Friday, December 31, 2010

Back to the Start

The very first room we made over in our house was actually the master bathroom, with it's never come clean toilet and it's rotten vanity, it had to go.  It went so fast that we didn't even take before pictures. But trust me, it was horrible.  I vowed to never use that bathroom as long as it was in that condition.  So, naturally, I used the guest bathroom.  

After a weekend away, I came home to a brand new, clean toilet and then we made a trip to Lowe's for a new vanity. The demolition of the old vanity was pretty simple, as the entire piece fell apart at the first little tug.  

We installed the new vanity and I decided that the horrible wall color (I can't even tell you what color it was) had to go.  So, I thought a nice blue color would look great with the new white vanity and countertop.  Well, let's just say, I think from that day forward, Alan will always question my color chooses.  Dang it! It's really true, he questions them every time!  

You can't blame him, I painted our bathroom the EXACT color of a Smurf. I kid you NOT! That little bathroom can not take a color as bright as what I chose.  And, why did I choose a color that bright in the first place? Don't ask. I don't know why. 

We made a trip back to the store for many, many samples to get the color I actually MEANT to paint the bathroom. Here is what we came up with. It's still a bit darker than I planned, but all in all, we like it. It's definitely livable, unlike lil 'ol smurfy. Because it was still pretty dark in the shower, even with our light colored curtain, Alan installed the recessed light you can see in this picture. 

We also added a new, beautiful light fixture to replace the old rusted fixture and I sanded and painted the mirror white, from the formerly ugly state that it was in in the guest bathroom when we moved in. 

If you can't already tell, this bathroom is pretty tiny.  So, naturally, storage became an issue.  The new vanity helped out a lot and we also installed the cabinet above the toilet to use for medicine, band aids, etc. 

For even more storage, we decided to hang a shelf above the door, since that was the only other place to store towels and washcloths.  Well, we have had the shelf there for probably a year now, and only Alan can use it effectively.  I am far too short to reach it, so in order to get a towel down, I have to stand on the toilet, then move over to the vanity and reach as high as I can without falling.  It's not very fun.  

After a trip to IKEA, and some inspiration from an episode of Sarah's House. I had the perfect additional storage solution for our bathroom. With very little counter space, there isn't room for all those little things that need to be stored close to the shower: extra soap, washcloths, etc.  So, with these hanging vases we now have everything we need within reach of the shower and sink! 

And, finally, during a trip to Target, I was browsing the bath aisle because they always have new, beautiful shower curtains (that make me want to redo entire bathrooms just to match the curtain).  Well, I came across this warm, brown curtain that had the same color that we already had in our bathroom! Perfect!
Now, anytime we are feeling like the bathroom needs a little brightening up, we can put the blue and white striped curtain back up. But, for now, the brown is warm and cozy for the cold winter months.  

Eventually, we would love to totally overhaul our bathroom, installing a tile shower, etc. But, while we're saving up our pennies, we can definitely live with our little blue bath.

Smurf image found here

Swingin' into Action

Well, it's more like laundry.  Swingin' into laundry is precisely what we (and by we, I mean me, since I am the laundry-doer in the family) are doing now that we have added a door to our laundry room.

Our laundry room is directly off our main living space, and when the washer, or dryer are working hard, we're working hard to hear each other talk, or really just think.  

We had the idea that a door with swinging hinges would be the best thing to put in the empty doorway, instead of going to the trouble of putting in a whole new, regular door, that would be hard to open and close with a pile of laundry in hand.  

After a hard fought hinge hunt by us, and both sets of our parents, my parents finally came across some swinging door hinges. Score!

Here's what we were working with, and as you can see, the only advantage to having this open was the little bit of natural light that came in through the back door, which we will miss. 

Here's the closet side, primed bi-fold doors with only one knob.  I promise I was going to finish painting these one day. 

And then, the washer and dryer - dirty clothes and all.  Like I said before, we like to keep it real around here. And, Baxter's play yarn. He loves my yarn, and that's precisely why a certain new space in our house is off limits to him (more on that a little later).

First, we had to give the new door a quick trim to ensure there was enough space for it to swing, and then some glue and clamps to fix the lightweight hollow door right back up.  

The hinges and door were installed, and we now can now finally hear ourselves think when laundry is being done.  Also, with the addition of the door, we were able to take the bi-fold doors off of the closet across from our washer and dryer, freeing up more space and making it much easier to access our deep freezer and additional storage in the closet. Now, I really don't have to finish painting those things! 

One little pet peeve about our new door is that in the winter, we keep our firewood right out our laundry room door, and it has gotten pretty grimy from our dirty hands pushing it open with wood in tow.  We will have to come up with a solution for that one, or just magic eraser it every so often to keep those dirty finger prints at bay. Note to self: pick up more magic erasers.   

Happy Swingin'! I mean, laundering. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Now that the holidays have come and gone, we are back to share more home updates with you.  There are still quite a few that we have yet to show you, and many more that are currently in the works!

After living in our home for a couple of months, we realized one very important aspect missing from our kitchen.  A pantry.

We knew something was weird when had to move cups and plates to make room for cereal and crackers in our cupboards.  Then, we decided, after very generous friends and family showered us with lots of (small) kitchen appliances for our wedding that we had NO place to put our new wares.  

That's where this next project comes in. Our closet/pantry addition. 

With our extra wide "back foyer" area we had plenty of room to add a coat closet and pantry. Here's what it looked like before.

First, we tore down the chair rail and baseboards and measured with chalk on the tile, where we wanted our new closets to go.

Then, Alan framed up the walls

Next, the sheetrock, and doors were installed

Then, everything got a fresh coat of paint

Next, we installed crown molding throughout the entire foyer and hallway and this is how our new back foyer looks today.

Our coat closet holds, well, coats, along with our vacuum and some of Alan's extra beer brewing supplies.

And, our pantry, the workhorse, holds all of our food, serving dishes, Alan's home brewed beer, all of our small appliances, cookbooks, aprons, and any bulk items we might have that don't fit in the kitchen.

This (almost)weekend project (with the exception of multiple mudding coats that drywall always takes) came in at under $500, and, we pretty much don't know how we lived without these things! We use them everyday. We even catch ourselves asking one another "What did we do before we built these?"  We really don't know where everything went before.

In addition to the project being cheap cheap cheap, you can't even tell they were added, they literally fit right in, like they were supposed to always be there.  I think that maybe the builders of our house just forgot to put them in and didn't feel like going back to fix it.  

So, long story short, we love our closet and pantry addition! It's never felt so good to have the things we use everyday so organized and accessible! 

Away From Home {in NYC}

So sorry for being away from our lil ol' blog for so long.  We promise we didn't give up on this blogging adventure already!

We have been away from home, sharing laughs, great food and holiday cheer with friends.

We have also been traveling and relaxing, a. lot.

We traveled to The Big Apple for our one year anniversary - back to where it all went down a year ago.  (I promise to share our wedding story soon - the short version: we got married in New York City on December 22, 2009). 

We played here all day (the American Museum of Natural History)

We saw the most beautiful Christmas trees (Natural History Origami tree, Rockefeller Center, and The New York Public Library). 

We took a trip to see a very special Lady

And, explored here until the sun went down (Ellis Island)

We ventured back to this beautiful park

That looked much different a year ago

Then, we came in from the cold to see a show here

And, last but not least, we tried, but failed at getting a good picture here

Good thing we have these to look back on

We made it back home to celebrate Christmas, also known as, movie marathon-in our pj's all day, relaxing on the couch Day.  Definitely a tradition we will look forward to keeping for years to come.  

Side-note: Do you have Nexflix? If you don't, you need to get it.  We get Netflix instantly through our Roku (as well as one disc through the mail).  It's at the top of our list of most used/favorite/most affordable purchases. (At $9/month, you can't beat it!)  We have always loved watching movies together, even when we were dating, and we enjoy being able to pick out pretty much any movie (or TV show - Have you seen Dexter? If not, you should) we want instantly from our couch. 

We hope you had a great Christmas with the ones you love and are looking forward to the start of 2011! It's going to be a good year - I can feel it.  We have weddings the first three months of the year already - and what does that mean? Dancing! We love dancing (we need to share a little history lesson on how we met with you all).  Then you will fully understand how much WE LOVE DANCING!

Here's a little preview:

Cheers to love and dancing in 2011!  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree

Oh, Christmas Tree

Well, we have had our tree up for over a week now, and I am just now getting it on here for you all to see.  I have officially named December as the busiest month of the year in our house.  

We traveled out to the Christmas Tree farm to pick out our perfect tree.  

After about 30 minutes debating over which tree we would take home we decided on the least horrible one in the whole place, chopped it down and carried it to get shaken out and bagged up.

We wanted a pine, and in the end, we probably should have left and gone to get an artificial tree. The selection was horrible, and I was pretty disappointed in the hole-filled tree we ended up with.  The only thing it had going for it was that it smelled amazing. 

So, remember those plans I had to decorate our tree with retro colored lights?

Well, the lights got purchased, and put on the tree. For about 5 minutes.  Yep, we put them on..and hated them.  
So, they got taken down, returned to the store, and exchanged for some whites one, which were much less expensive, and made our poor lil' tree look a little less sad. 
Ahhhh....Much better.  We used our ornaments to fill in all of the holes in our poor tree, cheated the REALLY bad side to the wall and now it looks much more festive and much less sad. It's definitely not the perfect tree, however, we have come to love it.

Baxter loves it most of all.  

So, how do you celebrate Christmas?  Do you put up a tree? Do you chop down your tree, or put up an artificial one? Do you use white lights or colored ones? Maybe we'll give colored lights another try next year.  Maybe we'll go with small ones next time. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yarn Forest

About halfway through this project, I realized, I need to rename this blog See What I Can Wrap in Yarn.  

See, when I first learned to crochet and knit, I would buy yarn all the time.  Every time I saw a color I loved, I would buy it, whether I had a project lined up or not.  So, my yarn stash has become a bit large over the years.  In an effort to use up some of my stash, I have started using the yarn in some of my home decorating projects. 

For this project, I started with some foam and paper mache cones, glue, and yarn. Since I have very few resources in our little town (aka no craft store), I tried to use items I already had (yarn and glue). I picked up the foam cones at the dollar store, however, I did have to get the large cones on one of my recent trips to Michael's.   

I simply wrapped the cones in yarn, glueing as I went along. (I started with Tacky Glue, but quickly moved to regular Elmer's glue, which helps the project go much quicker since it's thinner than the tacky glue, and another plus, it's much cheaper.)

Once I was done wrapping all of my cones (or trees), I placed them in my wooden herb box that my mom found me (Thanks Mom!), and placed my forest on the dining table. I tried placing many different things down in the box, at the base of the trees. I wanted something that looked like snow. I tried cotton balls, white yarn, a string of white lights, silver bells, and batting.  I didn't like any of them, and decided just to leave the box empty.   

This project is simple, and pretty fast, and can be done in any color. Since green is my favorite color, I chose every different shade of green I had in my stash.
Now, we're off to pick out our Christmas tree.  Not a yarn wrapped one, a real one.  Do you have your tree up yet?