Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Living Room Update

Our living room has been sitting rather idle for quite some time now. I made some throw pillows around August/September [using the eBay found Schumacher fabric, here, and following this tutorial I previously posted], had a club chair reupholstered, and haven't done much since. Am I the only one that does that -- decorates in phases? I get in the mood to get things done, start crossing things off my list, then after 2-3 months of being productive, I just get tired and stop. Tired of spending money. Tired of constantly thinking about it. Tired of it all. Yikes -- that sounds heavy! But, really, the truth is, that's how a first house works, isn't it? At least it does for me. You do what you can in phases. So here is where we are in our current "phase:"

[That's my beautiful eBay Schumacher fabric on the right. I still love it several months later!]

Looking at the above picture made me remember and laugh... I ranted posted, here, about how I couldn't find any end tables anywhere and I was so mad. Well, as you can see above, I found some. At Target. They're not perfect, but, hey, they work. I rub 'n buffed the pulls and just like that, I conquered my battle with end tables.

Our living room is [kind of] long and skinny; more so, it's narrow. What I'm trying to say is it's small. Furniture placement isn't the easiest when you're trying to maximize seating options. As a solution, we bought a chaise sofa. Long story short, we don't really like it. It's doesn't provide that much more lounging space and it's awkward when people are over--someone has to have their legs up. If we ever decide to finish a room in the basement, it'd be great to put down there. Until then, we're living with it...

And here are the panels I actually made... I never was 100% sure I'd be able to pull it off, but I did! Take a look: [I generally followed these directions.]

Have you noticed that I've painted the walls since the last pictures I shared? Probably not, but I wanted to point it out. I love the new color--Natural Choice [Sherwin Williams]. Another win/score for me, finally picking a paint color I actually like! It's a very soft, warm gray.

So that's the living room in its current phase. I have ideas as to where I want to go from here, but what happens next and, more importantly, when it happens have yet to be determined. After all, I've got a WEDDING to plan! I've got other things occupying my mind right now than the empty corner in the living room that so desperately needs to be filled. Well I did until now--best not to talk about it!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I just realized... I seem to only post around holidays. I don't mean for it to be that way, I promise! I guess that means that I'm up to not much else the rest of the year. If only that were true. Since learning how to sew pillows with piping and zippers this summer, I haven't stopped! I finally got around to making pillows for my sofa with my eBay fabric and let me tell you what -- they look great! I'll post pictures soon.

But back to this Halloween post. We're currently experiencing some yucky Halloween weather, so trick-or-treating in our area has been postponed until tomorrow. Feeling excited that I had another day to get my porch ready for ghosts, witches, and ghouls, I quickly ran outside after school today and added a few things to the existing fall decor and voila! I'm ready for some trick-or-treaters! Take a look...

The mums, pumpkins, and cabbage were already on the porch as I've had my porch ready for fall for a few weeks now. Today, I added the BOO banner, changed out my fall wreath with my witch, added a witch's broom and even more pumpkins, and my favorite addition--the orange stripes to my planters! I just bought some orange masking tape while out buying Halloween candy and quickly taped the stripes onto my existing black planters. It was so easy and I'm loving the outcome! And the best part is, once Halloween is over, I can pull the tape right off.

The baby mums (as I call them) in the window box came from Lowe's awhile back for $1.29 -- great deal! Mums and pumpkins are my favorite part of fall so I put them just about everywhere. I even tried putting baby pumpkins in the window box! (It didn't look too hot...)

It's a good thing trick-or-treating was pushed back another day as I didn't have my treats ready yet. Last year, I found some free Halloween cellophane wrap at school; I snatched it up and knew just what I'd do with it--make Halloween treat bags. So after working on the porch, I got to work wrapping up the candy and this is what I came up with:

 {In each bag I added 3 chocolate candies + an eyeball gumdrop.}

Now this first house is officially ready for some trick-or-treaters!

I'll be back with some other fall-related posts and pictures, and after that -- a living room update! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DIY Tutorial: Shortening Bamboo Roman Shades

I'm very happy to report that this DIY tutorial [shortening bamboo roman shades] might be the easiest DIY project I've completed yet! And it doesn't take very long to complete, either, which is an added bonus.

For quite some time, I had been wanting to buy some bamboo roman shades for the TV room and kitchen, but dreaded spending the money. Isn't that always the case? It is at least in this first house! I had planned on custom ordering the blinds like we did throughout the rest of the house [with the wooden blinds]. Once at Lowe's and with quotes for in-stock vs. custom order in hand, the decision was easy. In-stock, definitely! The price pretty much doubled if I custom ordered the blinds. Lowe's had the color I was looking for, on hand, and it came with the privacy liner I wanted, so that made my decision even that much easier.

[Side note: If you want a black out liner attached to your blinds, you'll have to order the blinds. In-stock blinds do not have that feature. But if you still don't want to order, but would like a black out feature, check out this solution over on House Tweaking, which I stumbled upon the other day. Wish I had seen this prior to my purchase for the window that allows light to shine right onto our TV! Drives me crazy!]

Once I picked out the blinds I wanted, the specialist starting selecting the sizes according to my measurements and began cutting down the blinds. It's so fast! They cut the width of the blinds to fit your windows exactly. Takes no time at all! Most of the windows' lengths were not a real problem -- the actual shade being anywhere from 4-8 inches too long. Not a big deal. Unfortunately, the kitchen sink window is rather wide but extremely short. So the shades that fit the width were double the length! Not kidding. I needed a shade that was about 38" long, but the actual shade was 76" long! Literally double.

I knew that would be a problem and once it was hanging in our kitchen, yep -- I was right! It had so much extra length gathered that even when pulled up, it looked ridiculous.

 {Look at all of the extra gathered at the bottom!}

Luckily, shortening it was a breeze!

Step 1: With the shade still hanging and extended down, cut where you want the blind to end so it is the appropriate length.  [Be aware of the back when cutting.]

This is the bottom of the original blind after I cut it off. So I knew this is what I'd want my new end to look like:

Step 2: [At this point, it's much easier to work with the shade down, so you'll want to remove it from the window and lay on flat surface.] Remove any rings/cording that will no longer be needed. [See ring/cording at bottom of picture; they were at the bottom of the new end of the blind and needed to be removed.]

Step 3: Tie off end of cording.

Step 4: Using hot glue gun, glue up bottom to create finished bottom edge. [Note: Super glue does not work! I tried.]

Rehang blind and you're done!

So there you have it; in 4 easy steps, you can customize your bamboo roman shades so that they fit your windows perfectly! If I'd known that it was going to be this easy, I wouldn't have put off buying roman shades this long. You live and you learn, right? :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4th of July Celebration

As I mentioned in this post, my family had a little Independence Day party at my house, rain and all. I don't know about you, but tons of rain on any holiday, is not my idea of fun, especially when said holiday was going to be celebrated with a cookout in my yard. I am just glad that the sun started peeking out on Sunday and we haven't seen rain since!

The party turned out great! The inspiration I found online, via Google and Pinterest, turned out to be so helpful as I was planning the holiday decor. Take a look at our 4th of July party in this first house:

[I love a cute drink table. Seriously.] 

As you can see, I was able to recreate some of the 4th of July party ideas I posted about here, like the flags in candy and bandanas as place mats/napkins. Overall, it all turned out really well! It was good food and good company and a great way to celebrate our wonderful country's 237th birthday!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

KItchen: One Year Later

This week marks the one year anniversary of our kitchen renovation. I cannot believe one year has already passed since that crazy, hectic, and messy renovation took place. Even though it seemed like the worst 6-8 weeks ever, the end result has been so worth it! To have more countertop and storage space is worth just about anything.

Is this my dream kitchen? No. It's the first [and only] kitchen I've ever designed, so I had to work with the given space of this first house. And because this is our first house, we know we won't be here forever and we had to keep that in mind when designing the new kitchen -- we had to keep it within budget, but still produce high resale value. That's what I'm always trying to keep in mind -- is this or that worth the investment for, both, enjoyment and resale value? In my opinion, a kitchen reno is always worth it. What is key, though, is setting a realistic and reasonable budget and then sticking to it. We knew if we put a ton of really nice fixtures, appliances, etc. into this kitchen, we wouldn't get it back. Our house isn't on the most expensive street.

We never planned on building an addition to make the kitchen [or house] larger [again, wouldn't get that money back], so we just wanted to rework the given layout to produce more kitchen workspace. This is a much more affordable plan. I'm so glad to have done a kitchen design/renovation in a beginner house, though. It has proved to be such a learning experience, so when the time/day comes that we're designing/building our dream kitchen, we'll have a better idea as to what we like/dislike and have learned from previous experience.

Here is the kitchen before:

[It still blows my mind to see the kitchen pre-renovation!]

And here's the kitchen one year later:

I finally got around to painting the back door [interior side] black and adding roman shades to the window and door.

Still love my paper towel holder!

One of my favorite additions to the kitchen:

[Just to throw all of the mail in one spot -- so nice! Little things...]

Still love the bridge faucet...

...And the HUGE single bowl sink!

Now that a year has passed, let's revisit the kitchen to-do list:

  • Paint the walls BM Cameo White
  • Make roman shades for window and door [Although I didn't make them...]
  • Make cushion seat cover and pillows for bench
  • Hang something on wall above bench
  • Add baskets for additional storage under island
And here are some things I'm adding/changing:
  • Repaint kitchen -- yep, it's seriously on here again! New color.
  • Organize pantries using baskets/bins
So not too bad. I'm almost there! If you're interested, you can see all of the kitchen renovation posts from last summer [as it was in progress] here, here, here, and here.

Now I'm off to get ready for my family's 4th of July celebration! Too bad Lexington has a 90% chance of rain tomorrow. So it looks like the party has been relocated inside... Bummer. After the 4th of July, I'll be highlighting, in a post, things I'd do again in a kitchen renovation vs. things I'd change. See you then!

Monday, July 1, 2013

4th of July Party Ideas

With Independence Day quickly approaching, I'm in search for some great party decor to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. I'm going to be hosting a small get together [family only] in my backyard this 4th of July! I recently purchased some outdoor dining furniture at Ikea and I plan to take full advantage of this upcoming holiday to break it in [although I need to put the table together first... Might need to get on that!].

4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays -- I love fireworks, my country, and summer, so the combination add up to a wonderful holiday. I also love 4th of July parties; the decor is always fun and easy. Throw some American flags and flowers together with lots of red, white, and blue, and boom, it's time to party!

Here are some pictures that are serving as inspiration for our upcoming family cookout:

I love the idea of using bandanas as place mats and napkins; so easy!

With three young nieces in attendance, I want to make sure the cookout is kid-friendly and fun for them. Here are a few things I'm thinking for the kids' table/activities:

[Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

Do you have any fun plans to celebrate the 4th? I'll be sure to snap tons of pictures of our family get together in hopes that I'll get a few good ones to share. That seems to be my photography plan these days -- take way more than I'd ever need in hopes that I'll get a few good ones...

As for the project I mentioned last week, it is still in the works. I'll share it as soon as I'm done. Actually, I'm off to work on it right now. Wish me luck!