Happy 2013! As promised, I spent my New Year’s at home with a glass of (Martinelli’s) champagne and in uber comfy style (unlike my imagined idea), no major stories to tell but a relaxing welcome to the new year.
Man oh man I can’t believe it’s already 2013. This past year has come and gone in the blink of an eye and while there were so many adventures and projects and stories to share, it feels like it all happened quite quickly really. With that in mind, I thought now might be a fun time to take a walk around the house to see what Kevin and I crossed off the house renovation project list from last year, and what we might be tackling in the coming months/year now that it is officially brand new. Here’s a similar walk-through from 2011 (wow, that seems like yesterday!).
Just for fun, let’s take it waaaay back and sneak a peek at what each of these rooms looked like before moving in as a more grand comparison.
The Dining Room
First up, the dining room. No major construction changes here (except that that left door below now leads to a hallway to the new kitchen and the right door below no longer exists – see bathroom update next) but plenty of design changes. Mmm I still love the soffits in the ceiling and the rounded walls that make this a 1930s home.
In 2012 we played with rug ideas, new lighting, adding curtains (transformed from a favorite pattern found in a duvet cover) and finding neutral art to balance out the dining room space. Plus this awesome greenery (which does not like its current location – Fiddle Leaf Fig owners with a green thumb, please email!). We still have plans to come up with comfier seating options and more light (that pendant, as beautiful as she is, does not give off a whole lot of bright).
More about all of the the dining room updates here.
New Guest Bathroom
Next is our build-from-scratch bath that used to function as three small closets (two for the hallway, one for Liv’s room). The before (photo taken from the back of the house, the same hallway from the other direction is in that top before shot of the dining room):
Here’s a quick glance at the sketches we initially created to help guide the space, not too much changed over the course of the couple of months of building in terms of layout and design:
And the crazy construction behind it:
All of which brought us to here!
Once the bathroom was finished it was time to tackle a big chunk of empty wall on the opposite side of that tub up above in the hallway. This particular hallway is a roomy space that connects bedrooms to the kitchen and the rest of the house, so it’s a natural play space for Liv and her push toys/doll strollers while we’re cooking or eating in the kitchen. It made the most sense to keep it as kid-friendly as can be.
So, I painted the lower half of the wall to encourage massive chalkboard murals and the top half with my own version of a wallpaper design using painter’s tape (after much searching and not being able to track down ‘the one’).
We have since removed my ‘shoe-putting-on-station’ because the bench really was not so great at corralling loose jackets, shoes, handbags and what not as I had hoped, and eventually became more of a tripping hazard. Ah well. On the plus side, Liv has more access to the full chalkboard and loves to cover it with her shapes and squiggles!
We plan to revamp this entire hallway space once we settle on a master bedroom/bath redesign, so this next update will likely not last through the end of this upcoming summer. But this side of the hallway needed a little storage love as well so a Craigslist corner unit received a paint update and a few favorite knick knacks. The below two shelves now house blankets and what not.
Most of this space was built and finished in 2011 (the original kitchen used to live here). But we did make a few updates such as a new fabric headboard for the guest bed, new wall collage (including this handmade favorite), new Craigslist vintage storage and chair, and rug for on top of our rug (that perty white has nothing against a dog and toddler).
Follow along with office projects here. And believe it or not this space used to actually look like this!
Our living room received a few cozier updates with a few more in store for 2013.
New envelope pillows, embroidered artwork, DIY butterfly art and a faux canvas painting made my list of top changes, though we also invested in a super shaggy/soft rug for playing with blocks and a few new pieces of bookshelf tchotchkis (this being my favorite).
So much to be said about all of the outdoor work happening around these parts in the fall of 2012! We painted the house (more to come on that, we actually still have windows and a few little areas to complete) and we’re loving the new soft tan color!
We’ve chosen white as the window trim and those front two windows have since been restored (also something we’re teaming up with professionals for) and painted. Kevin stained the front porch bench and grouted the saltillo tile under foot as well.
The jungle of a sideyard was also tackled!
A little clearing, wall building, deck laying and table building (from very cool reclaimed wood) later…
And you have one of our very favorite updates. This is an awesomely useful outdoor space now for dining, cooking marshmallows and BBQing alike. The above dining table is just off of our new kitchen so when it’s time to par-tay we push the wide doors open and join the two big spaces.
These two photos below are pre staining, but you can see how the new flagstone ties in with the rest of the backyard!
And there it is, the big stuff from 2012.
Still on this list? Much. A master bedroom/bath remodel, guesthouse makeover (we have a little back unit near the garage), finishing up the kitchen nook and hallway, Liv’s big girl room + new nursery, the garage and a few more curb appeal updates. Plus the usual day to day crafts, style boards, parties and ramblings of this blog. AND a new baby. Woohoo!
Thank you for joining us on our adventure. I feel so incredibly lucky to have an online group of friends that offer awesome suggestions, that extra encouragment just when we need it and who check in on us on a regular basis. Thank you. And very much looking forward to spending the rest of this new year with you!
Tags: Decorating, Dining Room, DIY, Home, Living Room, Office, Year in Review
Posted in Curb Appeal, DIY, Home, Our Dining Room, Our Guest Bathroom, Our Guestroom/Office, Our Hallway, Renovating Adventures | 10 Comments »
I haven’t had much time to blog about the different types of handmade gifts I’ve been working on, but just in case you’re scrambling for a certain someone on your list, here are four more semi-DIY gift ideas that ended up under our tree for family and friends.
I put this kit together for three special toddler-aged boys and I hope that it’s something that will inspire fun living room camping (a favorite past time of mine!). All of the above was placed in a muslin bag and labeled with ‘Fort Kit’ in stamped letters (similar to the Felt Town Kit below).
This was so easy to assemble and while I relied on Amazon (my best Christmas friend) for many of the above components, you could find most of these goodies around the house, at the Dollar Store or local home improvement center. My kit included: a flannel blanket to build the ‘fort’, rope and little suction cups to keep it assembled, a camping book to snuggle up with, a mini lantern to read and play by, glow-in-the-dark stars for star gazing, glow bracelets for fun and a chalkboard sign to post outside. You could also include: clothespins, zip ties, rubber bands, twine and a flashlight or head lamp (instead of a lantern).
Cocktail Kit (French 75)
This little semi-DIY project could really be for any favorite cocktail. It’s all about assembling each piece of the chosen drink (including garnishments and maybe even tools or glasses) in one sweet presentation so that the giftee might even be able to enjoy their drink when opening. Perfect for a hard-to-shop-for guy in the family, for the novice bartender or as a hostess gift. I created a Bloody Mary Kit one year for Kevin (complete with unique pickled oddities that are only for the true connoisseur) and discovered that a Cocktail Kit can be pretty easy and fun to assemble and create – even last minute.
A girlfriend and I attended a cooking class together where we learned how to make a delicious lemon, rosemary and gin French 75. To remember the night, I assembled a ‘French 75 Kit’ and went ahead and premade some of the more intricate ingredients for her. This included lemon-infused gin (I used a bottle from this project and added lemon rind directly to gin from our own bar) and rosemary-infused simple syrup (same style of bottle, but to make the simple syrup boil 1 part sugar and 1 part water with your herbs, voila). Extra ingredients like sugar for the rim (used an extra jar from this project) and lemons for garnish were thrown in for fun. The final ingredient? Champagne.
The label on the front of the box offered the recipe and a list of the contents inside.
Personable and unique!
Here is an easy kit that involves assembly only. I have an Aunt who is an avid letter writer with a recently engaged daughter, and I thought that a self-inking address stamp and cute stationary would be the perfect combo for her to stay on top of pre-wedding notes, invites and thank you cards. The stationary is from Paperie and the address label from this Etsy seller (love the cute little bag they provide, too).
I dressed it up in a brown box and twine! My favorite wrapping combo this Christmas.
Felt Car Kit
Liv pulled her buddy Isaac’s name for our annual gift exchange amongst friends. We made him a little felt town and car kit – complete with what I hope looks like a firehouse, Church and pond – for him to play with while on the go (running errands, doctor’s office, appointments, etc).
The only permanent pieces are the below road sections:
The houses, big sun, fishies, trees and other decor are all movable to build different ‘towns’, though the small little pieces that make up each of the buildings are glued together as well. Bonus part? Felt has become a staple in our household (since this felt Christmas tree project) and most of the materials needed were already on hand.
Melissa & Doug wooden cars help bring the town to life:
and a muslin bag makes carrying around and storing the felt car kit easy.
There you have it! Four more ideas that will hopefully make last-minute gift giving fun and easy this year. You can also check out the Cupcake Kit, Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil and Lavender & Lemon Sea Salt projects that we tackled in early December for a few more ideas.
Tags: Christmas, DIY, Kids Party, Parties & Entertaining, Recipes, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Gift Guides, Handmade Gifts, Holidays, Parties & Entertaining | 5 Comments »
I’m working on adding a few homemade Christmas touches each year to our collection and this year I decided to DIY a new pillow cover for our couch. The sectional is an ever-changing pillow hodge podge (I tend to just cover up a current pillow with a new cover, so sometimes you can find two or three previous designs underneath ) and I scooped up this particular basic tan throw pillow cover from Ikea for $6.
I thought about felting an ornament or Christmas tree design onto the front (maybe a future project?) but then recalled seeing pillows of seasons past with a simple, scripted message and decided to give it a go.
The toughest part was deciding on what word! I love the pretty flow of ‘Merry’ and the joyful message – or state of Christmas being – that it conveys. It’s a good word to see day in and day out during this special time of gratefulness. Plus ‘M’s are just too fun to write out in cursive! (yeah for an ‘M’ first name)
Supplies for this project included two bright red embroidery thread bunches, an embroidery needle and my blank pillow cover.
An embroidery stitch is quite simple, it involves a basic back stitch technique so that while you’re stitching forward in your design, each stitch will head backwards as you go. Forgive the left hand awkwardness of this shot while I balance my camera in the other:
So my forward progress is on the reverse side of the pillow (though make sure you’re not stitching the two pillow sides together) and my needle pops up and out of the fabric about 1/4 of an inch out from the previous stitch. Then I head back towards that previous stitch to cover up my 1/4 fabric gap. The back stitch allows me to overlap my stitches just a hair so that the embroidery might appear to be close to one continuous line.
Writing out the entire word ‘Merry’ took a couple of hours one late evening while we had some friends over. I like projects that occupy the hands but don’t require too much thinking .
I first attempted to draw a light pencil line on the actual fabric to give myself a template to follow with the needle, but quickly found that it disappeard into the color of the tan fabric too quickly. Anything darker and it would have been harder to erase off of this heavily weaved fabric. Update: Sheila just shared with me that you can purchase a vanishing fabric marker that will write purple and disappear by the next day! Perfect!
In the end I wrote out ‘Merry’ on a card and free handed the pillow. The imperfections are part of what makes it special, though I see areas where I would have dipped my cursive down further, should have slanted my ‘y’ more, or might have added more flourish for interest. Ah well.
I’m really excited with how this project turned out given the time I worked on it and the easy update it makes to the living room! When Christmas is over I can pull off the cover of one of my favorite pillows (those ikat tan ones left over from the nursery glider fabric) that’s hiding below and pack up the ‘Merry’ cheer into my Christmas boxes for next year.
Christmas is just around the corner! So exciting!
Tags: Accessories, Christmas, Crafty Solutions, Decorating, DIY, Home, Living Room, Red, Sewing, Tutorial
Posted in Crafty Solutions, DIY, Holidays, Home, Our Living Room, Renovating Adventures | 3 Comments »