Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2014: Looking Ahead

Merry Christmas Eve!

I'm definitely getting in the holiday spirit around here.  I have a few more decorations I ordered last week that (*hopefully*) will show up in time for the big Christmas Eve dinner tonight. 

Here's the menu:

2013 Christmas Eve Dinner
Sparkling Cider
Cheesey Corn, Spinach & Onion Biscuit Cups
French Dip Roast Beef
Smashed Potatoes w/ green onion
Roasted Asparagus 
Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Icing Glaze
Now, I just have to get busy cooking!  I'll definitely try to snap some shots and post some on Instagram too of the decorations and food. But this blog is going to be photo-light (actually non-existent) and word heavy...I'm in a reflective kind of mood...

When I was thinking back this morning on all of the projects I worked on and blogged about, I felt really accomplished.  This house is so much more than a house for me.  It's not just shelter and where I keep all my stuff. 

It's an extension of me.  It's where I feel safe, happy, and the most like myself.  I really hope this holiday season finds you in a similar situation.  Where you feel proud of your space.  You look forward to going home.  You get excited about the little details.

Don't get me wrong...my house is nowhere near perfect and I'm going to share with you my *lists* for 2014...and they're not short!

Every year I make a bucket list - goals of things I want to do, places I want to go, here's the 2014's list:

2014 Bucket / Goal List:

- Hawaii Trip
- Travel to one of the Country Living fairs
- NC / SC road trip
- NYC trip
- Waterfalls
- Visit Black Dog Salvage, Terrain Shop, Old Goode Stuff
- Create budget and stick to it
- Follow 30 day wish list policy / SmartyPig
- Build up savings accounts
- Be more patient and take time with my projects
- Drink more water
- Make more pizza from scratch
- Make more recipes from my cookbooks

This year I definitely want to work on budgeting more. I've used SmartyPig in the past (it's a goal-based savings account you manage online) and I also want to start a revolving 30-day wish list. If there's something I want to buy that's not necessary I'm going to put it on a list and date it and wait 30 days. If I still want it after 30 days then ok. My problem is patience...

Here's my DIY project list for 2014  (I'm SURE I'll add to it, things move quick around here!):

DIY Project List:

- Kitchen ceiling tiles
- Kitchen shelves
- Chalkboard kitchen door?
- Cookbook project
- Couch shelf
- Instagram collage
- Hallway return screen
- Bedroom crown molding
- Upstairs bathroom reno
- Basement bathroom redecorate
- Clean / Utilize basement storage room
- Mosaic table
- Bedroom dresser revamp

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

PaintChip Art Update & Pantry Re-Org

I shared my paint chip art previously on the blog here --> Paint Chip Art (disclaimer - don't expect a lengthy DIY I just cut squares from paint chips using a paper punch and then used adhesive tabs to secure them to some matboard).  

I was happy with how the paint chip art turned out but I've had these transit letters I picked up in Seattle for a while and couldn't decide what I wanted to do with them.  I painted them light blue at one point and then just put them in my art cabinet and went on to another project.  Meanwhile...looking back at my Seattle post, I can't believe I paid $16 a piece for these letters...sheesh...

Well, I decided to strip them.  I use the canned stuff - you can pick it up at Lowes - just spray on and wait then scrape off...sounds easy, right?  Yeah it's a pain but it gets the job done for the most part. 

I glued them to the paint chip art and I am really happy with how it looks...from afar anyway...some of the clear glue shows behind the letters and it kind of drives me crazy...I swear in 2014 I'm going to vow to slow down and stop being so impatient...ugh..I digress...

I love the matte finish of the bare metal and some of the original paint finish showing on the edges.  


I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but I don't have a big fancy room for a pantry.  In fact, I don't have a pantry at all.  Apparently, that was a foreign concept back in the 20s...for years I used a small lazy-susan corner cabinet - but I didn't like reaching into the abyss and not really being able to see what I have.  

I decided to move my glasses/cups from the double cabinet next to the stove - to the corner cabinet above the lazy-susan then, moved the pans from that cabinet to the lower cabinet (lazy-susan).  You still with me?

It was life-changing...seriously...

Here she is in all her glory...my pantry:

Try to contain your jealousy :)  Well, it might be small but it's certainly organized which I love.  I'm trying to make the switch to all glass storage containers.  Just feel like they're safer for food storage and they look great too.  I picked up these giant ball jars at Target today - they were $5.99 each plus RedCard discounts and all that...

I've had the blue heritage ones for a while - they hold my chocolate chip assortment on the top shelf.  

I'm a long-time decanter.  If I could decant everything I buy into clear containers I would.  That popcorn container is driving me a little nuts just looking at this photo!

Here are my plastic pop-top containers - I'm going to donate them after the holidays with some other stuff I've decided to give away too.  They just take up too much room which I (clearly) don't have :)

Happy DIY-ing!

Marquee Letter Knock-Off DIY

If you've followed this blog for even a post or two you've probably picked up on the fact that I'm obsessed with monograms, salvaged sign letters...really anything with an A on it...

I've been stalking these letters sold by Restoration Hardware forever - but they're just too much $$.  They are a great match to the real salvaged marquee letters though - you can also find some handmade ones on Etsy for around the same price.

I happened to be at Hobby Lobby (shocking I know) with a friend and saw a metal letter A...she asked me what I was going to do with it and I excitedly pulled up the photo of RH's letters on my phone.  She just shook her head and laughed (I get that a lot)...anyway...

Now it's not exactly like the letters I've been coveting but hey...it was a fraction of the price so I can live with it for now.

Kinda convenient I decided to do this project during the holidays so lights were fairly easy to find.  I wanted LEDs originally but the only ones I could find were plastic globes and I wasn't in to that.  I also picked up some command  hooks to try to organize the mess of wires in the back...

We drilled the holes with a giant drill bit (that's all I know about it sorry...I can get more details if you want though - just message me)  About 2" apart.  I say about because I jacked up the measurements which caused all of the holes to be slightly off...but when you're blinded by the light I don't think you can even tell ;)  

Couple of tips:

-Make sure you measure more seriously than I did
-Take out all the bulbs (they unscrew like light bulbs...b/c they are light bulbs) first - you'll then match the socket from the back to the bulb in the front
-You may need wire cutters / tin snips / pliers to bend some of the metal back around the holes if the bulbs don't fit
-This stuff is sharp - wear gloves if you're going to be manhandling the cut metal
-Start at the bottom of the letter in one corner and make sure the plug is the end you're starting with (so it's easier to plug in)
-For any lights you don't use - take the bulbs out and cover the openings with black electrical tape so they don't short out from dust or debris getting in there

Voila...the finished product!  Now I just need to invent an extension cord that has a detachable plug to fit behind my closet organizer...grrrr *details*

I love how it turned out!  Total cost for the project was under $40...not too shabby.  ($7 of that was a big container of tiny plastic command hooks which are totally optional).

I also did a mini-makeover of this wooden name thing I've had since I was a kid - I think we got it at an amusement park.  (See, I started young - loving everything with my name or initials on it)...

I used triple thick glaze again to set the glitter - you have to try it if you love to glitter anything, it really works.

Basically you brush on clear Elmer's, sprinkle glitter, let it dry then put on a coat or two of the triple thick glaze and the glitter it set.  

Happy DIY-ing!

Holiday House Tour Part 2

I'm so behind - I've had 'blog posts' on my to-do list pretty much all week - so I think I'm going to have another 2 or 3 part - blog post-a-thon. :)

First of all - I'm excited - we're down to less than 4 days until Christmas.  I host Christmas Eve dinner at my house and I'm really looking forward to it. I've decorated more than usual and I've been planning the meal for quite a while - hopefully everything turns out!

I started setting my dining room table for Christmas Eve (I might swap the runner for my holiday table cloth because I'd have a panic attack if we spilled stuff all on that &%$^* expensive runner :) )

 To say I'm obsessed with these glasses is the understatement of the year.  Love them!  I found them from two different sellers on Etsy and I was so thrilled they arrived without any damage.  I feel super fancy with matching goblets and sherbet dishes (not that I'm serving sherbet...or that my father will drink out of them...but you get the idea)

Here are a few more of my tree.  I'm so proud of it this year - I added some silver sparkly picks I found at Hobby Lobby (I also added a few to my hydrangea arrangements around the house).  I actually splurged and ordered a new fancy tree from Pottery Barn earlier this week.  I'm really excited about it because it's about 50 steps up from my current tree...but it's also bittersweet because this was my first tree and I've had it for-ever.  :/  Am I the only one that gets attached to stuff like this?  If I do decide to part with it I plan to donate it so hopefully that helps the decision...

I've seen so many disco balls lately on other blogs and Pinterest.  I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  I found mine on Amazon...the quality isn't great but I didn't invest a lot either (I think it was $15)...love the sparkle and fun it add to the stacks of gifts under the tree.

Stay tuned...I have a few DIY projects coming up :)  I also plan to share my game plan / bucket list for 2014...I definitely have a few DIY projects I want to tackle in the new year.  

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

(Beautiful card made by my immensely talented Mother)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday Shopping in NYC 2013

I decided to brave the crowds and venture to NYC on Saturday.  First of all - let me say I'm glad I chose Saturday and not Sunday considering it's snowing and quite icy out today. 

I mainly stayed around Madison Ave, Times Square, Broadway, etc.  I had lunch at Trump Towers which was really fun (until you get the bill of course!)  I must have walked at least 6 or 7 miles yesterday - I'm definitely feeling it today ;)

Here are my Instagram shots from yesterday:

Here are a few more shots I took around the city - when I was able to strong-arm my way through the crowds in front of all of the beautiful holiday windows of course ;) 

Times Square - Day & Night

The TREE & around town



Laduree Macarons (I've now been to both the Paris store and the store in NY - life is good!)

Fishs Eddy

Olde Good Things (absolutely loved this store and had been on my list forever but I didn't even think to look up their address when I was planning my trip...if I win the lottery this is one of the places I'd go...in other words that's the only way I'd be able to afford the goods here ;) )

M&J Trimmings

All in all a really fun trip - I got to go to a bunch of places I'd been wanting to see forever - a few that I happened to find just by chance on my way to other places I had mapped out. 

I didn't bring home much but I had a really great time window shopping too.  Here's what I brought back with me (I think the lightest trip ever!...but I made up for it trust me - that Anthro cardigan was not cheap)

Since I'm stuck inside I also did some online shopping today (I realize I need a 12-step program...hopefully you're not reading this blog for ways to budget your money more effectively!)

When I stopped in Fishs Eddy in NY I saw these great egg crates (Anthro sells them too) - but they only had light blue and cream and they only held 9 eggs unless you bought the giant one.  I found this seller on Etsy and she was kind enough to glaze one for me (that holds a dozen!) in cobalt blue...woooo hoo. 

I also purchased these beautiful vintage blue dessert glasses from a great seller on Etsy - I can't wait to use them for Christmas eve dinner!

I also wanted to show my finished box from a few posts ago - I darkened the stain, painted the inside with Paris Gray chalk paint and my father helped me add my antique house numbers I bought at Lucketts Holiday Design House / Fair.  (He's much better at measuring and lining things up)

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!