Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I hate Montego Bay Blue

The blue in our bathroom was making me twitch.

I saw that it was a similar color blue as our guest room, so I figured that the previous owners had some paint leftover from their nursery and wanted to freshen up the bathroom to sell the house.  I understood that-- you guys knows I am all about working with what ya got.

Then I found two cans of paint in the basement;  one was labeled "Buzz Blaster Blue" (the guest room) and the other Montego Bay Blue.  This means the previous owners CHOSE that God awful color twice. 

Dear Lord, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can and the knowledge to know the difference.

Pretty sure the good Lord was saying 'Please grab a paint brush Liz, you can change this'.

Now JEGs had put the kibosh on me painting anything after month eight of the pregnancy rolled around-- he even used his super serious voice that made me realize he would have been pretty pissed if I had.  As much as it killed me (and my nesting) I packed away my paintbrushes for a while.

Once the baby was born and I was mobile, I was granted permission to return to my normal paint-every-surface-possible activities.

...aaaaaand she's back!
  Three coats of primer later, and I had a semi-white wall with the blue color still bleeding through.

My impatient ass decided to forge ahead anyway. I was tired and we needed the paint to dry so we could shower (ewwwww).  In order to cut costs, I used Glidden's Navajo Sand leftover from the baby's room.

I'm gonna put it out there-  I am not a fan of Glidden.  When we moved, we bought a five gallon bucket of Valspar primer to cover the paint in the apartment.  We had some leftover so we used to it in the living room and it did work-  two coats of primer and one coat of paint and you would never know that room used to be red.  But in this room, three coats of primer and two coats of paint, and I can still see the blue bleeding through in some spots.  I have decided that when it comes time to paint the kitchen, I am going to hire someone-- THAT'S how frustrated I am after painting this room.

I digress..  here is the lovely after photo:

The towel bar was replaced for two reasons:  1. it had actually broken in half, and 2. we have the extra wide bath sheets and two would not fit on that dinky little bar.  So we replaced it with individual hooks from Target.

The previous owners had left a shower curtain rod that I really liked.  However, it was brushed nickel and I was slowly replacing all the fixtures with oil-rubbed bronze.  I searched around for a similar rod in ORB to no avail.  So I did what any DIYer would do:  I spray painted it.

It amazes me how well this color matched the shower curtain we already had...

I am planning on DIYing some art for over the toilet, but haven't quite settled on anything just yet.

 Even after all the frustration, I am so happy I took the time to paint this room.  It feels so much more relaxing and less twitch-evoking.  I also feel like the lighter, more neutral color helps to shine a spotlight on my favorite feature of this bathroom-- the black and white checked floor.

The best part is this quick update only cost us a little over ten dollars for the hooks.  Isn't amazing what a little bit of paint can do?  Maybe next time I get trapped in the bathroom, I will be a little calmer ;)

Always & Forever,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Check your mail box...

From our family to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season!

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Falconhead at Christmas

I was INSANELY excited about decorating our first house for Christmas.  In. SANELY.   I was pinning stuff left and right on Pintrest and ripping pages from BHG.

However, with the baby, I didn't really have a lot of time to DIY all the stuff I wanted to.  Next year, maybe.  So this year was more of a work-with-what-you've-got kind of year.  I also had all these new surfaces like a banister and an actual mantle to decorate.  Color me stumped.

On the banister I used the lighted garland that I have had for years.  By itself it look kind of plain, so I added some berry garland that I snagged for 60% off at Michael's.

When it came to the mantle, I was so excited to have a real one and not a LACK shelf like we had in the apartment.  I went with my usual metallic and shiny look.  Honestly, what other time of the year can I get away with having so much shiny stuff in one spot?

mental note.. must find a way to "loose" that Snoopy stocking for next year...

I rocked my gorgeous mercury glass candle holders, along with my DIY glitter candles from last year.  The tiny Cinderella pumpkins from Halloween were still in good shape, so I added them in for kicks and giggles.

You know I love to mix my metallics, so this year I added in two golden reindeer that I snagged at our local thrift store back in June for fifty cents each.  I love them.  JEGs calls them the 'Ark of the Covenant Deer'.

I think they flow nicely with the candle sticks.

Again, the garland on it's own looked a little bare, so I added in some garland from Michael's but this had red balls to tie into the garland on the stairs as well as gold balls to add extra sparkle.

I didn't want the metallics to look too sterile, so I added in some over-sized pine cones.

I had planned to DIY some ornaments this year, but like I said, I just never quite found the time so our tree rocked our usual red and gold balls from years before with a few additions

First off, the train is a gift to Hunter from JEGs' father (PopPop).   Let me tell you, that kid loves that train.  Anytime he gets fussy, we turn it on and he will watch it loop the tree over and over again.  It's always a great way to get him to lift his head up during tummy time.  Win all around.

 Last year I snagged a bunch of ornaments from Crate and Barrel during their After Christmas Sale.  My personal favorite is this white owl-- little did I know at the time that owls would be the 'in' thing for decor or that I would be decorating a nursery with owls in just a few months!

I also grabbed four of these clear balls with an etched detail.  They are probably a new favorite of mine.

and of course, we have something to commemorate Hunter's first Christmas-- a footprint in an oval frame.  This set was gifted to us from my friend JD.

I had grabbed some  greenery at Michael's with the intention of using it on the mantle, but I never quite got it to look the way I wanted it to.  Instead, I put it in an IKEA planter with some leftover pine cones and sat it on the hearth.

I also took an old vase and did a Sabrina Soto look and mixed gold and red ornaments together for our end table.

I'm not gonna lie to you guys, I ran out of steam for the coffee table.  I threw the pine cones I've had for about three years in a bowl and called it a day.  In all honesty, I think these bad boys are getting thrown out on January 8th.

We use our coffee table too much to put anything nice on it.  Twenty seconds after this shoot, those magazines went back to their home on my bedside table and the bowl of pine cones were shoved out of the way.

Want to check out my previous Christmas decor?  Here is our apartment from 2009 and 2010!

Psstt... Check back later today, I'll snap some pictures of our outside as well!

Always & Forever,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby Bling

For those who don't know, a "push present" is a gift a baby daddy gives a woman after birthing a baby-- something shiny and pretty to show he appreciated that you just pushed a watermelon out.  I know push presents are pretty popular, but I was not about to demand a diamond necklace or a new Coach bag.  I'm not that fancy.

Who am I kidding?  Yeah, I am that fancy, but I try to be sensible too.  JEGs asked if I wanted a push present, and I was all "meh, you don't have to... but this is pretty, isn't it?"

He got the hint.  So smart :)

For birthing the monster, JEGs gave me this beautiful sterling silver hand stamped disc with the monster's name from the Etsy store Candace Kane (please God, tell me that her name is really Candy Kane...)

The crystal in the middle is a funny story.  I really wanted to have Hunter's birthstone, however I wasn't totally sure if I was having him in September or October.  JEGs talked to Candace about it and she said she would include both charms at no extra charge.  Which ever we didn't use we could still keep.

I wasn't super thrilled about rocking October's pink tourmaline for my boy and JEGs mentioned that to Candace.  She informed him that October has two birthstones:  the tourmaline and opal.  She sent us a sapphire and an opal, but the opal was more of a bead and I didn't like the way it was laying so we stuck with the sapphire.  Consider it blue for boy.

Regardless, I love my necklace.  It sits perfectly just under my collarbone and I can still wear other necklaces with out it taking over.  It makes me happy.  And a happy wife is a happy life... right JEGs?

Always & Forever,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa Baby

Around late November I realized something:

I had a kid to take to see Santa Claus.  Hot damn.

This is one of those things that you dream about someday doing with your kids.  It's like a "Someday Bucket List"  Someday I'll take him to Sesame Place.  Someday I'll teach him to ride a bike. Someday I'll take him to see Santa. 

Well my friends, that day had come.

Last Friday, JEGs and I got him all decked out in his Sunday best and took the little monster to the King of Prussia Mall to see the big guy himself.  

Gotta stay hydrated.. I've got a long list.

Santa?  NBD...

Seriously Mom, get the camera out of my face.

We waited in line and I was all sorts of excited.  I kept looking to the front trying to figure out what was taking so long.  Didn't they know Hunter  was here to see Santa?  Clearly we should have been moved straight to the front of the line.

When it was finally our turn, the monster calmly sat on Santa's lap.  We tried to get him to smile for the camera by tickling him, and making faces, but he was just looking at us like we were crazy.   So we just took what we could get

Which I think is still pretty damn cute.

What did he ask Santa for?   A gorgeous new Coach purse... which is totally not for me.  Absolutely not.

Always & Forever,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wedding Crashing: Home Spun

Well friends, we have run the gamut of weddings this season;  on September 17, 2011 JEGs and I attended the wedding of Tim and Lisa.

The ceremony was outdoors at Hibernia Park in a tucked away picnic area.  It was quiet and so peaceful.

Decor for the ceremony was minimal;  a small trellis with bright autumnal leaves served as an alter, and the congregation of 75 people were invited to be seated on picnic benches and chairs, although many opted to stand.

The bridal party walked down the aisle to instrumental versions of Smashing Pumpkins "Today is the Greatest Day" and "Something" by either the Beatles or Elvis (the guy who was in charge of the music and I were having a disagreement on who sang the song).  I know right now you are thinking.."Whaaaaa?"  but I promise you, it worked.

The ceremony was officiated by Tim's brother-in-law, and was very touching and personal.

The bride wore a tea-length satin gown with a flattering ruched bodice.  At her waist was a pink sash offset by a beautiful brooch for just the right amount of sparkle.   Her bridesmaids looked coordinated in pink tea-length dresses in different styles.  They carried bouquets of soft yellow roses interspersed with mums, astramaris and greenery.

The gentlemen wore simple black suits and mint green ties, with the groom being distinguished by a pink tie.

The small and intimate reception was held at the Bistro On 10 in Honey Brooke, PA.  Place cards were printed on brown card stock with a heart shape punch out and hung from a board by ribbon with the bride's pink and green color scheme.

The table next to the escort cards featured photos of family members on their wedding day as well as favors of drink coaster with the word LOVE etched on glass.  There was also a guest book that had photos of Tim and Lisa through the years.

I loved the cake's swirls and ribbon decoration.

Seriously, this cake topper.  Lisa, you are so lucky my last name does not begin with a 'K', otherwise that would have some how "mysteriously" made it's way into my purse ;)

The room in which the reception was held is the dining room of a restaurant.  Tables were put together in casual groupings, each with a mason jar of flowers and accented with raffia.

The whole event was so sweet and just a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  There was great food to eat (god bless Lisa for springing for the mashed potato bar), great friends and just over all really well pulled together-- I even got my ten-days-till-due-date-self on the dance floor for a couple jams.

Best wishes and many happy years to Tim and Lisa!!

Always & Forever,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Color My World: Diamonds and Rubies

To me, there is not more classic then a fabulous red lip.

But I am a red head with very thin lips.  I look like an ass with red lipstick.  So I do the next best thing:  sassy red nails.

I have been wearing a lot of neutrals and browns recently, and I was looking for something to really pop.  Now, I have my favorite holiday color in Dazzling, but I wanted something less deck-the-halls and something more va-va-voom.  

Enter stage left, Sally Hansen's Diamonds and Rubies.

This stuff is diva in a bottle.  Or waitress.  I'm not sure.  But I do have the sudden urge to call people "dollface" and ask them if they want more coffee.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lookie lookie, We Got a Nookie!

I don't think I can say it enough:  when we bought this house we knew we were going to have to be creative.  At only 1200 sq ft and little storage, we had some work ahead of us.  Some projects are bigger (like another bathroom) but there are a lot of smaller projects for us to knock out in the mean time. 

One thing that seriously irked me was with as big as our kitchen was, there was only one wall of storage space.

There was plenty of area in the kitchen that could be utilized for storage, specifically a little nook located just inside the kitchen entryway.

Wasted space make me ANGRY.  Grrrrr.

When we looked at the house, the previous owners had a wire rack there with a microwave.  I wanted something a little more permanent and useful.  We discovered there was extra cabinetry in the basement from where the dishwasher was installed.  I had the idea of installing that above a counter top for an office area, or more kitchen storage.  JEGs and I tossed around some ideas, drew up some diagrams and patted ourselves on the back  for coming up with the best idea ever.

While at IKEA one day, we scored a desktop in the 'As Is' section that fit our measurements perfectly for $1.99.  One dollar.  Ninety-nine cents.  This project was on like Donkey Kong.

We get started on the project.  JEGs grabs his stud finder and starts looking for studs so we can attach the desk and hang the cabinetry.  However, our stud finder ain't findin' no studs.  So JEGs decided to take a chunk out of the wall.

And this is what we found:

Not only are there no studs in the wall between the kitchen and the living room, this is also where all the piping to the upstairs bathroom is located.  Awesome.

To add insult to injury, we realized the drywall on the other wall was placed directly over top of the original plaster and lathing walls.  So no studs there either.

Dear Former Owners Who "gutted and renovated the entire house",
  You Suck.  A  Lot.
  Amy and JEGs.  

At this point, there are cuss words flying from JEGs' mouth that would make an Osbourne blush.  

We realized that in order to hang the cabinets our only viable option was to completely tear down the drywall, plaster and lathing, and rebuild the wall (with studs).  With the clock ticking on Operation: Baby Drop, we decided that it was too big of a project to handle at this time. 

But that wasn't going to stop us from putting up a desk.  Oh no no.  This is where JEGs came up with another great idea:  He made his own stud-- and I don't mean the baby (ba dum cheeee).

He had some wood leftover from the shelving he made during the hurricane, and cut a piece with a notch in it for the pipes.

We also had some drywall left over from demoing the baby's closet, so JEGs made a little patch to cover up his "studly" masterpiece.  (ok, ok, I am done with the bad puns).

A little patching and paint (compliments of the previous owners), it was good as new.

Then he got to work on the actual desk.

Like I said, we snagged a desktop for uber cheap, but that's all it was was a desktop.  No desk bottom with it-- that we had to build on our own.  JEGs had sketched out some ideas and measurements before hand (as seen in the picture below) so we headed out to Lowes to get supplies.  We grabbed two 1x3 pine planks and cut them to the size he needed at the store.  When we got home, JEGs got to work on building the frame.  We insured the sides were 90 degrees by using a clamp.

 JEGs set the frame out on the table top to ensure everything was cut correctly and then when we felt confident that we hadn't made a wonky frame, he glued all the joints and used countersunk screws to hold it together.

You might have noticed in the above picture  that the frame is a little short on the lower right hand corner.  No we didn't screw up our measurements, we left space for a leg.  We kept a separate piece of wood to be used as a leg and used hanger bolts to connect the leg to the corner brace.

Because he counter sunk the nails, there were four screw holes exposed (that's what she said).  To cover them, JEGs glued in wood plugs and sanded them down to be flush.

Finally, the desk top was secured to the frame using 90 degree brackets and screws.  Then we were able to screw the frame to the wall using cabinet screws.

Once the desk was installed, we had to tackle what we wanted to do above.  I mentioned that we found extra cabinet doors in the basement, but they were not big enough for the area.  We looked at our options from IKEA, Home  Depot and Lowes, but we just were not loving anything.  Plus, with the lack of studs in the wall, hanging cabinets would be a nightmare.  

The JEGs remembered we had two IKEA LACK shelves from the apartment that used to reside over the buffet.  We brought them downstairs and they fit in the space perfectly!

At first I was hesitant to have open shelving (aka, no place to hide my junk) but I think I love the look of it.  It really keeps the area feeling airy, and it forces me to stay organized.

We are going to stain the wood to match the cabinets in the rest of the kitchen, and I am currently trying to convince JEGs that the shelves would look so much better painted white.  We also need a better chair, because that stool hurts my booty.   But for now, I have a place to pay bills, write thank you notes and check e-mail.  It seriously has become my favorite area in the house.

So what do you think?  Did we make good use of an otherwise wasted space?

Always & Forever,