Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Between socializing, the bar, the houndstooth wall and landscaping – Brent and I were rather busy this weekend.

The bar
Brent’s still working on it as I write this (yep, he is determined to have a finished bar by Father's Day). And I must say, he is well on his way. He got a lot done.

We have a solid back counter (awaiting something to go on top):
A working drawer with the start of cabinets below:
The keg door with aluminum on it to keep our future beer cold:
The houndstooth wall
I'm definitely making progress...well, aside from the mistake I made at the bottom that still needs fixing.

(For those of you wondering why I didn't just buy wallpaper – I can't find any houndstooth in the correct size that I like. Plus, I'm cheap and this is free).

Seriously, I have a sick obsession. I cannot go several days without buying some sort of flower or shrub – and this weekend was no exception. Aside from buying things, I focused on the front yard landscape and getting it mulched.

May’s Books

Books read in May: 10
Books listened to in May: 5

28. “Escape” by Caroyln Jessop
29. “Dead in the Family” by Charlaine Harris (Sookie #10)
30. “My Fair Lazy” by Jen Lancaster
31. “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green
32. “Tempted” by PC Cast (House of Night #6)
33. “4th of July” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #4)
34. “5th Horseman” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #5)
35. “Spirit Bound” by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #5)
36. “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia/Margaret Stohl (Caster Chronicles #1)
37. “Princess in Love” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #3)

16. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Steig Larsson
17. “The Swan Thieves” by Elizabeth Kostova
18. “The Princess Diaries” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #1)
19. “Princess in the Spotlight” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #2)
20. “Princess in Waiting” by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries #4)

May is always my favorite month as a book lover, because so many great ones always come out. Three out of five of the pre-orders I got for the year came out ("Dead in the Family," "My Fair Lazy" and "Spirit Bound") – so it was a very exciting time for me.

On another note…
I had no idea “The Princess Diaries” was originally a book series. I was a big fan of the movies and enjoy Meg Cabot, so I decided to give them a go. So far they are super cute, and I’m looking forward to all 10 of them. ☺

Favorite book of the month:
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Steig Larsson
One word – amazing. I am so excited to dive into the 2 other books in this series. (Just a warning – the first 50 pages or so are kind of blah…but it gets so much better).

Honorable mentions:
- “Escape” by Caroyln Jessop
- "5th Horseman” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #5)
- “Spirit Bound” by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #5)
- “The Swan Thieves” by Elizabeth Kostova

Biggest disappointment: “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. I just found it on the boring side, and I lacked attachment to the characters. I realize there was a love story somewhere in this book, but I did not feel the love whatsoever.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Bloggerversary to me.

Last May, Brent and I went to an open house and fell in love.

The next day, Brent and I set a goal – get our house on the market within 3 weeks and hopefully the house will still be available. Although, I don’t think either of us thought this goal was doable, we wanted this house bad enough to attempt home-improvement boot camp.

That’s why I started Decorating Obsessed. I figured my blog could follow getting the house market ready as well as the search for our new home. I never expected the selling/buying process to go so quickly. But, I am so blessed that it did because we truly did get our dream house.

Since this dream house is what started it all, here are the photos of what Brent and I saw when we walked into the house and what are house looks like now. (And unlike what I usually show you, this tour is of all the rooms and not just the rooms I'm ready to post).

And here's where it starts getting a tad embarrassing...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Outdoor randomness

1. While the situation has been addressed, whoever put mulch and dirt on top of a bed of rocks is not my friend.

2. Until yesterday, I had no idea how many different types of hostas there were. After studying up on them in a BH&G feature, I picked out my favorites.(Photos from BHG's Web site)

3. After looking at so much hosta awesomeness, I found it necessary to go out and buy a hosta last night. I picked the Frances Williams, aka, Francie.

4. Of course, going to a garden center to buy just one thing is rather impossible – so I also left with geraniums, celosias and delphininiums.

5. Celosias still hold the award for Brent’s and my favorite flower. Brent thinks they look like colorful Christmas trees.
6. I had to replace my first pot of flowers over the weekend. I switched them out with begonias, because those things are survivors.
7. I remembered why I don’t plant flowers into the ground in the backyard. My dogs are flower abusers. RIP zinnias. You were pretty while you lasted.

8. All my other flowers are doing great though. Look how much the ones on my deck have grown since my first post.
9. We finally bought something to contain the hose madness. This has made my life so much easier. Definitely $30 well spent.
10. After more online research, I learned what 2 mystery perennials in the backyard are. I have lilies of valley and bleeding hearts.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The landing progress

The downstairs landing (which houses the half bath, garage and passage to the man cave) shares a wall with the family room, so this bad boy had to get painted as well.


As you probably know by now though, my afters never seem to be final. So, let me show you what I'm currently up to:

I have been asked if I'm crazy, and well, I guess the answer is yes. I am a houndstooth lover though, and this is my ode to it.

How to's and other details will be posted once I finish my wall. So maybe expect a post next year?

A bird seed test

I keep seeing these commercials about Scott’s Songbird Colorful Blend Bird Seed and how it’s supposed to attract more colorful birds.

I must admit – I am intrigued. I put my bird feeder up to see how many different types of birds I could attract – not how many black birds I could acquire. Yet at the same time, I am baffled because I thought all birds had the same diet. (Seriously, if anyone has the answer to this, please enlighten me).

Since I ran out of birdseed over the weekend, I figured it was time for an experiment of my own and give this colorful birdseed a whirl.

The colorful blend promises:
- Attracts up to 2 times more colorful birds
- Attracts fewer blackbirds, grackles and cowbirds

I have no idea what grackles and cowbirds are, but it all sounds good to me.

I had my original birdseed for 3 weeks. In that time, I saw 1 blue jay, 2 cardinals, a handful of sparrows and countless black birds. We shall see if my colorful bird numbers improve.

(In case you’re curious or concerned, I’m not sitting outside staring down my bird feeder. I can see my bird feeder from my spot on the couch in the family room, as well as from the kitchen window).

The first night
Multiple birds fly by, but I only saw one taker – and it was a black bird.

Day 1
Well, I did get a visit from a blue jay and a cardinal, but I also witnessed more black birds around the bird feeder than I have ever seen before.


I will keep adding my findings to this post. A product review post will follow once my very scientific study is done. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

We have a winner (giveaway)

The winner of the giraffes + stuff giveaway is Jennifer with Keeping Up With the Powells. Congrats! Please email me about which item(s) you want. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It’s Electric (the bar)

When I noticed that Brent was actually reading, my concern should have started then. But I ignored my better judgment and soon visions of outlets for the bar starting dancing in Brent’s head.

Fast forward to last night at Home Depot…

Me: I can see you doing this and then the bar just bursting into flames.
Brent: All we need is … (pause) ... hmmm….

Yeah, that’s totally the electrical confidence I was looking for.

All joking aside though, Brent knew exactly what to buy for the outlet, and he came home and put it all together. I was really impressed.

Outlet for the bar: $30.15 (a small price to pay for margaritas on demand).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Man Cave: Bar Side Paneling

The bar now has side paneling. ☺

Since we don't have the gadgets to make these cuts, we had the hardware store make them. Home Depot does this service for free, and I'm pretty sure Lowes does as well.

Cost of the 2 sheets: $50 (a rounded-up estimate, the receipts are currently MIA)

Next up: electrical, molding and painting

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DIY art instructions

Directions on my latest DIY art project:
Seriously, this is the easiest thing to do ever. The longest part is waiting for paint to dry between color switches.

Just start with a blank canvas:
And then just start adding brush strokes:
Until you get something like this:
Yep, it's really that easy. As for the paint, I went cheap and just used the Americana paint you can get at any craft store.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Family room – painting done

I'm slightly baffled, because while I can definitely tell a difference in the family room paint color – that's not so obvious in my pictures. But I figured I would post a before and after anyway, because something else is obviously different.

Yep, I did an art switcheroo above my sofa. To be honest, I did this several weeks ago, but I still don't know how I feel about it so I haven't been too eager about posting about it. I don't feel the piece is long enough, but I wasn't feeling the 6 photos anymore either. So, this will work for now.

In other news: The new Vampire Academy book came out today and I am loving it so far. This series is definitely the best guilty pleasure.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family room progress is being made...

After staring at various paint samples all over my family room walls for the past month, a decision has been made – I'm going darker.

I had plans of getting more accomplished this weekend, but ripping up my grandma's carpet in the living room took a lot longer than expected.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Brent's birthday – 3 months out

Oh man, Brent's 30th is 3 months away – the countdown has started. While I won't start finalizing the party details for awhile, a finalized list of what needs to be done to the house by then is a must.

- Paint the family room and the downstairs landing
- Do my houndstooth project
- Stain the hallway floor
- Add quarter round to the hallway
- Half bath update (aka: paint everything)
- Frame the bathroom mirrors
- Paint the wet bar cabinet in the man cave

And, of course, the most important project to Brent
- Finish the bar

Hopefully, I can get out of slacker mode (aka: reading and watching TV mode) and make this of this happen.

Weekend Tasks:
- Start working on the downstairs landing and family room
- Rip carpet out of my grandma's living room :)
- Work on the bar

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

giraffes + stuff giveaway

I am so excited to be announcing my first giveaway.

When it comes to nurseries, I like mine modern and playful – so it was a match made in heaven when giraffes + stuff contacted me about doing a giveaway. Her artwork is adorable, and I am especially loving the canvas growth charts. (I am already getting ideas when my time comes to have a nursery).

Now, on to some of the goods:

Isn' t this stuff adorable? To look at all of giraffe + stuff's work, visit her etsy shop.

This giveaway is a $30 value.

Giveaway rules...
It's rather simple, just make sure you are following me and then post a comment about what you would get at giraffe + stuff's etsy shop.

The giveaway starts now, and ends Friday, May 21 at midnight (central).

A winner will be drawn (by on Monday, May 24.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Upstairs - Chapter 8 (the hallway)

Ugh, the hallway.

Originally, I had plans of ripping out this carpet when I ripped it out of the office and third bedroom, but then I discovered it was in similar condition to the stairs (unfinished with paint splattered all over it). So, my plans changed, and I decided to suck it up for awhile longer because I wasn't in the mood for another staining project.

This was a great idea in theory, but I quickly got sick of looking at the nasty carpet, so I convinced Brent it would be a nicer eyesore looking at the unfinished hardwoods than the nasty carpet.

I was so right.

Directly after:
Once sanded:
This floor has even been Chip tested and approved:
While I definitely have plans to stain the floors, my only goal is to have it done by August. So when I get it exactly get done is a mystery.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Christmas in May

While I really want to make fun of Hallmark for already showing a sneakpeak of their 2010 ornaments, I'm the one who went to their Web site to see if any of them were penguins. Well played, Hallmark.

Hallmark – 1, Ashley – 0

And, if you were curious about the 12 featured:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Brent’s Sod FAIL

There are so many things I should be doing right now (most importantly, preparing for the Mother’s Day brunch I found out I was hosting several days ago), but making fun of Brent on my blog sounded like way more fun. ☺

First, I need to start by saying we have letters in our grass.

That’s right, our backyard is saying “oh.” And what caused these awesome dirt patches?

(So any parents out there with these gadgets in your yard – please make sure your soon-to-be-dead-spots are saying “oh” rather than “ho.” Nothing is worse than a verbally abusive yard).

Now on to the Brent part…

Last weekend he decided to put sod over the letters. So now our yard looks like this:
So what exactly happened, might you ask? Brent bought the sod that way. That’s right. He bought dead sod.

See the happy sod on the “o” and the top of the “h” – that’s the sod Brent and I bought together. When he realized we didn’t have enough, he went to a different store and noticed the only thing available was the dead sod. So did he find this unacceptable and go to a different garden center (such as the one we went to several hours earlier), nope, he bought the dead sod.

I’m not quite sure what face I made when I saw this gem, but I’m sure it was a special one. He tried telling me that while the sod is dying, it will be fine with water. It’s now been a week, and while the good sod is becoming greener, the dead sod is maintaining the brown look.

I’m pretty sure Brent is about to the point of saying I was right. What can I say – he always keeps me entertained.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Design Time: "The Organized Home"

I didn’t know I could be insulted by a “design” book, but apparently, anything really is possible.

I was so excited to read “Real Simple: The Organized Home.” I had visions of numerous photos of organized closets and drawers dancing in my head. But apparently, this organization book is only half about organization.

The other half? Room basics. That’s right – in case you couldn’t figure it out – basics for the family room include a sofa, coffee table, side table and TV. And this book covers room basics in every freaking room. It was rather insulting that they had to tell me a room basic for a bedroom is a bed. (I cannot make this stuff up).

Sure, the other half of the book was the wonderful organizational photos I was craving, but by that point I was too frustrated to even enjoy them. And sadly, I didn’t learn one tip from this book.

So, skip the book – and embrace these top 6 organization photos: