Monday, March 30, 2015

Six Years, Six of Our Proudest & Most Painful Projects

Late Friday I realized that it had been six years since the day we closed on our home and moved into this little old Dutch Colonial.  S I X...  Y E A R S... It's sounds like such a long time ago but it feels like I blinked and here we are.  Wish it felt like that when we were in the middle of each house projectright?! 

In those moments, during each and every DIY renovation, it felt like time stood still and we weren't getting anywhere with anything in this house and that it was never going to look the way we dreamed that we could make it look.  Now here we and the place looks nothing like the bland peachy/beige box we walked into six years ago.  The crazy thing looking back now (which is a good thing I must mention for any new fixer-upper owners out there), most of the work we did happened in the first 3 years we owned the house and then more minimal updates happened during the last 2-3 years.

Like I said, I wish it all happened in the blink of an eye but thankfully we didn't totally drag all the projects out over the last six years.  - Ugh, I shutter at the thought of that! - So celebrate our SIXTH year at home, I thought what better than a look back at SIX of our proudest and most painful projects!  Be sure to click the links for a look back at all the posts and drama documented along the way!  Drumroll....

The (My) ClosetWorkspace (additional links here)

The Master Bedroom

The Upstairs Bathroom

The Kitchen

The Dining Room

The Living Room & Fireplace Mantel

Which project do you think was most worth the pain?  

What was the most painful or longest project in your home?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

1959 Paris Michelin Guide Map Wall Art DIY

I've been working on a couple fun DIY projects and have the first ready to share- DIY wall art made from a 1959 Paris Michelin Guide Map!  If you have any bare walls at home and aren't sure what to put on them,  this is a SUPER budget friendly and thoughtful way to add in some wall decor.  
If you have any bare walls at home and aren't sure what to put on them,  this is a SUPER budget friendly and thoughtful way to add in some wall decor.

Kind of crazy that I picked up this 1959 Paris Michelin Guide Map for just $5.00 at an antique store in Hopkins almost TWO years ago!  Can't believe it took me this long to do something with it but truthfully I kind of forgot I had it until I stumbled upon it a couple days ago while doing some spring cleaning and organizing... whoopsie! 
That's when my light bulb moment occurred- I could use these maps for wall decor in the small hallway under the stairs!  So, I thumbed through the guide book and picked out six maps for my 4"x 6" frames and hung them up in the hallway.  

I think the contrast of the black frames really pops against the paint color (Behr's Sandstone Cove) and the dusty pink + red maps create the perfect accent color combo!
I know I haven't shown this space on the blog before so in case you are wondering, the hallway connects our kitchen to the back entryway and the door on the right leads into our scary old basement.  We have a couple topographic maps by the kitchen so I like that the theme/type of art flow is similar through to the hallway.

Like I said, if you have some bare walls you are looking to fill at home be sure to always keep an eye out for interesting books at antique or thrift stores.  Who knows, you might be able to create a whole gallery wall with a couple thrifty book finds!

What do you think of the new DIY wall decor?
Would you have done something different with the guide book maps? I'd love to know!

**********

I'll be working on another forgotten antique find this weekend.  Can you believe I got this antique camping stool almost THREE years ago and haven't done anything with it?!  It's just been sitting in our old gross basement, poor guy.  Anyway, cue the makeover montage music, it's time to get to work!
Ugh, I love a good makeover montage.  I mean who doesn't?!
I'd love to hear any color/finish/fabric suggestions for the stool, let me know! 
Be sure to stop back to see how it turns out!  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Deja Vu or Just the Winter Doldrums?

Since we are in the worst part of the winter doldrums here in Minnesota, I felt the urge to head over to Bachman's to get some fresh flowers and plants for the house.  Once I got to the store and started looking at the mini potted plants, that deja vu feeling hit me because I suddenly remembered doing the same thing last year AND the year before, blog posts that proved it even (freaky)!  And just look, I am doing it again, LOL!

I suppose it's just an odd time of year- holidays are over, it's not quite spring or close enough to Easter so I suppose I'll just call it my winter doldrums decor update :) highly likely that I'll be doing the same thing next year so why not give it a name right?  Anyway, I'll just get to the whole point of the story and show you the freshened up sideboard decor in the dining room... 

I picked up three $3.99 bundles of Mini Myrtle stems and three $2.50 Delphinium stems at Bachman's and placed them all in my large glass Ikea vase.  I also bought that cute little rosemary plant for #3.99, couldn't resist!  Then, I added in a framed landscape map, ceramic fruit bowl (Alex is really into clementines and kiwis right now, random but not random), and oval mirror on an easel.
I also draped two necklaces I purchased during my first trip to India, I know it's different but I see them as art and not just jewelry so why not display them?  * Sigh *  Traveling sounds like a dream right now!

I have to say, fresh greenery and flowers really does make a difference when cabin fever is hitting hard.  Just having something new to look at counts for a lot too I suppose?  Ugh, can you tell I am tired of being stuck inside?  Winter, barf.  It's just not cute anymore.  Who's with me?!

What do you think of the updated sideboard decor?
Anyone else out there experience deja vu moments during the winter doldrums?!

Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Zippered Pouch with Angled Corners

Hello and happy Monday from sub-zero Minneapolis!  Hope you had a nice weekend, I'd say mine was nice-ish because even though I hate being trapped inside during this long stale part of winter, I did manage to tackle a couple sewing projects!  So... WIN (slash "nice-ish")!

First up to share is an update to my DIY Leather Zippered Clutch tutorial from last year.  The new twist- Angled corners!
Not gonna lie, it's a pretty simple update honestly :)  Glad that I went ahead and tried it though because I still use my zippered clutch/pouches all the time and after a year, it's pretty nice to have something a bit different to make the ol' zippered clutch look new and fresh!

The DIY steps start the same as the original tutorial (click here for those steps!) but instead of sewing the rectangular shaped corners, you'll will make a 45 degree angle...
... and then cut off the excess/triangle corner piece.  Easy-peasy!

Like I said, not rocket science or anything, just a simple switch-up to something I've loved for the past year!  They say change is always good, right?

In case you missed them, below are a few pics along with post links for the previous Zippered Clutch tutorials in case you missed them...
 Original DIY Zippered Clutch tutorial 

 Zippered Clutch with Handle Strap tutorial

Hope to share the tote bag I've been working on next!  Fingers crossed it doesn't end up being a huge FAIL... eek!   Wish me luck!

What do you think of the new clutch/pouch shape?

What new twist/update would you have done instead?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Well, we're nearly done with February already folks.  Where the heck is the time going?!  That I don't know but what I can say (happily) is that I've getting back into my more normal routine of things at home AND with the ol' blog here!

Guess you could say I'm back in the -ahem- DIY saddle again?!?  Hehe, Alex hated that :)

I'm looking forward to sharing what I've been working on, hope you'll swing by to check it out!  See you then!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

5 Easy Superbowl Party Planning Tips (Even Last-Minute!)

Who's excited for tomorrow's big game?  I just got back from my second NYC visit this month and Alex will be returning from London tomorrow!  So at least we'll be able to watch the big game together but we won't be having a big ol' Superbowl shindig like last year... but that doesn't mean we won't be getting a ridiculous amount of food for just the two of us :)  That's part of the fun right?!

Anyway, I'm kinda going to miss the party planning part this year because last year's ended up looking fantastic AND it was pretty easy!  I felt really proud of it so I wanted to share what I learned in case anyone out there doing last minute party prep needs some help!

Here are the five key things that really upped my Super Bowl party game last year:

#1 Butcher Paper
This is genius!  Butcher paper/ food safe paper is cheap, you can decorate it how ever you'd like (gets you away from the cheesy football themed decor- yuck!) and it makes for EASY clean up.  You can cover your entire table with it and place food directly on it if you want to.  What I liked the most about it is that we used it as a key decor element along with black+white.  It'll add a super sophisticated touch to your party and you'll be thankful you used it at the end of the night when it's time to clean up!

#2 Grab-N-Go Paper Snack Bags
Yep, your plain old basic paper lunch bags.  The look ties back to the butcher paper so you'll be looking oh-so clever!  Take them and cut them down to about half the height (I used my pinking shears from my sewing kit to get a zig-zag shape at the top).  Then fill them up with whatever Super Bowl treat you'd like and line them up on your table.  We filled ours with different kinds of popcorn, but another really fun idea would be filling them with thick-cut french fries and letting guests top them they way they like!  Whatever you fill them with, it's a really easy grab and go treat for your guests and MUCH cuter than a big old serving bowl filled with popcorn, chips, etc.

#3  The Bloody Mary Bar
This is an interesting one, more than likely half your guests love Bloody's and the other half hate them.  Nonetheless, everyone will be impressed when they see it and even some of the haters will want to try one.  The DIY drink approach makes people curious :)  For our fixings bar we included pickles, stuffed olives, cheese sticks, pepperoncini, beef jerky or Slim Jims, Tabasco, and Worcestershire with Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix and Absolut Peppar vodka.

#4 Chalkboards
Okay, I bet most home owner in the US own a chalkboard these days but if you don't you can easily make one to incorporate into your food and/or bar set up. We have quite a few but the ones we used at our Super Bowl party were made the night before- really it's true!  We have a TON of scrap wood in our basement from old house projects so I took a couple plywood pieces (Alex cut them back when he added the wainscoting in our dinning room) and slapped on two coats of chalkboard paint, let them dry overnight and they were ready the next morning!  We used them to list Bloody Mary and Margarita bar directions for our guests.  Decor and inform?!  How can you beat that?!

#5 "Did you try the (fill in the blank)?" Food Fun
My fifth and final tip has to do with the food- and this was something I didn't share photos of last year!  Supply the basics (hot wings, pizza, cheese dip, chips, etc.) to keep everyone happy but include something signature to you and/or whoever you are hosting with.  In my case it was my husband and knowing a lot of his buddies from work were attending he wanted to make the hottest, spiciest chili imaginable just to see who would man up and suffer try it.  He even gave it a name and although it was inappropriate, it added to the fun of the night.  "Did you try the chili?" was the question of the night when it came to the food, so include something that isn't at every Super Bowl party and you'll hear it too!
Not intended to offend, this is an example of the kind of humor I deal with frequently when it comes to Alex & his buddies.

That rounds out the play-by-play for my Super Bowl party tips.  I hope some of you last minute party planners found it helpful!  Even if you just use one of the ideas it might add a fun touch to the elements you've already finished up?!  Hope you have a blast!  Enjoy the game (and commercials, that's my fav)!

What are your key Superbowl party planning tips?
Are you using any of these ideas for your party this year?  Which one(s)?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Hammer-Less January

2015 kicked off with a real BANG and I mean "BANG" like someone lit the fuse on a cannon and out I flew at high speed - high heels and all - headed toward the horizon without any hammers... for a little while.

Now, I realize that the whole cannon cartoon going on in my head probably doesn't make much sense to anyone else (usually the case for many other things) so what I mean is that there isn't much of my "Hammers" side going on because things have been quite busy in my "High Heels" world- aka my job.  I spent a couple days in NYC last week for work and will be headed back at the end of the month.  So...
NYC sunset & Empire State Building view from the Standard Hotel after a long day

Because I won't give up my fun husband/family/friend time (and no one should!), blogging and house related things are taking a backseat and I've accepted that I won't be getting much done at home until Feburary, wa-wa :(  At least I got caught up with laundry yesterday because I couldn't find a clean pair of matching socks and all my "1st string" jeans were MIA over the weekend.  It's pretty sad moment when you realize that you're stuck with ill-fitting pants and mismatched socks which leads to the realization that a MOUNTAIN of laundry is waiting for you downstairs.    -SHUDDER-

Anyway, 20 days sans blogging felt a little strange so I just felt like saying something!

What had your January been like?  
Easy going?
Or did the year kick off crazy (ill-fitting) pants style like mine did?