Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kitchen Makeover


I'm pleased to introduce our new kitchen. Whew - it was definitely a push to get it done in a week, but it's done! Of course, I have to show you what I started with (or close to it - I always forget to take real before pictures).

Ready to sand
Other side before

Starting to see some progress

Seriously loving the choice of white at this point (and this is only after priming)


Other side after

The knobs! (I love them. Love. Love. Love.)

Here's how it all went down:
Last Friday, we painted the walls a lovely shade of sunshine yellow (read more here). Sunday evening and Monday - we worked on recovering our dining room chairs (nothing like throwing an extra project in the makeover). Tuesday, we started taking off the cabinet doors, detaching hinges and handles. (At this point, I was convinced none of this had ever been done prior to painting in our kitchen before.) Wednesday, I spent the entire day in the kitchen: taping plastic in the cabinets, sanding, priming, painting and painting some more. Last night while watching an IU basketball game with Jon I filled in a hole on each cabinet door (the new knobs only use one hole, the previous handles used two). Oh, and mopped up the (approximately) 14 gallons of water that spewed from the water line to the fridge. About 9:30pm, the hose broke off and water sprayed everywhere. My wonderful husband turned off the water to the house and to the fridge and helped me mop up the water. Thursday, sanded, primed, and painted cabinet doors and drawers. And the plumber came and fixed our fridge. Friday, finished stripping the hinges, spray painted them, and got everything put back together. Hooray!

So - what did it all cost?
Yellow paint - $7.00
Primer and white paint - free, we had it on hand
Painting supplies - $6.68
Stripper (to reuse the old hinges) - $5.47
Spray paint (to paint the hinges) - $5.84
Spackling (to fill in the cracks) - $1.68
New knobs - $31.29 (score!)
Grand Total: $51.28

*Note: I did buy new screws for the hinges (since the others had been painted over, they were a pain to get out and we ended up stripping a few), but that only adds another $7.00. Still under $60 for the whole shebang!

Here's one more look of the transformation. I love what a difference a few coats of paint can make!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Spreadin' a little kitchen cheer

Guess who's majorly pooped tonight? That's right, this girl. Guess why??? The hubby and I painted our kitchen today! Wahooo!

Yes, two days before Christmas I decided to tape and paint our kitchen. Did I mention we are hosting Christmas day festivities? But when the productive bug bites, you gotta respond! So I did. About two weeks ago, I scored a great sunshine-y, yellow color of paint for $7.00! It's so happy and just makes me want to smile all the time. I love colors like that!

So, the wheels started turning... It's been no secret that I dislike the pink color my kitchen was and the tacky antiquing technique on all our cabinets. Oh, and the boring (with a capital B) cabinet pulls. After purchasing a paint color, I started considering all the possibilities for changing up the kitchen. Of course, it's Christmas season, I'm a teacher, and I'm frugal. So I wanted to make a big change for not a lot of change (See what I did there? I told you, I'm wiped out). I've always loved Anthropologie for it's classic, funky, vintage, eclectic, modern feel. They always have the cutest knobs and drawer pulls, so I started searching on their site...and I came across these beauties:

Aren't they adorable?! Plus, they were on sale. Down to $2.95 from $8.00. I only need 19 (20 once I replace the missing cabinet door), so $60 wouldn't be terrible to pay, but somehow I just couldn't bring myself to order them. This week, I got an email that Anthropologie was having an extra 50% off sale items, and my heart started to sing. Could it be that I could get the adorable knobs to outfit my entire kitchen for less than $30??? Oh, yes, yes it could be. I found 14 blue, 5 yellow, and 5 sage (really light green) colored knobs at an area Anthro. Oh, I was in love! I brought them home, cleared them with hubby, and got excited about starting on the kitchen.

So, with my husband getting the day off today, the great kitchen makeover of 2011 was born. And the kitchen is now painted. So, here's the to-do list for the rest of the kitchen:
  • remove all the cabinet doors
  • soak the hinges in stripper (they were painted over)
  • fill in one of the knob holes (the current knobs have two holes, the new ones have only one)
  • sand, prime, and paint the cabinets (they will be white)
  • install the new knobs
That's it. Think I can do it all in the next week before starting school again? Let's hope. Can't wait to show off the new kitchen once it's all done!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Felt Garland

I was inspired to make a garland, and knew I had all the materials. So I jumped right in! Start to finish - including inspiration time (and the fact that I slept last night), we're talking 24 hours. Not bad, eh?

So, here it is complete with directions.

I used felted sweaters for this project, but I'm sure you could use any kind of felt. Start with a pile of cut out circles. I did not bother to count or keep track of how many I was cutting. Mine are about 1-2 inches in diameter (again, didn't measure), and they aren't perfectly round.

Next step, start sewing. I left about 10 inches of thread on either end and just started sewing down the middle of a circle.

Keep sewing. I just lined up the next one and fed it in. I found it was easiest to stop every so often and line up my next 20 or so circles, so I could just grab and keep sewing. Also, that way I could sorta line up according to color. Although, I wasn't super picky about the colors and how they lined up.

That's it! Seriously, super easy and super cute. About three-fourths through my first strand of garland, I got the brilliant idea to decorate our lion out front. So I cut some more circles and made a strand for Mr. Lion. Doesn't he just look adorable?!

There's just enough time left before Christmas that you could make yourself some cheery felt garland too!

Home Tour - Living Room

Finally, I was able to get myself in gear and write up the next room. Seriously, it took me long enough. But without further ado, I present the challenge room, I mean living room. Overall, this room is great for its size, but the dimensions present a little bit of a challenge in the decorating realm. It's approximately 14 feet wide and 22 feet long. Originally, I think it was meant to be a combination living and dining room. Since Jon nor I wanted two eating areas, it will be all living room in our home.

A few things I love about this room:

  1. The floors - they are gorgeous
  2. All the natural light - between a skylight, big windows, and the entryway skylight, we don't have to turn lights on until it's dark outside
  3. The space - it lends itself to some really inventive furniture arrangements
A few things left to be desired about the room:
  1. The space - so far I'm challenged with exactly how to arrange this room (I'll explain more later)
The couches are from Craigslist (hooray Craigslist!), coffee table from a clearance center, the round side table came from Jon's house, the other two came from thrift stores, the two sitting chairs came from Goodwill, the rolling hostess cart from Goodwill, and the mini fridge was mine.

When we bought the couches, they had an atrocious and obnoxious set of pillows for the back cushions. I found some fabric at SAS that I loved, and my grandma agreed to re-cover the pillows for me. The toned down version fits our style much better.

Here is the view from the entry way. Yes, my living room is a mess in all these pictures, and I've decided I'm ok with that. I chose to go ahead and finally get this post up over waiting until I cleaned it completely.

The bar is quite possibly my favorite part of the room. It just fits so perfect and is such a great piece! Especially since it came from ReStore for only $21!

Part of my challenge with the room is the placement of the coffee table. I can't very well put it in the middle of the room, but then that leaves one couch or the other without access to it.

Another view of the bar.

From the far corner of the living room, the view to the front door.

Christmas tree :)

Living room leads into the dining room.

I've started looking at rugs for the living room to help define the space better. We are currently trying to decide whether we are keeping the chair pictured in the first picture (it came from Ikea, great deal, and I like where it is now), but I don't want the room to look to full.

Also, the yellow chairs will probably be replaced at some point. They aren't comfortable for long periods of time, and they have wheels, so we could have chair races across our living room right now. But, there's where the living room is right now. I really do like this room, and it's a very comfortable room. What else do you think would help define the space? Do you have any challenge rooms in your house? How have you handled them?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Wreath

I have a confession - I actually started working on this wreath the week of Thanksgiving. (collective gasp) I know, I know. I'm a one-holiday-at-a-time person too. But there were so many crafts I wanted to complete for Christmas decorations, that I knew I needed to get a little bit of a head start. And, I didn't hang the wreath until the day after Thanksgiving.

So, here it is.

And a closer view.

So, here's how it all came together. I used 5 boxes of clear glass ornaments from Michael's (on sale, plus an additional 25% off). Then I used two bottles each of gold, silver, and white paint. After removing all the tops from the ornaments, I proceeded to swirl either gold or silver and white paint inside. If you've never done this, it's super fun and easy! You just squeeze some paint inside the ornament, swirl it around and watch the magic happen.

I let them dry overnight. Meanwhile, I painted a coat of paint on my green foam wreath. The next day, I started placing my ornaments on the wreath. Once I figured out where I wanted them, I pressed them into the wreath a little, to make an indent, then added hot glue, and glued the ornament in place. It wasn't a difficult project, just took a while since I needed to let the ornaments dry for about 24 hours before arranging them on the wreath.

You might notice there was some leftover paint in my ornaments that has puddled in the bottom. I might take my wreath off the door for a day and try to re-swirl the paint to re-distribute it inside the ornament. Overall, I'm really pleased with how it turned out and it looks great against my new blue front door!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fluffy and Thankful

I promise that an update is coming on another room in the house. But for now, I have two projects to share!

First up, the most amazing thing you will ever sink your teeth into. Sweet mother of all things light, fluffy and heavenly, it's homemade marshmallows! Let me start by saying, I'm definitely not wasn't a marshmallow person...until I made my own. It's kind of a process, and involves some waiting, but it's totally worth it! I promise!

I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, with a few slight modifications. 1) I don't own a metal baking pan, so I used glass. I sprayed it with cooking spray and the marshmallows came out super easy! 2) I don't own a candy thermometer, so I had to experiment with this part. I waited until the middle of the pan was starting to boil, and then continued with the recipe. They came out totally fine! 3) Rather than shake my marshmallows in the pan I had let them set in, I put the confectioners' sugar in a Ziploc baggie and shook them. So easy and definitely kept the mess in my kitchen to a minimum. 4) I didn't discard the trimmed edges, I threw them right in the bag to shake! I really don't need these to look a certain way, so the practical and frugal gal in me came out.

Final product = amazing! They even look like the ones from Smitten Kitchen (albeit the photography is a bit better in the latter). And taste = fabulous! I am pretty sure I just ruined store bought marshmallows for myself, even more than they already were.

Second, a thankful tree. Jon is convinced that I'm just trying to sneak a Christmas tree into the house early, but this definitely is not what our Christmas tree is going to look like.

I decopauged a terra cotta pot (from the dollar store) with some fabric I bought a few years ago. I loved the fabric, didn't have a project for it, but bought it just because I loved it. Once I saw these lovelies on Pinterest, I could totally envision a project of my own. 

I didn't really read the directions, just cut my fabric into strips, mixed equal parts glue and water, and went to work. About a fourth of the way in, I wasn't totally sure I was loving in, but I got through it, and love it in the end. My mom found a tree branch for me, I stripped the leaves, and bought some glass marbles and river rock at the dollar store to keep the branch upright. I used an old book and cardstock to make the tags. Every day, my husband and I are writing something we are thankful for and hanging it on the tree. At the end of the month, we'll go back and read them all.

It's been really neat so far to physically write out something I'm thankful for every day. It's a good reminder that even the little things matter. Like marshmallows, and finally cooler weather, and good coffee.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Ahead

It's almost the second weekend of fall break, and I am chomping at the bit to get lots done around the house. I even started my to do list while Jon and I were in the Indy airport.

Jon and I had a great trip to Indiana, enjoyed meeting some new friends and seeing some again. The weather was beautiful - as was the scenery.

It looked sorta like this...

So pretty! We also paid a visit to this building

To watch the Colts take on the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a fun game, but it had a disappointing ending. We also visited Conner Prairie, an interactive history park which includes a look at life in 1836 and an area about the involvement of Indiana in the Civil War. Come on, I'm a history teacher, we had to do something historical on our vacation.

We also visited Midland Arts and Antiques. I spotted this building on our way to Jon's parent's house from the airport and made a mental note to check it out. 

So Tuesday evening, Jon and I embarked on our journey of epic proportions. Seriously, I'm not kidding or exaggerating. Two floors full of antiques = amazing! I was looking for a tea towel with a map of Indiana, and instead I found a 1950s Cosco stool for $14. I remember my Grandma Helblig's Cosco stool in the lovely shade of avocado green and sitting with her in her kitchen. I've always wanted one, but have never seen them in Arizona. Immediately, I started calculating and figuring. Jon and I talked about a way to get it home, we checked USPS, FedEx, and UPS. We even looked at shipping with Greyhound. Ultimately, we decided to just get it and then figure out a way to get it home. So Wednesday afternoon, Jon's dad and I took apart the stool and packed it in a box. Then we measured the box and figured out we could check it as a piece of luggage on our flight and get it home for only $25! I put it back together Wednesday after getting home, and it has found it's place in my kitchen.

Some things to look for this weekend: another room in our home post, some update on the outside of the house, a few DIY projects, and some MAJOR organization! Happy Friday everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pearly Whites

Yes - I really am talking about teeth.

My grandma is amazing. She is the most consistent and diligent person about her teeth. She flosses them every single day, without fail. I, in contrast, am the worst about flossing my teeth. Every time I go to the dentist, I hear the same refrain, "You really should start flossing your teeth. You really should be flossing your teeth." I like to follow rules, I like to generally take good care of myself, but flossing is the one thing that I can't seem to make into a habit.

(Insert, brilliant flash of wisdom here) So, I decided that October would be my Flossing Challenge Month. Every day in October, I'm going to floss my teeth once a day - just like Dudley tells me to! Regardless of whether I floss in the morning or right before I crash into bed, I'm determined to make flossing a habit. I might even start dancing about it too...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ready for a Home Tour?

This morning, the most brilliant idea struck me. What better way to keep track of what we've accomplished and what's still to be desired in each room than to write a room-by-room house tour??? So over the next few weeks, I'll take you through each room in our house to showcase the improvements we've made and to highlight what I'm still looking for to make the room complete.

Ready? Go!

I decided to start with the family room for a few reasons: 1) It's nearly complete. 2) It's probably where we spend the majority of our waking hours. 3) We host a small group in our home once a week. 4) It's also nicely picked up right now.

Walking into the family room from the hallway

(Picture tile laid and cute sitting chair with adorable table)

Looking at the family room from the other direction

I've mentioned this before, but our house had huge built-ins on two of the walls in the family room when we moved in. When we first looked at the house, I wanted them gone. Once I moved in, I started thinking maybe they could stay and be of use. The week of the wedding, Jon, his parents, and his brother tore down the cabinets and took them out. Decision made. After living with this decision and seeing the room come to completion, I'm so so so glad that the cabinets are gone. It opens up the room so much, and gives us more space to work with! We also moved in with a $5 Craigslist table, $20 Ikea rug, and Ikea Kivik sofa (found in the As-Is section with no damage!)

Pretty early change - Adding the Kivik loveseat to our furniture line up for the room. We were planning to add the chaise lounge at the same time, but the cover we wanted was out of stock. We decided to go ahead an put the loveseat together, so we could have that seating space. The loveseat went along the west side of the room, the sofa along the south side, and the round table (wedding present!) in between the two.

First permanent change in this room - paint. It's amazing, what a little paint can do (or in this case, a lot of paint). We primed and painted the family room and adjoining dining area in a light grey (which I accidentally bought 3 gallons of instead of 2 - so I'm thinking about where else I can put this color). I was really pleased with the color, even though it's a bit lighter than I anticipated. I thought I had purchased the next shade darker for the fireplace, but when I got the paint out I discovered I bought an extra gallon of the wall color. So off to Home Depot I went. Picking out paint is such a painful process for me. It seems like such a permanent decision, and with the price of paint, it kind of is! But after lots of time in the aisle debating with myself, pro-con lists, and the opinions of Home Depot employees, I bought a gallon of paint and was ready to take on the fireplace.

Painting the fireplace was a much larger job than I anticipated. It took nearly a week and was grueling work. But seeing the fireplace completed made me forget all about the soreness! The color is perfect and I realize now that only going one shade darker would've been a huge mistake! The contrast is so much better than I could've dreamed. I also made the fireplace cushions for additional seating.

Chaise cover finally came in - Yippee! After building the chaise, covering it, and attaching it to the loveseat, we did a little rearranging to the current layout. I'm still on the fence about the chaise, but it's working well and it provides good seating. I just don't LOVE it yet.

Another change - found these lamps (sorta). When we bought these lamps at our local ReStore, they were brassy and gold-ish. They had ivory lampshades with burnt orange trim. A couple coats of glossy navy blue spray paint and some white muslin fabric later and this is how they look.


So what's still to do?

  • Sand and re-paint the coffee table. I love the shabby chic look, but the current state of the coffee table is a little sad. I would like to sand it and re-paint it the same color (white).
  • Sitting chair in the corner. I really want a sitting chair to make the room more about conversation than the TV. The size and scale of such a piece are going to have to be spot I'm still diligently scouting this piece out.
  • Place to put the lamp. As you can see in the pictures, one lamp is sitting on the fireplace - which means if someone sits on the fireplace, it becomes a little precarious or that the light is at a really low level. Point is: we need something to put the lamp on!
  • Finish tiling. After the cabinets came out, we were left with bare concrete. We have matching tile, we just need to learn how to tile and make the time to get it done.
  • Curtains or blinds - maybe. Currently, there are no window decorations, but I'm good with that for now (I think).
  • DVD storage. We are still working on how to store DVDs, so this is another maybe item.
  • Some more fireplace decoration. Ultimately, I can see a collage above the fireplace or maybe a mantle built. But since I'm still not totally sure what I want, it's going to have to be lower on the priority list.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Over Facebooking

I'm not sure if the title of this post is a foreshadowing of my future with Facebook or my conclusion about the amount of social networking currently happening. In the last few days, the updates of Facebook have been quite the hot topic in my Senior Government class during "Current Events." Today, one of my students raised his hand and summarized a blog he had read about how we can be consumers of a computer, but we are products of Facebook. This created quite the firestorm of comments ranging from "the Facebook updates are stupid" to "Facebook = drama, the end."

So I posed the question to my students, "Has Facebook taken away our ability to interact with people in a face to face setting?" Quickly, the consensus was that no, they still prefer hanging out with people. But the caveat was Facebook is available as an app, meaning someone isn't tied to their computer in order to "facebook"(as a verb). This brought me to my next point (I always like to make them go beyond their initial answer and refine their opinions). The other night, while I was out to dinner with my husband, I noticed a table full of women who were obviously close friends and excited to see each other. However, I was disturbed by the amount of time each woman was spending on her own phone, essentially excluding herself from that moment with her friends. I've tried to tell myself that I'm a good multi-tasker, but the truth is I'm terrible at it. And watching these women, I realized that most people can't exist in two realities either (digital and physical).

Facebook has obviously changed the world we live in. Local events become international news almost instantaneously. I can now show and tell (electronically speaking) all of my "friends" what I'm eating for lunch or baking at home or currently crafting. Every relationship has a sounding board and a forum from which to sprout. But what else has Facebook done? I heard a story on NPR today about how terrorist groups have used social networking sites to spread false rumors to incite chaos and to create opportunities for themselves. I wonder how many accidents have been caused or nearly caused by someone trying to update their status while driving. I wonder how many friendships have been ruined by passive aggressive statuses being misinterpreted.

How would our world be different without Facebook? I don't necessarily have an answer, but simply am posing a question. Am I over Facebooking right now? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm certainly not sure how I feel about being classified as a product of Facebook. But it is a valid point that we have been shaped by Facebook and the world view each of us holds has been influenced by some sort of social networking. So is the world over Facebooking (in the sense of using too much)? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is something we should consider.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back at it again

Hi ho, hi's back to work I go!

Today I started back to work after a wonderful 7 week break and can officially call myself a second year teacher! Wahoooo! Year one was challenging, stretching, amazing, and a great experience. I learned on a steep learning curve and threw together some last minute lesson plans. It is amazing how quickly time flies (after all, the summer certainly did), and it's unbelievable that I'm preparing my classroom for a second year of teaching.

I'm very excited to welcome this year's geniuses into my classroom. I'm ready to open minds and help students look at their world in an inquisitive way. I love this quote from Albert Einstein, "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."As a history teacher, I've been asked how I teach history and how I decide what to cover. Well - the state of Arizona tells me what to cover, but within that, I actually have a lot of freedom. I've determined that I'm more concerned with whether students understand the concepts behind an event than whether they memorize every minute detail of that event. Of course, there are certain big dates I think they should know, but overall, I'm more concerned with whether they understand what the Bill of Rights does for them than whether they know the exact date Bill of Rights was ratified (December 15, 1791 in case you were wondering, a while after the Constitution was written in 1787).

I've seen incredible growth in myself as a teacher over the last year. I find myself looking for teaching moments everywhere I go and in whatever book I'm reading. Truthie Ruthie: I even took my World History book on vacation with us last weekend. But, I don't ever want to get complacent. I want to continue to challenge myself and continue to refine my teaching. I would love for my last year teaching to notably be my best.

Being the list maker and goal setter I am, I've been working on some goals for this year. Some of these won't mean anything to you, but I figured this was a good place to document them.
  1. Work on classroom management. Refine my policies and procedures, and stick to them!
  2. Increase the number of projects I have my students do. This one is bit more tough because I only have my classes for a semester and there is so much material to cover. But, I know they will remember it much better if we do a project!
  3. Work on differentiation within my classes.
  4. Don't be afraid to skip sections in the book - with only a limited amount of time, I need to realize it's ok to skip sections that don't pertain to the standards or offer pertinent knowledge.
Is anyone else making career goals for themselves? Or have advice on any of my goals? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Year Later

Yesterday, Jon and I marked an important milestone. One year ago, we had our first official date.

July 17, 2010 - Jon picked me up right on time. I had been so nervous getting ready (I really wanted it to go well!). We had been joking during the week about NCAA 2011 coming out and playing that for our date. First, he took me downtown Mesa to Sweet Cakes, a very cute little place and we got dessert (yes, before dinner). You know it's going to be a good date when you get dessert first! Then we went to dinner at Macaroni Grill (the way to this girls heart is definitely through carbs!). Then we went to As You Wish - Jon knew I was a crafty chica and thought it would be perfect! It definitely was. Jon painted a helmet bank, one side IU, the other Indianapolis Colts. All through football season last year, he turned it so the team that was playing was facing out - I think he thought it would help them win. And I painted a little flowerpot that reads, "So many seeds, so little time." After As You Wish, I definitely wasn't ready for the date to end, so we went to Jon's house and watched Tommy Boy. Rather...we attempted to watch Tommy Boy. We started it, and it stopped. So Jon cleaned the disk and we tried again. About an hour into the movie, it wouldn't go any further. So Jon took me home, vowing that we would finish the movie at some point. (We finished the movie on our last surprise date before getting married - Jon recreated our first date for our last date as a non-married couple)

One year later, we've been married for 44 days, bought a house together, traveled to a foreign country together, flown across the country for me to meet his family for the first time, and had plenty of adventures along the way. One year ago, I had just graduated college, was eagerly searching for a job, and just starting to date Jon. It's been a busy year (first year teacher, buying a bank-owned home, planning a wedding), but I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything! It's amazing to look back and see all that I've experienced and accomplished over the last year.

A great big thank you to my family and friends who watched all this happen, experienced it with me, encouraged me, and cheered me on. I am so blessed to have such a fabulous support system and feel grateful to the people in my life who enhance it on a daily basis.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our happy little family

If you ask my husband if he's a dog or a cat person, he'll reply no (or neither, or some response to let you know he doesn't do pets). It's not that he doesn't like them, he just doesn't see the logic in them. And there really isn't. They are just cute, fluffy, fun additions to the family. So, when we were dating, I made it very clear that I had a cat who was coming with me. If you want Allison, you get Precious too. And he slowly accepted that and came to terms with it.

The day after we got back from our honeymoon, we drove to my mom's house and picked up Precious and her few possessions. Precious rode on my lap all the way to the new house (a whole mile!) and meowed pretty much the whole way. She kept looking back trying to figure out what was going on. The first day, Precious went to work dusting, I mean hiding in every nook and cranny of our home. She discovered she could fit behind the washing machine, then hid behind the dryer when I started to do laundry. That night I'm fairly certain she didn't move an inch.

Slowly, Precious has adjusted to Jon and Jon has adjusted to Precious. I knew we would be good the day I came around the corner to find Jon cradling Precious and petting her. It was further confirmed when I found her laying on Jon's stomach, not letting him up to do anything. She usually jumps into my lap when given the choice, but these days it's taking her longer and longer to decide whether to pick Jon's lap or mine. And of course, she's finding favorite spots around the house as well. Like this one.
And now that the bean bag chair is in its permanent location (right by the window with the sun coming in, I think Precious loves it even more! We probably won't be the family with more than one dog running around or pets in every child's room, but for now, we have our cat. And we are happy with that!

Friday, July 8, 2011

To cut or not to cut

That is THE question. I have a very back and forth relationship with my hair. My philosophy is: It always grows. So I often cut it short, only to decide I want to be able to wear it long, grow it out, only to get sick of it, then cut it short. And the cycle runs over and over. Last May, right before graduating college, I cut it short. And loved it! Then Jon and I started dating, and it became apparent that it was heading somewhere. So I started growing my hair out because well, I'd always known I wanted it long for my wedding.

Fast forward to 2 weeks before the wedding. I was at my mom's house, and caught a glimpse of a picture with my hair short. And I kinda wanted to cut my hair again. I put the thought out of my mind, because it was 2 weeks before the wedding, and quite frankly, I wasn't about to do anything drastic like cut 7 inches off my hair!

But's a month after the wedding...and I'm kinda thinking about cutting my hair again. I've even found a style I like.
Sorry that picture is ginormous - I couldn't figure out how to make it any smaller. So for the past week, I've been engaging in a debate with myself: to cut or not to cut. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a compulsive pro-con list maker. So naturally I've been coming up with pros and cons for cutting or not cutting my hair. Normally, I'm not quite this indecisive, and I know that within a year, my hair could grow out to the length it is now. But I still can't quite make up my mind. Does anyone else have crazy hair debates with themselves and go to extremes when figuring out a style?! Or am I the only crazy one?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fireplace Finale - and shower curtain surprises!

Well after a week, it's done! Hooray - the fireplace is finished and it looks great! It's a great shade of grey, called Anonymous. If you are thinking about painting anything block or brick, be prepared it will take much longer than you anticipate and you will be much more sore than you ever thought possible.
The fireplace grate was previously black with gold handles. With the magic of high heat spray paint, it's now white and contrasts nicely with the fireplace. I used high heat spray paint so it can stand up to the heat of all the fires we'll have in our fireplace...or not. I am still thinking through the actual function of the fireplace. There are a couple candles in there now (from the previous owners) and a whole lot of ash. Next time I'm feeling super adventurous, I'll get out the shopvac and clean that out. Until then, the fireplace cover can hide that mess.

I also finished the fireplace cushions. I only got enough fabric for 3 cushions, even though I bought 4 pillows. As I was making the cushions, I had the brilliant idea of making a shower curtain for our hall bathroom with the same fabric. (Plus that would allow me to get a little extra to make the fourth fireplace cushion.)
Close up of the fabric

After hunting around in the red tag fabrics, (and nearly panicking thinking someone had bought the rest of the fabric) I fount it! And it was still an extra 50% off. This morning, I made my shower curtains, extra long shower curtains. The tile in the hall bath goes higher than usual, and the tension rod was situated above the tile. Rather than simply move it down, I kind of liked the idea of adding drama by having an extra long shower curtain.
There are still plenty of projects to last me the rest of the summer, but I'm feeling accomplished and the house is looking quite lovely!

Monday, July 4, 2011

One month in

As of today, it's been a month since Jon and I got married. I can't really say since we said, "I do...." since well, we didn't actually say it. I'm sure by now, everyone knows that something goes wrong at every wedding. We were fortunate, thanks to the very diligent planning of our wedding coordinator (my mom wrote an ode to her here) and lots of hardworking individuals, there were approximately two things that didn't go according to plan. I can't really say they went wrong because I don't consider it that way. I think it's pretty funny, and it didn't stress me out or take away from our wedding celebration in any way.

First, hot sauce got added to the queso. We had a burrito bar for dinner. In the process of making queso (which sounds cooler than Velveeta and Rotel), two bottles of hot sauce got added to the mix. Ooops! I heard it was a little on the spicy side, but still delish.
Yum! Burritos!

Second, we didn't actually say, "I do...." That part got forgotten...probably in the excitement of adding the poem Jon wrote for me to the ceremony. Yes, Jon had our Pastor read the poem he wrote for me a few months back during the ceremony. It was a total surprise - a totally GREAT surprise!
We're still officially married - even without saying, "I do!"

So, what have I learned from being married for a month? A lot. Most important thing? I like my husband, a ton. Like, I really really really like him. He makes me laugh, smile, and enjoy life! I love my husband, and I love learning new things about him and having him by my side. Marriage is definitely an adventure...and an adjustment. Learning to live with another person has been interesting, but we like each other which totally helps! During premarital counseling, we were told that we should really like each other. Not just love, but really really like. I couldn't agree with this bit of advice more. It has been so important for Jon and I to like each other and to just enjoy spending time together. I can think all those little quirks that might otherwise get on my nerves are just plain cute because I really like him. I can make a lunch (and enjoy it) every day and remember to put in a treat because I like Jon. Jon can remember to lock the door (I might have a slight case of door locking neurosis) because he likes me. And in taking time to do those little things for each other, we know that we are loved as well.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just in time for another weekend

Just in time to start another weekend, I thought maybe I should post updates from last weekend's projects. We started in the family room and eating area. You can see where the cabinets had been before they were taken down and out by Jon and his family.
And the other side (and my wonderful husband doing a share of the sanding)
So there was the business of spackling, sanding, chipping away at the glue residue, and me realizing we needed to add some texture back on the walls before we even got to the good stuff. I went to the paint store bright and early Saturday morning to start on this project. After Jon got up, we went to work taping...and taping...and taping some more. Then we started priming...and priming...and priming some more. We rewarded ourselves with a trip to Ikea after all the priming was done, which turned out to be a reward indeed! Saturday night while Jon was playing in a cornhole tournament (Midwest beanbag toss basically, pretty fun stuff!), I decided to start painting the color on the walls: a light grey ('Porpoise' to be exact). By the time Jon got home, I was nearly done with the entire area!
Then there was the business of the fireplace. Monday, I taped and primed the fireplace. It took almost all day, and I was exhausted at the end of the day! The next morning, I went to get the gallon of paint for the fireplace to discover that I had accidentally ordered an extra gallon of the wall color, and not actually ordered the fireplace color. So I went to Home Depot and found a color that I liked even better for the fireplace. And I started painting it after dinner Tuesday night...and that's as far as I got. I promise we aren't trying to be super modern and cool, I just haven't finished it. This fireplace is kicking my butt! I'm loving the color and I'm really excited to finish it (it's on this weekend's to do list), but it's HARD WORK.
I also painted the trim around the windows to match the freshly painted, crisp white baseboards. The pictures aren't great because of the time of day, but trust me, they look great! I'm hoping to get the trim around the door painted this weekend to match.
And lest you think the family room got all the attention, here's my husband's handiwork in the Indiana Room. As a proud Hoosier, my husband had to get a large IU logo on the wall. We ordered some vinyl tape to put the court lines on the floor this week, so the Indiana Room is coming along quite nicely as well.
I'll leave you with the IU fight song in honor of my husband, the Indiana Room, and of course, the Hoosiers.