Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Landscaping Before and Afters

A couple of weeks ago I got the bright idea that I wanted all new landscaping. This was the plan from the beginning, I just didn't think we would get to it until next Spring. But day after day I would pull into our driveway and hate what I saw. With the holidays coming up I wanted to love what I saw when I pulled up to the house. There was an overgrown Rose of Sharon right in the middle of the yard so our house wasn't even visible from the road. It wasn't in the best shape and its branches were reaching out into the driveway scratching our cars. I just wanted a change. Now we wait for a letter from the HOA. :p

So we used some nylon straps looped around the thick rooted plants and pulled them out of the yard with Justin's F150. #redneck4life

Here are some before photos:

Is there even a house back there???

 The landscaping hadn't come back from the winter yet in these photos, but even full grown I still didn't care for it. The bush/trees in the back really covered up the porch. I wanted to change out the old light fixture and get rid of the screen door. So we spent a weekend doing all of those things.

I have to say, Justin does not want to spend every weekend working on house projects. He would rather be relaxing and giving his mind some much needed rest. He works a very stressful job, is gone from 5:30 in the morning until 6:30 every evening. Yet somehow he still manages to save time for projects and things we ok mainly me:p want to see done at the house. He is such a great husband, I had to brag on him a little.

Ready for the afters??
 We ran out of mulch! Haha Could have cropped it out, but why leave real life out? :p 

 Look! You can see our house! The grass needs a little love, but that will have to wait until spring. It's already gotten down to the 30's at night here! Brr!

I'm hoping the bushes will grow in nice and full and I can't wait to see those flowering cabbage plants bloom in a few weeks. We decided on black mulch to match our house a little better. I spray painted the house number, picked out a new light fixture and Justin removed the screen door. Not a huge change, but I'm loving it.

We will have to replace those cabbage plants in the spring since they are annuals. I realize how crazy that sounds. But I couldn't live one more day with the old landscaping, so if $50 will get us through to the spring, I'll take it.

I did learn a very valuable lesson when picking out my light fixture I though I would share. Sometimes what you want doesn't match up with what you need. I originally bought a cutsey farmhouse light fixture. It had a rustic/nautical feel to it and was just the cutest thing. Justin put it up for me and it came right back down. (God bless that poor man) Here's what I learned. Although my style could be described as cottagey/farmhouse feel, we do not live in a farmhouse. We live in a colonial. I cannot make this colonial into anything other than that. And I decided to stop trying to. Now once you walk in the door that goes out the window. I want the inside to be cozy/cottage/farmhouse vibe all the way. But I just really felt like I needed to stick with a more traditional approach with the fixture because we live in a very traditional home. So lesson learned: don't try to turn something into what is isn't.

So what do you guys think? Do you like the changes? Did you notice the hardware on the garage? That might be my favorite part! I think it adds so much charm.

We got all of our material from Home Depot and it was roughly $1000 to redo all of the landscaping. That was starting with a blank slate, nothing planted at this point. Not too bad if you ask me! Also, Justin laid out all the plants and spaced them where he wanted them. He's got this hidden landscaping talent that totally impresses me!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cozy Fall Front Porch

Happy Fall you guys!!! This is my favorite time of the year. From September 1st until January 1st I am in my happy place. I love the cooler weather, the beautiful leaves, comfort food, cozy candle smells, scarves for daysss,  I mean honestly it's just the best. And then January 1st rolls around and I'm ready for spring. :p

One of the things I was most excited about this year was decorating for the holidays. I haven't had a front porch in a couple of years so fall couldn't get here quick enough. Even though I wanted to go totally crazy decorating, we are still in the middle of major renovations (the kitchen is a wreck. Read about our vision for that here) so I can't go as crazy as I hoped. Justin works 13 hour days, I am taking 5 classes at my university, and we are just plain busy. It's hard to fit it all in. So I stayed simple and low key for porch decorating this year, but I love how it turned out.

We did a couple of updates to the porch, here's a quick before picture.

We changed out the hardware on the door, got rid of the screen and added a new light fixture. It isn't a huge change, but it feels more us now. Here are the afters. Introducing our cute little fall front porch!

 How cute is this pillow that has our house number on it? I found it at my new favorite place, Tuesday Morning and knew it had to be ours!

 I thought about sweeping off the porch for this photo shoot but then I realized it looked more authentic and autumn like this way. Yeah we'll go with that. :p

 Hudson would like to thank you all for stopping by our front porch tour today and says that you can come back anytime. As long as you bring milk bones and behind the ear scratches. ;) 

Tandem bikes, antique wagons, hunter boots, and pumpkins, I mean how can you go wrong with that combo? What do you guys think? Not bad for a teenie front porch right? I'm kind of crazy about it! Thank you for looking! Pop back over tomorrow when I will be sharing a full landscape before and after. Not as much fun as porch decorating, but still nice to see the little makeover.

Happy Tuesday! Xoxo

Source List

Tandem Bike- Justin's dad bought it for him years ago. Fun fact, it's been in all of our big moments including engagement pictures and wedding photos! View that post here!
Light Fixture-Home Depot
Galvanized plant holder-Walmart(it's actually a drink dispenser)
Throw Pillows- Yellow-HomeGoods White-Tuesday Morning
Blanket Scarf-Target
Vintage Wagon-Justin has had it forever! He probably got it at an antique fair

Monday, September 21, 2015

7 Weird Things That Happen When You Move Out of the Midwest

And more specifically, out of the Midwest and into New England.

1. Your heart grows as cold as a New England winter. 

Ok maybe a little dramatic but when I lived in the Midwest, I smiled at everyone. Strangers in the grocery store, gas station clerks, rude librarians (who were obviously from out of state). You get the point. I guess after I moved I got shot down so many times at these dang Shaw's I just decided to give up. Except now whenever someone smiles at me first I drop everything and am all, "you like smiling too???? You must not be from around here, lets be friends right now and maybe hug!!!!"

2. You stop saying pop and supper.
After a million different versions of "what is pop?" and "supper? ok grandma" I just kind of removed these words from my vocabulary. It didn't really happen on purpose. It just got easier to say soda and dinner. Now whenever I hear a midwest friend say those words I feel like the biggest traitor to my home region.

3. You miss the humidity.
Oh did you think I was serious? No. A thousand times no.

4. You miss the drive-in theater.
You miss it a lot.

5. You never stop searching for fireflies.
But then get depressed when you can't find any.

6. You go to every fair with wide eyes hoping to find the brightly lit ELEPHANT EARS sign.
And then walk away defeated when all you see is a sign for funnel cakes.

7. You realize the Midwest will always have a huge chunk of your heart.
And that no amount of heavenly sent New England seafood (seriously the best) could change that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sunflower Lovin'

     We are smack dab in the middle of a kitchen renovation. Like, all the cabinet doors off, pots and pans all over the floor, random sink in the middle of the kitchen while we hunt for a new counter top kind of renovation. All while this is happening I've been trying to get rid of this nasty cold. So I've been a little cranky. (ok a lot) One thing I think Justin learned a long time ago is that when you marry a strawberry blonde you get the best of both worlds. Sometimes he gets a good wife who is the sweetest blondie around, and other times he gets a fiercely feisty redhead. The good news is, he is the best man for the job when it comes to handling the latter. :p Just the other day I was being a big crank, throwing a fit about being out and about when I just wanted to drug up on cold meds and go to bed. I mean it was pretty pathetic. If I were him I would have pushed me out of the driver seat and drove off to start a new life. :p Instead he parked the car, ran into the grocery store and came back out with sunflowers, Sprite and Pumpkin Delights (guilty fall pleasure). He came around to the passenger door and I wrapped my sickie arms around him and hugged him like crazy. My bad mood was instantly gone. The guy just gets me. The point of this crazy story is that sunflowers fix everything. And I mean everything. Is it even possible to be sad/upset/mad/depressed while holding a bright yellow sunflower? I think not. I think doctors should just start handing them out at their offices. It would be a less expensive way to fix everyone's problems. I really think I've got a good thing going here. :p

Labor Day weekend was coming to an end and we weren't getting far into the renovation so I suggested we visit this sunflower farm I've had my eye on for awhile. And that is exactly what we did. It was a scorcher out, but I never complained once. Like I said, sunflowers = happiness. We ended the day with some Chick-Fil-A and it was about the closest thing to a perfect day I have had in a long time.
I mean, Hudson's smile says it all. I can't take it.

So beautiful right? I'm so glad we got to see this before the end of the season. These sunflowers make me smile. The kitchen renovation could wait. ;) Happy Tuesday! Xo

Friday, August 21, 2015

Staircase Gallery

So even though we have about a million other things more important we need to finish before we really start decorating, I got it in my crazy head that I needed a staircase gallery wall. Like, right now. I was convinced I could get away with using the gallery frames I had on hand and that I wouldn't have to spend any money. Well let's just say it wasn't pretty. See this photo if you need proof. So I enlisted the help of someone way more capable than me to handle this kind of project, my husband. Justin saved my gallery wall and I owe him big for it!

I will say this, staircase gallery hanging is really hard. We pulled out all the tricks. Cutting brown wrapping paper out the same size as the frames and using a piece of tape down the wall parallel to the railing, but we still had issues. The most important thing to me is that we had a specific pattern. I didn't want it to look like we just threw picture frames on the wall. So we started in the center and did half of the stairway. Then we just mimicked that exact same pattern going down the stairs. Make sense? Hopefully you can tell from the photos.

I hadn't really seen many gallery walls I liked. I don't love the ones that mix accessories in because I feel like its easy to over do it. At least I knew I would! I just wanted frames. I promised myself in this house I was going to think outside the box and not decorate every single room with photos so I just gave myself the staircase to do so. Pinterest was literally no help. We really had to do our own thing here. And by we I mean Justin. I just followed him around and said, yeah that looks good! I seriously could not have done this without that man! I am terrible with measurements and spacing, but I really wanted to get this right. Thanks to him, we totally did!

Whew! Gallery walls are hard to photograph! So many shadows!

Here's a breakdown of the frames I used (all from Ikea)

(TIP-for this project I used the RIBBA frames. If I would have went with the Virserum frames it would have cost me about $100 more. Just something to keep in mind.)

I like Ikea frames because they are cheap! Where else can you find oversized gallery frames starting at $7? Anytime I have a picture project they are definitely my first stop. Here is a breakdown of the frames I used for this project:

1-20x28 (for the very center of the wall)

I originally bought 20 frames for this project, but thought that looked overbearing so I used 15. I have 5 to return so the total cost for this gallery project in frames alone was roughly around $162. You can find oversized prints at Costco or Sam's Club for an amazing price. However, if you aren't willing to compromise on photo quality you may try WHCC for your professional prints. I have always been incredibly pleased with the color and quality. However, for a project like this (all my photographer friends are shaking their heads at me right now) I used Costco. Because let's be honest, a 16x20 print at Costco is a couple of bucks compared to almost $20 from WHCC. I just couldn't imagine how expensive this project would have turned out to be if I ordered all my prints from them.

This is what works for us and our staircase. Feel free to do whatever works for you and your family or use ours as a guide. Staircase galleries are no joke so I understand if you need something to "cheat" off of. ;)

When I was younger I used to babysit for this family who had an older, historical kind of home. It was so cozy, I loved everything about it. And lining their stairway were the most beautiful photos of their family. I remember thinking then, at 14, one day I want a gallery going up my stairs! Finally, all these years later I got one!

What do you think? I'm in love! I can't wait to get our runner ordered for the stairs, I feel like its going to tie everything together. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kitchen Inspiration and Life Updates

     You guys! This summer has been a whirlwind. We bought, started major renovations and sold a house all within 4 months! We had almost 6 straight weeks of company and it's hard to believe the summer is coming to an end. Although I am sooo ready for cooler weather, oversized sweaters and hot cocoa every day, this summer has been really good to us. We are traveling this month to close on our Florida home but when we get back we're starting our kitchen renovation. I am so excited! Here is a quick picture of what our kitchen looks like now:

Although the salmon colored tile is gone thanks to my two days spent with a tile chipper. #hellocarpaltunnel #worthit

As soon as Justin installed the hardwood floors (God bless that man) it changed the whole look of the house. It is so cozy! Some people are opposed to hardwood in the kitchen, but we aren't! And we didn't want to disrupt the flow of the flooring downstairs by adding tile in here. Oh and I'm still recovering from the hatred I had of the Florida tile in our old house. If I never see another oversized rectangular tile in my life I will be happy.

We originally planned on having a bright white kitchen. White cabinets with light countertops. But after finishing up the staircase which took no less than 6 coats, (I wish I was being dramatic!) I realized it wasn't going to be fun. So guess what color we are painting our cabinets? GRAY! Say what?!?

Totally crazy right? I created a fun little moodboard to share my inspiration for the kitchen-here is where our heads are at:

Gray cabinets, white backsplash, chunky farmhouse sink, dark hardwoods, YES. I am so excited to start the transformation.

The truth is, I am not totally pro-cabinet painter. I don't feel like every kitchen needs to have painted cabinets to be awesome. And honestly, if our cabinets weren't so out of date I probably wouldn't be painting them. It's just a much cheaper option to paint than to replace. Our plan is to move the cabinets closer to the ceiling and add molding to give it a more custom look. The budget for the kitchen is $3500.

So what do you think? Awesome in the making right?! It's ok if you hate painted cabinets. I've learned over the last few years that not everyone is going to have the same taste as me and that's OK! I mean not everyone would dedicate an entire corner of their kitchen to their dog like I did, right? Right! ;)

Do you guys have any fun house projects planned? I feel like everyone and their brother sister is having a baby so I can't wait to see all the cute nursery reveals coming up! As for us, no nursery reveals anytime soon. Justin is hilarious and keeps telling me we're going to have a baby in 2016 because it just feels right. I told him 2021 feels more right to me. ;) I'll let you know who wins. :p

Happy Wednesday!