Sunday, January 18, 2015

Progress: Hall Art Update

Happy Sunday! I'm really glad it's a three day weekend. It's been a pretty busy week for me work-wise, so it's nice to have some time off. Not to mention, we're getting a new refrigerator delivered on Monday. Yay!

Just wanted to tell you about a small project we just completed that makes me smile every time I walk by it. Over Christmas we painted our two hallways. On the "guest" side of the house, the walls have been patched multiple times and it shows. At some point, we are probably are going to have to re-do the sheetrock in this space. Paul was kind of bummed about how it looked despite our best attempts to smooth it, which did help. I told him not to worry, I'd arrange art in such a way that you wouldn't even notice. 

We have art that still needs to be hung and I especially wanted to feature our friends' prints that they make of maps featuring Jackson neighborhoods. So far they've done two - Fondren and Midtown - which I grabbed white frames for at Michael's. 

In the middle, I took an old art piece that we didn't want to use and painted the frame. I saw a project on Pinterest for gilded corners and wanted to do something similar. In her project, she painted painter's tape, but I just marked the frame and painted directly on it. It took probably four coats, but I like how it turned out. Over a year or so ago I bought this old map of Jackson from the 40s, but I haven't known what to do with it. I painted the back of some art paper and mounted it. Voila!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

House Progress

I was looking through photos on my phone last night and came across photos I took when we first looked at our house and thought about buying it. Flipping through, I really was shocked at how much we've done in 8 months since moving in. Doing a small project at a time, I think the progress just feels normal. But, woah, I think our house gets a much improved badge.

I thought it'd be fun to stack up photos I took when we were considering this house against progress photos and what it actually looks like now. Sound fun? Just an advanced warning, this is going to be a long one!

Here's what our house looked like when we first looked it last February:

Our house now:

We haven't done much in the way of landscaping, except to prune and fertilize. The biggest changes came in killing the vine growing up the side of our house - a complete monster - and a new roof that was put on before we moved in. The vines took the paint completely off that side of the house. In some ways, it helped us learn that we could tackle painting our house ourselves if we did it a little at a time. We aren't completely finished with the exterior (it got too cold to paint), but our biggest trouble areas have been finished.

Before (left) and after paint (right side)

Our backyard has really become a big part of our house and our transformation so far. See how dirty the concrete was? It's been power washed. All that you see here exterior-wise has gotten painted. The section of wood right against the chimney on the underside has been replaced. (You can sort of tell in this photo, but it started to fall apart shortly after we moved in.)

Patio after power washing:

After ripping down vines that were taking over the back, we were left with this. Sad face.

Here's our brother-in-law Ryan putting in the new wood to fix that overhang. He's been such a help in all of our progress, too. He's been our encyclopedia on how to fix things we were unsure about!


Now, let's head inside. The biggest difference, by far, came from painting our cabinets. I think that really was the turning point in making us like this house. That dark color had to go. We paid a lot to have these fixed, but it's been worth it.



It now feels bright and clean in all of our rooms - kitchen, laundry and back living room.

One of our more recent updates has been to our bedroom. Here's what it looked like when we toured the house the first time:

Progress, before painting:


The front living room is probably the biggest "still in progress." I have a feeling that will change this year. Here's what it looked like when we first toured it:

I think this room (and the back living room) were what sold us on this house. The biggest complaint we had about our rental is that we wanted to have gatherings at our house, but we couldn't all sit together. We have a big family and we wanted to host sit down dinners and parties and our rental was small in that department.


We've completed painting this room and the dining room, but we're still not sure what this will turn into next. I'm waiting for the perfect couch to really be a starting point for where we take the room.

And, yes, we've hosted many a dinner in here. Here's Thanksgiving at our house:

See that half wall with the light switch? That two feet of wall is probably the biggest thorn in our side with progress of this room. To have the large dining room table we want and to be able to expand to seat 15-20 people together, this wall most likely needs to be removed. There's a good bit of work that would probably need to be done to make this happen, like moving the electrical, patching the ceiling and floor and (potentially) shoring up a beam just above this in the attic. It sounds expensive and intimidating, so we haven't even tried to seek out a contractor about it yet.

Our fourth bedroom got a makeover from a boy's bedroom to our office.



The chalkboard wall is probably my favorite feature. We use it to plan and make lists.

Bathrooms got updates in the form of paint, new mirror (guest bath), new light fixture (master bath) and whole lot of wall patching all around. Our next move is to finish tiling up the guest bath so that it can be used as an actual shower.





And, finally, the living room (our most "lived in" room) has changed a lot too, but paint has been the biggest help to changing the feel of the place.

Before we purchased:



Ooof, that's a lot! Next up, Paul does a guest post to tell you guys about organizing and making the shop the place he always wanted.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Recipe I Didn't Believe In

You're probably reading my post title and thinking, "What the heck is she talking about?" Let me explain.

After Christmas, I was feeling motivated to get organized when it came to cooking. This past fall I had class on Mondays and Thursdays and really felt overwhelmed when it came to cooking dinner. I honestly should have planned meals better all during that time but it just didn't happen. Having my evenings back to myself, I wanted to be able to spend that time however I wanted, which probably wasn't cooking all night.

So, after digging around, I came across this helpful blog post about freezer crockpot meals. Prep your ingredients ahead, freeze and just thaw the night before you need a meal. It's been such a nice change!

One recipe stuck out to me - Mexican Chili with Cornbread. You cook the chili on low for 6-8 hours, mix up a recipe of Jiffy cornbread, put it on top, and cook on high for an hour. Voila and it'd be done! I had in my mind this recipe was going to be one big Pinterest fail.

But, to my surprise, it wasn't. I lifted the lid with one eye open to see this:

I snapped a photo and sent it to my mom and sister with "It's actually worked!" Mom said I had to tell the blog about it. Truth be told, it's been Paul's favorite crockpot recipe yet and he was eager for leftovers the next day.

I've tried a few other freezer crockpot recipes that have been interesting, like Chicken Terriyaki (below, not our absolute favorite).

Here's a few more we've made or have coming up:
Cranberry Pork Roast (also made a chicken version)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Projects: Master Bath Mini-Makeover

What a different paint and a new light fixture can make! Funny enough, we bought the light fixture almost immediately after we bought our house, but we've been too intimidated by electricity to put it up. With new paint going up, we said it was time to face our fears and change it out.

The fixture up there was majorly rusted and I hated looking at it.

An hour and a few tense moments later (we apparently aren't that great at reading all the directions), it's up. Much better!

We've been in love the the color we painted our master bedroom and had a little bit left, so we decided to paint the bathroom with it. It's a brownish gray that leans cool, which really worked with the tile. We're really happy with how it turned out!

We also were really proud of the patch job we had to do in here. This whole room is wallpapered and there was a spot behind the top of the toilet that was peeling because it's close to water. When I went to peel a small piece, oh, I don't know, a four feet long sheet came off the wall. Trying to even it up, I ended up having to peel the wallpaper from the wall all around the window and we were kind of panicked about it. After peeling the wall seemed rough, but after Paul sanded it and we patched the larger holes, it was almost completely flat and smooth. We primed one coat to just make sure that the color wouldn't be different and that the backing/drywall wouldn't need many coats of paint. You'd never know!

Very happy with the results!


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