Happy holidays…

Watch out- two posts in one day, I’m on a roll!

So the holidays are coming up…in fact we’ve actually celebrated one Thanksgiving and one Christmas already!  We live WAY far away from any family (my husband and I are both from Washington State, currently residing in Georgia) so we’ve had to get a little creative about the holidays the past two years we’ve been here.  And we don’t even have kids…imagine how that will complicate things…OK let’s not talk about that yet.  So anyway- my parents came out to visit this past week and so we decided to have an early Thanksgiving and Christmas with them.  There was even a turkey and a mini Christmas tree!

Anyway- the point of this post was to talk about one of my favorite ways of staying in touch with people during the holiday season, especially those that live far away from you…holiday cards!  I started sending holiday cards after my husband and I got married- since we’d formed our own little family, holiday cards seemed to be the perfect way to update people on our lives.  Each year I do something a little different.  I used to make them- hand stamping/embossing every one, but I’ve gotten a little lazy the past few years and found that photo cards are a great way to update people- especially the grandparents.  So I was getting ready to browse the photo card selection when I stumbled upon this great offer by Shutterfly.  Awesome!!!  I love Shutterfly- I’ve used them in the past for Christmas cards and other projects with excellent results.

When my parents were visiting I had my mom take a photo of us in our backyard with her fancy pants new camera:

I’m thinking it will look pretty nice on one of these cards:

1. Birdie branch
2. Starry snowflakes
3. Holiday berries

Hopefully the husband will agree!!

Thanks so much Shutterfly!

Easy wall art

I have a confession.  I’m addicted…to vinyl wall art.  There are so many cute designs out there and it’s so stinkin’ easy to apply/remove (GREAT for rentals).  It doesn’t help that there are tons of places out there that you can purchase it from- this only serves to fuel my addiction.  If it were up to me, I’d probably have at least one piece of vinyl wall art in every room of my house- but I think my husband might move out if I were to do that!  Maybe I can just sneak them in slowly over time and he won’t notice…?

Let me show you what I mean.  You already saw the one in the laundry room from yesterday’s post:

Says: Self serve laundry, open 24 hours.  BTW- the runner on the floor are sample carpet tiles that my husband brought home from work.  I just stuck them to the floor using carpet tape- easy peasy.  I don’t mind that they are mismatched- they’re all in the same color family so it works.

I got that one from Belvedere Designs**.  For those of you who are fans of Young House Love, they offer a 15% discount with a promo code (check out YHL’s website for more details).  They also usually have some sort of discount running on certain designs- right now it looks like 20% off a holiday design.  Belvedere Designs have been great to work with and I’ve purchased 2 other wall quotes from them in the past…one for above our bed in the master bedroom (shoot- I don’t have a photo of this one.  Here is a link to the design.  I had it done in the 8″ x 44″ size since we have a queen sized bed.  I picked silver for the color, which actually looks very similar to our wall color in our bedroom, so it just adds a nice shiny detail to above the bed.  Their metallics are the only colors that are shiny, the rest are matte) and one custom piece for our fireplace:

This graphic is normally a headboard, but I had them shrink it to fit the space and add the D in the middle.  They did an awesome job!  See the original design here.  The fireplace mantle looks different since I last took this photo- this will probably always be a changing item in our house.  REALLY looking forward to decorating it for Christmas!

The last graphic in the house is by Leen the Graphics Queen**, who also does an amazing job.  She also offers discounts- friend her business on Facebook and watch for giveaways and posts.  She usually includes a cute little extra with your order as well- I received a little green vinyl bird decal along with the wall art that I ordered- a fun surprise!!  This last piece of art I put in our guest bedroom- I fell in love with it right away.  You’ll have to excuse the terrible photo quality- my camera did not want to take a nice photo of it.

The dandelion is blowing seeds all the way across the wall- it was a huge graphic.  The walls are a more peaceful green than the photo shows and the dandelion is a little more of a creamy yellow.  One day I’m planning on making an upholstered headboard that will go up in place of the photo above the bed.  Just add it to my list of things to do…

So there you have it.  A cheap and easy way to add interest to your walls- and when you get bored with it, just peel it off and put up something new.  Can you see why I’m addicted?

 **Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by these companies in any way for this post.

Long time no blog…

WOW.  It’s been a LONG time since I last updated this.  I have to say, I got really into reading other people’s blogs but have completely neglected to update my own.  Owning a house and doing renovations take a lot of time- I admire all those bloggers out there who can find the time to renovate AND take photos of the entire process.  I usually forget until after we’re done!  At least I try to get a before and after picture.  So an early new year’s resolution for myself- blog more!  I love sharing what we’ve done to the house, and a blog seems to be a great outlet for that.  So I’m starting off with an update of ALL that we’ve done since we moved in to our house in April, 2010.

  • Removed/limbed several trees in the backyard
  • Put up a fence (~500 linear feet total- sides are wood privacy, back is chain link)
  • Replaced appliances- since April we’ve put in a new stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave and washer/dryer.  It’s amazing what you’ll tolerate in a rental but can’t stand in your own home.  Everything was old (some 21 years old!) and got recycled.
  • Installed a new heating/cooling system- this was also 21 years old and about to kick the bucket
  • Painted EVERY room in the house except one (we’re thinking this might one day be a nursery, so we’re saving the painting until we’re ready for that…right now the cats are the only ones enjoying that room and they don’t seem to care about the color).  We should have bought stock in painters tape!  This was a lot of work but it freshened up everything really nicely.
  • Replaced light fixtures inside and out
  • Replaced outlets, switches and covers (from almond to white) and door hardware (from brass to brushed nickle).  Let me tell you- that’s probably the cheapest, easiest way to update your house.  It makes quite a difference!
  • Replaced bathroom countertops in both bathrooms (ummm, can you say fugly white laminate that was peeling up from the plywood underneath??  shudder…)
  • Replaced the downstairs bathroom floor.  This was an adventure- we discovered part of the subfloor was rotten and so out it went.  Peeling up laminate flooring is a job and a half…let’s just say we won’t be doing that again- any other new flooring goes right over the top!

Phew- I think that’s it for everything that we’ve done so far.   We’ve got a list a mile long still to complete, but the painting/renovating frenzy has died down a bit.  It’s really starting to come together and look like a home.  Next up we have plans for new kitchen countertops (um yeah, fugly white laminate in there too) and maybe some new flooring?  We also need to stain our new fence, re-finish the deck, get our garden started, etc etc etc.  The list of things to do never ends!

For now I’ll leave you with some before and afters of the house, because everyone loves a good before and after photo shoot!   Enjoy…

Kitchen when we moved in- old stove, fridge, dishwasher, microwave and light fixtures

Dining room, adjacent to the kitchen.  Old owner’s furnishings and paint

Kitchen as it looks today (except microwave and dishwasher are now updated as well).  New light fixtures, paint and appliances.

Dining room- we flipped the light fixture and changed the paint.  There are now curtains up as well

Office before- just off the dining room

Office after- new paint only.  This room needs a new ceiling fan as well, but we’ll get there eventually.

Downstairs guest bedroom before (Jack and Jill bathroom in between guest room and office- this was the bathroom with the rotten floor.  No finished pics of that yet…)

Downstairs guest room after (this is technically the master bedroom but we put the master upstairs).  I also have a vinyl graphic up in this room- I’m a big fan of the vinyl graphics and will try to do a post on that soon

Upstairs bedroom which we are using as a master bedroom

Upstairs master after

Upstairs bathroom before

Upstairs bathroom after- new paint and counter tops.

Laundry room before

Laundry room after- notice the vinyl graphic.  Love it!

Living room before (as seen from front door)

Living room again, looking in from kitchen

Living room after (see the coffee table??)…I have a better after photo somewhere that has pictures on the wall and the chairs in a little different position…

Living room after- SO much better!  Hard to see in this photo, but the coffee table has new decorations and the door pulls are now brushed nickle instead of brass (remembering WAY back to my 2nd post…)

Thanks for reading and again, I’ll be trying to update this more often!