpg

I am so excited to meet this new little guy.

 photo Kristins Maternity-07962_zpsode8rhc1.jpg

I know he is a special little spirit.  He is so lucky to have Kristin as his Mom, and Jared as his Dad.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0824_zpsnrszwt8o.jpg

I am ready to hold him, but not yet!! He needs to stay put a little longer.

 photo Kristins Maternity-0040_zpsm4nbz1fs.jpg

This was a fun day.  I loved capturing this moment in time.

Thanks for letting me a part of this, I love you sis.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Tour of Valley View Abode(that’s what we call our new house): Our Great Room

I think it’s time to start sharing some photos of our new house.  It’s taken me some time to be ready to share.  This house is our dream home.  We put all our thoughts and energy into building this. 

When we started this process, we started an Instagram account and named this house Valley View Abode.  We named it that because of the great views of the valley that we have.  If you want to follow along with what we did, you can follow us @valleyviewabode on Instagram.  I am still posting fun design ideas, and things that make me happy there.

How did this process start?  I sketched it out on a piece of paper exactly how we wanted our floor plan to be, and then we took that to a drafter.

She drafted it for us, and did an amazing job.  It’s exactly how I sketched it, except with a few of her suggestions that made things better.

Once your house is drafted, then it has to be engineered.  Then you pick or bid builders, and start the process.  That whole process, start to finish, drafting to finish build; took us about 20 months.


All along the way, we made every decision.  We decided where every light switch would be, and which direction our doors would swing.  It was an exciting process.

I am excited to show you some of the decisions we made.  I will just throw little tours of the house in here and there.  Today, I am going to share a tour of our great room:

 photo Great Room-00592_zpsufle4cbr.jpg

The feeling we are going for in our house is coastal.  We are trying let little pieces of our life in the Caribbean leave a mark on this house.  We chose colors for this house that reflect the colors of the ocean, and we did beams to represent driftwood.  We did tongue and groove ceilings because that's what they have in homes in the Caribbean.  I also chose champagne bronze/brass fixtures because they have a very nautical feel to them. You will see some stripes in a few of the patterns because I also feel a sense of being at the beach when I see stripes.  I don’t know why, but stripes also feel very nautical and coastal to me. 

This room is on the main floor, and at the back of the house to the left, once you walk through the entry way. 

 photo Great Room-0055_zpsfodtyzto.jpg

As you can see, we have this beautiful transomed entry way that you walk through to get to the great room.

…and you are welcomed by and adorable Yorkie!

A lot of people have asked me what transoms are.  In architecture, transoms are a horizontal crossbar separating a door from a window.  Most of the time you see transoms above doors.  Sometimes you have transoms in cased openings, or doorways, which is how mine are.  I have four here.  I will do a post that shows more of the entry soon.

You can also see the kitchen, as they are connected.

 photo Great Room-0050_zpssuqgshda.jpg

We were so lucky to score some old wood beams from an old barn here in the valley that was being torn down.  My builder new I wanted beams in my house.  He didn’t disappoint when he brought me the real deal. 

 photo Great Room-0049_zpslcvqkesr.jpg

Between the wood beams, we did a tongue and groove ceiling out of pine.  I love how it looks, and gives the ceiling another texture. As I said before, the homes in the Caribbean have tongue and groove on their ceilings.  It also defines the great room from the kitchen.  I painted my walls a nice light blue/green color.  The color is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt 6204, but I had the color diluted by 75%.  I hope that makes sense, so it is only at 25% strength.  I wanted it to be very subtle.

 photo Great Room-0047_zpsvrvr5oll.jpg

…And the Windows!! This house has a lot of windows. 74 windows to be exact!! I’m so nervous to call a window cleaner. Ugh!!  Natural light is super important to me, like I’m mean without it.  I am also not a huge fan of covering them up so I’m not one to do blinds.  I love these windows, and huge doors.  The big floor to ceiling windows in the great room are sliding glass doors that open up to a massive deck.

 photo Great Room-0054_zpscoonzrpj.jpg

When we were wiring the electrical in the house, I made sure to do three things in this space:

1. put an outlet in the floor here, because I knew I would want a lamp.  The outlet is hidden right under this table. Right behind the cute sleeping dog.

 photo Great Room-0068_zpsckgl4eif.jpg

(Lamp and Pillows TJ Maxx, Couch a local store called 8th & main, Lamp similar, Couch Similar)

2.  put outlets on the side of the fireplace for lamps, and Christmas lights. I also had them switched so I just have to turn them on with a light switch.

 photo Great Room-0079_zps1choaixr.jpg

(Lamps from TJ Maxx, something similar)

3.  wire for sconces.  I knew that this space needed some other lighting element.

 photo Great Room-0081_zpsvgb0pgbg.jpg

(sconces, ottoman-TJ Maxx one similar, Chair- 8th & main, one similar)

This great room light here came from one of my favorite lighting places.  It’s actually a local place here where I live.  It’s called The Valley Home Store.  Follow them on Instagram for some great inspiration. @thevalleyhomestore  I seriously got so many lights from them.  Every time I went in, I got so much design help.

I’m a very symmetrical girl, so having built-in book shelves on either side of the fireplace was a must.  I’m still filling them, and messing around with them, but they are here; and I love them.

 photo Great Room-0073_zps5n5bzf94.jpg

OK!! I know you are dying to talk about my shiplap fireplace.  I am too.  Yes! I do swoon and melt every day that I see it.  I love the design of it!! I love how it is different and unique!!

 photo Great Room-0062_zpswlfuv6wm.jpg

(Mirror Hobby Lobby out of this one but this one is fun, Candlesticks World Market, Plants Homemade by me)

 I gave a picture of what I wanted to my builder and he was awesome about it.  I told my builder I wanted lots of shiplap in this house and he was so good to deliver.  In fact, he didn’t know what I meant by shiplap.  He has only heard tongue and groove so he went to a lumber source, and found out about it; and got me the real deal.  I love Shiplap!!

 photo Great Room-0063_zpsd9lagmuf.jpg

  I also wanted a very deep mantle so I could put bigger things on it. 

He made it happen, and I am so happy with that decision.  For example: look how fun and awesome it is to put my putz houses on it at Christmas:

Christmas decor at our House at night-0195

I am just now figuring out what to put on my mantle, because for months, it has been seasonal stuff.

….and anyone swooning over the sea green glass tile surround in my fireplace too?  Yes me too.  This was the very first choice I made for my house.  I knew it had to go in my house.

 photo Great Room-0051_zpscghxjju3.jpg

So the fireplace shape is repeated in the kitchen to keep it flowing.  The fireplace shape is repeated in the hood in the kitchen, and the glass tile is repeated in my back splash.

The piano managed to stay in this space.  The kids practice in here.  I’m grateful I painted it all those years ago, cuz it looks great in here.  I painted it by making my own chalk paint.

Chalk paint:

8oz paint color of choice(buy a sample), mixed with 4 T. Hot water and 4 T. Plaster of Paris

Yep!! That’s it!

 photo Great Room-0074_zpskfoxwyxa.jpg

I love this print above the piano.  This scripture means a lot to me. Especially right now, I am teaching Gospel Doctrine in our church.  I’m grateful for this scripture, as I learn as study more about our Savior.

 photo Great Room-00742_zpsbqohizh8.jpg

I picked this print up at Swiss Days in Midway.  If you live in Utah, this is a must; it’s so much fun.

 photo Great Room-0071_zpsnbmyxa9q.jpg

Let’s talk carpet and hardwood flooring.  This carpet you are seeing in my great room is inlayed like a big rug.  We had it set in and the hardwood picture frames and wraps around it, and then hardwood throughout the rest of the main floor(mostly).  I chose a really fun diamond shape pattern carpet for this inlay.  It is the same color as the rest of my carpet, it’s just a different pattern.


For Hardwood, we did the real deal.  I wanted sand and finish hardwood.  So we picked 6 inch planks, and we picked a maple.  Maple is a really hard hard wood, and has a really fun character to it.  Our intent was to stain it a light gray and then finish it with a matte finish.  Every day when I would come to check the on the floors, I would get sick to my stomach at the thought of staining these beautiful floors.  Jonathan would come and feel the same way, but we were both nervous to tell each other.  When the stain guy came, he said the same thing. 

Just to make me feel better he showed me what it would look like with the gray stain.  I couldn’t do it.  I am so happy with our floors.  I love the look of the natural wood.  I might change my mind someday, but for now we have nice beautiful unstained maple floors.

 photo Great Room-0047_zpsvrvr5oll.jpg

I think that’s it for now.  I hope you enjoyed your tour of the great room.  If you have any question about anything you have seen please feel free to email me, or better yet; follow my instagram that is all about our design process and what’s going on now, and leave your question there.

 photo Great Room-0069_zps3fremr4s.jpg

Follow me @valleyviewabode

 photo Great Room-0078_zpsle6rpdsm.jpg

Thanks for stopping by today!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Currently for January

Praying for: my children(they just need it right now)  It seems as though the needs of our children is always changing, and I almost can’t keep up with it.  We are constantly praying that we do what is right for each of them individually. photo Swenson Family Photos 2016-0011_zpskor0qpf4.jpg

Planning to: blog more and take more pictures

Wearing: anything that keeps me warm.  We have had negative degree weather lately 


Excited to: get back on my exercise routine, It has been a little lost since the move

Using: Elf lip exfoliator to help shed the dry lips this season, and I’m in love

Reading: The Magnolia Story.  You guys!! So inspiring.  Ok.  so I’m not reading, I’ve just read it.  What neat people they are.

Watching: Just finished watching lots and lots of Hallmark movies.  During the month of December I had my tonsils out!! I did lots of Hallmark movie watching.  Now, during January, I have promised myself that I will do less tv watching and more creative ME stuff!!

Cooking:  Soups!!!  It’s that time of year.  This one and this one are my fav. right now.


Eating:  I just finished a month of eating lots and lots of ice cream.  I am glad my tonsils are healed and I can start eating more normal again.  I am ready to get off the band wagon of unhealthy Christmas junk, and start eating some salads or something(right after I link you too some unhealthy soup ideas) wink wink!!


Crafting:  I have enjoyed putting together little pots with succulents in them.  They are so fun to stash around the house.  They can go in any room. I will do a tutorial soon.


Loving: to sit in front of the fireplace this time of year

Dreaming: Of warm Caribbean waters

Feeling: blessed

Listening: to all things Apple Music it is seriously the best. thing. ever.

Celebrating: being settled in our new home


Enjoying: keeping a paper planner, it’s a little place for me to be creative, and plan {2 things I love; creativity & planning}


Do you prefer keeping a paper planner, or are a phone planner; or both?

Monday, January 9, 2017


If you noticed or even cared, I took a six month hiatus from blogging. 

It was for many reasons.  One reason was to do some thinking but, probably among the biggest reasons was building our new house, and moving.  It took a lot of time and energy.  We built a custom home.  I started by sketching out a design on paper, and ended by picking out every last detail inside.  Needless to say, we were here for every step of the process.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!  I want to share more about the process here, so more on that to come.  Here is a pic of the finished product:

 photo house_zpsib7yvly8.jpg

We moved in at the end of October, and had just enough time to get our front yard in.

If you want to follow more of the process, you can follow us on Instagram @valleyviewabode It has originally been a private account, but I have felt very led to make it more public, and have it be a design and creative Insta account for me.  I will still keep our family Insta acct. private however. 

After all those house decisions, my brain was a little tired.  I tried to tell myself that I would blog about the process.  At night, when I thought I would have time to blog, I couldn’t.  I could not think about one more thing.

I blamed my lack of blogging on no brain power.

Then we moved in to this new house, and settled in.

 photo front door_zpsvmzskpvp.jpg

  I realized that I was lost on this blog and the true me, long before that.

I lost myself somewhere between Pennsylvania and Utah.

When I look back over my blog posts, the frequency and even my heart seemed to diminish somewhere between Pennsylvania and Utah.

When I would sit down to blog, my heart wasn’t in it.  I was lost.

I went out a few days ago and took a few pictures after a huge snow storm we had, and I realized I felt a little like this bird.

 photo Winter snow storm scenery 2017-0499_zpsk2ifgdow.jpg


 photo Winter snow storm scenery 2017-0496_zpsmwonf6v5.jpg

Why is this bird here in all this snow?

As I started taking pictures, I remembered how much I love having this camera around my neck.

 photo Winter snow storm scenery 2017-0510_zpsnzhsdikb.jpg

  I remembered how much seeing a scene through my view finder brought a quickness to my heart that I almost can’t describe.

 photo Winter snow storm scenery 2017-0484_zps6cdrghkw.jpg

When we moved in this new home, I started feeling bits of the old creative me coming back, and wondered where she had been.

I am beginning to feel more like me again.  I haven’t been a full Andrea since we got to Utah. 

I’ve been half an Andrea.  I’ve been a mom and a wife, but not a photographer, a blogger, a creator.

 photo Stella WInter Photoshoot 2017-0516_zpswu49fx1z.jpg

I think I figured out why.  Some of the reasons why are very personal, and I will keep to myself, and some are as simple as I forgot to find time to be creative.

 photo Stella WInter Photoshoot 2017-0523_zpspn1sbkl9.jpg

I need time to be creative and use my creative brain each day.

Sure, I have gotten away for a weekend here or there to scrapbook, but once I came home; I was lost again.

Now that we are in our new home, I have my own space to find myself each day.  I have my own craft room/office.  It is amazing how that space has brought me back to life.  I can just walk in to that room and my eyes light up. 

It helped me realize that creativity is so important for me.  15 minutes in there can do my heart good.

When I was blogging frequently, I used to make time for photography.  That was a huge outlet for creativity for me.  When we moved here, I told myself I didn’t need to work anymore so I kind of just tucked my camera away, and started using my iPhone.  That makes me really sad.  I need to use my brain, I want awesome pictures of my kids.

 photo Stella WInter Photoshoot 2017-0565_zpsqjudedvs.jpg

  I need to remember how to use my big girl camera, and stretch myself with it.  It’s what makes me happy. 

 photo Stella WInter Photoshoot 2017-0544_zpsx87netdc.jpg

{Photos of Stella from our impromtu photoshoot, on a snowday this week, oh be still my heart; this is true happiness for me.  My children + photography = happiness}

When I share my thoughts here, when I share a pretty picture here, or a creative idea; all these things bring me true happiness.  We all need to find what it is in our heart that brings us our personal happiness.

For you it might be soccer, or a good book, painting, or exercise.  Let’s not forget to make TIME. 

I have lots of things in life that bring me happiness; my kids, my husband, my church.  This, however, this one is about ME!!  This one is about spending time with me.  Doing what I love.  I kind of lost that for a while.  I let some of my anxieties, the world, some health challenges, being busy, and telling myself that I didn’t have time, take away some of that happiness.  I’m kind of tired of being lost.

 photo Me and camera_zpsemhao5le.jpg

{Photo Circa 2011- taken by: Krysta Moes}

So… my camera is back around my neck.  My desk is a mess again, and my computer is open once again…. and your gonna have to listen to me ramble here at own little corner of the world wide web.

Well… I guess that’s if you want to. 

Thanks for being here.

Related Posts with Thumbnails