December Superlatives

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Holy cow, is it really going to be 2012 on Sunday? December flew by. So before it scoots away for good, we like to take a moment to look back on all that we’ve done at a glance (and gather all the links in one handy place for ya). And of course we tossed in some never-before-seen stuff for kicks. This month we were all over the place as usual, but focused a lot of our time on the kitchen along with tackling a few other projects in rooms like the living room and the hallway while shoving a decent portion of holiday fun in there too. So let’s take a walk down memory lane,

Priming In Progress!

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Between finalizing our 260+ page book manuscript (due Jan 4th- ack!) and hosting/enjoying family time (and lots of delicious food), we’ve also been priming! Can I get a “holla!”? Or more likely, a “you’re crazy.” Thank goodness our guests are so understanding! Oh man, and it feels great to be seeing some progress. The beauty of primer is that it always looks a little rough (so you don’t have to stress about getting it to look perfect). By nature, it’s just a sticky sub-layer that helps grab paint and hold on for the long haul, so as long as you apply things thinly and evenly (drips = baaaaad), you’re all set to just follow the

Twenty-Twelve Resolutions

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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 and very much in-progress pic of the cabinet doors being primed)… … here they are: Resolution #1 – To Get Around: We’re excited for 2012 to be a good travel year for us, since we have been invited to speak at the Portland Home & Garden Show in February (really? us?) and at the Haven Conference in Atlanta in June (we’re the keynote speakers, which makes us excited and nauseous all at the same time). So we’ll hopefully get to

Prepping Cabinets For Paint (Sanding, Deglossing, Wood Putty)

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I guess that title should really be “Puttering Around With Putty (aka: Wood Filler) And Sandpaper And A Spackle Knife And Deglosser.” But that was too long. In a nutshell, we prepped all of our cabinets for primer by: puttying all of our cabinet frames and drawers and doors sanding everything (to smooth the putty and rough things up for primer) deglossing everything (to further aid with adhesion) laying all doors and drawers out in the sunroom (on lifts) so we’re ready to prime But that’s not enough detail for chatterbugs like us. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty. First we used Elmer’s ProBond Professional Strength Wood Filler (we asked around for a favorite filler

Fab Freebie: Gotta Hand It To You

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***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Thanks to random.org, we’ve got a Merry (belated) Christmas prize going out to… Kristin Aune (who made t-shirts for both of her kids, ornaments, buckeyes and has been trying to perfect her fudge pie recipe). Congrats! Wahoo. Hope you guys all had an awesome holiday weekend (you can see a sliver of ours here). As we mentioned on Friday, we’ll be stopping in with one quick post each day this week (amongst family hosting, feverish book-deadline writing, and priming & painting all of our kitchen cabinets). But we couldn’t wait to share today’s giveaway that we wrangled after seeing so much amazing stuff

Our Yearly Christmas Card (& Warm Holiday Wishes!)

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With family arriving tonight for our first ever Christmas in Richmond, we wanted to be sure we shared our holiday card with you guys first (you know we love ya like family). We couldn’t do this little blog-thang (look at me getting all twangy) without you. And we sincerely appreciate you for dropping in on us. We shot this earlier in the month with the help of a bunch of ribbon snagged on clearance from Michael’s last Christmas (some of which later ended up on our tree). It’s actually two pictures photoshopped together, since getting Clara and Burger to sit still that close to one another without doing something weird (like synchronized diaper sniffing/tail grabbing)

Reader Redesign: A Kitchen With Pop

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We were so happy to stumble upon Beth’s email in our inbox. Her retelling of her kitchen redo had all the elements that we love in a good renovation story: an ugly before (a brown fridge!), lots of DIY details (yesss!), a bit of drama (the counters arrived the day before Christmas, yowza!) and – best of all – a beautiful after. Here’s her note: Hello, Sherry & John! We bought our current home a little over a year ago, and to say it was outdated is the understatement of the century. Like you, we wanted something to fix up and make our own. Our kitchen was dark, ugly, and closed in. No matter how

Handmade Holiday Craft Showin’

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Two Sundays ago we hit up the Richmond Craft Mafia’s craft show called Handmade Holiday. As one of my friends described it, it was like Etsy… only in real life. We love supporting/meeting local (and not so local) artists and artisans, so we went expecting to see some cool things, bump into a few people we knew, and maybe even to snag a gift or two. Instead, we saw LOTS of cool stuff, bumped into DOZENS of friends and blog buddies, and snagged a BUNCH of gifts. Well, I guess I should clarify. They were gifts for ourselves. Here’s a snapshot of our handmade bounty after we returned home and laid everything out on the

Adding Toe Kicks & A Window Sill

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Can’t we just paint some darn cabinets already?! If your patience to see some painted cabinets is wearing thin – just imagine how we feel! When we were planning this kitchen project our big-picture brains said “We retrofit those few doors to match the rest of the room and then we paint. Hooray!” But now that we’re in the weeds (amid holiday madness, no less) we realize that a lot of stuff actually has to happen between those two steps.” There are gaps to be filled, rough spots to be sanded, trim to be added, hinges to be dealt with, hardware to be chosen, primer to be selected, a final paint color to be decided,

Our Free Calendar Printable (For You!) + A Secret

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First we’ll get to the freebie download for all of you lovely people, because you know we heart you for reading our little ol’ blog. Since we’ve made a tradition of designing a homemade calendar each year (and 2012 ain’t gonna wait just cuz we’re mid-kitchen reno) we stole a moment – while the wood putty dried – to throw something together for the big one-two. Our calendars from the last few years have all been text-based (you know, as opposed to full of photos). Like our 2010 calendar, where we assembled a dozen weird family phrases & inside jokes and laid them out in simple bright colors: Or our 2011 calendar, where we used

Making A Hollow Core Door Into A Kids Art Desk

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This is the story of a door turned desk turned tinier desk. When Clara came down with a case of the coloring bug a few weeks ago, it became clear that she needed an alternate surface for her artistry than the floor. You know, just in case she didn’t feel like tummy-drawing. We talked about a few fun play tables over on BabyCenter a couple of weeks ago, but finally found the inspiration that we needed to DIY one right in front of our eyes. And no, it wasn’t this leftover-plywood-slash-side-table combo that Sherry rigged up in about 30 seconds of “hey, maybe this will work!” Sorry, Sherry. #playtablefail. Back to the drawing board… Actually,

Fab Freebie: Things We Love

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***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** After an excitement and entry filled holiday giveaway we’ve crowned our big winner. Well, random.org has crowned a winner. And she is… Nina (who’s planning to soak up and celebrate the magic of the season with her toddler, babe, and hubs this week as well as do some gift wrapping, toy assembling, and cookie baking by the light of the tree). Congrats! Oprah has Favorite Things. Martha has Good Things. We have Things We Love (okay, so maybe it’s not as catchy or scream-and-cry-on-national-TV-worthy, but we tried). The point is that we’ve rounded up five prizes that we heart, covering a whole range

Buying Metal Stools From An Industrial School Supply Shop

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John wanted me to work Stool Boom into the post title because of this video (which he requests that you all check it out so that you can hum the song while reading this post). Anyway, now in stool news… we got them for our peninsula! And we’re so excited about 1) where we found them, and 2) the price (because four stools can definitely be a budget breaker if they’re priced at $250 a pop). But first, let’s chat about the kitchen budget in general for a second… We’ve actually spent some real money in certain areas like: new Corian counters (around $1700) new stainless appliances (around $2213 with the new microwave but not

22 Easy (And Free!) Holiday Art Ideas

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I warned you that I was really excited to go all out for our first “real” Christmas in our new house, so it’s no surprise that I got giddy and decided to tackle an unexpected-ish space for holiday-ifaction. Was that enough hyphenated-not-real words for you? Anyway that space = the hallway. I actually switched out 22 frames (almost two dozen!) in our little hallway frame collection to make things a bit more festive. And it was free. Yeee-haw. Over the top? Maybe. But it makes us smile and was zero dollars. Holla. Let’s get on with the tour… When you look at the hallway from a distance, the change isn’t overly obvious, which we like

Reader Redesign: A Welcome Change

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Sometimes it’s so easy to forget little spaces like entryways, hallways, closets, etc. That’s why we love Mandi’s complete transformation of her entryway, which we originally discovered when Sherry pinned her awesome ceiling paint treatment over on her home away from home (yes, as a guy I still don’t quite understand the magic of Pinterest but then again Sherry doesn’t quite understand the magic of Angry Birds). Anyway, back to Mandi’s entryway makeover. Here’s her story: I’ve spent the last week and a half making over my entryway and I am dying to show you! This is what it looked like before the makeover: And here’s the after. I love it. The hands down greatest

Cutting Down A Few Cabinet Doors To Fit

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We knew from the moment that we decided to add new (secondhand) cabinets to our kitchen that the doors could be a challenge. Even though we only ended up with 5 missing doors, it was important that we get those to match with the rest of the kitchen for a seamless look (aka: so no one would look around and guess we had some mismatched thrift store cabinets among us). Here are the five doorless cabinets that we had to address: We knew we had a few options to result in a kitchen full of matching doors, so one of them was bound to work. Here they are (in order of expense from most to

Decorating The Outside Of Our House For Christmas

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This holiday season is full of firsts for us. It’s the first time Clara can shout things like “I love you Santa!” to the inflatables at Home Depot (this actually happens quite often). It’s also the first time we got a real tree (even if it’s of the tabletop variety). And it’s our first real Christmas in this house (we moved last December but were still living out of boxes then). But perhaps our biggest first is actually decorating the outside of our house. We’ve never done that. Isn’t that crazy? What the heck were we waiting for? There’s definitely some magic to waiting until it gets dark, plugging everything in, and stepping back to

Dude, We’ve Lived Here An Entire Year

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Which means this time last year, we woke up to a surprise snowstorm… … that resulted in our UHaul slipping into the gutter of our old driveway (more on that here). Man, it feels like that was just yesterday. John and I still remember every word of that truck-snafu conversation… JOHN: Hey Sherry. Walk-through went fine. They’re off to go close and I’m headed to the new house. SHERRY: Okay, be very careful. It’s snowy out there so drive as slow as you need, even if people are honking at you. Just take your time. JOHN: I will. Don’t worry. SHERRY: Great. I just don’t want you ending up in a ditch or anything. [HANG

How To Hide A Microwave (Building It Into A Vented Cabinet)

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So, remember that microwave that we got a great deal on a couple of months ago? Yeah. Well. We returned it. A few of you questioned why we needed “such a big microwave” when we originally posted about it, which did get us thinking that we don’t do all that much microwaving. A bowl of soup here. A bit of reheating/defrosting there. And when we took down the kitchen’s original black over-the-range microwave (which was just as wide as our oven – 30 whole inches)… … we realized just how hulking the new 30″ one would look in its new home next to our pantry. See, we had originally planned to build it in there

Fab Freebie: Mirror Mirror On The Facebook Wall

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***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Our giveaway has ended, but don’t forget that there are more prizes to be had over on Crate & Barrel’s Facebook page. Our randomly selected winner is… Chrissy (who says there is nothing like sitting in her living room at night with only the christmas tree lights on). Congrats! If you follow Crate & Barrel on Facebook then you may have already seen that we’re helping to kick off 10 days of giveaways to their Facebook fans. We selected this awesome mixed-metal 30″ starburst mirror as the prize over there because, well, it’s rocks our socks. And guess what? Crate & Barrel is

A Kid-Safe Christmas Tree With Paint Chips & Ribbons

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That she blows! Or maybe I should I say “thar she glows!” Either way, we got ‘er up. And this year the theme was: free stuff we already had (no getting in the car to go fetch anything, since we feared that would cost us another week to get things up) nothing pointy/hard/breakable (for bean safety reasons) color, color, color (just like our tabletop tree in the living room) So yes, we gave our full-sized tree a whole new look (see what it looked like in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 here) using stuff that we already had in the house, like a bunch of leftover paint chips from my bin. Yes, I save old

Our Favorite DIY Tools: A Holiday Gift Guide

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Here it is, the much requested post about our favorite DIY tools for all of you folks who are asking Santa for something tool-ish this year (or trying to figure out what to buy a handy guy or gal in your life). None of the items in this list paid us or perked us for the mentions, they’re just actually the tools that we use and love on the regular. So without further ado, let’s chat about the things that help us get ‘er done…. We previously wrote this post about a few things that we pretty much can’t live without (any of which would make great gifts/stocking stuffers), so here’s a quick summary since

Feeling Grateful & Giftful

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**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but Sherry will be back in a few hours with a big ol’ tool breakdown for everyone who requested some DIY-related holiday gift ideas. Does that get you as hot and bothered as it gets me? It’s time for our monthly shout out to thank all of the Santa-esque sponsors who help make our other 30+ posts possible. Putting this jolly ol’ round-up of items together was especially fun, since we’ve definitely had gifts on the brain. So we’ve chosen things that feel seasonal-ish & festive (even if you just give ’em to yourself). Not that we’ve been gifted anything (here’s our no-swag policy). And of

Reader Redesign: Small, Simple, And Striped

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We’re so impressed with how much style Marianne packed into such a small room. So for anyone out there struggling with the small space blues (our last bedroom was tiny with no closets – so we can totally relate!) hopefully this will inspire you! Enough chit chat, here’s Marianne’s letter: I gave the smallest room in our house a total makeover. And when I say small, I mean small: The room is barely even 4 square meters big (about 43 square feet if I’m not mistaken) but I feel I still managed to give the space some oomph and character. Since I know you guys love  living a ‘simple’ life without a lot of unnecessary