Spraying the Bookcase

Handy Hubby is making great progress on the bookcase for our daughter Elizabeth's room. Hopefully he'll have time to finish it up this weekend and we can load it up with books after Thanksgiving. It's important to give the paint at least 5 days to cure, but more if you can stand to wait. Waiting is really hard for me, but Thanksgiving should be enough of a distraction.

Here's the base -

And the top -

Let's hope she loves it for a really long time! 

Handy Hubby made an investment purchase in the name of progress on the bookcase. We've been talking about getting a paint sprayer for several years. We considered an inexpensive model but opted against it because they can be difficult to clean and the results are often inconsistent. We decided it was time to invest an Earlex HV5500 Spray Station.

So far Handy Hubby reports that it works really well and is easy to clean. He is spraying thin coats and then sanding lightly. Hopefully the last two coats can go on soon and we can dive into the next project.


Stuff is happening in here...

I'm at the very early stages of making some drastic changes in here...

The little talked about room at the end of the hall is about to get a major makeover in every way. Stay tuned!


Not Quite Free Backyard Makeover

I am happy to say that our backyard is pretty much finished. We have a few trees to plant in the spring but other than that, it really does look good. Here is what it looked like just before installing our swing set last winter.

Here's what it looks like today.

Obviously the major change is our neighbors' new garage. So clean and nice to look at. The added bonus is that it's larger than their previous garage so we get more privacy in our yard and through the first floor windows in the back of the house. 

The fence is a custom fence installed by a locally owned company, Expert Fence. Before installing the fence, Handy Hubby had to rip out old shrubbery on the right side and along the back of the garage. Then we had our landscapers come in and regrade the back corner of our lot so the soccer balls won't roll behind the garage after every kick! We also wanted to be sure the fence would slope down gradually without any big drops. They then finished off the project with some nice sod which was really the only option considering that it's already November.

Finally, we installed our sprinkler system a few weeks ago. It certainly comes in handy for keeping the new sod alive!

So, although not exactly a free makeover, at least we don't have a tumbling down garage to look at anymore, and it spurred us to clean up the back of our property line so it's clean and neat, as opposed to untamed and a bit scary!

We're also really excited to have a new gate in the back corner where we can slip through the back for fire pit parties at our neighbors behind!

Any landscaping projects left on your list?


Elizabeth's Bookcase: Take 2

The shout out fun continues here since I was just told that HOUSEography is the Blog of the Month on HouseBlogging.com. In addition to the Blog of the Month, HouseBlogging.com has a great listing of home decor and DIY blogs. Check it out here.

I'm really hoping there's no "take 3" on this one because our marriage might not survive it! After our big oops a couple of weeks ago (more on that here), Handy Hubby went at making the new bookshelf with a vengeance. It's close to done fortunately. Here's a picture from last weekend.

Next up - paint!

I realized last time that I never did a picture of the corner of her room where we plan to put this big piece of furniture. Her room does not have any big pieces of furniture other than her bed. Even her dresser is quite small in scale so the room could definitely use the bigger piece.

I love her room but this corner gives me the chills. It's so disorganized and out of control! Hopefully I'll be able to spend some time in here this weekend getting it reorganized.

Anyone else suffering with the daylight savings time rollback? I'm exhausted at 9:15 p.m.!


To Keep or Not to Keep

Not going to lie. There is a lot of stuff hanging around my house which may or may not still have tags on it. I recently snipped the tags off 3 lamps and a trunk in my living room after probably 8 months of "deciding" whether or not to keep them. Sometimes I say this to appease Handy Hubby when I come home with a carload of "deals" from HomeGoods, Target, thrift stores, estate sales, etc. If I leave the tags on, maybe he'll think it may leave again? Sometimes he's right. Most of the time not.

I used to be a chronic returner, until I started a new policy with myself - only buy what you love. I often pick up a lot of things as I'm walking through a store. When I get to the checkout (generally it's a long line at HomeGoods on a Saturday afternoon), I reassess what I have in my cart and whether I really, REALLY want or need it. Sometimes you just need things - a new set of sheets, etc. Most of the time, you don't need stuff but if you love it, and it's a good price, it's probably worth getting. I have started doing this with clothes too. It seems to be working and I think that I've purchased less things in the past 6 months than previously.

So, here's the current example going on in my living room.

Two new chairs on either side of the console table.

Here's what it looked like previously.

Now, the kicker is that these chairs were $100 each marked down from $150 at HomeGoods. Not a super amazing deal, but a nice price for upholstered dining chairs. They are also small in scale which is pretty hard to find because upholstered dining chairs tend to be REALLY big these days and that just won't work in this space.  The dark finish also works well. I have been looking for used chairs for a while to no avail.

Does our living room really need more chairs? Kind of. We have 4 chairs in there but when we have a crowd, it's not really enough space. These chairs can also be pulled into the dining room for a dinner party.

The problem? They don't match!! If you look at the picture below, you can see that they are slightly different. the one on the  left has a rounded front and slightly curved back, and the one on the right has a square front and squared back. The finish is also slightly different - one more traditional, and one more rustic. It's not really noticeable unless you are really paying attention. I didn't even realize it until I was loading them into the car.

So, the tags are still on. I'll give it a few more days then make a call one way or the other, but I'm leaning toward keeping them. If they matched exactly I would definitely keep them but the slight mismatch kind of bugs me, but then again I don't spend tons of time in this room and it would be handy to be able to pull a comfy chair into the dining room for bigger parties.

To keep things real and give you a hint on what our "formal" living room is most often used for , here's the wider angle shot. I removed Woody and Buzz from the console table before taking my shots.



Shout it Out!

What a great week for shout outs!! Not an every day occurrence around here (maybe some day?!) so I'm really excited!

On Monday, my powder room ceiling was featured on Sadie + Stella. Thanks ladies!!  Read all about the powder room ceiling reveal here.

Then on Wednesday, my blog got it's first dose of Apartment Therapy love when my daughter's night stand makeover was featured on Ohdeedoh, the kids/family AT site. More about that makeover here.

I'm not sure I will ever get tired of seeing my stuff on other blogs and websites! Thanks to all of my readers - you're the best!


Thrify Painting Finds a Home

I found a home for my awesome original painting that I scored a Goodwill a few weeks ago (more on that here).

Once I thought about it for 6 seconds, I realized that the obvious place was about 3 feet from where I snapped the picture above - in the dining room.

You can also get a little glimpse of my fall dining room decor.

Here's what my bar area looked like with the old picture which wasn't really working for me. This is one of those pieces that I picked at HomeGoods while looking for art which really never works because I often buy things I don't love...

I have to say that my dining room had improved since its low point a few weeks ago, but now the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations are being switched out and this is once again our staging area!


Canvas Love

I've been eyeing those coupons for big discounts on canvas photo blow-ups for a while now. I decided to give it a try after seeing a Groupon for Canvas on Demand. I went for it since I had a bunch of great pictures from our summer vacation. Honestly though, I had no idea where I would hang it or whether it would really fit with our style. It arrived a few weeks ago and I think the picture speaks for itself...


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Woody and Jessie!

My children are obsessed with Toy Story so this was an ideal costume set this year. I am super proud of how their costumes came out. I found Alex's Disney Store shirt, vest, and sheriff's badge at a local thrift shop for $3.99. The hat and boot covers are compliments of my neighbor Meghan. Elizabeth's shirt is a plain white boys' shirt from Salvation Army. I embellished it with fabric paint (which I already had) to look like Jessie's western style shirt. I sewed the cow print fabric (from JoAnn) onto some old jeans of hers, and the hat was a lucky $1 yard sale find. Total cost for both was less than $15!


Sprinklers in October

Officially tired of dead grass and shrubs so we're installing a sprinkler system. We ended up getting a pretty good deal through a variety of discounts, and we know we want to live in this house for a long time.

So, lawn looked like this for a few hours earlier this week, but it's much better now fortunately.

Now we just have to figure out how to use it!! Of course, the season for watering is now really short so it will likely be winterized in the next couple of weeks.

Happy Friday!


Powder Room Bling: Part 6 - REVEAL

The powder is finally done. Well, for now. I could still use a new rug and maybe a few more accessories but for now I am considering it finished and checked off the to do list.

After stenciling the ceiling and installing crown molding, I hung a few more pieces of art.

The piece on the back wall (over the toilet) is an architectural drawing of the Washington Monument which I bought at the National Building Museum a while back. Incidentally, my dad and I took a Segway tour of D.C. last week and saw the crack in the Washington Monument from the earthquake in August (more about that here). Amazing. Hopefully they can figure out how to fix it quickly so it can be reopened to the public.

I picked up this pen and ink print at a yard sale more than a year ago. The frame is my favorite standard off-the-shelf frame from Michael's which I have used in several instances around the house and for gifts. 

I found this print of the Capitol a few weeks ago at an estate sale. It was marked $15 but I paid $5 since it was the last day of the estate sale and the young woman working the sale clearly could have cared less what she sold things for. The frame needs a little clean-up but it's not in bad condition by any means. I really like the linen mat.

It feels good to be checking some things off the list. 

Handy Hubby is working on a few things including a new bookshelf for Elizabeth's room after last week's disappointment. We sold the other one in only a few hours and made a small profit. Not enough for anyone to quit their day jobs unfortunately!  The good thing is that this one seems to be moving pretty quickly and I think we'll have a new one in only a week or two, especially if my father-in-law comes to visit for Halloween so Handy Hubby has an extra set of hands to order around.

On a final note, we took the kids to get pumpkins yesterday. Always a highlight of fall for me! 

Any weekend projects in your neck of the woods? Fun fall activities?


Halloween Mantel - Spookifying!

I had several versions of my Halloween mantel going but decided that I wanted something a bit more spooky than I've done before which has always been just an amped up fall mantel. Here's where I ended up.


I think the lanterns from our screen porch really add the darkness that I was going for. The only new things are the birds (Michaels) and the twiggy looking things on the tall pillar candles (from our local pharmacy while waiting to get my flu shot!).

This might be my favorite mantel design ever!


Say it isn't so...

Remember the great bookshelf that Handy Hubby was building for our daughter. The good news is that the base is done. The bad news... it doesn't fit in the intended location! Measure twice, cut once, right?!

Looks like we've already sold it though and he'll start on a new one.

I am so bummed.


Getting Our Halloween On

Well, we went for it again. Yes, skeletons are once again scaling the walls of our house. We did the same thing last year (read about it here), but we changed it up a little with a new organization of skeletons. 

Thanks to the tripod, I took some fun night shots. 

Notice the creepy spider. Elizabeth lovingly picked that out at Safeway when she was about 2 years old. She wanted to take it with her into her crib but I convinced her to leave it in the Halloween box.
I also updated the front porch mum/pumpkin combo with some copper jack-o-lanterns. I think I bought these at Michael's but it was a long time ago now.

We added some uplighting to make it even spookier at night. Halloween is all about night time, right? Of course the kids loved helping with the spider webs. my advice is a little goes a long way and you should stretch it as thin as you can so you don't get big clumps.

I also gave my little fall wreath a Halloween update with a $2 thrift store Halloween decoration. You can also see the Martha Stewart spiders the kids added to the door. After the "installation," my 2 year old Alex ran around the house screaming "scary spiders on door" while laughing hysterically. 

One more view.

I'm going to look for some skulls for next year's display during the Halloween clearance sales. If anyone spots a good deal, please let me know!!