Sunday, January 31, 2010

January's Books

Reading in the winter is my favorite thing. There’s nothing better than cuddling under a blanket or being in a bubble bath with a good book. On the flip side, there’s also nothing better than doing some trim or door painting while listening to an intriguing audio book.

I was nervous my reading would go downhill with the new house and its endless projects, and while it did some – I’m hopeful I can still hit my goal of 100 books read and 50 book listened to for 2010. I’m just having to walk a finer line with balancing my time. This means I’m watching less TV than I was last year. I have said goodbye to TV shows I’ve watched for multiple seasons, and was surprised how easy it was to let go of them.

I decided to switch things up this year on the blog. Since this blog is truly about my house projects and not about my insane reading habits, I will only be doing one “what I read” post at the end of each month.

Books read in January: 11
Books listened to in January: 5

1. “Kissing Coffins” by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses #2)
2. “Vampireville” by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses #3)
3. “Dance With a Vampire” by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses #4)
4. “The Coffin Club” by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses #5)
5. “Royal Blood” by Ellen Schreiber (Vampire Kisses #6)
6. “Holly’s Inbox” by Holly Denham
7. “The Sudoku Murder” by Shelley Freydont
8. “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella
9. “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach
10. “Evermore” by Alyson Noel (Immortals #1)
11. “Blue Moon” by Alyson Noel (Immortals #2)

1. “Lock and Key” by Sarah Dessen
2. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer
3. “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield
4. “The Host” by Stephanie Meyer
5. “Best Friends Forever” by Jennifer Weiner

Favorite book of the month:
“Holly’s Inbox” by Holly Denham
This book cracked me up. Not often do books make literally “lol,” but this one succeeded several times. I also just loved the e-mail format of this book – it makes this book really casual and creates extra humor.

Runner Ups:
- “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella
-“Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach
- “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield (I don’t care if it’s cheating posting this as a favorite again – it’s an amazing book)
- “The Host” by Stephanie Meyer

Biggest Disappointment:
“Best Friends Forever” by Jennifer Weiner

Living Room Art

I am so excited about this post! I have artwork for above the living room sofa...well, sort of.

When I saw the big, empty wall above my sofa, I knew exactly what I wanted there. One of my family's friends is an amazing artist. While he does incredible landscape art in watercolors, what's always caught my eye is his abstract art.

These are my two favorite pieces of his (sorry, I wasn't expecting to be taking pictures, so these are all from my phone):

As a housewarming present, I asked him if he could do something similar but in my living room colors. I was over at his house today, and got to see how the painting is coming along – and I am in love.

I am so excited!

Living room revisit

The living room is close to being done, but there are still some empty walls. So after much debate, I have decided black floating shelves going down one wall is a must.

Here's my Photoshopped vision:

Thursday, January 28, 2010


What gets me motivated to work on the house? Parties.

Lucky for me Brent's 30th is this year. That sort of party will hopefully bring me a lot of motivation. His birthday isn't until August, but planning has already begun.

I want to throw a beer-tasting party for him. I'm still trying to figure out all the logistics, because I've never been to a beer-tasting party let alone hosted one. But I think the plan would be for everyone to bring a chilled 6-pack of either an ale, stout, lager or light beer. Then different areas of the house would be dedicated to that type of beer. And of course there will be notepads at each station, so if you find a beer you like, you can write it down (because let's face it, you probably won't remember much after a night dedicated to beer).

Having 7 1/2 months to plan a party like this is a rather dangerous thing for me. The graphic designer in me is already mentally designing save the dates, invitations and any other paper product.

I promised Brent I wouldn't throw him a surprise party – I never promised him he wouldn't get a party...and that I might go into party-planning-obsession mode.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Closet Case: Chapter 3

My mission was to get more space out of my hall cleaning closet, and that goal has definitely been met. I even have room to add more things without it getting too cluttered.

Look at all this extra space!

And I finally got to use my labelmaker:

At some point, I would like to add a pantry-type shelving to the back of the door. But that won't really be necessary until I stop spending the food budget on the house. :)

If you are interested in the organizer or storage containers I bought – they are all from Target. I am obsessed with the polka dot accessories their RE line currently has.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Closet Case: Chapter 2

The painting part is done.

I was debating about what color to paint the closet, but in the end I decided on the gray that's in the entry way. I'm rather excited to no longer have crayon artwork everywhere in there.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Closet Case: Chapter 1

Originally, I wanted to hold out until the summer to start working on the hall cleaning closet. But after acquiring more Costco cleaning musts (I kid you not, we haven't owned a sponge for the last month), I decided it was time.

I love the fact that we have 2 closets in the entry way, but I could love them even more if I was taking advantage of their full potential.

Look at my cleaning closet – see all that wasted space? It breaks my heart.

So what's the plan? Clear it out, paint it and then organize it to utilize all the wasted space.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What I did at work today

Graphic-design land was beyond slow this morning, so I decided to design something for myself.

I love the "Keep calm and carry on" print that seems to be everywhere right now, but I don't like the sizes and colors available – and well, the prices aren't the greatest either. So, I decided to make my own, and then excitedly went to Michael for a frame.

My crown is different than the original WWII sign, but I kind of think my crown is cuter. ;)

I was needing something to go behind the door in my hall bathroom, and I think this will be perfect for the space.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paint, paint and more paint

How much painting did I do over my 3-day weekend? Let's just say this morning it hurt to grip my mascara. :(

The hallway doors are almost all done. Just 2 more need several more coats. Hopefully, I can finish them up tonight. After that, I'm on a leave-of-absence for painting.

When this weekend started:
What it looked like this morning:

"Colour Confidential"

While I definitely enjoy my HGTV, they have only one show that I must watch weekly – “Colour Confidential.”

Jane Lockhart is my design hero. Previously, she did the amazing series “Get Color,” and I’m happy to say the only difference between it and “Colour Confidential” is that this show takes place in Canada. Jane still busts out her customized color wheel each episode, and that’s when the magic happens.

I just love her designs – they are stylish yet realistic for everyday life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My mirror

I would chat more, but I enjoyed a little too much margarita with dinner. So here is my fabulous new mirror.

I can already picture how fabulous that zebra rug will look in here. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Books 2010

There are 5 books I am super excited for this year:

1. "My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover if Not Being a Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Menifesto" by Jen Lancaster (release date: May 4)
Jen Lancaster's memoir series

2. "Dead in the Family" by Charlaine Harris (release date: May 4)
Sookie Stackhouse series

3. "Spirit Bound" by Richelle Mead (release date: May 18)
Vampire Academy series

4. "Linger" by Maggie Stiefvater (release date: July 20)
The Wolves of Mercy Falls series

5. "The Hunger Games 3" by Suzanne Collins (release date: August 24)
Hunger Games series (no idea on the title yet)

These are the books I plan on buying this year, and I'm especially excited for "Spirit Bound" and "The Hunger Games 3."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Spend-It Friday

Before I changed work locations, I had never been to a HomeGoods. Now, I work 5 minutes away from one, and have been there more times than I can count.

So what did I do on my lunch break today? Go to HomeGoods.

Did I buy something? Duh. Honestly, I'm surprised I only bought one thing.

What did I buy? A new mirror for the living room, to replace the old mirror I bought at HomeGoods several months ago. ::Hangs head in shame::

Although, I must admit, while I love the older mirror – it's just not working for that space – it's too small. And well, the new mirror is the mirror of my dreams, and it was worth it making my design-spending fund basically zero. And I already have a new place in mind for the old mirror, so problem solved.

In other news: Brent spent some money today as well. We got a new TV for the master. We'd been wanting a flat screen for in there, but were trying to hold out. Apparently, our current TV had other plans though and crapped out on us.

Helpful hint: If you ever go to Office Max, label maker tape is not in the label section, which I find very confusing. I spent way too long walking around in that store.

In Macintosh news: His test results came back, and my big guy has a very under-active thyroid. More testing will have to be done on this, and he'll most likely be on medication for the rest of his life. We are just so lucky to have caught this when we did though, because hypoactive thyroid can kill dogs at an early age.

As for all the vomiting that lead Macintosh to get the blood testing in the first place, still a mystery. He is now on a medication to treat acid reflex. If this works, awesome and mystery solved. If he isn't better in a week, he goes in for x-rays.

Seriously, thank God for pet insurance. I would be poor without it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So after multiple heartbreaks about where to store my wine, I'm happy to say mission accomplished!

I found this wine rack at Crate & Barrel's online outlet. The wine rack is 13x13, which is the exact inside dimensions of Ikea's Expedit shelf. Let me just say, one of these stores is lying about their size, because the wine rack was about 2 cm too big.

After giving Brent enough sad faces, he went to the garage and put his new saw to good use.

Once the perfect fit was guaranteed, the painting began. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Man Cave Accessories

Brent acquired some more man-cave goodies for Christmas – and it's a good thing he did, I don't want to start working on this room and have no accessories to go with it.

A Boulevard Wheat keg tap:
A beer pitcher (even though it is K-State):
Two wall tins:
I think the plan is to start working on this room in April – once it warms up (and once basketball season is over).

One of the next man-cave related projects will be to start looking at bar floor plans, to figure out the winner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Labeler Deal

For the next 3.5 hours – get this Brother labeler for only $12.99 –that's $17.00 off.

This is the labeler I got for Christmas. My favorite feature of it is the time/date stamp – this makes keeping track of pantry items such as flour and sugar way easier.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Better After

My stairs are being featured today on Better After.

If you haven't checked out Lindsey's blog, please do so. There are some incredible projects featured there. :)

One Door Down

I'm not going to lie – last weekend was no good.

Macintosh had to go in for some blood work on Friday and the results were supposed to come in on Monday. All I could think about were potential what-ifs, so I busied myself with more painting.

I started working on the handrail and the upstairs hallway. I decided to do the most difficult door first – the linen closet door. All the doors in my house are 6-paneled except for the closet doors – those have vented panels on the top (I know that description is terrible, but that's really all I've got).

Then I moved on into the family room. Since the carpet was ripped out, the trim was in desperate need of some paint – so I started my beige to white journey in there as well.

Side note: As for Macintosh's results, I'm still waiting. The lab messed up and left his blood in the cold for too long – so Macintosh and I got to go in again for more blood work. My poor big guy. I should hear something tomorrow though.

Graphic sheets

My friend Kari bought some sheets at Dillards over the weekend – and when she gave me the link – I knew I had to get them. Not only are they adorable, but check out the price. $34.50 for king-size sheets – done!
I also wanted to share another sheet deal with you – courtesy of JCP. These microfiber sheets are also on sale right now, ranging in price from $19.99 to0 $34.99. I got the top sheets in the photo during their last sale for the guest bedroom. I am obsessed with that tile pattern.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pottery Barn Teen

Is it bad that I like PB Teen more than Pottery Barn? PB Teen is cheaper and the items lack the farmhouse-look Pottery Barn has. While I can appreciate shabby chic, this girl's style is far from that.

My PB Teen obsession started last January, when I found this makeup storage container, which I decided was a must on my desk for my office supplies. $79 for an office organizer that big – deal!

I just looked through the new PB Teen catalog (while mourning the loss of my Jayhawks) and found some more great stuff.

Here's some of my favorites:

Mirrored Wall Letters

Display-It Rails:

Bubble-Up Lamp Base:

Bubble-Up Bedside Table:

Indy Towels:

Zebra sheet set (unfortunately no sets are available in king):

Friday, January 8, 2010

The entryway

The painting is done! Now I just need to clean the floors in there.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The fun has begun

The door painting has begun! I'm not quite done with the entry way, but it's getting somewhere.

Last week:
What it looks like this morning:
I'm also painting the inside of the door on the right, and that door is at a similar status to the middle door (one, maybe two, more coats to go). I will paint the inside of the middle door once it isn't freezing outside – seriously, when opening that door, it's like stepping outside.

In other news, I'm sick of snow. It's been snowing since Christmas, and I've decided it's never going to stop. Another snow storm is coming today. Joy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I dream of zebra

I have always loved animal print, but my passion for zebra print only seems to grow. After admiring these 3 living rooms for Rate My Space, I have decided to suck it up
and go for the plunge.

I found this fabulous zebra-print rug on eBay, and I think it has my living room's
name on it. Now I only need to figure out the size I need. I think the 6x8 might be perfect, and seriously, you can't beat an eBay price.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Home Improvement for 2010

I'm sure I'll think of plenty more to add later on, but for now – here's what I want to get done to the house in 2010:

Through out
- Paint all the doors white
- Paint all the beige trim white (beige with gray, just doesn't work for me)
- Rip out the carpet in the hallway, then sand, stain and poly it to match the stairs

Family Room
- Spray paint the fireplace screen black

Half bath
- Paint the cabinets and laundry door white
- Paint the walls cathedral blue

Hall Bath/Master Bath:
Put frames around the mirrors

- Add in horizontal stripes to lighten it up (the mocha just feels so dark in there)
- Add in lots of white accessories

- Upgrade all the fixtures (mailbox, lights, etc) from gold
- Address landscape in the front

Man cave
- Buy a new TV for the family room, so the big one goes here
- Find a sectional off Craigslist
- Build a bar (god help us)
- Figure out the kegorator thing
- Once the layout gets settled, start putting things on the walls

I'm excited to say that I've already started working on 2 of the tasks – the big kahunas – painting the trim and doors. It's not fun work, but as long as you pop in an audio book while you work – it's not too bad.

New Years Table

I was excited for New Years Eve for many reasons – but one was to finally break in my dining room table and some wedding gifts we received 2.5 years ago.


In other news, I've been busy putting away Christmas ornaments while Macintosh supervises.

See you again in 11 months, penguins.