Sunday, January 2, 2011


Not long after we moved in, N and I attended a neighborhood event at the pool.  We met some of the other residents, and were told that our particular neighborhood "does it up big" in terms of decorating for Halloween and Christmas.  We were pretty excited about this, as we love our orange lights and were glad to continue to use them.

They are hard to see here, but we included some luminaries to light the sidewalk.  We put them just inside the planter bed so the trick-or-treaters wouldn't knock them over by accident.

N and I picked up some pumpkins and carved them the day before.  N free-handed his to be upside down, and I used a template I pulled off of the internet.  We thought about making a headless body to sit next to the pumpkin, but didn't have time to get it all together.

We had a decent amount of trick-or-treaters, but not nearly as many as others in the neighborhood.  Some houses get 100 - 200 kids.  We got around 40 or so.  We are in the back of the neighborhood off of a cul-de-sac though.

 Its been a family tradition for years for Mom to cook hotdogs on Halloween night.  It was something that was easy to make and easy to eat, so we could get on our way spooking our neighbors.  Some years she turned them into "spider" hotdogs.  (Don't laugh, my sister and I also got our pb and j sandwiches made into houses, robots, and rocket ships!)  I can't remember how she made them, so I came up with two variations.

This one is cut after its been cooked.

 And this one is cut before its cooked.  N and I decided it looked more like a crab, but you get the idea.  =0)

 The best way to start fall?  With a pumpkin roll of course!

Landscaping 2.0

We have patches of clover in the front yard that take off every time it rains, but die back when it gets hot and leaves bare spots all over the yard.  I decided this fall to use those bare spots as a small scale testing ground for trying out some grass seed.  We have such a mix in the front and back yard, and I'd love to get them somewhat uniform.  It'll make the upkeep that much easier.  I'm also looking for something more dense, as we ended up with tons of giant dandelions all over the place.

I picked up Scott's E-Z Seed in tall thin fescue as it was the smallest amount of seed I could find.  The label also claimed that it would retain moisture, and I wouldn't need to water multiple times a day.

The grass seed pellets were encased in a light brown soil-like substance, and you just spread them around where you needed grass to grow.  Water the spots until they turn dark brown and you're done!  The soil-like substance will lighten back up as the spots need more water.  I did end up having to water almost every day, but we didn't get that much rain during that time frame either.  In about 2 weeks or so, my new grass had sprouted!

Its hard to see - but its the really thin blades.  This isn't as "rugged" as I thought it would be, so it may be back to the drawing board to figure out what is actually in the yard.  I think this would be great to overseed with, because right now the spots of grass that I like are a lovely shade of brownish-yellow.  This would help it look some-what green throughout the year.

Slacking blogger...

I warned you that this might happen... 

We get busy (and I get frustrated with blogger uploading pics sometimes) so updating the blog just doesn't happen.  I still think of posts that I should do and take lots of pictures.  =0)  Hopefully over the next week or so I can get caught up on 2010, and move forward with 2011. 

We have some big plans for 2011, like putting in a patio in the back yard and finally adding some plants.  N is also really getting involved in furniture building, so expect some new pieces to come.  I also REALLY want to get cracking on the kitchen, but its more likely that the master bedroom gets done instead. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010


When we first looked at the house, the previous owners had put in a gorgeous planting bed in front of the house.  By the time we closed... the bed looked like this:

No weed blocker was put down, and the mulch was minimal at best.  Its a bit embarrassing... but it actually ended up looking worse than this before it got better.

N and I decided to stick with the house colorings (and to keep the HOA happy...).  We went with a red edger and cedar mulch.  We pulled up all the weeds, and turned the soil over to make sure all of the weed roots were torn up.

N lays the edging...

While Peanut supervises!

Laying the edging on top of the over pour from the concrete.  N says it guaranteed the edging would be level - I just nodded and smiled  =0)

We planted some dwarf mondo grass along the edge.

Peanut says he did a good job!

We pulled up all of the plants except for the 2 day lilies and 2 evergreens.  We covered the bed in weed blocker, and put down 2 - 2.5" of cedar mulch.

Close-up of the mulch and edging.  The bed was in full shade, so its a bit difficult to see the tan color in the mulch

All finished!

We still plan on adding some more plants, but wanted to wait until spring so we don't have to worry about an early frost killing them off.  We'll plant a few perennials, and some annuals.  Our plan for annuals is to "bury" some flower pots in the ground after lining the holes with the weed blocker.  Then we can change out the annuals through the years without compromising and cutting too many holes in the weed blocker.  N came up with the idea, and we'll find out how well it'll work in the spring!

New Fridge!

 After a couple of weeks, this nasty leak had gotten much worse.

The caulk refused to hold anymore, and rusty water would drip out into the fridge.  The weather stripped around the door started falling apart,and the door no longer sealed well.  We could not control the crazy amounts of moisture, and food was going bad way too fast. 

We hung on through Labor Day weekend in hopes of catching a good sale - and it was worth the wait.  N and I spent a Friday evening pouring over different options and ended up with a:

You'll have to excuse any sideways pics... I've tried over and over, but CANNOT get them to upload correctly.

N and I both forgot to measure...
 and got lucky that the fridge fit!  We might move it and redo some cabinets.. but that would be a ways off.

N's favorite feature was the dual ice makers.  A small one in the door, and a larger one in the freezer.  I like that the freezer drawers were plastic and not just wire baskets like some brands.

There is TONS of space in the doors

 I'm sure we'll be able to fill it up one day - but for now it all seems huge!  We like the large deli/defrost tray at the bottom, and that some of the shelves slide out of the way for taller things.

Throw in the LED lights, and this fridge just "glows"  =0)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lights, lights, and more lights!

 An uncovered light bulb gives off harsh, intrusive, unfriendly light.  It is not pleasant to sit under,and does not facilitate good conversation or good company.  If N and I can't decide on a light fixture for the dining room... we might end up with a bare light bulb.  We've picked out a few we think we like - but none are REALLY striking home.  We haven't re-visited this topic since we picked out the rug, so one of these may very well be an option.  These choices are from Lowes and Home Depot.  We do have plans to visit a House of Lights as well.  We'd love any opinions on the following options to help us decide

We're looking for a dark metal.  Other than that... nothing to traditional and something a bit "straight-lined".  We also want the bulbs to face up instead of down.

Option 1: I don't love it, but I don't hate it.

Option 2: N is leaning hard towards this one.  I'm... not sold.  It seems a bit dungeon-y to me, and that's not the way the room is looking.  Definitely correct me if this doesn't make you think of a castle though.

 Option 3:  The globes may be a bit too yellowish, but I know you can buy different globes.  I'm just not sure how this would look with white ones. 
 Option 4: a lighter bronze - it looks a bit darker in person.  the points on the ends remind me of the berry stems on the rugs. 
 Option 5: This is a strong contender.  There's also a 3-light version.  I love the smoothness of the curves.
 Option 6: N saw this one and thought it was pretty neat.  At first we thought the room was moving towards a rustic look, but now I'm not so sure.  I don't care too much for the drum - as we are dealing with a formal dining room.  This just screams eat-in kitchen to me.
 Option 7: My favorite.  But - we've got two problems.  The ceiling in the dining room is a bit low - so I'm not sure if this would be too long.  I think I'd also like something with a bit more "spread".  But the uniqueness has caught my eye.  The second problem?  I can't find it ANYWHERE.  Its on Lowes' website, yet it is unavailable and I can't find any of the stores that have it in stock.  The brand is Portfolio, which looks to be a Lowes-only brand.  Major bummer.

As you can see, we are a bit all over the place.  This is the "last" thing that we have to figure out for the room, aside from the furniture.

Dining Room Extravaganza!

After completely the living room walls (I'll get a pic up of the finished work I promise), N and I decided to tackle the dining room.  After lots of image searches on Google and debating a few ideas back and forth, we determined that the color scheme was going to be based off of our wedding colors.  Those were a light blue, pink, and orange.  Throw in the fact that my dishes (and placemats and napkins) are black and off-white, and we had our colors.  A dark brown jumped in the mix as we decided we didn't want a ton of black and we want a dark wood table/chairs.  I know it sounds like a ton of colors... but it'll work.  I promise  =0)

Our wedding colors.
We decided that the blue we used for the wedding would be a bit... intense as a paint color.  Instead we decided that the blue the previous owners used in the kitchen would work perfectly.  It has just a bit more gray to tone it down.  The pink and orange will be very minimal - you'll find it in flowers on the table and as a highlighted color in black and white photos.  The black will be limited to the dishes, placemats/napkins, and the frames for the pictures.  The off-white color will be in the dishes, placemats/napkins, and in the dining room chairs. 

After tons of searching, we found our rug at Lowes.  I was extremely impressed by the number of options that they had, and the pricing wasn't too bad either.  I was concerned we were going to "need" to drop $1,000 on a Capel rug to find one like we wanted.  Peanut decided he wanted to pose for the picture.  =0)

 These are the curtains - they came from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  I'm debating on putting a sheer white behind it to help the chocolate brown stand out.  That'll also help the wavy lines to pop, which was my favorite thing about them.  I was a bit disappointed that they came out looking so thin.

The (semi) finished product!  Yes, the flowers are fake, and I want to get pink gerbera daises to go with the orange ones.  Its the wrong time of year to find them though.  We were just looking for something simple to try out the pink and orange with everything else.  When we're expecting guests, they'll be replaced with real fresh flowers.

I'm not sure that the sailboat picture will stay, but it works for now.

That leaves us with lighting (which will be a separate post), wall decorations (which we still have to figure out), and furniture.

We know that N and I are going to get my Mom's china cabinet.  Its all in just figuring out when.  Its a fairly small cabinet, that's more of a tall display case in my opinion.  It would not provide a ton of storage, but would give us a place to show off my Grandmother's china, or any other important knickknacks we find or inherit.  The plan is to get a serving table/buffet that we can use to store the rest of the china and our barware.  That'll get the barware out of my kitchen cabinets, and free up some more space.

We know that we want upholstered dining room chairs in an off-white color that matches the napkins.  I know, I know - we don't even have kids yet and I'm wanting white furniture.  N and I have already discussed how we would handle that or any other spills that may happen on them.  The napkins have stripes on them that alternate from a matte to a sheen finish.  I'd love to find fabric like that to cover the chairs.  I'm looking for chairs with the fabric of the second one, yet in a style more like the first.

The wood of the table is pretty close to what we're looking for and that's the general overall look.  I'm not sure if we'll go oval or rectangle... it most likely will depend on what we find.  It'll be awhile before we're ready for furniture... but it is nice to know that we have our plan!