Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunroom Update (& more!)

Guess what finally arrived....?



This thing:



We kind of love it.

Guess who loves it the most?


That is her excited face. She's been joined at the hip to this rug since we rolled it out yesterday. I had to shoo her out of the room multiple times just to get the new sunroom shots.


To my surprise, the rug is actually a lot bluer than anticipated. If you look closely, the threads are a dark slate blue mix.



Luckily I have a blue theme going on so it fits, but this is just a fair warning to those of you who are interested in the rug.

Updated sunroom photo time...

















I think that covers it!

Here's another quick update: our landscaping.

I never really made an official "After" post after our yard landscaping blitz earlier this summer. There wasn't much else to do, but last weekend Brad spruced up another tree bed so I snapped a few photos and figured I'd share.


How about some before's first?

Here's the left side of the house earlier this year:




And after our intial landscaping:

 






And here it is today:

 

The mailbox plants grew like crazy!



Next up are the two large trees in the main front yard area.

 Before:



After intial landscaping:



And now:






Ahh... much better. Huge thanks to Brad who spends many sweaty hours every week making the yard look the way it does. <3


And finally... our master bathroom has been published!



Better Homes & Gardens contacted me way back after I had posted our master bathroom reveal and wanted to include me in their "Best Blogger Tips" spread. Of course, I happily obliged.




Pretty cool, right?!

That's all I've got for now. But I have a nice freebie from yours truly coming in the next post... if you like being organized, you'll want to check back next week!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall Decorating

Even though it's still too hot to be outside for more than five minutes here, the first signs of fall are in the air. At least the air in our house (pumpkin spice candles, anyone?)

As much as I will miss the hot nights, pool parties and barbecues, I am all about changes in the weather... no matter what the season. It's exciting. So I've decided to start embracing it now. And this week I went a little crazy, finishing 5 projects in two days.

Surprisingly, I've never actually decorated specifically for a season (unless eternal summer is a season). But now that our house is actually finally "done", I can finally start switching things up and spending time on more crafty things (aka, the fun stuff).

Project #1: Make a fall wreath.

I didn't have anything specific in mind when I browsed the aisles of Hobby Lobby, so I just found some pretty flowers and burlap and decided I'd figure it out as I went.

(Sorry, iphone pics ahead...)



The white flowers were B1G1, and the red ones I picked up for $1 each at Dollar General. The base I already had from previous wreaths.

I started splitting the white flowers up and weaving them through in a circular pattern:



No hot glue needed.


Approved.

Then I sprinkled some of the red flowers in using the same technique:




I liked that it can also double as a Christmas/winter wreath, so I don't have to start from scratch in a couple months.

To hang it, I cut a piece of burlap and looped it around the top, securing it with staples (you won't see this part).


Then I took another longer piece of burlap and tied it into a pretty bow:



I hot glued the bow onto the top and my festive wreath was born:





I think it's purdy.


Project #2: Pennant garland

I wanted something more fun and playful to dress up the fireplace, and I've been digging all the pennant garlands going around on Pinterest. I decided to make my own with simple fabric I found in the remnants section at Hobby Lobby.

As much as I was tempted to go all out seasonally appropriate for this, orange and red would seriously clash in my house. I spotted a floral shabby-chic print that had warmer tones but still traces of light blue to tie in with the rest of the room. And it was $2—Sold.

It was dark the night I made this and I was only using my iphone, so I apologize for the lack of documentation.

Basically, I just drew out the triangle shape in the size I wanted each flag on sturdy paper and cut it out. Then I traced it onto my fabric:



I added a flap at the top so I could fold it over and glue it around some jute string I had.

Once all of my shapes were cut off, I laid them across the floor and evenly spaced them out across my string.



In no time, my garland was complete:



Project #3: "Thankful" sign

I pinned this image a few days ago, and fell in love with the 'give thanks' sign.

Source

It came to mind immediately when I needed to fill some space on my mantle.

I found an old piece of wood in our project leftovers stash in the garage that was about the size I needed. After measuring, I went online to find the perfect font.

'Doris Day' (you can download it for free on dafont.com) was the winner.

And I chose the word thankful.


So pretty, right?

I decided to use the same technique I used for my Tea Time sign. It was simple, quick, and produced a nice vintage look. Also, there was no way I could handpaint something that intricate!

First I had to prep the wood.

I decided to have some fun with the shape of this one. Instead of keeping it a rectangle, I ended up notching out an arrow shape on each side:



I used a miter saw to make the cuts, which was a little tricky but it worked just fine. I had to use a small hand saw to refine it but it looked great when it was finished.



Next, stain & paint. I used my go-to stain: Minwax in Ebony.



Once it was sufficiently dark, I dry brushed a quick coat of white paint (Behr's 'Popped Corn') and it was ready to go:



To make the word fit better on the sign, I modified the "f" so the bottom loop was removed. Once it was scaled to the size I needed, I printed it out backwards using dark brown ink (this time on heavier paper so it wouldn't disintegrate in the ink transfer process).



After taping it down, I lightly brushed water across the page and used the cap of my sharpie to burnish and transfer the ink into the wood:



It worked pretty well, but the ink was light:



So I filled it in using a dark brown colored pencil...



And it was done! Only took about 30 minutes total.



Project #4: Established Date wood block

This project was born out of necessity... for a pumpkin to sit on (that's the next project, sit tight for a second).

I needed something in the 3–5" tall ballpark range, and when I saw an old 4x4 post from our deck project in the garage, it hit me. A wooden block sign. Perfect. What would it say? Something short & simple and to the point. How about the year we were married? Great. Done.

First, to cut the wood to size...

I needed it to be about 7" long, and it was probably twice that size. All I had was my tiny miter saw which didn't go all the way through, so I had to cut/rotate/cut/rotate until it was chopped in half.



Yay, it worked!

I wanted to get rid of the yellowy-wood shade and darken it a bit, so I stained it along with my 'thankful' sign until it had just the right amount of dark brown richness.

Then I whipped up my design on the computer real quick and printed it out...


Then I taped it onto the wood and firmly traced around the edges (this is the same method I used for my wine signs)




And it even though it was a completely different type of wood, it worked just as well:



All that was left to do was take the smallest paintbrush I had and paint inside the lines. I didn't worry too much about getting it perfect, as I wanted the results to be more of a hand-painted look.



And finally...

Project #5: Family pumpkins

I spotted these lovely cream colored craft pumpkins at Michael's in couple different sizes, and thought it would be cute to get one to represent each member of our family (Brad, myself, and little Susie of course).

Quick content detour: Susie wanted to make an appearance.


This is the highlight of her day. Watching lizards stuck between the window and screen.


This is her "Please just open the window already" look.


Alright, moving along...

Our three pumpkins.

I wanted Brad's pumpkin to be a little bigger but they only had two sizes, which is where I came up the idea to prop his up with our wood block sign.




Instead of painting them like one would expect to do, I decided I loved the color as is. They were a perfect match to the cream in the pennant flags, and I thought a bright white against a white mantle would be a little overkill.

I spotted these wooden letters for $1 and decided they would be perfect on our pumpkins:




They make me happy.



And here is our new, fall mantle:




I bought a bag of holiday-smelling pinecones and acorns and placed them inside this lantern:



I didn't expect this but now our whole home has a hint of cinnamon-spice in the air. And I love it so much.








I'm liking this seasonal decorating thing. I think I'll stick with it.

Whew, that was a packed post. Let's end with a "what I'm most excited about for fall" list... shall we? Here's mine:

1. Yummy fall/holiday candles. Walmart has my favorites for $5 each.
2. Being able to sleep with the window open... bye-bye AC bill.
3. Being able to go running outside again.
4. Norah Jones, hot apple cider, soft jammies and socks, and a cuddly kitty on my lap—all at the same time.
5. Fall vacations with friends... Bahamas cruise next weekend and Costa Rica next month.

I could go on but I'll try to contain my excitement, considering it's not even technically fall yet. What are you most looking forward to this season? Anyone else getting a head start on their fall decorating already?