Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DIY "Ceramic" Vases

 I have been mildly obsessed with these West Elm ceramic vases for a while

They ranged in price from $19 for the 6" squat vase to $59 for 18" tall vase. While I don't think those prices are ungodly, I knew I could recreate them much cheaper.

I've had these three woven vases for about four years now.  They've been moved to every surface of this house, but most recently they have taken up home in our guest room closet. They look short and stubby on our mantle, and their natural color looks washed out with the yellow walls in our kitchen.  I decided they were begging for a make over.

The price tags on the bottom said they were $12.99 for the large one and $7.99 for the smaller two.  But I know me, and there is no way I paid that much for them.  I'm going to assume they were at least 50% off making them at least $14.50 for the trio.

I snagged some spray paint I had from the basement from other projects and gave them each two coats of primer and two coats of color  

L to R: Valspars Dove Gray, Valspar Primer,  Krylon Gloss White and Krylon Gloss Smoke Gray
I let them dry and now they really pop on our kitchen buffet!

They aren't an identical match, but not bad considering I used what I had lying around the house.  The best part is my version is not ceramic-- so I don't have to worry about little toddler hands reaching for them and knocking them over.

One day I'll be able to have nice things again.  When Hunter moves out.  ;)

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Birthday Traditions

Tomorrow is my birthday (yaaaaay!  happy birthday to meee!) and I am continuing this odd tradition I started a couple years ago of taking the day off and painting a room.  This year I've got my eye on our boudoir.  

We had been putting off doing any work in our bedroom because we have some major construction to do first.  However, a month or two ago I proposed the idea of just freshening up the trim and window sills with a fresh coat of paint, and JEGs surprised me by saying we could paint the room.

Picture me doing the happy dance/ butt jiggle.

Our room right now is a strange muted lilac color.  

It may look gray in the picture, but in person it shows much more purple.  It's not a pretty lilac or even an interesting gray.  It's just... blah.

As much as I would love to completely overhaul the whole room, we have a couple of out of town weddings this summer, as well as some debt we are trying to pay down, so this make over is going to be done in two phases.  

And because I like you guys, I'll give you sneaky peeky. 

Phase 1:
1. I'm painting the walls a definite gray color (Benjamin Moore's Coventry Gray matched to Valspar's Ultra VOC paint) and a fabric palate of navy and coral.  

2.  I stumbled upon this bedding set at Marshall's a couple weeks ago, and it was exactly what I wanted:  masculine colors in a feminine design.  The fact it was $60 (marked down from $180) was a total bonus!

3. I really wanted to make my own curtains and bring in more of the coral color.  However, the down side to having big, gorgeous windows is that they let in a lot of sun light.  As soon as the sun comes up.  Which is like 5:30 am in the summer.  JEGs and I get one day a week each to sleep in, so we decided these blackout curtains would be much more practical.  I snagged the navy and in person they are soft and have a slight circular pattern to help tie into the bedding.  

Phase 2:
4.  Our bed is a double.  JEGs is 6'4 and we have a cat who doesn't like to share with us.  I'm sure you can do the math: we need a new bed.  Eventually we want to upgrade to a queen size, however a queen size bed and two bedside table is going to be a tight squeeze on that wall.  This BRIMNES headboard has a shelf along the back as well as shelves along the side to replace our tables.  

5. I adore these prints from etsy seller MadeForYouPrints.  I would maybe have them flanking the smaller window, and save the area above the bed for some personal DIY.  

6.  My love knows no bounds for this Pottery Barn rug.    However, with the $699 price tag for an 8x10, I might be looking for a knock off, or searching the ol' Craigslist.  

7. With our side tables gone, I am dreaming of these sconces to hang beside our beds. 

The major construction I alluded to is our closet.  If you remember, two years ago we transformed the nook area into a closet, since the original closet is basically useless.  

However, our plan is to bust out the original closet and make the whole wall look like this:

...I think instead of the doors in the middle, we are going to have another drawer and a self on top.  This will eliminate our need for the dresser next to the radiator.  Which I would like to evenually box in.

Ok, ok ok,  I am getting ahead of myself.  This stuff is waaaaaaay down the road.  Let's just concentrate on me slapping a coat of paint on the walls first.

Always & Forever,

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Hosta Standoff

Back in November, I told you that every time I looked at the landscaping in our front yard, I would have silent fits of frustration:

To help keep me sane, JEGs cut down the horrendous bushes next to the porch and yanked out the skimpy azaleas. We were left with the dogwood tree and two shrubs on either side.

 I dreamed of having  beautiful hydrangea bushes to really get the cottage feel, and bonus fresh flowers for the house.  However, those shrubs were standing in the way of all my hopes and dreams.  The shrubs were OK, but I just didn't love them. We couldn't justify tossing them because the were in good shape, so we listed them on Craigslist-  dig 'em out and they are yours for free.  On a Saturday morning around 11, some dude came to get them.  Twenty minutes later, he was gone and I was filling in the holes with leftover dirt.

Last weekend, JEGs and I decided to pick the hottest day of the year to do some yard work while the bubs was down for his nap.

Ok, so maybe I am exaggerating on the "hottest day of the year" but it was pretty miserable-  the Philly area was just coming down from it's first heat wave of the year.  In MAY.  Seriously you guys, I have not sweat this bad since I birthed a baby.  Lawdy.

Anyway, we grabbed two hydrangea plants for $6.98 each at Lowe's and I got to digging.  We picked plants that needed partial sun because our front yard gets the afternoon sun, but we have a huge tree by the tree that shades the house and yard.

They aren't very big right now, but they should grow to be about 5 ft x 5 ft.

My plan is next spring/summer we will finally transplant that stupid tree to the back yard and add a third hydrangea in the middle to fill in the planting bed nicely.

Since I was already a sweaty/muddy mess, I decided to turn my attention to the area between our porch and our neighbor's porch where the huge bushes used to be.  We had discussed with our neighbors, Amy and Brian, about creating a planting bed between the two houses.  My very generous mother-in-law had given us some hostas from her own garden, so Amy and I dug up the area and planted them to allow them room to grow.  For the time being, we interspersed Impatiences to make it look fuller.

Amy had two hanging baskets just chilling on her porch, so we grabbed two of the shepherd's hooks leftover from our wedding and hung the baskets for added height and color

That decorative piece in the middle will be getting a coat of spray paint later this week.

The view between the houses has changed dramatically in the past year!
circa June 2012
June 2013

We still have some edging to put around the planting beds, but so far I love how it looks-  so much more open and cleaner looking!

The toddler in the door saying "MAAAAAAAAmiiiieeeee.  MAAAAAAAAmiiiiieeeee" gives it a cozy feel too.  

After all that hard work, and the Monster woke up, we cooled off in a sprinkler we had snagged from Target earlier in the day

Instagram: LizzieInProgress

Best $9 ever spent.
Anyway, I think I'll probably plug in a couple more annuals in the front bed just to fill it in a little more.  Maybe it will distract people from that stupid tree.  God I hate that tree.

Have you done any yard work lately?  Are you super smart like us and wait till the heat index is 90+?  Any recommendations what we should put in the front garden?  

Always & Forever,

Friday, June 7, 2013

Shop My Closet!

Alright folks, I am doing a round two of SMC:  Summer/Spring Edition.  I've got some new stuff and *gasp* jewelry this time!

If you see something you like, you can pay for it via Pay Pal by e-mailing me at with the exact item you want.  Please include the number listed below the picture.  Prices include shipping.  Sales are final.  U.S.A only.  If you want more pictures of an item, I can do that, but I can't promise it will be in a timely manner.  I will not hold items; first come first serve.

Happy Shopping!

Wore this shirt once, washed it and decided I needed the next size down.

Worn once during a night out with the girls.

God's honest truth, I don't even think I wore this once.  I should know better not to purchase button downs.



These shorts are not actually radio active looking. Or dirty.  Something got messed up in the editing process.



Don't be scared by the XS size of this skirt-- the entire back waist band is elastic.  This actually ended up being too big for me.



Wore this for New Year's Eve.  The top is a fitted rayon shell and a looser chiffon overlay with sequins down the side.  Fits like this when worn.

Wore these once to a wedding while I was pregnant.  Super cute, but now that I don't have puffy pregnant feet, they don't fit.  





All proceeds benefit the Get Clothes that Fit Me charity.  It's a local gig dedicated to helping the economy and making me look good.  So really, purchasing this stuff is making a charitable donation.  Don't you feel like a good person now?

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hunter: 20 Months

Note: Since I never did a post for Hunter's 18 month-- and I never got around to taking a 19 month picture-- I am just going to skip right to 20 months and recap the last three months.  Also, you'll notice the chair and monkey combo have gone by the way side.  I couldn't keep him in the chair any longer and I kept dodging a thrown monkey.  From now on his monthly picture will be taken next to our "growth chart" in the kitchen.  

33 1/4 inches tall (98%)
26 pounds (50%)

When I last left you at 17 months, parenting the monster was not easy.  I didn't say this, but when I was on night shifts I would dread waking up in the morning because I knew the next six hours was going to be nothing but yelling and tears from both Hunter and I.  

I am happy to say, it seemed to be a passing phase and that child is no more.  In his place is my sweet little boy who listens.  

Well,  as much as a toddler will listen.  Just trust me when I say it's gotten better.

I think a big part of it has to do with two things:  first off, we have found a disciplinary system that works for us (you can e-mail me if you want more information) and also, we have started giving him more freedom and treating him like a big boy, and not a baby.  One of the major changes is instead of having the baby gate stretched across the entire living room, we now only have the fireplace and television blocked off.  This gives Hunter full access to the kitchen as well as the landing on the steps.  Our thinking was in giving him more freedom, he has to listen.  If he doesn't listen, the freedom is taken away.  So far it has worked really well!

In other major news, soon after his 18 month appointment, we decided to flip his car seat around. 

JEGs had been talking about doing this soon after his first birthday, and I wasn't convinced.  Every time the subject came up I quoted the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendation that he should stay rear-facing until he was 2 like it was one of the Ten Commandments.  JEGs insisted that he didn't have enough room.  We finally agreed to let our pediatrician make the choice.

The doctor nonchalantly said 'oh yeah.  If he can't stretch his legs out, you can turn him around.  He's practically the size of a two-year-old anyway'.

Well hell, Doc.
So later that day JEGs flipped his seat around, and that weekend we flipped mine.  I have to say, it's much more enjoyable to be able to see him now.  I think he enjoys it more too.

His bedtime has become almost a well-oiled machine.  For a while there, we were a little willy-nilly about everything, and wouldn't take him up until he started to act tired.  This meant we might not take him upstairs until nearly 8:30 and by then he was so overly tired, it was harder to get him down.  Now at 7:15, we take him upstairs, brush his teeth, take a bath if needed, and into his jammie jams.  Some times we will read to him, but mostly it's lights out by 7:40 at the latest and in his crib after a couple lullabies.  

In an effort to let him do big boy things, I try to let him brush his own teeth as much as possible.  It usually ends up with me taking over after he has sucked all the toothpaste off his brush, but he does actually do the brushing motion here and there.

He gets a utensil at all meals, and his breakfast, lunch and snacks can be eaten at his little table in the kitchen-- dinner is served in his high chair so we can eat as a family.

Instagram: LizzieInProgress

Hunter is a total ham.  He is always doing silly things and preforming for the audience

I can tell he is going to be a bit of a smart ass (much like his mother).  He was walking around with his bowl of oatmeal one morning and I told him to sit down.  This is what he did:

  The look on his face clearly says "well, you didn't tell me where to sit, Mom".

He is very much a little boy; he loves to play outside and is usually covered in mud.  He still walks like a drunk person so he has cuts and bruises all over his body.  A week or so ago he got two black eyes within 24 hours- the first was when he tripped and fell into the coffee table and the second happened the next day when he tripped again at daycare and fell into a book case.  

he'll kick yer arse, laddy.
 Anything with wheels continues to be his main obsession.

My friends on Facebook know that we made the mistake of introducing him to Pixar's Cars.  I cannot even find the words to describe how many times we watch this movie.  It's the first thing he asks for in the morning.  I can usually hold him off till after breakfast, and then he runs right over to the couch, pointing at the TV and saying "Caaaaars?  Caaaaars?"  To break the monotony, we brought Cars 2 into the mix, but I find it to be a little violent and it seems to scare him.  So back to rewinding and replaying.  Not only do JEGs and I know it word for word, but Hunter can even quote it-- loves the line 'I think we got ourselves a nodder!'  Hunter love love loves Mater, and has a Tow Mater push toy that he plays with more then any other toy he has.

For the record, my favorite character is Guido.  PIT STOP!

On Good Friday, JEGs and Hunter came to visit me at work.  Hunter loved seeing real helicopters and planes up close.

I am going to leave you with this final gem: Hunter's first class picture.  Please note his playa- pose and the fact he is literally surround by girls.  

But it's all good.  His number one lady, Jenna, is right above him. #truelove

Love you so much bubbers!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ninety-nine Problems and A Clock Ain't One of Them...

One of the projects JEGs and I worked on over the winter months was some functional decor in the kitchen.

We had two issues that were driving us crazy.  First, the wall over the kitchen island was bare.

Ok, so that was driving me crazy.  JEGs wasn't exactly loosing sleep over it.

The bigger issue is the fact we have no clocks in our living room. I know you are probably all "..what about your VCR/DVD player/cable box?"  and I'm all first off, who has a VCR anymore?  Secondly, we have none of those in our living room.

Jigga whaaa?

When we moved into the house, in order to afford our mortgage save money, we cancelled our cable.  Most of the stuff we watch is on major network channels that we get for free through an antennae  and other stuff we catch up on Hulu and whatnot.  So we hooked an old computer tower up to the TV for internet watching and we have an XBOX for DVD viewing.  Neither of which have a clock on the front.

We have a clock on the microwave and the stove, but you can't see either of those from our couch, and since we are lazy, we needed a solution.

So we decided to kill two birds with one stone and put an over sized clock on that wall. [Read: clearly the only answer was to put another clock in the kitchen].

We looked around online and we couldn't find anything we liked to fill the space-- and the ones that did were SO EXPENSIVE.  So you guys know how I roll:  I do it my damn self.

We picked up house numbers from Lowe's.  Nothing too fancy, just 4" aluminum numbers for $1.48 each.   We did get bigger number for 3, 9, 6 and 12 to stand out.

We started out by making a large circle on paper to get an idea of how big we wanted to the clock to be.  Then we divided into pie-like slices to assess where the bigger numbers would go.

From there we drew lines across the slices to make sure numbers like the 10 & 2, 8 & 4 and 7 &5 would line up with each other.

We placed the numbers on the paper.  Once we were happy with the arrangement, JEGs made little marks through the nail holes of each number to show where they were.

He then taped the paper on the wall, and pushed through the paper at each pencil mark, making a small hole in the wall.

 Once he had pushed through all the holes, he lined the numbers up with the holes on the wall and screwed in the numbers.

Eventually we realized the cardboard slivers we were using as clock hands were not going to tell time, so we ordered a set from Etsy seller Clock Parts.  You can get clock hands in all sorts of fancy styles, but we went with the very utilitarian and clean look with simple 17.5" hands.

...and they were too big.  Oops.

JEGs grabbed his Dremmel drill and after some measuring, he filed them down to a better length.

I sprayed the larger numbers black to match the rest and we were finished!


Here is the view from our couch;  you can clearly see what time it is:

The clock can actually be seen from the porch, and we've had delivery men comment how much they like the clock!

I'm thinking about pulling down the smaller numbers and painting them a charcoal grey, but that's not super high on my To Do list.

Here is the price break down for you:
Clock Hands: 18.95 + 3.95 (s&h)= 22.90
4" house numbers: 14.80 (10 @ 1.48 each)
6" house numbers: 9.45 (5 @ 1.89 each)

Total Cost: $47.15

Considering the cheapest pre-made clock we found to fill the space was $130 (and I was kind meh about it) I am super super happy with how this turned out and the cost.  Obviously you could get fancier numbers and nicer clock hands, but like I said, we were very utilitarian about this project.

How about you guys?  Any indoor projects you completed over the winter?  Or how about some fun spring time outdoor projects??

Always & Forever,