Sunday, December 2, 2012

Megan's Bridal Shower

My beautiful sister-in-law is getting married at the end of this month, so last month Will and I had the honor of hosting her bridal shower with a few other lovely ladies.

I started planning this back in the summer- just getting some ideas together for a theme. I didn't want it to be an over-the-top theme, but I definitely wanted it to have something to tie it all together. With Megan's help, I eventually chose a "linen and lace" theme. Before they chose their wedding site, a lot of Megan's pins on Pinterest were inspired by rustic, outdoor weddings with lots of natural elements and burlap and those kinds of things. Once they decided on a venue, she realized a lot of those previous ideas she liked wouldn't fit with the more elegant decor of the venue. So I thought pulling some of the things I knew she liked would be a great way to make the shower feel very "Megan."

I designed the invites in Power Point (I know, I am awesome ;) ) and had them printed from Vista Print with a coupon. BTW, I've used Vista Print for numerous things (including our wedding invites), and I am always pleased with the quality for the price you pay. As a bonus, there is almost always a coupon code out.

Will and I went a little crazy cleaning the house for this event. I know that no one would be looking at my floors and the curtains and the blinds, but honestly those big things hadn't been done since we moved in last March, and it was time. We were just glad it coincided with a big event so that it would feel like all our hard work was worth it.

I didn't have a chance to snap a ton of great photos of all the decor and of the event, but I think overall the shower was a great success. The day was really all about Megan and her future with Brent, and I think that was accomplished :)

All the food was in the dining room.
(and sheesh, it's about time we paint and get some artwork in that room!)

For the food table, I used a white table cloth with a lace curtain I got at a thrift store a few years ago over it to tie in the "lace" part of the theme. I "made" a table runner out of some linen fabric from Hobby Lobby. The candles in the center are sitting on a plain piece of wood that I sprayed ORB.

Petit Fours are one of Megan's favorites, so I asked her grandmother to get some for the shower. 

The little chalkboard signs were made from some small wood signs I've had for a few years. I almost got rid of them this summer since I never used them, but then I remembered this shower and decided to save them. I sprayed them with ORB and painted the top with chalkboard paint. Unfortunately, I decided to use a new chalkboard marker on all the chalkboards in my house that day, and when I went to clean up the marker would not completely come off! These little signs are ruined (unless I want to sand them down and repaint). My big chalkboard in the kitchen faired a little better, but if you look at it the right way you can still see "Congrats Megan and Brent!"

Will and Megan's grandmother helped me get a lot of the food together. She made these awesome croissants- some were chicken salad (one of Megan's favorites) and the others were pimento cheese.

Will made these mini pumpkin bread cupcakes for me.

We also had a cream cheese/raspberry perserve dish and sausage balls.

The entry table- guests were supposed to grab a tag and write their "key" to a good marriage/relationship and sign it instead of signing a guest book. No one did it, but my great MIL saved the day and made it into a kind of game and passed it out to everyone before we ate.

I'm sad I didn't take an actual picture of these favors. I found a big box of assorted holiday teas at Marshalls a few weeks before and grabbed that, knowing we wanted to have a lot of tea to serve since Megan is really into tea. Since there was so much, I figured it would make a good favor for everyone. I found small pockets made out of brown craft paper at Michael's and got some washi tape (also from Michael's) to put on the front of each pocket. I labeled each with the kind of tea that was inside.

One of the other hosts

I cannot wait until the big day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Life Lately

So it's been quite a while since I last posted. That's what happens when you move across the state and start a new job, I guess.

I made it down to Houston in the middle of August, where I enjoyed a few weeks of working on the house with my brother before I started my student teaching and he went off to college. Originally I wasn't supposed to start until the middle of September, but my school district likes for their student teachers to start the first day of school. I have to admit I've really enjoyed being there since day one, as I feel like just as much of a "teacher" as my host teacher.

Senior Nine Weeks Exam

It's been a huge learning curve to go from my own English classes to co-teaching sophomores and seniors, but I have enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. My kids are great and have been so good to me, and my host teacher is the best I could have ever asked for. She is so patient and she has really allowed me to make my own place in the class. She guides me but lets me discover a lot of things for myself.

I've already finished my full-day teaching and am on the downhill-side of things. I took my certification exam a few weeks ago and I learned this afternoon that I passed! That means the only things that stand between me and graduation are my content exam, an online class, and a few other smallish things. It's time to start looking for a real job for after graduation!

Other than work, we've added another fur-child to the family! Meet Lucy:

 We've had her for about four weeks now, and she's gone from 1.3 lbs to over 2.4 lbs. She has quite the dominating little personality.

But she fits in perfectly with our family. The dogs get along with her pretty well, although Scarlett loves to chase her. Freska mainly wants to be left alone, but Lucy loves to try and play with her.

 She is also quite the little piggy. She will eat anything and everything, including dog food. We have to constantly battle her while we are eating because she tries to climb up and eat off of our plates. Hopefully this will change as she gets older.

So basically, all is well down here. It's been a little hard adjusting to our life. Things are very different than the way we were used to, but change is good and I know we will be so happy making our life here. I think the hardest part is being without our families- we miss them every day. Thank goodness my sister-in-law and her fiance live close- I don't know what we would do without them!

We've been working slowly on making changes to the house to get ready for Megan's bridal shower and having family over during the holidays; I plan on updating all of our progress soon.

Hope you're all having a great week!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Green Heart of the Home

Will and I both love to cook. And we both love to eat, but that's a different story. The kitchen in our first apartment was teeny tiny (our oven was a little half-oven!), but we loved it anyway. A fun, functional, and inviting kitchen was definitely on our must-have list.

Someday, we'd like to replace the Formica counters, add some subway tile backsplash,  and replace the sink (among a few other things), but for now we are so happy with this kitchen. It was the first room we painted, and we went all-out for the color!

Here's what it looked like when we moved in

White. White everywhere. (Everywhere in the house, for that matter.) However, as silly as this sounds, the cabinets are one of the reasons why I knew it was meant to be our house- I always wanted white cabinets. Brown cabinets can be beautiful, but they are not our style at all. I would have painted the cabinets in any house we moved into, even if they were brand-new. But the white cabinets, white counter tops and backsplash, white walls, and some white appliances were a little much.

Here we are on moving day

Like the mini fridge we used for a few days? :)

One of our favorite things about unpacking was re-discovering all the wedding gifts we never got to use. We had one double-wide cabinet in our apartment for all our cookware and such, so most of our wedding presents were opened and then promptly put back into storage since we didn't have room. Don't worry, we are getting full use of them now!

I knew I wanted a green color, but I was a little undecided on exactly which one. Eventually I narrowed it down to two colors and brought home the little tester pots. I would highly recommend you do this if you're debating a color. It helps so much seeing how it looks in the space, and is totally worth the $3-$4. These can also be great for when you need to do a quick paint touch-up in the room later without having to bring out the whole gallon of paint.

Not sure where my other close-up pictures of the two colors went, but you can see in this picture who I painted a few different areas to see the colors in different light and next to the cabinets. 

The color on the left side was pretty, but had too much of a brown undertone. We ended up choosing the color on the right. (I don't have the name written down yet, but I'll update it when I get down there and look at the color swatch.)

Like a lot of our rooms, it was looking a little scary after the first coat.

Thankfully a second coat with some touch ups did the trick.

We also bought a new refrigerator and microwave. We're hoping to get a new dishwasher within the year to match the stainless steel, but that wasn't a priority since it blends in (kinda) with the cabinets. We're still working on selling the old microwave on Craig's List, since it still works perfectly.

I added some cafe-style curtains to the window from Target that are great for privacy but still let in plenty of light.

I hung a few things on this small wall- a clock from Ikea, a silverware print from Hobby Lobby, and a custom chalk board that a friend's mom made for our wedding present (she made it out of an old cabinet door!).

And I propped a few things up on top of the cabinets. Most of these things were used in our wedding, so they're a little hard to let go of. I still can't decide if it feels too cluttered, but I also think if I took some of it down it would feel too bare. I'm going to live with it for a little while before I make any changes, though.

While I was there this summer I worked on a little art project to bring some life to that back wall. I have a lot of inspiration pinned and I debated several different sayings. The one I liked the most was "Love God, love people" but ultimately I decided on "Oh, how He love us." I'm not quite happy with the way it turned out (I should have done the whole thing in cursive), but I am going to go back and try to straighten out some of the lines that are WAY crooked.

If I can't salvage the black letters, I'll either paint over the entire thing again or cover it with some pretty fabric. It's a little disapointing, but I guess you can't win them all :)

It's hard to see the silver letters in the sunlight, but I think the scale of the canvas works well on the wall. 

New microwave and rug

I spy more picture frames that need pictures!
 I'm still having a little struggle with styling the counters. Again, I'm afraid of clutter but I think they also look weirdly bare. I think I'm going to look for a bigger cutting board to put under the salt and pepper on the right. I might add my canisters of flour and sugar to go go beside the Kitchen Aid.

 Also, I'm itching to build- in the fridge. I think it will look much more finished, and the some storage cabinets on top (so it would be even with the other cabinets) would be nice for lesser-used items. We'll have to wait for my father-in-law to come down here for that, though.

That's our kitchen as of now! We had a friend come over to check on the dogs once while we were out of town, and apparently commented that "it's" Haha, yeah it is. It's our unexpected dose of happiness. We're really taking this "don't be afraid of color" thing and running with it, although I suspect we'll tame it down quite a bit for the guest rooms and the second bathroom.

What color is your kitchen? Do you struggle with finding a look that not too cluttered, but still looks lived-in?
Have you had an "Pinterest fails?" Did you give up all together or did you try to fix it?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Orange Office

*** All photos in this post were taken with my phone. Please forgive the crapiness, and I promise to never forget my camera at home again!***

I could not wait to have an office/craft room where I could put all my craft stuff and spread out as much as I want. Thankfully, our house has four bedrooms so there will be an office/craft room until we have three kids. And then it will be time to move again, so I'm not too worried :)

The office started with bland white walls like the rest of the house was when we moved in. I'm pretty positive this was the past owner's office too, because there were some cord hiders attached to the wall, and the walls in this room were a lot more beaten up than in other rooms. The paint was flat, so there was pretty much no hope for cleaning them up without painting.

This is how we I left it in March.
Unfortunately, it kind of became a dumping ground while I was there and working on other projects. Will also re-arranged the furniture. So by the time we were ready to tackle that room at the end of my stay, it looked more like this:


Yeah, it was pretty bad.

First of all, we got the lovely Expedit from Ikea- I LOVE this thing! Way back when we made our first trip to Ikea Will really wanted to get it, but I wasn't sold. Since then I've realized how much we need storage for our office and craft supplies, and this was the best way to do it.

So we put it together and then cleared the room to paint.

For paint, I had a really hard time decided what color to go with. I'm all about embracing color in our house, so I knew I wanted something fun with lots of energy. It is a craft room, after all. :)

The problem was that I have some decor that we've accumulated from gifts and various other places that don't really fit in with the rest of our house. Most of it was from our international travels or had an international-theme, so I decided we would do the room with a travel- theme. All of our decor and furniture (with the exception of the living room furniture, which isn't going anywhere for a while) is based off of black and white. There is no brown anywhere. I like brown, and I really like the way some people decorate with it (my mom, SIL and MIL do AWESOME jobs with it!), but it just isn't for us. Some people can mix brown and black furniture and decor and it looks great, but I just cannot figure out how to do it while looking good and being true to our style. I thought using some of that brown decor would be great in our office since it was a little cut off from the rest of the house (and therefore I wouldn't feel like it clashed).

I got a TON of color swatches from Home Depot and Lowes and spread them all out on the living room floor one night. I narrowed down my choices and asked Will to choose his top five. The one color he liked that I agreed with was a saffron-yellow color. I liked it, but when I put it up to the decor I wanted to use in there it just seemed to clash.

The more I thought about it (and talked to my friend Brandy on the phone), I decided it wasn't right to try and make a room fit with an idea that ultimately I don't like. It's just not our style, and I knew I would never be totally happy with it.

So I went back to the color swatches and pulled a set that came from Olympic from Lowes (I so wish I had taken a picture of the little booklet that come with it for inspiration). If you need some inspiration for a room, I highly recommend going to Lowes and checking out these books!
**** UPDATE*** I found the website where you can look through these color inspirations here. This is the one we used for the office.

Anyway, the collection I liked the best had orange, gray, blue, green, yellow, and a white. I realize these are terrible descriptions without being able to actually see the colors, but basically they were fun, bold and perfect for a sophisticated craft room/office.

Will finally agreed to paint two walls orange if we could paint the other two gray. Fine by me, I didn't want the whole room orange, either!

Here's before:

And here's after:

Sorry it's so blurry!

The orange is called Indiana Clay and the gray is called Silver Spoon, both by Olympic (but we color match all our paint to Behr's non-VOC paint).  We use a satin finish for all our rooms except the kitchen and bathrooms, which are semi-gloss.

We painted the desk white and threw a white sheet over the table my mom gave me until we can buy/build a new desk for me.

It looks so much better now!
The mish-mash of boxes and baskets is kind of driving me crazy, but you have to start somewhere, right? Except for the two white boxes on the bottom row we already had everything on the shelves.

To the right of my tables is a small wire shelf that holds the drawers for pens and paperclips and our Ipod dock. That large picture above the table is of my host girl and me in Turkey. The large bulletin board I covered in white fabric since it looked like this:

I still need to add a border to it so it looks more finished.

The wire shelves are from TJ Max and have our "to file" and  "take action" paperwork. The small canvas is one I painted. The chest basket is from Ikea and my in-laws bought it for my high school graduation. It holds all my fabric.
The little nook you can see there to the left has a sink and mirror (the "Jill" part of our kinda-Jack-and-Jill bathroom. We keep Freska's litter box and food in there since we don't really use it.

So, that's our office as of now. We definitely realize it's not everyone's cup of tea, but we love the energy and un-expectedness of it! It still needs a lot of work (I think I want Will to build me some shelves above my table), but we are so happy we decided to go with such a bold color. The best part is it only took an evening to paint since the ceilings are normal height. Every other room we've painted so far either has vaulted or high ceilings that require a lot more paint and work.

Within the next few years we'll have to repaint when it becomes a nursery (our bedroom is right next to it), so it's not like it'll stay this way forever. Who knows, we might choose a much calmer color the next time we paint.
What do you think?
Have you chosen a "risky" color for a room in your house? Did you end up loving or hating it?

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