Saturday, June 25, 2011

Using maps

Do you remember when we all used to use maps to figure out how we needed to get from one place to another? Now, we typically travel with at least 3 GPS devices in the car at any given time. I've been surveying cute map ideas.

I decided to try some of my own map artwork. :) So, mine didn't turn out quite like the photo above (nor am I that good of a photographer). I wanted to showcase some of my old paper maps that show some of our favorite places. I put them up our stairs & I do love them. 

The first one showcases PA where we went to school...

Then, Atlanta where I went to graduate school & J came down a lot to spend time. 

Then, where we live and where J has lived since after school and where he grew up (Yea - This photo includes all of DC and the Metro DC area, so it doesn't really give anything away since this area contains about 5.5 Million people). 

Also, last weekend, I bought a new hook (it's a sickness I tell you). I used to make a toilet paper holder for our half bath. As I have been mentioning before, the color scheme in the bathroom is a little difficult to match, but this goes perfectly. And it makes me smile. :) 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Painting Bathroom Cabinets (what not to do edition)

I'll start off by saying that I didn't do this project correctly. Close, maybe, but not quite. Actually the result turned out really nice, but I definitely did not do all the steps to this process, and I will do it correctly next time. Young House Love has a great blog post about how to correctly paint cabinets:

Let's go to what I did. First of all, these are the before pictures of what I painted. As is clear, the paint wasn't looking so hot. I also wanted to bring in a richer look into the space and was not a huge fan of the white countertop, white cabinets look. We chose Behr's Bison Brown for the color. There are two reasons why I love this color. One: we loved the rich tones that it brought in without being too gray or reddish. Two: the bison is the mascot of our alma matter Bucknell, which makes it simply awesome.

First, I took off all the hardware and wiped down the cabinets.

What I should have done next is primed the cabinets so that the paint would stick better (I didn't). I maybe should have even sanded (I gave up after one cabinet piece). 

Instead, the paint took some coats in order to really stick to the cabinets. See below after one coat. 

Regardless, after a few coats of paint, I got to the result I was looking for. It took a little longer for the cabinets to be un-tacky enough to screw in the hardware. I took a few pictures trying to capture the right coloring of the cabinets. The ones with flash tended to introduce a reddish tone not actually in the cabinets. 

Before hardware: 

After hardware:

We both love the new look. I plan on doing the other one in the master bedroom as well. I think I shall attempt to do the next one the "right" way. I think that the way I did it will hold up fine (paint seems to be sticking well). But I would like to try doing it correctly, just to compare. 

In other news, our flowers are blooming! The rain and milder weather has been great. Check it out: 

My mom planted the lilies. So excited they are blooming! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

New curtains

This is going to be a quick blog post, extremely quick. Last week, I received the curtains I had ordered from Country Curtains. I also received new tension rods to hang them. I love my new curtains:
See... told you it would be short!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hooks & Decorating

I haven't had a whole lot of time to do stuff around the house this week, but I have been making a few decor changes here and there. Last weekend, we picked up some new hooks at antropologie in the mall. I installed one in our half bath as a towel holder. The antique white really goes well with the antique white in the outlet and light switch.

I also picked up some hooks for the other towels in the master bath (after I installed the towel bar for one of the towels). I loved the flower look.

I also finally added something to the main wall in the kitchen. I had been looking for a mirror for the kitchen for a while, but I was having trouble justifying the cost at Pottery Barn of the ones I liked. I was strolling through Home Depot and I found what I was looking for.

I bought some plate hangers to hang more of the blue and white plates that my mom gave me. The fork, knife and spoon hooks are from antropologie (hook spending spree?). My plan with the mirror is to use it to write notes with a dry erase marker. Since mirror is glass, it works the same as a dry erase board.

Before shot:

After everything was up, J & I decided that it still feels like something is missing. I think it is the lack of a table and chairs set up. We do currently have a table, but it is not the end design we have in mind. But it is a work in progress.

But for now, I am loving our new hooks. I also installed guest room curtains this week, but have yet to take pictures so stay tuned...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Small Friday afternoon and Saturday morning activities

We designated this weekend as a relaxing weekend, meaning no big house tasks and no trips. So, I have been doing the smaller things that I have been meaning to do that don't take a whole lot of time. On Friday afternoon, I installed a towel rack that matches the toilet paper holders and small towel ring that my dad and I installed a few weeks ago when they were visiting (shown below). The hardware is the Moen Branbury line that we picked out from home depot and matches our brushed nickel that we seem to have in (almost) all the bathrooms.

I should have taken a before picture because I am just now realizing I never took one after I painted the  master bathroom. So, you will just have to imagine a blank wall without a towel rack. Anyway, after using our drill bits for the first time, below is the result! Yay - now we have a place to put our towels that isn't the over the door rack (which I eventually want to replace with cute custom hooks for the other towels in the bathroom).
In total, I think I really only spent about 30 minutes max. installing the towel rack. We had bought it about 2 weeks ago, so I am glad that it finally got up.

Onto Saturday morning, I decided that the neglect of the front yard was finally taking its toll. The back yard isn't quite so bad as no one but us sees it and it really doesn't need that much work to begin with. But the weeds in the front were getting out of hand.

So, I put on my weeding gloves and also took down a few of the tree branches that were encroaching on the house. The result looks pretty good, but it still needs mulching.

As another update, my mother-in-law and I had planted some impatients that my mom had bought. Unfortunately, memorial day brought this huge heat wave, which caused me to lose all my flowers. After much TLC, I am happy to report that they are resuscitated and doing well, so I took some pictures.

And the all buds promise more flowers to come! Looking forward to that. Note to self: keep watering.

In one final note, I bought hydrangeas at Trader Joe's last weekend for our housewarming. These must be super-duper flowers as it is a week later and they still look pristine.
And I do love hydrangeas. One of my long-term gardening goals is to have a hydrangea bush like one of our neighbors have. :)

That's all for now! Back to relaxing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


So, this weekend, we hosted a housewarming party for some of our friends. It turned out really well, and I figured that while the house was all cleaned and decorated, I should take some pictures of more than just our updates upstairs. We received our new living room furniture last week, which was super exciting. I love the way it looks!

I think I will probably paint an accent wall in blue in there to pull it all together, but that will be for later.
This is our dining room as of right now.

I loved the way our kitchen and outdoor patio came together. The new umbrella was a birthday gift from my in-laws! I love the color and how it looks.

The citronella hanging candles were crafted (by me) with mason jars that I wired-wrapped and hung with ribbon around our patio. I found little citronella tea lights at Bed, Bath and Beyond, which were perfect to put in the jars. I loved the look and it was super easy (and cheap). It was really easy to find crafting directions by googling mason jar lanterns. I used 18-gauge wire that I found at Michaels, but I also bought 16-gauge for slightly larger mason jars that I plan to put on the downstairs patio. I also loved the way our drink cart looked. The drink on the left was a mint mango iced tea that I found on the home & gardens website:

And as I have not shared other pictures... here are more photos of the house:
Pool Table (my husband's favorite room)

Finished bathroom remodel:


Second guest bedroom (pull out couch):

My desk should be arriving this week! So, more photos of the sitting room to come. :)
And I will leave this post with one final photo of the cake J got for me! It was delicious!