Saturday, March 31, 2012

Perfect Saturday

Today was a wonderful day! Not overly productive, not overly relaxing (boring), just a quintessential Saturday.

Amanda and I had an early morning garage sale plan that necessitated a sleepover! It is funny how similar sleepovers at 25 are to sleep overs at 5 or 15... staying up way too late talking way too much. Which meant our 6:15 a.m. alarm came way to early. But we were in line at the Countryside Church garage sale at 7:02 . I wish I had action pictures, in general I need to do a better job at taking pictures while I am doing things, like with people and everything. We found some other garage sales and estate sales and each ended up with a few treasures.

Amanda's Treasures:
A bag of plate hangers - $.50 (new they cost about $3.50!) {for her awesome dinning room wall covered in silver platters}
A solid wood high chair - $15 {perfect for a 'big boy chair' for Matthew after it is painted a'la Young House Love}

My Treasures:

1000 Large Paperclips - $1.00 {to fill an apothecary jar- as shown}

Large Plate with blue floral detail - $.25 {I have a small collection of floral plates for a someday wall display like this or this or this}

Cookie Cutters - $.50 {I love decorating Christmas cookies! A gift, a star, an ornament.}

'In A Pickle' Game - $.50 {brand new in box and shrink wrap}

4 Japanese Lotus Bowls - $.50 each {My most exciting purchase of the day}
So for $4.50 I had an amazing morning with my friend and bought these sweet items.

In the afternoon, I had a little set up for a wedding at work.

I love my job!

I was able to spend a little time with my mom and young siblings. My sister had just been to a makeover birthday party where they had updos and even put on make-up.  She looked cute, but too grown up. In my mind she is still my baby, I can't imagine how I will feel when she is a teenager. 

Now I am hanging out with my husband and his twin brother watching season 2 of Parks & Rec. They both have sweet new hair cuts, by me!

Did you have a wonderful Saturday too? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunny Afternoon Off

What an amazingly beautiful day today! Since I will be working on Saturday, I had this afternoon off from work. What to do with sunshine, time, and no commitments? - Whatever I wanted!

I started with a little sunning in my back yard. In my lounge chair I read a few chapters from The Story, listened to an eclectic variety of music from my iPod, and got a little bit of color (see below).

Then I went for a little shopping. I started at Plato's closet. I hadn't been there in a couple years. I was quickly reminded that it takes a lot of patience and time but you can hunt down some great pieces at amazing prices. I found this taupe Banana Republic dress. Actually the person in the dressing room before me found it tried it on and passed up on it. I added to my try-on pile last minute and it was the only keeper.

Can you see the sunburn?

I usually choose a more structured dress, but the looser cut and delicate fabric worked for me this time. I usually worry about adding unnecessary volume, but the movement prevents the dress from looking bulky. The light floral embellishment, thin monochrome tie, and posterior button detail are the perfect finishing touches.Although pre-owned, the dress is like new and was a steal at $10 (especially considering all of the dresses Banana Republic sells online are more that $100).

It took a little convincing but my husband helped me by taking these pictures to share with you. And of course I need to partner the dress with some accessory possibilities. The red ruffle T strap shoes are my favorite favorite high heels. I found them in grey at Target, yes Target, and they were so comfortable and adorable I ordered them in red too. The necklace I am wearing was gift from my friend Sara that she purchased while traveling in Israel. I wear it nearly everyday. It is perfectly simple for work but has a hammered texture that gives a little sparkle making it more formal as well.
Still not the best picture but better. One side is inscribed with my name (in Hebrew). And on the other side Sara picked Psalm 119:2 "Blessed are those who keep his statutes, and seek him with all their heart" (again in Hebrew) for me. I love the necklace, but I love Sara more!

After Plato's Closet I walked over to T.J. Maxx. T.J. Maxx is a go-to shopping destination for me. If I've understood the recent commercials, I think that means I'm a Maxxinista. Usually I am there for home decor items, but since I didn't have much of an agenda today I also looked at some accesories. I found a belt that I thought might pair well with my new dress and some of my other dresses too. However, the girl at the dressing room would not budge on the no accessories in the dressing room policy (seriously if I was trying to steal it I would have been sneaky and not directly asked and explained sweetly that I needed to see it over the dress I had just purchased next door). However, I don't have a picture for you because after trying it on over proper clothes it wasn't as awesome as it needed to be. So I had my husband return it on his way to class.

In terms of a source for clothing Forever 21 is kind of like Plato's Closet. You can find stylish pieces at good prices but it takes an inordinate amount of time and effort. Upon walking in to the store my Type A personality does a little freak out, but then I get in a wander and pick up grove and forget that the lack of organization is driving me crazy. Then comes trying-on way too many pieces and finding one or two worth buying. I ended up with a charcoal v-neck t, nothing too exciting. I found a really cool yellow vintage-styled boyfriend cardigan, but there was only one and I noticed a stain on it after I tried it on. : (

My next stop was Target! Who doesn't love target? After F21 I was tired of looking at clothes so I went straight to the Home Decor section, and what did I see ...
 Man what is temping to just buy for the sake of a good deal, but I resisted even though they had one of these bad boys...
 Handsom horse right? But alas I did not purchase him. I also made a mental note of this quirky color scheme: coral, red (or was it hot pink?) and navy. Quite captivating.
Then off to Lowe's to pick up paint swatches for my front door decision.
Any new insights or votes: Emerald, Deep Teal, Navy, or Plum?

I also picked up this sweet perennial! Red Heart Hens & Chicks - I plan on having a whole coop (garden) of these chickadees in a rainbow (well probably mostly shades of green). 
And then I did a responsible adult errand and had my oil changed. 
What a fun and productive afternoon!

What did you do today?

p.s. Thank you to my husband for documenting my awkwardness.
p.p.s. We are still doing some research and development on Project Paint the Kitchen Cabinets.
We are choosing hardware and perfecting the process.

Reminder: I want to know- What did you do today?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bejeweled Door

I'm contemplating painting our front door, but haven't settled on a color yet. I want a cool hued jewel tone to contrast with the warm brick, but I am torn. So I did what any good blogger does and did a little photoshop what-if-ing.
Jeremy had more or else ruled out amethyst, but I still love the idea.  
 Saphire packs a punch but I would have to choose the paint carefully to avoid a red, white & blue look. 
I've been loving emerald green lately. I think it could work but again I would have to pick the perfect shade that was deep enough to not read as Kelly (too Christmasy with the red/organge brick) but not too dark as to come off as Hunter (ick). 
 Another strong option is a deep teal - probably closest to an Apatite. I would likely use the exact color of my gallery photo frames (seen here) . 
I am really sure I want a color but I'm really unsure of which one. I would appreciate your thoughts, questions, opinions.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Small Changes in the Kitchen

Is any "after" truly an "after"? For me no, things are always in progress. The past couple weeks we've tackled a couple mini projects in our kitchen/dinning room in DIY preparation for our next (and final according my my husband - ha) big project - painting our cabinets.

As a test and practice for the kind of patient and perfect painting will we need to do, we decided to paint our kitchen table.

The back story on the table is that is the best kind of furniture - free. The legs and the top came from different sets but style-wise are very compatible and honestly in the 4 years we've had the table no one ever noticed the slight color difference.

However the top of the table was a veneer that had grown increasingly cloudy over time and at the leaf seams we were seeing some wear and damage. Since we have a prisms worth of chair and tableware colors we decided to go with a neutral for the table. The walls are 2 tones of grey, and we are anticipating white cabinets so black(ish) seemed like the natural choice.

So we prepped the table:
3 easy steps right? Wrong. Anything you see online in 3 easy steps is neglecting the 50 bajillion little in between steps that are simple but make things complicated{i.e carrying the table to the garage, researching the best products to use, going to Lowe's to buy those products, husband decides table legs need additional shim pieces to add stability due to the Frankenstein nature of your table and creates subproject "bolster the table legs,"changing in and out of paint clothes as you try to do other things while your table dries...}. 
But here are the basics: 
1) We used Klean-Strip brand deglosser to take the sheen off of the veneer top, as well as, the solid wood legs. 
2) We sanded with 220 grit sand paper. Orbital sander on top and by hand on legs. 
3) We primed with Zinsser oil based primer* **. 
4) We waited several days (since it was a bit chilly and we were working) after priming to make sure things were nice and solid and then we sanded again to smooth out the primer coat. 

* I really really really do not like oil based anything. It stinks. It is impossible to clean up. Cleaning it up stinks (literally). BUT ... for a tough and well adhered base coat on a piece of furniture it is worth it. 
** You will see in the picture that I am using a paint sprayer. We purchased a basic model paint sprayer and didn't like the results at all. We had to thin the primmer (more stinky mineral spirits) and it still didn't give a smooth or consistent coverage. We were able to return it and will not be using a sprayer in the future. After the ease of brush and roller application on the paint coats (we'll get to that soon) it became clear to us that we are much happier with the process and results of doing it by hand. But hey, that's why we did this project as a test or preview of what we would be up against for the cabinets. 

The color we chose is named "Tuxedo Tie" in a satin finish by Valspar in their Signature line. It is an almost back, with a deep charcoal undertone. It took 3 full coats for complete coverage (over white primer). 
We used synthetic bristle brushes on the legs and skirt.
A foam roller was used for a smooth
finish on the table top.
 Please don't make fun of my Sponge Bob paint pants. Ok you can make a little fun as long as you know that I did not buy them. Actually Jer and I each have 2 sets of paint clothes and a designated paint clothes place. Maybe thats a sign that we are painting too much, or that we are up for the challenge of paining our cabinets. Here are some helpful hints from lazy innovative painters:
And the much anticipated "afters":

The picture on the left is the most accurate in terms of color. And then with colorful dishes to dress it up {because lets be honest when is the table 100% empty}.
Whilst a Lowe's hanging out with my homies buying paint I also convinced my husband that our kitchen faucet was in need of an upgrade so we had a little concurrent project going on.

It could be the case that one of the main reasons we needed a new faucet is that someone (whom shall remain nameless, okay okay it was probably me) had deposited a substantial amount of paint oil based primer on the knobs of the old one during a project last year. Actually the main reason we needed I wanted a new faucet was the style and function, but the main way I convinced my sweet husband was the paint. I promise that I don't spend every weekend forcing my husband into home projects, but a majority of the drive does come from me. I love having his support and enthusiasm for the projects we tackle - that makes all the difference in the world and ensures we are both happy with the outcome and don't kill each other in the process. Anyway, we are quick learners and came up with the baggy on handles and knobs trick I shared with you above. I'm so blessed to have such a handy husband, although his large and lanky body had trouble squeezing in the cabinet beneath the sink it took him about 30 minutes to do this simple but impactful transformation.