Thursday, July 28, 2016

Living Room Facelift

I don't know why I haven't been able to get into green. I also don't know why I couldn't find any other pictures of our living room! I searched and searched but this was the only one I could find that actually showed the whole thing and it was taken forever ago. 

The green was fine. It was really a pretty nice color and in person it was a lot less obvious than in the picture above. I could just never get completely behind it though. thing led to another and the living room now looks like this.

In person it's a much more subtle change than I thought it would be which is really good. I worried going grey on the wall would feel boring or make the room darker but it actually feels and looks great! This was a spur of the moment change last Saturday and it was all because the curtains I ordered came in and I knew I wouldn't like them with the green. I didn't want to hang them up and then paint down the road when I could just knock it out from the get go.

Speaking of curtains....CURTAINS! This wall of windows has had me stumped. The old owners just used white shower curtain rods inside the window casing with simple white curtains. It was actually a genius and simple solution.

See that wall of three windows by the fireplace? There is hardly any room on either side of those windows for rods. The rods have to end almost immediately so anything with a ball at the end of the rod wasn't going to work. I also couldn't decide if I wanted one long rod going all the way across or if I wanted 4 little rods. Did I want the curtains to function? Maybe I only wanted two curtains, one on each end, and no curtains in the middle spots. #firstworldproblems to the maximum!

Also, curtains are expensive! The don't seem like they should be! I was pretty picky, didn't want anything to bold but still wanted color, and I wasn't going to pay an arm and a leg for them. I found these on Wayfair and they were back ordered. They were the only ones I liked in all of my searching though. I needed 8 at 96" long. I put myself on the watch list and assumed I'd never see them again and that I'd be curtain-less forever but I actually got an email two weeks later that they were re-stocked. So, at 11:30 PM, with Derrick sleeping naively beside me, I pulled the trigger! At less than $20/curtain they were way cheaper than anything else I found and way cheaper than the 24 yards of drapery fabric I would have needed to make my own. Yeah...think about that....$20 per curtain was cheap!!! I need to go sell a house now. 

I kind of love them. They were worth the cash. Derrick would probably agree, but only because he doesn't pay our credit card bill. 

What do you think of those rods?? I made them out of copper piping I found at Lowes. I bought basic brackets at Lowes and sprayed them copper to match. I LOVE the copper color...I was thinking I'd just spray paint pvc or silver metal tubing but when I saw these copper pipes I was totally sold. It went something like this: 

"Can I do that?"
"I can't do that!"
"I think I'm going to try it......."
"It's never been done're crazy...stick with boring ORB!"
"You're right...I can't do it"
"I'm doing it! And it's going to look amazing!!!! and Shut up!"


I just used basic copper pipe caps on the end to solve the issue of not having a lot of space for the ends of the rods. I think they look super clean and fresh. 

And I got to use a pipe cutter which was pretty sweet. I had to join a couple pipes together for the two larger windows so I just used couplings to attach them and put in a squirt of hot glue to keep them in place.

These rods were a lot less expensive than they would have been if I had bought them. I needed three total and one would have had to be 10.5 feet. Not to mention it's hard to find them without some sort of ball on the end. 

Also...while we're on the topic, can someone please tell me why hanging curtain rods is so hard!!?? Seriously...I think it's the hardest DIY project I've done to date. How do you get them straight? And level? And how do you hold the drill and the bracket and the anchor and the hammer at the same time? I climbed up and down that ladder about 10000000 times and I also dropped everything twice that many times. Curtain rods are hard!

Here is the before. 

And the after.


And after. 

Here's a pretty accurate picture of the new wall color.

Our house looks so fancy now! Curtains are so fancy! I'm so glad to have this project behind's been a long time coming but I'm really happy with how it turned out. kitchen land....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Planes, Trains, and Automobile Rentals

Alison picked Derrick and I up from the train station last Sunday with Crosby in tow. She was so confused by being dropped off with Michael and Rebecca on Saturday, then picked up by Alison, then given to a train conductor.

Alison flew in from Cleveland on Sunday night and I arrived back in town by train. Monday morning we drove to pick up a rental car and drove 8 hours up to State Collge, PA to pack up her apartment and bring her back to North Carolina. It was a lot of travel in a short period of time.

We were an hour out from State College when we got a phone call from Budget rentals that they weren't going to have the truck that Alison reserved 3 weeks ago! The gentleman who called simply referred us to customer service saying there was nothing he could do. It was unbelievable and you can consider this a bad review for Budget truck rentals. After about an hour of trouble shooting and problem solving Penske came to the rescue and secured a moving truck for the next day.

I was so glad to get a glimpse at where Alison spent the last four years. It was absolutely gorgeous! Of course, we came at the exact perfect time of year. It was 80 degrees and sunny. It wasn't the frozen tundra that Alison lived in from October through March every year.

This is just a hod podge of photos from the trip. It was so fast and jam-packed that there isn't really a good way to explain it all so I'll just do it with photos.

I was in love with the houses that were on Alison's walking path to school. They were beautiful and had so much character!

Bagels and chai for breakfast! This was the big day...lots of packing and lots of steps!

The Nittany Lion! I finally got to sit on him!

We were buying packing tape at Target and Alison made off with this perfect packing box. It was hilarious and brilliant because we needed that box!

Crossing into Pennsylvania! This was the best shot I could get of the welcome sign. It's about 20 yards behind us at this point....

This was the time Alison put the lock on the truck backwards....and then had to press her face against the truck to try and see the numbers to get it unlocked. She was successful! I have no idea how though.

Efficient moving.

At the end of the day on Monday Alison set up a happy hour with her other grad school friends. It was so nice to meet them and they were all so thrilled to have her back in town. She met some amazing people in State College but I'm really happy to have her back in NC. We've actually been really fortunate to see a lot of each other recently. This was a super fun road trip and I'm thankful my work is so flexible that I could help out when she needed me. Alison's a true gem of a friend!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Train-ers in Training

Jay came up to visit last weekend and it was fabulous as always. Since having Jack live with us all summer and Jay visit more frequently I've really come to appreciate how easy they are. They fit very seamlessly into the little life Derrick and I are living here in Morrisville and are so go with the flow. I never feel any pressure when they are in town.....or in Jack's case, living in the guest room. Jack and I sent this picture to Jay on Friday to show him how excited we were for his visit.

Last weekend was Jack's pro-team's playoff game so Jay came into town to hang out and go see that game. Unfortunately it rained. And by rained I mean downpoured. And by downpoured I mean flooded the streets and brought I-40 to a crawl and caused power outages around town.

The downpour didn't happen until right when we got to the stadium, of course! We found the team in the basketball gym of the high school they play at having an epic 5 v 5 basketball game with the Atlanta team they were supposed to be playing ultimate against.

Unfortunately the make-up game was scheduled for Sunday afternoon when Jay, Derrick, and I wouldn't be there. We actually had one of our high school players playing in a tournament up in Richmond so we made a plan to drive back up to Richmond with Jay and train it back to Raleigh that evening.

Due to a few circumstances out of our control we only got to see our high schooler play in one shortened game but it was a nice day to be outside and I'm glad we could be there to support him.

And you know we can't go to Richmond with Jay without scheduling an escape room. Jay brought in his friend Melanie and she was awesome! We escaped the Poe themed room with only a minute or two to spare.

To get home, Derrick and I embarked on our first train ride. I mean, we've been on trains before but I don't think he or I had ever been on a train as an actual mode of transportation before. Like going from point A to point B for good. I've trained into D.C. and things like that, but this felt different. 

And guess what!? I videoed the whole thing for you! And Derrick even participated! Enjoy! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gaining a Gladfelter

Congratulations to Kevin and Leanna for welcoming baby number two and their first son.  Jesse Alan was born on Thursday and both mom and baby are doing great!  We can't wait to meet our sweet new nephew!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Husband of the Year

There is a lot to update you on so more posts coming but I can't wait on this one. Derrick is the best. I already knew this and you already knew this but he seriously amazing and treats me so well! I was out of town Monday through Wednesday this week and while I was away Derrick surprised me by painting the dining room! I freaked out!

This is a really big gesture and so sweet coming from him because it's really pretty out of his comfort zone. I handle most of the home improvement projects and it's just not something that he has a lot of experience with or a big desire to do. This is why this is so doubly sweet and amazing. He also had to pick the color and he nailed it!

Two weeks ago I went and bought some paint samples. I was ready to get the brown off the dining room walls and I wanted to lighten it up a bit. At first I was thinking light and bright mint. These were my first three samples. In my opinion the left was darker then wanted, I loved the middle, and the left was too blue. The problem with the middle was it didn't contrast enough with the molding.

I went back and forth and then painted three gray samples on the wall. Two were left over from painting the exterior of our house and one was a new sample from Lowes. Lowes just dropped the price of their samples down to $0.99 so you really can't go wrong to test it out first!

Then I left town and forgot about it for a while. That's when Derrick took over and blew my mind with excitement. He picked the color, Rocky Bluffs by Valspar, and took care of business. Here is what the dining room looked like before. It was fine but I'm just not into the brown in this house. There is so much of it with the floors and the cabinets already. Since we've painted the office, the island, and now the dining room, we've finally gotten rid of all of the brown except for the foyer!

Here is what it looks like now! Derrick had one coat done when I got home yesterday and I finished the 2nd coat and the caulking this morning.

Better right?? Obviously the room is still a mess but I was too excited to get this post up to care about that. Derrick seriously knocked it out of the park with the color choice! Now I'm staring that light fixture down though. It's on it's way out for something much less basic-builder looking.

While I was at it I went ahead and cleaned up the edges with some caulk. Derrick taped the whole room off which is way more work than I usually do. I usually just free hand around the trim and hope for the best but he took the time and effort to tape. There were still some edges to clean up though.

I tried just free-handing the caulk and it didn't look good. It smeared up a lot and needed to be re-painted again.

So I tried another technique I'd seen before. I taped off the trim leaving a tiny gap between the trim and the tape in order to get a nice clean line. Then I caulked and smeared it with a wet finger and peeled the tape up right away.

It looks awesome and is definitely worth the extra effort of caulking.

Derrick really got me with this surprise and I am so grateful for such a thoughtful husband. He knows my love language is home improvement!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Little Updates

Am I the only one that gets giddy for the little maintenance projects around the house? Like when our termite guy comes for the annual inspection? Or a light switch stops working so we have to replace it?  I really like the decorating part of home ownership but I also really like the other tasks that you run into and have to deal with simply because you own a house. Those, to me, are gratifying and exciting and I don't mind doing them at all.

I recently ran into Lowes to get a few of those naggy items like an outlet that has to get changed and an attic light that's been missing it's pull string since we moved in. Those are all for another day but I did get around to two quick fixes today.

I replaced our door handle on our front door a while ago. I can't remember if I posted or not but we were having major issues with it. As in we couldn't get in and out of our front door without a major struggle. Like a fire hazard struggle. We called in someone to adjust the strike plate and he made it better but recommended we replace the whole handle because of the stress we'd been putting on it trying to get it opened. It had kind of knocked the whole thing out of whack. I was OK with it because our old one was looking pretty bad.

Kwikset has a lifetime warranty on all of their products. The fine print says you have to be the one who has lived there since installation so whomp whomp That's not us. I stuck with a kwikset handle though so our original keys could still work.

It was tricky to figure out but piece by piece I got us back to a working door knob. It's amazing how much you take opening your front door easily for granted. What a luxury!

Here is the new one installed. I love the new shape. The deadbolt was crooked and was a major  pain to go back and straighten but I knew I'd hate forever if it was crooked.

You can see the problem though, right?

The door sat like this for....4 months? 5 months? I don't know...forever. Part of the delay was trying to get an exact color match from Certa who painted our house. The other part was just laziness. Well I knocked that out recently and I'm so glad I did! Super easy fix that made a huge difference.

The other project happened today and I had a lot more pictures of the whole process before I accidentally deleted them all. Our back porch light busted earlier this week. The light would flicker and not come on consistently. We let Crosby out after dark every night so not having any light back there was a problem that we had to fix asap.

Once I dug into it I found out that the light bulb was corroded into the fixture. I was able to get it out with pliers (power was off!) but it was still giving me issues so I went ahead and replaced the whole fixture.

This was our old fixture. I pulled the image from the Lowes website. It was $12.  No wonder it broke. I applaud it for lasting the 9 years it has lasted already.  It also looked pretty dinky up there so I was OK with getting an upgrade.

The upgrade really wasn't that expensive either. Fifty bucks and about an hour of learning how to install a light fixture and we were in business!

I LOVE electrical work. It's my favorite really. This was the first time I've ever switched out a light fixture but now I want to do every light in the house. It was so EASY! And it looks so good! And it works! It gives off light!  Lots of successes today!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Collectors Items

I've started a collection. Does three count as a collection? Derrick gets the ESPN magazine every single week. I don't even know why because he also gets a digital copy and that's the one the actually reads but we still get a print copy. That means we get 64 magazines a year when you include my Real Simple that we get every month. Then I found the most awesome magazine rack at a garage sale for $0.25!

I love having a place to stash the magazines now and I am always on the lookout for more now. My budget is $2 or less though. They are actually kind of expensive on Etsy so thrift stores and garage sales are the place to look.

I've since found two more and they are chilling in the guest room and the hall bathroom. I like the brass but I may also spray paint them.

This one was at a thrift store find and is the most worn so it will probably get a coat of paint when we redo the guest room. 

Not sure if it counts as a collection but I'm always keeping my eye out for them! I've seen plenty of wooden ones at Goodwill but I'm more drawn to the wire ones. They are always on my list if I can find one for a steal!