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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

nursery gallery wall + other decor

I mentioned last week that I made a few fence picket frames for my best friend's baby shower.  They were actually super simple to make and I got my inspiration from it's overflowing.  I just picked up a few 1x3s and a few 2x.5" boards from Home Depot and headed to my handy miter saw. I think both frames came to less than $10 total.

This is totally normal baby shower prep, right?
 These are about 16" wide tall, and a little bit wider.  To be honest, I don't remember the exact measurements, but created this around an 8x10 photo we already had.  You could make these for any size photo.
 By this time, I hadn't printed their maternity pictures, so a picture from our wedding stood in.
 Once I made sure I liked the size and spacing, I glued the horizontal boards onto the 1x3s with wood glue, and clamped them for a few hours.
 After the frame was dry, I gave it a couple coats of white paint that we had hanging around and then hot glued on a bulldog clip to hold the picture.
I loved them as baby shower decor.
Since Kat has twins, she was in and out of the hospital for a little over a month, so Matt and I tried to help out as much as possible.  We picked up a dresser from Ikea for them and put it together with their dogs...
...and Kat really wanted a gallery wall above the dresser/changing table, and luckily (as I had hoped!), she loved the fence frames and wanted them incorporated here. I was super excited to help out, so I drew up different arrangements and decided on this one (once again with our wedding pictures as stand ins).
 I found a few white frames at Walmart to take place where the black frames are and added them in, filling them with some scrapbook paper and little diy nursery prints. 
 One night, we snuck over to their house while they were still in the hospital and put the gallery up with command strips (no damage there!).
I love how the gallery wall turned out, and the best part was the text I got from her when they saw it, telling me they were really emotional and teared up when they saw it.  

It's a little silly sometimes to think of decorating as a gift, but when I can make someone else's life easier or make them smile, it definitely is. Best job in the world!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

help! we need kitchen advice!

Ready to help us out? I'm sharing our dilemma below and then there's a little poll we created for you to provide your suggestions!

Today's post is a bit different than usual because when it comes to our kitchen, I am at a loss for what to do with this somewhat awkward space.  We are fairly certain that we won't live in this house forever so we want to make sure when we're making a change, that buyers would like it in the future as well.  

We love our actual kitchen space, because it's big enough to be able to have a few different work areas, but not so big that we have a bunch of unused space. Here is what we're working with:
This big empty space is about 8' from the edge of the barstool to the office doors, and about 12' from the green table to the back sliding door.  (None of the furniture that is in here currently needs to stay in here permanently, it's just what is in use now.

Here are a few of our dilemmas with the space as-is:

1. I feel like this space was designed for an eat in kitchen, but with the office doors on one side and the sliding door on the other, there isn't a lot of space for a table that's worth while.  Especially when this is also a main walkway from the house to the backyard.
2. Even if we could fit a table in this space, it seems silly to have another table directly adjacent to the dining room.  Our house just isn't that big to justify two tables.
3. But, more than anything, we hate to have so much wasted space in here.  Part of me wishes I could just push the office closer to the actual kitchen so it's just a sort of hallway.
So, after living here over a year and a half, and wanting to get a move on with updating the floor and counters (can I get an Amen?), we have come up with a few possibilities.

Option A. Extend the Island from it's Current Position
Our inspiration for this comes from this photo:
source
It would be roughly like this with 4 barstools at the counter (dotted line showing where cabinets would end and under counter would be open space).

Our main concern about this layout is that the island won't be centered in the room, and we will end up with an even more awkward space between the sliding doors and office doors.

Option B. Rotate the Island and Extend
I also found these pictures as inspiration to rotate the island and extend it with another cabinet, so the island is more hot dog style than hamburger style (kindergarten anyone?).
source
source
With this option, our walkway space is a little larger from the hallway to the left of the barstools, and  we have a smaller walkway to the backdoor, defined with a runner.  The long dotted line shows where the cabinets end and counters continue, and the short dotted line shows the additional cabinet we would install.

Option C. Leave the Space As-Is
If we kept the space as is, we would probably just add a 5x7 area rug in the space after we re-do the floors and counters. This would leave the space open to a future buyer to change if they wanted to.

Ok, so here is where you come in! Let us know which option you think is best for resale value and life in general.  You can choose from one of these options, or choose Other- and leave an alternative suggestion in the comments below.

I'm excited to see what you all think and will definitely update you when we make our final decision!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

install a stone grill pad

Earlier this summer, I shared with you how we updated our patio and expanded it with some 16x16 stepping stones.  When we "finished", we had our grill hanging out over in the rocks under the kitchen window.
 And it stayed like this from the middle of June, all the way to this past Saturday.  We knew that we wanted to build out the stones a bit more to create a level place for our grill to live, but just hadn't gotten around to it.
Saturday morning, Matthew had to go into work for awhile, so I put this thing together in about an hour.  I started by moving the rocks to other places around our property that was a little short on rock, and lazily placed a few of the stepping stones to see how far I needed to clear out.
I recently discovered that under the weeds in this back corner of our yard is 3 feet deep of sand, so the sand was all free for this project! Wish I had known about it when we did the patio expansion itself...
 After enough of the rock was cleared out the way, I emptied buckets of sand in the place for the first stone. I discovered quickly that this was going to require a lot of sand (glad it was free!), because this area slopes down a ton from the patio.  But, after I got the first stone in and level, the others went really quick.
 One I had 4 stones in, I checked to see if I could get away with just that size, but decided it was just too small and looked funny.
 With the additional 2 stones in (for a total of 6 new stones), the grill pad was complete.
 Having this completed not only looks a million times better, but I'm fairly certain it will be so much better for actual grilling. Plus, the big grill doesn't take up any space on the actual patio!
 FYI - just like with the patio, the grass will grow up into the exposed sand and won't look so funny.
Only a few more projects to complete before winter weather hits, which will probably be in the next few weeks, so look out for more outdoor projects coming!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

grey & yellow baby shower

Back in July, I got the opportunity to help throw a baby shower for my friend Kat.  I've mentioned her a few times on the blog in the last few years.  She did my hair and makeup for my wedding, and she's quickly become a huge part of my life.  When she and her husband announced they were pregnant we were super excited, but we were absolutely thrilled for them when they told us they were pregnant with twins.  
So, a couple of her other friends and I put our heads together and threw her a big shower.  The first problem to solve was where to have the shower.  See, Kat is a minister's wife so her guest list was over 60 people, so we needed a place to accommodate everyone.  Luckily, because she's a minister's wife, we got to have the shower right at our church. 
 I'm aware that this room is not the prettiest, but we tried our best to make it look cute! I even brought in my green console table and window to add some character to the space.
 I was in charge of a lot of the decorations, including the fabric streamers on the tables. They were super easy to make! I just picked up cotton quilting fabric, cut it into ~1" pieces and tied them onto twine.
 I also made two picture frames that look like fences to feature a few of their maternity pictures.  I'll share more about how I made them next week!
For centerpieces, I picked up these simple vases from the dollar store and wrapped a couple pieces of ribbon around them, securing with hot glue.  Then, I plopped in a $5 bouquet from the grocery store, and I was done!
 Kat's friend Jessica actually re-upholstered this chair for the event! Doesn't it look awesome with this table!?
 And here is Kat opening her gifts (they are big-time Cubs fans)!  We were so busy having fun and enjoying everyone's company at the shower that we didn't take very many pictures!
 Here we are (the hosts) with the Mom-To-Be!
Overall, it was a wonderful day, and I had so much fun making decorations!  A big thanks to all the special ladies that helped us celebrate and shower this friend of ours!!

Kat had their twins about 7-8 weeks early, but they are now home and healthy and doing so well! They are great parents and we love their little kiddos so much!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

quick pantry makeover

We have a pretty standard pantry...it's narrow-ish and deep, which doesn't make organizing the easiest. But, it's still a pantry, and I'm thankful for that!
 When we painted the kitchen and hallway earlier this year, I just left the inside trim of the pantry the oak and off-white, so it's been looking like this for about 8 months.  Don't judge me on my food choices...
 There was actually one more shelf in the bottom section, but I removed it last year when we moved the trash can into the pantry.  Having two big dogs means your trash must be behind closed doors. So, I first had to remove the shelf supports that were left, and scrape off the leftover caulk.  Pretty, isn't it? Just where you want your food to be stored...
Starting with the trim, the shelves and their supports, I used white paint we had on hand from other trim projects and painted three coats.
 At the floor, instead of removing the trim, I just put down painters tape and gave the baseboards three coats of white as well.
Oh, and for the sake of transparency, this is what the kitchen looked like while I was doing this project...one hot mess.
 For the walls of the pantry, I used the same blue that I used on the inside of the door to the garage, Benjamin Moore's Wedgewood Grey.  
 Now the pantry is a million times brighter with the contrast between the shelves and the walls. I can actually see what's in the back of the shelves now!
And, with everything back inside, we now have this upgraded pantry! 

The best part? I had all the supplies on hand, so this project was $0!!!!
 If only all of my food was in containers like this...
How about a little before and after?
Also, I plan to get a big basket for the very top shelf to put all of our paper supplies in (cups, plates, napkins, cutlery, etc)

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