Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bringing Down the House : The Conclusion

As I wrote yesterdays post I was very tempted to get off track to point out the way that the view from the door has changed.  If you've been reading since our move, you will remember that the entrance into the living room used to be a little low, and it blocked the light.  So we took it down.  And that was the last time you saw it.  Well, we have finally finished it up, so it's time for an 'after'!
That one little change has really opened things up in here! I love that the view from one door (where I was standing as I took the picture) goes all the way to the other door.  It goes a long way towards making our little place feel more spacious. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Digs

Hey, wanna see what our little place looks like all Christmasy?  I'm going to pretend that was a yes.  Here we go...
 Come on in! This is the 'front' door.  I say 'front' because really it is the back door, but it is the only one we use.  I used the garlands we had bought last year, as well a few new ones that we picked up for less than $5 a pop.  For the window swags I cut branches from our huge spruce trees in the backyard.  They needed to be limbed up a little anyway, so we reused for some pretty decorations!

Going through the door into the mudroom, you run into our first tree.
It's not a real tree, and its decorated with paper snowflakes and fake snow.  Not going to be featured in a magazine anytime soon...but we like it! Oh and the cardinal is not a decoration.  He snuck in one morning and fluttered around for a while.  I opened all of the doors and windows and then he left! From the mudroom you go through one more door...

Moving into the house, you enter the kitchen, which isn't decorated at all. I know...sorry! Ahem...moving on.  The living room/dining room got the brunt of the Christmas decorating, from our long shelf on this side of the room....
 ...to our tree over on this side!

Oh and I have to direct your attention to the centerpiece on our table.   I'm pretty sure it's the cutest thing I've done for the past few weeks.  
I found this tiny tree coming up next to our garage.  He is adorable so I gave him tiny wooden lights.  It had to be done.  Aside from that the only place I have really put any decorations is in our room...
And that was kind of only because I had one leftover garland and that little "JOY" bunting.  The boys do have a tree in their room, a tiny little guy with lights, but that's it.  I would love to hang some twinkly lights in there but they are still at the point that I don't trust them with cords.  

So there it is.  Our little place at Christmas! Nothing crazy - but still festive and fun for us! 

Thanks for visiting!

Linking up: Coastal Charm

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Bling

Let take a look at the dining area of our house.  Here is how it started...

...and here it is the last time you saw it.  I think.  I mean...for all I know I may have sneaked a few updated pictures in since then.  This is after removing the carpet, replacing the floors, tearing down the paneling, skimcoating the entire room, and painting.  Not to mention refinishing the table, and making our little curtains - which I never actually addressed on the blog because I am still not 100% sure on them, and in the interest of full disclosure they are held up with Velcro.  No joke.
Now...what I had strategically cropped out of the above picture was a monstrous ceiling fan.  I'm just not a ceiling fan person, not in my home anyway.  I know...people love them, I KNOW.  I just...am not one of those people.  PLUS -  it hung pretty low and Matt would hit his head on it almost every meal.

Ideally, I would have loved to reuse the beautiful chandelier we had bought at our last rental (you better believe we took it with us) but it is just WAY too big for our little place.  I mostly just wanted a simple drum pendant over the table, and then I stumbled across this baby at Lowes.  On Clearance, naturally.  I pretty much only buy lighting on clearance. I've never paid more than $40 for a light...it goes against my moral code.

I brought it home, switched off my electricity, and got to removing the old fan. Man..those suckers don't play around.  Eventually - I got the old fan down, and as an added bonus, I taught my two year old to say 'damnit'.  Mom of the Year.

After that it was a simple install of the new light...who is a little more fancy than I am used to...but she is growing on me. Currently we just have it swagged over to center it above the table, I would really prefer to move the light over there - but all things in time! At least Matt doesn't knock his head on it anymore!
Oh and look! That is where our tree is, in case you were wondering.  Our walls are still pretty bare - all things in time! I'm waiting for inspiration to strike.

How about one more before & progress...I feel like it's been a while since I posted one..
 You've come a long way little room...a long way...

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Weekend in Pictures

Back in the early days of this blog (I'm talking pre-kids here people) I used to do a post on Mondays that summed up our weekend...in pictures.  I know, it was hard to figure that out from the title of this post.  I'm tricky like that.
So this weekend...it was our annual trek to Alexandria for the Scottish Christmas Walk.  I love this tradition, we've gone every year but one for the last six years, and that was only because Jack was a wee little three week old baby and there was a snow storm.
It was pretty darn cold this year, but the sun was shining and the parade was a great time!

Sunday came even colder with a forecast of snow and ice.  Luckily we mostly got the snow part of the forecast here.
To say the boys were excited would be a serious understatement.  They couldn't wait to suit up and head out into the snow.
We threw snowballs and ate snow until we couldn't feel our toes, and then we came inside and had the Nerf battle to end all Nerf battles.  The boys and I versus Dadddy.  It was pretty incredible.
As I tucked Jack into bed last night after his third trip to the bathroom, he hugged my neck and said "Mommy, I loved shooting Daddy tonight."

Me too buddy, me too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Not Going in Our Yard Russ...

That's right...it's Christmas tree time again.  If you have been reading for a few years, you know that a tradition in our family is to go get our Christmas tree on my birthday each year. You will also know that generally this does not go as planned. I am happy to report that THIS year - we only got lost one time, and we didn't get in any fender benders at all.

It was a Christmas Miracle! I'll let the pictures do that talking...

Now let me tell you a little something about pictures.  They only tell you part of the story.  By this point, both of the boys were exhausted, crying in the car, and I was outside taking pictures because I knew I would lose my temper if I had to sit in the car with them for another stinkin' minute.  Oh and in a 'mother of the year' moment I forgot that I was holding a saw and scratched Jack's finger - just a tiny scratch but from the screaming you would have though I amputated at the elbow.  It was...you know...life.  So if by chance you are looking at these pictures thinking that your outings never go that smoothly...never fear! Neither do ours!

BUT ANWAY - we got our tree home, regrouped, and set that bad boy up! Oh and we had to cut off both the top and the bottom because we always get one that is too big.  It's a tradition.
And then?  Then we flopped on the sofa, ate candy canes, and watched Charlie Brown's Christmas.
All in all, it was a good way to turn 29!

How did your Christmas tree hunt go this year?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Curbside Treasures : Boys Desk

A little more than a month ago my mom called me to let me know she had found a small desk on the side of the road, and snagged it for me.  She said it was in pretty rough shape, but she could see potential in it (if you have ever wondered where I get my love of salvaged objects from...now you know!).

The first time I saw the desk it was sitting in her backyard, in a torrential downpour, and I'll be honest - I didn't immediately have high hopes.  It made it's way to my house, and after sitting in my garage to dry out for a few weeks, I decided to give it a go.
 One of the legs had somehow been torn off, but since the leg was right there with it, that was an easy enough fix.  The top looked like maybe this had been someone's craft station at one point.
Lots of different paint spots, along with some graffiti and a few scratches.  I wanted to at least try to save the top of the desk, because I figured if I painted it, it would only be a matter of time before it got all chipped up from the boys "working" there.  So I got out my little sander and away we went!
And I sanded, and sanded....and sanded.  I actually had such a tough time sanding this that I partially dislocated my shoulder - if anyone can explain how the heck I did that, go for it! BUT ANYWAY - eventually I got it down to the bare wood, and then I went over it with a very fine grit to give it a nice smooth surface.

I didn't want to spend anything on this, so I actually just used the same stain I used on our dining room table to give it a few coats of stain.   At that point I was pretty sure it was a goner because for whatever reason, the stain was taking completely different on one half of the desk.
I'm still not sure why it took the stain like that, but after I did an extra coat on the lighter boards, the difference was subtle enough that I kept on going.  I let the stain dry for a full 24 hours, during which time I painted the rest of the desk with a sample jar of Valspar "perfect storm".  

Once the stain was dry I did a few coats of satin finish polyurethane, and more than anything this helped the top look SO much better.
There is still a light difference in the tone of the wood, but I still like it! Once it dried I moved it into the playroom, and quickly realized that the boys couldn't quite open the drawers. I think because it was a recessed pull, and they do have small hands, it was just really tough for them.  So I added a super simple (free) fix by drilling holes into the drawers and making rope handles.
Then it was a simple matter of sliding in a chair and getting out some crayons...
All in all, I paid under $3 for the paint sample, which is not a bad price for a child's desk!

We still need to buy some nice plush rugs for the playroom, so please ignore the carpet glue on the cement.  Its a work in progress, you know?!

So what do you think?  Worth the $3 I paid to make over this little curbside treasure?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Four - Six Days LATE

The other night I was laying in bed thinking about how I never really write here all that often anymore..and then it hit me in the face that I never posted a thing about Jack's birthday! I'm not winning any Mom of the Year awards over here, but man! That totally bummed me out.  So here we go - six days late....

Happy Fourth Birthday Jack!
It seems like four is officially a big kid, which is throwing me for a loop.  I mean...you go to school now.  That's crazy to me - but I am so excited to see you grow up.  You are becoming such a sweet kid, and for as much as you scare me with all of your impulsive crazy big boy things, I am enjoying seeing your personality really emerge.

I am so happy to have been there for these four years Jack Jack, I can't wait to see what the next one is like!

Happy really late birthday big guy.  Who knows...maybe by next Easter I will have even posted about your birthday party!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Things You Do : October 2013

Once again, it is time for me to put up a few little updates about our family.

We have been busy soaking up all of the gorgeous fall sunshine for the last few weeks.  It seems like there are so many opportunities for us to take some time as a family and enjoy the things this season has to offer.
We have...

...gone on a weekend trip to Washington D.C. with Matt's parents.  This is a yearly tradition and we all love it! The boys adore their "Pa-pa" and "Nother Pa-pa" as Luke calls them.
...gone fishing.  If you want to see some more pictures of this little outing you can check them out here, including Jack's monster catch.
...done some apple slinging...
...played in some golden corn kernels...
... gone to a fun Halloween parade...
...and last but definitely NOT least...Matt has really bonded with this llama.
You guys....I caught them KISSING. He denies that this happened, but lucky for me I had my phone handy...
The proof is in the pudding Matthew!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Blank Canvas

We've got this wall...well I mean, we have a lot of walls, but the wall in question is this empty one in the living room...
...yeah, that one.  You can't really tell in the picture, but the wall to the left is also bare, aside from the TV, and will likely stay that way, so in person the room is pretty sterile.  I wanted a way to show of pictures without putting a ton of holes into the plaster, because as I learned recently, patching plaster bites the big one.
 I saw this picture and the wheels in my head started to turn.  I really loved the big ol' corbels and the rustic ledge, but I knew that the height of something like that would not only eat into the little space that we have, but would also put all the pictures/decor/treasures at the mercy of the little hands in my house.

But nonetheless, from then on I kept an eye out for corbels.  Which is how I learned that those suckers are expensive! New at Lowes they run about $80 a pop (the kind I was looking for anyway), and since I knew I wanted four...it added up quickly.  I checked a few local shops that recycle house-type goodies, and even there I couldn't find anything even close to what I was looking for, for the price I was willing to pay.

Enter the Antique Marketplace in Lemoyne, PA.  I didn't know this place was there until recently, but MAN am I glad I found it!

Their picture, not mine!
Wedged in the back of the HUGE warehouse of treasures is a stand devoted to salvaged architectural pieces, and I found EXACTLY what I was looking for, for a much more reasonable price.  4 chippy beautiful corbels ran us right around $65, which was great for what I had in mind.  
Totally neglected to get a picture of the corbels before we used them! Bad blogger! 
We picked up four metal L-brackets at the hardware store, and we got to work! We selected a beautiful piece of rough-hewn oak and ripped it down to fit our plans.  Since our corbels are four inches deep, for both aesthetics and strength our shelf is only six inches deep.  Some corbels will come with hanging hardware on the back, but ours did not, so it required a good bit of "making it work".

We mounted our metal L-brackets first (after finding the studs, measuring and leveling of course), and then we put up our shelf.  Once the shelf was secure we actually hung the corbels from the shelf to give the appearance of a supporting element, but they are not actually doing anything other than looking pretty and covering the supporting brackets.  There is only one spot that you can see one of the brackets, and only if you get a few inches away and know where to look!
Once we had it all hung up, I had some second thoughts on the height.  I feel like it should be lower....but Matt feels like I should cork it! Haha truth be told, neither of us want to rehang it lower, and I also think that the massive ceiling fan is making it look lower than it actually is.  The fan hangs too low for this room anyway, so...you know...it's on the list :)
 Overall I really do like the way it looks up there, and I REALLY like that I can swap out pictures and pretties without fear of damaging the walls and/or little hands breaking them.
 I was so happy to unwrap both ou2 blue glass collection and our collection of bottles containing sand from various vacations.
 Below is one of my favorite views, because you can see the sweet little flower cutout in our corbels.
I am especially excited to have somewhere to hang our stockings this year as well...I have been wondering about where I would do that since we moved (overthinker much?).

And for the record, Jack and Luke approve! They walked into the living room that first morning and Jack said "Mommy! Come see what is in our house!!"

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