Archive for December, 2010
Every year we publicly proclaim a few of our resolutions in the hope that it’ll light a fire under our arse (arses?) and help us “get there.” So without further ado (except for this gratuitous Clara picture) here they are…
Resolution #1. To be more bold with our decorating & renovating choices. We want to embrace color and contrast and just have fun without worrying that we’ll mess up. Mistakes are always when we learn the most about a project or our style, so we’re going to welcome them with open arms. And we hope to do our best to resist always going with the “safest” decisions in favor of taking a few chances and diving in with both feet. Wait that doesn’t make sense. Jumping in with both feet? How about cannonballing? Sounds good to us. It probably means there will also be the occasional belly flop, but we’re ok with that too.
Resolution #2. To find balance. We’re going to try our darndest not to fall into the trap of putting all of our time, money, and energy into the house to the point that we have no life, no savings, and Clara is trapped in our casa for her entire childhood. We’d love to remember to plan family trips (we haven’t been on a big vacation since our honeymoon three and a half years ago other than some low key road trips and family beach weeks) and just take time to enjoy visits to the park and the zoo and the occasional meal out. Since the internet is 24/7, sometimes it’s hard to resist working nights, weekends, and even on vacation so we hope to get a handle on that. Now that we have a wee one, some healthy family-friendly balance seems like a good idea.
Resolution #3. To save more money. We’re already pretty frugal (ok, we’re total tightwads) as you can see here, but we’d like to learn more ways to squirrel away cash for a rainy day (or retirement, or the college fund…). For example, we have no idea how to coupon. In fact we only recently learned that it could be used as a verb after watching this crazy show on TLC. But now we’d like to learn the act of couponing (but by no means will we take it as far as the people on that TLC special). Yesterday we gave it a whirl and ended up saving $19 at the grocery store. Not bad for two people who had no idea what they were doing. So we’re ready to learn more. From virtually loading our Kroger card with online coupons to buying the Sunday paper for the insert and even printing out online coupons when they’re something we actually buy, we’ll give it a try. And we’ll share how it goes if we happen to get the hang of it.
Resolution #4. To take the people-pleasing thing down a notch. As we mentioned during our blogiversary, “after three years we’ve learned that it’s impossible to please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” Gone are the days when we could write about whatever was happening at our house without someone (usually in the nicest way possible) telling us what to change. Like that we should post less or more, do bigger or smaller projects, share more or less family stuff, do more or fewer mood boards, etc. Basically, if we listened to everyone who told us how to alter YHL for the better, we’d pretty much have to scrap everything. And we might be crazy, but we like how we blog! It has gotten us to where we are today. Over two million hits a month is crazy (ok, mind-blowingly insane) to us.
We actually really enjoy sharing real-time diary-style entries about what’s going on as it occurs (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the average day-in-the-life stuff) along with whatever inspires us – just like we did back in 2007 when this whole adventure started. One week we might be flying along and the next week we may be as slow as molasses – but hey, that’s real life (with real budget constraints, snafus, & timeline challenges). There’s always HGTV for those 30 minute makeovers, so we’re all about the stuff in the middle. In the end, we know that as our blog continues to grow and evolve, some people will like it less while others may enjoy it more. Which is completely ok. It has to be! So this Bill
Compton Cosby gem is our new mantra: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Here’s hoping we can trust ourselves to share our lives in a way that feels the most authentic to us.
Resolution #5. To teach Clara a few key home improvement and decorating terms. Like “phillips head screwdriver.” And “cohesive.” Can you image how cute a toddler who says things like “keep it cohesive” would be?
Or is that just my sick fantasy? My dad taught me the word “dehydrated” when I was a tiny tot and I’d walk around saying “I’m dehydrated” instead of requesting water or juice like the other kids in daycare. So dramatic. And I can just picture Clara pointing around the room and saying “drywall,” “hardwoods,” and “baseboard” instead of “wall” and “floor.” Could be funny…
Pssst- Check out our weekly photo project featuring the beanette here.
Pssssst- Peep one more (kid related) resolution over on BabyCenter. Any good faux curse suggestions?
When we saw the amazing after Christmas sales at West Elm we had to spring for a new king sized duvet buddy for Ed the bed (get acquainted with Ed here and here). Even though Ed’s a queen sized bed, we wanted a king duvet cover because we thought it would drape a bit more over the sides (our old full/queen sized duvet cover was looking a little tight). Plus it’ll hopefully result in fewer sleep fights about who has more of the covers. So here’s what we got:
We love that it’s bright, bold, geometric, and full of energy. It just looks nice to wake up to. Plus it has a lot of the colors from our new house color scheme going on. And thanks to some huge holiday sales, the king sized duvet cover was marked down from $80 to $50:
Does anyone else love the red sale type as much as I do? I just get giddy when I click on something and those four little red letters (s-a-l-e) are there to greet me. And I’m greedy. So I googled around for a coupon code to knock those red numbers down to a little more.
It ended up being $42.49 after the discount I dug up (around $50 total with tax & delivery), which we’re pretty excited about since it’s king sized. For some reason that size always sounds like it should cost thirty gold bars or something- it’s just so regal and Henry The Eighth-esque. So while we wait the obligatory five-ish business days, we’ll be dreaming of Ed dressed in his new king-sized uniform.
Godspeed new duvet cover. Godspeed.
It’s no secret that the real improvement we need to make to our new laundry area is in the upgrading to energy efficient appliances arena along with adding some nice built-in storage to maximize that tiny room. But as we save up and plan for those upgrades, we took a few hours after Clara’s bedtime a few days ago to tackle some smaller items on our laundry list. Pun intended.
First we went to work on the glass side door. You know, the one that gave everyone a straight shot from our carport, through the laundry area and into our kitchen (here I am being creepy and demonstrating the problem, which you can read more about here).
Since we were eager to get rid of this bi-fold door that was currently acting as a privacy solution in the interim…
… at first we figured we’d throw up a cheap wooden blind over the glass side door, remove the dark pocket door, and consider our problem solved. Well, after buying a bamboo rolling shade from Home Depot, we realized how much light it blocked and after learning that our kitchen is a black hole in the mornings (it’s the only room with no windows to the outside world- the window above the sink looks out into the sunroom) we didn’t want anything that would block too much light.
That’s when we opted to go the frosting film route. We used the same materials / techniques that we employed in our basement a while ago, so you can read that step-by-step guide here (and see what film we chose). The only issue we ran into this time was bubbles.
Some serious, annoying, won’t-go-away bubbles. You always have these at some point of this process, but it usually just takes a few squeegees to get them out. But these bubbles weren’t bursting, no matter how hard Sherry squeegeed. And it totally burst our bubble (too corny- had to cross it out).
We hoped it was just an issue with not having applied enough applicator spray to each surface, but we feared it was a problem with the temperature of the side door (instructions said not to apply it in under 40 degree weather, which it definitely was on the other side of that glass). We crossed our fingers, peeled off the permanently bubbled film, scraped some residual glue off of the window, and readied ourselves to try again (fortunately our leftover scrap of film was perfectly sized for a second attempt). And this time we used a boatload more of the applicator solution to keep things nice and slippery so no bubbles could take permanent hold.
And it worked. Phew.
Our next little project was the removal of those shelves next to the door. We love bonus storage just as much as the next blogger, but we couldn’t figure out exactly what we’d want there since it’s not concealed- and we learned that coming through the door with our hands full meant that we routinely bumped into whatever was on those shelves anyway. So we decided to take them down and instead turn it into a place to hang art or a frame collage someday. Every laundry room needs a little space for the eye to rest and art always makes it feel a bit more welcoming and less utilitarian. At least that’s what the wife says. She’s more of the decorating brains. And I’m the take-those-shelves-down brawn. Although Sherry does get down with the power tools when the mood strikes.
While I was in the midst of unscrewing things (despite it being about 10:30pm) we thought we’d keep the momentum going and get rid of the shutters on the laundry room window too (to make room for an eventual set of blinds/roman shade/curtain).
So by morning, our laundry area was looking more like this:
No shutters, no shelves, but a bit of touch up painting to be done.
And we’re still getting a nice stream of morning light coming into the otherwise pitch black kitchen in the early morning. Frosting film was definitely the (nice cheap) way to go.
Have you guys frosted windows with the same film stuff from Home Depot? Have you ever encountered the not-coming-out-no-matter-how-hard-you-squeegee-bubble problem? Was it due to temperature or lack of applicator spray? Or something else entirely?
Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winners back on the original post. Click here to see if it’s you.