Here’s the thing…

Yesterday was my 2 year blog-i-versary. Woo hoo!!

But here’s the thing, projects are a bit slow going this summer. So sorry about that, but I’ve been super busy with all of the following:

  • drinking wine in my new swing chair
  • watching movies in the nice cool basement
  • eating chocolates in bed
  • laying around watching funny internet videos
  • pretending I know how to garden

I mean with a schedule that jam packed, clearly you can see how impossible it is for me to work on the house.

But bear (bare?) with me, because I promise I have some killer stuff coming up:

  • bathroom renovations on the cheap
  • transforming old kitchen cabinets into a play kitchen for my nephew
  • building an office in my guest room closet

In the meantime, here’s a cute picture of my dog:

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And on that note, I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging :).

Follow along on Instagram for all sorts of pictures in between posts!

 

High 5 for Friday

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Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth to share my top 5 for the week:

1. After a trip to the city clerk, the social security office, the RMV, and two banks (as well as calls to my credit card companies and a meeting with HR)- my name is officially changed! That was quite a process!

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2. I found a delicious use for the chocolate mint in my herb garden- mint chocolate chip cookies. And I totally cheated by using a pre-made mix and just added mince up mint leaves to it. Delicious. Also, I  used my new food processor to chop up the mint leaves- it was freaking amazing.

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3. As a wedding gift I received a set of 1975 Pyrex bowls, the Friendship pattern. I am in love.

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4. We met with our photographer on Tuesday and picked out 88 pictures to be edited, he did a great job and I’m so excited to see them all done!

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5. My parents’ wedding gift to us is a new bathroom vanity, sink, and vanity lights so Matt and I are going to go look around this weekend to find something amazing. This will most likely lead me to painting the tile and livening up the grout… it’s a spiral effect.

Currently this one has stolen my heart

Currently this one has stolen my heart

How’s your week been?!

5 things we did do for our wedding, and they were LOVELY

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I already posted about 5 things we chose not to do, so today I thought I’d hop in with a little more detail on what we did decide to do to make our wedding special for us:

1. Keep the ceremony as personal as possible

Matt and I decided to get married at the college where we met in a short little ceremony on a newly built courtyard, so even though there was all sorts of construction behind us it was still a special spot. Then, my brother got ordained for the day to perform the ceremony. I wrote up a loose script for him and he altered it, left room for Matt and I to include our own vows, and for two of our aunts to read poems we picked out. The ceremony was short, about 10-15 minutes, but was completely tailored to us.

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2. Keep everything else personal as well

I affixed one of Matt’s grandmothers’ broaches in my hair, and wore my great grandmother’s earrings and my grandmother’s garter. In the gift room of the reception spot I potted a bunch of succulents in a metal pot my grandfather was potty trained in (weird, but a fun family heirloom), and the rest of our decor was just vintage frames with pictures of us when we were kids. Matt’s mom gave us beautiful champagne glasses that we brought to toast with, and I brought two plates that were my aunt’s for our cupcakes to be separated out on. Our “cake toppers” were figurines that a friend made at a paint-your-own-pottery place.

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3. Ordered delicious cupcakes instead of wedding cake

A friend of mine runs a cupcake business, Twiinspiration Cupcakes, so in my effort to keep things local we ordered from her. We also thought it would be nice for people to have several flavors to choose from (carrot cake, vanilla raspberry, chocolate peanut butter, and grasshopper).

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4. Bought sweet little favors

Because there were only about 30 wedding guests we could afford to get something a little nicer as favors then we would have if we had lots more people to provide for, I went with beeswax candles. They are so adorable I kept a few for myself!

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5. Made hotel welcome bags for our guests

The majority of our guests had to stay at a hotel and we wanted to make sure they knew we appreciated it so we put together surprise welcome bags for them to receive when they checked it. They included: tissues, bandaids (for painful shoes!), gum, mints and chocolate, a hair comb, antibacterial gel, and a brunch imvitation

 

 

What did you do to make your wedding day personal and special?

Brace yourself…. it’s wedding week

Ok friends, I promise I will only do 2-3 posts about my wedding and then we can all move on. I appreciate your patience :).

Today I’m crazy busy running to 900 different places to get my name changed, but I wanted to pop in with a few pictures. Later in the week I’ll share some things we did that I particularly liked and a few DIY’s.

The night before the ceremony we went to the ceremony site to make sure everything was set up right, and what we found was that DIRECTLY BEHIND THE GAZEBO there was a giant construction zone. Dirt, rocks, saw horses, equipment…. ugh. So some of our pictures have this lovely backdrop:

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However, when taken from juuuust the right angle, things looked much better:

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We ended up with about 30 total guests, all of which fit at round picnic tables right in front of the gazebo. My brother got ordained for the day and presided over the ceremony, and Matt & I wrote our own vows. We also each asked an aunt to read a poem. I’d say the ceremony was around 10-15 minutes at most, but it was nice and it was very tailored and personal to us.

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My dress and belt came from White House Black Market and my shoes came from a department store, I think Macy’s. I got a bouquet for myself (which was way bigger then I thought it would be!), then we got a small bundle of flowers for each our mom’s and grandmothers (that’s why Matt’s carrying a basket of flowers). Before the ceremony I gave Matt’s mom and stepmom their flowers and he gave my mom and grandmothers theirs.

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After the ceremony we went to lunch with our guests, we were able to rent the entire restaurant from 11:00-3:00 because it doesn’t open until 4:00.

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this photo is the first I’ve seen from our photographer, Marco Trafecante – can’t wait to see the rest!

 

Since so many people had to stay in the hotel, we invited guests back to our house for a few hours for an after party.  The next morning we had a brunch for all the hotel guests in our yard to wrap up the weekend.

 

Thank you to all 6 of our parents for making every second of the last 48 hours possible, without them none of it would have happened.

Attack of the Stink Stairs: Part II

I know, I know- you’re wondering when on earth part I was. Yikes. I’m embarrassed to tell you that it was July 23, 2012. Ripping up carpet is THE WORST so basically I worked on it for one day and decided it was far too hot and awful and I’d do it in the winter.

So clearly, I got back to it yesterday… in a 90* heatwave.

Here’s the timeline: last July, I removed the carpet from 2.5 of our 8 stairs before I called it quits. Then, when our basement flooded the stairs got even stinkier and Matt removed carpet from another 2.5 stairs before calling it quits. Yesterday I finally got the rest of the beast up!

And to recap the how-to, since I had basically 0 readers at this time last year, these are the tools I used to rip up the stair carpet:

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I used the utility knife to cut up carpet and padding as I went, and the pliers to pull out staples too small for the screwdriver (use needle nose pliers, not the ones pictured). The crowbar plied up the carpet death strips (which are strips of nails used at the creases of your stairs to hold the carpet and padding down), the screwdriver pulled up more staples, and the hammer was to work the crowbar and screwdriver in underneath the  death strips and staples. It is not a fun process. You should also have a dust pan on hand because it gets nasty.

Here’s some tips:

  • Don’t do this in the middle of summer in an un-airconditioned house. You will want to die at least 3 times.
  • Once you think you’ve got all your staples pulled up, check again, you missed some. And then you know what, check a third time because there will still be more.
  • Sweep each stair as you free it from carpet, then sweep all the stairs once you’re done, then vacuum the stairs, then wash them. Then once they dry do that all again too. Where does the filth come from?!
  • Don’t try to hold back the swears, let them fly! Sometimes those stairs need to be told who’s boss.

 

Once the stairs were cleaned, I went back and spackled some spots where there were dings and dents (from prying out the staples). Are you supposed to spackle stairs? I don’t know. Seemed like a good idea though.

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Hopefully in the next week or two I will complete them, which entails the following:

  • Sand, sand, sand, then sand some more
  • Sweep and wash at least 3 times
  • Prime & Paint
  • Add carpet tiles to the top of each step (already purchased!)
  • Stencil the front kicks of each stairs (muah ha ha! I have a delicious idea for this!)

 

So as you can tell, I’m totally relaxing the week before my wedding. Living the life of leisure, if you will. …I promised Matt I’d go get my nails done tomorrow because at least then I’ll be forced to put. the. paint. brush. down.

DIY Herringbone Chair

You guys, it’s just about a miracle- I actually have a project to share with you today. I know, I know, it’s been a while. Let’s just go ahead and blame summertime for that and not my laziness.

Anyways- on with the show! I’ve got a sweet chair to show you.

The night of my bachlorette party we passed a busted up old chair on the sidewalk while we were walking to the train station. So obviously I grabbed it and put it in my trunk. I have a chair hoarding problem

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The chair was a hot mess- dinged, scratched, a little broken, and it stunk like cigarettes. But I loved the style of the seat. I had to have it. When I got home I sanded it like crazy then wiped it down with white vinegar (usually I use a cloth dampened with water, but white vinegar will get rid of the smoke smell and dry odorless). Once it was dry I repaired the broken seat slat with gorilla glue.

The seat wasn’t actually even attached to the base of the chair, which made things a bit easier for me. I placed the seat and the base next to each other and sprayed them both with two coats of Rustoleum spray primer, then I painted the base with 2 coats of City Nights by Clark + Kensington (Ace brand, leftover from the basement redo).

Then I took the seat inside to work some magic.

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I didn’t measure out the herringbone pattern, I just eyeballed it. Basically I ripped strips of frog tape and reverse zig zagged them on the seat, using a letter opener to squish the tape into the spaces between the slats. This took patience. Once when it was all on there I used my finger to press down the tape strips one more time, just to make sure it was on good.

Once it was all taped up, I gave the chair 2 coats of City Nights and immediately removed the tape, again using the letter opener. When it was dry I did a little touch up work with an artist brush and some white paint- frog tape is awesome and usually doesn’t bleed, but there was just so much tape here I missed a few spots when I went over it with my finger.

LOVE.

LOVE.

 

I am so pleased with how this chair turned out! As soon as all the paint was dry I sprayed it with 3 coats of acrylic sealer (ModPodge brand). I may still do a coat of polycrylic on the seat, just to make sure it’s protected.

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The home for this chair doesn’t exist yet, but it will! I’ve got big plans for the guest room and one day I’ll execute them… maybe sometime in the next year. haha!

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What do you think? Do you have any cool patterned chairs or painted furniture? Are you shocked I have, once again, not painted a piece of furniture white?

Pinterest Food Challenge: Watermelon Cake

I bet ya’all thought I forget abou the Pinterest Food Challenge, but I can assure you I did not. Lately I’ve just been sticking with some of my favorite recipes, like pink lemonade cupcakes and sugar doodle cookies.

For the fourth of July, though, I tried out something new and DELICIOUS: Watermelon Cake from Bird on a Cake

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Once a month, cook or bake something you’ve pinned- put those pins to use people!

Overall, I found this recipe super simple to follow and I only altered two things: no chocolate chips in the cake and a whole lot more watermelon puree in the frosting. Check on the original recipe here, and this is how I did it:

Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz.) box of watermelon Jell-O powder (set aside 2 teaspoons for frosting)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 12-15 drops red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350* and line 2 round cake pans with wax paper (I traced the pan on the paper then cut it out), then spray the sides of your pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs then combine cake mix, Jell-O, water and oil then mix on medium speed. Next, add watermelon puree and beat until blended. Add red food coloring a little at a time, until you reach the shade you want. Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes.

Once the cake has cooled, cut the edges off- they’ll be a little stiff and browned and your cake will taste better without them. I actually recommend you do this every time you bake a layer cake.

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons watermelon puree
  • 2 teaspoons watermelon Jell-O powder
  • red and green food coloring

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but sugar and food coloring. Beat until well blended then add the sugar one cup at a time while beating on medium. Separate 1/3 of the frosting to color green, then color the remainder red.

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To make the banner I just used 2 skewers, colored paper, ribbon, and a star shaped hole punch. Tie the yarn to either end of the skewer, fold your colored paper in half and cut out triangles then glue them hanging over the yarn, punch out your stars and glue them on too- it took about 5 minutes!

 

It was DELICIOUS, I’m so glad I found the recipe and it really was simple and sans weird ingredients I’ve never heard of.

What have you been baking this summer??