Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quarterly Review

I can't believe half of 2010 is already gone.

In my last quarterly review, I set the goal of finishing off the trim and doors. Ummm, yeah, that didn't exactly all. I did make some progress in the door-painting world – I have one door left upstairs and then everything on the downstairs landing. But as for trim, I've done nothing else.

Here's what I've been up to:

Being featured on The Nest:
Painting the fireplace:
Making art for the family room:

Lots of landscaping:

The houndstooth wall:
As for Brent, it's all about the bar. And we are so close to crossing that finish line. I can't wait!

We have a countertop!

Look what just arrived...

To save money ($150 to be exact), Brent and I will be installing the countertop ourselves. We have a couple things left to do, but hopefully we'll get the bar finished this 3-day weekend.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June's Books

Books read in June: 12
Books listened to in June: 5

38. “The 6th Target” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #6)
39. “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #1)
40. “Downtown Chic” by Robert and Courtney Novogratz
41. “Pretties” by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #2)
42. “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” by Chelsea Handler
43. “Party Princess” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #7)
44. “Princess on the Brink” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #8)
45. “Princess Mia” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #9)
46. “Princess Forever” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #10)
47. “We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier” by Celia Rivenbark
48. “Specials” by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #3)
49. “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

21. “Project Princess” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #4.5)
22. “Project in Pink” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #5)
23. “Project in Training” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #6)
24. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
25. “The Maze Runner” by Josh Dashner (Maze Runner #1)

Favorite of the month: "The Help" by Kathryn StockettWhen I finished this book, I knew this book would stay with me. "The Help" is just incredible. I was hesitant about reading it, because I thought it would be really depressing – but I found it more inspiring than anything else. This book tackles the relationship of white women and "their help" in the south in the 1960s.

Other great books from the month:
- “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #1)*
- “We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier” by Celia Rivenbark
- “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher
- “The Maze Runner” by Josh Dashner (Maze Runner #1)*

*If you are a fan of "The Hunger Games," The Uglies and Maze Runner series are for you.

Coffee (table) talk

My coffee table has arrived, and I am loving it!

Even better, my lap top fits perfectly in the space between the 2 drawers.

I've had my former coffee table since college, and while it treated me well (even when Chip went through his chewing phase), my style has evolved since then and it was time to get a coffee table that reflected that. (And this coffee table is now treating Brent well in the man cave).


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ready for a beer (man cave)

The keg box is plugged in and cooling down. Since beer is the most important part of the bar to Brent, that area is now ready to go.

A look inside the keg box:
The keg tap is ready for some action:

Brent demonstrating how it will work, for anyone confused:
The back countertop
Since we spent more than expected on the front countertop (which is being delivered Wednesday!!!), we decided to spend minimal on the back countertop. And by minimal, I mean $16.17. We just picked up some peal and stick tiles and went at it.

In other news
Brent downloaded the vuvuzela app on his phone, and is having his own little celebration while watching the US soccer game. He is driving me nuts.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Brent's birthday – baby steps

I bought my first items for Brent's beer-tasting birthday party. My plan is to separate the beer (ale, stout and lager) into different rooms. I bought these buckets at Target for $14.99 each. Not bad at all.

As for beverage and dessert napkins, I'm thrilled to say I already have them. When Brent and I got married – I went a little napkin crazy. Brent and I put our own spin on our personalized napkins, so I will be using his 3 for the party.

The most appropriate napkin for the party was not photographed at the wedding – Brent is...going to need some Advil tomorrow.

I know I have a long way to go on party details, but I'm thrilled to be able to say I've at least accomplished something.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dear Chair

Dear family room chair,

It was nice knowing you as you were, but I'm super excited to see you once you're reupholstered.

Until we meet again...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coffee table bought

After much debate, Brent and I took the plunge and finally bought a coffee table.Was it my first choice? No. But it is the most practical, considering kids will at some point be in the picture. The table shipped out today, and I'm so excited to see how it looks in its new space.

After lots of price comparing, Wal-Mart was the winner. Not only was the table cheaper there, but they also offered free shipping. I know Wal-Mart is terrible and everything, but I wanted to save $100, so that's what I did. I figure considering I shop there once a year (if that), I'm doing okay.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I bought an ornament in June

Another art fair = another purchase.

Yes, I know it's a Christmas tree ornament and that it's June. Don't judge. It's currently hanging sans tree.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just Paint It Challenge

It's back!

You know that project involving paint you’ve been putting off? Whether it’s been on hold because of laziness or sheer terror – it doesn’t matter – it’s times to get it done.

So, I have a proposal (yes, it’s so romantic of me). Paint the thing you’ve been putting off – whether it’s trim, a piece of furniture, a fireplace, a room, a floor, cabinets, doors, spray painting some accessories – it doesn’t matter.

The concept is simple – you and I will take the plunge together in painting that thing that's been constantly delayed. Then, on Monday, July 26th – we will have a McLinky-posting extravaganza. (If you have a private blog or don't have a blog – you can send me photos and a description – and I will post it for you.)

What will I be tackling? My half bath. It's so blah, and I'm sick of looking at it.

So seriously guys, who is with me?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Houndstooth – Check!

The houndstooth wall is done! Thank god.

Was it the most tedious process ever? Yes. Do I love it and find it totally worth it? Definitely.

When I won a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils thanks to DIY Showoff’s giveaway, I knew right away houndstooth was the only way for me to go. I was nervous that the stencil would be a single houndstooth, so I was thrilled to discover how large the stencil was when I got it in the mail.

My biggest issue with the stencil was there was no way to keep the middle part flat against the wall. The instructions said to paint with a sponge roller –but not only would that get messy but I would not get the crisp lines I was wanting.

So I decided to use the stencil to trace the pattern onto the wall and then tape everything off. Yep, the project I envisioned to take me a day took me 4 weeks.

Some readers wanted to know how I fly through so many audio books last month – paint a houndstooth wall and you’ll figure it out too. ☺

Honestly though, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds, once I figured out a system. I got the majority of the project done over 3 Sundays, so I don’t feel as though I was slaving away or anything.

Considering the stencil was free, I only spent $18 and that was on painter’s tape. I used leftover paint from my office stripes.

Two things you may be wondering…
1. Yes, I still plan on doing an argyle wall.
2. I went through 2 ¼ things of Frog painter’s tape. (I’m a tape saver, and once each side once).

My painter tape props…
When I saw all the bleed-throughs that were happening with the Scotch painter’s tape, I made a trip to Lowes to try Frog. (Don’t waste your time going to Home Depot or True Value – they do not carry it…at least not in Kansas City). This was my first time using Frog painter’s tape, and I am a huge fan. While I still had to do a couple of touch ups where I used Frog, it was nothing compared to the area I used Scotch. Frog just earned themselves a new customer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The bar: Painting has begun

I didn't realize how much I was slacking up bar updates, until I looked back at the last bar photo I posted. Oops.

Well since then, the keg box has been insulated (I will do a separate post about that), the drawers and cabinets are attached, and painting has begun.

Up next:
- The foot rest
- Molding on the front
- More painting
- Finishing poly coat

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Not only did Brent and I get married 3 years ago today, but last year we put our house on the market and our offer for the current house was accepted.

Bar Countertop

I didn’t realize how large the bar was until we decided it was time to go countertop shopping. For whatever reason, I had it in my head that we could find a scrap somewhere and do this all on a budget. Once I discovered this “scrap” would have to be from one of those gigantic kitchen islands that you see in magazines, I decided it was time to leave dreamworld and start shopping.

Because this bar requires 24 square feet of material, which is comparable to the size/price we would be spending to replace the countertop in the kitchen, we quickly said goodbye to granite among other things and hello to the wonders of new laminate technology.

After several attempts to go the cheapest way possible (pre-made countertop), we realized that just wasn’t going to work due to size, etc.* and that custom was the only way to go.

And since Home Depot was having a laminate sale over the weekend – they were the winners. Just a note though, to anyone wanting to go custom at Home Depot, the minimum is $250. We squeaked by with a grand total of $258, and this included a Group B laminate.

The laminate we picked is Wilsonart Milano Amber quarry finish.

We really liked the faux-granite look, shine and texture it offered. And even better, Home Depot carries this style in a pre-made countertop as well, so once we are ready to upgrade the wet bar to this matching countertop – we won’t have to meet the $250 minimum.

Reality did hit Brent though, when we discovered the countertop would be delivered in 2-3 weeks. So while we won't be making our Father's Day deadline, we now have a more realistic deadline to follow for getting everything done.

* We discovered the one thing hardware stores will not cut – pre-made countertops. Even after offering to pay them, will still got denied.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Challenge alert

Rest up and start planning, the next Just Paint It Challenge starts Monday, June 21.

I know what I'm going to tackle, do you?

Dead sod update

If anyone was curious how the dead sod Brent bought was coming along – here's a photo from the weekend.

So yes, while small chunks of grass are growing – the sod we bought that was alive is basically 100% blended with the other grass.

Lesson learned: Brent isn't allowed to go sod shopping by himself.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My completed backyard (maybe)

I know I have been slacking, but between working on the houndstooth wall, my wine intake and currently dogsitting one of our former foster dogs – well, I've been a little busy (or tipsy).

Since Brent and I are hosting Father's Day, we have set a lot of unrealistic goals on what we would like done. In that list, includes the bar, the houndstooth wall and the backyard.

Well, I'm happy to say that the backyard is now done.

This was the last problem area:
After mulching and some stone rearranging, this is how it looks:
While it's not amazing, it will do for now. Next year, I have plans on experimenting with climbing roses. (And to my fellow reader who informed me bleeding hearts are poisonous to dogs, thank you and it has been removed).

As for the rest of my landscape, here's how it looks now:
One yucca is in full bloom (my other yucca apparently decided to take the year off. But it does appear the asiatic lilies I planted to replace the zinnias are going strong – and they are big enough that the dogs run around them versus through them):
The day lilies are about to bloom:
The hydrangeas are out:
And this mystery flower is also saying hello (anyone have any ideas? I'm thinking it's a false sunflower, but I have no idea):

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm getting somewhere...

...and I am loving how it's looking.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Design Time: "Downtown Chic"

With my love for Courtney and Robert on "9 By Design" – it only made sense for me to read their new book.

I read this book in one sitting. I just found it fascinating. I mean, I knew they took risks, but I had no idea the level of risks they took when they started out.

The book covers all the houses they've had in New York, including their 2 vacation homes.
Now for some of my favorites from this book...

They added this brick wall, to give their house some character:
I thought this idea was great. They had all their kid's artwork scanned, decreased the size and made a modern-art collage with it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Art fair

I am a sucker when it comes to art fairs. I just love them.

But my biggest weakness in the Prairie Village art fair – it's not huge like others in Kansas City, but it has a great range of artists with a variety of price points. In fact, I have bought something at this fair every year since Brent and I became home owners.

2007 (We bought this piece for the kitchen. Unfortunately our new kitchen lacks walls):
2008 (I bought this when we had a very colorful office. I still love this piece, but it just doesn't work with our house at the moment. Although, I'm sure it will be delightful in a future kid's room.):
2009 (I love this piece, and yes, this is a real photo.):
And this year is no exception.

This morning, I went to the art fair knowing what I wanted. Every year there is this guy who makes amazing junkyard sculptures there – and I was determined to finally own one that could go in the backyard. I had a difficult time deciding between several of them (so hopefully he comes back again next year).

I decided on a dragonfly and lightning bug – $20 each. Not bad at all.