Monday, November 30, 2009

Faux-Wood Blinds Deal

JC Penneys is having a fabulous deal on their 2" Faux-Wood Blinds. They are 60% off – and for an additional 20% off enter 20FRIEND at check out.

I just ordered 2 sets for my third bedroom for $50. I saved $85. I love saving more than I spend. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Decorating

At the last house, I had more than enough holiday decor. In this house, it's looking a little slim. It's frustrating but awesome at the same time, because I love buying Christmas goodies, but since I won't acquire any until the after-Christmas sales – patience and plotting is key.

Here's what I have so far. (Sorry about the photos. I hate taking pictures of Christmas trees, because I somehow always make them look blah. Maybe I'll try again when it isn't so bright out).

And my new favorite thing – my penguin tree! Brent says I have an unhealthy addiction to penguins – so this is me embracing it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

$350 later, Brent and I are done with Black Friday.

This year's Black Friday was different, because a lot of the Black Friday deals have
been going on all week. Amazon's Black Friday deals week is one of my favorites. I can buy all the DVDs and books I want at fabulous prices without ever leaving my house, and since I'm a Prime member – everything is free 2nd-day shipping.

So here was the Black Friday breakdown.

- Sons of Anarchy season 1 for my dad – $28.99 ($21 saved)
- Comedy Central Presents: Uncensored for Brent from my grandparents –
$12.49 ($3.50 saved)
- Comedy Central Presents: Uncensored II for Brent from my grandparents –
$12.49 ($3.50 saved)
- Jeff Dunham's Sparks of Insanity for Brent from my grandparents –
$7.99 ($7 saved)

As for today's Black Friday.

Home Depot:

- A set of 3.5 foot Christmas trees for $19.99 ($40 saved)
- A miter saw for $69.99 ($30 saved)
- Ryobi 5-piece combo kit - $129 ($30 saved)
- Shower head for $30 (unfortunately this wasn't on sale, but Brent wanted a new one, so why not)

- Cuisinart Sandwich Grill for my mom for $19.99 ($10 saved)
- White 530-thread count King-size sheets for $39.99 ($130 saved)

Not bad at all, especially considering we were only gone for an hour this morning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has a great day – whether that includes putting up the holiday decor tonight or laying around and watching football (Brent's and mine is the latter).

And for you shoppers that can't wait for Black Friday tomorrow – Z Gallerie is
offering 25% off gifts and accessories today. Just enter C25 at check out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Santa

I'm blaming the new house on my barely-there Christmas list. Usually I have lists for both sides done and emailed to my parents and in-laws by now. I just like having it out of the way and the list divided up correctly (the proper division of want versus necessity on each side – both parents are excellent at studying all lists to make sure they aren't getting screwed with a sucky list. God forbid someone has to buy a vacuum while the other side has glamorous bedding to purchase).

I thought with the new house that the Christmas lists would be a breeze and just create themselves this year. Ha!

Brent and I have now been married for 2.5 years – everything we truly wanted off the registries has now been purchased and there's no more random crystal stemware we need for a complete set. I bought so much decor prepping the house for the housewarming party, I'm seriously about tapped out. And I don't think I can fit one more article of clothing into my closet.

So, what do I have on my list so far? A label maker.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Z Gallerie deals

Z Gallerie will be having a style deal of the day every day until December 23. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Housewarming Party

The party is now over – Brent and I no longer have anymore house deadlines.
Yay for DIY at a leisurely pace.

The housewarming party went really well, and we had a great turn out of about 50 people – it was great being able to catch up with friends. Brent and I had been maintaining hermit-crab status, because we've been so busy with the house.

And now for a couple set up photos.

The wine bar:
The dining room centerpiece:
The dining room food set up (I stuck with all black, white, silver and crystal for the platters):

And the graphic designer in me thought these were a must:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The stairs – done!

Overall, I think it turned out really well.



My tips...

- Spend the extra $10 and buy the conditioner. This helps limit the blotchiness that can happen while staining.

- When staining and using the polyurethane – move quickly. Both these products change consistency quickly when they start to dry, making them more difficult to work with. Because of this, I felt more comfortable using a smaller brush, because I had more control of it – so I could be fast and not so sloppy.

- Second coats doesn't necessarily make things darker – time is the biggest factor. It's better to do 1 15-minute coat instead of 2 10-minute coats.

Projects for later...
- Paint the handrail
- Tear out the carpet in the hallway and stain away.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wine Art

I know it's not the original idea I was aiming for and it's totally a copycat, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Books #81, 82 and 83

"Dirty" by Megan Hart

Yep, the cover is 2 people having doing it in a public restroom. It was my first erotic novel, and I must say I was surprised by how much plot for book actually had. I enjoyed the book, and I look to more Megan Hart books in my future.

"The Luxe" by Anna Godbersen
I was rather hesitant to start this series. I heard it compared to "Gossip Girl" but for 1899. While I've never seen "Gossip Girl," there is a reason I stayed away. The series is about high society teens in New York between the ages of 17 and 21 looking for their perfect matches. I thought the book was okay (the ending was rather obvious), but I heard the rest of the series is a lot better, so I will continue on.

"Rumors" by Anna Godbersen
I liked this book so much better than "The Luxe." I just felt there was more story and character development. There were so many twist and turns, I really enjoyed it. So much happened in this book – I'm excited to read "Envy." Hello new guilty pleasure.

So close!

At 10 tonight, I will be able to walk on all the stairs. And I won't have to carry my dogs upstairs at night. Photos to come soon.

Window Improvement

The nasty window treatment in the office is finally gone. Thank you JC Penney for
your fabulous 2" faux-wood blinds.


Monday, November 16, 2009

The stairs – days 4, 5 and 6

Day 4 (what not to do)
I was way too confident about the staining process. Everything went smoothly the day before, so I just assumed the second coat would be a breeze. This quickly backfired to the point where the stain was so bad, Brent had to re-sand everything the following day, so we could start all over again.

Lessons Learned...
- Wait longer than the 4 to 6 hours to do a second coat
- If a part of the stain is thinner in a certain area, adding more stain to the spot isn't a good idea and can sometimes make things worse
- Stain isn't like an overlay where 2 20% tints equal 40%. Doing 2 coats won't necessarily make the stain any darker – only how long you leave the stain on can do that

Day 5 (starting over)
Friday after work Brent re-sanded the floors. Even when the floors were done being sanded, they were still darker than they originally were because of the stain. Fortunately, the sander was able to even out the color enough that we didn't have to resort to paint thinner.

This time around on staining the stairs, I let the stain stay on for 15 instead of 10. Those extra 5 minutes gave me the color I was looking for – a perfect match to the classic brown floors in the living room. I still find it difficult to understand that 1 15-minute coat was darker than 2 10-minute coats, because that's not the way my graphic-designer brain functions.

After that, the stain had to chill for a minimum of 8 hours.

Day 6 (the waiting game)
Today was my first experience with polyurethane. While it's not as toxic-smelling as the pre-conditioner – it was still bad enough to make me want to finish everything up quickly. I found the poly to be similar to rubber cement not only in consistency, but because it gets sticky quite quickly with the thin coats.

Once the poly is on, you wait for 3 to 4 hours and then do a light sanding. Once this is done, you repeat the process again. Once the wood has been sanded for the second time, you're supposed to wait 24 hours before light use. So that's about 30 hours of waiting. But because Brent and I need to use the stairs (and because we'd have no way of sanding them otherwise), we had to go every other stair. So yes, that's 60 hours of waiting. Fun times.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The stairs – day 3

The supplies:
The stairs sanded:

I ended up doing the first coat of staining last night, and it went a lot better than I thought it would. It still definitely needs a second coat, but I'm feeling *slightly* more confident about my sanding abilities now.

The first coat:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The stairs – day 2

All the carpet is off and the 436 staples are out. (Okay, I really have no idea how many staples there were, but that number sounds about right to me).

Brent will be spending his day off tomorrow sanding the stairs. That lucky guy. :)

Books #78, 79 and 80

"Marked" by PC Cast

I liked and hated this book all at the same time. One of my biggest issues is that I felt like the authors tried too hard. They tried to be controversial, while having the main character be the good girl who never experimented around with alcohol, drugs or heaven forbid, anything beyond kissing. The perk of this book is that it takes about 2 seconds to read. Maybe when I'm bored, I'll give the next book in the series a try. My coworker has gone on and on about how I'd love this series, and I feel bad stopping at one.

"Maneater" by Gigi Levanie Grazer
I really enjoyed "The Starter Wife," so I assumed I would enjoy this book as well. Wrong. Do not torture yourself with this book. I enjoy reading chick lit once in awhile, but this book combined everything that is wrong with chick lit – it was painful.

"Lost and Found" by Carolyn Parkhurst
I love "The Amazing Race," so I figured any book based on that sort of reality TV show journey was a must. The book was a lot deeper than I expected it to be, but it was still a good, entertaining and quick read.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Because it's never THAT easy

I had a simple plan for today – tear out the carpet on the hallway stairs. Then voila – hardwood floors to enjoy.

Here's what I didn't know, when I started this project:

- This carpet runner, is nothing but scraps. Each stair is its own piece of carpet, which equals 3 tac strips per step and at least 50 staples per stair.

- While I pulled on some carpet to make sure the wood was okay, apparently the spot I looked at was a fluke – the wood is unfinished.

- The unfinished wood is blessed with random paint spots all over it.

So you can witness the joy:

Because of the extreme amount of staples, each stair is taking about an hour to do. My hands are swollen and hurt to move – I am so done for the night. This is how far Brent and I got.

So, the new plan (which hopefully includes having this mofo done by our housewarming party on the 21st):

- Tear off the rest of the carpet and de-staple the stairs (Monday and Tuesday)

- Sand the stairs – this will help the paint situation I have going on and it will also rough up the finished paint of the stairs (Wednesday)

- Stain the stairs (Friday night)

- Paint the back of the stairs white (Sunday)

I have never stained anything before, and I have to admit that I'm slightly terrified. But I guess if it's terrible, it can always be sanded done again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Towel Deal

$20 for a 6-piece set – not bad at all. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Dining Room

I'm really happy with how it's coming together. I want to switch out the fabric on the dining room chairs, but I'm sure to what yet. As for the other 4 dining room chairs – that's what Christmas is for, as well as a table centerpiece. :)

Dining Room inspiration

Because Brent and I finally bought a dining room table (pictures to come later), I figured it's time to start daydreaming about that room.

Bling tealight lamps – Z Gallerie
Table runner – Z Gallerie
Star candleholder – Z Gallerie
Day without sunshine – DIY
Circuit candleholder – Crate & Barrel
Hurricane candleholder – Crate & Barrel
Napkin rings – Z Gallerie

A Candleholder Knockoff

While I received a lot of compliments about my buffet renovation – I received quite a bit of interest in the candleholder above it.

The circuit wall candleholder is from Crate & Barrel with a price tag of $149. While that price is steep to me, a wonderful friend thought it was the perfect wedding present (thank you, Dominic).

Today, I was in my new favorite store though and found a knock off of similar size for almost half the price. This is the collage sconce from Z Gallerie, and for only $79.95 it's an amazing price and still has a nice brand name – you can't beat that.

While the frames are thicker in the Z Gallerie version, and several squares are a different size – that's basically the only difference. Not only are the number of squares the same in both, but the placement of squares as well as candleholders are identical.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Hallway

The painting is done! (Well, almost. There are some touch-ups still to do). But the ceiling and walls have now been painted – I don't miss me beige ceiling whatsoever. Goodbye beige everywhere and hello granite dust walls and white ceiling.



The Mantle

There were 2 projects when it came to the mantle:

1. Level it (the mantle had settled quite a bit. I have no idea how the previous owner's stuff didn't slide right off it)

2. Paint it (the natural wood against the brick did nothing for the mantle)

The before (with the previous owner's things):

After painting everything, Brent put the pieces back in with shims and then mortered it. It was his first morter job, and I think he did great. Oh, and morter totally smells like chocolate milkshake. Then we let the morter dry for several days.

The result:

I am really happy with how it turned out.

Next fireplace project: Spraying the screen. I'm not sure whether to do it black or silver though. I think I'm leaning toward black though.