April Superlatives

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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 April – high school yearbook style. Most Outdoorsy: Digging Out The Liriope That Covered Nearly 80% Of The Future Patio Area Most Domestic: Making Sue The Napkin into Sue The Pillow Biggest Crybaby: Sharing Clara’s Terrifying Slash Miraculous Birth Story Most Likely To Result In Cursing: Having An Epic Battle With My Sewing Machine And Squeezing Out A Party Banner Hoppiest: DIYing An Easter Basket

Building A Paver Patio: It Begins!

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Note: For those reading this post during happy hour, feel free to turn it into a drinking game and take a sip every time you read the word liriope. Or maybe just a half-sip. Don’t want things to get crazy. Woot. We’ve officially started to attack the side patio (previously mentioned here and here) that we want to bang out in time for Clara’s big b-day bash in two short weeks. That’s right, in the words of Cee Lo we said “forget you” (yes, we prudes sing the PG version) to the insane ten-ish rows of liriope. And John only had to dig about half of it up thanks to two friends of ours who

Sew Simple: How To Make A Pillow From Two Cloth Napkins

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Duuuuude. I got back on the proverbial sewing machine horse. What? You haven’t heard that expression. Whatever. The point is: Sue the Napkin is now Sue the Pillow! Or more accurately Sue The Pillows (yup, I made two of them). Here are my materials: Four Sue The Napkins (I originally got ten when we found them on clearance at Crate & Barrel, but I picked up four more so I could make two pillows using four of them and still have ten leftover to use as dinner napkins). Oh Brother (my trusty sewing machine, more on him here) Two old pillows to use as the “inside” of my new Sue pillow covers A needle and

Clara’s Birth Story

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It’s nearly a year late (I can’t believe I’m going to be the mother of a one year old in three short weeks). And the reason for the delay is simple. Thinking / typing / talking about the day that Clara was born still scares the pants off of me. Even 11+ months later. This little lady made quite the dramatic entrance. Yup, the day that Clara came into the world was the most amazing life-changing day of my existence, but it was easily also the single most terrifying one. I’ve mentioned some details a few times in comments on other Clara-related posts (many readers wanted to know all about the bean’s birth right away)

%@*@%ing Sewing Machine (Making A Fabric Bunting)

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I try not to curse. Really I do. But sewing is just not in my genetic makeup. I mean I can do a little button fix by hand and even stitch the last side of a pillow closed manually, but the other three sides that you’re supposed to do with a sewing machine? Yeah, I’m I disaster. Growing up my aunt and mom sewed all the time (they made all my Halloween costumes and my aunt even sewed my mom’s wedding dress) but whenever I tried to learn on my mom’s machine I broke it. Not just jammed it or temporarily messed it up, I legitimately ruined it (at least six episodes ended with my

What To Put On A Console Table Behind A Couch

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The console returns. Yes, the console is like Rocky and Batman movies. The sequels keep coming. Maybe instead of The Console Returns we should say “Console: The Final Chapter” or “The Console Strikes Again” or “I Still Know What You Did Last Console.” No? Fine. We’ll stick with The Console Returns. Yes, after many (many) posts about our big console build, this is the official finale. And this one is the most exciting for me because it’s all about the fun stuff I put on it. Haha. I’m deep, what can I say? I’m sure it’ll constantly change, but here’s what it looks like today: The lamps were more than we’ve ever spent on lamps

How To Make A Giant Hallway Frame Gallery

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Isn’t it strange how you can start a project (in this case the gallery of frames that we wanted to “wallpaper” our hallway walls with) and then just leave the other half of it undone for a month. Not weeks. Literally a month. What’s wrong with us? And it’s not like we weren’t obsessed with the results of the first half of the project (recounted here): We just ran out of frame gas or something, so we switched over to console building and chair painting and closet organizing and ceramic dog gluing and tree trimming and sectional leg spray-painting and all the other odd things that we’ve tackled since our little wall-hole-making spree. It’s so

Hanging Two Mirrors = Gaining Two Big Dry Erase Boards

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In our last office we found that hanging a mirror helped keep us organized. Not just because we noticed if we had something on our face, but also because we could write on it with a dry erase marker to keep track of our to do list (and could even use it to write a welcome message to our guests since that room slept our friends and family as well). When we moved I missed that little organizational corner, so I started taping a comically small piece of paper on the wall with a list of things to do. And then it grew into two lists, one on each side of the large doorway. The

My Secret: It’s Goo Related

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Raise your hand if you think I’m anal. (I’ll pause while you do that). Well, I probably am. I’m definitely type A. But I think there might be a misconception that our house gleams and the faucets are always shined and there aren’t any toothpaste splatters on the mirrors. Yeah right, I wish. We tried to disprove the whole perfect thing with this video (yes, we leave clothes on the floor and mail in a pile like the rest of the population- haha) and it seemed like the masses were relieved. We’re human I promise (although I’m pretty sure if I weren’t human I’d pretend that I was for assimilation purposes), and my dirty goo-related

Painting & Hanging Big Metal Keys On Our Gallery Wall

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Remember when we mentioned snagging these old iron keys for $8 in an antique store in West Virginia while visiting John’s grandma? Well I finally got around to painting them and hanging them in our hallway frame gallery (see how we made that here). Where did we squeeze them in? Well, see that card stock placeholder key? That was, well, just a placeholder. I could have easily spray painted them for a quick makeover but since I love to use no-VOC paint whenever I can (especially since I have a huge gallon of white paint around at all times), I opted just to brush on a few coats by hand. It’s the same semi-gloss Olympic

Adventures In Painting An Upholstered Chair (Yes Painting It!)

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Alternate post title: “In A Minute, I Have To Hairdry The Chair” Guys, I did something crazy. Since we’d like to take our $25 hotel-ish dining chairs to a crisp not-patterned apple green (the curtains I want to make will be patterned, so I just want chairs in a fun color but without a pattern that I’ll tire of) I decided to paint them. I know. Insane. But I didn’t think I had much to lose since the backup plan is to reupholster or slipcover them (both of which would still be entirely possible if I didn’t like how the whole painting thing turned out). I went into it as a hmm-this-experiment-should-be-interesting thing. Nothing was

Cleaning & Organizing Our Closet

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In the words of Eminem… I’m cleaning out my closet. But first a closet-themed dance break for the Marshall Mathers fans out there (I can actually do a mean Eminem impression): Ok, now that we have that out of the way, I’ll get to the meat and potatoes of this post. I’m actually not currently cleaning out my closet, the deed has already been done. And it’s not just my closet, it’s both of ours. We’ve mentioned a few times that before we got a proper dresser we were living for over three months with piles of socks and pajamas on the floor of our bedroom closet. Yeah, it was a disaster, and we just

Any Given Day (A Keeping-It-Real House Tour On Video)

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I thought it might be fun to walk around the house with the Flip cam and show you guys how each room can look on an average day. You know, before we pick the clothes up off the floor, put away Clara’s toys, and fold the big blankets that we snuggle under on the sofa. So here’s an impromptu house tour (while John and Clara ducked out to the post office and grocery store) in all of its average everyday glory: Things to note: Ugh, I have a cold. Sorry about my annoying voice. Who am I kidding, my voice annoys me even when I’m not crazy congested. I’m terrible at walking around, talking, and

Mistakes We (Hopefully) Won’t Make Again

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Q: I have an idea for a blog post. “Design mistakes we won’t make again.” As I look through pictures of all the beautiful work you’ve done, I’m thinking of choosing many similar styles & purchases. But then I wonder, over time – did you ever regret a design choice? – Shannon A: That’s a good one. And now for 1,970 words on the subject. We’ll start by saying that we definitely don’t always know what we’re doing when we do something (us = so not experts) so we just try to take things one day at a time and learn as we go. We make tons of mistakes. You’ve just gotta feel your way

All The King’s Horses…

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… and all the king’s men, couldn’t put my faceless ceramic pooch together again. Well, maybe they could, but they weren’t around. So I tried to do it myself, using only a mother’s love (and some super glue). And because I’m a freak about fumes I did it on the back patio while Clara was napping (baby monitor in hand). Pretty much immediately things got wonky. Wop-wop. Nothing matched up and it looked all crazy and jagged. I think the fact that some shards were just too small to keep & reglue threw everything off. And somehow there was a huge chunk from the top of my beloved pup’s head that was mysteriously gone. I

Playroom Plans

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You guys already know that our playroom is looking kinda rough these days (thanks to this whole house update post from last week): But we’ve decided that once we clear it out, it’ll actually suit our family better as a less traditional space. Burger is a beloved member of our family, so we think he deserves his own little area. And since Clara plays pretty much all over the house (in the office, the living room, the kitchen, and her room – depending wherever we are with her) we won’t really need an official “playroom” until baby number two comes along (and we turn the playroom into a bedroom). And I’ll spoil the surprise for

March Superlatives

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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 March – high school yearbook style. Most Archeological: Digging around in the dirt next to our driveway to find all sorts of things (and eventually cleaning things up after the treasure hunt ended). Most Likely To Result In A Crack Joke: Hanging a ceiling medallion in Clara’s room (to solve a cracked drywall situation). Most Times Square-esque: Our new chandelier from Ikea, which we hung

Seven Minutes Of Your Life You’ll Never Get Back

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I don’t know what possessed me to record nearly 10 minutes of mundane family time, but here’s Clara, Burger, John and my annoying behind-the-camera voice in all of their glory: Don’t say I didn’t warn you about losing seven minutes of your life watching something so painfully uneventful that it even bores the people it stars. Haha. But for anyone wondering how we spend our evenings, sometimes this is it. Psst- My girl Amy tipped me off that Michael’s has a “25% off your entire purchase” coupon that’s good thru Saturday the 2nd. We scored a few giant canvases that were already 50% off for an extra 25% off. Just wanted to toss that out

Limbing Up Trees So You Can See The House Again

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Alternate post title: Trees: 0. Sherry: 2. You might not remember what our first house looked like when we bought it so I’ll remind you: And this is what it looked like five hours after John left and I went crazy with a clipper (surprise!): Three cheers for being able to see the house. And we gained a view of the neighborhood from our front windows. You know, instead of the view of a dense “tree fence.” So much better. Plus it was free and gave me a nice little arm workout. Of course that house’s curb appeal was a pretty constant four and a half year evolution (these things take time) so when we

Spray Painting The Legs Of An Ikea Couch For A More Finished Look

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That’s right, Karl‘s legs are pale no more. After some thought we decided to give all 12 of our sectional’s cheap looking birch legs a coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint to deepen them and give them a subtle sheen and dimension that brown paint just wouldn’t offer. It was pretty easy except it necessitated a bit of Karl disassembly. Poor guy. But once we got all of those legs off it was as simple as sanding each of them with low grit paper by hand (I used 60 grit stuff I had around). Although the legs looked pale and stain-less, they actually had some sort of clear finish on them (here’s one before sanding):

Monster Eyeballs

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Three cheers for a $12 fifteen minute project that makes us giggle. Because sometimes you just gotta laugh. We switched out the old knobs on our dining room built-ins. The first step is to put on your safety goggles and protective gloves. Kidding. The first step is to unscrew the old ones and the second step is to screw in the new ones. So easy. Here’s a little in-progress action shot for ya: And here are the new ones all “installed”: But back to the whole monster eyeballs thing. When I fell in love with these greeny-yellow knobs at Hobby Lobby (for $1.50 a pop thanks to a 50% off sale), it never crossed my

Three Months In…

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We finally got around to updating our House Tour page with some progress pics and it dawned on us that we haven’t really done a progress report about the new house since this one at Day One and this one at Day Fifteen, so here’s where we are at a little over three months in (Day 101 or so). Here’s the house’s original formal living room that looked into the original dining room on moving day (which we decided to turn into an entryway/dining room that looks into a home office because that better suits the way we live): Here’s the dining room looking into the converted office now, thanks to arranging those shelves and

House Crashing: Crisp & Classic

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This house crashing adventure in Northern Virginia had us drooling over materials and finishes, especially in the kitchen and the bathrooms. Talk about a gorgeous place to come home to. And here’s Melissa The Homeowner now, so let’s go in. Her house was actually built in 1940, but she and her husband Jim added an awesome addition to the back of the house in 2009 which included a new kitchen. And it just happened to be one of the most amazing ones we’ve ever been in. So we’ll cut right to the chase. You can see it down the hallway near the front door… … and it’s glorious. Is it not? Everything from the thick

Oh Snap.

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And now for a behind the scenes ceramic animal related story. While we were working on this… … this happened: Since I’m still not ready to talk (or write) about it in depth, here’s John’s depiction of how the tragedy occurred: Alas, my favorite giant ceramic dog (snagged from HomeGoods three years ago for just 29 bucks) sadly lost his face. In the words of the world’s most famous blogger, it sucked and then I cried. Yes, there’s a candle lit vigil in progress. Goodbye Mr. Ceramic Dog. You were a wonderful pet. Never had to clean up after you once. Until this happened. I might try to glue him back together (although some of