May Superlatives


Note: This is a retroactive post that I cobbled together in December of 2011 so I could make this page full of monthly recaps for the entire year (our first in our new house!). Yup, I’m just a bit type A. So here’s what we tackled throughout the month of May – high school yearbook style. Most Improved: Organizing The Insanely Cluttered “Playroom” (more like “disaster area”). Biggest Procrastinator: Painting The Dining Room (after living with swatches for five months) Most Repetitive: Mounting Prints On Canvases (Not Once But Twice) Most Outdoorsy: Sketched Up An Outdoor “Floor Plan” (not to scale though – oops – the house is way too big & our almost-acre lot

Aren’t Mother-In-Laws The Best?


When Sherry’s mom was here a couple of weekends ago for Clara’s birthday party she clocked more than her fair share of hours helping us clean the house in preparation. Perhaps her most miraculous accomplish was in the future playroom / second kids bedroom (aka: current junkroom) which looked like this when she arrived (no kidding): Since our junk basically screamed “I Will Topple Over On Your Baby!” we were just planning to close and lock the door during the party to keep all of the littler guests away from certain death. That plan went to pot when we realized that we couldn’t physically close the door anymore (mainly due to the poorly timed delivery

It’s About Darn Time


It was January when we painted three test swatches of gray on our dining room walls. It took us just days to pick the color but apparently took us, yeah, um, FOUR MONTHS to finally paint the room. I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing – our painting laziness or my rockin’ farmer’s tan. Anyway, I searched my brain for some sort of an excuse for the dining room paint delay. Maybe we were too tired at the end of the day in January that we spent painting the living room and hallway the same color? Or we were too distracted by completing the guest room for Sherry’s mom’s February visit? Or we were too consumed

Fab Freebie: Remote Control


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Thanks to, our lucky winner is… Kasie (who would like to have a button to push that would clean and organize her house). Congrats! Hope everyone’s having a good Memorial Day. We’re enjoying some family time but wanted to drop in with this week’s giveaway. Break out your iPhone and get ready for a prize that’s putting the “hot” in Wi-Fi Hotspot. Actually, you can put your phone away for now (unless you’re reading this post on it). But if you’re the winner of the Filtrete Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat your iPhone, iPad, or Android device will really come in handy. As you

Budget Blooms: Birthday Leftovers


You may have noticed a bouquet in the middle of the table for Clara’s party two weeks ago. Well, sadly some of those blooms are no longer among the living: But there are a few that are still going strong, so I decided to drop them into three of my favorite vases (from Ikea a while back) for this happy little effect: And yes, they’re on the windowsill in our bathroom. Just because I realized that we have never had any flowers in that room (there are all sorts of “firsts” in this house for me – including flowers in the bathroom) so I had to revel in the first-bathroom-blooms occurrence. It feels good to

Full Circle


This is a free Dremel that I got from the DIY Network. I know what this looks like. Like I’ve broken our no-free-swag rule. But this was given to me back in 2003, long before our self-imposed policy took effect (hence its worse-for-wear appearance). Heck, it even pre-dates our blog, our first home purchase, and even our relationship (we didn’t meet until 2004, and didn’t start dating ’til 2005). So now you’re probably wondering what the single, 21-year-old, apartment-dwelling, college student version of me did to deserve a free tool from a home improvement network. Well, it’s because I was currently rocking the prestigious title of “intern.” That’s me in August of 2003 on the

Using Acrylic Medium To Glue A Large Print To A Canvas


Woo to the hoo. Our master bedroom horse art arrived, so we’re back to share the whole how-to-affix-them-to-canvas adventure. The title might have already given it away, but even though they arrived on Monday afternoon (spoiler alert) it took two attempts to get ‘er done in this instance. First I went with the ol’ spray adhesive route (for $4 from JoAnn with a coupon), since I used this for anything and everything back in my art school days (it was like the duct tape of our world). It’s usually a great candidate since it’s acid free (which means it’s good for not ruining prints) and it’s listed as “all purpose” and “permanent” right on the

House Crashing: A Sleek & Happy Home


This house just makes me smile, so of course I had to House Crash the heck out of it and share it with you guys. Behold- the eye candy that is Kelly Moore’s amazing casa. You might know her from her killer photography blog (all of her DIY-related posts can be found here) or her genius line of camera bags. But you don’t really know a person until you poke around their house, so let’s get to it. We’ll start in the kitchen, where Kelly and her husband whipped up some extra thick homemade concrete counters (and shared a tutorial right here). Everything from the happy painted cabinets to the apron sink and the sleek

Let’s Take It Outside (Again)


Ok, so lots of people (me included) found this original exterior tour of our yard a bit hard to follow. Our first house was nice and simple. We could describe the back and the front and the sides and call it a day with this ol’ post of yore, which even included this little sketch: But this house is just waaay more complicated. Even though both lots are about the same size (almost an acre) this one is a lot less long and narrow than the last one. It’s more fat and square-ish. And it has a lot more quirks like this little alley between the original part of the house and the addition in

How To Make A Sweet Spring / Birthday Table Runner


I’m not a runner, but I can make one. I used to run track and cross country in middle school and high school. I actually ran a 5:09 mile once (with the help of some downhill portions of a course and the fact that I was like 80 lbs). It happened once and never again (I usually clocked in between 6:20 and 7:10). But those days are gone (due partially to an ankle injury but mostly to laziness). Now I only run when I’m being chased. Or when I lose track of the baby. But making a runner? That I can do. You guys actually got a sneak peek of my recent runner creation in

Fab Freebies: Family Ties


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Although only 3 will win free prints, everyone can score free shipping on Genuinely Yours orders before June 30th with code YHL2011FS. And according to, our trio of winners are… Alicia (whose family all shares their mom’s dark eyes), Sondra (who feels like she gave birth to three exact clones of her husband) and Erica (whose first two kids have her eyes, but the third got daddy’s). Congrats ladies! This giveaway combines some of our favorite things: silhouettes, colorful art, and family (if there were a ceramic animal or a map involved, our heads might explode). So needless to say, this prize

My Little Ponies


First, let’s appreciate how fun My Little Ponies really were. I think I had around 6 as a child. And it was magical. But in house-news-that’s-somewhat-related-to-the-throwback-mention-above, after what feels like months (ok, it actually has been months) we’re finally ready to fill the empty wall space on either side of the sink nook in our bedroom with something. And since I had fun making a little Pinterst inspired painting (but then resolutely decided that I didn’t want it to live in the bedroom)… It was time for John and I to have a few long chats about what we really wanted to fill the empty space across from the bed (no pressure, we’ll just wake

Clara’s Weekly Baby Photo Project Continues… Sorta


Clara’s first birthday last Saturday made for a natural conclusion to 52 weeks of fabric-filled photo-y goodness (click here to see ’em larger). But we’re going to keep going. Kind of. Before we move on to that though, let’s talk about the last photo-filled year. We’re just as surprised as anyone that we managed to maintain our weekly ritual fifty-two times in a row. In fact, today is the first Friday in 12 months that we haven’t busted out the camera, a yard of discount fabric, and a white-onesied Clara, and then used Photoshop to add the week number to her onesie after the fact. It’s kinda sad in a way. But just looking at

How To Make A Simple Geometric Canvas Painting


What is it about painting that makes me feel all frenchified and beret-worthy? Anyway, I finally got around to painting one of the giant (and deeply discounted) 40 x 30″ canvases that we scored for $23 from Michael’s thanks to 50% off with an additional 25% off on top of that (more details about how that happened at the end of this post). Ever since discovering this inspirational poster design from here (thanks to my good friend Pinterest) I knew I wanted to adapt it a bit. You know, go wide instead of vertical and have some fun with a few $2 paint samples from Lowe’s (total spent on paint: $9 for three pots which

How To Build A Fence (At The Last Minute)


As several of you noticed in Monday’s party recap, our patio area boasted another feature on Saturday (beyond more balloons and little kids than you can count). Yep, there’s a new 6′ privacy fence going on back there. When did it get installed? In the sliver of days between completing the patio and hosting the party. But time was so tight that I didn’t get to blog about it until after the bean’s shindig (aka: today). Here’s how it all went down up. Throughout my patio-ing, Sherry regularly reminded that me she wanted to beef up the fence situation between us and the neighbor before Clara’s birthday party. Her goal was to prevent this big

How To Make A Pull String Piñata (It’s Easy!)


We had a bunch of requests for a tutorial on Clara’s pull sting piñata, so here ya go. And if you have no interest in this project but want to blow off some steam after work you could easily turn this post into a drinking game and take a sip every time I say the word piñata. But beware, you won’t be ok to drive afterwards. Anyway, I had never heard of a pull string piñata until I got some unsolicited baby party catalog with one and I instantly realized that it was a genius idea for wee ones. Clara’s not exactly strong enough (or coordinated enough) to whack a regular piñata with a bat,

Adding Some Linen Slipcovers (And Shrinking Them To Fit)


Remember back when we got our conference room slash hotel-ish parsons chairs on Craiglist for $25 a pop? We always envisioned cheerful apple green ones (and even tried a crazy chair-painting project with limited zero success) so in the end we admitted that slipcovers or reupholstering would be the way to go. And after a long a$$ time spent going back and forth between the merits of slipcovers and reupholstering we decided that slipcovers would ultimately be the best choice for us (since we love the idea of tossing them into the wash). But we didn’t want anything fussy and long for fear of taking the dining room from hotel conference room to hotel banquet

Fab Freebie: Give Me Liberty


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** According to, our lucky winner who is getting their wish for Liberty is: Cindy A (who joins the crowd who loves oil-rubbed bronze). Congrats! If clothes make the man, you might say that hardware makes the kitchen. So it’s pretty sweet that Liberty Hardware is hooking one of you up with the chance to give your whole kitchen (or bathroom, for that matter) a major facelift thanks to $400 (yep, four-zero-zero) worth of knobs, pulls, switch plates, hooks, or anything else from their stylin’ catalog. So this could be your shot to make your kitchen more modern with sleek stainless steel pulls

Hosting A House Party For Clara’s First Birthday


Oh man did we party like it was 1999. Clara’s big birthday bash was so much fun, and even the weather miraculously cleared up for us (which I fully contribute to all the anti rain dances you guys did – so thanks). Of course you’re all virtually invited, so let’s get this show on the road. Here’s what the living room looked like decorated with some giant balloons and the fabric flag banner that I begrudgingly made for the bean just minutes before the first guests arrived. On the other side of the room I hung a paper pendant that I made a while back above the hallway sliders and John taped up all of

Party Planning: Clara’s First Birthday


Clara’s big birthday shindig is tomorrow! Along with her actual birthday. It seems utterly insane to think that this time last year she was just arriving. Oy, how time flies. And since so many of you were asking for par-tay details I figured I’d toss up a quick little pre-party-prep post about all of my “supplies” for the bean’s big day. You’ll have to excuse me if you think I’m going overboard. I’m just a little obsessed with our girl and we’re so honored and excited to celebrate her first year here (more on the reasons for my über appreciative b-day behavior here). First I made Martha’s ubiquitous paper poms with tissue paper and some

May-ny Thanks


**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but today we’ll be back in a few hours with Clara’s b-day party-planning details (we’re in the middle of a DIY piñata and the jury is still out on it). Yup, it’s time for our monthly “thanks y’all!” to our sponsors for helping us keep this ol’ blog up and running (and making our other 30-some posts possible). Plus, since this weekend marks our 1-year anniversary of both being full-time bloggers, we’re feeling particularly grateful to them (and to all of you!) for making that happen. If you told us a few years ago that our job title would someday be “blogger” we’d think you were

Dog Days & Cloth Diapers


Here’s a little peek behind the scenes at our house (oh what glamorous and exciting lives we lead). Cloth diapers can be laying out in a sunny windowsill to dry, and a strange devil-may-care chihuahua might come prancing along… … and decide to do a little birdwatching… … followed by some leisurely lounging… … right on top of the diapers. What a weirdo, right? But he’s our weirdo. (Cue the collective “aww.”) And since one of the most common questions that we get has nothing to do with home improvement we figured we owed you guys an answer. It’s always some iteration of “How are you liking cloth diapers? Is it harder now that Clara’s

Listy McListerson (Updated)


We thought it was high time we updated our to-do list (which you first saw here) now that we’ve lived here five months and crossed off a few things (and added about a million more, which just seems to be how it goes). As for how we keep things straight, we just write everything out in one big list, circle the small things that we want to tackle right away, cross things off as we go, and underline the long term things that that we want to save for and tackle when we finally have the funds (and are feeling more sure about our approach so there’s no shoulda-woulda-coulda going on later). Looking at those

How To Build A Paver Patio: It’s DONE!


Hallelujah, the patio is done! I’ve caught my breath a little bit and regained feeling in most of my muscles, so I’m back to tell you the end of the tale. Let’s see, where did we leave off? Oh yeah, with us me passed out on the mostly-laid pavers late Friday night. As you know from Sherry’s post yesterday, we took Saturday off to have some family time / start Mother’s Day early. Then on Sunday afternoon, I decided to take an hour or two to finish cutting the pavers around the edge. Apparently my day away from patio made me forget how much effort each step of this process takes. My “hour or two”