The Frames are Filled!

So I finally filled all of the frames in our photo frame collage! As a reminder, here is what we started with.  Sideways photos and empty frames = not cute.

And here is the finished/current product.

It has turned out to be a bit of a homage to the wedding.  But I’d like it to be an ever-changing display.  The last piece of the puzzle was the horizontal 8 x 10.  I thought I had ordered a photo for it, but it was missing from the order…or I didn’t order it in the first place.  Either way, we got the best surprise in the mail on New Year’s Eve morning.  A wedding present from one of Scott’s Godmother.  It is an original painting of The Green Light on Goat Island (where Scott and I got married)!  I held my breath while I tried it in the frame.  And when I popped out the glass, it fit like a glove!

I love that it isn’t a photo.  My goal was that there would be a mixture of art and personal photos.  I just have so many wedding photos that I love right now!

Here are a few close ups.

This one of me and my sister won a spot because we both are clearly happy and smiling but it isn’t posed.

I thought the close up of the bridesmaid bouquets added a fun pop of color and is a bit more “abstract,” yet still reminds me of my girls.

And, of course, one of me and Scott from the wedding.

It’s been fun seeing everyone’s reactions to the photos.  People all sort of lean in and look at all the details.  It’s been a great conversation starter.  I love it and can’t wait to see what fun new pictures and pieces of art will come along next.

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Kitchen Table Redo

In the month leading up to the wedding, I undertook my first furniture redo and upgrade. I’ve been reading Do It Yourself and home redo blogs for awhile.  I was inspired by it and had secretly wanted to try my hand at it for awhile.

Scott and I were fortunate enough to inherit a solid wood table from his parents.  They were moving and wanted to get new furniture and offered up everything to their kids.  Scott and I were sorely lacking furniture as we both had lived with roommates who had all of the furniture needed.  So we gladly accepted the table and chairs!

Here she is in the “before” stage.  I’d already disassembled it before I remembered to take pictures.

Table Top – check out the dirt on that edge.

The Base

The Leaves

The Chairs – there seemed to be some blue paint and some serious scratches.

The first order of business was cleaning all of the pieces.  And I’m not talking about just soap and water – I’m talking about resorting to sandpaper and even steel wool on some pieces.  I don’t think that it is recommended to use steel wool on wood, for fear of scratching.  But on some of the tougher pieces the sandpaper got gunked up too quickly.  So I used the finest steel wool I could find and didn’t have any issues.  It definitely was only as a last resort for stubborn dirt and grease.

When I was done cleaning, the chairs really shone!  At that point, I thought about what it would look like to just stain the table.  But my original plan was to paint the table white, so I decided to continue with it.

I started with a coat of primer.

And then moved onto white semi-gloss paint.  I did two coats on the base and a few more than that on the leaves and the table top.  I think that the leaves would have been fine with just two coats, but I wanted to do the same amount as the table top, so that if we ever use them, there won’t be any difference.  I finished it off with two coats of polyurethane.

Here is the finished product.

As for the chairs…I decided to spray paint them a darker color for some contrast with the table.  I went for a metallic spray paint in oil rubbed bronze.  They are a mix between black and very dark brown with a metallic sheen in the right light.  They definitely do give the contrast I wanted, but they aren’t a dull, flat color.  I used a spray paint with a built in primer, so I just went right to it.  It took a full two coats of spray paint per chair, plus a few touch ups in some areas.  I finished up with a high gloss spray on sealant.  The chairs are now wipeable and shiny.  Perfect for looks as well as function!

Here is the put-together result.  The table did suffer a bit in the move, but I plan to fix those scratches when the weather is a bit warmer.

We were so glad we had room for the table and four chairs in the apartment.  They’ve worked really well, and it was great to not have to purchase a new table and chairs.  We probably wouldn’t have gotten the look and color combination that we wanted and would most likely have ended up with something that was smaller and of lesser quality.  I’ve had so much fun setting the table every night.  All of the table linens, place mats and plates look so nice on the white background.

I definitely made some rookie mistakes, which I won’t do again.  Such as using a paint brush to apply the primer on the table top.  I then used a foam roller to put on the paint, but the brush strokes from the primer showed through, no matter how many coats of paint I used.  I think it is only noticeable to me, and only from certain lighting angles.  However, I lived and learned and will do better next time!  Not sure when the next time will be, but I have high hopes redoing more furniture in the future.  And lucky me, I actually have outdoor space at our apartment, so it’s on the table – so to speak.  (My dad instilled a good use of puns in me.)  Now, I’ve got my eye on an old bookshelf my grandfather made.  Maybe it will get a treatment similar to this.  Who knows?

Cutting a Rug

We’re slowly making more progress on the living room area of the apartment.  The other day our new 5′ x 8′ area rug was delivered.  One of the benefits of not having a job right now is that I am home to accept all of the packages.  And there have been quite a few of them as we set up the apartment.    We are huge Overstock.com fans here.  The free shipping is key.

So since we have one large living area, we really want to try to divide the space into a “living room” and a “dining area.”  I spent quite a bit of time researching online and found this 100% wool rug (on Overstock) and Scott gave it his stamp of approval.  He generally lets me do most of the decorating, but wants to see and “approve” everything before we pull the trigger.

So here it is…I think it really warms up and fills the space nicely!  And I love the geometric pattern.

Here it is with the storage ottoman in place, which is how it usually looks.

Prince has given his full approval.  He can often find him in this Baloo-like position, happy as a clam.

Frames, Frames, Frames

We’re making progress!  We took something which was ready to take up permanent residence on the floor and incorporated it into the decor.  At our wedding, I had a display of family photos.  I pretty much took a bunch of random frames and spray painted them all white for a cohesive, yet (hopefully) not matchy-matchy look.

Here it is in action.

After the wedding, I had to figure out something to do with all of these frames.  I thought it would be fun to make them into a collage on the wall.  There is definitely a lack of usable surface areas in this house.  So if something can go on the wall, we are all in.

I took the frames and played around with them on the floor and tried a bunch of different arrangements.  I settled on this one.

That was all fine and good, but it took a few more weeks for us to actually make any moves.  On Sunday, we finally got around to it.  We cut paper in the shape of each frame and used them to layout the placement on the wall first.  I figured it was in our marriage’s best interest to “measure twice,” so to speak, before putting nine holes in the wall.

Prince oversaw everything.

Scott took a stab at arranging them on the wall.  He was so helpful, but left all of the tweaking to me.

There was much studying of the original picture.

I then sat for a good 10 minutes looking at the following scene…back and forth between the real thing on the wall and the original photo.

I finally gave Scott the go ahead and he put all of the frames up.  Aaand I love it!

Another angle.

We now need to fill the frames.  I used a free credit on SnapFish to order the photos and they should be here any day now!  I’m afraid it may look like an homage to the wedding at this point, but my goal is for it to be an ever-changing display.  More updates when the photos are in!

The After

So I promised before Thanksgiving to be back with some “After” pictures of the apartment.   “Current” is probably a more accurate term.  I tried to get some from the same angles as the “Before.”

Here is our view of the living area as you stand in the kitchen.  Please notice the new couch and ottoman.  It’s a storage ottoman, which is key.  There’s still a lot of stuff lying around we aren’t sure what to do with.  I think the next purchase will be an entertainment center or some sort of storage unit under the TV.

The new couch with Scott’s Newport painting.

Our table, which I redid before the wedding.

The kitchen.

Close up of the shelves to the right.  I’m still working out what I want to have on those, but it works for now.

And now for the bathroom…

The shelf we put up.

A different angle.

The bedroom.  It’s a big step to have Scott’s closet organized and have a bed and dresser in there.  But we obviously have a lot of work to make it pretty.

My closet, in the hallway.

The backyard.  There are still some boxes/a table out there we need to clear out, but it’s so much better.

The backyard is Prince’s favorite place, by far.  He’s mastered jumping out of the door and if it is shut, he cries to be let out.  We have to remind him that he isn’t a dog.  We may actually have to cut him off completely, as he is tracking in a ton of dirt and I’ve found leaves stuck in his tail.  Oh the joys of pet ownership.

So there you have it.  I’ll do a side-by-side before and after when we make a little more progress!

Decorating for Christmas!!

I love Christmas.  I always have.  Decorating is probably the best part.  I think it’s in my nature to enjoy the preparation, decoration and organization of an event just as much as (or more than) the actual event.  It’s good that I’m an event planner, I suppose.  I mean, I used to organize the buttons in my mom’s sewing kit…for fun.  That’s embarrassing so, enough about that!

After the TV Saga and the Virginia Tech game on Saturday, Scott and I regrouped for dinner and then spent the evening decorating our new home for Christmas!

Scott was in charge of putting up the tree.

I was in charge of “floofing” and fluffing.

Prince oversaw the stringing of the lights.

This is the ornament we bought on our honeymoon.

And this is where I think Prince will spend the month of December.

The finished product!  Scott and I each brought a tree topper to the marriage.  We couldn’t agree on either (I don’t know why he doesn’t like my Tinker Bell sitting on top of a snowflake and his tinsel star didn’t have enough flair for me).  So I made this bow and I think it actually works really well!

Scott strung up lights in our backyard!  I love turning them on at night, even though we may be the only ones that can see them.  I think they frame the tree nicely.

A few other details around the house.  We only used ornaments and decorations that we already owned.  I would love to buy some more that coordinate in the future, but that will come in time.

A glittery cat door hanger.  I believe this was a gift, but I may have bought it myself.  I need to put a picture of my kitten in there!

We got this bowl as an engagement gift.  It says “…and they lived happily ever after.”

I even put some Christmas cheer in the bathroom. I usually keep my Lush bath bombs in there.

Our kitchen table centerpiece.

I definitely missed my Christmas traditions from home, particularly decorating trees with my mom.  So I decided to carry one of the traditions over and watch my favorite Christmas movie, “White Christmas,” with a bowl of popcorn before bed.  It was fun decorating our new home together. Here’s to our first Christmas as husband and wife!

The TV Saga

This past Saturday, Scott and I had big plans…we were going to mount the flat screen on the wall, decorate for Christmas and then head to the NYC Hokie bar to watch the Commonwealth Cup at 3:30 pm.  So after breakfast, Scott got down to business, promising me it would be an hour long project.

Where the TV needed to end up (wall to the right of the fireplace):

Where the TV started.

There was much measuring and I marked everything off with post it notes.  Very clear, right??

Scott then starting drilling the six holes needed.  That’s when we found out that a little over an inch behind the dry wall was solid brick.  So off Scott went to the hardware store for a masonry bit.  It helped, but it wasn’t easy going.  I soon stopped thinking we’d get Christmas decorating done and just hoped it would be up in time for the 3:30 pm kickoff.

Well, a little after 3:00 this was our scene…

Poor Scott, putting all of his weight behind the drill.

And my feelings about it all…

So my sweet husband hooked up the little TV to tide me over and kept working away.  You know he was frustrated – he hadn’t showered yet and was continuing to attack the wall rather than kick back with a beer and football.

Making progress.

And done!  Scott doing his happy dance!

And here is the finished product.  Go Hokies 😉