2014 Update

I got on here today, for the first time in a very long time, and I thought “maybe I’ll publish one of the posts sitting in my draft box.”  And then I noticed how long it had actually been.  Every post in there was over 7 months old, and therefore completely out of date.

So, instead, here is an update on a few of the things that have been going on around here this year.

1. I finally organized the laundry room and added a countertop to the top of the machines for folding.

2. We went black Friday hunting and upgraded our rusty, biscuit-gone-contact-paper colored dish washer to a shiny stainless one.

3. The living room was not only painted, but we replaced our old sofa with two lovely gray sofas from a discount warehouse.

4. Derek and I both built our own computers over the summer. And, now, we have begun taking coding classes together online. (Thanks Groupon!)

5. We were very sad to lose Wally last fall.  But, we have grown to love the new member of the family–Etsy–a year old golden-retriever mix.

6. We hung up Christmas lights outside this year!  We also hosted his family for Thanksgiving and my family for Christmas dinner.

7. Derek and I celebrated our third anniversary with a much needed escape to a casino in Indiana.

2013 may have resulted in very few blog posts, but it was also not our most productive year. My job has taken a lot out of me lately, and by the time I get home, I just don’t feel like writing or crafting.  My time-consuming accomplishments mostly amounted to knocking my Netflix playlist down a few notches.

Here’s the catch, we have big plans for 2014.

The kitchen counters have to be replaced–they are chipping into food!
The outside house trim has to be stripped and painted!
The garden isn’t a garden anymore and something has to be done about that!
It is very likely that the pool may not be going up again this summer, so a plan must be formed and executed for the giant sandbox it left behind!
And, most importantly, I have to get off my butt and decide what I really want to do with my life.  Yippee!!

I’m sorry guys.  I’m sorry I quit writing. I’m sorry I’m not chipper and happy all the time, especially in this post.  This year has been hard on me, and Derek I think.  But, I know, things are going to get better.  My goal this year: to take back a small measure of control over my life and feelings; if that means more blogging then great, if not I will not be paying for web-hosting again next July. Wish me luck!

Posting from the new pad

No, I`m not talking about a new house. I`m talking about the best birthday present ever. Knowing how happy that blogging makes me, Derek and my mom teamed up to buy me a most excellent tablet. Now i can jot ideas, edit pictures, and blog on the fly. I am so grateful to them for hearing the calling of my heart and helping me find a way to pursue it.

Derek picked out an Asus transformer prime. I don’t know a lot about this thing yet, but it has some awesome features that I am only just beginning to discover with complete glee. Only a couple of hours have passed and I am just starting to understand the multiple keyboard options, something completely unfamiliar to an iPhone user.  Other features include cool slidey things, different doodads, and thingymabobs… see what i mean. Typing these two paragraphs has taken more time than just about any other lost I’ve ever written. I’m sure, however, that I will get faster just like I have with using my iPhone.

On a side note, a coworker, we will call her Judy, recently asked me to put together some ideas for her new apartment that she is currently sharing with her sister. She is very fashionable, and loves yellow gold, animal print, and sleek lines. For a look for her that won’t break the bank or her security deposit, I am recommending sparing use of paint on the most important walls, fixtures that can be moved, and extensive use of accessories to bling up the space.

Here is the Polyvore collage that I created for her.

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Luscious, no?

The Other Side of the Kitchen

Last week I shared the neat and tidiness that had happened in the eat-in space of our kitchen.  Finally, I am ready to show a few shots of he other side of the room.  Ready?

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Sink Side Before

Sink Side

Sink Side After

Changes? The wall color. The stainless looking DIY dishwasher.  See–not much, but me oh my, how those two tiny changes make all the difference.

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Stove Side Before

Stove Side After

Stove Side After

The Old, Old Look

Before

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After

Changes here? New bar-stools (well, side-of-the-street stools), a new living-room color in the background. A different rug, and different doodads. We also added the lights over the bar, in place of the old recessed lighting.

All in all, I think the changes make the room more calm and cohesive.  The floor also looks better with the slight blue in it accented by the other cool tones in the room.  Plans for the future include updating the floors, adding butcher block counter-tops and a larger sink, and creating some kind of focus on the empty far wall.

 

 

Peek in on the Kitchen Updates

I am sorry to admit that the major changes in our kitchen happened months ago.  However, I am also stoked to finally show you a little bit of it that is cleaned and sort-of finished.

First of all, we bit the bullet and painted over the garish (but once loved) lime green.  We chose Moonshine by Benjamin Moore, as inspired by multiple spaces on Young House Love.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

The Mid-Point Look

The Mid-Point Look

It was cute, but not really functional for us since I never sat down at a desk when I could keep my laptop with me on the couch.  We found that it really made the corner feel smaller than it was too. So, then, after initially painting the kitchen, we tried this:

My attempt at banquette seating

My attempt at banquette seating

The issues with this arrangement were many, the most annoying being that , yet again, it was not functional at all.  The small white table and chairs fulfilled an excellent role as romantic Saturday breakfast area for two in the adorable nook in our old apartment, but it certainly would not function as any semblance of a dinner table.  I thought this setup was cute, but not great.  In addition, the rug looks nice here, but it was way too disproportionate for the space and the tiny table.

Enter my Granni’s dining suite that I mentioned in an earlier post.  (Derek’s dad kindly helped us pack it up and move it in his truck over a weekend.)  As I previously mentioned, the table is much more functional–I’ll say perfect for the space–but the other pieces are far too large for this small space. That’s where the creativity comes in.

Glimpse of the general goodness

Glimpse of the general goodness

I chose to keep the buffet in the front room office.

Buffet as craft storage

Buffet as craft storage (on left)

The hutch is currently hosting the dishes I also inherited in the long end of the living room.

???????????????????????????????Lucky for me, I really do prefer non-matchy-matchy.  So this way, I get to enjoy the whole set without compromising my current set of design principles. On the other hand, I now have a lot more wood on my first floor than I am used to, and I become increasingly tempted to paint or re-stain or whitewash everyday.  But, as with most inherited things, I feel obliged to give the pieces a fair chance in their current state before I defile them.

Anyway, back to the kitchen.  We removed the old blinds on the porch door and window.

Blinds are visible on the left

Blinds are visible on the left

They were energy efficient and all that jazz, but not my style at all.  I really do despise blinds. I replaced them with sheer, lightly patterned curtains on an ORB rod with clips.  And just to add to the insulation factor and the light reducing factor, I lined them on the back side with brown sheers that I had lying around.

Pattern on the curtains

Pattern on the curtains

To bring in another layer of pattern, I bought a Martha Stewart stencil set at Michael’s and added a little whimsy to the far wall between the bedroom and the bathroom.  It ties in with the pattern on the blue rug (in the above picture with the white table), which now sits between the two walls of cabinets in the kitchen proper.

Far wall stencil

Far wall stencil

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And speaking of rugs, I had an amazing raid at the dollar tree, which hooked me up with my new rug.  They had discarded FLOR carpet squares for $1 each.  I snatched up pretty much everything they had, including 9 yellow, faintly striped squares.  They sit PERFECTLY under the table when it is in its non-party state. They have held up well, stay put, and need no adhesive or connectors between individual squares.

My $9 Rug!!

My $9 Rug!!

Also, notice the unobtrusive addition of the Target cubed bookcase in the background.  It is great for cookbooks and doo-dads, and someday great kitchen floor kids toys. Can’t wait to show you the other side of the room!

A Few More Dining-Room-Turned-Office Pics

Since all I had to share of the office set-up was a pretty cruddy phone pic, I thought  I would add a few more blog-ready shots.  I got the camera up and running for the first time in months.  The room is far from done, but it miles from where it started several months ago.  So, here we go…

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We’ve got general office supplies-pens, sticky notes, staplers, etc-in the middle console. On the far left I have big crafts supplies like paper, rope, ribbon; on top of this Ikea find, we have our printer.  On the left side of the room, my grandmother’s old dining buffet serves as excellent craft supply storage as well.

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It’s amazing how consolidating my stuff made it all seem so much less overwhelming.  I found that I already own a lot of colored pencils, scrapbook papers, and glue types, but that I have, in general, a lot less stuff than I thought. I good feeling–now I can find it all in the office, instead of scattered around the house!

(One Of) The Dangers of Crafting and DIY

Anyone ever  read Amy Sedaris’s Simple Times?  I have passed over it time and again in the book store thinking that it was too weird and sarcastic for me.  A week ago, however, I ran across a special at my local bookstore (the ever awesome Joseph Beth for you Kentuckians); the audio version of the book, including a pdf file of images from the print copy only cost me 5 big ones.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy my favorite pastime even while driving!  I popped it into my cd player, and, voila, hours of craft crazed laughter on the way to work.

It turns out that this was the perfect way to enjoy the text, as it is read by author herself much of the time, and this makes it all the more funny.  The jokes come through clearly where before I would have just written them off as annoying distractions from the seriousness with which crafting should be revered. (see, a little of my own sarcasm there…)

One of the funniest, and the most disturbing, chapters deals with the most frequent injuries sustained while crafting.  I laughed my way through it all, scoffing at the ridiculous idea of putting wire through your eyeball while beading…that is, until my week took an unexpected turn at the hand of mother-nature and the craft-karma deities.

Early in the spring, as the trees were beginning to blossom, and the bushes began their yearly putting-on of new clothes, I started to notice a disturbing trend in my yard–scruffiness.  Not overgrown, English garden goodness, but drunk-guy-stumbling-outside-the-local-pub mayhem.  I say this lovingly, of course, but I really let things get crazy, and it wasn’t obvious until my neighbors started their yard overhauls that I noticed that crazy.

See the scruff?

See the scruff?

And it gets worse!

And it gets worse!

So last week, Derek and I made an investment in an extendable tree trimmer, and I went to town. We have felled at least 30 large branches and I am certainly not done; the largest are still yet-to-be-felled.  After my arms started aching, I thought I would move on to a smaller, closer to earth task–weeding.

The below tree looked much worse pre-picture-taking, even though it still looks floopy.

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Well, there is a good reason it still looks floopy–the crafting karma deities found me and took me down. I was happily weeding and trimming and tossing the remains into happy little piles, and, suddenly, bam! POISON IVY CITY!

Let me preface this story with a quick history—in short, I am EXTREMELY allergic to poison ivy.  I once had a pet transfer it from their fur to my neck, and, over 10 years later, I still have no nerve endings in that part of my skin.  And, I have a massive white scar to boot.

I pulled a whole vine out of the underbrush.  It was wrapped twice around my arm.  Suffice it to say that I freaked out–after stupidly slamming my infested hands on my calves.  I ran in the house, again stupidly, jumped in a hot shower, and washed till I felt raw.  (Word to the wise, only wash with cold water after contact with poisonous plants, as the hot water will speed up the reaction by opening your pores and letting in the irritants.)  I then got out of the shower to a very confused husband, who then sped to the store to get calamine lotion and rubbing alcohol (which is good for dissolving the urusiol oil that causes the reaction).

Miraculously, he found this stuff called Tecnu that removes the oil and stops the reaction.  A couple of hours after application, still no rash.  Whew!

This is for now…cause, guess what?  I did the same stupid thing both of the next two days–leaving me today, again rubbed down with Tecnu, and hoping beyond hope that I can tempt fate yet again and avoid the dreaded rash.  Thank you Amy Sedaris…I feel like I laughed in your face, and then got b$%&@ slapped!

What happens to the dining table?

Maybe a better question is: what happens when you get your grandmother’s old dining table and you just can’t quite sell your old one cause it is your style after all?

Since we first moved into our house, I have wanted to find a round table with leaves for our eat-in kitchen nook.  Our rectangular table just never looked quite right there, and when we put it in the dining room proper we never used it.  It just felt too lonely and too big for just two people.  So when my grandmother offered her dining suite to me, which features a lovely round table with two leaves–I’ve seen this table seat 12 people many times in my life.  Perfect!

We now had a good option for just-the-two-of-us dinners, and those rare get-together affairs. (Not that I’m going to lie–we still eat in front of the t.v. most of the time…not proud of that).  With this versatile table in the kitchen, the smaller (and yet less functional) one in the dining room seemed redundant.  We brainstormed ways to sell the table–a large yard sale with a lot of other things we needed to get rid of, a craigslist posting, or just as part of a donation to Goodwill.

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The old table in the dining room

In the end, a yardsale seemed like too much work; I didn’t really think I could sell it for what I thought it was worth on Craigslist, and Goodwill was basically a no-go for the same reason.  I hung on to it for a couple of weeks, when suddenly inspiration struck: we had been wanting matching computer desks for a long time, and we had thus far made do with a small old table with the computers facing each other and a chair on each end of the table.

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The old setup in the office

Our new plan–slice our dining table in half!

That’s right.  We borrowed a friend’s circular saw, broke out the sander and sliced it right down the middle.  After deciding to cut it across “hamburger” instead of the proverbial “hot-dog,” we found the center, and slid the saw across.  This was both traumatic and freeing–it was also a terrible mistake that we did not practice using it first on a scrap piece of wood.  We were both newbies to this type of un-stabilized tool, and it took a lot of hand sawing and sanding in the end to get the cut edges even kind-of straight.

Later, we cut down two 2x4s into legs of the same length as the originals.  These became the back legs for both halves.  We felt that they were fairly unimportant style-wise since they were going to be pushed up against the wall and painted the same color as that wall.  We bracketed them into place with L brackets and long drywall anchoring screws straight into the table sides and shorter screws into the table top.  With some good measurement and trial-and-error, we got them attached without any screws-poking-out-of-things mishaps.

I wish I had some pictures of the process…but as I’ve said, I’ve really slacked off.  I am lucky I have any DIY photos from all the projects of the last few months…and there are a fair few to share.  In lieu of anything better, here is a terrible iphone pic I took the night we finished.

The new setup

The new setup

I have visions of memo boards behind the computers, perhaps the middle console (which are just some random drawers I had in a closet) in a bright color.  So far, though, this is now the most functional space in the house, and Derek and I spend more time in the same room now.  I don’t want to share any further pics yet, because, as you can glimpse in the background, we recently took on a board-and-batten project.  No spoilers!

Where has the time gone?

I can tell you where it went. I would estimate the following that my time and thought over the last several months have been rerouted from the blog to the following:
10% to family endeavors, parties with friends, and time spent vacationing
15% recovering from various injuries and illnesses
25% to doing projects but not writing about them :/ (this includes combating a couple of dramatic house disasters)
and drum-roll….the other 50% has gone to my new job: thinking about it, worrying about it, sleeping it off, and just in general doing my day-to-day

I am neither ashamed nor sorry for the time that I have spent away, although I think blogging gives me some clarity and pleasure that I otherwise lack.  I now realize that I need to step away from the worrying and the anxiety and give myself some head-space to craft, write, and make messes out here in the blogosphere.

No promises, no goals, just–hello again, and I hope to keep visiting you. We have some catching up to do.

Here’s a rundown of some of the awesomeness that has been going on around the house.  We have repainted the living room, kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, and the nursery-to-be. We added pendant lighting in the kitchen, put up awesome board and batten in the dining room (which has been converted into the most convenient shared office space), and sliced our dining table in half just for fun…and to make two almost free, matching desks.  We recovered from a hot-water heater disaster, reorganized just about every space in the house, and finally (mostly) sorted out the basement.  I’ve crafted the crap out of the nursery to be (I’m being positive here folks), and I’ve made a complete mess of the office re-designated to guest room.  And, of course, I’ve scoured the shops for greats buys, and brought home a few…maybe more than a few….okay, several.

These are all things that I hope I have the pleasure of sharing with you over the course of the summer months.  Work is lazy for a while, and I can refocus myself on more pleasurable pursuits. Enjoy!

First iPhone post…how will this work??

I was lucky enough a couple if years ago to get the old chandelier from my Granni’s dining room when she replaced it with a ceiling fan.

I quickly got rid of the old brass finish, and I painted it several coats of glossy white.

After a year with the store-bought traditional black shades to diffuse the light, I felt like it was time to do something more original…more me. At first, I thought I would get white shades and paint an ikat pattern on them; they looked great with the lights off, but when switch was flipped they looked washed out and sad. I realized that what the very traditional, common fixture needed was a set of more modern, unique shades. I wanted to bead a set of custom shades…but after pricing enough beads to do that, I decided on a cheaper options.

I detached the metal ring and bulb adaptor from the white paper shades. Then by simply using a 1″ hole punch, white thread, and tape, I repurposed an old sheath of sheet music into a capis-shell looking shade with a rustic twist. I simply lined up a few of the punched circles, taped a piece of string to the backs with clear matte tape. (I didn’t want it to be shiny and super obvious that all I used was tape.) after making about ten strands, I simply wound the extra thread over the wire frame, and then taped the remaining length to the back of the top circle.

All in all, it’s growing on me.

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The Best (and Worst) of 2012

My first partial year of blogging is coming to an end, and although its been a while since I have had the time to myself to get my blogging on, I can’t help but look at the improvements in my home and life with happiness (and a little pride).

Check out some of the way that Derek and I have been incredibly blessed this year.  Here is a look back, month by month, of the amazing changes.

December 2011: I was happy to graduate from college and start a new job at Hyatt.  Derek and I found the perfect new home for us after only looking at 5 houses.

January:  Derek and I closed on our new, old house.  We moved in on a pleasantly sunny day–unlike the last two times we moved, which were under blizzard conditions!

Before

February: Our heating system broke…and it took the entire month to get it fixed.  Yay for cuddling, blankets, and hot showers!  40 degrees in the house, snow on the ground!

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We also took advantage of the lack of moving air by painting our cabinets and counter-tops, as well as replacing the lighting, faucet, and adding a disposal.

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March: Derek came home with the bad news that there were going to be extensive layoffs at work.  As the last hired, he was the very likely to lose his job…if you want to hear the end of that story, fast forward to June.  :)

June: I kickstarted the blog with an homage to Derek’s birthday and the awesome cake I made all by myself! Of course, that was after forgetting to add water on the first try and creating a paste instead. :)

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Right about that time, Derek got called into the bosses office for a solemn meeting…his job was being dissolved, but they wanted to promote him and add responsibilities to his plate instead of letting him go!!!  Yay yay yay! (I can’t say that enough.)

Oh yes, and it was no small feat that we finished re-doing the stairs this month.

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I also had the pleasure of being in my friend Sarah’s lovely DIY wedding.  Yay for married happiness!

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July: This month saw the introduction of a new camera into my life, allowing me new enjoyment and freedom in blogland.

DSC00059 So lovely!

I also celebrated my 23rd birthday, bringing my new miter saw into my life.  (There are still many projects to go on the miter-saw front.)

August: August marked my most productive month as a blogger.  I started (and finished!) so many projects, and I had the best shopping luck.  Remember the entertainment center turned dining room shelving, anyone?

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September:This was the month of my weight-loss: 20 lbs in just one month. Go South Beach, go me!

This was also a great month for fall temperatures, the new fire-pit, a gorgeous front porch, and a plethora of clutter purging!

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October: This month offered plenty of opportunities for craft and diy with another friend wedding on the horizon.

My friend Jessica married at a lovely home and botanical garden in Paris, KY.

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November: We were happy to welcome my mom to the neighborhood in Lexington after she was able to sell my childhood home in Franklin, TN.  She was also blessed to marry a wonderful man named Mark.

I also got a very welcome job offer at the University of Kentucky–something I’ve been wanting for quite some time. :)

December 2012: The year is closing out with the beginnings of a new job, finally meeting my hubby’s family at yet another wedding, and celebrating the holidays with my family.  My mom’s house is looking much more cozy, and so is mine.

Derek and I, along with two of our best friends, enjoyed an amazing week cruising to Mexico, followed by a relaxing (but eventful) stay in New Orleans.

All in all, I would say that the year was eventful, but an overall success.  Oh, and, tomorrow marks two amazing years of marriage to the best man in the entire world…that’s right the entire world (which didn’t end, by the way).  Thank you Derek for loving me and supporting me; you are my best friend.  Happy New Years and Happy Anniversary!

Cheers to you and yours!