Monday, November 29, 2010

Decking our halls!

We are transitioning into full Christmas mode around here. It's the first Christmas in our own house and you know we're doing it up big time. I've been decorating the shelves in the living room and the buffet in the dining room, and will post pictures of those soon.

In the meantime, we're the first house in the neighborhood to be all done up, Santa style...


1,800 lights!

We got a few of those industrial spools and ended up using about 450 feet of lights. That's a lot of Christmas cheer. :) (Oh, and please ignore that extra fence panel that hasn't found its way to the garage yet. We're lazy, but at least in the meantime the window would be safe from a zombie attack.)



Branden spent a long time measuring and meticulously planning how the lights would be strung. I think he might be fulfilling some kind of childhood dream to be the Clark Griswold of the neighborhood.

After looking at lots of tacky, busy wreaths, we opted for the simple and classic approach. Pine wreath with a big red bow. Nothing says Christmastime quite like that.


We're having so much decking the halls around here. We've agreed to restrain ourselves and not put up the tree until December 1st though, so we'll be busy trimming our tree on Wednesday for sure. Happy start of the holidays!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a weekend!

We got so much accomplished this weekend, it feels so good! Most importantly, my 5-month long quest for a buffet table for the dining room has FINALLY come to an end!!!

After searching endless antique stores, furniture stores, and consignment shops within a 1-2 hour drive from here, plus scouring Craigslist every day, I was ready to give up on ever finding the right piece (at the right price). Then today we took a last-ditch drive down to an antique store in Newburyport, and we found exactly what I had been looking for at an amazing price!


It's seriously exactly what I've been envisioning. And the woodwork is beautiful.


From researching the manufacturer's plaque inside one of the (dovetailed!) drawers it's from anywhere between 1917 and 1959. My guess is 1940s. (Those things on top won't be staying--I threw them on top quickly just to get an idea. I'm also thinking of hanging that mirror above it, but before I commit to mega-holes in the wall I'm going to keep it propped up for a day or two...)


The dining room is so much more pulled together. But most importantly we gained tons of storage space, which was the biggest reason I've been looking for a piece like this. With nowhere to store things, we would end up dumping stuff in the corner of the room. And it was driving me completely nuts. Like, borderline homicidal. So now I can breathe easier. :)

In other weekend work, I painted the beadboard and almost all of the trim in the bathroom. It took a few coats and was pretty time consuming, but it's almost finished now. So once that's done (I only have a couple of sections left around the door) I'll be able to post some complete before and after photos!

We also started tackling the next enormous project (did you really think we'd rest after the bathroom??) and are finishing part of the basement. It's a huge deal! We have no easy place to put a washer and dryer in the house, so after discussing many options, Branden came up with the idea of finishing off half of the basement to make into a laundry room. The floor is already underway!

This weekend I also picked up a new chair for the computer desk in the living room. Having the giant office chair on wheels had always driven me crazy. I've been searching everywhere for a parsons chair for here for a long time (almost as long as the buffet table, but not quite!), because I knew the smaller footprint would help this corner feel less bulky. They go for $80-$100 everywhere, which is just too much for me to justify paying for one faux-leather chair. So I was psyched when I found this guy for less than $40!


It takes up so much less space, is the perfect height, and it's nice and comfy too. Also, Branden is happy to see his favorite Picasso finally find a home. :)


In other news, I'm getting geared up for Thanksgiving, and I'm going to try my hand at piping icing for the first time. We'll see how that goes!

Also, these guys have been feasting early on my front porch pumpkins. Lucy hates them more than anything.


Friday, November 19, 2010

No escaping!

Branden and I finally got the gate to the backyard installed which means that it is finally entirely closed in and there is no escape!

This job was a big pain in the butt. More so than the rest of the fence. Granted, I didn't have to actually physically do anything when the rest was installed, so I'm really just saying it was a pain in the butt because I had to hold and lift heavy stuff this time. :)

Anyway, it really wasn't that hard of a job, I guess, it was just cold out and I'm really bad at holding heavy things. Seriously, I'm probably the worst mover ever. I hate carrying things. I would not have made a good Amazonian. Or donkey.


Despite my deficiencies, it came out well! We bought two latches (one for the top and one for the bottom) so we just need to screw those in and it will be completely Lucy-proof. :) From the front it just looks like a continuous length of fence (we're not putting a handle on the outside) so you can't see where the gate is.

Lucy has been running around like a crazy beast out back. She's so happy to have room to spread out.


Around the house I've been switching up some little bits of decor to make things feel a little more like Thanksgiving and to gear up for the real exciting time of year... Christmas! Yup, get ready.

I threw together this harvest-y centerpiece for the dining room table:


(Lucy must love it because she's pretty much melting over there in the background. This is why I call her The Puddle.) The woven disc I got at Target for around $1.50, and the candlesticks were from Goodwill for 50 cents each. The gourds I had gotten earlier for a buck or two I think. The whole thing was super cheap. And together it reminds me of a flattened cornucopia. In a good way.

I also switched up the telephone table to make it a little less Halloween-ish and more late-fall-early-winter-ish. (These are real words.)



I love this apothecary jar. I feel kind of like a scientist with my specimens, but I believe that whatever you put in a glass jar instantly becomes lovely. I just picked up a branch with some berries on it while on one of my walks with Lucy. Then I snipped some dying dried hydrangeas from one of our bushes in the front yard. I stuck some cinnamon sticks at the bottom, and voila! A beautiful little November time capsule.

Next to that I also filled a glass hurricane with some lovely glittery apples:


I've already started planning out my holiday decorations so it won't stay like this for long! Seriously, Branden developed his plans for the exterior lights weeks ago and is planning on purchasing multiple spools of lights to string the day after Thanksgiving. We're crazy over here, I know. But it's our first Christmas in a real home... you really can't blame us for wanting to get into the spirit early!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Slow... but steady, at least?

I know, I know, it's been almost two weeks since my last update. I've been a rotten blogger! I haven't updated because there's really hasn't been too much to report.

Since we finished all of the major renovation in the bathroom (walls, ceiling, tile, paint) we're down to just the annoying little details, which is why we haven't been quite as gung-ho to "git 'er done" as we were at the start. We're stuck with tedious jobs like putting up trim (Branden's the math whiz so that is allll on him, thank you), painting the endless little nooks in the beadboard, and painting all the trim throughout the room (and there's a lot of it).

That said, on to what we have done...

We installed a snazzy new light fixture:


It's chrome with white details. I just love the shape of it... the mount looks almost like a shower faucet!

I threw together some super cheap art (coast about $13 total, I think) for the walls:


This consisted of buy-one-get-one-free frames with mats, downloading free images from 19th century zoology books, and making prints at wal-mart for a few cents each. Yup, I said super cheap and I wasn't kidding.

We've got most of the trim up around the room, but you can see where we skipped over the particularly challenging cuts in the image above... don't judge. We'll get to it. But it makes our brains hurt.

So here's the room as it stands now.



I have a really hard time capturing this color, but it's a hint more blue and brighter than it looks here. I'm too lazy to correct these in Photoshop before I post them, so take my word for it. :)

We've got unfinished trim, beadboard to paint, and the shower tiles still need a good amount of grout scrubbed off of them:


Like I said, don't judge. We'll get there!