Monday, December 12, 2011

More Christmas!

I'm back with another 2 on Tuesdays, linking up with Andrea. It's basically the only thing I write about these days. But have no fear! My awesome uncle sent his annual Lowe's gift card with his Christmas card (it has evolved from a check to the gift card since we bought our house). I made a pit stop on my way home from work today to get lumber for my laundry dresser. I'm off this coming Friday morning, all day next Friday, and the whole week after Christmas. Minus an eye doctor appointment, I'll have plenty of time for my closet re-boot and maybe even tackle the pesky "toilet room."

Enough babble. On to the topic: What are your two favorite Christmas songs? What is your favorite Christmas movie?

I freaking LOVE Christmas. The presents, the sparkle, the magic that just seems to be in the air. I adore wrapping presents (which Husband loves since he thinks he's terrible at it). I created my own playlist of music to listen to as I wrap. Out of my general Christmas/Holiday Smart Playlist, I have these as my "Top Christmas", in no particular order:
Winter Song: Sara Barellies and Ingrid Michaelson
Christmas in Dixie: Alabama
Breath of Heaven: Amy Grant (one of my youth directors growing up sang this one Sunday during worship and I was instantly in love)
The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't be Late): The Chipmunks (when I was little, instead of "Me I want a hula-hoop," I sang "Me I want yahoo, yahoo!" Like Yahoo! Christmas is coming!)
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Christmas Song: Dave Matthews Band (Really top favorite)
Carol of the Bells (the singing version, not just instruments)
Mary, Did You Know?
Angels We Have Heard on High (the sheet music had me mesmerized every year at my church's Christmas Eve service)
I'm Gettin' Nothin' for Christmas

Christmas movies are a little easier to narrow down. Of course, there's the perennial TV specials: Rudolph, Frosty, Grinch, and Charlie Brown. Husband and I DVRed them all this year and watched them one night by the fire. And of course dissected just how much suspension of disbelief one needs for those movies--anyone else notice how totally racist and sexist Santa and Donner are?

However, when push comes to shove, Christmas just isn't Christmas without:
(All images courtesy of Google search)
Christmas Vacation

A Christmas Story (TBS marathon style)


P.S. PSA: Don't Google search "Elf." Only the first hew hits are the movie. The rest are just scary.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Laundry Room

I think...I'm not quite sure...what this feeling is. It's kind of like relief, mixed with "what?" I have completed my very first room! All of the other rooms in the house, although "done," still have minor things to be done. I know. I know. That list never ends. I am trying to keep my list divided into things that need/I really want and the things that would be nice, but if they never happen, no biggie.

Today, I completed the last project for the laundry room.

I had a head start, with painting and doing some art projects, before the arrival of our favorite 4-legged family member (how naive were we, thinking he'd actually sleep in the laundry room?

Anyway, since I moved the shelves lower to accomodate my un-tall stature, there was a large expanse of wall that just felt empty. I considered getting a vinyl decal that are all the rage lately, but I just don't want to hop on that train. Plus, nothing I saw was really what I was thinking. So I decided to make my own art (again).

I bought a long poster frame from Michael's while waiting on Mister at the groomer (how convenient is it that they are next door?). It's one of those really long but narrow ones. I didn't want to totally fill that space, which is my tendency. Bonus: the frame was on sale...30 or 40% off!

Then, I made a trip this week to Hobby Lobby and bought some chip board letters, light blue acrylic paint and some scrapbook paper. My original idea was that wrapping paper might be more economical, but the only thing I found in my color scheme was a pattern and I couldn't get the look I wanted with that.

I painted my letters (bonus that I didn't have any letter repeats, since the package only had 1 of each letter!) in alternating colors, corresponding with the colors in the laundry room. Then, I made sure my scrapbook paper would indeed fit the frame. 3 pieces of 12x12 were perfect! Plus, the paper was 30% off, so it was way cheaper than wrapping paper. I began going around the paper with my phrase "Wash, dry, fold," hoping and praying I wouldn't have to end in the middle of a word. Luckily, it worked out almost perfect. I traced the letters in light blue Sharpie.

I was ready to hot glue my letters onto the paper and then realized I misspelled "laundry," omitting the N. Oops. Since I had mixed 2 blues and 2 greens (I already had), I couldn't just use more. I had to salvage my mixes from the trash (still right on top and not attached to anything gross). Easy fix. Once dry, I finally did hot glue them into place, roughly center. I added my fun catchphrase at the bottom and let everything dry for a few hours, just in case.

I placed the plastic layer on top, popped the edges back on, and hung in center to the shelf.

Now I have a laundry room I don't mind doing laundry in! Figures that my first "complete" room is not an actual ROOM. Total cost: $10 or $15. Don't remember exactly how much the frame was, but it wasn't much.

On my "maybe one day" list is to switch out the light fixture, except it's florescent and I'm not sure how cut and dry that would be.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another 2 on Tuesday - Christmas Traditions

I had fun linking up to Andrea for her 2 on Tuesday. The topic this week is another fun one: What are your Christmas Traditions?

Since it's just the two of us (well, three counting the puppy dog), we haven't really built in many traditions. We alternate years spending Christmas with our families. This year it's my family's turn, so we'll travel down after Husband get off Friday.

Growing up, we always went to the Christmas Eve communion service at church and would go to an open house gathering at a close family friend (who also happens to be the church's secretary. Since my parents have moved, I'm not sure what the plan will be. Sometimes we do church, sometimes not. Either way there will be puppy chow and A Christmas Story. We open all gifts Christmas morning (none of that Christmas Eve crap. Not even one), beginning with stockings and moving on to the tree. As I've gotten older, all of that happens after a first cup of coffee, of course.

Christmas 2009? I think. Husband caffinating

Besides puppy chow, and a Christmas story, my favorite family tradition is waking up my sister. She's always been a late sleeper. When I was little, I'd wake her up by creeping in her room and getting REEEEEEEAL close to her face and just stare.

As I mentioned, my husband and I don't have too many traditions that are all our own. We continue my family's tradition of putting up a live tree (not a candle in the world compares to the smell of real fir).

The one tradition that is all ours is pretty special. Like most traditions, I'm not sure how or when it really started, but when we were still dating, my husband decided to take me out to a fancy dinner. Like break out the Spanx and keep your elbows off the table nice. We've been slowly eating our way around the nicer restaurants in town, having frequented Jonathan's at Gratz Park (less than impressed for the cost, but good), Nagasaki Inn (hibachi grill), Malone's (also our engagement dinner locale), and most recently Dudley's. This year we're planning on trying Merrick Inn. The goal is to go somewhere a) we've never been and b) we wouldn't normally go if we were eating out.

The Hubs and I before Nagasaki Christmas dinner

It's tough scheduling dinner with all of the other commitments we have during the season, but we also usually make it a priority.

Our other tradition hasn't always been an annual event. There's a house in town known as "the Christmas House." Every town has one, I'm sure. In fact, ask anyone in town, you'll probably get addresses of multiple "Christmas houses." Well, apparently not everyone knows about this one:

Me at Christmas House

They do Christmas up HUGE. We went twice, then the owner had medical problems and wasn't able to do as much the third. Then the owner moved, but still did his display at a local country club. Nice, but eh. Not the same. Well then Husband showed me this article from the paper. It's back and I have high expectations. We'll probably go out riding one evening, with Mister and check it all out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Closet Makeover

Closet Makeover
1. Laundry Dresser by Ana White to replace our current hamper
2. Necklace hanger via Pinterest
3. Shelf brackets from Lowes. Add a piece of 1x10 and we'll take advantage of some wasted space and create shelves for sweaters
4. Minwax Stain in Red Mahogony (for said brackets/shelves)
5. Shoe Cubby by Ana White
6. DIY scarf organizer via Pinterest
7. Purse Organization via Pinterest

One paper separates me from the end of the semester, so of course I'm procrastinating as long as possible.

Just thought I'd give a quick update on my winter project plan. I had three options, but after hauling laundry and spending at least 30 minutes sorting last week, I immediately knew my priority. The Master Closet.

Of course, it will be painted a similar green to the background and that color will also go in the "toilet room" of our master bath.

The laundry sorter is my project priority. If I can get the shoe cubby in before it's too cold, great. If not, it'll wait til spring. This will all give me something to do in December when I don't have schoolwork hanging over my head :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

2 on Tuesday

Today I'm linking up to Andrea's 2 on Tuesday. She wants to know "What's on your Christmas wish list? What do you hope to receive from Santa?"

My wants are pretty nerdy this year. Some organizing things, mostly for the kitchen (kind of tired of an avalanche of pans when I'm trying to start cooking) and a few other house things.

I would really like this comforter for our room. Our current one is from Husband's apartment and is pretty gross. I'd also like one for the guest room, which currently has a duvet cover and blanket, but no actual comforter.

I know this picture is small, but TOMS website didn't like me copying the picture. Anyway, these shoes are really growing on me. I didn't really like them at first, but the more I see people wear them, the more I like them. Especially since I started learning more about the company. For every pair of shoes you buy, they send a pair to a child in need. The problems associated with not having something so basic as a pair of shoes are crazy.

Finally, I have a couple of books on my wish list (my personal wish list. I keep a separate one for books I want for a classroom). This one is about the author's struggle with dyslexia.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Projects and Priorities

I don't have any new projects to share. There's a month left of my classes, one of which has been kicking my butt. Just when I think I've figured out the professor and what she's looking for when she grades, she changes it. I'd love to make it out of this semester with my 4.0 in tact, but I'm doubting that.

Anyway, I have a point to this post, I promise! The other day, Ana White posted about impending doom, aka snow. While my situation is much less dire that trying to put up a roof before snow falls, my garage isn't exactly heated. Building project time is getting limited! The problem is, I've a list of ideas a mile long, so I need some help prioritizing (get it? Projects and priorities! My titles don't lie).

Project 1) Master Closet reboot.

I love our closet. It's so massive. Husband and I have more than enough space to keep all hanging clothes, sweaters, shoes, purses (which my collection is admittedly sad...and Husband doesn't have a collection at all :)). I would, however, like to paint it. It's the color we picked when we moved in and I'm a little tired of it. I want to paint the closet and the "toilet room" of the bathroom the same color-a shade of green. In painting the closet, I'd LIKE to reconfigure things a tiny bit. With the installation of our entertainment box, We had to get one of the shelves cut in 2 pieces. I rehung the new excess on the same wall as the door. I'd like to move that to underneath the back section, creating 2 sections for pants and tops (Husband's side is already like that). I have 2 building projects: a shoe cubby like this and a laundry sorter like this.

Except for the 2 building projects, everything can be done in warmth. However, I'd like to change up how I do laundry and the laundry sorter plays a big part in that.

Project 2) Entryway reboot

This is really just straight up building projects. Eventually I want to paint, just not ready to tackle the huge area our entry opens up to :). We want a bench where the small table is. Something to sit and and put on shoes before we walk the dog. Something along these lines, except with a cushion and without the baskets. With under the bench open, we can keep our dog walking shoes, so that's out of the way. I also want to build a small table (OK, this one) to keep Mister's harness and leash, our iPods and arm bands, spare keys, blah blah blah.

We also want to buy an umbrella stand (I will walk that dog in ANYTHING...including apparent tornado warnings) to keep that mess off the floor/drywall).

Project 3) Sewing table

This is the last project for our office redo (well, it was never done to begin with, so "do"). I've got several projects planned, like a cover for Mister's crate that actually goes with our room (not that I don't LOVE his Auburn blanket), a cushion for said entry bench, and the ongoing battle with hemming my pants. Why I want to push this up in priority is because of Cori. She's also petite (under 5 feet people are the coolest. It's no lie) and she sews a lot of her own clothes, especially skirts. I would need a refresher course in measuring and altering patterns (I love you, Mom! or perhaps an actual class when my time allows), but I could knock out a large portion of the "needs" for my closet for much less than I would otherwise.

This is the part where people comment with their number choice (like on Love Connection--best part of being hom sick from school in the 90s!). I intend on all of these projects getting done at some point, but I figure I can really only feasibly build the parts for one before I can't stand the freezing garage...and no, we don't have a space heater :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shameless Plug

A couple of years ago, I had an unexpected career shift. Without getting into nitty gritty details, I stumbled upon The Reading Room and became one of their dyslexia tutors. I have the coolest job in the world! For one, I'm doing the greatest part of my original career path--watching students learn and grow into confident, capable readers and learners. I get to watch the wheels turn in their little heads and the light bulb finally go off. Second, it challenges me because I've always enjoyed and excelled at reading. I went into kindergarten reading and throughout elementary and middle school, I had a book with me basically at all times. I have difficulty relating to people who struggled with reading since I never experienced that.

However, far too many people do struggle with reading. And spelling. That's where we come in! My office is jumping into the 21st century (OK, really we've had plenty of technology all along in the office. Now we're going beyond our walls). They have a blog, a Facebook page, and my boss was recently on the local news to discuss some early warning signs and their homework technology workshop.

If you or someone you know has difficulty reading and spelling, check out our website to learn more and give Stacey a call.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Halloween by Pinterest

I think I mentioned earlier my new obsession, Pinterest. Pinterest is a website that acts as a virtual "pin board." It's a cross between bookmarking websites and tearing pictures out of magazines. Essentially, as you browse websites and what-not, if you see a pretty picture or something you want to replicate, you pin it. You can also browse the pictures others have pinned and re-pin their pictures. Always, the pin will take you back to the original source, which is helpful if you need a few reminders for steps in a project :). The thing I love most is the creative ideas I can't come up with on my own, but can easily do once I see it!

Last week, I finished TWO projects I saw on Pinterest.

Pinned Image

I started with the picture. After a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, I created these:

Jack-o-lantern and a mummy that actually became more of a ghost

Vampire and Frankenstein

I think they turned out so cute! I've been seriously lacking in varying Halloween decor and these were so easy. The blog had printouts for faces, but I just painted free-hand with black acrylic paint, using the originals as guides.

Also, I made these candy corns:

Based on this pin (the picture wouldn't let me paste it). The only thing I did different was instead of hot gluing a button on top, I just worked the yarn into a spiral. I also dug a little into the bottom of the cone so the yellow yarn fit easily inside and would sit flat with the hot glue bump.

Both projects took me just a couple of hours...some of which was drying time :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Work Bench

I figured I'd better blog about my work bench now before I have to work on the multitude of papers I have due this week :)

So you've already seen the peg board. But what's peg board without a space to work? I have been completely and totally spoiled by the house I grew up in. Our garage took up half of our house's total footprint. In my mind, a 2 car garage should have room to comfortably park 2 cars (or SUVs...or vans), have plenty of space for storage, and still have room for a workshop.

Unfortunately, that's not reality in newer houses here in Lexington. My mom stumbled upon this plan for a work bench from Family Handyman online. What I love is that it utilizes the space between the wall and garage door track. I also love the fold-out work space option. I haven't done this part just yet, but plan to. There's plenty of ways to customize it. Since I don't have a table saw, I didn't need that part. I also didn't build the roll out drawers (yet) or the slide panel. I also shortened the entire thing by about 2 feet as that entire length would have taken up most of my garage wall.

Here's my bottom shelf. This measures 8 ft x 17 inches.

Here are the two work tops. The larger one (on the left) measures 6 ft x 20 in. and the smaller one (on the right) measures 4 ft x 20 in. The gap is 24 in. I chose to leave the large space under the longer top in case I ever did get a table saw and I can build the roll out section. Or if I ever get a shop vac, that can easily fit under there as well.

Here it is assembled, minus the actual top.

And the finished product (you can't tell, but there is actually plywood on top now. I have hooks to actually hang the saw horses. Also, I plan on selling the cabinet on the far right.

This section is mostly to support lumber being cut by the miter saw. I also hung my clamp collection, hammers, hand saw, and other miscellaneous stuff. I plan on building a shelf for the air compressor, so that space will eventually open up. I'm not sold on keeping the drawers, but they're kind of handy right now for loose screws, pencils, and other small things that wouldn't stay in the basket on the peg board.

This is the miter saw bay. It's not totally level (which I'm not sure how that happened since both tops are level themselves and to each other), but it's nothing a short trip to Lowe's for shims can't solve. Underneath is the lower shelf with my other power tools (nail guns, drill, circular saw, sander). On the garage floor are all of my small wood scraps (i.e. not the large pieces of ply wood).

And this is the main work area. This is where the fold-out table will go. The peg board holds my basic building tools and a magnetic strip for the screw drivers. I've also got all of my painting supplies around here.

So that's what I've been up to. Now that this is finished, I'm anxious to get to some of my other projects like a sewing table (so I can start on sewing projects like a new crate cover for Mister), a bench and/or console table for our entry way, and a laundry basket dresser so we can pre-sort laundry. I also need to do some re-tooling on the wood box I had built for the patio. This is, of course, as we enter life's busy season with football, work, school, fall trips, and the holidays will be here before you know it! Where's the slo-mo button on this thing?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pinterest Peg Board

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack :D
Whew. Life has been kicking my butt lately. Over the summer I worked four afternoons a week, attended class two mornings a week, and answered the phones at work the other two mornings. Things have sort of slowed down. I feel like I'm finally hitting my stride with getting things done on the mornings I don't work. If only I could get motivated to do school-work :)
I just have a small project to share with you. I've been ruminating over this for several months and finally got motivated to buy the wood in August. Yeah. It's mid-late September. Anyway, I've been building a work bench for the garage. It's not totally done yet, since the saw at Lowe's was broken the day I went, so it's missing the know, the work bench. However, that's not the project. This project is prettier, funner.

So, it didn't really start very pretty. This is just basic peg board from Lowe's. It's a 4'x2' piece. However, thanks to my new BFF, Pinterest (if you're not on Pinterest, you are missing. Out), I got the idea to paint it!
(Source: BGH)
I loved how this picture is so much brighter because of the paint. Plus, garages are typically plain, boy spaces. I'm not.

I started by painting the brown white. The white is just Sherwin-Williams un-tinted white base. We bought it when I got a little over-zealous painting and got some on the ceiling. Our ceilings are tinted from the base, but I didn't try to figure out what. It's much less noticeable than blue on white ceilings.

A few coats later and both pieces are as evenly white as they're going to get.

Next, I measured out squares and got to painting.

There's a right way and a quicker way for this step. The right way is to tape the squares off, wait for each color to dry, retape, rinse repeat. The "quicker" way is to try to keep a steady hand, waiting just long enough for the next-door neighbor color to dry enough to not smear. However, I'm not convinced the "quicker" way is actually quicker. Yes, you have to wait for the paint to dry to tape over it, but honestly, it didn't take long. Plus, it takes more time to edge, whereas I could paint in my messy way and the tape would still leave crisp lines.

Here's after 2 colors

And after 3. I painted a total of 4 colors, all using either left-over gallons from painting rooms or using the samples I got when deciding between colors. In short, this project cost only 2 pieces of peg board (Grand total, like, $15). I also left the white stripe in the middle...mostly because I was lazy and didn't feel like painting it. Luckily, it provided me the perfect space to hang my next Pinterest idea :) But you'll have to wait for that.

If you decide to do something like this, quick reminder: Peg board has holes. Paint is wet. Wet paint fall through holes. This is definitely a garage floor project (not necessarily in the driveway, unless you want a polka-dotted driveway). If you're particular about no polka dots, then cover anything under it with newspaper. I've got a slightly polka dotted garage floor (it matches my other painting projects) and very polka dotted saw horses. I think it just adds character :)

I plan on hitting Lowe's tomorrow for my plywood top and can finish the work bench then. Hopefully I can tell you all about it over the weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, the world was very different.

Ten years ago today, I was a senior in high school.

Ten years ago today, "terror" was what you felt when you forgot about a test in class.

Ten years ago today, I could walk up to the gate at an airport without any proof I intended to get on a plane.

Ten years ago today, security barely watched as you walked through metal detectors (with your shoes on).

Ten years ago today, we didn't define safety as red, orange, or yellow (although has it ever been green or blue?).

Ten years ago tomorrow, everything changed.

Ten years ago tomorrow, I sat in Pre-Calculus, working with some friends on problems. Our class president arrived late because he had dropped off the Senior Play t-shirt design to the print shop. He reported the radio was doing some dumb prank, saying a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We all thought no one would believe that. Even if it was true, what chain of errors would lead to a plane actually crashing into such an obviously visible building? We went back to work.

A little while later, a teacher came in and said "Turn on the TV." Coach Brewer obliged and we all sat in shock. Both towers had been hit as well as the Pentagon with terrorist-hijacked planes. At first, I didn't realize the Pentagon had been hit as well. The news station had a split screen and all D.C. showed was a cloud of smoke from a huge distance. I thought the smoke from the World Trade Center was so massive, it could be seen as far away as D.C. As I listened to the few and fuzzy details, I realized there were three separate crashes. I turned to discuss what has happening to a friend and a classmates says, "It's falling!" Sure enough, one tower began to crumble. My class has never been as quiet as it was in that moment. Some time later, the other tower fell. And then the bell rang.

Everyone sat frozen, looking at each other, afraid to move. Finally, we did begin moving to our next class. Mine was Ecology. At this point we realized the crashes weren't just massive equipment failure. This was intentional. We talked about who could be motivated to do such a thing. Why could someone have so much hate in their heart that they would actually take the lives of thousands? I cried. We learned there was now a fourth crash, in a field in Pennsylvania. All flights were now grounded, a first in aviation history. Who knows how many lives were saved by that decision?

I called my dad. He couldn't talk long because he worked at a chemical plant, so they were on high alert. I needed to hear a voice of comfort though. We decided I'd stay at school as long as there was school. At some point in Ecology, I realized this was my generation's Kennedy assassination. I had heard my parents recount every detail of where they were and what they were doing when they heard the president had been shot. Now, I was living history.

We continued to move about our day; next for me was Bible. We talked more about what was happening before the bell rang for chapel. We prayed. We prayed for the victims, we prayed for their families, we prayed for those helping others. By this point, everyone was exhausted. We didn't know what to do or how to feel. Continuing to talk about it seemed like beating a dead horse, but some people still did need to sort out their feelings. Lunch was a relief. We could be with our friends, decide what and to what extent we debrief with each other.

I came into Yearbook. Nothing new had happened. Everyone tried to resume a sense of normalcy, knowing things were anything but normal. After Honors English, I went home. I don't remember the details of what my mom and I did when I got home. I do remember her saying that our church had announced it would be open for anyone who wanted to come and pray. When my dad got home, we all went. We sat in our pew, bowed our heads, and prayed. And cried. And prayed.

A lot can change in ten years.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Almost Done

This week has been pretty easy work wise. Half of our kids go to private schools, so they're already out for the summer and can be seen at times other than "after school." That means I've actually gotten a lot done for the office! I've still got some loose ends to tie up before I consider it "basically done." Let's face it, there's always something to do in every room, so it will never be DONE done.
Now for the eye Excuse the quality. I can't even keep up with a blog, much less remember to keep my camera batteries charged, so you're getting cell phone pictures.
If you've missed what the heck is going on (or want to see some fun before pictures), click here and then here and you'll be caught up.
Upon walking into our office/third bedroom, you'll see this on your right (no, your other right)

And you'll see this bookcase/drawer combo

Remember, both drawers were based on Ana White's Braden series (just the drawer, not the entry hutch). I made some modifications so I had more room inside the drawers. I've got a lot of junk, y'all.
Here's the other one

Continuing on around the room, we come to this desk

Same thing only open

After the luck we had with our bedroom furniture, we ordered this desk from Wal-Mart's Canopy line. This desk is pretty awesome. It's exactly what we were looking for (a more compact desk) that assembled easily and is pretty solid. Now I unfortunately don't have an excuse for not doing my school work :( Only the room is :)

Still to do is to get some brackets and shelves for my crafty stuff. I also have plans to build Ana White's sewing table, but I've got a few other projects that are higher on the list. The stain is drying on a wood box I built using scraps (and oh man, is it built from scraps). Then my mission is to get the garage in a state that I love (oh I've got plans). That will be at least through the summer. Then it's fall, which means football and everything else on the weekends. Then it's winter and it'll be too cold. So the table may or may not get built within this year. But I'm ok with that and hope you will be, too. :)