Notice Anything Different?


Yup, after months of working on a little behind the scenes blog makeover (not kidding, this stuff literally takes us months) we’ve FINALLY let ‘er rip. Like any project, there were unexpected delays: mysterious coding glitches, inexplicable site crashes (thanks for your patience on those, btw), an earthquake and even a hurricane to round things out. But before we let another excuse get in our way, we decided to just go for it. It’s not 100% done. It may crash the site again. There could be a blizzard next week. Who knows. It’s actually surprising to us that we haven’t done this sooner. We’ve had the same exact blog look/background/layout since the spring of 2008

A Few Leafy Fall Themed Baby Shower Ideas


Alternate punny title: Leaf it to me. Oh yeah, there’s nothing like a little corniness on a Tuesday afternoon. I blame it on being downright giddy to have power again. Ohthankgoodness. Anyway, this weekend before the chaos that was Irene I actually helped with a little bridal shower for our cousin Megan who is getting hitched this fall. John’s mom hosted the sweet informal gathering at her place, and each one of the daughters (and in this case, me the daughter-in-law) were asked to bring a few things. I was in charge of a bowl of candy, and a little bit of table decor. Nothing too crazy, just a few small touches to hopefully get

Cabinet Painting Prep


We were humming along on our way to updating our $6 cabinets with some primer and glossy white paint until the whole hurricane thing took out our power (update: miracle of all miracles, it’s back on, and we’ve never loved electricity more). So the three day outage robbed us of our cabinet mojo since John has some building to do (which necessitates the use of a few electric tools like drills and saws) before we paint and reassemble everything in the office. Thankfully we did get to tackle all of the prepping and priming before the outage, and took about a million photos of the process (who’s surprised?). So we figured that part of the

Fab Freebie: Sign Me Up


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Thanks to, our trio of winners are…Kristen (who just signed up for Pinterest and is already addicted, but hasn’t had the guts to do anything yet), Victoria DeVaugh-Geiss (who just signed her up for a gym with her husband) and Robyn (who sadly just signed up for unemployment after having been laid off). If you’re name isn’t here, don’t forget you can still get $10 off your Signs by Andrea order with code YHL10 through September 12th. Weathered old wood? Check. Simple clean lettering. Check. Personalized and hand-made? Double check. Signs by Andrea hit a lot of our favorite decorating notes, which

Mean Irene


As many of  you know, Hurricane Irene swept up the east coast on Saturday afternoon and evening, bringing lots of wind and rain along with it. Sadly, our neighborhood didn’t fare very well with high wind gusts slamming a bunch of giant trees down on power lines, roads, and even homes. Thankfully, our house was spared. But many of our neighbors and friends weren’t so lucky. It broke our hearts to look out from our patio to see that a tree in our neighbor’s yard had fallen onto their home (it easily could have hit ours if it fell in the other direction). Thankfully although they were both home with their two dogs at the

The 8 Month Difference…


After yesterdays first house vs. current house comparison, this comment from Jess definitely got our wheels turning: “I think its an unfair comparison to put 8 months of work at the current place up against 4 + years at the old. You should have compared current photos from this house to what your old house looked like 8 months after you moved in there!!” Well, that’s probably not quite fair either, since we’ve definitely learned a ton in the last five years of homeownership (and also spend a lot more time doing house stuff these days since this DIY diary of ours is our job)… but we’re game! It’s Friday. But oh boy is this

First House Vs. Current House


Last Friday on this post we got this comment and thought it sounded like a good time: “I love your videos and it’s crazy to see the difference in YHL style from the first house to this house! If you wanted to do a side-by-side of rooms past and present, I wouldn’t hate it :)” – Sarah I decided I wouldn’t hate it either. So here we go. It’s a battle to the death. First house vs. current house. Cue the dramatic music and picture me in a Gladiator outfit. Of course it’s kind of an unfair fight since we’ve been in this house for eight months and it took us four and a half

Redoing An Old Rocking Chair: Part Two


Ok I’m back with part two of the madness that is Me vs. Rocker. But remember my disclaimer from yesterday’s post that this entire process was much like when aliens took over my body and I made a quilt for Clara, which is to say: I went rogue. I took in all the advice from you guys along with some google tips and some suggestions from a reupholstering-fiend friend of mine… and just played it by ear and did what seemed to work as I went along. I mean, it’s not a family heirloom, it’s a $25 craigslist find. But enough chatter, heeeeere we go. Although there was a sneak peek pic of the almost-finished

Redoing An Old Rocking Chair: Part 1


That’s right. I broke out the word dastardly. And I know we should be hard at work on our office cabinets, but that’s a big job (aka: a weekend job – maybe even a two-weekend job) and I have been giving this rocker the stink eye since November (yes, even before we moved). For anyone who can’t even remember that far back (me), here’s a recap: I originally picked it up off of Craigslist for $25 because I really liked the simple lines of it. Then it sat untouched for over nine months until this weekend. Why? Well, no sooner had I gotten it home than I realized I had no earthly idea how to

Cabinet Hunting (No Store Left Unturned)


First of all- holy cow. We just had a crazy earthquake a few minutes ago. Very strong! It was completely unexpected for our area (we’ve never had a strong one before). The epicenter was right outside of Richmond (only about 35 miles from our house) and it registered about a 5.9! We’ve even heard from friends up in NY who felt it. Miraculously nothing fell off the walls or broke, but the whole house shook violently and it was insanely loud (we all gathered under a steel-enforced doorway and stared at each other). So yes, we were all shaken up by it but very thankful that we’re ok and hope that everyone else who experienced

The Best $6 We Ever Spent


Last weekend we journeyed two hours north to Arlington, Virginia so Clara could have some quality time with her cousin Elsa (and apparently so my cousin Travis and I could rock some daddy-plaid, shorts, flip flops, and matching Kettler bikes together (the latter of which were both his, found for a huge deal on craigslist). While there, Elsa’s mom, Cat (who is Sherry’s BFF that we introduced to my cousin back in 2007 – and now they’re married with two kids) took us to this cool shop in Old Town, Alexandra called Red Barn Mercantile. It had tons of beautiful stuff, but what caught our eye most was this bowl of vintage printing press letters.

Fab Freebie: It’s A One-derful Life


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Thanks to, our four winners are…Kathryn (who wants to know how long this paint will keep, since she’s in an apartment now), Kristen: Turning A House Into A Home (who wonders if it’s better to dust or vacuum first), Alisa Decatur (who’d like to get to the bottom of her daughter’s summer-time procrastination) and Kassie (who wants to know how much painting she’ll be doing when she buys a house). Congrats ladies! Toss on some old clothes, because four of you are about to get painting. This week’s giveaway will cover everything you’ll need, starting with $60 worth of Olympic ONE paint.

Making A Compost Bin From Pallets


Ever since we started composting back in 2008 at our old house, we’ve enjoyed doing it (snaps for free fertilizer, reusing “trash,” and getting some subtle encouragement to eat more compost-able foods). But our composting adventures have been somewhat limited by the size of the DIY compost container that we made 3 years ago (we did eventually make a second bin, but it’s nothing like those bigger composting systems that we’ve seen at stores or in DIY magazines). Even back in 2008 when we created our little bin, I initially wanted to make a more “legit” system out of shipping pallets (like I read about here and here) but hunting down and transporting a bunch

Any Given Day

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Can you believe it has already been almost five months since we shared a house tour with you guys? So I decided to walk around with the Flip cam and show you how each room can look on an average day (since we had lots of fun with a no-cleaning-first tour back in April). And yes, this is the real deal. I didn’t pick up a thing (as demonstrated by my embarrassing bra on the chair in our bedroom, so just pretend you didn’t see that, ok?). Oh and for those of you who are at work, you can watch it on mute and pretty much get the gist of the average everyday glory. Or

Anatomy Of An Ikea Visit


First off, this post wasn’t paid for or perked by Ikea. We just wanted to share a recent pilgrimage. And we like them (especially with this cool announcement). Anyway, some people say you can tell a lot about a person by looking in their purse, their closet, maybe even their iPod. But what may give you a good peek into our lives is a look into our car trunk… after a trip to Ikea. This was the scene after a recent trip. It was our first since my parents moved out of the same area as the Ikea (which is about 90 minutes away) meaning no more quick stops after a family visit. Clearly, we’ve

Updating Old Brass Hardware & Handles With Spray Paint


How you like them handles? (Handles, apples. It’s all the same. Right Matt Damon? What? You don’t think Matt Damon reads this blog? Of course he doesn’t.) Anyway, I’m back to share the hardware makeover play-by-play and a ton of pics that we couldn’t squeeze into our door-painting post on Wednesday. So fasten your seat belts. Oh yeah, it’s gonna get crazy. First I have a secret. The hardware on our sliding doors in the living room looked like this: Le yikes, right? It’s all sorts of bad with the swoopy handle and the Donald Trump-ish gold finish. Sidenote: remember when I had a dream about The Donald? Memories. If you look a little closer

The Office Madness Begins…


Two things first: We updated yesterday’s door-painting post with further-away exterior shots for everyone who requested those (and also updated our header- woot). Sherry knows she owes you a door hardware post (she’s editing pics and writing it up for tomorrow) but just to keep you dizzy, now we’ll dive into some office stuff. Told you we were all over the place these days! Hot on the heels of our recent nursery furniture shuffle, we decided it was high time that we got shifty with our nothing-has-changed-in-eight-months office sitch (functional or comfortable aren’t words we’d use to describe that space thus far). Actually, adding a file cabinet was the first step (other than that it’s

How To Paint Your Front Door


We’re back as promised with the whole front door shebang. First, here’s what we started with: Yup, it was an old maroon storm door with three issues: 1) the grids didn’t match up with the six paneled door behind it, 2) it was always jamming, and 3) it didn’t latch closed very well, so it would bang open in a storm. It was nothing but a nuisance to us, so we opted to go storm-doorless (just like we chose to do in our first house) since we didn’t use it once in eight whole months (we have a screen/storm door on the side of the house that we occasionally use along with screen doors in

Guess What I’m Up To?


Allow me to share a few hints: y-e-l-l-o-w-d-o-o-r Yup, I’m painting our front door the happiest of shades: rain boot yellow! That’s not the real name of the paint swatch that we settled on, I just think it’s the perfect way to describe the glossy sunny yellow that we chose. I was hoping to share some after pics, but alas, this is real life and all the prep work took longer than I thought. Boo. The good news is that I’m done with the drilling, the spackling, the sanding, and the deglossing. So all that general readying stuff is out of the way. And if all goes well I’ll be back with a ton of

Fab Freebie: Talk About Home Improvement


*** This contest is no longer accepting entries – see who won below! *** got his random on and selected our winner as… Tracey @ Tropical Happiness (who just moved into a new house last week so she has lots of shopping to do). Congrats! For everyone else, keep that chin up – you can still enter the Hometalk $500 Lowe’s gift card giveaway through Sunday. You may already know that Hometalk is a community of home improvement experts (including some familiar HGTV faces) and fellower DIYers sharing home and garden projects, advice, and even contractors. And for this week’s giveaway they’re majorly hooking someone up… to the tune of a $500 gift card

Moving & Shaking (Rearranging The Nursery)


We’re knee deep in the middle of a bunch o’ projects (in the office, the dining room, and the living room- yeah we’re all over the place), so we thought we’d share the one thing we actually completed in the meantime, which was a little moving (and some obligatory shaking) when it came to Clara’s nursery. Here’s what it looked like mid-chaos (chaos = really bad pics): Why the furniture shuffle? Well, we arranged it for Clara’s seven month old self (she wasn’t even crawling when we moved in) and now she’s a fifteen month old walking fiend with a lot wider “wingspan” so we had to make some changes to keep her safe slash

Adding Hardware To An Ikea Cabinet (And Hiding The Printer)


So as much as you guys gushed over our temporary string handles for our new Effektiv file cabinet (note: this is sarcasm), we did scoop up some actual hardware that we much prefer. They’re black glass handles that were originally $9, but Hobby Lobby (aka Schlobby Bobby) was having one of those perpetual 50% off sales, so they were $4.50 a pop instead. As I mentioned here, I was a bit nervous about installing them, since it was up to me to make sure they were all centered and level (Sherry + measuring = meltdown). So I triple-measured and even made myself a little guide out of card stock. First, I figured out that my

Sayin’ Thanks… That Summer Ain’t Quite Over


**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but today we’ll be back in a few hours with an update on how we upgraded our new office file storage. Who’s excited? Yup, it’s time again for our monthly sponsor shout out (you know, to thank the folks who make our other 30-some posts possible). But does the fact that August is here mean summer’s almost over? Say it ain’t so! So we’re using this month’s thank you to remind ourselves to embrace the warm weather while it’s here. Most of the items below caught our eye because they make us want to be outside, bring the outdoors in, or otherwise bask in the summery

That’s Not My Signature


Knowing we’re always game for a decorating quiz (like these of the past), our Twitter buddy Shelley sent us the link to Ethan Allen’s “What’s Your Signature” quiz a few days back. It, like any other non-scientific “what’s your style” quiz, was a just-for-fun attempt to define your decorating personality – this time in terms of Ethan Allen’s “Signature Lifestyles.” It was also remarkably speedy (style quizzes = fun, belabored twenty minute style quizzes = not fun). It just asked you to click one of two images based on what “grabs you first,” which was actually kind of a fun way to let your gut instincts take over. Heck, I even found myself randomly choosing